The 11th annual Swap Meet held at Roarockit
is coming up fast. #SWAP11 happens on Sunday April 8, same place, same time as always. For those who don’t know the exact address, it’s 880 Millwood Avenue in Toronto. Temperatures are slowly warming up here Hogtown. The fun begins at noon! After 4pm, there will be a slide session at the Poop Chute.
Roarockit is also presenting an additional event that benefits the amazing work of the Oasis Skateboard Factory
. It is taking place on April 12 is the Boards of Education Art Show and Auction at the Gladstone Hote
l. This This year, there many artists, from music to street and everything in between. The students are teamed up with an artist, who then creates a board with the student’s input on the topic, this year it is Mis-Education. Boards are auctioned off by Jay Mandarino – owner of CJ’s skatepark
. It’s all good fun and raises some badly needed funds to support the school.
SECTION A – Welcome To the Truth & Real Truth – Introductions Not Really Necessary, But Here They Are Anyway
I started up the Skategeezer Homepage in 1995.
A few of you reading this were there when the NCSDA started. A few others might recall when Silverfish started. I bet a lot of people reading this were there Skate Slate and Wheelbase started.
Hey…that’s Skate Slate!
I was and continue to be very happy to have a front row seat to it all. The last 22 years of my life in skateboarding were truly incredible. But in truth, things have been difficult. A lot of advertisers have decided to spend money on different marketing initiatives. This is code for “we’re spending most of our advertising money on Facebook, Google, You Tube and Instagram.” Btw, it’s not just skateboarding, many very small independent traditional magazine publishers like me are faced with similar issues.
Hey! That’s… Wheelbase!
The truth is that ever since we started this new website, I’ve wondered, will it help or harm? Are the forums going to resonate? What exactly will the experience be like? Am I complete digital imbecile lost in a time warp who never was able to make the damn website work?
But then, I think about how I came to find Sean. You see, Sean is my web guru and thanks to Steve Meketa we met up last summer and set plans in motion to make this website work.
Sean is working like a demon to make things happen Sean’s vision is on point. He knows how to work within the digital world and more than this, he freakin’ loves skateboarding. That’s a deadly combo.
The Truth? The only way to make these next 21 years go by with same amount of fun and passion as the last 21 is for me to truly find my flow again within skateboarding. I am proud to truthfully say – “all systems go”
The Real Truth? Concrete Wave finally has a website that it should have had almost 20 years ago – about freakin’ time! Now the fun begins!
SECTION B – DEMONS UNDER THE BOARDS – AKA WHO’S WHO?
I got a text from my friend Samson. Samson is unique. Samson is curious and truly loves skateboarding. Samon doesn’t just work like a demon, he’s a speed demon. He loves bombing hills. He’s also demon in the kitchen, whipping up fantastic skate grub every time we meet – thank you for your hospitality. He’s also a mind demon and he wrote something to me yesterday that stopped me in my tracks. Curse you Samson for getting into my brain…again!
He wrote have you seen this Vulture Magazine Quincy Jones interview?
Quincy set the internet on fire!
Many people reading this post probably don’t know of Quincy Jones. One thing is for sure, you’ve heard of all the major artists he’s produced. Read the damn article. It’s a jaw dropper.
Ironically enough, Jonathan Nuss (now living north of 60) was the one who spread this story on social media.
Jonathan Nuss loves Nunavut!
Like I said, it’s got more bombshells than a year’s worth of Maury
This guy makes serious coin from others misfortune.
But here was Samson’s take, and I am paraphrasing here – you gotta make a magazine that is as honest and raw like that interview. Don’t be afraid to tell the truth.
After sleeping on Samson’s words, I realized that I need to get writing. Samson unlodged something in my mind. It is time for a raw and honest assessment of the skate industry through the prism of Concrete Wave. It is truly time to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
The Truth? After 21 years, I know people who know people...who know things. And it’s time for some illumination on all the bullshit that’s out there. Plus, I know where the bodies are buried.
The Real Truth? Our tip hotline is open. You ready to help us point out about some truly outrageous hypocrisy within skateboarding? Operators are standing by. And if you don’t contact us, Samson or karma will find you.
A world without pros…11th anniversary of a gift that keeps on giving.
SECTION C – AKA THE “C” SECTION – WHERE WE CUT TO THE CHASE
God, it’s been a brutal week. The senseless deaths in Florida. This is why the USA needs to have an truthful conversation on making guns a little more difficult to obtain than Kinder Surprises were for the past few decades. If you can regulate printed porn, cigarettes and liquor, you can put the same amount of thought into regulating guns.
My social media feed is filled with “thoughts and prayers” and “parents, raise your kids right” and “2nd Amendment” and “abortion caused this” and more and more statistics.
The Truth? This was the week that I decided to finally stop posting on my personal page. I deleted a number of old posts and set my settings to private. I even removed it from as a shortcut on my phone. Personally, I am over Facebook. I hope a billionaire reads about our gun buy back and we put thousands of skateboards into people’s hands.
The Real Truth? Facebook makes me feel like shit most of the time. I see left/right battling it out. I see my skate heroes posting stuff that makes my headspin. Then I remember, it’s the skateboarding that unites us.
If you want to face our 3 questions…just email me.
Either Samson or I will be happy to put you in the hot seat.
The following song assisted in the production of this newsletter. This song is over 42 years old. Deal with it.
Still great 42 years later!
And if you find that track awesome, check out this cover by Phil Upchurch.
We had a chance to meet up with Edward Cordero, the head of Ahmyo Wheels.
Ahmyo Wheels…that is a unique name – what is the meaning of it?
AHMYO is a vibration, like Om. And it means Absolute and Complete Trust In Self
There is a great deal of spiritual signs and meanings in the wheels – what is your message as you combine skateboard wheels with spirituality?
Yes, we definitely focus and inspire our designs and wheels with it in mind. We wouldn’t really define it as message though. I’d say it is more of a tool. Combining both we have a tool that helps create awareness, opens minds to new ideas , cultures, feelings and maybe even experiences. Connection is what it’s all about.
Where are you based and where can people find the wheels?
We are based out of EARTH! Distribution is currently in N.C. USA with shipping manager, Madison Crum.
Tana Rohrer, head of design and Europe manager is in Madrid, Spain. And Co-founder Iñaki G. and I manage everything else from Mexico City at the moment.
You can find our wheels at www.ahmyowheels.com or email us to get your local shop to get some!
What type of riding do you do?
I’ve been loving to bomb hills on any kind of board since I can remember. But It’s been almost 8 years of mainly downhill skateboarding. Lately been learning a lot of street and transition too and it’s a lot of fun. That’s what I usually skate but I’m down for any kind of skateboarding. The challenge is infinite.
Who else is part of the team?
Well, a side from the already described. We have an incredibly talented and amazing family of rippers that keeps expanding all over the world. And thanks to them we are still here helping each other grow. You can check them out on our Insta: @ahmyowheels.
Any final thoughts?
We thank those who open their minds and trust us with their ride. We hope more than one feels in tune and connected with our work and we’ll keep at it to bring more.
Long time readers of CW Mag will recall our Noteworthy column. Now that we’ve slightly changed the format of the magazine, we no longer have this feature. The truth is that we welcome your products to be showcased here on our site. But, we will let the court of public opinion have their say. If you’re intrigued by a product, be sure to connect with the people behind it.
We are not endorsing any product – but we encourage you to keep an open mind. You just never know what will inspire you.
The Clayers is a brand developed by professional skateboarder Tibs Parise. Tibs has graced our cover a few times. Everything started in Europe, when Tibs discovered the benefits and mineral rich properties of French Green Clay from other professional athletes. He started to use the product to assist in healing his injuries and skin irritations.
Another happy camper courtesy The Clayers
In 2013, Tibs arrived to the USA to pursue his career as a Professional Skateboarder. Tibs enjoyed success as a skater, but was dismayed that he could not find any French Green Clay that was “ready-to-use”. After years of frustration, Tibs decided to develop the highest quality “ready-to-use” French Green Clay paste. He offered samples to Professional Athletes in his sports network , they tried Clayer, and all the athletes noticed that their injuries were getting better after the first application!
Backed by medical research, Clayer’s ingredient is scientifically proven and also certified Non Toxic and 100% natural. It isnow available in a convenient 5.8 oz tube of “ready-to-use” paste for pain relief & first aid.
A number of skaters endorse this green clay including: Jake Brown, Louis Pilloni, Brandon Turner, Josh Baldwin, Alan Young, Jimmy Riha, Peter Smolik, Shaun Ross, Bryson Farrill, Cory Juneau, Chris Gentry, Daymein Hertenstein, Oscar Gutierrez, Max Ballesteros, Pam Diaz, Jordyn Barratt and Jesse Parker. Click here for more info
GIRL IS NOT A 4 LETTER WORD
Girl is NOT a 4 Letter Word collaborates with Dusters California and artist Priscilla Witte to bring you a feminism-powered cruiser skateboard. This is the 7th deck in a long line of Dusters and GN4LW collaborations where a portion of the sales benefit a 501c3 non-profit. This year’s recipient is Bridge to Skate: a nonprofit that uses skateboarding to transform the lives of youth by creating dynamic new paths to self-confidence, personal empowerment, and responsibility for each other and their communities. For more info click here.
Girl Power Skateboard
I know what you are thinking – butt boarding?! Well, hold your tongue for a minute. Firstly, we will probably have luge stories in the mag and at our website? Why, because luge has a rich history within skateboarding. As for butt boarding – what great way to enjoy skateboarding!
So many times we’ve seen kids gravitate to butt boarding when they start out. Why? Because it’s FUN. If you can’t deal with this, move on.
So take a peek at the Street Sledge. Hailing from the UK, this product offers newbies an awesome way to jump on board.
Here’s what it looks like when you’re riding it. I dig the bevelled bottom. For more info, click here
With millions of people watching luge at the Olympics, this product might inspire a future generation of rippers.
Then again, what about if we reversed things?
Akwasi Frimpong of Ghana – Getty images
Phil Smage takes flight!
Today’s forecast in Toronto is SNOW…followed by more SNOW. The question what the hell are you going to do about it?
Four years ago I published this magazine.
Published in the winter of 2014, this magazine was ahead of its time. The time to get out there and ride is NOW!
The truth is that sometimes it takes a while for the future to catch up with the present. I am delighted to see that progressive snow resorts like Lakeridge are allowing snowskaters. Tonight a gang from my local skate shop, Longboard Haven are heading out to the hills. As with longboarding back in the day, it’s always rad to hit double digits of riders. This time, I expect dozens of snow skaters to hit the slopes and the stoke level will be at level 5. Kudos to Rob and Chicken for making things happen.
Kouta Asaumi of Hovland Snowskates
There are of course a number of hotspots for snow skating. Lake Tahoe has had a raging scene for quite some time. But for many skaters, the idea of snowskating is still fairly new. The fact is that snowskating turns a molehill into a mountain. Summer is coming soon, but before that time, we’ve got at least another few months of snow. So get out there and ride!
Firstly of all, I want to thank you for taking the time to visit the new CW website. No matter what type of skateboarding you do, we welcome you!
We have a lot more surprises in store. If you are dreading the drama Facebook with the passing of each day, we hope that you’ll consider spending time on our forums.
So, without further waiting, I present some of the highlights of my trip to Germany and the Netherlands.
Sebastian Mühlbauer with Bastl Coffee – all the way from Uganda
Sebastian and I first met at ISPO back in 2012. Since that time, we’ve kept in touch. It was his idea to start something up in Leipzig.That’s how Shred Expo was born. My sincere thanks to him and Andy Ngo for creating such an epic event.
Yogi Marz is a German snowboard and longboard legend. He has done so much for the scene over the past 35 years, it is hard to put into words. Yogi with his beast of a car!
The Shred Expo event was an informal gathering of a number of different brands. It was a very cool vibe and my sense is that it will spawn a lot more great things. I was most impressed with the quality of product. A special shout out to Timber Boards from the Netherlands and Alternative Longboards from Poland.
Martin Ehrenberger is the founder of Blackriver Fingerboards. His company make some unreal fingerboards that bring joy to skaters worldwide.
James Kelly of Skate United and Lisa Karina, co-founder and owner of Sickboards having fun in The Haag.
Yes, that is a half pipe on the beach at Den Haag. The North Sea is a fierce monster in the winter. But kids were out surfing. Our plan is to be back in the summer for an event on the beach.
The 2018 ISPO show was filled with a number of unique folks. There was a sense that things are starting to move forward in our part of the industry. My sincere thanks to Alex Lenz who put the Longboard Embassy together.
Martin is a mastercraftsman based in the mountains of France in Annecy. His Legende longboards sell for over $1900.
The Netherlands has an overall vibe of tolerance. Rather than fight graffiti, the authorities set up “graffiti zones.” Here I catch someone in the act!
As some of you may know, there is a GIGANTIC sports trade show in Germany coming up very soon. It’s called ISPO. How big is it? Well, it’s 14 buildings. To put that into perspective, the Agenda Show is ONE building. It is a worldwide show and because it’s based on the continent, there is a lot potential for connections. Over the course of 6 years, I have begun to develop friendships with these Europeans. We only see each other once a year and the fact is that what goes on in Munich, generally is forgotten by the time the next ISPO hits. And sometimes forgiven! This is my tribute to what I know will be an inspiring series of days.
ISPO & The Longboard Embassy
Thanks to ISPO, I have had the honour to meet folks who I normally never meet. These are folks who have a deep love for skateboarding. They know how much joy it represents. I sense an immense connection with these people and I am going to tell you about them.
There’s Alex Lenz. the creator and driving force behind the Longboard Embassy. Alex has done an incredible job of putting together the Longboard Embassy. Alex is supremely focused and he just gets shit done. His efforts and determination to keep the stoke alive are from the heart.
He’s a contrarian (like me) and also like me, he will ride for life.
A big shout out to Natasha, Alex’s partner and mother of their 2 children. She is an absolutely amazing person. Warm, kind and always supportive.
Alex and his team have put together a really solid floorplan. This time, ISPO is going into the history books. My gut feeling that the ISPO Longboard Embassy will spark some great ideas.
(Heiko and Ritchie – you can read the fine print)
Of course, before we go any further, we have to talk about the Swiss contingent. I dig Switzerland. I will vacation there one day. But only in the winter when I can fully enjoy the seniors discount at the slopes.
So, yes, the Swiss in skateboarding are a fascinating bunch. Those Swiss born in Los Angeles and were transplanted at a young age to Switzerland might even more so. Paging a Jeremy…Jeremy Sochin… We were introduced I think at ISPO #1 thanks to Don Tashman of Loaded Boards. We immediately hit it off.
Jeremy is the owner and operator of Number 1 Skate Shop
in Luzern. If I ever come back to life, I’d run my skate shop like Jeremy. He’s dedicated, he’s passionate and most of all, he’s got the knowledge and experience to back it up.
I’ve stayed with Jeremy and his family at their home in Luzern.Their kindness and hospitality is astounding. Some great memories were also formed with Chris and Alex who are part of the Swiss Posse. Alex works at a large company and is about to get married. Chis works at Jeremy’s shop. He’s done some great work with Longboarding for Peace too. Shout out to Rocket
At my first ISPO, I ran across a magazine that was something like Surfers Journal on steroids. I was stunned at the quality and enthralled by the focus on giving back. I met the publisher – Coco Tache and connected immediately with her vision. I am happy and proud to promote her website 7sky.life
Coco ran the first Women in Boardsports meetup at ISPO. The seeds she helped plant are bearing fruit. Thanks to efforts of a number of extremely talented people, the luncheon has expanded and is one of the key networking events of ISPO.
SHRED EXPO – A TIME TO MEET UP WITH THE SHREDDERI
There are number of unique German board manufacturers that display at ISPO. One of the most hospitable is Sebastian Mühlbauer. Each year, he’d bring caseloads of epic Leipzig brew. Each year we’d talk about the industry and he always struck me as a “doer” just like Alex gets shit done.
He invited me to Leipzig and through a series of stars aligning, Shred Expo is hitting on Thursday. Special mention to Andy Ngo, the show manager who has been working his butt off making the magic happen. Like ISPO, I sense the show will be a catalyst for other great things.
I will most likely wind up spending my remaining days getting to know the Netherlands better. Lisa and Martijn run Sick Boards
and like all those I’ve previously mentioned, their stoke is truly infectious. The Dutch are a nation of traders and I know that Lisa, Martijn andI will have much to discuss.
There are a lot more folks I wish I could have included. Rest assured, we’ll try and capture as much as we can over the next two weeks. Be sure to come back to the site on February 1st. A lot of changes…
Source: CW from MyStyle
Sergio, known as “El Padrino” by the Spanish, can be found hand-making Ridersfly and Crema products at his home in Castellon, hosting freerides in Espana through Ridersfly
Events, or traveling in the Ridersfly van to satisfy his own need-for-speed.
I had the pleasure of meeting and skating with Sergio during the 2017 Eurotour, and I was beyond impressed by his passion for skateboarding, Ridersfly and Crema products, and safely growing the skate scene. But don’t take my word for it, see what “The Godfather” has to say for himself.
How long have you been skating?
I’m a disaster for the dates, but I started small with aggressive inline skating until I was 20 years old. In 2005, I bought a longboard from an American friend (at that time, there wasn’t a store in Spain that sold longboards). I tried it, and I liked the sensations so much that I haven’t stopped skating since. I became more serious with longboarding and downhill in 2007, which was when we created Ridersfly.
What is it about skating that keeps you coming back?
Downhill gives me a feeling of freedom. It’s you, your board, the sensations, and the bond you create with others while you’re skating. Even if you do not know the other person, it’s very special and usually relaxes me. I consider myself addicted to this feeling! After everything that happened (with my injury), I tried to stop skating. However, the sensations, and what I feel about skating, would not let me stop.
When did Ridersfly start and why?
The idea to create Ridersfly was born one morning when we were skating. In one of the rides up the hill, my partner, Alex D’Elia, said “We could make a website.” That same night, I sketched what would soon become the Ridersfly logo. Together with Alex, we finished creating the logo and Ridersfly website: a dynamic portal in which to show everyone our passion, experiences, videos, and share knowledge with other skaters at an international level.
What differentiates Ridersfly from other brands?
Mainly, the quality of the products and the R&D. It’s by skaters, for skaters. It’s important to us that we create and manufacture functional products. We were born by a need, unlike many commercial brands that were born with the sole intention of profiting during the most glorious time for the skate industry. I had to search for compounds and formulas to find a special rubber for braking, which was both durable and precise. It should be noted that an important difference in the manufacturing of Ridersfly products is they are all made in Spain; prepared and packaged by us and with a lot of love.
How did you meet Maria Giner?
A friend introduced us one night, but I had already seen her at a skate demo. One day, I used the excuse of teaching her to skate. This is when I realized she was my life partner, and I haven’t left her side since.
When did Maria get involved with Ridersfly?
Unconsciously, she was involved from the beginning. However, it wasn’t until 2012/2013 that she got more fully involved with Ridersfly. Today, we manage Ridersfly and RidersflyEvents together.
Tell me more about Ridersfly Events and what you do for the scene:
Ridersfly Events, like the products, are born from the need to be able to skate in safe spaces, closed to traffic. After having the most serious accident of my life, I saw that we had to organize events to help the scene grow as safely as possible. Furthermore, as a brand, we believe it’s our duty to encourage growth
of downhill skateboarding by providing these safe environments.
What would you like to see in the future for Ridersfly?
I want to see the brand expanded internationally, create more products, have a broader calendar of
events… In short, I want to keep seeing Ridersfly grow.
Source: CW from MyStyle
My name is Sirus Gahan and I’m a skateboarder, filmmaker and cinematographer.
For one of my birthdays I was gifted with a small MiniDV video camera, a perfectly sized handycam that I kept in my bag. As most of my summer days were spent skateboarding, this became my main focus, with many sessions being captured on tape. Behind the camera quickly became where I felt most comfortable, and through my passion for filming skateboarding I became interested in other areas of filmmaking.
I arrived in Tel Aviv as the summer war of 2014 was coming to an end. Newly formed charity SkatePAL were looking for skate volunteers to fly to Palestine to help with the project they had set up there. SkatePAL had established a youth project in the West Bank to help teach kids to skateboard and they needed volunteers to run sessions with the kids, assist in the building of skateparks and to bring in skateboarding equipment for the use of the children. There are no skate shops in the country and unfortunately, few citizens have the privilege of being able to cross the border to Israel. I saw the early potential SkatePAL had and realised that there was the chance to tell an incredible story, from a lesser-seen region of the world. I immediately booked my ticket.
Before crossing the checkpoints into Ramallah, the explosions from not-so-distant missiles could be heard and a siren warning us of such dangers emanated abruptly through the warm air. Having travelled pretty extensively, I thought I was ready for anything. However, this introduction was a shock to the system, and my first taste of what everyday life was like here. My mornings in Palestine were spent exploring the streets and markets, absorbing the smells of fresh falafel and sage tea that seemed to trail through the air, enticing me around every corner. When the afternoon came around and the kids finished school, the other volunteers and I would run skate sessions at the local youth club. Here we had built a wooden mini-ramp and a multitude of other obstacles for the participants to use as they learned. Teaching skateboarding in late summer in the Middle East was something my body was not ready for. In addition to the climate, trying to teach children who only spoke Arabic (of which I know about 3 words) meant a lot of instructions were misunderstood. Thankfully, skateboarding is a language in itself, and being able to physically demonstrate how to do something is often the easiest way to teach techniques that are so reliant on body and movement, particularly when your students are so intrigued and energetic.
Skateboarding was entirely new to Palestine and the excitement it created among the kids we encountered was almost palpable. A task that should have been simple, like fetching the pads from the lock-up at the youth centre, was a marathon effort, as 30 grasping hands would fly up into the air around you, trying desperately to snatch at the limited equipment, and thus securing their turn on one of the boards we had brought into the country. In the evenings, after our sessions teaching the children had ended, the other volunteers and I would wander into the centre of whichever town we were situated in and find ourselves a shawarma to re-energise. From here, we’d scour the dusty streets, hunting for smooth surfaces and skateable, marble obstacles. The heat of the day was debilitating and although we’d try to skate, we would end up dehydrated and sunburnt which in turn would leave us too fried to complete the rest of the days’ tasks. As a result, we generally stuck to skating in the evenings.
Skateboarding was so new to the country, that going out to film tricks in the streets was often a surreal experience. In the West, skateboarding is often shunned and seen as a nuisance, but in the West Bank we would often draw crowds of 30 to 40 wide-eyed civilians, cheering and showing their support. Locals were happy to perform for the camera and would often show me a magic trick or a dance move, all of which feature in the films made during my travels. Of all the places I’ve been lucky enough to visit, Palestine is certainly the most memorable. During my time there, the nation was politically volatile, the atmosphere on the streets was tense. Yet, the experience I had was nothing but open arms and pure good will. Seeing these kids experience the thrill of rolling just a few feet allowed me to relive the same excitement of first discovering skateboarding. What I witnessed gave me a great sense of hope for the future of the Palestinian youth.
Skateboarding is so significant to me. It has taken me to destinations all over the globe and provided me with a physical, mental and creative outlet. Being part of something that’s allowed me to work all over the world is very special. Traveling is something that I’d always longed to do, I felt like it was an inherent part of me. Skateboarding is my vessel to new worlds where I’m able to experience different places, people and cultures. I believe that it’s vital to have a wide and varied experience of the world. Collect stories and learn about global differences. Develop your understanding of the world you live in, and those that inhabit it. I believe that doing these things today are more important than ever before.
Sirus Gahan is a skateboarder, filmmaker and cinematographer.
Source: CW from MyStyle
We have a new website coming on February 1st
Along with some other surprises.
More updates to come.
Source: CW from MyStyle
This post is being written on the morning of what was to have been the final day of Agenda. But sometimes things don’t always work out. A lot of people who booked space at Agenda booked it because there were three days originally. But, that plan was cancelled and vendors were told there would be no refunds or discounts based on skipping out on that last day.
Just a quick update…If you have come to this link via my friend Jeff Harbrough, we welcome you. Perhaps this is your first time at the CW site. Feel free to poke around.
I am not sure where your head is at with Agenda. Maybe you had a great show. But a lot of folks I talked to did not find it a positive experience. It is definitely time for something new within skateboarding. I was there 22 years ago screaming to everyone that it was about to change. It’s about to change again
Cancelling the third day might have been the correct decision financially, but it wasn’t a kind decision. In a time of so many independent brands and retailers having so many challenges, every marketing dollar counts. Let’s say this was a two million dollar hit for Agenda. This amount, while significant, is not a huge number compared to the revenues of Agendas corporate owners.
A few million keeps dozens of small companies a float for quite some time.
How many fucking times do I have to keep repeating it:
When it comes to surf/skate/snow business, not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted, counts.
Money is important. Making a profit is important. But the bottom line isn’t always the bottom line. You have to reinvest in the roots while cultivating the crop.
You can ask my friend Corpo Man about the nuances of this business transaction. If you don’t know who Corpo Man is, just ask Tal over at Sector 9. He’s the last soldier left.
I could go on and on…but I won’t. Suffice to say if you regulate a show to the point where some of the hard goods folks have to fight to get into a show it’s a recipe for disaster. Some skate companies I know found themselves not CORE ENOUGH to get into a high priced show. I sense skateboarding will have the last laugh…it always does.
Time for a NEW Agenda?
More like time for a new AGE, but I won’t make you sign an NDA!
See you at Shred Expo
and ISPO or the next skate session.
We are giving away Vol. #1 No. #1
NOTE: this contest is only open to 150 people!
Source: CW from MyStyle
Today is a day of new beginnings. For me it is both a new year and a time to reflect. The past year has been rather turbulent for many in the skate industry (myself included). And yet, it has also been a tremendous year for many as well (myself included).
I wanted to take a moment to highlight ONCE AGAIN that Concrete Wave is there to take you back and move you forward. We are in transition from a magazine to something else. I am confident that the power of community and connection will benefit everyone. The magazine will continue, but it is morphing and changing with the times, just like the independent skate shop.
Our philosophy of inclusion and reflection stems from our belief that you can learn from the past. For the past 6 decades, skateboarding has gone in and out of fashion. Despite these waves of interest and disinterest, it has always attracted creative people willing to add their take and move the needle forward.
One of these people is Mike Moore. A gifted artist, Mike was the very first person I collaborated with on the web. He came up with the original Skategeezer Homepage Logo. That was 23 years ago.
The ideas, debates and concerns featured in this piece still resonate almost a quarter century later. To those who wonder what happens next, look to what happened. A year AFTER this meeting, the Extreme Games hit, and skateboarding rebounded something fierce. May I remind everyone involved that the Olympics are two years away and for the first time, they will feature skateboarding.
Read it and don’t weep – because the future is just around the corner. Happy new year to you all.
This meeting took place in Poway, California on the trade show weekend in San Diego Saturday 29th Jan 1994. It was prompted by a discussion about the increasing sales of blank boards and blanks wheels. A group of us met to consider the long term effects on skateboarding and the health of the skateboarding industry.
Attendance was limited to a handful of people for one simple reason- nobody was sure how this first meeting would unfold. Would it be a big yelling and finger pointing session, or would some serious discussion take place?
As it turned out after a few minutes at the beginning things calmed down and the items covered in this report were discussed.Let’s stress again; it was not an intentional move to restrict this meeting, or exclude any parties. It was just a starting point of what we hope will be more Cooperation between companies to help the sport grow and tackle some of the problems that are keeping skateboarding from moving forward.
In 1980 there were 175 pros at the Gold Cup series. Six months later there were only 15 left. Think back to the early eighties and remember how small skating can get. Our whole aim is to avoid that happening again.Everyone present at the meeting supports pro skateboarding. Many have been professional skateboarders themselves. But the relationships between pro skateboarding and their companies is supposed to be a 2 way street, and in today’s industry environment things have gone astray. We have gone from the Mid eighties when everything was so strict as in having to do well in am contests to turn pro, having to wear this shirt at a contest, having to go on tour etc etc to today when being a professional skateboarder you don’t have to travel, enter contests, do demos, take photos wear company or ride company products. We have to find the happy medium. Something has to change for everyone to succeed. There is presently an abundance of pro’s and models, but not enough buyers.The way the industry is going looks bleak and things could get a lot worse before they get any better. If the blank war progresses any further we could find the industry regressing back to a handful of pro’s. The intention of this meeting was to avoid such a collapse.
Present at this meeting in alphabetical order: Chris Carter- Alien Workshop, Bob Denike- NHS, Steve Douglas- Giant/411, Jeff Klindt- Deluxe/Real, Steve Rocco- W.I./Big Brother, Paul Schmitt- PS Stix/Giant, Todd Swank- Foundation, Mike Ternasky- Plan B, Jim Thiebaud- Deluxe/Real.Notes on the ProceedingsPlease read the items which follow.
All the people listed made a gentleman’s agreement to keep to these points. We hope that other company owners who read this will support what we are trying to do. Many conclusions can be drawn from these notes, and if you need more clarification, please call someone who was there. Don’t just read between the lines. We’d all be pleased to discuss this with anyone.
Overall it was a very positive meeting.
1) The need to rebuild Confidence
The overall theme of the meeting was to strive toward more stability in the industry. More Consistency among companies, riders, teams and products will help rebuild confidence among distributors and retailers.
2) The state of the Industry
Everyone present agreed (to varying degrees) that the industry was shaky and that we had a lot to blame on ourselves for creating some of these problems. It has gotten to the point where sales are weak and the companies have less money to use for promotion and in turn less money to take care of the riders.
ACTION: We need to cooperate together to turn this trend around and head back in a positive direction.
3) Skateboarding doesn’t seem like fun anymore
Media and companies tend to concentrate on the negative side of skateboarding. At present skateboarding is not fun: Videos portray the impossible, product is not designed for fun- this all targets the hardcore market, and is not accessible to the “fun only” skater or the new skater.
ACTION: We as an industry, must concentrate on a more positive future. We have narrowed down skateboarding to a very small market. Bring the fun back and get the negative out. Target beyond the hardcore market: new buyers, cruisers, recreational skaters. New kids who are not aware of all this vibing crap. We want the media to show more variety of types of skating out there. The companies will promote more accessible skating and more positive images, produce products that are more fun to ride. We need to make a wider board, bigger softer wheels etc as well as the hardcore products. Tours, demo contests have to portray skateboarding in a better light. Emphasize consistency, positive attitudes, company support and promotion of the sport. Don’t send out riders who do not agree with this, otherwise we risk doing more harm than good.
4) Blank Boards
We have been promoting sales of blank boards by allowing our riders to ride them. It was agreed that companies will only hand out with graphics or logos. We will encourage the media not to show boards without graphics and photographers will not shoot photos of team riders unless they are supporting their sponsor by riding a board with company graphics and wearing company T’s, hats etc. No more blank boards, blank T’s, Gap jeans etc etc. As one distributor said, “How can we sell the products if the pro’s don’t ride them?”.
ACTION: This will require a process of education. We need to demonstrate to the riders how supporting their companies will help the companies support the riders. The riders who help their companies in this way are the ones who should benefit themselves through increased sales, trips to contests, tours, etc.If this takes place we hope to see increased sales, increased payment to riders and more funds to promote skateboarding. Blank products only supports an industry which is doing nothing for skateboarding’s future.
ACTION: Everyone agreed to talk to the vendors and suppliers who are selling the blank products. In the long term, sales of blank product will destroy the market by eliminating the funds available for promotion. It’s a case of a small short term profit versus the long term health of the Industry. We will also put more logo boards on the market and stabilize product changes to re-establish the strong company identification that has been lost through blank board sales.
5) The new Graphic problem
Slowing down graphic changes was discussed briefly. It was accepted that this was killing deck sales. A distributor will only take 10 of a board, a shop will only take one, both then expect a new graphic next time. Reducing the rate of change across the whole industry was brought up but no final solution was agreed. Some in the room said that they have been slowing down already or are about to do so, others said that it was impossible to slow now.
ACTION: We all agreed it was a serious situation which needs further discussion.
6) Rider Guarantees
It was agreed that rider’s deck guarantees no longer reflected the reality of the size of the market.
ACTION: $500-1000 (for 1994) is more realistic for new pro’s or under fresh agreements and when a pro moves to a new company $2 per deck was fine. (If a company has an existing agreement with a pro at $2000 for example, obviously it is up to that company to keep that agreement.)
7) Team Jumping
We need to protect the retailers, distributors and manufactures, and to stabilize the market by reducing the harm caused by team jumping.
ACTION: If a rider leaves a company, the most that anyone can expect from a new company is $1000 a month. Also communication will take place between the 2 companies and the old company will have 90 days to clear the rider’s inventory. During this period the new company can pay the rider but they can’t release a model for him. The media will take an active role in not covering the team jumping, riders quitting or other info that will make inventory on a shelf or company or distributor warehouse obsolete.
8) Too many Identical Models
There are too many pro models available on the market. Distributors and shops dare not order every different one in quantity.
ACTION: Don’t turn riders pro so easily. It means nothing to be a pro today and the credibility and status of the pros suffer as a result. Have a rider know what is expected of him and what he can expect in return. Make sure they appreciate that is a two way deal. This is not a new concept, think what sponsorship and being professional means. If the two way deal isn’t working out, companies should discuss the problem with the riders, but if it doesn’t work, they should let them go.
9) New Companies
We discussed how easy it is to enter the skateboard Industry. That it shouldn’t be a problem if someone wants to start a company. But when a company is started to destroy another company, or make the stock on everyone’s floor obsolete, it only contributes to the instability of the industry and erodes customer confidence in buying product.
ACTION: We should stop shooting ourselves in the foot by helping a company get set up and running, especially companies who are coming in for a quick buck, or do not support the industry and magazines, or do not have long term plans.
This is a recap of what was discussed; it is no way complete, but it covers the main points. Another meeting is loosely planned for the beginning of May which other will be invited to. This was a positive move toward a more unified and stable industry. So far all the points that were discussed have been put into action, and the “we can trust these guys” thinking has been shown to be an unnecessary fear. Some remarkable cooperation has already taken place among people you would not have expected it from.
Other Ideas and Topics discussed
Skateboarding Promo Video- Maybe by Stacy Peralta. A video aimed at the general market, suitable for sale in every video store in the world. NOT made for the hardcore market. Showing skateboarding as a positive and fun thing to do. ESPN “Max Out” is interested in footage if you have anything to send in to her. Her is her name and number: Karin Jacoby 212-586-6104.
Drug Abuse and Paying Ams
Make Skateboarding more accessible to potential skaters- Right now the general public can’t understand skating. It’s too technical and too inconsistent. Name another sport in which the pro’s are so inconsistent. Everyone must have heard non-skaters at pro contests ask when the pro’s skate. We must make them go “Wow! Look at that” if we want them to get their attention.
Right now skating does not look fun. The kid could quite possibly pass by the skateshop and go buy a mountain bike or a basketball instead.We must encourage some changes. Modern street skating is rad but we must add to it. Just think if we could have the street scene of today PLUS the mini ramp scene from 89 PLUS the vert scene from 86 PLUS the street scene from 85 PLUS the freestyle scene of 81 PLUS the pools and park scene from the 70’s etc etc .
With skateboarding ten times a big, pros could earn ten times as much money and companies make money. If we want those days back we need to open our minds and not limit skateboarding. That’s what skateboarding was all about when we started. There were no rules, it just mattered that you were doing it and having fun.
Source: CW from MyStyle
We are on official holidays starting today and coming soon you will encounter a whole new website. Meanwhile, I wanted to give you an update on things. I have just returned from the United Kingdom. It was an epic trip. More on that later.
Oddballs – a great little skateshop (and more) in the heart of Camden Town, UK
For over 2 decades I’ve written about skateboarding from a different perspective. I am not sure why I was compelled to do this, I just to it. Some of this resonates with people, some of it doesn’t.
The shop is well-stocked!
All I know is that my stated goal in life is to create more skateboarders and to keep them riding forever. Why? Because of all the things that I’ve encountered, nothing comes close to blending immediate freedom, with glorious speed and soulful carving. Sure, I can to technical tricks, but for me, the flow of skateboarding is what keeps me passionate. The two things I really dig are James Bond movies and ska music.
The cover of our latest issue.
As I mentioned, last week I found myself in Great Britain – the land of my birth. I left when I was 8. I was 10 when I spotted someone skateboarding for the first time. It was 1974 on a return trip to the UK and my family and I were walking around the Brighton pier.
Amy Winehouse art located in Camden Town.
Going back to your roots is something that I find deeply satisfying. How funny is that I see skateboarding for the first time in the country of my birth, I love James Bond an English fictional character and the skat music coming from Coventry (thank you, The Specials) and Birmingham (thank you English Beat). I could probably throw in Bruce Lee there too. When I went to Camden Town, I ran into a shop filled to the brim with ska/rude boy/skin head/punk nostalgia. It’s called the Oi Oi Shop. They even had original copies of Sniffin Glue fanzine.
The English Beat logo.
Our roots shape who we are or were but they don’t always define us. People change over time.
Why the hell am I telling you all this? Because like people, magazines also change.
And some of you will notice a difference to CW magazine. CWis moving towards being a program combined with memento rather than a straightforward magazine. It is keepsake from a time and a place.
The wave of buttons at the Oi Oi Store.
This current issue, scheduled to hit at three tradeshows is precisely what I mean by this. The stories from the 3 trade shows (Shred Expo, Agenda and ISPO) will be amazing. It’s always great when our industry gathers. CW becomes a memento of this experience.
James Bond underwater car from “The Spy Who Loved Me.”
The next few years of Concrete Wave and Longboarding for Peace are going to be remarkable. How do I know this? Because, I am fired up, ready for the next piece of the puzzle to slowly take shape. The power of knowing the good, bad and ugly about your roots ensures that your future is different. Your roots have the power to guide you and that’s precisely why I am so excited. So that’s it. 2018 is a pivotal year for myself and I sense many others.
Bond, James Bond – a huge Part of my roots.
On behalf of everyone involved with CW Mag, we wish you all happy holidays. And if they aren’t so happy, believe me when I say, start to get to the root of what’s causing you the unhappiness. If you determine the pain is coming from specific family members, you need to start to ask questions. The only way to get to the root of a problem is to probe deeply. Then, go out and skate (or snowboard or put on some music…or a James Bond film).
Walt Jabsko – the official mascot of The Specials. I think James Bond would approve.
Source: CW from MyStyle
TRIGGER WARNING – this article is about SCOOTERS. If you’re a skater and can’t handle this subject matter, stop reading immediately. If however, you have an open mind,continue reading. And, if you’re a skateshop who seems to be on the decline and can’t figure out how to turn it around – then you definitely want to read this.
As you can see, there is another skater who helped me develop this blog post. This skater has spent over 30 years in the skate business and has worked with a number of brands, including Powell Peralta, Sector 9 and World Industries. But before he made skateboarding part of his business life, he first made skateboarding part of his life. His name is Kevin Harris. Back in the 80’s, Kevin went from amateur to pro on the biggest skateboard team on the planet. Kevin has invested millions into skateboarding over the years. He’s run magazines (Concrete Powder), skateparks (Richmond Skate Ranch), funded and supported skateboarders, books and countless events. His insights on the current state of things with skateboarding resonate with me on a very high level. We know things are in a weird state. So rather than complain, Kevin gets pro-active. Kevin went on a mission to understand where a lot of the money has flown from skateboarding. It wasn’t difficult to trace. Scooters are taking huge swaths of money from the skate world. Kevin sat down with pro scooter rider Carson Schiefner to find out more. The truth is that scooters are not skateboarding’s enemies. A ton of scooter kids are intrigued by skateboarding or would love to try it. There is so much potential and yet we’ve gotten to a point where lashing out a scooter kids is just a regular occurrence from skaters. Except, this lashing out and making other riders feel like crap hasn’t stopped or slowed the rise of scooters. In fact, the scooter kids outnumber the skater kids. And some scooter kids are skaters – or former skaters. With so much dissent in our society, maybe it’s time to reconsider things from a different perspective. This post aims to give you a different perspective. Should you wish NOT to read it, that’s your prerogative. However, in my experience, opening your mind to alternative ideas is not always a bad thing. You have been warned: “Skateboarders may not like the little scooter kids at the skatepark, but if you are nice to them, they could potentially be great skateboarders one day. Those little kids look up to older skaters. Skateboarders have to understand that scooters are not going anywhere – deal with it and accept it.”– KEVIN HARRIS Some thoughts from Carson Schiefner – Pro Scooter Rider BACKGROUND“I originally started out skateboarding. I was 10 years old. I grew up with skateparks. I started scootering when I was around 13. I went to the skatepark and started messing around trying to land tricks. I didn’t think it would turn into anything. But it did and now I compete.
THE STATISTIC THAT FEELS TRUE There are probably twice as many scooter participants in North America as there are skateboarders. But even if there aren’t, it sure feels like it! MAKING A LIVINGI ride for Lucky Pro Scooters and the Scooter Farm. My sponsors fly me out to competitions. I can alsoget money for videos. WHERE SOME OF THE HATE MIGHT COME FROMI know that it’s a lot easier to pick up scootering than skateboarding. Maybe this is where skateboarders pick up some of their hate from. I learned a lot more tricks on a scooter and it was much easier to learn these tricks than skateboard tricks. I think a big factor in the hate is the young kids riding around who don’t know park etiquette and happen to get in everyones way. THE CULTUREIt’s getting there. It started out with some small companies – like a family thing. There are companies that make clothing specifically for this market. Scooter brands for helmets. But just wait – in a few more years there will be a lot more available. THE BUSINESSWorldwide there are a few very big scooter shops. The best stuff can be hard to find locally. most people, including myself get it through the online shops. It would be amazing to have a high end local shop here in Vancouver I DON’T OWN A SKATEBOARDCurrently I don’t own a skateboard but I will pick one up and ride if there is one around. WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE RIDICULED BY SKATEBOARDERS AT A SKATEPARKMost of the time I didn’t give a shit. I’d just ignore them. If I was with a group of scooter kids it would be easier. Then again, there would always be more scooters than skateboarders. Hearing skaters remarks didn’t change anything for me.COMPANIES HAVE TRIED TO MAKE A PROPER SCOOTER SHOE At one time I rode for a company trying to market to the scooter demographic. Honestly, it wasn’t anything special – pretty much like a regular skate shoe. But down the road, I am sure they’ll be someone creating something. SKATEBOARDING HAS A HAWK AND SCOOTERING HAS A FOX – TANNER FOXTanner Fox’s video’s on YouTube. He’s got over 6.3 MILLION subscribers on YouTube. INJURIESI’ve seen some pretty horrific injuries in scootering. When you hit your shin on a tail whip it f**king hurts! I think scooters are more dangerous – it’s mostly metal and there are parts than can cut you. GROMS ON SCOOTERSI can’t stand them either and I ride a scooter! They get in the way. But at the same time, if you’re a skater and you’re nice to that kid, you never know – he might eventually turn into the next Tony Hawk. IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS…As much as skateboarders don’t like the little scooter kids, they are not going anywhere. You’ll have to deal with it and accept. Scootering is growing. Some other insights from Kevin: WHAT’S IN A NAME?If scooter kids, BMX’ers and skateboarders are all using the park, is it still reasonable to call it a skatepark? Maybe the better term is “all wheel park.” THE LEARNING CURVEIt’s way easy to learn how to scooter when compared to skateboarding. It’s easy to pick up some basic tricks. This is why young kids gravitate to scooters. Skateboarding is much harder and generally requires way more dedication and practice. FIVE YEAR GRAVITATIONAL PULLIn the next five years, scooter kids who are supporting skate brands like Vans will gravitate towards their own brands – those scooter brands that support scootering. PRO RIDERSThere is now an established pro circuit within scooters. Young kids look up to these pros. The kids that start now at age 8 will probably still do it at age 25 to 30. MARKET TRENDS FOR SHOPSLongboarding is about 60% down. The regular street skate business is anywhere from 30 to 40% down. We have close to 400 skateshops in Canada that we sell to. Most of them are struggling. The one’s that aren’t struggling are bringing in scooters. THE REALITY FOR SOME SKATE SHOPS The shops that don’t want anything to do with scooters, it’s hard for them to bridge the gap. We worked with a skate shop on Vancouver Island. A decision was made to bring in scooters. Sales tripled. The only reason why the shop (and the adjacent skate park) are still around is due to scooters. THE REALITY FOR SOME SKATEPARKSWhere I live in British Columbia, a retailer opened up a skatepark at the local mall. It costs quite a bit of money to operate this park. There were signs stating “no scooters.” The pressure came down from parents to allow scooters, so they changed the rules. They allow scooters in two days a week – which I was in full agreement with. One time I was there, there was no one at the park. Five scooter kids came in. They turned those kids away just because it wasn’t scooter day. It was insane. THE EXPERIMENTI did an experiment at a number of skateparks that I visited. I’d ride and a lot of kids would start to stare. When I finished, both skate kids and scooter kids gathered around. The skaters would ask me about skateboarding and then I’d go to the scooter kids and ask them about scootering. I’d ask them how much they paid, what kind of bearings – those kinds of things. Some kids paid $500, others paid $800. I noticed the higher the price, the cooler the kid. I find the opposite is true in skateboarding. LET’S HEAR FROM YOU!I think scooters are: More controversy here: and here:
We reached out to the folks in Douglas, Georgia to get their take on things. UPDATE – as of November 29th SKATERS ARE WELCOME! Dear Mr. Brooke: The following answers relate to your questions within this email:Question #1 If skateboarders are banned, are scooters, roller bladers and bicyclists also banned?Please see the attached brochure for a full listing of the rules for the parade Question #2 Given that it is easy to spot a skateboarder with a skateboard, how do you intend to enforce sex offenders not being at the parade? – who might be a bit more difficult to spot when compared to skateboarders.Through our application process, we have set up a process, through our police department, to verify sex offenders. Question #3 Have you had calls from skateboarders and/or sex offenders to be in the parade? We have not had any calls from any verified sex offenders to participate in the parade this year. My office has received only one phone call from a mother of a skateboarder, who expressed an interest to find a comprise for the skaters to be in the parade. I hope these answers provide you with the information you have requested. Sincerely,Georgia Henderson Georgia Henderson, DirectorPublic Information Department
First up, apologies to anyone who read my first post on Instagram yesterday. As my good friend Sean said, “it’s not fully cooked.” Actually, Sean didn’t really say that, but it was the basic idea.
There are so many things changing with Concrete Wave. A new team is coming in. You don’t know most of them but each of them are doing a tremendous job. As we roll things out, you’ll learn more about them with each passing issue.
And speaking of issues, the next issue is almost at press. It’s VERY different than what you have seen before. Visually, you’ll be in for a shock. But have no fear. We are bringing the magazine out at three key events: Shred Expo, Agenda and ISPO. We want to make take notice of what’s cooking here.
Now it’s time for an explanation, confession and apology….and not necessarily in that order.
A confession: A few days ago, our Instagram page turned into a sh*tshow. A Thrasher logo turned into the word POSER placed with an image of a core downhill rider started the ball rolling. Comments quickly turned ugly from one particular individual. This led to outrage…and more outrage and then, well…barf.
From my perspective what started out as fairly odd quickly turned into a cesspool. The comments definitely rubbed some people the wrong way. It was so out of line for Concrete Wave….which I think what made it so viral, awkward and irritating/amusing…and not necessarily in that order!
You start out with this….
And then in 18 years… this!
And then in your 40’s….THIS!
Concrete Wave has always stood for inclusion. Some Instagram comments were truly the antithesis of this philosophy. And skaters got riled up. And so they should have.
The truth is that Concrete Wave doesn’t care what your riding as long as you’re riding. And the kinds of people associated with Concrete Wave feel the same way. Sometimes these people have very different ways of spreading their ideas.
Skateboarding contains a spectrum of behaviours and beliefs. Concrete Wave works with convicts, ex cons,, former heroin addicts, alcoholics and former alcoholics. Vert, freestyle, street, slalom…pools, freeriding, skateparks, downhill…commuter…it’s a community.
The fact is that Concrete Wave offers a very unique perspective within skateboarding. I sincerely believe we need the full spectrum of skateboarding to make it work. Our apologies to those who were angered and/or confused.
If you questioned Concrete Wave and the posts, you did the right thing. Moving forward, we will aim to move things forward!
It’s been over 7 years since James sent Concrete Wave this piece on Skateboarding and Taoism. Take the time to read it. It’s unique to CW…you won’t find material like this in Transworld! You can see the issue on line here:
The Loaded Tarab is designed to push the boundaries of modern longboard dancing. Rocker, concave, symmetrical shape, kicktails, grab rails, and purposeful griptape and cork top combine to form an elegantly ergonomic platform for flowy footwork and the most frenetic freestyle dancing. Bamboo and basalt construction keeps the Tarab lightweight, lively, and durable. A cork top layer complements the griptape design, providing secure yet non-abrasive traction across the standing platform while also damping vibration. Urethane-reinforced kicktails and unique UHMWPE rails enhance durability, protecting against a wide array of freestyle-inflicted damage. Two truck-mounting options accommodate a variety of riding preferences. loadedboards.com
After the most stress-free journey from Bristol airport, this young stoke searcher found herself away from society’s claws, away from a busy, crowded, grey, dull and very rainy lifestyle back in the UK. Fuertaventura is like a small slice of paradise.
Somewhere near Morocco lies Fuertaventura
Here’s what the island looks like:
My board was securely packaged with ‘FRAGILE’ stickers all over the packaging and on board the plane along with its proud owner. Why on earth I decided to state my piece of retro smashed up wood as fragile, I don’t know. I mean, man, it’s had more knocks and slams than a 45 year old singer on X-Factor! However. My old and faithful pintail made it safely to its destination. Whereby it was to revive a ‘good and proper’ endurance.
Corralejo in Fuerta has proved to be one of the lushest and safest places to skate in my eyes. Endless paths with slight declines and pathways to cruise to your heart’s content. What more would you want? However. There has appeared to be a lack of hills to bomb. The first two days of being here, I found immediately the best paths to cruise and carve, but after a week of simply carving, I was craving adrenalin.
Asking the locals will forever and always be, the best and most sensible thing to do and for anyone who suffers with finding the confidence to do so – really, go for it. Ask away! And trust me ladies, there’s nothing more impressive than a women asking where the best hills are to skate. So, a very kind young man directed me to a hill in Corralejo that is best for blasting.
I headed up to the volcano, whereby you can see the entire of Corralejo and even over sea to Lanzarote in the distance. The hill was literally, a hill. That was it. So sadly, there is a slight anti-climax to this hill blasting business. No pun intended. After a few wazzes down the small, yet steep slope. I soon realised, that unless your board is fully slidable – the hill wasn’t for you.
However, a couple of cheeky shut downs and the hills are your oyster! So the secret volcano proved to be a nice surprise.
As for the culture over here, well In the space of two weeks, I could already picture myself entering their annual downhill event – a day of speeding through the town of Corralejo like bats from hell! The locals really are awesome people. They have this ‘laid back, free vibe’ with hints of extreme adventure frequently surfacing.
What I also found here in Fuerte was the acceptance and variation to their skate families. Unlike testosterone filled Cornwall, or the UK for that matter, there appears to be no ‘beef ‘ like there is at most of our skate park.
There’s no gangs with their ‘lead skaters’! Or ‘kids to be scared off’ – because let’s face it, every town has its skater jock who makes skate park and life on the hills, a total nightmare.
In fact there’s a warm welcoming feel to the entire place. Corralejo’s skate park was definitely needing a revamp, but the spirit of the locals made it 10 x brighter! And the nicest part? The ages. The ‘big kids’ help the ‘little kids’ and share experiences and knowledge. The older guys seemed to embrace the young children and almost nurtured them into the world of skateboarding.
Also, not forgetting to add, the pure reasoning behind the skate culture here. Transport. It seems that Longboarding is the most popular type of boarding here, and why not own a board to get around, when the Tarmac really is amazing.
And a little note for any adrenaline aspiring, stoke searching long boarders; when skating Fuerteventura, or any Canary Island for that matter, always carry a sweeping brush to sweep away those pesky little lumps of volcano rock that make your sesh hell, and also, skate near aloe vera plants so when you fall – you can apply some free lotion straight from the plant, straight onto your cuts and burns. Man it’s good.
And before I get carried away with frothing about how amazing it is here, I’ll add some knowledge for you.
Fuertaventura is given its name as Fuerte means strong and Ventura means adventure in Spanish. Strong adventure – pretty cool huh. And an adventure it really was.
To many in this complicated era of skateboarding we find ourselves in, technology and skateboarding are like oil and water. On one hand, the old school diehards and their loyal descendants seek to protect skateboarding subculture through an outspoken rejection of current technologically driven trends. With this, topics of rejection include everything from shooting in HD, releasing shorter bouts of footage and, perhaps most hotly contested: being an active presence on Youtube.
On the other side, we see a more slaphappy group of younger skaters who see no harm in mixing in some skate clips to a 10+ minute video of themselves vlogging. While either side is still every bit acceptable, perhaps a more interesting position to consider would be the middle. In this tech inclined vs sub-culturally protective dispute, a group of absolute rippers exist that serve as the case study for a balance between using Youtube to their advantage while backing up the strategy with seemingly casual and creatively empowered skateboarding. The homies in this group are the guys of Majer Skateboards.
To those not a part or of the Majer’s massive Youtube following of over half a million subscribers or who have somehow missed some of their wildly viral creations, the following video should give you an idea of the caliber of skateboarding and style of video that Majer puts out on the regular.
To shed some light on the years before this video dropped, we have to start the story back in Chicago in the months before brothers Eddie Gonzalez (aka Freddy Kruger in the above video) and Jacob Gonzalez would move to Texas. Then, he was regular skating at the Warp Skatepark with local ripper and future pro, Chaz Ortiz. By the time the pair were in South Texas, Eddie began tearing it up with, now teammate, Rick Molina while Jacob began linking up with one of skateboarding’s most underrated Am’s, Mikey Whitehouse. Adding their cousin, Angel Ramirez to the mix, the acrostic-dubbed MAJER crew was born on a trek home from the skatepark one night.
As we start to get the gist of the Majer crew’s tone, allow me to fill in the gaps regarding what exactly makes them different from the other skateboard-centric content creators on Youtube. From a content perspective, their videos are consistently over the 10 minute mark, as with most other Youtube content creators today, so as to double their ad revenue. However, that time is predominantly filled with skateboarding, straight through. And often technically unheard of skateboarding at that. Their videos typically take the form of a Battle Royale between teammates, a street mission or, most frequently, a refreshing perspective on the flat ground game of S.K.A.T.E. As filmer Jacob Gonzalez puts it, these videos are some of the easiest to come up with and film, considering they are the warmup of choice for the crew. In these clips, you might find Mikey Whitehouse pulling some ridiculous body varial out of his unending bag of tricks or see 10 year old JP Garcia progressing far beyond his years. Unconcerned with winning or losing, JP says the influence of his older crew is a huge help to his progression. Not for nothing, but we’ve seen him hold his own and get some letters on some of the eldest members of the crew too.
While these sorts of videos are common with other skate-centric Youtube channels that have been dubbed as “kooky” by many, filmer Jacob Gonzalez’s take on their position justifies the difference. “We want to be seen as hardcore skaters” he said, in contrast to the more kid-friendly tone that such other channels strive for. That being said, the quality of skating in their videos is far from kooky and is rivaled to the footage some of the today’s top Pro’s.
However, it is still important to note that his brother, Eddie Gonzalez credits such pioneers of Youtube’s skateboarding presence, including the hugely successful, Andy Schrock, to Majer’s success. In addition to having Schrock and a host of other popular Youtube content creators pop up in their videos over the years, Majer is similarly in the arena of competing for views within Youtube’s ever-changing algorithm. To wage this war, they too have claimed use of “clickbait” titles to lure viewers. In fact, it was their original Halloween-themed edit titled “Lil Wayne Skateboarding” that Eddie Gonzalez claims launched them to their first bout of national recognition. Where the Majer crew excels, as articulated by Eddie Gonzalez, is the way they back their titles up. Even though you may not see the real Lil Wayne skateboarding, you’ll see the guy dressed as him bust out a huge kick flip footplant in the midst of mind blowing NBDs and creative approaches to skatepark setups.
As it currently stands, though, Majer’s future was best summed up in our interview with brother, Jacob Gonzalez. In their quest for legitimacy in the eyes of the skateboarding community and independence from the confines of Youtube, Majer Skateboards is actively carving their own path. To longstanding supporters, the “Majer Crew” only recently adopted the moniker of Majer Skateboards recently, after beginning their sale of decks. Also new to the Majer Skateboards agenda is the deadline for their first full length video. Editing it along the way, only 2-3 months of filming remain before they drop it in the street skateboarding’s house of dreams, The Berrics. With the humbling support of Steve Berra, the group is set to move another step closer to their goal of legitimacy by being able to add a “real” skate video, as put by Gonzalez, to their rap sheet.
Of course with new territory will come new challenges for the young crew. Among these obstacles is the balance between stacking clips in the streets for the full length while still producing content for their Youtube following at the skatepark. This comes coupled with the unfolding battle of the amateur team getting older and requiring to spend more time on real life responsibilities. Well, perhaps the only one immune to this one at the moment is 10 year old JP Garcia. As I made sure he had time for my interview, Garcia, over a bowl of cereal, advised me he had all the time in the time in the world. After a recent trip to the “heaven on earth” of Camp Woodward PA, he told me that the opportunities he’s enjoyed in skateboarding have feel like a blessing and clearly shows no signs of slowing down for the future.
All things considered, the Majer Skateboards squad does have the world in front of them and are poised to take it over. “We got a good start and are closer than ever now” Eddie Gonzalez assured. As the group is taking things one step at a time, the best way to keep up with them is to join their Youtube following and see where the journey will take them next.
Here in Canada there have been some alarming reports about folks are going out to buy fake diplomas and degrees. Apparently, it’s a billion dollar business worldwide. There’s a report here about here. According to a CBC report, Allen Ezell (pictured above), a former FBI agent who investigated diploma mills for decades, estimates half of new PhDs issued every year in the U.S. are fake. HALF! More incredulously, this chap is on YouTube actively bragging about how he purchased a Bachelor’s Degree and it changed his life. Over 200,000 views. Let’s hope his current employer never sees this video. The truth is that while millions of people are buying fake diplomas to further their careers, you can’t fake fun. You simply can’t. You can smile outwardly, but there is no way you can fool yourself. If you’re not having fun skateboarding and you are faking things, it will eat away at your soul. Over 40 years ago, I entered a college called Flow State. If you drop into a pool, ditch or hill, you know that every ride counts. And if you drop out of Flow State, you will soon regret it. Perhaps you are familiar with Flow State? It took a Hungarian psychologist to distill what people have known for years.Here’s a video from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi to explain it in more detail. But if you don’t have the time, here’s a photo of me in Flow State. Note: it has not been photoshopped. That smile is 100% real.Flow State is the only non-accredited college that is dedicated to fun. If you’re not in the zone, the diploma you receive from Flow State (see below) will serve as a constant reminder that you’re on the wrong path. At Flow State, the student body is powered by water, waves and gravity. Full disclosure: it will cost you some money to purchase the tools to enter Flow State. Skateboards are an investment in your future. It will also take some time and attention to master these tools. However, in MOST cases tuition is 100% free. If you decide to become a teacher at Flow State, chances are your financial reward will be limited to the stoke you spread to others. But the joy you receive from bringing new students to Flow State will actually increase your level of joy within the hallowed grounds of Flow State. Funny how that works. If you’d like to create your own diploma from Flow State, simple reprint the image below and fill in the blank. Unlike other diploma mills, this diploma is 100% FREE. But it does require some investment of time and energy. Take it from me, I’ve never graduated from Flow State, and I’ve never been more happier! PS: you might enjoy this video – it’s me in flow…captured on tape!
The 20th Paderborn BBQ contest is now over. It’s pretty rare to have a whole day dedicated to short shorts, headbands and tiny skateboards at a skatepark, but freestyle has been a part of the Paderborn contests since 2001, and the Germans absolutely LOVE it. I’ve travelled all over Europe and North America and I’ve never seen a crowd respond as strongly as the Germans; the skatepark is in a natural amphitheatre, and every year it fills out with people of all ages who come just to watch a bunch of freestylers take part in one of the most anarchic, fantastic events in the world. This year, freestylers came from across Europe, Brazil and the USA to get involved. Next year, wherever you’re from, get on a plane and join in. It’ll be the best experience you’ll ever have in freestyle. Here’s the podium places: Amateur:1) Robert Wagner (Germany)2) Christian Müller (Germany)3) Danny “Darkslide” Klahold (Germany) Professional:1) Tony Gale (UK)2) Felix Jonsson (Sweden)3) Turi Zoltan (Hungary) Masters:1) Yoyo Schulz (Germany)2) Bert Matheson (USA)3) Bob Loftin (USA) Hot on the heels of the Paderborn comp was the annual English piss-take that is the UK Round Up. Hosted on the usual exposed hill overlooking the grim city of London, a motley crew of British freestylers were joined by Alex Rademaker of Switzerland and Gresch Bandicoot of Germany for a day of absolute silliness. Now on its third year, the UK Round Up has begun to establish its own traditions: 1) The format will be known as the Overkill Deathmatch Format and constantly referred to as “four one minute runs, taken in blocks of two, back to back, meaning riders’ one minute routines will last for two minutes at a time”, much to the confusion of everyone who isn’t in on the convoluted joke. This will never be explained to anyone in a clear and simple fashion. 2) Anyone who doesn’t come prepared with music will have wildly inappropriate music chosen for them by Alex Foster and myself, which led to the beautiful spectacle of Alex Rademaker taking his first ever freestyle competition run to the sweet, sweet sounds of Aqua’s “Barbie Girl”. If you don’t know it, consider yourself lucky. 3) The Offline Instagram Grand Slam – a format involving skaters taking fifteen second runs, with no gap between one skater and the next – will be treated with absolute seriousness despite being the most ridiculous event known to man. 4) Trophies will be scavenged together a couple of days before the event and possibly be purchased from a garden centre on the journey to London. Here’s the final standings, with the final tally of points given to each skater: 1. Tony Gale (263,000)2. Denham Hill (248,000)3. Alex Rademaker (237,000)4. Matt Smithies (227,000)5. John Hanson (211,000)6. Alex Foster (210,000)7. Michael Erskine (195,000)8. Gresch Bandicoot (184,000)9. James ‘Fairbro’ Fairbrother (164,000) And the winner of the Offline Instagram Grand Slam, chosen in a completely arbitrary and mysterious way by Nathan Hill, was Matt Smithies. Anyone questioning Nathan’s decision was lined up against the wall and shot, as per British tradition. Honestly, I don’t recommend you come to this event next year. You’ll probably hate it. In contests-that-aren’t-actually-contests news, Starbeat, an online popularity contest/low-rent talent agency website has been running an “ultimate skateboarder” contest for the last month. As I write this, the deadline in the “qualifiers” is almost up. I’m not sure what happens after the qualifiers, and former NJ native Jesse Whalen is in the lead by some points. Honestly, I can’t understand the system here at all. He’s on 37.65M points to the second place Mike Osterman’s 28.16M points, but Mike has a higher “average” of 79 to Jesse’s 78. Killian Martin’s got an even higher average of 81, but is in third place with 23.07M points? The highest averages are Isamu Yamamoto, Dan Garb, Ole Peder and Bert Matheson who all have an average of 84 but are in 14th, 23rd, 25th and 26th place respectively. Figure that one out. I guess it’s all down to number of votes, but from where I’m sitting it looks like Starbeat have finally solved the issue of people complaining about freestyle contest results by finding a system that’s even worse (and even easier to game/bribe/abuse). Thanks, guys. More power to Jesse, though. That dude rules. As tends to happen during the summer months, the Freestyle Podcast is largely quiet right now, but you can head over to freestylepodcast.com (or your podcast app of choice) to enjoy a short episode recorded on the way back from the Paderborn comp. Featuring some very tired Brits, a terrible burger, some choice Romanian swearing, and a poor Texan librarian trying to deal with life, hopefully it will serve as a suitable stop gap until we can all do a proper hour-long ramble about trucks again. The Youtube takeover of skateboarding is now leaking its way into the niche within a niche that is freestyle skateboarding. Freestyle’s foremost like-share-and-subscribe-baiters, Daniel Trujillo and Mike Osterman, have joined forces to create “Waltz”. What is Waltz? What will it become? Will they ever sell anything other than a white T-shirt with an oddball design? No one knows at this point, but there is a website over at WALTZskateboarding.com, and with their combined subscriber base, I expect it’ll be a huge success, whatever they decide to do with it. Bit of team movement: Terry Synnott has picked up Tűri “The Tank” Zoltán as a new team rider for Mode Skateboards. Terry started a dedicated wheel team just to get Tűri on board – there’s no way the Hungarian Beast would leave Cirus for his decks – which opens up the theoretical possibility of more freestylers being sent wheels for free. Dust off your VX100s and start working on your “sponsor me” tapes, folks. You can always rely on Decomposed to give you some product news when a deadline is looming. The latest deck in the works over at Witter’s House of Horrors is a new Rey Meyer graphic. Details are thin on the ground so far, but we do know that the graphic will be drawn by the improbably-named Crab Scrambly (who previously did the amazing reimagining/reissue of Hans Lindgren’s crowbar) and will play homage to Meyer’s classic Santa Cruz model, so even the shape’s jacked, it’ll look beautiful on the wall. Keep an eye on Decomposedsk8.com for that one. Last (but hopefully not least), Moonshine Skateboards (no, not those bloody MFG guys) are releasing their first ever freestyle pro models, meaning Stefan Lillis Åkesson and myself get to have our names on boards alongside vert luminaries such as Jocke Olson, Sean Goff, Rich Lopez and Rob Mertz. Lillis has opted to put his wizard-oriented graphic on the same shape as the 7.3″ x 28.5″ team model with a 12.5″ wheelbase – which has been slightly reworked to mellow out the concave both for Lillis’ deck and the team boards – while I’ve taken a big gamble on a well-thought-out (but possibly off-putting) new shape. Coming in at 28″ long with a wheelbase of 12″, the deck has the same tail lengths and shapes as the bi-directional team boards, but goes all crazy in the middle by having no concave at all and dropping from 7.3″ wide at the trucks to a skinny 7″ wide in the centre. Yep, my board’s a bi-directional double kick that’s not only completely flat in the middle but steals Hans Lindgren’s rail cutouts from the 80s. You don’t want to know how much we had to spend on getting that mould made. Hopefully, by the time you read this, they should be online and available at www.moonshineskateboards.com. Go buy one of each and give Lillis and I some beer money (although Lillis doesn’t drink alcohol so his board royalties will probably go on rice, ayurvedic herbs or Heroclix figures). The Editor Adds: AJ Kohn probably wouldn’t let us live very long if we failed to remind our readers that that the Philly Freestyle Championships are coming up on September 16th, 20-17, at Rizzo Rink in Philadelphia. Rain or shine, it’s going down; you can catch up with AJ via Facebook if you need more information. That’s a Mark Cline photo, by the way, in case you were wondering. You can find out more at www.phillyfreestyle.com. Got some freestyle news? New products, projects, or events? I still don’t have a dedicated email address for such things, leave them in the comments below and I might put them into next month’s summary of freestyle-related nonsense. Now go and skate!
If you think about it, skateboarding is like a maze a lot of the time. Right?
You set out at a clear starting point. But to reach that coveted ending, is chaotic. From the literal twists and turns of our unsanctioned streets to the metaphorical dead ends, constituted by pebbles, snapped plys, and chronic mental fatigue, the similarities between skateboarding and hand drawn labyrinths are comparable. However, Eric J Eckert, better known to the professional skateboarding world by his Instagram shorthand @idrawmazes, fuzes the skateboard and the maze together differently.
For Eckert, skateboarding and maze drawing started out as trivial pastimes in his elementary years until being taken more seriously in and around his college years. From there, skipping class to go skate and knocking out a new maze on the daily opened up the floodgates. As the mazes started popping up on Twitter, they began to go from being solely linear creations to ones featuring well-known celebrity faces. As traction grew, he noticed the most love coming from none other than us – the skateboarders of the world. With the positive responses and interactions from the skate community, Eckert shifted his focus more centrally towards skateboarding. When he took the work to our beloved breeding grounds for sharing of Instagram, “it was the perfect showcase and the exposure went nuts” in Eckert’s words.
A first look at Eckert’s work hearkens back to a story that just that went live for CW earlier this year on skateboarding’s first coloring book: Color-X. In it, the prospect of interacting with skate photography in a new light is discussed. In a similar sense, these mazes too celebrate the complexity and difficulty that go into the skating and shooting for a successful photo in a way like the coloring book does. In Eckert’s case, adding his own personal element of the mazes is even better because it allows for a personal connection to both the skater and the photographer being showcased.
Speaking of these pro skaters, the level of pure stoke and appreciation has been nothing short a dream come true. Guys like Chris Cole have stepped away from the floodlights at Street League to show his maze some love. Chris Roberts made enough room on the set of his ever-popular podcast, The Nine Club, to display one of the mazes (next to the switch flip to switch manual, of course). T-Puds actually stopped slaughtering the flatbars of the world for long enough to pose in Eckert’s collab shirt with Hellaclips (even though he probably could have done so in the midst of a crazy looking dipped backside smith anyway). Hell, even Danny Way took time away from hurling himself through the sky to give away a copy of his maze. To Eckert, seeing the pros hitting the like button is enough to fan out over, but seeing the pros with their hands on it and even requesting mazes is a whole different ballgame. Judging by the amount of exposure in the eyes of the industry, it’s safe to say Eckert is playing that game well.
Perhaps the most rewarding one for Eckert was getting to do a graphic for the always creative boys over at Enjoi Skateboards. As he put it himself, “When I started really making mazes that were focused on skating, my end goal was to get a graphic made. Enjoi was by far my favorite company, so that was my hope, but I never actually expected it to happen. Then one day they hit me up and it still feels like a dream. I have that board with Louie’s signature hanging in my living room, and I still look at it every time I walk by.” Make no mistake, though, Eckert stands by the claim that seeing his graphics put to good use is better than hanging them as mere decorations. “I love the interactive nature of skate graphics in that people can appreciate what’s gone into it, but then they actually get use out of it”, he added.
The maze does not end here for Eckert though. With plans to keep riding the wave until it fizzles out, he intends to formalize his attempt at the world record for largest hand drawn maze. He has been unofficially successful at this feat twice, covering his home office once and a covering sizable mini ramp another time, but was rendered ineligible for due to technicalities. So long as his supply of Sharpies runs deep, it’s best to stay tuned to @idrawmazes on Instagram to see where the story goes from here.
The label of being a “skate rat” has been thrown around for years at the seemingly unproductive skateboarders of society. To most, the typical skate rat serves no purpose but to spend their weekdays patronizing the skatepark and their nights and weekends infiltrating corporate America’s hidden street spots. In a more constructive light, crews like the SK8RATS, have added a more positive connotation to the slang since 2004 by showcasing some ripping footage from guys like Sebo Walker and, one of my all time favorites, Cory Kennedy.
Now in 2017, we find yet another iteration of the infamous “skate rat” moniker, this time being interpreted as a pun in the illustrations scribbled from Dustin Ammons’ pen. As he puts it, “Honestly, I just love terrible puns. The worse they are, the better they get. I’m not the first to make skate rats and I doubt I’ll be the last, but I do like that I’ve kept them relatively proportionate to an actual rat.”
It is this commitment to the joke that makes Ammons’ work so enticing. One scroll through his Instagram reveals dozens of these things. There are skate rats gripping their board on the curb, battling the presence of pebbles and, most notably, busting tricks over the coping on transition pieces and sliding their way through on ledges made of cheese. “It’s hard to go wrong with cheese ledges and skate rats”, he adds.
In the spaces around the misadventures of his beloved skate rat, Ammons uses the platform to express his opinions on a variety of other hotbed topics that beset modern day skate rats. Included in these topics are the proper terminology for longboards, implications of corporate influence in skateboarding, the importance of a poser-free skate scene and of course, the PSA that snaking on scooters is starkly unacceptable. Also included in the mix are some seamless looking collabs with guys like Eric J. Eckert (aka @idrawmazes), who was just recently featured on the Concrete Wave site. Though all come off with the same lightheartedness as the skate rats’ casual shredding, these works do hint at a more formal purpose behind the seemingly mindless doodles.
“I definitely would’ve lost my mind without art”, says Ammons. Currently pinned down by a lingering knee problem in his early 20s, the art provides a way to stay involved in the skate world, even if unable to physically go out there and be able to emulate some of those wallies and nose bonks that his illustrated skate rats have on lock. As as another 20-something year old, documenting this story with a set of crutches beside him, awaiting a second knee surgery, I can wholeheartedly sympathize with Ammons. His ability to continue finding ways to resonate with the skate community is admirable, no matter how many sessions of physical therapy lay ahead.
As for the rest of the skate rats across the world, whether out there chomping tranny or confined to knee braces and recliners. the skate rats on the pages of Ammons’ work are here to stay. With the exposure they have already received, Ammons is still taken back by it, noting, “It’s so weird, but in the best way possible. Like, to have a person on a different continent enjoy my stuff still blows my mind.” For this growing worldwide collective, the best way to keep up with the skate rats from Ammons’ pen is to stay glued to his ever growing collection of work over on Instagram.