In the mid-nineties, a skateboarder named Jon Comer gained notoriety on the international scene. Despite having a prosthetic leg, Jon climbed the pro ranks and skated at the highest level. To this day, Jon continues to inspire generations of adaptive skateboarders. Here is one of their stories.
Born without hands and missing a leg from the knee down Oscar Loreto Jr. faces challenges few can relate to. Oscar was introduced to his passion of skateboarding by a picture of Jon Comer at an early age. Tired of being treated differently in traditional sports, Oscar found solidarity within the skateboard community.
Watch how one man’s courage trickled-down to inspire generations in “An Ode to Jon Comer.”
Directed by: Ben Stoddard
DOP: Jan Schuster
Assistant Director: Cassandra Surina
Music by: Jeremy Maclean-Wallace
For more information on Adaptive Skateboarding go to:
For over two years, Sean Malto has been working hard physically and mentally to get back on his skateboard, back to the professional level that he was at before a nasty ankle injury took him out in his hometown of Kansas City towards the end of 2013. Ty Evans and his Ghost Digital Cinema crew dig in to point and shine the light on Sean with a short documentary piece as he moves forward from a second surgery while being sidelined from the very thing that fuels his career and happiness – skateboarding.
Unfortunately, injuries are part of the process and progression with skateboarding. We’ve all endured them and they can be brutal, but you get back up and push through the pain to ride another day. Have a look into Sean’s mindset as he takes on physical therapy and discusses his thoughts towards skating comfortably with his friends once again as a top professional street skater.
Blow Factory is the story of a unique skateboard brand based in Normandy that makes solid wood decks. Influenced by the 70s, Victor Bloch also cultivates his passion for wood through the preparation of old and decorative timber bicycles, in close collaboration with a local artisan.
*Click the CC button to enable the english subtitles*
Ishod Wair, Peter Ramondetta, Raven Tershy and Kevin Terpening take on the sights, skate spots and culture of Japan along with security guards, bullet trains and assorted terrain in this film directed by Kai Neville. Sit back and enjoy – Anonymous Zone.
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!