Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Quilchena Park Renovation Update: Looking Good!


The Quilchena skatepark renovation on Vancouver's west side/Kerrisdale neighborhood is almost complete, with determined workers steaming ahead through some pretty junk weather. I stopped by today to have a look at the progress - it's definitely an improvement on a park that always had the potential to be a lot better. The main centerpiece bank was janky from the start, and it's now been remade well with much more user friendly angles and edges. The park has been widened slightly, with a new ledge added along the side. There's also a new quarter pipe hip, step up, curved ledge, and mini wavy quarter pipe thing on one side. If they keep the flatbar, it may be a bit cramped... but I have a feeling they're gonna plop it right back in the middle between the 2 ledges in my out of focus photo below. It may be a while before we get a dry day to try out the reno'd park, but I'm looking forward to it! Keep your ear to the streets so you know when the fences drop!

I blew this photo. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Correspondence - Real East


The Minas Basin, Canning, Nova Scotia.

It's been 13 years since I last visited my home province of Nova Scotia. My parent's recently moved back after spending the bulk of many years in Arizona, so I took the opportunity to head back to the east coast and see the rest of my family while also revisiting some old 'spots'. 

The biggest notable change is that Nova Scotia has finally embraced the idea of skateparks, which are popping up all over the province, including my hometown of Bridgewater. 

Bridgewater's park is a flow based design (I made that up) with some street inspired features located on one end. I'd like to see some plaza style designs finally being built in Nova scotia, but anything is better than getting kicked out of the Sobeys curb or Medical Centre parking lot for the rest of your life. The park in on track to be completed by early December. Hats off to Spectrum and ProPour for making it smooth - is it possible to make it scooter-proof?

Speaking of getting kicked out of spots - I passed by my old high school, which used to be one of the best spots in town, to see how it's holding up. I still remember getting pulled out of class in grade 8 or 9 by the principal so he could talk to me about skateboarding on school property. Turns out they were about to pave a 6 foot high asphalt bank along the whole back of the school, and he had seen images of skaters on a half pipe somewhere, so he asked me if they should set the fence back at the top of the bank for a portion to create a 'deck' like he had seen in the photos. They even made a rough asphalt curb on top of the bank where it curved around to meet the ground. Unfortunately, times have changed and it's illegal to skate anywhere in Bridgewater, including the school. They even have a big, bold 'No Skateboarding' sign right at the top of the 2 stair I learned all my first tricks off. You'd want some large, soft wheels to skate there these days anyway - time has not been kind to that ground. 

While in Bridgewater, I managed to meet up with my old friend Jesse Watson, owner and operator of Homegrown Skateboards. I grew up skating with Jesse, and even had the first skateboard he ever sold, so it was fun to tag along on a side mission to shoot photos for the next board drop. He chose some rusted out old ships that are slowly sinking in to the river as a backdrop, not far from my old house. 

Richard Martin, backside kickflip, Bridgewater, NS.

A short drive down the coast from Bridgewater is one of the best, and most recent skateparks in the province - Mersey Park in Liverpool. Although heavily transition focussed, the park is smooth as can be and still provides a few essentials for street skaters on a small perimeter section. The one and only Adam Burgess made it down to the park to catch up after almost 15 years since last seeing each other... it was a true delight. Still sporting black es' Accels. Miss that guy. We dodged scooter kids on a brisk Sunday afternoon and pondered the possibility of a California rendezvous somewhere down the line. 

I only had time for one trip into Halifax during my trip, and it was a cold and windy day, but I managed to stop by Pro Skates and ended up spending half the day chatting with familiar faces and playing with shop pups. The new shop is located right next to the original location I used to go to in the 80's and 90's, but it's a far cry from the tiny closet of a space they used to call home. Coffee? Got ya. Hair cut? Yup. Board wall worship? Start drooling cause' they got a lot. There's a ramp too. The guys at Pro have always done it right.

One of the advantages skaters living in Nova Scotia have is the more reasonable cost of real estate, which can make the idea of having an indoor spot to skate during the winter months more realistic. The Annapolis Valley has at least a few private indoor get aways, including a fun little set up I got to check out that was more appealing to a ledge dog like myself. What I would give to have something like that to maintain my sanity during the 9 months of rain Vancouver experiences each year. 

One of the sheltered shred dens I got to visit was a birch surfaced bowl in Cow Bay, just a bit northeast of Halifax. Not too deep, with a couple extensions and a channel, and super fast. Lots of room on the decks for furniture and socializing to your heart's content. Situated in a garage right on the cliff of the eastern shore. It's such a rad little spot that you might have trouble going back outside once the weather gets nice.

Jason Keddy made the trek from the valley with me to reacquaint himself with the sultry curves of the Cow Bay bowl. Smith Grind. 

Adam Fraser lives mere steps from the bowl and it shows in his skating. Frontside grind through the corner extension.

It was great to reconnect with old friends and see some parts of Nova Scotia I had never been to before, and it's encouraging to see the skate scene alive and thriving thanks to the much needed introduction of concrete parks. Hopefully the trend continues and the province starts to change it's uninformed policies regarding skateboarding in Nova Scotia. There were lots of parks I didn't get to check out, and a couple more under construction, including a promising design in Kentville that has more emphasis on street features, with a bowl slated to be added once funds are raised. I look forward to going back once the new parks are completed.

For now, I'm glad to be back on the west coast, and lucky to have caught one last Friday night Plaza classic before the real rain kicked in. BOING ! Til' next time...

Adam Cassidy, nollie, Vancouver.
 [o] Mike McNabb

Monday, August 14, 2017

Red Telephone Presents - Stuck In The Past Part 6 / Last Of The Hi8ians

All good things must come to an end, and just like the 90's and Hi8 video, Stuck In The Past has reached the end of it's line... for now. This final installment of the series is a bonus section crammed full of extra clips that didn't make it into any of the other edits, plus a few special nuggets like some of the earliest footage of a young Brian Wenning skating San Francisco in 1998. 

A huge thanks goes out to everyone who I filmed with, especially those who took on camera duties when I got on the other side of the lens. It's been a real blast going through all these old tapes and memories - a lot has changed in 20 years. 

Stay tuned this fall as Red Telephone starts to dig into the digital archives for some more nostalgic flashbacks, starting from 1999 onward. Cameras and filming got a major upgrade... 

Thanks for watching!  - Adam Cassidy

Editors note - Yes, it has been a year since the last post. Who the hell looks at blogs these days anyway?

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Red Telephone Presents - Stuck In The Past Part 5 / Ben

 One of my favorite things about skateboarding is visiting other cities and finding out about local legends whose skating maybe never made it to a wider audience via major skate media, but they skated on par with many of the notable pros of their era. It's not easy to maneuver through the often discouraging skate industry as an aspiring skateboarder, and many people don't care to in the first place, happy to skate with their close friends on their own terms without having to worry about the world of sponsorship. Skateboarding naturally draws in creative individuals, and for many it can be hard to contain their creative spirit to one endeavor... while being a successful sponsored skater requires so much of a person's time that going in depth with other interests can be difficult. 

 Part 5 of Stuck In The Past is a celebration of one of Vancouver's  (by way of the Kootenays) OG underground legends, Ben Demoskoff. With a creative eye, and amazing natural talent, Ben quickly became a favorite of many notable locals not long after moving to the city in the mid 1990's. I met Ben through some mutual friends in my neighborhood and it wasn't long before he was my go-to filming partner. As a bonus, Ben happened to be a great cameraman as well, so I had someone I could trust behind the lens when it was my turn to get a clip. Eventually, Ben followed some inspiration to teach overseas, but he still managed to get lots of skating in and sent us some amazing clips over the years. Ben is once again back in Vancouver, skating when he has time, and I couldn't be happier to finally make a part from all the footage I filmed of him between 1997 - 1999. Whether you're a friend, a fan, or have no idea who this OG cat is, this compilation of classic Benny D is well worth your time. Enjoy !  - Adam Cassidy

Ben, Wallride Nollie, Vancouver, [o] Cassidy

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Red Telephone Presents - Stuck In The Past Part Four / Jammin' 98 - 99

 Slam City Jam, the (former)North American Skateboard Championship, holds a special place in the hearts of not only Canadian skateboarders, but skaters worldwide who remember the heyday of one of the most legendary contests of all time. Starting in the early/mid 1990's and switching venues a few times until fading out somewhat awkwardly in the early 2000's, Slam definitely went through some drastic changes... but it could be argued that the golden era of stoke occurred in the late 90's/very early 2000's, when the contest was held at Vancouver's Pacific Coliseum (with a 1 year bop over to the not-so-great BC place for reasons unknown). 

 I was lucky enough to get a gig filming the contest for Skateboard Canada Video Magazine from 1998 onward, which I did my best to perform while also enjoying the endless amounts of night time fun to be had in downtown Vancouver during Slam weekend. Filming with a raging headache was an acquired skill. It smelled like booze and sweat on the decks of the ramps. I remember stickers, lots of stickers everywhere. I missed some tricks. Sorry Mike. 

 Part four of Stuck In The Past is a hi-light reel of my last years filming Slam City Jam on my old Hi8 Canon, before making the switch to digital in late 1999. It's not easy making a short edit from over 8 hours of footage, but I hope you enjoy this look back at some of my favorite clips from two amazing weekends in the late 1990's.   - Adam Cassidy

Stay tuned for part five of Stuck In The Past, coming soon !

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Correspondence - Serotonin Champ

Pacific Beach, San Diego.

 Red Telephone Operations have been transported back to the much friendlier climate of southern California for the winter months once again, bones are healing, eyes are squinting in the sun, and wheels are rolling. Enjoy a few frozen moments from the last month, and stay tuned for more updates soon. All photos by Adam Cassidy. 

Alphonzo Rawls, No Comply Stalefish, Vista.

Adam Cassidy, 180 nosegrind rewind, Oceanside.

Kristian Svitak, frontside wallride, Vista.

Loud, Vista. 

 Thanks to the good people at Aura in Vista for the dry place to skate during some much needed heavy rains in early January. When not hiding from the downpour in a Vista warehouse, time was spent playing with music and footage on the computer at home. Born from that downtime was a remix of Ghostface Killah's "The Champ", using samples recorded directly from the Red Tel vinyl archives. Have a listen below...

Friday, November 13, 2015

Red Telephone Presents - Stuck In The Past Part Three / Selector's Cut

 Vancouver has an awesome skateboard community that often feels like a big extended family, and the locals have always welcomed newcomers with open arms (and beers). The 90's saw some of the earliest waves of skate-migration to the "California of Canada" as skaters from all over the country sought out milder winters and spots they had seen in magazines and videos, many of them transplanted from the east coast. 

 Part three of Stuck In The Past is a special Selector's Cut montage featuring clips of some of my favorite Vancouver natives ripping alongside a solid grip of Maritime marauders, capped off with a collection of my own footage filmed between 1997 - 1998 (99' claimed an ankle). A huge thanks goes out to all those who returned the favor and took on camera duties for my benefit - it's not easy staying behind the lens when your friends are getting you hyped to skate. 

 Enjoy the flashback, and stay tuned for part 4 coming late November !     - Adam Cassidy  

Video & Edit by Adam Cassidy. Forced centered text glitch by blogspot.