Skateboarding’s Newest “Certi-Fried” Pro

March 30th, 2016   
As skateboarding continues to bring new talent up through the ranks, we continue to see our favorites ascending from flow to pro while others burn out and slowly disappear. It stokes us out to see those that make it to “the top,” convincing us of their bad-assery, clip by clip. There’s a relatively constant (but not consistent) supply of new pros in the game, and one of the most recent is Baker Skateboards’ own Rowan Zorilla.
Rowan's always on the look-out for new spots.

Rowan’s always on the look-out for new spots.

Rowan, although a Southern California native, did not take the traditional route of exposure to success. A skate rat by choice, and a Shep Dawg by nature, he fell into a very unique basket of talent. Raised by the California sun in Vista, RoZo grew up under the influence of many of skateboarding’s elite and most influential. And pushed by a heavy crew of peers, he’s no doubt developed into one of today’s heaviest rippers.
Alongside true killers like Taylor Kirby, Riley Hawk, and Taylor Smith, Rowan showed us his unique style and trick bag while riding with the Shep Dawg crew. At first, his style was an acquired taste; people had never seen someone who skated fast with flailing arms and charging intention as strong as Rowan’s. The Shep Dawgs, without any dispute, became a hot topic and one group that skaters everywhere wanted to see more of. As skater fame came, riders were snatched up by board companies and shoe companies alike. Riley was first, going to Baker. Then, Kirby went to Deathwish, T-Spliff was off to Foundation (and then Mystery), AJ Zavala went to Slave, and others found sponsor homes too. Rowan joined Mr. Hawk at Baker Boys Dist. under Baker Skateboards and never turned back.

Following his firm placement at Baker, Vans published their first ever full-length skate video, “Propeller.” The video was a huge hit and featured Rowan prominently as an up-and-comer in our world we call skateboarding. We’d all seen some footage of

Covers, baby! Thrasher Magazine - July 2015

Covers, baby! Thrasher Magazine – July 2015

Rowan’s “Propeller” part really showed off a more mature style while revealing this true all-terrain ability on a board. His thorough job of ripping for Vans’ feature film was followed by the Thrasher Magazine cover of his frontside wallride, and the rest is history.

As of March 22nd, 2016, Rowan Zorilla is officially pro for Baker Skateboards! And, of course, Baker released a proper 12-minute edit to show us all. The best part: the video is a Baker team video, with Rowan as the (well-deserving) ender.
Check out the edit for yourself if you haven’t already! It’s worth a watch, and then several more. Rowan also reps Independent, Spitfire, Modus Bearings, Happy Hour Shades, Shake Junt, and Psockadelic. Everybody brings it, and RoZo comes through with proper footage for a “Going Pro” announcement.
Rowan, we’re stoked! Keep ripping, and we’ll keep being stoked. Find his Baker board on the site soon!
Long live the Shep Dawg legacy!

Zoo York Skateboards: Photo Incentive Stained graphic

March 30th, 2016   
Zoo York team rider, Chaz Ortiz, blasts an ollie with style in the land Down Under.

Zoo York team rider, Chaz Ortiz, blasts an ollie with style in the land Down Under.

Zoo York is one of the rare board brands we have today that have been around for more than two decades. It’s truly a legacy brand that not only has the years under its belt but also the reputation to back those years up. Since its beginnings in 1993, Zoo York has been home to some of the most influential professional skateboarders in history, including Forrest Kirby, Aaron Suski, and Brandon Westgate.

The aesthetic of Zoo York’s brand, in its board graphics, video direction, and team riders, has always been 100% “east coast street,” and they stay true to that. You can go all the way back to
"Photo Incentive Stained" by Zoo York

“Photo Incentive Stained” by Zoo York

their early videos, like “Mix Tape” and “Peep This,” and see a consistent image of who Zoo York was and still is: Dedicated and fully embracing the streets of New York.

The Photo Incentive Stained deck graphic is hot on the shelf (or in your online cart) and embodies the artful spirit that Zoo York has kept up for so many years. The clean lines mix with splotchy detail, just like the city streets. The ZY classic logo is lined up on the nose of the board, ready to shred. The deck might have good design, but you can rest assured that it rides just as well as it looks. Made from 100% Canadian hard-rock maple plies and manufactured in the northeast US, all Zoo York decks are top-quality wood, and this new release is no exception.
Find the new Photo Incentive Stained deck right here on, along with lots of other goodies from Zoo York..

Adidas’ “The Skate” – A Skin Phillips Tribute

March 15th, 2016   
On a comfortable “winter” night in Los Angeles, in the heart of the Fairfax District of West Hollywood, Adidas had a few tricks up their sleeve for a great night – for a great photographer. On February 6th, Adidas Skateboarding partnered with Known Gallery to bring us the US premiere of a new signature shoe – The Skate. Sure, The Skate was fresh, clean, and impressive as a sneaker, but it’s what the shoe represented that we all showed up for.
Skin Phillips is a legendary skateboarding photographer that still spends his time in the streets with the Adidas skate team, getting photos for the biggest magazines and features in skateboarding. Being from a small town in Wales, Skin defines what it means to reach far for what you want. He was in the least likely location for a successful skate photographer to be born from, yet he made it happen for himself. Over decades, he has proved himself as a master of his trade, befriending some of the best skaters in the world and taking the photos that documented some of the best skating that has happened during that time. Yet, more importantly, he has actively become a part of the very fabric that has created professional skateboarding as we now know it.
Skin thanking the crowd in West Hollywood. Photo: Blair Alley

Skin thanking the crowd in West Hollywood. Photo: Blair Alley

When pros from different countries had not ties, when text messages did not exist, when tour dates were announced via flyers in skate shops, Skin was the guy to shoot photos for your skateboarding. He connected so many, performed at the highest level, and made everyone feel comfortable, all qualities of a world-class skateboarding photographer. Knowing all this, it should be no surprise that he’s recognized with his own shoe model, even for a shoe company as established and as revered as Adidas.
With the European ties, classic brand, and heavy line-up in the skate team that Adidas has, it only makes sense that Skin is staff photographer for Adidas Skateboarding. The show at Known Gallery on February 6th matched the influence that he has had over his career, as much as it possibly could have. The walls were covered with Skin’s photography from over the years, from classic lifestyle shots of our favorite skaters to the best skate photos of skaters old and new. There were gift bags for attendees that contained really nice offerings. There were the best people in skateboarding present (this is an understatement). And there were the letters of Skin Phillips’ name, scrawled on the wall behind his own signature shoe. Beers on RVCA, good vibes everywhere, and plenty of photos of Mark Gonzales to please any skate nerd. There was also a hint at SPOILER ALERT Marc Johnson now riding for Adidas Skateboarding…
We’re glad that we got to experience the show in honor of Skin and in the presence of so many legends. We’re stoked for you, Skin. And we’re stoked for YOU, skateboarding.

New Supreme Video

March 15th, 2016   
Supreme has a reputation of being, well, supreme. And not in a way that has them on top of any one pyramid. In fact, they’re not the greatest at any one thing. They just started their own thing, and they do that best. Each video, in the long string of projects by William Strobeck, recreates a familiar yet craved feeling within the viewer. They are true films (of whatever length) as opposed to strings of consecutive clips set to a musical track.
There’s no exact formula. If there were, everyone would match it. The short skate films coming from these dudes is constantly causing a reaction with the newest and coolest of skaters. The high caliber of skating meets the raw feel of its footage that makes it seem just amateur enough to be achievable. The moments of defeat and glory that we all experience as skaters are perfectly performed in front of the camera and shown back to us in an authentic format that we see and immediately respect.
Sage Elsesser. Hippie Jump. Screen Grab.

Sage Elsesser. Hippie Jump. Screen Grab.

“Pussy Gangster” starts with the ambient hum of New York City in slow motion, showing a young kid that none of us recognize. Zooming out from his face, we see him dropping his board, still in slow motion. The spark is there, and the anticipation is building. And when this kid lands a boardslide with a surprising amount of style, it’s ON. The skater feels that feeling from learning that boardslide himself or herself. Hell Yeah is the reaction. And then abruptly
The film cuts to a crazy homeless guy. (*Cue the familiar experience from spending entire days in the streets.*) The energy shifts in a way that’s exciting but concerning. This dude’s got a knife and is waving it around all over the place. We’re concerned for the homies, but then BAM. A team of cops tackles and disarms the offender. The crowd cheers. The skaters win. This is a skate video. Now let’s move on with the film.
Dill’s face flashes on the screen before cutting to night footage of Sage Elsesser. Old school to new school. Favorites. The next several minutes are straight fire. Alternating from those we know by name to those we don’t, hammer to hammer we go. Each trick and line with its unique style or approach; you never could know what’s coming next. All the while, vibes of the street, cracks in the sidewalk, and the way people look at the skaters are put in seamlessly. “Life in the ghetto ain’t easy…” sings the vocalist in the first song. Everything adds up. All details culminate to the relationship between street skateboarding and struggle. The struggle that we choose.
"...the ghetto ain't easy..." Screen grabbed Na-Kel slam.

“…the ghetto ain’t easy…” Screen grabbed Na-Kel slam.

After a heavy slam by Na-Kel Smith, the track cuts to silence. And then a VX1000 line of him, with only the background noise of metropolitan Paris to aide him: the ultimate raw street experience. Then bloody hands, youth smoking cigarettes, no rules. Now, we’re not promoting smoking or masochism, but there is an essential quality to the film that captures the hardships of skating in the streets. Everyone tries to create it, but not many succeed.
One of the most key ingredients to Strobeck’s master recipe is the spontaneity of the entire film. Many skaters that are pushing back against the current organization of skateboarding also covet the not knowing what will happen next. The element of surprise, although no one calls it that, is what the modern skate nerd longs for. We watch our favorite (and least favorite) pro skaters and eventually get a feel for their bag of tricks, their approach to spots, and their general ability in skating. But so refreshing it is to see a video in which you can’t call a single trick before it’s done.
Here’s to being weird. Here’s to the struggle of the streets. Here’s to bringing a camera along.
Here’s to Pussy Gangster.

Independent Trucks: Leo Romero – Stage 11 Hollow

March 15th, 2016   
Independent Trucks, as we’ve heard, are always Built to Grind. They definitely grind well, and Indy’s been making quality trucks since 1978.
Trucks are heavy! Sometimes, you need some lighter hardgoods to make it easier to move with your board. So Independent introduced their hollow models.
The Leo Romero Stage 11 Truck by Independent

The Leo Romero Stage 11 Truck by Independent

These Stage 11 trucks aren’t the first hollow kingpin, hollow axle truck, but they are the most advanced that Independent offers. The baseplate is forged stronger to make for better strength in a thinner, lighter baseplate and hollow components help make this one of the lightest trucks you can get your hands on…
Leo Romero has been repping Indy for years, and this truck has his signature graphic design! With a matte white hangar and matte green baseplate, the red print rounds out a homage to Leo’s Mexican heritage with style. The Viva Romero eagle print reminds us of how gnarly this SOTY was and how gnarly this SOTY still IS!
Leo off the board

Leo off the board

We’re showing off our 139’s, but we also carry this model in 129 & 149mm and 129 & 139mm LOW as well. If you’re not stoked to buy these right now, just go type “Leo Romero” into Youtube’s Search. We’re pretty sure the stoke will come. Want to hit the rails like Leo? Ride what he does.
Independent. “F*** the Rest.”

Tampa Pro – 22nd Annual

March 11th, 2016   
The doors of Skatepark of Tampa open to everyone and anyone, for better and for worse. Tampa Pro weekend is the only time you will see so many people from the skateboarding industry in one place together, whether they be your favorite pro skaters, their semi-famous team managers, the company owners, or that one guy that made it on Jenkem last year. On the flipside, there are many that don’t know anything about skateboarding that are there because: a) they’re there for their kids, who are too young to brave the SPoT crowds alone, OR b) they live in Tampa and don’t have anything better to do than go to that thing that got endorsed by Lil’ Wayne!
The massive crowd, post-awards, at Tampa Pro 2015.

The massive crowd, post-awards, at Tampa Pro 2015.

All negative comments aside, Tampa Pro is one of the very best pro skate contests in the world, and the scene it creates is absolutely one of the most entertaining to watch. There’s the best skateboarding you’ll ever see under one roof. And there’s also a constant madness that ensues throughout all of it; the sprinkles on top, if you will. We love those sprinkles.
Having a presence in Tampa this March was great, as it always is. And the reason people actually traveled there, of course, was for the 22nd Annual Tampa Pro contest. At the end of the day, we’re  there for the skating. And we can vouch that there was no disappointment there. Everyone showed up to either win or throw down, and we’re perfectly happy with either! Everyone has by now seen that Shane O’Neill won the contest. Carlos Ribiero earned second place, and Tom Asta showed up strong for a third place finish. Nyjah rolled away with the fourth place spot this time…
Shane O'Neill, about to mount the top spot on the podium. Tampa Pro 2016!

Shane O’Neill, about to mount the top spot on the podium. Tampa Pro 2016!

Being at the contest offers a certain insight into the action that can’t be shown on the webcast. It can only be personally explained or, even better, experienced for yourself. If you weren’t at the contest or watching each moment on the webcast, you’d have never known that Dave Bachinsky killed his contest runs. I mean, damn, he should be indicted for murder. And you would’ve never known that Dennis Busenitz did some of the craziest lines and made the course look like his backyard skatepark. You might’ve never even known that Shane O’Neill’s winning run (that we’ve all watched 20 times now), was the LAST run of the contest and happened after he choked on his first two runs.
I guess it’s really like any other physical event. You’ll watch the re-cap and get hyped, but you’ll get twice as hyped by experiencing it as the moments pass. Enduring sweat, sore legs, and large crowds make it that much better when Chris Joslin lands that backside flip. Not to mention that you feel the rumbling of the bleachers and the foundation underneath you. The sea of people erupts to no end, and you simply can’t experience that from any seat in your home.
Well worth the trip. Well worth the sweat, sunburn, and hangovers. We’ll be back again next year, SPoT. And we hope to see you there too!
We love you, Tampa!

18th Annual TWS Awards

March 3rd, 2016   
For the first time, we had a member of the team out at the annual TWS Awards. As the premiere skateboarding awards show, we were stoked to say the least. Transworld has always made a point to show positivity in skateboarding (some of the awards given last weekend are examples), and their effort to host such an event is a testament to their dedication to preserving the skateboarding industry that we so know and love.
Classic photo of the Marquee. Taken from Collegiate Skate Tour's Instagram.

Classic photo of the Marquee. Taken from Collegiate Skate Tour’s Instagram.

The line was around the block in downtown Los Angeles, and the VIP line was almost just as long. The anticipation building all around the building was unreal, but as you would expect. Everyone in skateboarding is there, from the industry guys that are SoCal local and east coast visitors alike. The awards are an occasion that happen each year and are awaited by many. Maybe skateboarding isn’t about who was awarded this or that in a certain year, but it is about coming together as a family and appreciating what’s gone down in our world. The TWS Awards offer exactly that. It’s an opportunity for everyone to meet up, hang out, and drool over the insane feats in skateboarding that have gone down over the past year. And with that…
Miles Silvas was awarded Rookie of the Year. And we know why. He RIPS! But he does it while oozing style and personality on and off his board. If you saw his LRG video part, you’ll know right away. But even if not, you may have seen his footage with the PLA Boys of Sacto, on his Instagram, or throughout plenty of other online coverage throughout the year 2015. Cheers to you, Miles! And looking forward to Adidas’ “Away Days.”
Thanks for the photo,

Thanks for the photo,

Leticia Bufoni was awarded the Female Readers Choice Award, and Ishod Wair walked home with the Male Readers Choice. I think anyone who keeps up with skateboarding will know that these are two deserving recipients of the Readers Choice trophy. ‘Shod has been killing it consistently ever since getting onto the scene five years ago, but especially since turning pro for Real, winning Thrasher’s SOTY two years ago, and putting out more footage than almost anyone in the game. Leticia Bufoni was consistently getting coverage, whether it be with interviews on ESPN or crooked grinds on 12-stair rails. She won the first ever women’s division of Street League and blew minds with her PUSH part from The Berrics. What’s most important here, and to skateboarding, is that Readers Choice has a female category. “Girl skaters” are more common than ever, and they are pushing the envelope on what is possible for a female on a board. Cheers to the women on the come-up in skateboarding! They never stopped, we’re just finally started to recognize…
The Fucking Awesome team before accepting their award! Thanks TWS for the photo

The Fucking Awesome team before accepting their award! Thanks TWS for the photo

Team of the Year was “Fucking Awesome,” and Video of the Year was “Vans – Propeller”. So it makes sense that Best Video Part of the Year went to Anthony Van Engelen (AVE), who was also Thrasher’s SOTY for 2015. The birth and growth of Fucking Awesome has been a part of the new direction in hardgoods within the skateboarding industry, setting trends in style of all types. Vans finally put out a full-length video and did NOT disappoint. And AVE was part of all of it. With the “ender” video part in “Propeller” and founding Fucking Awesome, he was a sure shot for support on that one. Long live AVE!
The special awards of the night, the first and last, were the Eric Stricker Award and the Legend Award. The Eric Stricker Award goes to a person or organization each year that changes skateboarding for the the better, somehow. And this year, Transworld gave it to the Ryan Sheckler Foundation. The Sheckler Foundation raises money to help young skaters with disabilities, grown veterans of the skate industry with injuries, and many other worthy recipients who love skateboarding. Because skateboarding loves them. Sheckler himself accepted the award and gave a brief speech on behalf of the foundation. And it was GOLD. Excited to see what they do in 2016!
Ed! After accepting his Legend Award. Heavy.

Ed! After accepting his Legend Award. Heavy.

This year’s Legend Award was awarded to Ed Templeton. Not only is Ed Templeton SUCH a legend (he really deserved it), but he delivered a truly impressive acceptance speech. Going all the way back to the first time that skateboarding took his attention to his mentors and experiences as a skateboarding youth, and then onward to later in his career, Ed nailed it. That man has a lot to share about life, art, love, and effort. And, of course, skateboarding. Was not surprised to hear that we would be awarded the 2015 Legend Award. But pleasantly surprised at the eloquence, humility, and raw quality of his words when accepting the award.
Following the Awards, the 27th Transworld skateboarding video was premiered right there at the Ace Hotel Theatre. But you can read that story on another blog post. I can only say that it did NOT disappoint! And now, you can watch it, as it’s available on DVD.
All in all, the ambiance of the venue, the caliber of the people, and the intensity of the night made the 18th Annual TWS Awards one to remember. Despite Brian Schafer and Lee Dupont bickering in front of hundreds of people (hahaha). I wish a solid start to the New Year and to all of you!
And may you one day be behind that podium, accepting an award as a accomplished skater yourself. Hard work will get you there!
Thanks Transworld!

Z-Flex Skateboards: Mariachi Deck Series

March 3rd, 2016   
For the last several years, Z-Flex has been working hard to bring back to life a brand that was once in the top tier of  skateboard deck brands. Back when Z-Flex’s actually flexed. They have a reputation to live up to, and they’re doing a great job at that. The hype of the late Jay Adams (R.I.P.), debatably the best skater of all time, is still real and relevant to the most core of us. Big shoes to fill means rad graphics and solid product.
The graphics done for this recent Mariachi series were by the Venice Beach-born and raised Jason Brown. As a tattoo artist at S.T. Tattoo Studio, Jason has always had a strong cholo-esque, street-style influence to his art, which comes through in his tattooing. Something that’s so integral to the underlying culture of skateboarding and all other things which belong in the street. This board series was no exception. He translates his modern street rat portrait go-to to a more classical Mexican staple – the mariachi band member. The colors pop, and the lines are on point. Also, great job to the printer for making these graphics look just as good in person.
In all their glory, the Mariachi Deck Series from Z-Flex Skateboards.

In all their glory, the Mariachi Deck Series from Z-Flex Skateboards.

The physical quality of the hardgoods are just as excellent. They know that strong wood matters, and so they have these decks pressed with the Professor at PS Stix. A Mexican graphic pressed here in North America from a hard maple; it doesn’t really get better than that. The shape is solid, with a good angle on tail and nose, and a strong concave that provides for those that want it but isn’t a hindrance to those that don’t care. The shape(s) are great, the wood is solid, and the graphics are hot. The only thing Z-Flex can’t do is buy them off the shelves themselves!
Do yourself a favor and buy this deck, in blue, orange or green, from your local shop or right here on!

TWS’ “Substance”

March 3rd, 2016   
The final act of the 18th Annual TWS Awards was, fittingly, the showing of the 27th full-length Transworld Skateboarding video, “Substance.” After all, isn’t that all a core skater cares about, the footage? There’s a lot to live up to when producing an official Transworld video.. I mean, we wonder if it will live up to the legends of yesteryear, like 2002’s “In Bloom,” 2005’s “First Love,” 2011’s “Hallelujah,” or even last year’s “Outliers” (also shot and directed by Chris Thiessen). I won’t get cynical on you here. Of course, that almost all we care about too. And the consensus: a big ol’ raging success!
The line-up

The line-up

The video, from start to finish, made it impossible for the audience to look away. The only con I can think of is that within the theatre, the treble was a bit heavy, making the sounds of boards popping, trucks grinding, and wheels sliding harsh on the ears. Otherwise, we were all in heaven. And you all will be too as soon as you can get your hands on a copy (or download).
The video starts with a fresh part from one of the crowd favorites, Dolan Stearns. Dolan is a skater that skates fast and with a unique style. That being said, I thought I’d be able to predict his bag of tricks and the general vibe of his part. I was so hyped to be proven so wrong! First of all, he skated faster than I’ve ever seen anyone do, constantly throughout his full part. He did tricks I’ve never seen him do; everything from tech on handrails, to creative powerslide combos, to footplant variations on the gnarliest of spots. Hands together for Dolan, his hammers, and his magnificent fashion sense to boot!
Short pause for Friends Section, Already!? Stoked on this nontraditional move by Thiessen, which showed that the emphasis of the film really was on the homies. Skaters are friends. The skaters in the video have lots of friends. And they rip. And it shows. Can’t wait for you virgins to watch it for the first time!
Next up: Davis Torgerson. I hadn’t seen any substantial footage from Davis in a while (not sure anyone has, excluding the close homies), but he delivered a part that included tech wizardry, his ability to hit sizable handrails, and an eye for lines, tight and quick. He surprised a lot of people, I think. Can’t wait to watch his part again to fully absorb the new levels he was hitting on his skateboard!
Tom Karangelov, taking an alternate route. Footage seen in "Substance."

Tom Karangelov, taking an alternate route. Footage seen in “Substance.”

Tom Karangelov takes the middle full part of the video. And that will probably tell you that there’s not a dull moment in the entire film. Tom K brings heat in a way that most don’t and WON’T. Stoked to see his approach to spots and the streets, in general. He brings a stoke to the location like that of, dare I say, Cardiel. But with the subtle, few-words approach of Kirchart. That’s a heavy combo that can be hard to decipher or recognize, but in my opinion, Tom K is in the early stages of an epic career in skating.
After another (AWESOME) friends’ section, the video transitions to the fourth rider, Tristian Funkhouser (“T-Funk”). Let me start by saying that the crowd was huge on this kid! When he approached the stage pre-video, the front of the crowd was literally chanting: “Tee FUNK, Tee FUNK…” Tristian came hard, and that is the biggest understatement of this article and probably anything you read or hear about this video. T-Funk showed up, and no disrespect to anyone involved with the video, but we think he should have been given last part.. Tech tricks into huge hill bombs, handrail hammers, bank spot bangers, ledge magic, and anything else you can think of, he had it. I think there was even a pool skating clip in his part. He did everything you could have hoped for, and we tip our hats off to T-Funk. SOTY 2016? Idk, maybe his teammate, Evan Smith??
There was left but one skater to take the stage (screen) – Jon Nguyen. We’ve all seen a bit of footage from him (talking to the skate nerds), and we’ve even seen his TWS cover (Nov. 2015), so we know he’s legit. But who is this guy? Well.. We just found out. Directly before the video started playing, Paul Shier presented Jon with his first ever pro deck on stage (a.k.a. “turned him pro”) for Isle Skateboards. Then, they proceeded with the video. He was given last part, and he killed accordingly! His signature style mixed with technical prowess and the occasional jaw-dropper made for a hell of a show. And the show ended with his signature… Jk, no spoilers here.
As soon as it’s made available, buy the video! Support skateboarding! IT does support you.