Buzz 1 5/4 (1995/2000)
Prodigy Skateboard Tester
While the skateboard quality issue bounces around the industry, it took a fifteen-year-old skater from Camden, Tennessee, with no ties whatsoever to the skateboard industry, to figure out which board is best for him. Hunter Clift decided to test different skateboards to determine durability, performance, and longevity-for his high school science-fair project. When asked why he chose such a daunting task, Clift replies, “I don’t know-I just kept breaking boards.”
For this series of tests Clift set up boardtesting.com, and recruited a team of testers-Anthony Gastelum, Jonathon Crafton, Josh Hargrove, and Justin Galbreath. Clift was also assisted by Mike and Bill King and Tennessee State University.
Clift ran a series of five different tests in order to determine which was the best-performing and longest-lasting skateboard across the board. He contacted several wood manufacturers and board companies, asking for submissions. “At first no one really wanted to send me boards,” says Clift. “But once word got out that a few companies had sent boards, they started pouring in.”
Clift received decks from over 20 different companies, including Powell, Dykema Manufacturing, and Baker. “I sent him some boards, and I told him to trade them out at his local shop,” says Baker’s Robin Fleming. “I told him ‘don’t trust me-don’t trust anyone.'” Baker’s boards ranked fourth, ninth, tenth, and thirteenth.The first test was a four-point stress test to determine strength. Clift used a servo-driven electric ball-screw machine. The machine mimics feet on a board and simulates the force placed upon a board during an ollie.
Next came the Brinell test, which tested the hardness of the wood by using a Rockwell Hardness Testing Machine, which graded the wood on a scale of one to 100. Using a Wagner L606 Moisture Meter, Clift performed a moisture-content test to determine how it relates to board strength.
Using a 150-pound weight, the group slid the skateboards down a rail to determine how well the board slides and how much damage the board incurs, helping to figure out the longevity of each board.
The abrasion test consists of putting a weight on the tail, and dragging each board across 200 feet of finished concrete.
Clift has received lots of feedback so far, and many people are interested in the results. Rob Dykema of Dykema Manufacturing explains, “I’m confident in my boards, but I want to see the results. If my boards come out on top, then it’s good. If I come in last, at least I know I’ve got my work cut out for me.” Dykema’s boards came in second, fourth, fifth, eighth, and twentieth.
When asked what boards he would choose to ride, having performed all the tests, Clift replies, “probably the Baker or the Lib-Tech.”
The feedback has been positive enough to warrant another board test next year. Check out boardtesting.com for the results.
Tylenol Helps Build Bowl In NYC
In what would appear to be the humanitarian gesture of the decade for the transition-hungry skaters of the greater New York area, Dave Mims of Autumn Skateboard Shop along with Rob Erickson and Bodega pro Pat Smith enlisted the monetary help of Tylenol to concoct and construct the “Autumn-Tylenol Greenpoint Brooklyn Bowl” in the neighborhood of the same name. Over a period of 30 days, hammers were swung, pool coping was applied liberally, decks were built, and wood laid down as the design of Tim VanDerBas (of Small Empire ramp-building fame) came to fruition in this rather inconspicuous location (which, incidentally, is right next door to a warehouse where shooting for the HBO series The Sopranos occurs regularly).
In order to skate this veritable cold-winter safe haven, you must have befriended one of 30 individual key holders-each of them pay a sparse monthly fee of 100 dollars to have access to the building. With the already astronomical warehouse rents in the New York City area at an all-time high, the remaining rent monies are raised monthly via benefit shows.-David Gillanders
The Skateboard Mag
Skateboarding’s latest media venture has finally issued a formal press release. The Skateboard Mag is headed up primarily by ex-TransWorld alumni-Dave Swift, Grant Brittain, Mike Mihaly, Atiba Jefferson, and Kevin Wilkins. Sole Technology designer Ako Jefferson is the sixth partner. The Skateboard Mag is under new publishing company Flat Spot, Inc. The target date for launch of their first issue is March 1, 2004. Check out theskateboardmag.com.
Tony Is A T.H.U.G.Tony Hawk’s latest video game, Tony Hawk Underground (T.H.U.G.), was released on October 28. The Tony Hawk Pro Skater series remains one of the top-selling games to date. As with all the THPS games, the reviews have been stellar, and the game’s popularity has even warranted a nationwide T.H.U.G. contest.
Chad Ford Joins SPAUSA
The Skate Park Association of the U.S.A. (SPAUSA) has recently appointed Australian skatepark builder and skater Chad Ford as its new executive director. Ford joins the organization with experience and enthusiasm, and has a lot planned for SPAUSA in the coming year: “Our first task is to push through some industry guidelines for skatepark design and construction,” he says. Important points that the document will address are the abolition of skateboard obstacle height restriction, and ideally, safety-gear requirements. Most importantly, Ford stresses that the designers will have to be skaters themselves: “You don’t get a plumber to fix your car.”
Both Ford and SPAUSA are also looking forward to working with skateboarding’s other associations across the globe, especially when dealing with outside forces. “We are anxious to begin working with other groups to present a more united front.” At press time, groups in England, Argentina, Australia, and the U.S.A. had all expressed interest.
The past two months have seen the release of many new videos, extended DVDs, and reissued classics. Outlook Skateboards came out with Infested, its third video. VAS Entertainment and Tum Yeto have released the anticipated Toy Machine DVD box set, which includes the long-out-of-print first Toy Machine video, Live! Also included is the never-before seen Chad Muska part in Welcome To Hell. Just in time for Christmas, too! Also new from Toy Machine is the Berserker tour video DVD, which includes Toy Machine’s 2003 tour video, Sucking The Life.
Shorty’s has released its new tour video, T Stance Holmes, which features the entire Shorty’s team and is also currently working on a hardware team video that will include the dozens of skaters that ride for Shorty’s Hardware.
Digital Skateboarding has released its latest video, Everyday. Contrary to popular opinion, Digital is not a video magazine. According to a recent press release, “Every film is self-titled and an individual project.” The videos are released “every five months or so,” and have no set deadlines.
For a company that didn’t make a video for the first decade of its existence, Black Label is certainly making up for it now. Label Live is the Label’s third video in two years. The video documents the team’s recent U.S., Canadian, and European tours.
DC Shoe Co. is currently putting the finishing touches on The DC Video: Deluxe Edition, the follow-up to 2003’s The DC Video. The deluxe edition will include both new and previously unreleased footage of the DC teamriders. It also features an 86-page booklet of unreleased photos, tour notes, memorabilia, and exclusive team interviews. If rumors are to be believed, Danny Way has an entirely new part on the Mega Ramp that’s just as impressive as his part in The DC Video.In other video news, 411 Productions is offering a music licensing service for companies who want someone else to get their music cleared.
Texas Skate Jam Number Seven
Over the weekend of November 15-16, the city of Houston, Texas saw an influx of skaters from all over to make the seventh-annual Texas Skate Jam a memorable o
ne. Every year Damian Hebert of South Shore Distribution organizes the jam at South Side Indoor Skatepark to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This year 1,100 kids paid admission to witness the skating from members of the Spitfire, Adio, Hurley, Venture, Girl, Westside Skate Shop, Hawk Clothing, Osiris, Volcom, Iota, and Nike teams among others. In excess of 35,000 dollars was raised through donations and ticket admissions, which equates to granting about seven wishes. The event wouldn’t have been nearly as fun without SkatePark of Tampa’s Brian Schaefer and Ryan Clements emceeing the entire event. For more information navigate your mouse to: skateparkoftampa.com, southsideskatepark.com, and wish.org.-Eric Sentianin
Fox Sports Extreme Action show 54321 was recently canceled. In a press release, Head Producer Gregg Champion states, “Fox Sports Net decided Monday (November 17, 2003) that an action-sports show did not fit their network.” This could be a sign that the average Joe just isn’t interested in skateboarding, among other extreme sports, anymore.
Skateboard Advocacy Group
In an effort to preserve skateboarding in their fair city, local Philly skater-activists formed the Skateboard Advocacy Network (SAN) in June of 2003. Brian Nugent, SAN cofounder and SKATE Biz contributor, explains the group’s intentions: “We have many goals, including funding public skateparks, contributing to underprivileged children, and distributing information in regards to laws and safety.”
Nugent’s Philadelphia-based SkateNerd shop is spreading awareness about the group and helping raise funds for SAN.
The mission statement of SAN is “to provide a nonpartisan, unified voice for skateboarders. SAN works to improve the public’s perception of skateboarding through education, communication, and the distribution of information pertaining to skateboarding.”
For more information about the Skateboard Advocacy Network, or to find out how to donate, go to www.skateboardadvocacynetwork.com.
Accel. Wheels has commissioned Consolidated artist Todd Braturd as a guest artist for their new wheels, called Bad Apples and Rotten Eggs.
Consolidated Skateboards has expanded its product line into previously uncharted territory, and just in time for winter. The Consolidated Blanket Team consists of Ed Templeton, Arto Saari, Kristian Svitak, Corey Duffel, Diego Bucchieri, Louie Barletta, and Caswell Berry. Consolidated is also welcoming interested parties to try out for the team via sponsor-me video.
Ex-New Deal alumni Armando Barajas has returned to the skateboarding world with a brand new company, Brainchild.
Surf One-sponsored rider Bethany Hamilton has been released from the hospital following a particularly gnarly shark attack, in which she lost her left arm on October 31. Surf One is Powell Skateboards’ longboard division.
Ex-Santa Cruz pro Eric Bork has recently returned to the United States, and more importantly, the world of skateboarding. Two years ago, Bork left his sponsors and family behind to perform his Mormon mission in Guatemala. Upon return, Bork has picked up Black Magic as his new griptape, bearing, and bolt sponsor.
Corporate Roster Hops
Nikita is expanding its sales force, with the likes of Dewey Morris selling to the Southeast, Laura Bigler in the Midwest, and Robert Vega in Puerto Rico.K2 Inc., owner of Planet Earth, has recently appointed Wayne Merck as its new president.
Dwindle Distribution recently hired Travis Nohe as sales manager.Over at Podium, Gabe Clement is the new skate-team manager for DVS and Matix. Also at Podium is new Marketing And Public Relations Manager Kelly Meidroth.
IPath Footwear has also expanded its staff, with Justine Griggs as production manager, Cindy Van Dorne as customer service manager, and Brian Gaberman as the staff photographer.
Ex-Dwindle President Frank Messmann has recently joined DC Shoe Co. as general manager of DC’s European activities.