INTRODUCTION | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: KEVIN LITTLE, @KEVINMLITTLE
WORDS BY IMMONY MEN
There isn’t nearly enough discussion mentioning the vast impact that Canadian skaters have had on the blading world. The country is home to some of the most innovative skaters on the map. From the wild antics of the Mushroom Blading duo, the big wheel innovators / blade wizards Leon Basin & Dustin Werbeski and the uncanny creativity of Mathieu Ledoux and Danny Beer. The argument could be made that the country is the best currently at producing trick innovations and trends and I wouldn’t argue against that.
Thanks to the web & social media we are able to see the immense amount of skill that comes from the many generations of crews in almost every major Canadian city. And luckily blading has dedicated and talented individuals such as Immony Men and Daniel Millar to help share these skater’s incredible talent. Immony and Daniel recently released their ambitious new ‘Vault Tour” video project that covers the wide-spread Canadian blading scene. We spoke with Immony and asked him to give us a break-down of his experiences in filming for their new video and here is what he had to say:
Immony Men: In skating, skate videos support us with various gestures of remembering, connecting, and community-building with folks that may not be physically close to each, in our case Canada is a nation that spans 4,700 miles and six times zones. Last year Daniel Millar and myself (Immony Men) decided to produce a video where we traveled to seven major cities (Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec City) in Canada to record a glimpse of the various scenes in the country we share. We can’t stop thanking people for their generosity for sharing moments filled with laughter, beer, food, and conversation. In some cases, they invited us into their homes with their families and we caught up with the lives that they have made for themselves. Vault Tour is a video that captures our one-year skating together, we went to six different local skate contests and filmed over 65 different skaters, it is a short glimpse but a full representation of what our friends do year to year.
We started the tour in Vancouver with very little planned, truly we didn’t know how the five days would go other than that we would stay with Francois and Bryan. To our surprise, a lot of people did pull up to sessions, people who we haven’t seen for a decade – each day was more or less the same, we would start by filming/skating three or four street spots during the day and cool down at a park in the late evening. The homies brought us to UBC, Emily Carr, Terry Fox Way, Leeside Skatepark, and a ton of other local spots I can’t remember but folks were excited to skate and share a drink with us. Dan and I live in Toronto so there were moments when Savage, Lukas, and Alexis would visit for contests and it felt like we were on one long trip together, those moments were the 8 Lives Mini-Ramp contest, Shredmonton comp, and Montreal Cup.
Danny Theps organizes an annual contest in Edmonton for both quad and inline, we saw this as an opportunity to film the contest but also some street skating in Calgary and Edmonton. The Shredmonton comp was a wild trip filled with roof gaps, double-backflip attempts, Stampede adjacent parties, and lobster-sunburnt skaters. In July, our friend Lukas was visiting, so we decided to film a trip that would capture five days of our trip from Toronto to Ottawa for the Montreal Cup, during this time we skated Bickford (TO), Locks (OTT), Archives (OTT), and the Montreal Stadium (OTT). In the past, I spent a summer in Ottawa so it was great to catch up with the scene there with Seb, Matt G, Lukas, Brendon and Dippy.
This brings us to Montreal Cup, a couple of cars came from Toronto so there was a good east coast representation at the comp – ok, the truck…I overheard a while back that Lauric, Maxence, and David from Solo Inline drafted a drawing of the Montreal Cup course on the back of a napkin but they really brought this sketch to life for this event. Inspired by the Blading Cup this event brought inline and quad skating to a community-level audience, folks stopped to gaze at Lauric and Erik as they were 450 royalling the rainbow rail and wall-riding the windshield of this truck. This was another moment that we haven’t had for over two decades in Montreal, a park contest in the street was a rare sight. This event brought us all together again, folks that forgot about from the scene as well as skaters we recently hung out with in Vancouver and Edmonton were at the comp, another moment where we shared drink and laughter.
We all have to eventually go home, while I’m in Toronto I am able to film with most of the skaters here, a lot times we revisit old spots looking for new ways to skate them or trying to hunt down new spots on our bikes. This city is in a constant hum of development, when you drive into the Toronto your view is filled with scaffolding, traffic, and glimmers of light from the seafoam green glass – underneath these buildings are street spots that emerge and die quickly – so our crew is trying to clip up quickly. With this being said there are those rare moments where we run into folks like Bill Stoppard and Emily Balfour who would give us a quick trick at the Bentway.
I have also been filming for the upcoming Orange video with Mathieu Ledoux and Charles Nantel, so I am back and forth between Montreal – during these trips I am also able to spend some time street skating in the downtown area and in the Mile End with key people to the Montreal scene such as Lil Bacon, Maxence, and Lauric. I am a Montrealer and my family is there, so skating in a city that I grew up in with a different generation of skaters has been great because they get to engage with familiar spots with new eyes and insight.
As for the Quebec section, Charles has been quite generous to take time to film his local scene in his hometown with Frank, David, and himself between hockey seasons. I will end this by going back to where I started, skate videos help us with remembering each other, and they offer us a window into each other’s communities. We get to witness the effort of people who are invested in the scenes they are a part of – it is really nourishing to see folks take care of their communities through gestures (contests, sessions, brands and skate videos) that allow our culture to grow.
We want to thank all the event organizers; Alexis Hersey, Lukas Rostas, Caro P, Simon Von Vorst, and Danny Thepsouvanh for organizing premieres for the video in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa.
VAULT TOUR FEATURES
Immony Men, Daniel Millar, Christopher Savage, Darren Pots, Francois R. Krafcheck, Alexis Hersey, Tommy Chung, Kyle Goss, Taylor Ritchie, Stuart Brattey, Brian Baxter, Benjamin Stiller, Danny Beer, Alex Chaca Carreno, Dallas Kurtz, Lukas Rostas, Aidan Sander, David Marsh, Alex Rice, Jonathan Craig, Danny Thepsouvanh, Sheldon Lapointe, Robert Guziak, Dylan Meowman, Roman Filitov, Steve Eisling, Shaun Unwin, Bryan Fajkovic, Lee McMillan, Maria Kim, Will Pursell, Dave Ghent, Simon Von Vorst, Lukas Weerdenburg, Timothy Birchard, Nicholas Garom, Bill Stoppard, Emily Balfour, Kayla Baine,s Sebastien Daigle, Curtis Diplock, Brendon Shaughnessy, Matt Garrity, Jason Segeleski, Phillippe Secco, Sebastien Valois, Davide Carrizosa, Mathieu Lapointe, Benjamin Nenno, Claudia Pica, TJ Edwards, Tim Haines, Frank Huot, Dwight Williams, Maxence Valade, Maxime Kind, Lauric Picard, Mathias Rueda, David Lagace, Charles Nantel, Aaron Wheat, Daian Aiziatov, Sylvain Chaussee, Erik Burrow, Mathieu Ledoux and Robert Guerrero.