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Ray Barbee Talks Krooked in New Transworld Interview



One bright spot in this godforsaken year was last month’s announcement that Ray Barbee rides for Krooked. It was one of those unexpected and perfect team changes that makes following the nuances of the skate industry worth it. Jamie Owens gets the backstory in a new interview published by Transworld this afternoon.

How did it all come about? Did Gonz call you and ask out of the blue?

No, no. I went begging to those dudes [laughs]! Element got bought out with new investors and they came in and changed up everything. The skate program cost a lot of their budget so they needed to do budget cuts and it didn’t make sense to be over there anymore. So, when I left Element, I just started thinking of what program would it be fun to be part of. Having a long relationship with Tommy, Mark, and Thiebaud, I just thought it would be rad if those dudes thought it made sense for me to be over there at Krooked. And I’m so grateful that they did!

I remember, I called Tommy and told him that I had left Element and said, “It would be so fun to do stuff with you guys. I just want to do stuff with friends.” And Tommy said, “That’d be rad but it’s not up to me. But let me reach out to Mark.” Then a couple of hours later, he texted me back and said Mark was into it! And that was still just part of the process because they still needed to talk to Bram (Krooked TM) and the team. And right away I was thinking I dig this because you guys are a family and it’s about everybody having a say. It’s not being dictated by some dude in charge. It’s about what the team cares about. Much respect for that and I’m so stoked that they were down for the old man to be a part of it.

You mentioned something about this to me almost a year ago when we filmed your Skater’s Favorite Skater. What took so long to officially announce it?

It’s been a slow process because, yeah, I actually got on this time last year. A lot of it was me being tied to the idea that I didn’t just want to make an announcement. I wanted to show that I’m still having fun skateboarding. I wanted to have a video announcement. Then Covid happened and then Thiebaud was just like, “That’s on you man. That’s your hang up.” [laughs] And then I had to acknowledge, like, “Yep, that’s me. All pride, man. All pride [laughs].” And so Covid helped me change the mindset from having a big idea for an announcement with a capsule collection with the boards, a music component, all with a video to being open to the idea that it didn’t need to roll out that way. It could just come out in small little chunks. Another thing that made it take some time was getting the board shape right, working on graphics with Mark, and then just all the board shortages and delays in the board manufacturing world. All of those factors just pushed all those plans so far out. Then Bram just hit me up saying, “Hey, we’re just going to put out your first ad.” So, the ad became the announcement, basically.

Read the rest here.

Image Via Vans


Justin Sommer Featured in Santa Cruz’s True Grit



Follow the journey of German skateboarding prodigy Justin Sommer in this episode of True Grit, a docu-series produced by Santa Cruz Skateboards.

Born to young parents, he was practically raised in the streets of Berlin where he got introduced to skateboarding. Justin learned the ropes from his older friends.

He also fell into wayward life when he was younger. But with the help of his genuine friends, he was able to steer in the right direction and has now made a successful career in skateboarding.

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Kelly Bird Opens Up in Latest The Nine Club Episode



Nike SB Global Brand Manager Kelly Bird opens up about growing up in Houston, getting into skateboarding, becoming a pro, and eventually transitioning to the industry side of skateboarding.

Before he became the global brand manager of Nike SB, Kelly worked for DC Shoes and Lakai Footwear.

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Catch Up with Mariah Duran in the Latest Nine Club Episode



Pro skater Mariah Duran has always been into sports as a young kid, she revealed in the latest episode of The Nine Club.

The goofy-footed skater from Albuquerque, New Mexico got introduced to skateboarding when she was around 10. Initially, she would borrow his brother’s board, but her mom eventually bought her a board.

She was also into softball when she was younger and basketball when she was in high school. Later on, she shifted her focus to skateboarding.

Mariah won the USA Skateboarding National Championships Womens Street in 2019, and 2021. She placed 4th in the most recent competition.

She is also a two-time X Games gold medalist for Women’s Street Skateboarding.

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