What can the history of skateboarding teach us?

Photo by Mila Zasou

I came across a video of a guy who owns 5000 vintage skateboards. The guy’s name is Todd Huber and he is a skateboard collector and founder of Skatelab, which is a museum, a shop and an indoor skatepark.

Here’s the video:

What was the most interesting to me was not the number of skateboards he had, but how much the history of skateboarding was present in the collection.

Because this sparked my interest, I did some reading. That is why I compiled a short history lesson for you guys. At the end, you’ll find some pointers of what I learned in the process of writing this article.

The 50s marked the invention of skateboarding. As a spontaneous movement of multiple people, kids started making their own skateboards from planks of wood, nailed with roller-skates. Back then, if you wanted one you had to make one and kids started messing around in their parent’s garages.

In 1957, Alf Jensen’s “Bun Board” was the first commercial skateboard to be produced. The number of boards sold was manageable, and the metal rollers mounted on this board never broke through. The board served as a model for the first skateboard that was produced in 1959 by the Californian company Roller Derby Skate in large numbers. ~ Alex Lenz in his upcoming book The Lost History of Longboarding

By the 60s, clay wheels got introduced and replaced the metal wheels used before. The trend of skateboarding was high, but it soon kinda died. You can imagine why – skating on clay composite wheels was probably horrendous.

Back then, skateboarding wasn’t considered a sport, nor a hobby, it was just something a few kids did and the majority of adults were not paying attention to it. Multiple companies at that time separated from skateboarding because too many kids got hurt and it wasn’t good for their image.

In 1964 Jim Fitzpatrick, the first member of Makaha Skateboard team, which at the time produced the clay-wheeled skateboards, went on a two-month tour, traveling all over Europe to promote skateboarding and his brand.

He was also the first person to skateboard underneath the Eiffel Tower. In an interview I found, he said he skated there for about an hour while people gathered around him in a circle clapping. Later he carried his board to the top of the tower. In the ”Cult of the longboard” article in Trasher July 1995 magazine issue the author mentions Fitzpatrick as someone who personally introduced skateboarding to Europe.

During the sixties, kids were skating barefoot as grip tape wasn’t yet invented. Some of the wooden boards had grooves for extra traction, but you guys can guess how little that helped. The Randy 720 was the first shoe designed for skateboarding back in 1965. But the evolution of skate shoes has its own history.

Around that time Patti McGee was featured on the cover of Life magazine, the first skate magazine popped up called SKATEBOARDER magazine (which only put our four issues, but got renamed and relaunched in 1975), people started skating pools, vert and the first skateboard organization was formed.

In contrast, many shops stopped selling skateboards as they were considered too dangerous by public officials and cities started banning skateboarding on the streets.

In ’69 Larry Stevenson, the founder of Makaha Skateboards mentioned above, patented the kicktail enabling the evolution of skate tricks we know today. He, however, didn’t get much out of it as only a few companies decided to pay the royalties. Because of this, his patent later got ruled as invalid.

By the early 70s, Frank Nasworthy introduced a small batch of the first urethane wheels named Cadillac Wheels. The Dogtown and Z Boys era began and Alan Gelfand performed and named the first ollie.

Thought the seventies trucks also got their prime time when Ron Bennett built one of the first trucks specifically designed for skateboarding. Freestyle and slalom was a popular thing and the invention of the Stoker trucks created something for downhill. With the invention of the reverse kingpin trucks in 1977, longboards were as stable than ever.

Dennis Shufeldt in 1975 photographed by Warren Bolster
Dennis Shufeldt in 1975 photographed by Warren Bolster

Based on the info I got from various sources, the sport split into two branches: skateboarding and longboarding somewhere around this time period.

The story returns back to Jim Fitzpatrick. He worked for Powell Peralta in the 80s and 90s on the Bones Brigade and with the invention of the VHS the first skate movies got recorded. He also worked as a writer and production assistant for what came to be known as “The Savannah Slamma,” produced by Thrasher Magazine.

In the early 90s longboarding took off as mass production of the boards started in the US. Around that time sub-disciplines like freestyle, slalom, long distance and downhill gained momentum.

With the invention of the  World Wide Web in 1990 by Tim Berners-Lee the promotion of skateboarding soon wasn’t limited to the only word of mounth and printed magazines.

The bottom line

And what can we take out of this brief history lesson? Well, quite a few things actually…

Be an active member of the community.

The influence of skateboarding teams and individuals was huge. Skaters back then did skate demos, talked with people and portrayed the sport the best way they knew how. Like some brands and individuals do today, organizing skate sessions, beginner classes, longboard events, and other meet-ups, still has massive value.

Attending local and international events is also has importance. Normally this is the only way to skate in a controlled environment and push your limits without the risk of ongoing traffic. It’s also a great chance to meet other skaters and make new friends.

Promote responsible and safe skating

By putting out media, one can be responsible and educational by raising awareness about safety gear and skating within your limits. Posting videos of one nearly escaping a collision with a car might get a lot of views, but the bigger picture is more destructive than positive.

Connect with the media outlets you like

Why not can connect with and support the magazines, websites, and blogs you like? They are there to distribute and present your content, support the sport and present it in an objective manner to a wider public. If you want to promote longboarding to the masses, don’t just settle with your limited circle on socials.

Help and support beginners

Every skater also has a chance to educate others. So many times beginners bought a cheap longboard, road it once and then stopped because it wasn’t what they expected – just like the situation with the clay wheels.

Be open-minded and connect with others. If you have a newcomer on your local skate spot, teach him/her a thing or two so they get a push in the right direction. With the basics, they can start practicing on their own just like you did and actually learn a lot faster.

Together we can provide a positive environment without hate or judgment and show newcomers and the general public that longboarding is not as dangerous and as lawless as it looks at a first glance.

Learn Longboarding: Aero Grab Trick Tip with Jeff Corsi

Learn Longboarding: Aero Grab Trick Tip with Jeff Corsi

I wanted to do this tricks and tips episode since at least one year ago. But I was not sure if I should do it in French or in English… subtitles or not…Since Moonshine supports me on the project, I thought it would be good to do it in English so that everyone can understand it. It’s for fun anyway!

The concept of the “Jeff’s tips” is to learn one trick by episode. Specifically dancing and freestyle tricks. I will doing large panel of tricks, some one will be for the beginner and other ones in hard level. The idea is to show that everything is possible if you practice. I started with the Aero Grab because it’s a famous trick and as I said, it allows for lot of possibilities… In this episode, I will try to be clear and short. Not longer than 3 min and 1 min if I can.

I don’t pretend that I’m a teacher, I’m more a friend who explains you the tips with jokes and bullshits. The longboard is before everything a way to share fun right? 😉

Watch: Jeff’s tips ep1 – the Aero Grab

Until the next episode, follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

JayKay e-trucks: yet another electric longboard company?

JayKay E-trucks review with Susan Heine

I used to not be a fan of motorized longboards, mainly because of how they look; they aren’t elegant, have a lot of plastic parts and the shape and look of the boards I saw on the market mostly don’t appeal to me. In addition, they are bulky and usually very heavy.

A start-up company named JayKay from South Germany made me reconsider my feelings towards electric longboards. They invented an elegant and practical solution. Instead of making a classic longboard motor, the drive is hidden inside the trucks.

JayKay e-trucks mounted on wooden decks

At a first glance, they appear to be like normal longboard trucks and, what I like most about them, they can be mounted on any longboard deck, top mount or drop through, with standard skateboard hardware.

JayKay e-trucks test drive

A few months ago I got to try out their early prototype. I mounted the JayKay trucks on my own favorite Icone Longboards deck and all I could see was my beautiful wooden longboard with a pair of trucks – no plastic battery pack housing, no nothing.

Compared to other electric longboards, the setup was very light with a total weight of about 5.5 kg. The e-trucks can be mounted with standard skateboard hardware and the bushings are of a standard size too, so they can be replaced if desired.

Before my first ride, I was worried about how the trucks would feel. I expected them to have no turn as if they were designed only to house the battery and other components. But to my surprise, this was not the case. The truck geometry offered a pleasant, agile riding experience.

JayKay E-trucks - Wheel prototype as seen on ISPO 2018

JayKay has just received their new urethane wheels. For now, the wheels come in 78a with a contact patch of 61.5 mm and in two colors, red and white. I can’t comment on the wheels and how they slide since I’ve only tested the first prototype, but I think it should be possible to do checks and little slides.

However, it must be considered that this is more of a urethane “ring” than a wheel, meaning it could wear down quite fast if someone should choose to slide them a lot.

How it works

Let me briefly explain the technology. Basically, the motor is integrated into the wheels and the battery is hidden inside the hanger. I know this sound a little delicate but on the test rides I did, the trucks surprised me with their strength and power. The baseplate and material of the hangers used is a high-resistant cast and tempered aluminum alloy.

According to the inventors, it will be possible to do tricks with the e-trucks, it is, however, to be considered that your longboard setup would be heavier than usual.

You accelerate and brake with a remote control that recognizes finger or arm gestures, depending on the type of control the customer chooses, which will be either a finger ring or a stick.

If the rider should fall off the board, the electric drive will automatically stop once the distance between the trucks and the remote control reaches a certain distance.

JayKay E-trucks - Components as seen on ISPO 2018

The e-trucks have an auto-on function, which means that the drive switches on after you push off and the wheels start to roll. This allows for a smooth start and makes it easier to find balance. In this context, it should also be pointed out that the wheels roll freely, so if the batteries should die after a range of up to 15 km, you can still ride it by pushing.

Also, the trucks can be driven in both directions and have an integrated light at the front and back for better visibility in the dark.

Final thoughts

What convinced me was the fun I had while test riding. Like most of you, I am a passionate skateboarder and I love pushing my board everywhere I go. There was no room for such a fancy thing as an e-drive for my longboard.

However, after testing these electric longboard trucks, I was genuinely stoked about this new sensation of “driving”. So if you ever have the chance to try it out, you should definitely give it a go!

JayKay e-trucks are still in a development stage but can already be pre-ordered on their official website. They are about to go into serial production within the next months.

JayKay e-truck features:

  • Top speed: 30 km/h / 18.6 mph (on a flat surface)
  • Three modes: sport, eco and slow
  • Range: 12 – 15 km / 7.5 – 10 miles
  • Number of motors: 4
  • Weight: approx. 2 kg per truck
  • Charging time: 1 hour (fast charging), 3h (normal)
  • Remote: ring, stick or smartphone via Bluetooth
  • Battery life: 3 hours (battery-saving mode)
  • Mounting: top mount or drop through with standard skate hardware
  • Freewheel mode: use the electric drive or push like normally
  • Can be driven in both directions

To stay on track with JayKay, you can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Sliders Skate House brings back Arico – El Bueno freeride on Tenerife

Arico - El Bueno organized by Sliders Skate House

UPDATE, March 17th 2018 : Arico – El Bueno Freeride is cancelled.


Last year we covered the Arico – El Bueno Freeride, the first freeride on Tenerife organised by BigMountainSkate and Sliders Skate House.

A year later, the event is still on, but solely organised by Martin Diaz and Álvaro García from Sliders Skate House. When asked what was their role in last year’s event organisation they said:

Due to having different ways of thinking we decided that the best thing was doing the event again this time on our own. Last year I was one of the people that worked a lot to make this event happen. Together with Álvaro García, another rider from the Sliders Crew, we contacted every local business that was involved (and also the ones that ended up not being involved) and closed deals with the majority of them. But mostly getting formal authorizations with the Townhall, which was also one of the hardest parts last year. ~ Martin Diaz

Well besides Tenerife being a volcanic island, its climate and summerish weather appeals to many skaters from around the globe who made it their winter skate escape, leaving large amounts of thane and stoked vibes on the island.

Arico - El Bueno Freeride on Tenerife. Photo by Giorgia Morriello.
Riders descending down the El Bueno thane heavy track – photo by Giorgia Morriello.

Before Arico – El Bueno the native events on Tenerife were smaller and more local, in the form of slide jams and ”lurking sessions”. Martin further explained that one of the reasons why they decided to organise the freeride is so that everyone has a chance to skate a closed road and practice without risking their lives in any other random Tenerife road.

This is made by us, a bunch of -local- skateboarders mostly from different parts of the world, looking forward to change a bit the current situation with Downhill Skateboarding here and work towards having more opportunities of skating our home island, without having trouble with the Police (as you may already know, skateboarding open roads in Spain is illegal). ~ Martin Diaz

Arico – El Bueno 2018 event info

The 2018 edition of the Arico – El Bueno freeride will bring a few changes, while some things will remain the same.

Last year’s event took place mid March, but this year it moved to the beginning of April, with a 4 day freeride from the 5th to 8th of April.

The 2.8 km long road with a maximum speed of 70 km/h and 14 hairpins remains the same and so does the event schedule. The skating will start at 9:00 in the morning, until 14:00 , followed by a two hour lunch break and continued at 16:00, finishing at 19:00 in the evening.

One of the changes for this year’s edition is also the overall price. While last year the price without accommodation was 250 EUR for five days, this year it’s set at 185 EUR, for a total of four days. From each registration 15 EUR will be donated to James Kelly’s Skate United project for refugee kids.

Accommodation and food

There will also be some changes in regards to the food and accommodation. Due to some unfortunate misunderstanding between the owner and the personnel who took care of the booking last year, the Ecovillavclub got overbooked.

However, the crew still thinks the place is great and know it can host 80 people comfortably. They also took care of alternative accommodation to fix last years experience with two backups. One will be the Sliders House in Marazul with 20 extra spots. The second one still needs to be officially confirmed, but the guys are on it.

Anyways we expect about 80 riders, but the limit will be 120. The second accomodation is still to be confirmed, as we need to choose wisely between the options that we currently have. ~ Martin Diaz

As mentioned above, the price for the freeride is 185 EUR, but the price for accommodation is 30 EUR extra for three nights (10 eur/day extra nights), which the riders will pay at arrival to the Ecovillaclub.

Martin and Álvaro also took care of a new food truck to be present at the event, which also provides vegan and vegetarian meals. He also provided a tip for skater who plan on coming to the event:

The thing is that in Tenerife the distances are -different- and unless you are in a very crowded area, you should make every visit to the supermarket count, Arico is obviously not a crowded place and neither is Abades (where the EcoVilla is located).

The Sliders Skate House already opened the registration for the 2018 Arico – El Bueno Freeride on February 18th via their website.

KebbeK Skateboards launched a new store in Québec

KebbeK Skateboards store opening in Quebec

KebbeK Skateboards launched their new headquarters and store in Montreal, Québec. The grand opening was last Friday, on February 16th, 2018, and at the same time, it was also the release party for Skate[Slate] Magazine Issue 36 which features KebbeK’s team rider Ben Dub on the cover with a photo made by a photographer John Rathwell.

KebbeK’s store stands out with a modern and simplistic design, something that we’re not used to seeing with other brands from the niche. The decks are put on a display inside of the transparent boxes, probably made of glass, lit up with led lights and treated like a piece of art that they are.

Our home is your home. Walk into the new Kebbek headquarters/gallery/boutique and be apart of the conversation. We would love to hear from you, share a high five, and most importantly….go skate. ~ KebbeK Skateboards via Facebook

If you’re visiting Montreal, make sure you make a stop at 4257 Rue St-Denis and check out the KebbeK decks, latest apparel and grab a free copy of the Skate[Slate] magazine.

Here’s the photo gallery from the opening…

Photos by Alexandre Brault

King’s Gate cancelled due to the bad condition of the track

King's Gate 2018 Cancelled

The organiser of King’s Gate race, BigMountainSkate from Austria, had to cancel the event due to the heavy damage the track has suffered this winter.

The surface of road got worst in this so far really cold and snowy winter here in Austria. It wouldn’t be fun or safe to skate this road, its not accurate for a world class race. ~ BigMountainSkate via Facebook

King’s Gate was supposed to be one of the two IDF World Qualifying races in Europe. Now only the Transylvania IDF WQ race remains next to the World Cup races Kozakov in Czech Republic and Verdicchio in Italy.

As the announcement was published, the organiser of Transylvania race, the DEVAstation Longboard Crew decided to extend their event with additional freeride days.

With one event down, BigMountainSkate is now left with two of their most popular events in Austria, Alpenrauschen and Bela Joyride. With more time on their hands, we can expect BigMountainSkate to focus more on the remaining events and deliver even better experience.

To join Alpenrauschen and Bela Joyride visit bigmountainskate.com.

IDF Annual General Meeting 2018

IDF Elections 2017

Last Sunday, on February 18th, 2018, International Downhill Federation (IDF) Board members held the Annual General Meeting to present the 2017 season overview and financial statement as well as the goals, work plan, budget and event schedule for the 2018 season.

Watch the AGM 2018

New Board members elected in 2017

In January 2017 the new IDF Board was elected. 5 of the 7 elected members were new to the Board. The IDF President Federico Barboni explained that they needed a little bit of time to get the required know-how to move forward with the work but they managed to achieve all their goals.

Increase in events expected to grow the number of memberships

The Board member Mike Girard, explained that they recognized the decreased number of athletes racing the IDF from 2016 to be coinciding with the decrease in events. Therefore, one of the IDF’s main goals was to increase the number of events and which should hopefully result in the growth of memberships.

In the meanwhile, the King’s Gate race in Austria has been canceled, so instead of 18 there will be 17 races in 2018; 7 World Cup and 16 World Qualifying.

Compared to last year, there will be in total 5 races more, while the number of World Cup races increased by 2.

In Europe, there are now 5 races; Kozakov in the Czech Republic, Verdicchio in Italy, Transylvania in Romania, Velefique in Spain and Sanki in Russia. You can find the full IDF 2018 schedule here.

The negative financial outcome for 2017

The biggest expenses IDF had last year were the purchase of a new timing system, which was around 10k dollars and another 10k dollars was spent for the repairing and maintaining of the old timing system which they plan to sell or part out occasionally.

Furthermore, IDF increased a money prize for champions to 10.6k dollars and as for the first time a money prize was awarded to the Juniors class.

Due to the decrease in events and memberships, IDF collected less sanctioning and membership fees but managed to save a bit on Travels Airfare and other expenses, like IT, Consulting and Accounting. However, IDF ended the year with almost 5,500 dollars debt.

Despite the negative financial outcome, IDF Board thinks positive about the new season and has already accounted the debt in the 2018 budget.

Early schedule and Early Bird registration to the rescue

One of the main goals IDF wanted to reach and it succeeded, was to release the 2018 schedule in October and instead of the “Priority registration”, which they found not to be efficient anymore, they did the “Early bird registration” and offered a limited number of discounted event tickets.

With the “Early bird registration”, they wanted to ensure enough riders will register in order to be able to organize the event. Overall nearly 100 tickets were sold across multiple events.

Paid media partnerships

As Max Vickers, the current IDF Secretary explained, last year IDF explored paid partnerships with independent media producers at Newtons Nation, Kozakov and Killington in order to ensure quality and consistent media production which was then used for promotion on social networks, the event coverage on the IDF website and other news outlets.

This paid media partnerships not only allowed us to offer better media coverage while the events were occurring but they also started an archive for us of media that we now have access to. So, with this media we tend work with other outlets, like news outlets, so this past year we had some videos that transmitted globally on BBC and we worked with the Olympic Channel to create a 35 min documentary which is going to be published this coming May. ~ Max Vickers, IDF Secretary

IDF wants to expand their media reach in order to attract the possible corporate investors, so in 2018, they plan to spend 8.5k eur for marketing and promotions, which is around 19% of the planned budget.

2018 Budget

Main investments the IDF has planned for 2018 include prize money increase to 12,500 dollars, the improvement of the finish-line camera system, starting system and the enforcement tools for technical inspection, sending 3 IDF representatives to all World Cup events as well as the improvement of the races promotion and social media through collaboration with independent media producers.

Collaboration with World Skate

IDF started collaborating with World Skate, the skateboarding world governing body recognized by International Olympic Committee. World Skate aims to put all skateboarding discipline under the same umbrella and work for structure the skateboarding at national and regional level.

Street Sledge, from the UK, the new type of ButtBoard for everyone

Street Sledge - A new type of ButtBoard for everyone

The Street Sledge has mass appeal at an affordable price and a design based on fun, function and safety, the boys have developed something incredibly unique. The Street Sledge gives the full-on luge riding experience and brings it to a whole new audience.

Mihael and Tom had a chat about it.

How did you go about creating the product?

Bodhi and I have enjoyed buttboarding so much over the years that we wanted to add a ButtBoard to the many skate lines we have helped with and worked on. We wanted to make a board design inspired from our classic themes that was suited to racing and formed using the most high-tech materials we could get our hands on.

Street Sledge - Tom Campbell testing the complete on a local hill
That was the dream, however the reality is that there would be a lack of demand drawn from the core market to support the investment needed to cover the costs of developing and producing a mould. We discovered a simple balance: to create a mass market board aimed at the youth skate market and first-time riders breaking into the scene that could also be a play-thing for those seeking an adrenaline rush.

Street Sledge - Final models in four colors

Why plastic?

We initially made a prototype by forming a piece of foam into what we knew as the basic shape we wished to achieve. After adding some fibreglass and test riding the draft product, a final form was born; it was evident that wood was not the right material. So, after further testing, we opted for a mix of fibreglass and plastics.

What features make the board different?

To begin with, the Street Sledge is tough and light with a super deep central pan giving a low centre of balance, rooting the rider to the board. Included in the shape of the deck are wheel flares designed for deep turning, along with well-placed handles designed to replicate the handles riders build for their street luges.

Less obvious features include the built-in split angles for the trucks – the front is wedged up +10 degrees while the back is -10 making it super stable for all, including beginners, to ride and enjoy.

When will it hit shops?

It’ll be in shops late spring, and will be retailing in the UK at £99, in Europe at 120 Euros, and $135 in the USA. However, you can book your Street Sledge now to make sure you get one from the first batch for this season by pre-ordering with a £50 deposit from Bodhi and I at Gravity House.

The new IXO longboard deck for Lyde Begue is just stunning

Lyde Begue's IXO SK-08 pro model deck

Lyde Begue, a French downhill skateboarder ranked 8th in last year’s IDF women’s skateboard ranking, recently joined the IXO team.

IXO is a Spanish manufacturer specialized in carbon fiber products, mainly high-end car parts for brands like Spano GTA, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, and Bentley as well as military aircraft parts, but they also list a few high-end downhill skateboards with an average price of 1300 €.

The IXO recently parted ways with Emily Pross when she announced KebbeK Skateboards as her new sponsor, but have soon after welcomed a new female longboarder.

Lyde and IXO made the announcement via social media, presenting her new pro model longboard deck, the IXO SK 08.

We’re very happy of having Lyde on board, she’s a very talented skater but also a fantastic, smiling and kind person.  ~Pedro Sanchez, IXO

Lyde’s pro model deck is personalized according to her wishes and riding style. At IXO they also took into consideration her weight, that is why the IXO SK 08 is expected to be a bit heavier.

The board’s construction consists of 100% carbon fiber surrounding a Nomex honeycomb core, vacuum compacted and cured in an oven.

Roadside the deck is finished off with a special metallic chameleon tint that shows off the carbon fabric underneath, protected by eight layers of high gloss nano-ceramic varnish on both sides and polished twice to reach the high IXO product standard.

For now, the price or release date is not known, so be sure to keep an eye on Lyde during the next racing season.

Photo credits: Lyde Begue and IXO

Pete Connolly in the Guinness World Records as fastest downhill skateboarder

Pete Connolly's Guinness World Record. Photo by Harfang Wheels.

It’s been a few months now since gravity sports enthusiasts gathered in Canada to take part in the second L’Ultime Descente – Top Speed Challenge.

Top athletes from 9 different countries and in 6 categories gathered in an attempted to break the world top speed records while descending down a 2 km long track with the maximum grade of 18%.

L’Ultime Descente – Top Speed Challenge 2017 record holders. Photo by Louis Laliberté Photographie.
L’Ultime Descente – Top Speed Challenge 2017 record holders. Photo by Louis Laliberté Photographie.

The top speed in the inline category was reached by Game Holm and his 132.19 km/h, Cédric Touchette reached 126.31 km/h on his gravity bike, Frank William reached 150.41 km/h on his buttboard, on a street luge Damian Andrey reached 163.88 km/h and with a street sled Diego Campos Gasparelo went as fast as 159.29 km/h.

The fastest speed recorded was from Doug Anderson and his gravity car reaching a whopping speed of 164.13 km/h.

The fastest downhill skateboarder on the track was Pete Connolly who descended down the track at a top speed of 146.73 km/h (91.17mph) and beating the unofficial speed record of Kyle Wester. The fastest female skateboarder was Emily Pross who beat her own record with a top speed of 135.00 km/h.

Now, Pete Connolly got recognised by the Guinness World Records and officially became the fastest downhill skateboarder, making his mark in the history books and setting the bar for new world speed record attempts.


RELATED: Kyle Wester sets a downhill skateboarding speed record and hits 143.89 kph.

Just a day before L’Ultime Descente where Pete Connoly achieved a whopping 146.73 kph, Kyle Wester set an unofficial downhill skateboarding speed record of 143.89 kph.

The City Council of Madrid wants to ban skateboarding

Photo by Guillermo Suarez

Yes, you heard right, the City Council of Madrid wants to prohibit skateboarding in their first draft of a new Sustainable Mobility Ordinance which caused quite a stir amongst local skateboarders and longboarders.

The content of the draft which aims to regulate traffic in the city and fight against air pollution, prioritizes pedestrians, limits traffic, and banes skateboarding from its streets.

If the draft becomes valid, the use of skateboards will be limited only to skateparks. This means it would be illegal to push around on roads, sidewalks, pedestrian zones, and even bicycle paths.

In contrast, scooters and motorized skates (Segway’s, electric scooters etc.) would be allowed at a pedestrian pace, if not exceeding 20 km/h.

Although cutting down traffic and trying to limit the harmful nitrogen dioxide emissions should be applauded, one could argue that banning skateboards as a means of transportation is plain nonsense. We all know it is a great alternative to get from point A to point B whilst burning only a few calories instead of fuel or electricity.

There is a petition going on against the draft here and the citizens of Madrid can also express their opinion in an open debate on the City of Madrid website.

Skate United – A project for refugee kids in Europe

Skate United a project by James Kelly

The story of Skate United started back in 2015 when its founder, James Kelly, traveled to Lebanon to host skate sessions in Syrian Refugee camps. The trip ignited a spark to do something even though at the time James didn’t exactly know what that something was.

There I saw the extent of escapism and bonding power skateboarding can offer first hand. No one had seen these kids so happy in months. Just a simple skateboard offered them an escape, something all skaters can relate to. The children and I shared in this experience a few weeks before their home got hit by a suicide bomber, I still pray for their safety. ~ James Kelly

Fast forward to February 2017, James manifested that spark into Skate United, a non-profit humanitarian project that brings displaced refugee and local children together through the power of skateboarding.

Since then James, with the help of his Dutch friends, Tom Boerman, Roseanne Steeneken, Dineke Cornelissen, Aron Rovers, Max Grosfeld, Deen Mondt and Lisa Peters, successfully hosted ten sessions in three different refugee camps, helping 45 kids assimilate and escape from their daily frustration.

I want to bring to these children that have been through hell some escapism. And
eventually have them skating with the local kids to break down any political ideas about each other before they get formed.

James’s plans for the future involve growing the project one step at a time. Currently, it is only limited to the Netherlands, but he plans to someday bring it to every refugee camp in Europe by creating trustworthy relationships.

So far the activities of this project were organized without funding. If you want to get involved or donate to help the cause, visit the Skate United Facebook Page or get in touch with the crew.

Longboard Trip to Cuba by Riding Adventures

Longboard Trip to Cuba by Riding Adventures

Due to the economic blockade of Cuba, the Cuban skateboarders do not only have a hard time getting the gear they need, but they are also deprived of visibility in the worldwide community.

In October 2017, the Riding Adventures crew travelled to Cuba to connect with local skaters and help them tie the bonds with the international longboard dancing & freestyle scene.

There are no skate brands present in the country and there are no skateshops. The economic situation is quite bad. That’s why the Cuban skaters mostly rely on getting the skateboards from foreign skaters who visit the country and bring some gear with them. Riding Adventures did the same and also delivered some of the much needed skate gear.

Riding Adventures - Longboard Trip To Cuba

Riding Adventures wants to prove that this sport does not understand what borders mean and also, that the union between riders is a connection that goes over any cultural or political context.

The Riding Adventures did a hell of a good job documenting the Cuban skate scene while maintaining the focus on the positive things and showing how stoked the Cuban skaters are regardless of the many challenges.

Riders: Charlie Disfruta, Daniel Sam, Sergio Evans, Borja Allue, Pablo Nicieza, Luis Creo, Chano Sebastian, Toti, Rafa Ordovas, Jay Alexis and Juanjo Cano.

Film by Borja Allue.
The project was supported by Flamingo Sunglasses.

Follow Riding Adventures on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

Eat Concrete – The Benelux Championship 2018

Eat Concrete starting line

This year, from 10th to 13th of May, Eat Concrete will host the Benelux Championship of Downhill Skateboarding. Belgian, Dutch and Luxembourg racers will compete for the title of their own country. As a surplus there is also an international open competition for any nationality to attend.

Eat Concrete - 2017 moments

Furthermore,  girls, groms, classic- and streetlugers get their separate stage. The road is 3 km long with 3 corners but is not super hard to skate. This means that to win the Championship you have to skate almost technically perfect and push as hard as possible from the start. Choosing your line and moments very carefully during the race will give anyone an advantage.

This will be the first year that we will host the Benelux Championship. It’s quite the step forward in comparison to only the Belgian Championship. We want to support our neighbouring countries and got this question to expand the competition many times. Well, this will be the year. ~ Jasper D’haene

In addition the crew is also supporting the start-up for the Dutch Championship in the future.

Additional information

The camping headquarters are placed 10 km away from the track, in Graide, Rue de Naomé. There attendees will find a mini ramp, bar, music, chill-out zone, indo boards, slacklines…From Thursday untill Saturday the crew also organised performances and DJ’s.

If you come to our event we do not want you to worry about anything, we provide all you need. Including insurance and medical aftercare, if anything happens there is a medical team with ambulance present to take you to the nearest hospital. No medical bills because we cover this. We have a professional catering team to give you a taste of our Flemish Cuisine. ~ Jasper D’haene

The organisers describe the event as a good mixture between competition and recreation, suitable for any skill level. With a four day race and two days of freeriding, the rider’s limit is set to 240 total, with 60 spots available for freeriders.

The Early Bird tickets are already sold out, but the registration for Eat Concrete 2018 will open on February 18th via the their website at www.eatconcrete.be.

The Fortezza Crew needs your vote

Florence Open Skate 2017 organised by Fortezza ASD. Photo by Giuseppe Cabras.

Fortezza ASD is a sports association that started as a crew from Florence, Italy. Every year they try to bring skateboarding closer to kids by hosting longboarding classes and also organising a few smaller community events for the Italian scene in Florence.

Currently Fortezza is participating in a competition hosted by a local milk brand along with 122 other sports associations. The first 10 winners will be rewarded with funding to contribute to the organisation of their events. Among all the associations in the contest, Fortezza is the only longboard related one.

At the moment they are at 11th place, that is why they need your help to get the funding they need for this year’s events.

Two years ago Fortezza ASD was amongst the winners and that helped them with one of their main events in La Piazza Michelangelo in Florence, shown on the video below.

The voting is simple, follow this link, press the red button and sign in with your Facebook account. Your vote will be confirmed once you get to the message “HAI VOTATO”. The contest is opened only until February 15th, 2018.

ISPO 2018 Longboard Embassy Photo Gallery

ISPO 2018 Longboard Embassy

We’ve finally settled down at home and it was time to go through the photos I took during the four days we spent at ISPO 2018 in Munich.

Watch the ISPO 2018 Longboard Embassy video here.

If you’re not familiar with ISPO, here’s the short walk-through. It is the biggest European multi-segment trade fair within the sports industry. With over 85.000 visitors from 120 different countries, ISPO is stretched out through 16 halls showcasing 8 segments that cover everything from winter sports, team sports, health & fitness to manufacturing & suppliers.

We mostly spent our time in Hall A5 at the Longboard Embassy organized by 40inch Longboard Magazine. Looking back to 2013, when I last visited ISPO, this year’s Longboard Embassy looked a bit smaller than back then, but it was still filled with a wall-to-wall skateboard and longboard products.

The Longboard Embassy view from the lounge area

Walking through the Longboard Embassy, one could try out surf skating, electric longboards, watched Legende Longboard chisel a block of wood, what later became a handcrafted and fully functional longboard, or rest their legs at the lounge area overlooking the Whitezu 12 meter long surf skate wave system.

In the four days of ISPO, we got a chance to talk with and interview 33 brands covering different skateboarding disciplines.

KebbeK Skateboards introduced their new watercolor lineup, Landyachts Longboards showcased the new freeride and dancer boards, ROCKET Longboards showed off it’s new Freak Show collection, Alternative Longboards introduced their new construction and Madrid Skateboards their Netflix Stranger Things collection…just to name a few.

The Longboard Embassy bar

Wheel and truck wise, we got a chance to check out Seismic’s new downhill race wheel, the European Walzen wheels, and the new Bolzen truck models and also talked with Bangfish about their new surf skate trucks.

There were also numerous surf skate brands showcasing their collection surrounding the Whitezu skate wave, like the Spanish YOW surf, Slide Surfskate, Curfboard, and Carver Skateboards.

Regarding protection, we saw the Triple 8 Certified Sweatsaver, stopped by at TSG and saw what’s new with Pro-Tec’s Full Cut skateboard helmets.

We also saw the Buggy Rollin suit by Jean Yves Blondeau. He’s most known for one of his stunt characters, the Rollerman, which we also got to see in action.

Jean-Yves Blondeau's Buggy Rollin suits

While we are still editing the interviews to show you what the brands had to say about their new lineups and products, here is a photo gallery from the ISPO 2018 Longboard Embassy.

I would like to end this article with an interview with Philippe Roose, a member of the Ministry of Stoke and their F*** Cancer Foundation. In the video, he said that the beer fundraiser at ISPO was a success and shares his personal story with everybody who takes the time to watch the video below.

KebbeK Skateboards welcomes Emily Pross

KebbeK Skateboards welcomes Emily Pross.

Yes you heard it right, the faster female downhill skateboarder Emily Pross from New Jersey joined the KebbeK Skateboards family.

Before we left off to visit ISPO, the biggest sports trade fair located in Munich, KebbeK Skateboards released a teaser photo of their new pro team member which got people guessing who it is.

It was a few days later that KebbeK welcomed Emily Pross to their pro team. Emily is, like all their other team members, something special. In the past years she has set the bar for other downhill skateboarders across the globe with a friendly but competitive spirit and reaping the rewards of her hard work.

KebbeK Skateboards welcomes Emily Pross to their pro team. Photo by Khaleeq Alfred

She is not only a three time IDF Women’s World Champion but has also actively competed in the male dominated Open class. She won 3rd place in Open at the Laguna DH race in Mexico (with a broken toe), proving that determination and skill is all that matters. Last year’s racing season she finished 9th overall in the Open class.

Kebbek supports the core skate scene and really does a great job at promoting all kinds of skateboarding. The team is a family, supporting, and encouraging each other. It was an easy decision, to say yes to that kind of atmosphere.  ~ Emily Pross

As for her new chapter with KebbeK Skateboards, Emily will soon be riding on her two new pro model boards (more news coming soon).

We wish Emily and KebbeK all the best in this year’s and future racing seasons.