The Board Blazers Blog


ESK8: An Obsession

ESK8 (short for electric skateboarding) is everywhere. Whether you’re beachside, walking through a park, or down the sidewalk of a college campus, we can pretty much guarantee you’ll see someone riding an electric skateboard within moments. This fun activity and reliable mode of transportation has rocketed in popularity in the last few years, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down. Brands like Meepo and Boosted Boards were virtually unknown until the past few years, and now they possess a significant amount of the skateboarding market share. Where did these boards come from? How do they work? Are they safe and reliable? Today we’re telling you everything you need to know about the worldwide trend sweeping skateboarding: ESK8!

Electric Skateboards aren’t necessarily a new concept. In fact, as skateboarding itself was coming of age in the 1970s, a student at Berkely patented the first motor-powered skateboard. If you know anything about the sleek and well designed electric skateboards of today, imagine the exact opposite, and you’ll get a perfect vision of the MotoBoard. A gasoline-powered outboard motor pushed the board forward, and control wasn’t exactly straightforward. It’s unsurprising that California later banned the skateboard for environmental and safety reasons. We can’t blame them. Riding around crowded cities on a flammable deck powered by gasoline and a weed-trimmer motor sounds less than safe. But the idea had been hatched, and as with most great ideas, it wouldn’t lay dormant for long.


The idea resurfaced in the early 2000s as battery technology improved. These models were the first to utilize wireless technology, allowing their control to remain literally in the hands of the rider by way of a remote. And while powering a skateboard with electricity was far safer and greener than the previous gasoline models, batteries and micro-motor technology was still a new and developing field. One of the first electric skateboards would have set you back over $1500 in 2001 – yikes! But as lithium battery technology improved, and the world became accustomed to all things wireless, skateboarding manufacturers were finally able to create an electric skateboard with enough torque to produce a decent speed at a low enough price point to be tempting to the general skateboarding populace. From 2012 through 2015 tons of ESK8 companies raced to bring their products to market and get in front of consumers. And by 2016 electric skateboarding was a full-blown trend!


Electric skateboards are powered by lithium batteries, and they create their movement in two main ways. Some models have batteries that power a motor that uses a pulley to move the wheels, and others have motors within the wheels themselves! You’ll notice a speed and consequently a price difference between the two types. Motors within each wheel are less complex (hence the lower price tag), but produce less power and therefore a slightly slower board. Pulley motors create higher speed, but are more mechanically complex and therefore more expensive than their wheel motor counterparts. As for control, you also have two options: a handheld remote, or a system that allows you to shift your weight to control speed and direction, much like a Segway scooter.

While they’ve always been entertaining as a sporting toy, these boards are quickly becoming a primary mode of transportation for a large swath of people. Students to urban businesspeople are quickly seeing the draw of the electric skateboard for commuting. While you won’t get much (or any) exercise using one of these boards, with top speeds of 20-30mph you can reasonably commute short to medium distances on and ESK8 board, as long as you have a paved surface from your home to your place of business or study. In many cases where population and traffic density is a huge issue, electric skateboarding to work or school could actually be faster than driving your car! As with any fast-moving vehicle, safety is of the essence, which is why we recommend skaters of ANY type always wear a helmet, remain aware of their surroundings for theirs and other’s safety, and ride with Board Blazers to make themselves more visible in the evening hours. Skateboarding safety is even more essential when you’re eskateing - traveling at speeds that rival those of an automobile.


Electric skateboarding isn’t going anywhere. These companies have staked out their market, and skaters are fiercely loyal to different brands like Boosted, Meepo, and InBoard. And as with any new industry, the boundaries are being pushed even further. Lately, off-road electric skateboard models are en vogue, able to easily traverse grass, gravel, and even compact sand! With wheels that look like those of a fat tire bike, soon skateboarders will be all over the beach itself, not just the boardwalk!

We’re digging this new ESK8 trend, and we’re glad it’s here to stay! What about you – love it? Hate it? Reach out on Instagram @BoardBlazers and tell us what you think!


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How To Learn To Skateboard By Yourself

So you want to learn to skateboard, but you’re not so keen on the idea of paying for lessons. And it’s helpful to know exactly where to start, especially if you’re trying to make the transition from “Total Beginner” to “Won’t Make A Complete Fool Of Myself At The Skate Park.”

Assuming you already have your skateboard and safety gear, here are the steps to learn to skateboard by yourself.

1. Practice your stance first

Find a soft place, like a patch of grass or a floor of carpet. This is the time to get comfortable with your stance and the feel of the board. 

Figure out if you’re regular- or goofy-footed; that is, if you’re more comfortable with your left foot forward or your right foot forward. 

Once you’re in position, bounce a little bit, feeling how the board moves and flexes. Practice getting on and off the board and finding your balance.

2. Fall

Or rather, practice falling properly. Think of it this way--you’re going to fall, so get the anxiety about when out of the way. You also want to practice your form to help minimize injuries.

Stay loose, and try and roll out of every fall to minimize the damage.

3. Start skateboarding on a level surface

First, practice pushing off with your rear foot, and bringing it back onto the board in the stance you practiced in step 1. Then, try a wide turn, leaning your weight in the direction you want to turn and feeling the board slowly carry you around. 

Once you’re comfortable with the wide turn, and you’ve done it successfully a few times, try a sharp turn. To do this, gently put some pressure on the back of the board and lift the nose off the ground just a smidge, then swing the board in the direction you want to turn.

You’ll also want to practice stopping, which consists of you gently putting your back foot on the ground and dragging it along until you come to a stop.

4. Watch skaters to learn tricks

Once you’re at a place where you can pretty comfortably stay on your board and turn without falling off, it’s time to take things up a notch.

This means hanging out at skate parks and watching more experienced skaters land some sweet moves. Pay close attention to what they’re doing, and think about how you can practice it at home. 

You’ll also want to find some good skate videos, for the same reason. Chances are, you’re bound to find experienced skaters doing something awesome that you hadn’t even considered!

5. Use SkaterTrainers to practice your tricks

Isn’t it a bummer when you know the parts of a trick, but you can’t practice them individually?

Well, with SkaterTrainers, you actually can. These are nifty little wheel-stoppers that hold your board in place and allow you to try tricks in slow motion, practicing your moves without fear of the board sliding out of control.

SkaterTrainers

 

Another possibility is to return to that starter patch of grass and practice there.

6. Go skate!

You can stand on a board, push off, turn, and land a couple basic tricks. Now, you’re ready to start really learning--but to get to the next level, you’ll need to find some friends at the skate park.

Scope out intermediate-to-advanced skaters, ask if they’ll show you how to do that thing they just did, and BAM--skater friends!

Conclusion

Learning to skateboard by yourself can be a process of trial and error--but by taking it slow and practicing these basic steps, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the board.

Experienced skaters--what are your tips for beginners? Let us know on Instagram @boardblazers!

 

Photo credit: Erich Ferdinand//flu,


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Best SoCal Skate Shops

Southern California: from San Diego to Ventura, Carlsbad to Orange County this is the epicenter of everything skateboarding! With a sports culture birthed from surfers in the ’70s and ’80s, it makes sense that the largest concentration of skaters is located near the beach where the weather is perfect nearly all year long. While there are plenty of other places that foster a strong love for the sport (we see you, Texas, New York, Florida & lots of other rad places!), nowhere is skate culture more prominent and defined than the mecca of all things skate: SoCal. With such a densely populated area and a huge skateboarding following, you have lots of choices when you shop, but it’s tough to sort through the heavy competition for your spending cash. Today we’re bringing you the ultimate list of the best skateboard shops in SoCal. You could spend hours in each one chatting with knowledgeable staff and fellow skaters. Whether you live in the area or are planning a trip to the epicenter of skate, plan to stop in at each of these rad stores!!


Programme Skate & Sound
2495 E. Chapman Ave
Fullerton, CA 92831

This rad mix of skate shop and underground music haven will have you wanting to stay for hours. Pop in to get expert advice from the knowledgeable staff, and stay a while talking to other local skaters exchanging war stories. While you’re here, you’ll get a taste of some of the best up-and-coming musicians anywhere in LA. Always repping new sick bands and staying true to their genre, you’ll get something new and awesome every time you stop in, so make this place one of your frequent hangouts! And it just so happens that our all-time favorite skater, Tech Na$ty rides for them. You might catch him there some afternoon!

NonFactory Skateshop
110 San Pedro St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

A sick spot in the middle of Little Tokyo, NonFactory is full of ultra-legit and devoted staff. They know everything about anything skateboarding, even competing in and often winning many local skate competitions as a team. They have every part you could possibly need, and if they don’t, they’ll order it for you. You can have your foot and board sized to fit, and their staff is fantastic at providing great advice for any level of skater from novice to pro. Make sure you hit this spot up on your trip to LA and then grab some delicious Japanese food after!


District Skates
10221 Venice Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034

District skates is all about preserving the hand-crafted artistry that made skateboarding what it is today. You won’t find any mass-produced boards here; everything is made in shop by one of their uber-talented team of skateboard artisans. Every step of the process of board production happens on site, and they take pride in the uniqueness of each skateboard. They aim to stay connected to the sport and the culture by creating each piece themselves. These are some of the most high-quality and downright beautiful skateboards you’ll ever see. If you’re a local, you need one of these in your arsenal. If you’re making a skate pilgrimage to SoCal, then make sure to take one of these boards back home as the best souvenir in history.

LA Skate Co
5401 Santa Monica Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90029

The oldest and certainly the most revered SoCal skate shop, LA Skate Co should be on any skater’s bucket list. They’ve been around since 1979 and “by the grace of the Universe,” they’re still open! If you’re a beginner, you don’t need to feel intimidated here, despite its history and the slew of locals who hang out. Their whole goal is to foster skateboarding and the culture surrounding it, which means teaching new skaters is just part of the fun! You can walk in totally green and leave well on your way to becoming a legit skater! With an insane selection of gear, you could and should kill an hour or two here on your next SoCal trip!

5 Points Skate Shop
2787 E. Main St.
Ventura, CA 93003

Further north in LA county you will find the very best place to live out both your skate and snowboarding dreams! With legendary customer service, you’ll get the low down on local skateboarding haunts and expert advice whether you’re surfing the streets or the slopes. The owner has been skating since the 1970s and is passionate about all things skate. When you’re in north county make sure to swing by and check it out!


The Skatelab
TBD

Anyone who knows anything about skating has heard of The Skatelab. A legendary indoor park and associated store in Simi Valley, it was the stuff of skateboarding legend. Anyone who could make a pilgrimage would and no one left disappointed. But in the saddest news in recent skateboarding history, the shop and skatepark abruptly announced it would be closing its doors in early 2019. So why would we tease you and include it in this list? Well friends, just last month Skatelab announced that a NEW location in Simi will open in 2019!! As they say, it was the end of an era, but not the end of Skatelab. Stay tuned to their website and Instagram to get details as soon as they’re available!

There are hundreds of reasons to visit southern California: beaches, weather, Hollywood, and Disneyland just to name a few. But if you're a true skateboard lover at heart, that's the only reason you need to explore the motherland of skate. If you’re local, branch out to one of these rad stores (unless you’re already so cool you knew all of this – props!) and see what you learn. If you’ve been dying for a reason to visit the golden state, now you have all the ammunition you need. Pack your backpack, book a plane ticket and come dive deep into skateboarding culture – you might never want to go home!


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Best Skateboarding Movies

Today our friend David over at Longboards Lab is doing a roundup of the best skateboarding movies - rad! Read on, fellow shredders!

The best skateboarding movies around provide a fun blend of sporting entertainment. There are fantastic scenes of breathtaking stunts, flips, and ollies. Skateboarding skills interplay with genres like drama, action, and even comedy themes sprinkled with a little romance. Whatever your style, be sure to tune in and immerse yourself in the best of half pipes, grinds, grabs and more!


Waiting for Lightning
The 2012 documentary-style personal story, rings true vividly, highlighting the theme from “tragedy and triumph.” Here’s a storyline that most persons can readily identify with or try to emulate in their struggles. The lead character portrays the life of professional skateboarder, Danny Way, who experienced a rough start in life. However, with personal grit and determination, he seemingly defies the odds to achieve his dreams. What better way to rise above any challenge, by viewing the lead actor perform death-defying stunts and tricks after taking huge falls and personal setbacks? To jump the Great Wall of China on a skateboard is no mean feat, but, like most life lessons, Day proves that anything is possible if the mind and will are in sync, despite any obstacles in your way.

Some of the best scenes from the film include Day leaping from a helicopter into a skateboarding ramp and conceptualizing and building the mind-boggling ramp to scale the Great Wall of China. Supporting actors in the film include Laird Hamilton and Rob Dyrdek. The movie provides excellent high-quality digital streaming that puts you right on the pulse of the action.


Skateboard Madness
If you’re interested in how skateboarding started and its progress through time, then Skateboarding Madness is a must-watch. Set in the 1980s, the comedic storyline centers around a less-than-ambitious sports photographer who’s set to lose his job unless he could produce something spectacular in short order.

Amidst the comedy, the film gives one a sense of the early development of skateboarding as a sport. It’s rated among some of the best skateboarding movies around. It also includes scenes of surfing, wind skating, and snowboarding as well as ideas of how the skateboarding craze evolved. The film also provides excellent footage with appropriate background music on skateboarding techniques, stunts, and tricks.

The lead actor himself provides plenty of laughs as he blunders his way to “stardom” after his attempts to cover a skateboarding competition in the San Francisco Bay goes awry. After his assignment goes begging, he ends up on an exciting and informative, yet hilarious road trip to some of the best skateboarding parks around the San Francisco Bay area. The director is Hal Jepson, and the cast includes Kurt Ledterman, Tony Alva, Stacy Peralta, Surf Punks and Gregg Ayres.


Stoked: The Rise and Fall of The Gator
The 2002 movie is a documentary about the professional career of skateboarder Mark “Gator” Rogowski and the emerging popularity of skateboarding in Southern California. Set in the early1990s, it presents a gripping, yet haunting tale of one of the most talented and promising skateboarders ever. The film tells the story of the fame, fortune, and tragic fall of a Rogowski, and is a blend of period scenes with memories of skateboarding in it’s “pure” form. A complex portrait of Gator’s stardom, it shows the events that led to his unfortunate demise from the skateboarding arena.

Viewers will get a rare opportunity to see skateboarding through the eyes of many pioneers of the craft and their iconic rise to fame and glory. The film is listed as one of the best skateboarding movies to hit the big screen. It’s choc-full of action, personal interviews, and history of the fast-growing interest in skateboarding as a competitive sport. Directed by Helen Stickler, it stands out for quality, reality, and great entertainment. See the exploits of Gator as he executes his expert half-pipes and other superb skills of a talented but troubled star. Stars in the movie include skater Tony Hawk, Jason Jesse, John Brinton Hogan and Mark “Gator” Rogowski himself.


Thrashin
Thrashin is a 1986 dramatic movie which is also called Skate Gang. The film draws its plot around up-and-coming skateboarder, Corey Webster (Josh Brolin), who dreams of making it big in the future. A highly intense drama unfolds when the leading star’s love interest turns out to be a close relative of one of the most feared skateboarding gangs in Los Angeles. Corey navigates between practicing his downhill stunts while trying to escape with his life on occasions. The emotional upheaval takes a toll on his attempts to stay focused on his dreams. Tensions increase when Corey finally gets the opportunity to out-perform his biggest rival, despite having an injured arm. The action climaxes with him zooming past his fiercest opponent, and wins a contract to start a professional skateboarder career. He also earns the admiration and respect of his enemy and can thrive both professionally and romantically.

Watching the movie will take you back in time to the emerging skateboarding culture and its influence on the punk rock era of the 1980s. It also portrays many popular skateboarding groups of the time such as the Banshees, Vice Squad, and Siouxsie.


Street Dreams
If you’re a die-hard skateboarding fan and love a good action drama movie, then Street Dreams will keep you hooked. It’s a throwback to the 1970’s skateboarding circle in the Midwest where little is known or appreciated about skateboarding. The main character (Paul Rodriguez) plays teenage skateboarder Derrick Cabrera who dreams of making it onto the big stage despite little support from family and friends. Nevertheless, Cabrera draws on his inner strength and continues to sharpen his skills, narrowing it down to one specially crafted stunt. Jealousy soon raises its ugly head when fellow skateboarders realize his immense talent and potential. As the walls begin to close in on him from every angle, and his battles increase, he decides to break free and leave his hometown. Trouble also follows him as he qualifies for the amateur contest in Tampa Florida. Once again, he’s abandoned by people he thought he could trust. However, fate is kind to him and with the help of a few new friends he’s able to showcase the astonishing trick he’s been practicing. A grind down a handrail on a crooked flip at a 360 degrees angle propels him to get the attention of the professionals finally.

One of the best highlights of the movie is the fact that actual skateboarders perform stunts and tricks. It’s a riveting story of self-belief and determination and will appeal to teenagers who have a passion and want to achieve greatness. Supporting roles are by Ryan Schecker, Terry Kennedy and Rob Dyrdek.

Awesome roundup, David! We're ready to set down our boards (and Board Blazers!) and pop some corn instead of ollies for a change. Go catch one of these killer skater flicks and let us know what you think!


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Reddit 101 for Skateboarders

The world wide web is such a vast tangle of data and info that it can be mind-bending to try and imagine it. For today let’s imagine the internet as a house with Reddit as the front door. This website bills itself as the front page of the internet with a staggering number of users and an entire subculture with its own acronyms. If you’re new to Reddit the structure is deceptively simple: it’s a collection of forums based around any and EVERY topic you can imagine. Want to chat soccer with like-minded hooligans? There’s a thread for that. Want to debate the death penalty with actual lawyers and judges? You can! And if you’d like to browse endless pictures of cat-breading (yes, that is when you cut a baseball-sized hole in a piece of white bread and place it lovingly on your cat’s noggin), well Reddit has you covered here too.

There are nearly endless threads and sub-threads, but as die-hard skaters, we’re really interested in one thread and one thread only: SHREDDIT, the skateboarding forum. Before we delve into some can’t-miss internet skateboarding wonders, you should know that Reddit has its own lingo. Remember the old instant messaging jargon: brb, lol, g2g, etc? It’s like that, except there are SO MANY MORE. If and when you find yourself lost in acronyms, merely google the string of letters with a comma and then the word “Reddit” and you should see an accurate translation from Reddit-speak to English. You should also know that posts rise or fall on the page based on up or downvotes. Unlike other social media outlets who keep their post algorithms top secret (looking at YOU, Instagram!), Reddit gives total control to the users – power to the people, man! If you see something you dig, vote it up! If you see something annoying (ads!), vote it down.

The majority of the thread is photos and videos people submit of themselves skateboarding — everything from street cruising to homemade skateparks. There are wipeouts and clean landings, skaters of every age and race; it’s a grand melting pot of all things skate. And posers? They get voted down super-fast, keeping the community authentic and focused. You could lose hours eyeballing the rad pics and videos here, honestly. Not to mention the user-submitted art: everything from deck designs to graffiti to oil paintings and sculptures - there's a fantastic amount to see! The only rule is that it must be an homage to all things skate. We can get behind that!

If you’ve never been brave enough to post photos or videos of yourself skating in other corners of the internet, Reddit is a stellar first foray into the world of sharing your shred. Almost all users are super supportive of others, so go ahead and post a skate vid of yourself shredding with your Board Blazers, of course! And anyone caught being a jerk gets down-voted quickly. It’s a great way to build confidence and simultaneously your volume of skating material before launching your personal skateboarding Instagram empire (reach for the stars, peeps)!

The /r/skateboarding thread also has a rad permanent post pinned to the top of the page, “Skateboarding Weekly Discussion Thread.” This is where people post any and all questions about skateboarding. You can ask anything from “Any recs for 60mm wheels?” to “I’m a 76-year-old who wants to get into skating, where do I start?” And here’s the cool part: you can answer too! All that skateboarding knowledge you’ve stored up that your family and non-skater friends don’t appreciate, put it all to use. These are our people, skatefam. We need each other and spending some time browsing this thread is an excellent reminder of the community in our sport. Helping skaters less experienced than you and asking questions to those who’ve been at it longer is a solid way to contribute to skateboarding culture.

If you sign up for a Reddit account, you too can post anything you like in the /r/skateboarding thread to connect with other shredders! The only rules apart from the general Reddit content guidelines are that all conversations, photos, and videos must relate to skateboarding in some way. But doesn’t skating work itself into every conversation anyway? Now get out there and make some SHREDDIT history, skatefam!


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