I met Zak Furey at the 2016 King of Kona Contest. I was impressed by his artwork and decided at that moment we wanted to profile him at our website.
Who are you and what is background?
I am 30 years old and was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. I grew up skating at Kona and all the other skate parks that have come and gone in the past twenty years, but mostly in backyards and driveways. I played other sports growing up but, organized sports were never as appealing or convenient.
Since the first time I successfully dropped in on a quarter pipe at my neighbor’s house when I was ten, I knew that skateboarding would always stay with me. As I’m sure is the case for most skaters. You see it at parks and competitions. Everybody cheering everyone else on. It’s a sport where you only get out what you put into it. I also run a container garden company called Garden of Eating which I started in 2013. I build, deliver and plant edible container garden beds.
Where is your company located?
Vain boards is located in St. John’s Florida, on Lake Beluthahatchee, just outside Jackson
How did you get into this ?
It’s something that I had always dreamt of since I started skating. I was always decent at skating but definitely not sponsored material, so began thinking about starting my own company. The time just felt right my gardening co was doing well and I really wanted to turn something that I love into more of a job rather than hobby.
I’m not really sure how the name came to me but I guess I just liked the way it sounded and the more I thought about it the more fitting I found it for a skate brand. Once I decided on a name, I had to find someway to set Vain apart from other companies. So I decided that each board be unique and one of one directed toward the skater getting it.
What are some more of unusual request you had for art?
I’ve got some requests for some unusual looking video game characters, but I can understand someone wanting stuff like that. I’m just not a big gamer anymore; I’ll get down on some Skate or Mario kart every once in a while but that’s about it.
Why do you think art is important ?
I think art is a huge part of skateboarding! I consider it a performance art as well as a competitive sport. Skateboarding is also an outlet like other mediums of art to express yourself and create.
So what happens when you put art on the bottom of skateboards?
It makes it personal. You know, you pick the board you like just cause you like it or are a fan of a certain skater or team’s deck. What VAIN is trying to do is make it even more personal in having the skater say what they want their deck to look like.
What are some of your plans for 2016?
Growing! There’s a lot of plans locally here at the shop, like building more ramps here and setting up events. I’m really excited about expanding my company and getting t-shirts, hats, hoodies, and other stuff available. This is Vainboard’s first year still and I’m loving every minute of it! Follow me @vainboards on Instagram and watch it progress. One thing I’ve learned from skating is its all about progressing.
Today is my last day on the tour here in Israel. I am wrapped up my final workshop in a school located in Jerusalem called Hand in Hand.
As you can see from these photos, the kids were beyond stoked. The school has a vision of Arabs and Israelis living together harmoniously and that’s what I saw today.
Unfortunately, the school was firebombed in November 2014. I am pleased to report however that this has not diminished the spirits of the students and staff.
It is indeed an honor and a privilege to be able to teach skateboarding to children in a school like this. We reached almost 200 kids today and it was phenomenal.
I’m thoroughly exhausted. I just finished a falafel and I’m about to relax as I leave tomorrow.
I hope these photos give you a sense of what an experience today was like. Skateboarding has the power to change people’s minds and the smiles on their faces really give me hope for the future.
Our next vision is to ensure that the five schools in Israel get pump tracks. I just need one millionaire to write a check.
Hello everybody. I’m still doing workshops here in the Middle East. Today we are at a school with over 180 students. Arabs and Israeli’s learning to skate in peace.
It has come to my attention that there were some factual errors with an opinion piece that was written about the Maryhill She Ride. We sincerely regret these errors.
Dean Ozuna, Maryhill Ratz, and countless others have done and continue to do amazing things for downhill skateboarding. This piece was in no way a reflection of their contributions. Our sincere apologies to anyone who was upset by this editorial.
We are taking steps to ensure our work matches our motto. The ride is indeed the reward and we look forward to reporting on Maryhill for many years to come.
Greetings from Tel Aviv Israel. Yesterday we worked with the Peres Center for Peace. We spent an hour and a half with Arabs and Israelis skateboarding together in Jaffa.
I’m pleased to report that the experience was 100% positive and the group of 14 year olds is desperate to get back on the boards. In a land where there isn’t much peace, we found an oasis of peace and it was magical.
Last week we ran a piece on the Maryhill “she ride”. It was an opinion piece and I have received some feedback which I wanted to address.
Due to a 10 hour time difference, I’ve been unable to contact the writer of the piece. I know that Candy Dungan is passionate about longboarding and she always speaks from her heart.
I never want to stifle people’s passion for something and I knew when I read the piece that Candy had tapped into something.
Sometimes it is very difficult to let freedom of expression balance with the complex realities that happen with an event. The piece is Candy’s opinion so I felt it was very important to let her have an opportunity to speak her mind. But going forward I want to make sure that other people have an opportunity to be heard as well.
This type of piece is somewhat unusual for Concrete Wave. However, I feel it is vital that ideas that are somewhat controversial need to slowly percolate.
I am sorry that this piece has upset some people. I acknowledge the fact that the piece has a negative tone. Candy and many other women out there have a unique perspective on things and I really want to ensure that their voices heard. At the same time, I want to keep things positive and that’s always been the spirit of Concrete Wave. But sometimes things are controversial. There are some who would argue that it’s time for Concrete Wave to raise some of these issues that women face within skateboarding.
It is a delicate balancing act and even more delicate as I am six thousand miles away but I will be back very soon.
I have decided to the following; when I get back I want to engage in a follow-up piece about the piece. I also want to encourage others to give their perspective as well.
Please note that I take this matter very seriously and I will be working with a number of different people to ensure that all voices are heard and respected.
Meanwhile please take a moment to view some of these photos and know some incredible things can happen when it comes to rolling around on a plank of wood.
By Michael Brooke
Like many of you, I love magic. But there is no way I’d become a magician. It takes an extraordinary amount of patience to learn tricks. Oddly enough, back in December, I received a curious email from someone who told me they’d written a book on magic and skateboarding. I quickly asked for a review copy and like magic, it arrived.
Shortly after we did an interview with the author and illustrator, Joel Ledoux.
Why did you write this book?
I’m an artist, and the “why” is sometimes the hardest question to answer. There is sort of a mystery to the art of creation – an inward calling – and sometimes it’s years down the road before you actually realize why you made something, or at least make sense of it. The whole book was an act of instinct, and a way of connecting to parts of myself that I had lost – like doing illustrations again, and my love for skateboarding.
The whole thing was created the way that I skate, with a sense of discovery and improv – the pen skated across the pages and out of the borders. Skateboarding has a freedom; the book’s creation was sort of like jazz.
Who did the illustrations?
I did all of the illustrations.
Why do you consider magic to be an important part of skateboarding?
We all know that skaters use black magic! (Laugh) Good for you if you got that joke! On a more serious note, if you look up the history of skateboarding, it actually evolved from surfing. The ancient Polynesian chiefs of the highest ranks were the best surfers. They would pray to conjure the perfect wave, and the simple stunt of balancing on the wave the longest showed how in balance they were on a spiritual level.
There have been several scholars that have theorized that popular entertainment like magic, juggling, puppetry, and ventriloquism evolved out of shamanism. If you think about it, the words are not that different: shaman and showman. There’s a quote about Rodney Mullen in the book More Curious that describes him as, “self-torturing, flipping ballet moves alone in a gas station at midnight … as close to an authentic holy man as an American can get”.
Even in the most trivial sense, the tricks on skateboards still reflect magic. The kickflip was originally called a “magic flip.”
If you think about magic, it’s strange because most magicians are frauds. I remember as a child I saw a magician vanish a candle on TV, I tried for weeks using my mom’s candle, pushing it down my sleeve, and so on. After so many failed attempts, I purchased the trick only to learn that they used a fake candle to accomplish the trick. As I got older, I could see I was losing the side of me that believed I could do things.
Before the internet, kids at school would talk about this legendary trick called an ollie impossible. There was no way to see video of it and confirm that is was real – it was like a myth. I would go out every day and try it. So you see a magician would cheat – they could use a magnet to make it stick to your foot, and pull a cable to give you more air time – but skaters don’t use gimmicks.
After failing the trick several times I finally landed it, and it was one of the best moments in my life, to realise the impossible is possible. A lot of magicians use metaphor to add real value to their fake tricks, but I always felt like, if art is a lie that tells the truth, why not seek to make art that is truth that tells the truth?
Skateboarding is one of the few art forms that I think does this, and that is why I see it as magic.
What is your message to those who are considering fusing magic and skateboarding?
It’s not about the tricks, it’s about you. A skateboard is like a paintbrush – find out what magic means to you and express it through your skateboarding!
Where would you like to see things go with your message?
Things have been really stunt driven. I’d like to see skateboarding become more of a performance art, similar to how an ice skater tells a theatrical story through their tricks and range of emotions.
I’d like to see fingerboarding become more of an art. There is so much to play with on the scale of the skateboards. Your hands can already fly. Why not take advantage of being able to look at your audience in the eyes when you make a fingerboard disappear using sleight of hand and see the wonder, the magic, to connect with people.
There are so many pros at demos that have headphones on listening to music. I think skateboarding is a performance, and the first thing we need to start acknowledging is the crowd.