Summer Camper Tour 2016/2017, Report Number Six: Quartzsite, Arizona

Summer Camper Tour 2016/2017, Report Number Six: Quartzsite, Arizona

 There’s far more to life than skateboarding. That statement probably won’t make me particularly popular among my fellow skateboarders, of course. But being a bit of a punker still, even well into my middle forties, I’m blessed by the curse of not giving too much of a crap about such trivialities. Life is far too short to allow yourself to be pigeonholed or packaged into an inhibiting personal prison. My job, as I see it, is to see, experience, dream, and grow. If that doesn’t suit your pet political penchants, well, so be it.  I have also been advised by a few of my mentors and confidantes that kids just can’t be bothered to read too much anymore. That’s too bad. If that’s true, then you’re probably gonna miss out on guys like Jules Verne, Jack London, Jack Kerouac, and Kurt Vonnegut. Not that they were “great” writers or anything, but still… Thankfully, I did take some heed of this awful advice, and decided early on in the planning of this installment to tell my story much more in photographs, and a bit less in words. Some trips can’t be believably articulated, anyway; some things just have to be seen to be trusted. I had a hunch that this Quartzsite expedition might just be one of those extraordinarily eventful excursions. Turns out, I was right. And thankfully so. My road map for this trip was guided by a neat and novel new website that I had stumbled upon, quite by accident, called Roadside America ( Inside that web world, you’ll find a full and complete cataloging of every obscure American oddity that the average would-be road adventurer might find fun and fascinating. As it turns out, Roadside America is pretty spot-on, and a great resource for the geekery that defines me.  My very first stop in Quartzsite was at a public garden called Freedom Park, where I found two aging examples of one of my all-time favorite airplanes, the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II. Or in this case, more specifically, NRF-4C Phantoms. These particular planes served with overseas tactical reconnaissance squadrons before landing at the AFFTC (Air Force Flight Test Center) at Edwards Air Force Base, where they were used to for on going flight test support; the “ED” tail codes and 6510 Test Wing emblems on the fuselages gave their whole story away to the discriminating dork in me. Whatever else I wanted to find out about these Phabulous Phantoms… which was pretty much, “everything”… I could hastily and efficiently retrieve by simply Googling their serial numbers, a fun little trick that I’ve been employing pretty regularly these days. The ‘Net, after all, is an absolutely amazing resource for certifiable nerds like me. Everything is there, just waiting to be discovered.  “Prefab plastic swill. If you do make a pit stop here, just take a funny pic with the goofy skate statue in front of the park and leave. More fun to be had at the various junk shops and flea market booths around.”                                   – Concrete Disciples review of the Quartzsite Skatepark  I was advised well beforehand that the Quartzsite Skatepark was going to suck. It really lived up to my lowly expectations. It seems like they might have spent more on the bronze statue dedication to the skatepark, than they might have spent on the skatepark itself. And look at that skateboard; it looks more like a small snowboard mounted up with clay wheels and Chicago trucks, than an actual skateboard. The fact that the kid is tethered to the pedestal is freakishly ominous; this Skatewave skate-place does seem like a jail of sorts, where kids are sentenced to suckiness for the rest of their lives until they either quit skateboarding, or move to The Big City… whichever comes first. I did manage to get my must-do trick here though, the obligatory frontside rock; when you’ve skated as many sucky Skatewave parks as I have in the last ten years (or so), you do start getting used to them. It still wasn’t particularly easy to pull off, though. The only thing worse than the crappy obstacles is the overall setup of the place; here, the skate obstacles themselves become ironic obstacles to enjoyable skateboarding.  Celia’s Rainbow Garden was right around the corner from the skatepark. It’s a botanical monument to a local girl that died (at 8 years old) of a rare viral heart infection. The story is heart-wrenching, of course; only a true megalomaniac could avoid being somehow affected by such a tale. But the garden is a study in strikingly solemn beauty, a truly creative and collaborative community effort. It is currently the largest (if not the only) free botanical garden in the state, and it provided me ample opportunities to shoot colorfully saturated photos of extraordinary objects from strange and unusual perspectives.  Roadside America had enlightened me to the existence of Naked Paul at Reader’s Oasis Books on Main Street in Quartzsite. Naked Paul is the owner of the place, and apparently mans his humble bookshop sans clothing. This, I just had to see for myself; I can bring myself to believe a whole lotta horsecrap, but this was just too over the top for my temperamental tastes. Turns out, the tales are totally true… Naked Paul has pictures all over the place of himself being naked, typically with a tourist within an arm’s embrace… but unfortunately, they’re also totally seasonal, and not particularly applicable to the frigid frost of the desert winter. I did manage to shoot a few photos off their offbeat literary offerings, and I made a small donation to Celia’s Garden while I was there with the little bit of cash I was carrying. It was the very least I could do, I thought. Yes, “RV Park Sculptures” are a very real thing in this topsy-turvy world of roadside bemusements. Hassler’s RV Park is a cornucopia of steel structures of the clever and funny variety. Bicycles, bobcats, whales, bears, and many more were all forged from horseshoes and castaway rebar, among other steel tidbits; ah, the clever things we can craft from castaways. After Celia’s Rainbow Garden, I kind of needed a chuckle. Hassler’s didn’t disappoint.  Hadji Ali… popularly and affectionately known as “Hi Jolly”… was a Syrian camel driver that was recruited by the United States Army to lead an obscure (and ill-advised) 1856 experiment involving testing camels as pack animals in the arid desert southwest. An American legend… at least, in this far corner of the country… he is memorialized by a pyramid-shaped tomb near downtown Quartzsite. The camel experiment having roundly failed (as far as the U S Government was concerned, at least), the animals were released to the wild, with the last camel sighting occurring as late as 1942. Ironically, I visited this memorial on the very same day that Donald Trump was signing an executive order banning Syrian immigrants from our shores. Hi Jolly might well have been rolling over in his tomb, just as I was standing squarely upon it. The world works in really strange ways, sometimes. Tyson’s Well Stage Station Museum is a former stagecoach stop that currently houses mining artifacts, homesteading displays… and this really strange, display-case-sized diorama of a “typical” 1950s bar scene, complete with miniature bottles of booze, a pint-size cigarette vending machine, and a whole host of creepily entertaining characters socializing on and around the barstools. It seemed extraordinarily out of place in a museum setting. At the same time, it was probably one of the most entertaining exhibits I’ve ever seen.  Next on my visit-list was The World’s Largest Belt Buckle (it really is pretty big), the “Wheel Rim Camel” (a camel sculpture made out of… yes, you guessed it… wheel rims)… and then, we stopped at the Quartzsite Airport. Which, like most things in Quartzsite, is not entirely what it was advertised to be. Thinking that it’s a functioning facility with flyable hardware, we actually discovered a strange and decrepit boneyard of archival aircraft components, and a field full of reasonably well-preserved vintage Cadillacs, patiently awaiting some sort of vague and uncertain fate. We liked the area so much that we made it our evening’s campsite, where we got to watch a fireworks display erupting over our camper while we listened to the succulent sounds of a ragtime Christian revival emanating from a nearby yurt. Quartzsite was certainly full of strange surprises. We learned that much the fun way on Saturday.The Southwest is still largely defined by World War II, and the immediate aftermath of the immense war effort. Relics of the mighty military effort still liberally litter the desertscape, close to seventy years after the fact. Blythe, California, hosts not just one, but two abandoned WWII airfields… although this one was “abandoned” only in the semantic sense. In reality, I found a horde of anonymously-dressed “civilians” and blacked-out SUVs cavorting here, along with some impressively foreign military hardware that seemed strictly engaged in some sort of super-secretive maneuvers. I swore my secrecy of the finer details (and the resultant classified photos) in exchange for some suave intelligence on a far more accessible abandoned airfield just across town. Secure in some American officers’ enthusiastic permissiveness, I thus made my way to what would become the score of the day. Blythe Field was subsequently known in it’s WWII heydays as Gary Field. It was the home base for the Morton Air Academy, a contract aviation school that churned out trained flying cadets for the United States Army Air Forces. Today, it remains (barely) standing as an atlas obscurity known as W. R. Byron Airport, named after its apparently absentee owner. Having received surprise permission to do a little bit of urban exploration, I carefully strolled the grounds, climbed the control tower… a heart-stopping exercise in immediate risk, that was… sifted through debris, and photographed the site to my heart’s never-ending content. Yes, it was extremely hazardous hunting… and yes, it was eerie and creepy as hell… but this sort of history simply cannot be experienced (or appreciated) secondhand. It takes getting up close and personal with the ghosts of these places to truly understand, internalize, and empathize with the significance of the homefront war effort, and the mass dismantling and abandonment that followed.  An hour’s drive away in Poston, Arizona was a memorialized reminder of a far different sort of struggle on the WWII homefront. Namely, the struggle for Americans to retain their rights in a fearful and insecure world. After Pearl Harbor and the sweeping victories of the Emperors’ Empire all across the Pacific, of course, anti-Japanese sentiment ran amok; Americans (of Japanese descent) were roundly and arbitrarily suspected of anti-American espionage and terrorism, rounded up, stripped of their worldly possessions and property, and trucked away to inhospitable desert internment camps… much against their free will and their civil rights, of course… for the balance of the war. Ironically, these camps were sited on the sovereign lands of another historically oppressed American minority, the reservations of the Colorado River Indian Tribes. Poston was the largest of these internment concentration camps, and this memorial represents their dignified struggles to retain their “constitutionally guaranteed” rights and liberties in the face of widespread public propaganda and misguided racial hatred. Not unlike the sort of politically directed disservice that we’re subjecting the Muslims to, today.Before George S. Patton became a celebrated national hero, he was the commanding officer of the sprawling Desert Training Center (DTC), later more widely known as the California-Arizona Maneuver Area (CAMA). A massive desert warfare simulation site of epic proportions, the DTC covered virtually all of Southern California and western Arizona (except for the aforementioned Japanese internment camps, which were probably located right in the middle of the battle zone to keep “The Japs” both figuratively, and literally, in their damned place); it ended up being the largest military training ground in the history of military maneuvers (according to Wikipedia). The CAMA eventually covered an area approximately 350 miles wide by 250 miles long, and included eleven camps, five major airfields, five minor airfields, and dozens of auxiliary [emergency] airfields. This Patton tank in Bouse, Arizona, is a way-off-the-beaten-path remembrance of Patton’s single-minded military mission; rumour has it that he even slept on the floor of the A & C Mercantile across the road when he flew into town.  The western-themed town of Wickenburg, Arizona was my last stop of the weekend as I made my way back home. Far better than the skatepark of suckiness that I experienced in Quartzsite, this was a concrete mini-marvel of a skatepark, anchored by a midsized bowl that was almost perfect, if only it wasn’t filled to the brim with litter and leaves. Apparently it doesn’t get used all that much by the locals, and they obviously can’t be bothered with sweeping it out from time to time. But just like the rest of the stops on my weekend tour, it was still pleasantly entertaining in its own weird, eccentric sort of way. I just got back two days ago. The camper is already restocked, and the gas tank is full again. I’ve got some money burning a hole in my pocket. I wonder where I’ll go from here?    

Summer Tour 2016/2017, Report Number Two: The Micro-Camper

Summer Tour 2016/2017, Report Number Two: The Micro-Camper

 I’m not too sure if there’s ever been a skateboard tour that has featured, of all the crazy things in the world, a homebuilt micro-camper. But, this one will! If you’re not familiar yet with my micro-camper, I’ll give you a brief synopsis to get you caught up to speed:  I designed, and built, my little camper about three years ago now. It’s built on a Harbor Freight utility trailer, and is made of wood… much like a skateboard ramp would be. It weighs about 700 lbs (or so), features a queen-size mattress (with a memory-foam pillow top), and tows easily behind my little Toyota Yaris. The same Yaris, by the way, that I took out on my 2008 Tour. Back then, the Yaris was brand spankin’ new. Today, it has a compiled a lovingly reliable 187,000 miles. I just realized that, by the way, as I was writing this paragraph. My, how the time flies.  The camper has been through a few revisions, and has had some press over at Tiny House Listings… Google “Bud Stratford camper” to find the articles, and they’ll pop right up, three articles in total.  Since I built it, the camper’s probably racked up well over 30,000 miles, and has been all over the western United States. You could probably build one for about $2500 or so; of course, I have a bit more than that invested in mine, with all the various revisions and rebuilds over the last three (or so) years. But even then, I’d be shocked if I had more than $3500 invested in the whole project.   Given that the Yaris still gets about 28 mpg while towing the camper, this is probably the most fun, functional, relaxing, and enjoyable way to experience the vast, wide-open wilds of America, on a threadbare budget. Whatever “vast, wide-open wilds” that remain, at least. And trust me, there aren’t that many left.  I know, because I’ve been looking. The camper was originally designed and built with long-distance snowboard expeditions in mind. Like, to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for my annual pilgrimages to Mt. Bohemia. It didn’t dawn on me until quite some time later that this thing might actually work pretty well for summer camping, too. I can be a really short-sighted idiot like that, sometimes.  At first, I was a little disinclined to agree to, and follow through with, yet another overly-ambitious summer tour. I really didn’t think that I had it in me, and in any rate I suspected that the ‘ol knees would immediately protest and/or veto the whole shenanigans. But once I remembered the camper… all of a sudden, I was all about it. How much better could it really get, than to combine two of my favorite lifelong loves… skateboarding, and camping… into one big, epic adventure…?  I turned it over in my head a few times, and quickly realized that it cannot possibly ever get any better than that. The Tour was a go, and I was off like a herd of turtles.   

First Ever CW Photo Contest

First Ever CW Photo Contest


Concrete Wave is proud to announce our Amateur Photo Contest 2017. This will be the contest of the year for all you amateur skate photographers out there, so listen up and pay attention.


If you are selected as one of our finalists, you will have the opportunity to see your photo, in print, in the magazine. We have slated the entirety of the November Issue (deadline, September 1st) to showcasing your work. The contest is open to any and all amateur photographers.



The rules are simple: send in your photo; your name; where the photo was shot; and the subject… and, that’s it! Photo requirements are 300 dpi or better, submitted via e-mail, to Michael Brooke. We’ll handle it from there.


Photo submissions must be original works that have never been published before. That includes photos that have been previously “published” on the internet. Do not send us your Instagram portfolio. Do not send us your Facebook Files. Only original, unpublished works will be considered for publication in the magazine.


Consider yourselves advised.


We encourage all types of skaters from all over the world to submit work. We love all y’all, and we love all kinds of skateboarding.


Besides the opportunity to be immortalized on the pages of the magazine, the 1st place winner will win a cool $750 second place will fetch $375 and third will score $150. Finalists and winners will be announced in the November issue.


Deadline for photo submissions is September 1st.


Don’t be late…!


Remember, send photos to


Back to the XXX Future?

Back to the XXX Future?

 It was reported yesterday that XXX – The Return of Xander Cage is the the number one film in the world at the moment. If you haven’t seen it yet, chances are you’ve probably seen the trailer. A new trailer featuring the downhill stunts just came out.  I for one am glad Vin Diesel is back to save the world and possibly the skate world! One of the stunt doubles Brandon Desjarlais of Moonshine and Abec 11 is a personal friend. On behalf of skaters everywhere Brandon, we are stoked for you.These days, films last about 10 days at most theaters. Unlike back in the 1980’s when Back to the Future played for months and helped propel skateboarding forward into 1985 and beyond! Time will tell if Xander Cage was able to help save skateboarding but at this point, anything is possible.  Who could forget the scene in Part 2 of Back to the Future? Sales of hoverboards exploded after this!  The truth is that no one really knows what will capture the imaginations of the public. Perhaps the millions who have seen XXX clip online or on their phones might be interested in riding down a hill at speed (along with ollieing onto buses). At this point in skateboarding, anything is possible. Just for the record, Mr. Diesel took home over 45 million dollars in 2015 and didn’t do too badly in 2016. 





The 14th Annual Toronto Board Meeting took place last Saturday.

Rain had threatened the event, but by late afternoon, things were in full swing.

Over 800 skaters took to the streets and the mood, as always, was indeed festive.


The photos don’t fully capture the experience – but they give you a taste. The range of participants is from 1 year up to 50-something.

The initial rush starts with a quick push to the intersection of Yonge and St. Clair.


A ten minute sit-down in the intersection boggles most on-lookers minds and allows everyone to gather.

Cries of “BOOARRRDDD MEETING” can be heard every few moments.


Sit-down at Yonge and St. Clair.

The second part of Board Meeting is a quick skate down a moderate hill on Canada’s most well known street – Yonge Street.


Despite the fact that the meeting has been going on for almost a decade and a half, most spectators don’t really know what they are seeing.


Many stand there in disbelief while others, enjoying the spirit of the moment, take photos or give high fives.

A number of taxi cab drivers are stunned and regular motorists generally go with the flow.

 City TV came out to cover the festivities.

A quick fifteen to twenty minute skate to Queen’s Park marks roughly the half way point and allows the group to enjoy the moment.


It’s then on to City Hall for an impromptu slide jam. 


This year Board Meeting happened to have the good fortune of coinciding with a walk to raise money for cancer.

The music blaring from the speakers blended perfectly with the day. Towards the end of the event, thirsty skaters were generously given free soft drinks courtesy of the sponsors of the walk.


As the first part of Board Meeting ended, the rain started to come. The timing was almost too perfect!


Huge thanks to all the sponsors who make this event such a blast.


Rolling Into the New Year

Rolling Into the New Year

This year went by fast. Incredibly fast. It seems inconceivable that I was preparing to meet up with folks at our annual bbq at the Agenda Trade Show 12 months ago. Next week, Agenda 2017 in Long Beach hits once again. It’s always a very special event. The annual gathering brings a variety of people together but this year we have a truly remarkable guest of honor. Our guest does not own a big skate brand. He also doesn’t place in the top 10 of various skate events. Rather, he is leaving a mark on skateboarding that is unique and jaw-dropping Our guest is Chris Koch and he is one of the most incredible skaters I’ve ever had the privilege to know. We featured his story in our September issue.  You can learn more about his skating in marathons in the video below:Chris is a motivational speaker and you find out more about him here. I am so delighted Chris will be joining us for the BBQ. As we roll into 2017, take the time to ride and enjoy the freedom that skateboarding offers. 

Wait, They Longboard?!

Wait, They Longboard?!

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

Wait, They Longboard?!

Wait, They Longboard?!

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


Steve Mark

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Coordinator

Integrated Cadastral Information Society


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



Do you recall your first skateboards as a kid?

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



How did you get into Longboarding?

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



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

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


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


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


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



It looks like your kids is are also into skateboarding.

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




Off the Rails With Transformer

Off the Rails With Transformer

Concrete Wave recently teamed up with Transformer Rails to test out the world’s first and most versatile, transformable grind rail. With the ability to skate the rail as a flat bar, round rail or bench and numerous height adjustments, Transformer Rails allow skaters to progress faster than ever before. 

In this video, Elephant Brand Skateboards team rider Colby Deluccia unleashes a barrage of tricks combined with one of the most unique styles out there on the six foot Transformer rail. With effortlessly unthinkable combos and unparalleled manual balance, Colby shows off how to lay the hammers down. 

To learn more about Transformer rails, check this piece we did on them last month. or on their site at

Interview with Holly Thorpe of the ASDP

Interview with Holly Thorpe of the ASDP


Hailing from New Zealand, Holly Thorpe is a sociology professor doing some terrific work in action sports.

We had a chance to find out more about her latest initiative – the ASDP 


Below is a TED TALK that Holly gave in the fall of 2016.




What drew you to action sports in the first place?

I grew up in a small beach town on the east coast of the north island of New Zealand / Aotearoa. My parents were passionate windsurfers and surfers, so I had an early introduction to action sport cultures. I grew up in and around surfing and skateboarding culture. Then, when I went to University in the late 1990s/early 2000s, I saw snow for the first time and quickly fell in love with everything about snowboarding. I learned pretty fast and started competing. I ended up doing 8 back-to-back winters working at a ski resort in the US, and competing in New Zealand. Then I had the brainwave of combining my love of these sports with my studies, and this lead to my PhD on snowboarding culture and to the sociology of action sports more broadly. Over the past 10 years I’ve travelled the world researching action sport cultures, and have published a bunch of journal articles and three books on the topic, including Snowboarding Bodies in Theory and Practice (2011), Transnational Mobilities in Action Sport Cultures (2014), and Women in Action Sport Cultures: Identity, Politics and Experience (2016).

 What prompted you to start the Action Sports for Development website? And what are the main sports that are featured?

As is often the case, I stumbled across this topic in 2011 after a devastating earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. I had lots of family and friends living in Christchurch many of whom were passionate action sport participants. Through social media and personal connections, I became aware of lots of other local skaters, surfers, mountain bikers, and climbers, who were adopting some really creative ways of reappropriating the earthquake damaged spaces, and rebuilding their communities through their activities. So, as a researcher I just had to explore this further. I went down to Christchurch and did a bunch of interviews on the topic of action sports for resilience and coping in post-disaster spaces, and then later that year I was in New Orleans and met up with some of the people behind the Parisite Skatepark. From then on, I have been following this line of research of action sports for development in post-disaster spaces, as well as conflict-torn locations with a longstanding research project with Skateistan, and a group of young men doing parkour in Gaza. In late 2015, I won a big research grant from the Royal Society of New Zealand to focus on this topic, and this gave me the time and resources to set up the website and to try to create space for dialogue across action sports and locations. The main sports featured on the site are surfing, skateboarding, parkour, snow-sports, biking sports (especially BMX and mountain biking), and climbing, though I am seeing some interesting parallels with how capoeira is being used for development purposes so they’re featured too.



Team sports seem to dominate and have way of reinforcing cultural norms and action sports have a different sensibility. What’s your take and can we come to a balance of the best of both in today’s world?

There are some important differences in how action sports developed in contrast to more traditional, organized, competitive sports developed. The historical development of action sports have been a big part of my research, and the origins and growth and development of these activities are really important for understanding what makes them unique and some of the distinctive cultural value systems that many of us continue to hold onto today.


For many years, there were clear distinctions between the ‘jock’ sports and action sports, but I think this is changing in many parts of the world. Many youth these days don’t see the division as clearly as older generations, so they see no problem in participating in soccer (or rugby or other team sports) on Saturday morning, then going for a surf or a skate in the afternoon. There are benefits (and problems) with both–it really depends on how the activities are facilitated. Today, there are so many different ways of participating in action sports, ranging from very occasional participant to those that organize their whole lives around their activities, and those who are pursuing athletic careers in their sports, so I feel we need to take care of drawing too clear distinctions between organized, competitive sports and action sports.


All that said, I feel action sports can offer some really valuable contributions to development spaces that more competitive sports do not. In particular, the unique social dynamics in action sports (e.g., people of different ages, sexes and skill levels can participate together), the value of self-expression, play and creativity, and the fact that you don’t have to compete against and beat someone else to get a sense of achievement. If we’re using these sports in sites of conflict, for example, these aspects of action sports can be really valuable!


What are some of your key goals with the site? 

My key aims for this website are to try to create a sense of community among those organizations and groups using action sports for development purposes. Of course, local contexts are unique, but many of these groups and organizations that I have spoken with over the years are experiencing similar struggles, and I think much could be learned from sharing these experiences across locations. Some ASDP organizations are now very well established, whereas others are just starting up, and I would like to see this site as a community of sharing knowledge and experiences, and making connections across sports and geographical locations. It is purely non-profit, so I’m not trying to make any money off this initiative. As a researcher, I am keen to see how research might play a more integral role in the processes that ASDP organizations are working through, and I also try to make recent and relevant research available on the site for all to use. 


For those outside the world of surf/skate/snow it can seem rather puzzling – how do you the stoke of action sports is best translated/explained to those in more traditional sports?

This is something I have been working on for many years now, and I sometimes consider myself something of a ‘cultural intermediary’ because I can move between action sport cultures, academic environments (teaching, conferences, publishing), and then working with traditional sports organizations (including a big project with the International Olympic Committee) to help them understand what makes these sports unique. A lot more traditional sporting organizations are now recognizing that action sports aren’t going away and they’re actually growing, but that they can’t fit them into the same models that they’re been using with other sports for so many years. So this is where my research comes in useful, that is in trying to help them understand the importance of valuing the unique cultural value systems of action sports and a need to ‘work with’ action sports communities so that there is a productive dialogue between them.


What impact to do you think skateboarding and surfing’s inclusion in the Olympics will have on non profits within action sports? 

This is actually a big focus of my research at the moment. My colleague, Associate Professor Belinda Wheaton, and I have just finished a one year project for the International Olympic Committee on surfing, skateboarding and sport-climbing’s inclusion into the Olympic Games, with a focus on the perceptions of youth around the world. I presented this research to the Olympic Programmes Commission in Lausanne in March. If you’re interested, you can read the whole 160 page report on the IOC digital library. Our work with the IOC is continuing, and we just held a world-first symposium in New Zealand on what this decision will mean for surfing, skateboarding and sport climbing.


What this means for non-profits, however, is another interesting aspect to consider! I’m not exactly sure just yet, but I think it will mean that more traditional sporting organizations and development organizations may start to take these sports more seriously when they see them at the Olympic Games. The Youth Olympic Games is another interesting space to consider for profiling the work that ASDP organizations are doing, and the potential of these sports for cross cultural dialogue and the promotion of some of the Olympic ideals. Of course, there are always pros and cons of more corporate sponsors and traditional organizations ‘jumping on the bandwagon’, so it’s worth adopting a position of cautious optimism as we move into this new, unchartered territory.


Carver Announces Ecothane Mag Wheel

Carver Announces Ecothane Mag Wheel

A few months ago Carver launched ‘The Ahi’, a performance skateboard constructed from over 50 square feet of recycled fishing nets, bringing plastic waste from the sea to the streets.


The Ahi, proudly made in California by Bureo, features their CX mini truck, made locally in El Segundo, CA.


Carver are stoked to announce the launch of Carver’s Roundhouse Ecothane Mag wheel (65mm 81a), made in collaboration with Bureo for The Ahi board. Ecothane is made from a unique formula that incorporates soybeans to offset the reliance on petroleum-based urethane.

As a consumable, skate wheels have shorter lives than the durable Ahi skate deck, which is designed for a lifetime of skating. In an effort to offset the reliance on fossil fuels within the wheel production process, the incorporation of soybeans in the Ecothane formula lowers the wheel’s carbon footprint.


Offering an incredibly smooth ride, the new Roundhouse Ecothane Mag wheel profile and formula brings additional grip to keep your wheels engaged with the pavement as you flow from turn to turn and has been well-received by our team riders.


President Greg Falk, on the Ecothane formula:

“We never compromise quality in selecting our materials, but it’s a true win-win when we can limit our carbon footprint and show an improvement in the board’s performance. We are pleased with the new Ecothane formula, and happy to support the movement towards a more environmentally friendly rider experience.”

The Editor Speaks: Skateboarding, We Have A Problem

The Editor Speaks: Skateboarding, We Have A Problem

  Editor’s Note: Bud Stratford has been a part of Concrete Wave for over a decade. This is the second tour he’s documented for us. You might not agree with everything he writes, but for sure you will find him an engaging writer.  Every time I head out on an ambitious, regional tour, I always end up learning a lot about skateboarding. You’d think that having been a skateboarder for, oh, maybe 35 years or so now, I might be in a position where I “know everything” about it already. But just like everything else in life, skateboarding constantly changes and evolves. To the point that it becomes a markedly different pastime, recreation, culture, and business every eight years or so. Considering that it’s been about eight years since my last ambitious tour, I’d say that’s pretty accurate.  Already, I’m seeing a few things that are a little “questionable”, at the very best. And frankly disconcerting, at the very worst. I’d like to address a few of those concerns directly, with their own essay. So as to not “bring down” the rest of my generally-fun tour coverage. Let’s begin here: Skateboarding is in an economic slump. There’s definitely a consensus that things are a bit off track. But the question is, why…?  Well, of course, there are external forces that unfortunately lie well beyond our control. The economy, politics, et cetera. So, I’m not going to spend any time on those things. Because, they are entirely outside of our control. Instead, I want to focus on things that are well within our control. I saw Away Days today for the first time. The Adidas video.  That’s significant. I had the pleasure of watching it at Cowtown (a great shop in Goodyear, AZ) with Brian, one of the assistant managers over there. About halfway through, he asked me what I thought of it? “I don’t like it much, to be honest”, I said. “Why not?”, he asked. “I can’t relate to it at all. And something’s missing”. Not Mark Gonzales. Well of course, the first thing that was missing was a Mark Gonzales part. Which is why I was watching it in the first place: to see a Mark Gonzales part. A part that I never saw, because it’s not in the video. There’s random footage of Mark here and there, doing the typical Mark stuff (namely, being funny and doing creative stuff), and he sort of narrates big chunks of the video. But, he has no part. Which is basically criminal, as far as I’m concerned. Because it’s the one thing that I really wanted to see. “Why doesn’t Mark have a part, Brian? Have you heard…?” “I heard it was because he didn’t feel like he could keep up with the new generation of guys, and didn’t feel good enough to have a part.” Hmm, how odd. Mark Gonzales. Not being “good enough” to have a video part. Never thought I’d hear the day that would ever happen. But, y’know, times change I guess. And not always for the better. I’ve been saying this for years: there is entirely too much pressure on kids these days to be “good at” skateboarding. Waaaaaaayyyy too much pressure. Absolutely too much pressure. And that’s bad. Very, very bad. Because it sucks the “fun” right out of skateboarding. And we’re supposed to be doing this for “fun”, right…? But, it’s not fun anymore. It’s work, it’s effort. There are Joneses to keep up with, tricks to master, footage to grab, names to be made, sponsors to garner and impress. Mark may not be “The Best” skater anymore, but I’ll tell you this: he should have had a part. Because it would have been fun as hell to watch. Because Mark is always fun to watch. It’s what makes Mark, Mark. The fact that somebody… anybody… perceives that Mark is not “good enough to have a part anymore” says an awful lot of bad stuff about skateboarding right now. And it is a damn shame. The real Mark Gonzales. That’s the only reason I’ve stuck with skating for 35 years now. Because I never gave a damn about being “good at it”. I didn’t do it to “be good at it”. I did it to get my kicks, and to have a good time. And I still do. But if you compare and contrast me with 99.999% of all skateboarders today, you’ll find that I’m the exception… not the rule. And that’s exactly the problem. I should be the norm. Not, the exception. Scootering is easier. That’s unfortunate. I was at Kids That Rip last weekend, talking to Tiffany in the pro shop. I was surprised to find that they rent skateboards and scooters there for kids to try out in the park. This is a pretty neat idea, I thought. This should surely cultivate new skateboarders, right…? Let them try it before they buy it? And this is why I go on tour alone: to talk to people about these things, these neat and novel new ideas that shops and parks sometimes come up with, in depth.  One of the questions I asked Tiffany is which one gets rented more often: scooters, or skateboards? “Unfortunately, it’s scooters.” You could almost hear the pain in her voice, having to admit that. Clearly, she’s rooting for skateboarding. But the kids want what they want. And at KTR, more often than not, it’s scooters that they want. “Why…?” “Because, they’re easier to ride. Kids like them more. There’s less pressure.” Ahhh. Theory, confirmed. Sadly. But, it’s the truth. Scooter kids making it look easy. In making these huge, impressive, high-budget videos (like Away Days) that focus so hard on the newest, hottest, up-and-coming skaters doing the hardest, most technically innovative (read: impossible) tricks… we, as an industry, are actually contributing very significantly to our own demise. Most kids will never, ever do a fraction of the tricks that the Away Days guys are doing. It is causing a severe disconnect between the average customer, and the industry that is supposed to be serving them. We are not serving them well at all. We are actually contributing to a mighty huge disservice. And doing so, I might add, quite consciously.  When’s the last time you saw a scootering version of Away Days…? Ever…? No…? Well, neither have I. I think the scooter manufacturers might be a lot smarter than we give them credit for. They’re not out there making scootering look f’n impossible to do. Maybe we should take a hint from that, huh…? When I go on tour, I do not promote “good skateboarding” at all. I can’t promote “good skateboarding”, because frankly speaking, I totally suck ass at skating. And the older I get, the worse I skate. Life sucks pretty hard right now. But…! I still love skating. And I still enjoy it immensely. And I still have fun with it, even while I’m sucking at it. And, I still do it! And kids connect with that, oddly enough. Because I give them stuff that most of “The Industry” either can’t, or won’t. Namely: hope. A very different interpretation of what skateboarding is, and what it’s all about (again: “fun”). And, encouragement. It’s a bit like The Ramones. I’m sort of like the sucky skating version of them. The Ramones couldn’t play music. They made great noise, though. And they were fun. They were doing something very new, and very different, that captured the imagination and made the dullness of life seem really exciting. Ramones & The Simpsons - only on this site! I suppose that when I roll up to a park… give everybody stickers, high fives, and smiles… and shoot photos, kids probably do say to themselves, “Wow. This guy is fat and old! He can barely skate! Yet, look at him! He has a camera, he writes stuff, and he works for a (kind of) major skateboard magazine…! He is living the life… and look at him! He is a total idiot, a complete loser…! Holy crap… I could do that, too…! Right…?!” And, of course, the answer is always “yes”. Yes, you surely can do whatever it is that I’m doing. You, the average kid, could probably do everything that I do, and probably a lot better than even I can. Because I am the old, fat loser that doesn’t skate good. And it gives them hope. Because they don’t have to be Jamie Thomas or Geoff Rowley to “make it” in life. They can be me. They can be punks. They can be The Ramones. They can have a voice. And they can make a difference. Lastly, there’s one more gripe that I want to address. This one’s important, too. And it’s another place where the industry could make a real difference. Every skatepark that I visit… whether they are public or private, it never seems to matter… is ridiculously humongous. Not in terms of sheer acreage… although they’re happily huge in that regard, too… but in terms of, vertically challenging. I went to Litchfield today… “Goodyear Community Skatepark” officially, but commonly referred to as “Litchfield Park”… and Ohmygawd, it was f’n scary. Like, “I didn’t even want to skate it” kind of scary.  Litchfield in Goodyear, Arizona. It looked like the ultimate bone-breaker… and the last thing I want in this crazy Obamacare world of high premiums and high deductibles is a broken bone at 44 years old. I really don’t want to die, or go bankrupt, skateboarding. I just want to scooter around and have some fearless fun with it. But that ain’t gonna happen at Litchfield, nuh-uh. No way in hell. The best parks I’ve seen yet, in terms of being kid-and-old-fat-guy-friendly, were both private: Kids That Rip in Chandler, and 91 West over in Peoria. Simply because, I could skate them. And have fun doing so. With confidence, even. Because they both had smaller mini-ramps… like, in the 2′-3′ range… that I could goof off on, and have fun learning new tricks on, without the fear of killing myself in the process. So, I skated them both for hours. And hours and hours and hours. But I barely even took a run at Litchfield. I did my one backside grind “just to say that I skated it”, and bugged out. I skated a brand-new ditch out in the boonies instead. That was a whole lotta fun. Litchfield wasn’t.    Kids that Rip Skatepark - Chandler, Arizona If we want to get little kids interested in skating… and much more importantly, keep little kids interested in skating… we need to get well away from the mega-sized terrain featured in the Away Days of the world, or constructed in the Litchfield Public Parks of the planet, and give newbies, little kids, old guys… girls, even?… terrain that they can functionally and fearlessly skate. Terrain that is “not particularly challenging” would actually be kind of refreshing right now. Because for the most part, it does not really exist. There is no real middle ground between the curb in front of your house, which is probably the easiest thing in the world to skate… and the mega-ramp-sized concrete park across town, which is more than likely the hardest thing in the world to skate. At least, it is if you happen to live in Goodyear, Arizona. It’s also true if you live almost anywhere in Arizona. I suspect this may be true elsewhere, too. You can always make “less than challenging terrain” a hell of a lot harder, by learning harder tricks on it. That’s fun. It’s pretty hard to make Litchfield Park “less huge”. That’s the difference. Mark my words on this: Micro-to-mid-sized, easy-to-skate terrain is going to be the hot new direction in skateboarding. If you build it, you will empower and engage millions of new, enthusiastic, life-long skateboarders. Take note, industry, and make that happen…! (Editor’s note: you need a pumptrack in your neighbourhood!) Leavenworth just landed its very own pumptrack! There are many more points to be made here, of course. Contests are out (because they’re not fun); jams and other “community events” are in. There aren’t enough “everybody, everyday” skateboarding events. There’s a lack of cohesive community everywhere. Industry is typically disengaged from the consumer experience; I’ll invite any industry head to come out with me for a weekend and see the world through my eyes… and trust me on this, you’ll be glad you did, because I’m f’n good times.  But I think that engaging kids on their own terms… within their own limitations, goals, and desires… and on skate terrain that they can realistically skate, and skate well, would be a damn good beginning. But how long do I have to wait until the industry realizes the wisdom, and responds…? Can it be sooner than later this time, guys? Please…?    

Great Skate Gift Ideas

Great Skate Gift Ideas

 Our associate editor Daniel Fedkenheuer has compiled a list of some fantastic gift ideas…all under $30. Happy holidays to all our readers and advertisers. I’ll be compiling my own list next week.Sk8ology – Click Carabiner Skate Tool – $12.99When you pack your car to the brim with boards and ramps, sometimes losing your keys and skate tool in the process is inevitable. For this, the world’s only skateboard tool designed to clip to your belt loops and bags is the perfect way to keep your essentials on hand.Available at:  Death Digital – Death Grip 2.0 VX Handle – $30This smartphone/GoPro handle combines the best of old and new school filming styles by fusing the classic feel of shooting VX footage with the ability to record on modern HD devices. It also features a shoe mount for external lighting options and a universal mount for additional attachments.Available at:  Lifeblood Skateboards – Lifeblood Slam Repair Kit – $19.95Every holiday season, my parents would slip a tooth brush into my stocking as a more sensible gift amidst the mounds of sugary candy. This all in one first aid kit has the same effect for the piles of presents otherwise consisting of new boards and shoes. Available at:  Monster Paint – Clear Spray On Griptape – $18For those looking to decorate the top plys of their decks and still see their creations, this awesome spray-on allows you to apply grip where you need it most. Each can holds enough to cover 5-6 40” longboards with two coats and takes just five minutes to dry.Available at: Andale Bearings – Marc Johnson Pro Rated Notepad Bearings – $29.95This box set comes complete with a notepad and pencil featuring art from Marc Johnson for your ever ending trick list and a fresh set of Pro Rated bearings and spacers to keep your ride smooth through the cold. Available at: The Board Pillow – $29.99For the groms on your shopping list who brave the cold to keep skating through the winter season, this pillow gives them something to warm up with as they continue to eat, sleep, skate. The washable covers feature graphics of everyone from Sean Malto to Christian Hosoi to Daewon Song.Available at: Shorty’s – Complete Finishing Kit: Tech Pack – $26.99This all in one kit is perfect for putting the finishing touches on a brand new setup. Equipping you with everything you need from grip tape to bearings and spacers to riser pads to anti-vibration silencers to a whole bunch of stickers, this pack has it all.Available at: – Genuine Parts Tool Kit – $24.95In relation to the last item, this second kit from Independent holds all the tools you need to assemble your setup and then some. In it, you can find a double sided wrench, a socket driver, a driver with attachments for flat, phillips and allen keys and extra hardware, axle nuts and kingpin bolts.Available at:  The Original Grip Gum – $5.99One of the greatest burdens I face on the East Coast when it finally warms up enough to hit the streets is the mess of sand and road salt left behind from the snow storms that cakes onto my grip tape. This cleaner removes the debris from your deck and keep it grippy.Available at: Powell Peralta – 2016 Holiday Ornaments 4PK – $21.00To round out this list, the undoubtedly most festive item is this 4 pack of Powell Peralta Holiday ornaments to add some stoke to the mess of snowmen and Santa Clauses on your tree. Available at:

Niches vs Waaaaay Out There

Niches vs Waaaaay Out There

Over the last 20 years or so I have watched skateboarding change. In 1996, you could barely get anyone to pay slightest bit of attention to longboarding let alone slalom or freestyle. Skateboarding media was very much like the scene in the Blues Brothers movie where someone says “we got both kinds of music: country AND western.” 

Niche events did take place but they were truly off the radar. Thanks to the hard work of a lot of people and the power of the web skateboarding now covers a wide range of niches. 


The truth is however is that these niches haven’t really received the type of attention or sponsorship that street skateboarding garnishes. Most longboarders (and all the groups that are lumped together in the “OTHER” category) are realists. Sure, it would be nice to have a big fat sponsor like Ford or Pepsi throw in some major money to the IDF or other types of skate events, but it’s going to take time. We have to accept that we are a niche.


Numerous skaters spend a huge amount of their own money to attend races. Downhill, by its very nature poses some risks while every precaution is taken at races, accidents happen. The reward comes in the camaraderie – for the most part, the prizes are secondary. 


The worldwide tribe that doesn’t generally follow the going’s-on of traditional skateboarding is sometime given an occasional nod by the mainstream media. The tragic passing of 70 year old Victor Earhart is one of those times. If your attention is to the more mainstream side of skating, someone like Victor isn’t going to get onto your radar. For those who do explore outside what is presented in most of the skate media, the experiences are truly exceptional.


One of those rewards is the chance to compete against world-class skaters. If you go race Danger Bay or ahead out to Oceanside for the National Slalom Races, you will be up against the very best in the world. Not only will you be able to skate with your hero’s, you’ll be able to hang with them too. It’s quite a bit harder to do this at the Maloof Money Cup or Dew Tour.


THIS IS FROM 2011…wow, time flies!

If the other categories in skateboarding are classified as niches and are getting a paltry amount in the way of sponsorships, can you imagine what it’s like to be a pro wrestler in Combat Zone Wrestling. Most of us know of the WWF but trust me when I say you won’t see Doritos, KFC or even Band Aid jumping to sponsor this niche part of wrestling any time soon.


The CZW documentary profiling this way out there niche within wrestling is a 42 minute orgy of violence the likes of which will leave mental scars. We’ll all know that Vice covers it all – from drug abuse to bestiality but nothing can prepare you for this niche within wrestling. 


The level of brutality is so beyond anything that you can imagine, it’s frankly hard to comprehend. Sure, it’s all done for the fans…but holy shit, it’s insane. These guys literally drive spikes into each others heads


Don’t believe me?

Take a look at the documentary below: Warning – once you see this, you will not be able to UNSEE it.

If you get past the violence, you will see there is camaraderie here between the wrestlers and yes there is an incredible bond between the wrestlers and the audience. It is so over the top and so incredibly intense that even the refs are seen clenching their teeth. Chances are this waaaay out there niche within wrestling will garner a few fans via the documentary. The CZW seem be garnering some money via on demand video – not sure how much money it generates – but full marks for trying!


From what I understand, Delaware is one of the few places left in the USA that you can actually do a tournament of death. Not sure about Canada. I would say it’s doubtful.

For those who worry about the future of niches within our amazing skateboard world I say, fear not. Niches within skateboarding will expand and contract, just like the rest of skateboarding. Sure, we may never get the big dollars like our street skating counterparts. But that’s ok. No matter what happens, chances are you’ll never find yourself picking glass out of your body. Unlike our counterparts over at CZW.



The Karma Police Strike Again

The Karma Police Strike Again

 Three years ago we published a story about Troy Derrick. Troy is an RCMP in Vancouver, BC. His connection to skateboarding is a highly intriguing story which you can read here:  I promise you that you will find it fascinating. That’s the crazy thing about karma, it never fails to capture our imaginations. The reason why I am posting this story is that just a few days ago I found myself in one of the most extra-ordinary skate shops you’ll ever visit – Toronto’s very own So Hip It Hurts. Loaded to the gills with an incredible collection of goodies, the shop is a true jewel of Queen Street West. Upon entering the shop, my eye spotted this deck and I immediately got the reference. It would appear that Friendship Skateboard Company is taking a page from Welcome Skateboards and going for a vibe of  inclusion and fun. What a great take on a iconic image. Kevin Harris was instrumental in me putting together the book Concrete Wave. Hard to believe I’ve known him for almost 20 years. When I decided to do a post about this Friendship deck, it actually led me to this post which was written by Hippy Mike of Protest Skateboards and a fixture of the British Columbia skate scene. Three years ago I did not know Mike had written such an awesome introduction to the piece and I am so very happy to share it with you now. This past May, I finally got a chance to meet Troy at the Freestyle Round Up in Cloverdale. The Kevin Harris deck was first released in 1986, making this year the thirtieth anniversary. How very appropriate…or as I would say, pretty good karma. Watch Kevin blow your mind here – from Ban This:   

Events: Weekend At The Wedge, Scottsdale, Arizona

Events: Weekend At The Wedge, Scottsdale, Arizona



When Michael asked me to come back and write for the magazine, he did so with three overriding mandates: to think (and execute) well outside the box; to shake things up a bit; and to instigate change. And he gave me virtual carte blanche to do all three of those things, however I saw fit to do so, with the full support of the magazine behind me. One of the first things on my personal shit list to tackle was the status quo of “skateboard events”.


“Skateboard events”, as we know them today, generally take two popular forms: contests and demos. Neither of which float my boat very much. Contests, I despise for fairly obvious and straightforward reasons. To me, skateboarding is (fundamentally speaking) a form of artistic self-expression; I’m almost positive that very few skaters will disagree with this assessment. As a form of artistic self-expression, I still can’t figure out how it can ever be “judged” to discern which style of artistic self-expression should be deemed “better” or “more valid” than another style of artistic self-expression. So just based on the philosophical grounds, I abhor any and all attempts at having skateboarders “compete” against one another. It seems to go completely against the spirit of the whole thing.

Demos are a bit better… but not much. When I go to a skateboard event, I want to go skateboarding; I don’t really want to sit on my ass (or stand around idly) watching other dudes go skateboarding. Skateboarding, to me, is a participation pastime, not a sporting spectacle. Some skaters may disagree with this one, but I really don’t give a toss. It’s my article, bubbo. If you have a differing point of view… well, throw your own event and write your own damn article then.


In any rate, what I really wanted to do here was to organize and execute a very different sort of event. “The Weekend At The Wedge” was almost exactly what I had in mind.


The event itself was a brainwave between myself, and Stuart Anglin. I met Stewart a couple months back, while I was on tour; we crossed paths at The Wedge Skatepark at Eldorado Park in Scottsdale, Arizona. We struck up a conversation based on the common ground of being old, lifer skaters. At some point in our friendly chat, I asked Stuart why The Wedge Skatepark wasn’t named after the park it sat in (like so many Phoenix area skateparks are), and thus called “Eldorado Skatepark”. He explained that the skatepark was named after “The Wedge”, and old skate spot that was heavily sessioned way back in the ’70s and early’80s.


Thinking that the original spot must have been dozed and buried eons ago, I remarked that it’s really too bad that it’s not around anymore. To which Stuart replied, “Oh, it’s still there! It’s right down the hill beside the bike path!” Being a bit surprised by this, I asked if he’d like to escort me down there, point it out, and maybe join me for a quick session? Stuart, being the supercool chap that he is, was more than happy to oblige.


As we skated The Wedge… which is a long, mellow embankment by the way, ideal for surf-skating (because it’s basically a huge, stationary wave)… I asked how long it had been since anybody had seen a mass session there…?


“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe twenty, thirty years?”


“Stuart….! We have to have an old-school session here. For old time’s sakes, at the very least. Let’s get a hold of Adam, and make that happen.” Stuart was in, Adam was in, and the event was a total go.


Here in Phoenix, we’re blessed to have a very well-organized and active old-guy skateboard club known as The Gray Beard Crew (found on Facebook under “Prevent This Tragedy”); Adam is our ringleader, so his support and promotion was an integral part of the plan. I made a digitized flyer for the event, posted it up all over our Facebook page, and started planning the details of the festivities.


Putting together an event like this is really pretty easy. Anyone can do it, although having an already-existing skateboard club does help immensely. If your town doesn’t have a skateboard club, well, go right ahead, be like Adam, and organize one; all it takes is a desire to meet (and skate with) new people; a little bit of outreach, networking, and promotion; and a Facebook page. Club tee shirts help a bunch, too, because they’re so boss. Just sayin’.


There were some simple logistics to sort out. The Wedge has a nasty habit of collecting dirt and dust at the base of the bank; that would have to be swept out, so people were encouraged to bring brooms (two ended up being enough, and those were personally manned by Stuart and I). I printed flyers, and left them at the area skateshops. We picked a day and a time that worked for almost everybody and their schedules. That was the bulk of “the planning”, right there.


And then, there were the “prize packs”… a little idea that I put together, so that nobody would leave the event empty-handed. I wanted to show my appreciation to everyone for showing up and participating… so, everybody got a prize pack that included a free copy of Concrete Wave Magazine (thanks, Michael); a color version of the event flyer, printed on some spiffy paper; and a handful of stickers because, really, what kind of skater wouldn’t appreciate a handful of stickers…? Nobody I know…! Those were provided by Michael (again); Jim Gray at Powerflex; Jack Smith at the Morro Bay Skateboard Museum; Mike Horelick at Tunnel Products; the fine folks at Speedlab Wheels; and the fellas at Sidewalk Surfer Skate Shop, right up the street. I’d like to thank them all, too, for helping out.


As far as the time-and-money costs go, they really weren’t particularly significant. I spent maybe forty bucks on the whole deal at the very most… I actually ran most of the flyers off for free at work… and I spent maybe ten to fifteen hours on the whole project, total. This really is something that almost anybody could put together, by and for themselves. I cannot emphasize that enough.


My biggest worry was over how many people would (or wouldn’t) turn out for the shindig. I feared the worst, as I usually do; I had visions of another private session for just Stuart and I, and nobody else but the sound of crickets. But the turnout blew me away…! There were about fifty folks there, of all ages and abilities… that was the best part, I thought… and they, in turn, brought out many of their kids, wives, and girlfriends. My sweetie Renee even tagged along to spectate, and had quite a good time doing so. But really, the best part was seeing such a diverse cross-section of skaters, young and old, newbie to experienced, skating together and having fun. That’s the best reward you could ever ask for, right there. That made it all worthwhile.


The most surprising part of the day was watching everybody skate the “wrong” side of the bank. The back side of The Wedge is another embankment that leads down to a grassy flatbottom… not something that I would have ever imagined skating. But somebody… I think it might have been Adam… started trying to pump the whole bank, from the paved sidewalk to the opposite end. Within minutes, everybody was trying it (including me)… and surprisingly, making it. You learn something new every day, I guess. Sometimes, even something completely unforseen and utterly surprising.


After a couple of hours of skating The Wedge, we all migrated up to the skatepark to keep the fun times rolling. The skatepark has a bunch of quarterpipes, grindable islands, and a bank/bowl complex that’s short, mellow, but still a significant challenge. The whole event lasted three solid hours, and everybody seemed to go home happy and content.


If the event itself wasn’t surprising enough, then that Facebook love that I found in my inbox when I got home definitely sealed the surprise deal; I wasn’t really expecting that, either. Of course, I tried to deflect much of the credit back to the participants… an event, of course, isn’t really “an event” without a whole bunch of participants… but it was nice to see such tangible confirmation of a job well done, and times well spent.


I’m sure that we’ll put something together again really soon. Adam and I have already discussed what, where, and when the next event might be. Sidewalk Surfer is already down to support it, wherever and whatever it might be. But really, what I’d like to see are more homegrown events like this, all over the country and/or the world. That would be amazing. 


So put ’em together, have your own fun, shoot a few photos along the way, and send your stories in to the mag. Make Mike and I proud, and make ’em happen.



Make Your Own 3D Printed Fingerboards

Make Your Own 3D Printed Fingerboards

With winter fast approaching, you might be wondering what you could do to pass the days. We hope this article will give you some inspiration to head down to your local library in search of a Makerbot! How to Make Custom 3D Printed Fingerboards What you’ll need: · 3D printer (if you don’t have one or want to buy one, many makerspaces and even libraries havethem)· Slicer software· Printer filament (I use PLA)· 2 fingerboard trucks with 5 mm x 8 mm bolt pattern*· 8 fingerboard screws*· 4 fingerboard wheels*· Mini Philips head screwdriver· Mini socket wrench (2.5mm) *Fingerboard parts can be ordered from  here: Steps: 1)   Open the custom fingerboard designer tool:  Since 3D modeling a custom skateboard can take a while, I created a tool to speed up the process. You can access this tool via (I recommend using Firefox or Chrome). Here’s a video describing how it works for the full-scale skateboard version, which is basically the same tool, except it uses larger numbers:  Simply change the numbers in each of the parameter boxes and click “Update” to render the new design. 2)   Generate a .stl file: Once you’ve designed a shape you like, you’ll need to generate a .stl file of the model. To generate a .stl of your board, click on the “Generate STL” button (leave the default settings). Then click “Download STL”. 3)   Prepare and print: Import your .stl file into your 3D printer software. Your settings will vary based on what type of printer you use, but you’ll likely need to generate supports, which add structure underneath the overhangs of your board (if you didn’t have supports, the overhanging features would fall down). It will probably take several tries and failed prints to get the settings right. Don’t give up! 4)   Finishing touches:Depending on your  printer, you may need to drill the  holes to fit  your bolts.  If necessary, use a1/16″ drill bit to drill them. For more into, click the photo below.  

Whitezu Brings You the Urban Wave

Whitezu Brings You the Urban Wave

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

Transformer Rails

Transformer Rails

Cory Fuhrmeister and Rocky Borgstorm have a revolutionary new concept on their hands that answers the prayers of street skateboarders plagued by not having access the proper skateparks or street spots. Their South Carolina based operation, Transformer Rails, has its eyes set on pushing skateboarders to higher levels of progression than ever before by manufacturing the world’s first transformable grind rail. Concrete Wave was generously given to chance to try out the 6 foot transformer rail and put all of the possible combinations to the test.


From the ground up, every angle of the eye-popping orange colored rail makes the mind race with thoughts of possibilities. The six foot long flat top is just wide enough to manual but still slender enough to board slide. On either edge, there are both square and round copings that can be hit frontside or backside from any direction. Plus, with several different adjustable heights, the ability for inclined grinds and slides is also there.


Then, with the twist of a screw, the magic happens. By rotating the rail 90 degrees either direction on a patented hinge, the copings can become a flat bar or a round rail, respectively. The large diameter of the round rail allows for easier lock ins while the flat bar is plenty wide enough to inspire confidence and allow for stable grinds.


The first thought that comes to mind when rolling up to the rail is comfort. No matter what trick you’re setting up for, the Transformer Rail can be maneuvered to accommodate for the smoothest ride possible. If you want to practice smith grinds on a square angle before moving to round rails, you got it. Or, if you want to level out your board slides on a wide bench before working your way up to the flat bar or round rail, you can conquer that too. Plus, the height adjustments allow you to build your pop from the ground up to a peak of 24 inches.



Never before has the street skater been granted such great adaptability with just one skate spot. The rail is portable enough to bring with you on a short skate and it can even fit in the average mid-sized sedan. (If you can position it in there properly) The trick ideas are endless and the path of progression seems to open up when first taking the Transformer Rail out for a session.


Next up for Transformer Rails, the Flip Rail and the Mini Transformer Rail are set to hit the streets this season. These more mellow options offer lower height settings and are designed to be more portable and appealing to skaters looking to learn their first grinds.


For more info about the versatility and freedom of Transformer Rails, please visit and stay tuned for Concrete Wave’s street test, coming soon!

Skateboarding and Autism

Skateboarding and Autism

Believe it or not, 1 in 68 children in America has a form of Autism. According to the CDC, 1 in 54 of those are boys. Founded by Crys Worley, the A Skate Foundation has been doing some incredible things over the past number of years. Their work with autistic kids and skateboarding is having a tremendous impact on people’s lives. Have a peek at this video below: They have an event coming up in Arizona on November 5. For more info on skateboarding and autism, take a peek at this website below:  

Magic & Skateboarding

Magic & Skateboarding

Editor’s Note: We are one day from Halloween. What a great opportunity to match two of my favorite things:

Enjoy this rather unique article and have a Happy Halloween!

When I was a child, I saw magicians vanish candles on TV with a handkerchief. I would grab my mother’s candle and try sliding it down my sleeve, drop it on the ground, or any method I could think of to duplicate the effect. I had this innocent belief that I could do anything. After many poor attempts to create something that actually looked magical, I purchased the effect, only to find that they used a trick candle. I felt cheated. But more importantly, I felt I was losing the belief that I could create my own magic! 

Around the same time, I would go out skateboarding and people would talk about a mythical trick called the ollie impossible. As a magician, it fascinated me,  this was before the internet, so there was no way to look it up and validate that it was humanly possible. No one I knew could actually do it, but they could describe it with enough detail so I could start trying to accomplish the impossible. I failed so many times, my ankles bruised to hell, until one day I landed it. It was the best feeling in my life. That was the day I discovered what magic really was –through a skateboard! 


Magicians disempower their potential through trickery, while skaters have limitless potential and will their desire into being, which is real magic. 


The art of magic is about using metaphor and moments of awe to plant seeds in your audience’s mind, to expand consciousness. But magic could grow if magicians expand their consciousness too – it is a transformative art, and it starts with the self. When people ask me what I do, I tell them I’m an artist and my medium is magic. 

 You can purchase Joe’s book here.


The passions I have combined to create art are animation, skateboarding and magic. The tools are the brush and pen, which conjure images on the page or screen; the skateboard, which places you in the moment, in the flow; and magic, which is my way of life. 


I studied animation at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. I was the kind of kid who would stay up all night setting up dominoes for those few quick seconds of magical motion. I sort of see myself as an animator; finding hidden life inspires me. Animation is a huge theme in my work. I don’t just think of it as hand drawn cartoons. Animation is also puppetry; it is storytelling that moves and inspires you. I want my audience to “feel animated” when my magic show is over. Skateboards are interesting because although you manipulate them, they also animate you! 


Drawing has an energy and magic to it too. When you draw, the way your pencil moves across a page feels very similar to skateboarding. It skates across the page, leaving marks, while you lose yourself in it and act on feeling. When you do a wall ride on a skateboard, it leaves marks that are pure raw energy. As an animator, you draw fast and rough to produce motion. I have always seen a skateboard as being similar to a paint brush because it’s a simple tool of artistic expression. 


I have always thought artists were the closest thing to real magicians. Francis Bacon was like a ghostbuster; he would put his canvas out like a trap, trying to capture a moment of truth. Bacon was trying to paint a wave, so hethrew a bucket of water at the canvas to get as close as he could to a real one. He incorporated dust from his studio floor into the wool sweaters he painted. Ralph Bakshi, the wizard of animation, is the most real person I know on the planet. In his film Wizards, the character Avatar says the spell, “Krenkel Morrow Frazetta.” It might 

come across as some kind of mumbo jumbo, but each word is the last name of one of his favorite artists. Most magicians are not conscious of the meaning of their spells. Abracadabra actually means, “It is created as it is spoken.” Bakshi is a real wizard, and I have always admired people who are real magicians. Skaters have a similar authenticity to what they do. Magicians like Jeff McBride have it. Skaters like Rodney Mullen have it. 


Skateboarding has always seemed like a performance that we undersold. In old skate videos, bystanders would stop on the street and watch skaters. As a skater, you could put down your hat and busk and make money street skating. Skateboarders could elevate the art by adding new flourishes to their tricks to keep them mysterious. When Rodney Mullen invented the [ollie] kickflip, it was called a “magic flip” because people didn’t understand how it was done. Now that we know, it has become a stunt. How cool would it be to have skateboard tricks that were kept a secret, tricks that were mysterious? This is why I wrote The Magic of Skateboarding. If we can make regular sized skateboards look like they float without using any gimmicks, or vanish fingerboards, we might be able to fill a void and connect skateboarding with fingerboarding in a magical way! Skateboarders can now take the stage, not just in the skate demo sense with headphones on while staring at the ground, but as conscious performers. 


The fingerboard has so much potential to grow right now. I see it gaining respect. Just imagine DJs having them with LED lights, becoming a new prop in juggling culture, magicians using them with sleight of hand, and skaters combining the micro and macrocosm skateboarding with your hand down, trailing a smaller fingerboard behind you. I’m working on painting with fingerboards like palette knives, using skateboards that have actual marks from board slides as a canvas. The marks left by the fingerboards mimic those left by real skate moves, true to the art. The fingerboard has so much room to grow. Rodney Mullen talks about filling in voids, and I think combing small and large skateboards could make everything new again. In my promo video, I transform a fingerboard into a large skateboard and jump on to ride it away. If these tricks are not revealed to the masses, but instead are passed down between skaters, we could add mystery and magic to skateboarding – fingerboards could progress. 


Now I skateboard on stage to start my magic show and screen animated shorts I made between my magic tricks. I only perform in galleries, museums or private parties where you can host me as a guest artist to perform in your own home. I’m open to skate venues and giving artist talks. I don’t use gimmicks in my magic; I might just grab a silk handkerchief and see how many tricks I can flow out of it just like I’m skating. I tell stories as I do tricks with fingerboards, and I recently discovered how to make an object float in the air with no gimmicks. It’s a very pure levitation – no strings, no lies, just a search for real magic. Skateboarding taught me this. 

Animal Chin Hits 30

Animal Chin Hits 30

 Hard to believe this ground breaking video is celebrating 30 years. You can download a free copy of the video right here. This past September, Tony Hawk, Lance Mountain, Steve Caballero, Tommy Guerrero, Mike McGill, Rodney Mullen, Johnny Rad, Stacy Peralta, George Powell and a few friends gathered together to celebrate CHIN. This week the RIDE Channel will be posting four separate web edits celebrating that gathering and #30YearsOfChin. Fans can follow along at our Bones Brigade Facebook and Instagram pages. To view the film on YouTube, take a peek below:Fun bonus fact: The photo you see below is from the film. It’s an anchorwoman doing a newscast about the search of Animal Chin. The actress is Tony Hawk’s sister.  

Vans Am Combi Classic

Vans Am Combi Classic

Dan Bourqui continues to create videos that capture the energy of skate events.This particular video showcases the incredible talents of the current generation of amateur rippers.Take a peek below.   


Place Name Age Hometown Sponsors

1 – $2000 Iago Magalhaes 22 Curitiba, Brazil Sumatra Surf, 187 KillerPads, Vertual Skateboards, JohnBull

2 – $1400 Matt Wilcox 16 Simi Valley, CA moonshine skateboards Predator helmets vert jungle fatal clothing

3 – $800 Travis Rivera 16 Encinitas, CA Surfride, Sunbum, 187 Killer Pads, Alta wheels, Khiro, and Protec

4 – $600 Hericles Fagundes 19 Florianopolis, Brazil Santa Cruz Skateboards, Duelo Skate Shop, João Tinta, Enjoy Meias.

5 – $400 Bryson Farrill 16 San Diego, CA Sector 9, Gullwing, Active, Tortoise Pads, & Skeleton Key




Place Name Age Hometown Sponsors

1 – $2000 Keegan Palmer 13 Currumbin, Australia Nike SB, Oakley, Flip Skateboards, Independent Trucks, Bones Wheels, 187 Pads, S1 Helmets

2 – $1400 Asher Bradshaw 12 Los Angeles, CA Element, Independent, Autobohn, Bones Swiss, Grizzly, Diamond, Puma, Woodward, Mogovera Ortho, S1 Helmets, 187 Killer Pads, Go Pro

3 – $800 Tate Carew 11 San Diego, CA Vans, Creature, Skeleton Key, Pro Tec, 187 Killer Pads, Sun Diego, Bones

4 – $600 Cash Money Kenton 12 Ojai, CA Osiris, Mc Gills Skate Shop, Ripetide Bushings, S1 Helmets & Randoms Hardware

5 – $400 Seth Sanders 13 Fresno, CA vans, volcom, pocket pistols, spank grip, ace trucks, viva board shop



BoardUp – Portability for Urban Commuters

BoardUp – Portability for Urban Commuters

  Several weeks ago we received an email from Arnab Raychaudhuri of Board Up. He explained that his company had developed a folding longboard. As you can imagine, we were quite intrigued by this concept. It’s not the first time this has been tried, but there is no doubt this product looks promising.  What’s the history of this product how did it come to be?
Arnab: My partner Bin, saw his son struggling to carry around his long board. As a veteran engineer he went to work building a board that is portable and rides like a long board. 

Some would say mini cruisers have taken over the longboard market why the need for a fold-up longboard?
Cruisers are great, but they are still too large. BoardUp offer customers a true longboarding experience, allowing boarders to surf the streets, and folds it up under a desk, or in stows in backpacks.What kind of Interest have you been getting from consumers?
We’ve been getting a lot of interest from Urban commuters that want a better alternative than biking to work. We will launching our board on Kickstarter on October 25.

When the skateboard folds and is laid out are there any problems with things like stress fractures?
We built the folding hinge mechanism with aircraft grade aluminum, so it can handle over 400lbs. We’ve also tested the hinge and the weight capabilities over 18,000 times. We’ll post a video with Aaron Kyro and his two friends on the board at the same time!
  When the board is folded up how small is it?
The exact dimensions are coming soon.
 Visit the website here