Friday, May 29, 2009

Travis Stenger

I've been combing through the Supra Distribution website the past little while and several youtube clips of this guy have been popping up. I've heard his name before but haven't paid very much attention. WTF was I doing!? Totally blown away. Dude looks amazing on a skateboard and it seems like he can do just about any trick. I'm a little surprised I've never seen him skate in person. Here's an interview from a few years ago. He must be pretty cool because he golfs as well. haha

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


The Back to the Berg contest is coming up this weekend and I thought I would post this pic. One of my all time favourite under-rated skaters, Jayme Fortune, going for a switch flip. Footage of the unlanded attempt at 33:46.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Variflex Wired

This will go down in history as the most ridiculous graphic post ever. The first board I ever had was a department store complete. This was the summer between grade 6 and 7 so 1987. It was black, had a snake and a skull as the graphics and the bearings were terrible. I remember taking it apart and the bearings had built in spacers. The griptape wore out in a matter of months so I went down to Surfside, a windsurfing shop that carried skateboards, and bought some new tape. I peeled off the old crap and put the new stuff on. I didn't know the procedure of slapping the griptape on, scraping along the edges and cutting along with a blade. I went through the tedious task of tracing the general shape of the board onto the tape, cut it out with scissors and trimmed until it fit. Took me forever! Fast forward several months...

A friend of mine had got this Variflex Wired board at the local Canadian Tire. I rode around on his a bit and I had to have one! Went down with my Mom and picked up my own. I was so stoked to have a new board. Some of the stuff on it were pretty bad. All the plastic was this really hard brittle stuff that cracked and broke off. It had decent bearings (NTN) which made for a smoother ride than my first board. For whatever reason, I was really into customizing my boards back then. I ended up regripping this one as well, painted it pink and slapped on a bunch of stickers, which included a Schmitt Stix Joe Lopes Sphere sticker, a Vision Don Brown Pig sticker and a few others I don't remember. I had also bought Rib Bones and a Tail Bone for it.

When I eventually got my first real pro board, I carried over the Rib and Tail Bones as well as the Variflex trucks until I got my set of Tracker Ultralites.

Friday, May 22, 2009

30 shops in 30 days

I've never really been very interested in the retail side of skateboarding. Transworld Business has a series of articles 30 shops in 30 days and each shop talks about their set up: inventory percentage allocation, best sellers etc. They also have a feature called Top Seller. It's similar to the other series but focuses more on what's hot and popular at various shops. I've always been told that the mark-up on decks is really low and it's not where shops make their money. It looks like Nike SB is the bread and butter for a lot of shops and sunglasses, of all things, seem to be a good money maker.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wood: China vs. Mexico vs. USA (Update # 1)

First update on the wood showdown. I was injured for two weeks and only really got back skating this past weekend. I don't think this Chinese Black Label is really holding up very well. Five sessions in and my griptape started showing creases. I peeled it off and sure enough, there were stress cracks all over the top of my board and the griptape had tears in it mirroring the bigger stress cracks. I've never had this happen before. I'm using some Jessup-like shop branded griptape that peeled off really easily when I picked at it with my finger nail but I really doubt this would not have happened with actual Jessup. Admittedly, the board still feels good and hasn't gotten soggy feeling yet.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Custom Vans and Etnies

Back in the early 90's, my local shop had a Vans catalog and you could custom order shoes in whatever material and colour you wanted. It was amazing. You'd get your custom Half Cabs or whatever within a month, hand made in America. Unfortunately, that program was shut down years ago.

In 2009, both Vans and Etnies have introduced custom shoe programs for a limited number of styles. Go over and design your ideal colorway.

As for me, I like my shoes to look really plain and simple, basically black. My customs are boring.

Have Vans Old Skools always been called Old Skools? I've always referred to them as low top Off the Walls and the Sk8 Hi's as Off the Walls LOL. I used to cut down the Sk8 Hi's to mid tops along the stitching line. Damn those shoes were uncomfortable. Blister city for the first few weeks. In the early 90's, I had quite a few pairs of Caballeros and Chukkas and uncountably many pairs of Old Skools but surprisingly, only one pair of Half Cabs (all white suede/white rubber). I owned those nurse shoes for less than a week and never wore them for skating as I ended up selling them to my friend Jimmy.

Monday, May 18, 2009

World Industries Ron Chatman Experience

Gotta love the Hendrix inspired graphic with the accompanying desist letter. I never knew you could trademark an afro. So stoked on Ron Chatman in Rubbish Heap. I read somewhere that he's now a teacher. I'd be so hyped to go into homeroom and have a former professional skater at the front of the class. Marc McKee did the art and the board image is from skateboard graphics . com.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Geoff Rowley at PS Stix Factory

Here's Geoff Rowley at PS Stix going through the process of making a skateboard. This video's from Windowseat Pictures and was filmed at what looks like their Costa Mesa factory in Oct 2008. Not sure if Flip will stay with PS Stix now that they are with NHS/Santa Cruz. That website also has a great Koston clip. Here's another video of the PS Stix factory but this time it's the one in Tijuana and it's a noise complaint.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Wood: China vs. Mexico vs. USA

I've got these three decks. All of them are the same in most aspects (width, wheel base, concave, nose length and steepness) and pretty close in all the rest (shape, tail length and steepness). The primary difference is the country it was pressed in and based on Wednesday's post, it's gonna be PS Stix - USA vs. Bareback - MEX (Assuming Alien is only using one woodshop in Mexico) vs. Random China woodshop. Let's see how they hold up.

I've already been out with the China Black Label for three sessions (roughly two hours each) at my local plaza. This is my first China made deck. The wood seems a bit soft... it's denting up a lot faster than I would expect but at the same time, the pop I get from it seems fine, not soggy feeling. There are stress cracks all over the damn board in places I typically never see them. The heat transfer is chipping all over as well.

fwiw, I break 90% of my boards... and that's primarily skating flatground or doing tricks into or out of mellow banks. The last board I had was a PS Stix USA deck that lasted forever and never broke, not even cracked. It was one of those boards that seemed to get better with age.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

BBS/Bareback woodshop

Bareback is most well know these days, it seems, for pressing DLX and DGK boards. Their website was under construction for ages but now it's up and running. They do a good job explaining their history. It's pretty interesting to read about how they started out pressing longboards in the USA to doing typical popsicle stick shapes in Mexico. There's also a pretty slick video of their factory and you can clearly see them working on Real, Anti Hero, Blueprint and Alien Workshop decks. I had been wondering which Mexico woodshop was pressing Alien and Habitat. Now I know. Note that Bareback and Generator are at the same address: 2835 la Mirada Dr, Vista, CA 92081.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Suspended Bowl

Just saw this in the Architectural Review.
Italian practice studiometrico has converted an old cinema in Milan into a new flagship clothing store featuring a suspended skateboarding bowl.

The building is the new home of Italian clothing company Comvert srl. Founded in Milan in 1994 by four skateboarders, Comvert conceives, produces and distributes clothing for skateboarders and snowboarders under the brand bastard and distributes the brand Electric in Italy.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Planet Earth Animal Kingdom

When Planet Earth first started as a sister company to H-Street, everyone in my city was hyped for it... Now 'n' Later, Brian Lotti and an amateur Jovontae Turner. Lotti has one of the best styles of all time. This Animal Kingdom board was the most popular Planet Earth board in my town that year. I totally forgot where I got the image from.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Skateboards to Cuba

I did a post back in January with regard to skateboarding in Cuba. In the past few weeks, it looks like a crew of North Americans, including Chris Nieratko, Zered Basset, Quim Cardona, Bryce Kanights, and Rick McCrank, made it down there with tonnes of product to give to the locals. Read about it at the websites for Vice, eS and SPoT (part 1, part 2 and part 3).

Monday, May 4, 2009

Heroes & Villains of the Clone Wars

I've been psyched on Star Wars since I was 5 years old. This past week, there were several auctions of art on skateboards by the design group of the Clone Wars animated series. I had this one on my watch list and it ended up selling for usd$535. So much for the recession. Looks like comic and sci-fi nerds still have dough to spend. This Super Hero one sold for usd$1425!