Cory Juneau at Mission Valley
SUCH GREAT HEIGHTS
BRADSHAW SUMMER 2013 TopGrom.com 04
ASHER BRADSHAW, 540 PHOTO: DAN BOURQUI
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Vernia + Mancilla + Farrill + Strampello + Carew + Van Niel + Nye1
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PHOTO: LESLIE BUTT
PUBLISHER Why TopGrom?
Why a skateboard magazine for groms? I don’t think there is a simple answer. It’s more a feeling that this had to be done. There are lots of reasons not to do a magazine. A trusted friend and mentor, Annabel Slaight, who knows a thing or two about magazine publishing, having started the largest magazine series in the world for kids, seemed the right person to consult. She was blunt, “I don’t know anything about skateboarding, but the magazine business is brutal—no one, absolutely no one, makes money and then things start to go bad.” Looking back there were two things: a grom contest series and 67%.
there were two things: a grom contest series
As a parent, I was shocked at how few well-run contests there were for groms. My friend and business partner, Dave Palazzese, having been through all of this and much more with his own son, mentioned to me about a US contest series called the “King of the Groms” (KotG). Dave spoke with reverence about the series and insisted I get my son involved. Not to win or place, of course, given the level of competition, but to “experience” skateboarding beyond the local level. He said, “Sean, for kids, skateboarding should be about having fun, making friends, and sharing experiences. The KotG does that on a grand scale—it’s magic.” I remember getting off the phone and watching videos of the series from previous years. I picked the phone up and called Mark Muller, an original partner and co-founder at 3rd Lair, and asked him if the series had ever come to Canada. It had not. On a whim, I asked Mark if they might consider coming to Canada. That was a good call. Dave and I volunteered our time and helped bring the series to Canada in 2012. We felt it was the right thing to do, as many kids might never be able to afford a trip to a US qualifier and get a chance to experience a professionally run contest series. It was something special. Magazines are deeply woven into the fabric of skateboard culture. They provide a window, a reference point showcasing what is relevant. They exert enormous influence— they are “ego” food. After the KotG qualifier was held in Toronto, we approached major skateboard media outlets across North America to get some coverage. A bit foolish, perhaps. Largest and most revered 12-and-under contest in the world, first time in Canada, great display of skill—this was worth some coverage. Wrong. Not a single picture or word. Initially frustrated, I came to realize asking mainstream skateboard media to cover “grom” events was naive. Young skaters are simply not on their radar; never have been, never will be. They simply have a different target audience and mandate: showcase the pros, what is relevant today. That’s all well and fine except one number—67%. When you add up total industry sales of products and services to kids, they account for 67%. They buy: lessons, camps, programs, pads, helmets, park fees, hard goods (like decks and trucks), bearings, and soft goods—stuff like shoes, backpacks, T-shirts, and lots and lots of stickers. That number should exert some influence, too. Take groms away and let’s see how the industry does. Then it hit us: “groms spend the most and get the least.” So mainstream skateboard media will continue to do what they do best—focus on the present. TopGrom will celebrate and showcase the future. We will focus on that 67%. And that is why we have TopGrom. Sean Bittle David Palazzese
GOTY (Grom of The Year):
PHOTO: LESLIE BUTT
insert your name here.
Groms who skateboard and com-
get to grow up riding a skateboard
pete are often thought of as â€œchil-
and traveling to competitions might
dren of privilege.â€? Indeed, kids who
be considered privileged.
WORDS AND PHOTOS BY DAN BOURQUI
But each kid has his own story, and there are different levels of privilege. Asher Bradshaw is growing up in Los Angeles’ rough South Central neighborhood, so his dad is concerned for his son the minute Asher leaves the house. Yes, staying alive is also a requirement for becoming a good skater. There were many good reasons to choose Asher for TopGrom’s cover photo. He can easily do perfect 540s—and he’s only 9 years old. He has also landed a few 720s, which may make him the youngest kid to have ever landed such tricks. We chatted with his dad, Tom Bradshaw, about Asher’s journey in his three-year history as a skater, and we learned about Asher’s family and their dedication to skateboarding. Tom has some great stories, and he tells it like it is. So we chose some of them to go alongside Asher’s photos.
TOPGROM: Tell me about the speeding ticket you got.
TOM: I was driving on the
freeway on the left lane and I saw another car come up behind me driving really fast. I was going to move over to the right lane to let him pass, but there were other cars on the right lane. So I sped up to exit the left lane. At that point, there was a cop on an overpass and he gave me a ticket for speeding. Because I didn’t pay the ticket on time, it went up higher. When I couldn’t afford to pay that, it escalated to an even higher fine. Because of my unpaid tickets, 9
they didn’t renew my registration. When Asher had an opportunity to skate the MegaRamp at Woodward West, we ended up driving over there without the car’s proper paperwork. That day, Asher started learning 540s, trying them landing on the resin pad. And around 4 pm, he landed his first ones on the regular vert ramp. It was also the day our car got impounded. Luckily, Matthew Wilcox’s dad helped us out. We put all our stuff in his car and he gave us a ride
all the way home. We are doing everything we can to give Asher opportunities and taking risks at times. And, if I’m not working seven days a week, I’m not able to pay my bills.
TG: How did Asher start skating? TOM: I’d take him bike riding on
the bike lane at Venice Beach on this tiny bike when he was 6 years old. One day we came across the skatepark that was being built. He was dropping in after 10 days,
skating it, and he never looked back. He’s a good athlete and he can pick up sports easily. He’s also a good student.
TG: What’s it like living in South Central Los Angeles?
TOM: It can be dangerous some-
times and you end up choosing activities that are safer for your kids, where they can be somewhere inside—like going swimming, for instance. You see helicopters chasing cars on the freeway and you get used to it. There are definitely better places to live and we won’t live there forever. Right now the commute to my job is convenient. There are a lot of good people there, too. If it was completely intolerable, we would have moved. We still feel blessed. We’re lucky we live in California where there are many parks I can drive Asher to. Many kids in L.A. have a lot of talent and have nowhere to go. It takes us 15 minutes to get to the Venice Beach park and there are lots of things to do in Santa Monica where you don’t need to spend much money. We’ve also been to contests everywhere—King of the Groms contests. And Asher has won many state championships. At one point, I realized it would be good to meet all the different people in the skateboarding community. We also participate in events like Skate the Coast where, along with Boarding for Breast Cancer, Asher participates in an 18-mile longboarding marathon along the coast from Santa Monica to Redondo Beach.
AGE: 11 STANCE: Goofy HOMETOWN: San Diego, CA HOME PARK: Poway Skatepark SPONSORS: Sector 9, 187 Killer Pads, Triple 8 Helmets, Stance Socks, Deuce Brand and Chance to Ride. ABOUT: He’s a bowl/pool/vert skater. Nate started at age 6. His dad took him to Poway Skatepark. The Mission Valley Skatepark in Clairemont is where you can find him most days. He says it’s a really fun park with a lot of variety—a great vert ramp for when he wants to really blast, a fun bowl, mini ramp, and one of his favorite pools. Nate says he’s not sure where skateboarding will take him, but he’s stoked and lucky to have encouraging family, friends, and sponsors. FAVORITE FOOD: Teriyaki Plate from Leilani’s Cafe in Pacific Beach. FIRST BOARD: TStereo Micro-sound ROCK PAPER SCISSORS?: Paper every time. FAVORITE SKATER: Chris Miller, Danny Way, and Pedro Barros FAVORITE TRICK: Judo Air FAVORITE SPOT: Mission Valley YMCA, Sector 9’s Bread Bowl FAVORITE MOVIE: Creature’s CSFU, Billy Madison FAVORITE MUSIC: Beastie Boys
AGE: 8 STANCE: Goofy HOMETOWN: Carlsbad, CA HOME PARK: Encinitas YMCA, Aura Skatepark SPONSORS: Ztuntz Skateboards, S-One Helmets, GromBomb ABOUT: Rylan began skating at the end of 2010 at the age of 6. He enjoys spending all his free time at skateparks. You can often find him shredding at his local skatepark, the Encinitas YMCA, in the Kidney Bowl. Rylan is always on the hunt for a new skate challenge and is continually expanding his skate skills. His skateboarding style is comfortable and relaxed, making skateboarding tricks look easy and simple. FIRST BOARD: 7.5X31 Target brand skateboard FAVORITE SKATER: Pedro Barros FAVORITE TRICK: Christ Air FAVORITE SPOT: Vans Skatepark in Orange County FAVORITE MOVIE: Bones Brigade. Rylan enjoyed learning about some of his heroes and the influence they had on whatâ€™s now skateboarding.
AGE: 12 STANCE: Regular HOMETOWN: San Diego, CA HOME PARK: YMCA Krause Clairemont Skatepark SPONSORS: Pride Surf & Skate, Vinyard Doors Inc, Dead Metal Knifeworks ABOUT: Bryson started skating when he was 6 years old and began competing at the age of 9. He says he lives to skate and skates to live. He’s even homeschooled, so he has more time to skate. When he’s not skating, he’s playing Skate 3 on the Xbox. “When I sleep, I dream of skating with the pros like Pedro Barros.” His home park, the Clairemont skatepark, hosts some of the legends of skateboarding, like Christian Hosoi and Jeff Grosso. Bryson also skates with Darren Navarette and most of the Creature team, which has been a great opportunity for him to learn more cool tricks. FIRST BOARD: Tony Hawk Project 8 FAVORITE SKATER: Ben Hatcher, Pedro Barros, Jeff Grosso FAVORITE TRICK: Boneless Tail Tap CONGRATS: Bryson just won gold medals in both bowl and mini ramp—11 and over division at the California State Games 2013.
AGE: 7 STANCE: Regular HOMETOWN: Huntington Beach/Midway City, CA HOME PARK: Liberty SPONSORS: Termite Skateboards, Anoi Clothing and Safari Chargers DREAM SPONSOR: Pocket Pistols ABOUT: Myles is the second of four kids and took his first steps to a skateboard at 10 months old. He has been obsessed ever since. He started really skateboarding at 3 ½ and entered his first contest at age 5. “I love to skate everything. Street, ramp, and bowl. As long as I have friends to skate with, I am pumped to SUBU (show up and blow up).” FIRST BOARD: World Industries FAVORITE SKATER: Nyjah Huston FAVORITE TRICK: Blunt FAVORITE SPOT: KTR FAVORITE MOVIE: Cheese and Crackers
AGE: 8 STANCE: Goofy HOMETOWN: San Diego, CA HOME PARK: YMCA Krause Clairemont Skatepark SPONSOR: Pride Skate Shop, Ocean Beach, CA ABOUT: Tate started skating at the age of four. He had a keen sense of balance and was comfortable skating, as well as surfing. His first love is skating though, and he finds joy in skating anything with vertical elements. Tate can be found most days skating his home skatepark pool at Clairemont. Tate enjoys making new friends while skating but really likes it when impromptu sessions break out with the older locals in the park. FIRST BOARD: Mini McGill’s 7.25 x 28.5 FAVORITE SKATER: Steve Caballero FAVORITE TRICK: Caballerial FAVORITE SPOT: Vans Skatepark, Orange, CA FAVORITE MOVIE: The Search for Animal Chin OTHER: Tate revels in the sport’s origin, from Dogtown to the days of the original Pipeline skatepark in the Badlands. He hopes to become a professional skateboarder some day.
KALEB VAN NIEL AGE: 11 STANCE: Goofy HOME TOWN: Encinitas, CA HOME PARK: Ecke YMCA Encinitas SPONSORS: Parents :) DREAM SPONSORS: DC Monster, Dowell, Peralta, Independent Bones ABOUT: Kaleb’s passion for skating began more than five years ago after he first stepped foot on his dad’s board. At the age of 5, he spent hours trying to improve his ollie in the garage. That’s when his parents took note of his desire to progress his skating and they signed him up for lessons. Shortly after his first lesson, Kaleb began competing. He had an opportunity to take lessons with pro skater Neal Mims. “This really helped take my skating to the next level and it helped me take the podium in CASL competitions.” At State Games of America, he took first in street. Currently, he competes in local contests and is progressing in all areas of skating, especially in his favorites—vert and bowl. FIRST TRICK: Ollie FAVORITE SKATER: Danny Way FAVORITE TRICK: Judo Air FAVE SPOT: Built to Shred Ditch FAVORITE MOVIE: Pretty Sweet
AGE: 9 STANCE: Regular HOMETOWN: Costa Mesa, CA HOME PARK: Volcom SPONSORS: Termite, Dirtbagz DREAM SPONSORS: Etnies, PlanB, Bones, Volcom ABOUT: Taylor is nine years old and going into the 4th grade. He loves skating, surfing, and mountain biking. His favorite part of skating is going to the skateparks with his buddies: Myles, Gavin, Rylan, KaiBoy, and his Termite teammates. After a fun skate session, he loves going to Wahooâ€™s Fish Tacos for tasty grinds. Taylor also likes school and understands that skating is a privilege and school comes first. He is able to balance both, which makes his parents happy. His biggest accomplishment to date is winning the beg bowl at King of the Groms 2013. FIRST BOARD: X Games 22 FAVORITE SKATER: Curren Caples, Nyjah Huston FAVORITE TRICK: Half-cab to front rock NEXT TRICK: Kickflip indy DREAM TRICK: 1080 FAVORITE MOVIE: Bones Brigade
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MitchieBrusco such great heights
PHOTOS: FRANK J. MOGAVERO
such great heights
Brusco TopGrom sat down with Mitchie Brusco, recent silver medalist at the Barcelona X Games. The 16-year-old, who’s been competing since he was 4 years old, already has a long list of career highlights. That includes becoming the first skateboarder to ever nail a 1080 in X-Games competition. Mitchie—aka “Little Tricky”—opened up about his life on and off the board.
TG: Tony Hawk called you the
such great heights
TOPGROM: Who do you usually skate with and where?
MITCHIE: I usually skate at
Elliot Sloan’s Rockstar Energy vert ramp or THI (Tony Hawk’s private ramp).
future of skateboarding. Did that change anything for you?
MB: I don’t know to be honest.
But the next generation of skaters is the answer, not just me.
TG: Do you think Tony is
bummed that he’s getting oneupped by kids?
MB: No, not at all. I think he
knows it is good for skateboarding, so he is happy that skateboarding is progressing the way that it is.
TG: How long after you learned
9s did it take you to learn 1080s?
MB: I did a 900 in 2011, then the 1080 in 2013. To this day, I have only landed one 1080.
TG: Is there anything that takes the fun out of skating?
MB: Looking at it as a job will
take the fun out of it immediately. I skate because I love it, no other reasons.
TG: Who’s tough competition right now?
MB: Everyone who I compete
against and more. Every skateboarder in X Games is an amazing athlete and has the ability to be on the top of the podium.
throw the football around with my brother, ultimate frisbee, basketball.
TG: Weirdest fact about yourself ?
TG: What motivates you to skate? MB: The fact I can do whatever
MB: I eat honey on my pepperoni pizza.
I’d like to. I have always said the ramp is like an empty canvas and I can paint whatever picture I would like.
MB: PLG, Danny Mayer, Tony
TG: What is your most or least fa-
Hawk, Bucky Lasek, Jimmy Wilkens. In no order.
vorite trend in skateboarding right now?
TG: What advice would you give to
TG: When you’re not skating, what
MB: Rappers, high socks, sun-
do you do for fun?
MB: I play a lot of video games,
among other sports—tennis, golf,
glasses, barrier skating, HD, The Berrics, Instagram—I like it all. I do my own things, so trends don’t really affect me too much.
young skaters considering making a career in skateboarding?
MB: Never stop trying. Do what
you love. Don’t skate to be famous or to make money. Skate because you love it.
PHOTOS: LEO S. DELATI
TG: Top 5 favorite skaters?
PHOTO: FRANK J. MOGAVEO
FAMILY TIES Jen Brusco interview Jen Brusco has watched her
son, Mitchie, take the skateboarding world by storm. As a mom and a manager, she has a unique perspective on the sport. TopGrom caught up with Jen and she offered some insights into life as a skater’s parent, as well as her own views on skating.
TOPGROM: So Mitchie began
skateboarding at 3 years old. How did he get started?
Jen: We were at a store buy-
ing some things… And we went through the toy aisle, and he saw a little Tasmanian Devil skateboard. He said: “Hey, can I have 26
that?” And it was eight dollars. So I thought: “That’s a pretty nice little toy.” So I bought it, and that was it.
a real skateboard, and it kind of really started from that point because he was able to skate the ramps.
TG: When did you realize that
TG: Unlike skateboarding, most
skateboarding was more than just a pastime for Mitchie?
Jen: What happened was it was
September up in Seattle and the three older kids had just started school—one in kindergarten, one in third grade, and one in fourth. And so I had Mitchie and his little sister. We would just go to the local park. And there was a tiny, little skatepark next to the playground. He would just roll around there while [his sister] Colie would play on the playground. And a skater came up to me and said: “Your little guy is really good. But he’s going to get hurt if you don’t get him a real skateboard.”... So we went to a shop and got him
sports are structured to help kids learn, improve, and advance. As a parent, how did you help Mitchie develop his skateboarding?
Jen: Back then, when he was 3,
there weren’t really coaches as there are now. There were no lessons. There was really nothing besides going to the park and him having the skills even at 31/2 to go up to a teenager and say: “How did you learn that trick? Show me how to do this.”
TG: So you really rely on the
skateboarding community and older kids to help the younger ones develop?
Jen: Absolutely. And that’s the
progression of the sport. When you go to a skatepark, almost every kid who is a skateboarder has skated with the pros because the pros have to skate somewhere... And it makes it so realistic for [younger] kids to say: “Hey, I can do that.”
TG: What role would you say a parent plays in helping a child reach such an elite level, like Mitchie?
Jen: The role that I play is that I
provided him with the opportunity. And it probably benefitted him tremendously that I knew nothing about the sport... We grew together. We learned together.
impact on day-to-day life for you and your family. Could you talk about that?
Jen: Well, two years ago in June
we moved down to Encinitas [from Washington]... If he wanted to progress, he needed to move down to California. We sat everybody down and said: “We’ll continue what we’re doing. We’ll be gone two weeks out of the month. And we’ll come back [to Washington].” And [Mitchie’s two college-age siblings] said: “No, let’s move. We want to do this.” … They were so supportive... It was a really mature move on the whole family’s part.
TG: Mitchie’s really a star in the
ager. It must be tricky having this role, as well as being his mom. Can you talk about how you handle this dual role?
skateboarding world and he’s traveling and getting all this attention. But it doesn’t sound like it’s had a negative impact on your other kids. Have there ever been any issues?
Jen: He’s had an agent since 4 or
Jen: [He started] so young, when
TG: You are also Mitchie’s man-
5 years old. So I basically go over things before I present it to him to see if it’s even presentable. And then I say: “This is what came across. Should I move it on to the agent?”
TG: So he is really making the
choices at this point and you’re there as a support?
Jen: Absolutely. And it’s kind of
been that way the whole time. Just this past year, he’s really stepped up and said: “I don’t want any surprises. I want to know what the agent is working on and what’s going on behind the scenes.”
TG: Being involved in the skateboarding world must have an
every AM competition that there was. And, at that point, it’s what do you do? Do you go back to the same contest the next year?... Or do you make that commitment to the pro level?... And then came the Dew Tour two years ago. He entered 35 qualifiers and he qualified first out of all of the pros trying to qualify. And that kind of set the stage [for us to say]: “OK, he’s ready.”
TG: What do you think about the future of skateboarding? Where do you see it going?
Jen: I hope it goes in the Olym-
pics. That would really open it up for girls. If it’s an Olympic sport, it’s a dual sport. So there has to be female and male [competitions]. And I think it would be an amazing opportunity for girls at that point. Because there are barely any girls’ contests, and if there are they’re half as big...in the sense of skateboarding.
he was 31/2, and his first sponsor came when he was almost 4. I kind of set the standard [with the] sponsors. [For example,] his first sponsor was Jones Soda. Instead of sending a case, they’d let all the kids pick out their flavors. So everyone would get a case... He also had DC Shoes in the beginning, and I said: “I don’t care if it’s a T-shirt or a sticker, but there’s five of them here and it’s really important that we acknowledge [all of the kids].”
TG: We have to ask – we’ve read
TG: Have there been any real
TG: It must be a thrill for you to
Jen: I think the biggest struggle is
Jen: Yes, it’s such a blessing.
struggles that you’ve faced along the way in Mitchie’s journey so far? when he was 14 and he had won
that Mitchie says he sometimes gets scared trying stuff. What about you when you’re watching him in competitions?
Jen: Of course, I get nervous.
There’s a lot of prayer. As a mom, you know you’re never in control... We always say a little prayer before the contest and just kind of give it away... If he accomplishes what I know he wants to accomplish, then I’m totally fine. watch your child—who has a passion for skateboarding—really succeed at it.
Alex, Billy, Bob, Brandon, Chaz, Chris, Corey, Curren, Danny, Deawon, Dennis, Eric, Guy, Lance, Rob, Greg, Mike, Mitchie, Nyjah, Omar, Paul, Pedro, Pierre, PJ, Rick, Rodney, Ryan, Sean, Shane, Tony and Torey.
( 13 AND UNDER ONLY )
January 17-18, 2014 Modern Skatepark, Royal Oak, Michigan, USA 28 www.topgrom.com
PHOTO: LESLIE BUTT
When you think about grom skaters and bowl skating, the name Cory Juneau comes to mind. So far, 2013 has been a great year for Cory.
UP FIRST SAN DIEGO
INSIDER Mission Valley - Cory Juneau REPORT WORDS AND PHOTOS BY DAN BOURQUI
He won the Am Vans Pool Party in the spring and that allowed him to participate in the Pro Vans Pool Party. At 13 years of age, it was Cory’s first opportunity to skate in a pro contest, and he finished in 8th place, skating against some of the best bowl skaters in the business. Right now, he is sponsored by Creature Skateboards, Vans shoes, OJ Wheels, Lucky 13, 187 Killer Pads, Paradox Grip, and Slappy’s Skate Garage. 30
Cory can skate all kinds of terrain, but because his flowing style allows him to adapt to cement bowls easily, we asked him to list and comment on some of his favorite bowls. Here’s what he had to say: Vans Combi Bowl: The combi is my favorite bowl, along with the Clairemont YMCA bowl in San Diego. The combi has perfect walls, corners, and hips, and all the walls are “the same.” Once you figure out how the wall works, how much you have to pull out when you do airs, and how the coping slides, it’s the same everywhere in the bowl. Clairemont YMCA Bowl: I like Clairemont because it’s different than most
bowls—with a 5 foot section, 7 foot, and 10 foot sections. It has a lot of lines in it and the coping is chunky, but it still grinds perfect. I skate it all the time, too. And I’ve spent many days skating it in the last seven years, so I’m used to it.
Bondi Bowl in Australia: Bondi is not as perfect as the other bowls, but it’s still one of my favorite bowls. The whole scenery—with the beach right there—makes it a special place. I skated there when they painted the surface for
the contest and it was slippery and had a little bit of sand at the bottom of the bowl. But after you ride it for a day, the next day you are ready. I grew up skating a park that had a slippery surface, so I’m familiar with that.
PURCHASE THE FULL COMIC BOOK AT: http://skatecat-blog.blogspot.com/ OTHER STUFF BY ERIC SANTOS: http://ericsantosart.blogspot.com/ http://findandgrind.blogspot.com/
T A C E T A SK 33
DAVE PALAZZESE SPONSORS: Vans, Quiksilver, Theeve, Bones, Powell, Endless Grind, and LSD Grip HOMETOWN: Toronto, Ontario STANCE: Regular AGE: 15 STATUS: AM
TopGrom hooked up with
Dave: King City, about an hour
It’s visually spectacular. And
Dave, who didn’t waste any
north of Toronto, makes for
thanks to a supportive base
time getting down to business
the ultimate last stop on a long
and some traveling, he’s got
at his favourite parks around
day. There’s actually a button
a leg up attitude-wise over
Toronto. Since Dave divides
you can push to light the park
other young dudes on the
his sessions between Toronto,
up till 11, which is sick ’cause
come up. Seems to me Dave
only one other Toronto park has
is among a refreshing niche
and California, he has quite a
lights. On hot days, skate here
of a few notable young tranny
well-developed palate when it
at night to avoid heatstroke and
rippers throwing out the old
comes to terrain.
city smog. The street section is
cliché that vert is an old man’s
pretty conventional, except for
game. His favourite ramp may
some fun little waves and some
be the Hawk’s personal facil-
really cool, harsh little quarter
ity, but clearly that isn’t holding
pipes in the corners that sorta
him back from stepping off the
warm you up for the park’s
ramps and bringing the first
main course: a tight, backyard-
8-foot airs to Toronto’s brand
style kidney pool with super
new kidney pool.
harsh transition. The shallow
KING CITY PARK , TO, ON ARTICLE / PHOTO: NICKY YOUNG
Skating with Dave is a treat.
end is almost like skating a barrier, and the deep end isn’t much different, just three times the size. If the sun is setting and you’re looking for something original to skate, it’s worth the drive here.
Dave: The Hoof is Toronto’s quintessential bowl park. It’s been around for years and has a tight scene of locals who keep it clean and safe. Home to the notorious “Hoedown at the Hoof” contest, its U-bowl with a cradled deep end is, without a doubt, one of the best bowls in Canada. It’s no wonder people come from both ends of the country to skate this thing. There’s also a pretty good little street section. This park is a must for any transition skater who’s rolling through town.
VANDERHOOF, TO, ON AIR OVER THE HIP
Dave: Another no-brainer is the new Ashbridges Bay Skatepark in the city’s east end. The gigantic street section was built a few years ago and it’s pretty cool ’cause it has replications of a bunch of popular downtown Toronto skatespots, like Commerce Court circle. What brings me here is the park’s new bowl. It’s almost an exact replica of the YMCA pool that I’ve skated in Encinitas, California. While the Hoof has a classic U-bowl for pushing lines, this unforgiving kidney pool is better for airs. Combine that with the setting—a hilltop overlooking downtown Toronto and Lake Ontario—and this is the perfect photo spot. ASHBRIDGES, TO, ON 37 JUDO AIR
ICON: Don Bostick
WORDS BY NICKY YOUNG
opened a skate shop in the 1950s. In 1993, he started the
There’s no other way to put it— Don Bostick is skateboarding.
World Cup of Skateboarding, which organizes skateboarding competitions around the
traveling. Where were you?
DB: My last big trip was to Ocean
City, Maryland for the Dew Tour event. But I just returned from driving to the US Slalom Championships in Oceanside, California.
world. And, for good measure, Don was even involved in the X Games at one point. TopGrom
TOPGROM: You just got back from
Don’s been involved in the
got lucky and caught up with
skateboarding world for 50
Don to hear about his life in
years. He began skating when
skating and his impressions of
he was a kid and eventually
the sport today.
TG: You travel a lot. How is skate-
boarding different around the world?
Don Bostick: In all my travels, I
find that skateboarding is basically the same everywhere. There’s a certain energy, passion, and love
that is displayed around the world. If you’re a skater, you’re a part of the family, no matter where you’re from. I have to say, my first trip to Germany for the World Championships in 1989 really opened up my eyes to how international skateboarding is and how much skaters just relate to each other.
TG: Having skated for over 50
years, do you remember what your first deck was? DB: My very first skateboard was
homemade. I used a 2-by-4 and nailed on some old steel skates.
When I was a kid, everyone had steel skates that attached to the bottom of your leather shoes. We would take them apart and build scooters and then later skateboards. I eventually upgraded to a store-bought Roller Derby steel wheels skateboard.
TG: What was it like skating on
DB: Dangerous! Basically, all you
could do was go straight. I lived on the San Francisco Navel Shipyard and we had a small crew that skated this little hill there. If you
could make it all the way down without falling, you were cool.
TG: When was the last time you
were skating and where?
DB: I broke my back jumping a
cliff snowboarding when I was 43. As a result, I lost a lot of feeling in my left foot, which has greatly affected my skateboarding. I pretty much just cruise these days.
TG: You made skateboarding part
of your adult life. Did any of your crew from the Wipe Outs make a 39
ICON: Don Bostick DB: I didn’t decide.
career out of skating as well? DB: Wow, you’ve done your home-
work! That was my group of friends when I was in the 10th grade at Balboa High School in Daly City, California. We were a skateboard and surf crew that skated down at the old Playland in San Francisco and the Banks in the City College parking lot. I lost touch with the guys in the Wipe Outs long, long ago. In the late 70s, Billy Wade built and skated some crazy backyard ramp near Pacifica. He was in one of the skate mags featuring backyard ramps. I also ran into him at some random contest, but then we just lost touch.
TG: When did you decide skating
was going to be a career? And why? 40
Things just sort of happened. In my 20s and 30s, I was a professional musician and traveled all around the country and Canada. At the same time, I always had a skateboard, surfboard, and skis with me. I was newly married and, in an effort to stop traveling, I opened up a skate shop in Sacramento, California in 1976 named “Skateboards Etc.”… I skated for Santa Cruz Skateboards and Indy Trucks back then and also had my own shop team that did demos and contests all over Northern California. It was an amazing time in my life.
TG: Tell us a bit about the World
Cup of Skateboarding (WCS). When did you start it and why? DB: After going to Europe, it
opened my eyes to what skateboarding was internationally. When the NSA [National Skate Association] went under, I knew there was interest and a place for a skateboard body in organizing and sanctioning events around the world… I can still remember the first year that we did what was called the WCS World Tour. It included Slam City Jam in Van-
couver, BC, Canada, Back to the City in San Francisco, California, and the World Championships in Munster, Germany. That was 1993. TG: What is the “role” of the
DB: To organize and establish
quality skateboarding competitions around the world and offer a ranking system that honors and gives value to skaters’ accomplishments in competitive skateboarding.
TG: You are in a unique position
to comment on the evolution in skateboarding. What have been the most positive developments?
DB: My first thoughts are the many
changes over the years in equipment, which have allowed for so much progression—the urethane wheel, sealed bearings, tracker and Indy trucks, 7-ply maple decks, concave, etc. Then I think of the skaters that have progressed the sport year after year… It’s so rad to see the current groms taking what’s been done and adding their own style and variations, taking us into another era of creativity.
TG: If you could change one thing
in skateboarding, what would it be? DB: That skateboard magazines
weren’t so one-dimensional. There is so much more to skateboarding than street skating. For contests to have more respect and coverage.
That bowl skating was supported and acknowledged by the magazines. That kids, girls, and masters get coverage, as well. There is so much going on out there that the magazines don’t include.
TG: Should skateboarding be in the
Olympics? Why or why not? DB: I have struggled with the
answer to this question for many years. Way back in the 80s when Frank Hawk started the National Skateboard Association, it was his dream that one day skateboarding be in the Olympics. After all the years that I’ve been involved in skateboarding, I believe that it doesn’t need to be in the Olympics. But I do believe Frank’s dream will come true and skateboarding will end up in the Olympics.
teur Combi Pool Party and for me it’s the highlight event of the year. The groms totally amaze me! I never smile as much as I do at this event… The greatest pleasure is to see how well the kids get along with each other. They are so supportive of each other. We haven’t focused on the groms, but I keep in tune with all the grom events going on out there. I would be very open to doing more.
There’s a certain beauty in this. Skateboarding was never meant to have too much structure, which is one of the reasons so many of us have been attracted to [it]. Just progress and your skating will take care of the rest!
TG: Do you think groms have been
overlooked in the professional contest circuit? DB: It’s not that they have or
TG: How do you feel about con-
tests offering prize money to groms?
DB: I’m not for it. There’s a lot
of time, energy, money, and hard work that the pros put into their skating, which leads to earnings and winning money. Groms should be enjoying the learning curve and just have fun skating... Enjoy the ride and if it’s right and it’s time, the financial rewards will come.
haven’t been overlooked; it’s just that with the professional contest circuit, groms are not involved. It’s that simple… I believe groms need time to grow and enjoy life before stepping into the professional side of things. There’s no need to rush things. I’ve watched so many kids over the years show talent at an early age only to be passed up or lost in the crowd a few years later. Becoming a pro takes time and maturity.
TG: Any final thoughts? People you
want to acknowledge? TG: There seems to be no
structured path in skateboarding to become a pro. It that a good thing? TG: “Pros” are getting younger
every year. Do you sanction grom events? Any plans? DB: For the past 3 years, we have
been organizing the Vans Ama-
DB: For skateboarding, it is a good thing. It’s similar to being a musician. There’s no one structured path to becoming a professional. You just have to progress and put in a lot of hard work.
DB: Thanks to all the many friends
that I’ve made around the world. You are a part of me. Thanks to my amazing wife, Danielle, for all the years. My sons, David and Ian, I love you so much. And to all the crew and staff over the years that have contributed to the World Cup Skateboarding, especially Dave Duncan, Sasha Steinhorst, and Jen Kotter. 41
FRONTSIDE FLIP PHOTO: NICKY YOUNG
Introducing Nico Labbe...
Nicolas Labbe Skates CJ’s! Nicolas (Nico) Labbe is one 15 year old with a head start on skating. Sponsored by Flow for RDS, Nico also rides for a local skatepark and school that provides the perfect training facility for any skater. Whether it’s ledges, stairs, rails, or transition, I’ve never seen Nico take more than five or ten minutes to figure out a new trick. He also gets out of the skatepark, which can be rare for kids his age. Bring him to any size gap in the streets and he’s either getting a trick or limping away and plotting revenge. With a good attitude on and off the board, it’s no wonder all the younger kids at his park look to him for the next trick to learn. I’m sure he keeps a few up his sleeve though. Nico knows CJ’s inside and out and that makes him an obvious choice to help us introduce the nuances of the park to the TopGrom community. Thanks again, Nico. 44
6 ft Mini (bowl substitute) NICO: Starting with the bowl substitute—CJ’s 6 ft mini ramp with concrete pool coping. It’s tight, fast, and the concrete coping
is now worn. It can be a bit tricky getting to the top, as there are no stairs up. But a short run and jump should get you to the top. One tip I would give you: space
FEEBLE 270 PHOTO: NICKY YOUNG
ORT is limited on the deck, and during the contest it will be crowded. Give other skaters room during their run. You will appreciate it when it is your turn. If you are
new to CJâ€™s, spend some extra time here as the concrete coping and the tight ramp may take some getting used to and your normal tricks might seem harder to land.
Mini-ramps NICO: I love the spined 3 ft mini ramp at CJâ€™s. The spine connects a traditional 3 ft mini ramp with a 3 ft rectangular (rounded 45
corner) bowl. There is also a mellow roll-over and 4 ft extension. Plus, thereâ€™s a 5 ft wall ride for those of you who want an extra challenge. You can use both ramps as part of your runs. The ramps are smooth and in perfect condition. I expect the judges will be looking for a variety of creative transitioning from one ramp to the other and back. Street NICO: The street course is great. There is something for every level of skater. The course has a fairly
linear back and forth layout offering multiple opportunities for different lines. Street skating is all about using what is available to skate on. It may look different from your home skatepark(s) but all the standard obstacles are here for you to skate. CJâ€™s recently made a bunch of changes to their street course. I was stoked to skate it. I like when parks make changes as it keeps things from getting boring. Some recent changes CJâ€™s made are a new A-frame (pyramid with a rail) and a large flat-down rail. Be warned, this rail is high. I would
PHOTO: NICKY YOUNG
only recommend skating the higher rail if you have experience and confidence skating rails. There are other lower rails you can also skate. The ledges on either side of the course have been there for a while and are not to be missed. I think the big challenge will be putting lines together in the given amount of time. There is a lot of ground to cover and judges are not impressed by a lot of pumping back and forth. The most important thing to remember is that contests are about having fun and just doing your best. Good luck!
PHOTO: ULF BEIN
The Original King
Mark Muller has played a defining role in the history of grom skating. First, he created the iconic 3rd Lair Skatepark in 1997. Then he followed that up by founding the King of the Groms—the most prestigious 12-andunder skateboard competition in the world. TopGrom sat down with Mark and found out how he became such a key player in grom skating and in skateboarding culture. TOPGROM: When did you first start to skateboard? MULLER: I started when I was about 7 years old. TOPGROM: We were told you like to skate bowls/pools. Is that true? MULLER: Yes. Although I have skated my fair share of the streets, the vert ramp is where I was born and raised in the skateboarding world. Growing up, several of my friends around Minnesota had vert ramps. And as a teenager, the first skatepark I went to—Ramp City—had a good vert ramp. TOPGROM: Where and with whom do you skate? How often do you skate? MULLER: I helped co-found the ‘OTC’ here in Minnesota—Old Timers’ Club. It’s a club for skateboarders who are 30 and older. Some great guys in this crew–Bob Bogema, my roommate Andrew Durkin, Mike Haugen, Ole Gilbertsen, Justin Lynch, Brian Kevitt, Peder Mewis— just to name a few of my faves! Every Wednesday night is mandatory for OTC members, and I skate on weekends.
TOPGROM: Your favorite spot to skate? MULLER: Minneapolis has wayyyyy too many to name just one! TOPGROM: When did you decide to get into the business of skateboarding? MULLER: Well, back in 1996, John Muldoon, myself, and some other friends used to have to drive down to Illinois to skate in the winter. And on the way home from one of those trips, I said: “We need a park here in Minneapolis. This drive is getting ridiculous.” TOPGROM: Was 3rd Lair Skatepark the first park you started? MULLER: Yes.
of the Groms TOPGROM: 3rd Lair is considered by many to be one of the most iconic parks in the US. Can you tell us a bit of the history of the park?
MULLER: I signed our first lease in December of 1996, and we opened in February 1997 with a crappy street course and a half-built bowl.
These people have done an unlimited amount of volunteer hours at and away from the park. Our community has produced some prominent pros in the last few decades—Darren Navarette, Justin Lynch, Dave Leroux, John Muldoon, Steve Nesser, Clint Pederson, Chad Benson, Seth McCallum, Olu Pratt, just to name a few. All of these guys grew up skating here.
TOPGROM: Tell us a bit of the history of one of the most fabled bowls around—the Creature Bowl. Who designed and built it? MULLER: The bowl was built and designed by one of the people I have looked up to my entire life—Erik Froland of the Plywood Benders. And thanks to Darren Navarette and Creature, it became the “Creature Bowl” a few years back. TOPGROM: One of the things that sets 3rd Lair apart from other parks is your contest series. How did that culture take root and grow at 3rd Lair? MULLER: I competed in the NSA [National Skateboard Association] as a young kid. I got to do some traveling around the Midwest and it was one of the best experiences in my entire life. Skating new ramps and meeting new people—this is the true essence of life for a skateboarder. I knew that I wanted to be able to pass this experience on, so we worked very hard to develop relationships with not only our local park and rec departments that operated skateparks, but also with other park owners around the country. TOPGROM: You started the King of the Groms, which has become the largest and most revered 12-and-under contest series in the world. What drove you to create it?
TOPGROM: 3rd Lair is an integral part of the local skate community. More than that, it seems to be part of the Golden Valley, Minnesota social fabric. How did that happen? MULLER: Growing up as a skateboarder in Minnesota, I was lucky enough to make some lifelong friends.
TOPGROM: Who decided to turn the parking lot into an outdoor skate park? MULLER: Our first location in Minneapolis had no outdoor area and when we moved to Golden Valley in 2002, I knew the parking lot would be perfect for an epic mini-ramp!
MULLER: As a lifelong skateboarder, I knew that there was a need for this type of series in our industry. It started out as a local, annual competition and grew from there. TOPGROM: First off, how did you come up with such a cool name— “King of the Groms”? MULLER: (Laughing.) I did not come up with the name! Steve Gareri, an old business partner of mine, wrote ‘Grom’ on one of our favorite local
did it. A few months later, there was a picture from Gabe Clement at Matix that said ‘Swamp Trog’ with yours truly front and center. And the name has stuck ever since! TOPGROM: A who’s who of skateboarding Ams and Pros are King of the Groms Alumni. Could you name a few? MULLER: The first two that really stick out to me are Chaz Ortiz and Cody Davis. Also Mitchie Brusco, as well. There are really a ton more. I could go on forever! TOPGROM: Tell us a bit about why you introduced the King of the Ams?
kid’s helmet. The next day, he came back to the park and wrote ‘King of the’ in front of it to get back at Steve. And, thus, the name was born! TOPGROM: Was it always a multi-stop series? MULLER: No, not until the third year. TOPGROM: Where was the first qualifier held besides 3rd Lair? MULLER: In Florida, at the now defunct Skatelab. TOPGROM: Did it always offer the three formats—street, bowl, and miniramp? MULLER: Yes, since its inception. TOPGROM: The actual “King of the Groms” is the winner of the expert street. How did that come about and why? MULLER: Well, we figured we would give most props to the grom in the highest division. TOPGROM: Can you tell us a bit about how it grew at a time when social media was not really there to help spread the word?
MULLER: In one word—relationships. I was lucky to have gone out to the trade shows since 1997 and meet a lot of the company owners from our industry. And with constant persistence, they slowly but surely got behind it. TOPGROM: A huge part of the King of the Groms experience is the team of people who make the magic happen. Were they all part of the park or did they want to be part of the series? MULLER: A little of both. In our first beginning years, I have to give a lot of the credit to my old business partner, Steve Gareri. He was our original MC and he could really work the mic and make people feel so comfortable. I’ve learned a ton from him and try to mimic his style as much as possible. TOPGROM: Tell us about James Kaul and how he got the nickname “Swamp Trog.” MULLER: Certainly one of the best guys in the world! We took him to a Tampa Am contest a very long time ago and told him it was tradition to run the moat race on your first time to Tampa. This was, of course, a huge lie I made up. And sure enough, he
MULLER: After the series ran for about 5 or 6 years, our groms started growing up and became too old to compete. So, out of necessity, we introduced the next age level. TOPGROM: Kids and parents alike love the King of the Groms. What created the magic? MULLER: King of the Groms would not exist without some of the sponsors that got behind it in the beginning: Charley Thomas of World Industries, Chris Alsop of Imperial Skateboards, Tyrone Romero of LRG Clothing. These guys are great friends and true supporters of youth skateboarding. TOPGROM: What was the best part of being the MC for the series? MULLER: I just love being there with all the kids and you get to live through them and right along with them— their trials and tribulations of contest skating. As an MC, you are the first there to give them a high five or fist pound after a good run. When they take a hard slam, you are the first one they see when they come to. This helps form a true bond, an undeniable friendship, and respect. It’s truly a privilege to be out there with them.
Kids That Rip Skateboard School is skateboardingâ€™s most renown action sports training facility for both beginner
and up and coming groms. KTR is home to professional skateboarders Jett and Jagger Eaton, Alana Smith and Trey Wood. Not even teens, our top skaters have competed in 6 X Games, and hold 2 Guinnnes World Records. Our 40,000 sq. ft. indoor skatepark is located in Mesa, AZ, and holds the latest in street features, a vert ramp, mini-mega, bowl, mini-ramps, trampolines & foam pits. KTR builds itself on providing expert instruction & innovative equipment for safe progression. Camps, instructional programs & open sessions are offered year-long.
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PHOTO: NICKY YOUNG
(13 And under) International Skateboard Contest Series
Aug 2 – 3, 2013
YMCA Mission Valley
Aug 16 – 17, 2013
CJ Skate Park and School
Aug 30 – 31, 2013
Chuck Bailey Youth Centre
Sept 13 – 14, 2013
Le Taz Skate Park
Sept 27 – 28, 2013
Monster Skate Park
Sept 27 – 28, 2013
Oct 11 – 12, 2013
Oct 25 – 26, 2013
Modern Skate Park
54 Jan 17 – 18, 2014 Modern Skate Park