Archives for skateboarding

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.

 

Best of the New Arrivals | January

We recently re-stocked the shelves with ton of etnies, Nike SB, HUF, and more. I’ve sifted through the bulk to bring you the highlights form the January drop. Here’s what caught my eye.

etnies Jameson 2 vulcanized rasta lace

The etnies Jameson 2 in black/aloha

Skaters loyal to the etnies brand often have these on their feet. The Jameson 2 is a durable, no-bs workhorse that caters to tech and street skating alike. If you value board feel then give this shoes a good once over before you keep scrolling.

Grippy outsole with supportive upper.

Lakai Marc by Marc Johnson

Marc Johnson and Lakai teamed up to design a mid-top shoe that compliments Johnson’s tech-based street skating. Enjoy a shoe with massive grip and flex yet still keeps your ankles protected.

The classic Janoski you have come to love in Dark Blue

The Nike SB Zoom Janoski by Stefan Janoski

Ahh, the coveted Zoom Janoski. What more can you say about a shoe that speaks for itself? Clean, comfy, with no gimmicks. Browse other Janoski colorways.

Runner inspired.

The runner inspired HUF HR-1

This may not be the first pair of shoes you pull out of the closet to skate – but that’s entirely on purpose. The runner inspired HR-1 from HUF protects and keeps your feet warm when the weather turns up. Keep your feet dry, warm, and supported when you’re sidewalk surfing.

SHECKS!

The Etnies Marana by Ryan Sheckler

Ryan Sheckler’s latest design from etnies get’s a blue and gum makeover. Known for support your feet during the hardest impacts, the etnies Marana is championed skaters known for hucking themselves off huge drops.

CHECK OUT ALL THE NEW ARRIVALS

This guy makes his own curved parking blocks (video)

Unlike road barriers and painted curbs, parking blocks often get overlooked in the realm of DIY skateboarding…well,  until now. Pennsylvania-based skateboarder & concrete sorcerer, Max Zahradnik, is pioneering the art of the DIY parking block. Yes, as in he makes his own parking blocks.

In this edit, Max and his boys get busy on a versatile four-piece block combo that can be shaped like either an O or a S. I can already see the D.O.T. scratching their heads in disbelief…

Max Zahradnik, Concrete Sorcerer

Skateboarder Max Zahradnik

More from Max Zahradnik

New Balance Numeric “The Second Narrows” Trailer

The New Balance Numeric team recently went to Vancouver to compile footage for a special type of cut-and-splice edit called a Hyperlink edit. Meh. I’d personally rather see an uninterrupted kickflip than a bunch of innovative editing. Here’s what you can expect.

More from New Balance Numeric

Light Goes On

Skateboarding and animation have enjoyed a budding relationship for a long time. After all, it’s a very creative way to portray creativity…following me? Just watch this light-painting-animation by artist Darren Pearson and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

More from Darren Pearson

Autumn Necessities | Fall 2013

Slide into Fall with new threads, new colors, and a new outlook.

Vans Chauffeur Shoes ($56) Stance Reservation Socks ($14) Bohnam Posee Pocket Tee ($25) Herschel Supply Co. Heritage Backpack ($55) WeWOOD Date Watch ($119) RVCA Stay Pant ($58) Ambush Boarding Co. 5-Panel Hat ($26)

Product details below

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Thrashlanta – Hittin’ the Streets

Watch the homies hit the streets of ATL for the latest Thrashlanta segment. Skaters include locals Grant Taylor, Dan Plunkett, Justin Brock, David Clark, and more.

*filmed by Scott Wagner