Vol. 10 No. 4 Winter 2012

Page 1



Vol.10 No.4 WINTER 2012 • $4.95

At the age of 19, Amy Purdy was struck with bacterial meningitis. She was in a coma for three weeks and was given a 2% chance of survival. She did survive, but wound up having both legs amputated below the knee. She struggled with depression, and only beat it when she decided to accept her new reality, but not any limitations. Amy designed her own prosthetics that would allow her to snowboard. She is a three-time World Cup champion adaptive snowboarder, and she loves to longboard. In 2005, she co-founded Adaptive Action Sports, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to introducing people with physical challenges to action sports. Learn more at amypurdy.com

Photo Courtesy of Amber B Dianda for Element Skateboards

PUBLISHER/EDITOR Michael Brooke | mbrooke@interlog.com


ART DIRECTOR Mark Tzerelshtein | MarkintoshDesign.com



PHOTO EDITORS Jon Huey | Dan Bourqui



CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Erik Basil Malakai Kingston


I.T. DEPT. HEAD Rick Tetz of CalStreets.com

COPY EDITOR Jonathan Harms

PROBLEM SOLVER Bud Stratford | budstratford@aol.com

HEAD OFFICE 1136-3 Center Street Suite 293 Thornhill, Ontario L4J 3M8 ph: 905.738.0804

SKATESHOP DISTRIBUTION Buddy Carr Designs PO Box 1895, Carlsbad, CA 92018 tailtapinfo@yahoo.com ph: 760.722.4111

CONTRIBUTORS (In order of appearance): Amber B. Dianda, Marcus Bandy, Warren Bolster, Pedro Krause, Chris Dyer, Richard Auden, Mike Cottrell, Jose María de la Cierva, Nell Fraser, Jeff Hayes, Melissa Fuentes, Bruno “NoBru” Ribeiro, Gabriel Klein, Thomas Kahle, Nick Breton, Rodgon, Tom Sims, Mike Vallely, Robert Groholski, Mike Spotte, Ken and Steve Deitz, Martin Duquette, Fabrice Gaëtan, Olivier Séguin-Leduc, Bob Couet, Mikael Bottreau, Luc Bertrand, Toronto Girl Longboarders, Jonathan Nuss, Karyl Kidd, Oasis Skateboard Factory, Conan Muñiz, Diego Cardenas and Liz Kinnish. A speedy recovery to both Jonathan Harms and Chance Ray.


Concrete Wave is published by North of La Jolla Inc.

Subscriptions (5 issues) are US$26 FIRST CLASS or CAN$26 (US$44 outside North America). Address change? Mag not arriving? Email us... don’t go postal. We can sort it out. mbrooke@interlog.com. We will notify you when your subscription expires. Publisher’s permission is required before reproducing any part of this magazine. The views and opinions expressed in Concrete Wave are not necessarily those of the publisher. We happily accept articles and photos. Please contact the publisher directly at mbrooke@interlog.com before you submit anything. We are looking for a variety of stories and images as long as they are skate related.




WELCOME TO THE FINE PRINT AND WELCOME TO 2012! I am writing this in late 2011, and like many of you, I can’t believe how fast this year has gone by. When it comes to skateboarding, I’ve been afforded a unique opportunity to see and experience many things. Spending time behind the “grip tape curtain” has been quite illuminating. One begins to see the same things repeating. As Elvis Costello once famously wrote, “History repeats the old conceits.” There can be both positive and negative consequences when it comes to reaching back to the past. Sometimes the true reality of what took place is glossed over. Over the past several years, I’ve started to see history repeat within the world of longboarding – both good and bad things. As to how to deal with the negative stuff, it is just as important to know when to engage and when to disengage and work behind the scenes. That’s why you’re reading this in the Fine Print. The one thing I always ask myself when I see disturbing patterns re-emerging is, “Who benefits?” Generally, I find people are motivated to do things for five key reasons: ignorance, fear, money, power or greed – or a combo platter of all five. If someone is out there crushing your stoke for longboarding, take a step back and calmly assess the situation. Try to figure out the question, “Who benefits from these actions?” You might be surprised as to what you discover.

There are many who are looking to 2012 to be an entirely different type of year. I can’t predict the future, but I am willing to bet that 2012 will be filled with the usual celebrity breakups, bankers behaving badly and politicians saying one thing and doing another. A number of people will regret being caught on video via YouTube. No matter what happens, I hope you keep searching out new adventures, finding things that spark your interest and stoking out the people you meet on your journey.

22 CONCRETE WAVE WINTER 2012 Vol. 10 No. 4 WINTER 2012
COVER 1: Mike Vallely. Photo: Marcus Bandy COVER 2: Tom Sims at the Concrete Wave, 1976. Photo: Warren Bolster 3: Mischo Erban, Teutônia, Brazil. Photo: Pedro Krause 4: Artwork by Chris Dyer
SPREAD: Dominik Kowalski. Photo: Richard Auden

Life is a search for fulfillment.

When you experience something that deeply resonates with you, it is the spark that ignites passion. And once you've discovered something you're passionate about, you want to spread the stoke Concrete Wave is the engine that enables people to search, spark and stoke their passion.

Capturingthe Soul

Welcome to 2012 and what promises to be quite a year. I am pleased to report that our last issue resonated deeply with a number of readers. Our intention this year is to continue to explore the essence of search/spark/stoke. This issue features a story about spirituality and longboarding. It’s probably the first time a skateboard magazine has tackled this topic. We asked readers to give us their insights, and I am sure you will find the article fascinating. I am honored that we were able to work with one my favorite artists, Chris Dyer, to enhance the article and one of our four covers. The interview that I conducted with Tom

Sims also proved to a profoundly soulful experience. He’s not just an inventor; he is the godfather of board sports. As you will soon discover, Tom has had a hand in the development of wakeboarding, snowboarding and, of course, longboarding.

The skater in the above photo is “Barefoot” Mike Muehe. Mike has his own mini-pool in his backyard, and my sons and I got a chance to hang out with him last summer. He’s quite the ripper. But what makes him exceptional is his ability to shred his pool barefoot. This phenomenal photo captures Mike at what he does best. Talk about a soul man!

of stoked riders worldwide, more people are discovering the joys of longboarding every day. Sure, there are some who say that December 21, 2012 marks the end. I respectfully beg to differ. I believe this is just the beginning.

Enjoy the issue!

Rider: “Barefoot” Mike Muehe. Photo: Mike Cottrell


I am 42 years old and have never been skating in my whole life – until March 2011, when my older son (5), after seeing Disney’s “Zeke & Luther” on TV, wanted to start skateboarding. This is a strange idea for me, as I am former German semi-professional soccer player, who had never been in touch with any other sports than tennis, basketball and softball.

So we went to our four skate stores here in Hamburg, Germany. When we finally found my son’s favorite board and were standing at the cashier, I saw this mag lying on the counter: Concrete Wave (Vol. 9 No. 4, Winter 2011), the issue with the guy on that mega-sized blue and white longboard on the cover. What the hell is this kind of board? I was thinking and fascinated at the same time. From that moment on, my son started learning to ride his new skateboard in the back yard and at our local skate school, and I tried to learn everything about this fantastic longboard thing. After having watched lots of YouTube videos and browsing through CW and several Internet forums again and again, I bought my first longboard.

Today I am totally stoked by longboarding –and so is my son, who switched from skate- to longboard after a few weeks, and also my wife (39), who is a black-belt Ninjutsu fighter and had skated for a little while when she was about 15.

Our “vehicle park,” formed since March, includes two Globe boards (Catalina, Prowler) that my wife Tina is more than happy with, a Mindless Raider for my older son Fynn Elias and a Sector 9 Natasha, a Loaded Tan Tien and a Holesom Street Sweeper II for me. Our younger son Tommy Benito (3) meanwhile grabbed his brother’s skateboard for his first steps at the local skatepark.

So this whole longboard thing became a real family thing for us. For me as a man who couldn’t live without doing sports, longboarding increases the level of my spare-time life and my life quality in general. And the initial part for our new family fun came in the shape of Concrete Wave magazine when I discovered it at the skate store. I bought every issue since then and on my iPod I have the App running every night, reading in the library. I must confess: I’m really addicted these days – to riding the board and reading the mag.


In case you were curious; the CW issue arrived in pristine shape today. A small wonder – the mag coming through Spain.

First thing I noticed was: no paper envelope? I was a little anxious, but the plastic looks very good and sturdy enough. Thanks.

Editor’s note: The move to a new way of handling overseas subscribers is working out well.


Hardcore longboarders hanging out in Ourense, Spain.

My 16 year old son has “longboard fever.” He skates almost daily – giving me, his mother, gray hair early! We just recently purchased a Rayne longboard (Vendetta drop-thru) for his Christmas present, making this his third longboard now! (Is there any end in sight?) In keeping with the longboarding spirit, I wanted to find him some posters or prints also for Christmas to decorate his room. Do you have or know where I could find some longboarding posters or prints, to purchase of course? I see on your website neat advertisements/photos, but I can’t seem to find anything like the photos of longboarders online?

Thanks in advance for your time,

Editor’s note: Arriving 2012 – a poster magazine from Concrete Wave … just in time for winter holiday season or the end of the world (depending on your worldview).


I work for Sector 9 in Italy and I am a journalist. I have been reading Concrete Wave since 2008, when I was at the Sector 9 HQ in La Jolla. An enthusiastic Jeff Budro showed me your magazine for the first time. Between 2008 and 2011 I was reading CW thanks to Sly, the French Sector 9 distributor, who always got a copy or two.

Now I finally got an iPhone and I can enjoy your mag whenever I want, and that’s really inspiring! Between your pages, I can read a lifestyle and an approach to the longboard/skateboard culture and practice that is simple, healthy and fun.

Talking about the Fall 2011 Photo Issue, I especially liked a lot your page titled “Feeling Longboarding in Your Bones.” Those are really good words, and I bet there are a lot of people around the world thinking exactly the same way, but anyone couldn’t find better words to explain that feeling than you.

Now, I’m writing you asking for the permission to translate and publish your article on my blog. I think it could be inspiring for many Italian riders as it has been for me!

My blog/site is maccaronipro.it. We are trying to communicate how fun longboarding can be, the respect for the road and of road users and the respect for our mountains. Thanks a lot for your time and for being so inspiring for me and my friends.

Have fun!

Editor’s note: Hey Ric, feel free to translate. Google Translation has a way of screwing things up!

It’s only $0.99! And you can enjoy the full edition plus extras.

For $3.99 you can get a full year – 6 issues.

Photo: Jose María de la Cierva
CONCRETEWAVEMAGAZINE.COM You can now read Concrete Wave on your iPad®



Never Summer is kicking off 2012 with a new standard in all-around longboard performance.

The Tyrant Drop Thru features; RDS Stabilization, P-Tech Tip and Tail Protection, 3 year warranty, and of course made in the USA. The Tyrant DT’s new definitive style and shape feature cut-away wheel wells, Drop Thru design and aggressive rocker to lock you in for the ride of your life!  neversummer.com


The Woodsman is a 9ply, 10.5” x 39.25” maple/bamboo hybrid, The trucks are top mount with a 32” wheelbase. The base features the Woodsman graphic with raised woven bamboo while the Top Deck uses a full sheet of grip tape. The rear of the deck has a one of a kind “Shred Hump” and the main section is shaped with a “W” concave. dblongboards.com


After a year of ideas and prototypes, the Soyuz board finally hits the market in 2012. Designed around an 8-ply construction, this free-ride oriented board features a slightly dropped platform, small W concave and a rocker. The W and the progressive drop provide extra stiffness to this light and aggressive board. The tub concave feels comfortable and locks your feet in critical areas. Like the Soviet rocket, the Soyuz is reliable and without compromise on performance. restlessboards.com


Sk8Kings Skateboards proudly releases World Champion Gary Holl’s signature pro model for 2012. Designed as the perfect cross-over street/freeestyle board and pressed in the legendary Sk8Kings mold, this 7.625” x 30” deck features symmetrical double kicks with a sharp looking Holl Crest Argyle graphic (skid plates optional). sk8kings.com


This past summer Rayne released a limited edition Renegade to meet the needs of team riders Mark Short and Graeme Hystad. Working with these shredders to develop the latest in Rayne’s Tech Slide models, the Renegade has now replaced both the Agent and the Catalyst and moved the direction of their Hard Wheel boards to steeper kicks, sharp edges and multiple mounting points. After a summer of tweaking, the Renegade will enter full production for the 2012 season. raynelongboards.com



Danial Wiggins, an old school competition slalom rider from the 80s on the Bahne East Coast Team is making vertically laminated, light weight long board skateboards. As much fun to ride as they are to look at. ecscustomskateboards.com


The new face lifted Pogo Raceplates not only look better, they lost weight and they come in 4 sexy colors! Pogo almost cut down the price in half which makes the aluminum baseplates affordable even for non-professional riders. They are available in 3 different geometries: 38°, 44° and 50° to get your board as low as possible to the street without cutting through your deck. They come single pieced, so it´s possible to mount two different angles in one board. The best thing about it: The POGO baseplates fits with almost every truck-hanger! longboardshop.eu


Urban surfers rejoice! Offering pressed Canadian maple deck boards with a bamboo bottom side. Available in 3 sizes 37”, 42”, and 46”. The boards come standard with the legendary Randall RII 180mm trucks and Big Foot Wheels. soundboardskate.com


Tracker introduces its downhill deck called the StarDrop. It’s a CNC shape with flush mount drop through. The 10.2” x 38.8” board is 9-ply Canadian hardrock maple on a classic Taco Concave with square edges for turning control. The drop through mount is new school and perfect fit for Tracker Fastrack trucks and other. Completes come with Fastrack 180mm trucks and Atobe Wiggler 82A wheels. trackertrucks.com

Arriving in the spring of 2012, the Streamlined T8-Racer is the downhill helmet to turn to for uncompromised exhilaration.  The helmet will be released in 2 different colors (black & white) and comes in either S/M or L/XL. The Triple Eight Downhill Glove is streamlined for a sleek fit yet with the protection in all the right places.  The new glove boasts engineered fingertips (reinforced with Kevlar) for ease of movement and grabs and incorporates their signature sweatsaver material into a brand new brow-wipe thumb feature.  triple8.com

Surf-Rodz introduces their new Teflon VirginSZ pivot cups. Low friction, resistant to extreme weather conditions, zero noise, and no lubrication needed. This is one of many projects SZ is working towards in truck/deck hardware and accessories as they move into 2012. Pure white, smooth and slippery…touched for the very first time. surf-rodz.com


The Tricky WrenchTM is unique in that it easily transforms into a full-size tool within secondsliterally. By reorienting the self-locking hexagonal key, it dubs as an extendable handle for leveraging adjustment of wheels and kingpins. Independently, the Tools two parts also work together for attaching and removing trucks by utilizing the hexagonal key along with the main tool body. trickywrench.com



to the existing Millwood Road school, the 131 Sunrise Avenue (Toronto) location will be the spot to pick up veneer, Thin Air Press kits and view their new projects. 1-888-857-7790 and roarockit.com



Liquid Image

Loaded have introduced two new glove models. Sporting a highly breathable COOLMAX liner, the gloves are now constructed with additional mesh and slinky, stretchy fabric between the fingers to maximize airflow while riding. Form-fitting ergonomics and a hefty elastic wrist strap combine to keep everything snug without sacrificing comfort or dexterity. Synthetic suede extends from the palms to the cuff and thumb for durability and a gentle touch for wiping sweat and microorganisms from your brow. Loaded’s second round of race gloves are also lined with COOLMAX fabric, and feature a high quality perforated leather exterior. This maintains breathability and comfort while providing extra abrasion resistance. Carbon and rubber knuckle inserts keep your joints safe in catastrophic crashes while a larger, repositioned reflective section also ensures high visibility for safer riding in low light. loadedboards.com


Roarockit is stoked to welcome Chris Bennett (yes, Champstyles himself!).

Chris has joined Roarockit to look after all aspects of the business, plus he brings his multi-faceted design abilities to enhance their products. Chris’ first job is assisting Ted in setting up Roarockit’s new warehouse space Close

When Earthwing designed the first Supermodel, they were looking for the maximum platform possible with Indy trucks, and 70mm round lipped wheels. That was what they considered ideal. It did fit most RKP trucks with a 70mm, but as the popularity of the deck grew, so did a need to fit a wider range of components. They nixed the wheel wells for strength, re-shaped the cut-outs, tightened up the wheelbase, dialed in the side-cuts, and gave the tips a little more meat.  The deck is stronger, more nimble, fits any realistic truck, and wheel combo, and it’s still under $100 bones. earthwingskateboards.com


The S-One Big Head Helmet was designed for skaters with bigger or rounder heads. CPSC Certified for skating or biking. s-one.com


The new 2012 version undersuits makes getting in and out of gear and leathers a joy vs. a hot sticky tug of war! The suits are one-piece easyfit for all body types. The suit wicks moisture and perspiration away from the skin helping regulate body temperature keeping you COOL during hot weather riding. motodracing.com

MX Goggle with an integrated True HD Video camera are perfect way to keep the wind out of your eyes and capture downhill action. The goggles contain a 136 degree (FOV) wide angle lens and fit over your helmet. The goggle shoots 5.0 megapixel images and has a video mode that records High definition video. The rechargeable Lithium Battery records 1.5-2 hours in the HD Video Mode. liquidimageco.com


Congratulations to Stephanie Hess of Dregs Skateboards, who gave birth to her daughter Estelle on October 20th


UNKLE Events is proud to announce two of the most challenging and highly anticipated downhill events in North America. “The Britannia Classic” formerly known as “Gold Rush” will be back for the 4th year on May 25th-27th Look for the addition of a Slide Jam and up to a $5,000 cash podium. Back for it’s second year is the Whistler Longboard Festival happening July 13th-15th also with up to a $5,000 Cash Podium. lee@unkle.ca


The Skateboarder’s Journal brings you interviews/features with skateboarders from all eras and all disciplines: street, vert, longboard, racing, freestyle and just plain old skating. SBJ will treat all of these time-honored aspects of skateboarding with the respect they deserve, while at the same time supporting the free evolution of all skateboarding disciplines as entities unto themselves. skateboardersjournal.com

The International Distance Skateboard Association just finished its first year of operation as the official governing body of distance skateboarding. It sanctioned several events around the country including the Adrenalina Skateboard Marathon World Tour, the Chief Ladiga Silver Comet Trail, and Conan Gay’s 24 Hour Ultra Race.  The IDSA launched its first chapter in the US last January: the USA DSA and after successfully sanctioning over a handful of events nationwide will continue to expand and support the growth of the Industry and the sport. The IDSA will try to assist all event promoters worldwide to close down streets for race production of all different lengths in order to ensure the safety of all participants.  The purpose of the IDSA is to promote Skateboarding as a viable source of Alternative Transportation and to provide insurance to those willing and able to promote the sport as racing and/or community gatherings. A national tour is planned in 2012. theidsa.org, usadsa.org, and getstoked.com

GREENER PASTURES Produced by Patrick Switzer and directed by Vit Hasek, the Greener Pastures video provides some extraordinary


footage and insights into the world of downhill skateboarding. Shot in Switzerland, a country Patrick says “provides numerous challenges within a relatively short drive,” the video takes you deep inside the action. During the filming of Greener Pastures the team covered one thousand kilometres traveling to each of the ten locations (not including skating) over thirteen days. You can catch all the action on YouTube.


Congratulations to Charlie Samuels, who got the town council in Saratogas Springs, New York to reopen the local skatepark. They dug out the bowl that had been covered with dirt since April 2009.

The Second Annual PUSH to End Alzheimer’s was held on Saturday, October 29, 2011 in Charleston, WV, in conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Despite the cold temperatures and a steady rain, more than 20 skateboarders from the Tri-State area were joined by members of the Chemical Valley Roller Girls for this year’s event. PUSH organizer Tom Sloan reported that Team PUSH collected over $2,000 this year to assist the Alzheimer’s Association in their efforts to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. Participants who raised $30 or more received a one of a kind PUSH to End Alzheimer’s t-shirt designed by skateboard industry artist and West Virginia native Don Pendleton. The event also featured prizes donated by Marc’s Board Shop, CDS Skate Shop, and The Salvage Yard Street Wear. alz.org/wv


midwest skateboarding event of the year. And you’re invited! Because everybody’s invited! Retailers: RSVP at budstratford@aol.com and everything skateboardingmagazine.blogspot.com


On Saturday, April 14th, 2012, Ollie’s Skatepark in Florence, Kentucky (just south of Cincinnati, Ohio) will be hosting The Board Meeting 2012. The event is presented by Everything Skateboarding Magazine. Part trade show, part party, and a whole lotta skateboarding, The Board Meeting will surely be the go-to

The photo of Jeff Budro downhilling in the last issue was taken by Yorck Dertinger.

The photo of Deadbolt kneepads in Noteworthy in the last issue had an image that was not part of the brand image. On behalf of Deadlbolt, we apologize for any confusion.

Photo: Nell Fraser


Bike Shop 5507 West Pico Blvd. Los Angeles 323.935.4338

Viva Skateboards 1709 Howard Road Madera 559.664.8997

Bill’s Wheels Skateshop 1240 Soquel Avenue Santa Cruz 831.469.0904

Purple Skunk Purpleskunk.com 5820 Geary Blvd. San Francisco 415.668.7905

CCMF/Toyland 1260 Palm Street San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 805-801-6653 ccmfjay@yahoo.com

The Trading Post 622 Upham Street San Luis Obispo

805.801.6653 ccmfjay@yahoo.com

Sonoma Old School Skate and Surf 1001 Broadway Sonoma 707.938.5500 skatesos.com

Cellular Skate 287 Mountain Ave Upland Tel: 909.981.8856 cellskate@verizon.net

Maui and Sons

1415 Ocean Front Walk Venice Beach mauiandsons.com


All Board Sports 1750 30th Street Boulder 303.415.1600

Diabolical Boardshop 4255 S.Broadway, Englewood


Skate Pusher 57 McIntosh Drive Bristol 860.593.4550

Skate Valencia 68 Leonard Street, Bristol 203.524.4675


Feral 190 Park Avenue, Athens 706.369.1084

Skate Madness 13800 Hwy. 9 N., Ste. D 145

Alpharetta 770.410.3456 skatemadness.com

Woody’s Halfpipe

6135 Peachtree Parkway Suite # 603 Norcross


Board Lords Mall of Louisiana, 6401 Bluebonnet Blvd.

Suite # 2044, Baton Rouge, 225.769.1222


Boardroom 6 Armory Street Northhampton



Ollies Skate Shop 120 ½ E Maumee Adrian


Dubz Bikes and Boards 14 North Washington,Suite A, Oxford, MI 48371


Old School Skaters 1119 NW 2nd Street Faribault 612.578.3326 www.oldschoolskaters.net


Genesis Skateboarding 13  NW  Barry Rd.  #147 Kansas City 816.456.1307 genesisskateboarding.com



214 1st Avenue West Kalispell 406.257.5808 wheatonscycle.com

BlackTop Surfshop 176 5th Avenue West North Kalispell 406-752-6006 NEW JERSEY

Black Diamond Skatepark 400 Route 38 Unit 1610 Moorestown NEW MEXICO

Koa Nalu Surf Shop 8254 Menaul Blvd NE Albuquerque 505-332-SURF koanalu.com

Timeship Raicing 825 Early Street Suite H Sante Fe 505.474.0074 timeshipracing.com


Soul Ride Skatepark 6049 Victory Lane Concord 704.454.7433


We’re Board Inc Skatepark and Shop 1423 North Church Street, Ste 104 Burlington NC 27217 OHIO

Old Skool Skateboards 19E College Avenue, Westerville roxtar55@hotmail.com


The Uprise 1110 NW Van Buren Ave, Corvallis 541.754.4257

541.480.4254 thelongboardstore.com

The Longboard Store 1238 SW Wheeler Place Bend

541.480.4254 thelongboardstore.com

Daddies Board Shop 7126 NE Sandy Blvd., Portland 503.281.5123 daddiesboardshop.com

Gorge Performance 7400 Southwest Macadam Avenue Portland 503.246.6646

The Mountain Shop 628 NE Broadway Portland Rip City Skate 1510 NE 37th Ave. Portland PENNSYLVANIA Rayzor Tattoos 4 South Front Street Steeltown RHODE ISLAND Seven.Ply 3 Canal Street Westerly 401.348.0656

TENNESSEE Planet Sk8 7024 East Church Street Suite 2 Brentwood

ravenskateshop.ca Salton Rides Saltholidays Island, BC 250.537.4984 saltonskate@canada.com

Switchback Longboards 4385B Boban Dr. Nanaimo 250.751. 7625

ONTARIO Hammer Skate Shop 2225 Queen Street East Toronto, 416.698.0005 Hogtown 401 King Street West, Toronto 416.598.4192

McPhails 98 King Street North, Waterloo 519.886.4340


DLX/Deluxe 2480, chemin Ste.Foy Ste.Foy 418.653.0783 dlxdeluxe.com



Boardshop Australia — boardshop.com.au 04 15883371 — friendlyfolks@boardshop.com.au

Cre8ive Sk8 — 5/244 Ross River Road

Aitkenvale — Queensland 4814 Australia

BRAZIL Ultra Series Skate Shop Tel.:55(41)3023-2480 — ultraseriesskate.blogspot.com

FRANCE hawaiisurf.com


seasondistribution.com, concretewave.de Hackbrett Longskates Im Wechselfeld — 12 St. Peter hack@customlongskates.com longboarders.de — Gustavstrasse 49 90762

Furth kontakt@longboarders.de — Tel: 0911 9772500


Y & T Fussa Fussa — 2348 Fussa Fussa City — Tokyo — 1970011

Clover Skateboard Shop — 1-21-3-1201 Befu Jyounan

Fukuoka 8140104 — Japan

ITALY The Skateshop via A. Grossich 11, 20131 Milano Italy

theskateshopmc@gmail.com ph: 0039 (02) 706 019 71


Sickboards Marcelisstraat 80b, 2586RX Scheveningen, The Netherlands, 31-70-7533548. Sickboards.nl


Serenity Island Surf & Skate Café

202a Wainui Road — Gisborne — serenityisland.com

Ultimate Boards

3/1043 Great North Road Point — Chevalier — Auckland 1022 New Zealand — ultimateboards.co.nz UK octanesport.com


Bath, United Kingdom — Tel: + 44 1249 715811

Sk8s Go — General Juan Cano 40 — Colony San Miguel Chapultepec — Mexico, D.F 52-55-58132448

Soul dh Alameda Picaflores — 245 San Borja — Lima 41 — Peru

Skate of the Nation — Unit 6 GYY Building # 1 Tomas Morato 1100 — Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines Indiana Sports GmbH — Elbestrasse 14 — Wald, 8636 Switzerland — Contact: Christof Peller

ON.LINE RETAILERS allboardsports.com blackholeboards.com covertskates.com coldwarskateboards.com daddiesboardshop.com denverskateshop.com ffashop.com genesisskateboarding.com longboardskater.com longboardshop.de longboardstore.com longboardskater.com milehighskates.com motionboardshop.com oldschoolskates.net pressuredroplongboards.com sidewalksurfer.com sk8supply.com socalskateshop.com tactissk8.com tailtap.com vslboardshop.com

46 CONCRETE WAVE WINTER 2012 CONCRETEWAVEMAGAZINE.COM Want to know where to find Concrete Wave мagazine? Would you like to find all the amazing skate gear you see in these pages? Look no further than our shop list. If you’d like to have your shop listed here, it’s easy. Simply send a check for $115 to Indaba Group PO Box 1895 Carlsbad California 92018 or PayPal tailtapinfo@yahoo.com, ph: 760-722-4111. You’ll get 10 copies of 5 issues mailed out along with this complete listing. For international rates, please email us. Yes, shipping is included. If you think your local shop or park should be carrying Concrete Wave, email mbrooke@interlog.com.
ARIZONA Sidewalk Surfer 2602 N. Scottsdale Road Scottsdale 480.994.1017 admin@sidewalksurfer.com • www.sidewalksurfer.com CALIFORNIA IFYI Inc 1083 Bedmar Street Carson Board Gallery 3333 Newport Boulevard Newport Beach 714.902.3769 Cellular Skate 6787 Carnelian Street Alta Loma 909.941.1004 Mike McGills Skate Shop 335 First Street Suite #S Encinitas 760.943.7730 Ollie Angel 235 Palm Avenue, Imperial Beach 619.575.7357 Mike’s
615.377.1947 Sk8sations Skate Shop 3032 N.John B.Dennis Hwy. Kingsport 423.245.0994 tbec@charter.net VIRGINIA EastCoast Boardco. 10358 Fairfax Blvd. Fairfax 703.352.4600 x:8 213 25th Street Va Beach Black Cat Skateshop 1325 A West Main Street, Charlottesville 434.244.0014 WASHINGTON Gravity Sports 126 Rainier Ave South Renton 425.255.1874 Mountain Goat Outfitters 12 W. Sprague Avenue Spokane Motion Boardshop 17230 Bothell Way NE Lake Forest Park 206.372.5268 motionboardshop.com ALBERTA Avenue Skateparks 9030.118 Avenue NW Edmonton 780.477.2149 Easy Rider 4211.106 St., #153 Edmonton 780.413.4554 Pipeline Surf Co 780.421.1575 Comasports 10B-200 Barclay Parade SW 403.233.8841 powerinmotion.ca BRITISH COLUMBIA Area 51 191 Station Street Duncan 250.746.8869 a51.ca Raven Skate Shop 411 Campbell Street Tofino 250.725.1280


How did you get involved in making skateboard products?

At the age of 12 I made my first longboard. At that time it was fairly new and no local skate shops carried any.

I had always been interested in making furniture and went to college for fine woodworking, where I improved my woodworking skills and learned many new techniques for making custom furniture. After college it was difficult to find a job in my industry that I found interesting and challenged me to be creative. So I decided to go back to the thing that began my love of carpentry: making longboards.

It’s interesting to see how far I have come – starting out with just a deck made of plywood. And now I work with all types of veneers and woods to create a full lineup of boards that I’m passionate about.

How many years have you been involved with it?

As I said, my first longboard was made when I was 12, and I continued progressing in my knowledge and skill set in woodworking. I developed a small line of boards with ebony veneer while I was in college as a production assignment. That is definitely when I really fell back in love with making and riding longboards. Both my sister and I grew up on regular skate decks, and we had always been into skiing and snowboarding. Longboarding was a great way to tie in all the things I loved doing – both riding and developing.

What gives you the most satisfaction when it comes to building skateboards?

Having the world see and appreciate my art, and getting the chance to design something new and exciting is a privilege and has been so rewarding. We have met a lot of great people along the way, and to see that just about anybody can get into longboarding and have fun with it gives meaning to what we are doing.

We make a lineup of boards with different shapes dedicated to each and every facet of riding. So whether you are interested in cruising or racing or just having fun, we have it all.

The great thing about longboarding is that you don’t have to have a specific skill set to ride. Although there

are different riding abilities and techniques, all ages can enjoy getting on a board and riding at their own pace.

We are a small company but we are proud to say that all our boards are handcrafted and designed with our own spin on riding. We of course want to grow and build our brand, but pride ourselves on the fact that we are handcrafted and our dedication is shown in each and every board made.

What do you see happening to North American skateboard manufacturing?

Many companies are beginning to outsource products to drive down the prices, but inevitably it affects the

overall quality of the product. Although it brings costs down for the end user, making it affordable, it detracts from the beauty and performance.

We also see a trend that many are making their own boards. Lots of companies are popping up all over the place, putting their own unique spin on riding. It’s great to see so many avid lovers of the sport. But it seems that only the best of the best truly get recognized and are established worldwide.

With so many new companies such as ourselves starting up, you really have to have a unique product that defines you as different in the industry so as to not get lost in the crowd. CW

Concrete Wave catches up with Brittany Bucsu, British Columbiabased longboard manufacturer


For the inaugural installment of this new column, Concrete Wave publisher Michael Brooke has asked me to explain “why I do what I do” as a designer and manufacturer of carving-oriented skate products. That’s not a bad question to ask, given the growing pains increasingly felt in the rapidly expanding realms of longboarding, racing and related disciplines. In addition to no-holds-barred competition among brands old and new, a growing contingent of the shortboard establishment (which has traditionally disdained longboarding) is angling to poach a bunch of the now-considerable profits. The longboarding Gold Rush is on, for better and worse.

For me, the short answer to Mr. Brooke’s question is simply this: I’m doing it because it’s the only honest thing that I could be doing. But let me elaborate a little.

I remember a particular moment in the summer of 1977, at age 13, when I stared deeply at the Tracker trucks on my Bruce Logan model Logan Earth Ski board, utterly fascinated and perplexed by their inner workings. Little could I then imagine that someday I would work to engineer and manufacture trucks a generation beyond. I like to think of that moment as an omen or even a premonition of things to come.

Back then flatland freestyle was one of the most prominent disciplines, and the one that most appealed to me. After about five years of practicing it in the accepted way, in the early 1980s I began to feel a calling to try to develop a more classically artistic approach, based on pumping through routines. This was not a casual notion; at age 19 I felt as though a very serious mission had been assigned to me by something greater than myself.

Call me crazy if you like – maybe I was! Whether it was a blessing or a curse, the sense of calling was so strong that I couldn’t ignore it. And as a corollary of my marching orders, I needed trucks with more energy return and steering precision. I needed them so bad that, at age 19, I tried to persuade the leading companies to work with me, before going off on my own. Over time the truck business drew me into other product categories –wheels starting in 2003, now bearings, and soon new decks and completes.

Starting in 1983, my principal aim was to develop hightech trucks, decks and more to help myself and others achieve more advanced levels of creative expression with carving and pumping. I became singularly focused on this goal, despite the timing being all wrong and the odds stacked against me – a skateboard world outsider from Illinois, in an era totally dominated by Old School ramp and technical street riding.

So, on the next layer, my “Why” is: to facilitate a better, deeper experience of pure carving for skateboarders everywhere. Not for the sake of profit (though I did and do hope to maintain a decent lifestyle), but for its own sake,

for the principle itself, for the joy of flow-motion and the higher stoke of all.

Now and then I think it’s a healthy exercise to call up the memory of your 13-year-old or 19-year-old self and ask that young person how he or she feels about what your current self is doing. Despite my insanely busy schedule, daily stresses and regular irritations, it’s gratifying to reflect that the teenaged me would be thrilled and amazed about the career I’ve managed to sculpt within the skateboard industry.

Importantly, that’s because I’ve been faithful to the passions that lit up my spirit back then. I didn’t listen to adults around me, parents included, who recommended “sensible” career options. Sure, I concentrated on my education, even earning an Ivy League college degree. But I stuck to my guns about what really mattered to me.

At risk of sounding like a motivational cliché, let me say this in all sincerity: If you follow your deepest passions, whatever they may be, you will find a source of near-miraculous energy, creativity, determination and persistence, as well as the path to your greatest happiness, personal fulfillment and contribution to the larger whole. I know I did. For a much more eloquent and profound expression of this sentiment, go to YouTube and look up the commencement address that the late Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs gave at Stanford University in 2005.

“Driven to innovate” is a slogan I came up with for Seismic because I’m obsessive-compulsive about innovation. In fact, in 1992 I chose the name “Seismic” itself because I’m committed to continually shaking up the skateboard market with products that deliver breakthrough performance characteristics.

I’m working as hard and as fast as I can to develop skate technologies that I think are two or more generations ahead of the pack. It’s difficult work, sometimes requiring years of careful thought, research, prototyping and testing before something is ready to release. For example, two new truck designs that Seismic will unveil this season have each

been in the works for four solid years. The Tekton bearing, which we released last year to wide acclaim, had been on the drawing board for almost as long. Why do I do it?

Because skateboarding needs and deserves gear that’s good enough to take the sport/art to the next levels and beyond. Because it needs to be done, and my gut has told me for more than 25 years that I’m supposed to give it my best shot.

I once heard myself say, or saw myself write, that a “visionary” is simply a crackpot who succeeds. In 1993, when I introduced the first version of the Seismic highrebound carving truck, the shortboard establishment definitely thought of me as a crackpot. Carving was out, and longboarding was a dirty word.

Since then Seismic has grown beyond my wildest hopes, and I’m deeply humbled to be called a visionary by some, including the publisher of this magazine. More importantly, thanks to skaters like you, and the many companies that have shared my passion for pure carving, longboarding and related disciplines have gained a firm foothold – despite entrenched corporate interests, posing as “core,” that have sought to keep skateboarding narrow and formulaic.

But it’s up to all of us – skaters, manufacturers and media – to keep the horizons wide open. Deck shape, contour, flex pattern and materials; wheel size, shape, formula and hub arrangement; truck design and construction; skating style, terrain and technique – all of these should evolve continuously as the best skaters and smartest designers keep pushing the envelope of engineering and performance.

I hope to be one of the principal architects of that cutting edge until the end of my working days.

Why do I do what I do? Again, because it’s the only honest thing I could be doing. If you’re honest with yourself about your deepest passions, about whatever inner “pull” you feel that seems larger than yourself … what should you be doing? Do yourself, me and the world a big favor – go after it! CW

Editor's Note: This column was inspired by the book Start With Why by Simon Sinek


PUSH in Rio



The “Push In Rio” race finally took place October 23, 2011, in Aterro do Flamengo’s expressway lanes (which are closed to traffic on Sundays). Even though this was Rio’s first push race, this is nothing new to the guys down here in Brasil; in Porto Alegre, a city in the south (near Teutônia, by the way), they’ve already managed to hold a push race for the third year in a row.

The spirit of celebration for this passion was no smaller in Rio, with constant smiles all around. The connection between the skaters and the general public was intense, and a whole “good vibe mood” was in the air at all times. Maybe this relaxing ambience was due to the race’s format, as most of the participants weren’t focusing on the results of the competition, but on just mixing and mingling with other “weekend skateboarders” like themselves.

As one of the organizers, I can say that this event surpassed all expectations we might’ve had previously. An expressive number of 118 entrants (including 10 women, who had their own heat and prizes) in an outlaw event makes us think about the potential of our Wonder City in longboarding’s scenario – nothing new to the “cariocas” (locals) but still a surprise for those who aren’t. Just check the streets of Rio de Janeiro and you’ll see how many people are simply riding their soft wheels everywhere!

Some might say that the 3.8-km (2.4-mile) race circuit was way too short, but we have to reply that it was very intense and demanded some explosive skills from the participants. It was the first activity of the day and took place early (around 9 a.m.) before the neighborhood families crowded the spot on the leisure area. The start line was just by the skatepark, so a session was

almost compulsory; probably the spot hadn’t seen so many longboards in its history.

Later on we had some slide tricks and slalom clinics with Thiago Nobre and myself, and even the newcomers had a great time improving their skills on slides and zigzagging through the cones. A couple of slacklines were available for those who wanted to check their balance, some rhymes were sung, tons of coconut water and Monster were drunk, and then it was time for the prize awards ceremony. A generous quantity of materials was given out by Loaded and Orangatang, plus some $2,000 US in product coupons were awarded by Redley (a local surf-oriented fashion brand) plus lots of clothing by F**king 50’s and various other products by the other supporters. Not bad for an outlaw bounty!

This was just the kickoff for spontaneous longboarding events in Rio; stay tuned for more in the near future. No plans for your freezing winter up there in the Northern Hemisphere? Put on some shorts, take off your shirts and come to Rio instead – fun is guaranteed.

Sponsors: Loaded/Orangatang/Redley

Support: VidaBossa.com, F**king 50’s, Street Force, UJS, Players, Monster Energy, Biskframe, Circa Surf Art Official media: TRIBO Skate, Pense Skate


1. Jonas Richter

2. Rui Franklin

3. Vinínius Cuccb


1. Luísa Martins

2. Mari Câmara

3. Paula Werner

This event got rained out two weeks in a row. It had been scheduled to take place on an expressway closed to traffic on Sundays and previously had full support from City Hall. This one last thing changed as the government-types pulled the cord … so what should we do?! Outlaw we went – and this is the story. — Guto Jimenez



For those of you unfamiliar with the Czech Republic, let’s have a super-quick European history lesson. The Czech Republic is nestled in the heart of central Europe and is part of the former Czechoslovakia. After the fall of communism and the Iron Curtain in 1989, the Czech Republic later became independent in 1993 (as did Slovakia). The Czech Republic is also famous for its delicious pilsner beer, breathtaking architecture, rich history and extremely attractive women.

In terms of skateboarding, the country is well known for the Mystic Skate Cup, and some might even remember the Euroskate championships that took place here in 1988 while still under communist rule. In the last three years, however, the Czech Republic has become known in the longboarding community for its emerging downhill team and the now world-renowned Kozakov hill. This three-kilometer hill, with its intense speed sections and great pavement, is one of the most challenging hills on the Euro circuit, and is also home (as of 2010) to

the Kozakov Challenge, an IGSA World Cup race. As anyone who’s had a chance to attend the race knows, the hill is wild and the parties are even wilder!

Being born Canadian to Czech parents and living in Prague, I have found myself deeply immersed in the Czech scene for the last six years. The Prague locals and other Czech riders have been very proud to welcome and showcase their hills, traditions and sights to

Lenna Salačova is becoming a very strong contender on the downhill scene. Viltava River in Prague Seninka Freeride 2011

all the world riders who have attended since 2009. This sense of pride and solidarity has helped to create a strong base for the emerging Czech scene.

The Czech longboard and downhill scene has blown up exponentially in the last few years, and local riders have climbed the ranks of the race circuit and have become known as possible contenders for the top 64 riders at any given IGSA race. Not bad for a bunch of riders fresh on the race circuit. The tiny scene of approximately 12 diehard riders that I remember from 2005 has blossomed to more than 100 serious riders in 2011 – who would have thought!

In comparison with our neighbors, the recent growth spurt of the Czech scene is quite significant. The German scene is huge, and the number of solid Austrian riders is also noteworthy. In terms of central Europe, the growth is a tad slower but is still flourishing, with strong pockets of riders sprinkled throughout Slovakia, Poland and Slovenia, as well as farther east in Hungary, Romania and other former Eastern Bloc countries. The recent availability of quality boards and components has also been a strong catalyst

to the emerging central European scene and has helped locals hone their skills and push their riding limits even further. A recent boom in boards designed and made in central Europe is also another sign the scene is just going to get bigger!

Longboarding in the Czech Republic can still sometimes be quite difficult, however, due to extremely nervous drivers, bad roads, pothole-ridden sidewalks and high traffic. And in some cases, the lingering Communist mentality of some citizens has slowed the understanding and acceptance of longboarding among the general public. Despite all these difficulties, though, Czech riders are some of the proudest and friendliest riders I have met and are constantly being positive ambassadors for our sport.

The scene in the Czech Republic began growing quite strongly after the 2009 European Cup Kozakov Challenge race, where for the first time more than 15 Czech riders

decided to go head to head against some of the world’s best. What a show it was, with many of the Czech riders making their runs and moving into the top 64.

A strong mention should be made for our only female downhill rider, Lenna Salačova, who took the plunge in 2010 and decided to race the world’s best female longboard riders at all the World Cup races in Europe. After some strong effort over the last two years, Lenna has been acknowledged as a strong contender among European female riders. This trend of Czech female riders has been growing strongly, with two more Czech girls attending and riding strong at this year’s weeklong KNK freeride event in Slovenia. The female scene has grown so strong that this year, Swiss rider and filmmaker Yvon Labarthe traveled to Prague to film the first Czech girls-only longboard video.

Although the emergence of a World Cup race was a strong component to the growth of the Czech longboard scene, the real sparks that have fed the fire have been

Michal Cerny
Kozakov Challenge Time for a water fight! The Czech scene is growing by leaps and bounds!

the many events that were more grass-roots and less organized in terms of an international scale. Weekend events, freerides and push races have been popping up all around the country in major cities and towns. The recent Outlaw series in Prague, with at least five clandestine races, was a huge hit in 2011. The last freeride event of the year, held near the Polish border to the north, boasted an astonishing 125 riders, two days of freeriding and a strong vibe of great things to come in the near future in central Europe.

After the first Kozakov race, there was a strong buzz among the top world riders about the race and the scene that was flourishing here (not to mention the number of single ladies and cheap beer). Many of our top riders later traveled around Europe in vans, sleeping on friends’ couches, rocking their local hills and spreading the European stoke of longboarding. The bond between most European riders is awesome to say the least. Many riders even left to the USA and Canada to experience and ride some of the best hills and terrain that this planet has to offer. To mention a few: Joshua Shanel traveled to California a couple of years ago on the Loco Express with the Coast Longboarding crew; Jakub Křovák was one of the first Czechs who rocked Maryhill; and I attended the Coast Christmas Toy Drive in my hometown of Vancouver last year. Recent Czech transplants to the Vancouver area are two dedicated Czech riders, Andrea and Rafo, who have taken jobs at two of Vancouver’s top longboard manufacturers. Czechs love longboarding as well as traveling!

The recent release of the “Greener Pastures” video

series on YouTube is strong proof of the talents and dedication of Czech riders/filmmakers. Vítek Hašek and the Czech film/design group 3heads are behind this series, which showcases very strong riding by Patrick Switzer and some of the world’s best riders. Their camera equipment is well above par and their skills are top notch. Check out some of the official Kozakov Challenge videos for a taste of Czech filmmaking talents.

One of the main Czech riders showcased by the international longboard media, and a rider we are quite

proud of, is our very own Mischo Erban. Mischo was born in Prague (the capital city of the Czech Republic) but moved during his childhood to Canada. Mischo has become a strong inspiration for all the Czech riders, giving them riding tips and sharing advice on technique – more importantly, all in the Czech language. Mischo has been a strong supporter of the Czech downhill scene, not only on the track but off as well. Due to the low average income of the Czech Republic in comparison to our neighbors, many local riders have had problems affording the same gear as their neighbors to the west. This is where Mischo came in; during his sponsorship in 2010 he helped the Czech downhill team with wheels. He did the same again this year in partnership with his current wheel sponsor. Thanks to Mischo and his sponsors for their support. They have really helped grow the Czech scene!

The future of the Czech longboard scene looks very bright, with plenty of new riders popping up around the country, all of whom are pushing the stoke of the central European longboard community higher and higher. We also look forward to all traveling riders who are planning to pass through the Czech Republic in the near future, and especially to the many European events in the 2012 longboard season.

We would like to thank all the riders who have made the journey to the Czech Republic in the past couple of

years; the companies that have supported our events in the past, such as Sector 9 (from day one), Landyachtz, Rayne and others; and Concrete Wave for the chance to showcase our scene. We are looking forward to seeing you all here in the land of hidden hills, great beer and some of the most stoked riders on the planet. Cheers! And for those that are in the know – Kníírek! CW

For more information about longboarding in the Czech Republic, check out www.longboard.cz

The gang at the Strahov outlaw event


As skateboarders, we’re no strangers to being on the road. Packing the van with boards, sleeping in close quarters, enduring long legs of night driving and eating questionable rest stop food have long been par for the course. But this time it was different: Rather than gearing up for a race or two, last November a group of Landyachtz riders set off to hit 20 college campuses, skating and hanging out with each crew along the way. Landyachtz even made a new addition to its fleet just for the trip: the Loco Express’s new sibling, Big Blue, a revamped 1966 Dodge Travco that oozes style.

Living out of a van for a month definitely has it quirks. Showers and similar things become luxuries rather than necessities. But we made do. Thanks to our friends scattered about the country and some easy-to-access hotel facilities, we managed to get into a hot tub every couple of days, keeping spirits up and bodies marginally clean. And since the first half of our trip bordered the Californian coastline, we got our fair share of salt water too.

The college semesters, especially up in Vancouver, can be wet, cold and sometimes even unskateable. So we had our sights set on some warmer and dryer climates than ours. Starting at the northern tip of California,

we worked our way south to L.A. and then drove eastward toward Texas, making stops in Arizona and New Mexico as we passed through. Unfortunately we couldn’t stop everywhere, we had to skip some great people and spots in order to stay on schedule. Even then, as soon as the

session was done in one city, it was time to load up the van and move onto the next stop.

Everything eased up a bit on the weekends, though. School’s out for the weekend, and that means that we are too. Whether we were blasting our PA on the beach, spinning ourselves silly at Six Flags or taking in a college football game, we found our ways to unwind. Some of our friends were even kind enough to throw a party the night we were in town. In fact, those Texans know a thing or two about having a good night out! We found ourselves spending more time recovering from our Texan ‘downtime’ than anything else on the trip.

Speaking of downtime, even though we were on a tight schedule, we found there still can be such a thing as too much time off – as we learned the hard way in Arizona’s most uninteresting city, San Simon. Just like any other

By Nick Breton Justen Ortiz, Dave Leslie and Nick Breton

night, we rolled into a random truck stop off the highway to get some sleep; but unlike most mornings, Big Blue was down for the count. To make matters worse, it was the beginning of Thanksgiving weekend, and no one would even be able to look at the van for a couple of days. It was a four-day ordeal that killed all our hopes of ditch riding in Albuquerque with the Duke City Bombers. Even worse, San Simon is a middle-of-nowhere town with nothing more than a truck stop – that’s it. A town of 800 people apparently doesn’t need smooth pavement, so skateboarding was out of the question. Regardless, we made do. We flattened pennies on the train tracks, walked circles around the desert and threw rocks at fence posts, bottles and even other rocks. The only exciting incident of the entire stop was getting shot at with paintball guns by some slack-jawed yokels in the middle of the night.

All that being said, though, we had a good time even when things weren’t going well and an even better time when they were. Thanks to the hospitality of the crews who took us in, we were able to skate nearly every terrain imaginable. We hit everything from beginner-level slopes to bungee launches through parking garages, from banks on the side of the road to fully lit skateparks, from flatland cruises to some of the steepest paved hills there are. We

got in some sunrise mountain runs thanks to the Phoenix skatehouse, and some of the most challenging terrain on the trip in Lubbock, Tex., of all places. We had set out to skate everything in the spectrum, and that’s exactly what we got.

Just as skateboarding is a diverse field itself, so are the different crews we hooked up with along the way. We were met with open arms by clubs of all shapes and sizes, from the small – but massively stoked – Longboard Club at UT Dallas to the massive, skate-everything Skate Club at UC Riverside. Many of these clubs worked as fully sanctioned campus organizations, giving them access to various amenities and privileges offered by their institution. This could range from free roam to skate on campus to financial aid for functions and events. These clubs helped supply us with a legitimate time and place to set up our booth, and worry-free skate sessions in the evening.

But, as anyone on a skateboard can tell you, sometimes the red tape is just a bit too thick. Many clubs along the way have chosen to exist as their own body, independent of their college or university. Although this leads to some less legitimate demos and sessions, other possibilities open up as well; no need to worry about shuffling papers, completing roll calls or doing anything other than skating. And, as always, the best things to skate are typically the ones that people don’t want you to. When there’s no official club to take the blame for skating in the parking garage, there’s no worry in having a session that’s 50-large.

Legit or not, large or small, each club took care of us

wherever we went. In most cases we had to hit the road that night and sleep in the van, that left us turning down several offers of carpet and floor space for the night. There were so many people in each city willing to help out.

And it wasn’t just sacrifices around the house that people were making for us either; our trip began early in November, prime midterm season, and wrapped up midDecember, which is finals time. Nonetheless, our hosts didn’t mind doubling up on their studies the night after the session if that’s what it took to hang out. We’ve all made sacrifices to skate what and when we want, and these clubs are no exception.

It’s not easy, though, to make it to all of the stops and meet all of your commitments when your transportation is a resurrected relic from the ’60s. Everything from the lack of a gas gauge to phantom electrical problems to shady mechanics (watch out in Long Beach!) and geriatric engine components threw roadblocks in our way. It’s not a comforting feeling to have a mechanic take one look under the hood and do nothing but laugh. More than once we were convinced that the trip was about to end prematurely. But every time it seemed all but certain we were down for the count, the Blue Lightning turned over one more time and got us on our way. And even when the last nail in the coffin was hammered in for the old Travco, Landyachtz HQ pulled through with another van until our ride could be brought back from the grave. If the Blue Lightning were a cat, it would have run out of lives a few decades ago. But rest assured, she’ll be rolling again by the time this article makes it to print.

A trip of this magnitude is impossible without plenty of help from plenty of people. Everyone who made it to our sessions helped make this trip what it was. The club presidents and locals with connections were paramount in every respect, from parking our van to keeping us warm at night. There’s simply too many thanks to give out, so it will have to suffice to say that if you were there with us at any point of the trip, then you really helped make it happen. Check out landyachtz.com and head to our blog to see the footage from our trip, and if your school wasn’t a stop on this trip, contact us – and we might just be coming to a college near you next! CW

Justen Ortiz enjoys an off-campus skate session.


ver the years I have had the pleasure of working with dozens of different skate companies: custom builders, puck manufacturers, helmet companies and more. I’ve had the great pleasure of seeing many of these companies become industry standards, and have sadly witnessed many others go under before their prime. Using this experience, I would like to give all you up-and-comers some good ideas about what to do, and what not to do, well on your way to starting a good solid business. Let’s begin!

Step 1: Your Product

Whatever you decide, you need to make sure you can do it better than others, or make it different enough that it will not just blend into an endless stream of the same product. People need a reason to buy your product over someone else’s – something that makes yours better than the standard, tried-and-true products.

Of equal importance, you will need to know this product inside and out. If you don’t, people will notice, and you will get called out.

Step 2: Face of the Brand = Name and Logo

Two elements – name and logo – will be what represent your company, so choose them carefully.

For the name, make sure to come up with something people will remember. Stay away from anything that would insult people, though; something funny or epic will be better than something raunchy any day. Don’t limit your target audience if you can help it.

Then comes the logo. This is perhaps the most important thing you can produce for your company besides the product itself.

Take into consideration companies like Sector 9, Loaded, Abec 11, etc. Their logos alone have a reputation, even to people who don’t know the companies. They are instantly recognizable, and people love to stick them on everything. That is what you want to strive for. Search out an artist who has the ability to make it digital for you, and who really knows what he or she is doing. It might be an investment, but if you plan on fully committing yourself to this industry, it’ll be an investment you won’t regret.

Step 3: Hype, Hype, Hype!

Time and time again I see amazing, quality products go unnoticed, and therefore unsold, due to lack of exposure. If people don’t know this new product is coming out, they’re not going to know it exists, let alone be inclined to buy it. If you simply expect the product to speak for itself, you will be sorely you have in store for the near future. This is hype. This is what you want to create.

Be cautious, though, because hype can be a double-edged sword. Hype can make people very excited for your product – but if you don’t deliver what you hyped, and your product isn’t well made, you will product must speak loudly enough to live up to the hype.

Additionally, if you don’t have the right marketing savvy, you have the potential to either fail at creating any hype, or simply making a bunch of bad hype. Don’t hesitate to bring in someone else to help you

market/hype your product, or at the very least bounce some ideas off of others.

Step 4: Prototypes and Reviews

Hype will get your product attention, but only good reviews will make sure it never stops. So test before it hits the market, not after.

Depending on your product, you will most likely end up with several prototypes that will need to be tested for quality. Be certain that whoever you choose will really test the prototypes to their limits and give you honest feedback. The biggest mistake you can make is to give the test product develop your product, not just someone who’ll say it’s cool because you’re giving it to them for

Step 5: Production – and Death Sentences

ready to sell it and make the big bucks. All looks good and well – that is, until you make one of these three deadly mistakes. They masquerade as great concepts, but they always end up killing a company.

Death Sentence #1 – Pre-Orders: Many more times than I’d like to count, I’ve seen companies make the great mistake of taking pre-order money for products that they do not physically have. The concept is great on paper: Pre-orders fund your product, and then after your initial investment is met, you make the products and send them out! Unfortunately, any complications in the red very fast. In short, don’t do it. It isn’t worth the risk.

Death Sentence #2 – Too many sponsored riders: amazing is to get a whole bunch of great riders riding your gear! The idea and the concept are both great: Get the stoke on the streets and get some cool vids and pictures for your product. But more often than not, the company never gets its money’s worth of videos or pictures to justify the cost of having a big team of riders. Having too many riders will never be a good investment, so instead focus on having one or two who will represent your company well. Work with them closely, and then grow from there.

Death Sentence #3 – Rushed-out follow-ups: Many companies that release a great initial product will soon after attempt to put out multiple versions of the product. This seems like a great idea on the surface; quickly creating an extensive line of products seems to offer increased potential proper testing, or without making sure they will measure up to the standard of the successful initial design. A bad product is a very hard hit to get over, especially if the quality of your product is put into question. Poor quality will undoubtedly corrode the good perception of your company, and destroy

So that’s it. On your way to becoming the next big industry sensation, you will encounter many obstacles and a success. So go out and invent, shape, mold, create, and show us what you’re made of.

If you’d like to have some questions answered, want to learn about something you dont know, or if you just want to drop him a line, Rodgon can be found online browsing the ’Fish, or you can send him an email through his site:

Photo: Warren Bolster



TOM SIMS has been skateboarding for over fifty years. He has accomplished many remarkable things and has been at the forefront of four major board sports: skateboarding, longboarding, snowboarding and wakeboarding. He is truly the godfather of action sports.

Is he worth multi-millions? Hardly. But this has not dampened his stoke. Sims is a visionary who has never lost the love for riding. He’s not just lived life, he has embraced it. Tom Sims is not just the godfather of board sports. He is the embodiment of pure stoke. His passion has enabled hundreds of millions of others to enjoy the ride, too.


I was born in 1950. Early on, like any kid, I was always zipping around on my bicycle. In 1960 I was on a summer vacation visiting my grandparents in Los Angeles. I didn’t know what a skateboard was. I saw half a dozen kids going down the sidewalk.

I was absolutely in a trance. I wanted to do this. I ran to my grandmother’s garage, which was a rat’s nest full of junk, and found some old rusty roller skates and took them apart. I nailed them to a 2x4 and went out and tried it. I am not sure if they laughed at me or not. Unfortunately, it didn’t really work. Some of the kids had metal-wheeled skateboards and some had fancy clay/composition wheels. I asked the kids with the fancy clay wheels where I could purchase them. They told me that Sears and Roebuck on Pico Blvd. had them. So I ran in the house and begged my dad to get a skateboard. He did; and from that day forward I lived on my skateboard. I just loved it beyond belief. By the end of the second day I was as good as any of the kids out there on the sidewalk. I just found something I really loved to do.

When I returned to New Jersey with my skateboard, my friends didn’t know what it was. For a while I was the only guy out there. You couldn’t buy skateboards on the East Coast. I was just extremely lucky. It was the first summer you could buy clay wheels. The composition-wheel board I got was one of the first. This was before Makaha.

Tom, mid-'70s, Montecito, California.

Three years later I picked up a Hobie skateboard. Unfortunately, the trucks broke; the metal was extremely weak. I also had some Chicago trucks, which proved to be much more durable, so I used them. I never put my skateboard away all throughout the ’60s.


My dad (Paul) bought me an electric drill for my fourth birthday. My mom was all ticked off; obviously he had bought himself a drill and used my birthday as the excuse. But I got to know power tools early. I wish my dad would have bought me a jigsaw for my birthday – that way all my decks wouldn’t have been rectangular. Even my first snowboards were rectangular.


My dad had been a surfer in the late 1930s, and I think he saw the connection between surfing and skateboarding. He never questioned the wisdom of me buying a skateboard. My mom never worried about me skateboarding either. From a very early age they encouraged me with my skateboarding and my experimenting. I just skated all the time. I think my parents letting me do this was pretty cool, since I grew up in a pretty conservative town.


In the early 1960s I got arrested in New Jersey for skateboarding. The police questioned me as though I was some kind of a crook. I was skating in the street and some lady must have called the cops, thinking I was a nuisance. Remember, skateboards were not available on the East Coast. So for the first few years, it was an unknown device. I got so hooked on skateboarding that everything grew from there. Snowboarding was just a skateboard for the snow.


By the mid-’60s I was getting very interested in surfing. In 1965 I rented a 10’ surfboard. The next year, my dad bought me a surfboard of my own. This is when I started longboard skateboarding. My hero was Mickey Dora. All I did was skateboard on my 4’ rectangular longboard. I wanted to hang ten and walk the board and drag the tail. My friend Don McKay and I were riding 48” boards. They felt so normal to us and felt so right. It felt like surfing on the street. I have just always loved longboards. When I started selling longboards in the ’70s, the only people interested in them were surfers.


It was probably 1967 when I was being towed behind a boat in New Hampshire on a surfboard. This was not my idea. There were guys doing this in San Diego – folks like Joey Cabell and Mike Doyle. Later I moved to Santa Barbara and bought a Boston Whaler boat. When the surf and the fishing weren’t good, I would get towed on my 7’6” longboard. I decided to improve upon things. Since flotation wasn’t a factor, I could make it thinner, and this would enable me to make harder turns. I designed a board specifically created to be towed by a rope. I still have the prototypes in my barn.

Riding the Tea Bowl during the filming of Freewheelin' Early manufacturing in Montecito.


When I brought my first skateboard back east, the wheels wore out pretty quickly. I rode the deck in the rain. So as a result, boards started to wear out. I had to start making boards for myself. I made some for a few friends, too. I wasn’t just lucky to have one of the first skateboards back east; they also paved my entire neighborhood with perfect asphalt. Green Mount Road was the best hill, and it was right in front of my house.

In 1971 I moved to California (Santa Barbara) and just continued with my lifestyle, which was skateboarding, surfing and snowboarding. I was living a boarding lifestyle 12 months out of the year. Building skateboards was a way for me to maintain this lifestyle. I didn’t get into making longboards to become a millionaire; I got into it to continue skating and surfing.

One day a wealthy guy named Herb Clark saw me on Hot Springs Road in Montecito. He pulled up in a fancy car and asked me to help him with his skateboard business. It turned out that Herb was in the process of getting the Makaha license from Larry Stevenson. He hired me to help him. He asked me if I felt it was worth paying Larry a royalty of 50 cents a deck. This was before I had made a skateboard professionally. I told him that Makaha was hot in the ’60s but I wasn’t sure today what it was worth.

I ended up going to Chicago in 1973 with Herb to man his booth for Makaha Skateboards at a trade show. Not one dealer stopped by our booth other than to laugh at our skateboards. This was my first experience in the world of skateboard business. The dealers all looked at it as a fad –as a dead sport from the 1960s.


I came back to California and kept building my longboards. Eventually people started asking for them. Al Merrick from Channel Islands Surfboards asked for some to put on his shelves. I wasn’t selling longboards to gain commercial success. I just loved longboards, and there were a few other people who loved them too. I think the first couple of guys who got good on longboards were Ed Economy and Brad Strandlund. They were riding 4’ skateboards in pools. I was happy to see longboarding get to that stage.

The problem was I couldn’t keep up with orders. I couldn’t build them fast enough. So I started jobbing out some of the work. At the time, I lived in a $50 a month adobe hut. My skateboard factory was outdoors. I had to put them away in bad weather. I was living in a pretty bohemian area. The first hot tubs were installed in Montecito right there on Mountain Drive.

Each time they paved a new hill, that became my new favorite spot. I had these hills almost to myself. I was always amazed that more people weren’t into it. The lack of interest was odd to me. Whether it was skateboarding, longboarding or snowboarding, I knew it was obviously fun.

On Riven Rock Road in the Santa Barbara foothills, early 1970s. Jumping over a Porsche in the film Five Summer Stories.

I think this is the reason why people have embraced longboarding over the past several decades. So many people just enjoy the fun that longboarding brings.

A longboard is such a functional piece of transportation. I never looked at skateboarding in terms of economics; I have always viewed it as different people riding different equipment for different needs.


I was at a skate contest and a guy approached me and asked if I was interested in having my own skateboard company. He had all the details worked out in advance. He handed me a check for $15,000. I was hesitant and asked him what the deal was all about. It was at the beginning of my enterprise. That money was the seed money. It turned out the guy’s name was Bill Tanner from Whittier. He wanted me to buy all

his nuts and bolts from his company, which was called FTR Fasteners. So, yeah, I was in the right spot at the right time. This guy basically put the up money so I could start selling fiberglass boards like Bahne.

I spent a year in Whittier making boards. Bill introduced me to a guy from a company called Poly Wheel that was making urethane wheels. This was at the time the first precision wheels were coming out. My first wheels were designed for precision bearings, and I got in the ground floor of that whole market. I mean, skateboarding was kind of my religion, so I think that’s why I was in the right place at the right time. It put me on the cutting edge of the sport.

One day I was hiking in the mountains of Montecito and I came upon an empty cement reservoir called the Tea Bowl. It had a bunch of junk in it, so I recruited a whole lot of helpers. They spent a day cleaning it out and we ended up discovering we had this incredible terrain right near my house. That was another reason I guess I was lucky. Stacy Peralta came up there and couldn’t believe it. It was just a really neat thing to have so close to my house.


I was featured longboarding in a number of films. I was in Freewheelin’ with Stacy Peralta. I was also in the film Skateboard and in Five Summer Stories. I even got on the Merv Griffin show. I figured with all this exposure, people would realize how much fun longboarding was. But so few people embraced it early on. It just baffled me. It didn’t really bother me, because I was going to longboard no matter what. But it was surprising.


I had to go along with what the market wanted, and 95 percent of the market wanted vert boards. I couldn’t go against that. I built what my team riders wanted. Every contest was vert. It was a situation in which the longboard market was just too microscopic. Once vert took over, the whole longboarding scene fell off the map.

A man and his quiver, 1976.
Tom shows team rider Don Andre the latest Sims longboard creation.


In 1981 I was so busy trying to get snowboarding off the ground that I licensed my skateboard brand to Vision. I was making longboards up to that point, along with performance vert boards. It was a full spectrum of equipment. But when I licensed my name to Brad Dorfman (owner of Vision) he decided not to continue with the longboards because the market was so small. Vert was everything. During that time, Steve Rocco was our guy on the cutting edge of freestyle, and yet vert was so dominant. Steve became disgruntled with the vert scene and went on to create World Industries with Rodney Mullen. Even before I moved to Vision, I made a street wheel that was Rocco’s signature wheel. Steve had a vision for skateboarding that very few people shared. For me street skateboarding was all about longboarding. But for Steve Rocco, it was about doing ollies and tricks. The sport was moving in a different direction.


Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, I was trying to convince my own people that we needed to relaunch Sims Skateboards, but making longboards only. I saw the tie-in with surfing and snowboarding. My people were like, “No, no, no. Snowboarders aren’t interested in skateboards.” It was funny that I couldn’t find anyone in my own organization who shared my passion for longboards. It was a licensing agreement, so I thought that this would help the licensors.

I was also excited about wakeboarding, and I couldn’t convince anyone to look at that, either. It’s true; even when Sims was going full bore, no one could get interested in wakeboards. I was surrounded by so many marketing guys that just never shared my vision. But I am pleased to see how big longboarding has become. It’s been really satisfying to watch it grow.

"I never looked at skateboarding in terms of economics; I have always viewed it as different people riding different equipment for different needs.” Sims sponsored many top riders, including Tom "Wally" Inouye (far right) and longboard legend Ed Economy (next to Wally).


I feel completely vindicated on snowboarding. I was ridiculed for the first 20 years. I was never ridiculed for longboarding in the ’70s, but it is funny how the sport didn’t take off. I always stayed true to what I loved to do. What I do regret is not having a big interest in money. It worked against me. If I had been interested in money instead of just having fun snowboarding, surfing and longboarding, then I probably would have found the money to run my enterprise.


I never could get a bank interested in my ideas. When I went to a bank with my ideas about snowboarding, they said, “You gotta be kidding.” When I went to them again to discuss wakeboarding, they said it was a fad like windsurfing and would go away. I didn’t mingle with millionaires and billionaires. So I didn’t have anyone around me who could put up the capital. In hindsight, I wish I had met someone with some brains and some money.

Yesterday I was on the golf course and I turned to my wife and said, “I can snowboard and skateboard so good, how come I can’t figure out the game of golf?” Maybe I’m just not cut out for golf.


So many of today’s success stories in the board-sports world were on the Sims skateboard or snowboard teams. I never wound up going into business with them. The only explanation I can think of is people thought, “Gosh, if Sims, who just surfs and skates, can do it, I can certainly do it.” Steve Rocco builds World Industries. Pierre Andre creates a several-hundred-million-dollar skateboard shoe company. Tod Swank creates Foundation and now owns Watson Laminates. Dave Swift becomes a success in magazines. Brad Steward starts Morrow Snowboards. I wish I could have kept some of them on board to help with the business. I had a factory that was churning out board-sports success stories.


I was grooming Craig to be my right-hand man and become president of Sims Snowboards. All that I knew about the sport I had shared with him. He said, “Look, I need to finish my engineering degree.” I was thinking, this is going to be awesome because normally engineers don’t have a head on their shoulders when it comes to marketing. I knew that snowboarding was going to be big someday. When Burton recruited Craig away from me with grand enticements, it was a huge blow to Sims Snowboards. Craig had a huge wealth of knowledge, and all that information flowed right into Burton. Overnight, their organization understood the sport. Prior to that, Burton had been anti-halfpipe and prodownhill. Overnight they figured out high-back bindings and that the halfpipe was actually cool. Craig was a visionary, and when he left, he created the biggest enterprise in boardsports history.

A boarder for life. Tom doubles for James Bond 007 in the 1985 film A View to a Kill. The world's first knownwakeboard-specific prototype, built in 1979.


I don’t have 35 people working for me like I once did. That makes my life a lot less stressful. It can be bad for morale when you leave the office to go surfing or snowboarding and have to leave people in the office. But the truth is that if you’re a serious surfer, then you need to have a job that allows you to take off when there’s surf. If you don’t take the time off, you’ll never get really good surf. This means a lot of guys are in construction or are waiters. It’s a good thing I never took up windsurfing because I’d never have been around for work. One of my motivations for licensing my name to Vision Sports was to allow me to live the lifestyle I wanted. I was missing powder days. I was missing good surf. I was just never willing to commit to a 12-hour workday because there is no way you can commit to a boarding lifestyle.


My lifestyle still resolves around board sports. I do go golfing because my wife loves to golf. She also surfs. But if the surf’s up, I am surfing. If I am not busy with my avocado ranch (500 trees), I am out longboarding. I don’t wakeboard or skimboard much anymore. But every time I see some new asphalt, I make a mental note of it. The next time in the area, I have my board. I am always looking for new hills. I just love fresh asphalt. The wheels just seem to grip so well when it’s new. I spend a lot of time in the snowboard world taking care of my trademarks and licensees. Sims product is in many different shops around the world. And now I’ve got my new line of longboards and wheels. I’m probably busier than I have ever been, but I don’t have the headaches of day-to-day operations. It’s fun working on my longboard gear – doing prototypes and testing. It’s just fun being involved with board sports.


What I find refreshing is seeing so many rock-solid people who are involved in the scene. There are some really great guys out there. Wayne Gallipoli over at SurfRodz. Jonny Miller is a super guy. There’s all these great companies too – like Sk8Kings. Chris Chaput is at the epicenter of performance equipment. The Madrid guys are good guys. There seems to be fewer sleazeballs in the longboard industry.


How cool would it be if ski hills made part of their mountains asphalt runs for longboarders? You could take the chairlift up the mountain. You could have runs with banked turns. Paving these runs would be an awfully neat thing. CW

Off the lip at Anaheim's Concrete Wave skatepark, 1976. Tommy Sims (left), Tom and wife Hilary enjoying some longboarding on their El Capitan Ranch Road.


CHRIS DYER contacted me about eight years ago about featuring his work in Concrete Wave. I was so impressed with his work that we featured him in the 2004 Buyer’s Guide. Since then I’ve commissioned Chris to do a few pieces for the magazine and consider myself extremely lucky to have worked with him. While I sensed that he was a fairly prolific artist, nothing could prepare me for the book he has just published. It is completely mesmerizing. Chris is not just a phenomenal artist, but a world traveler, activist and deeply spiritual human being. Since we’re featuring a story on longboarding and spirituality, Chris’ timing couldn’t be better. These excerpts give you just a taste of the positive creations of Mr. Dyer.


As an artist, I think it is very important to createimages that stimulate this evolution. Images from the Soul, about the Soul. Help positive entities do art through us and remind Humanitree of the real purpose of our existence, Oneness. Everybody wants to be happy and since we are all interconnected, itis important that we make sure everyone achieves this. I don’t believe money or material possessions are what will make a person happy, so I will start by offering art that puts a smile on your face, while still surviving in the present sh*tstem. Since I am unable to solve all the many problems of the world, I want to go to the root, where we remember that we are eternal souls, and way more divine than we can presently perceive. Once true brotherhood is understood, a balanced sharing of the world’s wealth will be effortless.

For me, my art is like bombs of light that I use in the invisible war between good and evil. I don’t want to destroy anyone who has fallen to the dark side, I want to give them love so we can both heal. Visions that come from my heart will be my weapon to stoke us to vibrate at a higher frequency of existence, and together raise our consciousness closer to the wisdom of the Original Artist, God. Eventually we shall all be one in bliss and suffering will be a memory of the past. Call me a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. This dream is what will attract this inevitable reality of the Golden Age, where harmony will return inside and outside us all.

Chris Dyer’s artistic inertia reaches from as far as ancient history’s iconic roots to announce that we’ve come full circle as we’re swept uncontrollably into his surrealist cosmic mobius-metamorphosis crazy-quilt mantramedicine show of the beautiful, the grotesque, and the absurd in this flight to another dimension in another world. Sit back and suck it all in as his colors battle for attention and rich textured forms wrap around your brain and flow down your spine looking to colonize. Gird your loins and steady your nerves, Windex your eyeballs and buckle your seat belt, put up your dogs, thumb past the title page and blast off to inner and outer space and all points between.

— Jim Phillips (Skateboard Graphic Artist)


100% Skateboarding

Tom Groholski by Mike Vallely

I’m from New Jersey. Tom Groholski is my hero I do layback airs.

When I started skating in 1984 — Tom “The Jersey Devil” Groholski was already a local legend.

I grew up two towns over from Tom.

And from the beginning...

Though I only knew the names of the places — The legend attached to them was understood:

— Cherry Hill —

— The Monster Bowl —

... Hallowed Ground.

Tom had skated these places — Dominated these places — And his name was forever attached to them — And theirs to his.

... This is where I came in.

Tom was sponsored by Vision Skateboards. Tom had a ramp in his backyard. Tom’s ramp was open to the public on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

And so...

I was in Tom’s backyard most Wednesdays and Saturdays.

It was the beginning of the skateboard boom.

My friends and I would later be identified as or become “street skaters” out of necessity — But we always just saw ourselves as skateboarders... We skated EVERYTHING.

Our heroes rode ramps.

Tom Groholski was a hero to all of us.

We camped out in his backyard, skated his ramp and talked to his dad who was always super cool and encouraging to us.

We got rocks thrown at us by his little brother — We were heckled by his little sister — And we eagerly waited to see Tom in passing or to get to watch him skate.

Tom Groholski sightings however — Even at his own home — Were very rare.

Tom was shy and obviously did most of his skating on days other than Wednesday and Saturday.

He skated with his buddies — And perhaps he didn’t want to be a spectacle or on display for a bunch of kids — Most of whom would eventually quit when the fad passed.

The fact that his ramp was open to the public anyway was never lost on me. Regardless... Some of the best skate sessions I’ve ever had in my entire life were in Tom Groholski’s backyard.

That’s where learned to drop in — It’s where I caught my first grind — Where I pulled my first air.

My friend Kevin and I were regulars. On Wednesdays we basically just stopped going to school.

While our peers sweated it out over text books in gray glass rooms — We would take the bus from Edison to North Brunswick and skate all day.

We usually had the ramp to ourselves.

After a few weeks of this — One day Tom appeared from out of his basement bedroom and greeted us.

Tom Groholski, Frontside Ollie on his ramp. Photo: Robert Groholski Tom Groholski's Ramp, New Brunswick, NJ. Photo: Ken and Steve Deitz.

It was as if we’d passed some unstated test. Our perseverance had paid off.

— I’m going to The Barn Ramp...

You guys want to go with me? —

Not only had he spoken to us but he had invited us to join him in going to the only ramp in the state more fabled than his own —

The Barn Ramp.

— Hell yes —

Tom had a pick-up truck with a camper shell on it.

Instead of one of us or both of us squeezing in and riding up front with Tom — He had us both ride in the back of the truck.

I guess we still had some more tests to pass.

Tom stopped at a convenience store and bought himself a Dr. Pepper and some Spree candy. I’ll never forget it.

Seemed like a perfect pre-skate meal.

I would do the same for many years... If it was good enough for Tom then it was good enough for me.

When we got to The Barn Ramp there was a heated session going on inside.

As we stood at the foot of the ramp we saw Jim Murphy execute a finger-flip lien to tail — Smashing the tail down hard on the pool coping.

I screamed like a little girl.

I literally screamed like a little girl. Call it over excitement or whatever but my scream caused Jim Murphy to exit the ramp on the very next wall and yell down at me —

— Kid, If you ever scream like that again you’re out of here —

Damn, I was off to a bad start.

Tom just shook his head.

I bottled my screams and leaned into the session and basked in the presence of legends.

It was a heavy moment.

Within a year of going to The Barn Ramp with Tom I was sponsored by Powell-Peralta — For street skating.

Stacy Peralta tried to discourage me from riding ramps but it didn’t work.

My first pro contest was at a ramp contest in Toronto in 1987— I got last place.

On paper —

Not a great start to my pro career. But I had a great time skating with my heroes.

Through it all...

Tom has remained a hero of mine whose influence and inspiration has only grown deeper through the years.

Jersey Pride runs deep.

Some of the best skaters I’ve ever had the privilege of skating with or watching skate are guys I met and skated with at Tom’s Ramp and at The Barn Ramp.

Guys like Bernie O’Dowd, Dan Tag, Jim Murphy, Chuck Treece, Jay Henry, The Kane Brothers and so so many more...

Many of the tricks that I do to this day I do in honor of where I grew up and who I grew up skating with and under.

Those tricks are a part of me.

No apologies.

Back in 2005, the editor of a very “hardcore” skate mag actually bothered to waste his breath and blurt out at me:

— Hey bro, layback airs are off-limits —

What? Seriously?

Did you just say that?

Oh man, what a joke. The umpires of cool are such a drag. Hey “bro” — No one asked you — And I don’t really care about what YOU jerk-off to...

I skate how I want to skate.

If it was up to some people skating would only be tre-flips, frontside boardslides and backside tailslides.

Yea well, there’s more to it.

I’m from New Jersey.

Tom Groholski is my hero.

I do layback airs.

So eat me.


Invert at The Barn Ramp. Photo: Mike Spotte Frontside Stinkbug Air at Groholski's. Photo: Courtesy of Mike V


Editor’s Note: Some readers may have noticed that we have changed our motto to “search/spark/stoke.” We did this to better reflect the true meaning of what Concrete Wave represents. We’ve always been about the act of riding, and we’ll never waver from that. However, as the magazine enters its second decade, I felt the time was right to begin exploring some uncharted waters. This means we will publish material that goes beyond what you’d traditionally find in a skateboard magazine. While I understand that the topic of spirituality maybe a bit of a turnoff for some readers, I urge everyone to keep an open mind and just enjoy the ride. As you will soon discover, longboarding gives people some pretty profound insights. We hope you enjoy this feature and look forward to hearing your thoughts.


When I first asked people if they would be interested in answering a series of questions about longboarding and spirituality, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was worried that people might be very reluctant to share their very personal beliefs.

I needn’t have worried. When I posted the questions on Facebook and on Silverfish Longboarding, I had dozens of folks email me almost instantaneously. I quickly realized I had hit a nerve.

The first question was what had drawn people to longboarding.

Pete C. said he originally got into the longboard side of things when he was a senior in high school back in early 2008. “My friends had longboards because they wanted to mimic snowboarding on pavement,” he wrote. “I still don’t like snowboarding; I just wanted to carve down the hill in front of my house, and my street board from middle school wasn’t proving to be too fun for that.”

Juhap of Malaysia told an of opposite experience. Growing up, he was both a snowboarder and a skater. “I stopped skateboarding because I didn’t learn any tricks,” he wrote. “But as a (old school) snowboarder I kept skateboarding in my spirit.” Juhap also tried aggressive rollerblading, and says, “That was fun, but I grew old and slams started to hurt too much.”

Initially longboarding looked like fun to him, but the cost was prohibitive. Then he found a longboard for 50 Euros and purchased it. He started just skating on the flat but soon got hooked on downhill. “It feels same as snowboarding,” he says. “I even call turns back-edge/frontedge, because it feels the same.”

Adam picked up on the seemingly serene and free notion of longboarding and says it appealed to him immediately. “I prefer flow in anything I do, and I had an interest in vert skateboarding because of the simple fluidity of the discipline,” he says. “Naturally, longboards would appeal to me much more that street skating.” Adam was skateboarding at the time and found that hard wheels just don’t glide on roads. “The pressure of having to learn tricks just to be competent or simply to earn

respect at the skatepark never got me to places.” After trying out his first longboard, Adam instinctively knew that longboarding was exactly what he wanted to do. “I could ride practically anywhere I had the will to, and the pressure of learning tricks just wasn’t there.”

Israel wrote and told me he was always intrigued by skating and the skating lifestyle. But, he says, “Growing up in rural Wisconsin didn’t provide a very good playground for that sport to grow. I never got to skate much. It was more of a passing phase that happened when I was about 10 with a rummage-sale skateboard with Ninja Turtles on it ... then later at about 15 with a Walmart skateboard with a picture of a tiger on it.”

Fast-forward more than a decade and Israel had moved to Vermont. “I escaped from the boring life I led in Wisconsin,” he says. “I needed an adventure. Vividly I remember sitting at a hot local pub and brewery and seeing a guy skating up and down the street between traffic on what I now know is a Loaded Dancer. The ‘responsible and grown-up’ side of me said, ‘That guy is a menace and is a jerk for disrupting traffic.’ But a deeper part yearned to feel what he felt ... a deeper part of me needed to feel the freedom that guy was experiencing. I had a great urge, a great need to get up and do what he was doing.”

Later, Israel got married, and honeymooned on Hampton Beach in New Hampshire. He realized that the best way to get around the town was not in a car or by foot, but by skateboard. He talked his wife into letting him buy a Walmart board. “I had a blast and even sneaked out of the hotel for a clumsy session in the parking lot,” he says. “I was not satisfied with the shortboard experience and grew a deeper need for that longboard-guy experience.”

Before he knew it, Israel was back home in Vermont, desperately making an attempt to get better at skating. Over time, he drew closer to longboarding. “Longboarding is about freedom and progression,” he says. “It is the adventure I have been looking for.”

Kiry, a Brooklyn-based longboarder, told me she had wanted to learn to skateboard and surf all her life. When a friend of hers let her


ride his longboard, she got her wish: “I pushed it down my street, and as soon as I leaned into the first turn I was hooked,” she says. “It was just as I imagined surfing would feel like.”

David wrote about his experience watching a well-known freestyler, Rodney Mullen: “Years ago Rodney did a demo in Little Rock, Arkansas. Amazing things happened when he stepped on his skateboard. The control over his body and board were astounding. I spent countless hours being frustrated by kickflips and heelflips. Although I finally learned some of these elusive tricks, it wasn’t my style of skateboarding. However, giving up skating would have been like cutting out a part of my soul.”

He eventually discovered longboarding and felt the urge to ride rise from the ashes of a popsicle stick deck. The act of riding a skateboard was new again. “The slightest slope of a hill was enough to carve for speed and soul,” he says.

But here’s where things get strange: All those flip tricks he had so many problems doing on a shorter board were suddenly easy for him to perform. “Doing a kickflip on a longboard seemed so easy,” he says. “Bluntslides, I don’t know why, were suddenly simple on this longer board. It didn’t take long before I was even sliding down handrails on a 44” long deck. I switched out the usual big, soft longboard wheels for some ’80s-inspired hard, yet reasonably sized, wheels. After skating for so many years, I had found my niche.”

Owen was introduced to longboarding by his younger brother. He loved the simplicity of it.

“We could just go skate, and it gave us time to talk while climbing up the hill and just chill together riding down,” he says. “I instantly fell in love with the restful nature that chill carving has.”

When Owen finally got his own board, he began to discover the excitement of speed and the obsessive-compulsiveness of freestyle/freeriding. “The feeling of accomplishment when you stomp that trick you’ve been working on for a month is incomparable!” he says.

Owen has since taken up long-distance pushing/commuting and loves that he can save the environment, save gas money and take care of his body physically all at the same time. “I also really love pushing myself harder and seeing what my body is capable of,” he says. “To sum it up, I guess what drew me to longboarding and what has made me fall in love with it, is its inherent ability to help me discover new things about myself, my world and others.”

Al sees three acts to his discovery of longboards.

Act 1 started in 1975. He was in 5th grade. “Talk about a spiritual reference: I ‘worshiped’ the Dogtown guys,” he says. “I couldn’t wait for the next SkateBoarder to come out to see the Stecyk piece. Act 1 ended when I put my Alva in the closet after college and didn’t see it again until 2001.”

Act 2 started one month after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Al was at his parents’ house and was surprised to discover that same

old Alva skateboard in a closet. He took the board home and started poking around the Internet and eventually found pictures of Cliff Coleman. This led him to the Sector 9 and Gravity sites, where he purchased his first longboard. He also made his first pair of slide gloves.

As concrete skateparks started to emerge, however, Al stopped longboarding and went vertical — until the spring of 2005, when he suffered a triple fracture/dislocated ankle. Act 2 was over. “I was 40 years old and I literally took all of my skate stuff (including that Alva) and put it on the curb. It was gone by the morning,” he says. “I was done. Or so I thought.”

Act 3 started just over a year ago. Al was 46 and needed to exercise. Although it had been five years since he had set foot on a skateboard, something was calling him back. “My life is just not in balance without my body moving,” he says. “Everyone in my family recognizes that. So, after cycling, flatland BMX, yoga, Aikido and running (big mistake), I came back.

“I knew I wouldn’t put my livelihood or family through the same thing — so on a whim I typed ‘longboarding’ into Google,” he says. An Original Skateboards video popped up, and Al’s jaw dropped. “I couldn’t believe what was going on. I guess what I was seeing is now referred to as freeriding. My heart started pounding. I was back.”


When people discover longboarding and start to find that it deeply resonates with them, other areas of their lives start to change. Ideas that were never formally considered or explored, suddenly come possible. From here, connections are made and sometimes worldviews are fundamentally altered. I can speak from personal experience on this concept! Wikipedia says spirituality ‘emphasizes humanistic qualities such as love, compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, contentment, responsibility, harmony, and a concern for others.’ “Obviously I love skateboarding” writes Peter. “But through skateboarding I have seen some of the most compassionate individuals I have ever met, whether it’s through the idea of paying some gear forward to someone who can’t afford it, or teaching someone how to skate.”

“If you’ve ever been to any skate event at all, you know how much patience is a necessity. ‘Skater Standard Time’ (+ 30 minutes minimum) is the norm. And where I live is not close to particularly awesome terrain. So I need to be patient enough to set a block of time aside to travel to the good stuff.

“Forgiveness happens when you get taken out in a heat. Contentment in terms of skateboard spirituality means riding what you’ve got and working on your skills instead of blaming your lack of skills on gear or terrain. Responsibility plays out in the fact that what we do [can be] illegal. But just because it is illegal doesn’t mean we have to be hated.


You have a responsibility to your spots and the locals/neighbors. You also have a responsibility to the scene as a whole to skate safe and smart and not blow out spots for everyone. Concern for others has been mentioned already, but you’d better be thinking of the people you’re with when you’re speeding down a mountain.”

Samuel has had some rough patches in his life. Longboarding hasn’t just connected him to something spiritual, it has grounded him. “I started feeling a lot of emotional pain. I was on the edge of suicide and I couldn’t take anything anymore.” Although he sometimes fell while longboarding, those challenges gave him the strength and motivation to keep going, he says: “I started to notice it more and more. Then one session I felt this strange feeling run through me as I started doing new tricks and felt more motivation in longboarding and dedication than ever.”

About two years ago, after Adam bought his first longboard, he would simply enjoy the ride, cruising around to places everywhere, carving and slashing pavement here and there. “I would always longboard at night or dawn when the air was cool and the only lights that came were from streetlights or the faint blue hue from the skies,” he says. “The more laid-back style of longboarding was what appealed to me, and it was deeply connected to who I am, a laid-back person. Longboarding also made me view the world more positively, which indirectly helped me express my altruism. Every journey on my longboard, simply cruising around, helped me meet new people, new personalities and new environment.”

Devon wrote that he was not raised to believe in one religion, so he finds it hard to connect longboarding directly to the sense of spirituality through religious enlightenment. “I find longboarding much more connected to spirituality as a method of relaxation and meditation,” he wrote.

While out skating, B. Lane realized spirituality is not a passive notion. “There’s good reason it’s called a spiritual discipline,” he says. “I need to remake the frontiers I’ve gotten to each time out. The seeming miracle is that with each outing, I get the sense of being refreshed, renewed, and offered — partly by my efforts — some kind of grace. In this often convoluted world, that’s no small thing.”

Israel definitely finds that longboarding is connected to his spirituality. “I believe that everything does connect,” he says, “some for good and some for bad. Longboarding is so good for me spiritually. It is centers me. I become one with all creation. Taking and riding life. It’s like the motion melts you into the life force that exists in and around all things. It brings you to a higher plane of awareness of everything around, giving you a closer relationship with life at its purest sense — like it’s what I am meant to do in all ways. Just think, you aren’t polluting and destroying anything like cars or trucks [do]. You are moving faster and more efficiently. It’s perfect for your mind, body and soul!”

Kiry feels that her spirituality is tied to nature. “I feel more in tune with the earth and the universe when skating,” she says. “I become part of the elements.”

David believes that artists exemplify their spirituality in their art. “Think of longboarding (or skateboarding in general) much like dance,” he says. “Both are equally art and sport. Both take balance, physical strength, control and hard work. [Riding] not

only connects with your spirituality, but it is/can be the brush in which you offer to paint your spirituality for the world to see.”

Micah says longboarding does help him spiritually though he does not follow any organized religion. “Spirituality is how I fill that void of not having a sense of purpose that religion tends to give a person,” he says. “I came to realize that I never even considered myself spiritual until after I started longboarding. It gave me a sense of confidence and accomplishment I had never felt in any other activity — I think because it’s individually based. Other sports’ accomplishments are based on the work of the team; with longboarding it’s just you and your board. What you get is based on the work you yourself put in. This is how spirituality can be looked at as well.”


The next question I asked concerned how longboarding cleared people’s minds. I wondered how it helped people refocus their thoughts and give them unique insights. I know that I have found this to be the case, but was intrigued to see how longboarding affected others.

“Skateboarding has to clear your mind by definition,” says Peter. “The amount of focus and determination that goes into a lot of the gnarlier forms of skateboarding makes it so.”


Peter says some serious days of skateboarding impel him to reassess aspects of his life. “It’s an addiction in the sense that as soon as one session is done, I cannot wait for the next, and it’s all I think about at work and sometimes [at] school. It makes me re-analyze myself, whether it’s my physical strength or mental strength. It almost makes me feel elitist, knowing that I have discovered this incredible sense of freedom and strength that so few people have.”

Sam says longboardingdoes wonders for him.

“When you’re freeriding or downhilling, your main focus is on your trick or on your downhill position,” he says. “I focus all in it ... those moments when bombing a hill or busting somesick slides, I feel free from the world. I feel like I am just free of all pain and worries. It’s just me, nature and my longboards.”

Adam said longboarding was profoundly liberating: “There were no high school dramas, no judgments, no bulls—t,” he wrote. “It was simply moving around in a fun and calming way, going with an imaginary flow that simply was out of this world in the sense that it brought you away from your troubles and woes. It was just skating around without worries.”

Adam also wrote about how longboarding can allow you to get out and see new places and view them in a different light: A city walk would be completely different from a city cruise; a drive on a mountain would be different compared to bombing the hill with a whole group of people.

Finally, he wrote, “It also helped me view the world differently somehow. Before longboarding, I was more of an introvert, locking myself in my room playing computer games. Even skating, I’d skate alone. I hated being connected with other people because of the complexity of relations. However, every time I cruised around, I’d meet people intrigued by what I was doing. People whom I would never bother

to talk to if I were to simply walk, now suddenly talked to me. Before, I’d view people as just a bag of bones. Now, I view each individual as a gateway to another life, new experiences, new personalities — and longboarding was simply a small key to start conversing to them.”

Before long, Adam started conversing with people without the help of longboards, and this slowly built his confidence. Longboarding became a form of meditation to him and an invitation to view places in a much more beautiful and different light.

Devon finds that longboarding has become one of the only methods he can use to clear his mind. He will skate for hours on end by himself: “It gives me insight into issues that may be on my mind much better than anything else I could do,” he says.

Devon says he finds it hard to concentrate on a specific problem in his mind with so many distractions around. “But when I’m out skating,” he says, “there are very few distractions. By finding resolutions to these problems, I find it much easier to relax and clear my mind by not stressing over them so much.”

B. Lane was a little more introspective when it came to this topic. “The ironic part of this question,” he wrote, “is that the three things you reference are all functions we associate with happenings from the neck up. For me, this mental restoration and enlivening is a wholebody experience. It takes finding my footing, feeling springs in the legs, attuning to center ... for the brainy aspects to start chirping. Once the key for that day is found, the chirp often becomes a symphony in no time at all.”

“Longboarding, especially long-distance pushing, provides me with a viable form of exercise including a super cardio workout,” says Mitch. The adrenaline and endorphin rush he experiences when carving a hill or sliding sideways is a natural way of getting outside of himself.

“This is a Natural High!” he says. “Once I have spent a time in this ‘flow state,’ I am far more able to focus on the more mundane tasks such as work and other necessary daily activities.”


Mitch also says the time spent on a board also is a great “alone time.” It enables him to think through any of the issues and items he needs to contemplate in order to achieve his goals.

Israel says longboarding puts things that matterinto realfocus. “When you hit that hill or carve left and right, that is all that matters,” he wrote. “When the perfect run down your street unfolds through your body down through your feet to your deck, trucks and wheels, you

become a living masterpiece!”

At times, Israel says, he feels like a hawk dive bombing for prey, or even the ocean waves churning: “In those moments I feel so fulfilled.”

“When I step onto my board I step out of the physical, connected world and into my spiritual disconnect,” says Kiry. “I let go of my troubles. It isn’t forced; it is the natural effect of skating for me.” Longboarding is what Kiry does when she’s upset, angry or anxious.


“My problems work themselves out as if I’m pushing through them,” she says. “I always come up with my best ideas when skating.”

David’s morning sessions are quite often push/carve sessions along the trail of the Memphis Greenline, a paved trail along a disused railroad track running through the heart of Memphis, Tennessee. “It is a place of escape from the city,” he says. “Native trees and bamboo run along the sides of the Greenline, and seemingly take the rider to another place where the city and urban sprawl have not touched.”

A few quick pushes lead to pumping and carving through this faux forest. In less than 15 minutes, David says, all the stress of parenthood, work and financial responsibilities disappear. “I can literally feel my shoulders and mind relax as the board and I work as one to propel me down the path,” he says. “This is the Zen of skateboarding.”

Owen says longboarding helps him clear his mind because it forces him to live in the moment. “You have to focus on the task at hand,” he says, “and that helps you to push the stresses of daily life out of your mind, focusing you on the present.”

Micah says he finds that he rides more when he has had a bad day or has to work through something that’s going on within himself. “It distracts me from the negative in my life and focuses my energy into something positive,” he says. “For example, [if I am] having a rough day, I’ll practice a trick that I haven’t gotten down yet. I can let out all my frustrations and focus all my anger on getting the trick down, instead of taking it out on others.”

Micah believes skateboarding is very therapeutic in that way. “Sometimes just cruising helps to clear my mind as well,” he says. “There is no better feeling than longboarding on a beautiful day, being outside and experiencing nature. That alone is very spiritual and calming to me.”


I contend that the act of balancing on a skateboard can give one an opportunity to explore aspects of harmony. So I asked about the ways that longboarding could promote a more harmonious life.

The question proved a little more complicated than I initially thought. Peter was not convinced. “That’s a serious causation vs. correlation error,” he wrote. “Look at the pros; a lot of those dudes are addicts and live pretty unharmonious, miserable lives, but they have serious balance on a board.”

Perhaps it was my fault in not providing more detail. But then I started to receive more answers that tied into the aspect of using a longboard to achieve balance both physically and mentally.

Sam says his longboard brings him harmony, peace of mind and confidence. “Ever since I started longboarding I have gotten more gutsy with things,” he says. “My confidence level has been boosted; I feel at ease, like I can accomplish even difficult things.”

This seemed like a good endorsement to me — but then Adam chimed in with his assessment: “From a physical point of view, I agree. Ever since I started indulging in downhill skateboarding, I started practicing a more healthy lifestyle.” He started watching what he ate and took up parkour to stay in shape and strengthen his legs — which allowed him to control his composure while bombing a hill at 60-70 km/h and not being afraid to slide or footbrake.

So far so good, I thought. But then he added, “However, I disagree in terms of attitude. Longboarding made me egocentric after I started joining races. Competition is there. Relationships were severed in my competitiveness, and simply focusing myself to winning never helped myself progress. Therefore, competition in sports in general is always

an imbalance towards life.” Definitely food for thought as longboarding competitions grow at a rapid rate.

Devon believes that longboarding can create a harmonious life — but not due to the physical balance that one develops through longboarding. “The equilibrium that one has while skating should reflect the harmonious lifestyle that one could live.” Stated another way: Longboarding requires balance, but it’s up to us to lead a balanced life.

B. Lane says he tries to ride every day, but sometimes he wonders if it’s an addiction or a discipline. “My kids think I’m obsessed,” he says, and admits, “If I can’t get out a few days in a row I do get cranky.”

In the end , though, he says, “I guess that’s a matter of perspective. What may be harmonious on one level, like maintaining one’s health, seems like violent battle on the level of blood cells and pathogens. Longboarding is my constitutional — a daily fix that feels good and pays dividends.”

Mitch agreed with the concept of balance and harmony.

“One can easily take the lessons learned from longboarding and apply them to life in many circumstances,” he says. “The skill and foresight necessary to achieve a nice flowing ride is not dissimilar to life in many other instances: Be calm, be steady, be in control, and you will enjoy the flow. Oh, and always protect yourself. Wear a helmet; learn the skills and you will improve your experience — just like in life.”

Israel seemed to agree with my philosophyalmost instinctively.

“When you are balanced on a longboard, you are reflecting balance in life,” he wrote. “And when you prove that you can do more, harder and faster, on that board ... then you can bring that over to your life off the board. You remember how hard it was to take your first push on the board, but now you can hit a hill going 40 and slide sideways for 20 feet and stand up like nothing. Work at it and it will come.”

David also seemed to agree. “Like most things, it is necessary to cut through the notion of achievement, and allow for the experience to flow its natural course,” he wrote. “All aspects of skateboarding/longboarding are about self-discovery. We all have individual barriers and limitations. To push those without pushing is the key to balance. It is the Taoist notion of doing non-doing.”

Owen wrote that longboarding can promote time to reflect and center yourself, and that perhaps through such reflection you can adjust your life and make it more harmonious and peaceful.

“But at the same time,” he wrote, “I think that it can be as harmonious or destructive as you will allow it. ... If you are living a destructive lifestyle, longboarding can enable you to continue down that path if you allow it. If you are living a peaceful lifestyle, longboarding can promote and enable you as you continue down that path as well.

Thus, Owen says, “I believe that longboarding in and of itself is a neutral entity, and it isn’t longboarding that promotes a harmonious life, but that it’s we who promote it.”

And Owen is blunt in his assessment of what longboarding can achieve: “I don’t believe that longboarding, in and of itself, is able to manufacture true peace for you.”

Al took a different approach to the question, seeing thebalance not as a philosophical one but a chemical one.

“For the most part longboarding is aerobic,” he wrote. “Learning to tre flip is not. The stoke of longboarding, I think, is very much tied to that aerobic aspect. Yet it’s not running; it’s not cycling; there is that flow that you don’t get from those activities. So for me the act of skating is the balance to the other aspects of my life. In no other part of my life do I actually experience that which happens on the hill — so that is the balance.”

To be continued … CW



Montrealisacityunlikeanythingyou’llexperienceintherestofNorthAmerica.Itseamlesslyblendsart,history and culture into a tantalizing mosaic.

At times it can be mysterious and maddening, but I have always found it utterlymesmerizing.Thereisanendlessamountofincrediblefoodthatcanpleaseanytypeofpalate.TheextraordinarynumberofbarsthatstayopentotheearlyhourshavesealedMontreal’sreputationasquitethepartytown. IsitanywonderIwantedtosharethismagicalplacewiththereadersofConcreteWave?

The Big O was dug up and moved 80 meters to accommodate the new stadium. Photo: Michael Brooke

But what about the longboard scene, you wonder?

I am pleased to report that not only is there a thriving longboard scene in Montreal, but it is one that is incredibly hospitable to visitors. You just have to experience it – to jump in and grab hold of the “joie de vivre” that oozes from this city and its inhabitants.

My first visit to Montreal was in 1978 on a school trip. While it was enjoyable, it wasn’t until 1983 that I truly fell in love with the city. Montreal is only a fivehour drive from Toronto and a four-hour drive from New York City, but as you will soon discover, it feels like it’s in its own unique world.

Numerous people have helped nurture the longboard scene in Montreal. I’d like to introduce you to one of its founding fathers: Pierre Gravel.

Gravel has lived in the city for about 18 years. Initially from Alma, Lac Saint Jean, a fairly remote northern town, he moved to Montreal for work. “I moved with my longboard and I never saw anyone riding at the time,” he says. “It was only in 1996 that I started to see other people.” By that time a few shops had started to carry longboards. “Spin Boardshop had them, along with Le Roi Lizard.”


The official language of Quebec is French, and while many in Montreal are bilingual, it’s always much more convenient to communicate in your mother tongue. Back in the mid- to late ’90s, the Quebec longboard community hung out on the NCDSA website. Gravel says, “I met Paul Demers at the forum, along with Jim Z (Ziemlanski). But after this, we all started to congregate to the Motion Longboards website.”

From there, things moved rapidly to the website of Top Challenge, a downhill event that took place in the heart of Montreal. Pierre set up the site, and the Montreal longboard community started to communicate. Sadly, the site ceased to exist and its entire database disappeared after the death of Top Challenge. Undaunted, Pierre decided to create a new website, Montreal Sessions, which now has more than 2,000 members. Helping Pierre were Yann Lhermitte and Fabrice Gaëtan. “Mike Bottreau, Myriam Arsenault-Jacques and Simon Benoit are also helping to maintain order,” recalls Pierre. “Sometimes the forum got a little heated!”

Christian Chenard-Lemire (left) and Alaric LeBlanc of Restless Skateboards. Bob Couet, the owner of Urge Longboards, stands in his 9' x 6' workshop. Friday night sessions at Le Taz indoor skatepark are a must for many longboarders.


Fabrice Gaëtan started longboarding at the age of 30 after he had broken his wrist while bike riding. “I had met up with a few folks via the Internet. As we started to go faster, I felt the wheels drifting and I wanted to push things further,” he says.

Joining up with Fabrice was Yann Lhermitte. Yann had arrived from the French Alps to study and work in Montreal. “We were just having a blast sliding,” says Yann. “People used to give us very strange looks. They just couldn’t understand the gloves or what we were doing.”

Fabrice and Yann took inspiration from Supaflex

videos and adapted what they saw to the terrain of Montreal. Interestingly, Yann credits Fabrice as his mentor for sliding, and Fabrice credits Yann as his mentor for going fast. “We were learning from each other and it was pure fun,” says Fabrice.

At the time the two were sliding with a fellow Montrealer, Nicholas Senequier.“It was all about going fast with slides – it was surfing the concrete,” he adds.

I asked Yann and Fabrice about their style of sliding. “We have a history of putting our hands down when we slide,” says Yann. “We have a laid-back, low positioning style. We stretch out.”

The KebbeK Krew: (left to right) Marco Waldorf, Stephen Peters, Kevin LeFrank, Kayla Hill and Pierre Gravel. Graffiti sanctioned by the city of Montreal for the 'Under Pressure' festival held every August. AJ Powell proudly shows off his snowskate collection.

In the beginning there were three distinct crews: Yann and Fabrice’s little group, the guys from Motion and the KebbeK group. “Dwayne Pereto, Pierre [Gravel] and Ian [Comishin] would be doing crazy things in Westmount,” explains Yann.

Dom Mahe over at Motion had a website and there was a message board there. The board got filled up with messages, and the gang realized they needed something bigger. Thus was born the Montreal Sessions website.

During the 2005 Top Challenge, Fabrice organized an outlaw slide comp. “We knew we had some of the best riders in the world, so we took the opportunity,” he says. “We did it the night before and it was amazing. It is the best souvenir I have from my time in longboarding.”

The one key connection between Yann and Fabrice other than their riding ability was their skill at capturing images of the action: Yann has produced a number of videos, and Fabrice attended school for photography and was working in a production facility where the duo spent nights editing film. This unique combination meant others could get a glimpse into their world.

“We were taking the time to make good videos,” Yann says. “We used video technology that was a little ahead of its time and people appreciated it.”

Unfortunately, Fabrice got burned out on the business

Fabrice Gaëtan and Marc Séguin hit a Montreal cemetery during a snowstorm. Photo: Martin Duquette Hanging out after the interview at Underworld skateshop.If you visit Montreal, it is imperative you eat a smoked meat sandwich. Yann Lhermitte faces down old man winter. Photo: Fabrice Gaëtan MJ's father runs Urge Longboards and she loves to slide. Photo: Bob Couet Dmitri Komarov, Ludovic Tremblay, Maxime Robitaille and Kelian Duplain at St-Donat in the Laurentians. Photo: Olivier Séguin-Leduc

side of longboarding. He left the scene, but there is no doubt he left his mark. Ironically, he credits longboarding for getting him back into photography. He is now a fulltime photographer supporting a family.Yann still travels and competes in numerous events while balancing his career as an engineer. He seems to be doing well at it. In November 2011 he held a push race; despite rain and wind, more than 90 skaters showed up.

“I have a desire to charge hard and keep traveling,” Yann says. “My goal is to mix my passion for longboarding with my job.


Restless Longboards was founded in 2004 by Christian Chenard-Lemire, Alaric LeBlanc, Dither Flores and François-Olivier Théberge. Originally, they were set up as an online shop offering custom graphics with different models. Restless still offers this service but has over time created a unique longboard brand of their own. I met up with Christian and Alaric in their R&D facility in Montreal. We also took time to spend a lunch at the infamous PJ’s

Bar just down the road from their warehouse. Most of that conversation will remain off the record.

Restless are spending a lot of time prototyping with their vacuum press. “It’s a Venturi system, which uses compressed air,” explains Christian. “We are also using 3D modeling to make our own molds.”

The team at Restless is excited for the future. “We see the growth of longboarding,” says Christian. “Our idea is to create a diverse amount of product that appeals to riders looking for a superior ride.”


Jim Ziemlanski, Jody Willcock and Ian Comishin are three individuals who have collectively had a huge impact on the longboard scene in Montreal. As Pierre explains, it was Jim who first contacted him to try out a slalom board. The two traveled to an event in Boston. Pierre has turned a lot of folks onto the fun you can have with cones. “I got Jim into slalom, but it was Jim who got me into downhill.”

A year later, Pierre met up with Ian. “Those guys were younger than me,” Pierre says. “They were fearless! I

Emilie Gascon at the Montreal Slalom Outlaw. Photo: Olivier Séguin-Leduc

started following them but couldn’t go through every red light like they did. It was fun.”

Ian went on to found KebbeK Skateboards. The brand has forged a unique place within the scene and its boards are now sold worldwide.


In the early 2000s, Pierre was riding with a longboarder named Frank Fontaine. “He told me he wanted to start a race and asked me to help out,” Pierre says. “I hooked him up with Ian and Jim, as they had been involved with numerous races.”

Frank was passionate about creating something, Pierre says, but was unsure how to put it on: “He saw the potential of a downhill race right in the middle of the city. His choice was Mont Royal. The first dry run of the event took place in 2002 with 10 racers. I broke two fingers just a week or so before the event, so I couldn’t ride.”

Top Challenge was ahead of its time, with key sponsorship from Bud Light. Fontaine invested a huge amount of time and money in Top Challenge, and repeatedly tried to get Red Bull on board as well. The energy-drink company had sponsored downhill events in previous years, but for some reason, things just didn’t gel for Top Challenge. Still, the memories of that time are something that will never fade. The sight of thousands of spectators lining the streets was something to behold.


If there is one element about the scene in Montreal that keeps appearing, it’s the concept of riders embracing all types of skateboarding. “I am really proud of the fact that many skaters here are willing to try different things. I encourage street skaters to try longboards and vice versa,” says Pierre.


A number of years ago, skating the “Devil’s Toy” run in Westmount was pretty easy. Nowadays, it’s a bust due

the numerous private security firms that prowl the area. The spot got its name from a 1966 National Film Board documentary on the skateboarding scene in Montreal. It’s a classic, and you’ll cringe at the site of clay wheels hitting the hills of Westmount. The introduction states: “This film is dedicated to all victims of intolerance.” Like many things emerging from Montreal, the film truly was ahead of its time. Do a quick search on Google and you’ll find it.


Opened in the spring of 2009, this indoor skatepark is absolutely massive. The $10 million project also features a second level with a nice wooden kidney bowl. Friday night sessions are populated by a number of longboarders who love to carve with their pool decks. While the infamous Montreal weather can be horrendous from late November to April, Taz is nice and toasty.

Ludovic Tremblay in Quebec City. Photo: Olivier Séguin-Leduc There is life among the dearly departed. Dmitri at a Montreal cemetery. Photo: Olivier Séguin-Leduc Charles Ouimet at one of the locals’ favorite spots. Photo: Olivier Séguin-Leduc Dmitri Komarov plays with the devil's toy in Westmount. Photo: Olivier Séguin-Leduc

Behind Taz is a free DIY concrete park called Area 45 built by a number of passionate locals.


Eight years ago, at the age of 18, AJ Powell moved down from Laval to attend college in Montreal. He too has had a front-row seat to the growth of longboarding in Montreal. I asked what made the scene so special.

“It’s definitely not having all the seasons to skate,” AJ said. “Winter has a huge impact on the scene here, so you have to be adventuresome.”


While there are numerous hills surrounding Montreal, the truth is that they are the least of your concerns. If you want to survive longboarding in this city, you’re going to need to handle the traffic. Montreal is well known as being an explosive mix of insane drivers and fearless pedestrians. Both parties seem to have a love affair with ignoring traffic signals. At times you get the feeling it’s a scene out of “Deathrace 2000.” Longboarding in this city requires lightning-fast reflexes and nerves of steel.

For example, AJ explained, there are 34 kilometers of underground in Montreal that you can skate. There are pedestrian tunnels that connect to malls and major hotels along with huge parking-lot spirals that go deep. You can skate for hours without going outside, AJ says. Of course, the sessions at Taz Skatepark also compensate for a tough winter, too. AJ also enthusiastically rides his quiver of snowskates during the winter. “The companies making them originally didn’t understand how the truck should work,” he says. “Now we have a steering mechanism that works. You should check out Rocker Trucks.”

Hey, don’t blame Concrete Wave if you hang up your longboard and take up snowskating full-time!


I’ve known Pascal Jean, a.k.a. “The Rookie,” for a number of years. He skates it all: parks, hills and cones. He’s also a big proponent of snowskating. When I met him at the Taz skatepark he was padding up for a session. I asked him what he’d been up to.

“I have footage of me hitting 73 kilometers an hour on my snowskate,” he told me. “I’ll send you the link.”

I sense that if more longboarders knew about snowskating, they would actually look forward to winter.

Besides being one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, Rookie is a highly acclaimed DJ. Tune into his Rock Therapie podcast.

“You have to expect cars to show up in blind corners,” says Pierre Gravel. “There’s rarely a clean empty street. Footbraking, sliding and speed-checking are skills you must possess – because you’ll need them!”


Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to meet up with the legendary “Fast Freddy” Desjardins on this trip to Montreal. This was a severe disappointment, as Monsieur Freddy has also been instrumental in building the scene, including starting up Street Missile Longboards, along with a race series called Attack. So I wanted to get his take on things. I also recall meeting him at Top Challenge in 2003 and standing in awe of his ability to party and skate! There are numerous stories about Fast Freddy. The latest one I heard was the time when he was in charge

of fixing the gradient on a mountain road. There was a certain pitch to the road, and Freddy realized that if was good for a car, then it would be even better for a longboard. A few adjustments later, and presto – the perfect run. The only issue was that the contractors couldn’t figure out how they had used all that additional asphalt!


I had an opportunity to interview some of the next generation of Montreal longboarders who are building upon the city’s strong foundations: Kevin LeFrank, Maxim Garant Rousseau and Dmitri Komarov.

Kevin is originally from Ontario and now works at KebbeK. He says the camaraderie is what drew him to longboarding. Maxim discovered the scene when he visited La Source Attack race. “I ended up finishing fifth and got addicted,” he says. He is an ambassador for Loaded. Dmitri, who is originally from Russia (he left when he was 8) has also been riding for four years.

Since Kevin hails from Ontario, he has a unique perspective on the differences between the scenes. “Both scenes are friendly, but I find that the Montreal scene is a bit more inclusive,” he says. “No one pushes anyone away – it feels like family. There also seems to be a willingness to share spots.”

Maxim comes from Quebec City and also has a different take on things. “Something that is cool about Montreal is that people actually live in the city,” he says. “In Quebec City, a lot of people live in the suburbs. Here, in Montreal, we just grab our boards and go.”

Everyone meets up around the mountain – it’s the focus that drives the stoke.

“What’s kind of crazy about Montreal is that none of us are actually from Montreal,” says Dmitri. “Somehow, we all ended up here and it feels like our town.”

The gang all nodded in agreement when Kevin piped up with, “Home is where you hang your hat.”

Dmitri has definitely found a place in Montreal and the longboard community. “Through longboarding, I learned French,” he says. Talk about the benefits of immersion!

AJ, Yann and Jace Samikov escape the grip of winter. Photo: Mikael Bottreau Racers start very early in Quebec! Photo: Luc Bertrand Charles Ouimet at the Caserne. Photo: Olivier Séguin-Leduc


No article on Montreal could be published without a mention of the party atmosphere that pervades the city. I’ll be blunt here: Montrealers know how to have a great time and live life large! But when your bars are open until 4 a.m., you run the risk of sleeping in and missing Lord knows what event or race. It’s happened so many times to so many skaters that people just roll with it. “It’s not just that there’s a party after each race,” says Maxim “but there’s also a party BEFORE each race!”


Thanks to the hard work of a dedicated group of riders, the web is allowing people to get a sense of what is hap-

pening in the world of Quebec longboarding. Modeled after the success of Skate House Media, teamquebec.org is forging a huge amount of unity. “We are working with so many different people and we all have the same goal,” says Dmitri. “It’s really bringing people together.”


The hills in the snowboard areas of Mont Tremblant and Saint Saveur beckon riders from the city. You can easily hit 60+ mph, and there’s new asphalt being laid.


It’s a rite of passage – practically every skater makes a pilgrimage to the Big O pipe at the site of the 1976 Summer Olympics. The pipe, originally a corridor for athletes to walk under, has been sessioned now for almost three decades. A few years ago plans were under way to tear it down. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of Barry Walsh and Marc Tison (two legendary locals), the pipe was spared. The weekend I was there, crews were in the process of moving the pipe about 90 feet from its original position due to the need for the adjacent stadium to have extra space. Kudos to cheese maker Saputo, who picked up the $63,000 tab.


Yann Lhermitte and I drove out to a town just east of

Montreal called Repentigny. Here we met Bob Couet, owner of Urge Longboards. Bob makes longboard decks for small children (under the age of 10). He does this in a workshop that is 9’ by 6.’ Yes, you read that correctly, he works in a 54-square-foot workspace. The amount of stoke that Bob has for longboarding is off the charts. He truly embodies what it means to be a skater. Bob, merci pour ton hospitalité!


Just three hours down the road and you’ll hit Quebec City. It’s a whole other experience and definitely worth a visit if you have the time. We’ll get to a scene report eventually, but I did want to mention some incredible folks there who are making their mark on the scene in Montreal. Miguel “Mig” Marco is not only an exceptional slalom skater, but he’s created quite a buzz with his company, Fullbag. The guys at Rotule Longboards are

also creating some extraordinary decks. Vinz over at Motion Longboards has been manufacturing since 1999 and utilizes a number of substrates in his decks. And be sure to visit Dom at Free For All BoardShop.


There are numerous riders of an extremely high caliber in Montreal. The interesting thing is that there is now an older group of riders and a younger group. “We are all friends and we keep a good spirit together. There isn’t much rivalry. We have different skate companies here and we all skate together,” says Pierre.


The scene in Montreal is very welcoming. Don’t be intimidated if French is not your first language. Even an attempt to speak just a little French will go a long way. Before coming, however, it’s a good idea to visit some websites and get a sense of the place. You’ll find the hospitality pretty incredible. Pierre and dozens of other locals have hosted people they’ve only met on the Internet and formed lifelong friendships. As someone who has experienced firsthand the generosity of the locals, I can assure you that your first visit to Montreal will not be your last.


Pierre Gravel

“At almost 50, I am happy to be riding. I still enjoy the ride.”

Fabrice Gaëtan

“I am proud of what’s been accomplished in Montreal. I did not expect things to get this big this fast. We started to push the engine and have fun.”

Yann Lhermitte

“Longboarding saved my life. I am living a dream and I intend to keep riding for a long time!”

Dmitri Komarov

“I had an opportunity to come to either Montreal or Halifax. I’m glad I wound up in Montreal!”

Yann and his magic flying carpet longboard. Photo: Olivier Séguin-Leduc. Niko Desmarais has a degree in kinesiology, which he puts to good use! Photo: Luc-Bertrand Snowskate enthusiast "The Rookie" has hit over 40 mph.


So, Ian, you’re a transplanted British Columbian. How the heck did you wind up in Quebec?

The reason I am in Quebec is that I had a disastrous run with a skateboard/punk rock tour. It left me and a bunch of my friends deeply in debt. There was a business opportunity that came up in January of 2000 that allowed me to get these debts paid off. It was only supposed to be for one year. But I became a father out here, so now I’ll be here for at least 20 years.

How are Jody Willcock and Jim Z connected with you and the Quebec scene?

Jim was one of my roommates when I was living in Rossland, BC back in the mid-’90s. Jody I’ve known since grade three. We were in Cub Scouts together. (Editor’s note: The thought of Jody being in Cub Scouts boggles my mind!) We just grew up together as skate rats.

What were you riding on back then?

We were using these Highway Skateboards that Jody was building back in Prince George. These were the lowered-platform decks. It was really exciting because it allowed us to open a whole new style of riding in British Columbia. We hit big roads – straight-up bombing. No sliding or drifting. We went as fast as we could.

So what happened next?

About a year later (in 2001), Jody and Jim said they were interested in moving to Montreal. I had offered to get some CNC technology for them. They had been borrowing it from a local college in Prince George. They wanted to build their own. So I said I would help finance this, but only if they came to Montreal. We started building boards together.

I assume it wasn’t long before they started hitting the hills. Jody was very astute in tracking down the location of runs from the film “The Devil’s Toy.” Jody and another guy named Jeremy Webb, along with Jim and myself, would go and skate these runs in Westmount – all from the film. It was an interesting feeling of nostalgia.

From speaking with people who remember seeing you guys at the time, your crew had quite the reputation for speed.

Jody’s design of boards allowed us to go fast. We had the confidence to go into corners. The lowered platform helped us push things and not get the wobbles. At the time this was something unique; it was a game changer. There was a downhill scene at the time – you had EDI in California, for example – but it wasn’t focused on highly technical moves like scrubbing your speed in the corners. It was all about pushing roads to their limits and having this sort of experience that we didn’t think existed anywhere else in the world. At least that’s how

it felt to us – pre-Internet days. We didn’t get much exposure to hard cornering or hard drifting.

How did KebbeK Skateboards start?

KebbeK is actually an offshoot of PM Skateboards, which I started in 1992. When Jody came out, he had a contract to build boards for Landyachtz. Since these lowered boards were so weird-looking for a lot of people, we decided to introduce a brand that would be a complementary brand that would compete on a friendly basis. This would mean that there would be two companies making lowered-platform boards.

Additionally, Chris Chaput of Abec 11 had asked Jody and Jim to come up with a board that he was interested in. This deck became the Smoothcut that was based on Chris’ public files that he had put on the Internet (a design he called the Roughcut). It was 2001 when we launched our first KebbeK speedboard.

What happened next?

Jody left back to BC pretty quickly after moving out to Montreal, as we found that our friendship was clashing with our debt management, and frankly, he just really missed BC life with the great snowboarding and being close to his family. Jim really helped form the style of the company as we moved away from subcontracting to

doing just about everything ourselves. He apprenticed me on CNC philosophy, which was very rare in the skateboard world back in the late ’90s and early 2000s. Jim hung out for a few years, but BC was beckoning him back too, so he left.

So then it was just you?

I was on my own for quite some time. I then had a long string of apprentices who came to work with me, but virtually all of them threw in the towel within a few months, as I can be very picky and very sloppy at the exact same time. AJ Powell was really running the show while I helped my friend relaunch his robotics company in the wind energy industry; it required a very special sort of shoestring, broke-ass management style that only one who has been in the skateboard business for 15 years can understand. AJ tried hard, but when the CNC blew up we had to do more manual work, and things were tough.

Tell me about the German master craftsman. One day Tim Brodesser from Germany walked through the front door and said he was an engineer in woodworking and he wanted to work for free. In the last few years he has rebuilt the style of production, helped me to rebuild the CNC machine a few times over, took on Kevin LeFrank as an apprentice and really brought our reputation back to where it was in the early 2000s. He’s now moved back to be with his family in Germany.

Who’s running things now?

We’ve got Stephen Waldorf, Kevin, Marco Peters, Kayla Hill, Pierre Gravel and myself to try and make all the rippers their rides.

What about the future?

It’s looking as exciting as it has always been. People love to talk about where things are going. PM/KebbeK turns 20 years old in 2012. Time is actually kind of standing still now. Skateboarding is not changing or evolving or becoming something else, it’s still just skateboarding. It is to me today what it was to the kids in “The Devil’s Toy” film shot in 1965: a piece of wood that rolls and you can stand on it. If you are a personality type who can take something so simple and utilize it to fulfill one or even all your aspirations, then you are a skater. CW

Ian enjoys a late fall session. Photo: Pierre Gravel Pierre Gravel at the Devil's Toy. Photo: Ian Comishin



If you didn’t know by now, the Toronto longboarding scene is rich. This richness is best exemplified by the diversity of the community, which ranges from young kids to adults, professional skaters to investment bankers and everything in between. The ninth annual 2011 Toronto Board Meeting brought together nearly 900 of these unique longboarders, many of whom were locals. Every year, about 10 percent of those participants are women. Similar to the growth of the Board Meeting, the number of female longboarders in the Toronto area has grown from a handful. In their alwayschivalrous way, the gentlemen who planned this year’s Board Meeting began the exhausting head count at City Hall with the ladies. The femme count ended with 69,

but estimates have corrected that figure to close to 80. It was only a few years ago when the Toronto Board Meeting had 80 participants in total.

A few weeks passed, and some of the women in that head count started a private discussion on the online message board, ontariolongboarding.com. With these online discussions, the FUBU stoke in Toronto was revived. FUBU sessions date back to 2005 in Toronto. These were “For Us By Us” gatherings of women on longboards sessioning the Toronto hills, streets, and parking garages, usually run by Aubrey Iwaniw. In no way were these ‘XX’ exclusive events anti-man. In fact, it was typical for the femmes to rendezvous with the men of the community at a certain place and time. The

FUBU events celebrated female shredding in a way that is totally unique to estrogen-fueled events. (Just watch the “Endless Roads” series in Spain for a sneak peek into what an all-femme session feels like.) But the famed FUBU sessions faded over time.

In the summer of 2011, Cindy Zhou decided to bring back all-girl skate sessions using Longboard Living, a local skate shop, as a platform to find new riders and as a place for girls to congregate weekly. These skates were simply known as Sunday All-Girl Skates and attracted several new riders to the community. Through these sessions, Cindy met Aubrey, Aubrey met Christina, and Cindy and Christina strengthened their friendship. Through gatherings like the FUBU sessions, All-Girl skate and Board Meeting, Christina “Knives” Takaoka was inspired to approach Aubrey and Cindy about creating an all-girls event. The FUBU Race Weekend Organizing Team was born.

Far too often, Christina was noticing prizes at events being given to a male community that was already adequately outfitted with gear. In their defense, it is reasonable that the majority, if not all of the prizes go out to guys, considering events are almost 100% comprised of males. However, if Board Meeting showed us that at least 10% of this growing community is female, why aren’t 10% of these slide jams, races and other events made up of females too? Intimidation, fears of looking like a fool, feelings of inadequacy, and contentment with just sitting on the sidelines are just some of the reasons why girls choose not to participate. This does not suggest a lack of skill, but rather we sometimes we just don’t have the confidence or right environment to put ourselves out there. The FUBU organizers wanted to create an ideal environment that would appeal to all skill levels and girls from all backgrounds. That way, the stereotypical idea of a skate event would be flipped, with 100% of the prizes going to 100% females! Moreover, Aubrey realized that in order for girls to progress, they would need simple skate essentials including skate tools, knee pads, helmets and slide gloves. With the help of Longboard Living, S&J Sales and countless other companies, FUBU was able to stoke out girls with the gear they needed to skate safe and skate hard.

The original theme for the event was “Chivalry Is Not Dead.” We wanted to not only fuel female stoke, but also have the men of our community get stoked, support the ladies and ultimately, be chivalrous. The FUBU Race Weekend brought together the local ladies while encouraging our male friends to facilitate the happenings. These man-friends wanted to help, but it was important to them and the FUBU organizers that this assistance came from a distance. Sometimes when ladies go to an event that has some element of competition in it, the very act of being there is sort of terrifying. There are all sorts of hormones flying around, endorphins and adrenaline and definitely some sort of -osterone, usually of the test variety. In

By the Toronto Girls Longboarders and FUBU Race Weekend Organizing Team Chantell Hill Photo: Jonathan Nuss

contrast, the FUBU race event wasn’t scary at all. There was so much lady-love and support and encouragement going on that no one could possibly feel like they weren’t good enough or cool enough to participate. Even when people fell, they were cheered on as they got up. When two girls were racing, and one fell, the other made sure she was okay before pushing on to finish. There were tons of incredible photographers and videographers there to ensure that it was all captured, whether participants had NEVER attempted such a thing before, or were doing so with the style and grace of years of practice.

The FUBU weekend all began with a twilight cruise along Lake Ontario, where the participants had a chance to reconnect and introduce themselves. These lovely friends, old and new, re-convened after the cruise at a wine and cheese house party hosted by Toronto’s infamous Club 54, a notorious longboarding hangout *slash* skate house. The evening was complete with indoor trick skating and ladies overheard shouting, “See you tomorrow!” as they left, some with the men of their lives who brought them out.

The Sunday FUBU race day was set up with three separate events: slalom, timed trials and head-to-head runs. Toronto’s slalom community has dreamt for years that one day an organized race would happen for them in their city. Considering the strong female representation in the slalom scene, an all-femme slalom component started maturing with the plans for the FUBU race day. In addition to a push race, running cones would bring an interesting technical challenge to this day of fun. The slalom run was set up by Lisa Farrows, ranked sixth internationally, and the graphic designer who crafted the FUBU flyer. Starting the slalom course first gave the ladies the confidence and familiarity with the hill where the later races would follow. The winning amateur slalom title went to Irene Ng, while Ms. Farrows surprised no one with her dominance over the pro-level course.

The full race course took skaters from the top of a pedestrian pathway down past three tight turns and averaged two minutes to complete. There was a timed

individual race round, won by Chantell Hill. The final main event was a toonie race of two by two racers, which was taken by event planner and Skate Invader’s own Cindy Zhou. These races were pleasantly unique, perhaps due to the all-female nature; the two-by-two races began with competitors sincerely hugging each other before each heat, and high fives were exchanged by each pair when the heat was done. Women are awesome.

How to Create Your Own Event

For your own all-femme weekend, you will need:

•Two parts white wine sangria (fruit on the side)

•Three parts of a comfortable, cheap and pleasing food venue

•Three sheets of paper and pens for writing To-Dos (in cursive)

•A dash of over-the-top enthusiasm

•A pinch of an inclusive moral compass

•One small organizing team that is committed to weekly meetings

•Three parts dedication and respect

•One portion of a badass marketing plan, including Stoke-Days

•Another splash of white wine sangria, to taste

Stick this all in the oven for six weeks, cross your fingers and hope for the best on the other end.

A Shout-Out to the Men Who Help Make it Happen ...

In retrospect, the FUBU mellow start was a great planning move because many nervous participants suggested they would only come to the initial waterfront cruise on day one. Timid female first-timers were expected, but day one would also serve as a recruiting tool for day two. The waterfront cruise provided an opportunity to convince all girls that Sunday race day would be in their comfort level. The cruise also allowed women to bring along their partners and guy pals, increasing their individual comfort levels. It is often the case that women find their way into skateboarding through the men in their lives. The number of women who attended the FUBU Race Weekend because they were encouraged by their guy-pals, boyfriends, brothers or fathers is a testament to this point.

Though the planning and execution of the weekend was indeed “For Us By Us,” it would not have run so well or been so well attended if it weren’t for the lovely and encouraging men in the Toronto longboarding community. In addition to product sponsorships, the Club 54 gentlemen provided the Saturday evening venue for all to unwind, connect, laugh, cheer and marvel at the lady-gnar profiled in the first episode of EndlessRoads, “Yellow Horizons.” The female longboarding community is strong, but largely because of the tremendous male support that we all enjoy. The men’s role in the FUBU Race Weekend became increasingly apparent during the Sunday FUBU race day. A call for volunteers was put out in advance of the weekend for any gentlemen eager to participate, and this call was answered. The primary FUBU race official, Ryan Verkerk of the Skate Invaders crew, volunteered his time and logistics-gifted brain to facilitating the entire race day, quietly and behind the scenes. Additionally, time keepers, slalom experts (Chris Barrett and Rob Sydia), results recorders, friendly photographers like Jon Nuss and Rob Cruickshank, videographers (John Park), swag guarders (Bill Flynn and Nate Ng) were all roles that were essential and filled by the men of the Toronto longboarding community. The race day would not have been possible without the generous support of these men.

More inclusive skateboarding events and exclusive women’s events will help balance the gender in this male-dominated activity. The Toronto FUBU Organizing Team was comprised of only a few ladies with so much stoke we needed to share it. Other communities might consider making their own event happen, and in support this recipe is being shared with you. Best of luck! CW

The smiles on their faces say it all. Truly stoked! Photo: Jonathan Nuss Back row: Mioche (far left, white tank top), Fahima Gibrel, Irene Ng, Suzanne "Ponyta" Nuttall, , Catherine Declaro, Lee Anne, Aubrey Iwaniw. Front row: Amanda Job (baseball cap), Kailey Snider , Simone Maurice. Photo: Karyl Kidd




Spain, my country, is located in southern Europe between France and Portugal, separated from Morocco by the Strait of Gibraltar.

Here in Spain we have a great historical heritage, for here have passed the Celts, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Muslims and many others. All of them have contributed to our history and to our great architectural heritage, which is really worth seeing and very well preserved.

With more than 300 sunny days per year and 95% of

the territory ready to skate, the great climate makes our country one of the best places to longboard in the occidental world.

As well, Spain’s longboard community is growing exponentially every year.

Longboarding is what we call here at its boom, with new clubs, crews, meetings, races and longboard events happening every weekend all over the country. YouTube, social networks, brands and Internet forums do the rest,

keeping the riders informed of all news small and big. No wonder why the top brands in the world are coming here to shot videos and sponsor riders.

In order to make these photos for Concrete Wave, I made two trips by car: one to the north and other to the south. As in many countries, north and south in Spain are two different worlds, and you can feel that in the people, the climate, languages, and as well in every detail big or small that you could think about in two different worlds.

Manchu checks out the surf.

Northern Route: Toledo, Valencia, Barcelona, Pamplona, Euskadi, Cantabria, Asturias, Galicia, Castilla y León, Toledo. Approximately 2,000 kms or 1200 miles. I would recommend to go to the north of Spain in summer in order to avoid rain and be able to skate more days.

Valencia is not in the north but I started my trip there, where I took some nice photos and videos. This city is really worth a visit. It’s great for cruising since it is a totally horizontal city where pumping never ends. Make sure you try the Horchata and Fartons for drinking and the Paella for eating.


Barcelona is a must when you go on a skate trip to Spain. This city is just the best city in the world for longboarding. I can’t explain it in a few words; you just have to see it. Go ahead and check out all the videos you find on the Internet about longboarding in Barcelona; you will be amazed. Longboarders take advantage of the fact that the city is very well prepared for bicycles and small-wheel urban transport. I consider it a giant skatepark. You owe it to yourself to visit this magical city at least once.

The Forum is the greatest local longboard spot there – the Barcelona longboard community meets there almost every day – and Numancia Street is great for sliding.


Pamplona is famous for the San Fermines, where lots of crazy guys run in front of the bulls, but is really a city great for skating any other time of the year. Incredible views everywhere and great pavement ready for your urethane, regardless of the duro of your ruedas (wheels).

Euskadi (Basque Country) is one of the best places in the world for several reasons: the people, the food, the geographical situation – all are great. The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is a must for cultural visits, but really Euskadi is full of great places, all of them ready to skate and to enjoy the environment. Euskadi’s people are famous for their great hospitality and courage, and the riders I met there confirmed that to me!

Cantabria is next to Euskadi and is famous for its surfing beaches. In Cantabria you can snowboard, surf and longboard in the same day without traveling too far. Who needs anything else in order to have a complete board day?

Asturias is next to Cantabria and is another natural paradise. The difference between Cantabria and Asturias is sometimes hard to find, for both lands are great and their people are full of hospitality.


Galicia is a magical land where people live in harmony with elves, witches and other supernatural heritages of the Celts that stayed there for a long time. You can enjoy Celtic villages, eat octopus, and listen to the bagpipes when you skate around the old center of towns like Santiago de Compostela.

You will just be amazed if you are able to see Santiago’s Cathedral. This city is a pilgrimage goal for Catholics, who journey there from all parts of Europe since the Middle Ages to have their sins forgiven. So if you made some sins before you were a longboarder, you

Southern Route: Toledo, Extremadura, Andalucía, Murcia, Castilla la Mancha, Toledo. Approximately 2000 kms or 1200 miles.

Diego Guerrero from Seville has been riding longboards since the '70s.

should longboard to that city in order to reach Paradise.

After I passed by Galicia I went back to Toledo to try to get some rest for the second part of my trip.


Extremadura is located in the west and gets its name from the Latin language of the Roman Empire, the same as many other cities and territories in Spain.

This land is famous for its great nature and its great historical heritage. If you come to Mérida and you will be able to longboard around real Roman villages and a very famous Roman theatre, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The longboarding scene is starting to take off in Extremadura, and my visit to Cáceres was great for many purposes, including finding out who is who in the longboard scene there. There is a small but growing scene. I had the chance to meet all the riders. It is obvious they are pushing hard in every aspect they can. They are always riding and organizing themselves. So save a little time for Extremadura, for it’s our own forgotten California in the west side of the country.


Andalucía is a huge part of Spain located in the south. Its name comes from the Muslim Empire name for Spain, “Al–Andalus.” (That era ended around 1489, and Muslims had been here from eight centuries before … quite a while.)

Andalucía is great for longboarding any time of the year, and is especially hot in summer. If you come in summer, be ready to skate at night, as it is the only way unless you are in the mountains. The other nine months of the year, every spot of Andalucía is really ready to longboard. You will find a lot of riders in most of the cities. As in the rest of the country, longboarding is getting bigger and bigger in Andalucía every day.

In Seville you can see the Plaza de España, where George Lucas shot some of the scenes of the last chapters of Star Wars. It’s a really great place to relax while you longboard the green bicycle lines that are all around the city and make Seville one of the best places

Downhilling in Fuengirola. Look for the Rubio Roller Crew when you get there! Mario hits the wet streets of Santiago. The crew from Fuengirola.

in the world for cultural cruising on a longboard. Is also recommended to visit the neighborhood of Triana – and of course la Giralda, the bell tower of the Cathedral of Seville.


In Seville I had the luck to meet Diego Guerrero. He has been longboarding since the ’70s and is the soul of oldschool longboarding in Seville. I was amazed when he showed me his board collection, and I had an incredible time there with this longboard maniac. I salute you, Diego!

I also met the younger longboard community there in the Place of Saint Telmo, a great spot for sliding, pumping, slalom and carving. All these guys and girls really made me feel great, and I am looking forward to going back there as soon as possible!

After Seville my trip was almost finished; I just needed some action, so I went to Fuengirola, a town on the Costa del Sol, where I met the most crazy-fordownhill-skateboarding guys and girls I had ever met. It was difficult to shoot them because they were going down the hill really fast, but the experience was worth it, and I would repeat it if I could – again, another Spanish place to which I already want to go back.


If you ever are in the area of Fuengirola and are a speedboard addict, don’t hesitate to contact the Rubio Roller Crew (search for Downhill Málaga on the Internet). You will find yourself riding downhill in one of the most beautiful and secure places ever, and the people there are just so hospitable. These guys showed again me that all downhill sports are brothers, and that best downhill riders in Spain are from many countries, including Argentina.

After I finished in Fuengirola I had to go to Murcia before heading to my house, but that was just a technical stop in order to get few hours of rest before heading to Toledo again. When I arrived to Toledo I couldn’t believe it; I had lost weight, and I had found new friends and I already wanted to go back to every single place I had just visited. I wish I had more time to do this trip and stay more time with every person I met. I also wish I could have gone to all the places I couldn’t get to. I will do my best to eventually reach everyone in my country, skate with them and take my camera.

I want to invite every rider in the world to visit Spain and meet the Spanish longboard community. We are easy to find on the Internet, so be sure you contact someone before you come here; you will be welcome, and we will show you the best of our country. CW

Enjoying the ride in Cantabria. The local skatepark at Pamplona.

The high school students of Oasis Skateboard Factory in Toronto were assigned an English project to write about the links between skateboard culture and artistic creativity. They crafted contributions that translated their emotional, environmental, and embodied experiences into words, and then into illustrations. Three clusters emerged: ‘Affect’ gathers the intense emotions attached to boarding, bringing into focus a range of needs, memories, and changes of perception; ‘Stage’ acknowledges the central place played by performance and by staging, display, and demonstration; and ‘Tricknique’ combines technique and trick in a new way to capture the spirit of technical mastery and innovation. Affect-Stage-Tricknique are the three ways I array what I found in translation when skaters become writers and illustrators. Guest Editor: Gary Genosko

covers our world adding detail and imagination. It inspires us, moves us, creates wonder, and opens our minds to whole other worlds of possibilities. Skateboarding and graffiti are no different. Even though the art they perform, or display, may not always be legal, it’s still art, regardless of whether you agree or not. And since they’re still not accepted they’ll remain beautiful crimes. –Naomi

When cruising down the street, the wind blows through your hair and you aren’t focussed on the bad things in life. Your mind takes you to the place that still has some innocence, and this helps you have worry-free faith in the impossible. I imagine myself as a cartoon so I can see myself legitimately doing anything. This helps to push me to explore new things even if they sometimes appear completely insane. I make possible things that most people think are impossible. I see life as an obstacle to grind on. – Carly

Skateboarders need architecture, since without the city there is no street, and without the street, there’s no street skating. The minds of architects and skateboarders work in the same creative way. Architects look at the city and see what and how to build. Skateboarders see the city as a skate park, and choose obstacles to perform tricks on. And each discipline in its own way involves a very special kind of perception, and through experience the perception changes. It can become more complex and more unique to each person. The city might be bland to some but to me I see skate spots. –Yohei

Boarding and underground punk cultures have always been connected. The rebellious, grimy, adrenaline filled music fits the skate experience. There’s even a genre of skate-punk, made by skaters for skate videos and skateboarding. Hip hop is making a move into skate culture since the fashions collided. Baggy jeans made their appearance on skaters, skate shoes like DCs are appearing in rap and hip hop videos, fitteds, and snap backs are a must in both subcultures. Recently, low-riding skinny jeans have become big on both sides. Hip hop artists like Pharrell Williams and Lupe Fiasco are both skaters and Lupe has written a song about boarding. –Lou

When you first learn how to push off a board there is nothing that can stop you from that moment on from pushing off each new type of soil and sound and feel of each road, from the other side of town to maybe a different continent. A spirit of stoke’s past lurks in your near future. Imagine being in your parents car, your window is the only window rolled down all the way and it’s the middle of winter. There’s a smaller you listening to the radio, not caring about the genre of music, because it all fits perfectly: the wind in your hair, the ability to completely black the world out of your dreams beyond dreams, where nightmares can try and catch you. No matter which memory triggers your existence, we all start somewhere, and push off from there. –Eva

Two of my favorite things to see in downtown Toronto are a ledge that has recently been skated, and back alley graffiti. So why is it that there are “No Skateboarding” signs and graffiti is considered vandalism? Is it because they’re not in the Art Gallery of Ontario? Or is it just because they’ve been wrongly accused? Art is all around us, and it

when I’m angry I get on my board and start skating then I’m free from stress and no longer worried about life.

when I’m angry I put my headphones on and play punk/screemo music and let its anger pass through me so I don’t feel so alone. –Harper

Boarding is more than a sport: it’s a martial art. Martial artists and skateboarders are mentally and physically dedicated to their arts. Body and mind working in unison is the way to attain prowess. Although both are competitive, they do not work in the same way. With skateboarding, and martial arts in some respects, the competitive side is about personal evaluation. It’s test to

see how well body and mind work together; the less unified they are, the less likely they are to succeed. With martial arts there are rules to prevent injury, but it’s focussed on the student, so the sensei can evaluate him/her. Both skaters and martial artists practise repetition to hone their skills even beyond the point of mastery, embedding the memory into their muscle. But martial arts has ancient wisdom to follow to help with the unification of body and mind, while skateboarding is completely up to the person to define the lessons s/he learns. –Richie


Skateboarding and music go hand in hand. I get the same feeling while listening to music as I do when I’m skateboarding. They both let you define yourself and that craving for something more than what you’ve been handed. You have the choice of where you’d like to go with it, and how far you’d like to take it. You’re given the option to choose your poison. –Joel

I’m trying to find something that resonates with the moment.

I don’t do downhill when Bob Dylan is on.

The shuffle option is good and I don’t know what this song is, yet it works.

Listening to something, moving to the sound, doesn’t feel like a dance; they just kind of connect; it’s not a complex relation.

Even if I don’t know what is playing I can still feel it.

“It” is not a single feeling; more like a chunk out of a spectrum of emotions.

Stop, this isn’t working, next, next, … ok. –Ben

When I’m acting I can be anyone I want. I don’t have to be who I am. I can explore new adventures in so many ways. It enlivens my soul to think I can do anything; I’m not just restricted to a single life. I feel that in my life I’m chained down and incapable of breaking out. But when I’m acting those chains break apart and I feel free, I feel untouchable, invincible like I’m soaring through the sky and nothing can come close to stopping me. I believe that great actors can become great longboarders. It’s as if acting could be required training for becoming a true longboarder. In the shared passion for acting and longboarding all the facets of freedom become clear.


song. Notes on a piece of sheet music are the leftover residue of music expression, just like the hard urethane skid marks left on the concrete hill by your team’s boards. You follow the feel of the ride just as the beat. –Markus

before you start. The distinction of a brush stroke or the feelings of stoke drive me forward to look for better and greater things. Both the board and

Skateboards were based on surfboards. Skateboarding started in California but nobody knows who made the first board. It was collectively created by a group who wanted to surf when the tide was flat. The original board is lost. It should be hanging in a museum.

Skateboards are often destroyed by use. Putting them on a wall to be shown is not defacing but conserving. Tony Hawk might leave behind his first skateboard. Many people would consider it a treasure of skateboard history. Skateboards deserve the attention that important cultural artifacts receive from museums.–Faline

All forms of art involve flow. Flow is the act of seamlessly integrating one aspect of activity into another. Like the flow of brush strokes in a painting or that of notes in a composition, skateboarding creates flow by staging a true oneness of body and board.


When you are skateboarding or longboarding you can create your own style. It’s just like painting an expressive picture, because people can see where your flow comes from. When you ride down the street its like painting as you go, creating your own tricks and way of skating on the board because no one will skate the same way as another.

brush are tools that create two similar effects, laying out a concrete road in front of a board and a canvas in front of the brush. –Alyssa

Longboarding and music are two sides of the same coin: tuning your own sound, feeling your own style, screwing your bolts, twisting your knobs, shredding your wheels and destroying your strings. In songwriting you have a band. Like a band, you need to have on a team the right riders and they have to riff off each other. Everyone knows chords, carves, turns and notes. Just like a blank piece of sheet music, the streets of Toronto are there to perform your

Artists make their marks on canvases and in stone and metal. Skaters such as myself leave our marks on the streets we ride. Seeing wax on curbs is like an assembled inuksuk. Seeing grinded rails is like a dog pissing to mark its territory. The graffiti in skate parks is our flag, forever to be flown. –Moises

Mastering your board is like getting control of a paintbrush. It takes practice and passion to learn everything that makes a board carve exactly the way you want a brush to arc around a surface. These activities are very hard to learn but when you get the hang of them it’s almost like you can see and feel what you want to happen even

The reason I got into designing skateboards was my love of tattoos. I believe tattooing and skateboarding are similar because its all about leaving your own personal mark in the world, whether it is on the streets or on a body. When designing a board, I feel like I’m a tattooist. I draw a quick sketch, then I apply my art to my board, leaving my own personal mark on it. When you’re grinding on a board, you leave a scratch on your board and the rail. The scratch isn’t a bad thing. It shows that you know how to skate and grind. When you’re done the grind though, you leave a mark, tattooing the rail itself. –Jake


For more info on the OSF, contact Teacher Craig Morrison at oasisskateboardfactory.blogspot.com


DILLON STEPHENS Wins the Copa de los Andes

After winning the previous four IGSA World Cup races in a row, Patrick Switzer came into the Copa de los Andes in Peru as the clear favorite. The race was held October 28-30 high in the Andes Mountains while finishing in Tarma, the city nicknamed the “Jewel of the Andes.” In 2010, Tarma had hosted the IGSA South American Championship, and this year’s move up to World Cup status brought in many of the top international riders for the first time.

After an initial day of practice, the first qualifying run was held on Friday. Brazilian Douglas Silva led the field, followed by Canadians Dillon Stephens in second and Patrick Switzer just .02 behind Stephens in third. Silva had won the event last year and was a favorite coming into the race. Stephens had missed much of the season with an illness and was looking for a good result now that his health was back to 100%. Switzer was determined to keep his winning streak alive after winning the previous four World Cup races in a row.

During final qualifying on Saturday a large crowd of colorful local spectators turned out to witness the action. Switzer once again showed the dominant performance of the previous races when he qualified a full second faster than No. 2 qualifier Silva. Australian Jackson Shapiera stepped up to qualify third, with

Stephens ending up fourth. Czech/Canadian Mischo Erban rounded out the top five. Peruvian local Felipe Malaga gave the large crowd plenty to cheer about by qualifying seventh. Sunday’s race was set to be a thriller.

Sunday dawned overcast and cloudy with the threat

of rain. As the race got underway, most of the top international competitors made it through the first few rounds of the 64-man bracket with ease. It was not until the quarterfinals that many of them were eliminated. Going out in the quarterfinals were Brazilian Max

Ballesteros, Canadians Kyle Martin, Graham Buksa and Erban, along with Robin Sandberg from Sweden. Rain had fallen intermittently through those first two rounds, but the weather had improved by the semifinals and the track was dry.

Making it to the first of the semifinals was Brazilian Danky Ovalhe, along with Canadians Switzer, Stephens and Travis Craig. Switzer and Stephens came through first and second to earn a berth in the finals. The second semifinal was comprised of Silva, Shapiera, Malaga and American Alex Tongue. Silva and Malaga finished first and second, respectively, to earn the other two places in the final.

Switzer, Silva, Stephens and Malaga lined up for the final with Switzer and Silva heavily favored. Silva seemed to hesitate for a moment off the line, enabling Switzer to pull out to a quick lead of about seven meters (21’). Switzer’s lead was short-lived, however, as Silva used his monster push and heavier weight to pull in the

Peruvian Felipe Malaga gave the fans plenty to cheer about. Photo: Conan Muñiz Last year’s winner Douglas Silva had to settle for third. Photo: Diego Cardenas

advantage. By the time they reached the first turn, they were side by side and the battle was on.

They stayed close for the first three turns until they touched and crashed. Both Stephens and Malaga took advantage, moving into first and second, respectively. Switzer and Silva were able to get back on their boards, but for them the race was lost. Stephens held on to the lead for the remainder of the race to earn his first World Cup victory. Malaga held on to finish second in his very first World Cup race – a hugely popular result for the hometown hero. Silva recovered quicker than Switzer to grab the final podium spot.

The massive crowd swarmed the riders after the finish, with many of the competitors signing autographs until their hands ached. Many riders said it was the largest and most enthusiastic crowd they had ever raced in front of. Dillon Stephens scored a very popular

first World Cup victory and proved he is definitely a threat for more wins in the future. And Felipe Malaga’s second-place finish showed that downhill skateboarding talent is on the rise everywhere on the planet.


1. Dillon Stephens, Canada

2. Felipe Malaga, Peru

3. Douglas Silva, Brazil

4. Patrick Switzer, Canada

5. Jackson Shapiera, Australia

6. Travis Craig, Canada

7. Alex Tongue, United States

8. Danky Ovalhe, Brazil

9. Max Ballesteros, Brazil

10. Diego Alemparte, Chile

Dillon Stephens came back from an illness to win his first World Cup. Photo: Diego Cardenas Patrick Switzer saw his streak of consecutive wins end at four. Photo: Diego Cardenas Stephens leads Malaga and Silva to the line for the win. Photo: Conan Muñiz

Mischo Erban Wins The World Championship

The 10th Annual IGSA World Championships were held in Teutônia, Brazil November 4-6, 2011. It marked the first time the Worlds had been held in South America after taking place in Europe, North America and Australia the past nine years. With maximum speeds in excess of 115 km/h (71 mph), Teutônia always delivers jaw-dropping action with riders battling flat-out while drafting and using every ounce of their skill. Until you visit this course in person, with its steep gradients and dipping tarmac, no description can match the truly terrifying nature of this extreme rollercoaster of a hill.

Kevin Reimer was the two-time defending IGSA world champion and the defending Teutônia champion. Due to a severe leg injury in the pre-season, he had missed the entire World Cup season and his fitness was questionable. Other contenders included Patrick Switzer, Douglas Silva and Mischo Erban. Silva held won the event in 2008 and was keen to win his first world championship title and do it on his native soil. Erban finished third last year and knew the track as well as

anyone. His results have been mixed since winning Teutônia in 2009, but the official IGSA world speed record-holder loves Teutônia and is always a contender. Teutônia offered Erban his best chance ever to win the coveted world championship title.

First-round qualifying was held on Friday. Reimer took everyone by surprise and stormed to the No. 1 position. He showed that his injury and the long recovery from it had taken nothing away from his outstanding ability. Silva was half a second back in second place and Erban was third.

During Saturday’s second qualifying run, Reimer went from having an outside chance to being the favorite to win his third consecutive world championship. The reigning IGSA World Cup Series champion went even quicker to earn the No. 1 position. Silva retained his No. 2 spot, while Brazilian Vinicius Mendez moved up the time sheets to the No. 3 spot. Erban would start fourth, while Brazilian Otavio Munhoz completed the top five. Other notable qualifiers included Danky Ovalhe in sixth, Switzer in seventh, Max Ballesteros in ninth and James Kelly in 10th.

There is always a special electricity in the air on the day of the world championship finals. When you add in the awesome speed of Teutônia, an incredible jungle setting and a crowd of 7,000 screaming fans who live for international competition, you have something truly unique and special. There simply could not be a more exciting setting for the downhill skateboarding world championship.

The ultra-high speeds of Teutônia mandate that the race be run in a two-man, head-to-head format; to run the normal four-man heats would simply be too dangerous. Qualifying bracketed the fastest riders against the slowest. The results of the early rounds were predictable, with the top qualifiers moving easily through their first few heat races. The final four riders left standing for the semifinals were Reimer, Erban, Silva and Ovalhe.

The first semifinal was a rematch of last year with Reimer vs. Erban. In probably the most important heat race of his life, Erban handily beat the two-time world champion to earn a berth in the final. The second semifinal with Silva vs. Ovalhe was much closer. The two skaters were close all the way down the hill, with Silva

Silva and Kevin Reimer dueled to a photo finish in the consolation final. Photo: Liz Kinnish Mischo Erban is a very stoked world champion. Photo: Liz Kinnish

sitting in Ovalhe’s draft. As they came to the line, Silva tried to make a move. He moved alongside Ovalhe but just didn’t have the speed to move around him. In a huge upset, Ovalhe advanced to face Erban in the final, leaving Reimer and Silva to race for third place.

The consolation final had the two close friends, Reimer and Silva, racing each other hard while giving no quarter. With Silva in the lead, they were so close down the final straightaway a blanket could have been thrown over them. As they approached the line, Reimer tried to make his move. As they came over the line it was too close to call, requiring a video review to determine who finished third. Eventually Silva was awarded third place.

After a hard afternoon of racing, it was time for the final. The massive crowd was on its feet, waiting in anticipation to cheer on Ovalhe, their upstart countryman, and Erban, with whom they’d fallen in love when he won in 2009. As the riders came into view, it was clear there would be no denying Erban his first IGSA world championship. He had a commanding lead over Ovalhe, which he held all the way to the line. Mischo had steamrolled his way through the heats to earn a dramatic win.

Erban rode a solid and perfect race as he picked off his rivals one by one. For Mischo, the win was especially sweet. After winning the World Cup Series in 2009, he had made wholesale equipment and sponsorship changes; he’d started his own deck and truck company and switched wheel sponsors. Since then, he had struggled to return to his dominant form. There had been flashes of brilliance, but Erban had gone winless in World Cup competition for the past two seasons. But by working tirelessly to dial in his equipment and reach peak conditioning, it finally all came together as he won the biggest race of his life.


1.Mischo Erban, Canada

2.Danky Ovalhe, Brazil

3.Douglas Silva, Brazil

4.Kevin Reimer, Canada

5.Otavio Munhoz, Brazil

6.Max Ballesteros, Brazil

7.James Kelly, United States

8.Ricardo Reis, Brazil

9.Patrick Switzer, Canada

10.Thiago Lessa, Brazil

Silva didn’t have the weekend he’d envisioned. Photo: Pedro Krause Erban scored a commanding victory over Reimer in the semifinals. Photo: Liz Kinnish Danky Ovalhe surprised many with his second-place finish. Photo: Pedro Krause

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