Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Who is Mark Gonzales?

Mark Gonzales (born June 1, 1969), also known as "The Gonz", is a professional skateboarder and artist. He is known in the skateboarding world as the pioneer of street skateboarding, currently skateboarding's most popular form.

Gonzales arrived on the skateboarding scene at age 15 with a more modern approach to street skating and made the cover of Thrasher Magazine's November 1984 issue, riding a board from Alva, with which he was sponsored at the time. He was soon to be picked up for sponsorship by a new company with big ideas,called Vision Skateboards.

In 1986, the first major gap was cleared with Gonzales's ollie at Embarcadero in San Francisco(see Thrasher, September '86). So historical was this incident for skateboarding, it became forever known as the "Gonz Gap" and helped make Embarcadero a popular location for skateboarders. Also in 1986, Gonzales, together with Natas Kaupas, was the first person to skate handrails, thus cementing his contribution to street skating's early to intermediate stages. He became one of the first people to skate switch stance in 1987.

Gonzales went on to further influence skateboarding as it modernized with the 1991 video Video Days, by Blind skateboards (a skateboard company he created around 1989). The name Blind was an intentional slight to his old sponsor, Vision. And in 1993, Gonzales was the first to kickflip his namesake, the Gonz Gap at Embaracadero.

Gonzales has also established a parallel career as an artist, having shown at the Alleged Gallery in New York and various galleries worldwide. He recently had an exhibit featuring collaborative works with Christian Hosoi at The Journal gallery in New York City. He also designs the 'Gonzo Cuntry' clothing line available in Japan and t-shirts for UARM. Some of his fans include Donald Trump and Sean Combs, both of whom have collections of his artwork. [1]

He has been in a few movies, including Harmony Korine's cult film Gummo, where he wrestles a chair.

He has published a book called Broken Poems and in 2006 he was awarded the Legend Award by Transworld Skateboarding.

In 2007 he published a skateboarding video called Gnar Gnar that was shot with an old VHS camcorder and was limited to only 1000 VHS copies.

Most recently, Mark Gonzales was also featured in the music video, "West Coast" by Jason Schwartzman's (Rushmore's Max Fischer) band, Coconut Records. This was a skate video sequence originally filmed in 1998 at a German Museum, but was edited and synced for this music video with his permission.

He is also a published author, artist, and poet and has published several books including social problems, high tech poetry, broken dreams and broken poems.

Today he is sponsored by: Krooked Skateboarding (a company he runs), Spitfire Wheels, Independent Truck Company, Fourstar Clothing, and Adidas skate shoes.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Who is "Ollie"... the skateboarding trick....named after?

To execute an ollie...the front foot is moved slightly more towards the center of the board. The skateboarder jumps up, and as they are about to take off they kick the tail of the board down. The kick gives the front end of the board upward momentum, and as the tail hits the ground, it rebounds making the board completely airborne. When the board takes off, its nose is much higher off the ground than the tail is. The skateboarder slides their front foot up and forward on the griptape. The movement between the shoe and the board levels the skateboard and takes it further off the ground.

But where did the ollie get its name?

The Ollie is named after Alan Gelfand...aka Ollie...who invented the trick!

Alan Gelfand (born 1963, New York) is the inventor of the ollie, a skateboarding trick.

Gelfand moved from New York to Hollywood, Florida with his family in 1968. Alan "Ollie" Gelfand started skateboarding in 1974 after his father bought him his first skateboard. In 1976 he won the South Florida Skateboard Championships. This was the year skateboard parks started to appear with the very first one opening up in Port Orange, Florida in early 1976. In 1977 Hollywood would get its own park called Skateboard USA. This park with its imperfect walls was atypical of the first-generation skate parks and it was the over-vertical sections of the big bowl which played a significant role in Gelfand's 1977 development of the ollie. Gelfand's "no-hands aerial" was dubbed an "ollie" by friends Kevin Peterson, Craig Snyder, Jeff Duerr, and Scott Goodman using the nickname they had given Gelfand only months earlier.

During the summer of 1977 California skateboarder Stacy Peralta visited the Solid Surf Skate Park in Fort Lauderdale where he met Gelfand and observed with some disbelief his no-handed aerial. In 1978, after Peralta formed Powell Peralta with skateboard equipment manufacturer George Powell, Gelfand was recruited as the first member of the new team joining Stacy Peralta and Powell's own Ray "Bones" Rodriquez. This team later became known as the legendary Powell Peralta Bones Brigade which included other Florida skaters such as Mike McGill, inventor of the 540 aerial or "McTwist" in 1984, and Rodney Mullen who during the 1980’s grew to become one the of major influences of today's street skating.

Another young Bones Brigade member, Tony Hawk, used the ollie during the early 1980’s as a way to achieve higher air when doing tricks. The ollie soon changed both vert and street skateboarding in revolutionary ways and most skateboard tricks are now based on this maneuver.

In the late 1990’s ollie became an official entry in the Oxford English Dictionary but the origin was listed as unknown. In February 2004 the Oxford English Dictionary rectified the listing giving Alan "Ollie" Gelfand credit as the name and originator behind the 1977 maneuver. In July 2006 the Merriam-Webster followed suit adding Gelfand and his ollie to its dictionary. Gelfand stopped skateboarding in 1981 because of knee injuries, general burn-out and the shutdown of most U.S. skate parks during the previous year.

During the 1980's Gelfand turned to racing cars driving Volkswagens exclusively and winning many of the Sports Car Club of America SCCA races. In 1987 Gelfand won the World Karting Association, or WKA Grand National Championship. From there he went on to win four 24-hour races driving VW's he custom-built in a shop called "Ollieprep". In 2001 Gelfand raced in the Grand Am Cup behind the wheel of a 2000 model Porsche 986 Boxster. Gelfand continued racing for another year placing 3rd in several national competitions.

In 2001 Gelfand returned to skateboarding. In 2002 he opened a venue in Hollywood, Florida called Olliewood which features a 48 foot bowl built by the Team Pain crew. He also owns a Volkswagen dealership called "Volkswagen Depot" in Hollywood, Florida.

........and now you know where the skateboard trick "Ollie" got its name!

Why is Skateboarding Demonized?

With all the news about the skateboarding incident in Hot Springs...where skateboarders where deemed so offensive to the public good that officers needed to tackle and chokehold them into submission... I wonder why some folks view skateboarding as such a threat?

Apparently skateboarders need to be confined, controlled and supervised at all times lest they stray into evil.

I'd think it's just people worried about kids being kids...but other kid activities are not sanctioned so heavily. Last time I checked tossing a football or shooting hoops did not bring the looks of scorn that merely holding a skateboard can bring.

I'd think that statistics must show that violent criminals were heavily into skateboarding...but I don't see that.

So what is it?

Pieces of wood with wheels attached are scary?

What's up?

Conway Skate Park at the McGee Center

If you're up here in Conway, there is a place to skate over at the new McGee Center...head west down Prince Street headed to Toad Suck Park. The McGee Center is on the left before you get to Hogan.

The park is a fenced in enclosure has a 6 foot mini ramp, a 1/4 pipe, a bank with a spine, launch ramp and rails, and a big load ramp with rails down, a high and low bench, plain fun box, and a fun box that is 2 ft. at one end and 1 ft. at the other. There's also 2 kink rails and another 7 ft box. It's open to roller bladers and skateboarders through the week...and bikes on Sunday.

It's managed by the city, and you have to wear a helmet and they lock it up at dark. It's a lot of metal painted...so it's a slick, fast ride in spots so the helmet is a good thing.

Kanis Park - Skateboard Park in Little Rock, Arkansas

Anyone been to the skate park at Kanis Park in LR? It's located off Rodney Parham and 630 Interstate.

Along with the skate park, there is a softball field, jogging trails, tennis and basketball courts and picnic areas.

The skate park has a rough concrete bowl that is 8ft in the deep end and 3ft on the shallow end. The concrete is slick in areas and makes for a fast ride. Pads and helmets are required since its managed by the Parks Department...but it's skate at your own risk.

Skaters and supporters protest officer's reinstatement

The viral video of a Hot Springs police officer arresting skateboarders hit a Texas man so hard, he came to Arkansas to lead a protest.
More than one-and-a-half million people have now checked out the video of Hot Springs Police Officer Joseph Williams arresting a group of skateboarders. Just this week, Williams was cleared of any wrong doing- saying he did not use excessive force, something not everyone agrees with.

"One individual should not beat children!" That was just one of the lines protesters used Sunday afternoon in Hot Springs. The mother of one of the children in the YouTube video spoke out for the first time Sunday and wanted to get out a message of fairness. "I've seen police that on, that do drug busts and house raids and things of this sort that no one is choked, " says the mother, who did not give FOX16 her name.

So Jason Waite, a Texan, organized Sunday's protest where the young and old, and skaters and non-skaters joined together against what they are calling police brutality. "This is a unified front for peace and to express our civil rights and to bring out the truth and hopefully seek some conflict resolution, " says Waite.

While Waite does not even live in Arkansas, he says the power of the Internet makes this a global issue. There is even someone on Ebay trying to sell the uncut, complete video. It is the only copy of the actual tape, which promises to show all of the day's events leading up to the arrests. The starting bid is one-thousand dollars, so far there are no takers.

But the interest in this case is high in Hot Springs. The protest even launched a counter-protest of people who say the skateboarders are out of control and running folks off the sidewalk. Their T-shirts show support for the police force. "Especially the police officer who was involved, no, he talks to my children. He's a nice officer, " says Tammi Ferrer who came to counter-protest.

Meanwhile, Waite made sure protesters stayed in straight lines, so they did not get in the way of tourists trying to shop. "We completely support our business 110-percent and we support our police department and our city officials 110-percent, " adds Waite. He also says the skateboarders have nowhere else to skate.

The police supporters say the kids smash into people and shouldn't even be out there without adult supervision.

This is the most viewed sports video on YouTube for the month so far. More than 16-thousand have left comments, so it is sparking debate all across the world.

Source: CW Arkansas by Kelly Dudzik

Skateboarders Protest in Arkansas

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. A protest of the city's reinstatement of a police officer involved in a fracas with skateboarders drew more than two dozen chanting protesters to the scene where the boarders were arrested.

About 25 protesters kept their rides in their hands Sunday as they marched down a Central Avenue sidewalk. They were abiding by a city ordinance that bars skateboarding on downtown sidewalks.

The rule had led to the June 21 arrests of six boarders - two adults and four juveniles - by Officer Joey Williams. The incident attracted national attention after a video made by some of the skateboarders involved was posted on YouTube showing Williams on top of one of the skaters, apparently choking him. It also showed Williams putting two other skateboarders in a headlock.

Williams was suspended, but he was reinstated last week after an internal report concluded that he had used a proper amount of force during the arrests.

Jason C. Waite of Paris, Texas, who said he organized the protest Sunday, said Williams' treatment of the skateboarders was an "atrocity" and the officer used excessive force.

"Police brutality is bad for business!" the boarders chanted.

Hot Springs City Manager Kent Myers watched as the protesters walked along the sidewalk in a single-file line, chanting.

"It's been a very peaceful and orderly protest," he said. "There are a lot of emotions down here."

Police spokesman McCrary Means had no comment on the protest except to say that the skateboarders "have a right to exercise their freedom of speech."

Source: The Associated Press

Sunday, July 8, 2007

How to do the backstab skateboard trick?

This is a curb lip trick. To learn this trick you should be able to boneless (or at least planting your foot on the ground while holding your board).

1: Ride towards the curb at a moderate speed.

2: Reach down with your front hand and grab the middle of your board.

3: Step off the board with your front foot and snap the tail so you should be in a madonna-ish position.

4: Hop onto the curb, bring your board up with you and plant your back truck on the curb (kinda like a 5-0, but you can let your tail touch the curb) still holding your board.

5: Hold it.

6: To get out, you can pull your board so you land in a tailstall position, or skip the tailstall position and skate away.

Tensor Skateboard Trucks

.......description from tensortrucks.com...cool stuff!


We did a lot of work on the new MID. Whereas the modifications of the LO were aimed at tightening and honing its basic characteristics, nearly every feature of the MID has been reworked.

LOWER KINGPIN The kingpin is much lower. We took similar steps to what we did for the LO, only everything doubled: First, we effectively shortened the kingpin; second, we dropped the “seat” of the bottom bushing on the baseplate; last, we pulled the “ring” (top-bushing seat) deeper, away from the axle.

SHARPER TURNING This was a two-step process. First, we lengthened the pivot stem, then lowered the height of the pivot cup. This allows for more of a flowing sensation into turns, lessening the emphasis on overall stability.

HEIGHTENED RESPONSE There was a slight decrease in the baseplate’s kingpin-to-pivot distance, meaning the hanger’s loop-to-axle distance was compressed as well. This livens things up a bit.

THICKER BARREL We beefed up the region around the axle: bigger radius, better grind.

MODIFIED LOOK The baseplate is cleaner than it used to be, and the region around the pivot stem (on the hanger) has more clearance with regard to the baseplate/cup.

TIGHTER FIT The fit of the hanger on the bushing was a bit “loose,” which became more noticeable as the bushings and pivot cup compressed and stretched over their natural lifespan. The new precision fit creates a more solid, accurate feel.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Riverview Skatepark in North Little Rock Arkansas

(pictured above street section of Riverview Skate Park)

The city of NLR pulled out the stops and contracted with Dreamland Skateparks out of Oregon to build a 24,000 sq foot in-ground concrete bowl.

Riverview features a large bowl with about a 10ft. drop and a shallow end thats about 4ft. A street course with large transition ramps,a rainbow rail and two more flat rails. One small pyramid and a few ledges with a kicker and a 3step.

The park is located on River Road off of Pike Avenue/Riverfront Drive (this is where River Road begins); you will travel approximately 1 ½ miles on River Road to Riverview Park.

(pictured above bowl section of Riverview Skate Park)

Thursday, July 5, 2007

How to do the endover skateboard trick...

To get them right, put your front foot on the nose of your board and your back foot on the tail of your board.

1) Know how to manual and how to pivot.

2) Going forward, do a 180 NOSE pivot, frontside or backside, your choice, just do not raise the wheels too high and keep your weight nicely centered.

3) Now, do a pivot again, your body has to turn the same way as in the first pivot.

4) Your body has done a full 360 if you did it right.

5) Do it again a few times, if you practice hard, you can combine them with a few 360, 540 or 720 spins.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Hot Springs officer who stopped skateboarders cleared by board

LITTLE ROCK -- A Hot Springs police officer who appeared to choke a skateboarder and put two others into a headlock in a video posted online used the proper amount of force when making his arrests, an internal investigation by police found.

The report, signed by five officers, found officer Joey Williams confronted a situation that "would have overwhelmed any single officer" when he stopped those breaking city ordinance by skateboarding on a downtown sidewalk June 21. However, the investigation faulted Williams for leaving a handcuffed suspect unattended while chasing another youth in the resort town's historic Bathhouse Row.

"I think it was fair," City Manager Kent Myers said. Witnesses "consistently supported the actions of the officer and his efforts to control the situation."

Video of the incident from a business' security cameras show 10 skateboarders rolling down the city sidewalk at a good clip, followed by Williams, who sprints past the last skater. A video taken by skateboarders and later posted to YouTube shows Williams on top of one of the skaters, apparently choking him. The video also showed Williams putting another two skateboarders in a headlock and the officer can later be heard threatening to use pepper spray on a skateboarder lying on the ground.

What remains unclear is what led up to Williams chasing one of the skateboarders down the sidewalk. Myers said it was "premature" to discuss what provoked the incident, saying it would be part of an upcoming court case against those charged in the incident.

Police said they arrested four juveniles and Matthew Jon McCormack, 21, and Skylar Nalls, 19, both of Hot Springs. McCormack faces a misdemeanor battery charge accusing him of pushing or striking a 67-year-old city employee during the melee. Nalls was cited for skateboarding and faces misdemeanor charges of fleeing and obstructing governmental operations.

YouTube shows the video has been viewed more than 1.4 million times since it was posted June 25. Since the YouTube video hit the Internet, Williams has been on administrative leave. Police said he would return Thursday to active duty in the city's downtown.

In their report, the officers described the June 21 event as being "part of a planned participation in a nationwide anti-authority demonstration." However, organizers of Go Skateboarding Day describe the event organized by skateboarding companies as an effort to encourage more people to take up skateboarding.

Those around the country who took part brought video cameras to record their tricks to win contest prizes, said John Bernards, executive director of the International Association of Skateboard Companies, based in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.

Myers acknowledged the investigation wouldn't have happened without the YouTube video, but said the city had no immediate plans to post its own video response on the site.

"I think it shows the power of the Internet," Myers said.

Source: The Morning News - Jon Gambrell

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Hot Springs: Skateboard Video Controversy Continues

Skateboard Video Controversy Continues
Source: Fox 16 News

Click here for video

New video released exclusively to FOX16 shows a new angle of the scuffle between a Hot Springs Police officer and some skate boarders. The video came from the camera of a business along Central Avenue. It actually shows what happened before the scuffle took place.
The eyes of the world have focused on Hot Springs for the past week. The reason, a highly watched video posted on YouTube. It shows Officer Joseph Williams in a scuffle with a group caught skate boarding in a prohibited area along Central Avenue.

After seeing the video lots of people posted comments saying the police officer used excessive force and poor judgement.

"Pick up your skateboards and walk next time I guess and if you really have a problem go to city council and fight it there, but that cop needs to be fired," says one poster.

However, some sided with the officer. "Even at the start of the video the cop says, 'I told you to stop and you didn't' what do you expect when you run away from the police?" adds another poster.

That's what many business owners in the area believe. And they say this video released exclusively to FOX16 News proves their point.

Employees standing out front of the wax museum say the YouTube video doesn't tell the entire story. They were able to catch some of what happened on their own surveillance video and they say it clearly shows the skate boarders disobeying the police officer.

"I seen the cops and about 10 skate boarders come flying by and when they seen the cop they hollered run run and they took off running and the cop was steadily chasing them and he got one down over there," says Tracy Hicks.

Alan Hickman was also on the street that day, he too has a different account of what happened. He says while the YouTube video shows the officer grabbing the kids, what you don't know is he was reacting to them attacking him out of view of the camera. "The kids were way in the wrong, the kids were way out of line, the cop was basically protecting himself," says alan Hickman.

The investigation into Officer Williams' actions is still underway. Police haven't said when it will wrap up.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Skatehead Zed Skate Park in Rogers Arkansas

Skatehead Zed's skatepark is an indoor skate park that was opened back in 2002. It's a 17,000 sq. foot spot with a street skate area and an area for the more experienced for 'big air' rides. The vert is 10 ft and the mini is 6 ft. There are nice transitions ramp to ramp. Nice wood for wallriders too.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Plan B Skateboard

Plan B was formed in 1991 as a superteam, made up of an elite group of skateboard professionals at that time. Plan B was started under Steve Rocco's World Industries empire, and the team was headed by H-Street ex-co-owner Mike Ternasky. The original team was made up of top riders from other companies who all left to form Plan B. It consisted of Danny Way, Matt Hensley, Rodney Mullen, Mike Carroll, Sean Sheffey and Rick Howard, and later added riders Colin McKay, Pat Duffy, Sal Barbier, Ronnie Bertino, Jeremy Wray, and Moses Itkonen. They also took the superteam concept to snowboarding and formed Type A Snowboards.

In 1993 Rick Howard was disgruntled over a wheel invoicing dispute and left Plan B with fellow team riders Mike Carroll, and Sean Sheffey, as well as Megan Baltimore who worked in administration. They went on to form Girl Skateboards.

In 1994, Mike Ternasky was killed in a car accident. Danny Way and Colin McKay took over the team while still maintaining pro status and eventually went independent, separating from World Industries. World Industries in turn formed their own superteam, with the Rodney Mullen headed A-team. With the loss of Ternasky, the team lost focus and Way and McKay pulled the plug on the brand and went on to focus their efforts on their individual professional careers, with Way joining Alien Workshop and McKay first joining Girl Skateboards and later Seek Skateboards.

In 2005, Plan B was resurrected by Way and McKay with the financial backing of Syndrome Distribution, using the same formula as the original Plan B, as a superteam of elite skaters picked from other teams. Paul Rodriguez Jr. from Girl, Ryan Gallant from Expedition-One, PJ Ladd from Flip. Way and McKay maintained their roles as team co-owners/pro skaters. Pat Duffy, Darrell Stanton, and Brian Wenning were later added to the pro roster. Ronson Lambert became the team's first amateur. Wieger van Wageningen became the first international team rider after the demise of his previous sponsor, The Firm, with ├ęS Game of SKATE winner Alex Mizurov joining afterwards. Stanton later left the team for Element Skateboards in August 2006. On January 2, 2007, Plan B made a press release to confirm the addition of Ryan Sheckler to the team. On March, 26, 2007 Angel Cardenas from Bakersfield was added to the amateur team.

Plan B debuted their promo film, Live after Death, at the September 2006 Action Sports Retailer Expo. It is viewable online on Plan B's website, downloadable as a Podcast from iTunes, and also included on DVD with the puchase of select Plan B decks. Their first major skateboarding film, Unquestionable, is slated to be released sometime in 2007.

Watch YouTube Video of Skateboarding Arrest in Hot Springs Arkansas

Watch the video - uncut version at YouTube - to see the takedown of skateboarders in Hot Springs Arkansas.