Author: Steve Goemaat

Carson Parkinson drops off the edge of the overpass to come in third. Photo: Talyn Sherer

The 14th annual Summer of Death has come and gone, and what a banger it was. Roughside of the TRAX IV Presented by Scion was one for the record books. Johnny Roughneck, creator of Roughneck Hardware out of San Francisco, was out in the streets to throw the Salt Lake version of the Roughneck BART Tour. The premise for the contest is to not be bound to the closed-in area of a skatepark, but to be mobile and to consist of various street spots around Salt Lake, all while being in convenient enough locations to use public transportation.  I know what you’re thinking to yourselves right now: “Wow, that is fucking genius!” And yes, I couldn’t agree more. With some pretty heavy spots, this was no walk in the park for anyone involved—it was bound to be epic. Johnny Roughneck and crew got the crowd together early, and a variety of chaos and skateboarding ensued shortly after. Between mobbing the streets, public transportation and skating the spots, Summer of Death was sure to be on the #roughside.

A noteworthy session went down at 9th and 9th skate park during registration time, while the 50-plus skaters gathered and got ready for the day. A heavy warm-up on the down rail would foreshadow events for the rest of the day, with some bangers from Jordan Brown and Nate Brown, as well as Caleb Orton throwing down a plethora of tricks to get the blood flowing. The troops gathered just before 3 p.m. and it was off to the train station. While some bobbed and weaved on the uneven sidewalks, others took to the streets and accepted the risk of the daytime traffic. The TRAX station was packed and ready to go, with all fares paid courtesy of SLUG Magazine. With a mostly unknown scene now out in the public eye, raised eyebrows and snickers were sure to follow from the other passengers, given the motley crew that was suddenly among them. The costumed fans of Comic Con threw a humorous twist on things, leaving even myself thinking, “What the fuck is going on here?”

Our first spot brought us all to really “Discover Gateway,” as well as the unique and skateable architecture within it. You could slide down the C-ledge, send a wallie off the rock over, lip slide up the ledge, or wallie the spherical decorations of the sidewalk. The contestants were anxious to take their skills to the streets, so the session went off from the get go. While one skater was sliding the ledge, another was popping over it, and another was sliding the other way. Cameron Parkinson had a wallie, late frontside shove-it off the rock gap while Orton stuck it out at the spot, just long enough to pull off a stylish, backside boardslide to pop over the ledge that would land him Best Trick for the day. Once we got wind of po-lice trying to get down on us, the mob headed out around the corner to a sizable parking lot to parking lot gap with a tight landing. Nate Brown took no time to launch himself down the gap as well as pulling off a ninja-like frontside 180. Orton was not far behind, grabbing his nose down the gap. The spot was shortlived, but a banger for sure. From there, the Roughneck soldiers caught a train out west to our next stop for the day, which was out there, in more ways than one.

As the mob moved further west, we eventually got to an underpass bank, with ramps on each side and a ledge going the length under the bridge. Things got started here with a couple of halfway hill bombs down the bank, which eventually turned into a drop contest off the highway barrier above. Both Cameron Parkinson and Carson Parkinson charged this drop, leaving some skin to show for it. Brown showed off his rough side at the spot, dropping from a nose blunt stall, into the bank from the highway barrier, which landed him ass down on the sidewalk, as well as into the SLUG history books. After the excitement of the death drop cooled, a couple contest goers hit the bank with some flat ground tricks, including a backside flip, nollie backside heelflip and a stylish no comply pressure flip 180 from the homie Millhouse.

As the storm clouds began inching their way closer, we trudged back onto the train and back east a bit to hit the next spot. A circular, sizable manny pad roundabout would lay the groundwork for this technical leg of the contest. With bodies charging the spot from all angles, it was a bit chaotic to see who was doing what, but tricks were going down. The transition of the sidewalls made wallie manuals and nose manuals the most attempted tricks with some flips out on either side. Getting across the pad unscathed was worth a medal in and of itself, as collisions became more and more apparent, making the sidewalls an attraction to the spot as well. The rain held for most of the day but broke out in the middle of the manny pad session, leading us all skitching, hitching and pushing like mad men and women to the nearest bridge underpass, which contained the last features for the day.

With the rain coming down on either side of us, our mob of skaters made the most out of this dry spot, hitting the transition going up the Jersey barrier and showing off their rugged style and DIY spot skills. Jorge Martinez, winner of the am division from the first SOD contest this summer, tore up the spot with a frontside 5-0 transfer and then a frontside 50-50 with a same way 270 into the bank. Carson Parkinson knocked a quick backside krooked grind tap on the top of the barrier while Jordan Brown backside nose slid the bank. There were honestly too many tricks going down in too many places to keep up with, but the session would pretty much wrap up with a technical backside feeble to backside tail slide transfer on the Jersey barrier by Levi Faust.

Johnny Roughneck rounded up the troops under the bridge for the announcements of the big winners of the day. Best Trick would go to Orton with his last-minute board-slide pop out on the C-ledge at the first spot. Third place would go to Carson Parkinson, who was followed by his brother Cameron in second, and Brown would close it out, taking home first place as well as Best Digger from the death drop spot out in the Wild West. The winners’ circle took home some hefty prize packs put together by all of our sponsors. Nike SB also put a new pair of shoes on the contest-goer with the worst shoes. From there, it was off to Spedelli’s for pizza, beer and music from The North Valley and Edguf as well as some more product to be tossed from Johnny Roughneck and the nice people at Scion. Thanks to sponsors After Dark Skateboards, Saga Outerwear, SK801, Salty Peaks Boardshop, Milo Sport, Goal Zero, Arcade Belt Company, Scion, Epic Boardshop, Arize Board Shop, Board of Provo, iNi cooperative, Spedelli’s and, of course, Johnny Roughneck and Roughneck Hardware. Thank you to everyone who came out, contributed and made Roughside IV Presented by Scion so awesome. Until next year, remember to keep an eye out on the Roughside.

Rise Records
Street: 04.30
Sharks = The Gaslight Anthem + The Clash + Mark Hoppus
There is a certain blissfulness that comes with simple music. UK-based Sharks’ latest release, Selfhood, is a record that reminds me of a simpler time in music. Selfhood showcases solid, upbeat instrumentals from the band, while James Mattock’s low and almost melancholy vocals drift underneath. The contrast of the two keeps listeners interested throughout the album, which seems to play through before you can even grasp it. The pop-rock buildups hit at all the right spots, but seem to overshadow the vocals time and time again. The guitar riffs and pitches on songs like “I Won’t Taint” and “The More You Ask Me, The Less I’m Sure” come in with a surf-rock feel, where the band cuts its timing in half for a mellower chorus. Fitting in with the new age of Rise Records, Selfhood is a sunny day, windows down type of album, perfect for summer. 
–Steve Goemaat


Skaters taking turns at the first Roughside stop. Photo: Martin S Rivero

The Summer of Death skate series wrapped up this past weekend with SLUG’s annual Roughside of the TRAX contest. Using TRAX as our transportation and the city as our skate park, the contest is unique, with new spots and features each year. Johnny Roughneck and SLUG Magazine set up shop for registration and (heavy-hitting) warm-ups at Fairmont Skate Park. From the park, boom boxes bumped and wheels screeched as the skaters mobbed out to the first stop of the Roughside SLC tour.

Our first stop brought us to a tech-savvy manual pad on the east side. With two steps up and two steps down, this feature was the perfect size to go big, technical or basic. Among the bangers, Taylor Mineer kicked it off early with a nose manual, front side shove to manual combo. Victor Quintana stuck the first front 180 to switch manual of the session. Flipping in or out is always a heavy move and Nate Brown knew it with his nollie inward-heelflip manual that got the hype up for everyone. The thigh-high handrail route down the side caught some action, as Caleb Orton stuck an allusive, caveman-board-slide, while the two stair handrail caught a front nose bonk by Mike Zanelli. Boards and bodies flew on and off the pad with everyone getting tricks. The sun was high and hype was on when it was time to hit TRAX for spot number two.

Everyone gathered by train, car, bike or skateboard down a dirt path to the big drop, “Junk Spot.” A chest-high loading dock with a foot higher ramp at the end was the setup for this impact heavy session. Skaters popped ollies and grabs to get their legs ready and the session progressed from there. Curtis Ocampo came through, whipping a huge front side 360 boneless, which stepped the bar up right off the bat. With everyone getting hyped on each other’s tricks, the session carried some serious energy. Nate Brown came through again with a front side 360 while his brother, Jordan Brown, threw a stylish backside 360. Zanelli kept his unique tricks coming with a huge front K-grind bonk on a junk rail, stabilized by rocks. The size of the drop brought out some unique grabs with shove-it tail grabs and benihanas being thrown in the mix. Clark Thomas threw a bunch of tricks, including a backside 360, a stanky-legged 360 flip (on a different board after he broke his) and a front side big-spin. Orton shut the session down with his hard-earned switch heelflip to, the absolute, bolts.

The troops were rallied as we bailed on the junk to “Bonus Round” number one; another, more mellow, loading dock kicker. With a decent flat on top, After Dark skateboards provided a bench to pop up and slide, which added a new take on the spot. Zanelli threaded the needle with a barrage of tricks, including a backside crooked grind and a backside nose grind to backside 180 off. Thomas earned his stripes at this spot and got sideways on a backside blunt slide on the bench. The detour was a treat for all, but time winded down and we had to move out for the third main spot.

Back into the heart of the city, we went to a mix and match spot of all features. A ledge with angle iron, a manny slab to down bench and a sizable handrail were the hot spot here. Zanelli popped a nose grind 5-0 transfer on the ledge to a sketchy steel beam on the end. Jordan Brown kept up the tricks with a switch tail slide front side 270 out, followed up by Clark Thomas with a switch front side 180 5-0 grind, to backside 180 out. The technical tricks kept coming, with Nate Brown stomping a backside crooked grind to nollie flip out. The handrail was a focal point to some front board slides, courtesy of Caleb Orton and an insanely solid smith grind from Jose Sweet who had been throwing himself all day. Sweet’s trick called it for “The Goat,” but a brand new 10 stair awaited the masses!

The mob gathered, and little man David Mack had no problem busting a front side 180 down the set twice his size. The Brown Brothers killed it again, with Jordan sticking a backside 360 and his brother following him up on a frontside 360. Three spots and two bonus rounds under our belts, Roughside 5 was a wrap as we headed to The Shred Shed for awards and hangs.

Taking Third place, with his unique bag of tricks at each spot, Mike Zanelli landed himself a hefty prize pack. Second was too close to call, so Jordan and Nate Brown showed some brotherly love sharing the podium. Best trick went to the worthiness of Jose Sweet’s smith grind at the “Dead Goat” rail and Caleb Orton made it to an honorable mention with his undeniable shredding of every spot. Last, but certainly not least, was Clark Thomas, whose big tricks and all-around solid skating (even on a different board) gave him what he needed to get first place. Big thanks to everyone involved, and to our sponsors: Crossroads Skate Park, Ramp Sports, BC Surf & Sports, Us Against One Clothing, Salty Peaks Board Shop, Milo Sport, Publik Coffee, INI Cooperative, Rebel Union Clothing, After Dark Skateboards, Roughneck Hardware, Black Gold Grip Tape, and Everyday SF for stuffing those prize packs to the fullest and for lacing us all up on that product toss. Show these companies some love and gear up for next year—Roughside 6 is coming!

By Steve Goemaat



@Flatspotter footage check. Photo: Sam Milianta

Click images for captions

In the social media age, content is literally at our fingertips all the time. Platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook make it simple to see what your best friends, idols and favorite stalk subjects are doing at all times. When it comes to skateboarding, Instagram’s skateboard content is mind-boggling. If you are a Utah local skater, chances are that you are part of the 33,100-plus people following @Flatspotter. An organically grown and natural evolution that came from the love of skating and videography has become one of the biggest and (in my own personal opinion) best platforms to see your favorite local skaters at your favorite local parks, absolutely killing it. Mastermind of the lens Dustin Hill and longtime friend and business partner Bryce Parkinson are the enveloped whole that is @Flatspotter. While Hill takes the cake on the filming, Parkinson is the man behind the scenes pushing fresh wood, wheels, soft goods and whatever other items the duo can dream up. What started as a platform to upload videos and get the community hyped is now a killer team of rippers (pictured here), a line of skate products (available at your favorite local shops) and still an engaging and active community with whom to share skateboarding. @Flatspotter was born out of love and thrives on that love—and the duo agrees that it’s something skateboarding needs more of.
(L–R) Bryce Parkinson and Dustin Hill. Photo: Niels Jensen
(L–R) Bryce Parkinson and Dustin Hill. Photo: Niels Jensen

With A combined 39 years of skateboarding under their belts, both Hill and Parkinson are no strangers to the industry. From @Flatspotter’s original montage of Utah rippers and head explosions, @Flatspotter has grown up and out in many ways. “It started probably about 2012 as a video and online persona where I could share my videos (since that’s my trade),” says Hill. “At first, it was all about just sharing Utah skateboarding and a bunch of my friends, and there was really no outlet to share what I was already filming. It’s definitely still about Utah skateboarding, but now we have the team and we are pushing boards, so there is a lot more direction and focus.” Parkinson, on the other hand, who is the former owner of Shortbus Skateboards, joined in the movement roughly three years back with the idea and resources of putting wood to the streets. “It started with some wheels, and then Dustin talked about doing some boards, so we just came together since we were both pushing towards similar things,” Parkinson says. @Flatspotter has been a slow progression of what it is today. “It’s all come about in such a non-traditional way”, says Hill. “There was a website, then the Instagram and social media side went crazy, and now we have product and a team, so it’s all come very organically and kind of randomly,” Hill says. “Now we feel like we have a real board company and a team and an actual direction.” With products comes a financial responsibility, but both Hill and Parkinson agreeably say they are still about keeping the Utah scene hyped, especially on the social media side of things.

Speaking of the team, the @Flatspotter roster is, to no surprise, a heavy bunch of rippers. With all-time Utah killers like Matt Fisher and Shilo Sweat and young gun Deng Tear as well as a couple of “flow” Utah homies, there is no shortage of banger footage coming from the @Flatspotter squad. If the one-minute Instagram video feature only heightens your anxiety to see more of the @Flatspotter homies, there’s good news! “We are working on a video, a half-length, as we like to call it,” says Hill. “It’s a full-length, but no one has any attention span anymore, so a 15-minute video is now considered full-length.” Parkinson adds, “It’s been in motion for about four months now, with about six weeks of really skating and really filming, and I’d say its pretty good so far. Between Matt [Fisher] having a case of the warmup bangers and then Shilo and Deng just ripping, we’ve seen some pretty cool tricks go down.”

As far as the future, Hill and Parkinson hope still to be ripping and staying afloat in the scene. “Hopefully, we are maintaining and still moving product,” says Parkinson. “The newest boards have been moving the best as far as online sales and the local shops who have been supporting us, so we’re optimistic.” Of course, they’re staying humble. Hill says, “Thirty-one thousand Instagram followers doesn’t necessarily mean you are killing it, since you’re competing with literally every other skate company out there.” As a whole, the skate industry has seen some real fluctuation, not only in brands and skaters, but a vibe in and of itself of what is considered “cool and core” and what is considered “corporate and lame.” “We just want to see more love,” says Hill. “Not only in Utah or anything in particular but from the industry and collectively, just as skaters coming together and being hyped on the same thing.”

There’s no question that Utah’s is a strong and growing skate scene and that companies like @Flatspotter not only give this scene a platform but are now contributing with their products. As long as the support goes full circle, more companies, shops and industry influencers can stay afloat and keep the progression alive on all bases. Hill and Parkinson do what they do out of love and out of the need to share their creativity with whomever is hyped on it. If you are not already, follow @Flatspotter on Instagram and support them online and in your local shops. –Steve Goemaat

Nitro World Games 2016.

What is there to say that hasn’t already been said about someone as talented and inspiring as Travis Pastrana? As if the 11 X-Games gold medals in several different sports aren’t enough, Pastrana has also created his own legacy with another household name: Nitro Circus. From their start on television to the live performance now, Pastrana and Nitro are still pushing the action sports community every single day. Pastrana and his fellow henchmen of daredevils, made up with the likes of Gregg Godfrey, Jeremy Rawle, Jeff Tremaine and a collective of the best big-air athletes in the world have been touring with Nitro Circus for roughly six years now, hitting stops all over the world. Travis’ newest and now most involved event is called the Nitro Circus World Games, which had its debut right here in SLC at the Rice-Eccles Stadium this past summer. An event that Pastrana refers to as the “Big Air Olympics,” Nitro Circus comprised some of the world’s best athletes launching themselves into the air to perform mind-boggling tricks. SLUG had a chance to get on the horn with Pastrana while he made a stop in the beautiful City of Salt and discuss the present and future of what is to come from him and the circus he calls life.

SLUG: What brings you to Salt Lake City on this trip?
Travis Pastrana: The main thing was to finalize all the details and everything for Nitro Circus World Games, coming back here to Rice-Eccles Stadium next summer. We are pretty much all set, so I am super excited to bring the event back here!

SLUG: That’s awesome! Let’s backtrack to Nitro Circus 2016. What were some thoughts going through your head that day?
Pastrana: Well, ever since Josh Sheehan did a triple backflip on an FMX bike in my backyard and then later a double backflip in competition that year, we knew we had to do something with big-air athletes competing and pushing the limits in their very own event. It all came together pretty quickly, and not to mention, some of these ramps were the biggest ramps these athletes had ever hit. All in all, at the end of the day, there had been 40 tricks that had never been done before, and not one single broken bone in a matter of three hours—so yeah, it was a big day for us!

SLUG: Josh Sheehan is an athlete who is pushing the limits, as well as Jed Mildon, who threw a quadruple backflip on a BMX bike. Who are some other athletes that come to mind when you think of guys who are pushing the limits of their sport?
Pastrana: R Willy (Ryan Williams) has to be at the top of that list. His background is in scootering, but he is now stepping up to BMX riding, with tricks like 720 and 1080 front flips, which have never been done by anyone else. The guys that come from snowboarding are also pushing and progressing their sports as much as possible.

SLUG: Has there ever been any talk of a winter-sport Nitro event?
Pastrana: For me personally, the passion has always been fueled by the summer and warm-weather sports. We have kicked around the idea of doing something for the winter months, but in my opinion, those outlets are already out there. Things like the Winter Olympics and Winter X-Games are still prevalent and still pushing the sport but nothing on that scale really exists for summer sports, and definitely not for big-air competitions. That’s where I think Nitro World Games comes in and fills that void.

SLUG: You’re a family man now, Travis, with two kids, and your wife, Lyndsey “Lyn-Z” Adams Hawkins, is also a professional athlete. How has that influenced you through all of your different career moves throughout the years?
Pastrana: People always ask me how can I travel around the world with my kids and wife, and honestly, I can’t imagine travelling the world without my wife and kids. Nitro Circus is made up of the most passionate people in the world—and some of the best people in the world—[so] having my family around just makes sense. If my daughter wakes me up at 5 a.m., I can grab her and then go down to a hotel lobby, where there will be all of my friends and the extended part of what I consider my family. Lyn-Z is always there for me and pushing me harder.

Nitro World Games 2016.SLUG: How has it been, working with the Godfreys and seeing the Godfrey Clan excel in all of these Nitro Circus events?
Pastrana: Those guys are the coolest and some of the most talented guys to see doing the things they do. I watched Gavin Godfrey become the first person in the world to do a triple backflip on a mountain bike, and then five minutes later, his cousin Ethan Roberts did it, too. The first and second triple backflips were done the same day by two cousins who built the jump and landed the jump together, so that was really cool to see. It was also amazing to see Gavin qualify and get second in the Nitro Circus World Games in BMX [as] someone who mostly flies around on contraptions and mountain bikes. It just goes to show how talented these guys are.

SLUG: What is the big picture for you and for the future of Nitro Circus World Games?
Pastrana: I want to provide the biggest event for the disciplines of big air sports. I think that when there is a need for something, then that is where I excel. There are a lot of really smart people working towards the future of Nitro and the future of where we can take these sports. I myself have been really interested in the safety of these sports and the ramp-building processes to help make these tricks possible. My backyard has become a bit of a training facility, and we really use everything we can to help the world’s best athletes accomplish the best tricks as safely as humanly possible. It is not safe to go 60 to 70 feet in the air, flipping a motorcycle, but there are better ways to do that then others. My focus right now is this next Nitro Circus World Games right here at the Rice-Eccles Stadium!

SLUG: Travis you’ve been an inspiration to so many people, pro and non-pro athletes alike. What are some mottos or words that you live by?
Pastrana: I feel like I may over-state this, but I also feel like I can’t overstate this enough: If you really love something and you really care about and have passion for something, you will find a way to make a living out of it. It may not be the rich and famous living that you dream of, but if you have enough passion … just go out and do it. You will find a way to make that your life and to keep that passion alive in your life!

When you speak to him, Pastrana’s energy and pure desire shine immediately. His creativity and limitless attitude toward not only his own sport, but also the action sports world in general, is something that is not easy to come by. When it comes to passion and the height to which one can take their dreams, studying from Travis Pastrana’s past can put a whole new spin on one’s outlook.

The Nitro Circus World Games will return to Salt Lake City’s Rice-Eccles Stadium this summer on June 24, 2017. Tickets are now on sale. Stay up to date with all things Nitro World Games and purchase tickets at