News Archive 2003-2004 Part 1

I Can Do A 900. Can You?

I Can Do A 900. Can You?

In the 60’s, 70’s, and into the early 1980’s skateboarders progressed in skill at a relatively slow pace and technical skateboarding was not so far out of reach for a typical skateboarder. Contrast the basic skateboard skills of skateboarding to the high level of technical skateboarding that is occurring today. There is a stark contrast between someone dropping in for the first time into a 4’ quarter pipe and Tony Hawk, a truly gifted skateboarder with 20+ years of skateboarding experience, pulling off a 900 after 100’s of attempts. However, it is safe to say that the feeling that a skateboarder gets after that first drop in is comparable at a certain level to the emotions Tony had when finally pulling off the 900. This may sound a bit dramatic but in the end skateboarding is about challenging yourself and taking the necessary steps and time to get to a certain level as a skateboarder. Ultimately, Tony Hawk and all of the top professionals of today and the past had basic skills to learn in order to over time progress to the level that they all have achieved.

Can you do a 900? This is a question that I am sure many accomplished skateboarder is asked when skateboarding at a skatepark. When I think about it the modern skateboarder entering the sport has such high expectations. What happened? Is the media to blame? The skate mags? I am not sure. Skateboarding is about individual freedom and individual progression. Skateboarding is not a team sport and for the most part skateboarding is not a competition. Actually, for less than 1% of skateboarders around the world it is about competition. For the average skateboarder which makes up 99% of the skateboarder population the sport should be about having fun and progressing at a comfortable level and not attempting to progress too quickly where they are ultimately discouraged and bail out on the sport altogether.

Every skateboarder is different and every skateboarder has their own learning curve. There are those that skateboarding comes easy and others that truly have to work at it on a daily basis to reach the level of skateboarding they are trying to obtain. To attempt to emulate advanced skateboarding when a skateboarder is at the beginner level could ultimately discourage the skateboarder and cause the person to take a quick exit from the sport. If you really think about it, a majority of kids that enter the sport thinking that they can quickly emulate what they have just seen Rodney Mullen or Bob Burnquist do on a 411 video is most likely the thought that drives them away from the sport.

If you are new to skateboarding remember skateboarding is about having fun, personal freedom and personal progression! Some quick tips:

1) Learn the basics first it will ultimately pay off in the end.

2) Do not get discouraged because you cannot do advanced tricks at the beginner level. Ultimately, you will progress at a natural pace based upon your abilities.

3) Skateboard with others who are at your level and especially with those who are at the next level that you are trying to obtain.

4) As you progress, push yourself to the next level.

5) As you progress, try all forms of skateboarding including freestyle, slalom, street, transition, and all forms of vertical skateboarding including pool riding.

6) Most importantly, do not worry or care about what other skateboarders are thinking while you are skateboarding!!!. Focus on what you are trying to accomplish without the distraction of concerning yourself with failing in front of others.

If you are an accomplished skateboarder then do your part to keep the sport vibrant and fun by encouraging and helping the new kids on the street or at the skateparks.

Posted on 03 Apr 2003 by Mike Hirsch
Northwest – The latest Super 8 Movie by Coan Nichols & Rich Charnoski

Northwest – The latest Super 8 Movie by Coan Nichols & Rich Charnoski

Sitting through the Northwest film I could not stop thinking about how hardcore the scene looks at skateparks like Burnside & Donald, Oregon, and Hailey, Idaho compared to the vibe here in Southern California.Northwest captures the raw hardcore skater attitude that drives and influences the skatepark design and build process that is embedded in the world of the NorthWest skatepark designers and most specifically, Dreamland Skateparks. The film is raw and presents skateboarding in its purest form, no bullshit, just rapid fire imagery of what skateboarding should be like – freedom – no limits – engaging – an art form.

Bottom Line: Great Film – The film will be out on DVD on June 24th, 2003

Reviewed By: Mike Hirsch

Posted on 25 May 2003 by Mike Hirsch
Old Man Bowl Jam -Clairemont Skatepark
Owen NiederOLD MAN BOWL JAM – JULY 12 , 2003

Clairmont Skatepark’s pool was the scene of a YMCA sponsored contest featuring skaters ranging from ages 9 to 39 (at least), and also included 3 young ladies skating alongside the boys. It was a great day of skateboarding and low-key competition with fans and parents cheering and shouting words of encouragement. Though billed as “The Old Man Bowl Jam”, the contest started at 10:00 am with the 12 + under class.

It was killer to see these young kids ripping this huge pool apart. Every contestant deserved the cheers they received as they pulled advanced moves like front/backside airs, grinds, roll-ins, fakies and rock & rolls. David Robarge looked particularly strong pulling long 50-50’s, fakie rock & roll slides and frontside rolling into the deep end. David’s runs were marred by falls however and Taylor Smith took 1st pulling all kinds of airs including a alley-oop 360 air over a hip. Colton D’Agostino also ripped it up as did his sister Ciara. The future of pool skating looks bright and all contestants did great.

12 + UNDER Results
1st place – Taylor Smith
2nd place – David Robarge
3rd place – Colton D’Agostino

The 13 and over class was next and every contestant looked strong. The airs were a little higher and the lines were a little heavier and in the end Mimi Knoop took 3rd with her F/S airs and inverts. Lynz Adams took 2nd with her F/S and B/S airs, inverts and layback airs among other sick moves. Gravity skater Jesse Parker took 1st riding a longboard and shredding all kinds of gnarly lines. All the contestants looked like winners to me.

13 + OVER
1st place – Jesse Parker
2nd place – Lynz Adams
3rd place – Mimi Knoop

The 30 + Masters class was next and the action was heating up. Not competing but checking the scene were : Doug Pineapple Saladino,Adrian Demain, John Tuisl, Kelly Belmar and Dave Swift from Transworld. Socalskateparks own Dan Colburn started it off in his first pool contest in over 20 years pulling lien airs, rock&rolls, and 50-50s. At the end of his second run, Dan hung up on a f/s roll-in and slammed hard. Colburn climbed out of the pool on his own and showed real guts by still skating his 3rd run.
Omar ? was ripping the pool with fast 50-50s, rock&roll slides and laybacks with killer style.
Gravity skater Brad Edwards skated sick on a longboard pulling long grinds and big airs.
Brett Martin looked a little sketchy at times but still pulled some killer inverts, big b/s airs and layback airs.
Mike Early had some gnarly grinds and b/s airs
Mike Stelmasky pulled some big b/s airs, inverts, and Andrechts.
Jimmy the Greek disappointed nobody with sick b/s lipslides, bodyjars, ollies and all kinds of killer lines and style.
Mark ? showed a lot of spirit and some good grinds, carves and overall style.
Jeff Thrush ripped with gnarly smith grinds and a lot of confidence.
Buddy Carr had the pool wired with hip-ollies, backside sweepers and killer flowing lines.
Steve ? blew me away with big invaway with big inverts, a overturned grind to fakie(?), inverts to fakie, HUGE f/s air and was close to pulling a 540 .

But in the end it was :

1ST place – Jimmy the Greek
2nd place – Buddy Carr
3rd place – Brad Edwards

It was a killer event and everyone had a great time. No problems, egos or arguments. Special thanks to the judges who I think did a pretty good job, Jamie and Damon and everyone from the YMCA who helped.

(View Old Man Bowl Jam Gallery)

-Mike Hirsch-

Posted on 12 Jul 2003 by Mike Hirsch
Chlorine –  A Pool Skating Documentary

Chlorine –  A Pool Skating Documentary

Months ago, when I first heard this film was coming, I wondered how these guys could make a film that would look unique after other pool docs like “Dogtown” and “Fruit of the Vine”.  Somehow they did although I think this film would mostly appeal to the hardcore pool guys with a little knowledge and appreciation of history.  Interviews with guys like Steve Olson and Dave Hackett might not mean much to today’s younger skaters, yet they shed some timeless and universal truths about what skateboarding is all about. A nice balance of interviews vs. action, the film moves along at a brisk pace.Highlights of the DVD include Dave Ruel doing a burly drop-in from a pool slide, vintage Duane Peters footage, MALBA and SALBA doing doubles in the combi at Upland, and some undercover pool recognizance by SALBA.

The DVD features some nice bonus footage.  If you have ever grinded real pool coping, (or even hit tiles), you will enjoy this film.

View Trailers Here

Bottom Line: Great Film – Search for more reviews or to purchase the DVD via GOOGLE

Reviwed By: Dan Colburn

Posted on 18 Aug 2003 by Mike Hirsch
Habitat Mosaic Video Review
Reviewed By: Nathan Westbrook

Habitat’s “Mosaic”is 35 minutes of street skating with almost constant trick action and no filler. There are a few very brief snippets of pools, a half pipe and a mini-ramp. But all together these cut-aways from the main theme are probably less than a minute long. That theme: street skaters in their natural … habitats.Including a segment devoted to the Alien Workshop crew, the video features at least twelve different skaters—which comes to no more than three minutes per skater on average. So the action keeps moving, without pause. Not just the pace, but the aesthetic also remains constant. Nearly all the skaters featured have very similar styles and go for the same tricks on similar terrain. There is no shortage of stairs, rails, ledges, gaps, loading docks, banks, etc. This is street skating in the wild, though; so there are no skateparks to speak of. Also notably missing are the attempts at comic relief that take up time in other videos. There are no pranks or stupid skits. There is no horseplay, no tom-foolery, no chicanery, no garbage. Just skating.

In my opinion, “Mosaic” is a solid video, but not a spectacular video by current standards. The skating is all very good, but there are too few get-you-up-out-of-your-seat moments. Tim O’Connor stands out for his style, but he may have the shortest part in the video. Brian Wenning adds some extra speed to his tech. But only Fred Gall’s part got me really excited. Not only does he show the flip, pop, spin, ollie, and nollie mastery common to everyone else, he adds some extremely stylish wall rides. He finds the best terrain, by far. He adds more variety, including a pool. And he skates at least as fast and more stylishly than the others in the video. His part is definitely the best.

A few other notable moments: Kerry Getz ollies over an escalator (not the kind you find in skateparks, the kind you find in shopping malls). We get a look at the famous LOVE Park in Philadelphia. Anthony Van Engelen, Jason Dill, and (for about ten seconds) Danny Way make appearances as part of Alien Workshop.

“Mosaic” is also solid (again, if not widely varied) when it comes to music. A lot of the music is instrumental. All of it is good. None of it is annoying—in this respect, Mosaic is better than many recent videos.

Another way in which “Mosaic” stands out: FLOW. The video isn’t over-edited like some others. The tricks are rarely one-and-done; they are almost all done in sequence with several other tricks. This is a good example for up and coming street skaters. It also means that the skaters in the video are truly good and truly have their tricks down. They don’t need editing help or just the right camera angle to make them look good.

So, although there isn’t as much to blow you away in this video as in some others, there is nothing to complain about, either. It’s all good. Not all great, but all good.

Buy the DVD here

Posted on 09 Sep 2003 by Mike Hirsch
Can’t Stop The Firm Video Review
Reviewed By

Nathan Westbrook

Can’t Stop – The Firmis over 50 minutes long and represents all aspects of skateboarding as it is today. The majority of the skating is street skating, but there is some pool action, and with Bob Burnquist’s part, plenty of vert ramp action, too. Like most videos these days it is done in parts, with each featured skater having his own part. Like older videos, there is also an ongoing mini-drama with the Firm team cast as gangsters (1940s style gangsters, not “gangsta” style gangsters). The featured skaters include highly skilled young pros and ams hitting the streets, legends Lance Mountain (vert) and Ray Barbee (street) still killing it, and arguably the best vert skater in the world, Bob Burnquist. The soundtrack has some variety, including some international flavor. In addition to the parts of the featured skaters there is an amateurs’ segment and a few special features. These include Bob Burnquist looping the legendary Baldy pipe in the intro, a dream sequence where Lance Mountain’s house is filled with ramps, “The Grind” where an unidentified skater grinds a rail well over 100 yards long, “The Drop” where Burnquist drops into a vert ramp from a ten foot vertical extension (that makes around twelve feet of vert altogether!), and a silent movie about the joys of homework.This video is fantastic! It is a definite must-have; add it to your collection ASAP. Bob Burnquist starts the video by attempting to do what even all-time pipe-master Steve Alba thought was impossible, he tries to loop the 16’ Baldy fullpipe. Although we don’t see him make it perfectly, he clearly demonstrates that it is possible … even if only for Bob Burnquist! (He broke his foot trying it, otherwise he definitely would have made it that day.) This segment is already mythical among pipe and pool skaters, and you may have noticed a photo of Bob upside-down in the pipe on a recent cover of Transworld.

The street skating gets off to a good start, too, with Jani Laitiala’s part. He finds some really cool terrain and skates with style and power: big ollies, great tech tricks, and all at full speed. Later we get to see Javier Sarmiento and Rodrigo Texeira hitting tons of good spots in L.A.. Javier throws in a nose-and-tail-simultaneous slide with nose on wall and tail on bench—very cool. Jared Herman does some crazy rail work and takes some huge falls. Ray Barbee has been about as good a street skater as anyone since way back in the 80s and in his part shows that he still has it all and does it all. If you want to be an ultra cool skater when you grow up, watch his part and learn his no-comply variations. John White does some nice no-complies, too. Matt Beach gets the award for finding the best terrain: ditches, banks, true half pipes, and even a couple pools.

Vert-o-philes will love Lance Mountain’s and Bob Burnquist’s parts. Lance has a stealthy after hours, in the dark solo session in the replica of the infamous Upland Combi bowl from the 70s and 80s that was built a few years ago at the Vans park in Orange, CA. He throws some sparks off the coping, blasts big airs with much style, and lays down some long, long board slides. Bob’s part is literally unbelievable. First he shows that he can hang with any of the street skaters and hits some killer natural terrain including some big rails. But the climax of the whole video is his part on his own ramp—itself a wonder of woodwork. I won’t bother to try to describe his skating, because it has to be seen to be believed. He also includes footage of when he made the loop with the top section of the loop missing for the OP King of Skate contest. Bob Burnquist is definitely from another planet.

Everything about his video is great—even the credits are super cool. Go get it today .

Posted on 19 Oct 2003 by Mike Hirsch
Etnies Skatepark Grand Opening

Etnies Skatepark Grand Opening12/14/2003

The much anticipated Etnies Skatepark in Lake Forest had it’s Grand Opening on Saturday December 13th, 2003. The event was huge and was a joint effort between the City of Lake Forest and Sole Technologies (Etnies). I would estimate that there were at least 2,000 people there during the course of the day. Those who attended the event were treated to a great event that featured pro demos from the eS, Emerica, and Etnies team riders along with a host of other top pros who were ripping the place to shreds. For the event, the city closed Lake Forest Drive a major street that runs next to the skatepark so they could have a street festival that featured several skateboard vendors including Punk Rock Skateboards, food and beverage vendors, and a concert stage where the band Rufio performed.

During the course of the day I did not hear any complaints about the skatepark from those skating the park. Everyone who was skating the skatepark seemed to be enjoying what has been built for us to ride for many years to come. The owner of Etnies Pierre Andre told me that he is very satisfied with the results of the skatepark and is very proud to see the reception the skatepark is getting.

The overall vibe of the event was great and if you were not there hopefully these pictures can give you an idea of what it was like.

The Vibe Gallery
Etnies Don Brown had a great idea to put a time capsule under the skatepark. Here is the ceremony that surrounded the dropping of the Time Capsule below the skatepark. The time capsule will be fully loaded with artifacts the week after the grand opening and then welded shut. The Time Capsule will be un-earthed in 20 years time. I wonder how much change there will be in skateboarding over the next 20 years. 900 varial switch off Jupiter and to the moon and back??

TEtnies ime Capsule
Time Capsule Ceremony Gallery
During the event, there was a street Best Trick competition that was sponsored by Transworld Magazine. The winner of the event, Tony Tave, walked away with the cash. Ryan Sheckler and the rest of the pros were ripping hard and even Jim Gray stopped in to do a 360 on a bank for his attempt at the cash.

Best Trick Competition
Best Trick Competition (Street) Gallery
The demo in the Pool was great! Brian Patch and Omar Hassan were feeding off each other and going huge. Others including Doug Saladino, Pat Noho, Benji Galloway, Chas? from Houston, and others were tearing the pool to shreds. Rune Glifberg took a few runs and I was hoping to see him skate the pool some more but I am sure we will see him hitting this skatepark in the coming years. It was well proven by those skating the Skull Bowl that the pool is definitely shreddable with plenty of lines to be had.

Skull Bowl Demo Gallery
At the event, I was informed by the city that the skatepark will be free for the first year thanks to a major contribution from Pierre Andre and there is hope from the city and Etnies that the skatepark will remain free forever. The city and Etnies plan to raise funds to support the skatepark through hosting major contest events throughout the course of 2004 and beyond.

The skatepark will be open daily from 10AM to Dusk until the skatepark lights are up and running. The plan is to have the lights up by the end of January. Once the lights are up and running the skatepark will be open from 10AM until 10PM.


Posted on 13 Dec 2003 by Mike Hirsch