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.
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.
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.
Editor’s Note: Bud Stratford has been a part of Concrete Wave for over a decade. This is the second tour he’s documented for us. You might not agree with everything he writes, but for sure you will find him an engaging writer. Every time I head out on an ambitious, regional tour, I always end up learning a lot about skateboarding. You’d think that having been a skateboarder for, oh, maybe 35 years or so now, I might be in a position where I “know everything” about it already. But just like everything else in life, skateboarding constantly changes and evolves. To the point that it becomes a markedly different pastime, recreation, culture, and business every eight years or so. Considering that it’s been about eight years since my last ambitious tour, I’d say that’s pretty accurate. Already, I’m seeing a few things that are a little “questionable”, at the very best. And frankly disconcerting, at the very worst. I’d like to address a few of those concerns directly, with their own essay. So as to not “bring down” the rest of my generally-fun tour coverage. Let’s begin here: Skateboarding is in an economic slump. There’s definitely a consensus that things are a bit off track. But the question is, why…? Well, of course, there are external forces that unfortunately lie well beyond our control. The economy, politics, et cetera. So, I’m not going to spend any time on those things. Because, they are entirely outside of our control. Instead, I want to focus on things that are well within our control. I saw Away Days today for the first time. The Adidas video. That’s significant. I had the pleasure of watching it at Cowtown (a great shop in Goodyear, AZ) with Brian, one of the assistant managers over there. About halfway through, he asked me what I thought of it? “I don’t like it much, to be honest”, I said. “Why not?”, he asked. “I can’t relate to it at all. And something’s missing”. Well of course, the first thing that was missing was a Mark Gonzales part. Which is why I was watching it in the first place: to see a Mark Gonzales part. A part that I never saw, because it’s not in the video. There’s random footage of Mark here and there, doing the typical Mark stuff (namely, being funny and doing creative stuff), and he sort of narrates big chunks of the video. But, he has no part. Which is basically criminal, as far as I’m concerned. Because it’s the one thing that I really wanted to see. “Why doesn’t Mark have a part, Brian? Have you heard…?” “I heard it was because he didn’t feel like he could keep up with the new generation of guys, and didn’t feel good enough to have a part.” Hmm, how odd. Mark Gonzales. Not being “good enough” to have a video part. Never thought I’d hear the day that would ever happen. But, y’know, times change I guess. And not always for the better. I’ve been saying this for years: there is entirely too much pressure on kids these days to be “good at” skateboarding. Waaaaaaayyyy too much pressure. Absolutely too much pressure. And that’s bad. Very, very bad. Because it sucks the “fun” right out of skateboarding. And we’re supposed to be doing this for “fun”, right…? But, it’s not fun anymore. It’s work, it’s effort. There are Joneses to keep up with, tricks to master, footage to grab, names to be made, sponsors to garner and impress. Mark may not be “The Best” skater anymore, but I’ll tell you this: he should have had a part. Because it would have been fun as hell to watch. Because Mark is always fun to watch. It’s what makes Mark, Mark. The fact that somebody… anybody… perceives that Mark is not “good enough to have a part anymore” says an awful lot of bad stuff about skateboarding right now. And it is a damn shame. That’s the only reason I’ve stuck with skating for 35 years now. Because I never gave a damn about being “good at it”. I didn’t do it to “be good at it”. I did it to get my kicks, and to have a good time. And I still do. But if you compare and contrast me with 99.999% of all skateboarders today, you’ll find that I’m the exception… not the rule. And that’s exactly the problem. I should be the norm. Not, the exception. Scootering is easier. That’s unfortunate. I was at Kids That Rip last weekend, talking to Tiffany in the pro shop. I was surprised to find that they rent skateboards and scooters there for kids to try out in the park. This is a pretty neat idea, I thought. This should surely cultivate new skateboarders, right…? Let them try it before they buy it? And this is why I go on tour alone: to talk to people about these things, these neat and novel new ideas that shops and parks sometimes come up with, in depth. One of the questions I asked Tiffany is which one gets rented more often: scooters, or skateboards? “Unfortunately, it’s scooters.” You could almost hear the pain in her voice, having to admit that. Clearly, she’s rooting for skateboarding. But the kids want what they want. And at KTR, more often than not, it’s scooters that they want. “Why…?” “Because, they’re easier to ride. Kids like them more. There’s less pressure.” Ahhh. Theory, confirmed. Sadly. But, it’s the truth. In making these huge, impressive, high-budget videos (like Away Days) that focus so hard on the newest, hottest, up-and-coming skaters doing the hardest, most technically innovative (read: impossible) tricks… we, as an industry, are actually contributing very significantly to our own demise. Most kids will never, ever do a fraction of the tricks that the Away Days guys are doing. It is causing a severe disconnect between the average customer, and the industry that is supposed to be serving them. We are not serving them well at all. We are actually contributing to a mighty huge disservice. And doing so, I might add, quite consciously. When’s the last time you saw a scootering version of Away Days…? Ever…? No…? Well, neither have I. I think the scooter manufacturers might be a lot smarter than we give them credit for. They’re not out there making scootering look f’n impossible to do. Maybe we should take a hint from that, huh…? When I go on tour, I do not promote “good skateboarding” at all. I can’t promote “good skateboarding”, because frankly speaking, I totally suck ass at skating. And the older I get, the worse I skate. Life sucks pretty hard right now. But…! I still love skating. And I still enjoy it immensely. And I still have fun with it, even while I’m sucking at it. And, I still do it! And kids connect with that, oddly enough. Because I give them stuff that most of “The Industry” either can’t, or won’t. Namely: hope. A very different interpretation of what skateboarding is, and what it’s all about (again: “fun”). And, encouragement. It’s a bit like The Ramones. I’m sort of like the sucky skating version of them. The Ramones couldn’t play music. They made great noise, though. And they were fun. They were doing something very new, and very different, that captured the imagination and made the dullness of life seem really exciting. I suppose that when I roll up to a park… give everybody stickers, high fives, and smiles… and shoot photos, kids probably do say to themselves, “Wow. This guy is fat and old! He can barely skate! Yet, look at him! He has a camera, he writes stuff, and he works for a (kind of) major skateboard magazine…! He is living the life… and look at him! He is a total idiot, a complete loser…! Holy crap… I could do that, too…! Right…?!” And, of course, the answer is always “yes”. Yes, you surely can do whatever it is that I’m doing. You, the average kid, could probably do everything that I do, and probably a lot better than even I can. Because I am the old, fat loser that doesn’t skate good. And it gives them hope. Because they don’t have to be Jamie Thomas or Geoff Rowley to “make it” in life. They can be me. They can be punks. They can be The Ramones. They can have a voice. And they can make a difference. Lastly, there’s one more gripe that I want to address. This one’s important, too. And it’s another place where the industry could make a real difference. Every skatepark that I visit… whether they are public or private, it never seems to matter… is ridiculously humongous. Not in terms of sheer acreage… although they’re happily huge in that regard, too… but in terms of, vertically challenging. I went to Litchfield today… “Goodyear Community Skatepark” officially, but commonly referred to as “Litchfield Park”… and Ohmygawd, it was f’n scary. Like, “I didn’t even want to skate it” kind of scary. It looked like the ultimate bone-breaker… and the last thing I want in this crazy Obamacare world of high premiums and high deductibles is a broken bone at 44 years old. I really don’t want to die, or go bankrupt, skateboarding. I just want to scooter around and have some fearless fun with it. But that ain’t gonna happen at Litchfield, nuh-uh. No way in hell. The best parks I’ve seen yet, in terms of being kid-and-old-fat-guy-friendly, were both private: Kids That Rip in Chandler, and 91 West over in Peoria. Simply because, I could skate them. And have fun doing so. With confidence, even. Because they both had smaller mini-ramps… like, in the 2′-3′ range… that I could goof off on, and have fun learning new tricks on, without the fear of killing myself in the process. So, I skated them both for hours. And hours and hours and hours. But I barely even took a run at Litchfield. I did my one backside grind “just to say that I skated it”, and bugged out. I skated a brand-new ditch out in the boonies instead. That was a whole lotta fun. Litchfield wasn’t. If we want to get little kids interested in skating… and much more importantly, keep little kids interested in skating… we need to get well away from the mega-sized terrain featured in the Away Days of the world, or constructed in the Litchfield Public Parks of the planet, and give newbies, little kids, old guys… girls, even?… terrain that they can functionally and fearlessly skate. Terrain that is “not particularly challenging” would actually be kind of refreshing right now. Because for the most part, it does not really exist. There is no real middle ground between the curb in front of your house, which is probably the easiest thing in the world to skate… and the mega-ramp-sized concrete park across town, which is more than likely the hardest thing in the world to skate. At least, it is if you happen to live in Goodyear, Arizona. It’s also true if you live almost anywhere in Arizona. I suspect this may be true elsewhere, too. You can always make “less than challenging terrain” a hell of a lot harder, by learning harder tricks on it. That’s fun. It’s pretty hard to make Litchfield Park “less huge”. That’s the difference. Mark my words on this: Micro-to-mid-sized, easy-to-skate terrain is going to be the hot new direction in skateboarding. If you build it, you will empower and engage millions of new, enthusiastic, life-long skateboarders. Take note, industry, and make that happen…! (Editor’s note: you need a pumptrack in your neighbourhood!) There are many more points to be made here, of course. Contests are out (because they’re not fun); jams and other “community events” are in. There aren’t enough “everybody, everyday” skateboarding events. There’s a lack of cohesive community everywhere. Industry is typically disengaged from the consumer experience; I’ll invite any industry head to come out with me for a weekend and see the world through my eyes… and trust me on this, you’ll be glad you did, because I’m f’n good times. But I think that engaging kids on their own terms… within their own limitations, goals, and desires… and on skate terrain that they can realistically skate, and skate well, would be a damn good beginning. But how long do I have to wait until the industry realizes the wisdom, and responds…? Can it be sooner than later this time, guys? Please…?
At this time of the year, it is customary to publish a list of gifts that would be of great enjoyment/benefit to our readership. I am proud to say that we have fulfilled this obligation thanks to the hard work of our Associate Editor, Daniel Fedkenheuer. My intention is to add to Daniel’s list sometime in the near future, but for now, I thought it would be useful to share with you all few gifts that the act of skateboarding has given me. Since you can’t actually PURCHASE any of these gifts without first skateboarding, I’ve decided to comb the internet for non-skate related images…just to prove my point! I welcome your thoughts and realize this is just a brief list. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. THE GIFT OF BALANCEThis gift is truly the first you receive from skateboarding. It’s up to you as to how much you want to push yourself. It’s your decision to keep practicing. No matter what happens, as long as you keep riding, you will enjoy the ride. THE GIFT OF FREEDOMThis cannot be underestimated. As long as you have a skateboard, you open up the door and go. No lift tickets, no praying for surf or snow…The world is your oyster as long as you can find some smooth asphalt or concrete. And when you drop off your family or friends at a big event and you park the car a few miles away and return via skateboard, well, that’s freedom too! THE GIFT OF FRIENDSHIP I have made some made some incredible friendships over the course of 4 decades riding. My friends come from Australia, Europe and all over the USA and Canada. We may not all speak the same language or have grown up in the same culture, but skateboarding is the bridge. THE GIFT OF QUESTIONING AUTHORITY & THINKING DIFFERENTLYThere is nothing like being busted riding in a parking garage and put in the back of a cruiser to give you a taste of the state flexing its power. This happened to me after a trade show a few years ago. I’ve been kicked out numerous skate spots. As a skater, questioning things comes with territory. Golfers just don’t go through the same experiences. Not all rules make sense and blindly following orders can lead to a repeat of the Millgram Experiment. And just because you own an Apple product these days does it mean you think differently. Creativity and looking at things in a unique comes is built into skateboarding’s DNA.THE GIFT OF APPRECIATING ART & MUSICWhen I first started skateboarding there were no graphics on the bottom of decks. When longboarding re-emerged in the early 90’s, there were no graphics either. And yet, a rich culture of insanely great art has flourished within skateboarding. Music and skateboarding are as tight as peanut butter and jelly.
Our associate editor Daniel Fedkenheuer has compiled a list of some fantastic gift ideas…all under $30. Happy holidays to all our readers and advertisers. I’ll be compiling my own list next week.Sk8ology – Click Carabiner Skate Tool – $12.99When you pack your car to the brim with boards and ramps, sometimes losing your keys and skate tool in the process is inevitable. For this, the world’s only skateboard tool designed to clip to your belt loops and bags is the perfect way to keep your essentials on hand.Available at: http://store.sk8ology.com Death Digital – Death Grip 2.0 VX Handle – $30This smartphone/GoPro handle combines the best of old and new school filming styles by fusing the classic feel of shooting VX footage with the ability to record on modern HD devices. It also features a shoe mount for external lighting options and a universal mount for additional attachments.Available at: http://www.deathdigital.com Lifeblood Skateboards – Lifeblood Slam Repair Kit – $19.95Every holiday season, my parents would slip a tooth brush into my stocking as a more sensible gift amidst the mounds of sugary candy. This all in one first aid kit has the same effect for the piles of presents otherwise consisting of new boards and shoes. Available at: http://socalskateshop.com Monster Paint – Clear Spray On Griptape – $18For those looking to decorate the top plys of their decks and still see their creations, this awesome spray-on allows you to apply grip where you need it most. Each can holds enough to cover 5-6 40” longboards with two coats and takes just five minutes to dry.Available at: http://longboardsusa.com Andale Bearings – Marc Johnson Pro Rated Notepad Bearings – $29.95This box set comes complete with a notepad and pencil featuring art from Marc Johnson for your ever ending trick list and a fresh set of Pro Rated bearings and spacers to keep your ride smooth through the cold. Available at: http://socalskateshop.com The Board Pillow – $29.99For the groms on your shopping list who brave the cold to keep skating through the winter season, this pillow gives them something to warm up with as they continue to eat, sleep, skate. The washable covers feature graphics of everyone from Sean Malto to Christian Hosoi to Daewon Song.Available at: http://theboardpillow.com Shorty’s – Complete Finishing Kit: Tech Pack – $26.99This all in one kit is perfect for putting the finishing touches on a brand new setup. Equipping you with everything you need from grip tape to bearings and spacers to riser pads to anti-vibration silencers to a whole bunch of stickers, this pack has it all.Available at: http://www.skatewarehouse.com/Independent – Genuine Parts Tool Kit – $24.95In relation to the last item, this second kit from Independent holds all the tools you need to assemble your setup and then some. In it, you can find a double sided wrench, a socket driver, a driver with attachments for flat, phillips and allen keys and extra hardware, axle nuts and kingpin bolts.Available at: http://www.nhsfunfactory.com The Original Grip Gum – $5.99One of the greatest burdens I face on the East Coast when it finally warms up enough to hit the streets is the mess of sand and road salt left behind from the snow storms that cakes onto my grip tape. This cleaner removes the debris from your deck and keep it grippy.Available at: http://www.skatewarehouse.com Powell Peralta – 2016 Holiday Ornaments 4PK – $21.00To round out this list, the undoubtedly most festive item is this 4 pack of Powell Peralta Holiday ornaments to add some stoke to the mess of snowmen and Santa Clauses on your tree. Available at: http://powell-peralta.com/powell-peralta
Over the last 20 years or so I have watched skateboarding change. In 1996, you could barely get anyone to pay slightest bit of attention to longboarding let alone slalom or freestyle. Skateboarding media was very much like the scene in the Blues Brothers movie where someone says “we got both kinds of music: country AND western.”
Niche events did take place but they were truly off the radar. Thanks to the hard work of a lot of people and the power of the web skateboarding now covers a wide range of niches.
The truth is however is that these niches haven’t really received the type of attention or sponsorship that street skateboarding garnishes. Most longboarders (and all the groups that are lumped together in the “OTHER” category) are realists. Sure, it would be nice to have a big fat sponsor like Ford or Pepsi throw in some major money to the IDF or other types of skate events, but it’s going to take time. We have to accept that we are a niche.
Numerous skaters spend a huge amount of their own money to attend races. Downhill, by its very nature poses some risks while every precaution is taken at races, accidents happen. The reward comes in the camaraderie – for the most part, the prizes are secondary.
The worldwide tribe that doesn’t generally follow the going’s-on of traditional skateboarding is sometime given an occasional nod by the mainstream media. The tragic passing of 70 year old Victor Earhart is one of those times. If your attention is to the more mainstream side of skating, someone like Victor isn’t going to get onto your radar. For those who do explore outside what is presented in most of the skate media, the experiences are truly exceptional.
One of those rewards is the chance to compete against world-class skaters. If you go race Danger Bay or ahead out to Oceanside for the National Slalom Races, you will be up against the very best in the world. Not only will you be able to skate with your hero’s, you’ll be able to hang with them too. It’s quite a bit harder to do this at the Maloof Money Cup or Dew Tour.
THIS IS FROM 2011…wow, time flies!
If the other categories in skateboarding are classified as niches and are getting a paltry amount in the way of sponsorships, can you imagine what it’s like to be a pro wrestler in Combat Zone Wrestling. Most of us know of the WWF but trust me when I say you won’t see Doritos, KFC or even Band Aid jumping to sponsor this niche part of wrestling any time soon.
The CZW documentary profiling this way out there niche within wrestling is a 42 minute orgy of violence the likes of which will leave mental scars. We’ll all know that Vice covers it all – from drug abuse to bestiality but nothing can prepare you for this niche within wrestling.
The level of brutality is so beyond anything that you can imagine, it’s frankly hard to comprehend. Sure, it’s all done for the fans…but holy shit, it’s insane. These guys literally drive spikes into each others heads
Don’t believe me?
Take a look at the documentary below: Warning – once you see this, you will not be able to UNSEE it.
If you get past the violence, you will see there is camaraderie here between the wrestlers and yes there is an incredible bond between the wrestlers and the audience. It is so over the top and so incredibly intense that even the refs are seen clenching their teeth. Chances are this waaaay out there niche within wrestling will garner a few fans via the documentary. The CZW seem be garnering some money via on demand video – not sure how much money it generates – but full marks for trying!
From what I understand, Delaware is one of the few places left in the USA that you can actually do a tournament of death. Not sure about Canada. I would say it’s doubtful.
For those who worry about the future of niches within our amazing skateboard world I say, fear not. Niches within skateboarding will expand and contract, just like the rest of skateboarding. Sure, we may never get the big dollars like our street skating counterparts. But that’s ok. No matter what happens, chances are you’ll never find yourself picking glass out of your body. Unlike our counterparts over at CZW.
Most people have photos of a rash or any wound/injury.
We are launching a photo contest concerning your worst injury. If you have a photo of your injury, time to show it off!
We are GIVING AWAY Clayer products to the top 3 worst ones. And a special coupon code will be given to everybody who participates.
Send an email to email@example.com with:
* Your first and last name
* The photo of your wound
* How you got the wound
* Your @instagram (if you have one)
The Deadline to send your photo is November 28th
Please do not get injured on purpose to win this prize.
*USA and CANADA only
When Michael asked me to come back and write for the magazine, he did so with three overriding mandates: to think (and execute) well outside the box; to shake things up a bit; and to instigate change. And he gave me virtual carte blanche to do all three of those things, however I saw fit to do so, with the full support of the magazine behind me. One of the first things on my personal shit list to tackle was the status quo of “skateboard events”.
“Skateboard events”, as we know them today, generally take two popular forms: contests and demos. Neither of which float my boat very much. Contests, I despise for fairly obvious and straightforward reasons. To me, skateboarding is (fundamentally speaking) a form of artistic self-expression; I’m almost positive that very few skaters will disagree with this assessment. As a form of artistic self-expression, I still can’t figure out how it can ever be “judged” to discern which style of artistic self-expression should be deemed “better” or “more valid” than another style of artistic self-expression. So just based on the philosophical grounds, I abhor any and all attempts at having skateboarders “compete” against one another. It seems to go completely against the spirit of the whole thing.
Demos are a bit better… but not much. When I go to a skateboard event, I want to go skateboarding; I don’t really want to sit on my ass (or stand around idly) watching other dudes go skateboarding. Skateboarding, to me, is a participation pastime, not a sporting spectacle. Some skaters may disagree with this one, but I really don’t give a toss. It’s my article, bubbo. If you have a differing point of view… well, throw your own event and write your own damn article then.
In any rate, what I really wanted to do here was to organize and execute a very different sort of event. “The Weekend At The Wedge” was almost exactly what I had in mind.
The event itself was a brainwave between myself, and Stuart Anglin. I met Stewart a couple months back, while I was on tour; we crossed paths at The Wedge Skatepark at Eldorado Park in Scottsdale, Arizona. We struck up a conversation based on the common ground of being old, lifer skaters. At some point in our friendly chat, I asked Stuart why The Wedge Skatepark wasn’t named after the park it sat in (like so many Phoenix area skateparks are), and thus called “Eldorado Skatepark”. He explained that the skatepark was named after “The Wedge”, and old skate spot that was heavily sessioned way back in the ’70s and early’80s.
Thinking that the original spot must have been dozed and buried eons ago, I remarked that it’s really too bad that it’s not around anymore. To which Stuart replied, “Oh, it’s still there! It’s right down the hill beside the bike path!” Being a bit surprised by this, I asked if he’d like to escort me down there, point it out, and maybe join me for a quick session? Stuart, being the supercool chap that he is, was more than happy to oblige.
As we skated The Wedge… which is a long, mellow embankment by the way, ideal for surf-skating (because it’s basically a huge, stationary wave)… I asked how long it had been since anybody had seen a mass session there…?
“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe twenty, thirty years?”
“Stuart….! We have to have an old-school session here. For old time’s sakes, at the very least. Let’s get a hold of Adam, and make that happen.” Stuart was in, Adam was in, and the event was a total go.
Here in Phoenix, we’re blessed to have a very well-organized and active old-guy skateboard club known as The Gray Beard Crew (found on Facebook under “Prevent This Tragedy”); Adam is our ringleader, so his support and promotion was an integral part of the plan. I made a digitized flyer for the event, posted it up all over our Facebook page, and started planning the details of the festivities.
Putting together an event like this is really pretty easy. Anyone can do it, although having an already-existing skateboard club does help immensely. If your town doesn’t have a skateboard club, well, go right ahead, be like Adam, and organize one; all it takes is a desire to meet (and skate with) new people; a little bit of outreach, networking, and promotion; and a Facebook page. Club tee shirts help a bunch, too, because they’re so boss. Just sayin’.
There were some simple logistics to sort out. The Wedge has a nasty habit of collecting dirt and dust at the base of the bank; that would have to be swept out, so people were encouraged to bring brooms (two ended up being enough, and those were personally manned by Stuart and I). I printed flyers, and left them at the area skateshops. We picked a day and a time that worked for almost everybody and their schedules. That was the bulk of “the planning”, right there.
And then, there were the “prize packs”… a little idea that I put together, so that nobody would leave the event empty-handed. I wanted to show my appreciation to everyone for showing up and participating… so, everybody got a prize pack that included a free copy of Concrete Wave Magazine (thanks, Michael); a color version of the event flyer, printed on some spiffy paper; and a handful of stickers because, really, what kind of skater wouldn’t appreciate a handful of stickers…? Nobody I know…! Those were provided by Michael (again); Jim Gray at Powerflex; Jack Smith at the Morro Bay Skateboard Museum; Mike Horelick at Tunnel Products; the fine folks at Speedlab Wheels; and the fellas at Sidewalk Surfer Skate Shop, right up the street. I’d like to thank them all, too, for helping out.
As far as the time-and-money costs go, they really weren’t particularly significant. I spent maybe forty bucks on the whole deal at the very most… I actually ran most of the flyers off for free at work… and I spent maybe ten to fifteen hours on the whole project, total. This really is something that almost anybody could put together, by and for themselves. I cannot emphasize that enough.
My biggest worry was over how many people would (or wouldn’t) turn out for the shindig. I feared the worst, as I usually do; I had visions of another private session for just Stuart and I, and nobody else but the sound of crickets. But the turnout blew me away…! There were about fifty folks there, of all ages and abilities… that was the best part, I thought… and they, in turn, brought out many of their kids, wives, and girlfriends. My sweetie Renee even tagged along to spectate, and had quite a good time doing so. But really, the best part was seeing such a diverse cross-section of skaters, young and old, newbie to experienced, skating together and having fun. That’s the best reward you could ever ask for, right there. That made it all worthwhile.
The most surprising part of the day was watching everybody skate the “wrong” side of the bank. The back side of The Wedge is another embankment that leads down to a grassy flatbottom… not something that I would have ever imagined skating. But somebody… I think it might have been Adam… started trying to pump the whole bank, from the paved sidewalk to the opposite end. Within minutes, everybody was trying it (including me)… and surprisingly, making it. You learn something new every day, I guess. Sometimes, even something completely unforseen and utterly surprising.
After a couple of hours of skating The Wedge, we all migrated up to the skatepark to keep the fun times rolling. The skatepark has a bunch of quarterpipes, grindable islands, and a bank/bowl complex that’s short, mellow, but still a significant challenge. The whole event lasted three solid hours, and everybody seemed to go home happy and content.
If the event itself wasn’t surprising enough, then that Facebook love that I found in my inbox when I got home definitely sealed the surprise deal; I wasn’t really expecting that, either. Of course, I tried to deflect much of the credit back to the participants… an event, of course, isn’t really “an event” without a whole bunch of participants… but it was nice to see such tangible confirmation of a job well done, and times well spent.
I’m sure that we’ll put something together again really soon. Adam and I have already discussed what, where, and when the next event might be. Sidewalk Surfer is already down to support it, wherever and whatever it might be. But really, what I’d like to see are more homegrown events like this, all over the country and/or the world. That would be amazing.
So put ’em together, have your own fun, shoot a few photos along the way, and send your stories in to the mag. Make Mike and I proud, and make ’em happen.
5th annual Skate the Cape Shred Festival was our best yet! The weather was perfect, the stoke was high and the riders were pushing their progression in every event. We had an awesome lineup of vendors Stark Energy, Spacey Cloud, WhaDaFunk, Category Collections, Blendlife and of course Faceplant that made this event feel like a shred festival. There were no shortage of prizes to give away thanks to our sponsors Bethesda Boards, Liquid Boardshop, Shred Threads, HogWash, Shady Tree, Sector 9, Original, Bustin, Muirskate, Otang, Loaded, WheelRZ and Faceplant Boardriders. Open DownhillWe started off Saturday with our most popular event, the Downhill Race with heats of 3 riders, top 2 advanced. In the Junior division, Ohio native and WheelRZ team rider Troy Dycus led the pack all day and finished 1st in the finals followed by PA rider Nathan Yagar and MD rider William Macleod. The Open division was stacked with talented riders. Local Delaware riders Jeremy Woolsey and Aaron Gordy used there Cape knowledge to navigate their way through the difficult heats to the podium. Virginia Beach powerhouse Jarrid Lopez snuck right between the locals to take 2nd place in the Open DH Finals. 1st Jeremy Woolsey2nd Jarrid Lopez3rd Aaron Gordy Junior Downhill1st Troy Dycus2nd Nathan Yager3rd William Macleod
Small Wheelbase RaceNext was the Small Wheelbase Downhill Race where riders had to use smaller skateboards with a wheelbase of 22″ or less. This smaller board and wheelbase makes it more difficult at high speeds and made racing more intense. The final race was super tight going into the turn with Jarrid Lopez leading the pack. As they rounded the corner Jarrid could not hang on to the high speed line and allowed DE Local Jesse Wipf to take the win with myself and NC rider Josh Fuentes right behind him for a photo finish. 1st Jesse Wipf2nd Rob Wheeler3rd Josh Fuentes Slalom RaceAfter that we set up the two lines of cones for some old school slalom racing. Local OG rider Scott Thompson took the gnarliest Faceplant of the day right on the finish line as his board loss traction and slipped out from underneath of him. Luckily he was all smiles after that and still competed! Dave Bangson wowed the crowd on his weird no binding roller blades called freelines. The top 3 riders were all from Delaware! 1st Jesse Wipf2nd Jeremy Woolsey3rd Dave Bangson Enduro Push RaceThe last event of the day was the 2.9 mile Enduro Push Race which has downhill sections, pine needles, sand traps, cracks, 90 degree turns and an uphill finish. This was one of the craziest push races we had with a huge pile up right from the start as everyone mobbed into the narrow path. Animal and Jarrid Lopez were leading for the first half until the tricky 90 degree right turn took them both out and allowed myself and Matt McCoy to push our way to the front. Jarrid Lopez training paid off as he quickly made his way back to the front of the pack. I was drafting behind Jarrid for the last half mile of the race thinking I could push past him on the final uphill but his determination and slight lead took him to a well deserved 1st place. 1st Jarrid Lopez2nd Rob Wheeler3rd Matt McCoy Saturday evening we couldn’t stop our competitive drive and played a big game of kickball before sundown. Right at dark we opened up Blendlife Food Truck for dinner, ran some lights out to the picnic tables and started a community fire to set the mood for the rest of the night. Everyone enjoyed having our own Skate the Cape campsite this year with plenty of room to spread out and camp next to your friends. Boarder Cross Time Trial RaceDay two at Skate the Cape started with our Boardercross Time Trial Race where riders had to navigate through a challenging coned course making hard turns they had to slide to check speed, air over the ramp and zig-zag through the slalom section. Each rider had 3 runs to clock in there best time to make it to podium. Zach Longacre was charging the course every run and came so close to the best time of the day. I was stoked to win 1st at this event against some of my favorite riders and good friends.1st Rob Wheeler 23.562nd Zach Longacre 23.823rd Jarrid Lopez 24.89 Hippie JumpAfter that we took a lunch break thanks to Blendlife, opened up the hill for slide jam practice and setup for the Hippie Jump contest. Many riders tried the high jump but yet again Aaron Gordy dominated this event with style and maxed out our hippie jump at 52″Aaron Gordy – 4 feet 4 inchesJunior Slide JamThe Skate the Cape finale was the Junior and Open Slide Jam which would decide who our Faceplant Freestyle Cup (longboard series) winners would be. The Juniors division was led by new-comer Sam Crandall from Virginia Beach who was laying down solid runs all day. The entire Junior division was a tight matchup every heat. In the finals, Faceplant Freestyle Cup leaders Troy Dycus and Benny Clark laid down there brand of slide style to make there way to the podium.1st Sam Crandall2nd Troy Dycus3rd Benny Clark Juniors Faceplant Freestyle Cup Series1st – Troy Dycus 37.5 points2nd – Benny Clark 33 points3rd – Rian Singleton & Nathan Yager 20 pointsAll eyes were on Faceplant Freestye Cup leaders Zach Longacre and Mark Nicolaus in the Open Slide Jam. Zach dominated the opening heat but could not put it together in the semi final heat to make it to the finals. Aaron Gordy fought his way into the finals and landed an incredible technical run to bump him into 3rd place for some very valuable Faceplant Freestyle Cup points. NY rider Cody Baker was the standout of the jam putting together laser sharp runs all day long. Mark Nicolaus continued to heat up as he made his way to the finals and landed a 9.5 and 9 on his final runs to win his first Faceplant Slide Jam of the year and win of the First Faceplant Freestyle Cup! Open Slide Jam1st Mark Nicolaus2nd Cody Baker3rd Aaron Gordy Open Faceplant Freestyle Cup Series1st – Mark Nicolaus 33 points2nd – Zach Longacre 25.5 points3rd – Kardon Allard & Aaron Gordy 23 points Big Air We always end Skate the Cape with the competition where riders launch off the kicker to see who can travel the farthest distance. Kardon Allard broke a board going for the big air. Josh Fuentes was the record holder last year and pushed it to try to beat that. He took some gnarly falls but continued to walk back up the hill and try again. Cody Baker had his technique down as he soared 15 feet! Animal wowed the crowd with his longboard binding setup getting the highest out of all the riders and tied Cody at 15 feet for an epic closing to this awesome weekend. Cody Baker & Brandon “Animal” Cassel – 15 feetThank you so much for coming out to this event! Mark your calendars now for 6th annual Skate the Cape on November 4th & 5th 2017.
The 5th Catalyst – The Extreme/X Games – 1995By the early 1990’s, skateboarding was in free-fall and the industry tried to figure out what had caused the crash. In a meeting in January of 1994, a group of skateboard executives pointed out the obvious:
- Too many pros
- Not enough diversity – too much emphasis on street skateboarding
- Too much focus on the hardcore skaters – not enough focus on fun for all By 1995, ESPN 2 had launched the Extreme Games and while some in the skateworld bemoaned its commercial sensibilities, there was no question this was going to impact skateboarding. The visibility was huge and Tony Hawk (after a decade and half of being a pro) finally got the fame he so richly deserved. By 1999, skateboarding was on fire once again. The focus was mostly on street skateboarding, with a bit of vert and transition. On the horizon was another genre within skateboarding – Longboarding and in 1999, I launched the publication International Longboarder.
The 6th Catalyst – Dogtown and Z Boys Documentary – 2001Although this film was released in 2001 at the Sundance Film Festival, it didn’t get major attention until 2002. The film features the dramatic stories of skate pioneers the Z Boys and was the breakout hit at Sundance . The film was the first time that skateboarding’s rich cultural history was explored and it lit a fuse. The documentary effortlessly meshed the Southern California surf experience with the punk rock ethos that dominated the late 1970’s skate world. Four years after its release, Vans (who had helped finance the film) found itself on a complete rebound financially. It opened up people’s eyes to the roots of different types of riding and captured people’s imagination. It brought in a lot of former skaters and sparked tremendous interest in the history of skateboarding.
The 3rd Catalyst – Thrasher Magazine – 1981 In 1981, seven years after the rebirth of skateboarding, Thrasher Magazine was launched. It was underground and it helped create the next wave of interest. It documented regional contests and backyard ramp events. By galvanizing a community, it forged the third wave of skateboarding. By 1985, skateboarding was roaring back. But as the 80’s ended, skateboarding again found itself hitting the skids. The 4th Catalyst – World Industries – 1988Curiously, the fourth catalyst within skateboarding was so impactful, that the ramifications are still being felt to this day. As the 80’s came to close, skateboarding became so overwhelming huge, that there was bound to be a backlash. The “do it yourself” spirit was first experienced in the late 1970’s as punk rock fused with skateboarding. As things snowballed, five dominant companies ruled and smaller, independent skate companies found it very hard to compete.In 1988, Steve Rocco (along with Rodney Mullen) began World Industries and their slow but steady march towards taking on the major players eventually put them in a very powerful position. Numerous new skate companies were established as skateboarding reverted back to a small, niche market. Four years after Rocco launched his renegade company, he had completely disrupted the market and emerged as THE brand from all the carnage in the market. By 1995, World Industries dominated. Tomorrow – we have more catalysts!
I have over 40 years rolling on four wheels. The enjoyment I get from skateboarding is surpassed only by the joy I get when I get other people turned onto riding. Twenty years ago I knew that longboarding was going to have a dramatic effect on skateboarding. I knew instinctively it would be a catalyst that would reverberate worldwide. Unfortunately, a number of people in the skate industry didn’t really understand how longboarding would change things. I knew something was up and I went down to Sector 9 in 1997 to try acquire the distribution rights for Canada. While that never happened, I did wind up writing the book Concrete Wave – The History of Skateboarding and this eventually led to a TV series and a magazine. A catalyst is a person or thing that precipitates an event and when you look at the past 50 plus years of skateboarding, there are seven key catalysts. Of course, these are merely my choices and opinions. The purpose of this article is to give skaters a sense of history. As Bob Marley famously wrote (Buffalo Soldier), “if you know your history, then you would know where you’re coming from.” The 1st Catalyst – Makaha 1963You have to go all the way back to the early 1960’s to understand how skateboard catalysts work. Prior to Larry Stevenson creating the world’s professional skateboard, skaters had to settle for crappy metal-wheeled contraptions. Back in the 1950’s the Roller-Derby board sold for $5. This equates to about $44 today. Skateboards were thought of toys – and indeed they were.When Makaha came out with a larger deck and clay wheels, it launched a revolution. Pro surfers endorsed the brand, demos were plentiful and suddenly the baby boomers were in full swing. Larry Stevenson’s experience set the pace for the next 50 years in skateboarding. The boom was enormous. At the height, Makaha was receiving $50,000 a day in orders. As skateboarding grew in popularity, cities began to ban it, citing safety concerns. Clay wheels, while better than metal, were horrendous. By 1966 it all went bust and the industry collapsed. Things were to remain dormant for about 8 years. The 2nd Catalyst – Urethane Wheels – 1974 In 1974, the urethane wheel helped relaunch skateboarding’s 2nd boom. The reason was simple – the urethane wheels could grip much better than clay and metal. All Hail Frank Nasworthy!SkateBoarder was relaunched and became the bible of the sport and the images captured the imagination of a SECOND generation of skaters. This move from 1975 would have been impossible on clay wheels! By 1978, things had exploded. SkateBoarder published its biggest issue yet. At the height, there were and estimated 20 million skaters in the USA.However, by 1981, the popularity of skateboarding had dropped immensely.Some blame the closure of skateboard parks, and still others blame a glut of product. But if I were to lay the blame one single thing it would be that the industry and the skate media got too focused on one type of skater and skate environment. They failed to showcase an inclusive skate environment. The roots of skateboarding are flatland and downhill. It’s ditches and pools and any spot you scope out and start to ride. When the first skateboard parks were established, they contained some incredible terrain that duplicated what was out there. However, many skaters didn’t have access to the terrain they saw featured in the magazines. This focus on vert and mostly male skaters was to have a detrimental affect. Unfortunately this is something the industry finds itself doing. Myopia combined with tunnel vision makes things incredibly difficult from a business perspective. Tomorrow – the 3rd Catalyst.
Editor’s Note: We are one day from Halloween. What a great opportunity to match two of my favorite things:
Enjoy this rather unique article and have a Happy Halloween!
When I was a child, I saw magicians vanish candles on TV with a handkerchief. I would grab my mother’s candle and try sliding it down my sleeve, drop it on the ground, or any method I could think of to duplicate the effect. I had this innocent belief that I could do anything. After many poor attempts to create something that actually looked magical, I purchased the effect, only to find that they used a trick candle. I felt cheated. But more importantly, I felt I was losing the belief that I could create my own magic!
Around the same time, I would go out skateboarding and people would talk about a mythical trick called the ollie impossible. As a magician, it fascinated me, this was before the internet, so there was no way to look it up and validate that it was humanly possible. No one I knew could actually do it, but they could describe it with enough detail so I could start trying to accomplish the impossible. I failed so many times, my ankles bruised to hell, until one day I landed it. It was the best feeling in my life. That was the day I discovered what magic really was –through a skateboard!
Magicians disempower their potential through trickery, while skaters have limitless potential and will their desire into being, which is real magic.
The art of magic is about using metaphor and moments of awe to plant seeds in your audience’s mind, to expand consciousness. But magic could grow if magicians expand their consciousness too – it is a transformative art, and it starts with the self. When people ask me what I do, I tell them I’m an artist and my medium is magic.
You can purchase Joe’s book here.
The passions I have combined to create art are animation, skateboarding and magic. The tools are the brush and pen, which conjure images on the page or screen; the skateboard, which places you in the moment, in the flow; and magic, which is my way of life.
I studied animation at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. I was the kind of kid who would stay up all night setting up dominoes for those few quick seconds of magical motion. I sort of see myself as an animator; finding hidden life inspires me. Animation is a huge theme in my work. I don’t just think of it as hand drawn cartoons. Animation is also puppetry; it is storytelling that moves and inspires you. I want my audience to “feel animated” when my magic show is over. Skateboards are interesting because although you manipulate them, they also animate you!
Drawing has an energy and magic to it too. When you draw, the way your pencil moves across a page feels very similar to skateboarding. It skates across the page, leaving marks, while you lose yourself in it and act on feeling. When you do a wall ride on a skateboard, it leaves marks that are pure raw energy. As an animator, you draw fast and rough to produce motion. I have always seen a skateboard as being similar to a paint brush because it’s a simple tool of artistic expression.
I have always thought artists were the closest thing to real magicians. Francis Bacon was like a ghostbuster; he would put his canvas out like a trap, trying to capture a moment of truth. Bacon was trying to paint a wave, so hethrew a bucket of water at the canvas to get as close as he could to a real one. He incorporated dust from his studio floor into the wool sweaters he painted. Ralph Bakshi, the wizard of animation, is the most real person I know on the planet. In his film Wizards, the character Avatar says the spell, “Krenkel Morrow Frazetta.” It might
come across as some kind of mumbo jumbo, but each word is the last name of one of his favorite artists. Most magicians are not conscious of the meaning of their spells. Abracadabra actually means, “It is created as it is spoken.” Bakshi is a real wizard, and I have always admired people who are real magicians. Skaters have a similar authenticity to what they do. Magicians like Jeff McBride have it. Skaters like Rodney Mullen have it.
Skateboarding has always seemed like a performance that we undersold. In old skate videos, bystanders would stop on the street and watch skaters. As a skater, you could put down your hat and busk and make money street skating. Skateboarders could elevate the art by adding new flourishes to their tricks to keep them mysterious. When Rodney Mullen invented the [ollie] kickflip, it was called a “magic flip” because people didn’t understand how it was done. Now that we know, it has become a stunt. How cool would it be to have skateboard tricks that were kept a secret, tricks that were mysterious? This is why I wrote The Magic of Skateboarding. If we can make regular sized skateboards look like they float without using any gimmicks, or vanish fingerboards, we might be able to fill a void and connect skateboarding with fingerboarding in a magical way! Skateboarders can now take the stage, not just in the skate demo sense with headphones on while staring at the ground, but as conscious performers.
The fingerboard has so much potential to grow right now. I see it gaining respect. Just imagine DJs having them with LED lights, becoming a new prop in juggling culture, magicians using them with sleight of hand, and skaters combining the micro and macrocosm skateboarding with your hand down, trailing a smaller fingerboard behind you. I’m working on painting with fingerboards like palette knives, using skateboards that have actual marks from board slides as a canvas. The marks left by the fingerboards mimic those left by real skate moves, true to the art. The fingerboard has so much room to grow. Rodney Mullen talks about filling in voids, and I think combing small and large skateboards could make everything new again. In my promo video, I transform a fingerboard into a large skateboard and jump on to ride it away. If these tricks are not revealed to the masses, but instead are passed down between skaters, we could add mystery and magic to skateboarding – fingerboards could progress.
Now I skateboard on stage to start my magic show and screen animated shorts I made between my magic tricks. I only perform in galleries, museums or private parties where you can host me as a guest artist to perform in your own home. I’m open to skate venues and giving artist talks. I don’t use gimmicks in my magic; I might just grab a silk handkerchief and see how many tricks I can flow out of it just like I’m skating. I tell stories as I do tricks with fingerboards, and I recently discovered how to make an object float in the air with no gimmicks. It’s a very pure levitation – no strings, no lies, just a search for real magic. Skateboarding taught me this.
I really enjoyed reading your manifesto and the founding of the Lost Girls Tribe. For those who haven’t read it, can you give us an synopsis?
Our story starts off in a freezing cold A-Frame in Government Camp, OR with me and the two other OG ladies who thought up Lost Girls. We decided that we didn’t fit the traditional description of women in Govy (or in general), and that we’d have some fun by calling ourselves “Lost Girls.” The name stuck, and we ended up forming a tribe, a movement of people who are pushing for a new kind of action sports community and a new way to see women under the larger umbrella of modern culture.
Here’s a quote from the Manifesto that sums it up pretty well: “We are quirky, dirty, weird, funny, wild, adventurous, athletic, and we ain’t no basic bitches. We are the warrior class; we take our scrapes, breaks, and bruises as a badge of honor. In a world where some pay thousands of dollars for cosmetic surgery, we are proud of the scars.”
When it comes to women and action sports, it seems to me a bit of a paradox. On the one hand, action sports are about individuality and freedom. On the other hand, females are woefully under reported in media and there is still very much an “old boys network.” What are your thoughts?
It’s a really interesting contradiction that stems from upbringing and culture. Boys are told, “go for it!” and when they fall, “you’re ok. Get up and do it again.” Girls are told “be careful,” “don’t get hurt,” and we are often influenced to be perfectionists.
A bunch of people seem to be seeing what’s going on, and that’s so important to change anything. At first, I thought I was mistaken or crazy, but then others were raising the same questions. Why don’t you see women featured on many ski and snowboard websites? Why are a lot of women’s clothes, skis, and snowboards so unappealing to us? Why is there a huge discrepancy between numbers of men and women in the park? Why doesn’t anyone make ski boots that fit small feet?
Fairly recently, gender equality has become a topic of many conversations in our country and the world. People don’t believe something is possible until someone does it. We’ve been told that women are never going to get there. That our bodies aren’t strong enough, there’s no market, that it’s too dangerous, that there’s no way the same number of people will want to watch a woman’s edit as a man. That “she’s good, for a girl.”
I can say that I’m not so sure about that based on the response I’ve gotten. Apparently there’s even a big, burly skater dude who rocks one of our trucker hats on the regular. I look forward to the moment when the “old boys” become our fans.
Tell us about your latest endeavour with the ladies longboard team.
I see an opportunity to support athletes, and create content in the downhill longboarding/skating world. I hope that watching the ladies on our team will encourage others to get into it!
We recently got a handful of us together for a day and shot footy for our first edit at a few locations in Colorado. It included the girls rocketing down Ute Pass and our filmer skating right behind them with his dslr. I was shooting with the drone. It was a group effort, and so cool to have the guys out there helping us!
I personally am a beginner to longboarding, and I felt like I progressed so much in just one day. I’ve found this to be true when you get a group of stoked people together with different ability levels. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the edit turns out and filming more with these badass ladies!
In a world where so many females are photoshopped mercilessly, one of the things that struck me about Lost Girls is that you’re not afraid to get dirty, get bruises and the fact that you’re proud of the scars. How does this message into your media collective?
Body shaming and body image issues are so important to address. I think fake images give the impression that we’re not real people, or that our outer appearance is so important that what we look like isn’t good enough. I don’t want to live in a society where the ultimate accomplishment for a woman is to have clear skin or a gap between her thighs. I do want to live in a world where women aren’t afraid to create, explore, make things, and play.
I wanted to portray this attitude in our recent photo shoot for our 16/17 lookbook. So, I asked our team to become “models.” Instead of makeup, we put charcoal war paint on our faces. For part of the shoot, we skated around an alley in Denver.
I think there needs to be an example of media out there that’s not influenced by societal pressures to show skin to get noticed. We value respect over likes on instagram. I want to show women of all ages and walks of life that strength is beautiful.
What specific things can the network of event promoters, shops and media do to cultivate more women in action sports?
The network that comprises our industry could do so much more. Everyone could begin by caring, asking more questions, and making less assumptions. Event promoters could bring on more women employees or contract ladies to help them see what will and won’t hit the target for their audience.
Shops can begin by seeking out more and higher quality options for women that don’t have the pink tag price. I custom designed our Lost Girls hoodies partly because I couldn’t find what I wanted on an existing clothing rack. The idea is to feel warm, comfy, and bad ass in what you’re wearing.
Media holds the key to creating the consumer base for event promoters and shops. With more quality movies, edits, articles, publicity, and the right outlets, more of the world will see what we do. The more the world sees it, the more people will get stoked and want to join! Maybe the “old boys” haven’t realized that they’re relying almost solely on half of the population!
If suddenly $2 million fell into your lap, what would you do to promote The Lost Girls?
Oh man! I would go all out! Film equipment is extremely expensive, as well as travel, so that’s a no brainer. Sure, a RED camera and a helicopter would be awesome. An urban movie. Summer in Australia and winter in Japan.
We could set up a scholarship fund to get women filmers, photographers, and graphic designers the equipment they need. We could have contests and awards for athletes.
A TV documentary series about women going on adventures around the world, doing and teaching action sports, and helping the communities they visit. A good friend of mine and I have an idea in the works to do a long distance skate trip all the way across Cambodia. Being able to just go do it without trying to raise funds would be great.
Or what about a whole line of custom clothing with featured art from talented ladies? The possibilities are endless, and the current struggle is real. But even if I have to work full time as a busser to make Lost Girls successful, that’s what I’ll do. Ultimately, it’s not about the money because it gives life greater purpose.
Any final thoughts you’d like to add? Plans for the future?
I’m blown away by the amount of support we’ve had, and the amazing people who often work for nothing to make Lost Girls possible. With the new longboard team, and plenty of plans for skiing and snowboarding this winter season, I think this is going to be our best year yet.
I’m currently teaming up with artists to work on the 16/17 line. We’re going to have several runs of limited edition hoodies, and I’m also working on hats, pins, patches, long sleeve shirts, and more! Our kickoff party for the season is happening in November, and we’ll have more info on our website and social media soon.
Farther into the future, I see us creating a network of women all over the world who are getting together at their home mountains, beaches, or skate parks and progressing the sport. I also see us becoming a media outlet that utilizes retail sales to generate high quality content.
The most important thing, though, is to shred together and have fun, always.
Hard to believe this ground breaking video is celebrating 30 years. You can download a free copy of the video right here. This past September, Tony Hawk, Lance Mountain, Steve Caballero, Tommy Guerrero, Mike McGill, Rodney Mullen, Johnny Rad, Stacy Peralta, George Powell and a few friends gathered together to celebrate CHIN. This week the RIDE Channel will be posting four separate web edits celebrating that gathering and #30YearsOfChin. Fans can follow along at our Bones Brigade Facebook and Instagram pages. To view the film on YouTube, take a peek below:Fun bonus fact: The photo you see below is from the film. It’s an anchorwoman doing a newscast about the search of Animal Chin. The actress is Tony Hawk’s sister.
As we roll into a colder season, give a thought to those lucky folks who live in California (and other places) who can surf, skate and snowboard all in the course of one day. Dusters California decided to get a team together and celebrate the three terrains. The crew consisted of Dusters riders Tom Ryen, Justin Burbage and Malachi Greene, Cinematographer Brent Black and Dusters Creative Director Nano Nobrega. Tom is best known for his appearance skating and snowboarding in the Fuel Tv show “The Adventures of Danny & the Dingo.” Justin was born and raised on the east shore of Oahu surfing and skating all day every day and Malachi is a downhill machine out of Santa Cruz, CA. Starting off the day at 7am, they headed to Breakwall, Venice Beach for a quick dip. The ocean was flooded with Los Angeleans from Burbank to PV, the conditions were glassy, but it was still a fun time nonetheless. After surfing was checked off the list, they moved east to skate one of San Bernardino’s most attractive skateparks, Fergusson Park. From there, they headed up the mountain towards their final destination, stopping briefly for Malachi to get a taste of the gravel on the brand new Keen Downhill board. Once they made it to Big Bear Lake, the sun was long gone, but the gang still had time to get in a night session in at Snow Summit, ending the day with some icy carves and fun park features.
Several weeks ago we received an email from Arnab Raychaudhuri of Board Up. He explained that his company had developed a folding longboard. As you can imagine, we were quite intrigued by this concept. It’s not the first time this has been tried, but there is no doubt this product looks promising. What’s the history of this product how did it come to be?
Arnab: My partner Bin, saw his son struggling to carry around his long board. As a veteran engineer he went to work building a board that is portable and rides like a long board.
Some would say mini cruisers have taken over the longboard market why the need for a fold-up longboard?
Cruisers are great, but they are still too large. BoardUp offer customers a true longboarding experience, allowing boarders to surf the streets, and folds it up under a desk, or in stows in backpacks.What kind of Interest have you been getting from consumers?
We’ve been getting a lot of interest from Urban commuters that want a better alternative than biking to work. We will launching our board on Kickstarter on October 25.
When the skateboard folds and is laid out are there any problems with things like stress fractures?
We built the folding hinge mechanism with aircraft grade aluminum, so it can handle over 400lbs. We’ve also tested the hinge and the weight capabilities over 18,000 times. We’ll post a video with Aaron Kyro and his two friends on the board at the same time!
When the board is folded up how small is it?
The exact dimensions are coming soon. Visit the website here:
Welcome to a new feature that gives you insights on what it truly means to be a skater. These are personal stories that we know will resonate with you. If you have a story you’d like to share, email us. We’d be happy to get it up on our site!
It’s something that everyone was yearned and hungered for at least once in their lifetime: belonging. It motivates us to become who we are, to pick up an identity and stick with it. Without it, we get lonely and we seem to lose track of both who we are and what goals we want to achieve in the long run. We lose sight of what’s important and we start to wander off into places that have no meaning.
I’m no stranger to this lack of belonging, having grown up as a slightly strange kid in the public school system; my first many years of school were filled with awkward conversations with my classmates and weird crushes on girls and some kind of strange social tension that I could never seem to relieve. My radically academic upbringing left me undeveloped (to put it nicely) in terms of social skills and I never really did discover the meaning of a close friend until I entered high school last year, at the ripe age of 16.
Here, I made it a goal to become outspoken, less awkward; to become someone that people could relate with and hang out with without feeling weird like many of my past acquaintances may have at many points of our shallow friendships. Well, it kind of worked, I developed some very fun friendships, went to my first parties, got my first kiss, and had my first late-night conversations in a circle-of-bros around a backyard fire. But that didn’t work out; I had a scuffle with some guys towards the end of the year and that all kind of turned into a burning pile of ash and smoke. This turned me into a licorice-flavored rotten Jello filled with little solid pieces of misery and loneliness and longing for a place to belong.
That summer, I was fresh out of things to do. Utterly bored. Unused. I didn’t have a girlfriend; I didn’t have any friends to hang out with. Slowly, people started departing and I was undecidedly left to myself for the coming two months of summer. My previous plans, my list of things that I wanted to do that required more than one person? Gone. Scrapped. And I was imaginatively, completely helpless and depressed about it.
And then I bought a skateboard. It was a very hot, sunny day, and my family decided to take my brother and me to the little homey town of Banff, where I bought a small Sector 9 Wedge skateboard for a small investment of $170 dollars (my whole life savings at that point). I then spent the next month learning to push, to carve, to stop and on the way to the final goal of the mastery of the cruiser skateboard, also had my first falls and injuries.
I had a few mentors along the way, but there wasn’t really anybody who was outstandingly amazing at the sport. They just invited me out to go cruising along the riverwalk or maybe come over for a round of video games and go out and push along the creek for a bit. You know, the really simple stuff. I never thought of this as anything beyond casual hanging out. Nothing to really poke the mind or emotions, nothing that would really invoke any feelings of being any more wanted than a bit of company here and there.
But I was still hooked. Not onto the cruising with other people notion, but to the feeling of rolling over paved ground. I felt free of the confines of any social expectations that I and other people had forced upon me for so many years; I was on a skateboard, and I was alone, enjoying rolling over the little bumps and bruises in the ground, and I was okay with that.
It felt blissful.
And this turned into an addiction for me; a way for me to relieve stress when I had it. I remember so many nights when I hopped out of bed, put on a jacket and jumped outside to skateboard at 2 o’clock in the morning because something was bugging me. I remember that I pushed myself to exhaustion and when I came back in, I could sleep soundly and forget about what was bothering me.
It’s strangely therapeutic, really. I’m sure other people have different reasons why they skate. Some people just find it fun, some people are just really good at it. I know people just like to skateboard because it’s something they can work on. But for me, skateboarding was always an obsession for me because it was the only respite I had in a schedule of heavy workload and emotional strain.
And this pushed me deeper and deeper into the sport. I started to experiment with different gear. I bought my first longboard; it was a Dusters Kosher Glow in the Dark; something that I went to my local store to buy because I decided after reading some articles and guides that I would indeed need something longer if I wanted to go faster. This was kind of the start of what would eventually lead me to the greatest thing about longboarding. But
I’ll get to that in a bit.
I got this longboard and I started to ride it instead of my little cruiser board. I rode it obsessively. To school, to the hospital, to the grocery store. I even rode it down my short little street just to get mail! I seriously think that I just didn’t walk anywhere for a while. That longboard became my legs. And I started to upgrade it. I went on these weird longboard sites and got all these different types of weird tips and tricks, stuff that would actually lead me on an extremely wrong path filled with really bad information and lots of wasted money, but fuel my passion it did, and I was okay with that. I got the wrong bushings, tweaked it around, got some new trucks (Caliber IIs, my first RKP trucks), and put those on. I got new wheels (Free Willies; I slide those to this day), and rode that for a while.
Then, I discovered some online communities, such as Silverfish and Reddit’s /r/longboarding, which is the one I go on the most. When I discovered this online community, I was like, “wow! There’s more of us! More people who love what I do!” and I was absolutely blown away. I spent hours and hours on the live chat, with people actually guiding me in the right direction. They told me to get the right bushings. They told me to get a new board, and new wheels that were much faster.
Funny thing about this forum is though, that I met one of my better skating buddies on there. He picked me up on the site and he pointed me to my local scene’s Facebook group, and that’s really where the juicy stuff starts.
When I entered this group, I was met with outstanding friendliness from all parties.
My pleas for help with sliding and downhill were met with people coming from all over telling me they could help out; that there were clinics here at this time, and that there was a race going on at this place. But most importantly, I was invited to this one weekly ride that we do every Saturday night, by one of the better skaters in the group. He messaged me personally and he told me that there was a nice, easygoing run every Saturday that he really wanted me to be at. He told me that people were friendly, that people were totally okay with me being there! And so go to the ride I did.
You know, in these many months that I’ve been skating, I’ve never really found anything more beautiful than what I felt that first night. For the first time in months, I felt supported. People were pushing me forward, propelling me constructively and building me back up from the mess that I was a few months ago, when I first bought that skateboard. I felt wanted again, that people were genuinely excited to have another person there that was skating. I finally felt that cohesiveness with a group of people that I’d been searching and yearning and working towards for years.
I felt like I belonged.
If I was to tell a prospective longboarder something about this community, it’s that this community has the power to make you feel amazing inside. In this community, you’ll find a passion that you can share with many other people, and through this shared passion, you’ll also find brotherhood; a scattered family that knows when to come together when it matters. An incredibly diverse group of people where not one person is left out and not one person is looked at for their flaws. Indeed, it’s a group of people where everyone has something to offer.
And I feel that I have something to offer every time I go skating on Saturday night.
And you can bet that I’ll be skating this Saturday too.
With weather on everyone’s mind, we felt it important to let you know about an event that’s coming up in November. It’s called Laps for Louisiana.
We received this message from event organizer, Urban Boards:
There was really bad flooding not too long ago in Louisiana and we live in the nearby area. A lot of people lost their homes and belongings so we are trying to raise funds to donate to charity that will go towards helping those flood victims. We will have a live dj, food and drinks, raffles, and some skate competitions with different prizes. A few different length flat land push races, hippy jump competitions, and games of S.K.A.T.E.
To find out more about the event, visit here:
We met up at 116th Street this morning with simple rules: Don’t get arrested and don’t go down.
With that, hundreds of us skateboarders descended upon Broadway and shut the streets down.
After 8 miles of surprised tourists, police barricades and close calls, we made it through the maze of traffic and touched the Charging Bill in triumph. Broadway Bomb 2016 was undoubtedly a success.
The finish line down at the Wall Street Bull was a mass of longboarders enjoying the wonder of the day!
What are some of the reasons you started Breezy Boards?
Brianna (Breezy) Enders: Skating has always been something that I’ve felt deeply connected to, a passion that was sparked the moment I first stepped on a board at the age of 10 and was fueled by the encouragement and support from my parents throughout my life.
Longboarding is everything to me; a creative outlet to express yourself with physical determination and unique style, a personal release to free yourself from the troubles and worries of daily life, a way to bond with others and bring people together and, for a few fun years, my main mode of transportation. The dynamic nature of longboarding – ranging from a truly personal, meditative experience, to a way to get around town without fighting for a parking space – is something that I’ve always felt compelled to share with my friends, family and colleagues. Breezy Boards is how I hope to tap into the minds and hearts of people on a larger scale, while submersing myself in my life-long passion to produce and distribute badass, shred-able boards. My focus for Breezy Boards is as simple as this:
1. Longboarding is good for the soul. I strive to provide personal insight, approachable knowledge and unique, quality boards to present people with the opportunity to fall in love with skating.
2. People are wonderfully talented, creative, passionate and driven. Since longboarding is such a versatile and inclusive activity, I believe that Breezy Boards is the perfect platform to promote the wealth of human capacity, with a focus on the local St. Pete, Tampa Bay and Florida communities.
3. Ventures, ideas and individuals thrive with human interaction. Establishing connections, developing relationships and sharing experiences is valuable and rewarding beyond measure. Breezy Boards fosters the importance of shared experiences and successes.
What have been some of the biggest challenges?
I’ve faced a few challenges in the startup phase that were off-putting, sometimes even debilitating, but taught myself to channel them into positive reactions and efforts. Initially, Breezy Boards was an incredibly exciting concept, with expansive possibility for growth and seemingly endless potential (and still is!) which was incredibly overwhelming for someone who was working full time through college and buried under a never-ending course load. The idea was ultimately put on the backburner, twice, before utilizing my studies in mass communications,
journalism and entrepreneurship to develop a solid foundation for the company. This invaluable tug of war of “What Breezy Boards could be” and “What’s the next step for Breezy Boards” taught me that it’s okay to dream big and have grandiose plans, but that I need to hone my focus on the execution of the next immediate task at hand, in order to be successful.
Another challenge has been a bit of a female complex. Although I am utterly confident in my industry knowledge and physical abilities, it always seems as if I have to answer 20 questions to prove that I’m worthy of owning a skateboard company and am capable of speaking intelligently on the subject. Honestly, it makes me love what I do even more, breaking into both the skateboard and business worlds as a headstrong, determined female presence, and fuels me to keep “kicking ass and taking names,” a favorite idiom of encouragement I often receive from Corey, my loving stepdad.
Launching Breezy Boards as a young female entrepreneur, fresh out of college, was a daunting task in itself and there have been some obstacles along the way, but the way I look at it, all of the taxing, draining or difficult tasks that I have to push through or find ways to overcome are all just part of the process. Breezy Boards is my conceptual child, a product of my personal passion, and I am willing to do whatever it takes to foster its growth and development, to see my vision through to its fullest potential.
What are some of the things you are most proud of as it relates to the company?
First off, I just want to say that I’m damn proud of the fact that I took the leap into business ownership, after years of toying with the idea for Breezy Boards. It’s incredibly humbling to have friends from grade school say “I remember back in middle school when you talked about having your own longboard company, and now you do!” I feel it was just a matter of time before I turned this dream into a reality.. and I couldn’t be happier with the steps I’ve taken to launch Breezy Boards successfully and the response it’s received from the local community.
The three things I’m most proud of, in relation to Breezy Boards: The Street Team, the Launch Party and the Adjective Dragon board collection.
The Breezy Boards Street Team is comprised of a group of genuine, respectable and selfless individuals who support Breezy Boards and its vision. Levels of participation and engagement vary, but that’s the beauty of the Street Team! It’s a platform that allows people to be involved with Breezy Boards and its on-going projects in whatever capacity they choose. Members have helped coordinate and run events, design graphics and event flyers, skate and model for the Breezy Boards Lookbook (which is currently in production,) and even helped grip and assemble the debut board collection in preparation for the Launch Party. I believe that the DIY and grassroots approach is the best way to appropriately convey the ideals and principles that are at the heart of Breezy Boards. Establishing and developing a team of like-minded individuals who are eager to contribute to the success of Breezy Boards has been truly humbling throughout the startup phase and I look forward to expanding the Street Team in the future.
With the help of the Street Team, Breezy Boards hosted an insanely successful and epic Launch Party on Friday the 13th at the local World of Beer in May, 2016. We partied into the night, celebrating the official launch of Breezy Boards with four local bands, a killer merch booth set up, local beers on draft, a logo-splattered photo op backdrop, locally-themed raffle prizes and pizza served from a freaking fire truck! It was the result of 8 months of planning and promoting, concurrently with senior classes, projects, finals and graduation, paired with a slew of “holy shit, is this going to happen?” moments, most notably just barely having the boards arrive in time for the event.. but it all came together for one of the most amazing, memorable nights of my life and am grateful for
everyone who played a part in its success. Oh yeah, and it was my birthday, too!
The Launch Party, in all of its festive glory, was not just a community event celebrating the initiation of Breezy Boards, it was also the first public display of the debut Breezy Boards collection, Adjective Dragon! This collection of boards is more than just your average run of longboards. Its shape was designed specifically for the local terrain, the city streets of downtown St. Pete, and features five original pieces of deck art created by individuals within the Tampa Bay area. The artists, sourced through word of mouth and social media campaigns, participated in an art contest that I hosted in October and November, 2015, for the chance to have their artwork printed on 20 of the 100-board collection. The results were astounding and I meticulously selected the top five entries to represent the debut line of Breezy Boards. The entire process and integration of local artists was a unique, fresh idea that I hadn’t seen before.
Tell me about one of your most memorable longboard experiences.
I have more memories associated with longboarding than could fill a pensieve (sorry, I had to get at least one Harry Potter reference in there) from skating the Island of Venice – where I’d skate through the open-air high school to get to and from my classes, cruise to the beach in between school and drumline or newspaper or whatever I had that day and hit up the little hospital parking garage or the north bridge with friends after dark – taking a stack of boards on the public busses up to Sarasota to hit the gnarlier spots with my skateboarder friends on the weekends, to exploring the city of St. Pete after relocating for college.
I did lots of dumb stuff, like try to street luge a crazy hill in a bathing suit, getting the wheel tangled in my hair and sliding bare-back down the pavement with my board attached at the roots. I’d skate through parks, kicking my board under a picnic table, length-wise and jumping up and running across the table top to land back on the board as it came out on the other side… Skating in dresses and tights to my fancy hostess jobs through college (eating shit once and working the full shift with a torn up knee, bleeding through the hole in my stockings without anyone noticing) and anger skating home from a shit serving shift, power sliding too hard and slamming my head on the curb, lying there concussed for a bit and then slowly skating my way back home.
The most pivotal moment was that first time Jeff Yarrington put me on one of his boards at the annual family 4th of July picnic in Maryland in 2002. With the nod of approval from my parents, he gave me a quick rundown of how to position myself on the board and sent me racing down the parking lot. I’ve been hooked ever since, truly and utterly consumed by my love of longboarding.
Who are some of the artists you’ve worked with?
Endorsing the talent and vision of local artists is an extremely important aspect of Breezy Boards and I make an effort to team up with and promote area artists for every project possible. This was the driving concept for the Adjective Dragon collection, which features original artwork from five Tampa Bay area artists. The lineup of artists, along with their winning board designs, are:
● Kelly Owen – Basic Dragon
● Dylan Haught – Fat Dragon
● Deanna Marinello – Mystical Dragon
● Jessica (Bam Bam) Sarlis – Nom Nom Dragon
● Cameron Miller – Unborn Dragon
Breezy Boards has also worked with local artists to create graphics and flyers, including Street Team members Dylan Carney and Kayla O’Brien , as well as local photographers Laia Gore , Casey Nelson and Alison Rosoff . I worked with my cousin, Darren Simons , to design and create the Breezy Boards logo in 2014 and have plans to continue working together on some exciting projects.
Website – www.ridebreezyboards.com
Facebook – www.facebook.com/breezyboards
Instagram – @ridebreezyboards
Twitter – @SkateBreezyDTSP
That’s a Tripp is a small skate organization that a buddy of mine and I started about 6 years ago while doing skateboard delivery for a restaurant in Soho, New York. It has turned into a long distance skateboarding adventure group dedicated to Long Distance Pushing. We typically do smaller “Tripps” during the summer months anywhere between 15-50 miles in and around NYC culminating in the end of season event Cruise for Boobs.
Cruise for Boobs is a Breast Cancer Fundraising event run during October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month). The last couple years we’ve worked with Boarding for Breast Cancer (B4BC, based out of SoCal) as our beneficiary. So they set us up with a donation page and a we do a facebook event and we promote the whole thing as an “Interactive” fundraiser.
After people donate and join the FB event we constantly are live posting via social media during the push. Folks really get to feel they are a part of it, instead of just “donate and done”. We also throw the “Trippers Benefit Bash”. This is essentially a party with bands, giveaways, food and a raffle.
All the proceeds from the entire event, skate and party, are donated directly to B4BC.
This year the 4th Annual Cruise for Boobs ‘”Philly Cheese Skate 100 – Philly to NYC” will take place on Saturday, Oct 22nd. We will take the first bus out to Philly, super early and immediately start skating back. We will skate halfway and sleep somewhere tbd. Sunday we complete the push, skating into the Trippers Benefit Bash.
For more information, please visit our facebook page.
We’ve got a story in our November issue about products that allow you to be seen at night as you ride.
But as things draw closer to October 31st, we wanted to shine a light on Aluminati’s Skateboards latest tribute to Halloween. Aluminati has teamed up with Sunset Skateboards to offer three Halloween cruisers powered by Sunset Flare ™ LED wheels.
Aluminati’s cruisers are crafted from recycled aircraft-grade recyclable aluminum in Southern California and feature endless graphic options and clear grip.
The three Halloween designs, Ghostly, Grab Bag and Jack are now available exclusively on Aluminati’s website. They each feature self-powered Flare™ LED Wheels give over 100,000 hours of light without any batteries.