Kodiak Boards Carves Out a Unique Niche

Kodiak Boards Carves Out a Unique Niche

Bear Walker claims that his inherent manual labor skills originate from a background of working his way up from hauling debris to completing framing and finishing work for his father’s construction company. Before long,


Bear Walker, founder of Kodiak Boards.


Walker began to pursue his skill set down a more artistic path. In attaining a degree in Graphics from Clemson, his capstone project of a metallic ink skateboard sparked his interest in skateboard design that would eventually manifest itself to become Kodiak Boards.


From there, Walker embarked on a painstaking journey of trial and error to select the best wood, plies and configurations for developing his own line of longboards and cruisers. As he described the process of ups and downs, “Some snapped, some looked strange, some were too stiff, too flexible, too hard to carve into, too soft to withstand the wear and tear of being a longboard.”


Bear ensures that the boards are produced flawlessly.


Above all, finding the balance between functionality as grip and maintenance of the boards integrity posed the largest problem in designing Kodiak Boards’ iconically carved top layers. As someone who rides the boards every day looking for potential flaws, Walker is confident that the top carving pattern actually improves grip, in the absence of grip tape.

The CNC design on the top of the deck means you can go griptape free.


To achieve the intricately cut patterns, Walker designs each individual line and uses a tabletop CNC to etch the designs out. Typically, after up to 10 attempts to perfect each of Kodiak Boards’ models, Walker is ready to move on to what he cites is the real work of the process. Once off the machine, each board goes through a sanding process that provides a hand filed finish to every edge of the board. From there, the bottoms of each deck are routed, sanded and branded en route to receiving the secret Kodiak Boards touch. In the end, the polished look is set to withstand all sorts of weather, routing abuse and plenty of good times.


In sum, six years after the foremost design, Kodiak Boards recently came back from the shores of a photoshoot in Costa Rica for the launch of their new line of 23” Surfers. You can check up on the process of this drop on their Instagram here

Longboard Jesus

Longboard Jesus

What would Jesus do? It seems Jesus would ride a longboard. And it seems Joe Gerin has found his groove. My guess it’s a pretty slow news day over there in Akron Come to think of it, if we’re featuring this story, it must be because we’re going out skating! Joe Gerin, a student at the University of Akron decided to take his $9 costume and get out there and ride  Joe rides a Neversummer longboard. He’s taking time off from his studies in mechanical engineering to skate.    

Moroccan Longboarding Part 2

Moroccan Longboarding Part 2

Loaded has just releases a new video that features Yassine Boundouq. What is unusual about the piece is that it delightfully mixes up longboarding and the local culture of Morocco. It’s not a typical video and kudos to the Loaded Team for really coming up with such a creative piece.We’ve already done a small feature on Yassine on this blog and we’ve got plans to do a full story in our June issue. Folks like Yassine aren’t just ambassadors for a skate company…they are truly ambassadors for peace and understanding. Like many of you, I’ve never visited Morocco and yet, this alluring video pulls me in both as a skater and a traveller. In times like this with so much xenophobia spreading,  we need all the bridges we can find. Take a few minutes and enjoy this brief glimpse into a world you know (skateboarding) and one that you probably have never encountered.  

Nothing is Impossible: Longboarding in Morocco

Nothing is Impossible: Longboarding in Morocco

I’m Yassine Boundouq and I have been riding a longboard for 3 years. I am now the ambassador of Loaded boards and Orangatang wheels here in Morocco.

The red background on the Moroccan flag represents hardiness, bravery, strength and valour, while the green represents love, joy, and hope. Definitely the kinds of things that skateboarding represents too!

When I started longboarding I searched on riders I found small community most of them are surfers so they ride just for fun, the Summer of 2015 I did a longboard tour from the north to the south of Morocco I crossed 3000km pushing on my longboard.


One of my goals was to spreading the longboard culture in my country. So I took this challenge and I organized 7 longboard events and cleanliness campaigns across the big cities. It was a successful trip because the longboard community grew up and I got the invitation to be the ambassador of Docksession in Morocco. Before that I was doing free longboard sessions in my town with my longboards. I called them LongB session. The success of those sessions led Docksession to invite me to work with them. As a result 4 cities in morocco now hold weekly sessions.


It’s really hard to grow  longboarding in Morocco because we don’t have longboard shops, but I’m doing my best. Hopefully I can see more people in the streets. Nothing is impossible. Below is my video about longboarding in Morocco. Enjoy!



IDF  – Interviews With the Candidates

IDF – Interviews With the Candidates

Candidates for the IDF Board Tell AllNote: Zak Maytum, Max Capps, and Tamara Prader were unable to provide their answers The International Downhill Federation (IDF) is the governing body for the World Cup Tour in downhill skateboard and luge racing. To a skateboard or luge racer, winning the World Tour is the highest achievement one can reach. The IDF Board Members are the most influential people to this tour. They have the ability to grow participation, funding, and events. On a global level, their work can make or break the experience of skateboard and luge racers, as well as the experience of their fans. Here’s where you come in; The IDF Board Member elections are upon us! There are 13* candidates running for 7 positions on the board, and elections are this weekend (Friday, Jan.13 – Sunday, Jan.15).  All IDF members are eligible to vote through internationaldownhillfederation.com. Please actively participate in the future of skateboard and luge racing by voting for the most qualified candidates. We’ve made it easy for you by asking each candidate to share their platforms on some of the most telling topics. Below are our questions and their responses. MEMBERS: Vote here now! What are your top accomplishments that qualify you for the IDF Board? Maga McWhinnie: Current IDF Board Member and one of only two candidates with previous experience on the IDF Board. 

  1. Learning to solo run an IDF WQS event and work the Timing System at Laguna Downhill. This is extremely important as no other IDF Board candidate has experience working the Timing System.
  2. Helped with communication and organization of South America and Asia IDF events (including NZ and Australia). Focus on broadcasting up-to-date race info at these events to help grow our sports, media, and sponsorships.
  3. Focused on creating media exposure and networking for the female racing community that didn’t previously exist. Women should be equally promoted and recognized because women are inspired by more women, and IDF needs to support this. Would also love to work in projects that financially supported skilled riders from poor countries.
  4. Contributed to the creation of the ‘Masters’ Category in IDF racing, which is a huge achievement that needed to happen.

 Carl Sambrano:  Earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce with a major in Marketing and Advertising. Creator of Luzon Skateboard Racing; includes 18 races in two years with a minimum of four divisions per race. Organized the first IDF race to be held in the Philippines; Karena Sa Lumban, 2016 WQS. Travis Davenport: Organized the 2014 Push Culture Cup by combining 7 US races into one points’ series tour. Co-organized a few of the PC Cup races from the ground up. Produced Push Culture News for several years and developed relationships with most NorAm event organizers; also has experience working and participating in many NorAm races. Marco Vidales:  Worked with IDF the past three years as an IDF representative in several races and attended board meetings. World Cup organizer, Festival de la Bajada. Created the Colombian Longboarding Cup with five Colombian races in a year. Has a Business Management degree and a Master’s in Risk Management. Max Vickers: Interned for IDF in 2016; attending weekly meetings and gaining understanding of the organization and managing the World Cup circuit. Raced IDF in eight different countries; gaining understanding of what comprises a well run event both for the racer and organizer. Currently Studying Entrepreneurship and Corporate Innovation with a co-major in Technology Management; gaining understanding of how to strategically grow an organization and utilize it’s technology. Billy Meiners:  Downhill racer for over 10 years. Organized two sanctioned skateboard events spanning seven years. Currently working in the longboard industry for Landyachtz longboards. Mike Girard:  Founded, organized, and funded Central Mass Skate Festival for seven years; included 4 venues, 400 competitors, 20 sponsors, and 35 staff members in 2017. Founded and organized the Burke Mountain Freeride; 100% funded through registration and crowdfunding, where riders safely ran 37 runs in two days on one of the most challenging tracks. Only 2017 NorAm IDF World Cup event organizer, with the 2017 Killington WC; previously spent multiple years co-producing Killington Downhill Throwdown. Federico Barboni: Federazione Italiana Sport Rotellisti (FISR) Italian Championship Coordinator and National Representative for Downhill Skateboarding since 2012. Race organizer since 2007; organized Verdicchio WQS, Poggio-Q, and Marche on Speed. Streetluger since 2000, downhill skateboarder since 2007, 2012 Italian Downhill Skateboard Champion. Matheus Felicio: Race organizer for seven years; Organized Mega Grand Prix WC spanning four years. Four years experience running businesses in the skateboard industry. Has a large team of employees, consultants, mentors, and partners who will be advising and helping if elected to the IDF Board. Rachel Bruskoff: Downhill Skateboard racer for three years; earning a top ranking the past two years. Gained a giant network of contacts from all over the globe; that network will forever expand with my travels, stoke, and perseverance. Gained insight on the many ways events have been run and what works and what needs improvement through travels. What will you do to grow IDF racer participation in both in open and subcategories: Travis Davenport: Well that’s a catch 22 because what we need is outside industry sponsorships. In order to get that, we need big numbers of spectators, participants, and following; and in order to get that, we need big outside industry sponsorships. At the moment, and for the most part, the burden of financing events falls on the racers via entry fees. The main barrier for IDF participation is money for travel, gear, and entry fees. The best thing that could be done to increase participation is to alleviate this through gaining corporate sponsorships. It’s a slow process, but we are honestly still a very young sport and an even younger organization – but we’re growing, and we have strong leadership and will get there. I believe we will figure this out and have generation after generation of new downhill racers with access to safe, closed-road races. Marco Vidales:

  1. Dividing riders in Professional Class and Amateur Class. We had this experience in Colombia when we divided the riders in Professional and Amateur Class: many riders don’t have the expertise to level up to professional riders and are demotivated by this because their advancement in the race is practically null. Professional riders will race against true competitors and the risk if[1]  getting taken out by a rider without the best skills will be reduced.
  2. Freeriding in events is also a way, not everyone wants to compete, some people just want to skate and we must provide that too.

 Max Vickers: I believe there are two primary parts to growing the racer participation for IDF sanctioned events. Having better promotion of the events across our channels and working with organizers to better the promotion across their own networks are both important in spreading the word on these events and increasing attendance. Billy Meiners: Accessibility (I think) is the main thing to focus on if we want to keep participation high. There is a pretty awesome World Tour lined up for this year, but many people can’t afford to travel to all those destinations. Having smaller race circuits (North America, Europe, Asia, etc…) will give people more motivation to travel within their region to participate in events. I think it’d be good to focus on developing those smaller circuits to help bolster the World Tour. Mike Girard: I believe the key to growing participation is to offer a higher quality, better value event. For a few years, organizers have charged excessively high entry fees while offering little additional value to their cookie-cutter formats at events that were often run slowly, with insufficient staff, and roughshod organization. I think the IDF is in a position to encourage more accessible entry fees with more robust, enjoyable, tightly- and safely-organized events that leave all racers satisfied. Although they are not “organizers,” the IDF can predicate certain expectations from every World Cup event. This would also involve a commitment to running reliable timing equipment. Over 7 years running and growing Central Mass Skate Festival, I’ve learned a lot of methods and networks to reach out to as many people as possible, all ages, talent levels, and genders, and I have managed to pull attendees from 25 different U.S. states, 4 different Canadian provinces and countries around the world. I would use these same marketing skills to reach as many potential racers as possible. Federico Barboni: I would like the races to become more fair for the different kinds of riders that attend IDF events; as we still don’t have proper structure in each nation that could filter the top athletes by national leagues. The problem of having an “all-together-solution” includes two sides:1. Pro riders2. Riders not completely or not at all supported by sponsorsFrom this scenario comes the idea of grouping the riders by rankings to make the competition more fair throughout the different levels. The growth of a proper structure on each nation would do this grouping even before the race, but as we still are not organized enough in each nation it’s nearly impossible to make it happen right now. Adding to this topic, I see that there’s still a lot of work to do in each nation for the recognition of downhill skateboarding, and I hope that other people around (old) like me will “wake up,” and understand that there’s the need of doing something on their own nation too grow the scene; Just like someone did in the past to let us grow worldwide. It’s a “give something back” in which I always trust. Matheus Felicio: Every business, profit or nonprofit, has to be aligned with the customer; in our case the riders. One of my main goals is to bring the riders closer to IDF through communication. I want to talk to each and every one of them and get to know their opinion about everything. When the customer is heard, he will be much more involved with the organization. After that’s done I’ll get all their answers organized and check what is relevant. Once that work is done, IDF will have riders that really stand for the organization. That way, the number of riders in our rankings will grow organically. Rachel Bruskoff: I feel strongly that the IDF needs to step up their reach with media and sponsors. We need to expand to a more vast audience and encourage them to come out to events. We can do this through videos, live feeds, social media, and word of mouth. There is also a chance to grow participation by offering more options for riding; including freerides and clinics. These kinds of events can become apart of the scene to help get newer people on the hills and feeling confident to race down them. Maga McWhinnie: That would happen with more exposure from events (live broadcast, constant media), making events with no issues (organization, safety, and technical), better prices and more recognition to racers who are putting their lives on the line for these races, and that could only happen with bigger sponsors. Skateboard companies are not enough. To chase bigger sponsorships, you need to reach bigger masses. Racing needs to develop into a more exciting spectator sport; not just one day or a half day of excitement for spectators online and on-site. It needs to be at least two… so, how do we create that? Something needs to evolve in our old racing system…. Maybe a different format? pro/amateur categories? Also, we need to keep on focusing on the Continental circuits; the best timing, the best events, the best order, searching for more venues and events, and hopefully reaching a point where each continental champion can also receive a prize and/or more recognition. Carl Sambrano: One of the hype that surrounds a race, both for riders and supporters, is knowing who will be racing. With the current scenario, majority of the races have riders registering during the event. Some form of incentive should be given to those registering before a given date. This will be the additional hype that will move riders to register early. It also helps the organizers have a good idea of the number of riders. Also for registration rates, a group registration of five racers should be given an incentive. What will you do to grow IDF public awareness and increase the number of race spectators? Mike Girard: I would take advantage of my social media and general marketing experience to expand the IDF’s voice and maximize the audience of any IDF-sanctioned event. As a 6-year Ambassador for Loaded Boards & Orangatang Wheels, I have substantial experience producing and sharing media to increase public awareness; I think the IDF would benefit from a dedicated social media campaign. This would include a grassroots strategy for local outreach (to community centers, local businesses, universities, etc.) to increase spectatorship. Billy Meiners: There’s numerous ways to accomplish this and my guess is that the current IDF board is probably brainstorming a few different ideas. I’d be curious to see what they are working on. Media is a pretty easy way to increase public awareness. If the IDF had a plan of action for creating/promoting consistently throughout the year, then I think that would help the public awareness a lot. For increasing the number of spectators, this goes back to accessibility. If people have to drive three hours into the mountains to watch a race, then you can’t expect a lot of people showing up to watch the event. Frederico Barbezio: Since we have different kinds of spectators, we have to market to both the people at the event and on the internet. Because we live in a “social media” age, with a focus on online spectators, there’s many scenarios that can increase viewership. Obviously, the tools are out there and need to be both used, and used properly, but I’m sure some surprises will come out in the next few years with the new team. It’s one of the goals on the wish list. Concerning awareness, I think IDF did a good job in being recognized as the body that sanctions gravity games worldwide, and I hope we will be able to keep and spread more of this status every day. Matheus Felicio: I will continue to work with Mega Grand Prix, aiming for the main television network in Brazil; We made some pretty good advances in 2015 and 2016… Hopefully this year we’ll have many thousands of people watching our race. Rachel Bruskoff: One of my goals is to extend the reach of our exposure. We need to publicize more to local communities where races are being held. We need to get the support of the local communities as well. Some of the largest turnouts I have seen at events, were in the smallest towns, but the event was locally advertised and became an event the locals could not miss. We need to extend our events to more than just skaters. Some places in the world this is easier than others, but I think we need to look into the neighboring communities to help boost the events and spread the word. Also through social media; more race videos, more rider videos, more sharing of media! The more something is out there, the more people have the chance to see it. Maga McWhinnie: See my answer to question number two Carl Sambrano: We should include an IDF guide on how to create hype before a race like placing posters in local establishments, as well as public spaces or community boards. We should also include a letter from the IDF addressed to the local media endorsing the WQS or WC. Once we get new people as spectators, we should service them with stoke. I strongly feel we need a finish line announcer who will let spectators know what’s going on and create hype for the race heats all the way to the finals. It would also be beneficial to spectators if spectator area is suitable for a day of racing and is safe; Maintain hype maximizing potential of the IDF website. Travis Davenport: At all the races I have been a part of, the main thing that can help create an audience is to congregate them in one place. This naturally happens at each hill as the weekends progress. Having foresight to pick that location and install grandstands is key; it keeps people off hay, gives a sense of community, and creates better points of view. You may also think that you need streams and big screens; I’ve produced live streams with multiple camera crews and big screens on courses and while these do obviously do the most for spectator’s experience, and an at home audience, they are so expensive that they are not an option for the most part; certainly not if the event is financed strictly by entree fees. However, That is the goal; Once we get out of that catch 22 I’ve mentioned. For now it’s important to have flyers up in local markets and schools and civic places to simply spread the word. Most people in a town don’t even know that a race is happening. So canvasing is important and simply takes weeks of advanced planning, a printer, and boots on the ground.  I’ve always been surprised at how enthusiastic parents of young kids are to come spectate, not involved in racing at all, just excited to have something new in town to take their kids to on the weekend. That demographic is key. We are not going to increase participation by preaching to the choir, so to speak, we need the people who don’t know us, the citizens of the communities that don’t follow our sport. Our best spectator at this point is the first time spectator! Marco Vidales: IDF is a huge content generator and we have only been generating content through the IDF representatives, like me, that travel and report on each race – in a very personal manner with no professional visual support, basically just asking local photographers to share their photos with us, with only giving credit for the photo as a retribution. A whole plan is being actually set up to do this professionally by one person with a clear goal in mind, to grow our awareness and increase or number of riders and spectators. Max Vickers: Through my current volunteer work with the IDF, I have been primarily focusing on establishing a communication plan and working with outside contributors that have knowledgeable communication backgrounds to better define this. Currently, we have a well established strategic plan that will help promote the IDF through various types of networks and media sharing. In addition, we plan to work with organizers to do local press releases with media sources in their area, prior to events, in order to grow downhill skating profile in those areas and hopefully draw more of the public to spectating races when suitable. What will you do to increase the value of IDF and help gain sponsors for IDF races?
Billy Meiners: Hard to say. Until we get participation and viewership up, I think it’ll be difficult to approach large companies (Red Bull, GoPro, etc…) for sponsorship. Best thing we can do is work within the industry and also help event organizers seek out local sponsors.
Matheus Felicio: My marketing team is already working on a project to gain global IDF sponsorships year round. Once we have it all organized and ready to present, I’ll knock from door to door in the multinationals companies and try to sell it. Meanwhile my team will be aiming for the skateboarding companies around the world. Right now we have people to support us in this matter in Brazil, Canada, USA, Austrália, Italy, France, Japan, and Colombia. Rachel Bruskoff: The goal is to think big and to go outside the general sport. We need to contact companies that can properly support the IDF and get more stoke for the communities, local and worldwide. We need to put out positivity and a good image so that anyone we contact will be nothing but excited to join forces. We need hype, and we can do this by spreading the word about what we do and about each event. This can create a backing that will get more sponsors on board and stoked to support us and continue to provide support. Marco Vidales: My job in Festival de la Bajada was mainly this, for example despite out efforts it was impossible for us to obtain sponsorship from the longboard industry and we had to go to mass consumption brands for support; every country will have its own particular challenges because they are different markets. I think this is a job for the event organizers and not the IDF, I think IDF’s only source of funds has to remain membership fees and race fees, they are the only ones that we have to be accountable to; anything else will compromise our independence and might give way to controversy, corruption and forced decisions like in other international federations like FIFA and FIA.

Maga McWhinnie: It’s not up to us to increase event sponsors, it’s up to the organizers to do it, but we can advise them on how to chase them. I would not just chase Skateboard companies; I would also chase other companies that can benefit from the location, crowd, or anything else related from the event. Enough media before, during, and after the events, creating ways to attract more spectators, and organizing all these with a lot of time ahead.
Max Vickers: Gaining event sponsors falls towards the organizers, as the organizers of the events are responsible for gaining the proper funding (often driven from sponsors) in order to support the event. However, I hope to focus on better promoting the event from when the event is announced, during the event, then after the event through the IDF’s social media platforms in order to better promote the events. This will better publicize the event and in turn hopefully allow the organizers to receive a better response from industry sponsors.
Carl Sambrano: I would discuss adding more spots for the sponsors with the board. A top 10 interview during qualifier is one spot, and an interview with the Champion is another. A weekly or twice a month online show will create additional spots as well as have a stage to do product highlights. The focus would be capitalizing on the wide reach the IDF has; our events happen in a lot of countries, but (at the same time) on the online platform we’ll remain worldwide.

Frederico Barbezio: I would focus on giving the public an image of a solid and populated structure of racer’s categories, with stable and remarkable competitions around the world. I think without it, IDF could hardly become very desirable for a long term relationship with sponsors. But I feel positive about, it’s just a matter of working more on it. Travis Davenport: We have to continue developing this package of racing, the concept or our sport, into an asset that a company values and wants as a vehicle for their advertising and community involvement. Skateboard brands do not need events for advertisement; there is very little return on investment there. If we expect to grow exponentially, we cannot expect it to happen through the checkbooks of our own hard good brands. It will take time and leadership, both of which we have plenty of, and there will be speed bumps. The last two years we have seen a lull all across the board, but these are just growing pains; we are learning, and our sport has a bright future! It is also my intention to use my company, Push Culture, in a way that will help us achieve the traction we need to grow. My experience building this brand has taught me a lot and aligns with the same goals we have as the IDF. A lifestyle brand growing out of our sport will be key in spreading the word and idea to the masses, generating more awareness, excitement, spectatorship and participation, which will create the numbers to attract something like, KIA, Trojan, Spy, Red Bull, a local bank branch, ski mountain, or grocery chain to sponsor our events, because to them our budgets are chump change. Mike Girard:  I would leverage my substantial network within the action sports industry, from existing Central Mass Skate Festival sponsors to all of the brands and representatives that I have gotten to know as a snowboard sales rep. I would also be able to share the methods that I have used successfully to attain and retain sponsorship by providing high-value marketing to companies with a nose for the action sports demographic.   In the event of a surplus, where would you allocate the extra funds: Rachel Bruskoff: I think the extra funds can be spread out in multiple ways. Of course, I think it should be brought down to a general and shared thought, over simply my own; as in a vote among the board and/ or within the members. I think funds can be utilized to make sure that event organizers host races up to high standards; safety, sponsorships, media, and proper administration. The funds can also be used to make sure that each event has at least 2 representatives from the IDF to oversee it and make sure that everything runs smoothly; the timing system works, the organization stays strong, and that media is covered well and in the most up-to-date timing. The funds could go towards making the media stronger, offering more coverage on social media outlets, as well as live feeds and making sure every event has coverage of some sort.  Maga McWhinnie: More media for all IDF events and/or hiring someone dedicated to it with professional experience. If there was more, I would also invest it on improving/upgrading our hardware and software for our website and events: Timing system, cameras, web developers… If there was still more, I would search for one event to make The Event and use multiple resources to create a massive exposure around the world.. These are just my ideas. but I would debate and search for more ideas and ask the riders and the board to make the best decision. Carl Sambrano: Promotion seems to be the strongest contender – or is the beast that is most hungry. Portable speakers that are loud enough for the starting line gun, and satellite internet connection so the IDF can go live on social media on any given race day. Marco Vidales: The word of the people is law, this question was raised to the members and they decided it should be invested in marketing and communications and it is what has to be done.

Federico Barboni I think, like what happened last year, the inclusion of the members in this decision with a poll will help us understand everybody better, and where to allocate an eventual surplus, because the poll can give us great feedback from the season experiences of the racers.Where I would allocate it: I think it will depend first on the amount of the surplus itself, but I would definitely put it on something that could improve the experience of the riders at the competitions and the sport visibility. Billy Meiners: I think that it should go back to the race organizers to help fund future events. Without races, there’s no race circuit. Mike Girard: The aforementioned marketing and media initiatives would take a moderate budget to execute successfully and push to a broad audience. A surplus would help fund this type of marketing effort and promotion. I think a substantial budget surplus could also be spread to event organizers to help reduce entry fees, as well as providing a fair (but not excessive) season podium purse for the overall top performers. Matheus Felicio:

  1. Extra equipment for the IDF, so we have zero chance to get caught by a bad surprise in a race
  2. Training for the race organizers
  3. A better website
  4. Social programs
  5. Champions

 Max Vickers: With the IDF being a democratic organization that is run by its members, it is up to the membership base to vote on where the allocated funds should go. As stated, I hope to focus on the long-term growth of the IDF, and if at the end of the year we find that more support is needed towards event organizers, marketing, prize support, etc. It will be a collaboration between board members to come up with a few viable options, but members will also have the option of choosing their own vote.
Travis Davenport: Marketing for the IDF as a whole. As with any business, a surplus has to go back into building the brand. Unforeseen opportunities or setbacks should have a rainy day fund if needed, but we haven’t and won’t see any significant amount of surplus beyond what could be allocated to promotion of the organization itself. We can take out adds in local magazines or newspapers to raise awareness for a race that has great audience potential, and maybe financing media coverage at a race that has infrastructure to broadcast successfully. IDF is about more than individual races, but its backbone is those races. I would like to see some support of certain events when they pose exceptional opportunities for the pursuit of the goals we share as a whole. There are many ideas for where to spend money, and there will be disagreements, but I think if we have goals that see well past a single year, then the ideas of surplus isn’t quite so controversial because budgets aren’t just for single year operations – they have to be for the long term.        

Alum Boards – A Deeper Look

Alum Boards – A Deeper Look

A few months back, we ran a piece on AlumBoards and how owner Trevor Dericks took his intricately designed aluminum longboards from figments of the imagination to street-approved creations. While this piece scratched the surface on what exactly goes into producing these functional works of art, we decided that a trip to Dericks Sheet Metal  Works [DSMW] in Totowa, New Jersey was necessary to reveal how this process actually goes down.

 Trevor Dericks with one of his masterpieces.


Starting off with the backstory to the men behind the operation himself, DSMW, a metal fabrication shop was opened back in 1936 with his great grandfather and grandfather. All the while a family run business, Dericks has been surrounded by custom metal work his whole life, reminded by his father that “If you can’t find what you want, make it.” As time progressed, Dericks future at the shop rested on a coin flip between working at the business or pursuing a teaching career. Thankfully for the longboarding world, the coin kept Dericks working with sheet metal.


From there, Dericks self taught himself Auto CAD and intertwines this knowledge with the use of 5 other programs when drafting and designing each deck. As his personal favorite part of the operation, Dericks says he strives to hide engineering necessities, like strong horizontals to hold the deck’s concave, when drawing out the cuts. Similarly, features like organic-looking hand and finger holds are intentionally included but come across as coincidental when embedded in the intricacies of the rest of the deck’s design. As Dericks describes it, he “likes there to be design purpose while not being blunt about it.”

CNC handles the aluminum beautifully.



After the drawing stage, Dericks starts the magic into turning an unassuming 4’ x 10’ sheet of 100% recycled, aircraft-grade aluminum into a practical deck fit to take on the Broadway Bomb. As pictured, Dericks loads the sheet onto the bed of a water jet cutting table and raises it up slightly to keep the excess cuts from tripping the machine path. Then, after calibrating its starting point, Derick puts the machine to work. At 60,000 PSI, water and garnet fuse together to blast Dericks’ design into the metal. The water within the table is used to keep the material cool as it gets cut and keep the machine quiet enough to operate near. The garnet, in turn, is used as a form of sand/abrasive with the water to provide accurate cuts to thousandths of an inch. Generally keeping designs under 48”, the cutting of the board Dericks put together during our visit took just over a half hour from first cut to the last.

Next comes a brief stint of polishing before giving the board its concave. This step is key since most Alum Boards are preferred to ride without grip tape. In the same roller that Dericks once rolled one of his fingers at age 12, he fine tunes the decks to give them the desired amount of concave for appropriate flex and comfort. By dialing the custom concave in just right, riders are able to enjoy the sensation that aluminum grants, a smooth ride that dampens road vibrations unlike any other board out there. Finally, Dericks channels his unparalleled his attention to detail one final time as he polishes the edges of finished decks until he can see himself in the reflection.

In the grand scheme of AlumBoards, Trevor Dericks keeps the customer at the forefront of all the decisions made throughout the building process. His efforts to keep the production as a hands on, boutique-type experience are supported by the craftsmanship seen in the remarkable final products. Therefore, as AlumBoards are set to hit the road in 2017 for new collaborations, new events and new builds, the meticulous handiwork that we saw on our visit will not be going anywhere.

IDF – Your Chance to VOTE!

IDF – Your Chance to VOTE!

The International Downhill Federation – IDF is excited to announce the details for the 2017 ELECTION. The IDF the worldwide organization dedicated to downhill skateboarding and luge racing.



The IDF is currently undergoing elections to nominate 7 new board members to lead the organization for the coming two-years. The 13 globally-recognized candidates and their statements were released on January 5.


You can find out all about these highly qualified candidates here:

Voting is open through January 13-15 and all IDF members are eligible to vote. For more info, please visit the IDF website.



Yes Virginia, We Do Trade Guns in For Skateboards

Yes Virginia, We Do Trade Guns in For Skateboards

 Of all the programs that Longboarding for Peace has been a part of, none gets the attention like the annual “Gun Buy Back.” Yesterday someone posted a comment on our Instagram account if “this was a real thing.” I am here to tell you Howweroll_wpg indeed it is!Depending on what side of the political fence you find yourself on, you either want more guns with less restriction or less guns and more restriction. This is not what our program is about. It is about getting guns out of people’s homes who don’t want them and replacing the firearm with a skateboard. It is 100% voluntary. I have also found that the gun buy back is also a great way to start a discussion about a number of touchy subjects!From rifles to .357 magnums, you would be amazed at what people have stored in their homes!  This extraordinary idea was created by Neil Carver of Carver Skateboards. It was Neil that came up with the concept back in 2013. It was his response to the tragedy of Sandy Hook where Adam Lanza stormed into an elementary school and killed 28 people. Twenty of them were between 6 and 7 years old. Speaking of Sandy Hook, December 14, marked the 4th anniversary. What is astonishing to me is that there are conspiracy theories on the web that say it was a hoax. You can read about one father’s fight to take on the hoaxers here:  Over 250 guns were traded in. From this unspeakable act, Neil felt compelled to do something. Working with the police department in San Pedro, California, he was able to co-ordinate a gun buy back that offered all a chance to trade in their gun for a Carver Skateboard. Over the past two years, we have conducted 4 gun buy backs. Working with Dennis Martinez (a former pro skater and current prison pastor) along with Harvey Hawks (another former pro) the program has grown to be permanent fixture each December in San Diego. I want to pause for a moment and mention the fact that Harvey Hawks might not be familiar to all readers. His is an incredible story of redemption. Harvey actually wound up going to prison for 26 years for 2nd degree murder in a road rage incident back in 1987. He thought he was firing a warning shot at a van that was trying to ram him off the road. The sad truth is that the gun had actual bullets and  they pierced the metal and fatally wounded an off-duty police officer. Harvey turned his life around in prison and I find it absolutely amazing that he such a huge part of this program. San Diego’s Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman The gun buy back would not work without the tremendous support of skate companies. These include, Carver, Bustin, Loaded, Randal, Dusters, Hashtag and in previous years, Landyachtz and Rainskates. Thank you on behalf of Longboarding for Peace If you are multi-millionaire philanthropist or a skate company with a whole bunch of product you’d like to donate, email me. Exchanging guns for skateboards is not a crime.

Wait, They Longboard?!

Wait, They Longboard?!

Like many of you, I am staring down 2017 with a mix of trepidation and excitement. I dread to see another world war but at the same time, I am excited for the future.  This upcoming year is going to be filled with an enormous amount of great things in skateboarding…I can feel it.  You want proof? Ok, Vin Diesel returns as Xander Cage the SAME DAY Trump is sworn in!    Without sounding too cliche, I have admit, change is difficult, but it’s worth embracing. Recently, my family and I changed our lifestyle. Nothing too radical but definitely different. We downsized from quite a large house to an apartment. On the plus side, no more worry about squirrels eating parts of my windowsill and no more driveway to shovel. At the same time, when you downsize, space becomes a premium. There wasn’t room for the boxes of magazines I had published over the years. My extensive skate quiver was also going to be a challenge to fit into our new place.  I spent most of November giving away most of what I had collected, bought, produced and/or hoarded in the past four decades. The joy of downsizing was matched only by the pain I thought I was going to experience through eliminating 90% of my stuff. It’s hard to say good bye to something you have truly given your heart and soul to. But, as Yogi Berra famously said: “nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.” Curiously enough, as I was going through my journey of minimizing, I spotted a documentary on this very subject on Netflix. Here’s the trailer: Minimalism is now playing on Netflix.The film resonated with me on a profound level. Minimalism isn’t about giving up stuff. It’s about embracing the things that really count. You don’t give up technology or clothing…you simply have less things. The old saying “less is more” is at the heart of a minimalist philosophy. At this point you’re probably thinking to yourself, “what the hell does this have to do with skateboarding?” Well, it turns out that one of the key people featured in the documentary is a skater. Ryan Nicodemus owns a Santa Cruz complete. His partner in the minimalist adventure is Joshua Fields Milburn. I am not sure if he skates, but his story is just as compelling as Ryan’s. I was so taken with the film that I wrote to the Minimalists (as they are known by). I explained that I ran a skate magazine and that I was intrigued to know more about Ryan’s skate background.  Pushing around Montana, Ryan’s hometown. The publicist got back to me pretty damn quickly and I had an opportunity to ask Ryan some questions. You’ll have to wait until our March issue to read them. Meanwhile, I encourage you to open up to the ideas of minimalism. You might be very surprised at what it can do for you.    Ryan only owns ONE longboard…but it does the job!   Learn more about a less is more lifestyle here.   

Wait, They Longboard?!

Wait, They Longboard?!

Welcome to the on-line edition of a popular column we brought out earlier this year. If you would like to help break the stereotypes that many people have about skateboarders, please submit story along with a photo or two. No jacket required.


Steve Mark

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Coordinator

Integrated Cadastral Information Society


After completing a Geography Degree from the University of Victoria I went on to completing an Advanced Diploma in GIS.   I have been working in the GIS Industry for over 15 years.  I have worked for both Provincial Ministries and for a variety of consultant companies.  I am currently working with a non-profit society the exchanges geospatial data between local & provincial governments, utility companies and First Nations in BC.   I am an avid skater, father of two and an ambassador for Longboarder Labs in Victoria.   I am also the organizer for the Victoria Greenskate Longboard Cruise.



Do you recall your first skateboards as a kid?

My first longboard was a “Reject” board from PD’s Hotshop back when It was located on Oak St. in Vancouver.  I was in grade 3.  My parents used to take us into PD’s to buy skateboard gear.  I still remember the 99 cents paper hats with the shop logo on them.   Skullskates is an institution.



How did you get into Longboarding?

I grew up in the 80’s and was fully immersed in street skating.  In White Rock where I grew up skateboarding was a huge scene.  I guess I never loss the stoke.   While attending the University of Victoria in the 90’s I picked up my first longboard.  It was an old Powell Peralta deck with a hula girl on the bottom.  It was basically just a big skateboard, but it acted as my “gateway” longboard.  Since then I have been collecting boards.  I think my quiver is up to around 15 right now.



What are some of the comments you’ve received over the years?

With my work I have the opportunity to travel to both large urban centers and smaller rural municipalities.  If possible I will always bring a longboard with me.   It’s such a great way to explore a new town.  Colleagues are often surprised when I tell them that I was out exploring their town via longboard.


I also do a lot of online training webinars and site visits and I have a screen saver of my son and I longboarding and it always gets a few remarks. 


When checking in to hotels in Vancouver it’s always funny to see the reaction of hotel staff when I check in wearing business attire and a few minutes later I leave to go longboarding.


I often get comments from colleagues that they used to skateboard growing up.  I have actually got a few of them into longboarding after taking a 20-30 year hiatus from standing on a board.



It looks like your kids is are also into skateboarding.

Yes, I encourage both my kids to get out on my longboards.  We have such a great variety of longboards we are always switching trucks and wheels around and dialing in set ups.   We live less than a kilometer away from their school so they often longboard to school.   As well a lot of the neighborhood kids come by and use the longboards.  It make for a super fun and sometimes terrifying session.




United Nations of Longboarding

United Nations of Longboarding

Great times at the gathering.

Photo: Miguel Cervantes


Just before thanksgiving, I was viewing some of the longboard meet up sites and came upon a longboard rental request from a German longboarder visiting NYC for the week. I’ve been there before; visiting a foreign place and wishing I had my board, so I couldn’t just scroll by and forget it. Not much later that night I reached out to Armin Beck from Stuttgart Germany who was looking to do what we all love and do: skate. After some exchange I offered him one of my boards, no charge, no problem. Simultaneously, Kenzo Shimzu (Japanese/American), was corresponding with Miguel Cervantes (Mexican/American) on where to tear up some local hills. I reached out to them as well and realized this was quickly becoming something like a United Nations longboard summit but it was missing something or someone. After some thought, I reached out to Gustavo Santiago, a world traveler from Brazil currently visiting NYC.


So here we were, five guys from five countries spanning four continents, messaging one another to unite and spend the day on one hill, was this really happening? Little did i know that this would set into motion one of the most rewarding days of longboarding for all of us.  After some more IM we decided on a meeting place and chose  the Manhattan side of the George Washington Bridge at 11:00 AM… IT WAS ON!


As I got off the 175th st exit over the GWB and approached Broadway, there they were. After some introductions to new faces and brief exchanges, we were on our way about an hour and a half northwest where New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania converge. There was a certain symmetry to the choice of this location that joined three different states. It just seemed to fit given the variety of our backgrounds. Our journey there was fraught with non-stop laughter, comedy, some seriousness, one pit stop and, of course, more laughter. When we arrived we were all awestruck with the majestic and panoramic view. The mountain was perfect and offered up two switchbacks and a 12 degree variable grade… So nice!


It was truly an international group: an American, a German, a Brazilian, a Mexican/American and a Japanese/American atop a mile and a half, rarely travelled, double lane road with those two amazing switchbacks… The longboard gods are definitely good.


We all took to that hill like ducks to water and took each run with more vigor than the last. Each one of us was heelsiding, toesiding, occasionally bricking but most importantly, living life to the fullest. 


The sun would prove to be our nemesis eventually declaring an end to the day. After some final runs we all packed our gear and began our trek home which proved more fun than the ride up.


It wasn’t until later in the night when I got home that the gravity of the events of the day began to settle in. It was really something spectacular… Perhaps the United Nations could take a page from the book of our gathering, “Through our mutual love for longboarding we embraced our diversity”… Five guys from five countries spanning four continents spending the day longboarding on one hill… YEAH, the longboard Gods smiled on all of us that day. I will NEVER forget it. The laughter, the sharing, the progression and the friendships forged. These are the memories that will stay with us forever. It was incredible.     

Victor Earhart – 1946 – 2016

Victor Earhart – 1946 – 2016

It is with a heavy heart that we report on the tragic passing of Victor Earhart. Victor worked for Sector 9 for a number of years and was truly one of the most genuine and inspirational skaters you’d ever want to meet.Victor passed away last Friday in a motorcycle accident. Our condolences to Victor’s family and friends. We did a profile of Victor back in 2013 and I am proud to reprint it here. The photos are from Jeff Budro. Victor, you were truly one of a kind and you will be missed by many. 

I WAS BORN IN 1946, and in 1953 I rode what was called a skateboard, which at that time consisted of a 2 x 4 and a roller skate. In 1954 my parents moved to Northern California and I had to make my own board made out of a 2 x 4, some bent nails and old roller skates. There was no real skateboard scene. Skating with my friends Barry Kanaiaupuni and Mike Turner, who were world-class surfers at the time, created the scene in the PB area slaloming down hills. The first skateboarding scene that got me involved was a skate demo. I got a free board and I was the only one to drop in on the ramp. That started the fire.


I went to three different junior high schools and took wood shop. After I completed my requirements of making spice racks and a bird house, I started making skateboards out of pallets. In the late ’50s, clay wheels came out. Steel-clay-urethane. In the mid-’60s we moved to PB and I started skating the boardwalk. Nobody was on the boardwalk with skateboards. So I started giving my pallet boards away, getting more people riding skateboards. I was unaware of other skate scenes. I bombed my first hill at 7 years old with steel wheels. Clay wheels made it easier. We were also barefoot. Shoes were for pussies. From 17- 26 years old we were bombing hills all around San Diego. In 1965 SkateBoarder magazine’s first issue came out with an article about the Concourse [garage] in San Diego. I still skate parking garages every Friday night. Come join!


In the mid ’70s, skateparks started popping up all over. Some rich kid showed up at one of my local skateparks with his bike and posse. It ended up being Bob Haro of Haro Bikes. In the ’80s I had a chance to go work at a

skateboard shop in Temecula. That’s where I met some pro skateboarders for the first time – Steve Claar and Jason Jessee, to name a couple. Because of working at the shop, I began attending other demos at other

shops and meeting other skaters with the same passion that I had for skateboarding. Then I found out in the late ’80s about Roger Hickey, who had races going in San Dimas. Meanwhile I was still skating the Concourse every Friday night. Rain or no rain, it didn’t matter. That’s where I met Denis, Steve and Dave. They were starting a longboarding company called Sector 9. I also found them at a race in San Dimas and got ahold of one of their

boards, a 42” pintail, and fell in love with it. That’s when I parked my SMA and switched to a 42” pintail. I later traded my 38” SMA for a tattoo. The rest is history. Sector 9 put me to work. I’ve been at Sector 9 since 1995.

Because of Sector 9 I’ve been to a few races in Colorado, Canada and some local events. I am SO STOKED that the younger generation along with their 40- to 50-year-old dads are picking up on the same vibe. It is really exciting to see where the scene is going. And now we have these kooks like Louis Pilloni and Jeff Budro who are not satisfied with going 40 miles an hour – they have to add high-speed stunts. I don’t why they’re doing it; I guess because they can. I’ve been skating for 60 years now and hope to continue skateboarding for the next

40. Now tell me your stories at Facebook.com/Victor.E.Sector9 


Check out the video below:



Skate the Cape Shred Fesitival

Skate the Cape Shred Fesitival

5th annual Skate the Cape Shred Festival was our best yet!  The weather was perfect, the stoke was high and the riders were pushing their progression in every event.  We had an awesome lineup of vendors Stark Energy, Spacey Cloud, WhaDaFunk, Category Collections, Blendlife and of course Faceplant that made this event feel like a shred festival.  There were no shortage of prizes to give away thanks to our sponsors Bethesda Boards, Liquid Boardshop, Shred Threads, HogWash, Shady Tree, Sector 9, Original, Bustin, Muirskate, Otang, Loaded, WheelRZ and Faceplant Boardriders. Cody Lopez hit 15 feet in big air comp.Open DownhillWe started off Saturday with our most popular event, the Downhill Race with heats of 3 riders, top 2 advanced.  In the Junior division, Ohio native and WheelRZ team rider Troy Dycus led the pack all day and finished 1st in the finals followed by PA rider Nathan Yagar and MD rider William Macleod.  The Open division was stacked with talented riders.  Local Delaware riders Jeremy Woolsey and Aaron Gordy used there Cape knowledge to navigate their way through the difficult heats to the podium.  Virginia Beach powerhouse Jarrid Lopez snuck right between the locals to take 2nd place in the Open DH Finals. 1st Jeremy Woolsey2nd Jarrid Lopez3rd Aaron Gordy Junior Downhill1st Troy Dycus2nd Nathan Yager3rd William Macleod
Small Wheelbase Race
Next was the Small Wheelbase Downhill Race where riders had to use smaller skateboards with a wheelbase of 22″ or less.  This smaller board and wheelbase makes it more difficult at high speeds and made racing more intense.  The final race was super tight going into the turn with Jarrid Lopez leading the pack.  As they rounded the corner Jarrid could not hang on to the high speed line and allowed DE Local Jesse Wipf to take the win with myself and NC rider Josh Fuentes right behind him for a photo finish. 1st Jesse Wipf2nd Rob Wheeler3rd Josh Fuentes Slalom RaceAfter that we set up the two lines of cones for some old school slalom racing.  Local OG rider Scott Thompson took the gnarliest Faceplant of the day right on the finish line as his board loss traction and slipped out from underneath of him.  Luckily he was all smiles after that and still competed!  Dave Bangson wowed the crowd on his weird no binding roller blades called freelines.  The top 3 riders were all from Delaware! 1st Jesse Wipf2nd Jeremy Woolsey3rd Dave BangsonJarrid Lopez with some nice style. Enduro Push RaceThe last event of the day was the 2.9 mile Enduro Push Race which has downhill sections, pine needles, sand traps, cracks, 90 degree turns and an uphill finish.  This was one of the craziest push races we had with a huge pile up right from the start as everyone mobbed into the narrow path.  Animal and Jarrid Lopez were leading for the first half until the tricky 90 degree right turn took them both out and allowed myself and Matt McCoy to push our way to the front.  Jarrid Lopez training paid off as he quickly made his way back to the front of the pack.  I was drafting behind Jarrid for the last half mile of the race thinking I could push past him on the final uphill but his determination and slight lead took him to a well deserved 1st place. 1st Jarrid Lopez2nd Rob Wheeler3rd Matt McCoy Saturday evening we couldn’t stop our competitive drive and played a big game of kickball before sundown.  Right at dark we opened up Blendlife Food Truck for dinner, ran some lights out to the picnic tables and started a community fire to set the mood for the rest of the night.  Everyone enjoyed having our own Skate the Cape campsite this year with plenty of room to spread out and camp next to your friends. Boarder Cross Time Trial RaceDay two at Skate the Cape started with our Boardercross Time Trial Race where riders had to navigate through a challenging coned course making hard turns they had to slide to check speed, air over the ramp and zig-zag through the slalom section.  Each rider had 3 runs to clock in there best time to make it to podium.  Zach Longacre was charging the course every run and came so close to the best time of the day.  I was stoked to win 1st at this event against some of my favorite riders and good friends.1st Rob Wheeler 23.562nd Zach Longacre 23.823rd Jarrid Lopez  24.89 Hippie JumpAfter that we took a lunch break thanks to Blendlife, opened up the hill for slide jam practice and setup for the Hippie Jump contest.  Many riders tried the high jump but yet again Aaron Gordy dominated this event with style and maxed out our hippie jump at 52″Aaron Gordy – 4 feet 4 inchesAaron Gordy, master of the hippie jump.Junior Slide JamThe Skate the Cape finale was the Junior and Open Slide Jam which would decide who our Faceplant Freestyle Cup (longboard series) winners would be.  The Juniors division was led by new-comer Sam Crandall from Virginia Beach who was laying down solid runs all day.  The entire Junior division was a tight matchup every heat.  In the finals, Faceplant Freestyle Cup leaders Troy Dycus and Benny Clark laid down there brand of slide style to make there way to the podium.1st Sam Crandall2nd Troy Dycus3rd Benny Clark Juniors Faceplant Freestyle Cup Series1st – Troy Dycus 37.5 points2nd – Benny Clark 33 points3rd – Rian Singleton & Nathan Yager 20 pointsAll eyes were on Faceplant Freestye Cup leaders Zach Longacre and Mark Nicolaus in the Open Slide Jam.  Zach dominated the opening heat but could not put it together in the semi final heat to make it to the finals.  Aaron Gordy fought his way into the finals and landed an incredible technical run to bump him into 3rd place for some very valuable Faceplant Freestyle Cup points.  NY rider Cody Baker was the standout of the jam putting together laser sharp runs all day long.  Mark Nicolaus continued to heat up as he made his way to the finals and landed a 9.5 and 9 on his final runs to win his first Faceplant Slide Jam of the year and win of the First Faceplant Freestyle Cup! Open Slide Jam1st Mark Nicolaus2nd Cody Baker3rd Aaron Gordy Open Faceplant Freestyle Cup Series1st – Mark Nicolaus 33 points2nd – Zach Longacre 25.5 points3rd – Kardon Allard & Aaron Gordy 23 points Big Air We always end Skate the Cape with the competition where riders launch off the kicker to see who can travel the farthest distance.  Kardon Allard broke a board going for the big air.  Josh Fuentes was the record holder last year and pushed it to try to beat that.  He took some gnarly falls but continued to walk back up the hill and try again.  Cody Baker had his technique down as he soared 15 feet!  Animal wowed the crowd with his longboard binding setup getting the highest out of all the riders and tied Cody at 15 feet for an epic closing to this awesome weekend. Cody Baker & Brandon “Animal” Cassel – 15 feetThank you so much for coming out to this event!  Mark your calendars now for 6th annual Skate the Cape on November 4th & 5th 2017.

A Visit to Original

A Visit to Original


Original [resident Joel Penkala looks over a new page on the website.

With the rush of the biggest city in the world right next to the New Jersey border, it sometimes goes without a second thought to take a look into the Garden State’s skateboarding scene. That’s exactly why I made a trip out to the placid corner of Northwestern Jersey to check out the headquarters of Original Skateboards.


Upon arrival, I was relieved to even find my way to the doors of an otherwise unassuming warehouse. Inside, a foyer plastered in skate stickers and action shots almost lead me to believe I was about to enter a full skate shop, rather than a production HQ. Instead, President, Joel Penkala welcomed me into a command central bustling with the operations of one of the East Coast’s top longboarding brands.


We took a tour to find Mark Imbrie, father to founders Scott and Brad Imbrie working in a much more evolved space than his garage, where the company started. In another room, a pair of graphic designers were reviewing the finishing touches on some ads to be run and a revamped website to be launched. Finally, in a warehouse that would make any longboarder swoon at the sight of stacks of decks and bins of wheels, a team of assemblers were working together to fill an order from one of the the company’s largest retailers.


From wall to board-covered wall, the Original Skateboards headquarters echoes Penkala’s description of the company’s mantra: “Be original and be yourself.” Also noting that the allure of riding so innately universal, the folks at Original seek to bust down the categories and labels that tend to shade the skateboarding world with gray areas. From traveling the world with friends in search of beautiful destinations and smooth concrete to stoking locals by bringing the best of the best professionals to local events, OS seeks to spread this passion with board riders on any terrain at any age.


With this, Penkala explained to me how from the early stages in the child’s life, the search for adrenaline embedded in human nature draws them towards wheeled objects. In a world where the range of options across the bike, scooter and skateboard markets are ever expanding, the President hopes that children stick with the latter of the three and sees Original as a gateway to an inclusive skating community. After all, Penkala delights in the fact to say that his proudest contribution to the skateboarding scene is to hear someone say that OS was the reason they got into skateboarding. “Longboarding is what brings us together” he added with a smile.


With one of Original’s new Arbiter KT’s under my arm, I left the headquarters and headed back into the quiet North Jersey suburbs. This time, however, I felt a particularly burning desire to get out and ride knowing that a local East Coast heavyweight was right in NJ’s backyard; cranking out boards and showing riders everywhere what it’s like to get out and experience the world with an Original Skateboard under their feet.

Whitezu Brings You the Urban Wave

Whitezu Brings You the Urban Wave

 Alex Lenz is based in Frankfurt, Germany and he runs the Longboard Embassy at the ISPO Trade Show. We’ve worked together for a number years and I am constantly surprised as to the amazing products he finds. The latest item he’s discovered is something called the Whitezu Surfskate Urban Wave.Whitezu hails from Italy and is headed up by a very friendly guy named Matteo Tontini. Matteo has a background in building ramps for cable wakeparks. As he explained to me, “I have also have a lot of friends who wanted us to build a surf trainer when the waves were small.” It wasn’t a huge leap to go from the water to dry land and Whitezu Urban Wave’s are gaining quite a reputation in Europe. Like many of you reading this, I don’t have the good fortune to live near epic surf…or even plain ole surf! I am truly landlocked and the Whitezu beckons me to ride it! There are two models currently available. One is fairly small and retails for about 4000 euros. A much larger model contains a number of modular components and is over 30,000 euros. It can be expanded. The ramps are made from fiberglass and are quite light.  Neil Carver developed the “surfskate” truck with Greg Falk back in the mid 1990’s and worked tirelessly promoting the experience. Fast forward almost 20 years and Carver has seen the rise of Surfskate worldwide. Many are copying Carver‘s innovative patented designs, but ultimately the growth of Surfskate is the best validation for the movement. The more things, the more they stay the same! For those fortunate to attend the ISPO show in Munich this February, you will have the opportunity to ride a Whitezu Ramp. I for one cannot wait!  

Menlo Skate Jam

Menlo Skate Jam

Menlo Skate Jam 2016 was an event to remember! There were gnarly pack runs, huge airs off tiny kickers, and lots of shredding all day long. The sunny Northern California hillside provided for fast runs and long slides.

Mellow turns made it easy to hit goofy and regular. The hill was littered with ramps and obstacles, a key feature of the Menlo Skate Jam. Some of the gnarlier dudes were hitting the ramps all day long. Jasper Ohlson landed a benihana off of a 4 foot kicker to flat.


Towards the end of the day Quentin Gachot and Jakob Santos were hitting the kicker gap for longest jump. They both wound up hitting 15 feet before they each called it quits.

Menlo Skate Jam was a killer time this year. The judges said it was one of the most organized freeride events they have ever been to. Make sure to be there next year as Menlo is sure not to disappoint.


Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Black Diamond Sports

An Interview with RipTide's Tracey Miller

An Interview with RipTide's Tracey Miller

I am proud to publish this interview with Tracey Miller of RipTide Sports. Tracey has been working hard with her husband Brad to create a world-class company. We encourage all female skate entrepreneurs to get in touch with us. We’d love to interview you and find out what your vision is for your company. And we are very stoked to share your message with the skateworld.   What are some of the work experiences that you’ve had that prepared you for the skate industry? None!  Hahaha – When Brad had the idea for the product to improve longboarding with our son, I was asked to put together a website to launch the idea and see if there was any interest!  That was my first attempt at a website too, so this was all new to me.  Prior to RipTide I was in Interior Design and Sales for the Software Industry.What are some things about the skate industry that surprise you?How utterly wonderful it is for starters!  Everyone is super chill to work with – it’s obvious they’re in the industry because they’re passionate about it.  I love that on Facebook & Instagram etc., the pages of longboarders are all about longboarding!  I mean seriously, it’s not the occasional post – it’s 90% of their posts!  Also, the innovation that is going on is energizing & impressive.  Whether it’s wheels, trucks, decks, bushings, pivots, spherical bushings – new designs are coming out often and they’re not just a variation on what’s come before, they’re truly bringing new ideas to the industry that will improve the ride & performance for everyone.There are now more female skaters (longboarding/vert etc) than at any time since the 1970’s. Do you feel there are more opportunities for growth?Oh continually…..mad respect to all the beautiful ladies out there!  I think with all the Longboard Girls Crew type movements, associations & schools worldwide and with incredible spokespeople such as Valeria (Kechichian) spreading the word & stoke so well & strongly, that this is an area that will only continue to grow.  Same with the youth market – getting families skating together, whether it’s the true littlies being able to turn in circles on a board in the garage while Dad works on his quiver, or families out for a long-distance push as a lifestyle sport – the market is growing and appreciating the new technology that is diverse enough to include the entire family!  What do you think is needed to be done to encourage more females to own and operate skate companies?To let them know that anything is truly possible!  Identify a need, or work for someone in the industry – whether it’s running a shop or putting your personal perspective to use by working for a manufacturer, the attention to detail and creativeness of the female personality is imperative to a healthy industry.  Yes, there will always be some men out there that don’t like dealing with women…you’re going to find that anywhere, it’s just a pathetic fact of life that we as women need to deal with in a healthy & non-confrontational manner.  I guess this used to bother me more when I was younger and then one day when I was in my early twenties, I just realized how dumb it was to get twisted over some stupid remark a guy made and it really hasn’t affected me since!  I just laugh things off and move on to something more productive and positive in my day.Is your company actively recruiting more female riders?Absolutely!  We believe in having a well-rounded Team – for us that includes youth, women & men.  We’ve always had what I consider to be a very strong & representative group of women on our Team – Spoky Woky, Lyde Begue, Georginna Ivano, Nayhomi Cruz, Manu Stabile, Maga McWhinnie, Possala Wang – we do our best to represent & support female skaters worldwide and there’s a few young women riders that we’ve had our eye on for a while now who we hope to approach within the next year!Possala Wang (green shirt) racing at Maryhill.Do you find the business of skate to be female friendly?Mostly!  Not all of it, not by any means…..I think there’s a basic lack of respect for women in the industry, at the base level – whether it’s for those behind the counter, on top of a board or owning the whole company.  That being said, I think you could translate this discussion to fit ANY sport (or business) today.  As much as I don’t like to think this – it is still a man’s world out there…..for better or for worse.  Women have made a dent in it – and improved it no end!  But at the end of the day, macho still rules.  Have I personally experienced this – yes!  Has it affected me, no.  Because the majority of my interactions have been, and are, truly wonderful and personal.  I love this business, I love people, I love being a woman – if someone disrespects me, that’s cool, they can deal with Brad and I’ll take care of all my other incredible guy customers who treat me as if I’m a person no different than themselves.What are three to four things you think male skaters should know about female skate entrepreneurs?That we’re serious, smart, fun & funny, talented and have a drive to succeed that will dwarf that of most men.

What it Means to Belong

What it Means to Belong

Welcome to a new feature that gives you insights on what it truly means to be a skater. These are personal stories that we know will resonate with you. If you have a story you’d like to share, email us. We’d be happy to get it up on our site!


It’s something that everyone was yearned and hungered for at least once in their lifetime: belonging. It motivates us to become who we are, to pick up an identity and stick with it. Without it, we get lonely and we seem to lose track of both who we are and what goals we want to achieve in the long run. We lose sight of what’s important and we start to wander off into places that have no meaning.

I’m no stranger to this lack of belonging, having grown up as a slightly strange kid in the public school system; my first many years of school were filled with awkward conversations with my classmates and weird crushes on girls and some kind of strange social tension that I could never seem to relieve. My radically academic upbringing left me undeveloped (to put it nicely) in terms of social skills and I never really did discover the meaning of a close friend until I entered high school last year, at the ripe age of 16.

Here, I made it a goal to become outspoken, less awkward; to become someone that people could relate with and hang out with without feeling weird like many of my past acquaintances may have at many points of our shallow friendships. Well, it kind of worked, I developed some very fun friendships, went to my first parties, got my first kiss, and had my first late-night conversations in a circle-of-bros around a backyard fire. But that didn’t work out; I had a scuffle with some guys towards the end of the year and that all kind of turned into a burning pile of ash and smoke. This turned me into a licorice-flavored rotten Jello filled with little solid pieces of misery and loneliness and longing for a place to belong.


That summer, I was fresh out of things to do. Utterly bored. Unused. I didn’t have a girlfriend; I didn’t have any friends to hang out with. Slowly, people started departing and I was undecidedly left to myself for the coming two months of summer. My previous plans, my list of things that I wanted to do that required more than one person? Gone. Scrapped. And I was imaginatively, completely helpless and depressed about it.

And then I bought a skateboard. It was a very hot, sunny day, and my family decided to take my brother and me to the little homey town of Banff, where I bought a small Sector 9 Wedge skateboard for a small investment of $170 dollars (my whole life savings at that point). I then spent the next month learning to push, to carve, to stop and on the way to the final goal of the mastery of the cruiser skateboard, also had my first falls and injuries.


I had a few mentors along the way, but there wasn’t really anybody who was outstandingly amazing at the sport. They just invited me out to go cruising along the riverwalk or maybe come over for a round of video games and go out and push along the creek for a bit. You know, the really simple stuff. I never thought of this as anything beyond casual hanging out. Nothing to really poke the mind or emotions, nothing that would really invoke any feelings of being any more wanted than a bit of company here and there.

But I was still hooked. Not onto the cruising with other people notion, but to the feeling of rolling over paved ground. I felt free of the confines of any social expectations that I and other people had forced upon me for so many years; I was on a skateboard, and I was alone, enjoying rolling over the little bumps and bruises in the ground, and I was okay with that.


It felt blissful.


And this turned into an addiction for me; a way for me to relieve stress when I had it. I remember so many nights when I hopped out of bed, put on a jacket and jumped outside to skateboard at 2 o’clock in the morning because something was bugging me. I remember that I pushed myself to exhaustion and when I came back in, I could sleep soundly and forget about what was bothering me.


It’s strangely therapeutic, really. I’m sure other people have different reasons why they skate. Some people just find it fun, some people are just really good at it. I know people just like to skateboard because it’s something they can work on. But for me, skateboarding was always an obsession for me because it was the only respite I had in a schedule of heavy workload and emotional strain.


And this pushed me deeper and deeper into the sport. I started to experiment with different gear. I bought my first longboard; it was a Dusters Kosher Glow in the Dark; something that I went to my local store to buy because I decided after reading some articles and guides that I would indeed need something longer if I wanted to go faster. This was kind of the start of what would eventually lead me to the greatest thing about longboarding. But


I’ll get to that in a bit.


I got this longboard and I started to ride it instead of my little cruiser board. I rode it obsessively. To school, to the hospital, to the grocery store. I even rode it down my short little street just to get mail! I seriously think that I just didn’t walk anywhere for a while. That longboard became my legs. And I started to upgrade it. I went on these weird longboard sites and got all these different types of weird tips and tricks, stuff that would actually lead me on an extremely wrong path filled with really bad information and lots of wasted money, but fuel my passion it did, and I was okay with that. I got the wrong bushings, tweaked it around, got some new trucks (Caliber IIs, my first RKP trucks), and put those on. I got new wheels (Free Willies; I slide those to this day), and rode that for a while.


Then, I discovered some online communities, such as Silverfish and Reddit’s /r/longboarding, which is the one I go on the most. When I discovered this online community, I was like, “wow! There’s more of us! More people who love what I do!” and I was absolutely blown away. I spent hours and hours on the live chat, with people actually guiding me in the right direction. They told me to get the right bushings. They told me to get a new board, and new wheels that were much faster.


Funny thing about this forum is though, that I met one of my better skating buddies on there. He picked me up on the site and he pointed me to my local scene’s Facebook group, and that’s really where the juicy stuff starts.


When I entered this group, I was met with outstanding friendliness from all parties.


My pleas for help with sliding and downhill were met with people coming from all over telling me they could help out; that there were clinics here at this time, and that there was a race going on at this place. But most importantly, I was invited to this one weekly ride that we do every Saturday night, by one of the better skaters in the group. He messaged me personally and he told me that there was a nice, easygoing run every Saturday that he really wanted me to be at. He told me that people were friendly, that people were totally okay with me being there! And so go to the ride I did.

You know, in these many months that I’ve been skating, I’ve never really found anything more beautiful than what I felt that first night. For the first time in months, I felt supported. People were pushing me forward, propelling me constructively and building me back up from the mess that I was a few months ago, when I first bought that skateboard. I felt wanted again, that people were genuinely excited to have another person there that was skating. I finally felt that cohesiveness with a group of people that I’d been searching and yearning and working towards for years.


I felt like I belonged.


If I was to tell a prospective longboarder something about this community, it’s that this community has the power to make you feel amazing inside. In this community, you’ll find a passion that you can share with many other people, and through this shared passion, you’ll also find brotherhood; a scattered family that knows when to come together when it matters. An incredibly diverse group of people where not one person is left out and not one person is looked at for their flaws. Indeed, it’s a group of people where everyone has something to offer.

And I feel that I have something to offer every time I go skating on Saturday night.


And you can bet that I’ll be skating this Saturday too.

Company Profile: Breezy Boards

Company Profile: Breezy Boards

What are some of the reasons you started Breezy Boards?

Brianna (Breezy) Enders: Skating has always been something that I’ve felt deeply connected to, a passion that was sparked the moment I first stepped on a board at the age of 10 and was fueled by the encouragement and support from my parents throughout my life.

Longboarding is everything to me; a creative outlet to express yourself with physical determination and unique style, a personal release to free yourself from the troubles and worries of daily life, a way to bond with others and bring people together and, for a few fun years, my main mode of transportation. The dynamic nature of longboarding – ranging from a truly personal, meditative experience, to a way to get around town without fighting for a parking space – is something that I’ve always felt compelled to share with my friends, family and colleagues. Breezy Boards is how I hope to tap into the minds and hearts of people on a larger scale, while submersing myself in my life-long passion to produce and distribute badass, shred-able boards. My focus for Breezy Boards is as simple as this:


1. Longboarding is good for the soul. I strive to provide personal insight, approachable knowledge and unique, quality boards to present people with the opportunity to fall in love with skating.


2. People are wonderfully talented, creative, passionate and driven. Since longboarding is such a versatile and inclusive activity, I believe that Breezy Boards is the perfect platform to promote the wealth of human capacity, with a focus on the local St. Pete, Tampa Bay and Florida communities.


3. Ventures, ideas and individuals thrive with human interaction. Establishing connections, developing relationships and sharing experiences is valuable and rewarding beyond measure. Breezy Boards fosters the importance of shared experiences and successes.

Breezy enjoying the fruits of her labor.

What have been some of the biggest challenges?

I’ve faced a few challenges in the startup phase that were off-putting, sometimes even debilitating, but taught myself to channel them into positive reactions and efforts. Initially, Breezy Boards was an incredibly exciting concept, with expansive possibility for growth and seemingly endless potential (and still is!) which was incredibly overwhelming for someone who was working full time through college and buried under a never-ending course load. The idea was ultimately put on the backburner, twice, before utilizing my studies in mass communications,

journalism and entrepreneurship to develop a solid foundation for the company. This invaluable tug of war of “What Breezy Boards could be” and “What’s the next step for Breezy Boards” taught me that it’s okay to dream big and have grandiose plans, but that I need to hone my focus on the execution of the next immediate task at hand, in order to be successful.


Another challenge has been a bit of a female complex. Although I am utterly confident in my industry knowledge and physical abilities, it always seems as if I have to answer 20 questions to prove that I’m worthy of owning a skateboard company and am capable of speaking intelligently on the subject. Honestly, it makes me love what I do even more, breaking into both the skateboard and business worlds as a headstrong, determined female presence, and fuels me to keep “kicking ass and taking names,” a favorite idiom of encouragement I often receive from Corey, my loving stepdad.


Launching Breezy Boards as a young female entrepreneur, fresh out of college, was a daunting task in itself and there have been some obstacles along the way, but the way I look at it, all of the taxing, draining or difficult tasks that I have to push through or find ways to overcome are all just part of the process. Breezy Boards is my conceptual child, a product of my personal passion, and I am willing to do whatever it takes to foster its growth and development, to see my vision through to its fullest potential.


What are some of the things you are most proud of as it relates to the company?

First off, I just want to say that I’m damn proud of the fact that I took the leap into business ownership, after years of toying with the idea for Breezy Boards. It’s incredibly humbling to have friends from grade school say “I remember back in middle school when you talked about having your own longboard company, and now you do!” I feel it was just a matter of time before I turned this dream into a reality.. and I couldn’t be happier with the steps I’ve taken to launch Breezy Boards successfully and the response it’s received from the local community.

The three things I’m most proud of, in relation to Breezy Boards: The Street Team, the Launch Party and the Adjective Dragon board collection.


The Breezy Boards Street Team is comprised of a group of genuine, respectable and selfless individuals who support Breezy Boards and its vision. Levels of participation and engagement vary, but that’s the beauty of the Street Team! It’s a platform that allows people to be involved with Breezy Boards and its on-going projects in whatever capacity they choose. Members have helped coordinate and run events, design graphics and event flyers, skate and model for the Breezy Boards Lookbook (which is currently in production,) and even helped grip and assemble the debut board collection in preparation for the Launch Party. I believe that the DIY and grassroots approach is the best way to appropriately convey the ideals and principles that are at the heart of Breezy Boards. Establishing and developing a team of like-minded individuals who are eager to contribute to the success of Breezy Boards has been truly humbling throughout the startup phase and I look forward to expanding the Street Team in the future.

Kate & Shaggy Davidson are part of the street team.


With the help of the Street Team, Breezy Boards hosted an insanely successful and epic Launch Party on Friday the 13th at the local World of Beer in May, 2016. We partied into the night, celebrating the official launch of Breezy Boards with four local bands, a killer merch booth set up, local beers on draft, a logo-splattered photo op backdrop, locally-themed raffle prizes and pizza served from a freaking fire truck! It was the result of 8 months of planning and promoting, concurrently with senior classes, projects, finals and graduation, paired with a slew of “holy shit, is this going to happen?” moments, most notably just barely having the boards arrive in time for the event.. but it all came together for one of the most amazing, memorable nights of my life and am grateful for

everyone who played a part in its success. Oh yeah, and it was my birthday, too!


The Launch Party, in all of its festive glory, was not just a community event celebrating the initiation of Breezy Boards, it was also the first public display of the debut Breezy Boards collection, Adjective Dragon! This collection of boards is more than just your average run of longboards. Its shape was designed specifically for the local terrain, the city streets of downtown St. Pete, and features five original pieces of deck art created by individuals within the Tampa Bay area. The artists, sourced through word of mouth and social media campaigns, participated in an art contest that I hosted in October and November, 2015, for the chance to have their artwork printed on 20 of the 100-board collection. The results were astounding and I meticulously selected the top five entries to represent the debut line of Breezy Boards. The entire process and integration of local artists was a unique, fresh idea that I hadn’t seen before.

A nicely balanced christie. Photo by Casey Nelson.


Tell me about one of your most memorable longboard experiences.

I have more memories associated with longboarding than could fill a pensieve (sorry, I had to get at least one Harry Potter reference in there) from skating the Island of Venice – where I’d skate through the open-air high school to get to and from my classes, cruise to the beach in between school and drumline or newspaper or whatever I had that day and hit up the little hospital parking garage or the north bridge with friends after dark – taking a stack of boards on the public busses up to Sarasota to hit the gnarlier spots with my skateboarder friends on the weekends, to exploring the city of St. Pete after relocating for college.


I did lots of dumb stuff, like try to street luge a crazy hill in a bathing suit, getting the wheel tangled in my hair and sliding bare-back down the pavement with my board attached at the roots. I’d skate through parks, kicking my board under a picnic table, length-wise and jumping up and running across the table top to land back on the board as it came out on the other side… Skating in dresses and tights to my fancy hostess jobs through college (eating shit once and working the full shift with a torn up knee, bleeding through the hole in my stockings without anyone noticing) and anger skating home from a shit serving shift, power sliding too hard and slamming my head on the curb, lying there concussed for a bit and then slowly skating my way back home.

The most pivotal moment was that first time Jeff Yarrington put me on one of his boards at the annual family 4th of July picnic in Maryland in 2002. With the nod of approval from my parents, he gave me a quick rundown of how to position myself on the board and sent me racing down the parking lot. I’ve been hooked ever since, truly and utterly consumed by my love of longboarding.


Who are some of the artists you’ve worked with?

Endorsing the talent and vision of local artists is an extremely important aspect of Breezy Boards and I make an effort to team up with and promote area artists for every project possible. This was the driving concept for the Adjective Dragon collection, which features original artwork from five Tampa Bay area artists. The lineup of artists, along with their winning board designs, are:


● Kelly Owen – Basic Dragon

● Dylan Haught – Fat Dragon

● Deanna Marinello – Mystical Dragon

● Jessica (Bam Bam) Sarlis – Nom Nom Dragon

● Cameron Miller – Unborn Dragon


Breezy Boards has also worked with local artists to create graphics and flyers, including Street Team members Dylan Carney and Kayla O’Brien , as well as local photographers Laia Gore , Casey Nelson and Alison Rosoff . I worked with my cousin, Darren Simons , to design and create the Breezy Boards logo in 2014 and have plans to continue working together on some exciting projects.


Website – www.ridebreezyboards.com

Facebook – www.facebook.com/breezyboards

Instagram – @ridebreezyboards

Twitter – @SkateBreezyDTSP

That's A Tripp – Cruise for Boobs

That's A Tripp – Cruise for Boobs


That’s a Tripp is a small skate organization that a buddy of mine and I started about 6 years ago while doing skateboard delivery for a restaurant in Soho, New York. It has turned into a long distance skateboarding adventure group dedicated to Long Distance Pushing. We typically do smaller “Tripps” during the summer months anywhere between 15-50 miles in and around NYC culminating in the end of season event Cruise for Boobs.


Cruise for Boobs is a Breast Cancer Fundraising event run during October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month). The last couple years we’ve worked with Boarding for Breast Cancer (B4BC, based out of SoCal) as our beneficiary. So they set us up with a donation page and a we do a facebook event and we promote the whole thing as an “Interactive” fundraiser.

Joey Curry and Jack Staley.

After people donate and join the FB event we constantly are live posting via social media during the push. Folks really get to feel they are a part of it, instead of just “donate and done”. We also throw the “Trippers Benefit Bash”. This is essentially a party with bands, giveaways, food and a raffle. 


All the proceeds from the entire event, skate and party, are donated directly to B4BC. 

This year the  4th Annual Cruise for Boobs ‘”Philly Cheese Skate 100 – Philly to NYC” will take place on Saturday, Oct 22nd. We will take the first bus out to Philly, super early and immediately start skating back. We will skate halfway and sleep somewhere tbd. Sunday we complete the push, skating into the Trippers Benefit Bash.


 For more information, please visit our facebook page.


New York City – A Guide for Newcomers

New York City – A Guide for Newcomers

 The Broadway Bomb is almost upon us and if you’re planning on visiting the City to ride, here are some tips that will definitely make your experience that much better.  Use the bike lanesWhile the streets are ours to roam, the cars that dominate them will not stop for you. Thats where the bike lanes come in. Giving you a space free from cars from the street and free from the crowds from the sidewalk, skating the bike lanes keep you as close to the rush of the city’s streets in the safest way possible. Note: Bike lanes will save you from cars, but not from bikers. Don’t think that a Citi Bike rider will show you the same level of caution that a cab driver would.
Keep your eyes downThe streets in New York are crusty in the best of times. Add pot holes, metal plates and other trash and debris and you’ll get thrown if you cannot  carve around these obstacles in time. Big, soft wheels can save you from some of the smaller bumps and cracks in the road but if you’re running hard, small wheels, you especially need your eyes down.
Watch out for bystanders and passerby’sAt the same time, you need to spend an equal amount of time keeping your eyes up. To the tourists, you’re a street performer. To the locals, you’re a nuisance. Either way, most people will not get out of your way. Avoid the hassle of the Parks departmentThe parks department makes skating most of the city’s parks unskatable. At most of the city’s most popular parks, they are known to issue to summons to unwelcome riders. It’s best not to take the risk and to find a spot where skateboarding is either ignored or, even better, encouraged. Be aware that the skateparks turn into mob scenes at peak hoursThe skateparks in NYC are some of the most well constructed and well laid out parks in the world. However, from the late morning until there is no more light to see, these parks get insanely crowded.Steer clear of Times Square at all costsEverything that makes Times Square magical for tourists is everything that makes skateboarders dread riding in this area. Scores of people, the most congested traffic in the entire city and a lack of skatable street spots are far from a skater’s ideal NYC skateboarding trip to the city. Definitely best not to waste time here if you have a board with you.Skitch at your own riskThough skating through the city’s streets may feel like a video game, skitching through them like a character in a Tony Hawk game is extremely risky. Jeff Gaites, owner of Uncle Funky’s Boards, once told me a story of how he was left clinging to the side of a delivery truck after being lifted off his board while skitching downtown. Since then, that story sticks in my head as all the reason I’ll ever need to not give it a try.Know your surroundingsGetting lost could be a good thing. You’re never too far from public transportation that can get you back to a familiar area and you never know what spots lie around the corner. To that end, though, some areas are rough and not meant for the exploratory skater. If you go in with a plan and feel out the areas as you go, you’ll do fine. However, remain cautious of where you end up and who’s near. Travel lightly, take caution putting your belongings downWhile it’s also more comfortable to skate without a pack weighing down your back, it is best to travel lightly in a city where there really are no good places to drop your things while you skate. There have been countless stories of stolen bags and cameras gone missing. It would be wise to only carry the absolute essentials on your person to avoid becoming the next one of those stories.Don’t get intimidated by your fellow skaters but respect themIn a city this grand, expect there to be the best of the best. Expect the skaters that are “too cool” for you. Most of all, don’t be too put off by their skills to skip out on practicing your own. If you stay clear of their lines and respect their area as they respect yours, you’ll rarely have any issues with fellow skaters. If you have a board under your feet, you’re just as entitled to skate the greatest city in the world as they are. BONUS: If you have never seen this 2013 video of the Broadway Bomb, you’re in for a treat.  



 Beercan boards….not a lot of love for Mr. T in Europe.  What an incredible show in Munich! I will have much to say about my experiences there. Meanwhile, here are some shots to give you a taste!The Surf Skate Embassy was made up of Carver, YOW, CURFBOARD and WAKGS. Carver is the originator and we were delighted to see so many people enjoying the Whitezu Ramp  You can drive very fast in Germany. Here is my good buddy Jeremy hitting 200 km.   Some of the wonderful people from Graveyard Longboards from Lake Constance, Germany. Awesome products and even more awesome memories. We’re working on getting these longboards here in North America.   The Whitezu ramp. Yes, those are people on roller skates. This is Germany and beer is a religion here. Happy to be a disciple of this particular brand (I buy it in Canada too!) Bastl Boards are from Liepzig. Truly a great crew…we will be back to see them personally! Alex Lenz of the Ministry of Stoke runs the whole Longboard Embassy at ISPO. He works really hard  alongside his wife Natasha. Huge thanks to them!Dan Gesmer of Seismic has been coming to ISPO for many years. Folks were stoked on his new shapes and Lokton Grip.  

Georgia on My Mind

Georgia on My Mind

Georgia is a country located in the Caucasus high mountains and it’s on the border of Europe and Asia. The population of the country is nearly 4.5 million people. Georgia has a high potential to be the longboarding spot in Eastern Europe, because all the roads go through the amazing mountain ranges and it’s a great pleasure to go longboarding on such places with such views. Want more proof? Take a peek at this:A longboarder's paradise.In previous years Georgia was under restrictions from the Soviet Union. Every kind of activity and every kind of new idea were prohibited and that’s the reason why this country is less developed in social affairs and activities. But things are changing.There's a lot of stoke in Georgia!Nowadays, Georgian people are oriented to development, to something new. They want to change conditions and want to think about evolution of  ideas and community.  Creating some kind of activities/sports events took part some years ago. People care about environment and charity.The capital of Georgia is Tbilisi.The organization ,”Step Up Georgia” is based on three main niches: Extreme Sports, Ecology and Charity. “Step Up” always tries to do more new events that are not created/held yet. They try to develop kind of sports without any profits. One of the goals of the organization is developing Longboarding Community in Georgia. “Step Up” has made two Longboarding Mass events, One Longboarding Festival and some longboarding riding tours in beautiful parts of Georgia.A small but growing scene.If we look back about 3 years ago, we can’t see the community. We can’t see even Longboarders in Georgia! But today they are highly developed. Georgia has Longboarding Lovers Community Group with 250 members in it and most of them are interested in that activity.  They try their best to get more people interested in it.So Georgia needs more interested youth people in youth affairs, in activities, in kind of extreme sports, they need some kind of goals, interest and support and after everything written up there, more and more events, Mass gathering events and even sliding tours will be managed and held in that amazingly beautiful small country of caucasian mountainous system.The next generation.For more information on Step Up Georgia, please email Giorgi here: