Skate Invasion: Toronto Board Meeting Lucky 13
Last year while checking my junk mail I came across an email from Andre Arevalo (director and cinematographer) asking me if I was interested in collaborating in doing a higher end video project for the Toronto Board Meeting. Unfortunately, I was almost 2 years late on a response, but I was stoked on the idea with finally working with some professional. I quickly wrote an email back apologizing about the extreme skater-time asking if he was still interest. Lucky for me he was still extremely interested and what better year to collaborate than the for the 13th annual Toronto Board Meeting.
We decided to pool our footage of the 13th Annual Toronto Board Meeting and the best footage of the 13 years of Board Meeting. We managed to get interviews from as many scene leaders, organizers and skate as we could and even manged to find some never seen before footage from 2003 thanks to the Zenga Bros. making this one the most epic Toronto Board Meeting story ever told!
One the most Interesting things about The Toronto Boarding is how technology and documentation have changed over the years. We didn’t have cell phones with cameras in 2003. We didn’t even have digital cameras! I was in charge of the creative team and found as many student volunteers as we could to document the event. We gave everyone two rolls of black and white film and develop all the photographs by hand after the event. I tried to stick to the tradition as long as I could afford and shot the first three Toronto Board Meetings all with film.
To help explain the long complicated and sometimes hazy story. I have gathered the best photographs of the last 13 years for your enjoyment.
Benjamin Jordan made sure the Toronto Board Meeting was a stylized event from the begining. Ben thought the white shirts and ties would stick in people’s minds and bring sense of unity to everyone. I was trusted with the most important shot of all (the “bridge shot“) to document the first opening hill bomb. Moments before this shot I dropped my camera ruining one of my two rolls of film. Before I knew it rider started surfing down the hill, I had to spring into action and take this shot. The dream was now real.
Early parking lot lurks. We didn’t know if anyone was going to show up to the event. We were stoked that over 20 people showed up and thought this was greatest gathering in the world.
Skaters were always known for being criminals in Toronto. Dressing skater punks in dress shirts and ties showed that we were serious about our culture. Showed that we were serious about our community and that we weren’t just some brainless criminals. We were artists.
Early crowd shot from my over exposed film.
Escarpment Surfer and now Longboard Haven co-owner, Smooth Chicken, had a very simple message back in 2004. Works sucks! Are we our jobs? or can we be something more? Seen here calling in sick to work to join the 2004 Toronto Board Meeting.
A never seen before image of Toronto Board Meeting creator Benjamin Jordan aka Jacob Furlong. All business right down to the sandles. When the police were giving us a hard time about the event Ben gave the event over to his friend “Jacob Furlong”. We moved the event a couple blocks lower to another police district and the Toronto Police have been friendly and helpful ever since that date. We always like to thank the secret powers of Jacob Furlong.
2005 was the major shift in the history of the Toronto Board Meeting. Ontario Longboarding forum aka O.l.f helped advertise online and we no longer had to stop people in the streets. The event tripled in size and dream was becoming larger than life. The community was branching off in weekly events like Old School night shred garage sessions and the Toronto Board Meeting was becoming the community event Ontario needed.
Escarpment Surfer Adam Winston Aka “The Joker”, God Father of the Ontario Longboarding scene, enjoys smoking a cigarette while bombing hills, chugging whisky, and is all style.
It’s amazing to look back at the history of our city. We no longer skate past these giant neon records of OG Toronto landmark Sam the Record Man.
Toronto landmark Zanzabar is still open! We don’t buy records anymore but we still have strip joints.
This was an idea’s that worked well with a smaller group, skating through Toronto’s sky walk which leads to the CN Tower.
Lee Anne has been stoked for many years!! It’s easy to see why she couldn’t hold back the tears in lucky 13.
One of the greatest feeling I’ve ever had was taking this photograph. I remember this moment like was yesterday. The energy of the crowd coming towards me as I pushed down on my camera trigger. Hearing the “caaa – chunk” of my Olympus Om 1 slr. Shots fired and memories saved to perfection.
Patrick Switzer was one of those characters everyone knew. As the crowds grew larger, the characters, scene leaders and icons came out to play. Patrick Switzer is now one of the world’s most famous downhill skateboarders. Back in the day we use to just call him Pat.
Zanta, a Toronto street performer and crazy weirdo legend, found himself in a crowd of skaters back in 2006.
2007 was the year I couldn’t make it to Toronto Board Meeting. My landlady had to sell her house and I had to desperately work a job to pay for my rent. Work sucks? It sure does. That year was the first year we broke 300 people. Benjamin Jordan stopped running the event to started plans on other work, the Ontario Longboarding community was growing in numbers every day and the Toronto Board Meeting had a power of its own. Sometimes you need to step away from things to give it new life but life also has a funny way of calling back.
The 2008 Toronto Board meeting was desiastor on paper. It rained, we lost half the crowd (because Shawn Prier thought it was a race), someone might have “lost a nipple” and I have even lost most of my photographs due to a hard drive crash. Somehow this ended up as one of favorite Toronto Board Meetings because the vibe in all this “disaster” was so large it changed my life. No one cared about all our mistake and these people became my family.
Cops verses robbers. A vibe so strong even the Toronto police have nothing but love for us.
2009 the sun came out to play again!! Adam Winston was actually this stoke about leading the crowd. This was also the year people starting wearing helmets. The scene was growing up and learning to protect their heads.
Slow motion real life moments.
2010 was another land mark year. People started coming from all over and we finally broke 500 people!! I decided to return the bridge and take another crowd shot.
This was also the year I met all my friends who help me start my own skate team art collective called the Skate Invaders. John Park and Chris Ng seen here surfing traffic. In 2011 they help be founding co-members of the Skate Invaders.
When I was working on a image transfers (on skate board) for the Toronto Board meeting on the subway. A man approached me asking me what I was working on. I said, “This photographs of Toronto Board Meeting and event I’ve been photographing for many years. You should come!” Bradley is not a downhill skateboarder, but a local skate rat at Toronto’s vanderhoof skatepark. He felt my energy and said he would try to make it. I didn’t see him again until the very end of the 2010 Toronto Board Meeting. Someone called out to me from the crowd “Hey dude remember me? The guy from the subway!” He then skated up to the bench and laid down some old school flavor for the camera. We’re still friends and B-Rad now leads his own community night skates at Vanderhoof skatepark.
2011 was the year Benjamin Jordan returned to skate with the crowd in his underpants. It was also the year I tried running around taking photographs and video for my first time. I made the most amature doc ever made called 900 of my closest friends. We also unfortunately had our first death in the Ontario downhill scene (R.I.P. Hilton) so emotions were through the roof and the Toronto Board Meeting family was more important than ever.
Crowd vibes of 900 people lurking at Toronto’s city hall.
Scene charater Matt Livingston aka Mc Lovin showing me his stoke face.
2012 was the last year the Adam Winston lead the crowd for our ten year anniversary. We had over a thousand people for the first time and we had to make sure everyone stayed calm. The sun was shining and it didn’t rain to the very end. People even got a little wet at city hall.
Benjamin Jordan also showed up unannounced this year wearing a dress and fighting for womans rights. You can’t tell Ben what to do, but we guarantee he’ll always have passion.
2013 was the year we stopped counting the people. It didn’t matter how many people came to Board Meeting anymore. All the mattered was family and friends.
In 2014, a magical man named Stoney S Babe showed up from Montreal. We had no idea that Toronto Board Meeting was actually a music video shoot for Stoney. We all found ourselves chopping chickens with Stoney in “On My Longboard”. Stoney is the man and always brings the stoke.
Luke Melo is the nicest man in longboarding. Here leading the slide jam at city hall.
Papa Les Robertson finding himself at Board Meeting for the first time in the crowd of hundreds.
Legendary mad man and hero John Barnet was the only one to full tuck all of Toronto Board Meeeting. He still the fastest man in the east coast to this day.
Lucky 13 still had a large turnout. It was also one the largest female skater turn outs ever! This is only small number of ladies who turned out to this event.
I feel lucky to be small part of this rich history of Toronto Board Meeting. This event has changed my life in so many ways. The Toronto Board Meeting has made a social and confident person, introduced me to all my friends, it gave me place to create and express myself, and I hope the Toronto Board Meeting can out live me from 2003 to infinity.
Please enjoy the documentary, Lucky 13!
September 10th 2016 marks the 14 annual Toronto Board Meeting!! What’s stopping you from changing your life for the better? Join us!