Virgin Blacktop World Premier

Virgin Blacktop World Premier

This Saturday, in MORRO BAY, California, the world premier of Virgin Blacktop will take place. Thanks to the work of Charlie Samuels, this 23-years-in-the-making film will finally be unleashed formally to

the world. This is not to say that it hasn’t been seen. It has – in Nyack, New York back in fall to a local audience. But this particular moment in Morro Bay is the official world premier. I’ve seen the film TWICE and I can tell you that is absolutely is a masterpiece. It is 100% pure stoke. No skater will be unmoved. In fact, I think once this film works its magic on the skate world, you’ll see change within skateboarding. Positive change.

Virgin Blacktop isn’t just about skateboarding. It’s about community. It’s about how we as a society get a long. It’s about life and it’s about celebrating people’s lives. Unlike the Dogtown and Z Boys film which hit 18 years ago, this movie is in completely different head space. If you’re an old school skater, you won’t know any of the main characters (except if you’re a freestyler and the name Joe Humeres rings a bell).

The film will make you think about the positive energy that the act of skateboarding gives us all. If it doesn’t make you want to leap out of your seat and grab your board, chances are you’re either dead or comatose.

To Charlie Samuels and all of the Wizards who are featured in Virgin Blacktop, thank you for inspiring me to love skateboarding that much more! Your film and story is lesson for us all.

You don’t need to be sponsored by Vans to be a Wizard. Nyack, NY November 2017

 

 

 

The Truth & Real Truth Newsletter #1

The Truth & Real Truth Newsletter #1

SECTION A – Welcome To the Truth & Real Truth – Introductions Not Really Necessary, But Here They Are Anyway

I started up the Skategeezer Homepage in 1995.

A few of you reading this were there when the NCSDA started. A few others might recall when Silverfish started.  I bet a lot of people reading this were there Skate Slate and Wheelbase started.

Hey…that’s Skate Slate!

I was and continue to be very happy to have a front row seat to it all. The last 22 years of my life in skateboarding were truly incredible. But in truth, things have been difficult. A lot of advertisers have decided to spend money on different marketing initiatives. This is code for “we’re spending most of our advertising money on Facebook, Google, You Tube and Instagram.” Btw, it’s not just skateboarding, many very small independent traditional magazine publishers like me are faced with similar issues.

Hey! That’s… Wheelbase!

The truth is that ever since we started this new website, I’ve wondered, will it help or harm? Are the forums going to resonate? What exactly will the experience be like? Am I complete digital imbecile lost in a time warp who never was able to make the damn website work?

But then, I think about how I came to find Sean. You see, Sean is my web guru and thanks to Steve Meketa we met up last summer and set plans in motion to make this website work.

Sean is working like a demon to make things happen Sean’s vision is on point. He knows how to work within the digital world and more than this, he freakin’ loves skateboarding. That’s a deadly combo.

The Truth? The only way to make these next 21 years go by with same amount of fun and passion as the last 21 is for me to truly find my flow again within skateboarding. I am proud to truthfully say – “all systems go”

The Real Truth?  Concrete Wave finally has a website that it should have had almost 20 years ago – about freakin’ time! Now the fun begins!

SECTION B – DEMONS UNDER THE BOARDS – AKA WHO’S WHO?

I got a text from my friend Samson. Samson is unique. Samson is curious and truly loves skateboarding. Samon doesn’t just work like a demon, he’s a speed demon. He loves bombing hills. He’s also demon in the kitchen, whipping up fantastic skate grub every time we meet – thank you for your hospitality. He’s also a mind demon and he wrote something to me yesterday that stopped me in my tracks. Curse you Samson for getting into my brain…again!

He wrote have you seen this Vulture Magazine Quincy Jones interview?

Quincy set the internet on fire!

Many people reading this post probably don’t know of Quincy Jones. One thing is for sure, you’ve heard of all the major artists he’s produced. Read the damn article. It’s a jaw dropper.

Ironically enough, Jonathan Nuss (now living north of 60) was the one who spread this story on social media.

Jonathan Nuss loves Nunavut!

Like I said, it’s got more bombshells than a year’s worth of Maury

This guy makes serious coin from others misfortune.

But here was Samson’s take, and I am paraphrasing here – you gotta make a magazine that is as honest and  raw like that interview. Don’t be afraid to tell the truth.

After sleeping on Samson’s words, I realized that I need to get writing. Samson unlodged something in my mind. It is time for a raw and honest assessment of the skate industry through the prism of Concrete Wave. It is truly time to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

The Truth? After 21 years, I know people who know people...who know things. And it’s time for some illumination on all the bullshit that’s out there. Plus, I know where the bodies are buried.

The Real Truth? Our tip hotline is open. You ready to help us point out about some truly outrageous hypocrisy within skateboarding? Operators are standing by. And if you don’t contact us, Samson or karma will find you.

A world without pros…11th anniversary of a gift that keeps on giving.

 

SECTION C – AKA THE “C” SECTION – WHERE WE CUT TO THE CHASE

God, it’s been a brutal week. The senseless deaths in Florida. This is why the USA needs to have an truthful conversation on making guns a little more difficult to obtain than Kinder Surprises were for the past few decades. If you can regulate printed porn, cigarettes and liquor, you can put the same amount of thought into regulating guns.

My social media feed is filled with “thoughts and prayers” and “parents, raise your kids right” and “2nd Amendment” and “abortion caused this” and more and more statistics.

The Truth? This was the week that I decided to finally stop posting on my personal page. I deleted a number of old posts and set my settings to private. I even removed it from as a shortcut on my phone. Personally, I am over Facebook. I hope a billionaire reads about our gun buy back and we put thousands of skateboards into people’s hands.

The Real Truth? Facebook makes me feel like shit most of the time. I see left/right battling it out. I see my skate heroes posting stuff that makes my headspin. Then I remember, it’s the skateboarding that unites us.

If you want to face our 3 questions…just email me.

Either Samson or I will be happy to put you in the hot seat.

The following song assisted in the production of this newsletter. This song is over 42 years old. Deal with it.

Still great 42 years later!

And if you find that track awesome, check out this cover by Phil Upchurch.

 

 

 

 

Season Recap: Trashin

Season Recap: Trashin

By Daniel Fedkenheuer

Every time the skateboarding world sees a new video clip of Aaron “Jaws” Homoki plummeting off another mind-numbingly high roof or of Shane O’Neill effortlessly throwing down a video game-like NBD, the generally accepted boundary for human possibility on a skateboard is notched ever upward. As such, those who look on from below are forced to try to make sense of their place in a community where the accolades for “biggest” and “most technical” seem to already be taken. While some take it upon themselves to challenge the giants and capture the biggest drops, most technical combinations and highest amounts of prize money, there exists another important end of the spectrum.

On this end, through the guise of Instagram usernames and minute-long video clips, we have come to know a growing collective of skateboarders that are making fantastic strides in the way of creativity and are furthering their own sets of boundaries for innovation and technicality. Although their unique skills may not lead them to the bright lights of the next stop on the Street League tour, they have led many of today’s most talented skateboarders to a garbage-filled loading dock somewhere in Los Angeles for the inaugural season of Xtreme Videos’ popular new web series, Trashin. Debuting in late 2017, Trashin saw overnight success as it’s first season received over one and a half million collective views on Facebook. To catch up with some of the folks behind the madness, we got a hold of Director & Editor, Sean Marin along with viral sensations William Spencer and Eric Cummins for their take on how it all went down.

When asked of the show’s beginnings, Marin explained how “The concept of the show was really a brain child of the team work from XTreme Video, a reputable leader in the action sports industry, and Richie Jackson. It came together when Facebook was on the hunt for Action Sports content to air on their Facebook Watch pages and they saw Xtreme Video’s production slate, which had Trashin, and Facebook jumped on it. After that, it was Richie and XTreme’s amazing in house producers Heather Garrow and Nathalie D’Haucourt, who really helped dial in the Trashin series concept.” After this, Marin was recruited to use his background in sports films and skateboarding to put the concept into action and add some design flare along the way. “We really wanted the whole series not only to be focused on the skater’s, giving them the best chance to create and land stuff, but we wanted the feel of everything to be “retro” 80’s and an homage to the 1986 film Thrashin. I’d also be lying if I didn’t say that I was deeply influenced by the Stranger Things series I had just binged watched on Netflix” Marin added.

From there, the people’s champ, Richie Jackson, took over as the show’s host and explained to viewers the method behind the madness they were about to see unfold. His concept was simple: skate the Trash on set in the most creative way possible in two round contest, consisting of Best Trick and Best Line. This way, Jackson’s voice as the modern day godfather of creative skateboarding could be exercised to name the winner of Best Line while the Facebook audience was able to stay engaged through choosing the winner of Best Trick each week. To the tune of $800, a hand-picked cast of some of the world’s best underground skaters were invited to rearrange the elements of their surrounds in any way they thought would compliment their unique styles of skating best. After a few parting words of inspiration, “the skateboarder’s skate competition” as it was dubbed, was underway.

Over the course of five episodes, each thoroughly filled with hammers, the Facebook audience got to witness nonconventional skateboarding performed by those who know the terrain best. Though Concrete Wave will not drop the names of the big winners here, we assure you that the shredding that went down is a sight to me marveled at firsthand. You can check out the first season on Facebook here 

Amongst the notable standouts selected to partake, William Spencer and Eric Cummins were both selected to the finale episode and both had great things to say about the experience. First and foremost, the pair each claimed that the freedom of the contest was one of the defining aspects that made the experience more enjoyable than any other contest that had been a part of in the past. To Cummins, he noted how “Other contests I’ve skated have the obstacles already set and in place. You can’t move anything around, they all have had time limits and you only get a few chances or runs and that’s it. During Trashin you could move and build stuff and try as many times as you like!”

At the same time, Williams told us “I think Trashin, from it’s very inception by Mr. Jackson, has been a cry for something different, something new, and most of all, something as creative at it could possibly be, for being a contest that is. Competing as it were in this “contest” has been nothing like what you might expect when people throw the word around. It is in fact best case scenario in my opinion.” As Williams went on, he praised the way that the Trashin crew placed little constraint on the time and space needed for him to work his magic. In the process of building his features, he delighted in getting the choice to select what type of obstacles he would be judged on and the crew’s leniency on how exactly his entries for Best Trick and Best Line were considered. As such, Williams also hailed the filmers’ realistic approach to operating the cameras just as if they were filming a video in the streets and the ensuing collaboration with backup filmers to get the right mix of action and storytelling shots.

Another standout component that both mentioned was the inspiring, yet laid-back atmosphere of skating amongst some of the most creative minds in skateboarding today. They agreed that time granted to figure their approaches out combined with the hype that came with skating amongst new friends led to a happy medium of both comfort and high energy. To comment on skating in the presence of his competitors, Williams claimed, “I was so happy to meet those guys and to put personalities to such skillful skating and remarkable drive to create newness in skating. They rule. I was beside myself in awe of how many fantastic tricks they came up with and got done in so short a time.”

In the end, both Cummins and Spencer both thanked “The Featch” himself for selecting them to take part in the first season. In Cummins’ own words he said, “I really am just so grateful to have been a part of Trashin, met Richie Jackson, and skated alongside so many amazing skateboarders.” As for Williams he said, “I am so flattered and grateful to Richie for asking me to be a part of it. I can’t thank the filmer’s enough for their patience, time, energy and just generalized encouraging words they always gave along the way in the filming process. You know who you are Mike, Holden, Garrett, Troy and Hunter.”

As for the future of the series, Sean Marin chimed back in to tell us that he is unable to confirm nor deny the possibility for a reboot. However, he was quick to add that with the continued watching and sharing of Trashin, the possibility of another season of one of the most engaging contests in skateboarding today is open.

Be aware. There are scams out there!

Be aware. There are scams out there!

Holy freakin crap! SCAMS AND MORE SCAMS!

I am getting inundated with emails from people who want me to spend thousands of dollars registering my concrete wave magazine in China.

Here’s the thing – it is a TOTAL SCAM. And here’s another – f**k those guys!

Web domains? It’s probably a scam!

As for these robo calls saying I am under arrest from Revenue Canada? Scam!

It’s a total scam – honest!

Yes..just another scam

As for skateboarding. Well, this is a scam…don’t be fooled. These folks DO NOT HAVE YOUR BEST INTEREST at heart. There’s a place for beginner skateboards – visit your local independent skateshop to learn more. Don’t know who to contact? Email me. mbrooke@interlog.com.

Scams hurt. Scams are cruel. Scams should be taken out to the shed and shot.

If you spot a scam, let us know.

Thrash the Patriarchy: Women’s Skateboarding Finds Its Foothold in the Mainstream

Thrash the Patriarchy: Women’s Skateboarding Finds Its Foothold in the Mainstream

On November 29th, Enjoi Skateboards officially announced that Samarria Brevard would be joining their ranks as a professional team rider. Generally speaking, a skateboard team taking on a new rider is hardly newsworthy, or at most it’s noteworthy enough to warrant a sentence or two in Thrasher or Transworld, and some obligatory social media posts. This announcement was far from generic, however, by the ironic virtue of the fact that women have been making a lot of news in skateboarding this year.Samarria Brevard joins Enjoi  Brevard becoming the first female rider on Enjoi is but the latest in what has been a banner year for women’s skateboarding that saw Lizzie Armanto, Nora Vasconcellos, and Leticia Bufoni rise into the professional ranks for Birdhouse, Welcome, and Plan B skateboards, respectively. Prior to 2017, only two women in the history of skateboarding were given pro models while riding for companies whose teams were predominantly male: Elissa Steamer (Zero Skateboards, 1998), and Vanessa Torres (Element Skateboards, 2004). In the span of less than a single year, mainstream skateboarding has doubled the number of female professionals present over the course of the last two decades. One has a hard time not taking notice.Leticia Bufoni pro announcement Photo: Paulo Macedo So, what happened? Why now? Historically women in skating have been treated as novelties at best, and second-class citizens at worst. Peggy Oki recounted being criticized for “skating like a guy” in the seminal documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys. Diane Desiderio, despite being a talented competitive freestyler in her own right, is best known for the novelty freestyle routines she and her husband Primo would perform at Sea World. Several girl-centric brands, from Hoopla to Meow to Silly Girl and more have cultivated quiet followings over the years, existing out of a sheer necessity to offer girls and women gear not directly marketed toward men or boys.  “Because of social media women’s skateboarding has become more mainstream.” Alishia Stevens explains. The Toronto native, who rides for Volcom flow and 970co Headwear, made the move to Southern California two years ago to immerse herself in the ever-growing women’s skate scene. “I didn’t even know about so many girls before social media…just Vanessa Torres and Elissa Steamer. YouTube channels like Girls Skate Network were basically an introduction to women’s skateboarding.” The YouTube channel, currently with just under 59,000 subscribed viewers, has been featuring Brevard, Vasconcellos, Armanto, Bufoni, and dozens of other professional and amateur female skaters for nearly six years now, uploading their first video in February of 2012. As for the mainstream taking notice, Stevens points to footwear as the gateway, specifically Nike. “They were the first ones to have a skateboarding shoe geared [toward] and designed for women skateboarders.” The iconic shoe company gave Bufoni her own signature model in 2014, three years before she was signed to Plan B skateboards as their first female rider, and soon after their first female pro. Alishia Stevens 50-50 Photo: Erik Sandoval While we certainly have come a long way from the borderline misogynistic days when the majority of women presented in skate media were the scantly-clad models in Hubba Wheels ads, there is still miles yet to go before we see real equality. In an April 5th article for Vice, Trina Calderón offered up some hard numbers: “While the X Games have been hip to equal pay since 2008, it’s not standard everywhere. This year, [pro skater Poppy] Olsen won $500 at the Australian Bowl Riding Championships… The men’s winner, by contrast, pocketed $5,000. The Bowl-a-Rama this year had a $15,000 prize for men and $2,000 for women.” (Calderón, sports.vice.com) Stevens agrees that public opinion still needs to change. “I just saw a comment about Samarria being on Enjoi yesterday…[the commenter] thought it was sexist that she got on, that there’s other skaters that work harder than her. Women have to work ten times harder just to get noticed!” Still, she remains optimistic. “I think the skate industry is finally beginning to change…there’s women out there that work just as hard as [men] do, and they deserve to be riding for [mainstream] companies.” It would appear as though this year has been evidence to that fact, and one can hope that the trend only continues into 2018 and beyond.

Thank You, Marc Johnson

Thank You, Marc Johnson

As we just reported, Lucas Beaufort created an exceptional documentary called Devoted. He has just released a 19 minute extended video of his interview with legendary skater Marc Johnson.   https://vimeo.com/242846999“Did you ever see anyone take a laptop to a bathroom?” Marc asks. He is unabashedly a devotee of print. THANK YOU, MARC, for your support! Below, the full video.      

Devoted – A Documentary About Skateboard Media

Devoted – A Documentary About Skateboard Media

 

Those familiar with the name Lucas Beaufort may remember the piece we ran on his wildly popular artwork earlier this year. Behind the colorful characters he paints on top of magazine covers, ads and other skate photos, Beaufort told CW, “My goal is to bring something special to the world. I don’t want to come out with something that you see everyday.”

 

In the time since that last piece ran, Beaufort has again caught the attention of the skateboarding world in different way: his documentary on the legacy and future of print media, “Devoted.” In the hour long feature, some of skateboarding’s top professionals, photographers, writers and videographers chronicle their feelings on a variety of different issues currently facing print media today.

 

Speaking about the how’s and why’s of this project in an interview with Jenkem, Beaufort mentioned that his intent is “more about showing the new generation how important print was before the internet era. But I think it would be interesting to know what they think about the documentary.” With that being said, I logged into Gmail and shot Beaufort an message to venture some questions and share some thoughts I had on “Devoted” based on my “internet era” mindset.

 

To explain a bit further, I should express the predicament I find myself in regarding the subject. I became immersed the skateboard world well after the explosion of digital media, HD video and internet-based content, yet I write for a print magazine. I very often interact with people who lived through an all-print era and continue to fight to prove the value of print today. I look up to those who pushed skateboarding through the work of printed publications and I’m every bit intrigued by the stories of yesteryear, where the industry’s greatest surprises and announcements warranted sanctity in the pages of a monthly magazine. These are moments that Beaufort recalls by stating “back in the days you could (before Internet) you could surprise people with projects, now it’s almost impossible. You always have somebody to spoil it through Instagram.”

 

At the same time though, I wake up every morning scrolling through an Instagram feed to see how many dream tricks have come to life over the past couple hours.

 

 

This is something that Beaufort dually expressed support of by saying “Social media is also a super good tool to promote whatever you want and if you don’t have the big media to support you.”

 

However, as I find myself writing for this print publication’s digital website, I remind myself that embracing my overall position of neutrality is probably the best way to continue being able to relate to both sides of the coin. Featuring people dealing with similar iterations of this juxtaposition is, by far, the defining element that makes “Devoted” as special as it is.

 

In regards to the divisions between print and digital, Beaufort himself told me, “To be honest with you I like both. I like to dream with a print photo in my hands as I like to connect super fast with people around the world through social media.” On one hand, he is supported in the documentary by the likes of Steve Berra and Jaime Owens, who support the potential of print magazines, if executed in a sustainable way. On the other hand, his dreams are perhaps more passionately supported by the likes of Skin Phillips stammering with “I don’t know’s” and Marc Johnson nearly in tears over the possibility of a future without print media.

 

 

Former editor of Transworld Skateboarding and the Skateboard Mag – Dave Swift

 

These are critical firsthand accounts of the future of skateboarding’s media landscape as volunteered by some of the foremost players involved. In the end though, the ultimate question of “Where do we go now?” is left to interpretation and subject to the progression of whatever the future may hold. Speaking on this, Beaufort told me “With Devoted I’m not here to tell skateboard magazines who they have to talk with or how do they have to run it. Being that there is a crucial element of the right mixture of people needed to blend together though, Beaufort continued “It’s a team effort. Print has to do the best to get more readers, it sounds cheezy but it’s true. It’s the same with everything, if you want to survive you have to be extremly good, especially today.”

Pro Marc Johnson is devoted to skate mags.

 

With that being said, I wholeheartedly encourage anyone who wonders where those magazines that used to come to their door have gone to take a look at Lucas Beaufort’s “Devoted” for a comprehensive look into where they came from, where they have gone and when they’ll be delivered next.

 

Check out “Devoted” in it’s entirety here

Calleigh Little Keeps on Pushing

Calleigh Little Keeps on Pushing

Calleigh Little is doing something quite incredible in the world of skateboarding. She is going across the USA via longboard solo. We caught up with her in Wyoming. Before we get into the interview, here are some of Calleigh’s impressive contest results:

Adrenalina 2016 – 2nd Place Women’s
215 miles – Miami Ultraskate 2017 (Second Place Women’s)
188 miles – Chief Ladiga Sk8 Challenge (Second Place Women’s)
Central Mass Skate Festival 8 – Women’s First Place

 Somewhere in Nebraska

 

 

Why do you find long distance and downhill skateboarding so enjoyable?

It’s not so much that I find long distance or downhill enjoyable- I truly feel like both disciplines ask things of me I dont normally do. They enable me to extend myself in ways I never would in any other part of life. Long distance requires a mental focus, extensive planning, and full body commitment. I find that when I am in a situation where my entire being is used, I have an opportunity to see how far I can take it. And then I take it further.

Downhill, on the other hand, is a streamline of panic, fear, focus, and commitment. I absolutely adore the moments where I have no idea whats coming up after a turn. How will I react? Do I fully tuck or do I have to prepare for a predrift? When I’m going fast, no other questions matter. I dont worry about student loan bills. Who cares what that guy said to me last night? All that matters is that I make it down safely. I love that.

What made you decide to go solo across the USA?

When I first came out as a transgender woman, the world hadn’t even begun to bring it into the mainstream news. I didn’t have all kinds of acceptance, and I certainly didn’t have the friends I do now. That was 3 years ago. The world wants to make it seem like it’s being shoved down their throats, but its just a new thing the media is okay with talking about.

Now, three years later, I didn’t want to run away from anything. I had friends all over the globe from competing. I wanted to do it solo for me. I came to a point where I wasnt learning anything anymore from the people I interacted with. I knew there had to be more to learn. If I did it with someone else, the experience could have been about our experience together, and not my experience with the world.

Where do you think your competitive spirit comes from?

After a long life of being beaten down and coming up short, I found that my competitive edge was a product of me wanting to rise above. People tend to think that I have always been on top- its simply not the case. I experienced enough life to a point where I had to fight back, I had to be myself, and I had to win. I have been so sick and tired of sitting in the back of the class. I trained and fought and trained a bit more. And when I sat down at the end of the day, I thought about training again.

What has been your best experience so far within skateboarding?

I think the best experience within skateboarding has been the vast amount of friends I made. Every event I attend has people I look forward to meeting, whether it is downhill or long distance. I learned of a world where people encouraged me and pushed me, and made me work for everything I had.

If I had to narrow it down to just one experience, my absolute favorite was winning the Central Mass 8 women’s division. It was a race I attended for years, and I picked up everything I could to figure out how to win it. It was neck and neck all the way to the end and a true photo finish. My friends dumped champagne on me at the podium and for once in my skate life I had earned my title.

What has been the worst experience and how did you deal with it?

Worst experience…they are few and far between. The world is a good place. The absolute worst, though, was when I had just kicked off for the 24 hour Ultraskate in 2017. My biggest competitor had turned around and said, “If you’re going to race as a woman, you need to pee like a woman.” I could have taken it a million ways. I could have dwelled on it for 24 consecutive hours of skating around in a circle. I could have quit. Instead, I appeased the proposal- given that I only urinated once in 24 hours anyways, I retired to the bathroom and peed. The guys usually just drop their shorts and pee as they skate. I did go on to lose to her by only 10 miles that year, but it burned a fire in me to fight harder.

Adrenalina Marathon

You mentioned at the Longboard Girls Crew website you are lost between jobs and are questioning the meaning of everything. The fact that some stole your intellectual property must have been devastating. Is this trip helping you deal with that loss?

It totally hurt that the company I was working for used me for my creative work, forced me out, and then didn’t pay me. Legally I have all of the rights to everything I created as an independent contractor without a signed contract. I didnt have the means to hire a lawyer. I was flat broke. I began selling my collection of boards and gear to make end’s meat and often went days without eating. It hurt a lot.

I learned, once again, to fight back. Even if I did sue for my rightful property it could have been years of litigation. I wasnt going to see a dime that could have helped me at that moment. I looked for a new career for two months, struggling along, doing 2 or 3 interviews a day and ended up with a job at a burger place. I knew I was worth more than a job at a burger place, so I formulated my plans to follow my dreams. I could only struggle for so long.  I sold my motorcycle, stopped paying rent, threw away everything I couldn’t sell, and fit my life in a backpack. With the help of my friends, the companies who support me, and the money I earned from selling my belongings, my dream didnt seem so far off. So I made it happen. No longer was I going to slave away at a job I hated putting money in someone else’s pocket. I realized this life is mine and it is what I make it.

What do you plan to do once this feat is accomplished?

Honestly, I have no idea. I’d love to expand on my blogs and sell them as a book. I’d also love to turn around and go back the other way. Mostly, I plan to take my experience and use it to be the number 1 female distance skater in the ultraskate. As for where I’ll live or what ill do for money, who knows? I still have a tent and a skateboard- the world is my oyster.

 

Harsh question to ask – but I would like to ask what do you say to people who feel this whole “transgender thing” is all about seeking attention? Instead of seeing your bravery, they just question your entire reason.

Haha. I get these comments all the time. It’s hard for me to take them seriously. Its not about being transgender, and it certainly isn’t for attention. I planned and left for this ride in a month’s time. I’ve been trans for as long as I can remember. I race with the girls as any other girl would. There was an article written about me on Gay Star News that wanted to highlight my identity as a transgender woman because of the relevance to their audience and people saw it as a big slap in the face, like I purposefully slathered my identity around. Trust me, if I could be seen and accepted as any other girl is, I would kill for the chance.

But I think the use of telling people of my transgender identity is more for other trans people in the world. I want them to know I am trans. I want them to see that we dont have to hide in our bedrooms. We can go to the corner store as ourselves and we can be a part of society. As I skate I see all different kinds of people, and the grand majority have accepted me and spoken of my bravery. I think it gets a little twisted when you read it in an article versus witnessing it in real life.

Imagine seeing someone skateboarding past your house with a 30 lb expedition backpack and saying, “You just want attention!” Its a little ridiculous. At the end of the day, I’m out here making my dreams come true, tethered to nothing, while others somehow find a reason to feel taller than me. I’ve never felt taller for making someone else feel small.

What’s been the reaction from the various articles you’ve had written about you?

I spoke about this in the last question a bit, but its really a mixed bag. I can with 100% certainty say that it has been all straight white men who have a problem with me. I am a woman, I have lived as a woman, I have endured the horrible society women live in every day, and their opinions don’t change that. Whether they want to fall back on some pseudo-scientific argument to denounce my gender or just speak out of bigotry, it doesn’t change anything. I have never sought respect from anyone who didn’t have mine.

 You can donate to Calleigh here. Find out more here:Instagram: @supergirls_pantiesFacebook: /supergirlLDPTumblr: trans-america.Tumblr.comSkatecrosscountry.com

Red Rum Skates Interview

Red Rum Skates Interview

Red Rum is based in San Diego, California and was founded by a man who goes by the name of Jerm. He’s got some great perspective on the skate industry. Jerm, why did you start Red Rum Skates?I started Red Rum Skates as an outlet to my art to bring back the old days of doing my own art on blank skateboard decks that I did as a kid . My wife used to do the same as a kid so I had come up with the name as a nod to The Shining and my love of Horror and did a few decks. Then after starting to paint on all surfaces I could find, My wife, Vee says “why dont you just paint skateboard decks instead?” That’s when the idea really came into reality.  Jerm’s shirt says it all. I had came up with the concept in 2007 and did just a few until I got real serious a few years later. We had researched enough to be confident in a quality product. We started promoting on social sites in 2012. With over 600 hand painted decks later and a sister company Witch Boards, we are starting to get serious. I see 2018 as the year to break the stigma and division in skateboarding. What is your take on the skate industry?The industry needs the people, but the people don’t need the industry’s politics. I see skateboarding becoming what it has always been: the most fun anyone young or old can have for an affordable investment. Jerm charges the mini-ramp in his backyard. As the money goes to the “professional riders” for their overseas trips and over priced products, the DIY community, smaller family/skater owned companies and the purists will strive even harder to protect a lifestyle that is enjoyed by people worldwide. It has come a long way since I started riding in 1971 and I find it quite repulsive the way that much of the industry is divided. What are your thoughts on the Olympics?I believe that there is plenty of room for the Olympics and corporate skateboarding, but for the rest of us, we need to take it back and we will.  Skateboarding doesn’t discriminate. Thats a human behavior and it can be changed, so get your spouse, kids, neighbors, parents and grandparents and get some skateboards and go skate! It doesn’t matter what shape, size or brand, just skate. More skate, less hate . that I see is the future.  What’s the best and worst thing about running an independent skate company?I’d say best thing about owning an independent company is the artistic expression. Your vision, your art, your passion, that being said – “How much money do I want to throw down on a dream that is going against big money and an industry that regulates itself and doesn’t take kindly to new innovations or dreamers?” The thing is, in my opinion, skateboarding started with gals and guys cruising around and surfing the asphalt and concrete waves of neighborhoods and schools, shopping malls and parks. There is the natural progression of refining the toys we ride and innovators produce and manufacture and become iconic. The pioneers get stuck in the balance of preserving their brand and their investment and lose contact with the spirit that created their brand. The consumer will follow what is prominent in the media of what is best and human behavior lead us to follow the fastest and easiest path which in turn is the very wall that separates the smaller company from the community that they are so passionate about. When a small company is spending their last dollar on quality rather than mass production, their interest as well as investment becomes a hinderance. I am obsessed with skateboarding and if I wanted to be rich , I’d still ride skateboards but I would NEVER sell out and abuse the lifestyle I have chosen to create and share my art with.  I think think the difference between a smaller company and the bigger companies differs between each company but when your passion becomes your main source of income, you have to walk that line very carefully. Some pretty unique shapes from Witch Boards. In which direction would you like to see skateboarding go?I’d like to see skateboarding get back in the hands of the people that can see past the money, politics and get rich opportunity and lets as a community embrace the culture as a whole and make it family friendly. I grew up when you were literally chased down and beat up for riding a skateboard and punk rock met that mentality and frustration and I used skateboarding as an extension to my art and lifestyle choices.  It would be great that we as a community can stand up against the hate and embrace the future instead of repeating the past. We can roll up to anyone in the world on a wooden piece of wood with urethane wheels and hardware to hold it together. Without any words needed, we can have something in common and can enjoy a smile together. It shouldn’t matter what size deck you have or what brand , etc etc etc…. as long as you ride a skateboard, I have something in common with you and its time we all embrace the good and set aside the hate . More skate , Less hate. just skate ! 

Thank You Sally Ann Miller

Thank You Sally Ann Miller

Most people who skate nowadays probably have no idea just how close the US government came to shutting it down during the 1970’s. Thanks to Sally Ann Miller, you still have the freedom to roll in the USA. And thanks to Jim Gray of the mighty Powerflex Wheels and Inkjenda, you can learn about this incredible woman through his incredible Facebook Post. A On behalf of skaters everywhere, THANK YOU SALLY ANN MILLER! FROM JIM GRAY 

Met another one of my Hero’s of the Skateboarding Culture the other night, and she should be your hero too!

This is Sally Anne Sheridan. I’d always heard about Sally Anne Miller (pre marriage to Don Sheridan) in the 1970’s in her skateboard industry days, but had never met her. She built the world’s first City Owned Municipal/Public Skatepark in Irvine California. Whether you love it or not, they are the future of accessible skateboarding for all and she started it in 1976.

 

She did much more for and with skateboarding like running the ISA International Skateboard Association out of Costa Mesa no less, but let’s start with the story of the Irvine Run.

 

It was a very fun snake run leading to a banked semi bowl area at the bottom. I rode this place many times, loved it a lot, and sadly was there the day they came, asked us to stop and started Jackhammering it. That was not a fun day. (Pics of me skating it on two polaroids next to the pic of her and I). She told me she was with the City of Irvine Parks and Recreation department and local skaters and Hobie Teamriders like Steve Shipp said they wanted somewhere to skate, she asked what they want, and the snake run is what they came up with. If only it was that easy today, we’d have even more skateparks than we do.

 

She said they had no idea what they were getting into and that once the skate world got word of this free public skatepark skaters from a hundred miles around all converged and there were hundreds of skaters there everyday. They had built condos right next door which you can see in my skate pics. They got complaints about noise etc. They first built that big wall to quiet it down but still got too many complaints and eventually promised the residents it would be removed.

David Paul Lacey hits the first ever municipal skatepark in Irvine, California.

 

Several years later at the typical pace of a city the item came up in the Irvine city’s public works list of things to do, and even though it was now much calmer now and usually 10 people or so would be skating anytime we skated, it was still scheduled to be removed and couldn’t be stopped. One day I believe in 1982, we were asked to stop skating, they pulled the trucks up and started Jackhammering, that was a sad day. I am beyond stoked to have gotten to spend lots of time in the world’s first public skatepark and will forever be grateful to Sally Anne and crew for making that happen.

 

Sally Anne did so much more for skateboarding, including making sure skateboarding continued to exist, because there was a point when the Consumer Products Safety Commission was considering banning skateboard deeming them too dangerous of an item to be sold.

 

Here’s a post from Dave McIntyre

Sally was an Ivy League graduate and was asked to help head up what became the ISA. She had to help sell skateboarding as safe, and standards were set to get people wearing safety equipment and sell the sport as safe before it was made illegal to manufacture skateboards, and believe me they can do that.

 

Luckily that battle was won and we are all here today to tell these stories. It could be a different world today had that happened and it might have been a footnote in history and all the joy we have enjoyed on our boards may not have existed. Such a crazy thought, thanks again for helping us get through that one Sally and crew.

The ISA or International Skateboard Association also ran pro contests, set the standards etc.

 

After meeting Sally, I called Glenn Miyoda, an old friend who went to the same high school as me and was friends with my sister. I knew he’d have some insights and knowledge. He was a Photographer for Hobie in the early days, and come to find out he also ended up working with Sally Anne for the ISA. He shared story after story from how she sought to find the right people to set standards for contests, like how to measure the height of an air as airs started coming into play in contest, how she collected money, and a good one about her putting Mr. Bennett in his place once during a meeting.

 

 

Basically he told me she was kind, smart, hard working and a hell of a bad ass when she needed to be 100% thumbs up from Glenn Miyoda who I have 100% faith in sharing skate history with.

 

I don’t have all day to keep writing but I will end with the funniest story she told me all night. She said among her jobs was to make the riders wear their safety gear, and one she always got a lot of grief about it from was Tony Alva. She told me a story of walking up to him once, and him thinking he would get a rise out of her, dropped his pants. She told me she just calmly looked down at his exposed private parts, told him on a scale of 1-10 I’ll give it a 2, and then everyone started laughing including Tony.

 

That cracked me up. Ironically, she is now married to Don Sheridan, who worked with Zephyr back then and asked Tony Alva “who is that cute lady” when they were at some TV filming or something like that. Well that was the start of something and now Don and Sally Anne Sheridan live in Laguna Beach and have been married for 39 years.

 

Sally is 82 now and I look forward to going and spending some more time with her and Don and learning more of the untold stories of the skateboard world.

 

I am a very fortunate guy to have gotten to participate in so much in skateboarding for the last 40 years.

 

 

Editors Note:

 

Amazing story on Tony Alva from 1978 from People Magazine.

 

And a post from Mofo (ex Thrasher photographer and CW contributor) about Sally

  

Toys R Skateboarding

Toys R Skateboarding

 

Over the weekend we hit up the local skatepark in my hometown area.  The same old prefab ramps, still standing like a decrepit stonehenge, the ancient ruins of teenage years.  Decades of harsh New England white-outs had left the blacktop a cratered moonscape.  The blazing summers suns had faded the offensive and misspelled graffiti into nearly unrecognizable spray paint smudges.  Overall, the skatepark was in one piece, just as i remembered it, except for one thing… 

 

I love visiting skateparks, at home or abroad, not for the inventive array of obstacles, but for the culture.  The petri dish that is the local scene, the faces, the names and the energy of the locals.  Appreciating the power of the community that they have constructed.  I am always fascinated by the drastically varying subcultures with the subculture.  The microcosms contained within 60 square feet of tar and chain link fence. 

 

I was welcomed with nods and smiles from the locals, as me, my brother and my childhood friends entered the park.  I inquired of a friendly, smiling local, Jimmy, about the new wooden ramps and DIY ‘crete that speckled and encrusted the park.  He happily obliged and told me that he was responsible for the ramps’ construction.  I thanked him for provided them.  

 

Within moments, my crew and theirs were skating together, bumping quintessential 90s hip hop anthems, bumping fists and cheering for each other.  Everybody was boppin’ and basking in the warm autumn sunlight.  

 

While cruising around in euphoric figure 8s, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, that Jimmy the friendly local, had deserted his skateboard, had turned his back and was excitedly fiddling with something.  Figuring Jimmy was frantically rolling a blunt I was bewildered to find that instead of a gutted backwoods wrap, Jimmy was tousling around a wooden ball bound by a string to a wooden dowel.

 

In his right hand, Jimmy clutched what appeared to be a wooden double-sided hammer, although strangley the face of each hammer head was inverted, concaved, resembling a miniature cup or bowl. Above the dual hammers was a small cone that gently tapered into a blunted tip. A white string, anchored to the base of the handle, flailed wildly in the air attached to a red ball.  This red ball, the size of a beer pong ball, had a small hole that tunneled through the entire diameter of the wooden sphere.  

 

A boy on a BMX appeared, and joined Jimmy, and expelling a wooden ball hammer from his pocket.  Within moments, the two were fully engaged, shouting and giggling as they spun and casted their balls on a strings, attempting to catch it with either of their hammer cups or to spear it throughout the hole with the tips of their wooden cones.   

 

After observing for a bit, this mutated form of cup-and-ball, I asked Jimmy what the hell was up with that thing.  He told me it was called “Kendama” a game originally played by drunken Japanese sailors to pass the time on long sea voyages.  Now, according to Jimmy, Kendama-mania has swept the states from coast to coast. 

 

Jimmy elaborated, comparing the cup-ball game to skateboarding.  He said that you master certain tricks and then try to do your tricks consecutively in a row, like a line.  

 

This game reminded me much of the hacky sack or even devil sticks sessions of my youth.  Flinging an object through the air and trying to catch it, stall it, and then return it to flight.  It also reminded me of a string-based perpetual-volley toys like the yo-yo or paddle ball.  Even the strange design of the Kendama toy shocked and intrigued me like my first eye witness accounts of fidget spinners.  

I’ve seen many fads come and go, toys that were just as fickly picked up as were easily discarded- only to be rediscovered on the dusty shelves of Goodwill.  What intrigued me about this new bizarre low-tech gadget was that, it did indeed, remind me of skating.  Not only was Kendama a strange looking simple-machine, but to play, you simply needed time and patience. Fine-tuning your motor skills and battling the constraints of gravity were the shared struggle of both Kendama and skateboarding.

 

Not only was this an light-hearted, nonsensical escape from the mundane pressures of modern living, this game, clearly, had no coach, no team and no opponents.  You were free to practice and create maneuvers as you so chose.  Not only could you choose how to play but you could also choose to share the play with others, whoever you wanted.  

 

I watched these two young men play for vigorous 20 minute stints, taking breaks to skate and BMX and then returning to their ball string hammers.  They practiced their extreme sports in tandem with their string contraption disciple in even increments.  

 

This not only was like skateboarding, it was an intrinsic part of Jimmy’s skateboarding experience. 

Kendama was just about enough of a part of Jimmy’s sesh as other peoples’ weed-smoking, shit-talking or dead-eyed staring into their smart phone.  

 

My hometown friends scoffed at the ball string hammer game of the locals, and remarked that they avoided coming to this very park because of the pervasive Kendama culture.  I disagreed and said that I enjoyed the locals using the space however they pleased.  I felt confident that these young men were outcasts, just as we skaters are, and that they should be cherished just the same. 

 

When I found Jimmy and his BMX counterpart, brought together in Kendama bliss, now filming each other with a GoPro, I was certain that this game, like many other bizarre rituals, are in fact skateboarding.  Having fun, expressing yourself and progressing a skill, by means of offbeat physical rhythm, doing what you want, where you want, solitarily or socially, that is what skateboarding means.  

 

The world is a skatepark and you can play whatever you want in it. 

  

Stranger Things

Stranger Things

Madrid has come up with a line skateboards based on the hit Netflix show Stranger Things. The graphics are perfect for Halloween. If you’ve never seen the series, at least you can own some awesome looking decks! Buy directly from here:      ! 

Skateboarding and Politics Part One

Skateboarding and Politics Part One

Oh, this is going to be a touchy post. Somehow, someway, somebody is going to feel slighted. But I am not here to talk about political issues. I am here to talk what happens when politics and skateboarding collide. As this such a difficult subject, I want to hear from you. Email me your thoughts – if you dare. Believe it or not, chances are, if you are a skateboarder, you’re involved in some sort of politics. Let’s break it down like this: 1.  POLITICS WITH SKATEBOARDING PART 1There are SOME self-proclaimed “skate arbiters of cool” that have some extremely harsh words for those who don’t ride “the right type of skateboard.” Here’s a taste. A skate troll that shamefully hides his name, this guy (or gal, but I sense it’s a guy) wants to make skateboarding political. Or maybe it’s “satire.” For those of you who just want a brief glimpse, here are a few screen shots.                      Obviously, who ever wrote this is in severe need of an education on the history of skateboarding.   2. POLITICS AMONG SKATERS PART DEUX – SOCIAL MEDIAForget the extreme games…we’re talking extreme opinions. Without getting into who said what, take a meander over to Facebook and within just a few brief moments, you’ll be taken to the land of “extreme.” So much for skateboarding being a grounding force.  There are gun lovers on one side and those who want most guns banned. There are Trump supporters on one side and those who want him impeached. Then there are a whole bunch of people in the middle who are just trying to enjoy themselves without too much drama. This is why I cut my personal time spent with FB to 15 minutes per week. LIBERATING!  If you have racist friend…Thank you Special AKA   3. POLITICS FROM PEOPLE WHO YOU THINK WOULD KNOW BETTER Gee, thanks Vice Magazine For those of you who think Vice is coolest f**king place in the world and it’d be AWESOME to work there, head over to Glassdoor.  Of course, your experience might be different. But then again, if I read stuff like this, I’d question everything about what I thought Vice is/was/could be. Actual screen shots:                                 4. GEOGRAPHICAL/ECONOMIC POLITICSOh, this is a touchy one. Distribution can play a significant role in how skate products are perceived. If you find one of your favorite brands at a big box retailer, it can feel a little disconcerting. That’s because some people actually CARE where products are sold. And some skaters feel very protective of the mom and pop skate shops. Then again, shop or die. Adding to this is the internet which has allowed a marketers/manufacturers to communicate DIRECTLY with consumers. That’s you. For those skate shops who spend hours, weeks and years building their local scene and shop by providing excellent service and selection, the rewards can be deeply satisfying. The rewards can also include having your livelihood put at risk by companies wishing to cut out the middleman (ie: the retailer). Don’t even get me started about the LOCAL politics between some shops.  That’s enough politics for one post. Ready to read your political rants…email me.      

New Tom Sims Documentary – Pure Juice

New Tom Sims Documentary – Pure Juice

 

There’s a new Sims documentary coming out soon and we had a chance to chat with Scott Clum who has been working on it for some time. For more info on Tom, see this issue: 

 

 

 

 

Concrete Wave: You worked with Tom – what was your role and what was it like working for him?

Scott Clum: My role working with Tom was two things:, 
As design director I worked on Milpas St in Santa Barbara at the SIMS offices with Tom on a daily basis. We talked a lot about skateboarding and snowboarding and how we could engage with the current audience. This was in 1985. Tom was really concerned with keeping up with the times, as he didnt want to have people look at SIMS as not being involved in the scene. Tom never ran out of ideas, he was super creative. 

 

As a team rider, I was always skating ramps and banks with local guys and the team. You had to stay current on your style and tricks for the pipe and racing. SIMS was all about this progression and it was a priority for Tom.

SNOW VALLEY – VERMONT 1983{Left to right}  Keith Kimmel, Unknown, Unknown, Eric Moynier, Tom Sims, Scott Clum, Allen Arnbruster. Photo: George Potter

 

Of all the stories you have about Tom, what specific tale really shows what he was like?
Well, thats a hard one. This one has to be my fave for many reasons…

We were outside the SIMS offices in Santa Barbara and Tom said to me one afternoon, “Hey do you want to go skate? I was like yeah sure, where do you want to go…? He was all ” I know a place, We get into his BMW 2112 and drove up to the TEA BOWLS. We walked up to the edge and got our gear ready. I had never been, It was unbelievable. huge place. The initial roll down was crazy, a commitment for sure. Tom got set up and never even hesitated, not a second. I was blown away as he hauled ass down the huge wall and made these killer carves and turns in the other side. Tom had his longboard of course and I had my pool board. It was killer, I still remember the feeling and how big this place was and how fast you went. We skated for about an hour and then went back to the office.. It was unreal.

 

I have a lot of memories with Tom but for everything Tom stood for that session was straight to the core of who he was both in skateboarding and snowboarding. No hesitation, attacked with style. That was what Tom is all about. A great day for sure and a fond memory.
 

Tom at Tahoe in 1982. Photo: Jim Cassimus 

Describe some of the surprises you encountered in making the documentary?
I don’t know about surprises, but I will say our initial hurdle was to come together on the vision. My partners Eric Jeffcoat and Erich Lyttle had different views than I did. We all wanted the same thing, just different approaches. Its always tough creatively to create a team direction. We all put egos aside and came together on strategy and a common vision. Both of these guys are super talented so together we have a solid direction and a strong commitment to the film.

 

Most young snowboarders and skaters might not know about Sims contribution to action sports. Why do you feel his name is not as well known as other pioneers?
Right. The new riders link up with what  they know and what’s current. I dont think its intentional at all. It is really easy to distance yourself from initial history mainly because you focus on now. Its not until someone turns you on to new thing that you become aware of it. Everything is association and your personal circles. My circle grew up with the initial pioneers because it was actually happening in real time! I think there are riders who educate themselves and want to know about the history of snowboarding and skateboarding so they know from a certain distance. This story will be amazing both inspirationally and educationally, people will see where things started and why snowboarding and skateboarding are the way they are. Tom played a major part in where we all came from.

Scott Clum at Dreamland’s Donlad Bowl, Donlad, Oregon. Photo: Bud Fawcett

What do you want viewers to come away with after viewing this documentary?
I want viewers to appreciate Tom. Tom was super dedicated to all riders. He was dedicated to his company more than anyone could know. He loved skating and snowboarding so he would do whatever he could to help you either directly or with the equipment. If you ride, you have a responsibility to yourself to know what he did for you and what he did for the evolution of all riding. I guarantee,  after seeing this movie you will dig Tom and youll want to work on your riding.. [ ha ha.. ] really, after watching, youll want to watch it again. You will definitely have a better appropriation for your own riding and boarding overall. Thanks Tom…

What has been the one key challenge (other than financial) with respect to this project?
A key challenge is, as a group to get the story right and to give the viewer the best experience we can. For me directly, its memory [ and time, ha ha.. ]. There is so much to tell and so many people to involve to do it right. I really want to pay respects to as many people in the story as we can. A lot of these guys are legends both in snowboarding and skateboarding. Tom was an amazing pioneer and innovator, we want to show all that in the film so we can educate the perspective as well as honor the guys on this journey.
 

What would your life been like had you not worked for Tom?
I met Tom in 1981. I called him about the yellow skiboard deck and it took off from there. I was making my own boards at the time and I also had a yellow roundtail Winterstick. Tom was interested in my riding and immediately tried to convince me to ride a SIMS snowboard. He was super nice about it though. That was the beginning of it all. I still remember the call like it was yesterday.

If I hadn’t worked for Tom, I would probably be in Manhattan at an agency doing the creative thing. Id still be skating and snowboarding but on a different level I guess. I am an artist and designer at heart. I have had my own design studio since 1987. I have worked in agencies all over the world in design, graphics, directing and editing. Being creative is like riding. Its expression.

 

Skateboarding and snowboarding have always been a priority so I have worked in the industry from day one. I am grateful for having the opportunity to have worked together with Tom. We battled, we created and we rode together. I loved his competitiveness, It reminds me to go for it, to be prepared and do your best. I miss our conversations and our ideas for new projects. He’s there, whether its a backyarder or lines down the mountain, his spirit is always with me.

 

 

Check out their Kickstarter campaign here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe In the Future Everyone Will Use Facebook for 15 Minutes…Per Day, Week, Month or Year

Maybe In the Future Everyone Will Use Facebook for 15 Minutes…Per Day, Week, Month or Year

 It seems like there’s more skate drama on Facebook this week. How utterly NOT surprising.  Last week I started an experiment with Facebook. I wanted to see if I could limit the amount of time I spent on the site to about 15 minutes for the entire week. I also wanted to limit my personal page to one post per week. Of course, if someone directs me to something that I absolutely MUST see, then I won’t rule that out. I will continue to use the site for research – but I will limit that time as well. This decision grew out of a post on Facebook I wrote last week. I am beginning to feel that while the site definitely is a great communications tool (and I love the instant messenger and Facebook Live), sometimes Facebook just completely de-stokes me.  I’ll admit I love the fact that I can put a post on my Concrete Wave FB page and try and drive folks to my site. But the reality is that the algorithms on FB seem to have the upper hand. Posts about Tony Hawk or dogs that skate seem to suck all the oxygen out of the algorithms. FB could give two shits about Concrete Wave. On Facebook, I am the product.  Without going into too much detail, we have skate folks de-friending each other over politics – something that you are passionate about combined with politics is always a tricky combo. Facebook just makes it a combustible mix, leaving total carnage. And oh yeah, it can warp election results. Then again, that last item could just be fake news. You see where this goes? Brutal. How ironic. The vast majority of time spent with social media is making us anti-social. Then we have folks who post FB screeds that some might feel are justified and some utterly loathe. The only thing I can add to this is that much of the beefs on FB nowadays would have in a previous era been dealt with  off line and dealt with in a vastly different manner. I realize that there is no turning back. Make no mistake, FB is a great way to publicly shame a malicious and uncaring company but I am not convinced it’s the best way to deal with individuals who have issues with someone they feel has wronged them.  Here’s a prediction you can run with immediately. I bet if you ditch this column and go on FB right now, you will find at least one rather odd rant, outrageous comment or link. Now that you’ve returned, are you impressed as how telepathic I am! You know there are trolls out there. You know there is clickbait, and like me, you are feeding your addiction with every minute you spend flipping your screen.  I began to ask myself several questions after last weeks column. Is social media making me feel like going out and skate? Is it adding to my enjoyment of life? The answer, in most cases is no. I dearly love finding out about my 150 or so friends that are truly a part of my life at any given moment. We talk on the phone, write emails and see each other at events. I also have to run a magazine, work on Longboarding for Peace, plan the next skate event and oh yeah, spend time with my family. Moving from 1 or 2 hours a day (yes, I confess to TWO HOURS a day writing pithy comments on FB) to 15 minutes per week is an incredibly liberating experience. Recently, I decluttered and got rid of a whole bunch of stuff. Collecting things for 5 decades and then either throwing it out or giving most of it away was all about finding a freedom through the idea of minimalism. It may not work for everyone and clearly, it depends on your stage in life, but I am here to tell you that when you minimize your time on social media, it feels just as liberating as disposing of an old pair of shoes you will never use. I am NOT saying don’t go on FB. I am merely suggesting that if you want to contact me I am now more available than I was last week. I challenge you to build real relationships, not just Facebook Friends. I furthermore challenge you to go on FB for 15 minutes per week. See where it takes you.  More on Dunbar’s Number:  

Ron Barbagallo, Rock Star

Ron Barbagallo, Rock Star

Chances are if you hang out on Facebook (which, to be honest, I am doing with less and less frequency these days) you might have run across a man named Ron Barbagallo. Ron is someone who I have known for well over 15 years. In fact, he was even an advertiser in International Longboarder.  Ron ran a company called “Longboards By Fatboy.” Ron has always been supportive, friendly and with an understanding that “we’re all in this together.” He understands the grassroots. He also plays a mean guitar! Ron is probably playing something from The Clash. While we’ve only met on a few occasions, each time has been stellar. Ron is hands-down one of the nicest and most genuine people I’ve ever met in skateboarding. Damn, I wish he lived a little closer to Toronto! Ron not only supported Concrete Wave for years, he’s been very supportive of Longboarding for Peace. His latest donation of 10 helmets helped out a first nations community two hours east of Toronto. I know it seems like I am lavishing an extra-ordinary amount of praise on Ron, but believe me, it is truly earned. His latest post on Facebook has to be seen to be believed. Have a peek Gord Downie, RIP I could show multiple examples of the awesomeness that is Ron Barbagallo. All I will say is that if had more people like him, the world would be a much better place.  And I’d probably hang out on Facebook more. So, here’s to you Ron (and New Jersey, your home state). This Canadian knows that Americans like Ron are truly exceptional individuals.   Ron and his buddy Joe Iacovelli.  You are truly a rockstar.

SKATE YOGI

SKATE YOGI

Kevin Banahan is both a skate-boarder and a yogi. (The term “yogi” is yoga’s self-explanatory equivalent to the term “skater” in skateboarding for those unaware.) 

 

 

In the fall of 2013, his desire to teach others the blissfulness of embracing isolated periods of time and simply being in the moment, which he attained through both skateboarding and yoga, came to fruition when he started SKATEYOGI.

Since then, Banahan has become a the full time teacher and he now operates out of a space called Skate Brooklyn. Moreover, what had once started as an organization for adult skateboarding classes, has undergone a youthful takeover. At the time of this writing, SKATEYOGI thrives on kids attending weekend group classes, after school programs and a six week summer camp. 

Concrete Wave caught up to Kevin during Week 1 of camp to discuss what goes into a skateboard summer camp for kids.

 

The day starts by having a communal meeting in spirit of the way SKATEYOGI embraces the idea that skateboarding is more than just riding. Collaborative engagement shows the children how skateboarding is centered around the sense of community that comes with the ride. At the same time, it provides education for skateboarding’s newcomers on the unspoken rules of the culture. Everything from the proper etiquette of riding in an active zone down to the practice of learning to clap their boards to applaud the tricks of others provides kids the foundations needed to roll with. A lesson on the several different ways to get involved in the skateboarding community, even when they are not physically on the board is always a great start to the day. 

Next, the kids pad up and hit the streets where Banahan and a handful of adult facilitators bring the campers to a local spot for a shot at the action. The idea of facilitating rather than coaching shows skateboarding to the young kids as a form of creative expression that traditional American pastimes cannot. As the young skaters learn how to ride their boards while interpreting their environment, they embrace the fact that skateboarding (much like the practice of yoga) is not about winning, losing or reaching an ultimate end goal. While the adults are there to mentor on basic riding techniques, the children are left to discover that there is no right or wrong way to embrace their creative freedoms. In fact, Banahan says the most gratifying part of watching the campers figure this out is when they manage to figure out a trick without being taught in the first place.

 

A cornerstone feature of the SKATEYOGI camp are the sessions on Skate Brooklyn’s brand new micro mini ramp. Here is where Banahan sees the magic of balance come into play for these young skaters. Each with a different style, the campers embrace the time on the mini ramp to find their rhythm on their own and to cheer on their fellow friends. The grand culmination for their week of camp of course comes when the dedicated shralper finally learns to drop in.

 

In short, he purpose of the SKATEYOGI summer camp is to build kids up, teach them to engage and support their fellow skateboarding peers and teach them to spread this positivity. It is designed to promote socialization and empathy while at the same time fostering an environment of resilient and practical creative exercise. It provides the fundamental guidance and the perfect setting for campers to learn the skills they need and practice the way they want. After all, Banahan says “once you know the rules, then you can break them.” Thus, in the same way that Banahan was able to find the similar parallels from yoga to skateboarding, campers are better able to draw their own parallels from skateboarding to other areas of their lives after a week of camp with SKATEYOGI.

 

 

 

If 1967 was the Summer of Love, then 2017 is the Start of the Winter of Collaboration

If 1967 was the Summer of Love, then 2017 is the Start of the Winter of Collaboration

I was turning three years old in 1967 during the Summer Love. They tell me it was a great experience. They also say if you remember the 1960’s you weren’t really there. The Summer of Love brought us The Beatles “Sgt Pepper” Hippies and Hunter S. Thompson. And in case you wondered, skateboarding was absolutely dead.

  If 1967 was about peace and love, 1968 would usher in a year of hatred and violence. In Chicago, cops beat anti-war protestors mercilessly.  Race riots erupted after the assassination of Martin Luther King.  In Vietnam the war raged on and the My Lai massacre took out hundreds of civilians. Bobby Kennedy was also assassinated. I could go on and on, but you get the picture. Skateboarding was also dead in 1968. The good news is that Tony Hawk was born in May of that year!

 

Tony Hawk as a pre-teen It would take almost 5 years for things to start percolating with skateboarding.  If truth be told, things didn’t really start exploding world-wide until 1974/75.

Fast-forward and we have just celebrated the 50th anniversary of The Summer of Love. Not sure how else to say this, but it’s pretty crazy out there. Check out these headlines from yesterday and today. If it’s not neo-Nazi’s it’s freaking North Korea. And oh yeah, it’s pretty challenging these days to run a skateboard company. Did you know there are over 2,000 skateparks in the USA and yet we have the same amount of skaters as we did in 1988. And what about the Olympics? How are small companies going to compete? And what the heck is up with longboarding?  It turns out that when the going get’s tough…Time to watch John Belushi from “Animal House.” I think this scene pretty much encapsulates where things are at. The only way forward through some of the turbulence we are faced with in our industry is through collaboration and some truly inspiring approaches. Collectively, the skate industry is made up some of the most intriguing and creative folks you’d ever want to work with. My decision is to vote with my time and ensure that the next 20 years are spent building hives of high fives and positive vibes. Stand by readers, advertisers and former advertisers, Concrete Wave has got its mojo back and as the late great Tom Petty said:  By the way, just in case you wondered about what I feel about Richard Spencer:

Hey Skaters! Is Facebook Stoking You or De-Stoking You?

Hey Skaters! Is Facebook Stoking You or De-Stoking You?

Five years ago AXS Longboard Retailer Magazine did a story on Facebook. I was puzzled by the power of social media and was quite taken with a book that laid things out in a vastly different perspective (more on that in a minute). You can read it here. Most of you have probably never even HEARD of this magazine, but it was my way of trying to bring another perspective to the market. It was a business to business publication. I think the piece still stands up but right now, I want to focus my thoughts on how Facebook is affecting folks who actually skate. Before I launch into this, I wanted to let you know about a book that I felt was probably way ahead of its time…or absolutely no where near its time. The book is called, wait for it,  This book is 5 years old. It will either delight you or drive you crazy. I am not going to get into the nitty gritty details of some of the insanely passionate arguments that rage daily on FB. I am not going to blast those who spend hours defending their point of view or chastising their fellow skaters. The latest post to cause an explosion of heated debate concerns a video that features a skater destroying a helmet – both with a baseball bat and by actually jumping on it. Adding to this, the rider in the video skates down a hill without a helmet. WARNING: I am not going to get into a debate over helmets right now. Concrete Wave publishes photos with people wearing helmets and NOT wearing helmets. We will NEVER turn away a photo if a rider has a helmet on. I will save the helmet debate for another column.  What I am most interested in is this: Is Facebook actually killing the stoke of skaters more than it is adding to their stoke?  This is a very hard question to answer, but I sense that it’s not limited to longboarding. Have a peek at this column.I am not suggesting that you cut Facebook at of your life. I am merely suggesting that you start to personally examine whether or not Facebook stokes you out as a skater more than it depresses you. If you find yourself not really feeling stoked, then I believe it is time to critically examine why this is happening.  I will admit this is something that has happened and continues to happen in my own life. I love Facebook and I hate Facebook. I know that Facebook has been a crucial way for many skate brands to grow their business. I also know that the skate business is cyclical and right now, the feelings of pure stoke often get drowned out by the drama.  Don’t get me wrong, drama, debate and skateboarding have been woven together since Dogtown and Down South battled in the pages of SkateBoarder and beyond. The difference now of course is that it is 24-7 drama and debate, should you wish.  And that really is the key. It’s what YOU wish. If you find that the most recent Facebook debate is not warming the cockles of your heart, perhaps it’s time for a temporary detox?  Here’s a challenge to anyone reading this column: can you go 12 hours without posting anything on Facebook? Can you go 24? But beyond this, if Facebook destokes you and yet you continue to spend hours on it, could going for a skate solve the problem?      

Skateboarding, Space and the City

Skateboarding, Space and the City

    Iain Borden – writer extraordinaire There is so much to appreciate about skateboarding, it’s almost overwhelming. From the entertainment it yields to the lessons it teaches us to the way it connects us to our surroundings to the culture it has spawned from a few decades of riding. But, if you strip all of those factors away and consider what makes skateboarding as sensational as it is, it comes down to feeling. It’s that feeling where the front trucks hit the ground halfway through a backside 180 and you pivot the rest of the way through. Or it could be that feeling when your eyes open back up after a slam and you realize your body is still resilient enough to have another go. And while it’s impossible to articulate those moments of bliss on the pages of a book, Iain Borden’s Skateboarding, Space and the City, makes the most comprehensive attempt at it that I have ever read. By nature, this book is actually a study about architecture and the ways that skateboarders have begun a unique interaction with the urban and suburban cities around the world, more-so than it is a book merely describing what skateboarding feels like. However, the relationship here is driven, of course, by the skateboard itself and how the skateboarder takes a device first seen as separate to their natural existence and turns it into a part of themselves. In his own words, Borden explains how, “within the act of these skateboarding moves, the skateboard is less a piece of equipment and takes on more the character of a prosthetic device, an extension of the body as a kind of fifth limb, absorbed into and diffused inside the body-terrain encounter.” For example, let’s say you have never carved a wall of transition but still wanted to know exactly what it feels like. For that, you can flip to the third chapter. Here, you will find a description of every millisecond involved in a the physics of a kick turn, in an effort to describe the ways that the rippers of the early 70’s interacted with their newfound spaces of backyard pools, drainage ditches and full pipes. Beyond these spaces, the text tells the tale of how the bowl-oriented parks of the time were adapted from these previous forms of societal architecture. It then touches on the culture of DIY parks, the placement of mini ramps versus vert ramps, the use of wooden ramps versus concrete features and pretty much any other detail about the expansion of spaces that became designed specifically for skateboarding. From one location to the next, the text becomes a riveting history lesson on how the skaters of the world ended up riding in the different places we do without thinking twice about it. From there, the book goes far beyond talking about skateparks and maneuvers. It takes a look into skateboarding subculture and everything that constitutes it. It observes the clothing, the artwork, the roles of masculinity, the participation of women, race and other qualities that forms the subcultural identity of skateboarders. This particular section is important because it perhaps links yesterday’s skateboarding history to the present day skateboarder’s mindset better than anywhere else in the book. In referencing the pride skateboarders take in their subculture, Borden writes “as with many young adults, skateboarders have little sense of history, and indeed see ignorance of the past as something to be proud of in their celebration of themselves as a ‘pure beginning’” About a day after I read that quote, I was actually out in California visiting the Morro Bay Skateboard Museum and I asked Co-Founder Eric Terhorst what he thought of it. Simply put, he said people want to make things their own because they want to feel entitled to them. When asked if he agreed with this statement, Borden told us “Definitely. Skateboarding – or at least the act of skateboarding – is about doing things for yourself in the ways you want to do so. But I would also add to this that nobody – or no set of people – therefore owns or defines skateboarding, and no single form of ‘core’ skateboarding is ‘superior’ to or dominates over any other. Just as every human has, within the confines of law, the right to believe and act as they will, so skaters should express themselves through whatever skateboarding variant they might prefer.  Indeed, if there is any hierarchy of the most ‘authentic’ or ‘core’ attributes of skateboarding, then I rate the qualities of openness, inclusivity, accessibility and freedom of interpretation over those of exclusivity, dogmatism or macho aggression. Skateboarding is best when it openly questions, challenges, explores, surprises and welcomes rather than when it is narrowly comfortable, judgmental, predictable, stable or exclusionary.” The simple fact is though, skateboarding’s subculture has become exclusionary throughout the timeline covered in this book and has become even more narrow minded in the time since this book was published. In one of the book’s most shining examples, the frequently contested controversy over skateboarding clothing is brought up. Here, Borden observes how the allure of wearing skate clothing is often rendered useless when it is, essentially, hijacked by non-skateboarders. He goes on to note how this process makes skateboarders realize that their identity is rooted in skateboarding itself, not it’s clothing. To a 21 year old skateboard writer surrounded by non-skateboarders who find that wearing a Thrasher hoodie is more of a fashion trend, rather than a means to pay homage to a premier skateboarding media outlet, this is a no brainer. However, in following up with Borden after my read, he went on to justify this notion in greater detail. After acknowledging both potential generalizations and exceptions, he explained that “The Generation X skaters of the 1990s are far more suspicious of brands, companies, clothing, fashion and style than are many of the more recent and younger skaters. So these older Generation X riders will still buy into certain brands – Vans, Antihero, Independent and the like – but require these brands to have a certain authenticity. The more recent Generation Y skaters are much more relaxed, more open to being hooked-up with different brands and companies. For them, heavily-branded and fashion-oriented outfits like Supreme and Palace  can readily sit alongside ‘non-skate’ brands like Nike, just as skateboarding itself may well for them sit alongside and within other interests and activities. Skateboarding is of course very important to many new skaters, but it doesn’t perhaps quite as often wholly define these skaters as it did for their 1990s predecessors, and nor do these Generation Y skaters feel that they in turn own or define skateboarding in the same way that Generation X skaters can often get very territorial over who is or can claim to be a skater, or can ‘rightfully’ wear skate apparel.” On top of all the different avenues that this book covers, it’s most fascinating aspect is the emphasis that Borden puts on using authentic primary sources. With few scholarly sources to cite, he relied on “30 years now of looking at magazines, books, articles, DVDs, videos etc.” to compile the book. Even more thought-provoking is the fact that Borden not only pulled a massive amount of quotes from these sources but also gave them critical analysis throughout. In one specific example. Borden starts the fifth chapter by embedding a poem from a 1986 issue Thrasher that sounds like something a middle-schooler might have haphazardly strung together. Despite the noticeably amateur work, Borden treats the text just the same as he treats the words of philosopher Henri Lefebvre, who is featured throughout the work. Ignoring the poem’s lack of prowess, Borden draws parallels to legitimate commentary on spacial studies from the writings of a skateboarder whose thoughts made it into the magazine one day. It is this consideration and validation that Borden gives to the writers of the skateboarding world that makes this book so important to me. This is something that is acknowledged from the very get-go. In disclosing the lack of scholarly logic behind many of the works he cites, Borden states, “Although often highly intelligent in their articles and reports, particularly through their self-deprecating demeanour, these magazines are not highly theorized. Nor are they the products of professional journalists, but the products of skateboarders themselves who have become journalists through working on such publications.” This reliance on referencing “whatever they saw fit to say and publish at the time” gives purpose not only to all of the skateboarding writers out there but to those reading their work. From the product of a skateboarder themselves, I wholeheartedly encourage those reading this piece to get their hands on a copy of Iain Borden’s Skateboarding, Space and the City before next spring. By that time, in May of 2018, Borden will be releasing “a massively revised/expanded/updated version of the book” that will be sure to live up to the original. I trust that neither read will soon be forgotten. 

Kannibal Skateboards Rises From the Crypt

Kannibal Skateboards Rises From the Crypt

The roots of this article go way back to the 1990’s. We’ll explain more in a moment. But if for some reason you think that longboarding is only about bombing hills or cruising – prepare to have your brain eaten by cannibals. Actually, make that Kannibal Skateboards. This company, hailing from some remote Florida swamp (a notorious breeding ground for Kannibals) has put together an insane team of rippers who destroy street spots on longboards. WARNING: This is not about throwing shakas and cruising. It’s about mayhem on four wheels.  The roots of Kannibal go back to a skate company called TVS. Terminal Velocity Streetboards were doing things in the early 2000’s that many skaters to this day can’t seem to get their heads around. Some of those legendary skaters have joined up with Kannibal to unleash their vision of skateboarding on a new crop of riders. To get a taste of what TVS was about have a peek below: Founder Jon Milstadio is originally from Virginia and as we mentioned, he has very different take on skateboarding.  “I tried the t-ball thing – tried the soccer thing. It lasted maybe a week” he says wryly. “I was interested in skating – I got my first board from my grandma. It was a Tony Hawk.” Jon moved down to Florida when he was eight.   “We didn’t have much to skate. There were no hills and maybe one backyard ramp.” Jon recalls seeing a new company called Zion Longboards. Jon tried out a board and found it addictive. “I always felt he needed a bigger board and the longboard fulfilled this need.Kannibal founder – Jon Milstadio Over the next few years, Jon would modify longboards and attempt kickflips on pintails. “There was a set of stairs nearby and we’d take our 46″ boards and ride. It was fun and no one else was doing this in our area.”Jon Milstadio launches on his Envy Longboard in 1999. Keith was interested in starting his own company. He created a shape very reminiscent of snowboards – they were flat and they’d break pretty quickly. Eventually they went back to Zion to get some boards made. “We called it the Scooby Snack” recalls Jon.  Jon recalls that Keith spotted a local on a Bareback board with the same shape as the Scooby Snack. It was from a company called Bareback. They were amazed that the kid could do 180 backside ollies with it. “We wound up getting boards from Grant at Bareback” recalls Jon.Teamrider Jarpy  “I went down to Surf Expo in the late 90’s and went up to the folks from Envy Longboards. I thought it was a cool board. They were stunned that I wanted to drop in the on the ramp.” Jon dropped in and the crowd was amazed. He wound up skating for Envy and eventually he made his way to the Kona Nationals in 2000. “That event blew my mind” recalls Jon. “I broke three toes but to be there and see so many longboarders was amazing.” He had his toes iced the night before the contest and wound up getting third place in the AM division. Tibs Parise strikes a pose. Jon would eventually wind up riding with a number of longboard rippers including Jeff Budro, Brad Edwards (RIP), Jimmy Riha, Yancey Meyer and Jesse Parker. “I thought I was on one level and I thought I’d dominate as a pro at the next Kona contest” says Jon. “But these guys were just so far advanced. It was still amazing to be with all these guys.” When TVS released their video Unleashed in the Middle East, featuring Yancey and Jesse it took longboarding to a whole new level. “The video was so inspiring and I tried to duplicate the tricks I saw in it.” Jon eventually realized that riding on larger boards was all that he wanted to do within skateboarding. He wound up getting sponsored by Flexdex but things didn’t really mushroom the way he thought they would.  Jon witnessed firsthand how TVS just completely blew up. The story of TVS is one that very few folks know about but one day I am sure they’ll do a movie. To keep this article within digestible size, let’s just say that TVS was way ahead of its time and it definitely inspired a totally different way to view longboarding. That spirit is infused within Kannibal. I can feel it.  Jesse Parker with his pro model. Over the last decade or so, Jon’s path in skateboarding took some twists and turns. He never lost touch with Jesse and over time, he began plotting a way to return to the roots of a more hardcore approach to boards over 36″. “I never lost touch with Jesse and he thought my idea about starting up a new company would be cool.” This is how Kannibal Skateboards was unleashed. Joining Jon are Yancey, Jesse and Tibs Parise. It is truly an unbelievable talented team. Yancey Meyer with appropriate attire for the season. “It is not just about downhill” explains Jon. “There’s a whole f**king side to this that no one knows about. This thing can be way bigger than any of us.” Jon sees the fusion of longboarding and street skating as the future. “Nobody wants to take that chance – but we’ve already proven that it works – it was sick!” Vert, bowl, street, park – Kannibal aims to destroy it all on longboards.    MINI INTERVIEW with Jon Milstadio CW Mag: What would you say to the current crop of street skaters who still have prejudice towards longboarding?Jon: Hate all you want, but longboarding isn’t going away. It is only going to get bigger. You guys are doing things that are radically different. Has any other media picked up on this?Nobody. Where would you like to be in a year from now?We would like to be touring the east and west coast, having our boards in most core skateboard shops across the globe. We would also like to have a rad AM team. Shout outs to:Shout out to the Kannibal Skateboards team, Brian at Barefoot Designs for the art and printing, Brian Davis and Jeff King for taking killer shots, and my grandma for buying me my first Powell skateboard deck!  For more info visit: kannibalskateboards.com

Saturday Morning Video Free For All

Saturday Morning Video Free For All

We have been combing over a number of videos and I am delighted to share with you two new rarely seen videos from our first edition of Evolutions DVD. Evolutions hit in 2005 at a time when You Tube was still a concept. Getting a FREE DVD that went for over 2 hours was a pretty unusual thing back then. Here are two cool pieces from that DVD. Be sure to subscribe to our channel…more videos are coming!The first is Escate by Jay Edry. It’s a 2 1/2 minute animated masterpiece.The short still stands the test of time – hard to believe it was created 12 years ago!Jay Edry was a animation student at Seneca College in Toronto. He went on to be come a hugely successful game designer for mobile devices. Another video that we know you will enjoy is from the film “Downhill Motion.” It captures the 60’s and 70’s scene in a truly remarkable way. This video is presented by ZFBC. Huge thanks to them!  You’ll see footage from 1960’s slalom contests and folks bombing the legendary Signal Hill. BONUS!have a peek here – this video will make you laugh – it is seriously well done!  

Guns and Skateboards

Guns and Skateboards

Like all of you, I am deeply shocked and saddened by the events that unfolded on Sunday night in Las Vegas. I was actually in Las Vegas on August 11th with my family and of course, we were right on the strip.  After the Sandy Hook massacre (2012), Neil Carver of Carver Skateboards was called to take action. His idea was simple. Let’s trade guns in that no one wants in their house for skateboards. He worked with the San Pedro police department and spawned four additional gun buy backs in San Diego. Collectively, the “Guns for Skateboards” initiative has traded hundreds of guns. In case you are wondering, the guns are taken with no questions asked and are promptly destroyed by law enforcement. We get fully automatic weapons like Uzi’s and M16’s. We also get an assortment of guns from the 1800’s, mini guns and hollow point bullets.Gun buy back in San Pedro – 2013 Please note that NO ONE is forcing these folks to trade in their guns. In fact, we even have gun shops stand outside with signs saying they’ll offer more than what a skateboard is worth. I know what you’re thinking. A few thousand guns is nothing compared to the 300+ million guns that are in the USA. My answer is this: replacing a skateboard with an unwanted gun does more than what you think it does. You see, in San Diego (according to the Police Chief I spoke with) a number of guns are stolen from homes and used to commit violent crimes. Unfortunately, these guns are not under lock and key. They are not fully secured and they get taken in home robberies/invasions. These guns are then used in armed robbery or other gun related crimes.   All sensible gun owners will tell you that it is imperative that guns are stored safely. When guns are not stored safely, you can run into some big trouble.  Rather than argue about gun rights or gun bans, this gun buyback program does one thing – it removes an unwanted gun and replaces it with something else entirely. Right now, the USA is reeling and both sides – those who want to ban guns and those who say it is their right to have firearms are screaming at at each other. You either go in circles, or you step up and take a different approach. The gun buy back can be supported by both sides. You can read more about it here (thank you Huck Magazine) I firmly believe you need to build bridges on the issue of gun violence. The only way to do this to address the millions of gun owners who believe a safely secured firearm is of paramount concern. Anything else is recklessness. But for those folks who for whatever reason are not able to secure their gun safely, a gun buy back is a start. From here, you can begin a dialogue about what to do next. If you are interested in getting involved in our next gun buy back in San Diego, please email me. It’s happening in December.