Sorry this looks like it will be a long blog post. First to Jacko words from Calgary: Such a boring day, everything took so long to happen. Things got a little bit out of hand at the end of the day when it was 4.30 pm and they haven't even started the downhill skateboarding finals. The riders were in an up-roar. Things were running so slowly for no reason. In the end the skaters took over. We rallied together and ran our own heats. I was at the top ready to walk down the track filming the finals but as nothing was happening, I was lurking at the top for a good 2 hours waiting for something to happen and watching all the skaters start to get a little anxious as to why everything was running so slowly. In the end the crew had enough, Kevin was stepping up and telling the guy on the start line to pull his shit together and start acting like the guy at the top, get the heats ready and prompt the rest of the track to get ready for racing. There were too many chiefs, not enough indians. Everyone wanted things to happen but it just slowed things down and no one was really focusing on getting things done quick. Kevin and I got our loud voices together and rallied all the skaters up in their heats and put them on the start line and then just started running the heats ourselves. They were running coloured arm bands to distinguish which rider was which (which was kind of pointless as every rider had numbers on their helmets) but there were not enough bands to go around. The general consensus was the honor system - if you did not come 3rd or higher, just go sit down. If you crashed in your heat and you're going to lose, get off the track. All the riders agreed on these terms and racing got under way. Because of the lack of arm bands I guess the IGSA wigged out and couldn't get it together. James Kelly was getting through rounds and was put down as out within the first few heats, when someone called Roger Jones was getting through. Riders were just sick of the fuck-arounds and just worked together to make sure everyone knew what heat they were in and who was in the next round. Once things got under way it all ran well like a machine, until 5.30 came along (about half way through round 2) and the chairlift was shut down for the day. DEEEERRRP. No we are back to shuttles, how fun. In the end the race got run and crew raced hard, James won the race and is now world champ, as you would have read in previous blogs, but right here I'm just describing the f around all the riders had to pay over $200 for. Here is what Kevin said on his Facebook page Hop's words: Watching the video from Australia, it was clear there was a problem. We were saw the skaters organizing themselves, Kevin standing up in front announcing something. Without any words to go with the pictures, I was joking, Kevin was asking if there was anyone here not on Aera flow? We didn't realize it was a complete break down in race organisation, we just assumed it was an IGSA race organisation slow down, not melt down. I'm not an IGSA apologist but if a race organizer has problems, it is unfair to blame IGSA. Essentially IGSA is an umbrella organisation for a group of race promoters. I don't personally know all of them but I am assuming some are businessman, some are fellow racers and some are non profit organisations. The goal for all of them is to make money or to make a profit. Losing money is not a good business model, it has no future. Some promoters might say we aim to break even but there is always a small profit built in for those cost over runs. The biggest myth in this sport is the one that race organizers or IGSA are making lots of money. In Australia, ASRA closes a road down for three days, the budget is way over the $50,000 rider fees that can potentially be collected. If you start reducing budgets to increase prize money then it is the safety of competitors that will be compromised in the long term. It is not just poor organizers that lose money on events. ASRA was looking down the barrel of huge money loss at Mt. Keira this year but four sponsors stepped up and saved the day: Landyachtz, Loaded and JHS Distribution. Oh and the fourth sponsor was that place you will buy your next longboard at :-) I would like to say that Marcus Rietema is in my top 10 longboarding heroes. Our community and world would be a far different place without his dedication. Skaters say they would do this sport without getting paid, but guaranteed the top racers in the world would look very different if no one got prize money, no one got sponsor paid or flowed gear for the last 5 years. Marcus has essentially worked for a decade and not got paid. Yet he still smiling at every IGSA race, he does not dummy spit that media companies outside of our community don't see the value in what we do or if his organisation gets let down by amateur race promoters. Lets get real here. This is an amateur sport, run by volunteers. Aren't we all just faking it until we make it? You are not a professional sports person unless you can make enough money in your career to retire. Making money to pay the month's expenses is not my definition of pro. That is a job like working in a skateshop. How come IGSA gets the blame when an event is run poorly but the event organizer gets praised when it goes right? ASRA is sometimes held up as an excellent race organizer but IGSA never gets any credit. Double standards? Here is the problem. This sport can not rely on its own industry to support all the aspects for a world wide downhill competition. Brands such as Landyachtz are paying for racers equipment, travel expenses, then they are asked to pay for event sponsorship! There are plenty of other soft costs that never get accounted for, such as closing down a business so the staff can go volunteer or race at an event. This sport does not have a "boardshorts" product like the surfing industry, that is high margin and can be sold to the mainstream. Skateboarding does, it's called skate shoes but the skateboard brands ain't going to let longboarders or racers into that feeding trough unless they can dress the longboarder up as a street skater and leverage off something they are not involved in. Be careful for what you wish for. Going independent, and to be successful would mean no prize money for a few years. The reason ASRA is so successful is it is run by volunteers that don't get paid and who DON'T compete. ASRA essentially is a group of people from all parts of the community with a passion for skateboard racing. They bring those diverse skills together to make something happen. They also have thick skins that can tolerate abuse. They work stupid long hours, and give up a lot of personal time to make shit happen. Why kill something like IGSA that has so much history and goodwill behind it? If you design some trucks, make them and the axles keep bending do you kill the whole project, start a new company with a new name and try again? No, you do the evaluation and then redesign. What we have here, is a failure to communicate. If riders are not happy, they should get more involved in IGSA not start a new version of IGSA. IGSA and Marcus needs to be more flexible. This sport has evolved, it needs to change and make itself more relevant. It appears IGSA is designed around the notation of creating content for TV. There is no TV deal coming, what our community represents is everything TV is fighting against. Free online content. Our community and sport is like no other in the world. They have grown up on the internet, they consume more internet than anyone else because what they want to watch is not on TV so they use the internet to create the TV they want to watch. The genie is out of the bottle, it is not going back in. As a community, are we going to watch TV to see our sport? Think about where you were, what you were doing when Newtons was broadcast on Youtube or Calgary was broadcast on Ustream. We like content creators like Brian and Push Culture because we can consume our sport whenever we want. TV only works if we are willing to tune in at 7.30 pm on a Friday night to watch the sport. I don't care how cool you think you are, the audience for downhill is the million plus longboarders out there not Joe and Betty mainstream. It should be broadcast online, there should be mainstream sponsors like food, drink, and apparel because those million longboarders do consume. Race organizers need to understand when they are in over their head, they need to ask for help. What is so bad about competitors stepping it up and helping organize an event? Be the change you want to be. Competitors should stop expecting that their money buys them 24 hour concierge service at an event. There should be a riders representative at every event not to complain to but to organize some riders to help out. Riders should take more responsibility. At Newtons there was two volunteers dedicated to finding downhill riders for their race. How ridiculous is that! This blog post is not about blame. It is about pointing out that there are a lot of reasons why things go bad. I am not opposed to an independent tour. I actually think it is a good idea, something that is needed to give IGSA some competition and improve the overall scene. Destroying IGSA will only set the sport back 5 years of development. If the riders feel frustrated, I'm sorry to break the bad news to you, the pain will only get worse. As this sport grows, the grommets you laugh at will be the ones that reap the benefit of all this early pioneering. Rod Laver one of the greatest tennis players of all time made 1.5 million in prize money during his whole career, he was one of the first of the reap the benefit of the "open" or professional era. Over a decade later Borg was the first to win a million dollars in a season (1979). Fast forward 34 years: whoever wins the Australian Open next year will win over 2.3 million dollars, but it is all relative, sometimes even that is not enough.
Instead of a Christmas card this year, we are sending STICKERS to all our wonderful customers! If you were a Hopshop customer this year, thank you, you made 2011 the best year ever. We loved seeing you in the skateshop, at the events, talking online and generally being part of the Australian skateboard community.
OK SO HERE IS THE DEALWe have collected over $100,000 worth of skate stickers from all your favourite brands. We are mailing out to our top 3000 customers over 20,000 stickers!! First 1000 envelopes were mailed out a couple of days ago, if you have received mail, you are one of the top Hopshop customers. Not everyone is going to get stickers, we had to make a few rules. You had to have ordered something in 2011, and for logistic reasons, the cut off was the end of November. We sorted customers by their total orders, so if you only ordered bushings this year, you probably missed out. You had to have a Hopshop account or ordered online, it is only these customers that we know who you are and your address. That's why it is so important to have a Hopshop account ... you know it is free. HUGE thank you to the brands that helped us share the stoke this Christmas. It sounds simple but it has been a huge effort getting organised. Stickers have been arriving months in advance, and they have been hidden in the Hopshop waiting for mail out time. There is also a real cost to all the skate companies that participate. PLEASE give them a huge shout out. I have provided below all their social contacts. Like them, friend them, send them a thank you. We want this to be an annual event, if you share the stoke, they will see the value in doing it all again. Big thank you to the elves in the Hopshop that stuffed envelopes: Caspian, Harrison, Josh. Also the family insider help from Veronique and Lisa. Special mention to the distributors: John and Christine at JHS and Co, Peter at Goliath, Glenn at Black Box.
WHAT STICKERS HAVE BEEN SENT OUTCaliber Trucks Caliber on Facebook or Find them on the web Give em lots of love, they were very generous. Loaded Boards Our friends at Loaded and Orangatang are always first to join an event to stoke skaters in a major way, they send a slab of stickers!! Big moon hugs to Loaded - you can squeeze their face or grab their tweets or watch the vids Rayne longboards Always a favourite in the skateshop, and they love you very much with thousands of stickers. You can return that love on the face or tickling their twitter or watching their moves Sector 9 Shout out to the Sector 9 Australia team, you rocked Australia with a suitcase of stickers. Show em that they are not too big for a hug, pinch em on the tweeter or stalk em on facebook or just be a voyeur. If it wasn't for these blokes, Jackson would not be Number Two in the world !! (IGSA World Cup rankings) Heelside Magazine Your favorite Australian skateboard magazine. They are original, creative, bold and crazy. They deliver you something your mum does not understand and probably does not approve of, so let them know their hard work is appreciated. Get social on their arse. Or a quick little spray. You must subscribe for them to survive. ASRA - Australian Skateboard Racing Association They are the only REAL skateboard association in Australia. Real members, elected board, community inspired and skateboarders looking after skateboarding. So who is fake? SbA or Skateboard Australia are a $2 event company. The sham is our tax money is funding a private skateboard company. No elected officials. No accountability. Hundreds of thousands of dollars siphoned off with our Government's approval. They know the facts, and continue to waste your money. WE NEED TO GET MAD. Join ASRA. Even better become a financial member, it makes ASRA stronger and SbA look stupider. Time magazine has made the Protester the person of the year. You can make a difference. You can change the world. You can create the world you want to live in. No generation in history has more power at their fingertips than you. Protest. Talk. Yell. Scream. Skate. Create. Dream. Then take small steps to make it happen. Contact your elected politician or senator. Tell them to stop wasting our money and take skateboarding seriously. Then get your mum, dad and all the family to do the same thing. If you use twitter, so do they. Fallen Shoes Some of the raddest skate stickers you'll find on the planet. I did not scan every sticker that went out. If you got something different, post a pic. On the Fbook or on the inter webbie thing, they probably dont want to know you like them, they're too cool for school. And are core = only little boards here (they're easier to carry). Early Skateboards The OG crew on the Goldie, designing boards for Australia. Twitter or FB or web Fibretec: Swiss made dream machines. They are fine like a piece of ... art. 50 stickers were add into the mix. Vicious Griptape: Sent 50 special decals to stoke, if you got one, your lucky. If you have their tape on your deck your even luckier...and probably dont have any fingerprints. Bombsquad, Ladera, Dekline and Slippery Dip all contributed some special stickers. Thank you to everyone who is apart of the Australian skateboard/longboard scene. Lets do it all again next year. We promise the Hopshop will be bigger and better in 2012. We hope you will be a part it. Live life ... skate every day. PS: We send out stuckers to our bro's in New Zealand. We love our cousins across the ditch too! TWITTER USERS We are using #hopkinstickers
By Gabe Gywnne Well, home at last! What a trip it was, a big shout out to everyone in Vancouver and Cali for being incredibly rad, no matter where you are from or how bad your hair is [cough...leigh and bowditch..cough] there was always a warm bed, couch or floor to be slept on and plenty of shredders more than happy to show you around and take you to rad hills and parties. Thanks to Jacko, Yates, Leigh and Bowditch for being awesome team members and helping me out with food, drink, money and love when I lost my bank card. And a big thanks to Hop for helping me out with gear, entry fees and spending money. I couldn't have done it without the support! Hopefully next year there will be even more Aussies making the trip over with us, I'll be going back to skate those hills again for sure, hopefully I'll even be able to make it to the Euro tour too! With so many riders all over the world pushing the limits of what can be done on a skateboard the sport is only going uphill (or should I say downhill) from here. Start saving your dollars and booking your airfares Aussies, next year is going to be RAD!!! While travelling around I saw some pretty crazy new advancements in gear, here's a few things you might be seeing on the market in the near future! Longboard Trucks Mischo Erban and Fred from Knucklenuts are working on a new truck that looked pretty awesome, they are called Ronin Trucks.
They are just like a regular CNC truck but with one little addition. The design is similar to that of the Fyre trucks, but not as overworked. There is a thick metal pin on a ball pivot running from the middle of the hangar (above the bushing seat on the board side) down to the baseplate which takes all the weight off the bushings. This eliminates any chance of 'slop' from the turn of the truck. I had a little ride around on Mischo's setup. He was running 96a bushings and still had all the stability that a harder bushing gives, but at the same time they had the lean that you would get from a 78a bushing. Cool stuff eh? While at the skatehouse in California I got to know one of the guys who works with Munkae Trucks in Arizona. Zeid was an awesome guy and lent me his setup to thrash on the whole time I was there. I got talking to him one night about what's happening behind the scenes at Munkae. They are working on some 174mm hangars at the moment (Hopshop will have them in stock in the next 10 days), apparently one of the team riders has been testing them out on some fast hairpin corners and the amount of grip from having your weight right on top of your wheels is incredible. He has been gripping through corners on that everyone else has to slide for, these sound tasty! Also look forward to two new baseplate angles, 49's and 35's should be out soon! I also managed to check out a set of CNC cut Randall 180's that James Kelly had been given to test out, these looked like sexy trucks. Not sure if they are going to be on the market for a while but keep your ears and eyes open! Longboard Decks While I was staying in Laguna Beach with Evren i had a chance to ride the new Sector 9 Race board that Evren designed. A sleek little topmount with a nice, simple concave (no W-cave), a wheelbase of about 27'-28' and a sick graphic to boot. He was stoked that I liked it and said he would try and send one out to me when they made a few more. These should be in production soon, YEW! Along with his new trucks, Mischo is also starting a board company called GMR. I only saw a couple of their designs while I was there, one of them Mischo's own board and the other a sick looking top mount cruiser. Mischo's board is a drop through design with a very short wheelbase (it looked around 27') he had built up a multitude of foam gas pedals on the front and back of the board which made for a pretty snug foot-lock. I didn't get a very good look at the cruiser but it looked like a fun cruising/carving/commuting board. Longboard Wheels Evren also showed me some sick prototype Sector9 square-lipped wheels. They were 74mm, 78a and at first glance looked like any other wheel, little did I know that they were a set from the first batch of wheels with a core made from urethane! Evren said they were grippy as hell and perfect for railing corners. He's going to be testing them out at Maryhill this week, I should have an update on how they went soon! Jacko came back from the crazy wonderland also known as the Loaded/Orangatang workshop with a set of 75mm Purple O'tangs which looked and felt like an ordinary O'tang. After looking at them for a good 10 minutes trying to figure out what was different I noticed that the core was made from METAL! He shredded them down Tuna Canyon the next day and said they felt goooood! Hopefully all of these new innovative designs will be out on the market soon, the technology behind longboarding is getting more and more advanced every day! Its great to be back in Aus, super keen for some Bomb Squad action this week! Look forward to a write-up and some pictures of my first bombsquad back with the crew! Thursday Night, 6.30PM, Railway Square near Central station, Sydney. COME AND SHRED SOME GNAR!!! Peace Gabe P.s. Sector 9 is also starting a Grom team in California, look out everyone, there's some more crazy grommets about to come into the scene!
The Tan Tien's have arrived in the Hopshop, I have pilfered trucks and wheels off another board for a quick set up. First impressions of the Tan Tien is WOW. It is an amazing looking board, griptape on the top is very sticky, not your average tape. The parquetry pattern on the bottom of the deck is a nice touch. Visually the stand out feature of the deck, when it is in your hands, is the two ends. The neck on each end is a lot thicker than other boards this size. The truck drop thru pattern looks the same as a Dervish. When we put the trucks on, the issue of wheelbite became a talking point. Due to the neck thickness, even with 70mm wheels, it looked like it was going to wheelbite on the edge of the deck. The Loaded warning of no 75mm wheels is correct. I'm using a sharp edge wheel, which is a bit wider than a freeride wheel. There is no bite, the Paris 180 hanger stops it from going that far around, plus not many skaters will be not be setting up their deck gangsta loose. With a freeride wheel like the 70mm Stimulus, it is not even close to a problem. Trucks are on, I've replaced the top bushing in the Paris truck with a red venom barrel. The bounce and extra lean I get is worth the effort. We could rave all day about the industrial design and set ups but you want to know what it is like to skate. First skate was my local shop run. I needed more ummm... cornflour - in the kitchen, better do that 20 minute skate up the road to get more! The Tan Tien seems lower to the ground, which is the case if you normally skate 75mm wheels. Definitely a nicer push. The bigger nose and tail feel weird. It is like I'm skating a duck or the duck bill longboard. Maybe we can nickname it the platypus. I have to keep reminding myself that this is not a skateboard, I can not lazily slip my foot back and rest it on the kicktail. I'm 5' 11" (6 foot ladies with big footbrake soles), and a healthy weight, so I chose a flex 1. Most skaters will go with flex 2. I really chose flex 1 because I wanted a stiffer board. One to throw around a bit, commute on (stiffer deck is easier for me to switch push on). It seems to flex in the middle of the deck, I know that sounds obvious but it is almost like the flex pattern makes the deck have a rocker shape. That is not a bad thing, as you'll see. The trucks definitely have extra bit of life in them on this deck. I don't know what it is about Paris trucks and Loaded Boards, but the combination is perfect. The push up my home hill, the Tan Tien feels like it can pump up the hill just by carving. The carve I'm getting is almost like a slash slide. The maneuverability is awesome. Push, carve, cut away from objects. Short foot platform and hence shorter stance takes a bit of getting use to. It is not uncomfortable, actually helps make the board easier to pump. The flex to a rocker shape is helping here as well. The deck feels nicer to stand on than the Dervish, and lets face it everyone will be comparing them: The Tan Tien vs Dervish. The griptape pattern actually helps you move your feet around. Your feet are not super glued onto deck. I would say the griptape will be harder wearing than the spray grip on the Dervish, a nice compromise between griptape and natural bamboo. Kicktail and Nose When I first saw the decks and stood on a complete, the nose felt awkward. So many longboards don't have much nose and tail, the Tan Tien is an embarrassment of riches. It means you could be re-thinking your longboarding technique. After a bit of time on the Tan Tien it all sort of fell in place. The tail and nose have a sweet spot that fits the ball of your foot. Once you lock it in, a whole new range of possibilities open up. One downside to the longer tail is it is harder to flip into your hand. Longer tail means it hits the ground earlier and does not pop as high. Again, nothing a bit of practice will not fix. It was a long skate home after the shops, which is really only two blocks away. I had a heap of fun, this board just has so many possibilities when you are having a skate around. You don't need to be bombing/carving a big hill to have fun. Every object, bump, bank, ledge, gutter, crack, old person becomes another object to skate on. On that simple skate I had two people throw me positive comments on the board, maybe because I was having so much fun, or is it because this board stands out from the crowd? Gotta go, another shop run, forgot to buy something. I'll be back later. Hopshop recommended set up is Paris 180 trucks and 70mm freeride wheels. I think the rounded lip of the freeride wheel will make the board a lot more fun to skate. Reviewed by hop.