Vans AV RAPIDWELD PRO LITE

Vans_Sp16_Skate_AV-RAPID-WELD-PRO-LITE BlkLtGray_SideVans AV Rapidweld Pro Lite dropped this spring in an entirely animal-free line! An update to Anthony Van Engelen’s line of pro model shoes with some truly durable material! The Rapidweld is a heat fusing technology that leaves no visible stitch lines on the upper of the shoe. Duracap is a rubber reinforcement that on some models is under the most outer layer of material.  In the AV Rapidweld Pro Lite however, the Duracap is featured on the outside.

Vans_Sp16_Skate_AV-RAPID-WELD-PRO-LITE PortBlk_PairAvailable in two colors for spring, there are two more for fall. All four utilizing the same material and construction.  We should mention on Vans site, the “Lite” model is not made with suede.  This has been confirmed with the design team, but marketing didn’t give the message.

Vans AV Rapidweld Pro Lite Vegan skateboard shoesFresh out of the box, the Vans AV Rapidweld Pro Lite is clean looking but the toe caps are were your eye goes.  The toe cap has caught on in a big way in skate shoes even though its been prominent since the early days of Chuck Taylors.  These aren’t a soft rubber like chucks. They’re somewhat slick to the touch. Just like the polyurethane coated mesh that forms the rest of the shoes vamp. The shoe is an instant fit, true to size at 10.5 and wide in the toe. A good fit in both the front and heal!

Vans AV Rapidweld Pro Lite Vegan skateboard shoesA close look at the ollie area and more of the vamp gives an idea of what the AV Rapidweld Pro Lite is made of, though it still seems mysterious. It feels like a rubber coated paper, something that has been crushed and compressed. The shoe is super light weight as the name suggests.

Vans AV Rapidweld Pro Lite Vegan skateboard shoesThe back quarter of the shoe is almost entirely mesh, with a reinforced heal cap. The padding is medium weight so while there isn’t a huge amount of ankle protection, it’s got a little more heft then most skate shoes.

Vans AV Rapidweld Pro Lite Vegan skateboard shoesAn extra thick line of textured foxing tape is there like all of Vans’s Pro shoes, and they almost last as long as the ollie and flip trick area! Kind of a reverse of what you’d expect from your standard skate shoe.

Vans AV Rapidweld Pro Lite Vegan skateboard shoesTraditional Vans Waffle sole look. Nothing new to see here, but as for how they hold up, that they might be.

Vans AV Rapidweld Pro Lite Vegan skateboard shoesThe Pro line models also feature this super cushioning insole! Heals rejoice!

Vans AV Rapidweld Pro Lite Vegan skateboard shoesThe all mesh tongue certainly adds some ventilation to the shoe. The tongue is also held in place by  sock liner that keeps the shoe pretty damn snug. Nice for a shoe that is a little wider in the toe!

So how did the shoe measure up?

Vans AV Rapidweld Pro Lite Vegan skateboard shoesA profile after 6-weeks of skating. The only “destroyed” part of the shoe is the laces of the front (ollie side) shoe and a little bit of foxing tape.  A little bit of scuff at the top of the collar and some dirty mesh on the back make the Vans AV Rapidweld Pro Lite un-presentable for weddings and other fancy gatherings but they still have a TON of skate life left in them. You can barely see the ollie patch, so lets zoom in.

Vans AV Rapidweld Pro Lite Vegan skateboard shoesThe polyurethane coating is coming away and you can see the woven material underneath, but its holding strong. Vans AV Rapidweld Pro Lite Vegan skateboard shoesVans AV Rapidweld Pro Lite Vegan skateboard shoesA hot spot around the ball of the foot has worn but plenty of grip left in these!

Vans AV Rapidweld Pro Lite Vegan skateboard shoesFast-forward to six weeks of skate wear and a hole has formed in the ollie area.  The red is the sock liner, which even after this photo was taken continues to hold up in skating.  (No holes in the socks just yet)  The foxing tape is totally worn smooth, but has a good bit of life left. Aside from the soles wearing down, a little shoe-goo would patch the tiny ollie hole and keep the AV Rapidweld Pro Lite running a little longer.

So the verdict. If you want a shoe that lasts and don’t mind spending a little more, buy this shoe. These are the longest lasting skate shoe we’ve ever seen produced by Vans! The fact that they have done this with out the use of animal materials is just a sign of the future things to come from the industry.  The fit is nice, room in the toe for good movement and a solid fit on the heal.  Break in period, took about half a day of walking around in them. The first skate was a little awkward but once broken in, solid.  Usually when we get promotional shoes, we don’t get extra laces, thats fine but for $90 lets hope two sets are in the box.  The only real gripe about the shoe is the smell.  After awhile they smell, and they retain the smell.  Perhaps this is a personal issue, but with other shoes, they have not smelled so bad.  Often synthetic materials retain foot odor in pockets of material that would otherwise escape and defuse in a canvas shoe. Well, not here.  Keep them outside the bedroom door.

All that said, get yourself a pair and they will likely last twice as long as your average skate shoe, vegan or otherwise. For the life you’ll get out of these, it’s like buying two or three pairs of shoes in one.

Check your local skate shop, we know DLX in SF and Uprise in Chicago have carried this model.  And don’t forget, the Lite is Vegan.  If its just the Pro without “Lite” at the end, it is made of animals.

 

Vans size 6.5-13 $90.00  (All 4 colorways are vegan)

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Vegetable Shredder – Garet Bullard

Vegetable Shredder vegan skateboarder garet BullardNAME: Garet Bullard

LOCATION: Myrtle Beach South Carolina

OCCUPATION: Student and hopeful artist

Where do you like skating? I prefer street skating over skating a park but if I have to choose I’ll say the local park in Myrtle, Matt Hughes Skate Park. If I have a more broad choice I really like going up to Columbia, Charlotte, and just any out of town skating/filming.

Why did you go Veg? I was volunteering, which is a stretch because I mainly just walked the dogs that I thought weren’t getting enough attention at an animal shelter in Columbia SC. I felt this internal guilt of how those animals had ended up in the situations that they were in. This one dog I especially felt a connection to had some facial scarring from who knows what but was still as sweet and loyal as could be. Although this was not a very extreme thing in the grand scheme of animal neglect it made me realize just how pure animals are and how I was contributing to their abuse and enslavement. I did vegetarian for about a month and then realized that wasn’t the best I could do. I went vegan with no plans of turning back.

What is your favorite thing to skate and why? I really enjoy skating things that people aren’t looking at as something to skate. Figuring out how to do something at a spot that doesn’t seem worth skating is super rewarding. Because of this the local people I skate with have coined the term, “Garet Spots” and are not fans of going to them.

Vegan Skateboarder Vegetable ShredderWhat shoe are you skating in now? Right now I’m skating the Adidas Seeley in Canvas. I read the stripes are man-made leather (synthetic) on several sites. I also just ordered another pair of the canvas/gum Adi Ease and those are the best shoes I’ve skated in awhile.

Or just say whatever you want about skating Veg… I’m vegan for the animals, not for my health and I think that’s a major misconception about being vegan. Vegan food is amazing and has so many more flavors than what I was eating on a non-vegan diet. I also really love taking out of town trips because I can try to persuade my group of non-vegan friends to either try or go by the vegan spots other cities have to offer. Shout out to Dellz Uptown in Charleston, Lambs Bread in Columbia, and Bean in Charlotte. Oh and to the good homies in HD and the sk843 family too.


I want to get down to the Carolinas and check out some Garet Spots!  Thanks for sending this in Garet, glad its finally up on the blog!

Are you veg and shred? Send in a some photos and the answer to all these questions to fakie@veganskateblog.com  Don’t forget a mailing address so we can get you some rad stickers. ( US only – that international shipping is EXPENSIVE!)

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State Elgin

State Footwear vegan skate shoes CanvasThe State Elgin is just one of several vegan models from this new skate shoe brand. This classic silhouette features a denim canvas upper in black/white (there is also a grey chambray colorway). With minimal padding in the tongue, collar and toe, this is truly a shoe for the minimalist.  State Footwear vegan skate shoes CanvasThe real skate durability isn’t going to come in this denim upper. Instead look closer at the double-wrapped (or reverse wrapped) vulcanized sole.  The extra width in the textured foxing tape around the toes gives a lot of extra flicks and ollie before the upper gets the business end of the grip tape. State Footwear vegan skate shoes CanvasThe Elgin’s gum soles herringbone pattern is straight forward. Nothing fancy just good old fashion grip.

The styling remains true to the legacy of Dekline who recently called it quits.  Kevin Furtado the brand director of Dekline launched State as a price point brand. (Read more at JENKEM)  Focusing on a few solid models in two or three colors. He is running as a barebones garage operation. So while State Footwear is selling in Zumiez, this is a small operation and you can supporting the brand directly.  We would love to see a good use of the new synthetic materials on State’s offerings. That might not be coming though, given the mission of the brand and reality of the shoe industry.  Casual cruising in the canvas models. Get yourself some Shoe Goo for heavier ripping and some thick socks.

State Footwear  $55 size 7-13 (no half sizes)

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Mike Vallely – Veganism, Street Plant, and what started it all. 

Mike Vallely Interview Vegan Skateboarder In 1990, World Industries released Mike Valley’s pro-model deck that became known as the Barnyard board. Emblazoned on the top of the deck, Valley’s unmistakable message, expressed through a cow with paintbrush in mouth, “Please Don’t Eat My Friends.” Mike V. made a reputation for himself, particularly on being a vegan. Nine years after he made his diet known to the world, he would be eating animals. Mike Vallely is now vegan again along with his family. The re-issue of the Barnyard board from Valley’s company, Street Plant Brand and collaborations with Servant Shoes and Pizzanista Pizzeria featuring Marc McKee’s art from that deck, re-ignited a conversation about veganism, politics, and the past.

I met Mike Vallely at his front door, he greeted me into his home, offered a glass of water and we headed back to the garage. Mike introduced me to his daughter Emily, his partner in Street Plant, who is busy answering emails and filling orders. The two car garage has no room for a vehicle, rather it serves as a warehouse, shipping department, and office. Short of manufacturing, the business is authentically DIY and the whole family is involved.
A few weeks before over a brief email exchange, Mike lets me know he isn’t into doing interviews, “The only exceptions I would ever consider would be discussing kindness to animals or kids wearing helmets, I will do this interview as long as the topic stays focused on veganism.” That is exactly what I came to talk about. The storied skater who once was so adamant in his beliefs of animal rights, beliefs so strong that in the past they led to fights and altercations with friends, had since been abandoned to such an extent that Vallely openly poked fun at the ideas of vegetarianism. In a 2009 interview with Erica Yary, on the topic of why he quit being vegetarian he quips, “I got hungry, I got really hungry.” So what I and many others have wondered is, what changed? In Fall of 2015 Mike, his wife Ann and both daughters Emily and Lucy all went vegan. To figure that out, I wanted to know what was different and how Mike started on his path in the first place.

Powell-Peralta released Mike’s first pro model in 1988. The artwork, now a classic, is an African elephant. He had to fight for it, a move that caused ongoing tension within the company. The concept was balked at, not fitting into the aesthetic of skeletons, flames, and bugs. “I want to remind people…” is what Mike said to Stacy Peralta for his reason of the graphic choice. A reminder of what? Vallely recalls seeing a television program on endangered African elephants and feeling that their biggest obstacle in survival was humans. “I actually cried watching this program, it was so unbelievable to me that this could be happening to the most beautiful majestic land animal.” At seventeen Mike starts a radical process for a kid from suburban New Jersey. “When I first started questioning this stuff I didn’t know vegetarianism was a thing. Just like I didn’t know skateboarding was a thing until I saw it for the first time. It was the same kind of awakening. It just made me question everything.”

Mike developed his message for his next ground breaking skate deck. Though his original vegetarianism concept had gone through the artistic license of Marc Mckee and Steve Rocco, coming out the other end florescent and cartoonish, the words were clear. “Please Don’t Eat My Friends.” It was the first skateboard with a vegetarian message and would be for at least two decades. Mike was undoubtably making his mark and influencing kids. He was also drawing a lot of anger out of people who saw his voice as a threat.

With limited resources and no community to support his then budding ideas of animal rights and vegetarianism, Mike adopted a lifestyle in which he could figure things out on his own. He began cutting things one by one out of his diet as he understood the harm they caused. The big change would start after hearing The Smiths “Meat is Murder.” Even among close friends Mike met resistance. “I was trying to explain what I was doing and what I was trying to accomplish to an older friend, a confident that was in the know. He started ripping me apart with ‘…cheese this, and your shoes [are leather]’, it was really kind of mean and I was hurt by it. I was trying to do something good, and instead of encouraging me and giving me stuff to think about, he was like, ‘You’re a fucking idiot.’ If you’re going to do one thing then you have to do everything.’” At that point Mike had never heard of a vegan or really understood it. The people would often come across as rude or condescending even when they were in the know.

At eighteen or nineteen Mike recalls feeling young, sensitive and reserved but was still putting his ideas about vegetarianism into the public sphere. His reservedness didn’t stop him from speaking his mind, but he wasn’t quite able to face down the reaction it received. “I was very sincere and very serious, I couldn’t laugh at it, I wouldn’t accept their jokes.” Mike became confrontational, facing down those that might poke fun before they had the opportunity. His two friends in the skateboarding world were Christian Kline and Ed Templeton. These friendships would often gravitate towards sitting on a curb and talking, bouncing ideas and concepts off one another without judgement. Both Christian and Ed would become vegetarian and then vegan through their friendship with Mike. While Ed was moving closer to a professional career, Mike recalls, “Ed was very consistent in pushing me to stay engaged in the skateboarding world, where I had lost the love for it. I still loved my skating but I had lost an interest in being bullseye for everyones hatred.”

Mike felt he had pulled so far back from the industry that his mere presence was treated as a gimmick or a flash in the pan, soon to be over. Though his unique style and creativity in skateboarding still brought him deserved accolades the criticism came hard. “I had a target on my back and the arrows being shot at me were from people I respected, people I looked up to, my heroes. Older skaters would say to me ‘come on Mike, settle down, you don’t really [believe this], when you grow up you’ll see.’ They would treat me like everything I was talking about was a waste of peoples time, a waste of pages in the magazines, that I should let my skating do the talking. I just felt there was so much more to communicate.”
The backlash caused a reaction similar to an abusive relationship. Some days Mike hid away, sheltering himself from the naysayers and ready to check himself out of skateboarding all together, and the next have brash confrontations with people in the industry. All the while being drawn further into the business that was dishing out the abuse. A close friendship with Ed Templeton throughout was a driving force that kept him connected to the skateboard world through the hard days of the late 80’s and early 90’s. By 1995 Mike felt that he had reclaimed a viable career in skateboarding and was going to make the most of it.

At the end of the 90’s the skateboarding industry had matured. A broader interest in skating and all things extreme had drawn in corporate America which looked to included skaters on their rosters. Skateboard focused brands also saw the boom. Mike had an aggressive street style that was unlike any other. It was unique and tapped into a raw energy so loud, it refused to fall on deaf ears. The prosperity that a top level skater could achieve in this wave of pop-cultural enthusiasm was very real and within reach of Mike V.
“By ’97 I began to see that something bigger was coming and I was positioned to be on the front lines of it. I was going to benefit from this great growth in skateboarding.” He had worked hard to stay at the professional level and was determined to hold on to his spot amongst the great modern skateboarders. Mike wanted to have a big impact with his message. “ If you’ve got Tony [Hawk] spinning in the air, and you have Koston flipping his board, and Jamie going down these big drops; That’s great, but who is going to talk about creativity, expression, individuality. These things were the undertone of my whole career and I had a very large vehicle to tell my story.” That desire to go big would bring him great success but not with out some great compromises. Mike laments with regret, “I can’t even relate to that [idea of going big] now.”

His focus and consistency paid off, Etnies tapped Mike V. for an opportunity to have a pro model shoe, considered the pinnacle in achievements of a professional skateboarder. As Mike would describe though, this was not without hesitation on Etnies part. After all, despite other large corporations pursuing him, within skateboarding Mike’s reputation preceded him. “I still had this stigma attached to me. When the Oakleys and the Dakines came into my life, they didn’t know how the skate world viewed me. They just saw what I was doing and said, ‘Rad, we want to work with you.’ but Etnies knows the noise and they can’t reconcile the value [of having me on the team] and the noise.”

The concern with that “noise” was, Mike again would be an easy target. What would the magazines like, Thrasher or Big Brother write? Mike was again sensitive to the idea of being the center of controversy and the skate brands with preserving a reputation. “I was going to crazy my way out of skateboarding. By being such a severe individual I was not going to get the pro-model shoe or other opportunities that were coming my way.”

During the shoe talks, SoleTech (Etnies, Emerica, éS, Sheep) had planned a skate-trip to Australia. Bob Burnquist, Eric Koston, Marc Johnson and Chris Senn would be there. The team manager was less than thrilled with the idea of Mike Vallely coming along. Mike recalls, “He was like, ‘Were going to bring Mike on this trip? He doesn’t even drink or party…’ It was just this thing put on the table. ‘What a drag, we’re going to bring this fucking drag with us?” It affected Mike and his wife, Ann deeply. Mike didn’t care about drinking or partying either way, it just wasn’t something he valued and now this idea people had jeopardized his future. “I told Don Brown, ( Head of Marketing at Sole Technology) ‘No worries, I’m down to go out with the boys and have some beers,’ and the sense of release was like this cloud left and the sun came out. ‘Mike’s cool, Mike’s cool!” Etnies Vallely would go on to be one of the best selling skate shoes at the time, and the original black colorway was even a synthetic nubuck material.

The excitement felt by Mike’s sponsors elevated his career and brought him to a place where he could achieve those dreams. One could look at it as vindication, or persistence. He stuck to his guns and eventually people everywhere saw the stoke! Looking back though, Mike sees it as a bitter sweet time.
“It was the start of a new season in my life, but ultimately as I look back on it now, it was a great compromise. I compromised who I was for acceptance. Once I left my own course and tried to fit into someone elses thing, all of the walls around me crumbled.”

Mike was focused on his professional skate career and his family. By 1999 he had given up being vegan. “I wasn’t focused on myself or my soul on a deeper level. I had tuned myself out. I don’t even know what justification I would have had but I was totally lost.” I asked if he had met any negative backlash to giving up veganism. “No not really. It’s so stupid. You chop that one piece out of the stairs that you’ve been climbing and then you’re just swimming in the bullshit. People are so happy to see you there. ‘Hey its good to see you eating meat again!” As Mike would describe, he felt lost for the next 15 years. His commercial successes are noteworthy. Mike competed and won many skate competitions, his likeness has appeared in video games a couple with his name on them and has been in major Hollywood films. This, without even touching the countless accomplishments within skateboarding. He is proud to have been able to make these things happen.

In 2014 Black Flag was touring. Mike V. was managing the band, driving the van, and after things went sour with Ron Reyes, Mike was also now the lead singer. In July they played Louisville Kentucky at Headliners Music Hall. Mike took walks before shows to think, trying to get lost, and clear his head. Though he didn’t know it at the time, the venue was a short walk south of the Butchertown neighborhood. Historically a part of Louisville that contained slaughterhouses and rendering plants, walking west on East Main Street one might confuse the unremarkable white brick wall for just about anything. What Mike heard though made him take notice. “I was walking along the side of this building and then I heard this screaming, which I really believed to be the sounds of terror of children on a roller coaster.” Mike continues to hear the screams as he rounds the corner of the building and thinks, “This must be one hell of a ride!” and then is confronted with the truth; very large, very pink pigs being prodded off of a stock trailer and into the building. “The thing about the screaming, it wasn’t one uniform sound. That’s what made me think that it was children, it was a chorus of individual voices. If it would have been a uniform pig sound, I could have easily said to myself, ‘dumb pigs being slaughtered’ and rationalized and justified that, but the individual voices I couldn’t ignore. And when I realized they weren’t screaming because they were on a roller coaster, but were screaming because they where being murdered, I went, ‘Oh fuck, I can’t live like this. I can’t rationalize, justify, or turn a blind eye to it.”

Like most people, Mike had built up the walls that say, eating animals is normal but now and maybe more impactful than his first stint as a vegetarian something changed. “You have an experience like that and then the walls completely crumble, I am walking through the dust of my own creation that has now been shattered.

“I’ve gone so far away from who I was that I’m not able to confront this. I’m not ready to confront my family, and tell people, I can’t fucking do this.’ I’m not prepared for the backlash.” Mike admits to feeling selfish for having such reservations. He instantly starting eating vegan through the rest of the tour with a looming fear for the inevitable conversations at home.

Ann Vallely, Mike’s wife was at one time vegan and vegetarian. Their lives had drastically changed and one could think that the same walls of protection Mike had built rationalizing eating animals, would be similar for Ann. The lifestyle the Vallely’s had been accustomed had taken a hit and there were already considerable changes the family was getting used to. Financial hardships had cause them to lose their house and cars; Now when Mike tells his family what exactly he has experienced in Louisville and sees their reaction, he feels he is going to lose his family too. So he folds, with tears burning down his cheeks, he says ‘whatever’ and the tension that Mike has been holding onto all these years continues growing.
The heartfelt story of the Louisville slaughterhouse sits with his family. It becomes an occasional conversation topic, particularly with Emily, Mike’s oldest daughter.
“She’s a very serious young woman. She does her leg work and does her research. She began the process in her own way to reconcile the story I had and the life she had previously lived as a young vegetarian.” Emily would share information, and the whole family began to go with her, back to a life that Ann, Mike, and Emily had previously lived. Mike describes Lucy, his youngest, as a sensitive and caring person, having an immediate understanding to the path the family was taking. “Our nature as individuals is really at home with this lifestyle.”

The struggles Mike V. felt came from many directions. The reliance on brands telling him when he was getting paid, or if he was going to be a sponsored skateboarder was a massive part of this pressure. He admits that, “the healing process only started once I decided to not be subservient to the skateboard brands.” Where Mike is now may have been in the making even before the Black Flag tour and Louisville. What is now Street Plant Brand, a self funded skateboard company, began as an Instagram account managed by Emily Vallely. As Mike tells it there was no intention of making products. It was more of a look back through the archives of Mike V’s career. Perhaps what Mike felt was again nearing an eclipse.
As Street Plant [the Instagram] became more active, including Mike’s poetry and prose peppered among rad images and videos of skating, it became obvious that there was something more there. He was able to make the leap to a skateboard company of his own in large part because of Emily. Mike recalls she told him, “You’ve taught us to be self-sufficient and the D.I.Y. ethos. This is still who you are at your core but you’re still holding onto something that’s [not there]. You can do something that’s yours and we’ve got your back.” Jokingly but with some truth Mike tells me, “Two years ago, if Red Bull or Nike would have called me, I would have gotten down on my knees and begged ‘please, please, can I just get on the cruise ship out to sea.’  and now I wouldn’t answer their calls.  I’ve taken the right steps in the right direction to do right for me and my family. It all sort of set the table for where we are now.”

The changes that brought the Vallely family to start Street Plant Brand and as a family to live a vegan lifestyle came from a place of honesty, introspection, and real engagement. Nearly 30 years before, Mike was exploring these ideas and cementing his core beliefs. His steadfast beliefs eventually were moved and adapted by the changing realities as a young person starting a family. When Mike described his reason for letting his diet waiver, it got down to competing interests. He was perfectly fine with eating potato chips, junk food or whatever he could scrape together. That wasn’t something he was comfortable doing with his family. Self sacrifice can be easy, it’s something completely different when you factor in the people you care about, not wanting them to go through the same hardships that you would impose on yourself.

Mike Vallely may be known for his massive drop-ins, hand plants, and brawling. Over the years the fights he engaged and those massive drops he took required some heavy determination. As we spoke it was clear that what came after was much harder. Getting to that place of realization and living a vegan lifestyle isn’t easy. Allowing oneself to then stray, pile on the rationalizations, and assimilate to a world that is waiting with open arms and a side of bacon is much simpler; And as many may not want to admit, the path of least resistance. Harder is to dig out of the self-imposed justifications, face what you’ve known all along, and admit you have to change.

The Vallely family are talking about veganism and sharing their lifestyle. The Vallely women run a blog, The Vintage Vegans, where they post recipes, interviews, and cruelty free fashion editorials. Mike is staying grounded. Now when he talks about vegansim, it isn’t a defense or a reaction, it’s a celebration.

At present we are not going to see a new vegan skateboard shoe with Vallely emblazoned on the side. He has decided to keep his name off of sponsorships and other companies products. What you can expect from Mike; he will be skating for Street Plant Brand, touring and staying engaged in the skate scene. Taking a look back at the original content that launched Street Plant, Mike got back to his core beliefs. Looking to the future expect Mike to continue bringing creativity, expression, and the individuality that started it all.


editing assistance provided by Kevin Marks and Joey Zittnan.


Thanks to Mike for inviting me into his home. Today is the 5th Anniversary of Vegan Skate Blog and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate.

–Mr. Fakie aka Kerry

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Skateistan Fundraiser with Punk Rock Karaoke

Punk Rock Karaoke Skateistan vegan skateblog DLXSF Hella Vegan EatsTomorrow we are hosting a fundraiser for Skateistan along with our good friends Hella Vegan Eats in their new home at Classic Cars West in Oakland!   The Punk Rock Karaoke Collective has brought us into the fold, so we’ll have all (probably at least 5, there are close to 1,000) of your favorite punk rock songs.  We also have an amazing raffle planned with some kick ass loot from Deluxe Skateboard Distro, Timeless Coffee gift card, VSB t-shirts, and more!  We’ll have plenty of stickers too!  Come hungry. Hella Vegan Eats will be serving up their finest in comfort foods!

Skateistan is a skateboard-focused school that has its humble beginnings on the street of Kabul, Afghanistan.  What started as an ad-hock skate session of NGO workers and local kids, blossomed into a full on skate park and education platform.  Skateistan provides a creative outlet for young people maligned by war. It also creates a space for kids, traditionally denied an education, to get up to speed in reading and other educational disciplines so they can enroll in public schools.   The mission of Skateistan has elevated opportunities especially for young girls.

The efforts of Skateistan have expanded beyond Kabul, so we’re holding this benefit to help them continue to serve kids education and pursuit of fun.

Come on out,

Karaoke start at 7:30pm on Saturday the 18th $5 at the door (no one turned away for lack of funds)  All proceeds from the door and raffle go to Skateistan.

Classic Cars West

411 26th Street

Oakland, CA

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Interview with Broderick Gumpright

Broderick Gumpright Orchard Skateboardshop

Broderick Gumpright is one of the founders of Orchard Skateshop. Now with two locations in the Boston (technically one is in Allston) Along with his partners, Broderick “Bro” Gumpright have built a cornerstone shop and community for skateboarders in the north east. Their Flagship location in Allston has an art gallery that regularly features art that is related to skateboarding. Their free half-pipe is gone but in August of 2015 a bowl with a birds nest esthetic was built in its place. Free to ride, so long as you’ve signed the shop waiver.   Contributing writer Kevin Marks had some questions for Broderick about veganism, skateboarding, and art.

Where did you grow up?  Brewster, Massachusetts (Cape Cod)

What year did you start skating?  1988 for sure but I think I rode a board as early as 83 or 84.

How did you fall into being a skater?  My step brothers built a quarter pipe in the driveway. My dad got me a used Bradlee’s board from the local flea-market so I could skate with them.  I was pretty much hooked on that day.

First board?  It was a “spectrum” from Bradlees.  First real board was a Vision Shredder II with Pink Vision Shredder wheels and Venture trucks, and yellow rails.

How did you come up with the name and what is the meaning of Orchard?  My first business partner Jon Devoe had worked in an apple orchard and it was a name he had been thinking of for years.  I wanted to call it some bad names like Mass Destruction or Ironside.  We settled on that because we were both vegetarians.  Years after we left that part of the city we found out the location was originally an apple orchard way back in the day.  Some people still call it “Orchid” or “Orkard” we joke that our name is an intelligence test.  Pass / Fail.  Some fail.

What sort of jobs did you work before opening orchard? I cleaned pools, worked at a skatepark, worked as an office drone for way too long.

How did you meet your biz partners?  Devoe was my first business partner and I’d known him for when he owned True East skatepark in Springfield.  Matt Bagley came on board a couple years in and he and I had started doing skate jams at the Chinatown Courts.  Devoe left and Armin Bachman came in shortly after.  Last year we added longtime dedicated employee and wippersnapper Ian Coughlan to the crew.

Broderick Gumpright

Wall ride photo credit: Xeno Tsarnas

How do you divide the shop duties?  Matt does the softgoods buying, Armin does a lot of the design and social media, Ian does hardgoods buying and I pay the bills.  We all pretty much work the store and come together to make it all go and put on events.

What are the biggest day to day challenges of running a store?  Keeping it all going in these times when people would rather buy stuff from someone they will never know on the internet than buy something in person.

When did you find veganism and what was your path to getting there? I became vegetarian in 1996 when some friends bet me that I couldn’t be vegetarian for a week.   We are more than labels but it was a big defining moment for me in my life.  I discovered that milk cows were often turned into hamburger when they slow their milk production so I became a vegan in 2000.  You just have to ask yourself what happens to the cows and chickens etc when they are no longer productive.

I immediately fell in with a bunch of people who were involved in Animal Rights.  I took on a very “hardcore” approach to it where most of the world was in the wrong and needed to be changed by all 10 of us.  I was arrested in NYC at a protest against Huntingdon Life Sciences and I was charged with some felonies and misdemeanors.  Some of the people I was arrested with went to prison over it. My charges were dropped which led some people to believe I had ratted.  That was not the case.    What happened is, I was filming the protest and what goes with it and I was stopped by the police. I passed off the camera and I think it was passed several times, but they got it in the end.  All the evidence they needed was on that camera.  If I could relive that day I would have run with everything I had in me.  People were calling it terrorism.  The police played good cop / bad cop….  “Are you a member of ALF?  We can help you if you talk.  What do you want to do with your life, it’s not this… You know the doorman had a heart attack and is dying in the hospital this is your fault.”  I told them to talk to my lawyer.  The police were liars and the whole thing was poorly planned looking back at it but we had good intentions.  Shortly  after, the apartment that I had just moved out of was ransacked by the FBI or police.    I think I was very idealistic and saw the world in black and white when in fact it’s shades of gray.  Those two things where my hint to get back to focusing on skateboarding and less on animal liberation.  I think people like Ingrid Newkirk and Rod Coronado and countless others are heroes for what they have done for animals but you have to ask yourself “Is this what I want to do?”  After going to jail it was a wake up call that I’d rather do something else.

Do you identify as straightedge or just as someone who doesn’t drink or do drugs?  I am proud to be Straight Edge!

Broderick Gumpright

Ollie photo credit: Andrew Miyagi

How did you come to that lifestyle and when? Two things:  I was at Woodward at 12 or 13 wearing an old crew shirt with crossed (boat) oars on it.  Some kid was like,” Hey are you straight A’s.”  I replied that I got A’s and B’s but not straight A’s.  “No straight edge… Do you drink or smoke or do drugs?”  No, I replied. I guess I am [straight edge].  He responded by saying straight edge was a bad thing and I didn’t want to be that.  I thought it didn’t sound so bad. [Laughs].

A couple years later I read about the Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ “Ska-Core the Devil and More,” in Transworld. I was sure that ska was short for skate so I went and bought it.  It had a cover by Minor Threat and Slapshot so I went and bought their stuff.  So that was 1993-94 and it’s pretty funny that a band that was pretty into drinking got me into straight edge…. I guess I was destined for it.

Favorite bands, current and past?   Youth of today, Minor Threat, Black Flag, Dead Kennedy’s, Slapshot, Descendants, Minutemen, Suicidal Tendencies, Op Ivy; All the great music from before my time. I started going to shows in the early 90’s.  Fugazi is one of the best bands of all time.  Dischord records.  I was really into Ten Yard Fight.  King Kahn does some great stuff, The Real Kids, Dirty Fences.  I love rock n roll in its many forms!

Explain your recent injuries and surgeries?    I tried to ollie a really big gap at 34 and folded my knee like a chair.  I hadn’t had any major knee problems but if you look at what I did it can be explained pretty easily.  It was a gravity overdose.  I had to get two knee surgeries and it took me around a year and a half to get back on my board.  I was at a pretty good level of skating that made me happy and then in a freak accident I fell on my wallet and broke my femur.  I had to get a titanium rod and a blood transfusion as the operation left me with anemia.  It’s a long road back but I’m doing my physical therapy and I am confident I’ll skate again.  For any readers out there if you get really hurt it’s okay to take pain killers. I’d advise you to not get addicted.


How many video parts have you put out and when was the last one?  Had a part in some VHS homie stuff in the early 90’s that may never see the light of day because it’s lost. I probably have about six parts out there.  The last one is in Stone Soup, which is an Orchard video.  I hope to get a couple more.

Favorite terrain to shred?  I like crusty bank stuff with a long roll out.

Favorite Boston area vegan eats?  Red Lentil, Veggie Galaxy, Dosa n’ Curry, Life Alive, Thai Bistro, and Wild Rice.

Are you active in the local animal rights community? Any causes close to your heart? I’m not active but I support the idea of it as I answered before. I think I burnt myself out on it.  I’m into recycling at the moment. If I was going to get active again I would rather convert people by creating good alternatives like a restaurant; Rather than thinking that burning down a building or locking oneself to a gate would change anything.

Any memories for the Hospital Banks?   I lived right next to them for a year and a half. One night I almost got arrested with Will Harmon for fixing a hole in the ground where some bricks were missing.  When I saw that they had drilled holes in the ground I got one last session and the next day there was a fence and it got torn down.  I think Baby Schizo was the last to skate it.  Adam Ayer local legend tells me that he witnessed Gonz and Tommy G both Ollie through the middle of the volcano which was quite a feet in the early 90’s or late 80’s.  Gonz recently denied that he ever did it.  Who knows.

With all the pros and artists that you deal with at the shop, who have you fanned out on the most?  We had Gonz here recently and that was a huge high-water mark for the shop.

Who were some of the most memorable art openings?  Having Dennis Mcnett here was really cool I think that was one of the best shows.   Jason Jessee was very cool to have and he was awesome.

Russ Pope did a show here with various artists to help me with my hospital bills.  That one had a big impact on my life so I would like to thank him for doing that.  We’ve had a couple shows with my lifelong friend Silas Finch who does really cool found object sculpture type stuff.

How did you come to having a mini ramp in the shop? We got the ramp around 5 years into our existence.  Converse paid for that and we offered it free to the community.

How did the new bowl come about?  That was Converse. They have been really awesome to the local skate community.  They fully funded it and it’s available free to the public any time we are open.  It’s way sicker than the mini-ramp and we love having it here.

What brands are you most psyched on carrying at the shop? Hopps. Jahmal is a legend and the design behind his stuff is great.  Coda – I skate for them and Pat Smith is awesome.  Theories of Atlantis (Traffic, Polar, Magenta, Theories) Quasi very rad.  Politic, Transportation Unit (Russ Pope’s company) Deluxe is always bringing something rad to skateboarding.

Is it hard to find vegan shoes? Do you stock many in the store?  Yes and no.  Pretty much every company out there makes a vegan shoe at some point.   We have a decent amount of vegan shoes here but just a regular canvas shoe doesn’t do it for me.  I need something that is a vegan cupsole which is kind of hard to find.

What shoes are you wearing lately?  Converse Canvas CTS with a Lunarlon insole which is crucial.

You seem to be doing consistently cool stuff with Converse. Tell us about some of those partnerships?  Converse has been awesome to us and the local skate community.  They’ve hooked up tons of kids, they funded a free indoor skatepark called pop allston, and they built our bowl.  In addition to that they’ve done the cons project which teaches kids to build skatboards, ramps, make a zine, build with concrete. I wish that kind of thing existed when I was a kid.  Converse moved their corporate headquarters to Boston and I think they are putting their money where their mouth is as a corporation.  They’ve done huge things for skateboarding around here.

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Vegetable Shredder – John Gardner

John Gardner Creature pro skater vegan vegetable shredder

photo:Grant Monihan

NAME: John Gardner

LOCATION: Wherever I park it.

OCCUPATION: Wind Whisperer

Where do you like skating? New York City, Portland, San Francisco, and New Jersey

Why did you go veg? … I was really turned off by the animal agriculture industry and the their lack of accountability for their actions. It’s a very unsustainable business and does more harm than good. I also learned of the negative effects that animal products have on the human body… Especially at the rate the world is consuming it. I love animals and I want to be as healthy as I can be in mind and body so it made a lot of sense to go vegan.

Vegetable Shredder, vegan skateboarder, leap of faith, Creature Skateboards

photo: Paco

What is your favorite thing to skate and why?  I don’t know if I have a favorite thing but lately I have been really into skating vert. Catching air is so fun!

What shoe are you skating in now?  DC shoes. They’re not all vegan, but maybe one day!

Creature Skateboards, vegan, Vegetable shredder,

photo:Elias Parise

Or say whatever you want about skating veg…  If you want more information about how a vegan lifestyle can help you and our planet, watch the documentaries, “Forks Over Knives” and “Conspiracy.”


WOW John! Your skateboarding gives us shivers and a sick feeling in the bottom of the stomach, but in a good way! If you haven’t heard, Mr. Gardner is skating himself to an early grave as the newest team member at Creature! Well deserved, his skating is brutal and we are glad to have him on the Vegetable Shredder team too! (Liquid Swords on that video, too! Nice choice!)

Are you veg and shred? Send in a some photos and the answer to all these questions to fakie@veganskateblog.com  Don’t forget a mailing address so we can get you some rad stickers. ( US only – that international shipping is EXPENSIVE!)

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Fallen Footwear R.I.P.

Fallen JamieFallen Footwear’s founder Jamie Thomas took to Instagram today, announcing that the Spring 2016 season (out now) will be the last. We wanted to thank Jamie and the Fallen Footwear team for their generosity to Vegan Skate Blog and making some amazing skateboard shoes.  Though Jamie hasn’t been vegan for a long time now, he made a commitment to always make a vegan model available; In synthetics rather then just canvas too!

It’s frustrating to see another skater owned brand fold. paraphrasing Jamie, rather then compromise the values of Fallen, they are simply going to close up shop.

Vegan Rambler from Fallen Skateboard shoesThe Rambler was the first shoe we skate reviewed from Fallen. The upper was a durable synthetic suede. Super light, and very fun to skate. I’d love to find another pair.

Fallen the vibe vegan skateboard shoe synthetic upperThe Vibe was a fancy slim cupsole! The signature Tommy Sandoval colorway was vegan-suede. Another great Fallen model.

 

Though we didn’t review the Kingston (another Tommy Sandoval shoe) I picked up a pair at DLX in SF and really enjoyed skating.

 

Thanks for the good times Fallen… hopefully the brand will rise again.

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DC Evan Smith Hi – Frist Look Review

Evan Smith Vegan Skateboarder Veg Non-leather canvas shoe DC Hi-top vegetable shredder DC Evan Smith Hi is a new vegan skate shoe that dropped in January! We reported on the shoe when it dropped and were lucky enough to have a review pair sent out shortly after.  Since we posted in January a new color has been added to the line, navy blue canvas, keeping the line (at least in the hi-top model) totally vegan.

Evan Smith Vegan Skateboarder Veg Non-leather canvas shoe DC Hi-top vegetable shredder The toe-cap has been making the rounds in nearly every skateboard shoe brand. It adds some extra life to the shoe and potentially some blow-out protection. The Evan Smith Hi toe-caps fully wrap the toes but don’t go overboard and they’re not stiff either. This allows for some good toe flex.

Evan Smith Vegan Skateboarder Veg Non-leather canvas shoe DC Hi-top vegetable shredder Looking straight on the shoe looks like it has some heft. When we first tried them out, that was definitely the case. The shoe isn’t overly heavy per say, but it takes some getting used to. That being said, if you have wider feet, the Evan Smith Hi is a good shoe to let your toes spread out.

Evan Smith Vegan Skateboarder Veg Non-leather canvas shoe DC Hi-top vegetable shredder The collar has some light padding and the stitching gives it some unique style that really scream, Vans sk8-Hi. If you’re the type of skater that likes a lot of ankle support, here you go!

Evan Smith Vegan Skateboarder Veg Non-leather canvas shoe DC Hi-top vegetable shredder DC’s “Impact-I” sole is one of the new marketing features of the shoe. The idea is that the little cone shape cut-outs allow for the rubber to expand on impact, reducing foot pain. Maybe this works, after all Evan Smith can be seen acid dropping off a high overhang of a Pittsburgh convention center in his add for the shoe.  Though for a shoe that already has some heft to it, this is a great way to lighten up the sole, the heaviest element of any skateboard shoe.

Evan Smith Vegan Skateboarder Veg Non-leather canvas shoe DC Hi-top vegetable shredder After a weeks worth of skating the Evan Smith Hi, everything is holding up considerably well, though a little discolored around the toe cap and outsole from dissolving glue.  Several small spots are developing in the ollie area and the toe-caps are starting to wear down slightly. The laces are a mess on the right side/ heavy wear shoe. They were the first thing to go, but laces are cheap and not as messy as Shoo-Goo.

Evan Smith Vegan Skateboarder Veg Non-leather canvas shoe DC Hi-top vegetable shredder The metal eyelet is always a double edges sword. So much easier to lace up, but a perfect surface to shred laces against.

Evan Smith Vegan Skateboarder Veg Non-leather canvas shoe DC Hi-top vegetable shredder Back down to the business end of the shoe, its nice to see that the black paneling is only wearing down to more canvas. It would be a shame to rip right through that ollie hole while the rest of the shoe has so much life left in it, so it will get plugged with some Shoe-Goo to extended the skate life.  While the Evan Smith might be a little heavier on the foot, it doesn’t look terribly bulky.

Evan Smith Vegan Skateboarder Veg Non-leather canvas shoe DC Hi-top vegetable shredder The heavy wear of the soles happened where you’d expect it, right at the ball of the foot. Those little cones are fading away into oblivion. Further back in the shoe all is intact, but it would be nice to have a little extra rubber up front.

Evan Smith Vegan Skateboarder Veg Non-leather canvas shoe DC Hi-top vegetable shredder The Evan Smith Hi has a toe-cap, multi-paneling, metal eyelets, and some stylish stitching. They lace up and down quickly and feel comfortable from the first wear.  They need a little breaking in before feeling really solid on the board. Multiple instances of stumbling, bumping and gripping the grip tape just a few millimeters too soon may happen with any new shoe, especially if you’re not sued to skating with big toe caps. Getting used to that bulky feeling may be a good idea given the extra skate life you may reap.

The sizing of the Evan Smith Hi is spot on. The toe is nice and wide, no taper means everything is breathable and loose in the front, no scrunched up toes! If you’ve been looking for a vegan hi-top with significant skate-ability. Pick up a pair of Evan Smith Hi!

DC sizes 6.5-14 $70.00

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Vegetable Shredder – Chris Center

Chris Center Vegetableshredder vegan skateboarder board slide stair case hand railNAME: Chris Center

LOCATION: City Heights, CA

OCCUPATION: I’ve been a valet driver for over two years now working at a casino. I’m leaving the job next month though. My first job I worked was McDonalds, vegan the 2 two years that I worked there around 2008.

Where do you like skating? Mostly random things skating the streets and cruising the sidewalks and hills. Dallas skatepark. Fairmount ramp. Curbs.

Vegan Skateboarder Chris Center vegetable ShredderWhy did you go Veg? I was in highschool and realised I was drinking WAY too much soda. I decided to stop even though I didn’t have anybody telling me what was healthy or not. After that I became more concience about what I put in my body and I thought about the chicken sandwiches I was eating every day. I asked myself why I was eating an animal and something clicked. I became vegetarian soon after, then vegan about a month after that. I made some eggs and a friend jokingly said “you won’t eat meat and your gonna eat eggs?” and that made sense so I went vegan.

What is your favorite thing to skate and why? I love parking blocks on transition that you can get good crunchy slappy grinds on. I love the feeling and the sound of it. Hill bombs are great they are exciting and fun. Manny pads and ledges Ive grown up skating them having 4 hour long sessions with friends it’s a great feeling.

What shoe are you skating in now? I’m riding some weird vans shoes that I dont think are for skating. They are actually suede which is new to me. I couldn’t find any vegan shoes at the thrift stores after looking for a very long time and my shoes were barely holding together. I decided to thrift some suede shoes because still it doesn’t cost the life of an animal. Needless to say, I still prefer and look for canvas thrift shoes.

Or just say whatever you want about skating Veg? Make your skate stuff last, skateboarding unfortunately hurts the environment, but its good for the soul. Stay healthy and keep having fun. Don’t let people tell you’re too old for skating. Being vegan doesn’t mean you stop there, be a part of your community and let your actions help humans and non-human animals. Your actions will greatly benefit the community around you, not just not boycotting consumer products. Buy local, use less packing, and try to support non/less corporate stores and shop at farmers markets to help your local community.

 

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Thanks for being so patient for this to go up Chris! We appreciate the words that remembering that veganism, the environment, and humans are all part of one fight! Are you veg and shred? Then you’re a Vegetable Shredder! Send in a some photos and the answer to all these questions to fakie@veganskateblog.com  Don’t forget a mailing address so we can get you some rad stickers. ( US only – that international shipping is EXPENSIVE!)

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