So there we were again, in the humidity of the Floridian gulf coast. Walking past the final gate with wrist bands in tow. Mentally prepared for what’s to come, the best & the worst alike. It was that time again… Tampa Pro 2017, the 23rd annual, was firing in full force by halfway through that Friday, the day of Practice. Everyone, from Ishod and Luan to Lizard and CK1, was there. Perhaps this contest will always attract every skater that can possibly make the trip.
Milton Martinez flies high in the Finals. HUGE Melon Grab Transfer.
There’s a grungy feel to the skatepark, mixed with ultimate opportunity for shenanigans of any size or shape… SPoT is truly the place to relax and get weird, but usually if you’re a true skate rat. Every flavor of talent is under one roof: the tranny gods, the rail chompers, the tech wizards… Everyone. They all flew in for the weekend (and some longer than that) for that Tampa, Florida fix. If you’ve never been to a big event (Tampa Pro and/or Tampa Am) at Skatepark of Tampa, it needs to go right up to the top of your bucket list now. It’s already begun to change… There was no moat race this year… When there always has been… Not good for a new, clean image..? I guess we’ll never know. But no one (legally) submerged themselves in the fabled moat.
Other rad things were rising though… Arctic played a show at the park on Saturday night (yes, that’s Figgy, the Nuge & Frecks), Ray Barbee and Evan Smith played sets (separately) the night before, and DJ Romar (yes, Kevin Romar) jockeyed those discs after the Jenkem Best Trick contest on the concrete area outside. Nike premiered a short new video, featuring Ishod and Grant… Beers were had, tricks were landed [bolts] and bragging right s were distributed.
There are plenty of skateboard companies that were formed within the last three years, but there’s only one that dropped a team video for the very first time just one week ago… On February 2nd at BLACK in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, Primitive Skateboards debuted the 7.5-minute-long video, “Opal”. And Opal was a fitting name.
Diego Najera – Nollie Tre Flip in Santa Monica
Like a rare stone, this short video was highly anticipated and long awaited. People knew it would be high quality but simultaneously wondered to themselves what the caliber would actually be. For those that aren’t avid followers of the brand, the premiere was a pleasant surprise. Primitive has a team that one might forget is truly stacked with the gnarliest talent. Of course, we all think of Paul Rodriguez, but we may forgotten about Devine Calloway and Brian Peacock, rookies in one regard but legends in another. Carlos Ribeiro, a strong 2016 SOTY contender; Shane O’Neill, one of the best in the world; and Nick Tucker, Instagram gold… And never count out Trent McClung, full-on team rider for Primitive as well as adidas Skateboarding and Bones Wheels.
The team is full of power, style and history within this thing we love called skateboarding. It’s easy to forget how impressive the squad truly is. And it just became a bit more impressive. Almost the entire second half of “Opal” was an introduction of Diego Najera to the pro Primitive family. If you’ve seen Diego skate, you know he handles himself like a professional. But now, Diego has his own pro board for the royalty-laden Primitive Skateboards.
Watch out for his new wood at the site COMING SOON and the full “Opal” edit HERE.
Humans are aplenty. So much so, that some nationalist leaders are establishing policies to bar them outside of their countries’ borders. Everyone has their differences, and with over seven billion humans on this planet, it’s started to get a bit sloppy. Yes, many get lost in their emotions amongst each other, but many have also found special places for themselves.
Certain people are put on our Earth to make a unique difference. Those that know him know how much of a difference he’s already made. Andy Dicker is a skateboarder, an artist and so much more. The head camp counselor at the YMCA Element Skate Camp at Sequoia Lake, he’s a role model for all those his younger and his elder alike. A pure soul that engages his students, his peers and his leaders with equal and great enthusiasm.
A soul like his is hard to find.
Andy is down but not out. He suffered serious head trauma while skateboarding in San Francisco about two weeks ago. His progress is slow, but we know his inner strength will bring him back to his old self in due time. His fervor unmatched, he’s capable of anything, something skateboarding was a part of teaching. There’s a hot fire burning in each of us. One that helps us push on regardless of any circumstance.
Many skaters have that fire. An ever-burning flame that keeps them going. But Andy… He had a such a strong devotion in him, that it constantly spread to those around him. Those that are now here for him in a time of need. The skateboarding world is here to show support, and all additional help qualifies as a great cause.
If you have $20, $200 or just one share on Facebook, feel free to help that cause right here at:
This year’s SOTY race was arguably the closest of all time. Over the last five or six years, Thrasher (and skateboarding in general) has made the annual Skater of the Year award into something much more than just bragging rights. SOTY has become a skateboarding pop symbol, one hell of a party and a highly anticipated end-of-year conversation starter in skate communities worldwide. No matter how much YOU anticipated the winner of this year’s Skater of the Year, the real contenders were no doubt aplenty.
With ATVs like Evan Smith and Elijah Berle in the mix, powerhouses like Tiago Lemos and Dane Burman, and all-time greats like Dennis Busenitz and Brian Anderson, it was all way up in there air. The list went on and on… Figgy was another well-deserving shredder. And then there was Austyn Gillette… It seemed impossible to choose, and you know what I mean if you’ve been following skateboarding media at all this year. But it was awarded and to one of the very best, most deserving skaters in the world right now.
Kyle Walker HANDLES kinked rails.
Straight outta Oklahoma, Kyle Walker represents America, the mid-west and all that is alive and well with skating big rails and gaps. A straight-up productive killer with an affinity for shutting down any spot in his path, Kyle always gets back in the van with a well-deserved Stella Artois. If you’re a photographer, filmer, teammate or TM, you should always be prepared to celebrate, because Kyle will no doubt bend the limits of what’s doable…
Coming off of a solid performance in Vans’s “Propeller” (second to last part, only second to last year’s SOTY) last year, he produced footage for his full part in Volcom’s “Holy Stokes!” and various online video parts including the recent “No Other Way,” a shorter production from Vans. Kyle came out with his Vans pro shoe earlier this year and also did really well at Dew Tour in Long Beach. With the constant attitude of “let’s kill it, today” day in and day out, it’s no wonder that K Walks got the title of SOTY 2016.
For those that might be disappointed, you know that the winner deserved it. He’s as much a die hard skater as any of the other contenders and definitely pushed himself to new levels! If not convinced, watch the video below.
Less than two weeks ago today, the Asian Skateboarding Championships were held in Shanghai, China. 11/25/2016-11/27/2016. You might be thinking, “I didn’t even know that was a thing?!” And although it’s not in the limelight of our mainstream skateboarding media, it IS on the come-up and will continue to grow in preparation for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The skaters were shredding so hard, and we’re stoked to see where Asian skateboarding goes from here.
The culture of the Chinese brings up its skateboarders, and it teaches precision through action and intention. It showed. At the Asian Championship at SMP (Shanghai Mega Park), most of the Chinese skaters were threading runs together with the most technical
tricks and impeccable style. But it wasn’t only the Chinese that had style and talent in their skating. Contenders from Indonesia, Iran, Singapore, Japan, The Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Korea, Thailand, Nepal and China all brought the heat and made it a hard day for the judges.
In the street division of the contest, Japanese competitors each took first. Kaede Yoshikawa won for the men, and Aori Nishimura took first place among the women. Many more came and ripped so hard! Much support to all the skaters in the contest, the greater Asian skateboarding community and the international competitive skateboarding scene.
With Neil Hendrix as part of the recent directed insurgence of skating in China (and into all of Asia), The Boardr behind the logistics of the competition and Vans as a main supporter of the event, it was looking good from the beginning, but now it has happened. Come and gone. We’re sure this event will evolve to become a staple in the international skateboarding community and a strong part of the international competition circuit.
And now we know what to look forward to next year!
As every American should know by now, Donald Trump is our president elect. Few people, on either side of the ballot, saw this coming as a probable outcome. But hey, s*?# happens, right? All emotions and predispositions aside, here are some of the things we thought a Trump presidency would bring upon the American skateboarding family. For better or for worse, here we go:
I. The Ultimate Wallride
So from the very wee beginnings of this Trump “campaign,” we’ve heard all about this massive wall… “It’s gonna be YHUUGE!” Meant to block out illegal immigrants (as if they didn’t have systems in place to bypass a wall), it could actually be a plus. If, on the American side, security is
pretty lax, there’s yhuuge potential for some DIY work of the ages. Highest wall ride competition in El Paso? Sponsored by the Trump International of course.. ;/
II. Women’s Skateboarding’s Rights
Of course, more and more females have been active in our skate communities recently, which is rad. It’s about time that male skaters stopped seeing girls as objects and started having to keep up with their level of shredding! Just in the last 2-3 years, women’s skateboarding has truly taken off. But if Trump maintains certain ideals prevalent in his presidential campaign, we might see women being stifled in any career they choose. And that’s just NO good.
III. Legality of the “Sex Change”
The hottest thing in skateboarding since sliced br.. uhh.. no-complies. The body varial. Used with a kickflip, it’s dubbed a “sex change.” We’ve all become familiar with Trump’s ideology against the LGBT community. In real life, this is a huge loss. Everyone should be comfortable and open with themselves, regardless of gender or preference. But in skating, this could result in a mixed bag of opinion. How many body varials is too many body varials? Hmmm…
IV. Anti-Trump Propaganda Graphics
Let’s be real for a second here… The undeniable majority of core skateboarders were in opposition to a Trump presidency, whether they voted or not. Many companies printed “Anti-Trump” board graphics. Whether it was the guys at
Donald Trump and Mike Pence
Deluxe or Baker Boys Dist. right here in LA, the industry took a stance against this guy. We can only hope that Trump doesn’t impose unnecessary taxes on “action sports retail” to get back at OGs of the industry. And we surely wouldn’t want a U.S. skateboarder registry keeping tabs on all skateboarders, in case some sketchiness goes down…
V. Immigration Against PROgression
Trump is definitely leaning into some anti-immigration policy of the toughest variety, and this is no good for lots of reasons. Most importantly, how are we gonna be able to embrace some of the best skaters in the world? Brazilians, Australians, Canadians and Europeans alike are crucial parts of American skateboarding. Not to be greedy, although that is the Trump way, but we don’t want to know a United States without those international rippers…
VI. And then it breaks apart…
California has already suggested seceding from the US, in a Brexit-style exit from the rest of the country. Largely in response to Trump’s presidential elections, what if other
states begin to do this? Will us American skateboarders need a passport just to go skate Burnside, Pulaski or the ditches of SoCal? We hope not. Let’s stick together and hoard the spots as a collective. What do you say?? F*?# Yeah!
This is just the beginning of possibility with Donald J. Trump. No one knows exactly what will happen, but with an election like the one we just witnessed, it’s hard to say what might go down in the next year or four years.. Some are looking to capture opportunities. Like Billy Rohan chatting with the Trump about building (even more) skateparks all over the nation. But we’re gonna hope the for the best moving forward. Maybe it will be okay. But no matter what, skateboarders will rule the world.
A friend and fellow skateboarder was rad enough to volunteer his time for this blog. He goes by the name of Jonny Wilson. And not the skate filmer from New York that films with Max Palmer, Ishod Wair and others.. Jonny is a resident of Lexington, KY that spreads a different (and positive) message through skateboarding and his friendships.
The conversation was share-worthy, and we’re stoked to present…
Skateboards.com: Hey man, how’s your day right now?
Jonny: It is going pretty well. Woke up around 9am and made a mental to-do list of the things I need to accomplish today, but I’m not ready to leave the house yet so I figured I would start this and finish my coffee.
Sick. Sounds like a good day so far. Where are you from? How old are you? Where do you live now?
I am from Raleigh, NC. Lived there my entire life ’til I moved to go to school at Appalachian State University. I met a girl in my senior year of college, she got a job in Lexington, KY and I followed her here and married her, haha. We have been in Lexington now for three years.
How’s Lexington? Skating in Lexington? Otherwise?
Lexington is awesome. It is a smaller city so it’s not super busy all the time. It is the horse capital of the world and there are some crazy horse farms all over. Like multi-million dollar farms and stables for a horse! Also, Lexington and the surrounding area provides 90% of the world’s bourbon. Something about the limestone in the water and changing temperatures during the seasons. Outside of those two, everyone who is from here lives and dies by UK (University of Kentucky) sports. They don’t have a pro team so college sports is life to them.
Skating here is pretty tight-knit. After about a month of going to either of our two parks, you have probably seen most of the people who skate. Similar to other places you might go, it has its clicks, but everyone here has the idea we are all skate family and get along. The two parks are called Berry Hill and Woodland. There is another park called Kirklevington, but I can’t count that one for how small it is.
Jonny and his wife, Kaity.
Cool. The Berry Hill park looks fun! What are some other favorite places to skate in Kentucky? Other favorite road trip spots?
The college campus has some fun spots. There is a basketball court that cops don’t hassle you at and has plastic benches down the whole side of the courts, all kinds of stairs, manny spots, and rails. But lately, I have been going to this street spot that is a circular stair set. It starts as a one stair and ends as a five stair. You can grind the stairs, use it like a manual pad, there is a mellow kinked hand rail, and is never a bust. It is called Thoroughbred Park and in my opinion is the best warm-up spot before going downtown. People would disagree with me here, but my favorite skateboarding day would be just parking downtown and exploring the city to skate with no specific spots in mind and just see what happens. That might explain why I like it.
If you are coming through Kentucky, you have to hit the Louisville extreme skatepark. That park is huge and amazing! Has everything you would ever want, lights for night that never turn off and park never closes. Louisville, Lexington, and Cincinnati make a triangle and are connected with major highways only an hour and some change drive. We go to skate the downtown spots there and make a day trip out of it. Nashville isn’t far, about three and half hours from here and can hit that for the weekend.
Movin’ on up! What’s your favorite part of the gig?
It really is such a cool job all around. The vision for them is to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes. Most of the staff members are your traditional baseball, football, basketball kind of guys, but with me, my favorite part is working with the kids who skateboard. When I was getting into skateboarding it was because of my friend Daniel. He is a few years older than me and we would go skate, but what I now see was that he was mentoring and discipling me. He taught me about life, drugs, girls, skateboarding of course, but all the things he went through to help me not make the same decisions. My dad wasn’t around due to a serious illness and passed away while I was in high school. Daniel used the love for skateboarding to kinda do the things a father would do while being my friend no matter what. Now that I realize all that, I felt like God wanted me to do that for other kids who skate around here. That is the best part, it’s my job.
At Skate Camp!
It’s nice to get paid for the doing the thing(s) you love. How did you get into Christianity? Do you think kids you see find skating first or Jesus first?
I was raised in a Christian family and saw the faith and the way my mom lived. She is legit, and everyday I saw her living a specific way. As I grew older, it was a mix of exploring for myself what this world had to offer and comparing it to the love Jesus talked about. Jesus won and I am a Christian.
Haha, I would guess to say skating first! That is what I wanted more than anything as a kid. Just to skate. But that is okay and I totally get it. Somewhere along the way I hope they experience a desire to see what God wants of them. I think the kids I meet with do love to skate, but they become curious to see what the Jesus thing is all about when skating doesn’t fix the other problems. Not all of them are Christian, and they are still welcome and can be a part of what we have going on. I am learning how important it is to be in community with others. When you can’t find that, it is hard and depressing. Like moving to a new place, it is lonely and you feel isolated. Skateboarding is an outlet I ran to for community, and I know the kids here do also.
Everyone needs something positive in their lives, and skateboarding is a savior for a lot of us, for sure. What’s the usual schedule like (or is there one) when you’re with the kids?
I do have a general schedule with the kids, but I have other responsibilities with work that have to be taken care of first. I have been given fifteen school campuses that have FCA as a school club. I oversee those during the school hours, meet with coaches, prepare and present different messages to sports teams, and work on any upcoming events we are hosting.
Each summer, I host a skateboard camp. We hit about ten parks in four days with thirty kids. It is crazy! From that camp, I ask some of the guys if they would like to meet weekly and talk more about the Bible and skate together. Typically, they are always down. I meet with the kids individually during the week, and then buy them dinner and talk about school, family things, share a Bible verse with them and pray, but the big thing is just listening to them. Each Thursday, we all meet up together at one of their houses after school and skate, eat dinner and do a Bible study all together. Once a year, I’ll take the older guys on a skate trip for them to adventure and get out of Lexington and shred. Last year we went down to Wilmington, NC and went surfing and camped out.
Jonny hanging out with the kids after school.
What would you say to the nay sayers of Christianity (or religion in general)?
I think about Christianity and how it is always described with the verse of John 3:16. God loves us all and sent his son Jesus to die for everyone. If you believe that, then it says you will have eternal life. I believe that Jesus came and died for everyone and if I want to be more like Him, wouldn’t I want to love everyone like Jesus did? The Bible says that He came to give life, hope, joy & overflowing love. Sadly, there are many people who do not love others and proclaim Christianity, similar to someone who says they skate, but then never goes and skates. They are all over, you just have to find the ones who actually skate, see the people who actually live Christianity out.
Also, I understand that not everyone is going to think or believe the same things that I do. I love them as they are, unless they scooter, nah I am just kidding haha. I believe that one person is not better or more important than another. This is what I believe, not what you have to. The last thing I want to do is argue or debate about who is right. I hate that stuff.
Final words or thoughts?
Everyone has a different story, and I’m thankful to share mine. Anyone is welcome to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if they want to ask some questions or know more about what I do.
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many”
We lost one of our best last week. A young human, but a true legend. Whether you remember him by his candid moments, his artistic creation or his epic video parts, it’s all been documented to some extent.
There are no more words. Only memories and intention.
Brian Anderson seems like a very average full name for a white male living in the United States. Most people actually don’t recognize it. But for a slice of society, a small passionate bunch, “Brian Anderson” is synonymous with “idol.” Skateboarders, for more than a decade, have been trying their best to emulate Brian’s style while progressing on their own paths. The way he rode his skateboard screamed power, composure and insanity all at once, and few can truly grasp it if they haven’t ridden a board for many years themselves.
Brian exploded into the mainstream skate media scene via his video part in Toy Machine’s “Welcome To Hell.” Considered one of the most influential skate videos ever, “Welcome To Hell” was the perfect storm to bring him into the limelight of the industry. Later, following his appearance in Toy Machine’s “Jump Off A Building,” he was promoted to professional skateboarder by Toy Machine in 1998. His unique approach and tenacity in skating immediately gave him popularity as a pro skater. It didn’t take long for him to reach the unspoken level of “legend,” and in 1999 Brian was awarded the rare Skater of the Year trophy by Thrasher Magazine. Before the beginning of the new millennium, BA (Is it a coincidence that he shares his initials with “badass?”) had already won the hearts of skaters all over the globe.
Shortly before winning SOTY (Skater of the Year) in 1999, BA had quit his team affiliation at Toy Machine and joined Girl Skateboards to skate for Rick Howard, Mike Carroll and the rest of the boys at Crailtap Distribution. He won the World Cup of Skateboarding in Dortmund, Germany that same year and affirmed his position as pro skater to the world in Europe. Throughout the 2000’s BA continued his legacy with video parts in Transworld’s “Modus Operandi” and projects with Nike and Fourstar Clothing. With his hand in shoe design and brand direction, his aging brought him more interest in creating something of his own. In 2013, Brian founded 3d Skateboards. Only recently out of business, 3d touted an impressive team, including Austyn Gillette, Tom Karangelov, and at one time Alex Olson.
Over the years, BA never lost respect from anyone in the skateboarding industry, always loving and always loved, always responsible and sensible and always fun to watch on a board. This all being said, one of the most unique things about him was a secret for almost all of his life. Brian Anderson was (and is) a gay man.
Many communities still struggle with gender and sexual orientation division. Even those with good intentions can sometimes still feel confused about those unlike themselves. Most popular team sports even create a homophobic attitude ingrained in their culture. Skateboarding isn’t the most LGBT-friendly group in the world, but most of western culture still treats it, at a certain level, as taboo.
On September 27th (2016), Vice Sports published a mini documentary about Brian’s life in skateboarding & hiding his homosexuality and about his coming out to the world at large. And skateboarders everywhere have reacted with support and love for their skateboard idol and fellow skater. Brian Anderson is a man of large stature, with tattoos covering his body and a calm yet tough temperament that seems to mask his sexual orientation well. But he is his own unique individual, and skaters all over the world respect that. It’s a difficult moment to “come out” to a community that has shown so much praise yet might not be open to your “new” lifestyle. There’s risk in putting yourself out there in your entirety. But BA did it, 17 years after winning Skater of the Year, 5 years after moving from California to NYC and just in time for the skateboarding world to embrace him even more.
The 26-minute-long video lays out Brian’s career, his life before professional skating and his more intimate interactions with close friends before his coming out was public information. Watch for yourself to gain a bit more insight on his life, and remember that being yourself is the best you can be. Skater or non-, gay or straight, black or white. Keep skating. Keep living lives of love.
Another weekend in LA means another unique event supporting our beloved skateboarding world. It seems like more than once a week, there is a reason for skateboarders in Los Angeles to gather for the sake of gathering …and… skating together. This time, on September 10th, the occasion was one of a contest series called “Curb Kings,” put together by the worldly folks at Red Bull.
Curb Kings highlights talent of many backgrounds in skating, including, but not limited to, the purist and basic element of curb skating. Every skater who has spent years or even decades on and off their board has, at least in some capacity, experienced the thrill of grinding their trucks and sliding their deck on the painted (or raw) constructed curbs we find on almost any street. The absolute joy created from that controlled friction, mimicking the raw feel of moving across the edge of a pool deep in the drought of Southern California. Whether we are aware of its roots or not, each one of us wants to pull one type of grind or another on some obstacle – the curb on the corner in our neighborhood, the handrail at our own middle school or the coping of the our local skatepark quarterpipe.
It doesn’t matter where we lay our trucks down to grind, but it will always be relevant how each of us seeks, executes and conquers the grind on our skateboards. Red Bull’s “Curb Kings” is born by the testament of that thrill, but it also adds to what’s possible on a little red curb, in a contest setting. In the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles, “Curb Kings” was held in a warehouse full of various curbs, ledges and banks, of all variations. Some are meant to pop over, some meant to pop onto and some meant to jam up or into. But all the same, everyone was essentially curb skating.
Every skater was welcome to enter the contest, at no charge, yet there were only a few that advanced to the finals and eventually took the podium. Current skateboarding media stars were in the mix, such as Zion Wright, Alex Midler, Blake Johnson and Torey Pudwill. But at the end of the day, the man with the win was Justin Drysen.
Congrats Justin! And to everyone that came out to be a part. See you next year. 😉