Shred for Life 2
February 1, 1997
The camera has been a part of my life since I was young, capturing family events and moments.
Skateboarding as an activity and culture encompassed my life starting in high school at 16. I coordinated my first skateboard jam as a fundraiser for The Juvenile Diabetes Foundation at a local rollerskating rink that held once a week skateboard nights, complete with ramps and obstacles.
For the fundraiser event, I coordinated professional skaters and top ranked amateurs, doing demos and skating alongside local kids as we raffled off donated skateboard products to raise money for Juvenile Diabetes. I was only 17 at the time.
Almost 10 years later, I was in the Hiphop world, working as the Photo Editor of the most popular music magazine at the time, The Source Magazine. There, my passion for Hiphop photography began to decline as the day-to-day responsibility of making a monthly magazine sucked the enjoyment of shootings out of me.
As time went on as Photo Editor at The Source, I found myself spending more and more time thinking about skateboarding. On my lunch break at The Source Magazine, I would walk around the block (The Source was located on Broadway, below Houston St, above Prince St.), down to Prince St., over to Lafayette, to hang out at the skateshop, Supreme. Back then, Supreme was a core skate shop, with New York edge.
I would hang in the shop for 15 to 20 minutes. Justin Pierce (an employee) and I would then walk down the alley next to Supreme, puff a little and talk about skateboarding.
This daily routine of being at the skateshop got my heart focused on skateboarding again. In the 80’s, we had the Eastern Skateboarding Association (ESA) Contest Series that provided a cultural scene centered around skateboard contests. These events were culture hubs, and through them my generation had the freedom to explore skateboarding, hang out, and enjoy ourselves.
I wondered how I could give back to the next generation of skaters, after what it had provided for me. I decided I needed to see for myself if there was enough interest in the amateur skateboard market to create an amateur skateboard league.
The same year, 1996, friends of mine produced the event Shred for Life, a day long skateboard jam at a convention center complete with professional ramps and obstacles.
Months after the event, the original producer of Shred for Life let me know they would not be doing the event again. For some reason, I felt the urge to take on the event and produce it myself. For me, it would confirm that there was still an interest in the marketplace for amateur events. If the amateur community wanted to develop, I could give them the opportunity.
I gave it a shot. Shred for Life 2 was on par with any skateboard event that would happen over the next 10-years, this was 1997. With minimal knowledge of event production, I had produced one of the top events in amateur skateboarding in the late 90’s.
A year or so after Shred for Life 2, the United Skateboarding Association was formed, and the Beast of The East Contest Series began running events in April 1998.
The United Skateboard Association (U.S.A.) pioneered cross-culture marketing opportunities. Having partnered with companies like Ecko Unltd and videogame manufacturer Activision (Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater franchise [and creator of action sports titles]), U.S.A. created non-traditional opportunities to grow Ecko’s involvement and footprint in Action Sports, and created trial opportunities for people to play Action Sports video games at non-traditional venues that were culture hubs.
After leaving entertainment photography full-time in 1997, to pursue a business in skateboarding before Tony Hawk was a household name made sense to no one. Yet I was determined, and the first year of running contests showed me I was on the right path.
By year two, we partnered with Ecko Unltd and, shortly after, with Activision, to promote Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater & WuTangs Shaolin Style Videogames. Later the same year we partnered with Rawkus Records to promote Mos Def’s Black on Both Sides.