Zach Viele: The Pucks

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Zach Viele, Team rider for Faceplant Boardriders and Wheelrz is 21 years old from Lake George, NY. He has been actively manufacturing his own slide pucks for almost 2 years now and has gained a tremendous following. “The Pucks” are created from UHMW polyurethane and are backed by some of the gnarliest team riders around including Mike Fitter, Dejaune Jones, Rob Wheeler, Justin Ellsworth, Cody Baker, as well as many others.

Rider: Zach Viele Photo: Ross Earheart

Rider: Zach Viele
Photo: Ross Earheart

When did you decide you wanted to start your own puck company?

“I started The Pucks about a year and a half after I started skating, and it just took off from there. I had ordered a set of pucks online, and in the time it took for them to ship to my house I decided just to go ahead and try and create my own. I never ended up using those pucks I ordered, and have been using my products ever since. We are having problems in sales right now because our pucks last so long that people don’t often need a second set. They’re extremely durable and wear down really slowly.”

Rider: Dejaune Jones Photo: Marion J Ross

Rider: Dejaune Jones Photo: Marion J Ross

What’s it like to have pro riders using your products?

“It’s a surreal feeling to have someone who I look up to like Mike Fitter of Abec 11 and Rayne Longboards become a team rider for my company. He is like the tony hawk of downhill skateboarding for me and I feel honored that he chooses to use my products. It shows that even the big people in the industry care about the small people. Even though you’re a small company they don’t sell you short, they give your product a chance.”

Rider: Mike Fitter  Photo: Spencer Adams

Rider: Mike Fitter
Photo: Spencer Adams

How did you start the production?

“The plastic we use for our pucks has actually been apart of my life for the last 10 years. My dad uses the plastic for his work and we have used it for a number of different things. It never occurred to me that same plastic could be utilized for the longboard industry. I wanted to create a thicker puck to help prevent people from ripping up their gloves and was going to last longer than the other pucks in the market.”

Rider: Justin Ellsworth Photo: Quentin LaChance

Rider: Justin Ellsworth Photo: Quentin LaChance

What was the original purpose of the plastic and why is it so durable?

“This plastic was originally designed to be wear resistant and hold off heat for the machines that manufacture paper. We are using that same plastic as pucks for when you’re steaming down a hill. The amount of heat and friction that is created when used for longboarding is absolutely nothing compared to what it is usually meant to withstand at a mill.”

Rider: Cody Baker Photo: Randy Flewelling

Rider: Cody Baker
Photo: Randy Flewelling

Help support Zach and the East Coast by picking up a set of his slide pucks. The Pucks will last you a very long time and are trusted by some of the best riders in the industry. Plans for gloves are in the works too so keep an eye out for those as well.

Click here for more information and to buy your set of The Pucks

And here to follow their Facebook page

Rider: Rob Wheeler  Photo: Andrew Collins

Rider: Rob Wheeler
Photo: Andrew Collins

 

Video and Interview: John Kreutter

John Kreutter Boneless

John Kreutter is probably one of the biggest names on east coast downhill scene at the mere age of 16. One may call it big fish small pond but I just call it like I see it. We were able to catch John on the book of faces for a quick little  chit chat about his new video, the winter, and the future.

John Kreutter, Kai Monroe, Liam Morgan

(Right to left) John Kreutter, Kai Monroe, and Liam Morgan

Connor: Alright so about the video, when did you shoot it and how long did it take to film?
JK: We filmed the video about 3 months ago before winter started up. It took us 2 days to film

Connor: Nice nice. Speaking of winter, what have you been up to since all this snow can restrict when and where you can skate?

JK: I’ve been in lurk hibernation mode. Skating when it’s possible because there’s snow all over the place. Mainly just been taking a little break from non-stop skateboarding. Stoked to get back into the groove of things for the 2014 Season.

Connor: Yeah! This year should be rowdy especially with the new Push Culture race series here on the east coast. What are you looking forward to the most for 2014?

JK: Skating all over the place, having fun, and  shooting videos/photos with friends! Super stoked to get back out to Giant’s Head and the Downhill Disco!

John Kreutter going fastConnor: Do you have anything big in the works with Original? Any inside scoop that’s capable of being shared? Hahah

JK: Haha honestly don’t have anything big in the works at the moment.

Connor: Hahah alright dude that’s about it, any shout outs you wanna throw out to mom, homies, sponsors or whatever?

JK: Thank you mom. (kissy face)

Interview with Ed Nieves

Connor Bewighouse and Tom Leary snagged some time with Earthwing rider and NYC local Ed Neives to chop it up and talk skateboarding, the east coast scene, and what the future holds. Stick around to see what Ed has to say.

Ed Nieves. Photo: Steve Kong

Photo credit: Steve Kong

Connor and Tom (STE): Start with the basics; name/age/location?

Ed Nieves (EN): Name’s Ed, my best friends call me Shred. I’m 21 as of two weeks ago. Born in Manhattan, grew up in Brooklyn, still living in Brooklyn in the same neighborhood. It’s chill.

STE : Any favorite local spots?

EN: Owl’s Head Skatepark, now that I can actually skate it, is my favorite place to skate, since it’s right down the road from me and has a sweet bowl. Other than that, I like going to Watchtower, Darktower, and “uptown” hills that don’t have names (which we also don’t refer to by street names). Oh, and the skate from Times Square down to Chinatown is a sick route for mobbing through traffic.

STE: Rad. Who is the typical crew at said spots?

EN: When we’re skating bowls, it’s usually my teammates Andriy Dash and (little) Bryan Sheehy, and local favorite Max Gnar is present sometimes. Sliding at hills and stuff? It’s Kong, Tazer, Jerry, Camilo, Monica, Bryan, Max Gnar, Connor, Parker, other Max… Quite the sizable grom squad (not all mentioned here) with Kong and I playing as the parents.

STE: You and steve parents, thats fucking scary haha. Why did you start skating and what or who inspires you to keep skating?

Ed Nieves doing what he does best in NYC.

Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

EN: I started skating because I didn’t have many friends, and I sucked at every sport I tried. I mean I sucked at skating too, but I felt like it was acceptable. All the old guys who still skate vert are super inspirational for me. I look at them in their cargo shorts, kneepads and faded Black Flag t shirts doing huge boardslides in the deep end and wonder if when I’m their age I’l be reliving my youth in the same way in skinny jeans and a faded Earthwing shirt slashing frontside grinds.

STE: Fuck yea. Pros and cons to east coast downhill skating: GO!

EN: It’s fucking flat, dude. Generally, you’ve gotta go out of your way to get to a good spot, and the hope the pavement isn’t chipseal. It makes skaters more hungry, I feel, because we have to work for everything, for the most part. This leads to (generally) two types of skaters. The hardcore type that takes every opportunity to steam runs and go as fast as possible, and the ones who don’t try to travel and end up putting their driveway out of laziness. Our events are shitshows 9 times out of 10, but they’re always fun because the northeast homies are a rad, tight bunch.

STE: Great answer, couldnt have said it better myself. Speaking of these shoddily thrown together events, what is your favorite event you’ve ever attended?

EN: Making an “event” page on Facebook is not the same as making an event. Most kids don’t realize that, and they email companies to send product to their “slide jams” which is actually them and their friends skating the local hill. My favorite downhill event has been Central Mass 3, because Mike Girard knows how to do things the right way. It was a rad day of skating and lurking, with a closed road and a perfect freeride hill. My favorite event though, was two weeks ago at the House of Vans, because I met Christian Hosoi and he’s friggin awesome.

The ever steezy Ed Nieves.

Photo: Monica Mikolajczyk

STE: Yea I heard bout that! Hosoi is super rad, I’m sure you threw a couple layback grinds at his feet to show him whats good, haha. So who’s favorite downhill skater?

EN: Favorite DH skater is Josh WILD Wright. He’ll charge anything without thinking twice, and slay it harder than anyone who might be there. He’s a stout, strong fellow, and his style is beastly.

STE:  So uhhh, that’s about it…any shout-outs?

EN: Shouts out to Kong for teaching me how to coleman in 2010, Andriy for being Andriy, Babish for the photos, Connor for being the raddest 12 year old, Connor’s mom for feeding me and stuff, Brian Petrie for being awesome and generous, Tazer for never giving up, David Yang for skating with a bar in his leg, and every single Brazlian skater I keep up with on the internet (Marcelo, Rafinha, Diego, the Yuppies, etc) for inspiring me with the seemingly impossible feats you do on skateboards.

STE: Werdddddddddd! Thanks for your time dude!

EN: Thank you homie, gotta skate to the train and get to work. Peace!

Lifelong Longboards Announces Chris O’Brien as a new Team Rider!

Our post earlier today showing off Team Tangy’s new video couldn’t have come at a better time since we just got news that Chris O’Brien has officially been added to the Lifelong Longboards team! A warm and heartfelt congrats goes out to Chris, who we had a chance to skate and film with this past weekend.

Lifelong, while a fairly new board company, has already been making a splash with the insane amount of talk surrounding their freeride/light DH deck, “The Seeker.” In fact, Lifelong has had so much talk about “The Seeker” they decided to offer a “pre-sale” version with only a stained-wood finish and white “Lifelong” logo on it which, in my opinion, looks beautiful. Something to make them even sweeter? They’re a local East Coast company based out of Massachusetts meaning they support the East Coast stoke and scene hard! We posted a video featuring the Seeker by Douglass Schmidt not long ago showing its prowess with some downhill and downhill freeriding and recently were shown another video showing it’s freestyle capabilities!

I asked Chris to answer a few questions for us after we heard about the announcement which you can find below:

Skate The East: How’d you and the guys from Lifelong link up?
Chris O’Brien: A lot of facebook groups and friends informed me about Lifelong even before they released the Rebel. I had been following their progress for a while and had been talking to a few team members. Finally asked them and it was a yes!

STE: What’s your current setup? Future setup? 
CO: My current setup is a comet voodoo d2, SZ indeesz 177mm, Pink Powerballs
Future setup is same thing but with a Lifelong Seeker deck.

STE: What or who influences your skating the most? 
CO: I think my good friend Jake Wade influences my skating the most. We work very well together and end up pushing each other’s limits through competition.

STE: What are your goals for this upcoming season? 
CO: This season i basically want to go faster, go bigger, and have fun in the process!

STE: What’s next for Team Tangy? 
CO: We’re gonna keep doing what we’re doing, making edits and improving our skills!

STE: Simple question, Kool Aid or Tang? 
CO: Despite the similarities to Tang, I’m going to have to go with Kool Aid, classic drink.

Interview: 2011 Adrennalina Tour Champion Paul Kent

With rain blasting a large part of the East right now and it being the end of Hump Day I couldn’t resist posting this for everyone to enjoy. If you’re a regular reader of the site by now you should at least know Paul from our coverage of the Adrennalina Skateboard Marathon Tour which wrapped-up on November 5th with Paul being crowned first ever Tour Champion. In addition to his Adrennalina fame most people also know Paul from his Long Treks On Skate Decks video series, the Paskapoo Downhill Rodeo, GreenSkate and eating celery at the steakhouses. You can catch up with him on www.skaterpaul.com. He is sponsored by Orangatang wheels, Rayne longboards, Royal Boardshop, Vega Sport, and rides with various other teams. I got a chance to talk to Paul via e-mail once he got back to Canada after the Adrennalina Championship for a short interview, telling how he first got into distance skating, how he felt about the last Adrennalina race, and so much more. Paul is making a big name for himself in distance skating and it’s pretty clear he’s just heating up, check out the interview below and see for yourself.

STE: Skate The East: Right now you’re living up in Calgary but mentioned to me on Twitter that you’re originally from the East. Where are you from originally and what took you out to the base of the Canadian Rockies?

Paul Kent: I am originally from Cambridge Ontario, just about 45 minutes west of Toronto. My Dad’s family is from Wabana Newfoundland, which is as east as it gets. Anyways, ten years ago the longboard scene in Cambridge consisted of myself, Marcel Robert, and about 14 other super casual carvers. I would have to drive out to Dundas to skate with Mike Civindino our (then) Canadian slalom champ, or to Toronto to ride with their small group of 10-20 odd kids serious with Downhill riding. I felt I had quickly outgrown the talent base as I wanted to learn from more experienced riders. I decided to find riders out west to learn from and I connected with the parts of Jody Willcock’s crew. (Jody is the inventor of the drop deck). I still identify with Ontario as being where I come from and I miss riding my hometown and the escarpment.

STE: In addition to being the recently crowned 1st ever Adrenalina Skateboard Marathon Champion after a stellar season you’re also well known for your incredibly long distance skateboard backpacking adventures. How did you first enter the world of distance longboarding, and what has motivated you to keep pushing and pumping after all these miles?

PK: Well first off Jeff was the first Adrenalina champ. I am the first tour champion. I failed miserably at last years Adrenalina in Hallendale. Haha. But to answer your question, I began riding to work through rain, shine, even two inch deep snow. When I was late I would have to sprint to work on my board. By the time a year had gone by I had cut my work commute in half. I had done well in a Central park race in New York, but it wasnt until the fall of 2007 that it really happened. I was invited to the push race “King of the Forest” in Vancouver by Mike Benda and Rocky. Having no money for a bus, I joked to my friends and family that maybe I should skate there. They didn’t realize I was joking and started helping me prepare. Haha. Then they agreed it was a stupid crazy idea but I was the craziest person they knew. I packed up my hiking pack with lightweight gear and I skated there. I Got to the race and took the top spot of any Canadian, however loosing to Robin (The Leg) McGuirk and Jon Huey. It was a great trip of self discovery, freezing nearly to death at the top of mountain passes and running from wild animals, skating alone in the dark in places where there are no lights. And then a great race where I saw podium. This touring and push racing thing really had captivated me.

STE: You and Jeff Vyain crossed the finish line hand-in-hand to tie the 1st Adrenalina Skateboard Marathon Championship this past weekend, what was your first thought when you finally caught up to Jeff and he suggested you share the prizes and podium?

PK: My first thought when Jeff offered to go splits was “yes, sound offer.” we both earned it, and I still felt it was anyone’s win. I had caught up to Jeff and took the lead, he then caught up to me about a half mile further and that’s when he proposed the prize split. We skated for a few seconds, then I suggested we shake on it before continuing our race against eachother. Now honestly I didn’t consider this to mean we were supposed to cross the finish together. I began surging to the finish. He and then bounced back and fourth for the lead and charged all but feet from the line. I pushed to the fastest speed I could possibly go and Jeff was still beside me. That’s when I reached for his hand. I did it without looking and he grabbed my arm. We both won, literally and figuratively.

STE: What was the general reaction by the spectators?

PK: The spectators were stoked. I think they really appreciate that we’re not easy on eachother and we pushed faster times, yet in the end it’s about camaraderie, helping eachother to grow as athletes, and being stoked for eachother.

STE: You and Jeff Vyain have arguably the most famous “rivalry” in longboarding right now. When did you guys first run into each other and how did you become “best frenemies?”

PK: Our first encounter was online. He wrote me to tell me he wanted to race me. We met in Hallendale and I wasn’t feeling optimal. He won that race, I hung out with him the rest of that night talking at him and sharing technical info with him. I’m sure he thought I was a chump, but I was stoked to have found a true nemesis. Someone to share and help me become better, by sometimes being better then me. I followed what he did online, in interviews and in his community and became certain he was a good role model and ambassador for longboarding and push race. Our next race was the Cheif Ladiga 188 mile and I won, earning Jeff’s respect. At the after party we had a great talk about our responsibility to the sport. That got us off on the same foot.

STE: How do you intend to spend the off-season this year?

PK: I read lots in the winter. Its when I learn about how to train and eat better. I will be doing more weight lifting, some cross country skiing and running. Although not so much as to over-train before the season begins. I also need to do some physiotherapy. Hopefully I’ll get to head to Cali or Van for some downhill skateboarding through the winter. And of course I’ll be back to working a real job.

STE: You’ve said you have a career goal of a 1:20:00 marathon, what other goals for longboarding in general do you have?

PK: My goals are to help the sport grow in a positive and sustainable way, to help produce some world class skaters in various genres, to create a LongTreks film, start a better bearing company, start downhilling in contests again and of course running as close to 1:20:00 as humanly possible. I’m really aiming to break 1:26:00 next year. But it will depend on the course and the weather.

STE: If you could have anything in the world, prepared by the best of the best, what would be your dream pre-race/long skate meal?

PK: My best dream pre race meal would be the best cheesecake in the world, or best in the dream world for that matter! But since I do not exist in the dream world, I’ll stick to sweet potatoes with a garnish of vegan gummy bears, Vega sport optimizer and ginger kombucha. Unfortunately the best of the bests talents would be wasted on pre-race meals as the GI tract won’t tolerate the best foods during these races. It sucks! But if the Best chefs would take a rain check, I’d be glad to have some mean Mali kofta with Lacha prantha after the race.

STE: Best of luck in the off-season, hopefully you get some deserved rest and relaxation before the grind of training starts again!

PK: Thank you very much. Rest and relaxation is in in full effect right now. But physiotherapy and trigger-point therapy begin soon, followed by weights and fitness maintenance. Say hi to the east for me. I miss her.

We’re stoked Paul took the time to talk to us and wish him the best for the off season!

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