The Mark Williams interview from earlier in the week got me thinking about skating distances on different setups. Today's experiment was to skate the same one mile course with three different boards to see the differences in skating each. For instance, how much difference would the 78a 65mm Star Trac ride from the 78a 75mm version? What difference would wheelbase really make? And, finally, which board would offer the most "fun" when riding?
In all honesty, there were no surprises, but I'd like to share the results with you.
The Landyachtz Loco 37 (on the far left) is my everyday board. I set it up to be a cross between the other two boards I rode today. Shorter than the homemade Birch deck but longer than the Alva and set up with big, soft, centerset wheels, I set it up so I could have a longer wheelbase, easier to skog deck that would still ollie and do any tricks I might want to do when skating for a few miles or more.
The Alva is my go to ditch and bank deck. Today was the first time I'd taken it out for a distance of a mile or more. This board, because of the shorter wheelbase (18"), smaller wheels, and less riser pad, as you could imagine, was much easier to ollie and felt much better hitting curbs and driveways. Also, probably due to the smaller size, I felt I had more control over the Alva. I also noticed that it felt faster on the 65mm 86a wheels than it does on the 78a 76mm wheels on the Landyachtz. My initial reaction was that it felt this way because of the faster acceleration of the smaller wheel and the speed gained on the smoother of the surfaces. However, on the con side to that, skating into the wind (and it was very windy today) was a lot more work on the smaller, harder wheel, and the wheels felt far too hard on the roughest surfaces.
The much longer 29" wheelbase Birch board is, of course, terrible for ollie popping and hitting driveways in comparison to either of the other two. It will ollie enough to get over big cracks in the road when you need it to, but it, for sure, wasn't built for tricks. It was, however, by far the fastest and smoothest ride of all three. Plus, the narrow Bennetts set up with 10 degrees of wedging combined with a TKP back truck de-wedged to nearly 0 degrees pumped for distance so much better there was really no comparison.
All in all, while all three were fun (I mean, they are skateboards), the least fun set up is the one that is supposed to be the middle of the road board. I guess that is why we end up having quivers of boards, right? One is never ideal for everything and today proved that.
I found Mark in an online group for Distance Skateboarding and thought he was an interesting person blending distance skating with standard street skating boards and wheels. He has traveled all around the globe on a skateboard. Such a unique journey. Here are ten questions with Mark Williams.
10 Questions with Mark Crt Williams
1. What gave you the idea to skate distances on a traditional skateboard instead of a longboard?
I have always been a street skater, it's all I ever know, basically only set up I like & prefer to ride is short board hard wheels street style. I explain it like a BMX biker wanting to go cross country he wouldn't switch. I want to skate skateparks if they're in town & not out of the way off of my roads & routes I'm skateboarding on the trips.
Also downtown city spots or any spots I may find while on the way. I film heaps of clips at skateparks & street along the way also, I love street skating. I got into distance after street skating for years, started skating year 2000. I had to work a lot of jobs ever since (I was) 14 years old, so many times in my life I always skated place to place, realizing how far my skateboard could take me & how my hard work, faith, & dedication earn my way.
2. How many countries, and total cumulative miles have you ridden?
I have skated 10 countries with 15,816 miles. 4 years of documenting as of 3/27/2018. I first skated every state of USA by 2 years & 5 months of documenting with 12,500 miles at that time. I'm never gone all at once I take pretty long breaks in between trips at home in my home state Maryland, usually the holiday/winter season Thanksgiving to end of March/April/May is when I start to leave & plan the next trip.
3. Do companies sponsor your trips?
No companies sponsor my trips. I start all this from the ground up, knowing that my faith, hard work, dedication through my craft of Skateboarding Distance can pay my way by sharing stories & accepting anything that's given through donations.
It's good humanity that supports & pays my way. I have 3 underground sponsors, but it's not big companies, Its my own company Crt Skateboards which I have had since 06' but now I only get decks for sale when at home & have extra money to do so, which isn't too often since I have to work un-skate related jobs at home when in between trips to help keep my skating going. I have TheDcWheels sponsor which is a nonprofit organizations that has fundraisers for different causes & reasons, events to impact communities through skateboarding, showing the world how much more their is to skateboarding that meets the eye. I also have TayPac photography which is for Photos & appeal, which does amazing photography for all walks of life no matter the race, religion, sex, showing all kinds of different passions. None of these sponsors pay towards my trips. I get products from them, they help promote my upcoming skate distance trips, spreads my messages, meanings etc on my trips. My sponsors my be underground & not paid through them but we are family, we help each other out in ways money can't buy, through our real connection & love we have for each other.
4. Tell us about your boards? Do you bring more than one on a trip?
My board setup is, usually deck size 8.25-8.5 I prefer 8.5 so I won't snap them as quick. I prefer my own Crt Skayeboards decks but I skate whichever deck is donated at that time. Trucks: Independents size 8.25-8.5. Wheels hard 99-101 street formula. I prefer Spitfires but I ride whatever is donated at the time. Now I am on Delores Wheels which is a local wheel company out of VA, again received through donations. Bearings I prefer Bones Reds classics, best for your money, also though I use what is donated at the time, now I am about to setup a new set of bearings, Bronson, which were donated by Mad About Skateboarding skate shop in Fort Lauderdale, FL on my past trip in Florida March 13-31st. Shoes I'm skating Dc Shoes for now, which local friends/support has donated, I prefer Vans, Airspeeds, Emericas, I like basic classic shoes, for good board control etc.
I am blessed that all my products come free through donations, never no worries on products, yeah sometimes I ride a bit rougher at times waiting on a new set of trucks like I am now Theeve hanger (Aussie brand truck co), Indy base plate. Decks get beat up every 2-3 weeks depending on how hard I am street skating at the time. In need of new deck too but it will come. I always say it's decks, shoes, bearings I go through the most. Wheels & trucks lasting longer. I used to have the same trucks every 2 years. Now, ever since distance, it's more like every year new tricks due to the thrashing, cracks, rough roads through skate distance. I thrash pivot cups & change them out often also which before distance I never did that. In my backpack I carry like few extra bearings in case they bust, same with hardware, a kingpin, bolts. The rest I receive donated products through support on trips either skaters in towns I skate, skateparks, skate shops... it comes as I need it, no worries.
5. Where do you sleep, stay on one of these journeys?
I stay/sleep anywhere for real. For example, if I don't have any support already in the town I am ending in or no new support/friends, then sometimes I'll try independently owned motels/hotels sometimes they like to discount/put me up out of donation. But that always depends on my budget at the time, so lots of times I will sleep outside finding a straight laid back place to set my tent where I won't be bothered or messed with. If it's raining out (or, I'm) too tired to set (a) tent or too cold outside for (the) tent I'll find a somewhat indoor or covered spot to where I'll sleep inside my tent as a sleeping bag with my blankets/hoodys tryin' to stay as warm as possible. Lots of times you'll be in weather where (it's) hot during days, cold at night. Sometimes the places I have to find to sleep or stay warm can get really random but I feel like I am helped, guided & kept safe doing so. . .it always works itself out.
My one rule about sleeping outside is that if in a city I will skate outside of that city to a suburb town or small town for the safest place to find to sleep, just cause it is harder & (there is) more risk in citiess to find laid back, chill, not get bothered or messed with places to sleep. So sometimes that means skate through ghettos in middle of night over staying in a city at night, but I find this better or what I prefer.
6. What has been your favorite trip and favorite place to skate on a trip?
Favorite trip? (It) is kinda too hard to pick just one trip 'cause each trip gave me different things in my life, or taught me different things, which mean a lot. I can say I really like it in Aussie for the way of life, living, laid back, chill, it's definitely my style. My favorite skatepark was in Aussie, north of Brisbane in Breckenridge. Also love Lakeland skatepark in Lakeland, FL.
My favorite mileage day, most intense but not most miles in a day, is the Salt River Canyon in Arizona. It goes Show-Low, Az to Globe, Az I skated 73 miles out of 87 miles on that route. I went from 10:30 am to 6:30 am (next day) on that. It was 5% grade down steepness, & 5% grade up steepness which switch back zig-zagged for 10 miles. I walked for like 4 hours I walked straight up, mad hard & intense. Also I burned a hole in a pair of shoes in one day on that day due to having to brake so much with my shoe from being so steep. It's my favorite place & skate day I ever had cause it gave me the feelings of heaven of earth, & also it felt so well deserved through the hard work & effort I put into that day, such an accomplishment.
I state I have records & history since I go short board hard wheels street style for skate distance, so the feelings I get tell me yup hell yea no one has ever done this how I have done it meaning my set up & mileage for a day on certain routes, mountain passes or that one canyon I've done.
7. What does the future hold for your journeys?
The future holds another round around the world for my journeys. SkateTheWorld Part 2. I start with Central America skate distance starting in Cancun around April 16th, pushing through Central America for 1 month, I would like to get to Panama City but I will see how this trip goes & how much I am able to skate on these roads & routes with my 1 month time frame. It is around a 1,700 miles route. I'll be home in Maryland again from May 19th to end of June, May 19th for TheDcWheels event through out the DMV called 45 miles Skate a thon. July I'll go out again starting in Hong Kong skating all the way to Bali, Indonesia, going through China, Vietnam, Loas, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Jarkata, Java, Bali- Indonesia. Then Nepal, India, Middle East, more Europe (different parts from last year), different parts of Africa - North, East, South. Around end of year I plan to be at the La Digue Island, Seychelles Islands when I reach my 20,000 miles. La Digue is my retirement Island where I want to be to retire my records & history I've been making on street style skateboarding distance. At some point I also want to get in Antarctica cause one of my goals is to skateboard distance in every continent, Antarctica maybe after I retire at 20,000 miles but still want to get there. For Nepal, India, Middle East, more Europe, different parts of Africa my roads & routes I'll research & choose when the time comes closer.
8. Where can people follow where you are, see where you're headed, and track where you've been?
You can follow my journeys @ Instagram or FB Mark crT Williams. On Instagram link is in bio for this year's Gofundme.com/skatetheworld-part-2
I post pictures of where I skate to where I skate breaking down my times & miles, take out break times, tell how long in skate time. I call 40 miles or less a break day, 40 miles or more a Skate Day since I like to keep skate days at high averages. I have 9 different days a 100 miles or more, my record is 143 miles Philly to DC in a day (24 hours time frame)
Also I post on all stories whenever I receive feeds, donations, places to stay, inspiration, etc.
9. Your faith is a big portion of your journeys. Do you look at these, in part, as mission trips?
It is very detailed what I do & all the things it can show. So it can be looked at as mission trips, but the best way I state it is I go off total faith, hard work, (and) dedication to this craft of Skateboarding Distance so it can pay my way. I don't ask for a single thing I accept anything that is given through donations, my support system, good humanity everywhere I go. So it does show a lot on what I believe, Faith? Yes, I believe in a God-Lord-Creator, Jesus but I'm not one religion & I stay open minded to all religions everywhere I go, cultures, way of life way of living, I accept all as humans, take in everything everywhere I go, learn everywhere I go.
I'm spiritual, I feel connected, helped, guided throughout my trips, cause I know I can't do what I do by myself, I have endless stories on Faith & how in my eyes I've been saved in near death situations. I don't fear. I never worry. I just live my life to the fullest. I never peach on anything, all I do is share stories & let people take it for what they want. All the way up in till this year I stated on my profile in Instagram & info on gofundme that #1 spread the Lord, which I'm sure I do & I still will do so. But I thought very hard on everything I do & how one word can make all the difference in some parts of this world, sometimes things can be hard & difficult doing something like I do. So I have grown myself as a person so I decided to state it now as, FaithLovePeace for the world, this way all can feel welcome if I do happen to be somewhere in this world that the word Lord could get me killed.
Maybe I over think things sometimes but I do feel my work can be very detailed sometimes, so I always do what I feel is right. I do feel that my trips so very much on Faith, Love, & Peace so I'm happy to continue to spread good messages throughout this world I love. Also shows faith in humanity, how theirs more good then bad no matter how the news makes it look. I speak off experiences not what others may see or think. Also shows to follow dreams, follow your passions, passions can turn into a living, to get out of a matrix type system if you are feeling stuck in a life you are not happy with. I have overcame alcohol, overcame depression, seen too much addiction from very close ones in my life, seen a lot of passings-on ones I love it's never easy having to deal with passings. I try very hard to share some of my own life to be able to help others, I can relate to lots of issues life throws our way, been through or seen a lot so anytime I can I help & love to help others. I'm told I inspire, show heaps if inspiration & I'm glad I am able to show the world these things. I value what money can't, I feel good about my work, even when sometimes I'm poor with money, cause I feel rich in spirit. I found my happiness, I feel blessed for my life.
10. How are your trips funded and how can others support your trips?
My trips are funded all independently through me, CrtSkates, my support- CertiNation. By showing my Faith, hard work, dedication to my craft of Skateboarding Distance through my support system, good humanity I share stories & receive, all through donations. Gofundme.com/skatetheworld-part-2 for online donations, cash when on roads & routes pushing.
I do work un-skate related jobs when at home in between trips to help keep my skating going. Also when in Hawaii, I worked other jobs to be able to afford to get island to island. In Alaska I worked jobs through friends to be able to afford my flight home. I will always find a way to do what I want to be able to go where I want I put everything into this life. I do follow dreams while after dreams my end goal & dream is to open up my Skate Shop/Pizza Place named Certy's. It will be themed off of my CrtSkates trips showing pictures, post, miles, hours, all the good stories on how everyone is involved in my story. I like to show my thanks as much as possible so this way everyone has a story in my shop & get to see the impact they made to help me get my shop. I kickflipped 15 stairs at the age of 15, 3 years into skating I really thought I go Pro till about 18-20 that was always what I worked towards, by 18 I started my own company Crt(Certified Respected Talent) Skateboards since I was in my prime & wasn't getting sponsors, I knew if I wasn't getting noticed I wasn't goin give up & I was goin make people notice me. I never made a full living off Crt it's on the side thing to where I worked 14-25 in the cooking field, I knew if I wanted to take my cooking & skating into one it be a Skate Shop/Pizza Place I want. So I decided to take my own roads & routes to get my shop. This is how I turned skateboarding distance into a living, a Professional Skateboarding Distance Man, Street Style (short board hard wheels), I compete in Amateur level contest for skating skating, so Am for street skating, Pro for Distance. Skate The World to be apart of The Skate World. CrtSkates. MtW
During my time putting together Luchaskate, two books were produced. The first was called Common Criminals. It was a collection of skate related essays. Skater written. Skater published.
The book was a pleasure to publish, and includes an essay from one of my favorite skaters growing up, Kent Senatore. The rest of the essays, as the name implies, are the common criminals of skateboarding. Skaters not gaining fame from riding a board, but loving the ride nonetheless. but now only a few copies remain.
Jump ahead a few years. As I wrapped up the Luchaskate journey, I decided to take my essays from Common Criminals, combine them with essays written for the Luchaskate blog, and mix them with some new work to have Nobody: Essays from a Lifer Skater. Why call a book nobody? Because, in the overall scheme of skateboard culture, I am a nobody. Never pro. Never on the cover of a magazine. A Never Was.
Those of us never were skaters have stories to tell. We make up the vast majority of the skateboard world. We travel to locations. We meet other interesting people. We see what is happening in our culture through individual eyes. This is my unique story from getting my first board in the late seventies to becoming the parent of a grom.
Both books are available on the Merch page.
Rainy days used to get me down.
Not anymore! At least not as badly anymore.
With a little effort and some Eastside H2O wheels courtesy of Sanders Skateboards, I was able to put in a four mile ride on wet streets today.
Let's face it, rain and pebbles are two of the biggest enemies of skateboards and longboards. Heck, even the smallest wet spot on a road can cause a wipeout if it catches you unaware. Add in that water on wood and metal bearings causes decay and rust and even the smallest downpour can cause you to miss a session to protect your board and your body.
It has been raining a lot around here lately, and it has caused me to miss multiple days of skating. I was looking for a way to stay skating despite the weather. So, I set up a rain board. A rain board generally consists of equipment you don't mind getting wet. You can use an old, worn out or cheap trucks, some throw away bearings (old or cheap bearings), some stock bushings you've upgraded from on your other setups, and a previously retired deck.
I put on some 110 mm Bullet trucks I had used on my first pumping and slalom setups before I moved to using Bennetts as my front trucks. Bearings? Bearings will rust, of course, which is why I used an old set. My plan is to watch them and, at the first sign of rust, I'll take them apart, clean them thoroughly, and see how much life I can get out of them. Finally, I helped waterproof a previously retired deck with clear flex seal (yeah, that stuff from the TV commercials). I sprayed it down, top and bottom, giving the entire board several layers of rubberized coating to help seal out water. I'm not sure how long or how well it will last, but it seemed like a good idea to add another layer of water protection.
The wheels are the biggest deal in setting up a rain board. The last thing you want to do is slide out on every turn when skating in wet conditions. This is why Eastside Longboards, out of Portland, OR, has created H2O wheels. As you can see in the picture, they have two grooved insets in each wheel that displaces water just like a tread on a tire. And they work very well for general carving turns.
Now, I would not suggest trying to pump on them. The grooves help, but they don't replace dry ground completely. I tried pumping this set up very briefly, and it did not work. That said, it was the only time I slid out on the entire skate.
The only downside I see to the wheels is that, if you ride through a lot of areas with gravel, pieces of gravel will stick inside the groove giving you a sound similar to a flat spot. Thankfully, when you're done skating (or if you stop for a minute), you can easily get those rocks out of the grooves.
I have to say, I'm very pleased with my rain day setup, and the fact that I can log miles despite the weather not cooperating with me.
Eric Sanders is not just the owner of Sanders Skateboards, an online shop, he's also a lifer skater who dabbles in every aspect of skateboarding and supporter of Skate BDCD. Always interesting to hear from, I'm so glad Eric took the time to answer these questions for Skate BDCD
1. Who is Eric Sanders?
I started skating in Los Gatos, Ca. in about 1977. Just learning to not fall off a board was my first "trick." Been skating except for injuries and a dark time ever since. It's a nice rolling freedom to set a board on the ground, push and see where it takes you to.
2. What inspired you to open Sanders Skateboards?
I heard of this board maker and his company called Fickle in about 2014. Did some research and saw this guy with a dread beard making boards in an old funeral home basement in Cincinatti, Ohio. Asked if he could do a rockered board at 35". He said call him and that's how it started. I got my custom board made. Showed it to some people they asked if he does other sized boards? I went and printed up every single shape/size board Lew made and showed them to people. Kinda like Avon. I just wanted to let the world of skating know that if you want a well made, long lasting, actually made in the states board I could get it for you. It's been a big learning experience doing this business for sure. This answer could go on for days, David.
3. You recently added a couple slalom decks to the site. What is your connection to Slalom Skateboarding?
Slalom is the art of carving around cones, dixie cups, small cheer leader megaphones. It is the most basic way of skating. You first learn to push a skateboard and not fall off. Next you learn to lean to turn. It's a fundamental of skating being able to shift your weight to turn. Now, take that up to the next level with some objects to carve past and you have the basics of slalom. First race I went to was Luna Slalom Jam in Ridgeland, MS in 2006. I had an old Santa Cruz John Hutson graphite loaded slalom deck with I think indy 121's and possibly Abec-11 Striker wheels. First people I met were Eddie and Gumby from the Texas Outlaws. No vibing at all they talked with me asked where I was from, looked at my set up, gave me advice, the whole group of skaters that weekend made me feel welcomed. I went back pretty much each year after that. I looked for someone making slalom boards last year and was directed to Bert Lumpkin in North Carolina who makes some serious 8 ply hybrid boards. we talked back and forth placed an order and got two in stock. Well, sent one to Richard at Red Rum skates so now I have one left in stock. I also looked around and ordered Khiro wedges, Sesmic wheels, and that old stand by Indy 109mm trucks. Not too many shops even deal with slalom except Sk8kings. I decided to have them as an option to the usual street/park/ditch offerings. Now I'm venturing into the longboard/downhill world as well.
4. What are your thoughts on slalom skating in the US?
Slalom is just beyond fun. In the mid 2000's it was going off with grass roots races all over the place. Some were outlaw type races-set up the course and run the cones no sponsors involved. Others were sanctioned races. The whole slalom group are some of the best people to ever meet in skating. They welcome the "newbie" and the old timers and treat each other with respect. Yeah there is a little good natured ribbing as you wait to climb up the start ramp it's all in fun though. I just wish the rest of skating had that welcoming feel to it.
5. What needs to happen to see slalom grow in the US?
Get the word out about a sunday slalom jam to as many people as possible. I've tried this recently with mixed results. We had this pretty good old Winn Dixie parking lot had the dual lane course marked out in red paint back in mid 2007. First time out a few people stopped by after that had more showing up and trying it out. Some used their street/park boards, others on longboards, a few tried slalom boards. It was fun. Had a improvised contest there one sunday single lane with a timer. as it warms ups I hope to get more sunday slalom jams going. It may look easy "anyone could do that" than a skater tries it. some times they come back and do it some more. It seems to be taking off in the Austin area lately. It is a smile maker.
6. You've just started getting an interest in distance skateboarding. What is your take on Distance Skating?
Distance is a real insane type of skating. You need to be in fairly good shape or at least it helps. In my late teens and early twenties skating for miles was a common thing to do. You'd hit spots along the way to the party or wherever you were headed. Now trying to push for a mile I get winded easily. The whole aspect of just push and pump to build up speed is amazing. You have folks that can pump up hills. What the? was my reaction when I first saw someone doing that. The forums on long distance and peoples set ups boggle the mind. It's like slalom the basics of skating-1.push, 2. carve/pump, 3. repeat as needed. It clears the mind of all the clutter we carry around.
7. What is your favorite ditch skating memory?
Morgan Hill ditch in Ca. Riding an orange Zorlac Double cut, ground down 169's, different colored Oj street wheels. Went up frontside grind grabbing a beer from Goog (a very tall man) rolled back in crossed to the other wall for a drink on a curb rock. Rolled back in and backside carve to bottle pass back. he was bummed. We had this small boxed in ditch called the dust bowl behind my high school. It was 6 feet wide opposing walls, a 16 foot wide face wall, 2-7 foot tall pipes all about 4 feet deep. so a basic square shape. You could rollin hit the face wall carve the corner into the main 6 foot wide side and from there just go. Had a spur of the moment "Dust Bowl Contest" one Saturday morning. We had a ghetto blaster blaring, keg of grog, like 25 skaters entered, me and this guy Hedge sat above the two pipes and were judges. Every single person left with a prize. I just filled my old thrasher skatebag with various items-two boards, rails, wheels, a hanger, shirts, packs of stickers, comic books, and made sure that all who entered left with something. Last place scored the board bag and I think the 169 hanger. That was a good ditch.
8. What are your opinions about the promotion of drugs and drinking in mainstream skate culture?
ok, The whole party scene in skating. In the 80's it was all for Duane. Whatever that guy did was ok in my book. Back than you may see a photo of someone doing a frontside coping grind guzzling a beer. It wasn't really shoved down your eye sockets like it is now. Most of my injuries from skating were booze influenced trying to be Der Peters. That guy and GG ruined my body as far as beer/party hero worship goes. Now one is dead and the other is some how still going. Back to my thoughts on promoting party time on skateboards. Let's see a pot grinder that your bearings come in, high times grip tape, bottle openers on a skate board, saw one board had a rolling table on it, shows like king of the toads, lurking around skateparks smoking in full public view, boards shaped like 40's. All that stuff? If you are gonna have a beverage at least wait till you are done skating for the day. I've seen and experienced what drinking and skating can do. Usually not a good result. If you must smoke the herb, ok just don't flaunt it at the park where young kids are trying to learn to skate. Companies that promote this whole mentality of party, trash the place, disrespect I don't deal with them. Jackass and all that type of thing? Big Brother mag was doing it before that show started. King of the toads is let's act like fools and maybe show a little skating while intoxicated to the youth of today. "Hey, (insert big name) they do it so it's cool core." I'm done with the party scene, time to start living again.
9. Who inspires you to keep skating, and what is it about them that inspires you?
Seeing kids at Hernando Skatepark learning the basics from Ed Pidgeon inspire me. Ed is beyond inspiring to just talk with and watch the patience he has in teaching the kids about safety, how to approach a wall, park manners. Same goes to Chad Crawford that guy rules seeing him encourage the next group of skaters. Talking with you, Lew, Frank Porcelli, hour long talks with Richard at Red Rum, seeing people smile while skating instead of snarling, when I see someone having fun and laughing after doing a carve for the first time. all inspiring. Oh and Blender and GSD, JD Ryan all inspire me. Non vibing and just skating is what keeps me going after 40 years.
10. What are your favorite setups of all time?
Too many to name here current are Fickle prototype slalom, Fickle longrider, 29.5" x 9" Texican single kick, American Waste 33" x 10",Drop down DB duck race, DB lunchtray. All the Santa Cruz Ramp street Concaves I had, all the various Blenders, the Walker Chris Baucom, that Zorlac Double Cut, my Pegasus 29" rocker, that first skateboard I ever rode. That one I need to dig out and take a foto of. 24" green Banzai, the 40" Madrid Longboard Ed gave me. This was a good interview hopefully I didn't speed wobble too far off course with your questions. thanks David.
Visit Sanders Skateboards Online
Welcome to the first of many BDCD interviews. This interview is with Steven Meketa who has taken it as his mission to further Skogging as first done by Chris Yandall.
Skogging was started by Chris Yandall. Could you tell us a bit about your relationship with Chris, and how he influenced you to skog?
I introduced to Chris by a mutual friend. I would skog from Vista to Oceanside,Ca. (which is 8 + miles one way) then skog around and eventually end up at the Grind Skate shop, where I would chat it up with Pat Von Brickner. One day Pat was like “Dude you are going to injure yourself pushing one leg great distances. By this time I was pushing at least 20 miles a day. I thought, okay what do I do? How does one push both legs? The whole idea was completely foreign to me. Pat told me about Chris and put us in contact with one another and the rest is as they say history. Meeting Chris was a life changing experience.
What's your advice to those that are trying to start skogging? Any tips?
Absolutely!! I will give them the same tips Chris gave me, PRACTICE ON CARPET!!
Especially if you are a long time skater and used to pushing with one dominate leg. Using the carpet method will help you with muscle memory. Once you master the footwork and feel ready try skogging on a tennis court.
You have competed in skate marathons. What is that experience like?
Marathons are just FUN!! I love them plus it is a great way to push yourself, see what you can do and do better the next one.
How often and how far do you skate in any given week?
I try to do 20 miles a day. TRY!! With a family and a full time job my time is restricted. I am blessed to be able to skog commute to work. That’s when I skog the most. I love skogging to work, its pitch black out and nobody bugs me.
You have had some medical issues. How has skogging helped you conquer those issues?
Yes I have. In 2006 I had my colon removed due to what was determined as cancer. My life was flipped upside down, my diet changed DRASTICALLY. I went from kill it n grill to a strict vegan. Also my doctors were putting me on mandatory workout regimes. Nothing too drastic just core workouts and such. I asked if I could start skating again? The doctors were into it mainly as a replacement for a bike or some treadmill thing. So after my meeting Chris Yandall it was like all the pieces fell into place. I am a pretty healthy dude. I mean I have Crohns disease but the footwork of skogging really help with the symptoms. I was a total blessing how it all worked out!!
Skog clinics. What are they like and how often do you host them?
Basically the clinics are how to skog events. I haven’t done too many recently, however I will start them back up again very soon. We will be working with Roll For Peace.org Basically we carve around and hand out items to the needy. We will be doing these monthly and there will also be skogging training sessions at these monthly events.
What kind of board is best for skogging?
ANY board can be a skogging board. I prefer flat decks with lots of room to move. Since skoggers are regular – goofy – back foot pushing + styles not yet named its cool to have a nice platform board wise to move around.
Who are your sponsors?
I skog for the amazing Whatever Skateboards (www.whateverskateboards.com) !! I rep Shark Wheels (www.sharkwheel.com), OGIO (www.ogio.com) , Vuka energy drinks (www.vuka.com) , Sockguy Socks (www.sockguy.com), Dr Bronners soap (www.drbronner.com) . Vuori clothing. (www.vuori.com) I NEED A SHOE SPONSOR hahaha
Where can people find out more information about you and skogging?
www.skogging.comwww.skogging.com or www.whateverskateboards.com
Last question: From what I've seen, your faith is a very important component of your life. What would you like to share about your faith to the BDCD readers?
I would say it is the MAIN component in my life. I used to be a bit of a hellraiser, and was living for myself and didn’t care who I offended or hurt, It was really sad. After my almost dying deal I went through I did some searching and what not, tried meditation and self-spiritual stuff but it never worked, definitely not what this voice inside of me was calling out to. One day went to church with my friend Rich, (Rich and I have been friends since 7th grade) and everything clicked. All the nonsense I had against Christians was gone. I mean it was NOT overnight not by any means. I still deal with the crap that goes on in my head but I a m FAR better now.
So yes my faith is very important. Email me if you want to know more. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for the interview
SKOG IT UP!!
For more skog information check out this post: Skog it up
I showed up at Burns Park in North Little Rock, Arkansas hoping for a long, straight path much like the Greenline in Memphis, Tennessee. What I found were winding paths around soccer fields. I was hoping that my ride wasn't gong to be 26 laps around a one mile loop, and that the course would have some different scenery.
Mile One: I found a spot that would be easy to start and stop by my vehicle and started pushing. The first mile is the warm up mile for me. I always go slower to get my muscles loosened and heart rate up slowly.
Mile Three: I'm surprised at how many curves and hills are on the course. None of the hills are particularly steep, but there will be alot of uphill sections I'll have to push and and equal amounts of slightly sloping downhill spots that I'll be able to either pump or coast.
Mile Four: I find a longer, 1.4 mile stretch that curves but is much straighter than the other sections. However, at this particular stretch, I'm fighting a very strong headwind by the Arkansas River.
Miles 5.5-7: I reached the walking bridge over the Arkansas River into Little Rock from North Little Rock. I opted to make this my turn around point, because I didn't want to fight any Little Rock traffic. The way back to the main park, now with the wind at my back, produces much faster times. My first sub 5 minute miles of the day.
Mile 9: I found a new part of the trail with a very steep uphill climb, but opted to go back around the soccer fields so I could make my way to my water bottle at my car.
Mile 12: I'm feeling very good. My body is fine, but I'm thirsty. I stopped at my car, grabbed my water bottle, took a few sips and, in my hurry, locked my keys in my car. I hid the water bottle behind my back tire, and hopped back on my board. This mile, with a stop for a drink, was my slowest mile at about 6 1/2 minutes.
Miles 13-19: I felt really good. My only complaint was that my head was getting hot. I now understand why so many distance skaters wear heavily vented bicycle helmets.
However, between 19 and 20, as I was coming to a crosswalk, I met a car at the intersection. I wasn't sure if the car was going to stop or not so I put my foot down to foot break. My foot slipped off the trail into the dirt to the side and I rolled my ankle. I felt it overstretch and pain shot up my leg. The car passed, and I kept pushing, wondering if I was going to have to finish the last six miles pushing mongo or switch exclusively. Luckily, by mile 21, the pain was gone and I was able to keep pushing.
Miles 21-24: I went back to the bridge one more time. It would be my last fight with the headwind and my last easy ride with the wind at my back.
Mile 25-26: I spent this time getting myself back to my car. Still feeling really good.
26-26.2: I rode past my car, through the parking lot, into the next lot, and back to my car which finished the last .2 miles.
It was a fun ride. The only thing I'd do differently is pick an earlier time. By the end of my ride the park was full of cyclists. No issues with them, but I'd rather end my ride with less folks around.
Now that I've finally sent out t-shirts to the Australian winners of the Cyber Slalom Challenge, it is time to recap the event. Yeah, it took me forever. I promise I'm not normally that slow in shipping.
The event ran from November 27th to December 11th of 2017, was inspired by the nscda.com ongoing challenge event (my times are listed on their website), and was a great way for skaters on two continents to share the stoke of friendly competition.
1. 9.65 Johnny McGrath
2. 9.91 Marty Merv Rowley
3 10.13 Daniel Monaghan
4. 10.19 Kenny Harrison
5. 10.90 Andrew Folks
6. 11.10 David Thornton
7. 11.40 Rob Wedge Francis
8, 15.82 Jeremy Farris
9. 17.65 Darren Miller
10. 20.25 Bernard Griffiths
The course must be a:
1. Flat area.
2. A marked start line.
3. 25 "cones" 15-feet past Start Line spaced 6-feet apart (as centered as possible.
4. 15-feet after last cone is the Finish Line.
How to run it:
1. Push from start line to cones then pump your way through the cones.
2. No pushing from end of cones to the finish line.
3. Time starts when board crosses the starting line and finishes when you cross the finish line.
4. If you hit/displace a cone, the run is void (but, of course, you can run it again and again and again).
Please, flat courses only.
As I prepare myself for my next 26.2 mile skateboard journey, I have been sharing my original Luchaskate posts on my preparation and completion of half and full marathon skateboard journeys. Here is the final post from that blast from the past. My first 26.2 skateboard ride.
-From Luchaskate April 2012
Alright, I've been talking about doing a marathon push ride on April 20th for a few weeks now, and I've been training for it by doing a long ride every Monday since completing the half marathon. Well, I turned on the gps and opened the endomondo app this morning still unsure how far I would ride. To be honest, I felt like crap. I hurt my knee (not skating related) on Saturday and the swelling had just disappeared from my leg the night before. I wasn't sure if I'd skate for 5 miles or 15 miles today. I just knew it was Monday and on Monday I skate for distance.
So, I started skating. Still felt like crap. I turned around at the 6.5 mile mark (which is a particular bench at Shelby Farms) and started back to Highland Street (where I start). I got back to Highland and started off again. Still felt, yep, like crap at 13 miles, but something clicked at mile 14. I suddenly felt great. At that point I decided to make today my marathon ride.
26.2 would be mine. I felt great until mile 24 when I was ready for it to be over. I didn't bring any water and was getting so thirsty, and I was definitely getting tired. I hadn't even eaten breakfast. Like I said, I had felt like crap. It took me a little longer than I had hoped but it is done! This time would put me just in the top 90 marathon times on paved wave (were it an official course, of course).
I was looking through my original blog posts from Luchaskate back in the day and found my original foray into distance skating. As I move toward another 26.2 ride, I thought these were interesting to look back at (without searching the internet forever to find them):
Well, I went for it. Using the free Runtastic app for android, I logged in 13.1 miles at Shelby Farms. It took me a little over an hour (I'm not posting the exact time yet...I'm feeling superstitious about that for some reason).
I love this app (Runtastic). It tells me how fast I'm going, and uses my phone's gps to track where I have been, my overall pace and even when on the ride I've gone my fastest and slowest. It is an amazing tool, and I think it will be indispensable as I continue distance skate training. I did waste a little too much time fiddling with it on the ride, but it was my first time to ride with it for more than a mile so that is to be expected. It will be used for all of my distance rides from now on.
Beautiful weather and my last day or two to skate transitions etc... before I have to take it more easy than I'd like to rest up for race week. No need to get hurt the week or so before a race I've spent so much time training for.
Okay. Today was going to be my "big ride" day. I was going to skate 20 miles at a medium fast pace which would be my longest ride of the four (five including race week) weeks. This was the last day to push myself before easing down to rest for a few days.
Well, I made it 10 miles. I rode the Greenline then went up and around Shelby Farms for a while when all hell broke loose with the weather. It stormed like a beast. The temperature dropped at least 10 degrees. I was skating through pockets of warm then cold air as the wind picked up so fast that it almost knocked me down. Luckily, I made it back to the Visitors center where all of us temporarily stranded by wind and rain conditions waited out the storm and for rides back home. And thankfully, Lindsey answered my texts and came by to scoop me up. She got me back to my car so I could change clothes and get dry.
Well, the one thing I did get to do on the ride was try out my Eastside Rain Wheels. I can't recommend them enough after this first ride. Riding these 70 mm center set wheels I could pump and push with confidence. They didn't slip out at all. Only my first time riding them, but I recommend them highly.
I took a ride this morning. Did 11 miles in 49 minutes which is my best time yet. Tomorrow I will do another training skate then it is three full days off before the race.
I do want to stress that I don't care where I place. As I've said before, I only race myself. That is one thing that has made skateboarding so great, the lack of competition. I don't want that to change no matter what kind of skating I'm doing. I do, however, want to do the best I possibly can.
Anyway, this is it until Saturday night (when I'll let you know my time). The course has all kinds of turns so it will be interesting to see how that effects times overall. And, of course, after that I'll begin training for my 26.2 push ride in May. Yep, I'm addicted to "Going the Distance."
Fun push race this morning, and great mini ramp session with my kiddo this afternoon.
Aaron Shafer beat me in the old man division (damn his long legs), but it was great. I rode my race, and could've done another 13 miles. In fact, starting Monday training for a 26.2 mile ride will begin. I'll let you know the day, time and place that I'm going to ride the full marathon "officially." I'm thinking of doing it on the new trails in Little Rock. It won't be a race situation. As I've said before, I race myself not other people. Skateboarding isn't a contest. Skateboarding is personal expression and fitness for me. I'm there to enjoy myself above and beyond anything.
Monday I'm going to start working on my push technique. Watching Darrian Balongie (the overall winner) I saw what good push technique should look like. Oh, my time for the 13 mile course was 57:57 just over two minutes faster than I wanted to do it in. I skated exactly the pace I had in mind, and every time I made 1/2 lap I sang out loud to Edward Pidgeon who was watching us go through. I knew as long as I could sing (which I do on my training rides) I was riding my perfect pace. I didn't want to hit the 9 mile wall with no energy. As it turned out, I had more than enough energy, and got to skate Lindsey's new mini ramp for a while as she and Jackson hung out and ate grapes and strawberries (he took a few playtime running non-skating runs)...he's four by the way.
Now? We're heading outside to play some baseball. I'll see y'all next week when 26 mile training begins!!!
David Thornton is a lifer skater and national award winning writer. He has been skating for over thirty years and is the author of Nobody: Essays from a Lifer Skater.