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Specialty Retailers and the Board Sports Lifestyle
Surf | Skate | Snow | Wake

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Specialty Retailers and the Board Sports Lifestyle
Surf | Skate | Snow | Wake

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Specialty Retailers and the Board Sports Lifestyle
Surf | Skate | Snow | Wake


Without a doubt, the biggest and most popular skate media partner today is Thrasher, which boasts the highest following of any skateboarding outlet at over 5 million Instagram followers and over 2 million YouTube subscribers. This wasn’t always the case, but after Thrasher began uploading solo parts like Mark Suciu’s “Cross Continental” and full videos like 5Boro’s Join, Or Die to their YouTube account in 2012, they set the blueprint for what would become the dominant trend in skate video releases. That is, brands giving away their video content to publishers instead of publishing it themselves. The success of these early web-hosted parts and full-lengths, measured in view counts, likes, and positive comments, was a good proof of concept for brands to stop focusing on releasing their own content. Brands and skaters realized if they gave Thrasher and other media partners footage to run and help keep their sites afloat, they had a better chance of reaching huge audiences in the ever-expanding and finicky online environment. It’s unclear exactly what else brands get in exchange from giving their content to publishers—aside from the higher view counts—so we asked some people who have promoted videos through Thrasher to help us understand what makes them an attractive option and what brands may be potentially risking in the process. Some of the other benefits can be difficult to quantify, but they’re still very real. Richie Valdez, who has spent the last two years managing Welcome’s team and video department, explained that there’s an intangible, personal incentive for skateboarders to be featured on certain sites. “I think for the team riders especially, they’re like, ‘Oh, is this gonna be on Thrasher?’ I think that gives the people... read more

Board Retailers Association (BRA) Announces Regional Retailer Roundtable via

The Board Retailers Association (BRA), a non-profit organization representing independently owned surf, skate, snow, sup and wake retailers, announces a Regional Retailer Roundtable to be held at the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center ( in San Clemente, CA on Sunday November third from 9 am until 11 am.   Board sport specialty retailers from throughout Southern California and beyond as well as board sport related manufacturers and trade organizations will participate. This iconic venue will host the first of many BRA Regional Retailer Roundtables, which will serve as a template for more open forum discussions throughout the country (in addition to trade shows) on how the manufacturers and retailers can work together to continue to support the board sports that we are all passionate about.  Southern California is the epicenter of board sport culture and serves as the ideal location for this initial event. BRA Chairman, George Leichtweis of Modern Skate & Surf, will moderate a panel of key manufacturers reps and BRA retailers and Board members in an open discussion about the issues impacting our industry today and in the future. All board sport retailers and manufacturers that would like to attend this worthwhile event should contact BRA Executive Director Doug Works at as soon as possible. About Board Retailers Association (BRA) The Board Retailers Association (BRA) is a non-profit national trade association representing board specialty store fronts across the country. The association serves as the preeminent voice for independent retailers on a grassroots level with manufacturers, trade show representatives, and other associations. BRA also works to provide educational resources and exclusive discounts and offerings from vendors on the... read more

Tony Hawk On Why The Olympics Snubbed Vert by Mackenzie Eisenhour via Transworld Skateboarding

Traditional vert is dead, at least to the Olympics. As detailed in our Olympics: Fact From Fiction article last month, neither vert nor mega ramp will be represented in Tokyo next year. Instead, the two ‘disciplines’ will be “park” and “street.” The reasons behind the decision — participation rates, accessibility, gender equity — are well intentioned, but the decision itself still probably came as a bit of a shock to the world’s vert skaters. And it will have far-reaching ramifications, considering that the 2020 Olympic Summer Games will almost certainly generate the largest global television audience skateboarding has ever seen. The traditional vert ramp was the cornerstone around which the ‘80s NSA contest circuit (and later the ‘90s/’00s X Games model) was built. The vert ramp was (and is) the backdrop for the cutting edge of progressive aerial tricks and vertical NBDs— Tony Hawk’s 900 in ‘99 being the most famous. Meanwhile, love it or hate it, mega ramp seemed like the obvious choice for the mainstreamest of mainstream crowds with it’s big air “wow factor.” Having been the poster child for vert skateboarding since his teens, and as skateboarding’s biggest ambassador for almost four decades, you might think Tony Hawk has an opinion about all of this. You’d be right. What are your thoughts on skating’s Olympic debut? You have said that the Olympics needs skateboarding more than we need them; do you still think that’s true?  Yes. Skateboarding is already more popular (in terms of participation and/or industry size) than many of the Olympic sports. We have established skating as something kids choose to do as readily as almost any other... read more

Oakley’s Support of Surf Shop Challenge for Core Stores Endures via SES by Tiffany Montgomery

By Tiffany Montgomery | Published Sep 23, 2019 The Oakley Surf Shop Challenge just wrapped up another successful finals event in Nicaragua. The finalists included Catalyst, Surf Ride, Pacific Wave, Sunrise, Secret Spot and HIC, with Catalyst taking home the big win. We asked Marty Mathiesen, Oakley’s Sales Manager for the Surf Channel, some questions about the event and why Oakley continues to support it even with the major changes at Oakley over the past few years. Needless to say, the surf shops that participate love the event. HIC Owner Leigh Tonai gave a special toast in honor of Oakley during the closing dinner. “I’ve been on the retail and wholesale side of the surf business for over 35 years. The nature of retail is it’s difficult to pay your staff living wages, heck most owners can’t pay themselves a living wage,” Leigh said. “I’m stoked to see the level of support Oakley is giving to the core shops, the shops who consider selling surfboards as part of their DNA, through the surf shop challenge. “The regional contest is a great give back to the core shops but the nationals takes that to a new universe,” Leigh said. “Oakley put on a first class event. Investing in great judges, awesome accommodations and most of all a place that has consistent and challenging waves but nothing that’s going to kill you. “I was impressed with the level of surfing and competition. Congrats to Catalyst and all the competitors. It’s an awesome experience and could only be done with a big investment from Oakley.” Q&A with Marty Mathiesen Despite all the changes... read more

Ryan Hitzel on Roark’s Retail Strategy via SES by Tiffany Montgomery

By Tiffany Montgomery | Published Sep 17, 2019 Roark is jumping into retail with both feet, and has opened two good-looking stores in high profile California locations, with more on the way. Roark’s first store debuted in Berkeley late last year, the second store just opened on La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles and a store in Del Mar opens in the second week of October. Early next year, a newly signed San Francisco location should be ready to open. And, it sounds like Denver could be next. We spoke with Roark Co-Founder and CEO Ryan Hitzel to find out more about the retail strategy. Why is Roark opening new stores in Los Angeles, Del Mar and San Francisco? Roark CEO Ryan Hitzel: It would probably help to pull the bow back a little more to understand where we’re going. We’ve always envisioned Roark as an omni-channel brand, mostly because of the depth of storytelling and the appeal to action sports, outdoor and menswear markets. So the brick-and-mortar flagships play a large role in each community and connect the dots between our wholesale, consumer catalog and e-commerce businesses. The strategy is pretty simple when it comes to target markets. We have two buckets. We’re looking to provide a brand touch point in communities that are over-performing yet undersaturated with wholesale accounts. Our stores in Berkeley and San Francisco are examples of an over-performing market that does not have many Roark wholesale accounts. The second bucket is regions that are still developing but have great potential and strong DTC demand. San Diego and LA are still developing for Roark and could use... read more

Burton Co-CEO on Shutting Down for Global Climate Strike via SES article by Tiffany Montgomery

By Tiffany Montgomery | Published Sep 10, 2019 Burton is shutting its offices, stores and websites around the world to participate in the Global Climate Strike on September 20. The strike, inspired by 15-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, is being led by students globally. SES spoke with Burton Co-CEO Donna Carpenter, who is currently based in Europe, about why Burton is getting involved. Greta has sparked a movement of students who are striking every Friday and demanding action from political leaders. The strikes have grown to 3.6 million participants in 169 countries. Burton plans to shut offices in the U.S., Canada, Europe, China, Japan, South Korea and Australia. All global flagship stores owned by Burton will open as a community gathering space before and after the marches, but cash registers will be closed. Burton’s website will not accept orders for 24 hours worldwide and instead re-direct to the Global Climate Strike website. Patagonia is also participating in the strike along with companies such as Ben & Jerry’s, Lush Cosmetics, and Seventh Generation. When I first heard about Burton’s participation in the strike, I remembered you telling me when we last talked that one of your goals as CEO was to speak out more about issues. Donna Carpenter: We are at a time when businesses have to take this role. Before, we didn’t see ourselves as having to move the needle on social issues. But because the government isn’t doing anything, I think it’s up to individuals and businesses. We also have these grassroots groups at Burton like Women’s Leadership and we have an environmental one called EPIC. They are the ones that brought... read more