Patrick O’Dell and Vice’s Epicly Later’d have recently released a four-part series which brings to light the rise and fall of Ali Boulala. Known as one of skateboarding’s most colorful and entertaining characters off and on the board, Ali’s solid and powerful skills early on got him noticed and recruited on to the Flip team soon after his arrival to the United States. In the months and years that followed, alcohol and drugs consumed much of Ali’s daily life as a skateboarder; these substances not only fueled him, but they impaired his function and judgement as well.
In these four episodes Ali looks back upon his salad days explains what went so right and so wrong while skating and filming video parts, partying, and traveling the globe with his skateboarding career. It is in our hopes that by sharing this series with Ali Boulala that we can help to guide and influence skateboarders worldwide with positive choices and opportunities in their lives.
Were relieved that Ali has survived the horrific accident that killed his friend and teammate Shane Cross and has been sober over the past two years. Please have a seat and take in these heavy episodes and share with your friends as well.
– Bryce Kanights
Ali Boulala – The Original Baker Boy – Part 1
Ali Boulala – Remote Control Cars and Being a Piss Drunk – Part 2
Ali Boulala – The Crash That Ruined Everything – Part 3
This past summer I was invited to get together with a collective group of hard working skateboarders, lensmen, artists, webmasters and media types for a first-hand visit to the historical Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Through Levi’s Skateboarding, our primary purpose in this visit to the Oglala Lakota Native American reservation was to join several of Levi’s Skateboarding ambassadors including Marius Syvanen, Josh Matthews, Joey Pepper, and Pat Moran for the grand opening ceremony and celebration of a new skatepark in the small town of Manderson, not far from the historical site of the Wounded Knee Massacre which took place on December 29, 1890.
This was the second skatepark constructed on weather-beaten Pine Ridge Reservation and it was aimed directly at providing the Lakota Oglala youth another creative hub to gain confidence, share physical activity and to nurture self-esteem.
Located at the southern edge of Badlands National Park, The Pine Ridge Reservation is an underprivileged region with a storied and tough to swallow past. Its terrain is arid and crusty, well worn and time tested. Past the geographic roughness of this expansive territory, the daily life of Lakota Oglala people can be very heavy and the greater community on the res is among the poorest in the nation. Alcohol possession and consumption has been illegal on the reservation for decades, yet just over the border to the south in Whiteclay, Nebraska there are four liquor stores situated along the two lane interstate route to a population of just a dozen people. These liquor outlets sold over 4.9 million 12-ounce cans of beer in 2010 almost exclusively to Oglala Lakota from the reservation for gross sales of 3 million dollars.
Thankfully, on the much brighter side, the Lakota youth have Oglala Sioux Tribe member and veteran skateboarder Walt Pourier doing a tremendous job through his Stronghold Society organization to share messages of hope and inspiration to help give these kids and young people a fair chance at a long and healthy life. Assisted by former pro skateboarder Jim Murphy and their youth mentors, much of this work is conveyed through the freedom and positive power of skateboarding. Since its inception, it’s turning the outlook on life for these teens from dismal to hopeful to optimistic.
Grindline Skateparks constructed the first concrete skatepark at Pine Ridge in 2012 upon a rough 6,000 square foot patch of dirt littered with broken bottles. Its development came through in kind donations and support from Jeff Ament and Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy Foundation, Vans and The Tony Hawk Foundation. And since its opening, the Four Directions Toby Eagle Memorial Skatepark has become a significant fixture in the community and a hub where teens get together to share creativity and physical activity away from pressures at home, influence of gangs and other adverse effects of daily life on the res. Prior to the initial Pine Ridge build, there were less than a dozen skateboarders throughout the community. Two years later, there are now over one hundred.
Our visit to Pine Ridge also included the opportunity to attend the colorful festivities of the 30th Annual Oglala Lakota Nation Pow Wow at the fairgrounds adjacent to the skatepark. Native American families gathered from across the country in decorative dress and entertained traditional dances among all generations in attendance.
Afterwards, we hung out and skated the Pine Ridge skatepark including its newly completed section with a smaller banks, hips and a handrail. Jim Murphy, Joey Pepper, Josh Matthews, Pat Moran and Marius Syvanen shared the stoke with the locals, signed autographs and put on a great impromptu skate demo until an abrupt and blustery hailstorm enveloped the region and soaked everyone gathered below. Our skating was done for the day and it was soon time to make our way back home.
The gallery of photos below exhibits several of the images that I captured during our two-day visit to the reservation. To utter the words, “skateboarding saves lives” is quite cliché, but it’s so very true and profound amongst the Lakota Youth of Pine Ridge. We experienced it first hand and saw the positive power that it yields for these kids.
The Northern entrance of the Pine Ridge Reservation along Highway 27.
Todd Bratrud voluntarily planks himself during our visit to Badlands National Park.
Bombing hills on skateboards through Badlands National Park is a big no no. We got off without fines due to our upcoming visit with the Lakota Skate Club of Pine Ridge.
(Left to right) Jeff Ament, Jim Murphy, Oglala Sioux Tribal President John Yellow Bird Steele, Walt Pourier and Erik Wolsky gather for a great cause at the Manderson skatepark opening.
Many thanks go out to Levi’s Skateboarding, Walt Pourier, Jeff Ament, Jim Murphy, Grindline Skateparks, Erik Wolsky, Matt Sharkey, Marius Syvanen, Josh Matthews, Joey Pepper, Pat Moran, David Pajo, Cat Power and Greg Hunt for their great work and kinds hearts to unify their efforts to make life better for those that otherwise might not have the chance. Without question, skateboarding saves lives!
Paul Alexander was a young British skateboarder full of charisma and drive. He discovered the opportunities of sponsorship, travelling and recognition during a move from Leicester to Bristol in his late teens. Living with professional skateboarder Danny Wainwright he became engulfed in the fun, responsibility free lifestyle that came with his chosen pursuit of becoming a pro skateboarder. Paul seemed destined for success then something came to get him, something he’d never experienced before that would take his personal goals and freedom far away from his grasp in a seemingly never ending battle.
Brought to you by VICE, this is his story, directed by friend and skateboarding companion Tim Crawley.
In early May of this year, while the masses were busy fussing with their phones and getting up to date on what senseless jargon was happening on various social media sites within their already tight nit clique of friends, a group of skaters in southern China jumped in a van and started a 10 day road trip from Shenzhen to Hainan. The mission: disconnect to reconnect.
The members of the group don’t wear uniforms nor had they nine to five jobs! Society might view these guys as a group of vagabonds that never grew up.
In actuality, they are a small group within otherwise “normal” Chinese society that have very different perspectives and goals. Success, in their eyes, is traveling with friends and cohorts, finding untouched skate spots, challenging themselves, with greater ambitions of being recognized by sponsors. Streets are their office, sticking tricks is their job.
While they are out experiencing, having fun and enjoying life most people are working a day job they don’t like, creating more debt and loan they need to work even harder to pay back. Can’t take a day off, can’t stop, can never slow things down and enjoy their life.
We think life can be simpler. You don’t need to be a millionaire to be happy. Having a group of people that you engage and interact with, doing what you like to do, and really spending time with friends and family, that’s what we define as happiness. We hope to inspire you through our journey.
Directed, filmed and edited: Charles Lanceplaine
Additional filming : Jay Meador
Photography: 张良 Leong Zhang
Produced by: Push Media
Music: Suez War by Hard Beat
Sound mix by: Sammy Maujard
Skaters: Cyres Wong(王汇丰), Jay Meador, Eddie Lai(赖伟), Elliott Zelinskas, and Dars(郑大世).
Our globetrotting friend, skater and filmaker Patrik Wallner has really outdone himself this time with his latest skate video appropriately titled, “The Edge of Arabia.” He teamed up with Walker Ryan, Michael Mackrodt, and a few other smooth and skilled street technicians to drop a heavy dose of shredding upon the Middle East. Have a look; this film is not like any you’ve ever seen before.
And we tend to agree with what Thrasher magazine has mentioned about this film effort, “This is more than a skate video. This is a risky rendezvous into an unexplored pocket of the skateboarding universe, The Arabian Peninsula.”
Be sure to check out more of Patrik’s awesome VisualTraveling skate video work at PatrikWallner.com
In the world of skateboarding prime skate spots don’t last forever. After hearing that SF’s legendary Clipper Ledge at James Lick Middle School was soon to meet its maker, the crew at Thrasher mag got in touch with their friend Noah and the San Francisco Unified School District and worked to put together a truly special, non-sponsored commemorative event for good times sake. Cheers to everyone involved!
The pros and the bros chatter about their Clipper faves and make predictions for Bust or Bail 2.