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Blog

All things Kryptonics wheels. Classic Photos, stories, and interviews about the beginning of skateboarding and the future ahead of us. 

Filtering by Tag: skating

Kryptonics Interviews: Rob Ashby

Dusters

An interview with our International Brand Ambassador for the UK - Rob Ashby.

Tell us a bit about where you live.
I live in Cheam, Surrey, just 13 miles from the centre of London so I get the best of both Worlds – far enough out to be reasonably quiet and close to the countryside yet near enough to get into London in half an hour when needed. 

When did you start skateboarding?
I first stepped onto a board in 1976. It was a friends’ Roller Derby “Mustang 20” with clay wheels. I remember that on rougher road surfaces you couldn’t keep your feet on the board very long as the vibrations coming through the deck just shook you off! 

I then made my own from one of a pair of “Jacoskates” which I think I paid 25p for at a jumble sale? They were fitted with barrel shaped black rubber wheels with shielded loose bearings. I made the deck out of a piece of marine ply liberated from a rubbish skip and stuck some strips of emery cloth on it for grip. I learnt a lot on that first board in the subsequent months. 

Did you play other sports as kid?
My father loved his football and had been a formidable centre forward in his youth and during his army days but I definitely hadn’t inherited his skills. I enjoyed fencing at school for a while but general “run of the mill sports” left me cold! I know my dad would have preferred me to play football rather than skate. “You and that bloody skateboard, why don’t you play football instead?” He would often say.

Did you skate street or vert to begin with?
When I first started skating in the 70’s you would skate a bit of everything, freestyle, long jump, high jump a bit of slalom, banks and parks. Street skating back then just meant getting from A to B on your board. I mainly skated parks and vert with a bit of freestyle and slalom thrown in for good measure – all on the one board in the beginning. 

What attracted you to slalom?
A lot of that goes back to the days at Southbank which as well as bank riding, leant itself ideally to flatland slalom and freestyle. Slalom was always popular in the UK and appealed too many because, at first glance, it seemed easy and achievable on the street. You could practice slalom with empty tin cans, as there were no cones available at that time, and it was easy to pick up. Slalom also had a fair share of coverage in magazines too and racing is always easy to understand. 

When did you start racing?
To be honest I didn’t race competitively at all in the 70’s and 80’s. I went to a few Brands Hatch events and may have had a run or three but I never competed as such. In the early years when equipment was fairly expensive I never had my own slalom set up. A new deck or set of park wheels was normally where my spare change went. If I was at Southbank I would often borrow a board to take a few runs on. The courses were quite tight in those days, a lot of this was attributed to the photos of slalom in magazines showing racers like Bobby Piercy and John Hutson. The logic being “That course must be tight for them to generate speed and get themselves in that position” – well there was no You Tube to watch or website to go to. Another factor then was the limited covered dry area to set a course on at Southbank when it rained; 20 cone, 4 foot straight wasn’t uncommon. Southbank was good breeding ground for many of the UK’s first class slalom racers back then and four of them have gone on to win World Championship Slalom titles and they all still race today!

So it could be said I was more of an armchair racer - a park skater who dabbled in a bit of freestyle and slalom on the side. I only began skating slalom seriously again in 2006 and in 2008 I entered a few European races along with fellow Brits and European Race veterans Paul Price, Sam Gordon, Louis Selby, Mick Reiss and Ella Roggero and I loved every minute and never looked back. 

What do enjoy about racing?
There is a tremendous sense of family atmosphere amongst the slalom community. I know that in some circles it is often seen as the more geeky skateboarding discipline. I think that this in part because of the plethora of equipment and ways people set their boards up – different truck angles, wheel formula’s/duro’s etc. I guess it is, as Chris Linford put it, the skate equivalent of Formula 1 – you’re trying to tune your board to get the best possible performance out of it. But essentially anyone can try it – just slacken your trucks off and have a wiggle! At some of our races in the UK we have started seeing a few crossovers from longboarding to slalom as well as a few newbies which is always a good thing. Another bonus is seeing so many legendary skaters from the 70’ and 80’s racing slalom – even better that you can get to race them!

Back in the day what colour wheels/size did you ride?
The first Kryptonics I bought were the 1st generation 70mm Red’s which I purchased from Alpine Sports in Knightsbridge, they came with a free “Kryptonics Krazy” sweatshirt – was so stoked! Riding them for the first time was amazing – like nothing I had ever experienced, such a smooth silent ride. Later I went on to ride 60mm Green’s which I had on a Peralta Warptail with Mid Tracks, then came the 65mm Lime Green versions. I also rode Blue CX double conicals, I remember seeing that amazing photo of Steve Alba riding them – the classic frontside edger shot at Pipeline in Skateboarder - a few days after I had got them, I was really stoked on that!

How much better were they than the competition?
I guess that they were really out there on their own for a while as far as the choice of compounds and sizes went. There weren’t really any serious competitors around offering different durometer’s and sizes for a while. It’s not like now where you can pretty much go and get any duro and size wheels you wish. Back then Kryptonics were one of the few companies producing wheels that offered a resilient compound for different terrains and scenarios; and of course the adverts in the magazines were legendary.

What was your favourite Kryptonics ad from back in the day?
I think that would be “Tired of the Same Old Juice” closely followed by “The Name Game” - but to be honest they are all noteworthy in their own way.

What is your favourite memory in skateboarding from the 70’s and early 80’s?
Ooo that’s a tough one – So many come flooding back. I think it would have to be skating at Portland (Dorset, UK) Skate Escape in the summer ‘78/‘79in with locals James Davies, Steve Narraway, Piggy and Chris and the old Wareham crew Mark Farmer, Alan Bennett and Steve Grounds – some of the best times!

What is your favourite memory in skateboarding?
That would have to be the smell of a 70’s skate shop – failing that the awesome Wednesday night sessions at Southbank in the early 80’s with the best crew in the World – intense, wild, often rowdy but always the best fun ever and I am happy to say that we are all still in contact after all of these years and in most cases still skating! 

What type of work do you do?
I work as a Commercial Contracts Manager in the Civil Service. I am also Secretary of the UK Slalom Skateboarding Association and race organiser.

You’ve been riding the new Kryptos for a couple of months now; can you share your thoughts on the wheels?
I have been riding 65mm Green’s on my park board and have used them for a couple of sessions in a little bowl nearby. I have also ridden them on numerous visits to Southbank recently - throwing out Bert’s and 360 slides just like the old days! I have even used them on my slalom board at the European Indoor Slalom Championships in December.

I have been using 70mm Red’s for cruising around and today I rode them From Southbank to Lambeth Town Hall with the Long Live Southbank crew to deliver the planning objections and they just ate up the pavement. This years must have commuting wheel! 

How does it feel to be a Kryptonics Wheels International Ambassador?
When I first saw the e-mail from Steve I had to read it over again. I am just so unbelievably honoured and completely STOKED to be involved with one of the most iconic skate brands. SUPER STOKED!

We keep hearing about the efforts to save the Southbank skate spot. Can you tell us how it’s going?
The Southbank Centre have submitted an amended planning application for their ‘Festival Wing’ scheme, as well as a new, separate planning application for their proposed replacement “skateable space” under Hungerford Railway Bridge. Obviously this site is lacking any of the history, character or cultural value of the Undercroft. Not to mention that it has 20 trains an hour thundering overhead!

If these applications are accepted, it will mean the Undercroft is lost forever, to be replaced by commercial floor space. It is vital that we do our upmost to save this unique iconic London landmark and cultural space!

As I already mentioned yesterday I was one of the many that skated from Southbank to Lambeth Town Hall in Brixton to deliver over 26,000 individual planning objections. With this new UK-record-breaking number of planning objections, surely it is time for Lambeth Council to listen to the people, and to save the Undercroft?

How can people help?
Long Live Southbank now has over 100,000 members, with supporters from all over the world. If you wish to help and show your support please visit www.llsb.com where you can become a member, join the supporters, sign the petition and even buy a t-shirt (as worn by Dave Hackett!).

There is a Long Live Southbank Facebook page facebook.com/LongLiveSouthbank Twitter feed - @Long_Live_SB and Instagram feed @savesouthbank.

By becoming a member, you give official support to the campaign. There is no joining fee but by putting your name officially behind the campaign it will help us to show the importance of the Southbank Undercroft to its users. 

So please join now folks, fill in the official Southbank Centre Survey too - let them know that you disagree with the direction they’re taking! Your support is very much appreciated.

What’s 2014 look like for you?
Well I think it might have just got a whole lot busier, Ha ha! Hopefully skating more parks and practicing my freestyle! I will shortly be working on the UK slalom racing calendar for 2014 and this year I am hoping to put on another major event at one of the countries favourite motor racing circuits – Oops I have said too much already! 

In addition to that I look forward to working with everyone at Kryptonics and along with the other Ambassadors helping to spread “A New Wave of Stoke” through 2014 and beyond!

Kryptonics Wheels Names Rob Ashby as UK Brand Ambassador

Dusters

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Kryptonics Wheels Expands International Brand Ambassador Program – Rob Ashby Named UK Ambassador

Long time skateboarder, Rob Ashby, has been named as the Kryptonics Brand Ambassador for the United Kingdom. Ashby, 51, is a skateboarder, slalom racer, race organizer and Secretary of the UK Slalom Skateboarding Association. When not skateboarding he is a Commercial Contracts Manager in the Civil Service. 

Rob started skateboarding in late 1975, when a friend gave him an old Roller Derby Mustang skateboard. Back in the day he skated a bit of everything, freestyle, long jump, high jump a bit of slalom, eventually gravitating towards skate parks and vert with a bit of freestyle and slalom thrown in for good measure . As Rob says, “Street skating back then just meant getting from A to B on your board.” After dabbling is slalom throughout his skating career, Rob began skating slalom seriously again in 2006 and in 2008 and entered a few European races and has never looked back. 

Rob is involved in the Long Live Southbank movement and was one of the many that recently skated from Southbank to Lambeth Town Hall in Brixton to deliver over 26,000 individual planning objections.

Ashby has been riding 65mm Kryptonics Greens on his park board and has used them for bowl sessions and has have also ridden them on numerous visits to Southbank - throwing out Bert’s and 360 slides just like the old days. He also rode them on his slalom board at the European Indoor Slalom Championships in December 2013. He made use of his 70mm Reds riding them from Southbank to Lambeth Town Hall with the Long Live Southbank crew to deliver the planning objections. 

In addition to representing Kryptonics Star Trac Wheels at skateboarding events, Rob will also be promoting the brand through social media.

In announcing Ashby’s joining the ambassador program, Kryptonics Wheels Brand Director Steve Douglas commented, “We are stoked to have Rob on board as our UK ambassador, his involvement in the UK skate scene throughout the years, along with his efforts in the Long Live Southbank make him a valuable addition to our program”.

The new line of Kryptonics Star Trac Wheels are now available worldwide at skate shops and online retailers.


Slalom photo by: Marissa Zegel

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Kryptonics Interviews: Kent Lingeveldt

Dusters

Earlier we introduced Kent Lingeveldt as Kryptonics first international ambassador, below is an interview we recently did with Kent. We think you will enjoy it as much as we did.

Tell us a bit about where you live.
I live in Cape Town, South africa, born and bred. It’s a port city at the southernmost tip of Africa. Because it’s a port city, Cape Town is quite diverse and cosmopolitan with many different nationalities and cultures making it a rad melting pot of people.

When did you start skateboarding?
I started skating in 1994, the same year South Africa became a democracy.

Did you play other sports as kid?
I come from a very sporty family and my Father played professional and national soccer in his prime, but I could never get the hang of playing the game, and ended up doing cross-country running at school.

When you started skating, was it on a longboard? Or did you skate street or vert to begin with?
I started skating street. Where I grew up and spent most of my time in the city centre was very urban, and a perfect playground for street skating. I remember street skating being one of the most racially integrated pastimes at the time, especially for the times and changes our country was going through, from Apartheid to a democracy.

What attracted you to longboarding?
The need to go faster downhill. My first two years of downhill racing was on the widest street decks I could find at the time. So I knew the bigger the board the better for downhill skating. Also in 1994 when I started skating, we lived on a hill, and I got shown how to slide by a guy called Wayne Moses who lived on the same hill, and sliding was so much easier on a longboard when going fast.

When did you start racing?
I started racing in 1999 at the inaugural Red Bull Downhill Extreme down Klooofnek Road/The Glen in Cape Town. Between 1999 and I think 2002 we only had that race each year and we would have international riders from America, Europe, South America and Australia come to compete. In 2004 I made my first trip abroad to race in Europe and then in following years South America and Australia.

What do enjoy about racing?
The coming together of the community to hang out, go fast, and inspire each other to do better. With the boom in the downhill racing equipment industry, racing is also a way to keep abreast of what’s new and out there and what’s doing good and what’s not.

How did Alpha Longboards come about?
Alpha Longboards started out in 2000/2001 out of a realization that I need a longer deck than my street deck to go faster down hills. Coming from a family with not too much extra cash to import a European or American brand back then, I just got a piece of commercial ply from a hardware store and cut out my first longboard. Mates saw the boards I was cutting out and shaping and started buying them from me, and BOOM, I was a small board shaping company.

What was your inspiration for the Desmond Tutu and Ghandi decks?
They form part of a stencil-art series of boards called the LOCAL LEGENDS series. Images include that of Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Ghandi, Miriam Makeba, and Imam Haron. It’s intention is to inspire South Africans to pay homage and be inspired by our own local legends rather than heroes outside our borders. Especially the youth. Also to make them aware of these heroes of our country that maybe our school textbooks do not teach them about.

It must have been very cool to meet Desmond Tutu, can you share that experience with us?
I am also a documentary photographer and a friend of mine is making a documentary on a young anti-apartheid activist who was killed in the late 1980’s by the police for his work. Ashley Kriel’s funeral was the first political funeral Desmond Tutu officiated as the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in Cape Town, so we interviewed him about the funeral for the documentary. And I thought here is my chance to give him a deck with his image on it and possibly have him sign one for me. He loved it and has his own deck hung up on his office wall.

We’ve heard that you do quite a bit of work with the under privileged kids in your area, what kind of programs/activities are involved?
I studied Child and Youth Development in the early 2000’s and also worked in children’s homes while studying, but stopped because it took too much time away from skateboarding. So I have always had a want to work with kids, mainly because many of them come from similar home backgrounds as myself and therefore it was awesome for them to chat to someone who can relate. Currently I have a group of kids in the area where my Alpha Longboards workshop is in that get support from me with skate gear and I also work with them in showing them the life skill that is skateboarding. The ability to get up and try again when you down. It’s a very informal arrangement, which I prefer, because it also allows me to be myself and not force myself to be somewhere when I do not actually want to.

You’re also a photographer, how did you get into that, and how long have you been shooting?
I bought my first camera when I was 17, straight out of high school. It was an old Russian camera called a Zenith and it had the insignia from the 1980 Olympics. I had to buy it because I was born in 1980! As a skateboarder, we see the world differently from non-skaters, and it was the ‘other side” that I wanted to capture and show the world. Also documenting my close skate crew from back then got me to shooting lots back then.

How’s the South African longboard and racing scene?
It is growing really fast. The amount of groms at races and sliding events sometimes overwhelms me and definitely shows that there are no signs of slowing down. Everyone is fast too, so this makes for tight competition at races between all ages. I am hoping to see some more local product manufacturers come out of South Africa in the near future.

You recently placed third in the Master’s Class at this year’s Hot Heels event. What was your setup? How did the Kryptonics wheels perform?
Yeah, the old man’s class, lol. I was riding an Alpha Longboards topmount racing deck with Navigator precision trucks and the 75mm 78a red Star Tracs. Their acceleration was awesome and they maintained a good rolling speed. They were definitely up to challenge the other wheels out there right now, I should just become a better race, hahahaha. Where they really impressed me was the grip. The sharpish edge really bit and gripped when I needed them to and this really gave me the confidence to go as fast as I could around corners.

You’ve been riding the new Kryptos for a couple of months now, can you share your thoughts on the wheels?
Each duro performs exactly as one would expect from a 78a, 82a and a 86a wheel. I am the kind of skater who looks for any excuse to put a wheel sideways and what’s really stood out for me was how long they last and keep their shape. I do lots of sliding and still on my first set of green 70mm from three or so months ago, and they probably only down to 60mm. Because I also like to hook into my slides at speeds, I enjoy a wheel that’s not uncontrollable and that whips back from a slide when I lift my weight off it, and this is where I enjoy skating the new Star Tracs. Their minimal sidewall movement means that they keep their shape nicely and acceleration out of corners are really top. I am really looking forward to a full year of racing and free riding on them next year to gauge their consistency throughout the year.

How does it feel to be Kryptonics Wheels first international Ambassador?
I am still just a kid stoked to be riding a wheel that can tell you the story of his journey on a longboard man! I have been skating Kryptonics since 2000 when racers like Eric Lee, George Orton and Waldo Autry came over to race the Red Bull Downhill Extreme and gave us locals some Kryptonics Classics, 70mm and 76mm to race with when they saw the sketchy wheels we were riding. It feels like a childhood dream to be part of something that has shaped skateboarding since its formative years. Guys could not believe that I was still racing with Kryptonics Classics three years ago. I was at Newton’s Playground in Australia for the World Championships in 2009 and some grom came up to me and asked what new wheel on the market I was skating, referring to the Kryptos I was skating.

Did you know much about the heritage of Kryptonics Wheels before becoming an Ambassador?
A little bit chatting to the riders from America who came to race in Cape Town in the early 2000’s. The information and images on the Star Tracs Facebook page has been amazing in really letting me know what I am actually part of. It really blows me away.

What’s 2014 look like for you?
I am lucky enough at this point of my skateboarding to be picking up fresh sponsors and this really makes committing more time to skating easier as I love fully representing brands I am connected to. So because of this, I would really want to see how much travelling I can do internationally for racing, which will in turn also mean loads more freeriding with downhill family members around the globe. Also this year was spent establishing relationships with the group of kids I mentor through skateboarding and really want to work with them in getting them race ready and competing. So all in all, skating, shaping boards, and taking pics along the way to get people glimpse into our world.

Photo Credits:
Kent Photo Matthew Wareley
Slide Photo by Zwelibanze Sitole
Race Photo by Pierre Vander Spuy

Kryptonics Wheels Chooses South African Kent Lingeveldt as First International Brand Ambassador

Dusters

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Highly respected South African skateboarder /longboarder , Kent Lingeveldt, has been named Kryptonics First International Brand Ambassador. Lingeveldt, 33, is a skateboarder, photographer and the owner of Cape Town skateboard company, Alpha Longboards. Kent started as a street skater, at the age of 14. In 1999, he entered the world of downhill longboard racing, taking part in the first Red Bull Downhill Extreme in Cape Town down the infamous “Glen Road”. From 2004 to 2006, he competed at races in Europe and South America and in 2009. He returned to racing in 2011, after a two-year break and still races locally and abroad when the time allows

Kent regularly does informal work with local kids in and around the poorer communities in Cape Town and together with an older generation of longboarders he works to nurture skateboarding as a life-skill for kids that opens up their minds to a world of an extended skate family worldwide.”

Kent started Alpha Longboards in 2001 and in the past 12 years, has handmade over 500 boards. His boards are ridden across the world in 13 countries on five continents. He has collaborated with artists Atang Tshikare, Toni Stuart, Khaya Witbooi, Nardstar, Rico Swanepoel, Motel7 and Mr. Fuzzy Slippers to create Alpha art boards. His Local Legends series honours South African greats such as Nelson Mandela and in April 2012, he met Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and presented him with his own Tutu Alpha art board. He regularly exhibits the Alpha Longboards art boards in his home of South Africa as well as in Germany.

Lingeveldt has been involved as a test rider for the new Kryptonics Star Trac wheels over the last few months, putting the wheels through their paces on the varied terrain of South Africa.

In addition to representing Kryptonics Star Trac Wheels at skateboarding events, Kent will also be promoting the brand through social media and self-produced skateboarding videos.

In announcing Lingeveldt’s joining the ambassador program, Kryptonics Wheels Brand Director Steve Douglas commented, “We are stoked to have a skater of Kent’s abilities, and just as importantly his involvement with South African youth, representing Kryptonics Wheels”.

The new line of Kryptonics Star Trac Wheels are now available worldwide at skate shops and online retailers.

For more information please visit: kryptonics.com

To learn more about Kent please visit:
http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/02/world/africa/skating-with-gandhi-tutu

Photo Credits: 
Race shot: Pierre Vander Spuy
Sliding: Zwelibanze Sitole
— with Kent Lingeveldt.
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