Pursuing my fascination with the connection between magic and skateboarding, I have decided to start interviewing skaters that have a true passion for the art.
I'm extremely excited to kick off the first interview of the series with Michael Brooke, publisher and editor of Concrete Wave magazine.
Joe Ledoux: What qualities of skateboarding do you think are magical?
Michael Brooke: The fact is skateboarding is something that is instant gratification.
You just open up your door leave your house and start riding.
Within seconds you are transported to a magical flow state. You can't do this with surfing because you need waves and you can't do with snowboarding because you need a hill with snow and money to get to the resort and pay for the experience.
Skateboarding is one of those things that that gives you the feeling of flow without having to worry about geography or a lot of money. Pure magic!
JL: What is the most magical spot you ever skated at and why?
MB: I took a trip to California with my parents in 1978. It was at the height of skateboarding's popularity and we wound up at Skatopia skatepark in Buena Park California.
This was the most incredible skate park. imagine waves of cement coupled with the most extraordinary landscaping.
At the park I broke my board and was fortunate to pick up a Dogtown Wes Humpston board in the pro shop.
When I think back on this place it truly represents the pinnacle of my experience with skateboarding.
This trip brought me to California for the first time. I was skating at the skatepark that was legendary and I was able to get a beautiful memento... in this case a skateboard.
JL: What kinds of thoughts or feelings does longboarding conjure that regular skateboarding doesn't?
MB: Longboarding is easier to approach. It can take a few moments for a beginner to advance.
Regular skateboarding takes a multi-leveled approach to tricks and movement. Tricks that are complex... different approaches to terrain.
Regular skateboarding takes a lot longer to learn.
But honestly... it's like arguing hot versus cold... you need both.
I have a regular skateboard. I will always have a regular skateboard, but I also own a number of skateboards that are longboards flexi boards and everything in between. All skateboards bring me joy.
JL: Who is the most mystical skater you know?
MB: Great question. I think Jeff over at Pantheon Longboards is onto something. I also put Chris Dyer from positivecreations.ca right at the top of spiritual artists and he skates.
JL: What trick created the most wonder in yourself when you landed it?
MB: The kickflip. Took me six months to learn. This was before YouTube so I was going by a magazine sequence. This trick still has the power to amaze younger skaters and older skaters respect it.
JL: Do you think there is a level of skating beyond skill and tricks?
MB: Absolutely. Sometimes skateboarding is not about skateboarding and you transcend the act itself. That is really where the magic happens.
This is really what it means to tap into the flow.
It's a very spiritual thing for skaters and it's what keeps people grounded when they enter the zone... obviously a topic for another day as it's very complex.
JL: How did Concrete Wave Magazine start and what is your goal with the mag?
MB: I wanted a way to communicate my vision to the world. That was almost 20 years ago. It's amazing to see how things have changed but I'm so happy with where things are at.
My main goal is to increase the number of skaters out there and to make sure people who start skateboarding don't quit.