For those lucky skaters who visit Venice, your journey there would not be complete without stopping by the City’s incredible skatepark. It was skate legend Jesse Martinez who led the charge to get the park built. His tenacity and pure stoke for skateboarding accomplished something truly remarkable.
The story of how the Venice skatepark came together is told in the documentary Made in Venice. Click here to view the trailer.
Drone overview of the Venice Skatepark
We are pleased to let you know that the film has been released in the U.S. on the following platforms: iTunes, Amazon, Microsoft Store, Google Play, VUDU; and On Demand at Xfinity, and Dish. In Canada, UK, Australia, Ireland, and Sweden you can see it on iTunes. Later this year, Made In Venice movie will be on VHX-Vimeo for WORLDWIDE viewing.
Note: The DVD ($14.99 + shipping) plays in ALL Regions and can be ordered worldwide through the
Made In Venice website.
I’ve met a number of freestyle skaters from Brazil. These include Per Cangru and Ernani “Tai Tai” Craveiro.
But what I’ve never seen is a combination of freestyle AND tattoos!
As you may recall, we ran a piece on our website earlier this year featuring the crew over at American Ramp Co. and their latest project to hit the skateparks of the world: the “Pro Ops.” signature ramp series. This collection of ramps, rails and boxes appear noticeably different from any of their other prefabricated park obstacles and were designed in part by an illustrious team of pro skaters. The series of ramps notably includes a colorful spine ramp with a parking block sitting atop bearing Willy Santos’ name, a Y-shaped round rail bearing Shaun Hover’s name and a wavy recliner shaped quarter pipe bearing Jud Heald’s name among others.
Granted, American Ramp Co. has received their fair share of hate for their prefabricated parks on the grounds of durability issues over the years. However, for their efforts to create something innovate and different for people to skate, I commend them. To those familiar with my neck of the woods, the North Jersey skateboarding scene has been grateful to see new parks opening in up in towns like Maplewood, Fanwood and Roselle in recent years. However, these three parks are nearly nothing more than carbon copies of each other. With same-sized ledges, euro gaps and quarter pipes, I found myself indifferent to the announcements of these parks because of how repetitive all of their designs were. Thus, when I heard that a couple of the Pro Ops pieces were headed to a newly constructed park in West Orange, NJ I was immediately intrigued by the allure of being able to skate something different for a change. With this in mind, I was happy to see the variety of tricks being thrown down in my visit to the grand opening of the park, thanks to American Ramp Co.
At the park, Dan MacFarlane’s signature “Snap!” ramp is the first feature that skaters were struck by when they entered. With several different levels to skate, the ramp provided a stage for kick turns, 180s and frontside no complys for skaters looking to flow back into the park. In doing so, many went on to hit Sierra Fellers’ signature “Crete Planter” ledge. This piece challenged skaters to pop out of their boardslides and ollie over the ends of it to grind the inside angles of the ledge. In the background, Joe Moore’s striped “Kick Tail” box led some skaters to grind up the angle and back down again while others hopped onto the box from the low end and launched off the other side.
Seeing the level of stoke that these new obstacles brought to the grand opening, I reached out to Fellers, Moore and MacFarlane to get their take on seeing their ramps go from ideas in the warehouse to physical creations being skated:
First off, Sierra Fellers described the feeling of having a ramp with his name on it by saying “It’s so awesome to have a signature obstacle. The idea didn’t start in my own head though. ARC came to me with a few different options to choose from and I got to help adjust and modify the ones I chose. As a skateboarder, being a part of creating something you’re gonna be skating and seeing the changes made to make a dream spot is a dream come true.” To truly make this dream scenario complete though, Fellers told us “I’d be hyped to see a board slide around the whole thing!”
Next up, Joe Moore, summed up his satisfaction by stating “Having a signature obstacle based on a style of skating I’m known for and being one of the first people to be part of a skatepark project like this is truly an honour. To see them now being put into public skateparks around the world is so cool and quite funny as well; my name on skate ramp, somewhere in the world I’ve never been. Each of my obstacles in each skatepark will have its own story and each one will be experienced differently by many skaters. It’s interesting to think how they will adapt their trick selection, lines and how their creativity may evolve from skating these unique skatepark pieces.” When asked what sort of a dream trick he would like to see go down on “The KickTail” Moore replied, “I would like to see an ollie over the back of the obstacle to bluntslide down the bank to fakie manual the rest of the manny pad.
Finally, in Dan MacFarlane’s mind, “It is a great feeling anytime you have an idea that you haven’t seen done before, and for it to come to fruition in physical world. Nathan Bemo, the owner of ARC, and I developed the Pro Ops line together in February 2017. Our minds and our lifetime of skateboarding experience combined and it was an amazing experience. Later, the other pros were signed on then assigned obstacles based on their unique skills. We were all flown out to the ARC headquarters in April and skated the prototypes then gave feedback so they could be fine tuned. The final products look amazing and I’m glad to see both beginner and advanced skateboarders enjoying them at skateparks.” As far as what tricks he would dream of seeing go down he told us “I wouldn’t say there is one dream trick: my dream is to see every part of them skated really well, and for many people to invent new tricks and combos on them. I’ve already seen so many NBD’s done on the Pro Ops during our prototype session in April and I just want to see that continue. If you’re reading this and invent any new tricks or combos on the Pro Ops, tag us with #ProOps and our names.
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.
Hello Bill, I remember to meet you years ago, you were for me just an “old” guy riding a skateboard. But seeing you riding and enjoying it, I learned, you were not an “old” skateboarder, you are a truly inspiring skateboarder and an “old” bro. Skateboarding is like something you share with love with every skateboarders.
It has been now 10 years since we talked about the OldBro on Concrete Wave, so let me ask you 4 questions:
1- Why do you love skateboarding ?
I love skateboarding for so many reasons. Mostly because of the friends and relationships I’ve made along the way. There have been so many experiences and amazing good times that skateboarding has given to me that I feel I could never repay the debt! I have tried by giving back in every way I can. I started a skate program in Egypt that has got hundreds of kids on skateboards for the first time that would have never had the chance before. We built the first and only skate park in Egypt and I am very proud of that and the guys who helped make that happen. I’ve never skated in a single skateboard contest because I never felt the need to prove anything to anybody when it comes to skateboarding. I’ve always only ever done it for one reason, because I love it. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t do it. I honestly feel like I could never give back enough to make up for what skateboarding has given me.
2- How did you start skateboarding ?
I started skateboarding for real in 1972 when I was 13 years old. I had ridden around on one either on my knee or my butt for as long as I can remember but when I was 13, I started surfing. I lived about a half hour inland in Arcadia CA. but my mom would take us to the beach every weekend and then every day in the summer, my mom loved the beach. I started surfing and knee boarding and just couldn’t get it out of my head, so when I was stuck in Arcadia I just always wanted to get that feeling of surfing! So we would “sidewalk surf” it was driveways and hills, then ditches and reservoirs then empty pools and finely in 1976, it was skate parks! I skated everything and kept surfing too. I got a job at Skatopia in 197, in Buena Park and moved to Newport Beach, then in 1978 I moved down to San Diego’s North county and helped build and worked at the Del Mar Skate Ranch until 1980. I’ve been fortunate to have made friends early on with the Dog Town guys, the San Gabriel Valley crew, the IE crew and the Down South crews. And we are still friends today, forty years later.
3- What does Old Bro mean ?
Old Bro comes from the Old Bro bowl that was built by a group of Old Guys in 2006. I went to a Skatopia 30th reunion and was talking to a bunch of guys, some I had known for thirty plus years and some I had just met, and we said how we should build a skate spot that we could all enjoy. I had a big backyard just blocks from the beach and the Old Bro was borne. That day people who I had just met, wrote me checks or committed to funds or materials and we started building. My wife Pat was always on board with the whole idea. We built a really fun bowled in mini ramp that was featured in CW that year but we were soon forced to sell the house, so we had to cut the ramp up and move it to our new house. Once again my wife was adamant that any home we bought, had to have room for the Old Bro. So we moved the ramp and soon people from all over the country and the world came to skate “the Old Bro” soon those became “Old Bro sessions” and the “Old Bro Crew” started growing and people started referring to sessions all over S.D.’s North county as “Old Bro Sessions” no matter where they went down.
I soon realized that Old Bro was more of a feeling, a vibe or a way that you referred to your long time friends and acquaintances and stopped being about the ramp. It is now a brand and sort of a movement. a way that we all just connect with one another. I talk to guys all over the country and the world and we instantly connect because, we are Old Bro’s.
4- Do we have to be old to be old bro ?
Ha! no. you don’t have to be old. I often say that everybody has an Old Bro, or is one, or knows one. If you are a 14 year old kid but you have a buddy that you’ve known since you were 6, well he’s your Old Bro! or you are a 30 something dude and you’ve got a friend form collage or you have this friend that was a friend of your old man’s, or that 14 year old looks up to you, you either are, have, or know an Old Bro, and you are an Old Bro to someone. And this goes for any type of activity, not just skating because it can be so many things that bring us together and make us appreciate our Old Bro’s.
Thank you my friend Tibs for asking me these questions, you are truly an Old Bro.
Follow the OldBro on
Facebook: the Old Bro Group page