How it Started:
“Ethiopia Skate began as a peer group of young skateboarders led by 16 year old Abenezer Temesgen who would practice and share gear every weekend. As the community grew it attracted photographer Sean Stromsoe and other foreign skaters who each made their own imprint on the history of skating in Ethiopia. We are stoked to learn language, balance, and patience through skating with friends.
We are an international group of skateboarders working to make the world more connected.
We vision to connect Ethiopian skateboarders and coordinate opportunities for foreign skaters to link up with locals at skate spots around the country. We want to give access to equipment and maintain skate spots as we help guide this influential youth culture” – ethiopiaskate.org)
Ethiopia Skate | Skateboard Journey
“Basically it’s a bunch of young skaters from every spectrum of life (rich to poor) helping each other progress through skating. The community gives a platform for skaters in Ethiopia to meet each other and meet foreign skaters when they visit.
We are getting several hundred boards in the next couple months and will be passing them out to youth organizations, schools, and individuals to help the sport grow, because now there is no access to skateboards (even for purchase)” – Sean Stromsoe.
Ethiopia Skate | A Message to the World
Interview with Sean Stromsoe (Ethiopia Skate Member and Photographer):
When did Ethiopia Skate officially form?
Ethiopia Skate started as a peer group of young skaters in Addis Ababa who on weekends would meet and practice in a vacant taxi parking lot. They were lead by 16 year old Abenezer Temesgen. With a major lack of gear and no place to buy a board in all of Ethiopia, they helped each other keep rolling by sharing their own gear. I met them by coincidence one day in June 2013 and we launched a campaign to connect these skaters to the world community in an effort to make a skate park and get more decks for the 30+ kids. We ended up discovering that there were more young Ethiopian skaters and several German and Swedish skaters living in Addis Ababa, and the community was born.
What type of initial reception did you get from the local kids and their parents?
It really depends on the person, but most are thrilled to see skateboarding and cheer when the skaters land difficult tricks. Some guards think the wheels will crack the concrete while others encourage the experienced skaters to jump their stairs or whatnot.
Do you or any of the members of the team speak the languages spoken in Ethiopia? If not, how did/do you guys deal with the language barrier?
I’m learning to speak Amharic, the main language spoken in Ethiopia’s capitol. School in Ethiopia is taught in English so it’s easy to communicate with simple phrases. Right now there are only 2 skaters from abroad working with us in Addis, the rest are local. Everything has been happening on a community basis, since most of the kids don’t have phones they communicate directly with each other when there’s a skate session or when we need to meet at the skate spots.
How much has Ethiopia Skate grown from its initial start?
In a year Ethiopia Skate has kept this core group of skaters rolling while connecting many local beginners and experienced visitors. We’ve built small ramps at youth centers and schools and are working on an actual park. Social media has been our best friend throughout all of this, by connecting a small group of skaters in Ethiopia to the world community. It’s really rewarding to show the world a different side of Ethiopia but also a different side of skateboarding, something closer to it’s roots.
Where do you see Ethiopia skate going in the next five years?
The introduction of skateboarding in Ethiopia is looking similar to its beginnings in Los Angeles so many years ago, a bunch of kids eager to find skate able spots and pioneer a sport that thrives in the concrete jungle. In five years we think there will be hundreds if not thousands of new skaters across Ethiopia as access to gear will become more readily accessible.
Our German buddy Daniel Scheidler has been working on a locally produced longboard which can be seen here: afrigadget.
Thanks to our supporters
Cali Am Jam is a nationally recognized skateboarding contest series founded by Robert Ferguson and House of Marley skater Karl Watson. Cash prizes, merchandise giveaways and a full scholarship to the Element YMCA Summer Skate Camp are just a few highlights of Cali Am Jam. This all age and skill set event is based in Northern California and brings out a beautiful crop of event seekers.
Not only does this community driven event put on an amazing skateboard competition, but it also raises awareness to problems that affect the community. 2014 focused on Diabetes in the Bay Area, Cancer Awareness near the state capital and Autism support in the Central Valley. What better way to spread awareness than to gather your community together over a little competition.
“Platform for our youth: It’s highly important to re-edify the youth and get them more involved with the community whether its skateboarding, filming or lending a hand and being creative”
House of Marley supports initiatives that get the community aware and active. We thank Robert and Karl for their hard work and dedication to those around them. Now go grab some friends and show them up with that tre flip. Roll forever!
Check out their video from their last event of the year:
Cali Am Jam Commercial:
How do you explain Karl Watson’s skate style in one word? Butter. Whether on a ledge, rail, Hubba, manny pad, hill or regular old curb, Karl is as smooth as possible on four wheels. His effortless command is something rarely seen. That’s why we’re extremely excited to welcome Karl as the newest member of Team Marley.0440000
Growing up in the skateboarding mecca of San Francisco, everything in Karl’s skate life came organically. Living amongst legendary spots like Embarcadero and Pier 7, he learned from some of the best and pushed his skills forward with a natural ability. “I’ve been skating for 25 years and being an ambassador of House of Marley is an honor to me,” Karl says of joining Team Marley.
In addition to his skateboarding evolution, Karl has parlayed his positive vibes into doing charity work with his organization, Karl’s Kauses. “Karl’s Kauses and OneLove mesh well as we both strive to give back to our communities,” Karl states. Working together with other skaters, Karl’s Kauses strives to bring skateboarding to kids around the world.
In 2003, Karl took a life changing trip to Bob Marley’s home country. “I visited Jamaica with a group of 25 skaters in hopes of introducing skateboarding to the youth of the island,” Karl says of his experience. “We assembled and gave away 200 complete skateboards. We also built two ramps in some of the roughest villages in Jamaica.”
Karl’s love for Bob Marley started at a young age and says “[Bob’s] positive message helped me become the person I am today.” Yet, it was his trip to Jamaica further cemented the influence of Bob on his life. “While I was there I became even more inspired by Bob Marley’s legacy. I saw many murals of him and everybody had the utmost respect for the legend.”
Between his sick style, charity work and overall positive attitude, Karl Watson truly embodies what it means to be a member of Team Marley. We’re extremely excited to have him on board and look forward to seeing him skate for many years to come.
Bonus: Karl’s creative flow is something to be seen and not read about. Check out these tight clips below of Karl showing off his neighborhood and talking about his skating past, present and future.
Summer means it’s time to bomb hills and get wild in the streets. Stereo Skateboards brand new Remix Vinyl Cruiser offers the best option for shredding in style as owners Jason Lee and Chris Pastras have built the perfect old school skateboard. Dubbed “banana boards” in a prior life, the new Remix model has a wider nose and longer tail for easier control.
Taking over the hot concrete of New York’s Lower East Side, nearly a hundred amateur skaters took to Coleman Park to compete in the final round of the Transworld C.U.T. Tour this past week. Fighting for the top prize of one of our earth-friendly bags filled with skate gear from companies like WESC, ShakeJunt, Coal and DeathWish, the competition was frenetic and fierce.
Sick grinds and wall rides ruled the day with many of the skaters hitting the park’s quarter pipe-to-wall ride for an insane jam session. A.J. Rodriguez hit the top of the fence with a huge 50-50 while Jordan Trahan and Keith Hardy littered wall rides all over the place. As sketchy and insane as some of these tricks were, tech skating ruled the day with crazy grinds propelling Tyshawn Jones and Andrew Valencia to victory.
Winning the Prime C.U.T. award for his super shred-heavy style and long flowing locks, Piro Sierra dropped epic boardslides over the rainbow rail and a few grinds on the ledge-to-quarter. A busted arm couldn’t keep Tyshawn Jones from getting third with some crazy frontside flips, while Steven Farmer brought home second with his gnarly bag of tricks. None could stop Andrew Valencia though, the Transworld C.U.T. Tour winner for New York dropped bluntside after bluntslide and flip after flip in each of his lines.
With the C.U.T. Tour officially over, Transworld Skateboarding is challenging the winners from each of the six stops to piece together their best skate video. With less than a month to get all the footy they can, each of the C.U.T. finalists videos will be put on the web for users to vote on for the overall winner of the whole tour. The winner selected by the fans will receive the ultimate prize of a spotlight article in an upcoming issue of Transworld. For an am skater, there is nothing better than this kind of killer profile to document your style.
Bonus: Check out the footage from the Transworld C.U.T. New York stop and stay tuned for more clips from each tour stop’s big winner.
As a part of the #LiveMarley contest on our Facebook page, we’ve been asking you to submit stories of how you have personally been inspired by Bob Marley’s values. The first winner of one of our sick new watches is Jeremy Hopwood, a 27-year-old skater from Seattle, who is also the owner of Caravan, a mobile skate shop.
OK. Your first thought was “What’s a mobile skate shop?” Right? Well, Jeremy was tired of the old skate shop model — he wanted to move it out into the streets. Instead of waiting for someone else to do it, Hopwood bought a van, tricked it out with a quarter pipe and stocked it full of decks, wheels and trucks. Forget the ice cream man… Kids are now running to the Caravan Skate Shop van. We spent some time talking to Jeremy about the shop, his charity work with Skate For Change and the future of the van.
What was the reason that you started Caravan?
Caravan evolved out of boredom and a desire to do something meaningful. The whole idea didn’t come to me at once, but it was a feeling that I had… A burning. After I thought of the mobile skate shop idea, it took me a few months before I actually bought the vehicle. It was Earth Day 2012. My friend and I went out for a day trip here in Issaquah, Washington, starting at 6 or 7 AM. We actually didn’t know it was Earth Day until we got back from the trip.
How did the charitable element come into play?
The charity aspect came out of pure desire to continue what I started. I went to a local skate shop with the idea and the owner and I began converting the van to have a better aesthetic and functionality for skateboarding. I got word of Pam Miller (a skate event organizer) and her work, and was able to go to that first event at Samammish Park and volunteer with set-up/breakdown for the event. I passed out water and had tools and extra bearings/hardware for people skating. It slowly evolved to where I was accepting donations of skateboard equipment and shoes, and then going to events and giving them out to kids who needed them.
How did you become involved with Skate For Change?
Getting involved with Skate for Change (a non-profit group of skaters who give back to low-income families and the homeless) was another blessing from Pam Miller, and the skate park competition circuit she runs. I took the Caravan out to Woodinville Skatepark with a pack of younger rippers, Jaeden Ovenall, Kyle McQueen and we entered the contest as a team. It was the first contest I had been in since I was 18 or so. So Skate for Change had a booth set up and it was about as natural as it could have been. I was already doing the charity aspect of Caravan and it was a perfect fit.
What kind of projects are you working on with Skate For Change?
Caravan and Skate for Change are starting to come together, but it hasn’t happened just quite yet. Mike Smith [the founder of Skate For Change] travels the country and speaks at high schools, and is gaining a huge following. They just won the State Farm $25,000 grant for the second year in a row, and just recently opened up the Bay in Nebraska, an indoor skate park/youth facility. So as far as my part, I go out with SFC Seattle most Sundays and spread the word about what we are doing in our community. Besides that, I am working to recycle used skateboards by shaping, sanding, and painting them, and by leading by example.
What’s the connection between skateboarding and making changes in society?
I’ve had conversations about the connection between skating and society since I was a lot younger. The first skateboard video I was in was called Wood Relation. To me that title says a lot on its own; skateboards are a vehicle for positivity and growth for individuals. They don’t pollute the environment, at least their carbon footprint is much smaller than most other modes of transportation. Beyond that, skating is an outlet for creativity, in art, in the physical form and with photography/filmmaking. It’s an extremely positive activity, but I believe anything active can be good. A lot of skaters don’t like scooters, rollerbladers, bmx or traditional sports. I think those are great and much better than kids playing Call of Duty any day.
Some people just don’t understand skaters. They think they are lazy. They think they are destructive. “A skater comes down the street and it’s loud… It shocks people,” Hopwood says of skaters’ reputation. “They think you are reckless and are going to run into them.” Through his work with Caravan and his latest adventure (a summer spent acting as a counselor at a Massachussets sports camp), Jeremy is doing his part to keep the skate community in a positive light. He’s even considering making Caravan a bi-coastal project with a new van on the East Coast.
If Bob Marley’s vision for a better world has inspired you to hit the streets, plant trees, pick up trash or spend time helping others in your community, then we want to hear your story! Visit the #LiveMarley contest page on our Facebook profile and tell us what you are doing locally to improve the planet for a chance to win a new watch.
Around the globe, little groms hit the skate park every single day with the dream of having a chance to win a major competition and take home the big prize. We’ve teamed up with Transworld Skateboarding on their current Come Up Tour to offer amateur skateboarders the chance to bring home a championship of their own.
The C.U.T. tour starts with underage skaters submitting footage to become prequalified for a skate jam at their local park. The best of the best qualify for the finals, while hundreds of their skate brethren continue to battle it out for the chance to be called C.U.T champion.
This past Saturday, Chicago’s finest took over Piotrowski Skate Park, vying for three gear-stuffed Lively Up bags. From the techie switch flip crooked grind of Kevin Braun to the giant kickflips of Jorgey Rodriguez, the competition was hot and heavy. In the end, no one could match the flip-in/flip-out tricks Emmet Duffy was throwing down as he walked away with the C.U.T. championship for the Windy City.
Transworld’s C.U.T. continues to roll on down the road this weekend for a stop in Phoenix on April 27. We’ll be taking over the Peoria Skate Park with Cowtown skate shop and getting skaters to go big for some Lively Up bags and more prizes from Independent, Deathwish and Shake Junt. Skaters can still apply for the Phoenix contest by sending a one-minute video with their best tricks to Transworld Skateboarding.
Bonus: Check out this sick contest recap from the Chicago stop of the C.U.T and get some inspiration to shred:
Photo Credit: Transworld Skateboarding
When we last caught up with freelance photography Izzy Guttuso, she had taken in a day of relaxing beachside fun with her friends. Check out Izzy’s second DayCation below, as she leaves behind the comfort of the ocean for a skateboarding mission. A few arm scrapes, shredded boards and hundreds of miles later, her crew has had another successful adventure. Stay tuned to the House of Marley blog for more day trips with Izzy and get some inspiration to go explore your own world.
DayCation Pt. 2
Getting up early is always a part of the deal. You get in a good meal, relax for a bit, prepare your deck set up and cruise a little. Living in Florida, where the land is so flat, we have to head north to find the right hills for longboarding.
One of my favorite places to skate is Hiawassee in Northern Georgia. When we get to the hill, there are no cars, no city sounds, just the nervous chatter of friends, snaps of helmets and rips of velcro as we re-adjust our slide gloves. When stopping isn’t an option, padding isn’t really an alternative or choice. You just gotta have it.
Being able to fly down miles of winding roads through fog and nature awakens the senses. The cool air rushing past my skin forms goosebumps on my body, and the adrenaline pumping through my veins gives me the most incredible feeling.
Despite the cuts, road burns and broken bones, I don’t ever want to stop getting that feeling that skateboarding gives me. It just wouldn’t feel right. Growing up, learning to skate came before I even learned how to ride a bike. To me, it’s not a sport or pastime anymore, it’s a lifestyle.
Photography/Words by Izzy Guttuso
Recently, the Tony Hawk Foundation united with eBay Giving Works and some of the most recognizable names in the music industry to raise $126,000 in an effort to build skateparks for underprivileged youth.
Developed by Tony Hawk Foundation board member and musician Ben Harper, the group collected old pro skater decks from the likes of Jamie Thomas, Bucky Lasek and Mike Vallely to auction. Yet, these weren’t just any old decks. Inscribed with lyrics and autographs from Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, and the recently departed Adam “MCA” Yauch, all of these skateboards were certifiable one-of-a-kind pieces of skate and music history. While the rest of us will have to settle for skating to these artists playing on our Bag of Riddim portable audio systems, a few lucky folks will now have the option to skate on the hand scribed lyrics of these legendary songs (though we wouldn’t recommend it!).
The board with the highest bid was a Jamie Thomas signature Zero deck adorned with the signature of Bob Dylan. Emblazoned with the words of Dylan’s signature hit, “Blowin’ in the Wind,” it became the most expensive single deck ever purchased in the history of the skateboarding at $38,425.
All of the proceeds from the auction went directly to the Tony Hawk Foundation, which has already helped build over 400 skate parks in low income areas.
Skateboarding’s ability to unite youth from all different types of backgrounds can’t be ignored. The House of Marley commends the Tony Hawk Foundation for working to impact underprivileged youth across the country. The epitome of #LiveMarley is creating something that helps society move forward today. Props to the Tony Hawk Foundation.