Okay, is anyone else sick of this bloody winter? It seems like it’s been going on forever, and as I write these words, summer seems like a far¬away dream. I’m personally amazed that anything is happening in the freestyle world, but hey, I guess that’s one of the benefits of this world of tiny boards and silly flips; there’s always a space in the garage, warehouse or office to bang out some casper tricks in-between working on various projects in a bid to hold onto your sanity. Anyway. Some stuff has happened since 2017 died a death, so here’s a bit of a recap. Grab a coffee and catch up with the flat folk.
In the interest of blatant cross-promotion, the ongoing Broken Fingers freestyle-only zine project has just put out its second compilation. Pick up the Year Two book for one handy binding of issues 5 through 8, giving you interviews with Marius Constantin, Connor Burke, and Kauê Araujo, the history of the kickflip, and photos from most of the events from last year, amongst other titbits of goodness. It’s a non-profit, so all the money you spend on the zine goes into printing more zines. As it’s the only printed publication dedicated to freestyle, it’s worth your support. Head over to the website to grab a copy.
Broken Fingers, Year Two cover (left), and Bob Loftin (right) with a nose manual. Cover from the Broken Fingers website; Bob from his Facebook cover photo.
Next up on the “things I’m also involved in which I want you all to pay attention to” list is the Freestyle Podcast. Amazingly, we sorted out our various technical difficulties over the Christmas period and reconvened for the first podcast of the year – featuring a lot of swearing and explicit stories, so this isn’t one to listen to with the kids. Grab it on your podcast app of choice or listen to it in your browser here.
Brazil, as ever, brings us the first contest of the year with the Big Rio event. Tai Tai has been putting these on this event outside of the usual Brazilian freestyle scene/organisation for a few years now, and by all accounts, it always ends up being a great time. This year, Felix took home the win, continuing his habit of winning big events in American countries.
Personally, I’ve never made it out there, in part because it’s a long-ass flight, and in part because I’m never skating much at this time of year. However, I asked Tai Tai and Felix about the event, and while Tai Tai obviously is somewhat biased, what Felix had to say makes me think it might be time to make the journey. The event is run alongside Rio’s Tattoo week, and the crowd is both large and interested in freestyle, with spectators giving Felix the thumbs up when he made eye contact with them mid-run. That’s not hard to believe considering how damn friendly the Brazilian freestyle scene is! Tai Tai said that Tattoo Week brings in 30,000 people in 3 days, and that the organisers were surprised that more of those attendees were interested in the freestyle event than the bands on stage.
Also of note is that Felix tells me this is the best surface he’s skated on at a competition; obviously that’s down to personal tastes (we ended up having a big
debate about Stockholm’s surface), but I trust Felix’s judgement on this one.
1. Felix Jonsson (Sweden)
2. Gustavo Kennedy (Brazil)
3. Cristobal Bahamonde (Chile)
4. Kauê Araújo (Brazil)
5. Thomas (Brazil)
6. Kesley (Brazil)
7. Alexandre Feliz (Brazil)
8. Fábio Napoleão (Brazil)
9. Tai Tai (Brazil)
10. Bruno Antunes Zero 09 (Brazil)
11. Carioca (Brazil)
12. Vítor Salazar (Brazil)
13. Adalba SubSolo (Brazil)
14. Elias da Costa (Brazil)
15. Janers (Brazil)
16. Celso Chef (Brazil)
17. Thiago (Brazil)
Felix Jonsson and Kauê Araujo representing Moonshine in Brazil.
At the time of writing, the date for the next World Round Up hasn’t been formally announced, but I gather (through looking at their website every week until it gets updated) that the weekend of the next Canadian freestyle-fest is going to be the 18th to the 21st of May, 2018. Dust off your Stetsons and dig out your crotchless chaps; I’ll be bringing you more concrete info on what to expect next month.
This brings the total announced events for the rest of the year up to two so far; the Stockholm, All Japan and Philly dates have yet to come in, but as I mentioned last month, Paderborn has already been announced, and the annual German celebration of freestyle, beer and debauchery kicks off on the 30th of June. I’m going to keep hammering that date home every month until everyone reading this tells me they’ve already booked their flights and are sick of hearing about it.
Speaking of which…
I hear rumours through the grapevine (which is an odd nickname for Yoyo Schultz, but I’m going with it) that a certain European legend is dropping in at Paderborn to say hi. While Yoyo says not to expect any skating from them, it’s always good to see some old faces return to the scene. So who’s it going to be? Speculations on a postcard to the usual non-existent address.
Bit of video footage for your amusement now and we head over to an usually gloomy-looking LA for Ricky Rodriguez’s annual JanJam, with a guest appearance from the East Coast Beast, Pete Betti. Turn off your thinking modules and let the freestyle goodness wash over you.
We start the new products section with the news that the 29-incher that Terry was working on over at Mode has been released (annoyingly at around the same time as the last Freestyle Report went live; Terry, if you’re reading this, we need to co-ordinate our timings better). As I mentioned in the last report, it’s built on the same rocker mould as the Rogers, but features a very clean Art Deco graphic and comes in a hair larger at 7.4” by 29” instead of the 7.3” and 28.75” of the Rogers. It says a lot about freestylers that the tiny increase in both directions will be a deal maker or breaker for everyone who looks at it; I don’t envy anyone who spends any amount of time trying to please this demographic.
The board (far right); Terry Synnott, the fellow responsible for it; and the yellow wheels that would go so well with it. Photos swiped from here and there, but mostly Facebook.
Anyway, the board is beautiful and, at the time of writing, in stock on Mode’s website. Tell Terry that Tony sent you; it won’t get you anything, but it might convince him to buy ads on this website, and we’ve got to keep that whisky flowing somehow.
Not much else in the way of new products at this time of year, but I’d like to point out that the Eastern European scene is being further bolstered by the one man Hero of Freestyle, Marius Constantin, who’s expanded his range of freestyle products in his Nose and Tail Skateshop in Romania. If you’re out that way (and I know there’s a LOT of freestylers in Romania), give him some love and buy your stuff from him. He deserves it.
I’m going to wrap up this one with a tender and heartfelt message to someone who normally just mocks and berates me whenever I see him. Apparently Shane Rouse took a dive off a ladder at the end of last year, fractured his eye socket and buggered up his shoulder and knee. Latest reports are that he’s got water on the knee and a partial tear in a tendon in his shoulder which will need surgery, and while I usually just make jokes at his expense whenever I see him, I genuinely hope he gets well soon (if only so he can teach me the secret to kickflipping into a crossfooted casper). I’m not about to share his personal details in a public forum, but if you happen to know how to reach him, send him some nice messages.
Shane Rouse and his former Death Box team mate, Mac, at a UK event at the end of 2016.
Last time he checked, Tony was a professional freestyle skateboarder from England and rode for Moonshine Skateboards, Seismic, Jimmy’z and Synopsis Bearings, but it’s been so long since he saw some dry concrete that his sponsors may well have dropped him now.