Matt Burke: Blue Sky Longboards

Matt Burke, founder of Blue Sky Longboards, located in Langhorne, Pennsylvania has been skating since before you were born. Active in the skate community since 1971, Matt has been heavily involved in skateboard related charity fundraising and has spent the last four years growing his board company with the help of his son Noah.

“Pushing Wood and Doin’ Good”- the motto of Blue Sky does exactly that by taking skateboarding and using it to give back to the community.

The concept is simple. Host a 10-mile long push event that consists of 10 riders. Each rider gets 10 people to donate 1 dollar for every mile they push. 10 x 10 x 10 = $1,000.00. This concept allows the chance to raise good money while having a blast doing it. The money collected is donated to hyper local charities to directly impact the immediate community.

Matt, his family, and his skate team have also been active in helping out with other notable charities and foundations such as The A.skate Foundation and Stoked Mentoring. The A.skate Foundation is a non-profit that allows children with autism to be a part of our social world through skateboarding and Stoked Mentoring aims to promote personal development, academic achievement, and healthy living to under-served youth through action sports culture.

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Skate: Giovanni Lategano

What is new with Blue Sky and what are your plans for the future?

“In addition to our existing decks the Lotus and the Contrail, we have just released our newest deck the Chakra. This board was designed by our team rider Leon Vincent aka Leon the Lion. The shape is a single kick, directional top mount for downhill and freeride. The board features a healthy, rear-offset W concave for a nice locked in feel. In the past we have had a lineup of several “entry level” decks that have since been discontinued. We have decided to go with a new direction, take our time, and develop what we like to call our ‘Timeless Lineup’”. Our goal is to have 8 permanent shapes that will range from a push deck, a traditional popsicle stick street deck, to reintroducing our Beefy old school pool deck, among others.”

Leon Vincent skating the all new "Chakra". Photo: Ross Earhart

Leon Vincent skating the all new “Chakra”. Photo: Ross Earhart

Can you explain more about your “Timeless Lineup?”

“I want there to be boards in our line up that beginners can gravitate towards and feel comfortable right away and I also want boards that the highest quality professionals are going to want to step on as well. I don’t feel like you need a massive line-up of 30 plus shapes to accomplish that. Ultimately its all going to boil back down to a couple of shapes that are meaningful, that work, that are going to stick around for the long haul and everything else will pretty much fall away. Skateboards are getting bigger and longboards are getting smaller and it’s all converging.  In the end, there are only going to be a couple shapes that really last”.

What were you involved with before you started Blue Sky?

“I had previous experience pressing and shaping wood for a snowboarding company called “Summit” when I lived in Breckinridge, Colorado in the late 80’s. At the same time I was very involved in teaching snowboarding. I must have been one of the first 20 people in the world to get certified to by the Professional Ski Instructors of America, and I was a part of the first clinics to teach people to teach people to snowboard. Later in life, my career path had been in marketing for high tech companies to help bring brands to life at tradeshows. Eventually I ended up with a firm that did most of their work for pharmaceutical companies and I hated it, I hated the pharmaceutical industry and just decided to leave the firm I was with. At that point I decided it’s now or never, if I want to pursue my passion I needed to do it now.”

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Matt Burke after winning his first skateboard competition at 8 years old

Tell me about your team!

“We have a team of 20 riders that are managed and coached by Luke Ayata. He is on the board of directors for the IDSA and is a founding member of the Concrete Kings and the Shralpers Union. He is also an ex-professional basketball player who has since become and integral part of the NYC longboard scene.”

“Our team includes some great skaters and some of the fastest pushers in the world. They have reached podium at events including the Broadway bomb, Central Park Race, Ultra Skate and Adrenalina. Some notable team riders include Colleen Pelech who previously broke the world record at Ultra Skate in 2013 and was also one of the first two women to accomplish skating across the United States. Clio Sherman and Daisy Johannes are two very talented skaters who I am stoked to have on the team. Giovanni Lategano and Cameron Luke Wilson make up our international team members and are doing what they do best in Argentina and South Africa. Max Allesandri is a very talented freerider who is currently in 1st place in the Mid-Atlantic Freeride Series. Miles Evans took 3rd place at last years Broadway Bomb and has done very well in many other push races”. Joao Pineiro is an amazing push racer from Peru that now lives in NYC but goes back to Peru at least once a year and helps stoke out the community down there with a big push event. Jason Quinn has a dancing style like no one else I have seen. I hope to do a dance board and edit for him very soon. I am just really proud of everyone on the team. They are super chill and just fun to be around.

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Skate: Daisy Johannes Photo:Christian Barnard

You have some very talented Push Racers, don’t you?

“We are basically “based” in NYC and because of the strong push scene here, yes we have developed an incredibly strong push team. Long distance push racing is a form of extreme athleticism. It’s growing; the IDSA is working hard to create a collegiate level series. Most colleges have a longboard club and every one of those clubs have been doubling in size and now the colleges are funding the clubs and more skaters will be able to attend these events. It’s a more serious athletic approach to skateboarding. A lot of strategy and preparation is involved, you can’t just jump out there with a red bull and go do it. You’re training, you’re eating, you’re prepping for weeks and months in advance for it.”

Colleen Pelech Photo: Grace Moon

Colleen Pelech
Photo: Grace Moon

What is the Blue Sky Mile Challenge?

“When we first started the company, we produced an event called the “Blue Sky Mile Challenge,” and it brought out riders from everywhere.  The thing I am most proud about in that event is that we paid the women the same amount in prize money as the men. We gave out an equal amount of money and prizes regardless of gender. About a year later we exhibited at Surf Expo and some members of the largest company in the industry approached us. They told us that what we did by offering equal prize money changed their outlook on how to treat women in the industry. That in itself was a huge accomplishment for me. Women need more support, and now more events have been honoring equal prize money. If you are going to separate the sexes, then why is the top of one group any less valuable then the top of the other group.”

#Showmeatrick is blowing up on facebook, what’s that all about?

“This page is a personal thing and not a Blue Sky thing. It is devoted to sharing the skateboard camaraderie with short boards and longboards alike. If it helps bring the short and long board communities together, then that’s something really special. I am very happy with how #showmeatrick is going. It helps keep skateboarding fun and helps promote progression. Very notable old school legends as well as modern day professionals have gotten involved, too. This page isn’t about sponsorships, branding, or companies. It’s as simple as show me a freaking trick and challenge a friend to do the same. That’s all any of us really want to see anyway.”

Max Allesandri skating the all new "Chakra". Photo: Ross Earhart

Max Allesandri skating the all new “Chakra”. Photo: Ross Earhart

Can you tell me a secret?

Blue Sky and Pantheon Longboards are joining forces to create a single distribution alliance. This is something that I’m very excited about. Jeff Vyain is one of the most authentic and creative people I know in the industry. What he’s been able to do with Pantheon in such a short period of time is truly outstanding. Jeff and I share the same enthusiasm for collaboration. We are excited to work under one roof and focus our strengths for the good of both brands and the skate community. We are discussing ideas that entail everything from complimentary products under the alliance to event planning. The partnership will allow us to simplify our sales and distribution processes, making it easier for shops to order and more efficient for us from a business end. The goal is to continue to keep both businesses family run and to get better at it!

Skate: Jason Quinn Photo: Christian Barnard

Skate: Jason Quinn
Photo: Christian Barnard

Tristan Burke: T-Cat Design

Tristan Burke, 21 years old of Umass Amherst is a shredder! Riding for Lifelong Longboards, Team Mids, Eden Racing, and perpetually down with all things East Coast, this dude can skate. Aside from skating, Tristan has always had a love for art as well and this has led to his new project called: T-Cat Designs. His artwork is made using low-grade markers and he describes it as “a cluster f*ck of colors”.

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“I first got into this kind of stuff through prototyping decks for LifeLong. Wether a given deck had a graphic screened on it or not, there was plenty of untouched wood grain. At first I just colored on a few decks for myself and the fun of it, but everyone’s reactions to what I considered doodles really blew me away.”

Tristan has recently been creating custom board graphics for Eden Racing and plans for his artwork to be featured on the not-yet-released Mids Lids are also in the works. Tristan is now taking your requests to draw rad as f*ck sharpie designs on your deck, full face, t-shirt, instruments, pets and anything else you can think of.

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For all artistic inquires, please contact Tristan here on his Facebook page. T-Cat Design aims to help sustain his skateboarding addiction, and all profits are going towards funding a skate trip for this summer.

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“Eden Racing’s initial support of my designs was what really pushed me to take this a little more seriously and try and get my designs out there as much as I can. I really enjoy it, saw that I could make a bit of money from it, and saw the opportunity to combine skateboarding and coloring, which are the two things I actually give a shit about these days”.

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If you like these graphics don’t hesitate to get yours custom!

This California Republic flag is for sale!! BUY DIS NOOW!

How to get a custom graphic from Tristan??

  •  Like “T-Cat Design” on Facebook
  • Message T-Cat Design with an idea of what you’re looking for in a graphic and agree on a price.
  • Ship your gear to Tristan with the cash; Tristan will pay for shipping on the way back to you.
  • Enjoy some gnarly custom artwork going to support a super chill skater

Again, for all artistic inquires, please contact Tristan here on his Facebook page. Also make sure to head over and like the Team Mids Facebook page and stay up to date with the rest of the Team Mids crew.

skate the east tank

5 Photos with Khaleeq Alfred

The following is a guest post by Khaleeq Alfred, a New York City native, skater, and photographer. We linked up with Khaleeq and asked him to share 5 of his favorite photos along with a quick description. Learn a bit more about Khaleeq and check out his unreal photos below, then share ’em with a friend.  

Name’s Khaleeq, born and raised in Harlem NYC. Been doing photography for about 4 years now, but been shooting skate stuff for about a year and a half. Been skating for around 5 years, and loving every minute of it. Can’t get enough of the skate community and enjoy photographing it. Weapon of choice: 5D Mark II (my baby). Stoked on what’s in store for 2013!!!!!

Photo: Khaleeq Alfred | Rider: Cami Best

Photo: Khaleeq Alfred | Rider: Cami Best

What can I say, Cami throws down. It’s not often I see her skate, got lucky recently and did a little shooting. Blunt slides for days!

Photo: Khaleeq Alfred | Rider: Leon Vincent-Vialva

Photo: Khaleeq Alfred | Rider: Leon Vincent-Vialva

Got a 24-105mm Lseries and a 50mm in my arsenal. That 50 is my love, photos come out flawless, I’m always amazed. This photo is part of my “One of Many” collection. Leon of Blue Sky Longboards killing it.

Photo: Khaleeq Alfred | Rider: Ross Druckery

Photo: Khaleeq Alfred | Rider: Ross Druckery

Took a trip down to Puerto Rico to shoot Guajataca 2013 for Ghostskate and snapped this. Ross Druckrey shredding at the jam, so much Steez and a gnarly hill.

Photo: Khaleeq Alfred | Rider: Steven Sanchez

Photo: Khaleeq Alfred | Rider: Steven Sanchez

Sanchez ALWAYS puts me to work. By far one of my favorite people to shoot with. Took a whole day to shoot out in queens NY with the Bustin crew. Sick shots, steezy skating, perfect scenery and worth the tons of skating.

Photo: Khaleeq Alfred | Rider: Noish

Photo: Khaleeq Alfred | Rider: Noish

When you finish editing all your photos from a good day of shooting, you come across a couple photos that stand out. To me, this one is just stunning. Great scenery + stoked skater = Dope photos. Big thanks to Noish always bringing his A game. So sick, many more like it!

In Brief: Ithaca Skate Jam 2013

Wow. That’s all I can seem to keep thinking as I reflect back on what a rad weekend the guys at Comet Skateboards put together out in Ithaca, NY. There’s so much to say, show, and share with you guys between one of the gnarliest events ever seen out east and the epic pre and post sessions. I’ve got 5.5 gigs of photos alone, never mind the amount of video we took, too.

We’ll start with this photo series of Brian Peck popping an absolutely chiller ollie off the kicker and onto the hip to whet your whistles a little. Stay tuned for tons more soon.

Brian Peck pops an ollie, starts sweatin' uhhh.

Brian Peck pops an ollie, starts sweatin’, uhhh.

 

Photos: Norm and Francis Storm Malibu

There’s a cool company from Cali called “Valhalla Longboards” who are currently supporting two east coast skaters, Norman Plante and Francis Cooper Darquea. Their crew grabbed a camera and flocked to some beautiful Malibu roads and captured some really rad shots. Check out Valhalla on their Facebook page and follow this link for the rest of the photos captured that day: valhallalongboards.com/malibu-fog-photos/

-Connor

 

Loaded Announces Long Awaited Downhill/Freeride Deck and Double Kick Surprise

Loaded Boards has finally announced their long awaited, downhill/freeride offering, dubbed the Chubby Unicorn, along with another surprise, a short wheelbase dual kick board dubbed the Kanthaka. Both boards will be available in select shops (and online) worldwide on December 4th and let me tell you — it’s been worth the wait from what I can tell and from what I’ve heard. The Chubby Unicorn will hit the market for $360, and the Kanthaka for $188 (decks only).

We won’t get into too much detail, that’s what our review and videos will be for in the coming weeks, but we figured we had to post some pictures and specs for y’all, right?

Chubby Unicorn:

The Chubby Unicorn (a hilarious name), formerly the “DH Proto,” brings a while slew of new features that have never been seen on a board before, which helps explain why it’s been nearly half a decade in the making. The two biggest standouts are the fact that it rocks a UHMW sheet on the bottom of the board, similar to what you’ll find in slide pucks, to help protect against abrasion and dampen road vibrations and also features urethane-coated rails, again to help reduce abrasion, keep pop longer and help lock out even more water. The board is also unbelievably comfortable, with a fat W, pocketed tails and so much more. Like I said — we’ll save the good details for the review that’s coming soon.

Length: 42.25”
Width: 9.75”
Wheelbase: 28.25”
Kick length: 7” (tip to inner bolt)
Weight: 4.9 lbs

Head over to their website to read the full story of the development and naming of the board, and all the specs and features.

Kanthaka:

Unlike the Chubby Unicorn, which everyone knew was coming one day, I had never even remotely had the Kanthaka on my radar. Whether Loaded did a great job of keeping a secret, or whether I was oblivious is still unclear but one thing is — this board is impressive in my first look. The wheel wells create a very interesting pocket near each kick, which positions your feet right over the bolts and should lock you in really well for slides. It’s got some unique features you won’t find on your typical popsicle-stick street deck and shows that Loaded thought outside of the box when designing it. It’s got a super comfortable platform to push from and should end up being a super sweet city slasher/tech board.

 

Length: 36”
Width Available In: 8.625” and 8.875”
Wheelbase: 17.5”
Kick length: 7.5” (tip to outer bolt)
Weight: 3.70 lbs / 1.68 kg (8.625”),
3.75 lbs / 1.72 kg (8.875”)

Head over to their website to read the full story of the development of the board, and all the specs and features.

 

Update: I figured I’d add some more pictures into the mix for everyone.

Photos: Lauren and Me in Zombie Town, U.S.A.

Lauren and I were skating the derelict old village area of one of our favorite freeride spots and decided to take some photos today. These are two of our favorite shots, if you want to see the entire album head on over to our Facebook Page and become a fan of ours while you’re at it!

Thanks to Lauren for snapping the shot of me!