14 June 2008

Flatface, an acomplishment.

When looking at Flatface now, I, and along with many other people are blown away by Mike's success. His shop now not only contains his own products, but it contains products from other companies in which he distributes. His popular bearing wheels are almost known throughout the entire fingerboarding scene, as well as his company. It's safe to say Flatface is here for business.

Mike Schneider, 15 years old, runs Flatface. Between getting 20 and 70 orders a day, I don't see how he has any time for school, let alone fingerboarding. This however, didn't happen over night.
Flatface started in 2003, selling grip tape. According to Mike, he barely got any orders, but that didn't stop him. Slowly he moved onto decks, which he was most known for for a while. Meanwhile, for a short period of time, he started a grip tape company called Eulogy. This according to Mike, only lasted a week =[. Not being phased from that, he kept on making decks. Over the years, he went through what seems to be 100 generations, but in reality was only 9. The decks improved greatly, and he began making lots of sales. Unfortunately in 2006, he stopped making decks due to having no time and no good mold (according to him, but many people would beg to differ).

Mike then released his greatest product ever; the Flatface bearing wheels. The wheels started out as a prototype as most all products do. These were small, white, and bearingless. According to Taylor Rosenbauer in his review, "These are the most incredible wheels i have ever tried". Little did we know that they would become even more incredible. Then came G2 wheels. These were very popular. They came with or without bearings, and were very smooth. G4 wheels were even more of an improvement. These were wider, more rounded, and had bearings as well. G5 wheels, you guessed it, were even better. Made of a different material, these were more rounded and a little narrow. Just when people thought they couldn't have gotten any better, Mike released the G6 wheels in 2008. These were named G-A and G-X after the materials it was made out of. They came in red and blue, and we smoother and faster than ever. Presently, Mike is selling different variations of the G6s, which are in various colors such as clear, black, amber, and solid white.

Flatface is a one of a kind company in the American fingerboarding scene. Not only does he make his own products, but he also sells other companies products including world famous company; Blackriver-ramps. He is the first company in the U.S. to sell BRR for other people in the U.S. cheaply. Probably the biggest accomplishment for him is that now his wheels are begin sold in the BRR web shop in Germany. His company has grew in both America and Europe.

There is nothing more to say about Flatface, other than it's one of the most legit companies out in the fingerboaridng scene right now. It's been around for a while, and Mike knows what hes doing. So, check out his site (www.flatfacefingerboards.com) for all your fingerboarding needs. In around September, Mike will be selling Flatface decks again, which are made from a precise metal mold. They look beautiful. Mike always has plans for upcoming products so keep your eyes out, and check his site from time to time.

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13 June 2008

Guest Column: Edgar Vargas!

New feature for the blog! Guest Columns! This weeks guest column is with none other than Edgar "eddy-z" Vargas! He is a great fingerboarder (his nollie heels are amazing) and a very positive presence on the forum. Edgar explores his thoughts on fingerboarding and life in a meditative piece. Very fun to read!

As I sit here a 26 year young man contemplating fingerboarding and my first blog article ever, I think how interesting finger boarding has become. As a kid in the late 80’s I remember getting those clear key-chains and not really knowing what tricks other than ollie existed, not that I could even do one or comprehend it. Fast forward to the mid 90’s when people had these real looking FB’s called Tech Decks, I didn’t even skate until 2000 to be honest but my homies did and so did kids at school that had them. Anyhow I could give less of a crap until I saw some kid do a kickflip on a FB. I don’t know why it was so impressive, maybe I was intoxicated maybe I was just a teenage kid, who knows. Anyhow strange things that were “tricky” always impressed me, they are simply fun and a cheap thrill. As we all know when you are a teenager cheap thrills are good thrills. What also made this gadget appealing was the ability to impress the kids in class by doing 900 hard flips, as ridiculous as they are. That or any other trick that would take my friends and my own mind off what seemed another monotonous school day. 

In a weird way I actually went backwards from finger boarding to skateboarding. I never actually had an urge to skate until I began to fingerboard. I think this was due to my own plain ignorance of what a beautiful sport skateboarding really was. Fingerboarding actually exhibited to me the endless possibilities of something with four wheels that could be ridden on two legs or fingers in my case. Another cool thing about fingerboarding at the time was that everyone was doing it. In wood shop kids were building rails, halfpipes and various other obstacles in the 90’s. So basically it was a fad in a sense but like all fads some people never really grow out of them including me. Another thing that impressed me was the simplicity and beauty of doing a trick on a FB anywhere, it just seemed pure and destined, almost like drawing with a pencil another one of my crafts. It’s one of those small pleasures in life that no one can take from you no matter what, and if they did who cares it’s probably on video somewhere. What I am trying to say is that I see FB as an active art form like skate boarding, break dancing, graffiti, meditation, and studying for classes (yes studying!). 

   It does take time to perfect your own style and develop tricks and technique but it’s the journey not the destination that is important. For me I feel blessed to have been able to learn to do something that didn’t cost much money to learn and be introduced to many cultures it’s wonderful people, and new techniques for expressing myself through media. When I began fingerboarding it was to escape the fishbowl of high school and now I continue in order to escaping the rat race of America. As some of you watch my videos you may think, “what a loser 26 and FBing the streets.” 

The funny thing is I think the same thing but look at it more as meditation that helps me see what small boundaries society has for people and step out of them and do something I enjoy. In doing so I am forced to face the music and confront what is considered normal in a very innocent way. When I first joined the internet “FB scene” via Tech Deck.com I was a “noob” “GODOFTECKDECK” but in reality I had been fingerboarding longer than most of the entire forum. Now that I have been around longer and displayed my craft with other artists like MKS on FFI some would consider me an OG as “Eddy-Z”. Even though this transition has occurred while online it never really existed the illusion of the internet would have one believe so. In life outside the internet I feel like art helps expose similar misperceptions and fallacies that exist in the world. In a strange way maybe FBing isn’t about anything people think it is, maybe it’s just an art form in it’s infancy yet to be recognized by the mainstream. Maybe we are all just artists looking for a medium to communicate through, then again maybe I just need to grow up. 

I want to thank Chris Daniels for helping me see this diamond in the rough of my mind and the great blog he has created, and of course Tina, Nate, and Martin for FFI <3.

Coming Soon: Company Profile with BC Rails! Flatface Video Preview! And more!


12 June 2008

Taylor R and Tim H

Quick Update:

Taylor Rosenbauer and Tim Hurley are both part of the (soon-to-be-renamed) FBWeekly Blog crew! Both Taylor and Tim are amazing fingerboarders and respected members of the fingerboarding community! Expect some great stuff soon! Welcome aboard :)

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11 June 2008

Interview: Taylor Rosenbauer!

Name : Taylor Rosenbauer

Age: 16

Years FB: Almost 2

Sponsors: Flatface Wheels, Prete Decks, Summit Hardware, BC Rails, Blackriver-Ramps flow, Capsule Trucks

Contest/Video: 1st - FFI Rail Jam ‘08, 6th – Rail Jam ’07, SU3, SU4, Bacon, Egg, and Steeze, Softies Griptape,

We are here with Taylor Rosenbauer, winner of the Second FFI Rail Jam! Taylor’s Rail Jam entry was flawless. He pulled off amazingly tech tricks with a butter-smooth style. Also, the Nollie Flip B/S Boardslide to B/S Crook 180 out was my favorite trick of the whole rail jam. When I finished watching his entry I knew my hopes of winning first, along with everyone else’s, vanished into thin air.

You won the Second FFI Rail Jam, which is the ultimate online fingerboard video contest. There were over 50 entries from around the world. What are some of your thoughts winning such a large and diverse competition?

Seeing over 50 entries from all around the world was so great, and to be a part of that was just awesome. The American scene really stepped up this year, especially the Flatface Fingerboard Team which swept the top 5 places. There were so many fantastic entries...I'm still surprised I won.

Since I came back to the fingerboard scene, I have noticed how you have evolved in  your fingerboarding. It's amazing that you have become one of the elite fingerboarders in such a short amount of time. I remember some of your earlier videos where you popped the board reallllllly high. It still looked good though haha. But now you are doing some amazingly technical tricks, and your style is flawless. That's the only way I can describe it. What I'm trying to say with that longwinded speech is how did you get so good?

Thanks for the compliments. ;) I think both motivation and influence have helped me improve my fingerboarding. Watching people like Eric Smith and Taylor Lucas taught me so much about style, how to do certain tricks properly, and how to put together good videos. People who watch my videos on youtube are always asking me, "Dude, do you ever land sketchy tricks?" The truth is, I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to making fingerboard videos. I end up doing the same tricks countless times till I'm 100% satisfied with them, then they make it into my videos. I'd say the key to getting better and making good videos is to do tricks the best that you can possibly do them, and practice practice practice.

Do you have anything to say to the organizers of the contest? (Tina, Martin, sponsors and judges)

I can only imagine how much work both Tina and Martin put into making this contest as great as it was. A big thanks goes out to both of them for doing a great job this year. All the judges deserve a lot of credit as well for all the time they put into reviewing all 50+ entries. I doubt I could have done that myself. To the sponsors...you guys are what made this contest so exciting. I was astonished at seeing prizes awarded to 15 places, that's a really great thing to see. I hope next year's contest is as big as this one!

What were some of the positive/negative aspects to the rail jam this year? What can be built on to make the Rail Jam even better next year?

Well, the entry fee could be viewed as both positive and negative. For those that may not be the best, it might have pushed them away from entering if they felt they didn't have a good chance of winning. But it is also a great addition to this year's contest because it enabled Tina to get some really kick ass prizes, and those prizes really pushed people to do their best. The only suggestions that I could possibly come up with for next year's contest it to maybe switch up the rules and obstacles. Having team entries (Team USA, for example) with a montage of people representing their country would also be very interesting.

What do you have to say to someone new to fingerboarding who is looking to become the next Taylor R?

Haha, my biggest advice is to just have fun. If you're not having fun with fingerboarding, why do it? If you plan to be as good as Eric Smith one day, I advise you to never give up and continue to practice. Fingerboarding isn't a natural talent (at least it wasn't for me!)...it must be learned. Practicing is the key to learning, and that's the best way to get good at something. Watch some good fingerboard videos too, because doing that is what inspired me to be good. I'll never forget watching Mike Scott's fingerboard videos over a year ago and thinking, "Damn, how the hell does he do that? I gotta figure this out." From there I just took people's advice and did my best to progress.

Any upcoming plans/video parts/ etc?

Currently I'm working on a small ad for Prete. Keep an eye out for both the Prete and Flatface videos...I have a part in each. My Prete part is one of my favorite parts I've made yet, especially since I filmed a lot of it outdoors. Hopefully these two full lengths will be released soon, along with the Rendezvous III video which I'm also a in.

Thanks for the interview Taylor! We look forward to hearing from you in the future!

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09 June 2008

Another Martin Illsley power move!

Arctic would like to welcome Maggie N. to the team.
Congrats to her, make sure to stop by her youtube account to see how hard she rips.

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