Do we really need hostesses at skateboard comps?

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As the Instagram updates of mind-blowing skateboarding started flowing in from this weekend’s Tampa Pro event with Chris Joslin’s bs flip and Shane O’Neill’s winning run, I couldn’t help but notice the scantily-clad models standing aimlessly by the podium as the winners brandished their trophies. I’d always thought it a little repulsive at the darts, with old sweaty men walking alongside models half their age, in short dresses, but somehow hadn’t noticed it at a skate comp before. Although not shocking in itself, was it really necessary? And, as we celebrate today International Women’s Day, how does this contribute to the portrayal of women’s involvement in skateboarding?

With no women’s competition or category at Tampa Pro, the hostesses (as they are called in the industry) most likely represented the bulk of female presence during the weekend. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against lipstick or miniskirts, and certainly nothing against these pretty women making an easy buck. I also know, as a marketer myself, how invaluable sponsorship from big companies such as these energy drink corporations is to some events even taking place. The first question is – why do these sponsors want hostesses at skate comps in the first place?

As big brands from outside of skateboarding get involved in events such as Tampa Pro and Street League, they bring with them aspects from other sports, and try to make skateboarding more appealing to the masses. I spoke to Nic Powley, owner of Skate Pharmacy and a long-time organiser of major skateboarding events such as the UK Skate Championships here in the UK who commented that: “I guess the people that make the decisions think it’s fun to have promo girls there but then they’re probably men and they probably don’t skate either. It’s just the usual situation of people that don’t really understand skateboarding and our culture holding the purse strings, and having the power to make the big decisions – not just about having promo girls there, just generally about how skateboarding and skateboarders are portrayed and marketed to.”

One of the things which was a little disappointing about the hostesses’ presence at Tampa Pro was the concurrent lack of women’s skating over the weekend. As Nic points out, “you don’t get promo girls in Tennis or Athletics so much – there are females competing at those events on the same days so I don’t think they’d get away with it. It seems like they are mainly used at what are considered male-dominated sports such as motor racing and football, where they feel they can get away with it.” Indeed, although Street League does feature a women’s category as well as hostesses during the prize-giving, hostesses feature mainly at events notable by their absence of female competitors.

The next question is: Is there potential to move away from this sort of thing in the future, should we (a Royal skateboarding “we”) wish to?

With the amount of innovative marketing products and channels being used and developed across the world, I’m convinced there are better ways of promoting a brand in a memorable, yet more appropriate and effective way.

I caught up with Christophe Picquard, organiser of the annual world cup competition Far’n High near Paris, where the Brazilians triumphed last year with Luan Oliveira and Leticia Bufoni winning their respective categories: “We’ve never had hostesses in miniskirts at the Far’n High. I have to say when you see them at American contests you do wonder what they’re doing there, although it doesn’t really bother me. It’s not that shocking.”

Yet does he think that sponsors request the presence of hostesses unconditionally or could they be persuaded to get their message across differently? “I don’t think sponsors put a massive amount of pressure in that way, but organisers probably don’t see it as an issue.” Powley says he’s never been forced to accept to feature something at an event which he wasn’t happy with: “I imagine a brand could easily be dissuaded from it if they felt it was something that could go against their image. I think they just apply the marketing rules for Formula 1 or football to skate events and maybe that’s not the best approach.”

A photo posted by Austin Gage (@buddha_abusa) on

Although there’s a need for investment to organise bigger events, these brands clearly want to target us skateboarders and the people we appeal to – so we do have some power to steer it in the right direction. By realising that having hostesses at skate events might not appeal to most skateboarders, by then standing our ground when dealing with sponsors from outside our world, and by continuing to push women’s skateboarding more and more at events and elsewhere, as Nic and Christophe have done, we can all keep enjoying and take pride in what we do.

Undeniably, and importantly, there are currently bigger issues to address within skateboarding. As Christophe points out, “I am more concerned about girl skaters not finding sponsors because of their physical appearance, for example.”

In the meantime however, major events such as Tampa Pro and Street League are seen by a wide audience of skateboarders – some young, some girls – as well as the wider world through the media. I’m not shocked by the use of hostesses, just not convinced it’s the best way to portray skateboarding. As Nic says: ”As a young girl looking at getting into skateboarding, you’d want to see some female role models actually doing a sport or activity rather than just being a sideshow.” And that sums it up rather nicely.

Written by Claire Alleaume

A photo posted by Sam (@sam.fny) on

Flip Skateboards UK Demo, London

The last time Flip came to town back in 2008, some may remember that online cynics stated that their team of ‘little kids’ were never going to compete with the big boys. Here we are five years later and guess who is dominating every contest worldwide and has taken X-Games, Tampa Am and even the cherished prize of all that is Skater of the Year amongst others? Never, ever underestimate Flip Skateboards. They are Britain’s flagship skate co – the original, the most forward thinking, and the very best.

flipdemolondon2013_crossfireThis demo was announced only 2 weeks before they landed at Heathrow. David Gonzalez and Curren Caples could not be present due to family unforeseen commitments and they are both in our thoughts today as family alays comes first. As Flip take this family aspect of life so seriously, they pulled out every stop to make this demo as good as it could be for you without two of their finest team riders. With Ben Nordberg dislocating his elbow in the week proceeding the demo too (get well soon mate), demo monster Greyson Fletcher flew into London with very little notice as cover. He had just spent time in Europe smashing everything he skated to pieces, including taking the prestigious first place spot at the Prado Bowl in Marseille last week, and had flown back to California. All options were looked into to make ammends for these changes in the week leading up to this demo, so hats off to all involved for making a mammoth effort to appease the visitors who attended this one. I cannot express how much effort went into this.

As Alec Majerus was clearing customs at 4.30pm, a crowd was forming at BaySixty6. It’s the hottest day of the year by far with the temperature hitting 29/30′. BBQ smoke filled the skies all over the city, skate sessions turned into lazy drinking sessions and those who turned up to welcome this crew should be highly commended.

The legendary Arto Saari was in the mix and skating on British soil for the first time in years, alongside the masterful Louie Lopez whose trick ratio is filling the bag these days. His Minnesotan friend Majerus showed why he took Tampa with ease last year, and Fletcher, well, you have to see this bloke to believe. He flies like an eagle with absolutely no fear of anything in front of him. Shouts to upcoming UK ripper Charlie Birch too who was invited to join this crew today and once again impressed all.

Overall it was a roaster and these beautiful photos from Maksim Kalanep tell the story of Flip’s visit alongside Ryan Gray’s swift footage from Sidewalk. Many thanks to Ian and all at Flip, all of the Bay66 staff, Ben Powell for mic action, and all who spread the word for us in short notice on this exclusive London event.

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Flip Skateboards UK Demo 2013

We are proud to announce that Crossfire will host an exclusive UK demo for the Flip Skateboards team at Bay Sixty 6 skate park in London on the evening of Saturday 6th July in association with Mob Grip, Sidewalk Magazine and Pixels.

The demo will start at 5.30pm and run until 9pm with Arto Saari, Louie Lopez, Curren Caples, Ben Nordberg and Alec Majerus in attendance. Join the Facebook event page here.

As this is the only UK demo from the Flip team, plan well in advance and arrange your travel and accommodation now if necessary. The address is 66-67 Acklam Rd, London, W10 5YU

We will update you on additional information on this page in the build up to the event. Spread the good word by liking this page and get hyped on Flip coming home!

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Crossfire Halloween Massacre 2012 Skate Jam feature

crossfirehalloweenmassacre_skatejamPhotos: Ben Larthe
Filmed by Al Hodgson, filmed and edited by Sirus F Gahan

Insane skateboarding went down at Saturday’s Massacre jam at BaySixty6. This session will not be forgotten due to the amount of NBD’s that were on show during the day. It was ridiculous stuff! Here’s a recap of what went down.

The day kicked off with a rail and stair session on the lower right Bay set with Adam Moss (who should take notable props) and many others getting stuck in. As the seconds counted down to zero, it was Alex DeCunha who stole the reddies at the final honk, with a tailslide shuv and then a tailslide flip-out on the rail amongst more during the sesh.

Luke Jarvis was one of the first to discover that a frontside boneless off the wall hole was actually possible. There’s not much space between coping and the Westway, so this jam session steadily brought the new wall to the ground. Death Skateboards’ Rob Smith made sure he was the first person ever to heel block the steel and nose block the wood in legendary style. His signature classic was followed with dog pisser’s, a blunt fakie pulled in off the nose and a fastplant fakie attempt that most would have passed on. Savageness from the Dogger was unleashed.

Some of the Carve Wicked crew were present today, led by Director General Sam Pulley, whose fs smith bash to fakie attempts on the coping were the catalyst for Lee Blackwell to pull in a handplant, Ewan Bower to fully tweak a sick extended fakie rock, a fakie one-foot dogpisser. Whilst others rocked the coping and fell to the flat, Salar Kooshki took a tre flip fakie, Jake Snelling dipped his nose in off the coping, Alex DeCuhna had an airwalk fakie and Tom Steele ended the proceedings with a perfect blunt fakie right on 0.01 on the clock. Other stuff went down, names evade us. It was ‘kin ridiculous!

NBD time. Rob Smith blocks out his nose on the wall hole.

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By this stage of the day, the bowl was roasting hot and an hour of intense skating followed. The new bowl, lauded by many who rode it today, was the sterling work of Croyde Mirandon and Michael Groenewegen, who had flown in from Holland to touch up the park in prepapration for today’s sesh. Sadly, they were not present at the opening jam after their hard graft on the new park, so it was an honour to have them present today.

Adam Moss brought crooks to the party early doors.

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As you can imagine, the fight to get into the bowl sesh was pretty fierce – two at a time, head to head. It’s pretty amazing that we didn’t have any serious injuries considering the speed most were hucking tricks at. Heroin’s Craig Questions dropped one of the very best lines of the day with back to back tricks that had every tail smacking the frozen coping as he crawled out of the woodwork after a somersault! Amazing handwork, footwork and 80s steez work to match. Talking of steez, Sox rocked the bowl on the day, but the footage was frozen on the tape and too glitched to run. Kill City have an am on their team who has unique flair on a deck and a smile for miles when he is popping cheeky one-foots, tail blocks, alley-oop shit and fun-filled runs that have Blender appeal. Both Sox and Craig Questions’ Scott are pure entertainment on urethane and a joy to watch.

Jesus (aka Matt Dinnadge) assisted every NBD with his special powers. This fs smith was laid down for his followers.

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The ‘asleep at the wheel’ skills of Dannie Carlsen graced this session today. Riding for Alis and coming in from Copenhagen, the Dane took the overall ‘Ripper of the Day’ award with some absolutely insane skateboarding. It was one of those sessions where every time he dropped in, you just wondered what else was about to drop, due to the stupendous amount of tricks in his bag! Blunt tre flips, flip fakie’s – I could go on and on. Watch the footage, it ws non-stop.

Rob Smith hand assists a blunt fakie on the all new vert wall. First one ever.

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Superdead’s Dennis Lynn flew in to show us that his technical lines at mach 10 deserve some serious praise. His fs smith grinds are not to be messed with pushed everything for the longest grind. Again, sorry Denis, but the deep freeze mangled your footage!. Creature’s Carl ‘Potter’ Wilson and Witchcraft’s Mikey Joyce both threw stalefish, frontside airs, boneless moves and smith’s into the pot. Ewan Bower treated us to his incredible pop and admirational style with fakie hip action and much more, Camden upcomer Salar Kooshki was pushing his weight up amongst the big boys as were the Waterton Brothers, Keiran (age 10) and Callum (12) who both had tail cracks from the entire platform for their consummate performances. Both have no fear and can provide back d’s, smiths, handplants and airs on request. Abrook brothers revisited? Time will certainly tell.

Ewen Bower sports more style than grey hair. Fully extended fakie rock into space.

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Lovenskate’s team are made up by some killer skaters at the moment. ‘Chav Dan’ Hill took his speed demons out on the bowl. He took home some dough in the Longest Grind comp with a frontside 5050 that took the shallow end apart with over 25ft of coping destruction. This frenzied session aided by the sound of trucks gnashing included Lynn, Smith, Potter, Salar and more. Brendan Ryall is said to the be the only other person who has fs 5050’d the shallow end to date (only last week) so props to the Chav Dan for holding it down when it counted the most.

You will not find a more laid back slayer than Dannie Carlsen.

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What a day. Thanks so much if you came down and big ups if you dressed up for a day of Halloween hammers. Massive thanks to Ben Larthe (photographer), Sirus F Gahan and Al Hodgson (filmers), all BaySixty6 staff, and of course, all of the guest riders from Witchcraft, Creature (UK), Lovenskate, Kill City, Heroin, Death Skateboards and Stand Up skate shop.

Zac

Potter takes a stale in the bowl.

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The next skate event at the Bay will be on Saturday 15th Decemberfor the 10th Anniversary Crossfire Xmas Jam. Put that in your dairy as one not to miss and expect a huge day out for all.

Pulley hucks one in for Kill City.

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Denis Lynn praises ‘Chav’ Dan Hill who took longest grind with a lengthy fs 5050.

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CRV WKD.

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Mitch Wheeler slings a backslide heel flip down the lower set.

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Creature’s Salar Kooshki warms up over the hip frontside, before doors.

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Matt Ransom places BaySixty6 on terrorist alert.

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Potter finds himself feeble in the hole.

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Louis Antoine tail slides the abyss.

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Trojan Skateboards’ Jonathan Shepperd rocked the wall jam.

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Ewen pops another for the hell of it.

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Alex Pasquini and Adam Moss on the lookout for a Miracle.

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Talk of the Devil…here’s Jesus!

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Yes Dan!

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A fast plant fakie in motion by Rob Smith.

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Mr Knight back smith’s the Bay rail during the day.

Sox killed it. Get well soon Jake, we missed you ripping the park today.

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Free stuff!

No apologies for the outfit kids but thanks for slaying it all day.

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Big Three footage from Lloyds this weekend

James Harris captured the highlights from the annual “Big Three” Competition at the Lloyds Amphitheatre this weekend. Korahn Gayle took the honours again and £1000 for his NBD skills. Press play to catch up on what went down with skating from Shaun Currie, Jason Lewer, Josh Arnott, Caradog Emanuel, Sean Smith, Pete Adams, Ollie Lock, Phil Parker, Korahn and many more.

Lloyds Big Three Competition 2012 from James Harris on Vimeo.

Andy Scott wins Night Of The Living Vert comp

Superdead’s Andy Scott flew into Spain last weekend and took home the number one spot at Volcom’s “Night Of The Living Vert” comp and hucked out the classic ‘Scrambled Egg’ in his runs.

Watch the footage below that also features the following skaters:

Results:

1. Andy Scott 500 €
2. Jean Postec 200 €
3. Alain Saavedra 100 €
4. Danny Leon
5. Diego Doural
6. Bruno Rouland
7. Urtzi Unanue
8. Ibon Mariño

VOLCOM 2012 NIGHT OF THE LIVING VERT from Volcom on Vimeo.

War of the Thistles event info May 2012

The Scottish skate romp that is War of the Thistles returns this year, regardless of the fact that its compatriot event War of the Roses is taking a sabbatical. The Scots will be welcoming skaters across the country on the weekend of 26th-27th of May with Transition Extreme skatepark hosting the Saturday and Transgression Skatepark in Edinburgh taking care of Sunday’s carnage. Share this and start planning your travel and accomodation to save dough in advance. All details can be found at www.skateboardscotland.com

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