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Loveletters Season 10: Canada | Jeff Grosso’s Loveletters to Skateboarding | VANS

Loveletters Season 10: Canada | Jeff Grosso’s Loveletters to Skateboarding | VANS


– Welcome back to the letters. This is Canada, baby! And I couldn’t be there,
so I’m on FaceTime from beautiful Orange County, California. I’m an undesirable and
the country of Canada will not let me into their borders. So, Buddy and Rick and
Bradley and Pizza Box went up to Vancouver to
talk to Sluggo and the boys, and hopefully give you a little insight to skateboarding in Canada. Eh. (static crackling) (digital alarm sounding) ♪ Now that we’re old and ugly ♪ ♪ We’re middle-aged and hurting ♪ ♪ Love letters with Jeff Grosso ♪ ♪ Will remind you of the salad days ♪ ♪ The best of days ♪ (intense punk rock music) – I think in the States,
people are pretty linked from city to city as skaters, but in Canada, more so,
because there are less cities, more spread out, and
less skaters in general, so you kinda know everybody in the country that’s sort of at the
level that you’re at. ♪ I don’t wanna see
your face no more then ♪ ♪ I don’t wanna be alone ♪ – [Man] And it just felt like
we had our own little bubble. We had our little squad, until we started skating downtown. And then you’re like,
whoa, people do this. And then you get the magazine, and you’re like oh, people
are really good at this. Cool, let’s keep doing this. (upbeat punk rock music) – [Man] People from Canada and anyone who’s had to contend with climate issues
that are less than ideal is gonna experience
this kind of confinement and I think that that’s gonna
influence the development of skating in that area. (fast paced punk rock music) – The Canadian contribution
to skateboarding is fucking amazing is what it is. They have permeated
into the heart and soul of skateboarding culture more than we could ever tell in a little 15, 20 minute segment. This is a love letter to
Canadian skateboarding. It is not a love letter to all of Canada. We’re just trying to entertain you and give you something
to do between sessions. Maybe make you think about how great skateboarding really is and how deep it all goes. ♪ I don’t want to see
your face no more then ♪ ♪ I don’t want to be alone ♪ ♪ I don’t want to see your face ♪ – Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto. Those are the three spots. – I know speed ain’t 39.5 wheels. – My name is Rob Boyce, affectionately known ad Sluggo. I’m from Vancouver, British Columbia. I’ve been skating since I was 16. We got really lucky ’cause when I started
skating in February of ’86, the summer of ’86 they had the World Skateboard
Championships at Expo. So within six months of skateboarding, I got to see all the very best
skateboarders in the world. (upbeat electronic music) – [Announcer] Oh, a hard
slam with Jeff Grosso. – They had high jumps. (upbeat electronic music) Then they had the park
event here at Seylynn. So this was our home park and then we got all the
best guys in the world, like 40 or 50 of ’em shredding this place and showing us how it could be skated. (upbeat trumpet-based music) (people cheering) – [Narrator] The thing was a work of art. It was designed eight years ago by Monty and two local skaters, Niko Weis and Rob Leshgold. Four sweeping S-turns, ending in a bowl. It was great for everybody, beginners, pros and those in between. Anyone could have a good time at the bowl. – Yeah, Chris Miller’s
got the sickest cover going over this hip right here. But without faces right there, that’s MFP and that’s
where all the blaster, we didn’t have a blast ramp, so that was our blast ramp. All the Judo’s and the
Frigidaire’s and the 360-air’s, and the Airwalk’s went down right there. And we didn’t have any half pipes yet when I first started skating, so this was our half pipe. This may as well been vert ’cause I didn’t understand
quite what vert was. (laid back rock and roll music) – Canada is above the U.S., right? So and it’s bigger than the United States. And most of the people that live in Canada live literally on the border
of what is the United States. It’s so cold above it that most people have to live basically right
along the borderline. – When I went to residential school, I moved to Ottawa and I
didn’t skate for like a year. Went to this boys and girls club and I walked down the stairs and you know that sound when
the team hits the ground? The da, da, da, ya know? I’m like what is that? I go downstairs, there’s a
skate park in the basement. No, I go down. I’m like I used to skate, you know. Going in there, like, that’s me. And I walk in. First thing I see is McCrank blindfolded, dropping skate in his dust bowl. Blind fakies. – I’ll name some people that are rad. Rick Howard. Colin McKay. Moses Itkonen. Front side nose slides alone, Keegan Sauder. (groovy rock and roll music) It’s weird ’cause then some people, they’re like why didn’t you say my name? The naked 540, that was an important moment of its day and Bill Weiss rode that pony really well. (instrumental slow indie music) – I’m young blood and that’s for sure. I can’t take a lot of credit for the majority of the
shit that was done down here way before me. There’s been tons of different
people coming through here, just throughout the different
generations of shred, you know? It’s memorial skate park
for a passed away legend, Lee Matasi. He was a pretty prominent skateboarder slash graffiti writer. And so Lee in high school realized that there was
concrete underneath here. I guess he lived in this neighborhood. Started making some makeshift
ramps in wood shop at school. Him and his homeboys started
bringing that shit down and that’s basically how it started. (yelling) There’s a bunch of ritual barriers here like the barriers with
the perfect tranning. Dudes just started careening up that and then that kind of
turned into a quarter pipe. And then a wall ride. And then there was no rhyme
or reason to anything. (acoustic folk music) – [Man] Wow! – You can see the jankier,
we don’t give a fuck, punk rock attitude where it’s just like, yeah, we’re just gonna make a skate park basically for ourselves. And over time, people just
kind of started falling into jobs I guess, where the learned the signs of skate park building, you know? Shit got tighter, shit got better. More permanent maintenance started. Spot over spot over spot. Fucking refill, take out,
build up again, you know? Just natural progression I guess. Yeah. Whatever you’re doing, there has to be a seed planter, right? There has to be an idea
behind the movement. There has to be somebody that’s like, okay, fuck, we’re doing
this no matter what. We’re just gonna do this. And that’s kind of how it started, right? You just wanted somewhere dry to skate and just started fucking doing it. (“O Canada”) – Oh, another Canadian
cultural gift to the world is the Canadian flyout, which is where you’re skating a skate park and you fly out of the skate park and you grab your board and then you land on the deck. And you just do that all day. (rhythmic electronic music) Chalmers I’m sure did a
ton of Canadian fly outs, but he would come back
into the bowls as well. Chalmers was mind-blowingly
good at skating transitions. Sluggo did the back flip. That was a Canadian fly out. – Great Canadian fly out. We’re good at ’em. – You got the Decenzo brothers. – When we would go to the parks, we would see dudes like Mike Hastie and Paul Machnau and Galea Mamalu and these fucked up pros and McCrank. And I was really fortunate. Paul Machnau took me under his wing. He was the gnarliest dude and just like super professional. I thought he’s the perfect pro. And then there’s the
whole list of other ones that are more underground like Ross Milligan. – [PD] Jeff? – [Jeff] What’s up PD? – [PD] How are you dude? – I’d be better if I was there. I tried to get a fucking lawyer. The lawyer basically
told me to kick rocks. So we’re doing FaceTime weirdnesses. – Guy walks into a bar. Guy walks into a bar and screams out, all lawyers are assholes! Dude at the end of the
bar stands up and goes, “Hey man, I take offense to that.” He said, “Why, are you a lawyer?” He said, “No, I’m an asshole.” We’re at Skull Skates and that’s in Vancouver, Canada. This is the oldest
skateboard shop in Canada. We opened in 1976. And we’re here to turn
you into a skateboarder. – [Man] Break down how did it start? – It started because you
couldn’t get good skateboards in Canada back in the ’70s. The further you got away from California where the good stuff was being made, the more difficult it
was to track it down. So the skull looks the way it was because initially was carved out of a, so grip was already stuck down to a board. And then I took an X-ACTO blade and started cutting and removing bits. And that’s where the skull came about. Skull Skates has been very fortunate because this is not just something we do. It’s something that a ton of people have, it has been a very collaborative
effort since the get go. We ended up hooking up with Steve Olson, David Hackett, Christian Hosoi. (board scraping) (smooth hip hop) And we were one of many people who made Hosoi Hammerhead
Skateboards (laughs). – [Announcer] Christian Hosoi probably takes advantage
of the commercial potential in skateboarding as well as anybody. But he has a skating
ability to back it up. – I’ll just throw down
quickly a couple sort of legendary Canadian cats. First is Cory Campbell. There was only one person I
knew that was really doing it. And it was Cory. People know who Carlos Longo is. We’ll get to him in a sec. – [Announcer] Carlos Longo, a Portuguese transplant to Vancouver, was used to riding the bowl and knew every inch of it. (people cheering) (slow electronic music) – D.O.A., one of the most
kick ass punk bands ever out of Vancouver. Kemuri which is a ska band from Japan. Chris Haslam’s our buddy. Why don’t we do a Chris
Haslam guest model? That’d be fun. Skull I think is an interesting position which is that we’re very open. We can put out a skateboard
with Mother Theresa on it. Like again, it comes back
to we do what we want to do, right? So we’re not worried necessarily about what the monetary response, or even what the critical
response will be. We’re open seven days a
week, 365 days a year. People connect here. Right? And all kinds of people
doing all kinds of things. Doesn’t need to be just skateboarding. That is a place that can connect you with all kinds of rad shit. And that’s what a good skate
shop is supposed to do. – First Canadian pro I saw
skating was Colin McKay, yeah. – Colin McKay. Occupation, skateboarder. (bluesy rock and roll music) – Casey McKay though, Colin McKay’s brother, he would skate everything at that time. – Well, Rick Hallard’s from Vancouver. Rick Hallard’s girl
chocolate fame, lechia. He was the first guy to escape Vancouver and go make it. We had Ben Shiver riding for Vision. Rich Grusett was on Powell. Sean Mortimer was on Powell. Colin Rudolph was on Powell and then Kevin Harris. – Rick McCrank. Like, my dear friend. He was a freak. I think Rick and Mark Appleyard, if they could think of it, then that was them learning it. – Some of those people that
kind of became residents so to speak, were Rob Dyrdek, Clyde Singleton, Kelly Bird, Mike Crumb, Mike Frasier. – Was Dave Crab Canadian? (punk rock music) Aaron Dieder is almost Canadian and people should know about what he was doing at the ranch. The guys from Seattle, it was fun when they would come up. – Tom Green is Canadian. He had a pro board on Birdhouse. Might as well throw that in there. Got Alex Chalmers. ♪ Rise with the living dead ♪ – [Adam] You got Josh Even. ♪ The ritual sows ♪ – [Adam] Dell Weeds. Alex Gavin. – Chris Haslem’s beard was one of my favorite skaters
I’ve ever seen in Canada. Oh, Mike Christie. Mike McDermott. Jesse Boy. Montreal likes some of the
earlier names I remember, which are kind of almost my generation are like Barry Walsh, Marc Tison. Those guys destroyed the
Big O full pipe thing. – Yeah, so basically
this is it right here. The infamous Big O. Natural spot. Pimp, pimp, pimp. (smooth rock and roll music) The Big O. That’s like the fuckin’, our sanctuary, the Holy Grail man. It’s like the gift from the skate gods. Yeah, it was built in ’76. And it’s part of many
structures they built for the Olympics. That’s the only good
thing about the Olympics. They build all this shit which a lot of it becomes skate spots, so it’s fuckin’ pretty sick. – The pipe itself
hibernates over the winter. And then around February, we start going back and shoveling. Start picking away,
getting rid of all the ice. So on a good say season, we’re skating in February. But sometimes a session will last one day and it will dump the next day and we’re not skating for another month. – Yeah, so the tranny’s got a three foot nine inch radius, and then the lip also has that radius. So you can do some rad shit on this stuff. Like freak and the funk. It’s fuckin’ rad as shit. It’s shaped like a whistle. Like sports, a whistle, but it’s so fuckin’ perfect for skating. (smooth funky rock music) It makes no sense, but it’s fuckin’ just the greatest loop in Canada. – Clearly the Big O is one of the most natural epic spots on the planet that survived
all the trials and tribulations of Babylon. – I think the greatest Canadian
attribution to skateboarding would be the ghetto
gown of the early 2000s. That would be the T-shirt
that would go to your ankles that a lot of my comrades wore. (upbeat electronic music) – What else happened in Canada? Kevin Harris, amazing freestyle rider. – Nobody in Vancouver was pro. We had Kevin Harris. He was a pro freestyler and a Beau’s Brigade Member. But I didn’t even know
who he was at that point. – Kevin Harris is one of the
earliest Canadian skateboarders that sort of made it in
the world of skateboarding. – Harris was, yeah, fluid. He was a good tic tacker. – [Interviewer] Tell us your name and give us a little backstory. – Kevin Harris. Grew up in Vancouver basically, and started skating in ’75. Got introduced by a demo team
that came up for Dairy Queen, Doug Saladino, Steve Cathy and changed my life. When it kicked in in Canada in 1975, it was like all my friends went from playing baseball, hockey to all my buddies had skateboards. (soft folk music) And we ended up building one of the best, I think, probably the
best vert ramp in Canda at the time. We had pool coping, 16
feet wide flat body. Tony (mumbles), you name it. They would come into my backyard to skate. And just after that, when skating died, I don’t want to say died
but really fell off the map, all my friends stopped. At that time I was like 18, 19. I knew I could still make
a living at it somehow, so I did mall shows, believe it or not, four days a week. All the malls across
Canada, shopping centers, by myself. Doing all the MCing. Doing high jump, long jump, jumping over kids. Doing the whole free throw thing. Four shows a day. Do it Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Move onto the next town, the next town, and the next town. – First Canadian pro I
saw was Kevin Harris. It was 1991 in Nelson, BC, the town I grew up in. And he came to do a freestyle demo. – Yeah, my whole life was basically geared around skateboarding. Me and my partner, Joe Meyer had one of the first
indoor skateboard parks. It’s got the main chin
ramp that Lance built and it’s got the expo
ramp and the expo contest and some street stuff. – I didn’t know who he was till he opened up the Richmond Skate Ranch about a year later. And they opened up the
Richmond Skate Ranch ’cause they took the
half pipe from Expo ’86 and put it a warehouse in Richmond. And fuck, we were so fortunate. Yeah, so this is the very
first mini ramp contest, ’87. Had all the best skaters in the world. Grusso was there. – It’s the first time
we ever saw a mini ramp. – We were out at a restaurant the night before Lance flew in and we seriously grabbed
a napkin and a pen and we created that ramp. – Where I live now on the West Coast, there was the Richmond Skate Ranch, which was a hub and it
fostered all these careers and people got really good at skating ’cause I think people from California would come up here and skate at the ranch. Actually where the Salad
Grind was invented. Eric Dressen came for a contest. Everybody was doing 5-0s twisted one way and he’s like I’m gonna
do it the other way. And did the Salad Grind
at a Vancouver contest. Fact check that, but that’s what I heard. (easygoing soft music) I’m from kind of the same
town as Tony Ferguson but I didn’t know him
until I moved out here. Tony Ferguson was our local hero. – Quinn Star, Trevor Dunnit. He’s dual citizen now. Trevor’s Canadian. Haslem. Oh, see? How am I supposed to
remember all these names? – The greatest actual moment in Canadian skateboarding history when Sluggo was born. Seriously, there is no other person like Rob Boyce. That guy is an original and he fucking loved skateboarding. – Wade DesArmo, amazing Canadian street skater. Matt Berger. Spencer Hamilton. I need to take 19 years of skateboarding and all those magazines
and all those videos and just like. – Oh, Michelle Pezel from Antisocial makes skate parks happen. She fucking runs the
best shop in the city. Throws all the events, all the contests. – She’s definitely the ringleader. She would hate that I said that, but Michelle just fucking kicks
ass through and through man. – I’m Michelle Pezel and we’re at the really nice alley at Antisocial Skateboard Shop. We do art shows, video premiers, mural festivals, jump jams, I don’t know. We do a music show almost every month and an art show almost
every month in our store, like 17 years now. So it’s represent the 99%, instead of just the one percent. Do things for everybody. If you’re gonna be a
part of skateboarding, then be a part of all of it. I mean I think skate shops
are owned by skateboarders are really important and I think they’re the ones
that skateboarders care about. (smooth jazzy music) – Sam Devlin was amazing at skating. I like Dustin Henry a lot. Den Blendell. I like Ed Tin. These are more current people, but actually rad skaters. – 1985. It was this really big event
at city hall in Toronto. A vert contest right
in front of city hall. First name that jumps out
in my mind is Brent Jordan who is one of the best
vert skaters from Canada and throughout that contest, I actually got to witness the guys that were the forefathers
of Toronto’s skateboarding or Ontario, which was Steve Katsopolis, Eugene Ewe, Boris
Sleeko, Mike Hogtown Pete and just all these gnarly
adult teenage people that were real skateboarders. I’d never seen that. You get in the car and you drive two hours outside of Toronto into the country, and then when you got to the property, they would blindfold you
so you couldn’t tell anyone where you were going. And you go through this gnarly kind of bat cave fucking deep tunnel, sort of trees and bushes hitting the car. And then you get to the peak and you look down and this this 48 foot wide ramp in the middle of a cow field and you’re like, what the fuck? No wonder they kept this a secret. – [Man] It’s Beefy Borris doing
his furly longboard grind. – You’re 14. There’s mushrooms in the cow shit. There’s people partying there and you get to skate all
weekend with no parents. You don’t have rules. (screaming) I believe that it was really
during the cow ramp days where the old and the young tribes meshed for real permanently. (yelling) Most importantly to this time period, was in 1986, Tom Boyle moved to Toronto from Texas. He just showed up and I remember the first
time we skated with him, everybody just sat there like he was better than any pro we’d ever seen in our lives. And he had no sponsors. He was so good and humble, but he just made everyone feed off him. And the sessions really started taking off from that point. – That’s rad. I didn’t know the rock was Canadian. – He’s fully adopted
regardless of his citizenship. – Yeah, no, yeah. – There was a time when there was upwards of five magazines nationally. There was Expose in Quebec. There’s SBC. There was Concrete Powder. There was Color. There was King Shit. I don’t think I’m missing
anything in there. Our mandate, at least my mandate at all
the magazines I’ve worked at has been to make it Canadian focused. Ty Peterson on the cover there. Yeah, it’s ATN right there. For me, I always paid attention to who was shooting the photos. Dylan Doubt was huge influence for me. Scott Pommier. Same, like incredible skateboarder. Incredible photographer. (moody jazz music) There’s a range of things going on here. There’s a range of styles, there’s a range of skating. It’s super diverse. Things that have put Canada on the map have always been extremes. You know, it’s like it’s the Red Dragon and it’s Grant Patterson with
a T-shirt down to his knees. That’s why it’s been important, I think, to have our thing going on at home. They know about this in the States or in the rest of the world, but we know we got all
this other stuff going on. If they care to look at it, rad. If they don’t, we don’t care. We’re doing it, you know? (psychedelic punk rock and roll music) – I think when we were
kids Vancouver was the hub. It was the spot. Everyone was out here. But now, Montreal’s kind
of got a lot going on. – The mecca right now I would have to say would be Montreal. Yeah, beautiful city. The architecture is really fucking old. And it just has so much character. – The skateboard scene in
Montreal is a very old scene, which is kind of surprising
for a place in Canada. (skateboards scraping) We’ve had the skateboard scene since at least the early ’60s, when in 1966 Claude Jutra came out with probably the
first ever skateboard video. – [Narrator] These are the remains of what was once a beautiful city. But the mind of man is as rich and evil as it is in good. And the same inventiveness
which blessed us with insulin, electricity, the arts and
engineering miracles of all sorts has also cursed us with the sword, the gun, the bomb and. (guitar playing) – There were some later judgment on him that I’d rather not talk
about in this documentary, but he made one of the
illest skate short films till this day. It was raw, it was rebellious, it was everything true
skating is all about. (rhythmic surf punk music) It was very tough because also the seven months of winter, we only had one or two good indoor parks that was run by PLG’s dad. That was the best park that brought all the different skate crews from all over the city together as one. Everybody kind of connected there and it was a hub to our scene. – [Man] That’s where PLG kind of became the vert legend he is now. Master skater. (upbeat punk music) – The scene has always been super tight. Everyone knows each other and everyone is friendly
towards each other. And I think that’s because
our winters are so harsh. – There’s Yuggo Bylake. Antwon Aslane, JS Lapierre. Bob Lasalle, Bob Lasalle. Miguel, Alex See. – [Man] Charles Rivard. – Charles Rivard. He’s the old cat. – That’s a wrap boy. I’m just kidding. DIME Videos. – Let’s start with Lo-Def though. – Lo-Def. – Lo-Def. Elephant Direct. – Elephant Direct. – And then boom, DIME Video. – And we posted a bunch
of videos over the years. A bunch of funny little
videos over the years. Really careless stuff with no intention of it being a company or a shop or anything. It’s important to give
back to your supporters. Open a skate shop in your city. Do events like DIME Glory Challenges and stuff like that. You know, just to keep it fun, keep it entertaining. That’s what we’re doing
basically with DIME. It’s just entertainment. Maybe that open people’s eyes to like, oh shit, there’s a bunch of skate spots here. A cool scene as well. Just normal people everywhere. You just wouldn’t expect
that to be in Canada. A really powerful scene. – Slam City Jam was huge for Canada. – That was a massive one. The Slam City Jam was a massive contest. It ran from ’95 to I think 2005. – Before that it was probably Expo ’86 that brought the world of
skateboarding to Canada and then Slam City Jam started. Which originally I think
was a music festival. (aggressive punk rock music) – It was the sweetheart of
the contest series for sure. All the pros wanted to come to Vancouver. Number one, we had weed up here. We had girls up here
that liked skateboarders. The weather was always good and we had ridiculously good skate spots. – I remember my dad took me and my brother and my homie the first time we went and we were like, whoa, this is insane. The whole place was just
like weed cloud inside. We saw kids stealing boards and stuff and we were like, oh, we
need to come back next year without dad or whatever. – It was too successful. Vancouver asked us not to have it anymore. They were like, wow, you guys are bringing way
too many people into town and it’s freaking us out. – Our boards are made in
Quebec where the trees grow. If you look around the shop, you’ll see all kinds of Chinese made skateboard decks on sale, and you’ll see our skateboard deck selling for more money
than all the major brands. We don’t do the shop
board is the cheap shit. We do the shop board is the best shit. – All skateboards are
made from Canadian maple. – Maple, good wood. The wood is coming from
the Northeastern part of the North American continent. As you continue north, the trees are gonna grow much more dense in a colder climate. – Perfect climate to
make perfect skateboards. – Yes. – This one’s an interesting one. This is Wee Willi Winkles. He’s a Canadian legend from the ’70s. That’s him hippy jumping his car there. I think he had the
original eight wheeler too, I could be wrong. Maybe that was Lonnie Top. – If your skateboard is worth a damn, it’s made from hard rock Canadian maple. – But it’s getting cut. It’s getting put on boats. It’s getting shipped through
several climate zones where it now has to be rehydrated to the proper moisture content to be made into skateboards. It’s shit. (soft easygoing music) I’ll just quickly say just to clarify, so Barrier Kult is something that has been launched
independent of Skull Skates, so it’s not a Skull Skates concept. But we are aligned with those dudes. So now this is where it’s gone from just some old fucking
cook talking shit in your face. Now something’s gonna happen. – My name is Depth Leviathan
Dweller of the Barrier Kult. I remember there was an
article that Neal Blender wrote for TransWorld years ago where he said we’re all just
trying to reach vertical. Even a person that’s slapping your curb is trying to reach vertical. So I always thought that the Barrier is kind of the most natural, again, deconstructed
totanic representation of what we’re all trying to do. And then on top of that is an incredibly vicious state as well. (hard rock and roll music) The core members of
Deer Man of Dark Woods, we have a guy down in
San Diego named Luther. Vertical Cliffs of the Eastern Shores. Muskellunge of Dark Island, an incredibly important member as well. Beast of Gevaudan is a
really important one too. Permafrost Corpse Eating Hraesvelgr is one of our biggest guys now. There’s some kind of
divisions of the Barrier Kult in Hungary and Italy and Japan, where they reached out
to us in a proper fashion years and years ago, ’cause we started in 2002. Just shitloads of rules too. Like anything to do with the Barrier Kult has to be, the ideology has to be from me. We’re playing with an
anonymity and no ego. And all the riders are just pawns. They’re not personalities. They’re not marketable. We even have to change
their patches all the time ’cause they show up for a shoot and one of the members has
unapproved band patches. We’re not nice people. We’re not playing that game either. Its’ like our way or the
highway for anything, you know kinda’, which I fucking love too. We all got dealt with by PD and his crew back in the day. So it’s nice to be able to continue the black clad, scary jacks dudes at the skate park thing. – A Red Dragon is a
member of an elite club that started in the ’90s who do this. – The Red Dragons. There was a whole bunch of
gnarly gangs in Vancouver in the late ’80s, early ’90s and so it was sort of a joke on that. (upbeat rhythmic electronic music) You know, like we’re the Red Dragons. We kill you. And we’re a bunch of little skaters. We were so far from being feared, it was ridiculous. – The Red Dragon is someone
that will always spot you when you’re working out in the gym. They can do a 540. That is a Red Dragon. – It carried through with skateboarding and representing Canada abroad. So me, Colin McKay and Moses Itkonen, when we traveled around the world, we’re the Canadian guys. We’re the Red Dragons. (upbeat rhythmic electronic music) So we tried to do what Kevin Harris did and give back as much as we could to all the kids that were
supporting Canada and our scene. The amount of RDS tattoos we’ve seen or get tagged in on
Instagram is ridiculous. Like it’s out of control really. All the original members
of the Red Dragons have it, but now there must be a
few thousand out there, maybe more. – Obviously one thing
that we haven’t’ gotten to is in Canda, the weather’s really shit. And in Toronto it’s super shit. So Toronto became pretty well known for having really good indoor skate parks. And that again is when
things really catapulted. And the scene was building and everyone was getting
their little bits of coverage, but one big thing that happened, the Going Crew rolled through when they were filming Full Power Trip. So me and Tom wrote for Going so we had a little part
in the Going video, which was fucking outrageous
at the time, you know? Shortly after that, fucking out of nowhere dude one of my friends, Jason Corbett had the cover of
TransWorld doing a shove it down a set of stairs at Trinity Square. And then all of a sudden, dude, Justin’s on the cover of TransWorld doing a back lip hubba
hideout shot by Tobin Yellin. And to see one of our own
on the cover of TransWorld was unbelievable to us. I feel like that’s definitely
a countrywide thing, because everyone knows from Canada how difficult it is to navigate
that sponsorship dream, even to this day. For someone like Tom
Boyle or Thomas Morgan to be flagship with the workshop or Rick Howard with Girl. Or to see someone from Montreal
achieve what Pierre did. No one has ever put together
a more complex technical run on a skateboard ramp then Pierre Luc. Right? The comparable version
of that is Colin McKay, so that was another giant thing for us, just like, yeah, he’s from Canada. It’s fucking Colin. Justin Bokma’s inspire Mark Appleyards. And Mark Appleyard comes into the scene and to me is the most
significant Canadian skateboarder of all time, because he was the one that’s from Canada, had game changing talent, effortless style on a skateboard. And for me, I could be wrong, ’cause we could debate it, but I felt like he’s the one
that set the world on fire, where they didn’t care if
he was from Canada anymore. And that’s a pretty big
thing to do in the world. All the pride in the world
for all the Canadians that have been there and done it. And then of course, the legions of ’em that
are doing it right now and will continue to do so. – All three times I’ve been to Canada I had some of the most fun I have ever had traveling anywhere. And we wanted to bring you a love letter to all of the great
skateboarders and skateboarding that comes out of such
a wonderful country. I hope you enjoyed it. I thought I was amazing. And here’s a little food for thought. If it wasn’t for Canadian hard rock maple, we wouldn’t have skateboards at all. So thanks for watching. Turn this shit off. Life’s out there. Go skateboard with your friends. Have a good one.

100 comments

FUCK YEAH! I think it should be said that Canada skaters have been known for their extremes-but more so (I think) for how smooth, fluid and creative they are. From Sluggo to Dustin Henry before and in-between. And the Dime Challenge videos are THE FUNNIEST.
I think it's only fitting that this is the longest Loveletters ever. Canada-LET GROSSO BACK IN!!!

so sick!! i was in van just last week. even got to skate the seylynn bowl, hit up PD's and a few other shops. missed Leeside and anti-social unfortunately. PS. BC buds are no joke

Thanks for showing both my countries on the show: my birth country of Brazil and my adopted country of Canada.

Fuck yeah! The first time I saw Kevin Harris's park, in 89 I think….
I was blown away at how rad it was. I grew up in the Bay Area in the 80's. Skating there shaped my life. On 91 I moved to Montana. It was brutal. Winter, dirt and fucked up sidewalks etc. I can respect Canadian skaters for sure. Many of them are at the top of my all time favorites. God save the Queen! And may she bless all skater's!
I have to disagree with Rick about the flyout though. IDK how times I have almost been fucked by a kid doing one. Then again, no desire to land one can end up worse for anyone within board/body launch reach

Sam Devlin!!! (Thanks Rick) And the one clip of Wade Fyfe, and one clip of Sascha Daley. So Gee. And the little homies Dustin and Tyler. So dope!! Oh yeah the homie joe Buff!!!

God Damn! Seeing old Collin footage gets me stoked. He was at the top of the list of rippers that got me stoked on vert after the 80's crash. Even though I secretly never stopped watching during the "vert button" days 😂

This was great Thsnks Grosso!
Gotta give some recognition to the East Coast Maritimes skate scene in the 80's & 90's….huge skate scene, indoor parks, half pipes in barns, great skate rock scene too. Too many guys to list….if you're reading this and you were there you know how hardcore shit was.

I'm not big on socialism, but I think it's rad that any Canadian that gets hurt skating can receive free medical care (if I'm not mistaken)?

Always learn something by Loveletters
and Always get inspired…..Give thanks Jeff and Vans, see you outside skateboarding!

0:50 respect to the OG Chinese Canadian skater Wee Ming Wong. a few omissions, West & Sheppard, Stenger, Hastings, McGuigan vids, NORTH…but great piece overall

Jeff Thank you for your true love for ripping bro!!!! And amazing history Cheers from Texas @Mauzoleum3 on Instagram Love the flashbacks of my youth skateboarding Pushead !!! Zorlac forever!!!!

You guys done it again!!! How can you squeeze so much History in a few minutes like a master?
Lot's info on that, some surprising!
Thanks for all!

Thanks for this. i love Canada. i was an Am competitor in Expo 86. I did pretty bad but i ha the best time in Vancouver for 3 weeks. I skated for Skull UK flow too.

Best loveletters episode I've seen, and not just because I'm also Canadian. Really engaging and tons of fun facts and stories I'd never heard! Well done. Keep doin' it Grosso!

I was 8 years old at expo lol iam the only skateboarder in my town now! &Yeah winter's are rough many hours spent in parking garages! Oh Canada! Don't feel bad "Dressen" they won't let in into the states cuz i got raided & busted for growing two plànts god bless mary Jane lol 20 years ago they locked me up and now they want to be me dealer

Great episode!!! 24:32 Rampage at Brewer Park in Ottawa. First vert ramp I ever saw up close. I just started skating, and my sister took me there on the bus, thought I could just drop in and blast airs. Immediately humbled!

great video and thanx for all the people who got all this together ,,,and jeff grosso your a kool and funny as shit dude allways love how real you keep it

Ha Rick McCrank "I'm from a small town in between Toronto and Montreal". Come on Rick, ya could have said Ottawa! I mean it's the capital of CANADA 🇨🇦 🤦🏽‍♂️

Makes me realize as an American how much we forget the amazing contribution Canadian skaters have brought to skating in general. Rick McCrank (Canadian) was the first pro I ever met and Jamie Tancowny (Canadian) has probably my all time favorite video part, Zero Strange World.

The naked 540° 🤭🤙

Canada ROCKS 🤙 I scored a Santa Cruz John Lucero complete with Indy 159s and OJs from eBay seller #AirMailNews in 2017 shipped to Hawaii 🐺🤙🌺

Although On Video did a story on love park (love story), winter 2004, I'd love a 40+ min ep on my city philly's history: love & city hall, cecil b, 3 block, Drexel rail, ECT ECT.

skateboarding is so much bigger than just America. I'd love to see how skateboarding is in all the countries of the world

“The weather is really shit in Toronto” – Bill Weiss. Laughing in Manitoban. I swear people from Toronto have to be the biggest pussies in the country.

Thanks Jeff! I enjoyed this so much. As a veteran Toronto skater I would like to shout some original rippers like Nigel Dutru, Dave Buchanan, Tom Bargold and Mark and Steve Koyama.

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