History

Video: 4 Down

Rob Thorpe’s fourth Calgary skate video, 4 Down (2005), is now on our Vimeo page. Please watch, enjoy, and share!

4 Down from Calgary Skateboarding on Vimeo.

Video: Collective

Rob Thorpe’s third skate video, featuring Calgary skaters Devin Morrison, Brett Rehman, Sean MacAlister, Trevor Miller, Keegan Callahan, Beau Larson, Jonathan Lachance, Justin Cahill, Kyle Lovstrom, Ryan Curry, Ryan Oughton, Olara Obina, Luke Callahan, Bill Cowan, and more. Originally released in 2004.

Collective (2004) from Calgary Skateboarding on Vimeo.

Video: Still Down

We’re happy to present Rob Thorpe’s second video, Still Down. This one is from 2003. Enjoy.

Video: Stay Down

Rob Thorpe is an OG Calgary skater who made a series of skate videos featuring the best Calgary skaters. Rob has donated copies to us so that we can put them on Vimeo.

The first video up is Stay Down (2002). Enjoy!

Stay Down from Calgary Skateboarding on Vimeo.

 

Interview: Enoch Chan

“Over the course of the last 25 years, Enoch has been blazing a trail of quality through the clutter of medocrity. Through skateboarding, art, and confidence, Enoch has been constantly elevating standards with a style and flair that has taken him all over the globe. In a world full of one trick ponies and two dimensional views, it’s so refreshing to still witness his relentless gift of progress. His contributions to skateboarding in Calgary were cemented long ago, when claiming “doing it yourself” wasn’t a flag of pride to wave around, but the only way things got done.
-John Boletta

Where were you born and when did you start skating?

I was born in Montreal, Quebec 1974. I started skating around 1986 but still rode freestyle BMX most of the time till about 1989.

Why did you start skating?

In grade 7 I started at a new school (Queen Elizabeth Junior/ Senior High School) and had to take bus/train to get there and wasn’t gonna walk so I started riding my skateboard (Jesse Martinez SMA).

Queen E was a big school so there was a lot of skaters from different age groups that would go skate, practicing grinds on parking curbs, ollieing over garbage cans etc. There were a lot of good spots right around school. Seeing all these other skaters motivated me and challenged me to prove to them that deaf guys can skate too!!!!!

Another reason I started to skate was being sick & tired of repairing hundreds of flat tires on my bike.

You were part of the Underworld crew. Can you tell me more about that?

What do you want to know about it? There is lots to tell. If you know anything about the Vancouver Red Dragons, Underworld was Calgary’s version on a smaller scale.

Do you still keep in touch with any of those guys?

I’m still in contact with one guy. “Cue” was his tag– Rob Brandt.

Did you have any sponsors?

I was first sponsored by FreeWheelin’ when Chuck Bell owned it by Wendy’s on 17th for a few months but he closed down. Then in ’92 or ’93 a new shop opened in Kensington called “THE SOURCE”.

I was only team guy for about a year then The Snowboard Shop got bought out and turned into MISSION. I went to ride for them cause they gave me better deals. I’d get free Mint decks anytime, they told me I was on Vans team but never got any Vans gear. I remember a contest in Chinatown for some reason I didn’t have my board so I borrowed somebody’s and got booted from team.

Shortly after that in about ’95 I moved to Hong Kong partly cause the heat was on too much from cops about the manslaughter case that another Underworld member was involved with. I came back to Calgary in ’97 for some reason lost motivation to skate, most of UW guys were gone and other friends that skated were doing other things.

Did you compete at all?

A few street contests.

Where did you get your first board from?

My first board was a Sims Steve Rocco, a birthday gift from my Grandma.

What were your favourite spots to skate?

The court house (gone now) was the most popular spot in the city. Petro Canada building, James Short parkade, Eau Claire. Hong Kong had killer spots– best I’ve been to.

 

 

Do you still skate?

Not really, once a month maybe.

What keeps you busy these days?

Ive been tattooing for nearly 8 years and continuing… making art and sometimes spray painting walls around the world.

 

Are Skatepark Staff Needed in Calgary?

Do you think Calgary’s skateparks should have staff?

The mobile skateparks are staffed, Westside Rec Centre skatepark has staff, and Millennium Park had staff from the time it opened in 1999 until 2008.

The word “staff” can give the wrong impression. These aren’t “park narcs” that will tell you to put your helmet on or stop swearing. The staff at Millennium Park were all skaters and loved skating at Millennium. They had access to the small office in the building at in the middle of the park. There, they replaced bearings and hardware, tightened/loosened trucks, and did first aid for minor injuries. Usually they had extra helmets and wax for whomever needed them. Most of the staff were quick to grab their broom and dustpan and sweep out areas where debris blew in– before the Parks staff got there. They also called 911 in the rare case it was needed.

millennium-t-shirt

Another function of the Millennium skatepark staff at was to record how many people were using each area of the park: beginner, intermediate, expert, and general observers. This was done hourly. These statistics are valuable as they actually show how well-used the skatepark is.

Perhaps the most important job of the “skatepark hosts” was educating users and observers. Whether it was telling someone why they shouldn’t sit on a ledge or spit where everyone stands, the hosts made a difference. Etiquette was at the forefront of their duties, including teaching newer users the flow of the park and how to take turns. Novice users would be directed to beginner areas where they could hone their skills at an appropriate level. We know that the Millennium skatepark staff taught more than a handful of skaters how to drop in.

They also taught observers about the history of the park and even helped introduce some of them to skateboarding.

Let us know: should Millennium and the newer skateparks have staff?

City of Calgary Ramp Bylaw Updated!

ramp

Evan Woolley photo

30 years after a City of Calgary councillor helped pass a the bylaw prohibiting ramps on private property, our current council has updated the bylaw to allow them.
Thanks to Councillor Woolley`s notice of motion filed last year, council voted 8-6 last night in favour of the bylaw updates which include: ramp size limits (6M by 5M by 1.5 M), location rules (backyards only), and setbacks. See full bylaw breakdown below.

rich-ramp

Richard Coumont photo

 

Here`s what was passed last night and will take effect November 21st, 2016:

PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO LAND USE BYLAW 1P2007

1. The City of Calgary Land Use Bylaw, being Bylaw 1P2007 of the City of Calgary, as amended, is hereby further amended as follows:

(a) Delete and replace the text in Section 13(130) with: “(130) “skateboard and sports ramp” means structure(s) that provide a surface upon which an individual may use or operate a skateboard, bicycle, scooter, roller skates or other similar devices. Skateboard and sports ramp structures may include re-purposed furniture or other skateable or bikeable above grade surfaces, but does not include at-grade surfaces such as, but not limited to, soil, grass, wood or concrete.”

(b) Add a new subsection to section 25 as follows: “(e.1) the construction of skateboard and sports ramps located in the Districts contained within Part 5: Low Density Residential Districts, or Part 6: MultiResidential Districts;”

(c) Delete and replace the text in Section 60(2) with:
“(2) The rules regarding building design referenced in subsection (1) do not apply to:
(a) an addition that does not increase the gross floor area of the building by more than 10.0 per cent of the gross floor area legally existing as of June 09, 2014; and
(b) a fence, gate, deck, landing, patio, skateboard and sports ramp, air conditioning unit, satellite dish, hot tub, above ground private swimming pool, and an Accessory Residential Building.”
(d) Delete and replace the text in Section 61(2) with: “(2) The rules regarding building design referenced in subsection (1) do not apply to:
(a) an addition that does not increase the gross floor area of the building by more than 10.0 per cent of the gross floor area legally existing as of June 09, 2014; and
(b) a fence, gate, deck, landing, patio, skateboard and sports ramp, air conditioning unit, satellite dish, hot tub, above ground private swimming pool, and an Accessory Residential Building.”

(e) Add a new section 343.2 as follows: “343.2 “Skateboard and Sports Ramps”

(1) All skateboard and sports ramp structures must be located within the maximum envelope dimensions of 1.5 metres high by 5.0 metres wide by 6.0 metres long.

(2) More than one structure may be contained within the maximum envelope dimensions referenced in subsection (1).

(3) The maximum envelope dimensions referenced in subsection (1) do not include at-grade surfaces such as, but not limited to, soil, grass, wood or concrete.

(4) Notwithstanding subsection (1), railings for safety purposes may extend beyond the maximum envelope dimensions referenced in subsection (1) provided they are not designed or used as a surface upon which to operate a skateboard, bicycle, scooter, roller skates or other similar device.

(5) There must only be one skateboard and sports ramp envelope per parcel.

(6) All skateboard and sports ramp structures must be located between the rear façade of the main residential building and the rear property line.

(7) The height of a skateboard and sports ramp at any point is measured from grade.

(8) All skateboard and sports ramp structures, including railings for safety purposes, must be located a minimum of 1.2 metres from a side property line.

(9) All skateboard and sports ramp structures, including railings for safety purposes, must be located a minimum of 1.2 metres from a rear property line.

(10) Skateboard and sports ramp structures must not be included in parcel coverage.

(11) A skateboard and sports ramp must not be attached to a deck, another structure, fence, or building such as, but not limited to, a main residential building, Backyard Suite or Accessory Residential Building.”

(f) Delete subsection 344(7) in its entirety.
(g) Amend subsection 344(8) to bold the first instance of “parcel”.
(h) Add a new section 571.2 as follows: “571.2 “Skateboard and Sports Ramps”

(1) All skateboard and sports ramp structures must be located within the maximum envelope dimensions of 1.5 metres high by 5.0 metres wide by 6.0 metres long.

(2) More than one structure may be contained within the maximum envelope dimensions referenced in subsection (1).

(3) The maximum envelope dimensions do not include at-grade surfaces such as, but not limited to, soil, grass, wood or concrete.

(4) Notwithstanding subsection (1), railings for safety purposes may extend beyond the maximum envelope dimensions referenced in subsection (1) provided they are not designed or used as a surface upon which to operate a skateboard, bicycle, scooter, roller skates or other similar device.

(5) There must only be one skateboard and sports ramp envelope per parcel.

(6) All skateboard and sports ramps structures must be located between the rear façade of the main residential building and the rear property line.

(7) The height of a skateboard and sports ramp at any point is measured from grade.

(8) All skateboard and sports ramp structures, including railings for safety purposes, must be located a minimum of 1.2 metres from a side property line.

(9) All skateboard and sports ramp structures, including railings for safety purposes, must be located a minimum of 1.2 metres from a rear property line.

10) A skateboard and sports ramp must not be attached to a deck, another structure, fence, or building such as, but not limited to, a main residential building, Backyard Suite or Accessory Residential Building.

(11) Notwithstanding sections 550, 551, and 557, skateboard and sports ramps may be included in the calculation of landscaped area, hard surfaced landscape area, soft surfaced landscaped area or common amenity space.” (i) Delete subsection 564(7) in its entirety.

2. This Bylaw comes into force on 2016 November 21.

Calgary Skateboarding History in Swerve Magazine

Today’s edition of Swerve Magazine includes a great article about Calgary’s skateboarding history. It covers early skateparks, founding figures like Chuck Bell and John and Barry Hiebert, along with some general skateboarding information. Pick up Swerve in today’s Calgary Herald or click the image below to read:

Photo by Brent Mykytyshyn / Swerve

Photo by Brent Mykytyshyn / Swerve

“So Stoked, My Dudes”

Unless you’ve been living/skating under a rock for the past two weeks, you’re probably aware of Calgary skater Kyle Conway‘s now-legendary appearance on CTV news. When asked by reporter Jamie Mauracher what he thought of the change to the bylaw that will now allow ramps on private property, he replied, “I’m so stoked, my dudes”, gave a quick dab and a “skurr” and skated out of the frame. All this after boardsliding the big rail at Southwood Skatepark!

 

It’s gone viral. In the past couple of days the clip has been featured on Metro Skateboarding, GawkerVice, Huffington Post, Mashable, Esquire, and the list goes on. Councillor Woolley tweeted about it. It’s even been remixed into a really bad trap song:

The reporter has been a good sport about what has become the meme of the moment. We asked Jamie about it and she said, “I’m surprised it took off. I just made him promise to answer my question and not swear”.

We got in touch with Kyle to learn more about him, his skating, and what’s happened since the clip went viral:

What’s the deal with the video? It was live, so did you plan what you were going to do with the reporter?
So, pretty much the reporter told me to just do the trick and then stop and come up beside her and just say I’m stoked, but my friend Connor gave me the glasses to use and said it would be funny so I wore them.
Did you think it would get big?
No I didn’t think it would get big, but once Metro posted I was really surprised haha.
What area do you live in? Do you skate Southwood a lot?
I live in Cedarbrae in the Southwest, and yeah I’m pretty much at Southwood every day.
How long have you been skating for?
I’ve been skating for about seven years now.
13525354_216092378789393_2073416909_n

Photo by John Rajic

How many Instagram followers have you gained?
I think I gained about 2000. I had 1400 before or something like that.

Did you get the idea from the “It’s Wednesday my dudes” video? 
Yeah, I got the idea from the “It’s Wednesday my dudes” Vine clip.

Do you think a lot more people will build ramps at their homes? Any shout outs, thanks, or anything to add?

I hope more people will be building backyards ramps, and I’d love to sesh some of them! And shout out to my dudes.

Hieberts’ Southwood Ramp

We spoke with local skate rock legend, John Hiebert, about the vert ramp he and his brother Barry built in the late 1970s. The ramp was featured in Thrasher Magazine in 1981.
ramp1

How big was it?
10 feet high, 9 foot transitions 16 feet wide. Somewhere around 14 layers of 1/4 inch ply after its 6 year history, which means it was 4 inches thick including the base.

Who was involved?
My brother Barry was the leader behind the design and build along with our friends Greg Olekson and Terry Orr.
TH8107

Where was it located?
10315 8ST SW. 1 block south east of Elbow Dr and Southland Dr.

When was it built?
Spring 1977.

How long did it last for?
1977-1983

Why did you take it down?
My bro and I moved out of our house after high school and my mom sold the house.
ramp2

Was it the first Vert ramp in Calgary?
Not sure, i know a local ski shop that started selling skateboards made one as well. Our ramp was made because *Skatetopia* indoor cement skate park in Marlborough shut down. Skatetopia was awesome!! Vert pools , 2 snake runs. Probably a dozen different bowls and runs. My mom would drop Barry and I off Saturday mornings at 10am and come pick us up at 6PM.

Did your ramp inspire others?
I think so. Woodbine ramp i believe

Do you hope to see ramps on private residential property in Calgary again?
Definitely.

What do you think of the new skateparks?
Southwood is good. Have not been to Huntington yet. Looks rad. The one by Wisewood is small but good for street riders. My mind has mostly been “any skate park is good to have” through my life. Do you have special pride for the Southwood park? I was so stoked to find out about the Southwood park. Spent grades 4 to 12 in Southwood, went to Southwood Elementary and Panabaker Jr high. Played hockey from 8-11 yrs old on the rink mere feet from the current park. Super stoked. I had my van stolen this January and my skateboard was in it. I had bought my first new skateboard (top to bottom) in almost 30 yrs. I showed up on the unofficial first day at Southwood with my new skate. Giddy as a kid. Rolled my ankle in the first 30 minutes. Was so stoked i skated on my ankle for another hour which I’m paying for now. I couldn’t stop; new skate and new park in my old hood!
ramp3

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