Author Archives: Kyle Bihler

Skating the LA marathon

A paralyzed man, Jesse Swalley, is planning to complete the LA Marathon in March 2014. While his left leg is completely paralyzed, he will not let that deter him from completing those 26.2 miles. The 51-year-old man used to enjoy running, but after his spinal cord was cut when he was trying to prevent two men from robbing another man, he was left partially paralyzed.

He now uses his arms to push himself along on a skateboard. While the LA Marathon officials have not made a ruling on whether Swalley will be allowed to compete in the upcoming race, he is determined to continue training. The main concern of officials is safety. They generally only allow racers on foot or approved aids. Officials initially told him that the race is governed by USA Track & Field (USATF), which only allows USATF-approved racing wheelchairs and hand-crank cycles.

Swalley uses shoe-like gloves to protect his hands while he is propelling himself down the street. He is no stranger to long distances. He completed a 22 mile all-skate marathon in San Diego last year. He will continue training and inspiring others to stay active despite any hardships that come their way.

Tony Hawk Foundation builds up skating in Detroit

Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk recently made a record donation to a city in dire need of a silver lining. The Tony Hawk Foundation has never before given such a large donation to one particular location. The foundation gave $30,000 to help build a skate oasis at Ride It Sculpture Park. The Tony Hawk Foundation was established in 2002 to help fund high-quality public skateparks in low-income areas throughout the United States. The foundation has contributed more than $4.4 million in skatepark projects since 2002.

The Ride It Sculpture Park was started in 2012 but it needed a little more capital than the creators had available. Hawk visited Detroit and saw that the park would be a great addition to a city needing its spirits lifted. The park sits on four vacant commercial lots along East Davison Freeway in Detroit and an adjacent vacant house that will serve as a mini-indoor park and lodging for visiting skateboarders and artists. The combination of art and skateboarding is not new, but the park in Detroit hopes to offer a unique lure to a neighborhood where many people are leaving. With a place to draw creative minds and active bodies, the Tony Hawk Foundation hopes that this will bring a silver lining to the neighborhood.

Hawk wanted kids to have a safe place where they are encouraged to do what they enjoy. With no place to ride, kids get scolded for skating on private property or in other public areas. With a safe place dedicated to skateboarders, the foundation hopes that kids will be able to enjoy their ride time and community members will appreciate the dedicated area.

Get thick headed: Skate helmets

Not all helmets are made equally. While any helmet is better than none, there are some cheap ones on the market that won’t stand up to the impact of a fall. Your old-school bike helmet probably isn’t the best choice to protect your noggin, but there are plenty of hybrid helmets that are CPSC safety certified that you can take from your board to your bike and from the street to the park. If you don’t ever ride a bike, you can go with a true skate helmet. Whatever you’re in the market for, be sure that the helmet you settle on is comfortable enough that you won’t mind wearing it for hours.

When looking for a skate helmet, chose one that is made from ABS plastics, fiberglass compost carbon fiber, or Kevlar. These durable materials will not crumble at impact. The interior of the helmet should also be lined with cushiony foam to slow the force of an impact. If your helmet does not have both of these components, it won’t be able to get the job done and it will most likely be tossed in the trash after your first fall. But just because a helmet is high quality doesn’t mean it will last a lifetime. After a fall, be sure to inspect your helmet for any damage and replace it if there is anything more than a scrape.

Not all helmets will be STM F1492 certified, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should skip them. Some companies just forgo the certification to keep prices down, so do a little research on quality brands or ask around to find out what brands are good bets. Once you’ve found a brand and style that works for you, make sure it fits. If the helmet is too big, it will be useless. No matter how skilled a rider you are, you’re going to fall. And if you think you don’t need a helmet, you’re going to need all the brain cells you have left. So take our word for it and invest in a good one.

The must-ride skate parks of the world

If you’re sick of riding the same local parks day after day, or just need a vacation, check out a few of the world’s best skate parks. You can quench your wanderlust and need to skate all in one trip by visiting one of these destinations. Whether you’re craving the ocean and sunshine of the Cayman Islands, or the rich history and culture of China – there’s a park out there that you must ride.

  1. Micropolis in Helsinki, Finland. This park is as much a visually appealing piece of architecture as it is a skate park. Built to blend with the design of the city, many passers-by don’t even realize that it’s a park. Designed by architect and professional skater Janne Sarrio, this park is located in downtown Helsinki and has won many design awards.
  2. SMP in Shanghai, China. The SMP brand has created a mammoth park that hosts the Shanghai Showdown Gravity Games. The park, designed by Darren White, has a specific competition area, separate from the many bowls, vert ramps, stairs and street plaza areas.
  3. Stoke Plaza in Stoke-on-Trent, U.K. This street-style park is the largest in Europe and draws riders from across many countries. Unlike many major skating attractions, this park is free to ride. With plenty of ledges, banks, steps, handrails and quarterpipes, this park can certainly fill its own shoes.
  4. Black Pearl in Grand Harbor, Cayman Islands. This is the biggest park in the Western Hemisphere and second largest in the world. Grab a surfboard and ride some waves during the day to beat the summer heat and hit the park at night. With a beautiful backdrop, all skaters, from beginners to pros, can stay entertained at this park for days.
  5. Lincoln City in Oregon. This park is like five in one and Thrasher Magazine even called it “The Gnarliest Skatepark in the World.” Dreamland Skateparks continued adding on to this park to offer variety and challenge to any skater who enters.

New gear from Nike snowboarding

While that swoosh may mean a high jump on the basketball court to most people, you know that Nike makes some exceptionally high quality snowboard gear as well. Many pro riders will be the first to tell you that Nike knows what they’re doing.

You will be grabbing air off those jumps like you never have before with the new Zoom Force 1 freestyle boots based off of the design of the Nike Air Force 1. These boots have the comfort and lift that you need. The Zoom Ites are the latest addition to the lineup and have three levels of customizable flex.

Obviously this major player won’t just come out with boots for the upcoming riding season. Some of the new jackets for both men and women have a rugged feel. The Bellevue offers a plaid layered jacket look with a puff vest for extra insulation. But don’t worry, if you crave the bright colors and flashy patterns, they still have you covered. The Bellevue still offers a print version that has a spot tie-dye in vibrant blues and greens. The women’s Willowbrook pants also offer a fitted style that looks good on and off the slopes.

You can get outfitted with some high quality Nike gear at a lower price if you don’t want to spring for the new releases. Some of the most loved Nike boots are the Kaiju’s which are lightweight and extremely comfortable. If you already have a pair of boots that you love, then maybe you’re looking for a new Nike snowboard jacket or board pants to keep you warm and dry while riding. Whatever you’re in the market for, take a look at the new lines coming out for the upcoming 2014 season.

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