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.
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.
Small Wheelbase Race
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
The exact dimensions are coming soon.
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.
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.
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.
For a number of Canadian skaters who grew up during the 1970’s, seeing a shot of a fellow countryman in SkateBoarder Magazine was a huge deal. Alan Harrison was one of the those skaters who excelled at both freestyle and vert. His ability got him the attention of the SkateBoarder staff on a number of occasions.
I had a chance to meet up with Alan back in May at the world freestyle championships at the Cloverdale Fair.
1. How did you wind up in SkateBoarder Mag back in the late 1970¹s
During the summer of the 1979 Canadian Championships, the late great Rick Ducommun of GNC skates (now Skull Skates ) brought up Tony Alva and Steve Olson to wow the Canadian audience and crank up the intensity at Seylynn Skatepark’s ” Expression Session”. I grew up in North Van and Seylynn was my 2nd home. There were a lot of awesome skaters, loud music and great energy there that day; especially with TA , Olson, and SkateBoarder Magazine’s photographer Jim Goodrich. Most of the intense energy was at the bowl where we had built a makeshift wooden extension also where Jim had set up his camera equipment.
2. What are some of your favorite moments from the Vancouver scene back then?
Back in the mid 70’s to early 80’s, we had to hunt out and find skate spots; any interesting incline was key. There was the Granville street bank, The Davie street ramp, the East Van Ramp which Corey Campbell ruled. In North Van there was Kilmer bowl a concrete kiddie pool. The weird indoor skatepark in Burnaby called the Skateboard Palace and of course Kevin Harris’s backyard ramp.
The short lived Nelson street ramp in Vancouver’s west end was a massive wooden half pipe painted with rubbery paint which ripped your skin off when you fell. Tom “Wally” Inouye skated there, and really ripped it up. We did have some awesome gnarly skaters from Cal come up and skate with us at the Palace. Shogu Kubo, Steve Olson and Jimmy Plumer.
With the Ripping Squad with did all sorts of demonstrations and skating shows with our portable half pipe. One of my top ten moments would have to be when our team would do the half time entertainment at the Vancouver Whitecaps games. 25,000 people, lots of screams. Our half pipe was on top of a flat bed trailer. Sometimes we would run out of time and end up skating the half pipe on the truck while driving around the perimeter. I remember the truck suddenly stopping and Simon Addington got a lot more air than he bargained for.
I was very tight with the entire Ripping Squad. Niko Weiss, and Paul Addington were closest in age to me. Also on the squad was Rob Leshgold, Mike and Rich Lien, Kevin Harris, Mike Blake, Simon Addington, and Dave Crabb. Corey Campbell was also an incredible skater back in the day who liked to snake our Ripper demos. On rainy days (which never happens in Vancouver) I would bus out to Richmond and do freestyle with Kevin, Mike and Lyle Chippeway. In the later years, I skated with the late Don Hartley. Don was known to most people as the mad carver, He had a beautiful fluid style. I really miss him.
3. Did you ever think about pursuing a career in skateboarding after things died down?
After breaking my left leg two years in a row, at the Richmond Skate Ranch, I slowed right down and changed my career path. I got into doing computer graphics in a big way. I always was into drawing and had a fine arts background but lost interest until I took a computer art course at Emily Carr in 1986. That course changed everything. I was hooked and became a Computer graphics artist and have been in the film/tv/games industry ever since. Things went full circle when I was working at Electronic Arts and got to work on the amazing game SKATE.
4. You’ve got yourself a pro model board. How did things come together for this?
I met Rick Tetz in Cranbrook BC while I was with the CPASA ( The Canadian Pro Am Skateboard Association ) helping Monty Little run the regional championships. During the freestyle event, there was this guy using nunchucks, and swords; and skating. He had mad skills. This guy was combining martial arts with skateboarding. Who knew? That was Rick! After Rick moved to North Van, he and I would hang out and do freestyle in his underground parkade.
In the beginning of August this year, Rick connected with me on Facebook and pops the question: “Hey Al are you interested in designing your own board?” I was blown away. Very stoked, and honoured. I ‘m now riding again. Thanks Rick!