Sole Tech Media Day 2009 Article at Skatepark of Tampa

Sole Tech Media Day 2009

Posted on Wednesday, February 11, 2009 by Ryan

Words by Ryan Clements
Photos and Captions by Rob Meronek

After waking up a little after 3am on Sunday to pack and leave for the airport on a 6am flight, you're a little out of it by the time you land on the west coast. Ashton from etnies Public Relations picked us up at the airport and took us straight to a spot they call Hamburger Banks. An hour into it, it was already more fun than most bid'niss trips. Nice shirt, Ashton
Ever try to sit facing the other way on the crapper? You can use the tank as a magazine table. I didn't do what I wanted to do at this spot, but it was still super fun. Rob Meronek - take a poop
After the Hamburger Banks, we went to some gub'ment skate park that was closed on a Sunday. You know, like when they close basket ball courses, football tracks, and tennis fields on weekends? Minutes after Clem jumped the fence, three cops showed up. Three. They don't even send three cops when some redneck is beating the crap out of his while family in a domestic violence case. Somehow, skateboarding still has the super bad image. I like it. Let's keep skateboarding evil
After skating, we met up with all the people that, like it or not (or admit it or not), influence your views of skateboarding and what it really is. This is the skateboard industry media. They have some of the coolest jobs in skateboarding. You should try to be one of them if you grow up. Right now we are watching Mind Field in the loft with plenty of skateboard critics chiming in
That's a foot fetish with Pierre who started etnies back in the 80's. Lately he's into the animal stripes
Thanks for letting us play with all the toys in your art gallery, Pierre
Thanks for the boat ride, Pierre
Just as Scuba Steve, Bobby Worrest, and I sat down to enjoy some chicken from the grill...
...that's when Don Brown launches a food offensive at everyone there. It was a massive clean up job
That's Ben Kelly, the new editor at Transworld. I ended up dragging him through a table full of pastries and cupcakes so he got it the worst. I barely know him. Maybe I should think twice before doing stuff like that. Oh well, good times
By midnight I was up for 24 hours so I missed the rest of the ruckus. It's now early morning and we're at the Sole Tech headquarters. Nice lobby. Don't throw food in here
In preparation for the bit of bid'niss about to get started this morning, there's coffee and Bloody Mary's. I love the sketchy skateboard industry
Andrew Reynolds and Bobby Worrest gave us the breakdown on how and why they design and back the products they do. Extremely interesting stuff for a room full of skate nerds like us
After the food fight the night before, Don Brown's disorderly conduct landed him in jail. He got bailed out the next morning and went straight to the meeting for his presentation to us. He definitely smelled like a jail
That's Bobby's shoe inspired by the Silver Bullet, Coors Light
We got a preview of all the upcoming Emerica, Altamont, etnies, and eS products. Look at that crazy Braydon shoe
Now we're at the new etnies TF skating with all the media types. Most of them rip, especially the Euro dudes like this guy here. I wonder if he thinks we're all fat
That's Erik Olsen from Slap - frontside 180 nosegrind to forward
Heath Brinkley, the etnies Team Manager, showed up and brought the talent with him
That talent was Sean Malto. How lucky do you have to be to have a private session with this dude? Thanks again, etnies
Brian Jones, the Emerica PR guy, hired three girls from Craig's List to just sit around and get people beers during the TF session in an effort to break up the meat convention. Rob Brink, get on your skateboard. I spy Mikey Taylor. Who dat with the giant ollie over the hired help?
The ollie over the hired help is Andrew Langi, now on etnies. They have a great mini-ramp in the TF. I skated a lot more than I held the camera. Plus I got taken away for some bid'niss meeting, so sorry for the lack of skate photos
It's another flight back to Tampa at the buttcrack of dawn, so I had to skip the nightlife again. I'm just back at Pierre's loft nerding out with long exposures
That's a pretty amazing balcony setting at the loft. This year no one, including me, threw anything off it. Maybe that means we can come back next year?
Someone who works at Skateboarder Mag brought a draft copy of the mag they get before it goes to press. It's unstapled and has rough edges like a newspaper. What an interesting business. Good night. Thanks for the hospitality
What is “Media Day,” you ask? It’s basically Sole Tech’s way of getting the skateboarding media together at their headquarters to discuss what’s up with their brands. And in case for some odd reason you didn’t know this, our friends at Sole Tech are responsible for eS, Emerica, etnies, and Altamont. Each of their four brands has its own unique history and Sole Tech wants to make sure that we know and understand this.

Not trying to get too “business” on you here, but Pierre Andre is the owner of all of Sole Tech, which is a privately-owned company. What difference does it make that Sole Tech is privately owned? Well, it’s huge because that means that they don’t have to answer to a Board of Directors that is interested only in profit, regardless of the result. Therefore, Sole Tech can make decisions based on what’s best for the longevity of skateboarding. Follow?

Did I happen to mention that Pierre is a skateboarder? Yep, he’s a freestyle pro from way back in the 80’s, but still skates and is very much a skateboarder at heart. Add on the facts that he’s highly intelligent, has a distinct vision, and has grown into one helluva businessman as the years have gone by and you’ve got a great recipe for success.

So has this been enough of a Sole Tech ass-kiss article yet? I know, I know…so let me just tell you about what Rob and I did during our 60-hour trip to Southern California:

Sunday, February 8, 2009
  • 4am – wake up and head to the airport in Tampa
  • 11am (PST) – get picked up by Ashton Maxfield, Sole Tech PR guy, in Orange County, CA
  • 12pm – eat at some hip Newport Beach restaurant
  • 1pm – skate some banks in Costa Mesa
  • 2pm – hop the fence at Volcom’s Costa Mesa Public Skate Park and get a $200 ticket after being asked by the cop, “Now how old are you?”
  • 3pm – arrive at the amazing lofts (owned by Pierre of course) that are only two blocks off Newport Beach
  • 4pm – watch Alien Workshop’s Mind Field three times with a representative of nearly every single skateboarding publication in existence, Canada and Europe included
  • 6pm – cruise the Bay in Pierre’s yacht (yes, he owns a yacht) with 27 dudes and two females
  • 8pm – try to eat some BBQ that was made for us, but someone started a crazy-ass food fight. After hoping that it wasn’t going to get out of control so I could still eat, I gave up and joined in
  • 9pm – ate pizza since all of the food was ruined
  • 10:30pm – passed out due to being up for so long
  • 11pm – 2am – got woken up at least five times by loud partying in the “open space” loft
  • 3am – woke up yet again, but this time to Bobby Worrest asking, “Why are you sleeping?”
  • 6:30am – woke up to drunk people up before me and found out that Sole Tech Marketing Guru Don Brown was in jail. I always miss the good stuff
Monday, February 9, 2009
I don’t know what the deal was with the weather, but it sure was cold in Southern California. Add in that no one bothered to turn on the heat and we all pretty much woke up frozen.

If you’re hanging with the Sole Tech Family and you’re not drinking, then you’re eating. Breakfast was at a cool joint off the harbor, but the rain put a bit of a damper on my burrito. Next stop: Sole Tech HQ.

This was literally the only actual “work” we did on this trip. And if you call “work” sitting through an hour-long presentation about something that you are thoroughly interested in anyway, well, then we worked really hard. Here are the things that I learned after laughing at the pre-made Bloody Mary’s I saw on the table as we walked in:
  • G2 Platinum is their new heel technology. It’s made out of the same material as bullet-proof vests, which is actually soft and then becomes resistant and expands upon impact. Jump down bigger stuff without consequences!
  • “E-suede” is their new suede that lasts longer
  • Bobby Worrest isn’t really that great of a public speaker, but he does like Rambo, which makes sense because his pro shoe is called First Blood
  • When The Boss speaks, people listen. Andrew Reynolds himself got up to talk about Altamont and let us all know that he likes working exclusively with skateboarders. We also got to see him skate his amazing looking, cement TF, which is in his yard at home…via video, but I sure would like to visit
This entire presentation was over before you knew it, and then guess what? It was time to eat again. Are you kidding me? I was still full from breakfast, so Rob and I skated the mini-ramp in the STI for a bit. Although lunch was served in the STI (Sole Tech Institute – scientific lab where they test all of their shoes), we didn’t get a tour this year because I guess they figured we heard all about it a year ago.

At this point it was only 1pm and there was nothing to do but skate the new TF. As much as I love to hop on my board when I get the chance, I don’t really skate for four or five hours at a time. So after being surprised at how good some of the industry goons are, I made my way around the Sole Tech offices to chat with some associates about future projects. The least I could do was attempt to be relatively productive as opposed to helping polish off the several cases of PBR that were on ice in the TF. We finally got out of there at about 6pm, but guess what we did after that? Yep, we ate. And then guess what we did after that? Yep, we drank. The spots were a couple of bars in Santa Ana. It was one of those areas that are on the up and up, comparable to Ybor City in some ways.

Good times were had, but I persuaded Brian Jones, Sole Tech PR guy, to take us back to the lofts for a good night’s rest in anticipation for the flight back to Tampa. I’m trying to end this piece, but I’m having trouble fitting this next part in somewhere, so I’ll just tell the story how it happened.

We were hanging out at the lofts on the first day and one of the guys from a mag asked, “So, where are you guys from?” to Rob and I. I said, “Skatepark of Tampa.” He then asked, “Really, how does that qualify as media?” I responded with a question, “What mag are you from?” He replied, “Color, from Canada.” I said with a completely straight face, “Oh really. How does THAT qualify as media?”

Thanks to all of our friends at Sole Tech for the good times. See you next year.


Some Photos from Ashton:


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