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.    

Morro Bay Skateboard Museum

Morro Bay Skateboard Museum

   The story of how I discovered the Morro Bay Skateboarding Museum may be one of the most odd coincidences I’ve experienced in my skateboarding career, so far. Picture this: You’re on a family vacation in California for first time, up in Vacaville. Your mom decides to go to the hotel pool for the night, and ends up meeting some new friends. They get to talking about their sons and about their shared interests in skateboarding. Lo and behold, the  new friend says “If you’re headed down the coast, you gotta check out the skate museum in Morro Bay!” Jackpot. Thanks mom. As I came further down the coast, I reached out to Concrete Wave and arranged a visit to the museum with Owner and 1978 Skate Car World Champion, Jack Smith. Before long, I found myself inside the walls of the Morro Bay Skateboard Museum as co-curator Eric Torhorst showed off a Hobie Fiber Flex from the 70’s, to a father who beamed with memories of that same setup he once owned. Eric Torhorst Over the next hour or so, Torhorst walked me through a visual representation of skateboarding’s history from both Smith’s personal collection, started in the 1980s, and beyond. In fact, the beginnings of Terhorst’s tour discussed how the most primitive boards stemmed from the Great Depression and WWII era mindsets of conserving and doing the most with whatever was available at the time. This would explain the museums earliest, metal wheeled contraptions, slapped together with any roller skate pieces that made sense at the time. And as our conversation moved from floor-scuffing clay wheels to urethane wheels that were originally labeled as rejects in a factory, I found out about more minute details in skateboarding’ history than I knew existed.Owner of the museum and skate legend – Jack Smith We then looked into sets of original color-coded Cadillac Wheels of the 1970s according to their durometers and learned how original ball bearings were taken from an office copy machine. With each piece of the more modern skateboard coming together, Terhorst’s claim that skateboarding’s early racing collectives and the drive to go as fast as humanly possible is skateboarding’s true backbone. From the echoes of the trophies and medals in surrounding display cases and the boards developed to win them, he makes an undeniably valid point. While I will not give away all of the museum’s nooks and crannies, it is important to note what Smith and Terhorst had to say about the role of the museum and skateboard history as a whole in today’s times. To touch on this, I asked the pair each what they thought of a passage in my current read, Iain Borden’s Skateboarding, Space and the City. In the book, Borden says “In particular, 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.” In Smith’s eyes, this “has to do with the fact that everything happens and changes so quickly in today’s internet driven world. It seems as if there is no time for self-introspection or to study the history of the sport/lifestyle that you are pursuing. It’s all about what is the newest trick, the newest spot, who is riding for who or what the next event is.” In turn, Terhorst responded by stating that kids today want to make things their own to foster sense of entitlement. Citing examples of how the names of old 360 Kickflips and one foot ollies have been hijacked and forgotten in the faces of tre flips and ollie norths, he makes another solid point. A point that has even been echoed by the likes of Steve Caballero.Trophies from skate events  “So many skateboarders think skateboarding started five years before they began riding. We see it all the time in the museum. Young skaters will look at steel and clay-wheeled boards from the 1960s and comment ‘I wouldn’t have ridden that.’ We explain to them that’s all there was and share the type of riding that skaters were capable of back then” added Smith. And while the pair of historians try to find new ways to introduce skateboarders to different disciplines, different ways to have fun on the board, and even to get skateboarders interested in learning skate history general, it is clear that the challenge is formidable. However, equally as clear is the exceptional manner in which the Morro Bay Skateboarding Museum wages this war to those who pass by it on the street. For a small part of their day, the people I saw walk in during my time there seemed mystified at the sprawling display before them. Who would have thought there was so much history behind that guy who looks too old to be riding that noisy old board down the street anyway? Perhaps not enough of us. This is why I encourage those crammed in their cars for trips down the Pacific Coast to stretch their legs out and make a detour through Morro Bay. If you’re not going on a trip anytime soon, take a peek at their Instagram and get a taste from there. Odds are, you could learn something that may shift your perception on modern day skateboarding. For more info, click here PS: Thanks again for this one, Mom.  

Brad Edwards – 1969 – 2017

Brad Edwards – 1969 – 2017

 Brad Edwards was a longboard pioneer, artist and a most excellent human being. His smile, grace and total stoke for skateboarding is something that I will never forget. Over the past 2 decades or so, I’ve met up with Brad on a dozen occasions. His family and friends who spent more time with him (than I ever could) know that Brad had a large heart. Ten years ago, Gravity Skateboards released FLOW – it’s still one of the best videos out there and way ahead of its time.  A video from 2013 where Brad shares a little bit of his skate philosophy.  Concrete Wave was proud to give Brad not one, but FOUR covers.    With Mr. Tibbs – just over a year ago.  Some thoughts from Facebook:FROM BILL BILLINGDevastated.
Brad was one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met.
At the beginning of the year when we did a gofundme to get the Old Bro ramp back in shape, all that money went to materials and Brad. He did all the labor. He was completely professional and showed up for work on time every day as if he was punching a clock. He cleaned up every day and when the money ran out, I had to turn him away. He insisted on doing more saying I paid him too much. I didn’t.

 
I’ve only known a few people who loved to skate as much as Brad, and he did it with more style than most of us could ever dream of.
A few weeks ago he had agreed to go to Egypt with me next month, to ride his skateboard. He was totally stoked on it and I knew we were going to have an amazing time. There is a big hole in skateboarding today and there is a hole in my heart. RIP my friend, you will be so missed.
 FROM ROBBIE LYONS

Not only did the skateboarding world lose a legend today, but the world lost an amazing person. Brad Edwards, it was an honor to work and skate with you for so many years, and to call you a good friend. I will never forget the fun times and great memories we shared.

 

You will surely be missed by people all over the world, and your legacy will continue to inspire so many. You were more than an inspiration to me, you taught me so much about skateboarding and about life at such a critical part in my existence and my gratitude for you will forever be owed.

RIP to one of the coolest, most humble, down to earth people I will ever know. He’s up there with Shane now, shredding all that heaven has to offer. Until we meet again one day, thank you Brad, for everything.

  

Geoff Edwards – Brad’s brother

 

Thank you all for your prayers and kind thoughts over past few days.

As many of you know Brad recently suffered a significant brain hemorrhage and stroke, and while he initially made a miraculous recovery and we thought he was well in his way to a full recovery, however, his condition rapidly deteriorated and he was unable to overcome the damage to his brain. It is with profound sorrow and broken hearts that we that we have to tell you all we had to say goodbye to Brad…

 

We know this news comes as a shock to all of you and be devastating to many of you that he called his family and friends, as it has been for us. Brad will obviously be missed by his extended family and freinds he has made all around the world, we all wish he was still with us ready to skate that next pool, bowl, and ditch…

For those that aren’t familiar with Brad’s entire story or least an abbreviated version, Brad was born in 1969 in Framingham, Massachusetts, and lived in Holliston, MA until our family moved to California the day after Christmas in 1972, which Brad thought was great because we had two Christmases that year (one on each coast). Brad grew up in the sleepy little town of Agoura, CA, and started skateboarding at the age four. Brad was always extremely active and involved in outdoor activities like soccer, cross country running, surfing and of course skateboarding. Brad graduated from Agoura High in 1987 and attended Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo.

 

Brad literally traveled the world skateboarding, surfing, and working for Gravity Skateboards for many years. Recently he has been involved a building skatepark in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Brad is survived by his brother Geoff and his wife Teri, sister Alison and her husband Tom and his five nieces and nephews (Zach, Jeremy, Peri, Wes and Tess), who affectionally called him “Uncle Rad”.

Details on memorial services will shared with all at a later date. We ask that in lieu of flowers or cards, if you would like to honor Brad’s memory you make a donation in his name to Saint Francis Hospital who provided world class medical care to Brad during his brief battle (details to follow).

 

As many of you know Brad was always a giver and as his final gift to the world was that he donated his organs that will potentially save the lives of 8 people, and tissue that will benefit as many as 75 additional people.

If Brad were still with us, we are sure he would want the lesson of his life to be, “Be good to each other, and make someone smile today through some small act of kindness, or even a smile”. And he would say the lesson from his death is to get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis and take care of yourselves and each other.

 

Brad is off on the next leg of his journey to join his parents (Nancy and Paul), and all his friends and family that preceded him, and I’m sure looking forward to the endless perfect wave, and the ultimate skatepark!

We already miss you immensely, but until we meet again skate on little brother, skate on!

    

Pathways To Peace …

Pathways To Peace …

Seven years ago if you asked me what was celebrated on September 21st I would have given you a blank stare and the following answer: “How the hell do I know what happens on September 21st? – I can barely remember what I had for breakfast yesterday!” So what is happening tomorrow? Well, read on and I’ll give you the scoop. A great many things have changed since 2010 but looking back through that year, Concrete Wave was doing things that NO other skate magazine would touch. Here’s a sample:  Here’s another example – do any of these folks look familiar? Damn you guys look so YOUNG!The fact is the IDEA of DOCUMENTING skateboarding from different perspectives is what makes it such a phenomenal sport/pastime/lifestyle or whatever noun you want to put in there. Before International Longboarder/Concrete Wave, pretty much all skateboard magazines in North America ignored much of what was happening in skateboarding during the mid to late 90’s. The exception of course is Juice Magazine who have done an incredible job blazing their own independent path for 75 freakin’ issues.  Seven years ago, if someone were to tell you that Donald Trump was going to be giving a speech to UN as President of the USA, you’d probably think they were out of their mind. Seven years ago, I predicted a great many things within skateboarding. Here’s just one:  In case you can’t read that…here’s the most significant part: A lot of folks thought I was out of my mind – but the time from 2010 to 2013 was clearly the “golden age” with demand far outstripping supply. Now, as the industry wonders about demand, participants, contests, media and the latest Facebook shenanigans, I am here to tell you that Concrete Wave is about to change ONCE AGAIN. Things change within skateboarding – that’s in its DNA. But sometimes you get so bogged down you can’t see the forest through the trees. I’d be the first to admit, there are times when I get bogged down as a publisher of CW. But after some serious soul searching, I can tell you, I am on a very different path than I was one year ago – and it feels great. I got my skate mojo back and I fully intend to utilize it. As a magazine, we’ve pivoted a few times. That’s what happens when you buy ink by the gallon and pixels by the terabyte. But one thing I’ve never waivered from: I promote the joy of skateboarding through all kinds of media – not just print. We did videos (CW TV) 17 years ago and we did DVD’s way before YouTube. And for the record, this site still stands – and it just celebrated 21 years on the web! We’re about to unleash some pretty cool things in the next few weeks. My mind has been restless to determine a path for the future. Oddly enough the answers were right there in front of me. A lot of folks will tell you it’s all about going with the flow. For me , it’s all about FLOW state. That’s what skateboarding gives me – I enter flow state. Not sure exactly what that is? Click on the link above! So, to bring this full circle, let me break it down like this: 1.  The world is going through quite a bit of trauma/drama/issues right now  (just like some parts of skateboarding) 2.  Within the world of politics , extreme right and extreme right are severely testing the MODERATE middle. Extreme left and right just creates a circle of mistrust, instability and chaos(skateboarders know how to turn both LEFT and RIGHT in order to move forward) 3.  The future is unwritten – Joe Strummer(so what are you going to do about it?) Seven years ago I did not know that September 21st is the International Day of Peace. If you dream of peace in this world, you can do several things: 1. you can skate for peace (or longboard for peace)2. you can roll for peace (thank you to all who did just that on September 16th) to celebrate the 21st3. you can have a role IN peace. The third one is tricky. Our actions define who we are. If you want to roll for peace, that’s awesome Kudos to you. If you want a role IN peace, that is a little more complex because you might face some headwinds from those who don’t quite get what you’re up to. In truth, five years ago, a few people thought that Longboarding for Peace was weird. They thought “search spark stoke” was kinda lame.  Have a peek at an online at interview from Wheelbase Mag with James Kelly: Note: I have the greatest admiration for the work that Marcus has done with Wheelbase and I am glad he asked James about his thoughts on winning “Speedboarder of the Year.” But fast forward four years and James Kelly (along with Liam Morgan) has a 12 page story in Skate Slate. Have a look at Jon Huey’s final question:  Like James, I view my role in peace as an integral part of who I am as a skater. I am mixing skateboarding with my desire to foster peace, balance and justice. Have a peek at the past five years worth of our work:  I am proud of the work that James is doing. I am also very proud of Valerian Kechichian of the Longboard Girls Crew who is also doing great things for skateboarding AND peace!  Here is Valeria in her own words: 

Through all these years we’ve received thousand of emails of women and men around the world telling us how they started skating after seeing one of our photos or videos and how their lives have changed thanks to longboarding. How empowered they now feel. And even though not everyone became an avid rider, this feeling stuck in them and affected their lives in the most positive way. THAT feeling is exactly what we want to bring to people who need it the most. Work on how we feel about our Selves and hopefully help see more of the magic inside us. We’ve been empowering people through longboarding all these years. Now we want to take it to the next level.

 

Us humans have basic external needs like food and shelter and we have others just as important: Love, Self-esteem, respect, education, support… We want to work on these aspects and if possible, bring them to people in need.

 

So how are we doing this? We’re creating new social projects all around the world and we’re also partnering-up with existing ones actively supporting their initiatives through financial and material support, media coverage, creating mutual actions and directing our audience through personal involvement and/or donations.

 What does this mean? It means watch how skaters worldwide find their role in peace. Watch how Concrete Wave changes over the next few weeks. Watch how we completely pivot and create something vastly different. And watch as others in the skate community define and act on their role in peace. Tomorrow is the International Day of Peace. Now that you know this, what will be YOUR roll/role? Twenty years ago, my pathway to publishing was through the act of skateboarding. Five years ago, my pathway to peace was through the creation of Longboarding for Peace. One month ago, I created Roll for Peace. I am about to combine all three elements and you’re invited on my journey. Yours in peace, balance and justice,Michael Brooke Yoni Ettinger helps a student at the Shuafat Refugee Camp in East Jerusalem.  Ps – High fives and positive vibes  

The Summer Camper Tour 2016/17, Report Number Three: Phoenix Metro, Part One

The Summer Camper Tour 2016/17, Report Number Three: Phoenix Metro, Part One

 

Slowly, but surely, the tour is getting underway. There is, after all, a method to my obvious madness. And luckily for me, the madness is paying off.

 

My biggest concern over this whole “Summer Tour” was, beyond everything else, my knees. My poor, aging, painfully disintegrating knees that my doctors would love nothing more than to slice open, cut out, repair, replace, and bankrupt me over. They’ve wanted to do this since 1995 (or so). Thus far, they have been unsuccessful in their attempts to persuade me that my money is best funnelled into their pockets. As you can see, my stubbornness knows almost no bounds. Twenty-two years I’ve held them at bay. And counting.

 

That understood, I had to move very, very wisely, lest I do any more permanent damage than I already have. Think big, start small. Begin in your own backyard, and radiate outward from there. My itinerary reflected this cautious approach: the beginning of my tour started right here in Phoenix, where I could “get my feet wet”, so to speak. But which is really code for “breaking my knees in, as slowly and as painlessly as possible.”

“My backyard”, however, is a certifiable concrete oasis. Just look at these pictures…! Can you freaking believe it…?! I can, because I’ve personally skated them. All of them. And I can tell you this: it hurts. Very, very painfully so. But it hurts really, really good. If there’s any kind of pain I can suffer happily, it’s the skateboarding kind.

 

This weekend was pretty typical of good things to come. There were twenty-two skateparks on my Metro Hit List. Yeah, you read that right: twenty-two skateparks. My God… back in 2008, I had to drive across two-thirds of Indiana to skate twenty-two skateparks; in Phoenix today, I barely have to drive across the damn valley. That’s insane. There was no way in hell I was gonna get to them all; Phoenix Metro’s gonna take me a solid month, all by itself, to fully cover and document. Overly ambitious, it was. I’m always guilty of being bold and brash, if nothing else.

Of the differences that I’ve noted between my 2008 Tour, and my current 2016 Tour thus far, that’s probably the most obvious one that stands out: just how many free, concrete, good-quality skateboard parks have been built in the last decade-or-so. Life is so awesome right now. It’s a great time to be a skateboarder. Even a fat, broken, and aging one.

Everything that’s poured out of concrete around here seems really huge. That’s a little bit startling to the lackluster-skilled old geezer in me. Rio Vista and Litchfield were downright scary; those massive beasts seemed like they were fifteen feet tall in the shallow end, for Pete’s sakes. And the “street” obstacles looked like something out of The Dew Tour, but strung out on steroids. The one thing I haven’t seen much of yet, are smaller terrains geared towards beginners. These skatepark designers and builders just go right for the gusto; I can only infer that their intent is to raise a nation of mini-me Danny Ways out here.

Hermoso Park here in Phoenix, and Hudson Park in Tempe were a little more kid-and-geezer-friendly. Those were fun (and memorable) diversions, because I still had the meager skills required to actually skate them semi-competently. Hudson was one of the very few “prefab” skateparks that I came across… I believe they were Woodward-branded ramps… that were put together so tightly that the resulting skatepark was actually a little bit hard to skate. But, not impossible. I did a frontside rock here that has to be the fastest frontside rock that I’ve ever slapped in my life; the board barely tapped the coping before I was turning out of it. I had to: the next ramp was just a few feet away, and I didn’t want to be caught totally off guard and wilson right onto my fat ‘ol ass.

Hermoso was a concrete mini-oasis that featured an extremely novel embankment that started at about three feet (or so) tall, and tapered all the way down to curb height. It was a slappy heaven on the short end, while the tall end made even stock tricks (like rock ‘n rolls) a real accomplishment. A feat that I did actually accomplish, by the way. And that I’m pretty damn proud of, to boot.

 

Apparently, the only tricks I can do that are worth writing home about, are rock ‘n rolls. But I’m fine with that. As Andy Mac once famously said, “As long as I’ve got frontside rocks, I’ll be okay”. I guess that means I’m okay, right…?

 

91 West was a pleasing diversion. That’s a rare, indoor skatepark out on the west side at 91st Avenue (hence, the name). They have a small, wood-and-Skatelite oasis that features… wait for it… air conditioning! And hot damn, it’s cold in there! But they also have a fun-as-hell little 3′-by-12′ mini ramp that’s built like a brick shithouse. You hardly have to pump it at all, it’s so damn quick. Great for dusting off the ‘ol bag of tricks (which I desperately needed to do) without killing yourself (which I desperately needed to avoid).

 

Ironically, a few of their ramps actually have cut-up little pieces of Skatelite that creates the sensation of skating over (very smooth) bricks. That’s pretty neat. I had to give them a big hand for creative thinking (and flawless construction) on that one. And the owner and the staff of the place were all really, really friendly and accommodating. Everything was super clean, and impeccably executed. I was impressed.

Phoenix is a real skateboarding paradise. Seriously. The skaters here – especially the older guys (which there are zillions of) are super cool. They’re personable, fun-loving enthusiasts. My kind of crowd. The funny thing is, I still don’t see too many skaters out and about in my travels. I’m blaming that on the weather, though, for the moment; it’s still averaging highs well into the 90s on most days here in the valley, even in late September. We can probably thank Global Warming for that; once again, we broke the record for most 100+ degree days here in Phoenix this year. A record we seem to break every single year these days.

I’ve been carefully documenting each of these parks, and sending my diligently-composed panoramics and write-ups over to Jeff at Concrete Disciples on a weekly basis. I think he might just be a little bit surprised at how much I’m getting done out here on the road. At 44 years old. And in “retirement” mode.

 

As for me and my skate-tour ambitions, well, I’m just getting warmed up. Pun totally intended.

 

 

 

Artist Profile – JJ Hulsey

Artist Profile – JJ Hulsey

I’m J.J. Hulsey. I grew up in Detroit, MI. Green Bay, WI. And both sides of Kansas City.

I create one of a kind artworks that are eye catching, fun, hand drawn/painted, and have more soul than Bobby Womack when he is lonely! (Ok, maybe I took that a little far!)

 

I’ve worked as a mechanic for 10 years while also producing art. I tattooed for the last 3 years, and I now want to get into the graphic design field.

As far back as I can remember I’ve been into skateboarding, graffiti, and hot rods. I’ve had works shown in several local shows in the K.C. area which lead me to my tattoo adventures.. Found out some of the guys I worked for, were into a life that was totally not where I wanted to be. Not to say that I didn’t learn great things from them, I just wanted to go in a different direction. 

Basically, I just want to be where my heart is, and that’s skateboarding and art! Through my young days as a punk rocker, I’ve always believed in the D.I.Y. aspect of skater owned and operated companies. So I’m not in it for the money, but who wouldn’t want to be able to make a living doing what they love! 

 Contact info: JJ Hulsey 

Voice of the Shops: Burning Spider Stoke Company

Voice of the Shops: Burning Spider Stoke Company

Publisher’s Note – it’s easy to say “support your local skate shop.” It’s quite another to really get behind those folks working tirelessly to keep skateboarding moving forward by nurturing the next generation of riders. Joseph Burnham, the founder and proprietor of Kansas City, Missouri’s Burning Spider Stoke Company is a beacon to skaters world-wide. He’s also a great person. Remember “stoke” is not a commodity you can get online Stoke is a bi-product of skateboarding.  And sometimes you gotta BUY the product at the LOCAL skate shop! We want to share skateboarding with as many people as possible.  We love everything about it.  There is instant feedback with skateboards.  If you screw up.  You get off balance.  You fall.  You then chose. You could just opt out. “Nope.  Not my game.  Not my kind of pain.” You can get back on, destined to fall again. “Yeah.  I can do this.  I want to do this. I have healed, and now I am stronger.” It is that decision almost every time we step on a board, or fall off.  When we finish a session.  When a good friend gets injured, sometimes bad.   So if not for the support of each other in this otherwise completely mundane and often brutal world? Then why not devote that level of dedication to every decision we make?  From the food we put in our bodies.  The people we associate with.  How we treat ourselves, and others.  Where we spend our money in our community.  How we invest our time and energy? It is with this we wish to fill our day.  It is our absolute delight that we are able to serve such a rad community of people.  From the companies that tolerate our perhaps bizarre system of keeping it all together, barely.  To the people in our day to day that we get to encourage and watch grow.  We have learned so much in these five years, and we are just getting warmed up. We instigate as much skateboarding as we possibly can, through as many channels as we can.  We aren’t saying we are the best, only that in what our community has allowed us to build with their contribution, is a lot of fun, as well as rewarding.  As we get things continually smoother and we learn a bit more there is no telling what kind of shenanigans are going to be going down.  If you spent a month with us, it would all start off with either a first Sunday, or a First Friday. Photo: Joe B. In the case of June’s 2017 layout we would be talking First Fridays down at the Cross Roads.  This is more of a Kansas City tradition really, but it gets us out of the shop early on a Friday night and we get to skate with our peoples.   First Fridays is a gathering of all sorts of tribes.  There are art galleries that have shows.  Small makers collaboratives.  Street performers.  You name it.  Oh and us.  There is a really sweet free ride hill that cuts down one side of the whole shindig.  Despite the sometimes heavy traffic we get in some pretty solid lines.  We get to demonstrate what it is we can do.  The crowd can get pretty pumped up so this is a lot of fun.  Not to mention a great way to meet new people and give them a good example of the possibilities that skateboarding can offer. First Sunday brings the Indian Creek Push Trail series.  This is now it’s second year and the band of regulars that push it are The Push Scouts.  We have 3 distances someone can push.  25, 50, and 75 mile plans.  Most of it is on trails, but the latter is a pretty sweet early start that rips through town.  We have teamed up with the Shralpers Union’s local chapter to help with logistics and support, as well as Seismic, and Ultimate Directions for some gear at the end of the year.  We keep track of our times on the trail to measure each persons progress.  At the end of the year we present awards for Best 25 Mile Time, Best 50 Mile Time, and Best 75 Mile time.  We also have a category for Most Improved in each of those segments.  Mainly we just tell stories about all of the goings on on the trail and so forth.  This has built a community that  takes on a Father’s Day weekend event called the Knob Noster Knasty.  This is a 69 mile per day two day fiesta smashed into a camping trip.  You know we have a strong Shralpers Union Chapter so support is on point, planned out, and ready.  It is a sunny little push filled with road kill, no see-um speed killing rocks, and a real nice challenge.  There may not be any mountains to push up, but the uphill pushes go on forever, and the downhill sections are too short. Second Sunday we host our Stoke Clinics at Kessler Park. It is closed to cars on the weekends, and features are quarter mile downhill section, as well as a nice flat area.  This makes it ideal to teach a really broad range of different skill levels and styles of skateboarding.  We kick things off with a optional two hour push along Cliff Drive’s section of road that runs through the park for people wanting to build themselves up for the Indian Creek Trail or long distance pushing in general.  Then at 12pm we bring as the shop’s collection of boards to the bottom of the hill and start teaching people what it is they want to learn.  Photo: Joe B. Most of the boards were provided by Loaded Longboards, with wheels by Orangatang.  The local chapter of the Shralpers Union teamed up with us to complete the decks the rest of the way.  So people don’t even need to own a board if they want to try several different styles.   We teach people from “never stood on a board before”, to working with our local group of regular riders to improve whatever it is they are wanting to improve.  The huge range of riding styles, the huge range of riding skill levels, all the different styles of boards we bring out, and the 3 years of teaching these all come together to hopefully give people the best start to as far as they want to take it education we can possible offer.   This location also is also used to host our annual, for the most part, event call King of Kessler.  Which is the center event of a three event weekend including a swap meet (Third Friday), and our local Green Skate event (the Sunday After). King of Kessler is a triathlon of skateboarding styles.  We kick it all off with a 5 mile push, then a Downhill race, and finish with a Free Ride segment.  Each rider gets points for participation in each of the segments and how they finished.  At the end of the day, the rider with the most points is crowned King of Kessler. The groms get to be compete for Prince, and the Shralpers Union keep on eye out for the most stoked high five giving person at the event so that we can hand them the Noel Korman Award.   Third Fridays bring us back to the shop for our Swap Meets!  We invite our community to hang out with us and buy, sell, trade their old gear like we had to do back before the internets.  This was a bit of a scary leap for us, but as time has went on the benefits to us as a shop and more importantly the benefits to the community at large have kept these things going.   I have had a few shop owners raise their eyebrow on this one for sure, but just bear with me for a few sentences.  When I have customers that come in and they are looking for a set up at a lower price, those dudes are on a budget.  Granted many of those new or budget skaters may not understand all that goes into a board and how price paid for a board can have an impact on quality.  If they are on a budget, and it’s a firm one, and I don’t have a set up that is quality for the price those people will walk.  It isn’t money the shop was getting anyways.  Those customers would go to a discount internet shop or some corporate big box shop and then purchase a set up that is most likely not a very safe or fun option.  Photo: Caleb Scott With the Swap Meets we can offer the budget or brand new skater a safe, quality, option.  This takes old gear out of the B/S/T groups and on the road being used.  Typically the person will then have budget dollars left over to get their used purchase fixed up with fresh grip.  Most of the times fresh bearings, hardware, and other bits and pieces that otherwise would not have been purchased at all.   The amount of information people get at the Swap Meet is huge as well.  Instead of just one passionate person talking about skateboards, we have a huge chunk of community with different perspectives putting in their two cents as well.   Let’s not forget the big thing for the sellers.  Those dudes, peoples, our people get cash as well!  Does that come back to the shop instantly?  Nope not all the time, a lot of the time, but not all the time.  That is ok though.   We aren’t here to take all the money.  We are here to keep our community as happy, as healthy as they allow themselves to be, and equipped with the best information and gear we can reasonably get.  We want to curate our community to include as many different styles of skateboarding as we can possible facilitate.  The rest of the month is typically now filled up with events from neighboring communities. Mostly being hosted by people that came to our clinics and other events when they started.  These people are now stepping up and adding value and diversity to our community in ways that we can not do by ourselves. When the weekend isn’t filled up with something “official”, we like to get onto our local community group and get some sessions going somewheres somehow. Photo: Joe B. We take a special interest in the growing number of articles foretelling the doom and eventual irrelevance of the “Brick and Mortar” skate shop.             We see the need for them increasing.  Are we able to keep up with the internet guys?  Nope.  Our purpose is different, our effects can be felt in a different way.  As the world gets faster and satisfaction comes at the speed of a clicking button, face to face real touching hugging feeling is lost.  Getting to teach one on one with direct contact and the look of real enjoyment and sheer delight when you can coach someone to the right movement in skateboarding is like nothing you can find behind a screen.           We are the guardians of where our industry is heading.  The way in which we choose to serve our communities, the products we bring in and introduce to our friends.  The causes we put our energy and focus into, and the manner we present them to our little corners of a shrinking world are all things that you and I control.  Is it easy? Nope. It is down right heart-breaking work sometimes.  We believe in what we do, and we aim to cultivate a ideal that with enough hard work, persistence, and love, all things can be built, and sustained in a way that anyone can be supported.  We love the brilliant people we get to see on the day to day, our customers and riders.  We love the vendors we get to introduce to our people.  We do this because we love it.   You want to know what the world needs?  More skateboarding.  If more people skateboarded, we wouldn’t have time to fight, be angry, and say stupid hurtful things on the internet.  We would be so tired from a day filled with as much skateboarding as we could get, we would just fall asleep.  Next day’s intent, facilitate more skateboarding, whether that is through a job or whatever the end intent would be to skate.  Mix . Rinse. Repeat.  That is our ideal day.  That is our ultimate goal that we work towards.  The rest, takes care of itself.  Don’t believe me.  It can’t work.  Talk to me again in another 5 years. Shralp It. If you find yourself in KC – go visit and tell them CW sent you! Burning Spider Stoke Company1603 W 39th St
Kansas City, Missouri, MO 64111
(816) 898-0122

Texas Sizzler 14

Texas Sizzler 14

  In the backwaters around Houston TX, on a soapbox derby hill in Hockley, racers from all over the US and Canada gathered for the 14th annual Cold Fusion Sizzler hosted by the Texas Outlaws.  The Sizzler is a three day race, with disciplines of Tight, Hybrid and Giant slalom as well as a downhill event called the Speed trap. Friday, unfortunately had to be called off due the weather, its hard to dodge cones with torrential rain in your face although, there is some of us would have tried. Saturday started with Hybrid slalom, a fast course set by your humble narrator, with lots of variety on a constant down hill slope. Skate Kings’ Joe Maclaren, turned out to be the skater to beat, followed by teammate, Richy Carrasco, and St. Louis Dagger Jonathan Harms in 3rd place. Next was tight slalom set by St. Louis Dagger Jonathan Harms that was fast and techy. Again SkateKings’ Joe Maclaren was the skater to beat followed by teammates, Brad Jackman in 2nd and Richy Carrasco in 3rd . Giant slalom on Sunday set by Richy (the 360 king 142 spins) Carrasco that was blisteringly fast in part thanks to the 35 MPH tailwind. Again Skate Kings’ Joe Maclaren was the racer to beat, followed by St. Louis Dagger Jonathan Harms in 2nd and teammate Richy Carrasco in 3rd. Next up was the speed trap, a “downhill” type race where the fasted speed through the trap (88 feet) Wins, Texas Outlaw Dylan Greenbaker was the fastest with a speed of 33.98 MPH fallowed by teammates Chris Doan 32.37 MPH in 2nd and Lou Statman 32.32 MPH in 3rd.  All round results was dominated by Sk8kings Joe Maclarlen, 8 time world Champion as he has done almost every Sizzler that he has attended, followed closely by teammate Richy Carrasco in 2nd and Jonathan Harms in 3rd. Top honors in both the B and the C classes were captured by new comers this year, Max Vickers in B class and Ryan Lesueur in C class. Joyce Weldrake was number One in woman’s class. The Texas Outlaws would like to thank all our sponsors, their generosity with products and other support in always greatly appreciated! Concrete wave, SkateKings, Carve Skate Shop, NCDSA, and the ISSA, Stoked, Fireball Bearings, Triple Eight safety gear, Landyachtz, Loaded skateboards and Orangatang Wheels, Venom Bushings and Wheels, The Texas Armature Skateboard League and Cockfight Skateboards. Lastly I would like to thanks fellow teammates who work hard every year and don’t always get recognized for it. Thank you Matt Franklin & Louis Statman, who made sure that the ramps where hers and ready, for this years Sizzler as well as Dylan Green Baker, Dustin Stilling, Jeff Bower and Dave Bonnell for bringing them the past years. To Glenn Bukowsky for his excellent trophies, Humberto Salcedo out good will ambassador and fill in MC, Stephen Pland and Jonathan Harms for their timing wisdom. And Eddy Martinez my fellow organizer, Facebook contest poster and founder of the Texas Outlaws. Lastly to every skate who races. 

What are you doing SEPTEMBER 16th?

What are you doing SEPTEMBER 16th?

Chances are you probably missed out on September 21 last year. In fact, I am willing to bet that the VAST majority of people reading this missed out on that date for the past decade or more. Well, I am here to tell you that things change THIS year. You see, September 21 is the International Day of Peace. And I am sure you’d agree, the world is in need of a bit more PEACE. Sadly, the 21st falls on a Thursday. Not really the best day when it comes to gathering a crowd. But as a skater, I am always willing to get creative. I have decided that September 16 will celebrate the ROOTS of Peace – kind of a pre-party for the 21st.Skaters are going to get together and roll for peace…bring a friend who skates a different type of board…bring a cyclist…bring a scooter kid. It’s about peace…not exclusion. in order to participate, find a place to roll and meet up at a specific time. That’s it. Nothing fancy…and remember not to forget September 21st. Be sure to let me know if your city is going to ROLL FOR PEACE!    Yours in peace, Michael  

Burlington, Hamilton and The Real Gold in the Golden Horseshoe

Burlington, Hamilton and The Real Gold in the Golden Horseshoe

  Just spent a fantastic 24 hours in a very special place. You’ve probably heard about the epic skate scene here in Toronto and the world-renowned Board Meeting. What you might be a little less familiar with is the incredible scene that is growing just a few miles west in the cities that make up the western part of the “Golden Horseshoe.” According to WikipediaWith a population of 9.24 million people in 2016, the Golden Horseshoe makes up over 26% of the population of Canada and contains more than 68% of Ontario’s population, making it one of the largest population concentrations in North America.  This guy is a local named Tyler. The Hamilton Bayfront Cruise incorporates all skills, all ages and is all inclusive. I cannot say enough great things about the people of this scene. Rob Defreitas has been doing some very cool things with Bombora Boards. Meghan Guevarra (HBFC founder) and Rob (Longboard Haven) two architects of stoke here in the Golden Horseshoe. A huge thanks to Kyle who runs the legendary Farm for hosting this event. Meghan Guevarra, founder of the Hamilton Bayfront Cruise has done a phenomenal job of really creating an all inclusive scene. (and merci beaucoupe to Alex her partner!) Lots of great people in the Golden Horseshoe!Luis checks out the seating near the mini-ramp.  From gentle cruises, to hitting some pretty challenging hills of the Niagara Escarpment, this part of the Golden Horseshoe has a platinum level of stoke! A special shout out to Quarter in the Bag. This band was the perfect way to ring in our 16th year. Thank you guys!Quarter in the Bag definitely are a band to be on the look out for. Check out what they sound like: I’d like to write more but, we’ll save this story for our September issue. Meantime it is definitely Hammer Time for Hamilton and area!PS: In the spirit of 100% skate everything, we were fortunate to have Mike T. a representative of SBC Skateboard Mag unleash the latest issue. It’s been a few years in the making, but SBC is back. Congrats guys! 

Kona Celebrates 40 Years

Kona Celebrates 40 Years

Next month Kona Skatepark is celebrating 40 years. If you live anywhere near Kona or the east coast, plan for a massive road trip.  We will be featuring more on Kona, but for now, pencil in these dates. Take a look at the amazing schedule.    Banked Slalom with the legendary Steve Olson and David Hacket?! Done deal!  

Engaging New Skate Obstacles

Engaging New Skate Obstacles

Dan MacFarlane – fastplant nosepick. American Ramp Company is launching a new “Pro Ops” signature series of obstacles for skateparks worldwide.  Their new team of professional skateboarders have been given two different signature obstacles each for the series. The team is Dan MacFarlane, Willy Santos, Joe Moore, Ronson Lambert, Shaun Hover, Jud Heald, and Sierra Fellers. From Dan MacFarlane’s bank to wall that looks like a snapped skateboard, to Jud Heald’s recliner, the obstacles aren’t your usual run of the mill skatepark fixtures.  “That is the intent, to introduce and contribute something different to skateboarding” says Dan MacFarlane. “These obstacles also help you invent new tricks and combos. Tons of Never Been Done skate tricks and combos were happening on them!”  MacFarlane was initially signed on as a pro team rider but the ARC President Nathan Bemo liked his obstacle ideas, so he assigned MacFarlane to help design the whole series as well.   American Ramp Company’s Pro Op Team MacFarlane has pushed out two videos about the Pro Ops series on his Facebook that have received an enthusiastic response from skateboarders everywhere. The first video is a tour of the ARC warehouse where prototypes of the Pro Ops obstacles are placed throughout as the other pros are skating and workers are welding. MacFarlane tells about the obstacles in detail as he makes his way around. The second video is a fun skate video titled #WelcomeToAmerica which documents Joe Moore’s original skating on the Pro Ops obstacles and his overall experience during his visit from Leeds UK. While they are iPhone shot videos, a newer professionally shot video is in the works showcasing the team skating their Pro Ops obstacles. American Ramp Company began in 1998 and since has installed over 2,500 skateparks in 37 countries. ARC currently installs around 200 skateparks annually and specializes in high quality skatepark construction out of every build method including steel and concrete. Keep up with updates about the Pro Ops series by following American Ramp Company and the Pro Ops team riders on their social media.

ARC Pro Ops team announcement

Dan MacFarlane Pro Ops announcement tour

Joe Moore #WelcomeToAmerica    

Rolkaz Collective – Performance Meets Nature

Rolkaz Collective – Performance Meets Nature

Made solely of natural hemp and flax fibers bound together in high performance plant based resin, these new decks are all about getting back to nature.  Sustainable in both design and manufacturing, to reduce the environmental impact their Kickstarter campaign begins today.  It’s definitely worth checking out. With optimized shapes, refined construction and a premium riding experience, these hemp decks provide an innovative alternative to traditional maple. Rolkaz Hemp skateboards are an innovation in terms of processes and materials researched, tools invented, technologies used and design perfected to create the unique hemp skateboard.  They worked really hard to replace traditional skateboard materials with their sustainable alternatives to design the construction that they envisioned.  Visit rolkaz.co for more info.

Summer Tour 2016/2017, Report Number One: The Basic Overview

Summer Tour 2016/2017, Report Number One: The Basic Overview

I turned 44 this past summer. I have long since retired from my heydays in the skateboard industry. My last Summer Tour happened all the way back in 2008. If you read the encyclopedia-long article in Concrete Wave Magazine about my trials and tribulations, then this will probably sound pretty familiar to you. But, most of you probably haven’t. No worries; just keep on reading, and I’ll fill you in. It’s quite the story. Hopefully, you won’t be too terribly disappointed. Back in 2008, my very lengthy (and very exhausting) “Summer Tour 2008” around the central United States included the states of Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and a few bits of Wisconsin. The goals of the tour, at the time, were as follows: – To write (and photograph) a feature article for Concrete Wave Magazine (obviously), – To document the skateparks that I visited, both in writing and in photos, for Jeff Greenwood over at Concrete Disciples (so that they could keep their skatepark database up-to-date), – To do market research for a few of my consulting clients, – To “mystery shop” skate shops across the midwest… including both Zumiez, and independent, brick-and-mortar skate shops, – To talk to independent skate shop owners about their day to day struggles, on behalf of my clients. And to give them constructive feedback, based on my mystery-shopping them, – To promote the brands that “sponsored” the tour, to the kids that I met along the way… and lastly, – To get the “average skater on the street’s perspective” of where skateboarding (and the skateboard industry) were at the time. The really remarkable thing about that tour, is that it looked nothing at all like most skateboard-industry-sponsored summer tours. First of all, I went completely solo on my tour; there was nobody else out there on the road with me. There were no pro skaters, no sponsored ams, no filmers, no photographers, and no pro-hoes. It was just me, my Econobubble of a car, my road map, a few cold Cokes, my skateboards, my camera, and my portable tape recorder. And a shit-ton of product to give away to kids, if and when I came across them. Stickers, mostly. But, I did give away a dozen or so completes on tour as well. And quite a few decks and wheels. Which was all very cool of my sponsors to provide. And of course, I left a small army of happy kids in my wake. I also went to places that no industry-sponsored skate tour would ever consider going to. I spent so much time out in the distant boonies of skateboarding, it was literally insane. I skated parks in the middle of lifeless cornfields in central Illinois, miles away from civilization. I skated things in Ohio and Indiana that barely qualify as “skateparks” at all. I stopped at, and skated, more shitty skateparks on that tour then I had ever seen in my entire life. And I had this crazy, self-imposed rule that said that I had to skate every single skatepark that I visited. Even if it was almost entirely un-skateable.  But then, there were also the really epic ones as well that deserve a nod. Grinding real pool coping in Paducah, Kentucky at 7 am was a special treat. Carving tight lines at the South Bend skatepark immediately comes to mind as a particularly precious time that I’ll probably never forget. I remember taking a run on Lew’s mini ramp, and having Weston Vickers say to me, “Man, you spoke”. This is why skateboarders tour: to skate new and memorable stuff. In that regard, I’m just like anybody else.I also did stuff that, for the most part, very few (if any) skateboarders would ever consider doing. I slept beside grain silos and railroad tracks. I spent a week in Amish Country in northeastern Indiana, learning about their peculiar (but admirable) lifestyle. I attended a bluegrass festival in western Kentucky. I slyly used my Concrete Wave press credentials to get pit passes at a vintage drag racing event in Brownsburg, Indiana; God, my ears are still ringing from that one. My car was nearly blown away in a tornado. I explored an air museum at length that was situated on a federal Superfund cleanup site; I was only advised of this, of course, after I had already paid my admission. The airplanes contained therein were the ghosts of relics that seemed to have been completely forgotten by time. I got stranded in a flood in Terre Haute. I was honored to sit in the pilot seat of a B-17 Flying Fortress and an F-4J Phantom II. My trip took me through miles of America’s agricultural heartland, and hundreds of small farm towns, doing things, enjoying experiences, and making memories that very few other skaters will ever live. I’m a super lucky guy in that regard. Mostly, what I remember are the people. Both the skaters, and the non-skaters. If and when you ever explore the world alone, you quickly find that you’re never really lonely. There’s always somebody, somewhere, ready and willing to give you a little wisdom, a couple laughs, some solid directions, or a helping hand. I came through it remarkably well. I remember it quite fondly, actually.   That tour ended up becoming the fabric of my summer. And that fabric, in turn, became a lot of the “me” that I am, today. That tour shaped a lot of my world view surrounding skateboarding. I learned that there’s a lot of stuff out there to explore, just waiting on you to get up, get moving, and to trip on it at the most serendipitous of times. And although I’d seen about six states in total… including at least a hundred shops, and probably two hundred skateparks in the short span of about eight months… it was still just the tip of the iceberg.  This year will be almost exactly the same. Same purpose, same itinerary, same goals. But, with two major exceptions:  First: I live in Arizona now. Not, Indiana. So, this year’s tour will be a southwest tour, not a midwest tour. Secondly: while I spent the majority of my midwest tour sleeping (very uncomfortably, in retrospect) in The Econobubble… eight years later, I’m happy to report that I have a very handy, and very cozy micro-camper that I can tote around with me on my adventures. I’m pretty excited about that one, actually. Grain silos, railroad tracks, and tiny cars don’t exactly make great beds. Having a plush, queen-size (and very, very comfortable) Sealy Posturepedic readily available everywhere you go (no matter where you might end up going) would make you pretty damn chipper, too, if you were as old and broken as I am.   

The History of Skate Shoes

The History of Skate Shoes

Editor’s Note:I don’t mind that pretty much 100% of all skate shoe companies refuse to engage in anything but street and vert. It’s their money to spend on whatever they wish, marketing wise. While it would have been great to have a nice big skate shoe company take space in the mag, it never came to fruition. And I am sure as heck not holding my breath now! If I look back on the past 20 years, I’d say Vans has probably done the most to promote different types of skateboarding. They threw down $800,000 for the Dogtown film. Can you imagine if Nike had sponsored a freeriding event or two? Doubtful that will ever happen. Skate shoe companies still wield a mighty powerful stick in the industry and any variance from the mean will not be tolerated. It’s pretty much street, transition or vert…and don’t even try and think of creating a downhill shoe! 
And then along comes a nice email from the folks at Simple Shoes. As my friend Kilwag pointed out (over at Skate and Annoy), Simple created this chart and didn’t even include themselves. That’s quite amazing and on top of this, Aurelija​, their publicist wrote such a nice email, that I truly couldn’t resist posting something.
 So, in the spirit of Simple, I present this blog post. Keeping an open mind is paramount. Thanks Simple. I hope you sell a ton of shoes and if you want to spread the message in CW Mag, I’d be down.  From the original Chuck Taylors of the ‘20s to modern sneakers, the crossover between fashion and skateboarding created a uniquely recognizable style. People were quick to capitalize on the youth trend, but it always kept its rebellious core. Adopting everything from surfing, early boarders would ride their glorified box carts bare foot. Early shredding tended to take place below the ankles (in the form of bloodied feet). It took a while before fashion and tech were refined. With the arrival of the first skate shoe in 1965 (thanks, Randolph Rubber), the stage was set for clever manufacturers, professional sponsorships and merchandisers to fund the brave new world. From vulcanized rubber to the ever-changing shape of hi-tops, skate fashion was one of those rare instances where young people were given a voice. Companies listened and made products that worked. Every sneaker is like a time capsule. Shoes of the ‘60s copied basketball style. The ‘80s saw chunkier, padded sneakers make a break with the past.  The present day has a slimmer, more confident shoe design—popular with boarders and non-boarders alike. Charting the story from humble shoe to cultural icon, this interactive map should paint a clearer picture of the skate scene.

Aluminati Releases New Deck Shape

Aluminati Releases New Deck Shape

 

Aluminati Skateboards introduces the Mullet, their first concave deck that features a longer length with vintage style.  Part of Aluminati’s Ultra-Lite series with channels that advance performance while maintaining strength, flexibility, endurance and uniqueness, the Mullet offers a 28 inch deck with a 0.25 inch concave.  

 

 

The Mullet shape is a throwback to vintage cruisers and is available with any Aluminati graphic of your choice.

 

Mullet Dimensions:

Length: 28”

Width: 8.125”

Wheelbase: 18.5″

 Visit Aluminatiboards.com 

Inside The Industry: Chris Brunstetter of Goldcoast

Inside The Industry: Chris Brunstetter of Goldcoast

 

 

Six years ago, I did an in-depth interview with Chris Brunstetter of Goldcoast for my old blog, Everything Skateboarding. That interview is still accessible online, and can be found here:

 

http://everythingskateboardingmagazine.blogspot.com/2010/05/interview-chris-brunstetter-of.html

 

Now that I’ve returned as a contributing writer for Concrete Wave Magazine’s website, I decided that I’d make catching up with Chris “Job Number One”. Six years is almost an eternity in the skateboard world; I thought it’d be interesting to compare and contrast where Chris (and Goldcoast) were back then, versus where they’re at today.

 

I believe that it’s very important for the skateboard consumer to be well aware of who and what, exactly, they are supporting when they buy a product. That said, I thought that it was high time for a recurring feature that sheds a brighter light on the brains behind the brands. Without further ado, I hereby present Mr. Brunstetter:

 

Chris, thanks for sitting down with us to answer a few questions; we all appreciate it. “We all” not just being us at the magazine; the readers, I’m sure, will appreciate it too. It’s been a solid six years since we last chatted. In that time, how have things changed in your life? In the world of skateboarding? And, with Goldcoast?

 

First of all, I can’t believe it’s been six years! Almost nothing in my life is the same as it was when we talked before, my skateboarding has evolved to include way more cruising and just pumping around a bowl or skatepark. My kids are starting to skate themselves, and now I’m starting to see how my love for skateboarding is affecting their lives. The skateboard industry has gone through another boom/bust cycle with the longboard and cruiser category, so by way of that, GoldCoast has had to remain nimble and really look at ways to keep pushing the potential of this category without losing sight of who we are. We’ve opened two new distribution centers, begun building all our completes at our HQ in Salt Lake and Amsterdam (for our European customers) and completely revamped our shape matrix, Century Truck designs, and our Shred Boots Wheel line. It’s been six years of learning, travelling, and of course, skateboarding!

 

Chris Brunstetter of Goldcoast

 

When I came back to the magazine, I was blown away at how diversified skateboarding… and, the industry… has truly become. There seem to be literally dozens of new brands in the marketplace that simply didn’t exist five years ago. What’s your stance on that, and how does Goldcoast approach the market in light of all that sudden competition? How do you differentiate yourselves in an industry that’s flooded with so many brands?

 

Brand differentiation in this market is really tough. There’s a lot of great product out there and from where we were six years ago to where we are now, our product is better than ever. That being said, when we started the brand and began working with Concrete Wave, there was no one in the market really taking the design-centric approach to their product (with the exception of Buddy Carr) and now there are a ton of people who look strikingly similar, so we differentiate by continually evolving our product, strengthening our relationships with our accounts, and really being involved with our customers. Over six years we’ve developed amazing relationships with people all over the world and it’s been one of the coolest experiences to see what we’ve created impact so many people.

 

 

How would you describe Goldcoast to somebody that’s never heard of the brand? Or, to somebody that might not be particularly familiar with it?

 

We are a design-driven skateboard brand that wants to be your favorite ride, whether you’ve been skating for one month or twenty years. When someone looks at our brand, we want them to say, “Oh that’s fun.” We’re not out to be the gnarliest dudes on the street, we’re “aggressively casual”.

 

It wasn’t too long ago that the overall market was very divided between “skateboarders” (ie, “vert and street skaters”) and “longboarders” (basically, everybody else); does that divide still exist in 2016…? Or have we finally gotten to a place where everybody’s a skateboarder, regardless of what kind of board they might choose to ride?

 

It’s getting better, for sure. Just judging by the social media comments we receive the number of “that’s not a real skateboard” type of interactions are way lower for us now. I think a lot of that comes down from the retailers who have been saved by longboarding’s boom during the street skateboard downturn that has realized that more feet on skateboards are always a good thing. We try to be really careful to refer to our company as a skateboard brand first, and really want to show people using this product in as many ways as possible.

 

 

If I may, I’d like to talk “retail” for a minute or two. Is there still a place for the “core brick-and-mortar retailer” in the marketplace? Or, are we seeing a steady migration to online retail that will ultimately end in the eventual demise of the core retailer?

 

That’s a tough question. In my opinion, retail has shifted in a way that will never go back to the way things were. The evolution has weeded out a lot of people who unfortunately weren’t able to adapt. But people that have been able to create more of an experience while shopping, building their brand as a retailer to give customers something they can’t get anywhere else, and diversified themselves to maintain their place as the tastemakers in skateboarding have succeeded. One of the best “core” shops in our backyard, Milosport, is having some of the best years they’ve seen in a long time. They have worked their asses off to make that happen, they didn’t just throw their arms up and say, “Well, the internet won”.

 

What does Goldcoast do (if applicable) to insure the viability of the core skate shop? Do you offer, for example, MSRP’s? Protected territories? Exclusive product that’s only available at core retailers?

 

We have MSRPs, reps that service the core accounts, and we try and work with our retailers so that it’s easy to do business with us. We support contests and marketing efforts that our retailers have, basically try and do as much for them as they do for us. Be a partner in the business.

 

Besides the seasonal changes in product offerings, how has the Goldcoast product line changed and/or improved in the last six years?

 

I can say with total confidence that our product is better than it has ever been. It’s been a constant process of improvement, and I couldn’t be prouder. We have new manufacturing partners who are committed to the success of our brand, plus we’ve got total control over our product from the factory level to the shipping dock.

 

 

Which Goldcoast setup do you personally ride the most, and why?

 

Like I mentioned earlier, I’m doing a lot more cruising and skatepark skating these days. I have the Classic Bamboo Cruiser and the Death To Summer Pool Deck, Century C60 Trucks, Helshredica Bearings, and Shred Boots Burnouts Wheels for my park setup.

 

What’s the “age limit” on skateboarding? Or, is there such a thing? How long do you see yourself skating?

 

I’ll keep skating as long as I physically can. Even if it’s just a push around the neighborhood, that does so much for me mentally. It keeps me young. There’s no age limit, you just have to be comfortable being the “old guy”!

 

Here’s an interesting question that I’m basing on personal experience. When I had my company, I was amazed that I only spent maybe twenty percent of my time actually running my company; the other eighty (or so) percent was mostly spent talking to kids, and answering all of their various questions. Do you have the same experiences in your role as a brand manager? If so, what sorts of things do the kids ask you? And what kinds of answers (or advice) do you give them?

 

My role in managing the brand has evolved a ton over the years. Six years ago, there was Facebook and kind of Twitter. Now you have a new social media platform emerging every 15 minutes that you have to at least be aware of if you don’t have time to focus on it. 80 percent of my time is spent in that realm these days. Engaging with our fans, answering questions, letting people know that there is a human being on the other side of their screen. I get all sorts of questions. Kids are straight up aggressive on social media asking for free product. I am shocked at how that lack of face to face connection eliminates all politeness. “You should send me a board.” Is the one that I get all the time. Really dude? That’s your opening line? Then you’re offended when you get shut down? It makes me laugh. I took about 20 minutes to explain to a kid on Instagram how sponsorship works, what he could do to get on the road to that, but all he heard was that I wasn’t just going to send him a board, he told me I should kill myself. That was fun, definitely time well spent.  I love chatting with people from all over about where they skate, how they came to find GoldCoast, etc. Google Translate is a great tool!

 

 

In what ways does Goldcoast “give back” to the market that supports it? How does the company support the “greater good” of the pastime?

 

We try to support our retailers in their events as much as possible. We’re a small crew so it’s hard for us to really take the reins on stuff, but if there’s cool stuff going on we want to be a part of it. We try to support the “skateventure” movement as much as possible. If someone is taking a cool trip and needs a board, we’ll try and help out. It has gotten us some amazing product photos.

 

“Women in skateboarding” still seems to be a hot-button issue these days… which seems kind of weird to me, because I think everyone should skate (if they want to), regardless of age, gender, race, nationality, or religious affiliation. And I support all skaters, regardless of their age, gender, race, nationality, or religious affiliation. What’s Goldcoast’s stance on this? Is the industry doing enough to empower and encourage everyone to participate in, and enjoy, skateboarding? If not: what could, or should, we be doing differently as an industry…?

 

This topic amazes me. That “we” as an industry should say no to anyone skateboarding is insane. GoldCoast wants as many people on skateboards as possible. We don’t make girl specific product, but our customer base has a ton of girls who love the brand. Exclusion doesn’t work for us.

 

Where do you see skateboarding, and Goldcoast, in the next five to ten years? What challenges and opportunities lay ahead for both the company, and skateboarding in general?

 

Skateboarding in the next 5 years is going to change a ton. With it going into the Olympics, there’s going to be a global awareness of the sport that it has never seen. That could be a great thing, or a horrible thing, depending on your view. I’ve seen skateboarding go from something pretty specific to something that a bunch of people interprets differently. Basically, when I was a kid, if you were a skateboarder, you were a street skateboarder. Now, it’s like, what does skateboarding mean to you? Is it a creative outlet, a career path, transport, exercise, a competitive sport, a cool accessory? I see people that fall into all those categories and more. I hope GoldCoast is there to be the board that people look back on as their favorite when it’s all said and done. The opportunity to make an impact on someone’s life by being their favorite skateboard is something that always inspires me.

 

 

For more info visit skategoldcoast.com

 

  

Rider Profile: Diego Polito

Rider Profile: Diego Polito

Diego Polito is 27 and hails from Sao Paulo, Brazil. He’s been longboarding for 15 years and he combines the best of freeriding and street skating.

 

“I decided to live in California one year ago to ride the hills and to be near the best skateparks” says Diego. “I wanted to raise my skateboard level and learn to speak English.” Today Diego is part of the Abec 11 Wheels, Liquid Trucks and Jet Skateboards team. He developed his 41″pro model with Jet.

 

Backside noseblunt at Ocean Beach

Photo: Raphael Azevedo

 

Currently, Diego lives close to the Ocean Beach “Robb Field Skatepark.”  It is here where he usually shares sessions with his friends every morning.

 

“I started Longboarding in the hills and over time I’ve adapted to skateparks and streets where today I feel more at ease. Longboarding for me is more than a sport, it’s my lifestyle, where I can find my peace and fun.”

 

Diego says living in California is a dream, because here is where the big brands are, the best skateparks are located. “I also find many skaters that truly inspire me.”

 

He would like to thank God for all the blessings, his friends who share the sessions with me, his girlfriend and his family, Abec 11 Wheels, Liquid Trucks, Jet Skates, US Boards, Starhaze, and Wonk Clothing. “I truly appreciate all their support!” says Diego. “I can’t forget my family at Priority Longboard because they give me strength to be able to move on.”

 

 

LONGBOARD ALWAYS!

Danilo Goncalves – Old School Illustrator

Danilo Goncalves – Old School Illustrator

I found out about Danilo on facebook. There was something truly exceptional about his art that combined a mixture of fun and soulfulness. He currently lives and works in Brazil. I think his art truly captures the fun and chaos that is skateboarding. Enjoy! We have a four page story on Danilo in our latest issue.     If you visit his facebook page you will see a lot more work.    

New Book on Female Skaters

New Book on Female Skaters

I met up with Cindy Whitehead a number of years ago. In November of 2012,  an opportunity arose to collaborate with Nano Nobrega of Dusters California. From this initial start, a number of butterfly effects took place. You can learn more here. Cindy has achieved a tremendous amount of success with her Girl is Not a 4 Letter Word movement. The completes she has done with Dusters have been big sellers and her focus on promoting females in skateboarding has been tremendous. Working in conjunction with her husband Ian Logan, Cindy has put together a book on female skaters. The book is called It’s Not About Pretty: A Book About Radical Skater Girls. A portion of the books proceeds give back to 501c3 non-profits that create exposure and opportunities for girls in skateboarding.

 Ian Logan checks out a photo.

 

The 8×10 hardcover book is 144 pages and features 65 different skater girls, from age five to just over fifty years old. From pool riding, park, street, downhill, vert and cruising, to pro female skateboarders and soul skaters – this book covers it all. 

 

The book will be available in bookstores everywhere, as well as on Amazon.com. The book retails for $35.00 USD  

Walking and Skating with Queens

Walking and Skating with Queens

Today is International Women’s Day and we are proud to be celebrating all female skaters (and soon to be female skaters.) I was delighted to hear from Striker Reese who heads up Walk With Queens.Lady IndiaThe company uses laser engraving to give their decks a truly dynamic look.

Cleopatra

The  debt collection entitled “OG Queens” brings female centric art to skateboard decks. The 7 ply maple decks have a limited run of 100 decks per design.

 

OG Queens draws on the  beauty of womanhood in the ancient world. They get their Inspiration from Cleopatra VII, Pharaoh Hatshepsut and many others. The vision was to combine their love of skateboarding with some much needed appreciation of womanhood.

 

Hours of research goes into the historical and cultural aspects of each design. The average production time is 5 hours just for one board.

 

Each deck takes about 5 hours to laser engrave.

 

   

Skaters and Skate Shops – A Symbiotic Relationship

Skaters and Skate Shops – A Symbiotic Relationship

Whether you found skateboarding through video games, television, or just the aversion to everything going on around you, what a relief it was to find something of your own. While being a very individualistic activity allowing limits to be pushed and creativity to flourish, it was always a relief to find others to skate with. We skated curbs behind funeral homes and were chased off the church 5 stair. We met other groups of skaters and pulled construction materials in developments to make ramps and rails. We still had a “we” and instead of a school sanctioned team, we had our local skate spots and skate shop. In these times of point and click online shopping, the brick and mortar store still serves as the community’s rally point.Scott Lembach and Joe Gutkowski of Muirskate: The Muir van is an integral part of the San Diego downhill community, serving as advertising while bringing skaters out to ride what they sell.  Skaters and independent skate shops need to have a symbiotic relationship. At the most basic, skaters need product, and the shop needs to pay rent. I spoke to three shops that I feel loyal to because of the way they build the scene knowing that the scene will, in turn, build the shop. I found common themes through each conversation. Kerry at Dayone in Fairfield, Connecticut told me about Jeff the owner’s love for the newbie. One day a minivan pulled up and out jumped a little guy running splayed footed to the door. He ripped the door open and the smile dropped off his face. “Skateboards?” He was excited to get his first pair of hockey skates. Jeff laughed, it wasn’t a customer, but that smile and the anticipation of a new activity is what he loved. Kerry shares this sentiment about the new guy and last year, ran a promotion for one free lesson with the purchase of your first board. Kids and their parents ate it up. While serving as a first acquaintance to their new skateboard these lessons were also the first invite into the community. The promotion gave parents piece of mind that their little idiot would at least have some sense of keeping himself safe. As the guy behind the counter, you’re the one the smaller kids look up to, the one the seasoned skaters get along with, and the one who helps helicopter parents understand. You, first and foremost, represent the tone of the community, whether that’s going to be an elitist exclusionary club, or welcome everyone with open arms. A successful independent skate shop is not just a pick and go store, it’s a destination in itself. When you walk in, you’re immersed in what you love and surrounded by others who share that sentiment.Muirskate started out as a brick and mortar store on a college campus. When they turned their focus to online sales and grew exponentially, they showed that same growth in their community building. Their event, Downhill Disco, has costumed skaters through various obstacle courses, big air, and slide contests. The event culminates in an after party with bands playing, skaters throwing hard on the mini ramp, and good times with old and new friends.Will Myrvold Owner of Xtreme Board Shop with his welcoming smile. Even when I’ve had to swing by Muir to grab a set of pucks, watching the packagers putting orders together, or Scott leading the place at a million miles an hour, it’s simple to see that this is a skater run, skater supported, skater supporting company. Nothing says more than this than the bathroom walls covered with pinned notes from customers. When your skate shop is also place to skate, Dayone has a ramp out back (Open during shop hours with a waiver), skaters have a place to congregate without being hassled by the nail salon workers with the ledge. The shop is no longer just a shop, the shop is skateboarding. In addition to Dayone’s ramp, they also worked with the town and the local skaters to replace the prefab YMCA park with a well thought out concrete bowl and street course. They connected with the skate park advocates in the area and attended town hall meetings to further the conversation. Using their connections within the industry, they brought in New England’s Breaking Ground, saving the town money by eliminating the expense of housing the workers. Using local builders only furthered the connection the shop had to the local skaters and the local industry. They now see good traffic in between the shop and the park and have even placed the shop on the same side of the Post road, saving the skaters from running across the busy street. Xtreme board shop, led by Will Myrvold, is the local shop to the iconic downhill run GMR.  GMR has been the training ground for many prominent racers, from 2011 world champion Mischo Erban, to today’s dominator Tim Del, to up and coming Morgan Smith. When I first saw Morgan skate, his father drove the follow car and we watched him stand tall around one of the tougher corners and disappear into a bush.  We threw him into the car and the Xtreme locals gave him tips and showed him how to manage the hill to the point that now he’s proving his own at local races. Knowing that “There’s a special kind of stupid to be a skateboarder,” the Xtreme community is self-policing in the matter of safety, knowing that a good relationship with the town and police allows them to continue to skate the gem.Dayone’s art show: Culture building within the community by skater-accessible art by Kevin “Klav” Derken.Will and his riders take it a step further with Xtreme rider, Ryan Farmer, spearheading hill cleanups. After an early morning skate, the riders walk up the hill, filling trash bags as they go. These cleanups have been featured in the local paper and lend well to the acceptance the skaters on the hill. One of the largest personalities and biggest contributors to the downhill community, Joe Lawrence, was a big part of Xtreme until his last days, and after his passing, continues to be. Downhill boards and equipment can be tougher to move than the consumable street products. When Joe and Will saw buy/sell/trade forums popping up online, instead of being upset at the competition, they offered the shop as a location for gear swaps. They saw the necessity in bringing this idea to a face to face community gathering. Skaters could stand on the board and check the quality and condition of products they wanted to trade or buy. Drawing everyone to the shop allowed Xtreme to sell the accessories to complete purchases. One thing I heard from each head of shop was the intent on building culture within the community. Art has always been a large part of skateboarding, especially in the homogenous industry of street skating. Dayone has held periodic art galleries. Kerry said the art was nice to look, but was priced out of a skater’s range. The art hung in the shop for a month then was collected by the artist. When his old friend Kevin “Klav” Derken held a show, he made small sculptures and figures priced between 10 and 15 dollars. The community ate that up and Klav sold 89 pieces.Dayone’s shop decks capture the local community.  Both Xtreme and Dayone have in house screen printing. Dayone screens their shop decks and shirts designed by Klav. Will at Xtreme has his work horse 4 color press bought from one of the riders. In between orders for local companies, event posters and shirts, merch for other skate shops, he screens the XBS “La Familia” shirts. La Familia was Will’s goal coming into the industry. This is the community that the shop cultivates. The only qualification to be in is to want to be in. There’s no room for rejection and Will explains that it doesn’t matter how kooky any one is, once you’re in La Familia, you’re in for life. Through all sorts of petty squabbles that can arise within any group of people, even more compounded by the general weirdness of skaters, Will’s message is that it’s still family.Riding the road maintained by the XBS Familia. Joe Lawrence, died last year from liver failure, I joined the rest of La Familia at the skate shop in Glendora. Will led everyone in a moment of silence. People passed by offering their condolences to whoever looked in need. I joined in wholesome activities behind the shop with other members of the Xtreme team and we took turns telling the stories that this insane individual had left us. The news had hit us hard that week and here we all were, laughing our asses off at how lost Joe would get on skate trips. Low spirits were all turned around gathering at GMR’s local shop. The location and the man behind it were the central point the rest of us orbited. The shop and the community are part of one system that is necessary for us in the best times, and the worst. Operating an independent skate shop can be a precarious position. With different seasons, and the rise and fall of trends, some days are easier than others. Some skaters come and go, part of everyone stays for life. It’s 2017. Faces are buried in cellphones and products are bought on the fly with next day delivery. There’s no substitute for the face to face, or the real world congregation. Independent skate shops will always hold one thing above online shopping, the physical location and real world community building. When the options are open, this is what they rely on to keep the lights on and the doors open.Kerry said about what keeps him most motivated in the shop. “How much it sucked when he didn’t have a skate shop. Even on the days when there’s no money or you owe money, at least we’ve got this place, so it’s really special.”

Some thoughts on Publishing A Random Skate Photo

Some thoughts on Publishing A Random Skate Photo

I received an email from a skater’s mom the other day. Here’s a snippet of what she wrote:

 

Hi Michael

 

Love this magazine and website! My son Drew is totally into tech and downhill….buddies with sergio yuppie…..you all are a very “colorful” tribe…love it! Wondering if i can add his photo to your online album?

 

Thanks

Dana

 

Well Dana, in my 20 years publishing on the web, this is the first time I’ve ever received an email like this. In honor of this groundbreaking email, your digital wish is my command:

 

Behold! The photo of your son, Drew.

As we all know, there are literally unlimited pixels on the web. I can generate hundreds of thousands of words and images and it won’t cost me much…except time. I’ve often said that the web can create more content on skateboarding in one hour than I can publish in a lifetime. This abundance (and ability) to create so much content is both fantastic and overwhelming.

 

I’ve been involved with skateboarding websites since 1996. You can see my original Skategeezer Homepage here. I think it’s hilarious that a ridiculously basic (and frankly crappy) website led me on a journey into the world of book publishing, TV, film and other media. I cannot stress enough the butterfly effect. My $5 month investment keeps paying dividends. But then again, I never stopped skating and never lost the fire for spreading the stoke.

 

Many are trying to figure out what kind of effect digital technology is having on the skate world. Can you trust online reviews? How is online retailing affecting the indy skate shops? Sometimes I wonder that by the time you’ve made the skate video and posted it to YouTube or facebooked, instagramed, twittered and snapchatted if there is any time left to actually ride.

 

And yet, here’s our CW website featuring a pretty cool shot of Drew enjoying the ride. We might wind up with a few thousand folks viewing this image and I am sure it will stoke him out. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what’s important.

 

So here’s to you Drew and to your family who support your efforts. Keep skating and have fun!

 

 

Lume Cube- "Virtual Light"

Lume Cube- "Virtual Light"

Shortly after we covered the Collegiate Skate Tour’s New York stop, the crew set off to Carlsbad, California for their second stop of the season. There, they teamed up with Lume Cube  to help put on a heavy afternoon of shredding that prompted us to reach out. Thus, we got a chance to speak with Marketing & PR Coordinator, Trevor Farrow and CEO, Mornee Sherry to discuss Lume Cube’s Kickstarter beginnings and their pocket sized beacon of light that makes redefines the possibilities of skateboarding at night.Lume Cube started their journey via Kickstarter but began seeding the concept with their target audience months in advance. Through a process of reaching out to the press, stretching their goals and constantly updating their backers with product development updates, the team found the success they set out for. In the end, their $56,000 goal was blown away with a total amount of $229,517 pledged. With that, Lume Cube was born. Though the team behind Lume Cube boasts backgrounds heavily influenced by surfing, the mini ramp in the center of their headquarters speaks to the company’s devotion to skateboarding. With this, the crew recognized that the best time to approach skate spots without the burden of traffic, security guards or cops is in the black of night. However, skateboarders have long been plagued by the hassle of relying on the natural street lights of their surroundings or carrying and rigging up bulky lighting setups as their only solutions. Through use of the Lume Cube, skateboarders can now, as Sherry describes it, “carry a virtual light studio in your pocket, quickly set up around your spot and nail the trick.” No generators, cords or strings attached. The cubes can attach to light stands, smart phones, DSLRs, GoPros and action cameras and even drones. A standard Single Lume Cube gives off 150 lux at a distance of 9 feet and maintains 2 hours of battery life at 50%. As the first ever off-camera flash for mobile photo and video, the Lume Cube can be controlled through a free app for iOS and Android that allows you to control the brightness of multiple cubes either individually or all at once. This added level of convenient utility allows skateboarders to pick-up, pack-up, and get out in a flash. Though Lume Cubes are relatively new, they have already been around the block by being used in some interesting projects beyond skateboarding. These projects have included everything from presidential interviews to ride inspections at Disney Land to breathtaking drone images of lightning storms. Next up, Lume Cube plans to expand their lifestyle offerings by launching the Līfe Līte. Dubbed the little brother of the Lume Cube, Sherry explains, this newest creation “brings 2/3rds of the light of a Lume Cube, but half the size and a third the weight at a more affordable price point.” You can check out the latest update on the release, set for March 2017, by signing up for Lume Cube’s newsletter on their website. lumecube.com