Kryptonics Star Trac Wheels were the only wheels to make Silverfish's Top Ten Longboarding Products From 2013. Check it out at Silverfish Longboarding - Top Ten Longboarding Products From 2013 or read what they said below!
All things Kryptonics wheels. Classic Photos, stories, and interviews about the beginning of skateboarding and the future ahead of us.
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An Interview With Kryptonics Global Brand Activist Jerome Bevilacqua
When did you begin skateboarding?
Back in 1976 I remember watching a documentary on TV showing a new trend in California: we could see people riding flat boards on wheels, picking up food at the grocery, then riding down the pavement. A few month later I saw my first skateboard and got it for my 10th birthday.
Where were you living then?
I was born and raised in Lille, North of France, in the Flanders, close to the Belgium border and across the Channel, England.
Did you play other sports as kid?
Skateboard, Rollerskates, BMX (I rode a Raleigh Rampart in 1979). I started wind-surfing with my elder brothers in 1980.
What type of skateboarding did you do when you began? Slalom? Freestyle? Vert?
In the 70’s one had to try everything: hippie jump and barrel jumps over my friends ! I loved slalom too – I lived in a flat land. We had a steep quarter pipe to learn “3 wheels out” and “aerials”. I had two set ups at that time : a solid Logan on Mid-Tracks then Gull Wings, and a G&S Fibreflex on ACS 651. And two sets of Kryptonics : blues and reds 65. I used to change and mix them all the time.
When did you first ride Kryptonics?
1977 - I had a stiff oak board (Logan) upgraded with Road Riders. I borrowed a board from a friend, a Sims Quicksilver set up with red Kryptonics. I felt like I was riding a magic flying carpet. I was hooked.
What color wheels/size did you ride?
I switched from reds and blues, then ended mixing front blues and reds back. In those days 65mm was comfortable, 70mm was considered huge. Later I turned to 70mm reds - they are still my favourite wheel nowadays. I have it stuck in my mind now: red wheels are faster!
How much better were they than the competition?
Above all challengers: they gave you the edge. Faster, firmer, smarter. They determined how you would skate: grippy carve for reds or slash and slide for greens (and everything in between for blues). Moreover they gave you style!
What was your favorite Kryptonics ad from back in the day?
So many! There was no internet then. Actually we’d wait for the next issue of the Skate Board Magazine to discover new adds, or sneak in USA imported mags shared as priceless relics! I think “We blue it” was among my favourites.
What is your favorite memory from skateboarding in the 70’s and early 80’s?
There was a wide lane, good tarmac, ending in a sharp L turn. When I was riding down that road I always felt like a “california dream”. Reading both fright and pleasure in your partner’s eyes while doing catamarans is always a good memory.
What is your favorite memory in skateboarding?
Meeting buddies and trying to share that strange inner feeling you get when carving the perfect line.
When and why did you you become so passionate for Kryptonics wheels?
I had had good times on Kryptonics and felt crossed when they were underrated or looked down upon for wrong reasons. They were not the hype they were not supported by any kind of advertising and a whole generation still had to discover them!
Have you always ridden them?
Yes. And I still do! Actually I ride many wheels and consider Kryptonics as my milestone. Some may be more grippy bigger brighter driftier or else they stand the comparison. Their ‘buttery slide’ is incomparable.
Were you in touch with the original Kryptonics company back in the 1970s and 1980s?
Not during that era. One central figure at the end of the 90’s was Tom Peterson. He was an outstanding rollerskater and a visionnaire. He turned Kryptonics towards the in line market, abandoned development for the skateboarding market but helped develop new compounds with AEND and Neil Piper. Perhaps today’s best chemist for urethanes.
Who are some of the the people you have known over the years from Kryptonics?
So many. Each rider has his own memories and I often started the exploration simply by evoking the name Kryptonics.
How long has your website Sakaroule been around? What was the inspiration for starting it?
Around 2000 I started checking for wheels on the Internet and I was surprised to find few things about skateboarding. I met a famous french longboarder and blogger Pappy Boyington from Longboard in Paris and started writing to him, then blogging what I had not found elsewhere. Kryptonics raises so many fond memories and good times for several generations of skaters that I thought it was necessary to share some feedback to spread these goodies.
You recently had a Kryptonics conceptual ad contest on Sakaroule, how was the response?
Brilliant. French riders instantly found good messages appealing to several generations. Those who had seen the original ads by Jim Ford as well as those who were about to discover its special savor. (Visit the Kryptonics FB page on Sunday to see the contest enteries)
What were some of your favorite entries?
I was surprised every day when I discovered the entries. So talented, so nice, so new. I have a sweet spot for “Houston?” as it makes me smile, “We’re back” is so simple and strong, and “Back from the Dead” is in the mood of horror movies or zombies series. "Hot core" is fantastic … and I love red Kryptonics! If I had only one thing to say to any rider, it would be "get a set of Kryptonics and ride !"
What are you doing these days?
Sharing memories of the last sessions on Sakaroulé,
Planning the next ride,
Getting fit to reach new goals !
What type of work do you do?
I am a financial auditor, a French “commissaire aux comptes”
You’ve been riding the new Kryptos for a couple of months now; can you share your thoughts on the wheels?
Great ! You know some people consider me as a fetishist of urethane … I love the consistent shape, and the comfort of the three colours : red is like velvet, blue is silk, green is like African wax. Each duro has its specific sensation. I love the 75mm : it is a great addition to the traditional sizes.
How does it feel to be the first Kryptonics Wheels Global Brand Activist?
Ask Dave! As for being an activist: I feel committed to share and suggest, and blame if need be.
Tell us a bit about where you live.
In 1990 I moved to Guadeloupe, in the heart of the Caribbean. Imagine a group of tiny tropical islands around a volcano, green forests, waterfalls, black and white sand, surrounded by the sea. It’s been more than 20 years now, and guess what? I love it.
What’s 2014 look like for you?
2013 was a transition year in many aspects. 2014 is already a great year, and we have almost 340 days left to celebrate it ! I‘d like to make friends, and get involved in new ventures in Long Distance Pumping. I will share my “coups de Coeur“ on Sakaroulé !
Long time skateboarder and Kryptonics Wheels supporter, Jerome Bevilacqua has been chosen as the first Global Brand Activist. Bevilacqua, 46, is a skateboarder, longboarder and creator of the popular skateboarding website Sakaroulé. When not skateboarding he is a financial auditor, or as the French like to say a “commissaire aux comptes”. Jerome resides in Guadeloupe, French West Indies, in the heart of the Caribbean
Jerome started skateboarding in 1976, after watching a documentary on television showing the latest California trend, skateboarding. His first skateboard was a blue banana board. From the beginning he skated everything; slalom, high jump, barrel jump and quarter pipe. In 1995 Jerome began longboarding and soon become one of its greatest proponents.
Known by followers of his website and Facebook as a fetishist of urethane, Jerome describes the new Kryptonics Star Trac Wheels as only he can, “I love the consistent shape, and the comfort of the three colours : red is like velvet, blue is silk, green is like African wax. Each duro has its specific sensation. I love the 75mm : it is a great addition to the traditional sizes.”
In addition to representing Kryptonics Star Trac Wheels at skateboarding events, Jerome will also be promoting the brand through social media and via his website Sakaroulé.
In announcing Bevilacqua as the first Kryptonics Global Brand Activist, Kryptonics Wheels Brand Director Steve Douglas commented, “We could not have found a more ardent and loyal supporter of Kryptonics wheels to help us spread the word about the new Kryptonics Star Trac Wheels.”
Kryptonics Wheels Expands International Brand Ambassador Program – Rob Ashby Named UK Ambassador
Long time skateboarder, Rob Ashby, has been named as the Kryptonics Brand Ambassador for the United Kingdom. Ashby, 51, is a skateboarder, slalom racer, race organizer and Secretary of the UK Slalom Skateboarding Association. When not skateboarding he is a Commercial Contracts Manager in the Civil Service.
Rob started skateboarding in late 1975, when a friend gave him an old Roller Derby Mustang skateboard. Back in the day he skated a bit of everything, freestyle, long jump, high jump a bit of slalom, eventually gravitating towards skate parks and vert with a bit of freestyle and slalom thrown in for good measure . As Rob says, “Street skating back then just meant getting from A to B on your board.” After dabbling is slalom throughout his skating career, Rob began skating slalom seriously again in 2006 and in 2008 and entered a few European races and has never looked back.
Rob is involved in the Long Live Southbank movement and was one of the many that recently skated from Southbank to Lambeth Town Hall in Brixton to deliver over 26,000 individual planning objections.
Ashby has been riding 65mm Kryptonics Greens on his park board and has used them for bowl sessions and has have also ridden them on numerous visits to Southbank - throwing out Bert’s and 360 slides just like the old days. He also rode them on his slalom board at the European Indoor Slalom Championships in December 2013. He made use of his 70mm Reds riding them from Southbank to Lambeth Town Hall with the Long Live Southbank crew to deliver the planning objections.
In addition to representing Kryptonics Star Trac Wheels at skateboarding events, Rob will also be promoting the brand through social media.
In announcing Ashby’s joining the ambassador program, Kryptonics Wheels Brand Director Steve Douglas commented, “We are stoked to have Rob on board as our UK ambassador, his involvement in the UK skate scene throughout the years, along with his efforts in the Long Live Southbank make him a valuable addition to our program”.
The new line of Kryptonics Star Trac Wheels are now available worldwide at skate shops and online retailers.
Slalom photo by: Marissa Zegel
Earlier we introduced Kent Lingeveldt as Kryptonics first international ambassador, below is an interview we recently did with Kent. We think you will enjoy it as much as we did.
Tell us a bit about where you live.
I live in Cape Town, South africa, born and bred. It’s a port city at the southernmost tip of Africa. Because it’s a port city, Cape Town is quite diverse and cosmopolitan with many different nationalities and cultures making it a rad melting pot of people.
When did you start skateboarding?
I started skating in 1994, the same year South Africa became a democracy.
Did you play other sports as kid?
I come from a very sporty family and my Father played professional and national soccer in his prime, but I could never get the hang of playing the game, and ended up doing cross-country running at school.
When you started skating, was it on a longboard? Or did you skate street or vert to begin with?
I started skating street. Where I grew up and spent most of my time in the city centre was very urban, and a perfect playground for street skating. I remember street skating being one of the most racially integrated pastimes at the time, especially for the times and changes our country was going through, from Apartheid to a democracy.
What attracted you to longboarding?
The need to go faster downhill. My first two years of downhill racing was on the widest street decks I could find at the time. So I knew the bigger the board the better for downhill skating. Also in 1994 when I started skating, we lived on a hill, and I got shown how to slide by a guy called Wayne Moses who lived on the same hill, and sliding was so much easier on a longboard when going fast.
When did you start racing?
I started racing in 1999 at the inaugural Red Bull Downhill Extreme down Klooofnek Road/The Glen in Cape Town. Between 1999 and I think 2002 we only had that race each year and we would have international riders from America, Europe, South America and Australia come to compete. In 2004 I made my first trip abroad to race in Europe and then in following years South America and Australia.
What do enjoy about racing?
The coming together of the community to hang out, go fast, and inspire each other to do better. With the boom in the downhill racing equipment industry, racing is also a way to keep abreast of what’s new and out there and what’s doing good and what’s not.
How did Alpha Longboards come about?
Alpha Longboards started out in 2000/2001 out of a realization that I need a longer deck than my street deck to go faster down hills. Coming from a family with not too much extra cash to import a European or American brand back then, I just got a piece of commercial ply from a hardware store and cut out my first longboard. Mates saw the boards I was cutting out and shaping and started buying them from me, and BOOM, I was a small board shaping company.
What was your inspiration for the Desmond Tutu and Ghandi decks?
They form part of a stencil-art series of boards called the LOCAL LEGENDS series. Images include that of Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Ghandi, Miriam Makeba, and Imam Haron. It’s intention is to inspire South Africans to pay homage and be inspired by our own local legends rather than heroes outside our borders. Especially the youth. Also to make them aware of these heroes of our country that maybe our school textbooks do not teach them about.
It must have been very cool to meet Desmond Tutu, can you share that experience with us?
I am also a documentary photographer and a friend of mine is making a documentary on a young anti-apartheid activist who was killed in the late 1980’s by the police for his work. Ashley Kriel’s funeral was the first political funeral Desmond Tutu officiated as the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in Cape Town, so we interviewed him about the funeral for the documentary. And I thought here is my chance to give him a deck with his image on it and possibly have him sign one for me. He loved it and has his own deck hung up on his office wall.
We’ve heard that you do quite a bit of work with the under privileged kids in your area, what kind of programs/activities are involved?
I studied Child and Youth Development in the early 2000’s and also worked in children’s homes while studying, but stopped because it took too much time away from skateboarding. So I have always had a want to work with kids, mainly because many of them come from similar home backgrounds as myself and therefore it was awesome for them to chat to someone who can relate. Currently I have a group of kids in the area where my Alpha Longboards workshop is in that get support from me with skate gear and I also work with them in showing them the life skill that is skateboarding. The ability to get up and try again when you down. It’s a very informal arrangement, which I prefer, because it also allows me to be myself and not force myself to be somewhere when I do not actually want to.
You’re also a photographer, how did you get into that, and how long have you been shooting?
I bought my first camera when I was 17, straight out of high school. It was an old Russian camera called a Zenith and it had the insignia from the 1980 Olympics. I had to buy it because I was born in 1980! As a skateboarder, we see the world differently from non-skaters, and it was the ‘other side” that I wanted to capture and show the world. Also documenting my close skate crew from back then got me to shooting lots back then.
How’s the South African longboard and racing scene?
It is growing really fast. The amount of groms at races and sliding events sometimes overwhelms me and definitely shows that there are no signs of slowing down. Everyone is fast too, so this makes for tight competition at races between all ages. I am hoping to see some more local product manufacturers come out of South Africa in the near future.
You recently placed third in the Master’s Class at this year’s Hot Heels event. What was your setup? How did the Kryptonics wheels perform?
Yeah, the old man’s class, lol. I was riding an Alpha Longboards topmount racing deck with Navigator precision trucks and the 75mm 78a red Star Tracs. Their acceleration was awesome and they maintained a good rolling speed. They were definitely up to challenge the other wheels out there right now, I should just become a better race, hahahaha. Where they really impressed me was the grip. The sharpish edge really bit and gripped when I needed them to and this really gave me the confidence to go as fast as I could around corners.
You’ve been riding the new Kryptos for a couple of months now, can you share your thoughts on the wheels?
Each duro performs exactly as one would expect from a 78a, 82a and a 86a wheel. I am the kind of skater who looks for any excuse to put a wheel sideways and what’s really stood out for me was how long they last and keep their shape. I do lots of sliding and still on my first set of green 70mm from three or so months ago, and they probably only down to 60mm. Because I also like to hook into my slides at speeds, I enjoy a wheel that’s not uncontrollable and that whips back from a slide when I lift my weight off it, and this is where I enjoy skating the new Star Tracs. Their minimal sidewall movement means that they keep their shape nicely and acceleration out of corners are really top. I am really looking forward to a full year of racing and free riding on them next year to gauge their consistency throughout the year.
How does it feel to be Kryptonics Wheels first international Ambassador?
I am still just a kid stoked to be riding a wheel that can tell you the story of his journey on a longboard man! I have been skating Kryptonics since 2000 when racers like Eric Lee, George Orton and Waldo Autry came over to race the Red Bull Downhill Extreme and gave us locals some Kryptonics Classics, 70mm and 76mm to race with when they saw the sketchy wheels we were riding. It feels like a childhood dream to be part of something that has shaped skateboarding since its formative years. Guys could not believe that I was still racing with Kryptonics Classics three years ago. I was at Newton’s Playground in Australia for the World Championships in 2009 and some grom came up to me and asked what new wheel on the market I was skating, referring to the Kryptos I was skating.
Did you know much about the heritage of Kryptonics Wheels before becoming an Ambassador?
A little bit chatting to the riders from America who came to race in Cape Town in the early 2000’s. The information and images on the Star Tracs Facebook page has been amazing in really letting me know what I am actually part of. It really blows me away.
What’s 2014 look like for you?
I am lucky enough at this point of my skateboarding to be picking up fresh sponsors and this really makes committing more time to skating easier as I love fully representing brands I am connected to. So because of this, I would really want to see how much travelling I can do internationally for racing, which will in turn also mean loads more freeriding with downhill family members around the globe. Also this year was spent establishing relationships with the group of kids I mentor through skateboarding and really want to work with them in getting them race ready and competing. So all in all, skating, shaping boards, and taking pics along the way to get people glimpse into our world.
Kent Photo Matthew Wareley
Slide Photo by Zwelibanze Sitole
Race Photo by Pierre Vander Spuy