STI Media Day Article at Skatepark of Tampa

STI Media Day

Posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2008 by Ryan

Words by Ryan Clements
Photos and Captions by Rob Meronek

We arrived to a fully stocked bar, fridge, new shoes, and gambling supplies to keep us occupied when we weren't working, which for me was never
The loft we stayed in belongs to Pierre Andre, the pro freestyler who started etnies back in the day. There's a floating two bedroom house waiting to be enjoyed behind the loft. Ashton is giving us the tour of the good life
Cars and skateboards in the same store. Welcome to California
Mark Waters has a pretty amazing back yard if you're a slasher. At least you don't have to mow the lawn anymore
This weekend was like MTV's Real World except there were no girls. We shared the loft with some new friends we met from Italy and England. They run magazines over there. That's Luca and Ashton showing us how the Italians tell you to fork off
Every bar in Newport Beach is filled with Jocko Bifarellies. We had one beer and reported back to the loft. Ashton is on his way to getting rowdy about now
Ashton was our host for the weekend. He works in Public Relations at etnies. He set great examples for us to smash and break stuff along with other debauchery grown ass men usually don't partake in. Thanks for the good times
That's Ryan, my new friend and weekend roommate from England. We went on a miles long skate down this beach sidewalk filled with classic California types - Jocko Biffs, Spicoli stoners, Barbie's, etc. Newport Beach is the only impression of America that our new Euro friends got this weekend. Wow, that sucks
There are tons of people that ride skateboards here that don't actually skate. Welcome to California
When you skate really long distances, sometimes you have to switch it up to the Mongolian BBQ like Clem here. I'll just take the tired back leg
Pierre's got some great stuff in the loft that we nearly destroyed
These are some of the leaders of the sketchy skateboard industry. They tell you what's cool and you believe every word of it. Serious jock heckling went down on this balcony at the loft
More cool stuff in the loft. No shoes allowed when skating this board
Before getting sauced up and going out on the floating house, we were offered a nice selection of new jackets. Thanks, Ashton
That's Pierre on the right that joined us for the dude float around the bay. Thanks for the hospitality
Wow, grown ass men having a full blown food fight and getting thrown out of a restaurant. I threw half my steak across the room. Thanks for more good times, Ashton
The dude posse was thick. Someone ordered up a line of shots. Alcohol helps you make new friends. Adam Sullivan from Tranworld Business is all about it
I am teaching these native Californians the ways of the indoor smoking technique their state frowns upon. That's Adam Sullivan and Brian Jones who does Public Relations at Sole Tech. We are in another meathead bar
The beach is across the street from the loft. I lurked it quite a bit
Ashton has all party photos on the site so I figured he should have at least one skate photo. The STI Lab has a great mini-ramp
Things are tech in the STI Lab. Skaters in the lab wear those skin tight black spandex suits with the balls all over them that the computer can read in and measure. All the data gets reviewed and contributes to making better shoes to skate in
Many of you wear a skin tight black suit as your everyday kit. Not Nick Rivera, though. He's just the test dummy for the STI Lab. That's a pressure sensitive pad, a high speed camera, and light sensors all over him. They're all used to analyze every detail of a skateboard trick
After Tampa Am weekend, you may have noticed all the DTELOC tags around the Park. Frosty had to clean it all up. After some Clem detective work, we discovered that the vandal was Bobby Worrest. He and Justin Brock have the same tat
40's and business meetings. Welcome to the sketchy skateboard industry. We got a preview of the new Mikey Taylor shoe. He's on etnies now along with Sean Malto
That's Mikey Taylor's shoe I was unable to steal along with Blair Alley's Hensley work
That's the Sole Tech employee store that we are all given shopping sprees at. There's eS, etnies, Emerica, and Altamont in here. My total shoe come-up for this week: 24 pairs. I should start my own shop
So now we're done "working" and out messing around in the parking lot. After you're done admiring that boob, notice that it's Active Erica. She's got a few moves in Bobby Worrest's oversized shoes
This is not the first or the last time the Sole Tech parking block has been destroyed by the old guys in the sketchy skateboard industry. Clem kicks it off with a back blunt and the 80's session is on
That's Adam Sullivan from that one magazine Clyde Singleton called a kite. Hot foot back blunt back d
Brian Jones does public relations type work at Sole Tech. I never saw him make this no-comply so he's getting the Take a Poop for this session
Adam Sullivan was the 80's session champ
Ashton's party photo to skate photo ratio is improving
Now we're out at some fancy restaurant for dinner with 50 leaders of the sketchy skateboard industry. We have another menu with plenty of weird words on it
Plates were smashed and pitchers of margarita were poured over people's heads. This is Don Brown, victim of Ashton's pitcher dump like a Gatorade bucket on a coach who just won the Super Bowl
That's the editor of Transworld, Eric Stricker, straight from the margarita pitcher. I bet he double dips the salsa, too
Patron shots for the whole table...thanks Sole Tech!
Ashton took us go-cart racing after getting us all good and hammered at dinner
These things actually go pretty fast and are super fun to spin out
They're tech with the race results. Thanks for all the good times, Sole Tech
Day 1 & Day 2 – Serious Chillin’
The flight from Portland to Orange County wasn’t that bad at all, and straight off the plane we were greeted by Ashton. He does Public Relations for etnies under the Sole Technology umbrella. Yep, skateboarding brands have PR guys now. Ashton was kind enough to spend his Saturday afternoon with Rob and I and drove us to Mark Waters’ house, another Sole Tech guy that does their events. Mark lives in suburbia, but instead of a white picket fence, he’s got a cement bowl poured in the backyard.

We skated with Mike Rusczyk and a few locals until the sun went down and then made our way to our accommodations in Newport Beach. This was definitely one of the best places we’ve ever stayed. Instead of a hotel room, we had a modern-ass loft that we shared with others from the skateboarding Industry. The place had a view of the bay, the ocean, was stocked with booze, and the balcony of our room was right on Newport Blvd., which was perfect for heckling.

The evening was a wrap after a fine Italian meal and we awoke to a beautifully sunny day in Newport. Rob took off to post the story from Portland and I hung out with our new Euro friends for a few hours. We met up a bit later and went on a long skate, from Newport Pier all the way to what they call The Wedge. There were no waves to view, but it was still rad. We were out of town and were enjoying the hell out of our Sunday…that doesn’t happen too often.

Back at the lofts the rest of the skateboarding media arrived. There were representatives from all of the big mags, a few mags from Europe, and a few prominent websites. We were a part of a damn fun group of guys that were particularly good at heckling from the balcony. As the sun set we all piled onto Pierre Andre’s boat, but I would say that it was more of a yacht, and went for a ride around the bay.

Pierre is a very interesting man. He’s the owner of all of Sole Tech and is down-to-earth, very friendly, and extremely generous. I got to chat with him for a bit and it was cool that he knew what was up with Skatepark of Tampa and the events that we do. He’s come a long, long way for a guy that came to America and slept in his car. Hats off.

The rowdy bunch exited the boat/yacht after damn near finishing all of the booze on board and headed to dinner, where head marketing dude at Sole Tech, Don Brown, started a food fight and got us kicked out of The Blue Beet. I was particularly enjoying that place because there was a guy playing guitar and we were throwing requests from Dylan to Ozzy to Metallica to Springsteen and he was on point with all of them.

Next stop was jock-fest, so I bailed and headed back to the room in anticipation of checking out the Institute.

Day 2 – STI Media Day
Riding in a 15-passenger van with the editors of the skate mags was pretty entertaining. You want to talk about haters? Some of the commentary was hilarious during the trip from Newport Beach to Lake Forest, the home of Sole Technology.

They had breakfast waiting for us in the lab. Oh yeah, I mean lab, but the formal name is Sole Technology Institute. This was like a full-on science class from junior high, except this time around I didn’t want to fall asleep. And the blatant fact that everything they do at Sole Tech is skateboarding-related shines through at all times.

The word of the day was “quantify.” And since I didn’t want to be the lone dumbass that didn’t know the meaning, I waited until later to ask someone. Bottom line is that they “quantify” the results of the tests by using the information that they receive to draw conclusions. Here is the definition from

1. to determine, indicate, or express the quantity of.

Where does this all tie in? Well, there are machines that cut, pull, push, smash, and bend the shoes that you wear. They even have one that simulates the action of a kickflip. These dudes test everything and anything concerning skateboarding shoes, even shoes that they didn’t manufacture. Word on the street is that they took those other brands off the shelves before we arrived.

So this all boils down to keeping the quality up and developing better products to keep you jumping down the 10-flat-11 that much longer. Of all the crazy machines, the cameras and computers that they have hooked to the eight-stair was seriously tech. They had this kid Nick in a spandex outfit with sensors attached to him jumping down and landing on the “force plate” on command. From there they could tell the force that is applied to your feet when you jump down stairs, which can be anywhere from 10 – 17 times your body weight! And that’s why they developed the G2 System insole.

If you’ve read this far you are a complete skate nerd, but I’m right there with you. I stayed in the lab and talked to the assistant manager and ripping skateboarder Scotty Cox and got info that I can’t post on the site.

Next stop was the building across the street, where I had lunch with my DTE LOC boy, Bobby Worrest. Bobby wasn’t the only pro there though, because during the next presentation of new product, it was announced that Mikey Taylor, along with Sean Malto, are etnies’ newest hired assassins. I knew about Malto, but the confirmation of Mikey was sick…I’m a big fan of that dude and he was there in person. Of all the traveling I’ve done, that was only the second time in real life that I’ve seen Mikey Taylor.

Sole Tech was kind enough to give us some gift certificates so we could shop in the Employee Store and line our feet with some proper Sole Tech product. Then we had a helmet-less session in the etnies Skate Park, which apparently is tough to come by. Finally, we were corralled back into the van for yet another meal. How much do we really need to eat? Of course the fine-dining at Javier’s turned into yet another Sole Tech food fight, with a pitcher of margaritas being dumped over Don Brown’s head. Apparently food fights are very commonplace with that crew.

I bailed early of course, but the rest of the derelicts went go-cart racing. The next morning came early, but our fearless host Ashton was up before the sun and ready to take us to the airport. Thanks to Ashton and our friends at Sole Tech for the education and relaxation. Can this be a yearly trip?


Here's a minute of our weekend: Active Erica tries to kickflip, Ashton shoots champagne corks into traffic, Pierre almost breaks his foot on the sofa board, and Adam Sullivan 360 flips it.


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