About Ben M.

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Neighbors: Keeping Us Inspired

It’s now early 2019 and like everyone we have a lot to look forward to in the coming year.   Everyone is busy making plans and attempting to execute them. Generally, the first step in every year should be to take down your holiday decorations because you don’t want to be that neighbor. Good neighbors are there to lend a helping hand and help keep you in check.  Neighbors build up communities and we should all strive to be good neighbors. While thinking about community I started thinking about the Southeast and our skateboard neighborhood, not necessarily Georgia, but the surrounding scenes. What videos or shops inspired me to want to be better, or at least got me excited to go skate. Here’s what I came up with: Read More >

Jumping Off a Bridge: Skateboarding’s On-Trend Viral Challenges

“If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?”  This sentiment pops into my head every time I see a new viral challenge.  Whether it’s covering your eyes while flipping your skateboard in hand, skating in freeway traffic, or the ghost ride challenge, there is always some new craze to amuse us.

board flip challenge
On-trend victim, Clint Walker takes on the board flip challenge.

 

Of course, fads like these are not exclusive to skateboarding.  Look at the mannequin challenge, dance challenges (#inmyfeelingschallenge), or the infamous Tide PODS challenge.  People love to film themselves doing stupid stuff.  It’s like the apps were designed just for it.

Back in the day, we had to wait for latest Big Brother video, CKY, or episode of Jackass for inspiration.  Afterwards we’d grab our parents’ camcorder, replicate, and that was about the extent of it.  We never had any intentions on something being “viral” because it didn’t exist! Read More >

Go Skateboarding Day 2018

Go Skateboarding Day 2018
Photo: Levi Dills

Without fail, every year “Go Skateboarding Day” sneaks up on us.  Could you blame us?  It always seems as though the day just passed.  Why shouldn’t we get deja vu since we consider every day “Go Skateboarding Day.”  Truthfully, nothing outside the ordinary happens on June, 21st.  Sure, there are a few special events, some sanctioned by the governing board of the International Association of Skateboard Companies, and other events that aren’t trademarked.  Regardless, to me the day always tends to feel about the same wherever it’s observed.  That’s because, at its core, “Go Skateboarding Day” is just another day revolving around kicking it with friends both new and old and celebrating the ever continuous joy of riding a useless wooden toy.  The spirit of the day is truly infectious.  Although, with all due respect, if the freestyler brainiacs that make up the IASC (in all their infinite wisdom) could pick a shorter day next time around, maybe, my sunburn won’t be so bad.

This year after weighing our options, we decided to keep it simple.  “Don’t overthink it, let’s pack up the van with boards, water, Gatorade, and hit the road,” I said.   “It’ll be sick because we’ll grab doughnuts and pizza too!  Everyone’s hungry, right?”  However, as our impromptu “Go Skateboarding Day” progressed, pizza seemed far from mind and, in retrospect, maybe the missing puzzle piece was the missing pizza slice?  Next year, I swear we’ll make pizza a mandatory.  That…and maybe beer.  Like you, I’ll keep my fingers crossed too. Read More >

Boards and Breweries

Peter Raffin, Skateboarding, Beer, Shotgunning
Peter Raffin knows it!

It comes as no surprise to hear “Beer and Skateboarding go together like PB&J,” or as a true “Millennial” might say, “Avocado and Toast.”  Most of age skateboarders would probably agree with this.  Responsibly sharing a couple of brews with the homies amid a mini ramp session is great and it’s no secret.  It’s a trend made clearer when you see bigger brands like Brixton collaborate with Coors Original, 686 partner with Pabst Blue Ribbon, or the fact your favorite Street League pros will retire fruitfully off their windfall craft beer investments.  More so, it wouldn’t be a stretch to draw parallels between the craft beer renascence of recent years to the boom in small, independent skateboard brands currently taking the industry by storm.  Seemingly every time you blink a new skate brand is created.  With this in mind, it makes total sense for me to pair my favorite local brews with my favorite independent skateboard brands.  What’s not to love?  Boards and Breweries.

street league, saint archers, paul rodriguez, nine club
Saint Archer’s Money.

Creature Comforts’ “Tropcalia” and Blvd Skateboards

For a couple years now beer aficionados living in the Southeastern United States have raved about Creature Comforts’ Tropicalia IPA for its balanced, fruit-forward, hoppy flavor.  Often times, this IPA can be hard to find in the wild, and the same goes for a BLVD skateboard deck.  The beer gets it’s name “Tropicalia” from the Brazilian artistic movement that arose in the late 1960s.  Much like Creature Comforts’ affinity for a smooth, aromatic, citrusy IPA, BLVD shares an equivalent palette for skateboarding.  Look no further than their team’s pro roster for a heavy, stylish, and super smooth Brazilian style.  With guys like Rodrigo Petersen, Danny Cerezini, Carlos Iqui, and Tiago Lemos skateboarding for BLVD, it’s easy to see why I would pair the brand with this stellar IPA.

Monday Night Brewing’s “Dr. Robot” and Sour Solution Skateboards

Hailing from Atlanta, Monday Night Brewing has continued they’re expansion over the past several years, quickly becoming the brewery of choice for me.  Their year-round offerings consist of anything from a killer scotch ale aptly named Drafty Kilt to a Belgian-style wit named Fu Manbrew.  Monday Night’s lineup not only boasts humor, but depth.  Just don’t let Monday Night’s variety be mistaken for a weakness.  They didn’t spread themselves too thinly, and in my opinion, any of their beers would be another breweries breadwinner.  The same can be said for the eclectic Euro brand Sour Solution, which has an as extensive team that excels at whatever terrain lays ahead.  All-terrain riders like Barney Page and Oscar Candon both kill it in the streets and park, while Gustav Tonneson and Albert Nyberg’s approach may make you question their planetary origin.  For example, take Free Skateboard Magazine’s latest cover:

Barring, maybe, Rodney Mullen, who would have thought to Casper slide a wall?  NO ONE.  Furthermore, who would have thought a Casper could look so cool?  Well, again, NO ONE.  I have been proven wrong by Albert’s feat.  So, when it came time for me to pair Sour Solution with a brew from Monday Night, I decided to pick one I thought Monday Night would fail with.  That beer would be the new blackberry lemon sour Dr. Robot.  As apprehensive about it as I was, I’ll happily admit, for a sour, it’s great!  Kind of like Albert Nyberg’s Free Skateboard Magazine cover.  So a sour brew for Sour Solution.

Reformation Brewery’s “Stark” and Isle Skateboards

I’m often stuck in what I’ll coin as “beer Groundhog Day” where I’ll continuously drink the same two or three types or styles of beer ad nauseam.  Truthfully my go-to beers are normally pale ales, IPAs, and maybe a pilsner or two.  What beer always breaks this cycle?  If you guessed a strong porter, then you guessed right!  Just down the highway in Woodstock, GA, is Reformation Brewery and their Stark porter is a thing of beauty.  This beer is dark and full of robust character that hints of toasted malts and chocolate.  Since porters first were developed in London in the 18th century, what better brand to pair this porter with than with London’s very own Isle Skateboards.  Isle’s visual offerings tend to be dreary, but entrenched in strong, powerful skateboarding through unique tricks and spot selections.  Good on ya, chaps!

Red Hare Brewing’s “Long Day Lager” and Scumco & Sons

Has it been a long day? Maybe it’s been a long week. Either way, celebrate the beginning of summer with us tonight at the brewery! We’ve got live music and food for our Longest Day party, 5:30-8:30! #redharebrewery #longdaylager Read More >

2017: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

2017 is nearly a wrap and for the first time in ages I feel that collectively we can all breathe a slight sigh of relief.  Why?  Well, we made it out of the dumpster fire that was 2017, guys.  While that is reason enough to tie one on and celebrate, let’s not get too excited.  Regrettably, 2018 is revving up to be just as turbulent.  Whether it’s the constant barrage of bad news or social media overload, it’s apparent that it is harder to focus now more than ever.  Like many, my mind has was cooked by 2017.  So that’s my excuse for why my very cliche year-end “best of” or “listicle” may be missing some very noteworthy things.  With that said, in no particular order, here are somethings that made some crumby days brighter in 2017.

The Atlantic Drift series by Jacob Harris Read More >

Dusting off the VCR: Bloody Chicken Boots at 16

Bloody Chicken Boots Title Screen

 

My first viewing of Bloody Chicken Boots

Rarely do I remember the exact moment I watched a skate video for the first time.  That is unless I attended the video premiere, or the video made some sort of immediate impression on me.  The impression doesn’t necessarily have to be good either, it can be bad too.  With that, I do distinctly remember the first time I watched Ambush’s first skate video, Bloody Chicken Boots, and it wasn’t because the video was particularly spectacular.

I remember rolling up to the shop with some friends on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon sometime in 2001.  This was Ambush’s old location, the one with the infamous three stair.  Anyway, I was posted up on the couch, which sat across from on of those antiquated big screen televisions.  You know the type…the old projection ones that have the VCR’s timecode burned into the screen.  Admittedly, I was a little hungover from the prior night’s endeavors.  Still, I had no idea a skate video contained the power to augment my hangover.  Was it was the filming or the odd techno songs that caused my stomach to churn.  Who knows?  What I do know is that my first viewing of Bloody Chicken Boots was nauseating.  This made the viewing permanently burned into my brain, just like the timecode burned into the big screen it played on.

Recently I noticed that BCB wasn’t online and it had been ages since I’d seen it.  Seeing this opportunity, I set out to capture the VHS and expand Ambush’s digital archive.  During my efforts, I watched it a few times and, surprisingly, it’s  better than I remembered.  The video holds a special type of nostalgia reserved normally for old awkward photos.  The photos can sometimes be slightly embarrassing, but also rad.  While digesting the video, I decided to reach out to some of the people involved in making it.  After all, Blood Chicken Boots is now 16 years old, and what better time to get their respective takes on the video.

Stormy Pruett

Stormy Pruett at the 40 Yard

Q: Pretty hard to believe that Bloody Chicken Boots is 16 years old.  When do you think the last time you watched it was?

A: Dude, I probably haven’t seen the video in about 10 years.  So long ago.  The random thing is that people still bring it up in the store, every once in a while.  For one reason or another, the video stuck with them and they totally remember everyone’s part and the most random stuff about it.  Crazy, right?!

Q: What was your initial perception of the video and your part?

A: First perception was, what is up with the name?!  Me and Brian Hutch had just got on right [the Ambush skate team] before the video was to come out.  It was Ryan Taylor’s baby as far as I know.  But, Ryan is a rad dude and knows what’s up, so I had faith in him and the video.  Music was mad crazy on most of the parts.  I think that Ryan and the homies made most of the jams themselves, I could be wrong about that one.  Regardless of the name and music, Ryan’s and Brian’s parts ripped!!!  I have a lot of respect for those guys.

Q: If you had the chance to pick your music, what would you have ran with?

A:  It would have probably been something by the band Fifteen.  I was so into those guys back then.  I was convinced that, if every person listened to their first couple of albums, that the world would be a better place.  Those early songs by them are life changers, brother.  A bunch of us got to see them here in Atlanta at the old Somber Reptile before they broke up.  Randomly, when I was skating in SF, I noticed a flyer on a street pole that said Fifteen was playing a reunion show that night.  We got to see them in their hometown.  Funny thing was that to us they were THE band and we thought the show would be sold out.  When we got there, there probably were only 50 people at the show, but we went ape shit.  One of the best shows that I have ever seen.

Q: What’s up with that slam at the beginning of your part?  Did you break your wrist or something?  I always hated that it was shown over and over. Read More >

Fun All the Time

We’re all getting older and there isn’t a damn thing we can do about it.  The passing of time is a hard thing to come to grips with.  It’s something that cannot be escaped or outran…and, apparently, it also flies when you’re having fun.  I’m calling BS on the latter!  In short, I believe, having fun is a vital component to staying young…at heart at least.  Admittedly having fun all the time is easier said than done, but it’s worth a shot.  What’s more fun than skateboarding?  Nothing.  This probably explains why we’re watching our favorite pros skateboarding for longer and longer.  In no particular order, here is a look at some of my favorite “aging” skateboarders. Read More >

Women in Skateboarding

It’s nearly impossible to ignore the 24-hour news cycle today.  Everywhere you turn, look, or swipe it’s in your face…and, to me, it’s depressing.  As far as I, personally, am concerned, there is the the constant reminder that our leaders seem bent on making our nation less inclusive.  We seem to take 10 steps forward only to be knocked back two.  However, I remain optimistic after witnessing the worldwide support of women’s marches a couple weeks ago.  It seems that progress will continue creeping  forward.  I mean…things have to keep getting better, right?  Skateboarding has always been the most diverse of the so-called “board sports”, and it’s trending towards being ever more diverse.  Nowhere is it more apparent than in the coverage of women in skateboarding.  The past couple months their coverage has been boomin’ and that makes me proud to be a skateboarder.  So, shout out to all the ladies killing it out there!  Women have definitely more than earned their seat at skateboarding’s table.  Here are a few of my favorite examples of this in the past couple months. Read More >

Winter Skateboarding in Georgia

It’s not uncommon to hole up inside during winter.  The days are short, cold, and for us in Georgia, the days are actually, well, pretty mild.  As I write this today Tuesday, January 17th 2017, I can’t use the weather as my excuse not to skate.  It’s currently 72° and cloudy in beautiful Kennesaw, GA.  Admittedly, it’s unseasonably warm.  Still, I find myself counting the days until spring.  For your information, spring is 61 days, 14 hours, and 9 minutes away.  Look at the forecast for the next 10 days.  Despite some rain here and there, it’s definitely not too bad, eh?

You’re crazy if you aren’t stoked on this forecast.  Time to move the beanies, sweatshirts, and jackets back to storage?  Maybe not quite yet…because, out of the 61 “winter” days left, more than likely we’ll experience a couple more cold snaps and inclement weather that may render the streets “un-skateable.”  I’m by no means a meteorologist, but I’d guess it’ll be due to negligible amounts of ice or rain.  (Knock on wood!)

Then why is it so hard to skate  when the thermostat drops below 50?  When this happens I’ll be the first to declare,  “Oh’ no it’s too ‘cold’ out today”…and hit up the couch.  However, I have learned to put the winter blues into perspective, which helps  stave off the “winter weight” I’d otherwise pack on.  Think of all the skateboarders who skate through much harsher winters or wish it were slighter warmer so that they could.  Hell, I wonder how much money is spent annually by skateboarders escaping the grips of winter?  That’s a survey I would like to see!

In this clip from @dimemtl someone is skating Peace Park in Montreal at a reported 3°.  For their own sake I hope that is in Celsius.  Regardless, it still was wayyyy colder there than it was here today.

https://www.instagram.com/p/_PyUyvDYZZ/?taken-by=dimemtl

If that clip didn’t make you feel like you’re blowing it, remember last winter in Philly?  While a lot of us sat in our warm homes, offices, or skateparks, flocks of skateboarders made their final pilgrimage to Philadelphia in hopes of getting their last sessions in at Love Park!  Some of those days it was freezing and they skated well into the night, and I remained inside and watched as a digital spectator, which isn’t nearly as fun as actually skateboarding.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BAaVTFOEkC2/?taken-by=bobbytenderloins

Still not motivated?  Just watch Quartersnack’s 2015 winter montage.  Yep, that white stuff floating around in the sky and accumulating on the streets is SNOW!  Enough snow that would make me pray it was 43° out.

With all these cats enduring the frigid cold, I think I can look past my marginally frozen bushings, numb fingers, and runny nose long enough to grab a jacket and hit the streets.  That is only if ol’ man winter actually decides rear his face again.  Regardless, I  personally plan to at least try to seize each and every last dry day this winter, because once the heat and humidity comes, I’ll be singing a different tune! Read More >

Nerding Out: Thrasher Magazine Covers over the Years Pt. 1

Bi-weekly, we get together for a marketing meeting.  During these powwows, we lay out our marketing schedule and agenda, and discuss content.  A LOT of times during these meetings we sit around figuratively throwing shit at a wall and hoping some of it sticks.  A few months ago, sitting around the conference table discussing our marketing plans, it hit me.  That little voice in my head said, “Hey, Ben!  I don’t think anyone has ever analyzed every Thrasher Magazine cover.”  And…without thinking, I immediately blurted this out to the group.  Little did I know that this idea would Read More >