Anyone who questioned the validity of The Crossroads Skateboarding Trade Show, got a quick slap of reality today. The turnout reminded everyone that collectively the skateboard industry really can do whatever it wants.
At 10:15 AM it was difficult to find a parking spot anywhere near Jamie Thomas’ Black Box Distribution headquarters on the outskirts of Carlsbad. And by 11:30 AM when the free burgers began rolling off the grills the booths were packed with retailers, distributors, and Industry friends.
Kr3w’s Steve Clare doing double line shows with Pharmacy’s Patrick Kudrle and Asylum’s Pablo Aponte.
(Follow the jump for the rest of the story and all the photos.)
Sometimes we’re amazed we can fit this much skateboarding into one photo: Jamie Thomas, Salman Agah, and Matt Hensley.
The Crossroads all started with Jamie Thomas and input he’d been getting from people in the Industry (click here for the video version). “A lot of my friends were complaining that ASR wasn’t really working for them and I just saw the potential that we had the facility and that we could host something bigger than our open houses, something that brought more camaraderie to the whole industry and some excitement for retailers,” Thomas said. “Right now with the obviously tough economic situation creating excitement for retailers is the most important thing.
“So we thought if we could bring everybody together in one place, have an awesome day (free food, skating, a best trick contest) so the retailers get a little bit of everything,” Thomas said. “They get to see everyone that’s relevant all in one place it’s very simple. No real strict entry fees or hassle and it’s easy for all of the brands to set up, it’s really affordable for them: basically everything that ASR isn’t (not that we want to compete with them), but just to provide a place for everyone in skateboarding. It seems like it’s awesome and if everyone here is psyched then I’m psyched.”
Close to 70 brands were represented at the one-day show in a little over 50 booths. At $500 a pop there was no reason not to be there, especially for those interested is selling to core skate shops (or hanging out with their friends on a work day).
One Way Board Shop’s Nate Axline and Fallen Sales Manager Jason Hodges.
Nate Axline buys skate product for One Way Board Shop’s four retail locations and he thinks this was a great addition to the old open house. “I used to come to the Black Box open house every year and that was great, but now I get to see so many more brands in one place.”
Others were here because they’d never been to Black Box and thought Crossroads was a perfect opportunity to see it. “Not that I was expecting some junky warehouse on the wrong side of the tracks in Carlsbad, but this place is impressive,” said Greg Goulet, co-owner of Prestige Skateboards in Boise, Idaho. “I don’t know if we’ll buy here, but it’s nice to put faces with the names of the people we talk to on the phone all the time.”
Norm McDonald from Canada’s Ultimate Skateboard Distribution cut more to the point. “Without offending anyone I believe it’s time for skateboarding to explode and reinvent itself without corporate America’s involvement,” he said. “And I like being able to see everyone without having to wade through a bunch of surf brands. Skateboarding is about passion and that’s what I see here. And I don’t even know any MMA guys.”
It appears that Jamie Thomas’ plans for a casual skateboarding trade show are working out just fine because we saw a lot of psyched people rolling the park, strolling the parking lot, and hanging out in booths.
We can’t predict the future, but we’re guessing it would be difficult to find anyone who won’t be coming back next year.
Dwindle’s Bod Boyle and World Industries’ towering John Dickenson.
Oh yeah, and Hubba girl Caitlin was there causing all kinds of distractions with her devastating backside.
The Skate Book’s Mike Ballard and Lance Dalgart holding down the truck.
The Artist Kris Markovich.
Even some of the big Internet guns were in the house: James Quick and Erin Schwalbach from Amazon Services’ Endless.com.
Circa Creative Director Dennet Oyanguren and President Raul Ries.
TWS’s Ken Lewis and Tony Hawk Foundations Miki Vuckovich.
Who doesn’t need a free lunch these days.
Brixton’s Dave Stoddard and Jason Young. Here but, not at ASR.