The Flip Feast Skateboard Tours

Everyone who skateboards has a few memories that really stand out over the years. The first handrail you’ve ever grinded, the gnarliest slam you’ve ever experienced, or the best demo you’ve ever witnessed.

In the winter of 2005 Flip Skateboards and The Firm decided it was time to hit the road on one of the largest core skateboard tours ever. I was lucky enough to help set this tour up from A to Z. The first Feast Tour included 18 of the best Pro and AM riders, including legends and heroes like Tom Penny, Lance Mountain, Geoff Rowley, Mark Appleyard, Arto Saari, David Gonzalez, Ray Barbee, Bob Burnquist and Wieger van Wageningen. The level of skateboarding was absolutely insane and several families and skate crews drove more than 20 hours across North America to experience this mayhem.

I’ve seen a lot of demos and contests in my life, however nothing has come close to the magnitude of these first Flip Feast Tour events. From 2005 to 2008 I’ve travelled across North America on 5 different Feast tours. The dreams of thousands of fans came true at these events and I’m so stoked to have been a part of it.

My camera during these first tours was shit, but hopefully it gives you an idea about the Feast Tour vibe.

Geoff Rowley, frontside Noseblunt at 3rd Lair Skatepark in Minneapolis. There were so many kids inside that the humidity made the floor soaking wet.

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Pace of life

There are several ways to measure the pace of life: walking speed – the speed with which pedestrians walk; work speed – how quickly store employees complete a standard request; the accuracy of public clocks; and the likeliness to help others.

This morning I came back from a 6 day trip to New York City and two Hawaiian Islands Oahu and Kauai. The difference in pace of life between these two places is significant! The largest city in the US that never sleeps vs. the laid back beach vibes of Hawaii. Both places are beautiful in their own way.

Here are a few pics I took

Storm Chasing in Tornado Alley

Storm Chasing is one of the best adrenalin rushes I’ve ever experienced. When its on, its on! Speeding pedal to the metal over sketchy dirt roads, getting as close to the storms as possible, experiencing 100+ mph winds, watching the craziest wall clouds develop right in front of you, feeling lightning hit within a few hundred feet, and enjoying every moment of it.

Several months ago I connected with Jeremy Dawson from Shiny Toy Guns to join his journey and find world’s most violent weather outbreaks in Tornado Alley. Jeremy owns a Storm Chasing vehicle customized with a metal armor to protect the windows from flying debris and hail. The van is equipped with a bunch of radars, satellites, antennas, radios, laptops, wi-fi internet connection, metal racks in front of the windows, large tool boxes, backup gasoline, a chainsaw when trees cover the road, first aid kits and much more.

The chasing crew included Jeremy Dawson, Jason Saint Clair, Laura and I. Check out this 3-minute video clip to give you an idea of a successful storm chasing day full of adrenalin:

The condensation funnel widened giving the tornado a skinny cone-shaped appearance. We watched the tornado for a while as it became wrapped in rain and hail. We went back in the van to get closer to the tornado. A rating for this tornado on the Enhanced Fujita scale cannot be established because no damage was realized however expert observers said it was likely an EF-2, with winds in excess of 111 mph.

This building which was only a few hundred yards away from us was struck by lightning. Right before lightning strikes, it will find something to connect with, such as a building, tree or human. Jeremy mentioned if you are lucky a second or two before you’re struck by lightning, all your hair will rise and immediately you will suspect something is wrong. At this moment the best thing for you to do is to make yourself small by squatting down, putting your hands on your lap and leaning forward on your toes. Your chances of survival are higher if the lightning strikes you and goes straight through your body and into the ground as quickly as possible.

Hitting up Karaoke bars in small towns is a storm chasing tradition. These fine folks showed us an amazing time and served us some great food and drinks. Our windshield was completely smashed in Colorado. Luckily, we made it all the way back to Oklahoma City by 5am.

For more Storm and Dope Clouds, check this out

Give Jeans a Chance

The homeless often have a hard time getting clean jeans without any holes. A few years ago we set up a Jeans Donation program at Volcom to collect as many jeans as possible. Within 3 years this campaign has grown significantly and to date we have collected nearly 25,000 pairs of jeans at 400 participating stores around the world. The jeans have been donated to local homeless shelters.

I’m stoked to see how many retailers, schools and local communities have gotten involved to give back to the homeless communities. Here is a poster image that was used to promote the campaign, and below that are a few Give Jeans a Chance videos we made.

To see several homeless portraits, click here

Jerry from Chicago

His name is Jerry from Chicago, he was on his way to church to get a blanket. Last night his blanket was stolen and its starting to get really cold out. He’s 60 years old and he has been living on the streets of Long Beach for the past 2 years.

After 20 years of hard work at a paper company, he lost his job when they downsized. “I know a lot about the paper industry, but no company will hire someone my age”.

“You can probably tell but I have an alcohol problem”. His parents owned a bar and his mom was an alcoholic. She passed away from drinking. Jerry often has seizures from the alcohol and his head, arms and legs are covered in wounds from repeatedly falling on the ground.

He has been arrested several times for drinking in public. He still needs to pay 7 outstanding tickets with a total value of $1535. He has no government support, he applied for Veteran support but thinks he won’t receive this before he dies. He’s not afraid to die because he believes in God.

“Its very hard to get off the streets. No one will hire me and I have no place to go. I’m afraid to be alone. I don’t know where to go and I don’t care. I often feel like a lonely penguin without any direction.

“I’m not a bad guy, you have to believe me, I’m not a bad guy”.

Click here to see more about the homeless.