Industry News June 1999

Vancouver, B.C., Canada was the site of a skateboarding’s version of a triple-header this spring. The annual Slam City Jam was complemented by the second Skateboard Industry Conference and the TransWorld SKATEboarding Awards. The conference was produced by the International Association of Skateboard Companies (IASC) and TransWorld, bringing together over 100 industry representatives for a day of presentations and panel discussions covering marketing, promotions, public skateparks, trade shows, contests, major-media coverage, and several other topics affecting the sport and business.

The first Skateboard Industry Conference was held in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in 1997. The goal of this year’s conference was to begin a dialogue about how companies can work together to maintain a healthy skateboard market and avoid the drastic sales cycles of the past. While the conference will be covered more in-depth next issue, presentations by Jeff Harbaugh and IASC’s Jim Fitzpatrick are summarized in their columns in this issue: see “Beset By Opportunities” on page 9, and “IASC Update” on page 11.

On the eve of Slam City Jam, TransWorld SKATEboarding hosted an awards party honoring winners of the 1998 TransWorld SKATEboarding Readers’ Poll and Riders’ Poll, as well as last year’s World Cup Skateboarding overall contest winners. The gala event was the first of its kind, honoring skateboarders in several categories as chosen by their fans and peers. TransWorld SKATEboarding Editor In Chief Dave Swift emceed the evening, with awards presented by Bones Brigadier Jason Ellis, longtime TWS Senior Photographer “O,” and WCS’ Don Bostick. While most acceptance speeches were brief or just declined, Chad Muska, his boom box, Peter Smolik, and the Shorty‘s squad made an occasion of storming the stage with all the fanfare of an urban street riot. Besides the Shorty’s posse, other big winners included members of the Birdhouse and Girl teams. For the full tally, see the September 1999 issue of TransWorld SKATEboarding (Volume 17, Number 9). Fox Television‘s Invert TV caught it all on video, so look for it on your local cable network.

Slam City Jam VI was an exceptional event, too. Billed as the Jewel of the Triple Crown, the contest doubled as the first stop of the 1999 Vans Triple Crown of Skateboarding. Besides the men’s and women’s street and vert competitions, attendees enjoyed live music, a spoken-word performance by Mike Vallely, and a mini skatepark for them to skate inside the arena. The next Vans Triple Crown event will be in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where Steve Caballero is scheduled to throw the first pitch at a Brewers baseball game.

Video-game developer Activision will release Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater this summer, a skateboard-video game for the Sony PlayStation. Players can choose to play as Hawk, Bob Burnquist, Kareem Campbell, Rune Glifberg, Bucky Lasek, Chad Muska, Geoff Rowley, Andrew Reynolds, or Jamie Thomas—alone or against a second player on any one of multiple realistic courses, including skateparks, pools, downhill courses, halfpipes, street courses, a school, a downtown area, and a shopping mall. Each of these skaters licensed their likeness for use in the game and was involved in its development. For more information, check out the Sony PlayStation Web site at:

Also new for the PlayStation system is Electronic Arts‘ first video game exclusively dedicated to skateboarding. Powell skateboards, Warp magazine, Dragon Optics, Epitaph Records, and Capitol Records teamed up to develop Street Sk8er for the Sony PlayStation system. Street Sk8er is a trick-oriented street-and-vert race against the clock, and is available in stores now. For more information, check out the Electronic Arts Web site at:

New for your wheels are the Hawks High Performance Bearings By NTN. These specially engineered skateboard bearings feature welded steel cages, specially formulated lubricant, and super-finished raceways designed to exceed the ABEC 5 rating. For more information, contact Birdhouse at: (714) 379-0020.

On Board Entertainmentannounced that it has joined a number of existing companies and individuals to form a new partnership called Disson, Furst, and Partners (DFP). DFP is a

sports, music, and entertainment agency that specializes in event marketing. OBE will remain “On Board Entertainment,” but will be a wholly owned subsidiary of DFP. As such, OBE will remain focused on action sports, lifestyle tours, and music, but as part of DFP, it now also specializes in cycling, entertainment, motor sports, figure skating, the Olympics, and corporate hospitality and events.

OBE/DFP will have offices in eight U.S. markets: San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles/Huntington Beach, Charlotte, Orlando, Daytona Beach, and Washington, DC. For more information, call OBE/DFP at: (415) 289-1510.

Arnette Optical was recently sold by parent company Bausch And Lomb to eyewear maker Luxotica, which also owns Persoland several other brands. Arnette reports that the deal will better position the company in the action-sports market. For more information, call Arnette at: (949) 492-2816.

In case you can’t make it to San Francisco for the X-Games this June 25–July 3, the event will be simulcast live over the X-Games Web site:

Longboard-maker Envy has added Hawai’ian surfers Gavin Sutherland and Joey Valentine to its team. Envy Team Manager Toby Ogden says he’s also looking for a vert longboard skater to add to the roster.

East Coast skateboard company Philadelphiaexperiment is working on a new video to showcase the talent of its team of five skaters: Tim Achille, Rich Adler, Brannon John, Vern Laird, and Damian Smith. The as-yet-unnamed video should be out this summer. For more information, call Philadelphiaexperiment at: (215) 546-7349.

The All-Terrain Boarding Association (ATBA) was founded in April 1999 by a group of riders and manufacturers for the purpose of creating a national governing body for the sport of mountain boarding. Its bylaws and constitution were created by Chuck Allen, co-founder of the National Scholastic Surfing Association and United States Surfing Federation, and founder of the United States Amateur Snowboard Association. Jeff Grell of Snow Surfing International was selected as the new association’s executive director. A series of mountain-board events to be held in Southern California will be announced soon. For more information, call Jeff Grell at: (818) 347-1079.

The first Split Clothing/Hardcore Distribution/Globe Girls Skate Jam was held on April 10 in Melbourne, Australia. Fourteen-year-old Sally Clark won the event, taking 1,000 dollars, Sally Affleck took second and 500 bucks, and third and 250 big ones went to Hillary Pearce. The competitors ranged in age from five to 28 years and skated before a crowd of over 1,000. Split plans to continue this annual event with the possibility of developing it into a countrywide series.

Grind King has announced a few new products: GK-6 is its latest truck, featuring a lowered patented kingpin for less interference, strategic weight-reduction design, and a taller grinding surface; the GK skate tool has been upgraded to a five-in-one device with the addition of a 1/8-inch Allen-key; Nutlocks mounting hardware utilize special washers that keep nuts from turning, keep the bolts tight, and eliminate the need for a second tool. For more information, call Dark Horse Distribution at: (
310) 822-4567.

In May trade-show-organizer Action Sports Retailer (ASR) and ramp-maker Big Daddy, Inc. reached an agreement whereby Big Daddy will build the street courses for the fall ASR Trade Expos in San Diego, California and Atlantic City, New Jersey. The courses will be made from Big Daddy ramp kits, and the company will have its booth at both shows beside the course. Big Daddy ramps are available as prefabricated kits that come pre-cut and drilled. For more information, call Big Daddy at: (562) 434-8251.

The Gravity Games, NBCtelevision’s and publisher EMAP Petersen‘s answer to the X-Games, will take place September 9–12 in Providence, Rhode Island. TheGameswill feature a festival atmosphere and competitions in seven adrenaline sports: street, vert, and downhill skateboarding; street luge; bike stunt; aggressive in-line skating; wakeboarding; and freestyle motocross. The Gravity Games will air over five consecutive Sundays on NBC in October, and will also be distributed internationally to reach over 200-million homes. For more information about the Gravity Games skateboarding program, call Mayday Productions at: (949) 515-3787.

Ever since it opened in the fall of 1993, Sheffield’s Sumo skate shop has been promoting skateboarding and other arts in the north of England. Its collaboration with the Sheffield City Council provided dedicated areas for skating, and the first stage of a free cement park will be completed this fall. Sumo has also hosted several video premieres and art exhibits including Stationary Motion, an exhibit of 20 years of British skateboard photography. The success of that show led to the establishment of a permanent exhibition space for contemporary art, photography, etc. Sumo is always on the lookout for work to show in the gallery. For more information, call Patrick at: 44-7974-467-213.

Anarchy Eyewearhas introduced polarized lenses in two models, the Amp and Amplified. The polycarbonate lenses offer 100-percent UV protection and Anarchy’s Prism Free System to ensure a consistent lens surface for enhanced optical clarity. The polarized polycarbonate PFS models retail at 65 dollars, while non-polarized models sell at 45 dollars. Anarchy sponsors skateboarders Jen O’Brienand Jessie Van Roechoudt.

SMP USA, Inc. is proud to welcome two new additions to the SMP family. Greg McCarry of Revo UK Limited will head up the SMP licensee for Europe, and Made Kasim and partner Nyoman Angarra of CV Baharas are the licensees for Indonesia. “We will continue to partner with licensees that share our vision,” said Eugene King, president of SMP. “With Greg and Made on-board working with the U.S. and Australia offices, our efforts will now work hand-in-hand for SMP’s future international growth.”

SMP offers clothing designed to meet the needs of the alternative-sports market, primarily those consumers aged twelve and up. The company sponsors top athletes in surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding, motocross, BMX, and wakeboarding. For more information, call Vipe Desai at: (619) 656-6900 ext. 219.

The Ponzi Group, a marketing services and research-opinion firm, has announced the completion and availability of its Board-Trac Skateboarding Study. The Skateboard Study examines brand preferences (hardgoods and softgoods), shopping habits, ‘core-sport and crossover-sport participation, as well as sports and other influences on the buying decisions of skateboarders. The study includes results from 1,971 surveys completed by skateboarders eight years and older who heavily participate in the sport. Participants are from all over the world, with the majority of participants from the United States and Canada. “Understanding the ‘core market, or leading edge versus the trailing edge, and the kids who are influenced by the ‘core is key to any company’s marketing strategy. Our job is to provide that information on an objective and consistent basis,” said Angelo Ponzi, founder of Board-Trac and president of The Ponzi Group.

The 50-plus page Board-Trac Skateboarding Report is now available and is priced at 1,875 dollars. Other studies available from Board-Trac include Snowboarding, WaveRider, and its original Youth Report. For more information on Board-Trac, call Angelo Ponzi at: (949) 858-9095. Or e-mail to: Or visit the Board-Trac Web site at: