Are You Ready to Ride?
Skateboarding is like none other sport. The skateboarding culture has inspired fashion, music and even the way we talk. There are no teams and no rules since the first skateboard made there. If somebody skates well, then we all win! You can do it just about anywhere. Some do it in the streets but if you’re lucky you have to go to a skatepark.
Back in 2012, a group of guys made a historical mashup. To be more accurate, the made a whole movie. It’s called Hicks on Sticks. The feature-length documentary by Soren Johnstone follows a guided group of skateboarders and musicians as they visit small towns and rural areas with the aim of encouraging children to pursue their passions. They came from places that had no skate parks and innovated on steep paths, public staircases and parking lots.
They loaded up three vans with boards, ramps, and people after years of honing their skills, and hit the road. The team, bearing loads of defective brake equipment and suspended licenses, blocked Canadian highways — pulling city after city in hopes of finding packed venues.
It became abundantly clear after their first three shows that no money was going to be made and certain cutbacks would have to be enforced. But here is where the group’s commitment and tenacity are really underlined. Working for food stamps and beer, the skaters built new ramps and strengthened their setup— all to provide the small groups of people who bothered to show up with the best show possible.
Ian Comishin, the tour’s driving force, is shown all through the film in great light. The young leader guided his crew through poor turnouts, accidents, and strained relationships, choosing to stay sober and abstain from the wild party (at first) and bring all of his energy into the shows. When the money didn’t come in, and the sound team quit, all the unanswered questions came down on Ian.
The Hicks on Stick tour was a financial failure (Ian’s skateboarding company found itself looking at its demise) and the loss of a number of partnerships but there are a number of ways it should be considered a success. The tour stands as proof that hard work and determination can build something incredible and inspiring… even if it ravages the bank accounts of your company. At least, it can plant seeds for future generations and clear the way for more amazing occurrences to occur.
As far as the actual film is concerned, Johnstone blends excellent material from the 1999 tour with the latest interviews. Using so much live footage and not having to rely on still images allows a dynamic effort for Hicks on Sticks. The music switches back and forth between nostalgic indie pop and intense punk — showing almost as much of the bands that performed on the tour as the skaters themselves.
The two-hour running time has been a little strenuous and finding a section where parts can be cut would be difficult. Johnstone is telling a fascinating story that is worth watching. It is really entertaining and worth seeing absolutely.
Moreover, the guys have reunited 20 years later, for more info visit…