Cha’boy Mitchell Krepps asked me a few questions for a forestry class, and I realized that posting this little mini interview to a blog would be a solid opportunity to continue following through with our mission of raising awareness. It was a solid exercise just for myself to more solidify my feelings on what we’re doing, and you might even take a moment to think about these questions for yourself as you continue your own personal journies!
Mitch: In what way are trees and forests important to you?
JV: Most importantly, they provide us with oxygen and regenerate the earth for animal life. Then, they provide us with fruits, nuts, and are habitats for animals that we might require for food. Then, wood is an excellent source for building, whether it’s for a house, tools, or for recreational equipment.
That’s it. Thanks for reading! Consider thinking about this for yourself, and applying your personal feelings toward your buying decisions in the future!
There is no creativity left in this world. There was a time when we had nothing to do. We sat around. We combined ourselves. We grew body parts and developed ways to measure waves. We made our private parts heart shaped. We grew curls. We radiated in diverse colors. We spent our time learning how to love.
Now we’re on the retreat. We are pulling back and falling for cheap tricks. We are spending our time chasing money, in constant states of various worries. We are becoming less diverse. We are creating limits and rules. We our stucking ourselves as particular things in particular ways of being, as if this is somehow the pinnacle of our conscious path. We need to find a way back into leisurely creating and exploring, or else it will be on to the next one.
Make no mistake, we have more tools in front of us than ever before. It’s not like we aren’t creating. There is still more innovation than ever before. But for what purpose? Are we growing, and in what direction? If our intention is only to sell and to create to sell, or create to solve a problem and sell our services, then what we end up with is a world with a bunch of bi-products. You end up weighing the pros and cons and making sacrifices when you ask yourself if the ends justify the means.
I challenge you to create your world in which the means are all the justification you need.
Whatever we think about ourselves–whatever value we place on our own lives, here I am. There you are. You are here. Do you believe in chance or do you believe in fate? Are you reading this because you ended up right next to here based on a series of decisions and then decided to make your next move toward this place? Are you here because there is simply no other thing that you could currently be? Here is what you happened–what you are happening. At any point in his conversation, because of the nature of written communication, you can walk away. And then here/there you’ll be. And you’ll take from it whatever you decided and were prepared to take from it. Maybe nothing at all!
You could be anyone. Think about it. At some point you were some potential, and then you ended up in the belly of a woman, who successfully birthed you, and that woman became your mom. She could’ve been any mom in the world–in the Universe. She was yours. And you were birthed and became, through a series of happenings, one after another after another. At some point you learned to read, to understand, and then you did a bunch of stuff and you fell in this place. You could’ve been anybody, and yet you are here with me. I could’ve been anybody, and here I am now. With you. At some point I was a potential and I might’ve become a monk in Tibet or a homeless Indian, or a black man, or an heir to a fortune, or a woman, or a hermit in the Maine woodlands. I could’ve been you. You could’ve been me. Ultimately, that thing which we are. We all could’ve been each other.
Nevertheless, here we are. You are reading this as I am writing this very word. Each individual letter, which you are grouping and turning into meaning.
I am a wave of potential trapped into a point of observation given the ability to observe and understand relativley abstract thought, move all my digits, transfer my self from one place to another on a 3 dimensional plane along a 4th dimension of time, and transfer other objects housing points of observation through my body and use as energy to further propel myself through this plane. You are the same thing. The same potential, trapped in a different body. We are the same.
All things happen in waves. Waves are repeated. Practice making waves you want to repeat.
We have taught ourselves to use the term self-consciousness–to be self-conscious–with a negative connotation. To describe something that happens to our selves that makes us uncomfortable. But let’s take the word for what it is, not as how we feel about it. To be self-conscious is actually the biggest gift which is humanity. It is exactly how we describe ourselves to be human, to the utmost extent. If we feel like we are doing something wrong when we are being self-conscious, aren’t we also saying that being human is a bad thing–something we should be ashamed of? If we are to be shameful of our humanity, why do we choose to exist it? You know, at any point in time, you actually physically have control over your existence. So let’s just make it 100% clear that being human is a choice.
Participating in self reflection and self awareness is actually the very essence of humanity. Choosing to look at yourself, find yourself, affirm yourself internally, and then externally by acting upon your affirmation and choosing to literally BE, not through your existence but through your actions, is what it means to BE human. That is the very nature of humanity, and finding ways to ignore this nature is equal to ignoring your existence–to essentially die, or live as if you didn’t matter. Which is exactly what you’re doing. Mattering.
The world is gradually changing its opinion on the medicinal plant, marijuana. If you’re one of those older generation people who chose to stopped smoking weed because it made you uncomfortable, or it made you self-conscious, then maybe it’s time to rethink those feelings about smoking weed. Maybe you don’t like being self-conscious. You know, it makes me uneasy too sometimes. But I can tell you for sure that being self-conscious is a good thing, even if it makes you uncomfortable in public. Maybe that’s just a sign that you have some more reflecting to do so that you can feel more confident in your affirmation of existence. Maybe if we all practiced being self conscious more often, we would become more like who we really want to be simply through the acting upon sheer determination to become as comfortable in your existence as possible. I’m not saying you should be high all the time…I don’t feel that way at all. I’m simply saying that PRACTICING self-reflection leads to it gradually coming more and more naturally to a person in any state of consciousness. Practicing conscious awareness, whether through meditation, working out, marijuana, or whatever does it for you, is a worthy exercise.
This writing is an expression of my affirmation of existence. I want to help myself and others by being a conscious version of me.
So this is mainly expressed toward my family and friends. I hope you guys get to experience this level of self reflection periodically, regardless of how you get there. Also it’s directed at myself. Self, don’t worry about reflecting, and enjoy those times when you do it well. Also to anybody who is choosing to be receptive to learning from my personal experience. This is an opportunity maybe. If I were me searching outwardly right now, this concept might be a nice little something to find, I think. Or it may be like, well, duh, dude. If that’s the case, even better!
Cheers, and good luck to everybody racing tomorrow. I am thinking about what it must be like to be going down Pike’s Peak right now. It’s gotta be incredible. Hope to act that one out in future and share that experience with you all. Official-ass Pantheon Team Member David Ramirez is out there. Please wish him luck and give him a nice draft!
Also, we are taking and asking for board feedback. There are tons of ways to give feedback. We have a facebook group that you’ll have to personally ask to get invited to, but you’re welcome if you own a Pantheon deck and would like to help us out with feedback. You are also welcome (and it would be greatly appreciated) to leave a review on our facebook page or on our silverfish thread:
That’s all for now. I might update.
Pantheon Decks were created through love of skateboarding and the desire and will to create perfect skateboards. Months of shaping, reworking shapes, and years of building off of past designs, studying what works, what feels good, what is necessary, and what’s not, what’s cost effective, and what the difference is between value added features and what’s just good marketing has led to this moment of creation. Pantheon is fresh and as true as it will ever be right in this moment.
What you see here are the balanced points in space where we find those features resonating together to the greatest efficiency and amplitude. I guess you’ll just have to trust us, or maybe you’re lucky enough to have a friend who has a Pantheon deck, but we really hope you get to cop a feel and see for yourself what we have identified as shred-worthy decks.
What you experience on a Pantheon board is my experience manifested. As a long-time skater already, now with a history of skate and longboard retail management, board design and development, and team management, I have both listened to hundreds of customer and team opinions and also gained experience in developing my own now for years, and this has helped shape my opinion on what I am creating today. In essence, I aim to always do my best work, and I believe you are seeing it now, from the ground up.
Please look through our collection of boards here (http://pantheonlongboards.myshopify.com/collections/all) and feel free to hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask me any questions about the boards. If you have a local shop, have them send an email to my wife MB at email@example.com. Our family appreciates your support and assistance in helping us further along our course. I believe you will continue to see awesome things manifested from team Pantheon.
Let me tell you what makes my fucking day. Muirskate.com now carries Pantheon decks. BOOM!
So here’s the deal. We are really trying to do the Pantheon brand shop-supported. So if you have a local shop and they don’t carry our boards, well, first off, tell them to hit us up. Secondly, if you want a Pantheon deck, you now have a place to get it at Muirskate.com, so you can pick up a complete from them, or just buy a board with grip on it (which we don’t offer!). After you get your board, take it to your shop and be like, “Yo, local shop! You know you want this!” Show them what you can do on it. Let them stand on it. And there, you just helped grow our brand and spread awesomeness. Doesn’t that make you feel good?
So, when we wanted to get our boards in an online retailer, let me tell you why we did it with Muirskate first. The answer is simple. We respect them…like…way much. They are the most core of the core longboard retailers out there. You can contact El Beasto, Scott, the owner, personally, when you want help with your setup. Scott not only knows his stuff, he skates it…HARD. And when brands want their gear at Muirskate, we have to get it past him. So that alone makes us feel really awesome, because Scott likes our stuff enough to support our brand through his site.
Here are a couple other reasons you should support Pantheon through Muirskate.com
1. Their completes are mad cheap. You can buy the deck only through us and get just as good a deal, but if you are setting up a complete, you are going to save a lot of money, and their shipping is free on anything you’ll buy which includes a Pantheon deck.
2. They support the skateboard community. Downhill Disco just happened. Who made it happen? Muirskate. Who’s got the most awesome shop team in downhill skateboarding? Muirskate. Who just took their team to Hawaii? Muirskate. That’s what’s up. We only hope to do our thing well enough here to be able to provide support for our homies like that. Let’s go to Hawaii!
3. You can put grip on your board through Muirskate. That’s right doggies. We don’t offer griptape. Why? Because we’re not a frickin shop. We are literally me, Jeff, and my wife, Maribeth, and we run this ship. And one of us has to watch the baby, so that doesn’t leave a whole lot of deck hands. Shipping boards out of our basement and answering questions is enough on our plate, and we don’t want to shit up our business with layers of people. That’s not to say we aren’t willing to bring people in…think of us like a tribe. You can make a place for yourself here, but you can’t ask me for a job. If you want a job, you’ll make one. That’s my vision anyway. We’ll see how it goes. But yea, we gots no grip cuz I ain’t trying to do that. I’m trying to skate more and grip less.
4. Sometimes they are going to have boards in stock that we don’t. Like, for example, right at this moment while I’m writing this, we don’t have Embryos in stock. You should get yours through them, unless your local shop has them, in which case, your shop is obviously awesome and you should support them.
As a general business model, we are all about supporting local. If your shop carries Pantheon, buy it there. That’s how you support the dudes who are supporting your local scene. That’s how you help your scene grow; how to help put food on the tables of the dudes who help support your stoke. Many scenes don’t have a local shop, though, and some local shops might suck…or maybe they just need a kick in the ass and need to be shown the awesomeness of our shapes. In that case, pick up one of our decks online and show them what’s up. That’s how we see it anyway.
As always, thanks for supporting Pantheon Longboards, our family, and your skateboard community by riding and being stoked on our boards. Spread awesome vibes and ride Pantheon decks cuz they’re the fucking best.
Let me tell you what’s better than photos, videos, and promoting a skateboard brand with content.
Read the title. That’s it.
If you’ve noticed our photos and videos sucking lately, that’s because the few times we’ve been able to get out this winter, we’ve just wanted to skate. Pulling out the camera just feels stupid, like a deterrent from what really matters. Like a deterrent from the moment. You’ve all seen it somewhere else anyway.
So… Hopefully we stoke you out on some cool content down the line here and there, but we’ll probably focus more on spreading ideas than skate photos and leave most of that to the dudes who do that stuff. Chances are, most of the time we make it out to skate, we’re gonna say fuck the camera.
Hey fellow men and women of the world, we just wanted to let you know that we are officially shipping worldwide! Well…almost…
Here is the list of countries we are currently shipping to. If you are interested in Pantheon gear and your country is not listed, email us at Jeff@Pantheonlongboards.com and we’ll figure out a way to get it to you.
Pantheon is currently shipping to:
If your country is listed, it’s because we used our little wordpress bloggy thingy here and saw that people in your country were checking us out. So if you’re not listed, well, it’s because you’re new to Pantheon, and we need to hear from you! As always, please recommend us to your local shop, and have a great day😀
We only have a handful of first run Embryos left! Get yours now! Click HERE for details on the board and to place your order.
If you’ve been paying much attention to Pantheon on the various social networks and/or message boards, you might have noticed that we are soon-to-be releasing a couple new decks. We have a date for our double drop deck, the Nexus, set for the 15th of March, and we have not released a date for our micro-drop doublekicker, the Logos, but rest assured, it will be following shortly behind.
We are beyond stoked to release both of these boards, and we’ve been equally stoked to be able to test them over recent months after spending countless hours making tiny tweaks to get the design just right.
One thing you will notice about these decks that they have in common is that they both have drops. Our first release, the Embryo, is a full-on top mount, and these two decks round out what I feel makes up a solid basic “longboard quiver.” Basically that quiver involves:
- A Pure Downhill Deck – the Embryo. Designed to go fast, with wheelbase options to match your desired speed/control necessities. Lots of concave gives it lots of downhill control and locks in nicely for sideways action.
- A Fun Freeride Board With Kicktails – The Logos. Designed to handle speed, with 1/8-inch microdrops that are ergonomically designed to lock you in and direct your feet in happy downhill and sliding positions. The drops are big enough to feel and use, but small enough to completely ignore. It sports kicktails that make it fun on the streets and even in the driveway. Yep, sometimes we get restricted to the driveway…helloooooo winter (and goodbye, PLEASE).
- A Commuter Board – The Nexus. It is low and easy to get around on. The deep, aggressive 1-inch drops lock you into downhill and sliding positions, and the low platform makes this deck inherently stable, easy to push, and easy to slide. Easy to everything is basically how I describe riding this board.
For me…well, that’s about all I need outside of something to ride transition on. Not to say we’re going to stop altogether with design, but given our limited funds to get things up and going, this was the most basic and obvious starter quiver to develop. Three molds and three decks that cover a wide range of riding styles.
While these boards are significantly different from one another, one thing you will notice about the Nexus and the Logos is that they both are dropped, and beyond that, the shape of the drops are similar. So first let’s tackle the whole dropped platform concept.
Dropping the center of the platform effectively lowers the center of gravity. As the platform gets lower, this supposedly makes a board more stable, though I’m not really sold on this. I’m a firm believer that stability comes from the rider 9 times out of 10, and if you feel more comfortable on a dropped platform, you’ll probably be more stable on it; likewise, if you feel more comfortable on a top mount, you’ll be more stable on that…but scientifically speaking, I’m not going to argue against the inherent stability concept of a lower platform. Based on experience though, as far as stability goes, you should ride what you feel good on. Dropped platforms also make deck less resistant to sliding, easier to push, and increase the amount of surface area that makes up the drop that you have to “lock into” and push on when you’re managing the board and pushing it sideways.
While recent history has pushed the popularity contest more toward topmounts for aggressive riding, this does not mean that the dropped platform doesn’t have its place in a quiver, nor does it mean that you can’t ride aggressively on a dropped platform deck. Instead, what you will find is that you can ride more aggressively with less effort, which thereby makes the effort going into the riding generally less aggressive, but not the riding itself. So then what you have in the whole top mount vs drop deck debate is a question of attitude more than anything else. Are you chillin or are you illin?
For me, I like to do a bit of both, and everything in between. I enjoy the additional control and grip of a top mount, feeling like I can rail a turn, recover from a botched slide with more accuracy, and really feel the lean when you’re pushing the Gs sideways. But then I also enjoy the gentle release and hookup of the double drop, the ease of pushing all day (hell, maybe even pushing back up a hill!), the longer slides with less speed lost, and the big drops to hook into for when you’re sliding over the nastiest pavement. Having ridden both style boards and learned to love the nuances that each style brings to your ride, my quiver includes both boards, and there are many times which I cannot actually decide which one I would rather ride. So when I go to a hill, I usually try to bring both! And when I’m just going on a cruise, I usually take the lowrider.
So moving beyond why someone would want a dropped platform, let’s move forward with the shape of our drops. Both the Logos and the Nexus have what we are calling a Crescent-drop, for lack of a better marketing term. We’re calling it that because, duh, it describes the shape of the drop. The important thing is not what you call it. What’s important is that the drop is, at least in our opinion, the most functional drop shape out there.
We’d be super stoked to say we innovated this drop, but as many of us know, skateboard design generally works in derivative steps, and this drop is definitely a derivative off of one of the most innovated wood-bending feats we’ve ever seen. As far as we know, the crescent drop shape was first created by Martin Siegrist in the Airflow Fuse/Bracket mold. The shape was very angular, almost as if they were folding paper. I personally am not a huge fan of angular concaves, but I’ll leave that to personal preference; however, the shape itself, I thought, was incredible. So what I wanted to do with that shape of a drop is to figure out how to make it with curves, and how to adapt the drop shape to accommodate those curves. So, first I figured out how to do it with a tub concave, and then I figured out how to do it with a more radial shape on our Pantheon decks, and voila! The Logos and the Nexus are a product of that. It’s not 3D concave…it’s not bacon. It’s just the drop shape that I think makes the most sense functionally, feels the most comfortable, and which provides the most strength and stiffness through the length of the board.
Ergonomically, our crescent drop creates a nice bowed shape that creates a pocket for your toe to slide into, so that it is held on three sides, and the drop angles back almost like a shelf to hold the side of the foot. This not only feels great, but it comes in handy when you’re doing toeside drifts and slides. Ergonomically, it functions much in the same way that a bubble-drop functions, but at the end of the drop, instead of having a W-shaped platform to deal with, the shape works its way back into concave. Functionally, this is not only exceptionally strong, but it also provides more wheel clearance. While you may not notice this in the Nexus due to the cutouts, this is very apparent in the Logos, because we are able to get plenty of wheel clearance without adding 3-D wheel flares, and when you stand on the deck, the concave combined with the drops feel very non-intrusive and surfy.
In the back, the crescent-drop again acts similarly to a bubble-drop, providing a slight shelf that opposes the toe when pushing the board out toeside. It does so without loss of concave, helping you really lock in on heelside maneuvers as well.
Overall, this provides much of the same functionality of the classic drop shape and the bubble drop but solves some key downsides to both. With no concave lost through the deck, you will notice a significant increase in stiffness when compared to the classic drop shape, which flattens out the concave and creates noticeable weak points. You can test this by jumping up and down on the board and seeing how much it flexes, and you will notice immediately that our decks have next to none when compared to other decks that use classic drop shape. The bubble drop, then, is a vast improvement over the classic drop shape, but our crescent drop is able to provide the more shelf-like feel of a classic drop, more wheel clearance without added frills like 3D, and in the case of the Nexus, we are able to bump the drop up to a full inch, which is something you’ll never see out of the bubble shape.
Bottom line…I’ve ridden a lot of skateboards, and I really believe in this shape. So much so that that’s the only design we chose to go with when it came to drop shapes. Don’t take my word for it, though. Ask your shop to carry Pantheon Longboards so you can stand on one for yourself, and you will feel the difference. Our goal with our designs is always to create decks that inspire confidence so that you can focus on pushing your limits and having fun. We chose to do this by creating non-intrusive, functional shapes that are both strong and ergonomically friendly. We are stoked as all hell to be able to finally put these out there for the world. Hope you like them!
Skating for 24-hours straight. This is the next thing on my agenda as far as major, tangible challenges go.
Some of you may have heard of it. Maybe some haven’t. “The Ultra,” in the context of our little skateboard community, is a 24-hour skate-for-distance. You could call it a competition, but far more would call it a challenge. The true competition is against distance, time, and oneself. The particular race that is coming up is the Ultra-Skate at Miami Speedway on January 20th, roughly three weeks away. Here’s the facebook link for event information: https://www.facebook.com/events/453971684710234/
Andrew Andras set a world record, topping Paul Kent’s infamous 254-mile skate where he dehydrated himself to the point of pissing blood (apparently his kidneys were rubbing together…live and learn, eh Paul?), with a 261 and change-long skate at this very same Ultra-Skate at the Miami Speedway just one year ago. Andrew showed that preparation, training, determination, nutrition, and loving support make for a winning combination, and it’s looking like this year he is on track to quite possibly set another record.
Not everybody is Andrew Andras or Paul Kent, however. Not everyone has a shot at breaking records. Yet many people are taking on the challenge, regardless. What is it that drives them toward such a level of self-torture? The reasons are foggy at best, and I’m sure we all have our own mix of them, but I’ll at least try to explain my own perspective, and who knows? Maybe it will help you further define your own. Or maybe you’ll just continue thinking I’m crazy. Read on anyway. Getting into the mind of a nutball can be entertaining!
When you’re blasting down a hill at 50 MPH, the goal is clear…Get to the bottom in one piece! Maybe get to the bottom as fast as possible, but also in one piece. The rush is immediate, the sense of accomplishment is quick but lasting, the threat of pain is there, but if you’re within your limits, you’re playing pretty good odds. It’s easy to see why people get so hooked on downhill. For most people, it’s not as easy to see why people get equally as hooked on skating over massive distances. Much of the adrenaline factor is out the window, the threat of pain is imminent and lasting, and it can end up costing a lot of money just to provide your body with fuel to continue moving. Basically, when you’re traveling to an Ultra-Skate, you’re paying to suffer. And why?
I guess what it really comes down to is perspective. And this is the hard part, because perspective is this ever-changing, ever-evolving thing, and in order to actually complete such a massive, daunting task of performing any activity at all for 24 hours straight without stopping…well, you really have to perform some serious mental training and establish that perspective–that purpose–solid as stone and able to weather the inevitable storm of your brain telling you that you should stop, over and over and over and over and over again. And I think by establishing a seemingly impossible goal that will require more energy than you have the ability to really realistically conceive and then putting that on the table and saying, “I’m going to do that,” what we’re really doing is training our minds to be able to push, no matter what…indefinitely. Or maybe even training ourselves to change that feeling of pushing into a feeling of flowing. To change our perception of work entirely.
Without getting overly existential, which may have already happened, I just want to take a moment to explain the significance of perception. I can already feel myself getting sidetracked, but trust me, if you haven’t gone there yet, you’ll be glad you did. You see, science is constantly developing new ways to explain our Universe, and one thing that constantly keeps popping up in my mind is this awesome experiment that puts some quantum physics theories to test and shows us a really awesome and important thing about perception. It’s called the “Double Slit Experiment.” Here’s a fun video that is totally worth watching if you haven’t heard of it:
So hey, that’s a big can of worms. We’re just taking a little peek inside the can and closing it back up for another day. But basically what this all boils down to, in my opinion, is that we ARE energy. That matter is energy. Einstein said it himself, right? E=MC². And the simple fact that we are observers and we are interpreting energy with our consciousness–our points of accumulated and stored observation–allows that energy to be perceived as matter. And we interpret energy by converting waves of various frequencies through our observation “machines.” Our eyes “see” electromagnetic radiation, aka waves, from 390nm to 700nm (basically red to purple). Our ears “hear” pressure waves from 20Hz to 20,000Hz. It is generally assumed that “notes” lower than 20Hz are “felt” rather than “heard.” There are even hypotheses out there that explain taste and smell as forms of vibration sensory, whereas we used to explain these senses through some sort of molecular lock and key function, which science has has had a hard time proving. The interpretation of these vibrations, from sight to scent, all happens in our accumulated observation storage machines called our brains, which are really just collections of neurons that fire at each other and form associative patterns that we call thoughts. And the accumulation and storage and association of these thoughts is what makes up our perception! What this means is that how these neurons fire is equally a part of what makes up our individually perceived realities as the input itself which we are constantly interpreting.
So my goal going into this thing isn’t going to have anything to do with any records. My goal is to try to find a way to mold my perception and change work into flow and then to hold onto that feeling for as long as possible…hopefully the duration of the event. My training has been as close to non-existent as it’s ever been, and I’m already finding that my body seemingly has limits. Maybe I’m due for a major wake up call. I had a minor one the other day when I took my first run in about 4 or 5 years just to see how my body felt, and I pulled both my calves after about 15 minutes of exercise. I was running way too fast; I guess I deserved it. Turns out there’s a physical element to this afterall, but I’ll tell you what. Before that happened, the legs were churning like butter and I was feeling good. So…I’m going to stretch next time, and maybe not run in my Vibram Fivefingers on concrete on the next run. My goal over the next three weeks will be to focus on training my muscles to work without injury. As long as they can do that, whatever distance is covered by means of skateboard at the Miami Ultra-Skate will be a mental game. And that’s really what I’m after. It’s not about seeing what I’m made of or proving to myself or to anyone else that I can withstand more than the next guy. It’s about further training my mind and perception for life after the “race”–about turning work into flow, and holding onto that feeling, indefinitely.