n a i z to d a o er h t On
Issue number two, Spring 2018 Cover boy: Early bird, Phil Dulude, Frontside grab in the middle winter,Longueuil. Photo: Babas Chris St-Cyr & Mason Cluett (page 8): Weed & Booze all day. Ryan Gee (page 24): Gee is a G.
Bail gun (page 32): Who was going down, before winter? How to be an asshole? (page 44): Seriously? you didn’t know? Ed Syder (page 46): Tasty artist from U.K.
Static Tales (page 54): Mr Stewart is on board. Young G (page56): Marco? puerto rico! Love Skate Mag
One man band: Babas Levrai Illustration: @larrys_mood Sebastien Baubble Proof reading: Jensen Fisker Contributions: Logan Henderson, Erik Lemay, Jos Roby, Josh Stewart, Marc-André «Monk» Lavoie Ben Lachance,Kerry Getz. Edition: Mtl Media Group Love Skate Mag is a Independent DIY magazine based in Montreal, and proudly printed in Canada all inquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org This second issue of Love Skate mag would not have been possible without the precious help of: Clara Zapatilla, Chris ST-Cyr, Mason Cluett, Ed Syder, Ryan Gee, Erik Lemay, Jos Roby, Josh Stewart, Marc-André Lavoie, Vincent at Big Bill, Pierre-Nicolas at Plenty Human Wear, Frank Ouellet, Julien and JF at Rollin, Kevin at Outlaw, Jessy Jean-bart, Logan Henderson,Jai Ball, Andrew Szeto,Jay and Neil at Exo, Ben Lachance Laurent-Xavier «Larry’s Mood» Marcoux, Jai Ball, Jeremy at Frosted and all the familly over P45.
www.loveskatemag.com @loveskatemag Left: Simon Gagnon,Up to Hurricane, in Chinatown. Montreal - Photo: Babas
Mason. Gap to crooked, Montreal
St -Cyr&Cluett Chris
Interview & photos by Babas Levrai
Everybody knows a guy that could fit in the category of « Alien ». These people are always admired but often misunderstood. These guys will do some of the most astonishing, thought to be impossible type tricks, and you can`t possibly understand their process. Most of the time it's them that will write history, because their stories are always shared and remembered. Chris St-Cyr is definitely that Alien from the Montreal skate scene. When he shows up, you always know that something is gonna happen, and make that day memorable. And just wait `til you meet Mason Cluett! Chris, Where do you live? Chris- I live in Montreal, been skating for 21 years. But I did not really skate stuff the first 4 years, I broke all my bycicles in the pit next to my house. At one point my father did’t want to buy me more bikes. So my cousin gave me a skateboard, and I went to school skateboarding. Did you always live in Montreal? Chris- No, I come from Repentigny. How was the skate scene in Repentigny? Chris- There was fuck all man! Well, there were older guys, but from my age there was nobody who skated. It was really until my 10/11 years, they opened a skatepark right next to us, indoor. It made a boom in the area, and everyone started to skate. Even all the older guys started to skate again. That’s when I realized you could do stuff, otherwise for me it was just the Ninja Turtles and Bart Simpson. How did skateboarding come into the picture for you, out of the Ninja Turtles? Chris- Seeing some older high school guys, they did some tre-flips, « Oh! This guy is a magician! », I found it magical, there’s something Shaman inside, it’s magic with skateboarding. How old are you, and where are you living Mason? Mason- I’m 22 and I’m from the south-shore of Montreal. I’m living in Delson. Oh, you are neighbour of Phil Dulude? Mason- Yeah!
Chris. Switch crooked, Quebec Have you started to skate with him? Mason- No, I had other friends from the local skatepark. I’ve never skated with him. I would see him sometimes. Oh you’ve never had a sesh together? Mason- No, we live right beside each other. Have you been to his house? Mason- I’ve been inside once, but mostly skated the ramp that his dad built. It`s amazing, they have ramps everywhere! Rails and half pipes in their court. How did you start skateboarding? Mason- I don`t even know, I think I hit my head too many times ahaha. All I remember is having a board, not getting one. I remember I saw it on TV or something, and I was like « I wana do that! », you know? When did you start? Mason- I started when I was 6 or 7, just like cruising around and then started to get into it more, popping tricks and stuff. But I never had the right board, my first board was some flat « Yu-Gi-Oh », from Canadian Tire. But I would see the other kids and older guys riding real boards with the tail and everything, and I was like « fuck, I want that ». So I broke my board on purpose, and I told my dad it snapped and that I needed a new one. So he got a new one, and when he actually saw that this is what I wanted to do, he started to put more money into it. What was your first real board? Mason- It was an Eric Koston Girl board, my dad bought me the full set up, like Royal Trucks,
Mason. Kickflip Noseslide, Montreal I forget the wheels and the bearings, must have been some Bones Bearings. And you Chris? Chris- The one my cousin gave me, it was an old oldschool board shaped like a boat, like a Powell-Peralta something like that. But my real first skate, was a Bones Brigade. Who were the first local-hero skaters youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve seen? Chris- I never really look up to the world that are in the videos, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mostly locals, like among others Merlin. When I was kid, at the skatepark next to my house, Merlin came from his squat once in a while, and it was like everyone stopped skating! You were just watching him, the guy was doing Kickflip Backside Melon 7 feet higher than the coping. When I was a kid, I wanted to skate like him. He was better than any pro. Do you have a story about Merlin? Chris- I was too young to understand that he was on the drink, but you saw him, he was loose, he arrived in the park and it was all first try! He left for 5mins, he was probably drinking a beer or something, and then he came back, landed trick after trick. At a Circa demo, back in the days at Hochelaga, they had done one in a parking lot, with a set up KC project. Merlin was in the audience with everyone, and it was like Jamie Thomas and these guys kept doing the same thing. At one point, he was just sick of seeing only smith grinds and lipslides, so he stole a board from someone, jumped over the fence, and had a security guard chasing him for a first-try line. He shut down the demo, in front of Jamie Thomas and everyone else. Mason- Oh fuck, Malade!
Chris. Coming from left bank, Ollie over the poles to the right bank, Montreal
ÂŤa security guard chasing him for a first-try line. He shut down the demo, in front of Jamie Thomas and everyone else.Âť
Who was your local-hero, Mason? Mason- When I was kid, I didn’t follow all that stuff. I was skating cause I wanted to skate. I didn’t have magazines or watch videos. It was more by myself, doing my own thing. But the first video I saw was probably the Rodney Mullen VS Daewon Song and a 411VM video. I guess I saw Ryan Sheckler when he was young and going big, jumping down big stuff. I wanted to do that, but I didn’t have any influences, I didn`t even have friends to skate with. My dad brought me to the skatepark and I would skateboard by myself. What was your first spot or skatepark? Mason- For sure South-Park on Tachereau, the indoor park! My dad would sit and watch me skate. Be by myself, little kid, no friends, no nothing. And then when I started to get older and talk more, I finally found some friends that I would skate with, that was cool. But being an English kid, everybody around was French and I didn’t really speak it. Once I got friends and stuff it was sick, because skating alone is hard. Chris- The skatepark next to me, but it was $10, I went once in a while. Otherwise next to me, there was the city hall, it’s a big spot where the little scene from my hood was going. It’s like a plaza with lots of manny pad and curbs. Who were the guys from your hood? Chris- Jason McDonald, he skated on Temple for a while. LP Brunelle, he came from Riviere-Des-Prairies, it’s not close but he came to skate often, when we saw him we were like: «oh shit!». When did you come to Montreal? Chris- At about 12 years old, the summer before high school I secretly caught the bus. It was the beginning of the 2000s, they had just made the square Berri. There were spots in marble, full of spots everywhere. I was surprised, I saw the whole city like a skatepark. Big difference when you come from a small village where there is nothing to skate. Mason- 4 years ago I started coming maybe. When I turned 18, I was like, « Alright, I`m gonna go drink and stuff ». It was insane, too much stuff everywhere, but don’t know where to go either, that’s the thing. It`s only like the last 2 years that I started to film and actually find spots. But when I first came and skated here, I was like « holy fuck, everything is different » and more rough, you know? More rugged and stuff. Who is the best in Canada for you? Mason- Chris! Ahaha he killin` it! Chris- In Montreal, at this moment I would say the 2 Ians! Ian Clelland and Ian Tremblay! The last 2 years they’ve killed it the most. Clelland, it’s been a while that he`s killing it. People just discovered him recently, I`ve known him a long time, like when he was still living in Ontario. He he was skating with the boys from Axis, he was still a kid. I’ve always known him really good on a skateboard, we met at least 7 years ago. Chris- Stephane Lalonde too, guys like Carl Labelle. There were a lot of people like that who stopped who were close to being pro. Any skate videos you’ve been glued too? Chris- Menikmati, the part with Penny! I watched it 1001 times on VHS when I was kid. Otherwise I’d say Flip - Sorry, this is the first time I saw a film at a «premiere» in front of Peace Park. In addition, film had fucked up, there were problems with the premiere. I would say that movies back in the days were more prominent too. The companies were waiting 4/5 years to release their films. You did not have a video every 2 weeks that came out. And the films of Eric Lebeau were great, I always found these remarkable, his manner of editing the stuff. Lebeau is super creative, you always remember his videos! Mason- Yeah, I’ve been on trips with that dude! He sees everything differently. Just to see him filming in a different direction,like « What is he doing? » ahaha. He’s got a good vision! 13
«When i saw the Baker video, I was sold! I was like Fuck yeah, party! »
Mason. Tre-flip to fakie, Quebec
Chris. Coming from right bank, Hurricane transfert to left bank, Montreal
Chris- Bootleg too, I found it more sick than Baker, it’s a company that doesn’t exist anymore. With Ryan Nix, he was fucking good! Mason- When I saw the Baker video, I was sold! Ahaha, I was like « Fuck yeah, party! » Chris- All the other videos when I was kid, like 411 or whatever, it was like «athletes». It was one of the things that turned me off of it, I didn`t check the videos so much, I found that was wack a bit. In my time, it was the X-games that you saw on RDS, and I did not find that nice with their helmets and their pads. When an older dude showed me the Baker 2G at the skateshop, I was like «hoooooo! ok that’s it!!» That’s the other side of skateboarding! ULC also in time, their old movies were also cool. Chris, you’re not the kind to warm up before skate a spot, you just go for it. What is your secret? Chris- At some point, you understand that you could never do your thing as beautiful, as naturally, as when you do it first try. Even if the land isn`t first try, you must first-try it. And go naturally without thinking. If you see something in your head, and it’s real, if you believe it for real, go for it. When you see the people on the rails that hesitate, it’s almost sure that they will hurt themselves. But if he thought «oh! I can do it», he may not have it, but it will not hurt. I try to think less about it. That’s it, when I think about it, I hurt myself. I am someone who analyzes a lot, I will analyze all the negatives factors and that’s when I’m going to hurt myself. But, how did you have that vision of skateboarding, did it came to you naturally? Or you learned it from someone else? Chris- Before I was not like that, I thought too much. I just found my solution to make it as painless as possible! Mason- If you feel it, you will do it, if not then save it for later. Chris- That’s it, I can do it, but do I feel it today? Is it the right day? It’s all about timing. Skateboarding is Shaman, man. You have to try to control, but at the same time things are not controllable. You will try to be able to control what you can control. Mason- You have to accept the pain, haha! Its like a mental barrier, you have to get over it. Chris- That’s why I do not like it to shoot so much. Because if you`re there with the photographer or filmer at the spot, but you don`t feel it that day. Then you feel like you`re forced to do it! Plus it takes me at least 20mins to set up and everything, you have lots of time to lose your focus. Chris- Lebeau he knows me well, he told you about it this summer. I have fun to land as many tricks as possible before he set up his camera. That’s why now he’s taking the camera right away. It’s not to play with the people, it’s just to take the pressure off me. Weed before or after the sesh? Chris- What is that question? You know me Babas! Yes, you are before-after and everything in the middle, and you take some advance for the next day, haha! Chris- I realized that this year for skateboarding, smoking is not the best. I`d rather have the heal-balls. Your special pills you mean? Chris- Yes, but these days what I take is some weed butter. Are you making some toast in the morning with it? Chris- Yes, in the coffee it is not bad, it’s kind of unctuous. It’s more a body feeling. It’s different, you’re mellow but you’re good. I am someone hyperactive. I pound the nerves easily. It’s like the dudes that get nerves on their skateboard, when I was kid I was like that. And then I discovered the weed. I was like, you had to cool down man, it’s not good to get the nerves on your skateboard.
«You have to accept the pain»
Mason. C-Turn run up, to lipslide, Montreal
Chris. Sugarcane, Montreal
«I found it magical, there’s something Shaman inside, It’s magic with skateboarding»
What was in your pills? Chris- It’s from canabidiol extract, but I had 2 kinds, one was CBD plus for the mind, and the other one was more for the sleep. That was the one you had this summer on trip? Chris- No it was another one, that was the magic potion ahah. Tell us about your trip to Toronto you made for the Mehrathon video, Mason? Mason- That was fucking sick! It was my first trip with them. There is so many spots in Toronto. That Skydome spot with the big stairs and a rail. We went at night after going to a restaurant, I was drunk and felt nothing but I was like, « yeah I`m gonna do something on this, we will come back tomorrow! » and the next morning my ankle was fucked, I couldn’t walk so I couldn’t do it, I was so bummed. Chris- That’s what I used to say, skateboarding and momemtum. Even if you were drunk, but you felt it. If you had tried, you would not feel your ankle because you were drunk, you would have had it, or not. Because your state of mind «I got it». Mason- Yeah, because I wanted to kickflip front board down it, so I was doing 20 kickflips up top. But the next morning I was paralyzed. You are both on Palm Isle skateshop, how did you get in? Mason- I was skating the contest « wednesday night » thing, and I was going to the shop and getting to know Oli, I think I sent some footage. After a while he told me « Yep, you’re on! ». Oli is doing a lot for me. Chris- I rode for another shop before that I’m not really proud of, and the manager of this shop played in a band. In that time Palm Isle had 3 owners. It had Frank Ouellet, he played bass in that band with the manager with whom I got along well with at the shop that sponsored me. When this shop closed, he made me meet Frank. I was on the north shore, and Palm Isle was on the south shore. I went there, I dropped down on Friday, they had like an apartment in the backstore and the dude was hanging on the weekends to go skate with the older guys. At the time Palm Isle gave nothing to their riders, but it was not a question of being cheap or whatever, they started it with $5,000 or less. You wanted to ride for them, to be in that crew not to have free boards. Otherwise I would have been on Empire or that kind of crap. Yeah Palm Isle is a real family! Chris- At the time it was called the skate mafia. Just because they’ve had this crew and colors, you wanted to have the fucking hoodie of the Palm, you wanted to be part of the squad. You recognize the real, those who need to pay to have people who represent them, and those who represent for real. Chris, how would you describe Mason? Chris- I have not known him for so long, the first time I had skated with Mason was on the roadtrip to Quebec. To be honest, I tried to a hate a little. Because we were an old family of the Palm, and made him part of the new school. Deep down I was trying to hate you a little. But dude, he is too smooth, you see he likes to have fun, and he is fucking good! It’s mostly what shook me, it’s natural. He is down for flip-in on rails, but not necessarily to get a shot. Because there are some who are like « Do you think it could go in the mag? » You see that Mason skates for himself. Mason, how would you describe Chris? Mason- He’s fuckin` fresh! Fuckin`fresh dude! He sees things so differently, like you said, we will walk somewhere, find some stuff, and just find something fuckin` rad! He will make you to want to skate more. Ok, guys let’s wrap up this thing, thanks and sponsors? Mason- Shake Junt, Palm Isle, Mehrathon, Emerica, Timebomb, Furn, Independent, Centre Distribution. Family, all my friends, everybody who has been there and who helped me out when times were rough. Thanks a lot. Chris- Palm Isle, and thanks to everybody who helped me through life. I can’t remember everybody.
Mason. Kinky Boardslide, Laval Photo: Monk Lavoie
ÂŤGee was my favorite photographer to shoot wit he was my car buddy, my drinking buddy and my best friend! 20 years later and nothing change, Gee Rules!Âť -Kerry Getz
interview By Babas / Illustration by @larrys_mood
Ryan Gee interview
Tell me your ID, and your skate background? Ryan Gee, born and raised in northern New Jersey. Started skateboarding when I was 12 or 13. Got into videography while filming my friends skateboard, then got into photography. Moved to Philadelphia 24 years ago to pursue it more. Your photography background? Pretty much self taught, some help at first from fellow colleagues. When did you realise that you would take pictures? Around 1993 I think. Into my 3rd College semester. Where does your inspiration come from? Transworld Magazine images. Any images by Grand Brittain, Tobin Yelland Spike Jonze, Gabe Morford, Dave Swift etc..
«The good was to travel the world for free. Most of the time it was with my good friends.» What was your first and last piece of gear you’ve bought? An old Mamiya camera, taped a video camera fisheye lens on it to get the fisheye effect. Last camera I bought was a Canon 5D MK2 8 Years ago, I need to upgrade sometime soon. How do you go about the preparation of your shots? I’ll go over the area and see what lens I should shoot with. Then I would determine what the best lighting set up to use. Maybe I’ll 1 or 2 flashes, or not. Maybe I would shoot black and white over color. It always varies. You were famous to be able to film video and take pictures at the same time, how did you end up doing that? A lot of times I didn’t have a filmer with me. I also used to film. So I would do both at the same time. It was a bit hectic and took pratice. Glad it didn’t last that long. Some advice for the kids who wanna start photography? Be original. Especially with lighting and composition.
What are the good and bad sides of this passion? The good was to travel the world for free. Most of the time it was with my good friends. Most of them were Pro or Am. The bad is being away from home a lot. That’s if you`re in the right position getting the opportunity to do so. Dealing with security and cops was always terrible. 3 things you love about photography? Creating an awesome image that can never be duplicated, multiple flashes for unique lighting and shoothing in medium format film. 3 things you don’t like about photography? Digital photography is too easy for someone starting out, bad compositions and bad lighting. Without saying an exact ammount, can you give an idea of your annual earnings from photography? In the early 2000’s I did very well for photography and videography combined. That’s all I’ll say. Of your own work, what`s one of your favourites? Probably Brian Wenning doing the switch backside 180 into the love gap. Are you ready for a chomp on this 2? Nah. Definitely not. Haha. What’s up next for you? Been working on a Love Park photo documentary for the past few years. Be on the look out for it. Hoping to do a gallery. Will keep people updated through my Instagram account @ryangee_photo Opener: Bam Margera, rollin up. Right page: Kerry Getz, Boardslide. Double page: Mike Maldonado, Melon grab gap.
ZANDER MITCHELL montreal nollie bs ï¬&#x201A;ip [ o ] ryan label | studioskateboards.com
Felix Patry. Rolling to 50-50, Montreal - Photo Babas
Ratpack. Tail bone tail Smash up the lip, Montreal - Photo Babas
Mammouth Durette. Lipslide, Quebec - Photo Jos Roby
Adam Hopkins. Backside Judo Air, Vancouver - Photo Logan Henderson
Mathieu Bonin. Ollie over the rail, Laval - Photo Erik Lemay
Vince Baldo. Smith grind, right before the truck hit the rail, Montreal - Photo Babas
How to be an asshole at the d.i.y spot
Text: Babas / Illustration: Sebastien Baubble
Because you have a urge to skate the new trendy DIY spot that you’ve seen on Instagram, you hit them up with a nice comment like « where ? ». Because giving some props and saying hello first or just writting a complete sentence is so 90s.
You’re the new shit in town, you definitely don’t need to say « Hi » at the spot, sneaking some lines in with your buddy and his gopro on a selfie stick, you’ve gotta get some clips for your followers.
« Dude, when will this DIY be done? », because you’re pretty annoyed to see unfinished spots, and see the locals drinking beer and having fun.
Of course you’re broke, but until the locals know your face, it’s easier to sting some weed and hot-dogs, and of course « next time » it’s on you!
7’ O Clock
Pouring some concrete at 7am, this is way too early. You wish the locals would do the job later in the afternoon, you definitely can’t wake up that early in the morning.
Tagging all your scooter friends on instagram to let them know about that sick new DIY spot, because you have to be the one who found it first.
Double dip with graffiti and some stickers at the spot, people have to be aware that you own the place.
« Dude, the sesh was lit! » you have no energy left to throw out your trash, you’ll just leave it there. The locals take care of their spot, they will clean it for you anyway.
The skatepark designer
«Dude, that’d be cool to add a flat rail or a ledge in your DIY! And call me when it’s done, I’ll kill it out with my crew, too bad you guys are building it too early in the morning otherwise I’d help».
My skateboarding speaks for myself
Now that the locals know that you are the hot shit, you don’t need to say « goodbye », you know they`re looking forward to see you shred their spot that they’ve built with blood and tears.
M I K E AU B E RT PHOTOâ&#x20AC;&#x2030;: STEPH FORTIER
P L E N T Y- H U M A N W E A R . C O M @PLENTYHUMANWEAR
Ed Syder interview By Babas
While most skateboard companies tend to just put a logo on their boards and hope to sell it. Others want to do things better with a graphic that represents the identity of their company or skateboarder’s name on it. These so-called «graphic designers» or «illustrators», are the most important folk in the industry, because it’s their art that will make a sale or not. You can buy a blank board, skate the shit of it, travel around the world, meet people with it. But at the end of its journey, it’s cooler to put it on the wall with a killer graphic, rather than a blank. Hey Ed, how did skateboarding come into the picture for you? I got a shitty skateboard for Christmas in 1987 and then a Brand-X Sean Goff with Trackers and Kryptonics wheels the following year. The kids that lived near me were all getting them after getting bored with their BMX’s. For the next 5 years that’s all I would do. I’d go and skateboard outside my house then into the town. I’d spend every summer at the local park skating all of the ramps and surviving on about £1.00 of sweets and chocolate each day. I quit skating for about two years in the mid 1990’s then got back into it and here I am today. Who were your first skate heroes in the earlier years? Whoever was in R.A.D. magazine really. I had a Lucian Hendricks deck for a while, I thought he was pretty cool. I really liked the Bones Brigade because of the videos. Natas Kaupas skating out of his front door down to Venice Beach was just a dream. I used to wear my work trousers skating because I thought it made me look like Ed Templeton. Have you studied in design? I did a Fine Art painting degree in Liverpool but spent the whole time taking photos and making videos. When you did start to mix skateboarding into your design? I drew the Bones Ripper for one of my school projects when I was maybe 13. So ever since then. How did the idea come up to do this book? I was going to just do it on my own but decided to ask some friends to help me out. It ended up better than I could have imagined. Turns out that I quite enjoy putting a book together. Who knew?
Natas and Gonz were friends, and used to skate together, so it was an obvious duet for a book. But Hosoi and Hawk were rivals in hard competition, why did you choose this duo for a book? I thought that the last book in the series should be about the two most recognizable people from skateboarding in the 1980’s. They make for really interesting stories. The Natas & Gonz book is neat, why did you do a second edition ot it? Because I wasn’t happy with parts of it. And because all the copies have been sold.
«I used to wear my work trousers skating because I thought it made me look like Ed Templeton.» What other designers in the skate industry influence you most? Andy Jenkins, Thomas Campbell, Marc McKee, Andy Howell, and everyone else. Have you met any of the pros you’ve drawn? I haven’t met any of them. Unless you count seeing Tony Hawk at a demo in 1990. He was really supportive of this latest book. Sent me a signed deck to give away (which I didn’t) and even bought some copies of the book. More book or design for 2018? Yeah, but I’ll keep all of that a secret for now. Where can we order it? edsyder.bigcartel.com Thanks Ed
You can order the «Natas & Gonz» Book and prints on Ed’s web store:
By Josh Stewart
hen Babas first reached out to me about writing an outro for his new magazine, it was literally 9 years ago and skateboarding was in a much different place. I was fed up with the state of the industry and I followed suit by writing a fiery little piece that reflected my fears of how things were going at that point. And now that Love has finally been released, I was asked to write a new outro or at least to update my nearly decade old diatribe from before. But after looking back on those words I thought it was a pretty rad window into a world that has changed so dramatically that I felt it might still be worth running with it. Plus, it also kind of makes me look like the Nostradamus of skateboarding. So letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s go back and see what the 9 years younger me had to say.
t’s interesting to me how unique our view of the world has become as a result of growing up on a skateboard. As my 32nd birthday looms heavily on the horizon, I find myself fearing the passing time like an aging grandmother fears a slip in the bathtub or run-in with a purse-snatching street tough. Being 32 years old to a skateboarder is equivalent to at least 52 years to a normal human being. Thank god I don’t have to rely on tossing myself down 15 stair rails to make a living, trying to keep up with an industry growing more and more reliant on teenage knees and ankles. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for a lot of pro skaters who have recently found themselves lying on a cold chopping block, awaiting the swift slice of the team manager’s axe. With the global economic crisis showing no sign of letting up, a lot of companies are deciding to make cutbacks in an effort to pinch pennies and keep their investors seeing green. Day after day news filters in to me about another one of my good friends receiving the terrifying «we’re gonna have to let you go» phone call from their respective team managers. And with that a 10, 12, 15 year professional career goes up in smoke, with no safety net below to soften the fall. This could be seen as an unfortunate necessity in the turnover into a new generation of pros and the worsening global economy.
«we’re gonna have to let you go»
But I have to call foul on such claims. Sure, some companies aren’t going to be able to pull through these hard times. But, the truth is that companies have been bought and sold left and right over this first decade of the new millenium. The shot-callers now have to answer to investors and parent companies. And, in a panic over how to keep their companies strong, they start swinging the axe, thinking that replacing a 30 yr old veteran with a 12 yr old kid will boost board sales and buy them a new lease on longevity. But what would’ve happened if skateboarding had axed Tony Hawk and Steve Caballero when their first grey hairs began to sprout? What if Danny Way had been forcefully retired after his 1st or 2nd knee blow-out? The truth is that business is business and we will see this trend continue and worsen in the coming months of 2009. But what company owners fail to recognize is the contribution that these long-standing pros have made to our culture and our history as skateboarders. We, the buying public, want to support and back the skaters who have become part of our heritage and our collective skateboarding family. When a sports team lets go of an old player, it is met with sadness by the fans, but it is understood that it is a business and that the team needs new life to continue winning. But skateboarding is not a sport. There is no «winning’ and the idea of competition is essentially the antithesis of what skateboarding has meant to most of us from the beginning. It is indeed true that we, as skateboarders, have developed an incredibly different view of the world around us. That’s why when we look down an old deserted alleyway we see nothing but endless possibility looming just beyond the next corner. Where your average commoner sees nothing more than an impending mugging. Unfortunately, the corporate takeover of our industry has quickly driven skateboard companies to start behaving like your common business...terrified about what lies around that next corner instead of being excited by the possibilities it provides. All I can say is that companies should never forget their history, as the future can usually be predicted by looking into the past. And when things got bad before, skaters got fed up, shook off their misdirected sponsors and started their own skater-owned brands. And as much as this may not seem to be much of a threat to a massive corporate-owned brand, you may want to ask them if Girl, Chocolate or Lakai give them strong competition. And I think you’ll see them shut their mouths pretty quickly.
Text, Ben Lachance / Photo: Monk Lavoie
Age: 26 Town: Montreal Sponsors: Universe Boardshop Have you ever encountered a funny looking human at a spot in Montreal? Shiny teeth coated with a big smile, with a really loose switch heel? Don’t worry, those teeth won`t bite you. They’re more likely to beat your ass in a game of «Skate» and share a six pack with you. The body belonging to those teeth skates just like a jazz saxophonist would play; smooth and always on cue/bolts for the sake of this comparison. All that makes it easy for this human to get in the crowd. I went to Lyon to stay with him for two weeks during his school exchange and he already knew every local. He’s definitely my roll dog. Oh, I almost forgot, you still owe me a clip with a Bs180 Impossible Pelo. I’ll be waiting downtown.
Frontside Heelflip - Porto Rico
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