Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sometimes, you've just gotta ride...


Changes In Our Advertising Policy


Here at Everything Skateboarding, we like to always be totally open and transparent about everything that we do around here. That said, I decided that it was time to make a couple of announcements, regarding some really basic changes to our advertising policy.



In the past, we've requested that all submitted ads were sent in as .jpg file format images, that we would then linked to whatever website that the advertisers specified (as illustrated above, with these Rooftop and Big Mess ads). The main reason for this policy was that the dumbass publisher (that's me) had only "very limited" html experience, and not a lot of time on his (my) hands to go mucking about with a whole buncha fancy-pants programming jargon.

One thing that will never, ever change is out steadfast support for small, independent, skater-owned skateboard companies. These companies truly are the "core" of our industry. A lot of big-ass corporate money machines like to go around, claiming how "core" they are while they're peddling their mass-manufactured, and mass-marketed bullshit. Somebody, somewhere, needs to stand up, push aside the mass-money hogwash, tell it like it really is, and support the "true core" of skateboarding.

However, with the advent of YouTube advertisements (that truly double as "content"), the "advertising" game has changed dramatically. Even better: Embedding these "ads" into Everything Skateboarding is remarkably easy, and trouble-free.

So now, when advertisers submit an ad to us, they can simply send over a YouTube link to the video they'd like posted, and we can take it from there. YouTube does offer a few different "encoding" methods... but for the moment, I personally prefer to stick with the "old" embed code, to maintain continuity across the entire site.

As always, all ads are still absolutely free "to dudes we like". However: In the future, preferential treatment will be given to advertisers that make tangible contributions to the site. This is our way of thanking the many people who have volunteered their time, energy, and ideas in order to make ongoing contributions to the movement that is Everything Skateboarding.

Most publications (online, paper, or otherwise) rely on advertising dollars to generate content. But we've discoverd that it's actually a lot more fun to have the advertisers contribute their own content, in the form of articles, interviews, photos, video clips. Some of our advertisers have gone so far as lending a helping hand with promoting and executing our various initiatives, or promoting Everything Skateboarding to a wider audience.

In this regard, Everything Skateboarding is starting to act much more like a traditional "zine", while also promoting greater transparency throughout our industry. This ultimately helps kids to better understand who, and what, they're supporting when they buy a product from one of our advertisers.


Here's a perfect example of what I was describing in the last paragraph. A couple weeks back, Mike Niemann (of Cockfight Skateboards) sent over a bunch of pool-skating photos for us... including this one of him, smithing it up at Wave's. Here at Everything Skateboarding, we think it'simportant that kids understand the difference between a company that "says" that it's "owned and operated" by "skaters", versus a company (like Cockfight) that actually is owned, and operated, by skaters. Not the marketing-gimmick version. The real-deal version.

The entire staff here at Everything Skateboarding is fundamentally committed to keeping this a true no-bullshit zone, where money serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever. Rather, this is a movement based entirely on ideas, creativity, and communication that we hope will make a lasting and positive mark on the world of skateboarding. And, if it doesn't...? Well, at the very least, we're having some serious fun with this.

And at the end of the day... just like skateboarding... "fun"is all that really matters.

Bud Stratford
Grand Poohbah
Everything Skateboarding Magazine


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

In Her Own Words: Lynn Kramer


In the annals of skateboarding history, there is no woman that has dominated skateboarding in the way that Lynn Kramer has struck "The Fear Of God" into the world of slalom skateboarding. Ever.

This is a bold statement that, I'm quite sure, will ignite it's fair share of debate and controversy. Many skate-historians will surely point to such luminaries as Laura Thornhill (in freestyle), Carabeth Burnside (in vert), Elissa Steamer (in street), or even Brianne Davies (in downhill), and state that these women broke down many barriers in their respective heydays, and paved the way for other women to follow. And I'm not gonna argue with that one bit. These women truly did make vast and important strides toward making skateboarding a much more gender-neutral pastime, and shattered many a glass ceiling along the way.

However, note that I carefully chose to use the word "dominated" in my introductory paragraph. Which implies not only respect among men... but also, fear. Fear that "the boyz" might just get their puny little asses thoroughly mauled by the female contingent. Laura Thornhill, Carabeth Burnside, Elissa Steamer, and Brianne Davies... these women were, and still are, respected. Respected for the ground they broke, and the hurdles they had to overcome to pave the way for future generations.

But, "feared"...? That, my friends, is something altogether different. Most guys that I know, probably wouldn't be too petrified of having to go head-to-head with a Carabeth Burnside, or an Elissa Steamer... or even, a Brianne Davies... in a competitive setting. If for no other reason, than out of either ego, or out of arrogant ignorance. Because for all the ground that they broke, the final lesson has always been that although they can run with "the guys"... it's still pretty difficult to imagine actually getting beaten up by one of these women. If not, impossible.

"If you’ve been to any major race in the past few years, you’ve certainly run into Lynn. And, you’ve probably been beaten soundly by her. She’s "The Queen", no doubt about it...!"

- Fatboy

But a few years back, I was hanging out at one of Kenny Mollica's "Buckeye" races, quietly lurking in the timing tent (which is truly the place to be, at the climax of any slalom event- take my word for it, kids), and watching the brackets fall when, all of a sudden, some dude looked over my shoulder... noticed that his next challenger was Mrs. Kramer... and forlornly sighed something to the effect of, "Oh, my gawd! I have to go up against Lynn...?! Shit! That's it. My life is now officially over." And, I just kicked back and laughed my ass off as I realized, for the first time ever, just how scared the "average guy" is of having to meet Lynn Kramer... and, go head-to-head against her... on a race course. I laughed, because I suddenly realized that there's a whole contingent of fully-hardened slalom racers that apparently feel the same way. And I laughed because I was so, so glad that it wasn't me that was about to get my ass kicked.

Simply put: Racing Lynn Kramer is a proposition where somebody loses- regardless of their gender- and Lynn wins, almost every time. That's probably why she's a nine-time World Champion, and still harder to beat than ever.

When future generations of skate historians finally get their act together, and write the complete and comprehensive history of skateboarding... I think they'll end up agreeing with me on this one. No woman, anywhere, has dominated any field of skateboarding, more than Lynn Kramer has dominated the world of slalom.

Our slalom editor, Fatboy, recently turned in this crafty interview that illustrates the "lighter side" of Lynn Kramer. That is, the side that we only get to see when she's not busy chewing up dudes on the hill:


Our gal...! Photo by Maria Carrasco/Sk8Kings.

Why skateboard racing? Why not bullfighting? Or, ice fishing? Or, something else?

I already tried those, but failed miserably.

Are you real gear conscious, or like me: “F@%K it! I’ll just run what I have bolted up”?

In my head, I am overly gear conscious. But in reality, my husband is the one who makes sure I have extra axle nuts, and I'll ride any wheels the Brown Bomber throws at me.

Tell me one weird fact about you that folks might not know?

If I told you, then they would know.

Why won’t any of you race in a skirt, like me?

We only need one skirt in slalom.


Note just how far back "the competition" is in this photo. WCS 2011. Photo by Maria Carrasco/Sk8Kings.

Are people generally surprised when you tell them you race skateboards?

My customers love it! I used to be afraid if they knew I was taking time off their project to go skateboard, they wouldn't take me seriously. But when I play up the whole World Champion thing, they love it.

Pie or doughnuts? And, what flavor?

Maple Bacon doughnuts from Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland, Oregon.

What was your first car?

Audi 5000.

What was the approximate date that CMC first hit on you?



A picture of speed. Morro Nationals, 2008. Photo by Maria Carrasco/Sk8Kings.

Which discipline do you prefer: TS, GS, Hybrid?

Not hybrid.

What’s your most memorable skate moment?

Beating Judi [Oyama] by .007 seconds combined in the Tight Slalom at the 2003 Worlds in Morro Bay.

Do you also skate:

A) Downhill?

Yes, but only if I have to.

B) Ramp?


C) Park?


D) Ditch?


E) Freestyle?

Not so much...

Are you stoked that more girls are racing these days?

I would be stoked if more girls were racing these days...


Same 'ol story: Lynn skates, and the guys watch. 2010 Nats. Photo by Maria Carassco/Sk8Kings.

Regular, or goofy? Normal push, or Mongo?

Goofy all the way.

Favorite pizza topping?

Artichoke hearts.

Favorite race to attend?

There was one Sizzler that held top honors for a long time, until I went to my first Farm.

Ever think about doin’ roller derby?



Being a world-class, world-champion skater means lots of camera-time, and fat guys from Jersey chasing you down to do interviews. WCS 2011. Photo by Maria Carassco/Sk8Kings.

Is David Beckham really that dreamy? Posh was really cute in the day, but now she looks kinda fake and plastic. Ginger was always my favorite!


Favorite skater to watch?

Chris Miller.

To race against?

Jonny Miller (no relation).

Favorite cartoon character?

Emily, Stewy, and Wile E Coyote because he always gets smashed, burned, or otherwise mutilated, but never dies.

Do you watch the X-games, or who gives a shit anymore?

If they're on.

Do you snowboard?


Any other sports?


Do blondes really have more fun?

I had fun being blonde.

Favorite bands/music?

80's Punk.

Dumbest thing you remember doing back in school?

Pouring beer into an empty coke can, and taping over the top. I never even made it to school before my parents smelled it.

Does your Mom still give you shit about skating/racing, like mine does?

I was never allowed to skateboard growing up because my dad was an orthopedist. He thought it was just a way to pay the bills until they came to see the 2004 La Costa Open. Then he told me "Wow, that's really a sport. And wow, you're actually good at it." Now, my mom likes going to races.

Furthest you’ve traveled for a race?

Czech Republic. Twice.

Would you prefer male racers to treat you as an equal, or as a lady?

Equal what?! I kick most of their asses. Then after the race, they may open the door for me.


Reading, gardening.

What do you do for a living?

I'm a Mechanical Engineer. I try to convince people (such as yourself) that they can make more skateboards for less money, if they have a CNC router to help them. Then after they buy the router from me, we help keep them running.


Make it "World Champion of Slalom Skateboarding", and you'll have it right. Sure, she might smile a lot off the course...


...but on the course, she's all business. Maria Carrasco/Sk8Kings photos.

Ever ridden in an ambulance?


Ever wear KISS makeup?


Would you ever wear shoes that hurt your feet because they looked cool?

Not on purpose.

Is anything (car, laptop, refrigerator, etc.) in your home covered in skate stickers?

Most everything.

Do you look at things (curbs, ditches, hills) differently than others because you skate?

Of course.

Favorite skate t-shirt?

All my shirts that Chicken made.

Skate companies that have been cool to you?

Sk8kings, Khiro, Timeship Racing, Nitro, Pocket Pistols, Abec 11, Fibreflex, Turner, 3dm/Seismic, Dregs, Sector 9, Radikal, Pleasure Tools, G&S, Powell-Peralta, Oust, Airflow, Skaterbuilt, Asphalt Playground, and Indiana.

Racers/Skaters that have been cool to you?

All slalom skaters are cool.

Fatboy (the writer) is a great chap that also owns a small company called "Longboards By Fatboy", which can be found at

Maria Carrasco (the photographer) is a lovely lady that also runs the day-to-day at Sk8Kings, which can be found at

Lynn Kramer is a kick-ass slalom racer. But you knew that already, 'cuz you just read the interview.

And Bud Stratford... the guy that art-directed the piece, and wrote the intro... is still an asshat.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Upcoming Events:





Support Our Advertisers...!














Thursday, January 5, 2012

Aperture: Cockfight North Carolina Tour


A couple weeks back, we sent an e-mail over to Mike Niemann (at Cockfight Skateboards) that basically said:

"Hey, Mike? Help...! We haven't run any good pool photos in a while. Y'got anything kicking around...?! Bests: The Empty-Handed Editors..."

As always, Mike was more than happy to help. So without further ado, let's all take that long-overdue break from a whole weeks' worth of "boring industry-speak", and check out what Mike and the guys sent over:


Adam Young (of Roger Skateboards)
Backside Smith
John Falls photo


Chris Schlag
Brett Roper photo


Brett Roper photo


Jesse Davis
Brett Roper photo


Mike Niemann
Frontside Smith
Wave's Bowl
Brett Roper photo

Thanks, guys. You're the best.


The Board Meeting: Saturday, April14th, 2012


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Is it time for an lASC alternative...?


There's been a lot of talk these days about us, in the skateboard industry, creating some sort of "alternative" to IASC. Especially given some of the news that's coming out of Agenda, right now. Apparently, IASC has committed to a "new push... to make sure every genre of skateboarding is well-represented within IASC". I'm guessing that a lot of people are taking this as code for, "We finally want to capitalize on this whole 'longboard' trend, fifteen years after it became popular"...or, "We want a slice of that cash pie, fool!"... or, maybe even "We want to screw up longboarding the same way that we bastardized street skating"... or, whatever is making everybody so damned irritable at Agenda this week. Personally, I just thought it was funny- as usual. Like,
"Oh, really?! That's cool. Where in the hell have you guys been for the last ten years...?!"

Oh, by the way: The show doesn't even start until tomorrow. So basically, we're still twelve hours away from the doors opening... and yet, IASC has already somehow managed to piss everybody off? Go, team...!

"The International Association of Skateboard Companies (IASC) is the not-for-profit trade association of skateboarding. The mission of the IASC is to represent the global skateboarding community as a united force by listening, understanding and acting on the needs of skateboarders and the skateboard industry..."

- from, IASC's website."Listening". I love that one...

So, yeah. It just might be time to finally put that last nail in the 'ol IASC coffin, and hammer that bitch home. But then, the question becomes: What's the alternative? Doesn't this industry of ours need some sort of "unified voice" representing it...? Well, if you ask most skaters (as well as most skateboard company owners), I think that the best answer that you'll get is, "Well... maybe".

"It is a group collection with the single aim of increasing skateboarding and Pushing Skateboarding Forward..."

- from

The biggest problem is that, skateboarders (as a general rule) will only "organize" themselves in any sort of effective (and sustainable) manner, when they perceive that a genuine threat to the "greater good of skateboarding" is coming over the horizon. And then once that threat passes, they tend to immediately disorganize, and go along their merry way. This is the reality that, unfortunately, plagues most of skateboarding's "industry organizations" with ambivalence and indifference, leaving them unable (and unprepared) to act in a true time of crisis.

"IASC’s goals are to promote skateboarding, increase participation, save its members money, and educate. IASC serves it’s members and the skateboarding community by focusing on areas which affect not only the business, but the overall sustainability and health of skateboarding..."

- from, IASC's website

IASC, today, apparently represents that "threat to the greater good of skateboarding" that is compelling everybody else to finally take action, and get organized. Which is sort of ironic, isn't it...? That our very own "trade group" that exists... on paper, at least... to "protect the better interests of skateboarding"... is the very thing that skateboarders (as well as, a whole lotta skateboard business owners) feel like they need to be protected from...? What does this say about our "industry leaders", and our industry...? Personally, I think it says that they're both epic fails.

As far as "alternatives" go... believe it or not, about five years ago, Michael Brooke (of Concrete Wave Magazine), AJ Kohn (of One Skateboard Co), Jeremy Welch (of TOC Skateshop), and I... we started brainstorming that very topic. We all recognized that, if IASC kept operating as a totally ineffective, highly secretive, perpetually blundering, and hopelessly out-of-touch "cool club"... that eventually, they'd probably ineffective, secret, blunder, or cool their asses either right out of existence, or straight into irrelevance. Or, worst of all: Both.

From those discussions, we came to a concept that we regularly refer to internally as "The Collective". Until now, The Collective has existed largely as an experiment... a "trial run", so to speak. It was established mostly as a troubleshooting exercise, to explore the possibilities of what any future "trade group" might look like. And what, if anything, it might actually accomplish.

What we finally ended up with, was a concept that might be best described as an "Un-organized, industry organization". At first, this might seem pretty confusing, and extremely counter-intuitive. If not, downright stupid. However, we all recognized that in order to come up with something that actually works... and works well, and effortlessly, long-term... that we might have to think pretty far "outside the box", in order to finally solve a few of the problems that are unique to skateboarding's culture, values, identity, and industry.

This week, I asked all of the guys (and gals) that took the idea from us, and ran with it... for permission to take the hard lessons that we've learned privately over the last five years, public. Nobody disagreed. So with that, this is a brief outline of what we've come up with as a sustainable and effective paradigm for what the future might hold. And given the toxic tone coming out of Agenda already, who knows? We might even see this materialize, and even expand, sooner than we think:

"Formed in 1995, IASC is a diverse group of skateboard manufacturers, distributors, contest organizers, private skateparks, and individuals. A collaboration of people passionate about skateboarding- with the single aim of protecting the integrity of skateboarding and pushing skateboarding forward on a global level..."

- from, IASC's website

The Name

"The Collective" is simply a collection of like-minded individuals, and industry representatives, that are moving toward a set of common ambitions and goals. Not that unlike IASC, actually. Except, The Collective strives to be all-inclusive, and somewhat informal.

As for how the name came about... let's face facts: I'm not all that smart. So when I'm in doubt about these sorts of things, I do have a tendency to literally, go literal.

The Mission

The mission of The collective is pretty obvious, and it's not too unlike any other "trade group". Primarily, it serves as an industry-wide advocacy group that looks after the interests of... and, supports the success of... all of our members, as well as skateboarding, as a whole.

Nothing too fancy there.

Primary Function:

Essentially, as it stands today, The Collective is best summed up with two simple words: "Think Tank". It's an information conduit. Or, put another way: An idea brokerage. If people (or businesses) have problems, or questions? Then, we put them in touch with solutions, and answers.

Still, pretty simple.

Secondary Function:

To launch far-reaching, broad-based, and ongoing initiatives that work toward common goals.

At some point, I think that everyone involved with this decided that we just didn't need to look at IASC for any sort of "guidance", in terms of setting an agenda. Nor did we need their blessing, either. Really, all we needed to do was to figure out what we wanted to do, and then start moving on it. No permission necessary.

I think we turned a corner on that one. Instead of simply "reacting" to whatever IASC was doing at the time... we became a bit more pro-active, and started moving on our own accord. IASC at this point, became much less of an influence on what we were doing.

It only got better from there.

One Skateboarding, One Industry

One thing that has always baffled me, is why in the good grace of God we'd ever need two, competing "industry groups" working against each other. One being IASC, which largely represented the interests of the brands. And then BRA, on the other side of the fence, which represents the interests of the retailers. Aren't these two things part of the same industry...? If so: Why do we need two different groups, representing it...?

The Collective includes representatives from manufacturing, branding, distribution, retail, nonprofits, and media- all under one roof.

Likewise: Skateboarding also has a lot of "other organizations", that represent specialized interests within skateboarding. WFSA (World Freestyle Association), ISSA (International Slalom Skateboard Association), SPAUSA (Skatepark Association of the USA), SPS (Skaters For Public Skateparks)... the list goes on. All, representing some particular interest in the overall spectrum of skateboarding. But nothing that represents just "skateboarding".

We support all of these specialized groups... but, we also recognize the importance of having a larger, all-inclusive organization that represents the entire spectrum of skateboarding.

The Practical Problem of Herding Cats:

Skaters, as a rule, just don't like to be "organized". They don't really like being "members". And they sure as hell don't like the idea of having to pay cash "dues", in order to have a voice at the table, either. That's just bullshit. And, everybody knows it.

We simply solved the whole issue, by boldly eliminating all three.


There is really no such thing as "membership" in The Collective. "Affiliation" is really a much better word for it. There's no forms to fill out, no hoops to jump through, no bullshit to wade around in, and no litmus test to pass. If you're in, then you're in. It's that simple.

What's better than "non-profit"...? "Non-revenue"...!

There are also no "membership dues". The only requirements are that you actively participate (generally, by bringing ideas and concepts to the table), and that you get something out of it (generally, by taking ideas away from the table).

The Collective can, and will, act as a "unified voice", if and when the need arises. But truth be told, that just doesn't happen very often.

Recognizing The Power Of The Individual Contribution

Likewise, The Collective rarely moves as a cohesive power bloc (except for The Board Meeting initiative). Rather, we tend to support individuals (in any way we can) that decide to take the initiative either entirely on their own, or as a part of a small group of Collective members, acting autonomously. Rarely do we take the time to build a broad-based consensus on any given initiative. In the fast-moving world of skateboarding, we found out the hard way that that's paralyzingly time-consuming.

Instead, we recognize that when individuals (or small groups) take the initiative upon themselves to do good stuff for skateboarding- everybody wins. And, we support that.


One of the biggest frustrations that everybody seems to have with IASC, is that they are not "transparent" at all. They do not answer criticism- neither publicly, nor privately (maybe it's because they just get so much of it these days). IASC does not seem to seek out council from outside sources (unless it's from Harley-Davidson, of all places). This ultimately leads to inherent mistrust (or distrust- you choose). They certainly don't speak for "the rest of us". And even worse: When they do speak for "the rest of us", they're doing it by putting out horrible initiatives "in our name" ("Under Fire") that are universally hated (except, predictably, by the IASC members themselves).

The Collective simply believes in transparency, at all times. The Collective has a surprisingly liberal "open door policy". We read, and answer, all e-mails. Even critical ones. We answer all questions. And, The Collective is truly all-inclusive. There is no board, no president, no "insiders"... and thus, no "outsiders", either.

"Trade Shows: IASC takes an active role in helping you bring new products to market. Our partnership with ASR Trade Show will enhance your trade show experience with added discounts and on-site promotions. IASC will supply you with a list of the items available to your company while attending the ultimate showcase of the action sports and youth lifestyle market. IASC Members generally save the amount they pay in dues through discounts at our partner trade shows..."

- from, IASC's website

The Board Meeting

This is an example of a Collective initiative, in action. This one was instigated by ASR's downfall, which naturally led straight to the question of, "What will the future of trade shows look like...?"

The clear winners were trade shows that would be all-inclusive (open to anybody and everybody), low-key, mellow, affordable, fun... and that could be easily (and quickly) organized by a very small handful of people. In short: This is totally DIY. Which is the way that skateboarding- and, the skateboard industry- should be. Doing It For Ourselves.

It is, after all, our industry. It seems only fitting that we run it in a manner that's consistent with the vibe, and the spirit, of skateboarding.


The best by-product of The Collective's ongoing efforts are simply more open, honest, effective, and beneficial lines of communication between the Collective affiliates. This is, after all, an exercise in building better relationships between people. This has been especially helpful in the ongoing dialogue between brands, and retailers. Respectful disagreements happen all the time (I've never argued with anybody more in my entire life, than I've argued with Michael Brooke over the last five years). But at least they're respectful. And the bonus of "getting along great" (most of the time) is absolutely priceless.

"Healthy Skateboarding Community = Healthy Skateboarding Business"

- from, IASC's website

Is It Time...?

There's definitely a consensus building that IASC... and to a lesser extent, BRA... just aren't serving the needs of the overall skateboarding community any more. Priorities are all out of proportion, and far too many people are feeling like they're simply being shut out of the process. And the more that The Collective works, the more tenuous that IASC and BRA's futures become. They represent exclusions and restrictions.

The Collective, which fundamentally represents inclusion and freedom, is essentially the opposite of IASC.

I think that's an idea who's time has come.


Memo To IASC:


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"Under Fire", Five Years Later


Five years ago this week, the International Association of Skateboard Companies (IASC) released their now-infamous "Under Fire" report at the [now defunct] annual ASR trade show. You might remember it: It was the "initiative" that basically told kids that if they bought blanks (or shop decks), then they were committing some sort of cardinal sin against the skateboarding world...? Yeah, that's the one. Five Years Later, I decided it was high time to revisit "Under Fire", and to see where the skateboarding industry... and, IASC... are at, today.


This is the cover of the "Under Fire" report. For some strange reason, many of us in the media had a good six-month (or-so) head's up that this thing was coming out. Apparently, some of the biggest enemies that IASC will ever have, also happen to be members of IASC themselves... because us "media guys" had some really, really excellent sources with all sorts of crazy-ass "insider information" to share with us. Some of it was pretty damned funny, too. I do remember hearing something about a scheme that included having all of the IASC member brands putting some sort of "Professional Skateboard League" holograms on all "branded" skateboard decks(?!). Just so everybody would know, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are indeed supporting "professionally approved skateboard products" when they buy a pro skateboard deck. As if the big-ass pro name splashed all over pro decks these days just isn't enough of a clue...

As bad as "Under Fire" was... in hindsight, I suppose that it really could've been much, much worse. Although at the time, that was pretty hard to imagine.

Even stranger: I personally recieved my copy (in the picture) from IASC's Executive Director (at the time), John Bernards, himself. I'm betting that, to this day, he probably regrets making that jughead move. How'd I even get into ASR, you ask...!? Oh, ummmm... well... I snuck in, incognito. That's the funny thing about "trade shows": The most important person in the whole damned industry... that is, the average kid that actually buys skateboards, and supports this industry with their hard-earned dollars... never seem to be invited to these things. Which means that the most valuable player in "the industry" doesn't even have a seat at the table, or a voice in the "dialog". Which has never made the slightest bit of sense to me. But, hey: At least I got in, right...?!

I've saved my copy over the years, just to remind myself that whatever "success" I might achieve, or how over-inflated my precious ego may become... no matter what, there are still things that only total fucking douchebags do.

Telling kids that they're somehow "evil" for buying the wrong skateboard being chief among them. Of course.

Kids: No matter what anybody tells you (even me)... the bottom line is that your life is still your life. And ultimately, you should do whatever you wanna do with it. The only person that you should ever have to answer to, is yourself. And never, ever, ever let anybody (even me) tell you any differently.


By far, the most "toxic" part of the report was the Dwindle ad that said, "make a statement" at the top, followed by a sentence that said "every time you purchase a blank deck you are saying:"... followed by a laundry-list of complete bullshit that you're supposedly "saying", whenever you buy a blank deck.

Now, I pointed out to IASC early on, that when kids buy blank skateboards... they're generally saying something along the lines of, "Dude! I totally wish I could afford a pro board... but, I just can't right now". Or, "If I don't buy a blank, I probably won't be able to skate at all for quite some time". Or sometimes even, "Skateboard companies are greedy assholes, so I'd much rather support nothing".

But, two things that I've never, ever heard anybody say... ever... is that "I buy blank skateboards, because I love rollerblades" (seventh one down, on the left), or "I buy blank skateboards, because I drink my own pee" (third one down, on the right).

As a kid that came from a single-parent household (read: poor) that actually had to buy a blank from time to time, just to be able to skate... I found this awfully offensive. Since then, I've basically boycotted IASC, and all of their member companies. And I've encouraged a whole lotta heads to do the same thing.


I always did love the "industry should be run by frat boys" quip. Shit, dude: I thought that IASC was run by "frat boys"...! What the...?

The strangest thing about it all, though, was that IASC never really said all that much, publicly, about any of this. Their main talking point was that all they were doing, was "creating a dialog" about the plight of those under-paid, and under-appreciated pro skateboarders that were suffering and starving at the hands of "The Evil Blank-Buyers". The fact that they pissed off an entire army of kids around the world, seemed to escape them entirely. Or maybe, they just didn't care...?

I, for one, have always thought that an apology might have been the appropriate thing to offer to all of those kids. Something that said, "Hey, look, we totally meant well... but man, we also completely fucked up the translation. We're really, really sorry about that". That would have been really cool, and sort of noble and kind of them to do.

Five years later, I'm still waiting...


"I donate to the nazi regime"...?! Guys. You can't be serious...

These days, IASC is but a shell of its former self. Bernards is long gone. IASC "initiatives" are few and far between. Shop decks (the other "target" of the "Under Fire" report) are an even bigger chunk of the market now, than they were back then. Longboarding has taken over as the "most popular" form of skateboarding, while virtually no "longboard" companies at all are IASC members. And lastly... whereas "blanks" were considered an "easy" target, because they "don't support skateboarders, and/or skateboarding"... five years later, IASC's biggest, current threat... by far... are those 10,000,000 small, skater-owned companies that are popping up like weeds, all over the place. And unlike "blank companies", those companies are actually run by skaters, that do contribute an awful lot to skateboarding. And those companies, almost to a man, despise IASC, and all that it stands for.

Even worse: There is movement happening, amongst these companies, to start their own "trade organization". To take on IASC toe-to-toe, and to do legitimately cool things for skateboarding. Many of these companies are taking the "initiative" on their own, and coming up with some super-creative stuff. We even have a "trade show" coming up in April, that is as far removed from the stale, old "ASR model" as you could possibly get.

It gets even worse, guys: There's more than one of these "DIY Trade Shows" in the works. I think that's awesome...! Let skaters run the trade shows, the way that skaters want to see them run. By, and for, skaters! Oh, my gawd. What a concept.

In short: The future of skateboarding is actually starting to look pretty damn bright. But not so much, if you're IASC.


A lot of people credit me, personally, as "The guy that brought down Under Fire". But honestly, this is a huge misnomer. I'm not comfortable with that description one damn bit. It's honestly giving a whole lotta credit, where credit is in no way due. Yeah, sure: I did write some pretty snappy "think pieces" (that's code, by the way, for "sufferably long-winded diatribes") about the whole shebang. But as we all know, "think pieces" don't go over particularly well amongst skateboarders.

But, "funny" sure as hell does...! Enter Neal Boyd, and his classicly-hysterical "spoof" website, titled "A World Without CEOS". It, too, is now long gone... forever lost to the fast-moving sands of internet history. But if anybody, anywhere deserves any "credit" at all for "killing" Under Fire, it's probably Neal.

I'd add: Along with the 50-gazillion everyday kids, that also thought that the whole "initiative" was total bullshit...

But in my life... even though I did practically nothing at all to advance the cause (outside of lending one more voice to the chorus of pissed-off voices)... it was still a pretty pivotal moment. One thing that I realized, is that this "initiative" was a carefully orchestrated effort between IASC, TransWorld Business, and Trans World Skateboarding (all of their logos are on the cover, as you can plainly see in the first photo of the article).

Before "Under Fire", I had never questioned the ethics, and the integrity of the skateboard media. But, I sure as hell started to after "Under Fire" came out. The fact the the media heads didn't somehow stand up for the average kid (aka,"their readers") ultimately inspired me to help create the Everything Skateboarding that we all love to hate, today. Just to even up those odds a little bit, right...?

Maybe most importantly: It pressured me to take a closer look at who, and what, I'm supporting, whenever I'm buying any kind of skateboard product. Who is this company...? What do they stand for...? Who owns it...? Where is this product made...? Are they IASC members...? And, finally... can I really trust these dudes to do what's right for skateboarding?

It's a hard lesson to learn... but in this industry, you can never be too careful. I learned that one from Under Fire, too.


This is one of Paul Schmitt's Q&A's in "Under Fire". In hindsight, I think that the question- and, the answer- speak volumes. First of all, the damned question doesn't even make any sense. "What would happen to the industry if there were no hardgoods skate companies"...?! Well, I guess there'd be nobody making skate hardgoods...?(?!)

I think they meant to say, "branded hardgoods skate companies". But, whatever.

Anyway... five years later, what's happened to IASC, and their member companies...? Under the guiding hand of IASC, their member hardgoods companies have lost their "core", slipped into being a "commodity product", and are largely sold in big-box stores (like Zumiez) that pump no promotion into the market, leading to a pretty un-excited customer. Exactly what "The Professor" professed. Simply amazing.

Now, compare that to your typical small, non-IASC company. Those brands are still hella "core", and are making some pretty unique products, that are still largely sold at independent retailers, that give their blood, sweat, and tears to make skateboarding a better place for everybody... which leads to quite a few happy kids.

I'm sorry, but why are we lining up to join IASC again...? To be a part of epic fails like this...?

So, IASC. My five-year-anniversary question is pretty simple: How'd that "dialog" end up workin' out for ya...?!