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Hop Podcast #12 - Thiago Gomes Lessa: to be the best in the world


Number 12: my conversation with Thiago Lessa, two time current IDF Downhill World Champion, and owner of Cuei wheels.

The show notes are a bit sparse at this time, because I usually write notes as I edit the podcast. This time, I got lost listening to the conversation, and didn't write notes. As each episode goes 2 hours, it would take days to redo, so I'm releasing the episode and will try to catch up on show notes later. 

As I have said on a previous podcast, this conversation lasted over 4 hours. Thiago surprised me on how much he was willing to share and talk about. Every question was answered, and in more detail than I could have imagined, and breaking that sterotype of the ultra competitive and elusive Brazilian racer. Thiago was also the opposite of everything I expected, and there is a reason, but you’l have to wait until part two (coming soon).

I have broken this interview into two parts. Pretty much clean in the middle. Thiago and I discussed editing it into separate topics but the sheer size of the interview it would take too long. I think there is a flow in the conversation that is worth keeping. In part one we talk a lot about Cuei wheels and future products, plus start at the beginning of his racing and work our way to becoming World Champion. 

One last comment before we continue, this episode is a bit more raw than the usual episodes. I do a lot of ego editing, getting rid of my umms and "so", but this one I have taken very little out, basically only major edit was Thiago’s sisters dog trying to eat him, I even kept the small conversation we have discussing if the conversation is too long. 


Brazilian skaters mentioned in this podcast

Dalua = Douglas Dalua

Pepe = Pepe Laporte

Guto = Carlos Augusto Correia Paixão

Max B = Max D Ballesteros

Luri Maggi

Other skaters mentioned

Nick Broms

What other links would you like to see here or should we list? Comment below



Hop Podcast #11 - Calvin Skinner and how to build a skate brand


Why interview Calvin? In my opinion he is a longboard influencer. He might not have the mega subscribers or the million view videos, but he has a loyal following, and he is respected in the community. Part of that is he is trusted, so when he recommends a product, it carries more influence. An example of this is the review he did for the Hopkin Youtube channel on Optimo wheels. Although that video is now has 5000+ views, when we released it, there was less than 500 views in the first 30 days, but it was enough to sell out the wheel in our shop and at the distributor! You can go to our longboard wheel page, and it is sorted by best selling wheels, and the Optimo is (as of writing this) number 2! If you listen to the podcast we talk about what wheels Calvin is currently recommending, the Byron Esserts, and that wheel is sold out and creeping up our best seller list.

This is a fun interview, we talk a lot about how Calvin has been building his brand Beggars Supply Co.  

This blog post is a companion to the podcast - it is the show notes!

If you want to visit the websites we mention or watch the videos we talk about or unsure of the person or skater that is talked about, the link should be here. If not please message or DM me and I will get it added. Any mistakes, let me know.

First skateboard stormtrooper skateboard. First longboard a Tan Tien bought from the old Hopkin website, set up with Paris trucks and yellow Stimulus wheels.

Flowed helmets from S1
Flowed trucks by Paris Trucks
Flowed work and miscellaneous skate items by Boardstore

US trip in July
California -> Seattle -> Vancouver

Motion Boardshop - stocks Beggars boards

The East Coop

Calvin's video from his 2018 tour

One of Calvin's biggest influences, and he aims to mimic that Wes Anderson framing

Wes Anderson // Centered from kogonada on Vimeo.


The amazing Mr Linus Marsh

Kavon Zamanian - Red Dirt Motion ( I mispronounce the name - sorry Kavon)

Longboarding video game video <- watch the series here or my favourite below


 Music found on Spotify Discover weekly

The East Coop facebook page, the page where taken down videos go to live

What are Calvin's different media channels? He uses Youtube for a Calvin Skinner film or bigger edits. The East Co-operative is now Facebook video only now. Beggers does only Facebook and Instagram video

Longer content goes on Youtube - minimum 8 minute videos. Facebook is videos anywhere from 30 seconds to 6 minutes.

Beggars Supply Company

Boardlife in Colorado

Drang Boards

Backbone longboard deck

Beggars team:
Brady Faithful
Korey Kamp 
Luke Smith   
Jeremy Shroom

What is Beggars drop 3 looking like? It is available end of November or December.
First board: Downhill single kick around 39 inches long 
Second board: a symmetrical downhill top mount board 35.5 inches long
Third board: a big double kick that is 38.5 inches long!

Shops that are stocking Drop 2:

Cre8ive Sk8
Motion Boardshop
Boardworks Tech Shop 
AND right here at Hopkin Skate

Skull Skates

Small indy board builders we talk about:

Pantheon longboards
Da Silva
FS Board Co

Dylan Hepworth's DH Boards

Chroma Skateboards (now closed)

Les from Flatspot - SkateSlate

Highway Jam X Paris Trucks - best skate event Calvin has been too. 


Monkeypig Midnight Madness

What wheels? 
Essert freeride wheels - slide so perfectly

How does Calvin pick his team? Individuality is the biggest factor.

Can a skater get sponsored without racing or doing events? Calvin and I discuss this, other than himself as an example Brandon DesJarlais is another example of skaters building a following and using that to get sponsored.





Hop Podcast #10 - Ghetto tips with Matteo


This is a short quick tip podcast. Something to chew on until the main meal (another big interview) gets released.

Matteo came in to pick up a new board and I convince him to share how he was setting up his board. In particular how he uses a yoga mat and rubber offcuts to replace Poron and a torque block. 

Products we talk about are the Loaded Poron Pushin Cushion and Venom Torque block.

Thanks for listening, like, share and subscribe. Can be a bit hard to search for Hop Podcast in your favourite Podcast player - try searching for James Hopkin. That usually brings it up faster.


Hop Podcast #9 - Mitch Thompson interview


I have wanted to interview Mitch for a long time, I think it was at the Shedemite summer series I suggested an interview, but it has always been a bit hard to coordinate.

My last trip to Bathurst, I scheduled meetings first thing in the morning, and left enough time to meet up with Mitch and have a long conversation.

First some apologises on the quality. Am I always apologising for the podcast sound? Podcasting is a new medium I am learning. I do all the production and recording, so it is at amateur status. I think the quality of the interviews makes up for the poor sound. I am using a new recording device with directional microphones. I don't think I had the microphones close enough. The interview I did after this I held my recorder and put the microphones closer to the subject, the quality was a lot better. As the microphones were a bit too far away, I picked up a lot of the background noise, and in particular the sound of supermarket beeping (I interviewed Mitch at his work, which is in a shopping mall!). In post production I removed a lot of those sounds but in the process changed the recording tones. 

This interview has everything, we go through how Mitch sets up his Rayne board, his new mini Ronins, griptape, bearings, why he does not clean his bearings, how his designed his own wheels, and so much more. 

All the big races he has been in over the years we go through in detail. What happened in that Newtons 2017 final and the split second decision that cost him any chance of winning. Why Taylor Cook was so happy beating Mitch at Kaikoura, why Mitch missed Kaikoura this year, how did the Arirang Hill 2017 race go down, and that GoPro footage of the final. Why he tries to GoPro'd all his races, even the finals at the expense of aero.

I have been a bit lazy on this episode, I have not listed all the links and products we talk about. We might go back and add them later. If you want to contribute to teh podcast, and send me what you think the links should be, hit me up on my email (use the contact us page).

Thank you for listening. Like subscribe and share.

James Hopkin
September 2018



Hop Podcast #8 - Concrete Wave and the fine print


I got a phone call from Michael Brooke in July, to tell me, it was not public yet but he was going to announce he was stepping down from Concrete Wave magazine, handing the magazine to some new owners, and he was taking a new direction. 

He was not quitting skateboarding.

My first reaction was this is something I want to document on the podcast, I need to interview Michael. For me, that is a daunting task, I have known Michael for a long time, we are friends, there is a lot of history there, we have shared so much together. I will interview Michael, but I wanted to do something immediately to celebrate the Michael Brooke era at Concrete Wave. So this is it. Podcast number 8 is my favourite story from all those magazines. It is about Trif-dog (I dont know who that is) and his late night bomb down a hill in Newport Beach. Even if this episode does not sound like something you want to listen too, you have to hear the story, it is a classic. 

The "fine print" was a small section at the start of each Concrete wave where Michael was just...Michael. It was the first thing I always read. The best fine print was Vol 1 2006 the Trif-Dog story.

I have always remembered the Trif-Dog story, I have retold it many times, and it is classic Michael Brooke. If you have never had a beer with Michael, or a long phone call, Michael some how manages to find these characters and collect the funniest stories, that are real life and hilarious. So I have spent this week going through all my Concrete Wave magazines (I have most of them) and searching for this story. I have magazines piled up everywhere, and I start reading old issues, enjoying them all over again, and so many of the stories and articles are still gold. It was a fun week! 

So I have the first issue, I'm sharing a few things from that first issue, and then tell the Trif-Dog story. This podcast is a slightly different format. It is shorter (under 30 minutes) and it is not an interview. Just something I'm playing with, smaller episodes that I can be more consistent with. 

Enjoy my Concrete Wave ramblings. Michael if you read this, thank you. You are one of a kind, I love you brother.

Find Concrete Wave on facebook

Michael's announcement on Facebook

Concrete Wave website

Subscribe to Concrete Wave!!!!