Vans Pool Party 2017

Vans Pool Party 2017

 Dan Bourqui has put together a great video of the highlights of the competition.  

2017 VANS POOL PARTY 
FINAL RESULTS

Pros
1st  Tom Schaar
2nd Cory Juneau
3rd  Clay Kreiner

Legends
1st  Steve Caballero & Lance Mountain (Tie)
3rd Tony Magnusson

Masters
1st  Andy Macdonald
2nd  Chad Shetler
3rd Lincoln Ueda

 Dave Duncan announced and again pretty much lost his voice. The level of skating was pretty much like it always is – completely off the charts!  Steve CaballeroThis gentleman is from Tribo skate mag. (Brazil)   

Hover Skate VR

Hover Skate VR

Skateboarding finally has its first Virtual Reality video game and it’s called “Hover Skate VR”.  John Hinton, a skateboarder from Florida, developed it independently. The game is controlled with your hands and you can learn and master 250 skateboarding tricks. As its name implies, your skateboard is hovering instead of rolling, only touching down for grinds and slides. You’re in Virtual Reality world, so why not, right? As you make your way around various cityscapes, the terrain features lots of ledges, rails, and stairs.  In the pro shop you can pick which shoes you want to wear, or deck you want to ride. Hover Skate VR has teamed up with Dan MacFarlane to bring Mentality Skateboards to the game. As you virtually walk around the pro shop you can hand pick a Mentality deck off of the shelf while the “Skateboarding Realms” video trailer plays on the shop TV screen.  For the soundtrack, Missouri skateboarder and music artist Jonathan Toth From Hoth has contributed songs off his skateboarding themed album “Sick Boys” to keep you in full on skate mode as you play.     “It’s fun and challenging like real skateboarding” says Jeremy Eyring, a skateboarder and avid player of the game. Hover Skate VR is played on PC only and requires a HTC Vive, or Oculus Rift VR headset. While it’s still a work in progress you can get early access and give feedback as it is perfected and built upon.  John Hinton says he plans to add a new skatepark level to the game in the near future.  Get Hover Skate VR here.

Engaging New Skate Obstacles

Engaging New Skate Obstacles

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

ARC Pro Ops team announcement

Dan MacFarlane Pro Ops announcement tour

Joe Moore #WelcomeToAmerica    

Rolkaz Collective – Performance Meets Nature

Rolkaz Collective – Performance Meets Nature

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

Punk Rock and 1977

Punk Rock and 1977

For many skaters of the 1970’s, 1977 proved to be a crucial year. It’s when everything really started to come together for me as a skater. I was 2 years deep into skateboarding and in late 1976, I learned about punk rock. In the summer of 1977, I found myself in England. I was with my family on a trip back to visit my extended family and pick up a few records. Specifically, the Sex Pistols. It was pretty funny going into a record shop and seeing a blank space at “number 2” on the charts. The shops were so scared of putting “God Save the Queen – Sex Pistols” that they intentionally left it blank.  I still have this single. And yes, this song still sounds as good today as it did back then. When I returned home and played the song for friends at school, they couldn’t quite understand it. Three years later they had mohawks.   Well, 40 years later, I am here to warn you that we are not going to intentionally leave anything blank like that shop did. Punk rock is not just music. It is an attitude. And that attitude runs a gamut of emotions and actions. No, we’re not going to spit on you. But we are about to unleash a 6,000+ word essay (over 4 postings) that looks at the state of things in skate retail. Bud is warning me that this might ruffle a few feathers. Ruffling feathers is the essence of punk, so I think we are on the right path. Ironically punk rock came full circle last year when Malcolm McLaren’s son burned five million pounds worth of memorabilia. Talk about punk rock – that is very punk rock. But we’re not going to that extreme. Stand by…you have been warned. Special shout out to Doug Ward of Clifton, NJ for inspiring this piece.

Walking and Skating with Queens

Walking and Skating with Queens

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

Cleopatra

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

 

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

 

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

 

Each deck takes about 5 hours to laser engrave.

 

   

Jamaica Skate Trip

Jamaica Skate Trip

Longboarding for Peace is setting off early next month for a weeklong expedition to Jamaica. I have been wanting to visit the island for many years. However, I always wanted to go with a local. I felt that if I was going to visit, I would teach skateboarding and really give something back. I am delighted to be traveling with Brady Brown (who now lives in Toronto and has deep family ties to Jamaica) and Luis Bustamante who originally hails from the Philippines. Together we will be creating a mini-documentary of our exploits. We have reached out to several Jamaican organizations and plans are underway to really engage with local skaters and schools. We’ll have a few announcements as things get firmed up. The bottom line, we are truly excited to spread the high fives and positive vibes. If you have any contacts in Jamaica that you think would benefit from Longboarding for Peace, just email.  Artist: Chris Dyer

2017 Hall of Fame Inductees

2017 Hall of Fame Inductees

 

Congratulations to All!

 

1960’s 
Bob Mohr

 

FEMALE
Kim Cespedes
Vicky Vickers

 

1970’s – ERA 1
Gregg Weaver

 

 

Russ Howell

  

 

1970’s – ERA 2
Shogo Kubo

1980’s
Mike McGill

1980’s – ERA 2
Eric Dressen

1990’s
Daewon Song

 

ICON AWARD…announced next Monday!

 

Photos courtesy of Warren Bolster

Some thoughts on Publishing A Random Skate Photo

Some thoughts on Publishing A Random Skate Photo

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

 

Hi Michael

 

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

 

Thanks

Dana

 

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

 

Behold! The photo of your son, Drew.

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Tribute vs homage vs rip off

Tribute vs homage vs rip off

 BEHOLD THE MIGHTY THRASHER T- SHIRT! By now you have probably seen this on a t shirt. It’s from fast fashion behemoth H & M.Here’s the story behind it. What is astounding is H & M’s response to Thrasher’s request to cease and desist. No wonder people detest lawyers.  Just read that last paragraph once again. “While both words start with the letter “T”….” Talk about a stretch.  So what is this story about? Here’s what this Tippin logo is NOT.This logo is not about a tribute to Thrasher. A tribute to Thrasher would have meant acknowledging the 36 years this logo has been around. Lawyers from H & M would have contacted the lawyers of Thrasher and they would have figured out a deal…or not. My sense is that Thrasher would not have agreed to a tribute to their logo from H & M. Note: Tribute bands are something else entirely. While I am not one to judge a book by its cover, I’d say neither of these tribute bands would be mistaken for the real thing.                This is not a story about an homage to Thrasher.Homage is respect paid to a person or idea. The word comes from feudal times. Suffice to say, I don’t see any respect being paid to Thrasher. So if it’s not a tribute or an homage what exactly would you call what H & M has done? Perhaps the best way to answer this is to highlight a comment from Thrasher’s Instagram account. While I can’t verify sladerobinson, it does seem rather telling that there is a pattern here.   And here.So, for what I can tell, H & M  borrows,  in the heaviest of ways, other people’s ideas and images. To put it another way, the pattern is ripping off other people’s images and ideas. It’s not like this doesn’t happen all the time – it does. Check out logothief.    But there is something truly egregious about ripping off Thrasher that just makes my blood boil. I’ve looked at that logo longer than I’ve known my wife! If you’re as pissed off as I am, why not contact H & M and tell them?    

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

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

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

"Beautifully Illegal"

"Beautifully Illegal"

Nine years ago, Stacy Peralta was interviewed by Huck Magazine. He had a lot on his mind. The piece is great skate journalism and you can read it here  One particular part of the piece really strikes a nerve right now:  I don’t care what side of the political spectrum you are on…if you skate on the sidewalk, down a hill, at a school and generally anywhere else, chances are you BREAKING THE LAW. And if you are at a skatepark and you aren’t wearing pads, chances are you are BREAKING THE LAW. Maybe this graphic will put it in a better perspective.  

First Ever CW Photo Contest

First Ever CW Photo Contest

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

Consider yourselves advised.

 

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

 

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

 

Deadline for photo submissions is September 1st.

 

Don’t be late…!

 

Remember, send photos to mbrooke@interlog.com

 

TORONTO BOARD MEETING 2016

TORONTO BOARD MEETING 2016

TORONTO BOARD MEETING – SEPT 10th 

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Sit-down at Yonge and St. Clair.

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

 

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

 

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

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

 City TV came out to cover the festivities.

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

  

Van's Girls Pool Party – AKA Girls Combi Classic

Van's Girls Pool Party – AKA Girls Combi Classic

There were some great lines, tricks and slams from some of the best bowl skaters in the world. Click the above image to see highlights of all the action. Kudos to all who skated and congrats to the following who placed. 

Pro Girls

1. Jordy Barratt

2. Nicole Hause

3. Poppy Starr

4. Brighton Zeuner

 

Ams 15 & over
1. Dora Varella

 

Ams 14 & under

1. Zoe Safanda

  

The Future is Unwritten

The Future is Unwritten

Many years ago (before YouTube) Concrete Wave created a series of DVD’s called Evolutions. They were generally 2 hours (or more in length) and we printed up 15,000 of each title. Evolutions was given away for free and I know of numerous skateshops that played the DVD endlessly. Today I received a nice email from someone who was part of the DVD through his Olliepop video part. His name is Ruben NajeraI. He told me that ever since he was young, it was a dream to someday possibly have the cover of Concrete Wave.Ruben’s story really defines the expression “the future is unwritten.” When I produced that series of DVD’s, I really had no idea of what their affect would be. All I wanted to do was spread a message through video. While I knew that folks would enjoy Evolutions, I never really thought they’d have the power all these years later. Email’s like Rubens bring home the reality that when you publish something (no matter what platform) it can truly resonate with people in a deep way. So here’s to the future and here’s Ruben’s amazing story taken from his website – and here’s hoping it inspires the next generation of skaters. Some You Tube links of Evolutions:      

David Greenidge – Oct 31, 1932 – January 6, 2017

David Greenidge – Oct 31, 1932 – January 6, 2017

Chances are you’ve never heard of David Greenidge but if you live in Canada and you skateboard, you’ve been affected his work. David got his start in the skate business working as rep for Vans here in Canada. In 1985, David set up S & J Sales with his two sons – Steven and Jason.  Over three decades of work in action sports produces an incredible amount of stories. S & J Sales worked with dozens of companies. They were the first distributors to carry Sector 9 and Loaded in Canada.  S & J sponsored hundreds of events and helped grow the diverse skate scene here in Canada. Many people in action sports got their start at S & J Sales. I am one these people. While I didn’t work for the company, they were gracious enough to let me into their warehouse to search for an elusive “fibreflex type skateboard” back in 1996. I wound up purchasing a Sector 9 along with a copy of Big Brother. That Sector 9 deck propelled me so deep into skateboarding, I am still dealing with it! Eighteen months later, I began working on the book “The Concrete Wave.” Eventually, S & J Sales would distribute International Longboarder and then Concrete Wave  – the magazine. This support was so incredibly valuable and it was also very enjoyable seeing the S & J gang every two months. David was always interested in what I had seen down in California. Our conversations ran from skateboarding to politics to the politics found within skateboarding. I think the best word to describe David Greenidge would be gregarious. He was full of energy and was never bashful about giving you his thoughts on any subject. Yesterday evening, friends and family gathered to remember David and today is the funeral. I was fortunate to be there yesterday and had a chance to see both Steven and Jason. As I conveyed Steven, for me, it all began with a board I picked up at S & J. David left a huge mark on skateboarding. On behalf of skaters everywhere, I extend my sincere condolences to the entire Greenidge family.   

A Needle In a Haystack – Life as an Australian Freestyler

A Needle In a Haystack – Life as an Australian Freestyler

Being a freestyler in Australia is like being a needle in a haystack. It’s very secluded and hard to find many people who skate freestyle dominantly. I can name about 4 skaters from Australia that purely skate freestyle that I personally know of who are big inspirations to me. These include, Liam France, Shaun Gladwell, Michael Malyszko and Ricky Glaser. I’ve been skating for 5 years now mostly freestyle and mostly by myself.

I feel skating by myself helps my creation flow a lot easier. I’ve been able to invent tricks such as the rail/primo Nollie Laser flip. I am getting different variations of that such as landing cross foot, body varial or turning it into a big flip.

 

 

Skating started on the road In front of my house when I was 14. It started as a hobby which stemmed into a passion which branched into a lifestyle and almost leading to a future career. Freestyle in particular drew me in because of the beauty and creative control.

 

Watching guys like Kilian Martin really made me appreciate the artistic value of freestyle. Another big inspiration comes from someone who’s not a skater, in fact it comes from music, specifically electric violin composed by Lindsey Stirling. I don’t know why but something about the way violin flows helps me with my footwork in freestyle forming it into almost a dance.

 

I never knew many freestylers until I flew to Canada in May 2016 to compete in my first ever freestyle contest at the World Round Up. I placed 7th in the world in the amateur division. It really set me on a path to success and gave me the opportunity to make lifelong friends and freestylers who inspired me and motivate me. These are guys like Mike Osterman, Jordan Sterling, Connor Burke, Dan Garb, Tony Gale, Danielle Trujillo, Marcio Torres and Andy Anderson. From those friends I was able to network with legends like Kevin Harris who got me in contact with Glen Billwiller, a freestyle legend and now great friend and also sponsor. Glen runs a skate shop in Perth called Aikenheads Skateshop and he supplies me with Chance Skateboards, Fury trucks and Momentum wheels.

 

 

After my success in Canada I’ve also been able to pick up a watch sponsor called Toro Luna Watches which make world class watches perfect for skating and Proteus Clothing. The road to sponsorship however hasn’t been an easy path. In middle school I was expelled for leaving class and just skating. It’s all I wanted to do and all I loved.

 

My principle called me delusional and crazy in front of my own mother and said it was a one in a million shot at making it in skating. Ironically he said I’d never make it into a magazine. I look back and laugh at the whole situation now. I don’t regret what I did. I just regret putting my mum through that pain of me being expelled and almost being a disappointment.

 

My plan for the future is to go to the Round Up every year and set up a skate shop in Melbourne. I want to expand freestyle around the world and show the beauty and art that is what we do, hopefully in the next 3-4 years I want to be able to set up an Australian Freestyle contest and have freestylers all over the world compete and experience this beautiful country and it’s four seasons in one day. I wish to see more people skating freestyle and loving it. I want to see the freestyle family expand and grow, break away from the norm and create something weird and goofy.

 

Thanks to my sponsors:

Aikenheads skateshop, Fury trucks, Momentum wheels, Chance skateboards, Toro Luna Watches, Proteus Clothing.

Pushed – Four Guys Inspired by a Wooden Toy

Pushed – Four Guys Inspired by a Wooden Toy

Flo Schneider spent two years filming skaters Bobby Puleo, Pontus Alv, Stefan Marx and Adam Sello. The documentary is a must-watch for anyone who loves skateboarding. It truly captures what it means to ride. 

There are a number of locations featured in the documentary along with some extraordinary skate spots. One that caught my eye was the TBS – Train Bank Spot. Adding to the skateboarding is a variety of very cool art.

 

Pushed is already getting rave reviews and luckily, you can watch it for free here:

 

  

Rolling Into the New Year

Rolling Into the New Year

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

Off the Rails With Transformer

Off the Rails With Transformer

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

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

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

Interview with Holly Thorpe of the ASDP

Interview with Holly Thorpe of the ASDP

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

What drew you to action sports in the first place?

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

What are some of your key goals with the site? 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Our 'Friends' Electric

Our 'Friends' Electric

Back in 1979, Gary Numan and his Tubeway Army recorded Are ‘Friends’ Electric? While the song is close to 40 years old, you have to admit, it still sounds pretty fresh. Gary basically was a one hit wonder in North America with Cars, but ‘Friends’ topped the charts in the UK. Right now, one of the fastest growing areas within skateboarding is electric skateboards. There are some who decry this fact. There are retailers who are  ignoring this fact. Sadly, ignorance is not bliss. There future is partially electric. Concrete Wave was the first skateboard magazine to feature electric skateboards and we are looking at an 8 page insert for our March issue.On December 2, the folks at Inboard appeared on Shark Tank.  The segment is fascinating to watch. This marks the third time a skate company headed by someone I know personally has wound up on the program. First Hamboard, then Shark Wheel. At the start of the presentation, one of the Shark’s (Robert H) says “it’s a toy” followed up by “no one is going to commute to work with a skateboard.” Sure, for folks like me and you, it’s a cringeworthy moment, but all in all, you can’t help but be drawn into the pitch. Inboard came onto the show with a valuation of almost $19 million.Electric skateboards range in price from 3 to 10 times what a traditional skateboard sells for To put it in a different way, a skateboard like the Inboard retailing for $1600 seems unreal to most shops. It gets even more incredulous to know that Inboard has $5.6 million in pre-orders. This is huge for skateboarding…er, I mean, the “urban transportation market.”Over the past 20 years, the industry along with skaters had to adjust to the fact that other types of boards crept into the market. As I predicted, we have a totally different landscape than we did a decade ago. So, consider the electric skateboard market as another landscape changer. There are some who will scoff at the use of electric power. I don’t care. If it gets more people riding, then the end justifies the means. If you’re a skater who accepts that all types of riding has merit, then our friends in the electric side should be welcomed on board.   PS: Just because you wind up on Shark Tank, doesn’t mean the dollars roll in. Take a peek here:This might explain why Robert was a little gun/shark shy when it came to Inboard. Once bitten, twice shy type of thing. 

Freedom of Choice or Combustable Mix: Music, Politics and Skateboarding

Freedom of Choice or Combustable Mix: Music, Politics and Skateboarding

Over the past year I’ve watched my Facebook feed become a battle between left and right. There are people de-friending or insulting each other and there is an atmosphere that ranges from depressingly awful to just plain ugly. But as many of you probably sense, this is just the beginning. What to do in times of political uncertainty and rage? Easy – turn to skateboarding and add a dash of music – mostly punk rock! Then again, you can stop reading right now…and just watch an oddly satisfying video.  The choice is yours.  Ironically, it was my son who reignited my thoughts about music (specifically punk) and skateboarding and led to this post. Back in 1976/77, The Sex Pistols captured many skaters imaginations. I was 12 and going through what every pre-adolescent goes through. Punk intrigued me because four years earlier, I had left England for Canada. The music sounded unlike anything else that I heard before. I got into it and vividly recall most of my school friends wondering what the hell had gotten into me. A few years later, they all wound up with mohawks.  For some, punk fit into skateboarding while there were many who hated what it stood for. Anarchy, chaos and three chord destruction just wasn’t something they wanted in skate culture. There was a battle and some would argue it continues to this day. I’ll save more thoughts on merging of skateboarding and punk rock for another post.No matter what side of the fence you’re on policically, it was an incredible experience to be the first generation to hear The Ramones, The Clash and literally dozens of other punk bands. Their music truly was dynamite in an era of “disco inferno” The genesis of this piece started with The Dead Kennedy’s song “Nazi Punks Fuck Off.” Say what you will about the DK’s, at least you knew where they stood. This song just turned 35 years old last month and given today’s climate of Alt Right (aka Neo Nazi), it is just the kind of fly to we need out there to mess with the ointment. There, I’ve done it. I’ve taken a stand: Nazi Punks, Fuck Off. You can’t make it any clearer. Is it right that skateboard mags into politics? There are some who will stay, “stick to skateboarding.” My answer is always why? Why shouldn’t a skate mag inspire people to think differently and explore new ideas. It’s not so much the act of skateboarding but where does the act of skateboarding take you? And if we have the freedom to choose (at least for now) doesn’t it make sense to take a stand against pure evil?  If it wasn’t for skateboarding, it’s doubtful I would have gotten into punk. And if it wasn’t for punk, I am not sure where I’d be when it comes to questioning things. Sure, I see flaws in BOTH sides – like most of you do. What I have begun to discover is that some people’s brains are hardwired specifically to be more conservative and others are lean more liberal. This means things like policy and actual facts are over-ridden by unseen factors. Politics, it seems is no match for years of evolutionary biology  If skateboarding has led you to this post and punk rock has kept you here, I urge you take a look at this video that will give you some insights into the moral roots of politics. Then again, if you’d rather watch Devo’s Freedom of Choice, featuring a bucketful of great skaters from the 70’s, go here. It’s your choice.