By Cassius Fragomeni
Editor’s note: Sometimes the act of longboarding takes you to a whole new path. Sometimes the dots connect in rather remarkable ways. For the past few months, I have been intrigued by Casey Neistat. He’s a big fan of skateboards, especially electric skateboards: Boosted seems to be his weapon of choice!
I thought about contacting him for an interview for CW. But then, I was out riding on the weekend when I spotted a group of people – one of whom had a longboard. We struck up a conversation, and before you know it, I had this piece emailed to me. This has led to many other things that are going to happen. But for now, enjoy this first piece from Cassius Fragomeni, our latest CW contributor.
Who is Casey? The simple answer is a dude who rides an electric longboard through traffic breaking drones and opening mail. But to me, Casey is more than just a guy who vlogs. He’s what I would define as a 21st century hero.
When I discovered his vlog, I was in quite a dark place in life. I was a top notch student banging out 90’s in all of my classes, but I simply felt something was missing. That something was fun. At first glance, Casey is probably the last man you’d think would be anyone’s hero. However, he did something that I hadn’t seen in a YouTuber since I followed Charles Trippy and his girlfriend after school every day. Funnily enough, I actually stopped watching Charles for the same reason I started watching Casey.
Charles’ life was just absolutely amazing. As a broke high schooler, I felt daunted by the prospect of vlogging. I thought: all I do is sit in school and play games at home, I don’t have a hot girlfriend to use for thumbnails and I don’t have the money to do anything spectacular every day of my life, so why even bother?
I eventually unsubscribed from their channel leaving a message stating I was unsubscribing because their vlogs made me feel depressed because my life lacked the shine that theirs seemed to have. Even after they responded, saying they make the vlogs not to make people jealous of their lives, but to inspire, I just didn’t quite get it and moved on with my life.
Flash forward to a few months ago when I discovered Neistat. Here was this strange guy who was just absolutely full of life in every sense of the word. He was a complete mess, though. He wore these bootleg glasses and knocked things over unintentionally all the time and his life seemed to be in chaos. However, there was something different about him. No matter what happened to him, there was just nothing that stopped him. While many other vloggers have a tendency to only show the best parts of their life, Casey happened to show just about everything.
There were good moments, bad moments and even some sad ones, but each and every day, he just woke up and kept pushing forward. I’ll admit I’m not a long-time fan that can claim to have seen him in his early days. I definitely never knew he was on welfare living in a trailer park until I started writing this piece, but none of that mattered. Here was this guy whose entire goal in life was to experience as much of the world as he could. While I simply watched him for inspiration (as I was working on YouTube doing gaming tutorials) I felt incredibly drawn to his content.
Every morning, I woke up with excitement, simply curious as to what this guy did yesterday. The more I began to watch, the more I wanted to experience what he was doing for myself. However, I had no idea where to start. I had no equipment and I was quite the homebody, but I felt inspired to try it out for myself. Boy, was it amazing! My first day out was terrifying, even after watching him for months when I first set up my camera and shot a time-lapse, I felt like a fool. Everyone around looked at me like I was a madman.
But something magical happened. For a brief moment, I stood there in Dundas square watching all the people stroll past my camera, and then it suddenly clicked for me. I looked around me and saw this vibrant city alive with so many people and started to think about how every single one of them had their own story, each of them their own passions, goals and dreams. The city began to sparkle in a way it never had before. I suddenly wanted to just talk to everyone and anyone. It didn’t matter who they were or what they were doing; I just wanted to connect with as many people and experiences as I could in a way I never had before.
Ten days later, I can barely even bring myself to play video games, not because they don’t bring me joy, but because there is no mystery to them. Making gaming tutorials was brutal, no matter how you explained things, someone always had a complaint or suggestion. Yet when it came to meeting strangers in Toronto, none of that seemed to matter. I was simply someone with a camera probing the minds of complete strangers, asking them about their dreams, goals and desires. I was blown away by how positive the responses of the people I met were.
I thought that being a nobody, I’d simply be brushed aside by everyone. While there are people who have simply ignored me or even shouted rude remarks, none of it mattered. I knew on the other side of the street was another person waiting to be discovered, another store to explore, and another hill to bomb with my longboard.
I can honestly say that Casey Neistat has forever changed my life. Since I started, I’ve rekindled friendships from the past that simply disappeared as my friends began to see the world through my eyes and wanted to share in that experience. I used to spend most of my days locked away in my room chasing dopamine. Now I simply want to head out into the world every day and experience life in the same way that Casey does. All I want to do is spread joy while at the same time learn as much as I can about the city I’ve lived in my whole life.
Casey may appear as a weird guy that is a nuisance to the New York traffic and completely irrelevant to the “world stage”, with no political or economical relevance. But to me, he was the spark that lit the flame and showed me the light of the outside world, something that no teacher could ever hope to match.
All this with just a longboard, a camera, some bootleg sunglasses and a love for anything and everything is what makes him my hero. He’s changing my life one vlog at a time by showing me the world isn’t such a horrible place. It’s full of so much love and wonder and all I want to do is experience it all, even if it means I miss out on 5x EXP in World of Tanks.
There will always be that part of me that wants to sit at home gaming and filling up bars. But those priceless moments when a stranger enters your world and changes it forever don’t happen at home alone, and I have one man to thank for showing me that.
That man is Casey Neistat.
See some of Casey’s greatest hits here:
The International Downhill Federation (IDF) is a non-profit democratic organization pushing new heights for Downhill Skateboard and Luge Racing.
The IDF brings together the finest race tracks, passionate event organizers and talented athletes to practice, compete and put on a show at world-class events around the globe!
Athletes gather for world tour race events on newly discovered technical roads to hone their techniques and control at top gravity speeds. With so many variables and riding styles, the 2016 Open, Women, Jr, Master and Luge podiums are for anyone’s taking.
The 2016 World Cup Tour of Downhill Skateboard and Luge Racing is now underway and the IDF is proud to introduce the new calendar. It’s time to book time off and plan your next mountain adventure!
Events as of April 12, 2016
- April 15-17: Veggie Hill, Philippines WQS
- April 23-25: Yuping Cup, China WQS
- April 29-May 1: Karera sa Lumban, Philippines WQS
- April 29-May 1: Laguna DH, Mexico WQS
- June 11-12: Mahackamack 4000, USA WQS
- June 16-18: Downhill Throwdown at Killington, USA WQS
- June 21-25: Showdown at the Loops, USA WQS
- July 1-3: Whistler Longboard Festival, Canada WC
- July 8-10: TMI Lilyhammer, Norway WC
- July 14-16: Almabtrieb, Austria WQS
- June 19-23: Kozakov Challenge, Czech Republic WC
- August 4-7: Teolo, Italy WQS
- August 12-13: Insul, Germany WQS
- August 19-21: Salzadella Race, Spain WQS
- September 17-18 Downhill La Lucha, Costa Rica WQS
- September 23-24: Callahuanca, Peru WQS
- October 7-9: Mega Grand Prix, Brazil WC
- October 14-16: 7 Curves, Brazil WC
The IDF has also recently launched a new website and registration platform.
The Tramp Trucks Story
By Daniel Fedkenheuer
Editor’s Note – This is a new feature on our site. We’ll have more announcements later. In the meantime: do you have a skate related product that is completely different? We might be interested! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It would probably be safe to say that when Almost Skateboards pro, Daewon Song, “skated” a deck without trucks or wheels on a trampoline more than 20 years ago, he had no idea of the inspiration that would be drawn from the footage of it or the movement that this started.
Instead, Jason Harvey, 41 year old owner of the Tramp Skate Company, would have a better idea of the implications and inventiveness that spurred from Song’s video. This is because upon completing the video, Harvey disassembled his setup and rushed over to a friend’s trampoline to try his hand at it.
The San Bernadino, California native grew up skating the area from which the likes of Eric Koston, Kenny Anderson and Joey Brezinski hailed. Here, Harvey’s physical interest was born and was further enhanced when he got both a home and trampoline of his own. In the near future, Harvey would master flip tricks on the trampoline and look to building a ledge for the next stage of trampoline skateboarding’s progression. To help lock into grinds on this ledge, skate wheels that were cut in half and screwed into the deck did the trick, for a brief period before the innovative Harvey devised the ultimate way to skate a ledge on a trampoline. Enter Tramptrucks.
Tramptrucks are similar to standard street skateboarding trucks in that they protrude from the normal placement of trucks on a street deck and provide a surface in between where the wheels on a skateboard would be attached. However, Tramptrucks feature rounded edges that replicate the function of the trucks and wheels when locking into grinds in the streets and allows those grinds to be taken to a ledge on a trampoline. They also act as a form of added weight that feels more like a complete skateboard rather than just a deck.
The world of trampoline skateboarding caters not only to the avid street skater, learning to feel out more technical flip tricks, but also to transitional and vert skateboarders looking to practice spins and grabs with greater periods of airtime. The potential that Tramptrucks can provide extends for snowboarders, wakeboarders and any other side-stance board rider.
In contrast to the stereotype that trampolines are merely a hazardous children’s toy, trampoline skateboarding provides a medium for older skateboarders to continue the pursuit of their passion in a synthetic environment -this minimalizes the chance of concrete-induced injuries.
Harvey himself notes, “If you’re older like me and you still have the burning desire to do the technical skateboard tricks but can’t afford to get hurt, this is the best way to recreate skateboarding in a safer environment right in your own backyard. It may not be the same thing as skateboarding, but it’s close.”
While the design is simple and the functionality is straightforward, the back end of the Trampskate company is anything but. For Harvey, the operation is made possible through his 50-plus hours a week working as a carpenter foreman. While The Tramp Skate Company’s use of social media is captivating, it also leaves audiences doubting they can build a trampoline like the one Harvey made to make these tricks possible.
However, in light of these struggles, we see the emergence of a vast avenue down which skateboarding’s creativity and possibility can only grow. When asked about the progression and the reception of The Tramp Skate Company to the public, Harvey told CW, “It’s been pretty good; everybody that sees my video is definitely amazed by it. I’ve even been invited to America’s Got Talent but I had to turn it down because of work. So I would say it’s been positive.”
For now, Tramptrucks are available exclusively at thetrampskatecompany.bigcartel.com, though Harvey soon hopes to get them into skate shops. Tramptrucks are manufactured solely in the U.S.A.