After attending the ISPO Show back in January, I got a sense of the changes taking place at Kebbek Skateboards. Fast forward to April: their new line is about to launch!
The folks at Kebbek have worked very hard. We had an chance to catch up with Joey Bidner, Brand Manager.
Many people may not know the history of Kebbek. It has deep roots in all types of skateboarding. Please give us an overview.
I can’t really sum that question up briefly, but I will try to do so in one breath. Kebbek’s roots started in 1992 with the same visionary owner we have today, Ian Comishin. If you’ve seen the award-winning documentary Hicks on Stick, you will know what’s up. Ian helped build some of the greatest Canadian skateboarders through his brand at the time, PM skateboards. He followed the unbeaten path, and did it his own way.
PM turned into Kebbek, and Ian began playing with innovative Downhill shapes with the German Mastermind, Tim Brodesser, who is now working for Pogo skate & snowboards. Through Kebbek, they not only built boards that have gone down in the history of downhill skateboarding, but also facilitated a handful of legendary racers.
It looks like big things are happening at Kebbek. What is the catalyst for this?
That’s an easy answer: a group of inspired people who want to make something with meaning and purpose. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you have a group of people with a common goal and who are motivated by a like-minded creativity. This kind of opportunity does not come around very often, so if you are confronted with something similar, I hope you do something great with it. I feel privileged to have been part of it this time around.
What can you tell us about the new series?
We redesigned the entire line. You will notice it’s narrowed; we cut out quite a few boards from the line, and built a lean, very functional product line. Each board has a purpose, while at the same time serves many. Our graphic series has very deep meaning to it. For the first time, we split the graphic series between two artists. Within the two artists, we made 3 separate series. Each tell a story. Lean in and see if you can figure them out.
What is one key goal that you have for Kebbek this season?
For the year we spent developing this line, our goal was to make something beautiful and functional that meant a lot to all of us. This line was incredibly calculated. From the functionality of our new mold shapes, to every detail in each graphic. We spent so much time calculating its delivery. Now that this part is done, our goal is for them to facilitate fun, that’s what skateboards are for right?
What events should we expect to see Kebbek this year?
One hint….BIG MOUNTAIN SKATE!
Have a great day. Visit www.kebbek.com to find out more!
Comet Skateboards is hosting their 5th annual Skate Jam in Ithaca, NY on May 7th. CW has attended this event in the past and it’s truly fantastic. There is nothing quite like upstate New York in the spring and the course is fast!
Last year, 300 skaters from all over the western hemisphere took over Buffalo Street. This year, they’re doing it again at the same spot East Buffalo Street between Eddy and Stewart Aves.
With fresh pavement at a consistent 15% grade and a new location for skate park terrain on Quarry Street (running perpendicular to Buffalo street), Comet is planning for an epic day of skating, hanging with friends and winning some cool prizes.
The format will be similar to last year with a “nontest” style jam. Skate hard all day and they’ll give out prizes that the Comet team sees fit. There are no specific contests or divisions. However, this year there will be a session for younger skaters from 12-1pm. They are are also sponsoring 20 young people ages 14 and under to skate with the generous support of a local foundation – TBJ. The hill starts at Eddy Street and is a 15% downhill to Stewart Ave.
We met up with Claudio Caluori of Velosolutions in Zurich. His company creates incredible pumptracks in many different places around the world. Of particular interest was an installation he just completed in Bali: a as a pumptrack that was built around a bowl. Talk about building onto paradise!
Here are Claudio’s recollections of the experience.
On the second day, our client told us that during the second of three weeks of construction, we wouldn’t be able to work because of Chinese New Year’s and Balinese holidays. It only took 2 minutes of being confused until we realized that meant a week of surfing! But building a pumptrack in what many consider to be paradise can be a challenge.
We had to deal with wrong machines, wrong asphalt, and late and cold asphalt deliveries. The guy driving the asphalt truck was walking barefoot on his fresh load of asphalt and that’s not because he was very tough. It came to the point where we really didn’t know if we were able to finish the project properly and meet Velosolutions’ quality standards, so we just had to believe in it and keep on pushing to the max. This meant working on the edge of collapsing, constant dizziness and feeling sick. Our workers dealt with rash, Bali belly (diarrhea), cough and fever.
One day before leaving, Adrien Loron was able to ride the first laps on the track, and he was loving it!
Another surf session at the beach, and it was time for Adrien to go home and get his stuff ready for Crankworks in New Zealand, and for me to get back to where I came from: The Red Bull Crashed Ice track, this time in Saint Paul, USA.
Thanks to Race Amplitude for this amazing opportunity and to the Velosolutions crew for this insane effort!
Larry Gordon: Co-Founder of Gordon & Smith Skateboards
This year’s buyer’s guide is dedicated to Larry Gordon. Larry passed away this January but he left a huge legacy in action sports. He was a pioneer and someone who changed the game. I had an opportunity to interview two of his three children: Eric and Debbie.
An Interview with Eric and Debbie Gordon
Larry had a huge impact on both surfing and skateboarding. My focus is on skateboarding, but I wanted to know a bit about his pioneering work in surfing. Can you share some things on the surf side first?
The boards in San Diego at that time were mostly wood boards and very heavy. Not many people could carry them or surf with them. When the first foam board was spotted in the waves off WindanSea, Floyd and Larry built a mold and started blowing their own foam with chemicals and a recipe that Larry’s dad helped them with through his composite company Gordon Plastics.
Larry started making surfboards for himself and friends in high school, then started Gordon & Smith with Floyd Smith in 1959. With a team of the best surfers in San Diego, Larry made boards lighter and designed them to be more user friendly for the masses not just an exceptional few. He always was a visionary in design and marketing.
The Gordon and Smith FibreFlex was introduced over 50 years ago. I think that Larry’s background in chemistry helped create such an incredible product. What are your thoughts?
The first FibreFlex board was built in about 1964 using scraps from Bowtuff taken from the dumpster at Gordon Composites. Larry’s father invented Bowtuff for the archery industry and it was a unidirectional composite, who would have known that it would simulate surfing on the concrete with the pop and snap of its flex. It was very short-lived. In the 60s and 70s, Larry’s cousin Mike Gordon was the one who talked Larry into reintroducing the FibreFlex; they were selling more then they could produce during that time.
How did Larry feel about how he was portrayed in the Lords of Dogtown film?
Larry rejected the script and made them rewrite it several times before even allowing any G&S anything to be portrayed in the movie. Even after all the edits, the character is nothing like him at all.
What gave Larry the greatest satisfaction in terms of board sports?
The simple act of surfing and skateboarding, the fun it created and seeing his friends experience it too.
Larry was a transplanted Californian and a pioneer in shaping California culture. As someone who is also a transplant, do you think it’s true that “you can take the boy out of the Midwest”, but you “can’t take the Midwest out of the boy”?
A mid western transplant, Larry took to surf easily.He came to California when he was very young. I think Southern California changed around him but his constant was his love of the Ocean, his faith and Family.
During the memorial service for Larry, his cousin spoke about what a patient and even-keeled man he was. Can you share with us a story that shows these attributes?
I think you saw those qualities every day in Larry Gordon, it wasn’t just one circumstance. He didn’t speak volumes, but he did speak with insight, thought and a twinkle of fun in his eyes. He made sure that even the worst task was fun and would take a unique view on almost everything. I think he always was optimistic about change. In some way, these aspects gave him amazing patience and he always thought the best of people.
What should young skaters of today take away from the life and times of Larry Gordon?
Skateboarding is a vehicle to be unique in style and individual application that you can do anywhere and anytime. Be yourself; be your best.
Tin Soldiers is a extraordinary new documentary by Ben Duffy profiling the lives of several adaptive athletes, and is sometimes difficult to watch . We caught up with Ben in his offices in Los Angeles.
What was the impetus for creating this documentary?
I really needed to create something at the time the idea for this film came along. A girl I knew broke my hear, and I was very down on life; really down. This film kind of came at me like a beacon of light. Matt Hawkins originally asked me to make a ten-minute short on Adaptive Sports Kollective. I was incredibly excited to do it, and by that summer started filming with my co-producer Mike Sassano. It’s all about transcending pain into beauty.
Let’s put it this way: I just turned 25 when I started filming. I had hardly ever seen any amputees before. I’ve never had a conversation with someone who was paralyzed. I didn’t even know what spina bifida was. I didn’t even know what congenital meant. The whole thing was one big surprise to me. I dove head first into something that was completely foreign to me. The people in the film showed me a world of triumphant courage.
It seems like some of the riders are just hurling themselves down the various ramps…it’s almost too painful to watch. What’s your take?
This is a really great question, because sometimes I ask myself the same thing. But then the skater in me reminds me why we do what we do, and then it all makes sense why they do it. Some people just have an intensity in them. I could only imagine that the people in wheelchairs must feel so confined to sitting that the idea of wheelchair motocross just sets off an explosion in their head and heart saying: I can do something that makes me feel like I’m doing more than just sitting.
All those doctor visits, all the treatments, all the time spent feeling like they can’t do what “normal” people can do. I can totally see how they just say: I’m going to f—in’ try this! To be able to fly and fall, I can only imagine how good that feels for them. All skaters in some way feel confined to normalcy. Skateboarding in so many ways is breaking out of it. We all saw someone skate first, and then we said, that looks incredible, and we fell in love with it. And skateboarding is huge. Millions are doing it. WCMX is tiny. So few people are doing it.
I understand how appealing it is to the ones doing it; think about it like this: they’re only in the Dogtown phase. So few people are doing it, the people that are hurling themselves down ramps, it’s totally innovative.
I just pray it ends up on Netflix and these people are able to expose their passion to the general public. I would expect that the people who do see it have the same experience I did; simply just be exposed to something they’ve never seen.
Of all the stories you covered, which one most affected you?
It’s very hard to say which one affected me the most, because each person opened my eyes in different ways. But if I had to pick one, there was something about Quinn Waitley that stuck with me the most. To hear her say “life’s not supposed to be easy” and just the way she goes through life being so happy has made a difference in my life. I catch myself quoting her all time, when I’m being prissy about something or catch myself not appreciating something.
Also, one of the skaters in my film, Justin Beauchesne, has no forearms and one leg, yet he is married and has a daughter. You think, how is that possible? It really shows you the power of love, and that it has no limits. It’s so important to see that in society where everyone’s just looking for someone they are attracted to. It’s all about attraction, and other superficial bullshit.
What is your advice for aspiring documentary makers?
Find something real. There’s so much bullshit in this world and in the media. It’s unfortunate, so I always make it a point to get behind something I believe in. Something that can touch people. I think that an aspiring documentary filmmaker would feel more accomplished if he did something that could bring light to something.