Monday, June 22, 2009

Atlas Open Skateboard Contest

I was supposed to drive down to New-York City for the weekend, I ended up going to Mascouche!

The Atlas Open skateboard contest is a classic of the Quebec skateboard scene that has been around for some 8 years or so. It takes place in a town an hour north of Montreal called Mascouche. The last time I attended it was just before the first Under Attack Tour across Canada, so that brings us back to the summer of 2004.

The get together was a chance to meet back with dozens of friends, people from the industry and skateboarders from different generations ranging from legends Steve Cantin, Etienne Tanguay and Nick Cote to the internationally renowned J-S Lapierre (16), Josh Clarke and Antoine Asselin (19) as well as new comers Will Christofaro (16), Luc Baslanti (17), Alexis Lacroix, Pat Tremblay and many other kids whose names I still ignore.

My biggest surprise was to see J-S Lapierre skate a park for the first time. Even thought I know the kid has won the Es Game of skate in Montreal two years in a row (which is insane) and have shot street skating with him a year ago, I had no idea of how much of an evolved bag of tricks and pop he's got. Actually, I do have seen him at the Am Getting Paid contest last year, so I guess it's just a matter of his style and pop improving tremendously over the last year. This is very possible as the guy is only 16.

Besides J-S, Antoine was killing everything as usual, with backside 180 flips to fakie nosegrinds on the curb like it was nothing and nose blunt slides on the steep, Park Prefontaine-inspired bank. Luc Baslanti skated an improvised hubba on the side of the main module and managed to frontside bluntslide, frontside noseblunt and backside 180 fakie nosegrind the hell out of it. This would have deserved some money, but at the end of the day the hands-down winner was Josh Clark. There is an ambiguity in terms of what deserved the money on the main module, if it was one of Luc's improvisations on the hubba, Will Christofaro's big spin heel backside boardslide on the rail, J-S Lapierre's big flip front board or Josh's textbook backside nosebluntslide on the hubba. The thing is, Josh also full cab frontboarded the rail and did the two gnarliest tricks down the trailer into the bank (backside flip and fakie flip), so he kind of deserved the MVP title and cheque.

Following is a still frame of colorful Jean-Sebastien Lapierre in mid salad grind. I think he was attempting a fronside feeble but just locked into a salad and pulled it.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Remembering Brazil

Last week I attended Zoo York's latest flick premiere at the new Underworld music/events venue in downtown Montreal. The film is entitled "State of Mind". One particularity about this video is that two of the riders (Donny Barley and Aaron Suski) have namesake grinds. This tells something about the East-Coast skating style that has evolved in cities such as Philadelphia, Boston and New-York City. My favorite parts are Eli Reed, Matt Miller, Ron Deily, Forrest Kirby and Brandon Westgate's explosive intro.

I remember the first time I saw Westgate in a magazine. He had the back cover Emerica ad of a late 2005 SBC Skateboard with a crazy kickflip frontside wallride in a ditch. A few months later, I was invited by Red Bull to fly down to Brazil with my good friend Carl Labelle so that we could attend a huge skate contest the drink company had organized in Salvador (Bahia), the country's former capital.  Once in Brazil, we met up with Brandon Westgate and former Birdhouse team manager (now Zoo York's) Seamus Deegan. Both guys were in Montreal last week for the premiere and it was good to recall the Brazilian memories. Brandon just turned pro for Zoo York skateboards, and his part in "State of Mind" is simply insane. He starts off by skating most of New-York City's famous spots the opposite way. So if a hubba, straight ledge off stairs, rail or gap was usually skated from top to bottom, Brandon simply uses the terrain going up, meaning he needs trice as much speed and pop in order to make it. If you have ever tried to skate a ledge that goes upward you know how much pressure you face and how fast you need to go. My own experience is skating Montreal's Champ de Mars triangle ledges. Brandon is a short guy and it looks as if he can ollie up to his neck.

Here are two unreleased photos from Brazil that I found in my archives. Seamus told me that Brandon celebrated his 15th birthday on that trip. Carl and I did not stay to chill in Salvador thought, we flew to Sao Paolo for a week of intense street skating.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sunny Tuesday Morning...

It was late at night on June 15th.  I was chatting with Calgary-based skateboarder and friend Kevin Lowry about his new project, a soon-to-be-released Canadian skateboard video featuring the likes of Antoine Asselin, Lee Yankou and himself.

Just as I told him I was going to bed a new message notified me that fellow half-Canadian half-Peruvian artist Chris Dyer was home and could sell me a copy of his art book/journal, The Sunlight Chronicles. Seeing a couple of pages from the publication online made me impatient about going through the sketchbook, where Chris documented in words and drawings his constant process of evolution and travels.

I drove to his place where he showed me a painting he's been working on since December, a piece representing his perspective of the evolution of humanity. We talked for a bit about possible ways of reaching a broader audience and I suggested a blog. Sure, he's already got a MySpace page, a Facebook artist page and multiple sites for his art, clothing line and book, but a blog is something different, closer to the journal style he is publishing as the Chronicles.

This morning Chris Dyer's blog was up, so I thought it would be a good time for me to create one as well. The copyright issues in Blogger seemed less ambiguous than in other social web services. They even mention public licenses such as Creative Commons. This should be enough incentive for me to publish material from my photo archive online.

Now the big question is how I'll manage to blog in Spanish and French as well...  Things could get messy if I can't split the three in an orderly manner.