VIDEO: ‘Wild in the Parks’ Skateboarding Comp

Totally sick, brah.

Totally sick, brah.

Skateboarding and the Bay Area—and the South Bay in particular—have long been intertwined. Many of the biggest names to come out of the sport in the 1980s hailed from Silicon Valley, and Thrasher magazine once identified San Jose as the skating capital of the world. And so it makes perfect sense that Volcom and The Berrics would pick Mayfair Skatepark as one of only 10 stops on the 2015 North American “Wild in the Parks” tour.

The touring amateur skate contest—now in its 13th year—set up shop at Mayfair on Saturday, July 11, and let the kids rip. The free contest was broken into three categories: 14 and under, 15-21 and amateur. It is likely that many of those who entered the competition did so with the hope of advancing to the final round of the series, which is scheduled to be held on Oct. 17 at The Berrics skatepark in Los Angeles. (The Berrics, which is owned by pro skaters Steve Berra and Eric Koston is a co-sponsor of the series).

However, there is another reason for young skaters to strut their stuff at Wild in the Parks. According to the Volcom website, the contest series has established itself as a “proving ground for emerging skateboarders.” In other words, the event functions as a combine for aspiring skaters.

We sent our videographer, Linh Nguyen, to Mayfair Skatepark. Watch:

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Matt Driscoll: Taking down ‘No Skateboarding’ signs in Tollefson Plaza is a …

Usually, when people write about Tollefson Plaza they talk about all the things that aren’t happening there.

This is not one of those columns, and a new test program launched by the city last week provides a glimmer of hope that fewer will be written in the future.

Tollefson Plaza is that almost-always-empty triangle of uninhabitable concrete that’s supposed to serve as a gathering spot downtown. Located at South 17th Street and Pacific Avenue, the space was called Pacific Plaza before the city renamed it in honor of former Mayor Harold M. Tollefson almost nine years ago.

Boy, what an honor.

Saturday was one of the rare days when activity overtook Tollefson Plaza, and it served as something more than a vacant reminder of urban planning mistakes of the past. The annual Go Skate Tacoma event saw skateboarders of all ages and skill levels, my 8-year-old daughter included, fill the plaza with life.

It was a fantastic event, and organizers, including Ben Warner, deserve serious credit. Warner once skateboarded through Southeast Asia, and at University of Washington Tacoma he wrote a master thesis on the misconceptions of urban skateboarding.

Both were probably easier than getting people to spend a Saturday afternoon at Tollefson Plaza.

For all the event’s charms, however, there are obstacles at the plaza that are nearly impossible to overcome. On a day when temperatures hovered near 80 degrees, sitting on the red concrete of Tollfeson’s steps, without the slightest hint of shade, felt like watching skateboarding on the surface of the sun.

After a couple hours, we went home. But the skateboarders — not including my daughter, who put up a firm protest to our departure — stayed put. Many stayed all day.

There’s a lesson to be learned here.

Only so much can be done with Tollefson Plaza, and to the city’s credit, over the years almost every trick in the book has been tried. Temporary art installations have popped up, and food trucks have shown up — all grasps at making use of the space and hoping the momentum catches on.

A Danish architect by the name of Lars Gemzoe once offered recommendations for making Tollefson Plaza more inviting, including forging a stronger connection to the water.

Multi-phased plans, and the budgets that go along with them, have been rolled out.

During the holidays, an ice skating rink — known as Polar Plaza — is trucked in and erected. (It’s a fitting gesture, seeing as how the space is about as hospitable during the winter as the polar icecap.)

In true Tacoma spirit, we keep trying. We valiantly squeeze lemonade from lemons, holding out hope for a future that’s less barren. Maybe if we hold one more lunchtime event or make one more go at “activating the space,” the Tollefson Plaza tide will finally turn.

So far, with only a few exceptions, it’s been mostly wishful thinking.

So what’s to be done? I’m not the first person at The News Tribune to ask this vexing question. A jaunt through the archives reveals no shortage of hand-wringing and head-scratching. Former TNT columnist Dan Voelpel (who proposed an ice rink three years before it happened) once suggested a weekend-long Bing Crosby festival, or, better yet, a small-ships fest.

I don’t have anything nearly as creative, mainly because after watching this conversation play out over the years, there’s not much left to say. Until there’s a larger urban population downtown, and more hustle and bustle, making a significant and lasting change at Tollefson will prove challenging.

What we do know is that skateboarding seems to work in this space.

Over the last several years Tacoma has made a number of pro-skateboarding moves, including acknowledging it as a legitimate form of alternative transportation and not just a pastime for troublemakers.

Now we’re acknowledging the obvious when it comes to skateboarding in Tollefson Plaza: It’s one of the few activities people actually do in the space. We might as well try giving our blessing to it.

As City Councilman Marty Campbell pointed out during a study session last week: “A lot of people when they first look at Tollefson Plaza, they think it was designed as a skatepark.”

It wasn’t, but perhaps it should have been.

Campbell proposed a three-month program to remove the “No Skateboarding” signs in Tollefson and allow boarders to have at the space without fear of punishment,

On Saturday, the “No Skateboarding” sign came down, and it will stay down throughout the summer. No further changes are planned and — unfortunately — the metal brackets installed to prevent skateboarders from sliding across Tollefson’s steps will stay. But it’s progress.

In the age-old quest for activity in Tollefson Plaza, the skateboarding pilot project represents a kickflip in the right direction.

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PHOTOS: Flying high at Peterborough’s skateboard park

PETERBOROUGH —  How do you spend a beautiful Wednesday afternoon in Peterborough?

Why not at the skateboard park?

Situated at the corner of McDonnel Street and Monaghan Road, the skateboard park is a haven for the fearless and a great place to watch some daredevil performances.

Such as 26-year-old Rob Bessie who wowed onlookers as he pulled off a backflip on his BMX Wednesday (July 15).

Then there is Connor Egan, 24, who pulled out a one-handed grab.

Here’s the full sequence:  

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Stary stakes claim on world’s lightest electric skateboard mantle

A lot of the energy going into crafting the perfect electric skateboard at present is aimed at making the electrical components as inconspicuous as possible. Cramming batteries inside the deck, reducing controllers down into discrete handheld devices and now even hiding motors inside the wheels have all become part of the game. The Stary electric skateboard has gone down the hub motor route, and it’s the latest to lay claim to weighing less than the others, an important characteristic when we’re talking about last-mile transport.

The electric skateboard arms race has been heating up in the last few years, with companies like the San Francisco-based Boosted Boards leading the charge. Boosted’s first models were billed as the world’s lightest electric vehicles at 12-15 lb (5.5-6.8 kg), but they have since been surpassed by the Marbel at 10.3 lb (4.7 kg) and the recently crowdfunded Bolt at 8.8 lb (4 kg).

The team behind Stary has managed to shave off just a little more weight, wheeling out an electric skateboard that tips the scales at just 8.6 lb (3.9 kg). Weight is of course not the only factor to consider when shopping for one of these, but can be the difference between casually tucking it under the arm and lugging it around like a big bag of cement, just see our review of the monstrous 70 lb (31.4 kg) Epic Dominator Pro.

Stary features a composite deck made from fiber glass, bamboo and Canadian maple with a lithium polymer battery inside. The company says it takes two hours for a full charge which affords it a range of 10 miles (16 km). This puts it on par with competitors like the Marbel board, also at at 10 miles, and out ahead of Boosted’s latest models at 7 and 8 miles (11.2 and 12.9 km).

Rather than the belt drives that we see on most electric skateboards, Stary has opted to build motors and planetary gearing into the wheels for a power output of 1,350 W and 5.1 Nm of torque. This is the same approach taken by the makers of the Monolith electric skateboard, which boasts a top speed of 24 mph (39 km/h). The Stary lags behind a little on this front, with a claimed top speed of 18.6 mph (30 km/h).

Hiding the motors inside the wheels makes the Stary look more like a regular skateboard, but it also serves a practical purpose, too. The belt drives that power the many other electric boards we’ve looked at are generally attached to bulky motors on the underside of the deck. These make carrying the thing just a little more awkward, and also bring the risk of getting caught on obstacles.

The board is controlled with a small handheld remote weighing just an ounce (28 g), which features an OLED screen that displays battery level of the board. Sliding a thumb trigger forward will engage the motors and set the board in motion, while pulling back will trigger the regenerative braking.

With the electric skateboard currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, Stary is cruising along nicely toward its US$100,000 goal, with more than $70,000 already pledged at the time of writing. The company hopes to begin shipping in November 2015 if all goes to plan.

You can check out the pitch video below.

Source: Stary

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Graffiti artist eL Seed writes John Locke quote in Arabic script – video

French-Tunisian graffiti artist eL Seed has brought his signature ‘caligraffiti’ to London as part of the Shubbak festival, a celebration of Arab culture. He painted a John Locke quote – ‘It is one thing to show a man that he is in error, and another to put him in possession of truth’ – on the Village Underground wall in Shoreditch. Iman Amrani breaks fast with him

Restaurant: Tagine in Balham

El 3ou

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Pan Am LGBT mural vandalized with homophobic graffiti | Daily Xtra

Anna Camilleri and Tristan R Whiston’s mural for the Pan Am Path was only up for a week before it had been vandalized with homophobic graffiti — twice.

An elementary school educator had brought his students down the Humber Path and to the secluded area under the Dundas West span over the Humber River to show them the murals — instead, they found them vandalized. The Humber Path is part of the Pan Am Path during the duration of the games.

There, on three columns supporting the bridge, a series of murals celebrating the contributions of LGBT people in sport and diverse families was unveiled on June 10. Long, skinny rainbow figures link together, some with hearts on their chest. Aside from a sign about 20 metres from the artwork indicating that the busy commuter trail is part of the Pan Am Path, there is no explicit indication of the mural’s connection to the games or its meaning.

After the artwork was repaired, vandals struck a third time — local residents reported seeing new homophobic graffiti on July 2, says Camilleri.

Toronto Police Service’s hate crime unit is now investigating the incidents according to Staff Sergeant Devin Kealey.

Pictures provided to Daily Xtra by Camilleri show several of the columns vandalized with phrases written in white spray paint. “Heterosexual only,” “heterosexual pride day,” and “a dick and a asshole is not a family,” are among the phrases shown in the photos. Camilleri also told Daily Xtra in a previous article about the mural that the phrase “Be happy NOT gay” was written on the artwork.

In an email, Kealey says that the damage was significant and likely would have taken a noticeable period of time to deface the artwork. “Police believe there is a very good chance that someone in the area might have seen some suspicious activity when the crime was committed,” Kealey says.

“We would like to talk to anyone who may have more information as to a possible suspect(s).”

Camilleri, who has worked on several pieces of public art including one of the murals that is part of the Church Street Mural project, has never had any of her work vandalized before.

“When we think about engagement with the public, this isn’t certainly the thing that we hope for,” Camilleri says. “But you know whoever this person is — or persons — who have been vandalizing the work, they are speaking their feelings directly on the artwork by damaging it and I guess that is one of the risks you run with public artwork.”

Camilleri says it felt awful to see the work damaged. “It wasn’t random,” she says, noting that there is an abundance of graffiti tags in the area. “It was targeted, and it was hate target, and that was upsetting.”

Ann Molson, who Daily Xtra spoke to as she was walking her dog past the mural on July 13, says she was surprised to see the graffiti in the neighbourhood, noting that she didn’t initially realize it was an LGBT-themed mural. “I thought it was a strange reaction.”

Last year, Trove — a store in nearby Bloor West Village — was also targeted with homophobic graffiti. A vandal or vandals wrote “be happy not gay” in white spray paint on the back of the store and spray painted over a small rainbow flag sticker displayed in its window.

And in 2013, a couple who displayed two rainbow flags outside their home near Jane Street and Dundas West were also the targets of homophobic graffiti, sprayed in white spray paint outside of their home.

Kealey says that as part of the hate crime unit’s normal investigative procedures, they will look at similar events in the area to see if there is a connection.

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Graffiti artist pranks McDonald’s billboard – Telegraph

Dropped your phone in the toilet? McDonald’s.

Holiday blues? McDonald’s.

So it’s not surprising that one sarcastic Brit in Bristol has taken it upon themselves to ‘improve’ the billboards by adding a slightly more truthful emoji at the end.

Good times indeed.

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Two caught in connection with Chandler graffiti, $10,000 in damage done …

CHANDLER, AZ – 13 businesses were damaged in a string of graffiti and vandalism performed by two men in downtown Chandler on Thursday.

Chandler police said Alfredo Jimenez and Victor Osuna were captured in connection with the damage, which amounted to approximately $10,000.

The majority of the damage consisted of the graffiti on the 13 properties, but the suspects also damaged signs and lighting.

Reports showed much of the graffiti contained expletives aimed at the Chandler Police Department.

Air15 images also showed damage to the newly refurbished San Marcos Country Club near Chandler Boulevard and Alma School Road.

“I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anything like this in Chandler, so it’s sad,” said Laura Alexander, who has lived in Chandler for thirty years. “I’ve never understood why people can do things like that, its senseless.”

While most of the graffiti has already been painted over, the business owners have to pay out of pocket for those repairs.

“What’s disappointing is, we’re all independent business people,  just small business people,” said John Wolfe, owner of Sibley’s Gift Shop. “It’s not like we’re some deep pocketed conglomerate that can just go do things in a second.”

Longtime residents hope this was an isolated incident. “It will be fixed, it will be painted over, and they will be forgotten,” said Dorothy Legg.

The suspects were booked into the Maricopa County Jail on one count of criminal damage and one count of third degree burglary.

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Vans Syndicate Celebrates 10 Years | Transworld Skateboarding

2015 marks the 10th anniversary of the Vans Syndicate collection, Vans Pro Skate’s celebration of the diverse heritage of ideas, attitudes and influences that make up skateboarding’s unique culture. Vans pays tribute to this milestone by returning to several original Syndicate collaborators to represent a decade of iconoclastic style and heritage.


Vans Syndicate kicks off the anniversary with renowned tattoo and graffiti artist MISTER CARTOON. As the first of five projects in commemoration of the anniversary, MISTER CARTOON pays homage to the first official Syndicate project back in 2005, Season 001.01. The inaugural Syndicate collection turned to MISTER CARTOON to pen the original Syndicate “S” logo and script for his collaboration debut of three Authentic “S” styles.


Vans Syndicate presents the MISTER CARTOON Authentic “S”—originally released in “Blue”, “Penguin” and “Black” with printed canvas quarters and denim toe and heel—this July in black denim and gold accents. Original MISTER CARTOON artwork is screen printed on the quarter panels and footbeds. The Vans Syndicate x MISTER CARTOON anniversary project launches worldwide on Saturday, July 18 exclusively at authorized Vans Syndicate dealers. Visit for the complete list of dealers.

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