We are pleased to show our January issue…completely free!
Read about how event promoter Lee Cation faces the elements. We also have a farewell tribute to downhill legend Biker Sherlock. And a ton of other stories and images to inspire you.
Moonshine MFG is excited to announce the release of seven new decks to its ever-growing lineup of high-end, high-tech longboards. Of the seven, four are brand new shapes and three are graphic updates to popular existing boards
With these exciting additions, Moonshine’s lineup is now 17 boards strong and covers an even wider facet of the sport, from world-class downhill racing to aggressive freeriding to mellow campus cruising. While shapes, profiles and performances of each board differs greatly, every one is hand made in the USA.
Moonshine is also launching an industry-first 30-day performance guarantee for 2016, which gives customers 30 days to decide if the Moonshine board they have selected is the right one for them.
Moonshine’s 30-Day Performance Guarantee: Moonshine is so confident in the quality and performance of its boards that it’s launching an industry-first guarantee (in addition to its standard warranty policy):
If a customer is unsatisfied with his/her Moonshine board for any reason, within 30 days of purchase, Moonshine will exchange it for another Moonshine board of their choosing. This unique guarantee is desinged to give customers confidence in their investment with Moonshine MFG. If they’re unsatisfied or feel they have selected the wrong board, Moonshine will make sure they get the right one, no questions asked.
I received an email from Lisa Conner, a proud Alaskan and doubly proud mom of her son Casey who started up 907Boards last summer at the age of fifteen. I was intrigued. That’s a fairly young age to be a skate entrepreneur. Alaska might be the last frontier, but it is right up there in terms of skate stoke!
Alaska seems so remote…distant…what’s it like to live there?
Casey Conner: I was born and raised in Alaska, so knowing anything different is difficult. Living here is probably like living on an island for others in the Lower 48, because most people fly out. As you know, it is possible to drive but it’s a minimum three-day trip through Canada which now requires a passport. In Anchorage we have dark and cold days for months with the shortest day giving us about four hours of daylight.
What about the winters?
Longboarding in the winter is next to impossible, even though this winter has been very mild and I have carved out a few sessions on a local hill. The weather has been unseasonably warm with some days reaching forty to forty-five degrees, but the problem is finding asphalt with no gravel.
In the winter the city constantly dumps sand and gravel on our roads so drivers have traction on the ice – not a very good scene for longboarding. Summers, on the other hand, are incredible and the sun doesn’t really set for a few months. We can longboard at midnight!
What’s the longboard scene like where you live?
It’s very limited. That’s why 907Boards hosts and sponsors as many longboard events as possible. We are doing everything we can to grow and promote the healthy side of the sport in Alaska. There is a larger population of cruisers and freeride, but the numbers are growing for downhill. I prefer bombing hills, but it’s hard to find a lot of riders with the same passion and need for speed. There are probably two to three dozen that I consider serious longboarders in our local area.
One of my top goals is to compete nationally or internationally and use the opportunity to learn from the pros and bring that enthusiasm and knowledge back home to Alaska. I developed a little “cabin fever” this winter and started having withdrawals from not being able to skate. What is a guy to do? Build a half pipe in the back of the shop! The ramp gives me the opportunity to skate every day and offer training and skate time to customers. Honestly, I probably would have driven my mom crazy if I didn’t have this outlet to keep me active and on a board.
What was your reasoning in creating a shop? Tell us more about 907Boards
Basically, I started the business in my garage then it took over the family room at home. I tried to get my boards and apparel into local shops and was turned down. I am grateful to one national chain that displayed one of my decks as a courtesy and offered my business cards to interested customers. The manager of that store also spent a lot of time answering my questions and gave me several pointers about the sport. I really appreciate his generosity and passion for skating – as I do yours.
You’ve heard the saying, “necessity is the mother of invention.” Well, my only choice after being rejected was to open my own shop. Talk about an adrenaline rush! 907Boards has completely changed my life and the experience has been far greater than I could have imagined. The opportunity to act on my dreams and strengthen my business muscle has only been possible with the support of my parents, loyal customers and good friends.
907Boards actively promotes the healthy side of long boarding by hosting and sponsoring many programs and events. Here is a sampling of how we spend our time outside the shop:
During the summer:
- Slide Jams
- Downhill Races
- Push Races
- Ride & SlideTraining Sessions (on and off the half-pipe)
- ArcticThunder Airshow
During the winter:
- High School and Middle School Longboard Clubs, Shop Class
- FieldTrips to 907Boards for all grade levels
- School Business Partnership Events and Skate Demonstrations
- Freestyle Fridays Snowboard Competition at local ski resort
- Military Discounts, Sponsorships and Events
- Longboard Workshops/Classes
- Shop-Sponsored Riders locally and stateside
- Facebook Groups (Alaska LongboardAcademy and Boarding Alaska Style)
- Facebook Pages (907Boards and Longboard4Change)
- Pizza Fridays
- Skate Parties
We also promote and sell other Alaska brands in the shop
How long does the skate season last?
For fair-weather cruisers the season is from April to September. For diehard longboarders the season can be as early as February to November and if we are lucky and have no snow we can get in a few rides at “secret” locations during December and January.
What do you guys do for fun in the winter…and how long does it last?
My background is competitive snow machine racing and soccer, but I also snowboard. As you might expect hockey and skiing are also huge here. Really anything that gets you off the couch and outdoors is fun, since our winters can drag out for six months or longer.
Is it expensive to live in Alaska?
I will let you decide: the average price of a home in Anchorage is approximately $350,000, gallon of milk is $4.32, average lunch is $14.00, loaf of bread is $4.25, gallon of gas is $2.74, average rent for a two bedroom/one bath apartment is $1500/month plus utilities, minimum wage is $9.75 and a longboard setup retails at $350.00 for name brands and decent quality. Shipping costs to Alaska are very high and impact the price of goods in every industry.
Any final thoughts?
Please check out the 907Boards Facebook page and Instagram account for photos and more information about the company. We are currently building our online store, events calendar and blog at 907Boards.com. We are very proud of the recent article published in Alaska Business Monthly magazine, as this is the most legit media source in our state.
We appreciate your interest in our shop and the shout out to longboarding in Alaska. Please stay tuned as we announce our special project “LB4C.” We hope you and your readers find your way to Alaska and 907Boards!
8225 Old Seward Highway, Suite B
Anchorage, Alaska 99518
By Candice Dungan
At the ripe age of 22, Ariel Ries, from Delkalb, Illinois, opened Fargo Skateshop. Nine years later, Ariel’s shop is still successfully providing skateboards to the masses. In today’s skate industry, sustaining a skate-specific shop is a challenge. Ariel shares insight on how she ran her shop for almost a decade and her thoughts on women’s skateboarding in the industry right now.
Tell me a little about your skate shop: What makes it unique? What are your goals?
The shop is unique because it’s the only place that caters to skateboarding within a 30-mile radius. My goal is to transition from being just a skate shop to include a community space for skateboarding. Earlier this year, we moved the skate shop a few blocks away to be located in a storefront that is adjacent of a 8,900 sq. ft. theater that was built in 1929.
For the past year I’ve been going through the process of rehabbing the theater to be an indoor skateboard training facility, and we should be open in the spring of 2016. Seeing kids over the years grow up, and continue to skate and progress, is really what I live for.
What are your marketing strategies? How do you get involved in the skate community?
My marketing strategies rely on a combination of social media, word-of-mouth, lessons we offer privately and through surrounding park districts, and community events that we run throughout the year. Check us out on Instagram we have two handles @fargoskateboarding and @fargo.tf, on Facebook we are Fargo Skateboarding, and two of our head filmer’s YouTube channels are Segatron Media, and Max Williams, you can see a lot of the footage of people skating our facility on their channels.
One event we run every year in February is our annual Skateboard Inspired Art Show, this will be our ninth annual one on Thursday Feb. 25th 2016. The art show celebrates skateboarding art, and everyone is encourages to participate! Throughout the summers we run skateboard contests, skateboard trips, longboard push races, and we do a summer festival where we close down a street in the downtown and set up ramps.
As far as a team goes my skate team is my family, and my favorite skaters (and people) in the world. We are about to release our first full length skate video this coming spring and I couldn’t be more excited! I help them pay for skate trips, supplies, and food, I want to help them with everything they need to skate and get footage and have a blast.
What motivated/inspired you to open a skate shop? What challenges have you faced? What are you most proud of?
When I started the shop I was motivated because I wanted to be an entrepreneur and make my boyfriend happy [as it was his dream], and after a few years of having the shop [and after a brake up/business split] I realized that I was in love with the shop and the skate community that it built.
I had fully dedicated myself to the business and committed my life to it. looking back at it I’d have to say it’s not that hard to open a skate shop, but it’s really hard to keep one running. The whole thing has been a crazy adventure and I’m happy that I went into it naively, I learned a whole bunch of stuff and if I knew what all went into it beforehand I probably wouldn’t have done it.
My current challenge is opening our indoor skateboard training facility. Since splitting ways with my former business partner in 2013 I’ve been renting this old theater building with a group of ten of my friends. We all split the rent and built ramps together and made the best of our winters. It was going okay, I was paying the rent and the shop was still making it, but I knew I had to do something different with the way I was doing business.
I decided to look for help and came across the SBDC (Small Business Development Center) which has helped me tremendously with figuring out how to run my business. In the last year, I changed the name of my business from Smalltown to Fargo Skateboarding (the theater we have has been known as The Fargo Theatre since 1929), moved locations.
I have been working with the city, the SBDC, my landlord, and a team of architects and engineers to rehab the building, bring it up to code and officially open it to the public. When the TF (training facility) is finally open and functioning, that is what I will be most proud of professionally.
On a personal level, I’m already so proud of my team – they are so talented and watching them skate is one of the best feelings ever. I’m so happy I can contribute to my team progressing by facilitating a place for training. Opening the TF on top of still trying to operate a retail store has been pretty ambitious, but I feel like the harder the struggle the greater the reward, I got to keep pushing for it!
What does skateboarding mean to you? How are you personally involved in the skateboard community?
At this point skateboarding is everything to me. It is my passion, my business, my hobby, and in many ways my family. Skateboarding is an art form, a physical and mental challenge, it can be aggravating yet rewarding, and it will always take your mind off of anything, so it truly is a form of meditation.
For me, skateboarding started when my friend and I found two boards in her parents basement in Jr. High. We got obsessed with bombing hills. That’s all it really was for me for years after that, transportation and going really fast down hills. Later in my teens, I finally got a Sector 9 and could really enjoy some speed. When I started the shop, I really didn’t do much park skating, so that’s when I started to dabble with it. A few years into having the shop, I got really into Longboard freeriding and sliding.
For the past few years, I’ve shifted my focus to skating parks and learning tricks. I love longboarding and skateboarding – they are two different things, and I appreciate them both.
I have fun organizing skateboarding and longboarding events and working with kids of all ages teaching them how to skate. I am so lucky to have a facility that is right behind the shop that attracts the community that it does, and I am so happy when someone can come to the shop when they need some new gear or advice. I even work with broken decks to create beautiful recycled skateboard jewelry. Skateboarding is life.
What are your thoughts on Women’s skateboarding in the skate industry? Where is it excelling? Where does it need work? How can we get more women involved?
I feel like women’s skateboarding is just now starting to gain recognition, and there is so much room for growth. As women we need to empower each other. Whenever I visit other skateparks around the country I’m always approached by the most fantastic ladies who are just happy to see another “girl” on a board. That’s what it is all about, making connections, pushing one another to learn new tricks, and most importantly to have fun.
I have organized a weekly ladies skate night at the Fargo to inspire this idea. I would like to make this an open invite to all the women that are in the Midwest to please contact me if you want to come out and skate, any ladies from beginner to expert are welcome!
I really wish there weren’t so many boundaries between “men’s” or “women’s” skateboarding though because it should just be about skateboarding. I have this feeling sometimes ladies keep themselves out of the park out of concerns about being judged or something, but in the end nobody cares.
Skaters are just excited to see someone out there really trying and pushing themselves to learn something. For me seeing someone do a really good ollie or dropping in for the first time can get me just as hyped as someone doing a heel flip krook for the first time.
So, that being said, ladies if you’ve ever wanted to skate but are feeling self conscious, just toss that feeling right out the window. No one’s making you feel that besides you. Get out there, take some lessons, or get some pointers so you can start out strong, and just keep pushing! The more time you spend on your board the more comfortable you will feel on it, so make it a daily habit! The most important advice I have is whoever has the most fun wins!
Ariel can be contacted at Smltwnsk8@gmail.com.
I would like to attend the Ditch Slap this year if it is all possible and represent the strength of kebbek there!