IASC Founder Jim Fitzpatrick

Jim Fitzpatrick, IASC founder and executive director for the last seven years, has moved into advisory role as emeritus executive director and advisory board member of the IASC. Jim has been the sole driving force of the IASC: He pushed through the SB 994 law that brought skateboarding into the hazardous sport classification, which limited liabilities of city and state for injuries occurring on public skateparks. Jim has been involved in skateboarding for over 40 years-he skated for Makaha in the 60s, worked at Powell Peralta in the 80s and 90s, and served on the SIMA Board of Directors, which led to the formation of IASC. He is also the executive director of the emerging United Professional Skateboarder Association (sk8UPSA.com). IASC’s Board of Directors extends its deepest appreciation and thanks to Jim for his dedication, and most importantly, his belief in skateboarding and the ability of the skateboard industry to work together to further things on its behalf.

New Managing Director

After months of researching, meeting and interviewing several candidates, the IASC Board of Directors has unanimously voted John Bernards as managing director of the IASC. Jeff Kendall, lead action person of the setup committee, submitted Bernards an employment proposal, which he accepted eagerly. “He was very excited and can’t wait to get rolling,” says Kendall. “He’s very hopeful and enthusiastic about the association and its potential.” Bernards will begin working full-time immediately for the IASC.

John Bernards has a long history in the retail, lifestyle manufacturing, and trade-show businesses. He has managed branded lifestyle manufacturing companies such as Hang Ten, Golden Breed, Off Shore Sportswear, Newport Blue, Jimmy Z, and Ocean Pacific. Bernards served on the Men’s Apparel Guild (MAGIC) Board for fourteen years and helped MAGIC grow from a small hotel trade show in L.A. to the largest men’s apparel trade show in the world. He was chairman of the board for MAGIC for two years, and then served as president and chief operating officer for two more years. We welcome Bernards and his experience and enthusiasm to the IASC.

The IASC Board of Directors would like to thank the candidates for their patience and interest in the position. We appreciate your efforts to meet with us. Also, big thanks to Tom Pezman and his staff at BoardSportsJobs.com, IASC affiliate member and partner company, for their extensive assistance in our search (IASC member companies get a discount on BoardSportsJobs.com services).

Bernards will have met with member companies and the Board of Directors by the time this comes out in print. We will be working to bring focus and prioritization to IASC goals and objectives.

The Skatepark Dilemma

If you are not already aware, it’s time to address the skatepark issue. It affects the long-term positive impact and participation of new and existing skateboarders alike. Having a steady flow of new participants and maintaining the interests of developing skateboarders is essential in the long-term growth and stability of the industry and the lifestyle we all know and love. You may have read Dave Carnie’s recent article in Big Brother in regards to crafty playground companies snatching up city skatepark contracts and building worthless, uncreative, unchallenging, unsafe, semi-temporary skateparks. The double whammy is that the cities are getting charged way more for these parks than if they took the time to build proper skateparks.

What are we doing about it? Awareness is number one. A skatepark-development assessment report and action plan is on the way. Bernards and IASC Board Member Per Welinder have recently attended the National Parks and Recreation Association Exposition in St Louis, Missouri on a fact-finding mission, and also to support Heidi Lemmon and the Skate Park Association of the USA (SPAUSA.org). Lemmon has been a longtime effective campaigner for free public skateparks all over the United States. Stay tuned-we’ll have more on this soon.

Communication And Participation

Skateboarding is a trendsetter-it will continue to surprise us. Skateboarding has never been very organized, and sometimes I wonder if skateboarding can accommodate such an organized status, or if it’s better off in the somewhat state of chaos and fragmentation that’s been consistent over the years. It’s a tough one, but when I see how skateboarding has been taken advantage of by outside industries, and when I think about how much the ‘core companies, the professional and amateur skateboarders, and all the participants have missed out on, it gives me the drive to keep pushing forward in fighting for our rights.

The one thing that can make skateboarding a huge lobbying force on all different levels is if all the different groups and organizations out there can communicate and become a unified voice for the rights of skateboarders worldwide. There are several groups out there that are beginning to work together. The IASC, SPAUSA, UPSA, Board Retailers Association (BoardRetailers.org), and the World Cup of Skateboarding (WCS.com) are all beginning to communicate and realize that the potential is greater together than fragmented. This is the beginning of something. If you have an organization that can contribute, please contact the IASC so we can get you in the loop.

The Olympics

What should we as an industry do? There are many questions and opinions surrounding skateboarding and the Olympics. The IASC is doing its best to evaluate the situation and currently doesn’t have a position. One thing is becoming clear-forces outside the ‘core industry are most likely pushing for skateboarding in some form to be included in future Olympics, whether the ‘core industry wants it in or not.

What we must decide is if we, as an industry, want to participate. Either we ignore the situation and entrust skateboarding’s representation to whomever (USA Rollersports? Joe wrestling-coach-turned-skateboarding-expert?), or do we want to make a consolidated effort to make sure skateboarding is well-represented at future Olympic events? There are no conclusions being made here, just questions being asked. Your input is requested and demanded.

Membership

All this action depends on the support and participation of companies, participants and enthusiasts alike. If you are a part of this industry, then you need to become a member of your affiliated association. Whether it’s the IASC, UPSA, SPAUSA, or BRA, you need to join today.

Please join us in welcoming newly confirmed members Element; Sessions; S.L. (from Spain); Woodchuck, Inc. (from Canada); and California Skate Factory.

Current IASC members are: Alien Workshop, ASR, Blitz, BoardSportsJobs.com, DC Shoe Co., Dwindle, Giant, NHS, Planet Earth, PS Stix, Quiksilver, Sole Technologies, TransWorld, Tum Yeto, and Vans.