Bonelli is always a fun time but as far as all the racers are concerned it’s a super lame race…..yet they still come.
The course used to be a straight line until quite a few years back now they added the right hand turn into it.
The turn is kind of technical though. It is pretty flat after the turn so riders must hold their speed as much as possible through the turn to win it.
This causes many crashes since everyone is trying to take the line as fast as they can but not so fast that they slide or crash into the hay bails.
The hay bails lining the turn are the best 3rd basemen in skateboarding. I call it crash corner due to the large amount of crashes.
This actually makes for a very entertaining event for the spectators also.
There seemed to be a lot less crashes this year compared to the 2010 or 2011 races we attended. That’s not to say there weren’t a lot of crashes, but there weren’t as many.
For those who don’t already know Bonelli is a sanctioned IGSA race. It is actually the U.S. Nationals. The race is not just downhill skateboarding but also includes street luge, classic street luge and inline rollerblading.
The big story of the day is 18 year old Daniel Luna taking 1st place in the open division. Great job Daniel!
Sitting on his board feet first, long grey mustache trailing him in the wind, Jesse Swalley came flying past everyone at around 40 mph. But this isn’t always how he skated, “I skated up until the day I got my injury. I even had my skateboard with me the day I got stabbed,” said Swalley.
Swalley was born in 1962 and skated throughout the 70′s. “The first time I skated I was 7 years old,” said Swalley. “I think my first skateboard was made by the Red Wagon Company. It was one of those wooden ones with the metal wheels on it.”
It was around 1973-74 when Swalley really started getting into skateboarding.
It was 1980 when Swalley joined the Navy and set off to sea. Swalley worked the flight deck of an aircraft carrier moving airplanes around for a majority of the 2 1/2 years he was on the carrier. He also did some firefighting for around 6 to 9 months.
Swalley brought his skateboard onto the aircraft carrier with him while he was out to sea.”I would skate on the carrier and they used to laugh,” said Swalley. “Everyone from back east used to trip out because they were like, you’re like the typical California stereotype. You got the skateboard and your always talking about going to the beach.”
Being born and raised in California that’s all Swalley knew. That’s just what he grew up doing. “I was the only one on my boat as far as I knew that had a skateboard,” said Swalley. “It was cool. It was in experience. I got to go to some cool places. Skated in Australia, the Phillipines, Hawaii, San Diego. A lot of San Diego skating.”
Swalley’s life was changed on June 26, 1991. “I got stabbed because two guys were trying to jump on one of my friends coming out of a bar because they had some sort of dispute and I jumped in to help and the guy grabbed me, had some sorta knife and stabbed me and that was it,” said Swalley. “I actually didn’t even realize I got stabbed at first. I just thought that guy had one really hard punch that took me out.”
The stabbing cut Swalley’s spinal cord in half at the t-12 level. “I got stabbed in the back and then they got me 4 times under here (motions to around just under the armpit area) and they said I was gonna lose use of both legs and this arm, and I was in a wheelchair for awhile,” said Swalley. “I was told the day after I got stabbed, after the surgery, they said I’d never walk again. The first thing I said is if I cant walk how can I skate?”
With a strong determination to walk again Swalley went through several different braces to get to the one he wears today. “There’s no muscle control in my leg so my bones are just resting on each other, so the brace helps me from crushing my bones. My legs slowly degenerating and the doctor says that one day it will fold backwards. I don’t know when that will be but until then and even after then if there’s still a way to skate I’m gonna do it.” Swalley said.
Swalley was 28 when he got stabbed. June 26, 1991 was his last day on a skateboard for 20 years. “I never lost the inspiration to skate, I just finally realized that there was still a way for me to skate,” said Swalley.
Swalley had entered the 2011 Venice world record skateboarding parade, before he even realized he could still skate. The 2011 Venice world record skateboarding parade actually fell on June, 26, 2011. The 21st anniversary of the actual day that Swalley was stabbed, but in order to be in the parade you had to be able to skate in it.
“I was messing around in my house and I sat on my board in the position I ride in, I pushed myself around and figured I could do it so I gave it a shot and did it. Ever since then I’ve been skating,” said Swalley.
Sitting on his board on his knees pushing himself and stopping himself with his hands, Swalley realized he would need something for his hands. “I was practicing riding with gloves and they kept falling off,” said Swalley.
He then invented a new type of glove for himself that he calls the Shoves. The Shoves are basically cut up, modified shoes with both of the ends cut off. Swalley basically modifies shoes to become shoes for your hand. Swalley uses his shoves to push himself and as brakes to stop himself.
“The person with the biggest smile on their faces is the winner,” David “Slash” Hackett told Swalley. You see Swalley on a skateboard with a big smile doesn’t go away. “That’s what inspires me most is that I’m able to do it now, whether I’m doing 2 mph or 20 mph. I love it it’s that cool feeling. It’s moving fast,” said Swalley.
Skateboarding is not only fun for Swalley but a great means of transportation. Without a skateboard Swalley would need a fast electric wheelchair to get places. Walking is very slow for him. “It kinda feels like I’m walking on stilts,” said Swalley.
“I mean sometimes I’ll ride the buses, and if I had to get a bus from right here, I mean I’d have to go down there to catch it. (Motions towards the bus stop about 2 blocks down the street) I’d take about a good half hour to walk that far probably, maybe 20 minutes. I don’t know, I walk slow but on a board I’ll be there in like 3 minutes and I’ll avoid having to ride a bus from here to there. It’s so cool. I love it. I mean I get around,” said Swalley.
Getting a bike was something that Swalley thought about, but even on a bike he could only do so much pedaling with one leg. “I can’t go up hills because of this leg wont pedal,” said Swalley.
Obviously sitting on your knees on your skateboard can be hard on the knees. “The hardest part is just the cramping on my leg.” said Swalley. “All my weight is on my one leg so it’s a lot of work on my good leg.”
Swalley does all sorts of skating. He started getting back into it just by pushing around town but after meeting up with local skaters like Jesse Murillo and Chritopher Angeles and they started getting him into the skateparks. Swalley learned how to 50-50 grind again, learned to ride transition, and even learned how to do various tricks in the park.
Lately Swalley has been getting into downhill skating and has been loving it. There is even a video of him laying down face first going around 35-40 mph on a skateboard. “I wish you guys could see it if my leg was good. you would see how much into it. I would be doing pools, downhill all that shit,” said Swalley. “Dude, I did 19 miles the other day. That’s cool, none of my friends skate 19 miles just for fun. Most people are like; your crazy dude. But It’s something to do and it’s fun. I don’t lose interest.”
“Marc Juvenile, he skates across the country and stuff, because it’s a cool feeling and it’s a lot of work but it’s fun. It’s fun to be able to say I did that,” said Swalley. “It’s just something I won’t stop doing. You know skate until I die. I really like that saying. It’s really a true saying.” – Leecifer
We had the immense pleasure the other day of sitting down with Rayne Longboards Team/Sales/PR/everything Manager, Mr. Les Robertson. If you’ve been on the Rayne Facebook page, or really dealt with the company atall, you probably know and love him. Read on to see what he had to say about working at Rayne, products from the company, and the future of longboarding!
A-F - Aight, Les – let’s start with you. Who are you? Give us your resume – I understand you have some impressive degrees under your belt.
Les – Ha, impressive. My degrees don’t make me – I just get bored easy and enjoy book learnin’. Suffice to say, I have a lot of expensive paper hanging on my wall. I usually value the stamps in my passport more than the letters after my name. But then I lost my passport in Puerto Rico a couple years ago… so I need to start all over with the stamps.
A-F – For sure. Well, just for the sake of getting to know you, what’s up there?
Les – I have some undergrad from University of Victoria, Certificates from Vancouver Film School and British Columbia Institute of Technology, and a Masters from the University of British Columbia/Copenhagen Business School.
A-F – Awesome. Going into all that, did you ever think you would be applying any of that to skateboarding? When did you start getting into skateboarding/longboarding?
Les – Well, maybe not skateboarding, but I have played sports my whole life and working in the outdoors and in sports was the stretch goal. I worked for a few big sports teams, both internally and as a consultant, but they’re corporations and I am far from being “corpo”.
I’ve been “into” skate my whole life. I remember just drooling as a kid watching some of the older kids… but I was more into BMX. Something about my foot-eye coordination just wasn’t there for street skate and longboarding was not really around in the ‘80s as we know it today.
Anyways, BMX was fun, but I was a power hitter in baseball, a solid football linebacker, and I skied competitively into high school. I eventually chose football over anything and played that into college, where book learning and women were more interesting then contusions and concussions…
A-F – For sure. How did you end up working for Rayne?
Les – I got in with Rayne when I met Graham in like 2004 or so. He was making boards on the East Side of Vancouver, a few blocks from where I was managing a scrap metal company. I liked business and was more interested in skateboards than metal. He gave me a new board and I offered some business support. Graham moved Rayne to North Van and we kept hanging out, and when I left my old job to go back to school, he let me use Rayne for a lot of my Masters work.
A-F – Very cool. Graham is an awesome guy. When I caught up with him at the Catalina Classic, I was super impressed with his enthusiasm and just overall level of stoke for the scene and the products you guys are making.
Les – Totally, Graham is great. Incredible vision, hardworking, and he takes a skirplush really well.
A-F – Hahaha forsure. I hear the boys up at Switchback know a thing or two about the infamous skirplush (kersploosh?). Anyways, what is your current job title with Rayne, and what are your responsibilities?
Les – Wow… my current job title… we don’t really have them… haha. I was hired to manage marketing and sponsorship. Now I manage sales as well. Rayne is life, life is Rayne. Hard to need or want hobbies when I have Rayne. Video editing – Rayne. Photography – Rayne. That’s not a complaint, that’s a brag. Sometimes the ruby slippers cut, but for the most part there’s no place like home.
A-F – Sounds like a lot. It definitely seems like you’re the go-to guy over there.
Speaking of sponsorship, let’s move on to the team. Who are some of your favorite riders and why? Let’s hear some shoutouts or funny stories about these guys.
Les – At Rayne, sponsorship is about giving back to the community and being a great person. Being a good skater is something almost anyone can do if they work at it. At the same time, if we don’t appreciate the person, we don’t sponsor either. Not to say we only sponsor our friends, but when you get a sponsorship, you interact with your sponsor – races, road trips, product development. If we can’t sleep in Tiffany (the Rayne RV) with you for a weekend, we’re probably not going to want to sponsor you. This is as much a family as it is a partnership.
Hard to pick favorites and make shout outs. These are people we truly admire and appreciate. I’ll try:
Robin Sandberg – Busted back and low on stoke – send him some love and let’s get that guy back at events and working in the sport! (Maybe IGSA could use a rider rep to help smooth things out?)
Kevin Reimer – Busted-ass ankle last year and still such a competitor. He came back early and is fighting hard every race to get back on top.
Daniel Hawes – The perpetual nomad skater, he’s all around the world all the time, but no matter where he is, he is setting up events and spreading the stoke. He also sends me the longest emails with the most detailed ideas and request. Keeps me on my toes.
Luke Melo – Always a smile. Always thinking smart thoughts. Killing it with the Oracle! First World Cup podium in Europe, YEAH LUKE!
Aidan Lynds – Just solid. Aidan kills it on his board, in the office, at events, in the community. I mean, watch it, he’ll slap the crap out of you if you get out of line, but otherwise chillasfunk.
Funny stories are many and endless. I feel guilty already for my shoutout selections. I have something to say in appreciation of each person we sponsor, for real.
A-F – Noble of you. I know Rayne’s sponsor list is long – it’s good to see you guys supporting the people who support you. It’s always good when people are sponsored for what they give back to the community, not just the way they ride.
I know you guys had some big news this year with P. Swiss joining the team. Tell us a little about how that went down?
A-F – Patrick has been involved with Vicious since early on and that’s all Graham Buksa too. Over time, I started managing Vicious sponsorship and marketing along with Rayne because it made sense and that brought Patrick and I together. He knew what we stood for, how we conducted ourselves, and what kind of design and production we are capable of and we saw a great fit. I know Patrick had a very hard time leaving Fullbag, they were awesome to him and make great product. Ultimately, the thing I think we offered that was attractive was the Rayne family. Money is a weak motivator and we’re not a big company, so Patrick could have found more cash likely elsewhere. We share the belief that for riders and the sport to develop, more outside sponsorship is needed, so money again was not the question. I like to think it was the bottle of maple syrup and pound of bacon we offered as a signing bonus that made it all happen. Or maybe all the amazing sushi in BC?
A-F - Hahaha I heard Patrick is pretty big on the bacon strips too. Solid.
Kind of a broad question, but what is next for Rayne? I know you guys are testing the waters and expanding into the wheel market. Are there any other new products we should look for soon?
Les – Dildos, epic w-concave, radial drop, urethane dildos? And speed cream. Or not. We’re still working on the Saviour. The Oracle kind of got in the way.
A-F – Dildos. (Dildoes? I’ve never had to pluralize “dildo” before. o.o) RIGHT. I’m gonna take that as there are lots of cool things under top-secret development. hahaha
Les - We’ll always be looking to innovate on our current lineup and look to the next generation – I think the Avenger coming out is a great example of that. I also see that as making a better work environment and planet, so Graham and I are working on a waste recovery project. You’ve seen some of this on the Next Level Risers – they’re made of our cutoff materials or “upcycled” scraps. We’re looking to expand the lineup of products we can make from our excess and we’re doing it with at-risk youth here in Vancouver. Skateboarders/ing is pretty accepting – we don’t wear business shirt collars, and swearing is accepted, so these youth have a great opportunity to earn money in an open work environment while we help teach them business and life skills. And they can do it on their own time without being tied to a schedule.
A-F – Awesome. Very admirable. It’s amazing to see skateboarding as a positive force in a community. I take it the Rayne Mini’s are another wing of that? Any more info to be shared on those?
Les – Minis are part of that, yes. We make minis from our production screwups – we don’t have many, which is why we don’t sell them right now. We’ve been hoarding them for a while (still sending them to events though) and we might be ready for a sale soon.
A-F – Anything else about the new Avenger’s development? I’ve noticed a lot of experimentation with 3-D concave. That’s some cool stuff.
Les – The Avenger is pretty sick in my opinion. It brings the pressed in 3D wheel wells from the Vandal over to the Avenger AND we’ve now got Fat Bottom technology. It’s essentially a taper core where the inside is fatter than the outside edges. Rigid, sturdy, and a ton of fun. And we took away the tow-hole, so the only thing that usually broke on the old Avenger is now gone.
A-F – Oh, the infamous tow-hook. A lot of people ended up chopping them anyways, so while it was a part of the Avenger from the start, I don’t know that it will be missed haha. Fat Bottom technology sounds much more appealing.
I read an interesting article that you wrote recently, mostly about the current state of legality of longboarding, and its future. Care to recap briefly? It was pretty spot-on.
Les – Basically, downhill IS illegal, unless you obey the rules of the road. In some places it is illegal entirely. There’s too much bitching about ‘legal skating’ – if you skate like a ninja and not like a pirate, then no one would ever be the wiser. The only other point I want to make is the bullshit complaining about groms and the “I’m longboarding because it’s popular” kooks and that kind of BS – pardon me, but shut the f**k up. Everyone has just as much right to skate as the next person and no one has a right to judge. Judging is weak and lazy. If you want to make a difference in your community, stop bitching about it and do something. Otherwise, head for the hills that aren’t five minutes from your house.
The less we welcome people, the more we’re our own greatest problem. I think my mom used to say, ‘you attract more bees with honey then with vinegar’. Well, for some skaters, they don’t actually want to attract anyone, so we won’t see them and they won’t be the problem. For everyone else – you are the problem. Accept everyone and self-regulate.
A-F – Boom, well said. It is the community’s obligation to police the community. That’s the only way this sport will continue to grow in a positive direction.
Anything else you want to say or to have the Adrenaline-Fueled readers know…?
Les - Not even sure what I’ve said already. haha Thanks to Adrenaline-Fueled for the interview. We’re keeping an eye on all the great stuff coming out of Socal here in BC!
A-F – Well thank you sir for sitting down with us. I’m sure we’ll be seeing many great things from Rayne Longboards in the near future, and we appreciate you sharing your time, your wisdom, and your stoke with us.
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So being in the action sports industry and hearing about a charity event for the Surfrider Foundation it seemed like a good thing for us to make it out to. Support a good cause and hang out with good people. Maybe even win one of the awesome raffle prizes they were giving away. (Hoping for the Schecter Guitar).
The OC AD Federation worked hard to put this together. “We have an executive board that got together to choose a venue location, the theme, the charities involved, the music and everything else involved,” said Raquel Figlo, Promotions and former Program Director from 2010 & 2011. “I have a great group of people working with me.”
The event was pretty cool, located at Cabo Cantina in Newport beach, Ca. (For those that don’t know, this is one of the hot spots in Newport.) Outside Cabo Cantina there is a nice gazebo and grassy area where various lawn and beach games were being played. Chairs lined up in front of the gazebo as the band played some soothing gentle tunes. A table full of prizes sat in the middle of the gazebo and everyone had strings of raffle tickets hoping to win one of the many prizes.
The money from the raffle tickets was being used as charity money for the surf rider foundation. “I love working with surf rider foundation because I love what they do for the environment and educating kids about the importance of keeping the beaches clean,” said Raquel. I devote so much of my time to helping different local charities because I believe it is important to help the community you live in and also to provide a service that can better inhance the lives of others.”
“I would really like to thank my sponsors for donating such awesome prizes for this years Beach Bash. When I asked Jonny Coffin if he would like to be apart of the event he was all down for it because he is a surfer himself! Being a native from the south Mike Cirovolo of Schecter Guitars has sponsored many reliefe charities over the years and jumped at the opportunity to donate for a charity event.I would also like to thank Al Bane for Leather because he designed an authentic customed leather guitar strap to go along with the Schecter guitar that was raffled off at the event. Wh ich helped raise funds for surfrider,” said Raquel.
The event seemed pretty successful and there were many happy winners. All in all smiles all around and lots of networking went down. T His was all about raising money for the Surf Rider foundation though and that’s what they did. -Leecifer
The Talegalympics was a series of events set up very loosely and there was not enough time in the day to complete everything. Races, team relays, slide
Hey it’s me coming around the corner! Photo By: Justin Reed
contests, longest slide and unused ramps stood on the side of the road. It was many kids first times to the road and lots of kids left skin and blood at the hill. If you start to take Talega lightly it will bite you. I’ve been there. It’s a hill that is pretty gnarly. You have to know what your doing there.
For those of you unfamiliar with the road at a place we call Talega here’s the rundown. It’s a service road that leads up to a water tower. The whole road is very narrow. (About the size of a lane on a freeway.) From the very top of the road it is pretty much just a straight bomb down a narrow pathway where you accelerate to maybe around 40 mph. Then it hits a slight uphill section to around a 500 ft flat section. This is where the technical part of the road comes. The road then winds left and then shoots down a steep section into a hairpin right which requires a small pre-drift into it although I have seen riders grip it before. It then shoots down another steep section into an off camber left hairpin turn that causes most riders to crash. “Crash corner” i have nicknamed it. EVERYONE CRASHES HERE! The turn is slanted so as your sliding into it it is throwing you off the road. It is a very tough turn to navigate. After all of that you are shooting down the last steep section (each section just as steep as the last) into a hairpin right turn. This is another turn you have to drift and it shoots you across the finish line. The only easy part of this road is the straight beginning, after that it’s all tech.
Cameron Zweifel gets steezy with his stand up slide. Photo By: Justin Reed
Alex Wu, 20, of Yorba Linda, Ca shows off his road rash. Photo By: Justin Reed
Anyways with all the events it turned out to be a long day on the hill, not that it wasn’t fun. Just looong and the event took forever to get started but once it did everything got going kinda smoothly besides the fact it took us all to walk back up the whole hill again and again. After the racing was done the slide jams and other contests started.
The team relay was the first event and an interesting one because it hadn’t been done before. One rider would bomb from the top to the flat section where he would tag his awaiting team mate who would have to go through the hairpins. Me and my team mate Tim Bogart actually won this event. Go Tim!!!
Everything else was pretty standard, time trials, slide jams, longest slide. Fun stuff.
“I think it went awesome,” said Kye Pirrie, 18, Redondo Beach. “It was definitely worth it.” Kye was the event organizer and he was going just as hard into it as anyone else. During the time trials I watched him high side into the final right which was toe side for him. It was a brutal crash that left him in the bushes. He trooped it out and finished the race only to later on find out his finger was completely broken all the way through on his thumb.
Kye wasn’t the only one to leave skin at the hill. Just about everyone actually left some skin there. Everyone who skated for the most part anyways. “I kinda underestimate it, hit a patch of gravel and that was it,” said Alex Wu, 20, Yorba Linda. Alex left a lot of skin actually as you can see from this picture!
So, we were out bombing hills and a car full of people saw us and stopped us. They seemed really excited on what we were doing. “Are you guys doing that land luge thing” said Frank Maney of VMX Life. We told him to follow us if they wanted to see something cool. They video taped us bombing the hills and were sooo stoked they edited a video. I want to get into their world of vintage motocross racing and they want to get into the street luge world.
Anyways I was really, really stoked to see this video. Thanks sooooo much Frank Maney and everyone else in your car. Go check out www.vmxlife.com if you want to see something cool!
The Etnies Skatepark Speed Demon race, known to many (or at least me and my friends) as the death race was happening but no one was showing up for it. That just meant more heats and runs for everyone. It was a cool event having riders start near a pole jam, push their way down into some transition, whip around a bank and over a cone, then over the hump whip around another bank, cross over to the next bank and then go around yet another bank. This is the spot where riders ended up crossing paths and collissions were a good possobility although we didnt get to see anyone collide. Crashes did happen though. The race was fun if you were riding in it which looking back I should have done. Watching it sucked. Even video taping and photographing. It took forever and I couldn’t wait for it to end. Another heat, they said…….”shit” I thought to myself. Anyways the next one I probably will compete in and it is a really cool event, just not many people came out to it. The worst part is I know people who could have shredded the shit out of this course but no one was there. Anyways it was all a good time and everyone who entered was stoked.
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I’m surprised these guys weren’t doing any ceiling rides they were going so big and getting so much air off such a little ramp, although ceiling rides might be a thing of the future for these guys. Throwing down huge rock and rolls and just big trick after big trick on the little ramp.The contest was unorganized but went very smoothly and was run loosly. Felt like a bro down skate jam but everyone was going for it knowing there were prizes on the line. $20 was given to the winner and some schwag. A slappy curb contest was held afterwords and everyone seemed to have a good time. I’m a fan of So Cal Skateshop and the stuff they do. The grill was going, plenty of drinks. It was a lot of fun.
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This isn’t a rave, It’s a Full Moon Outlaw Skateboard Race!!! Photo taken by: Stephanie South
Boards, helmets and riders lit and seen with glow sticks embarked on a journey that most riders didn’t know what they were getting themselves into. I didn’t even know what I was getting myself into. A large group gathered at the top, Chris De Guzman shouted out the rules, what was going to happen, what the course was like and where the ending was. After a quick group photo everyone gathered at the start and go go go!!!
Chinese start, everyone at once jamming down the narrow path which is also the fastest part of the course. I only made it probably 500 feet before I could see glow sticks flying everywhere in front of me, the sounds of boards scraping, bodies hitting the ground and feet slamming against the concrete as riders tried to run it out. It was about 2 seconds after that I hit either a person or board and landed on someone else and then hat at least one board and two other riders run into me. After the huge pile up and everyone scrambling to find their boards everyone continued back down the hill.
The path was rad especially following an army of glowsticks tucking hard pushing and pumping. The speeds were hard to judge at night but the path was a little over cruising speed the whole time. It took several dips under pitch black bridges and tunnels. Swooped through the valley and next to a creek. This event was actually probably one of the most fun events that I have attended big thanks to Chris De Guzman for hosting it and spreading the stoke. The night ended with Max Capps winning it! – Leecifer