New! Submit Your Posts to Be Featured!

New! Submit Your Posts to Be Featured!

Well, we’re back from Hiatus!  We’ve been in the lab, not so much with a pen and a pad, but with some good things cooking, and some major changes coming up (stay tuned for an upcoming post).  But, until then we have an awesome new addition to the website where you can submit your content for us to feature!

Featuring Real Skaters, Sponsored or Not!
This is our way of connecting with the real skate world, sponsored or not, to feature real skaters from the real skate world – downhill, street, freestyle, longboarding, even art – anything goes!

Feature What?
Mainly we’re looking for Instagram posts or YouTube videos since they have easy links that you can submit.

Feature Where?
Once you submit your clips or pics, our editors will review them.  If they’re approved, we will insert your Clip, Pic, or Article into an awesome new post in our Blog or re-post on our Instagram page.  Some lucky contestants may even be contacted to be featured in upcoming editions of our submit-skate-print magazine!

Submit to Get Featured!
If you’re interested in submitting content to CW to feature, simply hit up our new Skate Content Submissions page here:

Submit Skate Content Here
More on Woodshops

More on Woodshops

A few weeks ago we did a story on what to look for (and to avoid) when it comes to choosing a woodshop. We know there are many folks out there who are very interested in starting up their own deck company. We heard from Mike Mahoney of Savvy Cycles and founder of Honey Skateboards.

Mike Mahoney in his shop.
Photo: Jeff Nass

 

Mike is an expert when it comes to wood and we are delighted to share his insights. Here is just a partial list of things Mike suggest you look for when it comes to choosing the right shop for you.

Does the shop control the environment?
Almost every shop will control temperature but many do not consider humidity. Since wood will shrink or swell as it drys out or takes on moisture, a shop should keep the humidity level within a certain range to reduce the movement of the wood (veneers). They should monitor the moisture content of the wood as well. Veneers should be stored in an controlled environment. Pressed decks should be given the proper time to cure and return to an equilibrium state before they are cut and shaped and stored in a controlled environment until they receive the finish.
Pressed decks should not be stacked to cure, this promotes unequal drying that can cause warping, air need to circulate around all side evenly. A deck that is too dry shipped to Florida will take on a lot of moisture do to humidity and can warp easily, and a deck with a high moisture content shipped to Arizona will dry out considerably and potentially warp and/or crack. Shops may not give you the specifics but they should indicate that they the decks are maintained in an humidity controlled environment for storage of veneers to finished deck. If not, look elsewhere.

Photo: Jeff Nass

 

What materials does the shop use?
Wood (veneers):
Maple, bamboo, birch, fiberglass, carbon fiber, other or a combination of. I caution the use of bamboo, it cracks easy and best used in a composite construction. I have seen many brand new, never ridden, big name longboards on racks in shops that were cracked. Shops should advise the proper wood species to suit your needs.
Adhesives:
Epoxy, PVA or other. Both epoxy and PVA have specific applications. A lot of people think epoxy is best, but are they using the right epoxy for the application. Epoxy should not be press under as much pressure as PVA because it requires some space between veneers to be effective, otherwise you run the risk of a week bond. There are several PVA glues that were specifically design for skateboards. They are water resistant, and designed to work with the characteristics of maple to flex with the wood (AKA “POP”). PVA’s can be pressed with a tighter glue line than epoxy. Epoxy is better suited for composite constuction. If the shop is using consumer PVA or expoy, look elsewhere. These are industrial products used in industry and not available at Home Depot or Lowes.

Photo: Jeff Nass

Finishes:
For years the standard finish used on skateboards was lacquer. Lacquer in not he best finish for outdoor use. The reason it was used so much is that it is required if your graphic is a heat
transfer and it’s easier to apply. Polyurethane with UV protection is better if possible, it is more water resistant.
Carbon Footprint:
Water based adhesives and finishes win here. PVA is water based and most finishes are available in water based these days. Epxoy, carbon fiber, fiber glass and bamboo are the losers. Yes, bamboo! It has been marketed as a “green material” due to it incredible ability to regenerate, however, the process required to get the round bamboo into a flat veneer come with a huge carbon footprint, outweighing the green benefits, but no one wants you to know this.

Photo: Jeff Nass

 

What type of press do you use?
Cold press vs hot press, manual, hydraulic, pneumatic operated, vacuum bag or clamps?
Cold vs hot depends on the materials and the adhesives used. Press time can also play into the equation here. Hydraulic and pneumatic are more production oriented, then manual, vacuum bag and clamps.
Does the press have a pressure gauge?
Adhesive manufactures have a recommended psi. Without a pressure gauge, how do you know if you meet the recommendations or that every board is pressed consistently? Again, epoxy requires less pressure that PVA.
Molds – Do you have stock molds? Can you make custom molds? Who owns the custom mold? If we part ways, can I take “my” custom mold with me?
The type of mold used is directly related to the type of press used. Do you need a one sided or male/female mold? Woodshops often will have a choice of stock molds to choose from. This is a good way to get started because a custom mold can cost upwards of $1000. Molds are often laminated with baltic birch, maple or even aluminum=($$$$$$). Stay away from a shop that recommends using 2×6’s or other framing material to save money. Just like your veneers, the molds should be kept in a controlled environment. A warped mold will only press a warped deck. Molds need to be precise to get consistent and secure glue joints. A CNC cut mold if far superior to a hand shaped mold. A mold can last for 10’s of thousands of decks if taken care of. A mold also needs to be designed to press a given number of boards. This leads to the next question.
There is a large variation in the industry with this. Some will press up to 5 decks in one mold to save time. This creates 5 different decks with respect to the contours, concave, kicktails, and wheel wells. As you stack decks, each decks’ contours get progressively smaller up the stack. Some don’t care, and some do. Pressing 2 decks at a time minimizes the differential range but takes longer to press decks in a production setting. This is a decision you have to make. Consistency or quantity, where is the happy medium?
Virgin Blacktop World Premier

Virgin Blacktop World Premier

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Today is International Women’s Day. Get Out There and Roll!

Today is International Women’s Day. Get Out There and Roll!

Today is March 8th. it’s International Women’s Day.

Did you know that?

The truth is my wife reminded me – but I thought it was on the 11th. Turns out that is the day many folks are gathering this weekend for rallies.

Patti McGee a leading light in skateboarding since the early 1960’s. Five decades later, Patti is still rolling!

By a strange coincidence, March 11 is my mom’s birthday AND the day I met Noel Korman in 2011 at the world’s first longboard trade show in NYC.

In most years, I’d be working on the April issue and waiting for the March Buyer’s Guide to come back from the press.

Ellen O’Neal rode for G&S. An awesome freestyle skater.
Photo: Warren Bolster

That didn’t happen this year. But more on that in a moment.

Peggy Oki made a huge mark on the “Lords of Dogtown.”

 

Laura Thornhill was featured in the Fall 1976 issue of SkateBoarder. She received over 10 pages of coverage!

 

I used to put a huge amount of focus getting the magazine out at the specific time. Speaking of time, I spent a huge amount time chasing advertisers to get their ads or listings in for deadline. Speaking of advertisers, happy to report we one new Swiss advertiser – Rocket Longboards.

Thanks to a series of events, I have the time to focus on things that connect all skaters. And that’s why I am writing this column. My first shout is to Candy Dungan, who is our associate editor. Can you spot her in this layout? Candy is right there…on the top left!

Can you spot Candy?

 

You see, I think now more than ever we need ALL skaters (both FEMALE and MALE) to be part of International Women’s Day. Here’s just one link why.

Girl is NOT a 4 Letter Word!

I encourage you to get out there and roll for women today. Think of what is must be a woman in Vatican City, the only place in the world where women can’t vote.

And in Belarus, women can’t become truck drivers. Then again, if you think about it, it was only 1971 when women got the right to vote in Switzerland.

The Longboard Girls Crew

For those male skaters who can’t understand what your role is today, here’s my take:

Get out there and skate. Enjoy everything the act of skateboarding gives you. Freedom and fun springs to my mind. If you run into some female skaters or just females, treat them the way you’d like to be treated. If they are new skateboarding, stoke them out. If they’ve been riding longer than you, take the time to learn from them. If you just do that, you’re rolling for peace – that is your role. If you want to march, or support women

in some other way , that’s also cool too.

So, here’s to women everywhere in skateboarding! Thank you for being here! Girl is NOT a 4 Letter word!

Special shout out to Valeria Kechichian of the Longboard Girls Crew.

Tip of the hat to:

Pink Widow Distribution.

 

 

BTW: Our next roll is April 22 – Earth Day.

Come join us in Toronto for this event

Spots are available for your product – it is green

 

 

 

 

 

 

And check out Peggi Oki’s charity that fits perfectly with April 22.

Not for Profit

Not for Profit

A quick glance over at Amazon USA and you can get into a longboard for $29.99

YIKES! (just kidding about the roll over image part!)

And here’s something else to consider – FREE SHIPPING

How the F**K does this even work? Shipping has to cost something. A big box like this has to be at least $15 to ship.

But don’t take my word for it, have a look at the reviews.

I am not suggesting that we shouldn’t have price point products. We should. But can someone please explain to me after you:

  1. take a piece of wood – shape it into a deck and add grip
  2. add trucks and mounting hardware
  3. add wheels and bearings
  4. pay someone to put it together, put it in a box and ship it to the USA
  5. then ship it from a warehouse to a customer somewhere for FREE

HOW THE HELL DOES THIS EVEN MAKE A PROFIT?

We are devaluing skateboarding one not for profit complete at a time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Real Truth Newsletter #2

The Real Truth Newsletter #2

Greetings all,
This newsletter is about what to look for in a woodshop. And we have a hard hitting interview with a manager of an established woodshop.
The truth is that skateboarding is awesome.
The real truth is that starting a skate company and working with a woodshop can be nightmare. Just ask my buddy _____. We can’t give his name because you know…lawyers. But trust me it can be a total nightmare trying to get decks made. We hope this little interview helps you avoid some serious nightmares.
REMEMBER – buyer beware! DO NOT FREAK OUT…read this interview FIRST before you place that order.
What should you be looking for when it comes to choosing a woodshop to make your decks?

History and heritage. This shows credibility and experience right off the bat. The  customer should be able to pull plenty of information about the organization on the internet

Their philosophies and core values.  Check out their website and  see what they are about.

Cleanliness and organization. Visiting the factory not only ensures that  they are not brokers themselves, but also allows the customer the ability to check out their organization. We know that all wood shops are dirty or dusty, but not to a point that it looks like stuff is just thrown everywhere

Customer Service.   Customer service should be a top priority. Are they taking the time to really meet your needs, or do they just want to take your money?

The desire to work with the customer. A great wood shop would sit you down, ask you questions, and be upfront with you about everything verbally and most importantly, in writing, so there are no discrepancies

Over promises. An experienced wood shop would under promise, and maintain their timeline ( usually between 4 to 6 weeks). Most of the time, they finish the job before then.

The woodshop’s opinion and/or advice.  Yes, both parties need to make money. A great wood shop would give their opinion and/ or advice without telling one what to do, hopefully resulting in a production-friendly, quality product. There are no perfect wood shops; they do run into snags and it is to be expected. But make sure that the wood shop communicates this back to you. They should be giving you facts, answers, and solutions…not excuses.

A great wood shop would also let you know that certain processes would be better done by you rather than the wood shop, so you can save money and time. The attitude of the wood shop should be like what’s someone once said , “ We are here to make your life as easy as possible, and help you be successful at the same time.”

How to best handle references?

Great wood shops will not reveal their customers. It’s like a code of ethics to keep their OEM customers at secret. Most likely, a great wood shop will already have a great reputation by simple “word of mouth”. Remember that good references should not only be on the quality of the product, but also on timelines, and especially customer service.

What are some alarm bells that should trigger “RUN AWAY!” ?

This is a tough one, since every wood shop looks great at first even with great references, but  do your RESEARCH! If you are caught in the middle of a dilemma, you should look at signs of multiple promises not delivered, and multiple excuses….THIS IS A WARNING SIGN….by the second promise not fulfilled or second excuse….you should start thinking of your exit strategy.

What’s the best way to handle disputes?

Disputes are easy to handle if everything was placed in writing before the start of production. Write everything down, and you as the OEM customer and the wood shop should review the terms.  Once agreed to, both parties should sign off on it

Recap e-mails are a must, just in case there were details that needed more attention or were missed. There’s a saying that the customer is always right.   That is true most of the time, but if you have everything in writing…there should be no question who made the mistake…it’s either the customer or the manufacturer.

An Interview with a Pusher… A Long Distance Pusher!

An Interview with a Pusher… A Long Distance Pusher!

Saskia Tromp – one of the world’s best long distance pushers.

I had an opportunity to meet up with Saskia at Shred Expo in February. At 21, she’s on her way to making a serious name in long distance. We wanted to share her insights.

What is your skate background?

My skating started when I was about 5 years old. I was always on rollerskates and got into ice skating when I was 7. I participated in marathons and the normal speed-skating distances like 500, 1000, 1500 and 3000 meters. I also did a lot of in-line skating, cycling, swimming and running.

When I stopped ice skating in 2012, I got into longboarding. My first board was a pretty cheap one from a local store, but a week later I knew I loved it and got a better board. I started pushing around town, commuting a bit and then I bought a downhill deck after meeting the Dutch Downhill Division community. Done that for two seasons, but due to some injuries on my ankle I couldn’t skate so much.

Then I thought to strengthen my ankle by doing long distance training. I got my first LDP setup and then I fell in love with long distance skating itself. A video of the 24- hour Ultraskate made me want to try and I trained hard to get there. The first time I skated more than 10 kilometers I was truly done. But by increasing mileage gradually I could skate much farther than I ever imagined

Where have you competed and what races have you won?

I have competed in races in the Netherlands, Germany and the USA. My first race was the Dutch Pyramid Uphill Push Race (DPUPC) in 2016. It’s a short sprint around a lake and then up a pyramid shaped hill. That was the first competition I ever did on a board and I loved it. After that I went to the quarter ultraskate (6 hours) in Utrecht, the Netherlands. It was my first bigger race and I was super nervous, but it was also the first time I met skaters from another country and I ended up second! I was training to do my first 24- hour Ultraskate in Miami.

Getting the money together to go to Florida was a thing, but it worked out eventually. It was my first time out of Europe and it felt super awesome. The race started quite well and I held a high pace. Unfortunately I had two bad crashed at night. So I accidentally stood on my front wheel, crashed and hit my knee and shin. I was almost on the point to give up, but seeing everyone passing by inspired me to keep going and I hit my goal of at least 150 miles and I got 5th in the ranking there.

I was super stoked after that one and trained hard for the next race, a quarter Ultraskate in Kienbaum, Germany. I won that one and beat my own personal best. After that race I was in good shape and there were a few weeks between the Dutch Ultraskate, so I was just maintaining form. The Dutch Ultra is super special to me, since I skated my world record there at 422.10 km/ 262 miles. It was a tough race, especially at night when the track seems like it’s just you and your board on a road. I know the track really well because I used to cycle there in my childhood. I never thought hitting a WR and going to 262 miles would be possible, but due to some luck and an awesome support team it happened. After the ultra in 2017 there was a marathon organized by the Misfits skatecrew, and another quarter Ultra in the Netherlands in November. Now we’re in off season, but spring 2018 is coming!

What is is that makes LDP so interesting for you?

To me LDP means exploration, love, family and freedom. On a board you can go wherever you want and see the world. It has brought me so much and I can’t imagine a life without it anymore. The whole scene is supportive and it’s easy to reach everyone.

LDP is also my general way of getting around to nearly all my appointments. It’s pretty much glued to me and people are already asking what happened if I don’t have my board with me.

What are some of the physical and mental challenges of pushing for 24 hours straight?

On the physical side: It is important to listen to your body, it’s easy to overuse something. Of course you have to be very strong in general, and you need to have a good technique while pushing or pumping to save energy. The challenge is to keep going and not take too many (long) rests, since that cools you down and then you’ll have a hard time to get into the rhythm again. The longer you’re into the race, the more often you’ll see others get into their chairs or tents to have a break. The track gets less crowded and you might end up on your own.

This is where the mental part comes in: if you think about giving up, you will. Keep your thoughts on the positive side and you can break any limit. I think the mental side is equally – if not more – important than the physical side, since you can be super strong, but if you give up you’re not going to hit your goal!

What is the future for LDP?

To me, the future of LDP lies in organizing more events and getting new people into the scene. Races, clubs, gatherings, fun days, touring, there’s so much to think about. I feel like a lot of people are seriously interested in it, but just never got in contact with it. I hope to gather some more people by doing projects with (young) students about longboarding, as they are the future for the scene.

Hitting the finish line!

How do you feel about the Olympics… could LDP be a part of it?

I my opinion LDP can be a part of the Olympics, and I’m hoping that we could get an Olympic marathon for distance longboarding. There’s not that much needed (just a closed track or the course for the Olympic runner’s marathon) and everyone knows what a marathon is. I think a lot of people will love it and would want to try skating when they see it on the tv.

However the Ultraskate should remain the same in my opinion, and the community shouldn’t be divided in “I’m from this country and you’re from that country so we can’t work together”. The family is more important than the racing, but I think the Olympics are a cool way to gather more people and spread the stoke.

Tell us about your set up!

My current setup consists of:

  • Rocket Exodus platform
  • G|Bomb S-fork proto
  • G|Bomb TT-s
  • G|Bomb Infinity bolts
  • G|Bomb Ceramic bearings
  • Don’t Trip Poppy SP
  • Riptide 80a fatcone/ 80a barrel
  • Riptide 80a cone/ 80a cube
  • Riptide In-Side Footstop
  • MOB Griptape
  • Orangatang Kegels 80 mm 80a
  • Proto rear wheels

What’s life like for you in the Netherlands? What do you study and why?

Life in the Netherlands as a student is pretty busy, haha! I study Landscape and Environment Management in Delft. I learn a lot about water management, climate adaptation, ecology, laws, doing research, nature management and computer programs like GIS. Also we have a lot of excursions. I commute a lot by board, bus and train due to the fact that I moved to the east side of the country for my internships. I like this study because it’s future-oriented and we’re outside a lot. I’m in my last year and will finish this summer. So this year I will (hopefully) graduate and the plan is to do a premaster next year, followed by a double master at the University of Wageningen.

Any final comments?

If you don’t have a decent LDP board yet, get one and enjoy the ride!

PS Saskia rides for Rocket Longboards and G Bomb

Rocket Longboard’s EXODUS Model

 

Torsion Tail Bracket from G Bomb

 

Skateboard England – An Interview with James Hope Gill

Skateboard England – An Interview with James Hope Gill

by Daniel Fedkenheuer

In the midst of a Winter Olympics where half of NBC’s viewership delight in the ways in which they have painted gold-medal winner, Shaun White, as an American hero and the other half scold the “lone wolf” for selfishly abandoning the snowboarding’s core culture, many of us in the skateboarding community sit passively by.

For better or worse, White’s name in headlines surrounding the upcoming games is simply adds another mystery to the sporadic collection of media describing how the process to skateboarding’s eventual Olympic fate is shaping up. As some anxiously wait to see how this process unfolds, others are actively working with Olympic committees and national governing bodies of sport in their home countries to keep the wheels in motion. Allow us to explain.

Home to some of the most talented up-and-coming urban scenes, devoted independent publishers and exceptionally desirable spots, there are few greater examples of a country with potential to capitalize on the potential social and economic benefits of the Olympics than across the pond, in England. As such, we got a chance to interview James Hope-Gill, CEO of Skateboard England, in an effort to demystify some of the reservations and hesitations surrounding skateboarding’s inclusion in the Olympics.

This non-profit that Hope-Gill and his cast of industry veterans are behind aims to, in their own words, “manage, support, develop and promote skateboarding in England & Wales, increase participation, develop a coaching and judging pathway, create and support a sustainable and robust competition structure at all levels in conjunction with existing competitions and stimulate international interest in English & Welsh skateboarding through the development of world-class facilities and skaters.” Without further ado, we encourage you to keep an open mind and have a look at what Hope-Gill had to say:

From my understanding, the way an English skateboarder can hope to compete in the Olympics is to be invited to the National Championships, win in the disciplines of either street or park, move on to and win the European Championships and then go on to the Olympics from there. Is that the case or am I missing something?

JAMES: There is still some uncertainty regarding qualification due to skateboarding being a new sport without an established series of “open” competitions at the elite level sanctioned by the World Governing Body. However, we do know that the Qualification system will be based on World Skateboarding Ranking. Skaters will be ranked for competing in World Skate sanctioned events in the Olympic qualifying period between 1st January 2019 and 30 June 2020.

Details on ranking and the qualification system will be disclosed in March 2018 but our understanding is that skateboarders will be able to qualify through their National Championships in order to be invited to enter the Continental Championships and then go onto World Championships.

Ranking points will be obtained through a mixture of the existing commercial events, such as Vans Pro-Series and Street League, in addition to events that are to be created, such as National Championships and Continental & World Championships. That said, its hypothetical at the moment, until we get clarification from World Skate later this year.

Are there any specifics you could give us on how skateboarding will be structured in the Olympics? (ex. Are street and park the only two disciplines? How many representatives can be expected from each country? etc.)

It has been confirmed that there will be two skateboarding disciplines contested in TOKYO 2020: Street and Park.

A total of 80 skaters will compete in 4 skateboarding events as follows:

  • 20 athletes female Street
  • 20 athletes male Street
  • 20 athletes female Park
  • 20 athletes male Park

 

We do know that there will be a minimum of one skateboarder per continent who will be guaranteed a spot for each event in the Olympics and a minimum of one spot each event will be guaranteed for the host nation, Japan. There is also an understanding that in each event, each country will be restricted to a maximum number of skateboarders. That figure is likely to be 2 or 3 per country per discipline. Again, we need to wait until March 2018 for clarification.

Sam-Pulley and Alex Halford front rock under backside-air. Photo CJ

 

Can you explain the concept of membership a bit more clearly? Do skaters who want to compete have to sign on to be members of Skateboard England in order to do so?

Membership is vital in ensuring that Skateboard England can continue to help and support the skateboarding community and also positively contribute to the growth of the sport. Interest in skateboarding has never been stronger and we are fully committed to helping everyone achieve their full potential whilst ensuring that decisions made about skateboarding are skateboarder led. At the moment Skateboard England is pretty much a voluntary organisation which means that things take a lot longer than we would want them to and we can’t do as much as we want to. A lot of what we have been doing is behind the scenes, such as lobbying government and other organisations regarding funding, strategy and politics.

We are in the process of creating a number of membership categories for skateboarders, coaches, skate parks, etc. We are putting together a package of benefits for members, but that’s a long process and will take time; but there are some significant things we have put together already.

Membership is also part of a much bigger picture. If we want to receive public funding (for better and more facilities, growing skateboarding, etc) from Sport England (the central government sport funding agency) we need to have a series of membership categories. Membership demonstrates that the sport is supporting the governing body and is actively saying “we want to grow, get better facilities and be more sustainable”, it is also part of the democratic process and status of the governing body. We are a membership organisation and all decisions made for the good of skateboarding need to be representative of skateboarders. The Board of Directors are elected from the membership and so we need a diverse and thriving membership in order to have really good people with the right skills making the strategic decisions that will affect the direction and growth of the sport.

Lucy Adams – chair of Skateboard England

 

By joining Skateboard England as members, people & organisations will be actively supporting all the work we do, helping us to invest in the development of skateboarding across England & Wales, basically supporting the future of skateboarding from grassroots to elite level.

There has only been a governing body in England and Wales for the last couple of years. This isn’t the case for many other countries, especially in Europe. We are about 20 years behind a lot of European countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, etc, etc. They have thriving memberships, and are taken much more seriously by their governments and local authorities. Those countries mentioned are already receiving government funding for facilities and their Olympic teams. They have been having conversations with funders for a number of years, whereas we are very new to the negotiating table. Membership in those countries is accepted by skateboarders as the norm. We hope that we will get to that position in due course, but understand that it is a new concept in the UK.

There will be no compulsion to become a member of Skateboard England. However, in order to take part in our events, we would expect skateboarders to be a member. We would also hope that skateboarders would want to become members in order to support the work we are doing in creating opportunities, getting better facilities and making sure that decisions about the sport are being made by skateboarders.

Based off the memo on sponsorship that you posted to LinkedIn, what sorts of companies are you anticipating to support the National Championship events?

We’re really keen to engage with companies who are from the skateboarding industry and those from outside. Let me explain. There are a limited number of skateboarding companies and many at the moment already sponsor events and jams around the country. What we don’t want to do is to dilute that money so that the wider skateboarding community sees a reduction in the sponsorship its receiving at the moment. That’s the reason we are looking outside the industry. That said, we hope there will be skateboarding companies who increase their sponsorship budget in order to get involved in the National Championships which will give them some fantastic profile across the wider community due to the events being covered across BBC Sport digital platforms.

In terms of the types of companies; we need to see who is interested. However, we very much want to retain the look and feel of skateboarding events and ensure that a company who gets involved absolutely agrees with the ethos and aims of what we are trying to achieve.

One of the most pressing issues that skateboarders considered to be in the industry’s “core” demographic are concerned about with regard to the Olympics is representation. Many think the Olympics will water down the rawness and the outlaw mentality that they have come to pride themselves on. How will organizations like Skateboard England try to maintain some of the authenticity that makes skateboarding what it is, while still attempting to take skateboarding to a new level?

Well, we certainly can’t speak on behalf of other organisations, but the main thing Skateboard England is here to do is facilitate. We are not here to try and change what is already happening and what is already great about skateboarding. We just exist to provide guidance and a bit of structure where needed….and to help increase the participation of what we do and love and give us a voice.

We want to help promote grassroots events that are already happening and support the community to keep doing what they’re doing. In a world where red tape is growing, if a local authority insists groups need to have insurance to run events & jams, we can support the skateboarders with this. Likewise, with parents now seeking out skate lessons and coaches. We can help support our skateboarders with qualifications & training and therefore help provide employment opportunities.

Skateboard England is also there to work with and lobby against any Councils that try to ban / limit skateboarding in City Centre areas. Street skating is most important to us and preserving it is a huge priority. We hope to support the development of shared space like other European nations have done so well. We are working with Local Authorities like Nottingham, Sheffield and Hull for Skateboarding to create new skateable spaces and events.

What sort of potential do you see skateboarding’s inclusion in the Olympics having for the skateboarding culture as a whole?

The Olympics seems to have certainly divided the skateboarding community. However, I would hope that we can all agree that the Olympics brings an opportunity to increase the profile of skateboarding. If we take advantage of that, we should see more funding into the sport which will create more opportunities for skaters, more skaters and more & better facilities. However, we need to be setting the foundations and preparing for that growth right now.

An Interview with Bud Stratford

An Interview with Bud Stratford

A few things you should know about Bud Stratford. He’s known to have gulped over 10 Cokes a day. He smokes clove cigarettes. And Bud loves skateboarding and has done so for over 30 years. He also is a prolific writer and influential thinker within skateboarding. He’s been part of CW for over a decade and he’s been known to kick my ass on more than one occasion. I am proud to call him a friend always look forward to what unleashes to the world.
 
This interview features all of Bud’s artwork. It’s also over 3,000 words. God bless digital media! 
 
For more of Bud’s work, spend a few hours over at Everything Skateboarding. You’ll be glad you did.
What motivates you to write about skateboarding and explore things that most wouldn’t touch?
I’m not sure that’s entirely true. I’m not sure that I’m writing about things that people wouldn’t touch. Quite the opposite, I think, is true: I’m writing about things that most people are actually talking about, and talking about a lot, right now. They’re not saying these things publicly… and that’s probably the only real difference between me, and them. But, they are definitely talking about them privately.

So, the real question is probably, “Why are you talking about these things, publicly?” Here’s why: people ultimately need to hear about these things. They need to be brought to the surface sooner or later, and aired out. They need to be discussed. Problems need to be solved, and paradigms need to be put right. For everybody’s benefit. It’s just part of the progress-process at work. If we can’t define, articulate, debate, and propose solutions to pertinent problems, we’ll never get anywhere in life. And nobody in their right mind wants that.
 
If I can put the conversation on the table, and add a few neat, new, and novel ideas into the mix? Then I’ve done some small part to help move that process forward. Or, maybe it’s just because I’m a dick. There are a lot of industry dudes that would probably agree with that one. They might be right. Maybe I am.
With all the moves to online, what are your visions for the brick and mortar skateshop? 
I have a lot of hope for the long-term future of retail, but I can see that the short term is going to be really, really rough road for them. A lot of it is for this simple reason: a lot of them just aren’t doing their damned jobs all that well. 
 
I just came off an extensive summer tour, where I spent a lot of time “mystery shopping” skate shops. I would go in, not as a magazine editor (I was working for Concrete Wave at the time), and not as an “industry guy”…  but just as an average, anonymous skater, or an everyday customer. And I would experience those shops in their truest and rawest form
I spent a lot of my summer being shocked and dismayed by what I saw and experienced. It kinda sucked.
Skate shops, by and large, see things like the internet, Amazon, Zumiez, Tilly’s, brands that sell direct-to-consumer, and other core skate shops, as threats. That’s precisely where they’re misguided. They are not threats; they are alternatives. That’s the key distinction that everybody’s missing here. 
 
Thirty years ago, if your local shop sucked… what were you gonna do? You had to shop there anyway, you didn’t have much of a choice in the matter. There weren’t really alternatives… and if there were, they were huge pains in the asses. Sending away a money order for a skateboard, and then waiting a month to get it? That was really, really inconvenient. You know the struggle, Mike. We’ve both lived it.
 
Nowadays, consumers actually have a whole horde of viable, enjoyable, and convenient alternatives. And they are slowly abandoning the shops that are doing a bad job. It’s not rocket science or anything. It’s just common sense.
 
But if the shops did their jobs right, and did them well… then why would we need alternatives? Why would the customers abandon a great local shop? The answer is simple: we wouldn’t. We’d all shop at the local shop, and we’d all be really, really happy to do it. That’s the plain truth that most shops, for whatever misguided reasons, simply refuse to accept. They blame everyone else for their woes, but they almost never point the finger at themselves. The alternatives are not to blame; they did not create the problem. They merely offered a solution. The shops, themselves, created the sucky-shop problem. And only the shops, themselves, can fix it.
 
In my world, shops are supposed to be the front line of skateboard promotion. They’re supposed to be putting on grassroots events, showcasing skateboarding, getting people excited, inviting them into our pastime, and acting as the fun-loving experts and the advocates for their local scenes. Their goal should be to put anybody and everybody on a skateboard, regardless of color, gender, background, ability… whatever, none of that matters. Just enable, inspire, and enlighten the customers- all of them. And then, they’re supposed to be organizing that skating community, and inspiring them to do greater-good sorts of things… like, fighting for public skateparks. That involves a lot of outreach, and a lot of cultivating a cohesive community. But at the end of the day, that’s their job. That’s what they signed up for.
They’re not doing those things anymore… if they ever did them in the first place. And that’s why they’re failing. That’s why customers are seeking out the alternatives. And that’s why the alternatives are winning.
 
Once they get back to doing those things, I think they’ll survive and thrive. Because nobody else… outside of a local skateboard club… is really in the position to do them. The alternatives are not the perfect paradigm; the local skate shop is. But only when they aren’t sucking at life. Which too many of them are doing right now. 
 
Our industry has every right to be quite concerned about this, and our industry should- in turn- do anything and everything they can to help these shops out. They should be mentoring and advising the shops, to help them build better and more sustainable businesses. We’ve taken a shop under our wing as a pilot program to see how well it can work, and it turns out that it works really, really well. It benefits the shop, it benefits the brands, it benefits the customers… and it’s not too much work, really. It’s surprisingly simple to do, and pretty easy. And it’s fun. But it helps the shop so much to know that somebody has their back, if they need… well, anything, really. 
 
We’re doing it because we recognize that once we lose a critical mass of skate shops… and mark my words on this one, Mike… we’re gonna see a skateboarding Armageddon like you’ve never seen. Skate scenes will die on the vine, everywhere. It’s already well under way, and we all know it. But nobody has made that simple connection just yet. Good shops, good scenes. Great shops, great scenes. No shops? No scenes. No scenes? No grassroots skateboarding excitement and engagement. No excitement and engagement? No skateboarding. It’s that simple. And that’s what I saw over and over again on tour this summer.
 
That dream of owning and operating an independent skate shop… that’s timeless. I think that the Millennial generation will start opening up shops, and doing it the way it’s supposed to be done. They’ll get it right. And if the industry had any brains in their heads, they’d actively encourage, aid, and abet that. And they will, eventually. It’s just a matter of time.
You travel extensively – what is about the open road and exploring that excites you?
Discovering neat new things. That’s about 99% of the answer. Every day is a great day for a grand adventure, isn’t it…? So, go have an adventure! Learn something. Live life. Love the journey, and savor the experiences. Cherish the memories, and die with a smile on your face. Fuck yeah. That’s pretty much it, right there.
 
Truly a personal question – you don’t have children – but if you did how would you raise them to love skateboarding?
I’d tell them that I gave them life, and that I could just as easily take it away. Nah, just kidding… kinda. I honestly don’t know. My goddaughter skates; her mom just told me last week that she still has the first skateboard I ever gave her. Hopefully, she rides it from time to time. As long as she loves life, then that’s fine. That’s the important part. Everything else is just everything else. Life’s too short to sweat the small stuff. Skateboarding is a means to the ends, not the ends themselves. The ends should be happiness, fun, fulfillment, contentment. If she gets that some other way, with some other pastime, then that’s perfectly a-ok with me.
The decision to reactivate the Everything Skateboarding website is something that I know many people are anticipating. What should people expect? What are your key goals?
I’m not sure how to answer that. They should probably expect to see a lot of words, photos, and art, because that’s what’s in there. A couple videos. Lots of bright, vibrant colors set against a black background. A few neat ideas, and a lot of humor. It’s pretty entertaining. Especially if you enjoy reading. Then, it’s probably solidly awesome. Avid readers that love intellectual challenges and a good laugh will love it. 
 
For me, it’s basically an art-and-empowerment project. It’s an exercise of creating something exemplary… I hope, at least… out of extraordinarily limited means. It’s a creative outlet that has the potential to engage, inspire, and empower others to follow suit, and exercise their own creativity. If that’s all I ever do? Then I’ll be more than happy. 
 
It’s not just me, though. Obviously, this is ultimately a collective effort. Therefore, I could never take all the credit, although I’m more than happy to take all of the blame. Everything Skateboarding is the net result of the combined efforts of the entire staff. They all played a really big role in it, and they did a fantastically good job with everything. I’m just the ringleader of the good vibe tribe. But without the tribe, I’d be nada, zip, zero. So, thanks everybody. I love you all.
What have been some of the most surprising things you’ve learned over the years as it relates to skate drama?
 
That there is such a thing as “skate drama”…? That continually surprises me. How astronomically huge some egos can be. How incredibly greedy some people can be. How painfully shortsighted and conservative our self-appointed “leaders” can be. Skateboarding is a big, happy, dysfunctional family. It should really be far more loving than it actually is.
 
I have my fair share of adversaries and enemies in this industry, for sure. I am absolutely not the pinnacle of perfection over here. But anyone who knows me at all… even if it’s just in passing… knows this about me: I am fucking cool. That doesn’t mean that I’m “a cool guy”- far from it. That’s not what I mean. 
 
What I mean is that, even if you are my worst enemy on the whole planet… I’m still that guy that’ll pat you on the back, and buy you a beer when we cross paths. I’ll still give you genuine props if you do something really great that I’m stoked on. If you need a hand, I’ll probably be the guy standing there, ready and willing to give ya a hug and a bit of help. I’m not “cool”, per se… but I am pretty respectful and sincerely fair to my fellow human. Even if I fundamentally disagree with you, I’m still pretty good times.
 
Sadly, that brand of cool is not particularly popular anymore. Kinda sucks, but whatever. Be the change you seek in the world. Cool is a universal language. If you’re cool to people, they’ll usually be cool to you in return. Truer words have never been spoken, buddy. If everybody embraced that simple philosophy, the world would be in a far better place than it is.
Is the fact that skateboarding still remains accessible one of its greatest strengths, or one of its greatest weaknesses? I mean, if it was as big as the NHL or NBA, would it have the same meaning ? After all, you can pretty much anything you want to be in skateboarding. Whereas out of 30,000 Ontario hockey players, only 15 played more than one season [as a pro].
Oh, it’s a total strength. Look at me, dude! I’m ginormously huge, way too damn fat, painfully uncoordinated, and just dumber than a doorknob. I shouldn’t even be a skater, for pete’s sakes. I should have been a football playing goon or something; I hear that kind of crap all the time. But, what was I doing this morning? Chatting to Jim Goodrich, one of my childhood heroes. Can you believe that shit?! I can’t! I seriously have to pinch myself all the time, like I’m convinced I’m living a daydream or something. The fact that I get to call Jim up, hear him answer the phone, and do some friendly chatting just blows my brains away. 
 
And here’s the best part: any kid in the world can be me. Seriously, I’m not even kidding. Any fat, stuttering, nerdy kid that has a whole bunch of passion, that can write a long-winded essay, tell a funny story, draw a sketchy cartoon, and take a really bad photo with a cheap-ass camera, can do exactly what I do… maybe even do it far better than I could ever do it. And they can live my lifestyle, and be super happy with life. Skateboarding is absolutely amazing like that. 
 
That’s why it sucks in so many amazing people: because amazing people like being in the company of other amazing people, doing really amazing things. No other pastime is so empoweringly democratic, and so uniquely inspiring, encouraging, and enabling. That’s a total credit to skateboarding. We’re really lucky to be a part of it. I know I sure am.
We talk a lot about inclusion and community within skateboarding, and yet there remains some significant divisions. Will we ever see a clear path out of these issues? 
 
Yes. Yes, we will. Once we put our egos, our self-interests, our ignorance, and our misguided perceptions aside, we’ll figure it all out. What’s the point of keeping skateboarding our protected little secret? I’ll say it again: there should be a skateboard for everybody, and everybody should ride a skateboard. Even if it’s just once in your life… can you say that you’ve really lived, until you’ve ridden a skateboard at least once? No, you can’t. And everybody knows it. It’s such an effective conduit of pure joyfulness, why wouldn’t we share that with everybody? Do we really want the rest of the world to live in misery forever? And who would want the rest of the world to be miserable, anyway? That doesn’t make any damned sense to me at all. And I can’t see how that would make any sense to anyone else, either.
What company in your opinion is doing a great job to support the grassroots?
Nothing really springs to mind here. I mean, the advertisers that I work with at Everything Skateboarding should definitely get some props; they’re clearly supporting a grassroots movement in a really big way. The brands that support our events, the brands that send in articles and photos… yeah. In my world, there are brands that are making major contributions to the cause. And a lot of the local brands around Phoenix are very activist; they’re doing a lot for skating here in the valley. 
 
Unfortunately, I can’t speak much about what goes on outside of my world. That wouldn’t be fair to anybody. 
Have you found any company that is monumentally hypocritical within skateboarding? Describe the hypocrisy.
 
The last time I dealt with “monumental hypocrisy” was when IASC did that Blank Initiative. That still stands out as one of the stupidest things they’ve ever done.
 
I think what we really deal with in this industry is lack of leadership, lack of vision, or lack of initiative. There are a lot of followers in our business, but very few standouts that are willing and able to push the limits, and try new things. Which is so ironic, because skateboarding itself is all about pushing limits and trying new things. But there’s a huge chasm between skateboarding itself, and the industry that supports it. Skateboarding is very libertine by nature, while the industry tends to be rather stoic and conservative. It’s an odd juxtaposition, isn’t it? But that’s money at work. Money wrecks everything, eventually.
Back in the early 80’s skaters railed against Reagan. Are politics acceptable within skateboarding now?
I think so. I don’t think they were ever unacceptable. It’s just super hard to revolt too hard against guys like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. They really were super friendly fellows, weren’t they…? Agree or disagree with their policies, they were still pretty likable. At least you had a little bit of respect for their innate coolness. Comrade Cheetoh, on the other hand, is the ultimate poster boy for unrestrained douchebaggery. Even if he did everything right, he’d still be a dick. That fact that he manages to screw damn near everything up just makes it that much worse.
 
People are still revolting, of course. They’re just a little quieter about it. They’re withdrawing from power paradigms, and creating their own universes. Not unlike Tom Wolfe’s study of statuspheres. They’re dropping out of the two-party political system… it still amazes me that Americans, of all people, still tolerate being forced to choose from two unreasonably awful choices every four years, for our highest elected office… and taking a far more active hand in governing themselves. It’s Henry David Thoreau’s ultimate dream come true: people dropping out of the system en masse, and being the true masters of their own destinies. That’s going to be Trump’s ultimate legacy: he’s going to be the guy that made government look hopelessly laughable and irrevocably irrelevant in our lives, because he was such a f’n boob. 
 
At the end of the day, he has somehow single-handedly managed to forever tarnish the position of the Presidency. And good riddance. Nobody should have ever been endowed with that kind of power over other people in the first damned place. 
Thanks for your time, Bud. That’s 3,000+ words.
Letter from a Thrasher Reader that is Mostly Full of Crap

Letter from a Thrasher Reader that is Mostly Full of Crap

Spotted this yesterday inside the letters section of Thrasher. George Orwell is probably rolling in his grave.

If you don’t want to read the entire letter, here are two wildly off base points:

“There wasn’t a real following for longboarding until about five years ago. It stemmed from the “hipster” approach to skate.”

Tell that to Alva, Sims, Economy, Stradlund and Edwards.

“Aside from a good sense of balance and hand/eye coordination there is really no talent needed to ride a longboard”

Really? Have a peek at this

“The passion and dedication is deeper, stronger and a lot more durable than the guy who mongo pushes to his Keva Juice part time job. It seems to me that the longboarders of today are doing it to look cool.”

This is seriously so fucking judgemental that I am not even going to dignify it with a response. Actually I will…just keep scrolling to the end. You’ll see a model of a response, Jeremiah.

I’ll put it this way. You are probably passionate skater Jeremiah, but you don’t know your roots.

As Donald would say “sad.” This is from 1995…and that bright yellow cover? That’s from 1981

It’s all skateboarding Jeremiah. You’re 11 years deep into this. Let’s see where you’re at in 2048.

And for the record…this:

The Truth & Real Truth Newsletter #1

The Truth & Real Truth Newsletter #1

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

I started up the Skategeezer Homepage in 1995.

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

Hey…that’s Skate Slate!

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

Hey! That’s… Wheelbase!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quincy set the internet on fire!

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

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

Jonathan Nuss loves Nunavut!

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

This guy makes serious coin from others misfortune.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Still great 42 years later!

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

 

 

 

 

Season Recap: Trashin

Season Recap: Trashin

By Daniel Fedkenheuer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be aware. There are scams out there!

Be aware. There are scams out there!

Holy freakin crap! SCAMS AND MORE SCAMS!

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

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

Web domains? It’s probably a scam!

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

It’s a total scam – honest!

Yes..just another scam

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

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

If you spot a scam, let us know.

The New Wave is Live!

The New Wave is Live!

Welcome to the new website.

Pardon the dust. We hope you like the new website and enjoy it! But, it’s far from done. In fact, it will never be done, because we will always be working on improving it to keep up with it’s own natural purpose to be an extension of the skateboarding world that has shaped us. The site will continue to improve in this regard with a mission to evolve forever with skateboarding rather than focus on resisting change or why things aren’t “the same” anymore. How can we ensure supporting and keeping up with the evolution of skateboarding? Simple. By being by skateboarders, for skateboarders, always, and never losing touch with the real world of skateboarding. That’s exactly where you come in. We want to see your images and clips and read your stories. Please, FILL this site with the real world of skateboarding and help us make it about the roots while we at the same time find new and cool ways to connect and evolve with the people that make skateboarding awesome. With this mission in mind, to connect real skaters everywhere of all styles and skill levels, this site isn’t just for you as a skater:

This time, it’s by you.

What do we mean?  How can you help build our community and the skateboard industry?  Well, it’s not just about reading awesome editorials by Michael and Bud & and others (they have done a fantastic job over the years so hats off to them).   We will always have that side of the mag and we hope to support it in new ways through the new site.  But, this time when we do it’s about the community, about the skaters creating content and getting out there on the web with us, to share in the stoke.  So, we want to read YOUR posts and articles. We want to let YOU be the publishers, too, right along with us. We will be in forums with you and we hope to generate an actual two way dialogue within the industry and skate community that helps us do our best to craft the site’s evolution according to what YOU want out of it and what the skateboarding world really wants. No corporate agendas. Real skaters. How can you specifically get involved?

Well, so many easy ways:

  1. Sign up and show your support by completing your profile and putting a face to the name.  Put a cover photo and profile photo up and you’ll show up in our community page.  Feel free to use your real name or a pseudonym, it’s up to you!
  2. Post in the forums.  Share your skate pics, your skate instagram posts, your skate clips, your stories, your skateboards, your designs, your opinions, and your passions.  But, most of all, share the stoke and spread high fives and positive vibes.  Haters and negatrons will be banned!  Try to have fun.
  3. Read our past issues and watch our vids!  They’re up on the site and we’ll be adding more and more media to enjoy.
  4. Design custom finger boards and skateboards in the shop.  This feature is being rolled out to certain members only in the first week, and it will go public to everyone.  So, sign up soon to be part of the early release! If you don’t see it yet, just check back in a day or two.
  5. Share us on social media.  Read a cool article or see a cool post?  Share it on FB, IG, Pinterest, or wherever you like to share!
  6. Check Back Often!  We’re posting frequently now that we’re up and running, and we’re releasing more really awesome sections soon so don’t be a stranger!
  7. Go Skate!  Don’t forget why we do this!  Skateboarding isn’t broken and never was.  It’s still is and always was one of the purest forms of freedom and self expression by just having fun. You just have to do it to find out. Get out there.  Get on your board.  And, go sk8.  Do it your way! Don’t conform. Do what you want! And, if you do document it, then when you get back…. post and share your stoke here with us and forever be immortalized in our new forums that will one day be considered the new archives by the skaters, for the skaters.  We, for starters, are eagerly waiting to read all of your stories and comments see all of your awesome clips and pics just like you’ve been reading ours over the years.

Let’s Go!

We’re excited to see what the skateboard community can be here on the new wave.  But, don’t worry, the old wave will always live on as well as we also pay tribute with awesome throwbacks and past issues.  Hopefully both can come together in one space, and we can share the stoke old and new, as we transition into the next wave here in 2018.

Thanks for reading and being a part of this movement.  We have a LOT more than this coming thru the site and all of the great sponsors and groups we’re working with right now to connect networks all over the world through skateboarding.  Stay tuned, we’re just getting going!

Now let’s go skate.

Dan MacFarlane’s Latest Video

Dan MacFarlane’s Latest Video

I’ve known Dan MacFarlane for a number of years and frankly, he’s one of the most gifted skaters I’ve ever encountered.
Besides having an incredible style and creativity, Dan’s “gift” to skateboarding is his extra-ordinary ability to teach others how to skate. His instructional videos have been seen by hundreds of thousands of skaters and have had a tremendous impact.
Using video to teach skaters is a powerful way to engage people.

Behold, Dan’s latest masterpiece.
Source: CW from MyStyle

American Ramp Co. Hits NJ

American Ramp Co. Hits NJ

As you may recall, we ran a piece on our website earlier this year featuring the crew over at American Ramp Co. and their latest project to hit the skateparks of the world: the “Pro Ops.” signature ramp series. This collection of ramps, rails and boxes appear noticeably different from any of their other prefabricated park obstacles and were designed in part by an illustrious team of pro skaters. The series of ramps notably includes a colorful spine ramp with a parking block sitting atop bearing Willy Santos’ name, a Y-shaped round rail bearing Shaun Hover’s name and a wavy recliner shaped quarter pipe bearing Jud Heald’s name among others.

Granted, American Ramp Co. has received their fair share of hate for their prefabricated parks on the grounds of durability issues over the years. However, for their efforts to create something innovate and different for people to skate, I commend them. To those familiar with my neck of the woods, the North Jersey skateboarding scene has been grateful to see new parks opening in up in towns like Maplewood, Fanwood and Roselle in recent years. However, these three parks are nearly nothing more than carbon copies of each other. With same-sized ledges, euro gaps and quarter pipes, I found myself indifferent to the announcements of these parks because of how repetitive all of their designs were. Thus, when I heard that a couple of the Pro Ops pieces were headed to a newly constructed park in West Orange, NJ I was immediately intrigued by the allure of being able to skate something different for a change. With this in mind, I was happy to see the variety of tricks being thrown down in my visit to the grand opening of the park, thanks to American Ramp Co.

Skateboard Shaped Ramp from American Ramp Co

At the park, Dan MacFarlane’s signature “Snap!” ramp is the first feature that skaters were struck by when they entered. With several different levels to skate, the ramp provided a stage for kick turns, 180s and frontside no complys for skaters looking to flow back into the park. In doing so, many went on to hit Sierra Fellers’ signature “Crete Planter” ledge. This piece challenged skaters to pop out of their boardslides and ollie over the ends of it to grind the inside angles of the ledge.  In the background, Joe Moore’s striped “Kick Tail” box led some skaters to grind up the angle and back down again while others hopped onto the box from the low end and launched off the other side.

Seeing the level of stoke that these new obstacles brought to the grand opening, I reached out to Fellers, Moore and MacFarlane to get their take on seeing their ramps go from ideas in the warehouse to physical creations being skated:

Skateboard Shaped Ramp

First off, Sierra Fellers described the feeling of having a ramp with his name on it by saying “It’s so awesome to have a signature obstacle. The idea didn’t start in my own head though. ARC came to me with a few different options to choose from and I got to help adjust and modify the ones I chose. As a skateboarder, being a part of creating something you’re gonna be skating and seeing the changes made to make a dream spot is a dream come true.” To truly make this dream scenario complete though, Fellers told us “I’d be hyped to see a board slide around the whole thing!”

american-ramp-co-ramp

Next up, Joe Moore, summed up his satisfaction by stating “Having a signature obstacle based on a style of skating I’m known for and being one of the first people to be part of a skatepark project like this is truly an honour. To see them now being put into public skateparks around the world is so cool and quite funny as well; my name on skate ramp, somewhere in the world I’ve never been. Each of my obstacles in each skatepark will have its own story and each one will be experienced differently by many skaters. It’s interesting to think how they will adapt their trick selection, lines and how their creativity may evolve from skating these unique skatepark pieces.” When asked what sort of a dream trick he would like to see go down on “The KickTail” Moore replied, “I would like to see an ollie over the back of the obstacle to bluntslide down the bank to fakie manual the rest of the manny pad.

 

 

American Ramp Co

Finally, in Dan MacFarlane’s mind, “It is a great feeling anytime you have an idea that you haven’t seen done before, and for it to come to fruition in physical world. Nathan Bemo, the owner of ARC, and I developed the Pro Ops line together in February 2017. Our minds and our lifetime of skateboarding experience combined and it was an amazing experience. Later, the other pros were signed on then assigned obstacles based on their unique skills. We were all flown out to the ARC headquarters in April and skated the prototypes then gave feedback so they could be fine tuned. The final products look amazing and I’m glad to see both beginner and advanced skateboarders enjoying them at skateparks.” As far as what tricks he would dream of seeing go down he told us “I wouldn’t say there is one dream trick: my dream is to see every part of them skated really well, and for many people to invent new tricks and combos on them. I’ve already seen so many NBD’s done on the Pro Ops during our prototype session in April and I just want to see that continue. If you’re reading this and invent any new tricks or combos on the Pro Ops, tag us with #ProOps and our names.

American Ramp Co

The Power of Venice

The Power of Venice

You may have heard of a new documentary called “Made In Venice.” Jesse Martinez is the man behind this project. Jesse has been a be driving force within skateboarding for decades. Through his actions, along with a number of extraordinarily passionate people, the Venice skatepark came into reality. It has not been an easy journey. This films shows the power of focus and perseverance. I had a chance to catch up with Jesse a little while back. If you’re wondering what to get yourself (or someone else) for the holidays, this is a great gift. It’s an important piece of history. We’ve known each other for a number years. We talked the day after the Venice skatepark marked its 8th year anniversary. Jesse says the day was a double-edge sword for him. “For the last three years I’ve been fighting for a contract with the City of Los Angeles. Sadly, it’s been a complete failure. On one hand I’m skating with Eric Dressen, Christian Hosoi and Pat Ngoho. We’re all together young and old skaters – it’s generational.” But, as Jesse explains, “I’ve spent thousands of dollars to keep the park clean and safe for children.”A number of key players in the saga of Venice. I wondered what the City’s problem was. What was so contentious about a public skatepark that had already been built? “Honestly, it’s gotten way too personal” says Jesse. “It goes all the way back to the 1980’s until now. They wanted to put an ice skating rink there. We stopped it. They have tried to work with me, but there is so much resentment.” As example of just how seemingly out of touch the City of Los Angeles is, the sanitation department showed up on 8th anniversary of the park right in the middle of the day when there dozens of skaters having fun. What was so urgent? Power washing the park.  Jesse explains that the fault is not with the front line workers. “They have told me to my face they appreciate everything I do.” The problems seem to rest with management.  We’ll have more on Jesse and this film in our next issue.

Socking it to You! Two Stories on Socks

Socking it to You! Two Stories on Socks

Skateboarding and socks. Ever since Stance hit, it’s been a skate sock world.

So, here are two stories on skateboarding and socks.

 

 

Pride Socks, an apparel brand empowering individuals to take pride in who they are, has teamed up with the youngest pro skateboarder, Sky Brown, to release a limited edition sock. Part of the proceeds of the sock go to help kids in Cambodia.  We had a chance to interview Sky and find out what the deal was.

 

Sky – what originally brought you to Cambodia?

It’s a big dream of mine to use my skateboarding to help children in poor or tough places. Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in the world. So the chance to go there and  to play, and skate with the kids over there was really special.

 

What does skateboarding mean to you?

My Skateboard has always been a way for me to express myself I like singing but I’m not very good but skateboarding is a dance for me also it’s is my favorite Toy, I love it. I think people sometimes forget this is one of the funnest toys in the world. And it’s taught me a lot. I can be anywhere and have a good time if I have my Skateboard, that’s why I think it’s really awesome to let young people try this. 

The video is very sweet…what are some of your favorite memories of creating it?

Playing in the Sock factory, we had too much fun. The whole journey has been super special and super real, it feels like we can do something amazing. Playing and hanging out with Rachel was super awesome especially because we have  a mission. A mission to save the world.

 

What do you say to people (especially kids) who feel they can’t make a difference?

You can always make a difference, and any difference however small you think it is, is worth it because lots of smalls make something big.

What has been the best part of working with Pride Socks?

Pride socks is just a small company but Rachel the CEO has put so much into this it’s amazing and selfless. I couldn’t be more proud than to call Rachel my friend. She’s my best friend.

 

SOCK STORY PART #2

 

MERGE4 is pleased to announce the addition of Spidey De Montrond to its growing stable of artist-athlete collaborators.

 

Rick De Montrond – better know as “Spidey” – started out as a sponsored amateur skateboarder and turned pro at The Capitola Street Style contest in 1985. He’s been a contributing writer for Thrasher Magazine and Freestylin BMX; Spidey studied music formally; while he was in college he was signed to Capitol Records to a record deal as a singer/songwriter.

 

Spidey has always been fashion-forward – leaning toward eccentric preferences in everything he does from head to toe: “I am a sucker for a good looking sock. I LOVE SOCKS!!”

 

MERGE4 founder Cindi Ferreira Busenhart loves that Spidey loves socks: “Spidey cares about the planet and wanted something that was a soft eco yarn. Luckily we were already developing the Bamboo Blend which is 80% mechanical bamboo.”

 

  

Red Rum Skates Interview

Red Rum Skates Interview

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

Collegiate Skate Tour – Astoria, Queens 2017 Recap

Collegiate Skate Tour – Astoria, Queens 2017 Recap

PHOTOS: AMY TORRES In my previous ventures out to cover some of the events that the Collegiate Skate Tour puts on, I have been lucky to cover them from ground level to get up close and personal to the shredding. This time however, sidelined by injury, I was fortunate enough to have watched this contest go down from a completely different vantage point: behind the judge’s table. Alongside a couple Astoria locals, we got to experience this stop of the tour from a unparalled point of view that overlooked the sprawling water-side park. From this spot, we got the experience of watching guys like Helaman “Hela” Campos go from signing up, to throwing crook nollie flips and absolutely ripping the course to retuning back to the podium to collect their hook ups. In my first experience judging a skateboarding contest, I might argue to say I had the toughest job out there in trying to make sure my papers would not fly away with the intense wind that descended on the course that day. Just kidding. All credit on this day goes to the student and non-student crops of skaters that came out and threw down regardless of the blustery conditions. This year’s stop of the Collegiate Skate Tour saw a bunch of new faces, along with a handful of familiar rippers who braved the rainy conditions last year. Bryant HS student, Brian Pascuaal seemed to use the wind to his advantage, flying around the course in his iconic durag. Meanwhile, internet-famous Humzea Deas showed up pulling clean front tailslide 270s to the tune of his name being called for the start of Heat 3. DC rider Derek Holmes also returned this year, making easy work of throwing back tailslides off the park’s shootout ledge. Lastly, coming back for more after his first place run last year, Andrew Valencia showed how familiar he was with the Astoria park by linking effortless lines together left and right. Perhaps most notably, Valencia even managed to hop to another board that got in his way, mid-grind. As if that weren’t enough, Valencia finished by shutting down the the best trick contest with a massive ghetto bird on the centerpiece gap. In the end, however, Heat 5’s Nico Ramos stepped up and put down an amazing set of runs to not only advance from his heat but to make it through to the semifinal and final heats. From what we saw behind the judge’s table, we had to give the win in the non-student division to him. From his blunt backside flips to his kickflip 50-50 body varials to his back 360 grabs off the platform gap, Ramos’ tech showing had it all. Unfortunately, the only hiccup on an otherwise easygoing contest was Joel Jones’ unfortunate injury in the middle of Heat 4. After an absent-minded bicyclist wandered onto the course, Jones hit the concrete and was rushed to the hospital to receive a handful of staples in his head. Though the contest resumed to close out an incredible afternoon of skateboarding, we would be remiss not to have kept Joel, who has come out to each and every stop of the tour since Fall 2013, in our thoughts. Since the event, a GoFundMe has been started to help cover some of the unexpected ambulance and hospital costs for Joel and his young family.  We welcome and encourage any donations to be made here.  After Saturday’s event wrapped up, Keegan Guizard led another installment of a College Readiness Workshop with the folks at the Harold Hunter Foundation which was actually the first to take place during the same week as the contest.Speaking on the experience, Guizard said, “The Harold Hunter Foundation is always helpful in making that happen and really brings the skateboarding community together for good.This workshop was a great opportunity to connect with young New York City skateboarders off the board after a great event in Queens.” Check out the action that went down here:    

Toys R Skateboarding

Toys R Skateboarding

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

  

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

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

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