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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Use Colored Griptape

Ever since I can remember, I have always been fascinated by skateboarding; it always seemed completely unique and lawless.  However, growing up in Canton, Georgia in the mid 90s my environment was hardly conducive to the act itself.  I grew up on a poultry farm and the majority of my childhood my driveway was completely gravel (no bueno).  For my buddy, Clay, and me, the odds were not in our favor as we tried to figure out how to make the board “jump.”

Skateboards with colored grip tape

Some of my more recent grip tape jobs.

Eventually, the more accessible childhood activities completely took over and most weekends and afternoons were spent practicing baseball or playing basketball.  All the while, skateboarding never left my mind, but none of my “teammates” had any interest in skateboarding whatsoever.  Years later, luckily, my friend Clay hadn’t stopped skateboarding and without him, I’d never have been reintroduced to skateboarding.

Ben Mercer skateboarding c. 1993

Me shredding c. 1993

In the wake of Zero Skateboards‘ video “Misled Youth,” my second impression of skateboarding was a more eye-opening experience.  This half hour video still has my knees trembling, just thinking about every rail, every gap, and stair annihilation witnessed.  Knowing I could never skate on any level that remotely resembles the video’s standard, I spent years trying to take video of others trying their hand at it.  A lot of good times were had, but I always found myself wanting to skateboard in my own right.  Why film someone else having all the fun? Still, at the time it felt utterly faux pas to enjoy the little things in skateboarding; curbs, shaped boards, and colored grip…because everyone was so busy keeping up with the Jones’ (myself included).  As a whole, the community tried to quantify ones value by amount of stairs they kickflipped or how big the rail they grinded was.  The lawless feeling had passed and skateboarding started to feel like a sport.

 Throughout this time it seemed like the majority of skateboarders’ setups were absolutely uniform.  Every board was just straight black grip, white wheels (graphics in).  It was all popsicle boards, and completely soulless.  I, honestly, couldn’t pick out my own board from a lineup!  The boards themselves were just temporary vessels that would ultimately meet their premature demise after a few sessions of jumping downs some stairs.  With skateboards being so temporary it was hard to get attached, so I didn’t care about the shape or going beyond straight black griptape because it seemed so pointless to car

Basic skateboard complete

Boring

My boards last longer now, part and parcel to getting older and not having the free time to skate as much.  Now if I’m going to skate a board, I have no excuse not to take the time to make my ride unique.  After spending a couple years skating shaped boards, I realized the “cruiser” board stigma is completely false and most shaped boards are completely functional.  Please do not call these cruiser boards or filmer boards.  They are built to be shredded just like any other board.  Also, don’t be afraid to grip your board however you want and know that color griptape skates just as well as any other mainstays; Black Magic, Jessup, Mob, etc.

    It seems like skating is in a great place nowadays and people are starting to come around and think “outside the box” again, which is why I’d like to challenge everyone to try something new and defy the norm.  Skateboarding should never be neatly categorized and there is always room for new ideas or old ones to revisit.  When you adhere to the unwritten rules that govern skateboarding, you’ll miss out on a lot.  It wasn’t until I learned to stop worrying and enjoy the little things that I learned just how much I missed out on.

It’s hard to believe that my reintroduction was over fifteen years ago and since then, for better or for worse, skateboarding has pretty much been all-consuming.  I have seen friends go, trends evaporate, and witnessed my personal skating evolve several times.  Even though life is moving faster and my skateboarding slowing down, it’s safe to say that right now is the most exciting skateboarding has ever been.  Period.

Below are some of the current griptape designs on the counter at Ambush Board Co

The biggest selection of griptape Ambush Board Co. has ever had.Bright and flashy...Thrasher Griptape at Ambush Board Co.

More from Ben Mercer.

 

Chima Week Over at Vans

Over at the Vans website they are doing this cool section called “Vans’ Rider Week,” where they dedicate a whole week to one of their team riders.  This week’s rider is Chima Ferguson, the Australian powerhouse.  Chima is the newest recipient of a pro model shoe from Vans, and is the first Vans rider to get his own shoe since Anthony Van Engelen in 2006.  If you ask me, that’s quite an honor!  Vans started off the week by posting a bunch of Chima’s past interviews.  I took a look through most of them, and it’s a really awesome way to see his progression throughout the years.  Day two (today) consists of a bunch of the Vans staff Photographer Anthony Acosta’s personal favorite photos of Chima.  Attached to every photo is the story behind the photo itself, which is always an awesome bonus.  I’m interested to see what Vans has in store for us during the week to come!!

Chima Ferguson Skateboard Mag Interview

Chima Ferguson Skateboard Mag Interview

Read Chima’s Past Interviews Here!

Also here is a little teaser of what Chima’s first pro model Vans shoe will look like.

Chima Ferguson's First Pro Model Vans Shoe

Chima Ferguson’s First Pro Model Vans Shoe

Available here at Buyskateshoes.com in mid July!

What’s Hot From Vans

VANS footwear is created to be comfortable, durable and stylish … traits demanded by nearly all of our customers. These styles below represent our favorite VANS styles currently gracing our shelves (click for available sizes).

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More from Vans at BuySkateShoes.com

Free Habitat Beanie

We recently put Habitat Footwear back on our shelves and to celebrate we’re hooking up a free beanie with any Habitat Footwear purchase *while supplies last. For more details contact us at (866) 355-7463 or email sales@buyskateshoes.com. Click here to browse the full selection of Habitat Footwear

Free beanie with Habitaat Footwear Purchase

 

Habitat Footwear | BuySkateShoes.com

 

www.BuySkateShoes.com

sales@buyskateshoes.com

(866) 355-7463

Stance Socks | BuySkateShoes.com

Skateboarding represents many things to many people; a way of transportation, a recreational activity, a job, and most importantly an art form. It has always been about expression and individuality, a perfect way to separate one’s self from the conforming masses.

Stance Socks embodies these ideas flawlessly. Celebrate bold expression and send a crystal clear “mixed” message that’s silently loud and quietly bold. Stance Socks are designed in California and worn everywhere. Celebrate the spirit of skateboard culture with Stance Socks and BuySkateShoes.com.

 

 

Stance Half Tone Socks (White)I love these classic tube socks because they’re an oxy-moron: they match but don’t match at the same time. Unofficial Fruit Stripe Gum collab? We’ll keep dreaming…

$9.99

 

 


Stance Half Commando Pack (Black) – $14.99 Three PairThese half-mast socks are a staple for your summer wardrobe. Rock them with shorts and get rid of that farmers tan quick. The elastic arch support keeps them from sliding around like those cheap, easily stretched-out versions found at department stores.

 

 

Maytal Socks (Rasta) – $9.99 (pair) – These tubes throw a conservative hue to the classic rasta colorway. These are on my feet right now. That’s why i’m walking around with no shoes in the office today…

 

 

 

Stance Sun God Socks (Orange) – 13.99

Behold my favorite socks of all-time, the Stance “Sun God” sock. The reason I have such a fascination with this image is because it’s also on the cover of my favorite record of all time: Bob Jame’s first album One. Bob James has been sampled thousands of times by hip-hop artists, most notably for Jay-Z’s “Dig a Hole” track off Kingdom Come.

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To see what all Stance has to offer head to BuySkateShoes.com and shop by brand then choose Stance.

Be sure to follow the crew at Stance on Twitter @StanceSocks.

For more about Stance and their message peep their homepage.

Roll Like Chris Cole Contest

With the way he skates these days who wouldn’t want to roll like Chris Cole? Tech skills, contest success, and solid video parts are all synonymous with Chris’s name. With this in mind we teamed up with DC to bring you our “Roll Like Chris Cole” contest giveaway. Anyone who buys DC product will be automatically entered to win one of three Chris Cole prize packages.

Here’s a quick video review of the DC Chris Cole S by Ambush Board Co. team rider Jay Jay Patterson.

Follow on Twitter: @BuySkateShoes @DCshoes @JPIvey (Jay Jay Patterson)

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