Skateboarding has had a long and lusty love affair with art. If you want to get hippy with it, skateboarding can be construed as analogous to a type of performance art where the skateboarder is the artist, the skateboard is the tool, and the streets are the canvas. All abstract mumbo jumbo aside, skateboarding and art just go together. We celebrate board graphics, have a deep respect for filmers and photographers, and basically can’t function without music. And, many skateboarders are accomplished artists, filmmakers, musicians, graphics designers, illustrators, chefs, and more. Skateboarding and art are so closely aligned culturally that they have essentially morphed into two distinct subcultures of a larger, broader lifestyle. The OuterSpace Project is Greg Mike‘s full embodiment of this concept.
Red Bull Skateboarding and their world-renowned band of concrete killers rode through town on Saturday and delivered an epic day of skating and super good times. Ryan Sheckler, Torey Pudwill, Joey Brezinski, Zion Wright, Jagger Eaton, Alex Midler, CJ Collins, and of course, SOTYJamie Foy destroyed Kennesaw Skatepark in front of hundreds of devoted skate junkies.
After the demo, the Red Bull team opened up the park to a locals best trick contest. Pudwill, Zion, and Foy handed out decks, tees, and Ambush gift cards for the heavier bangers of the session.
The notably down-to-earth crew spent most of the day among fans signing autographs and taking pics. If you wanted to meet your heroes, the Red Bull Drop-In event was the place to be.
Being alone can be therapeutic. The silence of your self-imposed isolation can open up your mind and allow it to wander in ways that are unimaginable with the constant noise and interruptions of being among others. You are able to hear the sounds of your breathing and follow your thoughts as they crawl through your mind and into places you didn’t even know existed. When you’re alone, relaxation and revitalization come easy. Snowboarding in solitude can be strangely satisfying as well. With no one pressuring you to party the night before, waking up at dawn is painless. You make your way to the mountain at your own gradual pace, which is still somehow faster than the frenetic, rush-out-the-door pace when you are with a group of friends. You take the series of long, quiet lifts up to the peak. You hike across the ridge while the snow softly crunches under your feet. You’re living in your own private Thoreau novel as you strap on your bindings. Then, you drop in off the peak, gouge a huge turn, and immediately wish you were experiencing this with all of your closest friends.
As Jeff Bezos scours the United States looking for a place to plop a second Amazon headquarters, I started thinking of how deeply addicted we as Americans are to Amazon. It started with the seduction of big discounts, intoxicating convenience, and the opportunity to buy anything capitalism has to offer under one domain. Now, Amazon has become the gatekeeper of all that is sold online and the place we as consumers go when we want to do the least amount of shopping and still get the best (at least, we think it’s the best) deal on the planet. I started looking inward as to whether or not Amazon’s outright dominance of all things ecommerce is a good thing for us in the long term. I mean, there’s a reason they call shoppers who buy exclusively on Amazon “Amazombies,” right?
“Hold the board up to your face. If the board lies between your nose and chin, it’s the right size for you.”
How many times have you heard that in your life? I think some guy at a random rental shop back in 1995 just made that up and it stuck. No matter how that rumor became the standard in snowboard sizing, it’s important that we push passed the lazy anecdotes and get the right size snowboard for your ride. Simply ask yourself two easy questions and you’ll be on your way to snowboard bliss:
How much do you weigh?
The most important piece of information needed to correctly size a snowboard is your weight. Snowboards react to the amount of pressure put on them. The heavier you are, the more pressure the board is put under. The lighter you are, the opposite is true. The goal is to create a balance to where you put enough load on the board so that it grips the snow and reacts to your movements without flattening it out and making the board ride sluggishly.
Nothing ever goes as planned. We hoped to premiere the Ambush Video Challenge edits at Kennesaw Skatepark as part of our Go Skateboarding Day festivities, but the weatherman had other ideas.
The City of Kennesaw was kind enough to bail us out and offer up the Ben Robertson Community Center as a venue. We quickly called an audible and moved everything there. After a few frustrating AV issues, the Video Challenge was on.
The videos were incredible. The creativity, the spots, and the editing were phenomenal. But, what stood out the most, was the insane amount of footage each team stacked in 24 hours. Mind blown.
Each montage was so good we couldn’t narrow it down to the planned five finalists. Seven teams made the finals each with their own vibe. Crust First took the path of most resistance and centered their edit around chunky, East-coast style spots, while Burnt had a polished, professional feel focused on absurdly talented skating. Pretty SB, Boi Boi Tour, and Loyal brought the whole skateboard lifestyle element into focus while Lowkii and Varolina simply brought the hammers. In the end, Lowkii took the crown as Video Challenge champions.
“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children” – Nelson Mandela.
Bartow Advocates for Children is a non-profit organization committed to the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. Kids don’t get to choose the world in which they are born into. But, if they are unlucky enough to be brought up in a bad situation, Bartow Advocates for Children are there to help. So, when they have their major fundraising gala each year, we at Ambush jump at the opportunity to make a donation.
This year we contributed a day on Lake Allatoona on the Ambush Nautique GS-22 for four kids. The day included product demos, lunch, instruction, a goodie bag, and a video to commemorate the outing. The experience was offered during a silent auction with Leah Phillips of Cartersville, GA donating the winning bid. Leah assembled a crew of passionate, young wakeboarders to partake in the experience and an incredibly fun time was had by all.
March is made for Cinderella stories. Every tournament needs an underdog that comes out of nowhere, surpasses expectations, and makes history with an unlikely victory. We’re not talking about March Madness, we are talking about March Radness.
This year’s Cinderella was our very own Wes Lembo. March Radness was stacked with elite skateboarders from all over the southeast like Jason Salillas, Alec Spinosi, and Jake Wooten as well as local rippers Niko Howard, Troy Cobucci, Nick Hagley, Gage Gum, Tommy Stephan and many more. All pushed their skateboarding to the limits and left it all out there on the skatepark (a few left even more in the parking lot). The Street Division was an epic battle, but the universe was on Wes’ side.
After twenty-three renditions of the same contest, it’s easy to think that things can become a little stale. It’s hard to be inspired when the same group of skaters compete in the contest and the same select few seem to always win. And, although that might have been true in past Games of Skate, GOS #23 was anything but typical.
What jumped out most was how much the girls killed it. The ladies’ progression, style, and skill earned the respect of the guys. The girls were viewed and competed against as equals. Three won at least one game and advanced on to the next round. And, Miana Fishman turned heads by earning second place in the Beginner Division.
All the fresh faces in this years’ contest proved that skateboarding is an ever evolving culture with young guns always pushing it and trying to come up. Outside of skateboarding standard bearer, Niko Howard, the rest of the top spots in each division were won by new names with a different interpretation of how flat ground skating should be done.
What if there was no such thing as a skateboard graphic? Would it matter to you if you and your squad all had the same plain, natural wood deck? If skateboards had no graphics, would they still have a soul? Would they tell the story of your favorite pro? Would they still celebrate your favorite video part, ad campaign, or Instagram account? What would a deck with no graphics say about you and your skateboarding? How would anyone know where you have aligned yourself within the skate industry? Would people be making jokes about how lame “Skater X” is over there with his obviously lame brand board?
Thankfully, we don’t live in that world. We live in a world where art and skateboarding go hand in hand. We live in a world where skateboards tell stories, share in our culture’s rich history, and convey a brand’s message. For better or worse, we live in a world where skateboard graphics speak volumes of who you are, who your favorite skater is, what clique you belong to, and with whom you share common values and attitudes. And, if that’s what it takes to draw out all of these beautiful, funny, disgusting, and thought provoking graphics, I enthusiastically embrace every bit of it.