Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year...!


Although we're busy- as usual- goofing off, causing trouble, and having fun (which is exactly what you should be doing, too)... we wanted to say just a few words to close out 2011, and welcome in 2012.

For many of us, 2011 probably won't be seen as much of a banner year. "Bummer" might be a good word for it, though. Skateboarding, on the whole of it, seemed just a little bit stale, and flat. The industry continues to struggle with a whole host of issues... declining-to-flat sales figures only being one of the many (unless you're a longboard company... then, you're doing awesome!). "Leadership" is almost entirely nonexistent. Even i
n terms of the "bigger picture"... the economy still sucked. Joblessness and depression reigned. Politics stood at a stalemate, resulting in hopeless gridlock. Gas prices are pure lunacy. Global warming is rearing its ugly head again, in the form of snowless mountains and ski... no, make that "snowboard"... resorts.

Yet, when I look back at 2011... I have to admit, I see a pretty good year in the 'ol rearview. The difference, I think, is a question of motivation and priorities.

The truth of the matter is that, the future truly does belong to the ambitious, and the bold. "Ambition" and "boldness" are two things that I'm typically percieved to have an overabundance of. As do most of the dudes (and ladies) that I know, love, and have the pleasure of working with on a regular basis. When I look back on 2011, I see a lot of heads finally saying, "You know what? Enough of the bullshit...!", rolling up their sleeves, getting their hands dirty... and getting their heads, and their asses, in gear. Which is always a great, great thing to see... let alone, actually being a part of. Of course, some people do get left behind. Maybe they just don't have the gonads, or the spine, to take matters into their own hands, take charge, and take the lead. What can I say...? Life's rough, and Darwinism works...?

But if you take a hard look around, and open your eyes up enough... you'll see hope everywhere. I certainly do. Even through the turmoil, there's still some great shit to be found. Yes: Skateshops are dying all over the place. But, the few that remain are doing some killer stuff. Yes: Most media is made up of pure fluff, marketing hype, and gullible readership. But again, there are standouts that are doing truly remarkable things, making thier readers think (whether the readers actually want to think, or not, isn't really the point), and making a small, but significant, difference. Yes: Most skateboard companies are purely concerned with pumping out obsolete widgets in the interest of making a quick buck, and running for the bank. But, there's also a small handful of truly legitimate little companies coming out of the woodwork (literally), that are doing truly innovative things, and for all the right reasons. Yes: Everyone wants to make a dollar, and survive to make another dollar tomorrow. But, there are also people (and businesses) out there that aren't afraid to put their self-interests aside for a moment, and work together to protect skateboarding from those that would prefer to hijack the whole thing, strictly to advance their own interests, their own overly-developed egos, and their own profit margins.

So, sure. The future can look pretty shitty, if you want it to. But, it can also look really, really bright. Ultimately, it all depends on how you choose to look at it, and what you choose to do with it.

Here at Everything Skateboarding, I'm extremely lucky to have an extremely talented and intelligent group of incredibly good people around me at all times. That's where the question of "priorities" comes into play. If I had to make the choice between having a pile of cash, or the love and support of incredible friends around me... what would I do? Well, damn, man... everyone knows the answer to that one...! I'll take the "friends", every single time. Never falters, and never fails.

Here's why: When I'm old, broken, shriveled up, and on my death bed, waiting to pass on to the "other side"... I'm not gonna fuckin' remember how much money I made in any given year, or how well my stock portfolio performed, or what might (or might not) be chillin' in my bank account. At the end of the day, those things just don't matter very much, in the grand scheme of things. But, the memories of time well-spent with true friends, doing what we love to do... creating, snowboarding, skateboarding... wrecking shit... and then, starting the circle anew... and, having a total blast while doing it all... that's the best that you or I will ever get, pal. Sometimes, we forget that. And that's a damn shame. Never forget: Friends and Fun are Everything. And that's the truth.

Even all the money in the world, still can't buy the very best things in life.

So when you're out tonight, partying away 2011, and looking ahead to 2012... take a moment, and take a good look around. If you're wise enough, you'll clearly see that everything you'll ever need in life, will be right in front of you. In my case, that'll be some slush (masquerading as "snow"....)... a snowboard strapped to my feet... a cold Coke, a couple of (bummed) cigs, and a bottle of wine... a few friends... good times... and my sweetie, Kenda.

In short: I'm ringing in my 2012, in much the same way that I spent my 2011.

And in retrospect, that makes 2011 a damn good year that'll definitely be well worth remembering.

Have fun out there, be safe... and if you're drinking tonight, do me a favor: Designate a driver. Because starting off 2012 in a body bag is definitely not the way to go, bro.

Love you all, and we'll see you next week.


I'd like to take a quick second to recognize a few of the people that made 2011 such a banner year for Everything Skateboarding:

Michael Brooke of Concrete Wave Magazine, our media partner; Jack Smith, my boss at The Skateboarder's Journal; the Everything Skateboarding staff of editors, contributors, and advisers: AJ Kohn, Hans Lucas, Fatboy, Lew Ross, Aaron Ross, Husain Alfraid, Daniel Gesmer, Maria and Richie Carrasco, Michael Niemann, Richard Kirby, and Keith Gillogly; Perfect North Slopes, and Lonnie and Lindsay at Mount Bohemia; Terry Hertel of Hertel (Snowboard) Wax; Mark at 5150; Von at Sun Valley Sports, and Ron at Rusted Moon Outfitters (our snowboard techs); The Old Indy Skaters, and The Good Vibe Tribe; all of the advertisers and supporters... all of our retail partners... and of course, You... the readers.

There's also a few guys that have helped out this year in significant, but (largely) unseen ways that I feel deserve a quick word of "thanks". Those guys include Bob at Ollie's Skatepark in Florence, Kentucky (host of The Board Meeting 2012)... Blair "Slobbo" Watson at Skull and Bones... Jim Thiebaud at Deluxe Distribution... and Skip Engblom at Santa Monica Airlines.

Thank you all so very much.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Board Meeting 2012 Update:



Happy Holidays to everybody that reads Everything Skateboarding. While I'm spending my time healing my back from a good 'ol snowboard/handrail slam, I figured it was high time for a Board Meeting 2012 update. Here goes:

"It's not 'my show'..."

First off: The classification that this whole shindig is somehow "my show", isn't entirely true. I'm merely facilitating the show, and helping with a little bit of the organization, and a few of the logistics. The show, though, is really "everybody's show". The people that attend will have the freedom, and the latitude, to do whatever they want... and in turn, make it truly "their show".

Which is exactly the way it should be.

Credentials and Invites:

"Everybody's Invited...!"

This is a concept that some folks seem to be having a really, really hard time with. I think a lot of it comes from people that have worked in the past with either the now-defunct ASR, or Agenda (the two prominent west-coast shows). Both ASR and Agenda are famous for making people jump through all sorts of hoops, fill out piles of paperwork, and cough up some serious "credentials"... as well as, a substantial pile of money... to get into their shows. And strangely enough, the most important person in the whole "industry" equation... that is, the average kid that actively supports our industry, by actually buying skateboards... is left uninvited at the door, or tossed out by "security" if and when they sneak into the show. And don't even get me started on "press passes"... which are seriously out of reach from any kind of "independent media", and require their own contrived and arbitrary set of cool-club credentials.

Look, man. This is the wrong way to run a "trade show", "industry summit", or whatever you wanna call it. I am not the self-appointed enforcer of some "cool club" litmus test, and I certainly don't want to make anybody feel less-than-welcome to the fun-fest. If you:

- Make skateboards,
- Sell skateboards,
- Buy skateboards,
- Ride skateboards,
- Write about skateboards (or skateboarding),
- Film skateboarding,
- Photograph skateboarding,
- Collect skateboards, or even
- Enjoy skateboards,

...then, consider yourself invited.

This clearly includes: All manufacturers, distributors, retailers, bloggers, filmers, photographers, 'zinesters, editors, publishers... and, most importantly, skaters.


As for the invites themselves: I'm all apologies here, everybody... but I just haven't had the time to reach out to everybody personally, and invite everybody all by myself. I promise, I'm not snubbing anybody...!

But if you're ever in doubt... just assume that you're invited (because you are), and feel absolutely free to show up.


I've been asked a few times now, "Are IASC and BRA invited...?" The answers is,
"Of course they are! Why wouldn't they be invited...?".

Once again: This is not my show. And, the show is open to everybody. This is a totally "inclusional" event. And I would be a damned hypocrite if I told anybody that they couldn't come, for any reason. But that's not my style, anyway. So, you'll never, ever hear that from me.

The same answer obviously applies to all IASC and BRA member companies and retailers.

"But I might not wanna go, if my jerkhead nemesis-competitor is going..."

I've heard this one, too. Too much. Which is unfortunate. Naturally, I don't think it's really a good idea for anybody's business. And I don't think it's really all that good for skateboarding, either.

Personally speaking: I fully believe that there are times when we all need to put our respective self-interests on hold, for the sake of promoting the interests of the "greater good of skateboarding". Hell, I've told a ton of people that I'll happily buy the entire IASC and BRA contingent a beer (or two, or three, or several, or whatever it takes...) when they get to Florence. That is, if they choose to come. And I sincerely hope that they do.

So: Why would I freely and willingly offer, at my own discretion, to happily and enthusiastically buy "my enemies" beers all f'n weekend long...?! Because the spirit, and the intention, of the damned show is "inclusion", folks. And if you're gonna set a standard, then you'd better be willing to stand tall, and stand by that shit.

Obviously: The beer-buy offer is open to all my friends, as well as my "enemies". As for me, I don't drink. But I'll happily accept cold Cokes all day long. If anybody cares, that is.

Bottom line? If you don't want to be here, because someone you don't like might also be here...? Then, you are truly missing out. I'm sorry. But it's the blunt and honest truth.


Shop Outreach:

We started mailing out direct mailers around November 15th to all midwest retailers... but we paused after Thanksgiving, and through The Holidays, so that the retailers could focus on their customers, undisturbed, throughout the busy holiday shopping season.

We'll resume the direct mailings, and start the follow-up invite calls, around January 15th.

Retailers that RSVP before April1st, 2012, get into the show for free. Please let us know which shop you're representing, and how many people there will be in your party.

Tables & Chairs:

Several vendors have asked if we could provide rental tables and chairs, for a nominal add-on fee. You asked, and we listened: We're looking into this, and we should have an answer after the first of the year. If you're an exhibitor that requires table(s) or chair(s), let us know asap, and we'll put you on the list.

First Come, First Pick, First Setup:

Again, because of old ASR and Agenda policies... many exhibitors have expressed worries about being cast off into some "un-cool, dark corner" somewhere if they don't meet our "cool credentials". Well, I'm a much bigger dork than you are, so I'm definitely not the guy to judge anybody's "cool-ness credentials". But for this show, space will be appropriated on a "first come, first pick, first setup" basis. To keep the entire process as fair, democratic, and balanced as possible for everybody.

Happy Holidays, everybody. See you next year...!

Questions? Concerns? Input? Advice? Hit it at


Sunday, December 11, 2011

An Open Letter to BRA: Let'sGet Back To Basics


Every now and then, I get random "update" e-mails from the folks over at Board Retailers Association (BRA). How, or why, I ever got on their mailing list, I'm not entirely sure. Maybe it's because I had a pretty happy-go-lucky relationship with Melissa Clary when she was working there... I don't know. I just think it's kind of funny that they send e-mails to somebody, every month (that's me), that spends the better part of their time these days kicking them in the nuts.

But, I've gotta tell ya: I'm generally inclined to support BRA. Any organization who's mission it is to support the independent retailer, is automatically on my "good" side. It's not the mission where BRA continually fails. Their failures are almost always in transparency, and the execution of that mission.

Before I go any farther with this... you might wanna take a few minutes, and familiarize yourself with BRA, via their website. Especially if you're a skateshop owner... in that case, it's tedious (but mandatory) reading. The address is here:

But, be warned: You might wanna have a fistful of Advil right at hand, when you do. Because there's fucking acres of ridiculously confusing, and fully nauseating "industry-speak" on that damned website. A thesaurus, a dictionary, and a Bullshit-Babelfish would probably be pretty handy, too.


We go to some pretty extraordinary lengths around here, to show our support for the independent skateboard retailer. But at some point, the best "support" that you could ever give them, is to tell 'em like it is, and in a language that they can actually understand.

Let me address the "transparency problem" first. Ironically enough, BRA does go to some pretty extreme lengths, to be as transparent as possible. Obviously, given those acres of "hokey hubbub"all over the BRA website. So, again: It's not a lack of effort that's the problem. It's the execution. BRA is famous for doing a ton of fucking talking... but at the same time, saying absolutely nothing in the process. The first post that I saw on their blog, was a pretty convenient example of what I'm saying here:

"Huntington Beach, Calif. (October 25, 2011) – On Monday, October 24, more than 135 manufacturers and retailers reported for duty at Industry Boot Camp, co-presented by the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) and Board Retailers Association (BRA). For the third time in the Boot Camp series, SIMA and BRA partnered to bring surf manufacturers and retailers together for educational seminars, roundtable discussions and valuable networking time. The ocean-front conference rooms at the Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa in Huntington Beach, Calif., were filled with attendees who were engaged in seminars that offered lessons on consumer research, web search optimization, marketing campaigns, public relations, media and driving sales. The event, sponsored by Surf Expo and UPS, was deemed a success by those in attendance..."

Now, here's the Bullshit-Babelfish Translation:

"We had an industry brouhaha at a swanky resort, and everybody thought it was pretty cool". This one sentence probably would have sufficed.


Idea: Instead of having these "retailer roundtables" in some swanky hotel/resort/spa/whatever somewhere... why don't we start having them right on the retailers' home turf, and in their backyards...? Maybe even at a place where we can keep our "real mission" in focus at all times: In a skatepark, where kids are actually skateboarding...?

But, I think the really telling part of that statement, is this:

"...engaged in seminars that offered lessons on consumer research, web search optimization, marketing campaigns, public relations, media, and driving sales..."

This, my friends and enemies, is precisely where BRA is dropping the ball. And this is exactly why I'm not inclined to support BRA, on an everyday, give-them-my-money sort of level.

The truth is, BRA does a hell of a lot for the average retailer. Membership- for a retailer- is a mere $99 a year. Included in that, are a ton of benefits that really go a long way to easing the burden of shop owners. There's a health and dental insurance benefit, for example, that's probably well worth the $99, all by itself, in today's shitty-ass health-care environment (where insurance is damn near mandatory, but nay impossible to get for any private individual orbusiness owner). There's a benefit from Electronic Transaction Systems Corporation (ETS) that promises to save retailers money on their credit-card-processing services. And there's a pretty kick-ass Freight Savings Plan (from FedEx, Roadway, and Yellow) that saves retailers all sorts of money on their shipping. I remember Jeff Harbaugh telling me one time, that retailers would be damned idiots for not joining BRA... just for the member savings alone. And for the most part, I concur with Jeff on this. They do some damn good work. It truly is impressive. That is: If you can actually understand what the hell it is that they're doing over there.

However, I don't think that the retailers really "get it". Nor are they particularly worried about saving money on shipping, or enrolling in a comprehensive dental plan these days. Not the retailers I know, at least. This is another place where BRA is failing on the execution: I simply think they're shooting way, way over the heads of the average "core retailer".





My personal photo album is literally filled with photos (from my many tours around the midwest) of skateshops (and skate parks) that "used to be here". Just a few of them, top, to bottom: Boards, Inc. (Richmond,Indiana); The Board Room (Columbus, Indiana); Adrenaline Zone (Louisville,Kentucky); and Just Ride (Muncie, Indiana). What is BRA doing to stop this menace from happening in your town...?

The core retailer's first and foremost goal in today's retail environment, is simply to survive. To keep the lights on, the shelves stocked, and to (hopefully) open the doors the next day. "Dying" is a very real concern for a lot of these shops. "Avoiding Dying", then, becomes the everyday, de-facto "Job One". And everything else... that is, "everything else that BRA offers, or even talks about"... becomes a bit of a distant-second-concern, by comparison.

Here at Everything Skateboarding, we've launched a broad-scale initiative, aimed directly at the core retailer, titled (simply enough) "Spotlight On The Independent Skateshop". It's an incredibly simple initiative that talks to shops... and, everybody else along the way... about where shops really need the help right now. And where they really need the help, is in getting back to the basics of what they're in business to do, how to do it well, and how to do it successfully. We focus over and over again on the simple stuff, like:

- Having the right product, in stock, at the right price.
- Knowing that product, and knowing it thoroughly.
- Always being cool to everybody that walks in their door (after all, anybody could be a customer...),
- Making positive investments in their local skate scenes, tokeepthose scenes growing, and
- Being diverse in their philosophies, and in the types of skating that they support. (Translated: Having a much bigger "worldview" of skateboarding than the "typical" skateboard shop, opening up thier customers'eyes to "alternative" forms of skating, and diversifying their shops, to truly become full-service skateboard shops).

And most importantly: We talk about these things in a language that damn near anybody with even a tiny fraction of a fucking brain, can still fully understand. Which is really important, because that also dutifully describes the editor of this damned magazine.


I think that BRA's biggest mistake, is to write these things off as "common knowledge", and ignore them altogether. In this, I would normally be inclined to whole-heartedly agree with BRA. These things really should be common knowledge. However, as the old saying goes: "Common knowledge just ain't so common anymore". Just because BRA (and I) think that they should be common knowledge, certainly doesn't mean that they actually are.

Most skate shops that go out of business, do so because they're blowing it on one (or usually, most) of these levels. As a direct answer to that reality, I'd encourage BRA to follow our lead, and make "Getting Back To Basics" a cornerstone of their 2012 initiatives. Everything Skateboarding is completely non-profit, and we don't enforce any sort of "copyright" around here. So, feel absolutely free to blatantly rip off, re-package, and re-use anything that you'd like. Hell: Steal the whole damned intitative if you want, we don't give a toss. We'd much rather see shops survive and thrive, then have ourselves look "cool", "visionary", or "having any sort of leadership skills". I don't give a damn about any of that stuff. I just want independent skateshops to stop going out of business. Nothing more, and nothing less.

If BRA could find a way to strip things down to "focusing on basic goals, and getting results"... and back that up with some fluff-free, straight talk... I'd totally support that. I'd happily... no wait, "enthusiastically"... no wait, "overjoyously"... send in my $99 to help the cause. And, I'd tell every skateshop that I know to do the same. And I don't even own a skate shop! But, it's a goal that's worth supporting. And I know a lot of heads that feel the same exact way.

The knock-on bonus would be that when some core skateshop calls you guys (and gals) up about becoming a member.. and they want to know what the advantages are, or what BRA is gonna do for them... you've got something tangible and hard-hitting, right at hand, that they can actually get their hands and heads around. Point them to the "Back To Basics" initiative, and simply say, "Read this. We've compiled this for you... and it's totally beneficial to you, and your shop... and you're not even a member yet." That's pretty powerful stuff. It could be compiled and posted on the BRA website once, and it's readily transparent, and accessible for posterity. And best of all, I think it would actually drive membership.

But most importantly, it would give BRA a renewed sense of focus in a world where the problems are multiplying, and the solutions are usually pretty fuzzy and impractical. Let's start with the easy stuff, and get that nailed down pat, first. We can talk about "acting as the primary voice and action group within the retail boardsports industry" when BRA actually has someting useful to say.

Likewise: Maybe we should put off worrying about shit like "factoring search optimization skills into social sites", "driving offline sales with location-based social and search tactics", and "encouraging consumer engagement, and driving user participation" for when we got the average core retailer off life support.

Best regards, and well wishes,

Bud Stratford
Publisher, Editor, and Chief Troublemaker,
Everything Skateboarding Magazine


Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Public Service Announcement:



The Way It Outta Be:


Mailbox, December 2011:


"Mystery Shopping Zumiez" feedback:

Great article. Been telling the "core" skateshops [these things] for years, but to no avail. Keep at it.

Best regards,
Cedric Cornell

Our kind of letter...!:

Whats up, man! My name is [name deleted, for obvious reasons]. We met when Jeremy ran TOC in Terre Haute. Just thought I'd drop you an invite... any time you'd like to skate our indoor ramp. It's four feet [tall], sixteen feet wide, with a hip to a vert wall, and a six foot spine section. We work on ramp every Sunday. If you want directions, call me at [number also deleted, for obvious reasons].


Friday, December 9, 2011

The Freestyle Report: November/December 2011


Welcome to the December 2011 installment of "The Freestyle Report". The first bit of news that we have is a staffing change here at Everything Skateboarding. For the last couple of years, our freestyle correspondent has been our good friend AJ Kohn of One Skateboards, and Performance Tip Technologies.

A couple months ago, AJ asked if he could take on more ambitious projects here at Everything Skateboarding, and hand off the compiling of The Freestyle Report to the current World Freestyle Association (WFSA) Secretary, Hans Lucas. Of course, I'm totally cool with whatever AJ's cool with. So if AJ had confidence in Hans, then who in the world am I to say "no"...?

Turns out that Hans Lucas already does a monthly freestyle newsletter for the worldwide freestyle community. The plan was simple enough: Hans would put me on the WFSA mailing list; I'd edit the newsletter down, and clarify it a bit for our non-freestyling readers; and then, we'd simply publish the revised newsletter. Perfect...!

What follows are the highlights of the November and December newsletters (in that order). I'd like to take a moment, and thank AJ for all that he's contributed to Everything Skateboarding... as well as to Hans for coming on board, and being a part of the staff. You guys rock. Thanks so much.

Lastly: Everything Skateboarding remains committed to supporting flatland and freestyle skateboarding in any way that we can. Even though it's largely ignored by the "mainstream" media, freestyle remains a vibrant and growing community of skaters that are dedicated to their craft. They deserve recognition, and they deserve coverage. Freestyle's impact on modern street skating cannot be emphasized enough. And if you want to see what street skating will look like in ten to twenty years...? Then stay tuned to The Freestyle Report. Because the future happens here.


New WFSA Secretary 2012-2015:

Currently, Hans is the Secretary of the WFSA until the end of 2012. Last month, he said:

"I'm prepared to continue to be the Secretary from 2012, through 2015. But if you're confident that you are more experienced, or have better ideas, or more available time that could benefit the freestyle community... then I invite you to nominate yourself as a candidate. Of course, I will continue to support the new Secretary, the WFSA, and freestyle if I'm not re-elected...!"

This month, I got an update:

"Since there were no other candidates who nominated himself/herself before 1st December for WFSA Secretary 2012-2015, I am willing and able to continue this position for 4 more years with the same dedication as during the past 4 years..."

Congratulations, Hans, on your unchallenged re-election...!

Freestyle Links:

As part of his monthly freestyle reports, Hans sent over, like, a million YouTube links to various freestyle-related YouTube channels. These were, by far, the best parts of the November and December reports. Here's a few that I picked out for our readers:

Dan Garb does so many flip-in,flip-out pogo variations that it's almost dizzying. You can see more of Daniel Garb's YouTube Channel, here:

Hans also sent over the link for Rodney Mullen Skate TV Channel, which is:

Here, you can find pretty much anything and everything "Rodney Mullen" that you'd ever want to know...

This clip is of Rodney Mullen's finals run at the NSA Munster, Germany, contest, circa 1990. Notice how the "freestyle area" is actually in the middle of the street course. A harbinger of things to come, perhaps...? The description says that this was his last freestyle contest...but I could've sworn that his "last" freestyle competition was the "Back To The City" contest in San Fran later that year.

This is WFSA Board Member, and The Freestyle Report cover-guy, Terry Synnott. Terry Synnott also hand-shapes and screenprints dedicated freestyle decks under his brand, "Mode", for freestylers all over the world. This is just a recent sampling of his work (below):


This is just the sort of thing that I love to get from Hans: Bruce Logan's "inductee profile" video for the Skateboarding Hall Of Fame and Museum in Simi Valley, California. If IASC keeps supporting the making of these sorts of archival documents, I might just have to start supporting 'em.

This just might be the very best thing in the entire WFSA Newsletter. It's a clip called "Unseen- Part 1" from some freestyle prodigy named Matt Galizia. I don't know who this Matt kid is... I've never even heard of him. Nor have I seen any of his footage. But if this is "Part 1", then I'm really kinda wondering where "Part 2" is, and when I'm gonna be able to check it out.

If you don't recognize who this is, don't worry- I'm about to tell you: It's legendary freestyler Rob Rodrigues, from New York City. In 1990, Rob was part of the "next wave" of freestylers that started going after Rodney's crown (along with peers like Cameron Martin). Rob had a bold, brash, street-influenced freestyling style. He skated fast, he skated smooth, and he made no apologies whatsoever for breaking the "freestyle mold". He was destined for great things... that is, until the NSA and Powell-Peralta (his sponsor at the time) permanently pulled the plug on freestyle forever. And then, poof: He was gone.

Rob's a true East Coast legend, in every sense of the word. His reputation was known everywhere- even to kids (like me) all the way up in New England.

Last year, I actually got to meet Rob at The Worlds in Philly. He wasn't skating much... apparently, he was too injured to make the comp last year. I was so, so bummed. Here I was, hanging out with the man... and I couldn't even watch him skate. Damn...

This year, though, Rob was back...! Skating! And that's always a great thing to see...

Here's some footage I found of Rob Rodrigues, circa 1990. Now, you know what I'm talking about. Check it out, man: Anybody that skates to "Axis: Bold as Love" is pretty fucking bad ass.

Do yourself a favor, and go learn how to skate like Rob. Now...!

Ahhhhh...! Joe Flemke. AJ warned me about this kid a couple years back. He described Flemke as a flatland machine, a singular talent, a total freestyle threat that skates faster than anybody else, and does completely ridiculous combinations of absolutely impossible stuff. Basically, the kid's nuts. And after watching this video three times back to back, and being horribly confused every single time, I must say that I'd have to agree.

You can probably guess that Joe won the US Championships in Philly this year. Well, you guessed right, kid. He did. And now, you can see why.

There was an extremely large Japanese presence at The Worlds in Philly a couple years back, and AJ explained to me a few weeks later (when I finally got around to asking) why that's the case: Freestyle is actually pretty popular in Japan. Oh, well... that does make perfectly good sense, now doesn't it...?! From what I saw, the Japanese blend a very "traditional" freestyle worldview, with a very smooth and precise execution, to create a strange, new, modern hybrid. This is Toshiaki Fujii from the Japanese feestyle video, "M80 Crossover". Yes: Even freestyle videos flourish in Japan...

... and Hidemi Ohishi, also from the "M80 Crossover" video. Check out how crazy fast this kid skates. Damn.

Upcoming Freestyle Events:

April 14th, 2012-

Freestyle demo, as a part of another event.

Ollie's Skatepark in Florence, KY (near Cincinnati, Ohio, USA)
Indoor flatland area - about as large as a full-size basketball court - with a polished concrete floor.

May 18th - 21st, 2012-

"The World Round-up":

A series of skating demos and a battle format.
Everybody can register for this, but only the top 30 freestylers can enter the event.
Cloverdale Curling Rink - Cloverdale Exhibition grounds, 6050A 176th Street, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

June 21st, 2012-

"Go Skateboarding Day"

Create your own event to promote flatland and freestyle skateboarding.

July 7th - 8th, 2012-

World Championships 2012
(a.k.a. Freestyle BBQ Contest) Goldgrund Skatepark, Paderborn, Germany
Masters, girls, am, pro

July 6th - 8th, 2012:

NASS, Royal Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallet, U.K.

This is a large 3-day annual extreme "relentless" sports festival and the entry fee includes free camping and free transport to the nearest train station (Castle Cary).
Format: Jam
Camping times: Fri 10am - Sun 6pm
Entry: £72.00 + booking fee

August 23rd - 27th, 2012:

Flatcamp 2012

Rollerskating rink, Schillerplatz, Schweinfurt, Germany

Welcome To America, Kilian...!


As our last bit of news for this month, we here at Everything Skateboarding would like to welcome Kilian Martin to America. Kilian made the voyage from his native homeland of Spain, to bright and sunny California on December 10th, to further pursue his skating career with Powell-Peralta. Hats off, buddy! We're glad to have ya...!

If you'd like your own, un-edited copy of the WFSA Newsletter sent to your e-mail in-box every month, simply send an empty e-mail to wfsa-join @ Hans will take care of you from there.

"Thank you...!"

Hans Lucas
WFSA Secretary
WFSA Mailinglist Administrator
World Freestyle Skateboard Association"

(For those that are curious, the WFSA web address is:


Skateshop Spotlight: Hardcore Sportz


Here at Everything Skateboarding, we believe that credit should be given where credit is due. While skateboard shops all over the midwest are either closing their doors, or failing at their jobs... there are a few skateshops here and there that are not only holding it down, but thriving. These shops all tend to have the following five traits in common:

- They have the right product, in stock, at the right price.
- They know that product.
- They're cool to everybody that walks in their door (after all, anybody could be a customer...),
- They make positive investments in their local skate scenes, and
- They're diverse in their philosophies, and the types of skating that they support. Translated: They have a much bigger "worldview" of skateboarding than the "typical" skateboard shop.

As part of our ongoing "Spotlight On The Skateshop" series, we decided that it might be cool to spotlight not only what shops are doing wrong, but also some of the shops that are getting it right. The very first "Spotlight Skateshop" is right in my backyard... but as I travel the midwest next year, I hope that I find more:


I first discovered Hardcore Sportz when I went to New Castle in 2008, to document a skatepark for the guys at Concrete Disciples. If I'm remembering it correctly, I actually ran plum into the shop as I was heading out of town. I barely believed that there was a skatepark in New Castle... let alone, a skate shop. But even then, Hardcore was a cool little shop. Extremely tidy, well-styled, and with two of the coolest guys in the world- Kyle, and Karl Poynter- running it. It was abundantly clear that if these guys had anything at all, it was good taste, and a great attitude. I damn near liked them, right at first sight.


Karl Poynter

A couple weeks ago, I called the shop to chase down another lead on a New Castle skatepark rumor. When Karl answered the phone, he told me that they'd actually moved to Noblesville a few months back. That next weekend, I was heading up their way to check out the new digs.

When I walked into the shop, it was immediately clear that besides the physical location, very little else had actually changed. The guys were still friendly, enthusiastic, kind, and respectful. The shop looked much as it had in New Castle: Clean, tidy, well-styled, and well-organized. It was roomy, comfortable (which is a real achievement, since it occupies such a small space), and inviting. And best of all... like all truly great skateshops... it felt sorta like "home". And as I've mentioned a few times now, "vibe" is awfully hard to create, destroy, hide, bullshit, or fake. But the overall vibe of this shop is totally welcoming, all-inclusive, and chill.


As far as the skate inventory goes, I would call their selection "small, but diverse and well-selected". They don't carry zillions of everything... they just don't have the room... but what they do have represents everybody well.


The biggest gripe that I'll probably get over this one, is that Hardcore Sportz also doubles as a bike shop. Karl is a sponsored biker, and Kyle is an avid paintballer... so bikes and paintball supplies are really at the forefront of this shops' efforts. I can hear a small army of kids already bitching their asses off that "they're not 'core' enough", or "that's not really a 'core' skateshop...!" Well, given my recent experiences at more "core" skateshops... you can take that "core" deal, and jam it straight up your ass. At the very best, it's a completely meaningless marketing gimmick that doesn't really say anything about what my experience inside the store will be. That's why we ask our readers to support "independent retailers", instead. Because that "core" thing is such a joke.

The bottom line is that the guys at Hardcore know what they're doing, support skateboarding, are fully independent and locally-owned, have a great-looking shop, and treat their customers well.

That's a lot more than I can say about most "core" skateshops today.


30 S. 9th St.
Noblesville, Indiana 46060



Be The Scene: Support Your Local Skateshop


Sound Check:


Every once in a while, I start thinking to myself, "Man, sometimes these industry-insider analytics can get really, really tedious. I wish we could drop some music in here to liven things up a bit..." Well, this week, I finally smartened up and realized, "Hey, dude! It's the internet! We can do anything we want...!"

So with that, we're starting a new column titled "Sound Check", where we drop some of our favorite YouTube music videos throughout the editorial, for our readers' listening enjoyment.

To kick things off right, I thought this one would be pretty fitting:


Questions and Answers, Continued:


What would skateboarding look like, if the independent, brick-and-mortar skateboard retailer ceases to exist?

Call me old-fashioned, but I believe “the marketplace” depends on the existence of a real “place.” Most folks like to visit a real live place, at least some of the time, to check out the real live things that they’re thinking about really buying with their real money. Hi-res 3D holography over the Internet may arrive sooner than we think, but even that will not completely substitute for seeing, touching and holding the thing itself, in the company of live human salespeople who can respond to questions and let you walk out the door with the product in your hands. If it were impossible to go to any real “place” to see, touch, and hold a product before deciding whether to purchase… well, that would just suck for all of us, including web sellers, regardless of the type of product.

Similarly, large chain stores that push mainly their own in-house brands won’t be able to completely take over anytime soon. They face their own type of glass ceiling: the larger they get, the more they have to dumb things down to appeal to an ever-bigger lowest common denominator. That naturally threatens street cred with “core customers,” and the whole thing is at risk of crashing down. It’s a Catch-22 situation for them, and fortunately it helps protect the integrity of the marketplace for the rest of us.

Most importantly, large retail chains depend on the model of herding customers like sheep, and you can’t herd all of the people all of the time. A certain slice of the populace will always want more variety, higher quality, better customer service, etc. That’s where smaller, more specialized, more personalized shops come in. In one form or another, they’ll always be around, just like the manufacturers who value quality over quantity.

In your estimation, how is the average independent skate shop doing these days?

I don’t have up-to-date statistics at hand, but independent shops are obviously facing a host of modern challenges from big online dealers and chain stores. However, an old opportunity persists on the flip side of those challenges. Independent skate shops are still well positioned to offer more variety, higher quality, and better, more personalized customer service. Plenty of customers are still willing to go out of their way and pay a bit more for that. The unthinking herd will never absorb 100% of us.

How important is price when it comes to choosing where to shop?

That obviously varies widely depending on the buyer’s priorities, the particular product, and the state of the economy. In general, it’s a safe bet that more discriminating buyers look for a good balance among quality, price, and customer service.

What’s the best skate shop that you walked in to in the last year, and what made it so good?

I don’t bust out of my workaholic bubble often enough to visit very many real live skateshops. It’s sad, I know. Last spring I visited the Edge Boardshop in Dana Point, California. The owner, Mike Bornstein, displays a lot of the modern brands in a stylish, elegant environment. And he knows his shit. Well, mostly – he still insists on carrying other brands besides Seismic.

Describe the worst skateshop experience that you’ve suffered in the last few years.

We’ve all been to shortboard lifestyle shops that carry just a few token longboards and sneer at you if you don’t fit the right profile. In middle November I visited a shop like that in Lisbon, Portugal, to check out sales opportunities. The owner literally looked me up and down with disdain. I simply gave him my card and said, “Within a year you’ll want to carry high-end longboard products. I have to go now, but feel free to contact me when you’re ready.” He was floored.

Lastly, what is the “secret for success” for the independent retailer?

At risk of sounding like a broken record player, I think the keys to success are tried-and-true Old School values: good variety, high quality, reasonable prices, and outstanding customer service. The big online dealers and chain stores usually falter on customer service or variety, especially when it comes to the more specialized high-end stuff.

An independent shop can’t go wrong hiring and training salespeople who are educated, who communicate well, and who give a damn. Customers need solid, trustworthy help navigating the murky waters of the modern longboard marketplace. They’ll keep coming back if salespeople can explain not just what works well, but why, as well as a little bit about how modern functional designs evolved from what came before. They’ll keep coming back if sales staff is both reasonably brand-neutral and prepared to gently guide more caring customers away from the mediocre copycat stuff.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Spotlight On The Skateshop Month Continues...


Questions and Answers: Spotlight On Skateshops


Last month, I asked the staffers to answer a half-dozen or so questions on the current state of retail, from their various perspectives as publishers, manufacturers, skaters, writers, and industry leaders in their respective fields, for a new regular column called simply enough, "Questions and Answers".

This is an issue that we're going to keep talking about in the coming weeks and months, because we feel that it's an issue that truly touches each and every corner of not only our industry, but also our community.

Until now, the task of finding our way forward, and searching for workable answers has largely been left to our "industry leaders" at BRA (Board Retailers Association) and IASC (the International Association of Skateboard Companies). The fact that we're still discussing these issues, means that "those dudes" just aren't doing their fucking jobs. Somewhere, and somehow, somebody needs to take the bull by the horns, and move the ball forward. Given that there's just not a lot of "industry leaders" left, I believe that it's ultimately up to us... the independent media... to inspire and inform, and to mediate and arbitrate this discussion in a public forum.

Here's some of the responses that came back in my e-mail in-box. The rest, hopefully, I'll get around to tomorrow:


What would skateboarding look like, if the independent, brick-and-mortar skateboard retailer ceases to exist...?

It would look a lot like most other industries. It would be corporate in mindset and attitude. The fact remains that the indy skate shop is the incubator of many new ideas. Volcom didn't just wind up at Pac Sun or Zumiez by chance. Distribution is very much a part of the marketing of action sports products. The indy shop is where new ideas and products thrive. You cut them off, you've got corporations pretty much dictating what is cool 100% of the time. I can handle that when it comes to things like pickles and laundry detergent… but I'd like to think that skateboarding can offer something a little different.

In your estimation, how is the average independent skate shop doing these days...?

Some are doing great… some are doing okay, and some are doing poorly. The ones that are doing great have embraced the notion that the most important thing a business can create is a customer. There are a number creative ways you can make money in retail. It's never been an easy road, and recessions/depressions have a way of really illuminating who are the strongest and smartest. There are things beyond people's control. But in the final analysis, if you're not moving things forward and continuously striving, you run the risk of resting on your laurels. This is a major I concern have for shops that never embraced the new trends in skateboarding. They just felt it would always be the same. Nothing is ever the same.

How important is price when it comes to choosing where to shop?

It depends. People are multi dimensional when it comes to rewarding themselves They'll cut corners on food, in order to have beer…they'll cut out certain things in order to splurge. As a retailer, you need to figure out the correct balance. Get me in there, get me hooked and I'll move up the food chain. Just look at photography. Cheap cameras work great…but once you've been bitten by the photography bug, you move your focus from price to performance. Same goes with the bike industry. Cultivate enthusiasts and combine it with great customer service and price begins to matter less and less. Fashion understands this brilliantly.

What's the best skate shop that you walked in to in the last year, and what made it so good...?

Brooklyn's "Longboard Loft". Jammed to the ceiling with the coolest product they could find. A wall of wheels. Friendly service. The sense you weren't just shopping, you were entering a whole new world. It's not just shopping, it's an experience. And it's not just an experience, it's longboard heaven. And it's not just longboard heaven, it's an opportunity to share it with a community. Whoa!

Describe the worst skateshop experience that you've suffered in the last few years:

I went up a flight of stairs, in anticipation... and I asked if the shop carried longboards. I might as well have been asking for child porn. They were absolutely pathetic. Not interested in me or anything I wanted. I felt like I had somehow stepped onto their "holy ground" and was a waste of space. I left wondering how they expect to last the next 5 years. Brutal.

Lastly: What is the "secret for success" for the independent retailer...?

There are many ways to be successful… and this applies to everyone in business... not just indy retailers: "Focus". Know that you can't be everything to everyone. Work as many different opportunities as you can – get creative. Model what the bike industry does. Sell online… create a community… cut your space in half, and double your revenues… hire smart. And remember, it's vital that you balance the hedgehog principle correctly. "What was I put on this planet to do? What is it that I can be the best in the world at? What can I build/create that is truly remarkable? What is the economic engine that drives this?" Smart and successful businesses continuously ensure that these four elements are balanced and working in unison. Jim Collins created this principle, and it can be found in his book, "Good To Great".


What would skateboarding look like, if the independent, brick-and-mortar skateboard retailer ceases to exist...?

Probably very similar to the 70's, when you could only by skateboards from either a department or a toy store with the addition to the online shops. It would be a marketing blitz until it lost popularity (sales), then they would bury it in the back of the circular while they promote scooters, or some other lame knock-off. Popularity would be controlled primarily by these big shops who are all about numbers, plain and simple. The core shop is where skaters used to gather and network in a real way, which is a bit different then this information superhighway that has penetrated most of our lives. If you lose that part of the culture, the exchange goes with it. I don't think they will cease to exist, though. The well-managed, well-stocked, and adaptable shops will do fine. However, they are far and few between, and most likely will revert to more or less what we had growing up in the early-to-mid 90's.

In your estimation, how is the average independent skate shop doing these days...?

Most are hurting, no doubt about it. Skateboarding took a little dip in popularity, as well as the economy not being the best it's been. But the chain stores are reporting monthly gains... so it tells you that it is still viable, but more competitive. The problem for them is repeat / consistent business, and with so many options and places to buy, the market is more competitive then ever. Most shops try to compete directly with the major chains, which is a losing battle. Core shops need to offer more: product differentiation, better communication with their customers (Facebook should not be your only means), local events/promotions, sales. Basically, keeping a buzz going, and giving customers a reason to come back and shop.

How important is price when it comes to choosing where to shop?

Competitively priced with what other shops and online retailers are offering, but not too low as they do have bills to pay. As a customer, I don't mind paying a couple extra bucks for a product if the shopping experience/atmosphere is nice, and the people there actually seem to care enough to get me on the right stuff.

What's the best skate shop that you walked in to in the last year, and what made it so good...?

Vertical Urge in Raleigh, NC. They have a huge selection, friendly and knowledgeable staff, and are attached to Project 58 Skate Park... and a cafe, so you can start shredding right away as well as getting a snack, or a drink without ever leaving the park. Plus, there is always something going on at this shop... ie, events/promotions, visiting teams, changing their park around, great sales, etc.

Describe the worst skateshop experience that you've suffered in the last few years:

When you go into a shop, and you feel like you don't belong. There have been several shops that I have been in that you could "feel" a vibe whenever the person behind the counter actually looked up from the magazine, or stop whatever they were doing to see who was in the shop, and then uttered a guttural "w'sup" as they start judging you right from the start. What's funny is that most of these types don't really skate much... and if they do, they tend to be very negative, sarcastic, and bitter for some reason. Granted, working in a shop has it's low points at times (especially when its slow)... but when you have a new face in the shop, or a kid getting his first "real" skateboard, all that drama and cliquish-ness should be left behind. You never know who will walk through that door, and you want them to come back through that door with friends and family again. It is your job to help customers and to sell product, so you might as well make the best of it...!

Lastly: What is the "secret for success" for the independent retailer...?

Customer service, and giving them reasons to shop at your store. Knowledgeable and approachable staff, store promotions, events, rearranging/re-merchandising the store and windows in a different way, community outreach, etc. Keeping people interested and talking, because the average attention span these days is next to nil. And the array of choices, and the accessibility to product is right at a touch of a button. Too many times these days, these little details are lost. However, they make all the difference in the world.


What would skateboarding look like, if the independent, brick-and-mortar skateboard retailer ceases to exist...?

Skateboarding would just look tacky without core shops. The problem is, Zumiez and mall shops are actually really good at selling skateboarding stuff. They've got big stores, deals and big bright lights lighting up their big, dumb stores. But they're not so good at the skateboarding part, as in they don't know jack about skateboarding even if they know how to sell skate goods to the ignorant masses. When's the last time a Zumiez employee could tell you a few good spots in the area? Skateboarding might look pretty glamorous without core shops. Walk into a Zumiez and see its massive wall of shoes and even more gigantic wall of decks and in the background is a huge TV showing last year's X-games. But where's the substance and authenticity behind that?

In your estimation, how is the average independent skate shop doing these days...?

Well, if you're not a Wall Street firm these days, things probably aren't looking so hot. But at the same time, I think you're average indy shop with a decent enough backing of loyal skaters isn't doing so bad. Even in boon times, shops aren't rolling in dough, that is unless they're ripping off customers and just in it for the money. But then they're a pseudo-shop anyway. People start brewing their own coffee instead of taking daily Starbucks trips in a bad economy. But no one says, "Hey, the economy is tough right now and money's tight. I think I'll quit skateboarding." Of course they might then be more inclined to buy from some crappy online distributor because its deals are good, but I guess that's where shops with a more established backing of skaters will find it easier. For someone who's just getting into skating, he's more likely to buy from Zumiez or some website. But someone who's been going to a shop for a couple years probably won't abandon them even if they have to pay an extra $5 or $10.

How important is price when it comes to choosing where to shop?

Basically, like I said before, most good core shops probably won't be all that different as far as price. They're charging enough to make some profit, and that's it. If they're charging way too much, well, they need to reconsider why they're in the business. I think the fact is you can find the best deals buying from big online distributors, and core shops know this too, obviously. So you go to a core shop expecting to pay a little more, but you support it anyway because it actually cares about skateboarding and the skateboarding in your city. In this sense price doesn't really matter because you know you're paying a little more sometimes, but you pay it.

What's the best skate shop that you walked in to in the last year, and what made it so good...?

I went a few times to a really cool shop in Barcelona called Rufus when I studied abroad. I was checking out some shoes using my broken Spanish when the guy working there told me he spoke English. So that was a plus. In seriousness, though, it was the little things that made me like the shop. In Barcelona, and a lot of cities, there are a lot of shops, and they all carry boards, shoes etc. So it's the little things sometime that'll make you choose one shop over another. There's a weird sort of relationship between skaters and skate shop employees. You've already got a deeper connection than say a grocery store customer and grocery store employee simply because you're all skateboarders. But the guy I spoke with at Rufus didn't forget to do simple things like smile and just be friendly. And like I said before, you can get your board and shoes from Skateshop A or Skateshop B, and the price probably won't come out super drastically different. So you walk into Skateshop A, the guys seem cool and friendly, and you're sold. I actually did a little multimedia project for a journalism class when I was there and I interviewed Juan, the guy I spoke with originally, for it. When I told him about the project and asked if he could help me out, he was super willing. So that was appreciated. Here's the link if you want to see part of it:

Describe the worst skateshop experience that you've suffered in the last few years:

A few years ago I walked into a Zumiez with some friends at a mall. One of the guys I was with looked at some product, told one of the employees he was going to buy it from another skate shop—a real shop—and we walked out. I heard the Zumiez employee mumble "fuckers" under his breath.

Lastly: What is the "secret for success" for the independent retailer...?

I walked into a shop a way long time ago when I just started skating. Everything about me screamed noob, and I'm pretty sure Tony Hawk was my favorite skater at the time. Well, I think the guys in the shop could clearly tell I was a noob. They didn't treat me like a total idiot, but I felt like a nerd trying to sit at the cool-kids table at lunch, and they weren't helping. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who was like this when he first started skating. The point is, you could be some noob or a guy who's skated 20+ years and you shouldn't be treated differently. I don't know if that's the big secret, but it's a deficiency that should be fixed.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"Meet The Staff" (Sorta...)


There are certain times in my life when events come together in a rush of serendipitous circumstances to let me know, in no uncertain terms, that I'm actually on to something here. And today just happened to be one of those days. My dedicated (and talented) staff was the cause of today's positive bemusement. So much so, that I decided to share it with our just-as-dedicated readers.

It all started about a week or so ago, when I made the seemingly simple and straightforward request for everybody to send in pictures of themselves (or, a representative image of some kind) for our "Meet The Staff" segment. Now, I'm not sure if my staff conspired to pull a practical joke of some sort on my ass, or if it's just a sheer coincidence (I suspect the former, because Lord knows that I'm overdue for one right about now)... but either way, I ended up getting positive proof, right in my e-mail in-box, that our editorial staff is the bossest group of guys in the world.

To prove just how dedicated we all are to being as disorganized as possible, about half the staff forgot to actually send their pics (probably because they were out either skating, or causing trouble.... both of which we whole-heartedly support here at the office). Below are the rest that actually did, along with excerpts from a friendly e-mail exchange between Gesmer and myself:


Dan was a little worried, at first, that "one" of us... he never specified which one of us, exactly, he was worried about... would "get into trouble" because of the abundance of legs, thighs, and lips in this "all in fun", self-portrait he sent over. "Actually, that one would probably go best, given what the other guys sent in... I'm voting for the girls. It's very apropos, given the classy club you're suddenly involved with these days..."


"In his photo, it looks like Mike's at some sort of PETA rally, with a giant f-bomb on a banner behind him (I don't think he noticed it, though... Mike almost never swears, even privately amongst friends). I'm guessing that Brooke's gonna shit a goddamned brick, when he finally notices that giant 'fuck' right behind his head..."


"AJ's got two hotties on his arms. I'm pretty sure he noticed, though, because at least one of them is his fiancee..."


"I don't think he drinks or anything, but that didn't stop Gillogly from looking like he's hammered at a frat party or something (just like any typical college kid, I guess)...."


"... and I don't even wanna get into Fatboy's getup (and trust me on this one, Dan, neither do you)..."


Hans, I owe you an apology, buddy. The only crime that you committed, was sending a .jpg image that was too small to use. Readers: Hans' image was a simple (and practical) picture of Hans, skateboarding. Which clearly makes him the most sensible of us, by far.

To acknowledge Hans' immense dedication to the freestyle community, I decided to temporarily use this icon (of freestyle legend Russ Howell), until we get a bigger picture of Hans, himself. Hans does a lot for freestyle. So putting him in such good company, I thought, would be a really nice "thank you" for his hard work.


"As for the asshat that runs this place, that goof drew a self-portrait. What a moron that guy is..."

Intentional or not, my excellent staff of contributors is probably the coolest group of guys in the whole world. If nothing else, they're at least always down for a laugh (or two). All in all, I had a pretty rough day today. And I'm at least a solid two weeks (or more) behind on everything. But the guys reminded me today- as always- that skateboarding's all about having fun, and not taking things too seriously.

Thanks, guys. You're the best.