Tony Alva – Interview

Tony Alva is a name that is synonymous with skateboarding. Alva in my opinion not only represents the original foundations that skateboarding was built upon, but himself and the Z-boys gave the world the blueprint of the ‘spirit’ of skateboarding. During Vans 50th anniversary celebrations we were blessed with the opportunity to speak with TA, and in wanting to find out more on both the growth of Vans and skateboarding over the years, there aren’t many others who can offer his level of insight in to both. Through his work with Vans and his own company Alva, he continues to promote and share his knowledge in skateboarding and surf to help inspire the younger generations to this day. We’re stoked that we get to share some of that knowledge with you in our Tony Alva interview…


In your Skateboarder Mag interview back in 1977, you spoke on how you envisioned the future for professional skateboarding and your answers were quite prophetic as you predicted it’s growing popularity. Looking back, is skateboarding now what you thought it would be back then?

Yeah, I mean there’s a few things that I wish it would have improved upon, but other than that it is. I was having a conversation earlier and they were saying how I had a sense of being a little bit prophetic at a young age as well, which in a way I look at as kind of amazing, that at 19 years old I knew that some day skateboarding would be as big as it is now. But the bottom line is; I think that skateboarders still deserve more, as in the commercial side of skateboarding and to be treated more professionally. Professional skateboarders should be able to make a living and have health insurance and stuff like that, similar to other professional athletes you know? It’s not like that yet, but at the same time I think the media portrayal of it, the enthusiasm, the lifestyle, the attraction, is as big if not bigger than I thought it would be at that age. I never really knew it would be this popular, and this technologically advanced.

Do you think that skateboarding has lost elements of its ‘Punk attitude’ now that it’s become so big? Perhaps lost elements of it’s creativity with the introduction of the internet?

Not necessarily because technology is always there, and in a way a lot of skaters benefit from that.  The thing that I get a little dissatisfied with is the aesthetic side of things – the beauty and the art of skateboarding. Where style and grace and using skateboarding as a vehicle of expressing yourself, especially with speed and power, is really not that important sometimes when it comes to how people look at it. More people are more in to how technical your ability is instead of how you handle your expression. Like with music and surfing, sometimes the best surfers and musicians are the guys that are aesthetically doing the simplest things with the most grace, I think it comes down to like an old American cliché – “less is more”.

Do you think it’s the case nowadays that everyone is learning the same tricks rather than finding their own ways to create through movement on the board?

Well for me that goes back to where we were just emulating the moves on the waves from surfing and then we would take it to the next level where we started going in the air and doing aerial tricks and stuff like that, so I think that it depends on your vision. Nowadays especially, there’s a lot of kids playing video games and then going out skateboarding, I mean some kids don’t even skateboard they just play the video games! So it depends where your mental attitude is and how you envision yourself doing something.

There’s a mental process too and the mental process of skateboarding is as important as the physical part of it. You have to envision that move before you ever execute it. Then it takes a lot of practice, and I love the saying “oh practice makes perfect”, you know they say that? That’s bullshit! Because the human condition does not allow for perfection, we are never ever going to attain perfection is any aspect of our life because of the human condition, so to me it’s more ‘practice makes permanent’.  When you’re doing something over and over, and doing it religiously, it becomes permanent and becomes so much easier to a point where it becomes almost instinctive, you don’t think about it anymore, you just go out and do it. With your mind being the computer, the control over your body, the body instinctively follows. It’s almost like martial arts to where it gets to a stage of satori, everything is one and you’re just in it. That to me is the beauty, that’s the meaning of skateboarding. That’s the practice is permanent part of it to where you don’t think about it any more, you just do it and it becomes easy. It’s called just being in the moment. It takes a lot of practice. Especially for young kids, because young kids they just don’t get it. Their mind is going too fast, they’re just thinking about “oh man I gotta pull that tre flip, I gotta pull that heel flip”, always about the technical aspect of the trick when it’s just like dude, just go out and skate.

Do you think the rewards in professional skateboarding perhaps blurs their vision slightly?

Yeah, stop fucking obsessing on the rewards, the gold star, the money, the new shoes, what the girls are thinking of you. I know it’s part of growing up, we can’t help of thinking about all the “what am I going to get from this”, I was the same way. In the Dogtown film when I said “ I’m gonna get mine now”, that ego-centric, driven, selfish way of thinking, which in a way isn’t a bad thing because what it does is drive you to be the best you can be and everything I did back then got me here, but I don’t want to run my life like that now. I couldn’t, there’s no wisdom in that. You have to progress, you have to learn from your mistakes and I made a lot of mistakes from my selfish, self-centred and self seeking attitude towards life. It was mainly about ego you know, I thought I was better than everyone else and I guess I won a lot of contest and did a lot of really good stuff at that time, but no one wants to see a 57 year old man acting that way you know, its really ugly! [laughs]. There’s no grace in that. Absolutely no grace in that.

Grace to me is when you make something really difficult look easy; graceful. And surfers are really good at that, I learned a lot from surfing. Guys like Jerry Lopez, the list could go on, but Jerry Lopez is the perfect example, riding the most dangerous wave in the world, standing there and making it look like he’s just completely a part of the wave. It was amazing, he was the guy who started Lightning Bolt Surfboards, Mr.Pipeline they called him.


I’ve heard you speak on the freedom and simplicity of skateboarding back in the 70’s. Do you feel that’s closer to being restored nowadays as it becomes more widely accepted across the world?

Well it’s always been a part of it I feel, that’s what attracts kids to skateboarding – there’s no rules. There’s no coach, no rules, no guidelines, limited supervision when it comes to competitions and skating in skate park environments, it’s still pretty wide open. I see it as like a colouring book, you don’t have to stay within the lines if you don’t want to, you can spray outside the lines, literally. When it comes to music, art and skateboarding, all those things are something that are really an expression of your inner self and you can’t really go out of bounds. You can go out of bounds and come back in, but as long as you do it successfully. Skateboarding isn’t about what other people think, it’s about how it makes you feel. 

Z-Boy’s and Dogtown revolutionised skateboarding in the 70’s and helped to shape skateboarding as we know it. Who do you feel, if anyone, has had a similar impact on the world of skateboarding since then ?

Mark Gonzales. He totally changed things big time, so if I can mention just one person it would be him. I would say Jay Adams and Mark Gonzales, those are the two guys who took it spontaneously to the next level through their natural ability. Also through exposure; through the photos they got in magazines and the video parts they put out, and their attitude, like straight up “I’m not doing this to please anybody else, I’m just doing this because it’s what I like to do and I’m good at it”.

The Gonz is still doing stuff to change skateboarding, with his art and stuff like that. I saw him the other day actually, he came to skate with us in New York at the skatepark and he shows up with no skateboard! He had no board, he just rolls up with his Yeezy’s on riding his frickin bike, and we’re just like “Dude, you get your ass in here right now”. To me he’s like a 14 year old kid still you know ? So I’m like “Get in here”, he comes in and starts trying all our boards, it’s Caballero, Hosoi, Rowley, Grosso, Hussan and myself, and he ended up really liking Christians and Grosso’s board the best, I think mine was a little too wide I don’t think he was ready for that, he rode it though, he tried haha. But yeah Mark is just genius. He’s borderline idiot savant, but he’s still genius [laughs]. I think a lot of those guys are like that, on one side they are completely out of this world and on the otherside they are just crazy, he’s an artist!

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

One of many firsts for yourself saw you start your company Alva – the first ever skater owned and operated company – a huge move for a 19 year old… 

I was lucky that I had met the right guys to help me with the business part of it because I wasn’t ready to really run the business and all of that. I was more the talent and I was good at designing and testing the products, but I wasn’t really ready to just full on accept the responsibility of running a business.

What pushed you to start Alva at the time?

I didn’t really want to ride for any of these other teams and continue to have to share the profits with all the teams I was riding for. There was a bunch of other teams that I rode for that sold a lot of boards and made a lot of money, and I felt like I needed to make the money myself and become a part of the commercial success of the business. So I had to step it up and take it to that level. Starting Alva is a major positive aspect of my career and my life.

And it’s still going strong to this day. Was it a conscious decision to invest in young riders on the team?

Yeah I have a bunch of young kids on the team, I like them the best because they are so much easier to deal with. With some of the pro guys back in the day it just became really high maintenance, even though it was great that I had some really good pro teams.

Are there any independent companies that you are backing today?

Just my truck sponsor Independent, I’ve always loved those guys. All I really need is my shoes and my trucks and my board company, I’m really simple when it comes to that stuff. I endorse and use products in the surf industry that I really like. One of the company’s I really love is Patagonia. I really like the stuff they put out, using eco-friendly and common sense products. The way they put their products together, the way they run their business, and the consciousness they have is great. I’ve been wearing one of their wet suits lately and that is made without petroleum. Neoprene in the past was made with petroleum products which can be damaging to the environment, and they are making a wetsuit now that is made from a hemp based rubber plant called Yulex and it works really well.

It’s just a matter of having consciousness about polluting the planet and global warming and the list goes on in terms of the things we do when it comes to manufacturing products that we need to be concious of. Any company like that that’s in the skate or surf industry, I’m in to backing them as much as I can for sure and letting people know that we need to save the planet. Especially the ocean and the air for future generations.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

You have been with Vans since 1974 right? 

On & off yeah, but I’ve been with them quite a while…

During that time I think it’s fair to say that you’ve played a key role in the brands development…

Because of Steve, because Steve listens. I can’t really take credit for that, most of it goes to Steve Van Doren. He’s our ambassador and he’s always listened to the skateboarders. He’s our champion, he’s the guy that told his brother, his father, everybody else in the Van Doren family that the skateboarders were the ones that knew which direction to take the business.

Do you feel Vans has helped you to develop and grow?

Totally, it still is. Steve has given my career longevity by believing in me, not only as a person, but as an athlete and ambassador for Vans and that’s what I do, that’s my life. A lot of my trips and a lot of my business, how I make money as a skateboarder, as a surfer as a musician, are geared towards doing promotional events that Vans is involved in. I’m able to benefit from these things in more ways than just the money, it’s the experience out on the road, the travelling and basically just being a representative of the lifestyle that is Vans. Steve Van Doren is an amazing guy.

Being a part of Vans for so long you must have seen many changes, not only within the company, but also in the world of skateboarding and surf. Now celebrating it’s 50th year, what is it about Vans that has allowed it to remain relevant after all this time?

We never lost our roots. We know where we came from and the history is important to us. We give back to the culture, we don’t just take take take. We give back through things like the House Of Vans and through sponsoring different events. We are there for the youth, not just using the money we have to make ourselves look cool or on meaningless marketing campaigns to make people buy our products, there’s a lot of other companies that do do that, but they can’t buy what we have. They can’t buy the roots, the soul, the image that Vans has, because of the fact that we are a family run business that isn’t just about the products – it’s about the people. We really care about our people, we care about our team, we care about the people that use our product. We want people to have a good attitude towards Vans; therefore we provide events with music, food, art, everything that comes under the umbrella of our culture and that is what the kids like. It’s all about creativity for us, using the brand as a vehicle.

Alva Interview

Do you feel your career in skateboarding & surfing helped you to pursue your interests in art & music?

Yeah definitely, because my attitude towards surfing was that it was like an expression of your freedom, and it’s spiritual, it has a spiritual connection to it like art & music. Surfing came first to me and skateboarding just fell in to that attitude I have with surfing, it overlapped with my skateboarding for sure. At one point it separated and started to go in that direction to where skateboarding became its own entity, its own thing, but I’m glad that it didn’t get too far away from that. Surfing and music allows me to be creative, and skateboarding fit’s in to that too. It’s like a frickin’ sandwich cookie you know, one side you’ve got surfing and on the other you’ve got music and skateboarding sits nicely in the middle.

You’ve also expressed your interest in fashion in the past and also spoke on how you introduced elements of fashion in to the marketing of Alva in the early days. What’s your views on the fashion industry and it’s relationship with skateboarding?

I like vintage fashion better than anything and high end stuff. I love the stuff that Yves Saint Laurent did back in the day. I like the form and function side of things, that’s really rad. Even though that stuff isn’t functional for skateboarding, some of it aesthetically is so beautiful and to look at even women’s fashion, like John Galliano, the stuff he has done in the past is so amazing. When you look at the couture end of fashion, it’s just art. Functional fashion to me is almost like making a beautiful surf board that looks so beautiful, but at the same time it actually works really well. That’s the kind of stuff that I like. So even when it comes to surfing and skateboarding stuff, a lot of the clothes and the shoes that I wear is stuff that looks and feels good, but really what it is is that it functions well. I think the improving technology in manufacturing in the fashion part of the action sports industry is really fun. If it really works and it’s functional that’s a big part of it, but its got to feel and look good more than anything. Coz I’ll wear funky stuff sometimes that makes me look frickin’ homeless, but it makes me feel good. We have a little saying back home ” I look like a homeless guy, but I feel like a frickin’ prince”.

With such a great career already behind you, what’s next for Tony Alva?

I’ve been doing some pretty interesting things with my surf line and surf boards, I’m doing some really cool hybrid surf boards and that’s called Alva Surf Craft. That’s been pretty fun and I’m putting a lot of energy in to that. And other than skateboarding and surfing at the same time, cross training with the two, I’ve been doing some really really cool music, writing and playing bass guitar in a band called These Eyes Have fangs. We’ve been doing some psychedelic bluesy rock stuff and putting it on records and playing live, playing a lot of shows based around what we’ve recorded. Just being a part of things that I really love, and things that I really love in life is being expressive and being creative.


 Words: Kieran Sills

Imagery: Lily Brown

Additional imagery courtesy of Vans and Alva Skates

Shout out to Paul from Vans Brighton for contributing towards the interview also!


Steve Caballero – Interview

Steve Caballero is a name in skateboarding that needs little introduction. As the pioneer of various tricks as well as creator of the world’s longest running professional skate shoe, Cab’s status as a legendary professional in the industry goes without saying. We were lucky enough to get a few words with him at the Vans ‘Propeller’ video premier in London earlier on this year. Not only was meeting him a blessing in itself but also a wonderful opportunity to hear such a seasoned veteran’s perspectives on the world of skateboarding as we know it. As one of the company’s most integral ambassadors and contributors, there are few that can give such an in-depth insight into how Vans has become the global powerhouse it is today. This is the Steve Caballero interview.


When we spoke to Ray Barbee last year he was telling us what it’s been like witnessing the growth of Element since he got on. We were wondering how its been for you after 27 years on Vans?

Wow… Man I’ve seen a lot of changes with that company. Gone through about 4 or 5 CEO’s, about 10 team managers, tons of designers. But one thing that remains the same is Steve Van Doren and his daughter Krissi. They’ve always been there promoting and supporting. I’ve seen a lot of team riders come and go as well. Nonetheless, it’s a great relationship that we’ve built… It’s got a solid foundation and it’s one of those relationships that’s gonna last a long time you know? Relationships are hard either way, there are good and bad points throughout them. But if you stick through the bad times and make it through, you build a more solid foundation and something you can be proud of having integrity and pride behind. I guess its been tough over the years but because of the hard work from both sides, like supporting each other to get through the tough times in the company; we’ve built a pretty good legacy. It’s been pretty amazing and it’s cool to say that I still ride for vans after all these years.

 Alongside Vans, skateboarding has grown and changed a lot over the years too. How do you feel about all that?

Skateboarding has changed a lot man… I started from the beginning pretty much. I went from riding little plastic skateboards that you buy at a sporting goods store to getting my first board that had urethane wheels and ball bearings that weren’t sealed so they’d fall out if your nut wasn’t tightened.. Different types and shapes; from skinny boards to 10 inch wide boards back to skinnier boards. From the birth of skate parks, from growing up skating pools and cement parks that were privately owned to them being gone; then on to back yard ramps.. DIY skating everything, ditches, curbs, then to the 80’s where vert ramps were a big thing and competitions were coming in. Major blow out as far as how big skateboarding got in the 80’s to it dying in the 90’s, then going underground moving into street skating and then back in to bowls and ramps.

Parks are coming back you know? They’re built all over the world now. So I think right now skateboarding is at a really good state. I think it’s the best time to be in skateboarding because it’s well received everywhere and every style is accepted as well. So I think people are having a great time with it. I would say right now being a skateboarder to me is amazing. I can come to London and come into a building that has a killer bowl in it, its pretty amazing. Then fly over to France and there’s another one. Then to Germany; now we’re off to New York and they have a bowl inside their building. There are skateparks all over the US. I was born and raised in Northen California and I’ve just moved to Southern California.. Where I live is the mecca of skateboarding. Within a twenty mile radius there’s 7 vert ramps, about 4 or 5 parks and some of them are privately owned. There are about 3 that are indoors. It’s pretty amazing where I live; all the pros live there. I have to turn down sessions you know? It’s crazy! I’ll get a call from Bucky Lasek like “ Hey come skate my bowl!” and I’m like “nah I’m gonna go skate with Pierre-Luc at the DC ramp. I’ll get a call from Neal Hendrix like, “Hey we’re gonna skate Hawk’s ramp”. It’s pretty cool!

We also talked to Ray about the comings and going of trends in skateboarding. With your shoe standing the test of time after over 22 years, what do you think it takes to keep something like that alive for so long?

Well first off I think you have to have a good design. Also, you have to have a great company to back it as well. Vans has that whole package deal behind it and the whole history behind it that has made the half cab become an icon within our sport and within our industry. It’s prevalent outside our industry as well as it transcends to other creative outlets like music, or art. Vans is a great company because they’re a lifestyle brand, so whatever you’re in to they back it. Whether it’s mountain biking, bmx, surfing, snowboarding, motocross. Everyone wears shoes you know? Vans back people’s passions.

If you have a passion for something, Vans will back it and I think because of that and because of what we’ve created or what I’ve created in my career; as well as being one of the very first skateboarders to have a shoe, and going with the flow of things you know. The half cab kind of presented itself. My shoe came out in 1989 and it was a full size high top. By three years later street skating started coming in and vert started going out so a lot of the guys were demanding a lower top shoe and they just took my shoe and cut it down. I saw that and started doing it myself, so I started following that trend and after the third pair I was like, “there’s gotta be a better way”. So I just called up Vans like “ Hey, lets make the shoe the way people are wearing it and call it the half cab, because we’re all cutting it in half. I’ll find a logo that shows me doing one and call it the half cab”.

Because Vans trusted me, trusted my idea and went with it, I can sit here today and say I have a shoe that’s lasted over 22 years. We were talking about this the other day, Vans could have easily said “nah, not a great idea” but they trusted me and went with it, so here we are. I think they’re just as stoked as me! [Laughs]

Favourite colourway ever?

Wow.. I would have to say the pair that I did in 2012 for the 20-year anniversary. It was the red pair I did where I actually got to redraw the logo as well. I called it the ‘Cab Dragon’; I think that’s my favourite by far.

As you mentioned with the growth of skateboarding globally, the European scene has definitely come up, are there any Euro skaters or companies that you’re rooting for at the moment?

Oh man, Euro skaters? Well a lot of them are living in California now you know what I mean? There are a lot of guys that have come from Europe that have chased their skateboarding careers and now they are based in the US. I would have to say Sam Beckett for Vert, I think he’s doing quite well. As far as street skaters, I’m not really sure, a lot of guys are coming from Brazil that are killing it in the streets. I’m not sure, there’s too many! [Laughs]

There are a lot of new companies popping up on your side of the pond. What do you think of your teammates’ ventures, F.A, Hockey and Mother Collective (now Quasi) ?

Oh I don’t follow those. Are they clothing brands or are they board companies?

They’re board companies yeah…

Ah, to be honest I’m not really following the smaller brands, especially ones in Europe. If they’re not a hit in the US right now they’re probably not making an impact right? I’m sure I will hear about them. I think the brand that is making the biggest hit is Cliché as far as a European brand. As far as the smaller brands go I haven’t really heard of them.

As well as innovating a number of tricks in skateboarding yourself, you’re also an avid collector and established artist. What do you think it is that has pushed you to try your hand at so many things?

I think it’s because I’m very passionate about things and when I get into something I want to do the best job I can with it; so I try and research things. I’m the person who likes to make the least mistakes so what I’ll do is research, ask a lot of questions and watch things and study them before I try and attempt them. The sky is the limit when it comes to being creative and being able to express yourself in discovering what you’re capable of. A lot of people live in fear of what people think of them and what they’re doing.

I look at the world as a whole and think there are so many rad things about it and rad people so I always say I don’t believe in natural talent. I believe that everything we do takes a lot of blood sweat and tears and hard work and dedication and if you put your mind to anything you can do it; so that’s why I like to dip into different things.

I’ll look at something and say “why is that person like that” or “what’s so great about that?” Then I’ll research it and be like, “woah this is fun, how can I excel in it? How can I be good at it?” That’s what I like about those kinds of things. So obviously everyone loves art, everyone loves music, but I also like things that are dangerous. Skateboarding is one of the number one dangerous activities. But then I’ll step it even further and I’m also into motocross. That’s even gnarlier because you go bigger and faster. Those activities have their cool factors as well. I’ll drive around in my truck with my dirt bike in the back; I know that it takes a lot of courage to ride one of those things because it’s no joke. Things can go bad really fast and I’ve gotten hurt.. I’ve got broken off, but if you can excel in something like that people respect you and admire it; that’s what I wanna do.

Even at my old age of 50, I wanna let people know that you know what? You can still feel and act young; age is just a number. You can still do these things if you have a passion for them. I’m trying to inspire and encourage others not to give up on things just because they got a little grey hair and a couple wrinkles. I’m 50, some people are 30 like, “ah I’m over the hill; I can’t do this anymore”. I used to do this when I was 12 or 13 and they see me doing it now; that kind of encourages them like, “ah man Cabs still doing it, I’m gonna give it a hit!” Then they think, “ouch my back!” [laughs].

I think with anything, if we stay healthy, have a good positive outlook on life and stay away from things that are going to hinder you from your performance, you’re going to last a long time.

Your loyalty to the companies you ride for is something that I guess isn’t quite as common in skateboarding today. Do you think that’s it’s just an inevitable part of skateboarding growing?

I think it really depends on your personality. I know that integrity goes a long way. Loyalty goes a long way too and there’s always going to be problems. This world is all about relationships and how we interact with people, I’ve had many relationships on and off the board, I’ve been in bands where you have 5 people and if you have 5 people in your band there’s 5 different relationships going on and its difficult man. It’s difficult dealing with people because we all have different attitudes, different personalities, different opinions and it’s hard when they don’t all mesh together. But like I said, with Vans and Powell Peralta I can say that I’ve held it down as the longest rider for both those companies. For any company, shoe or board brand, I think that says a lot about my personality and who I am. I think that when people see that, maybe their attitude will change as far as “how does he do that? What makes him tick? How has he lasted that long at that company?”

Here’s my chance to be interviewed by you guys and say you know what? It’s hard. There’s gonna be good times and bad times, but the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. It’s all about sticking together and working things out. If you’ve got problems you can work these differences out, and if you’re about to do that you can build a relationship that lasts longer than just a few years.

With the ever-growing popularity of skateboarding we’re seeing a lot more corporate involvement these days. Do you think that’s a good thing?

I think any kind of promotion is great for skateboarding because what they are doing is helping to get the word out there; and the word is ‘skateboarding’. If there’s any company that wants to put money into that then more power to them. If they leave then nice knowing you… They help skateboarding grow, and that’s why I’ve always supported the X games. I’ve always supported brands that perhaps may look like they are trying to use skateboarding to make money, but they’re also giving money to the industry you know? They aren’t just sucking money out. Skateboarding will be here whether they’re here or not, nobody controls the sport. Skateboarding will go where it wants to go and when you have money floating around it helps build things like this (House of Vans), so corporate involvement is important. There are certain brands I won’t support because it goes against what I believe, that’s where integrity goes in. I’m not gonna take money from a company that I don’t believe in because then I’m a sell out and that’s not who I am. I support brands that support me but I have to be in to what they believe in.

At 50 years old after a long career in skateboarding, what’s next for Steve Caballero?

Ah shoot I don’t know. I would say try and maintain a good healthy lifestyle and take care of my kids. Build a foundation for them; something that they can fall back on as well and inspire them to carry on the legacy that I have built within the industry. I want to encourage them to follow their dreams, their passions and just try and stay as positive as I can in dark times.

You can now buy Vans ‘Propeller’, directed by Greg Hunt, to watch in full over on iTunes


Words: James P.Lees

Images: Kieran Sills


House of Vans Launch Party


Thursday the 8th of August saw the official launch of London’s very own House Of Vans, something that the skateboarding and local community have been excited about since rumours began. Vans took the opportunity to showcase the impressive 3,000 square-foot music venue, cinema, gallery, cafe and of course skate-park.

With the ribbon cut by Steve Van Doren himself, the day began with a quick tour of the venue covering everything from the ‘Scissors and Glue’ exhibition to the Vans Labs studio’s, open for residencies and workshops. Following a quick skate, the Vans team, that include some of the most notable names in skateboarding, surf, snowboarding and BMX, headed out for a boat ride around the Thames.

As the day drew to a close, the venue filled and the Vans team returned for more skating. The celebrations continued with a solid line up of music, with Hip-Hop legends Public Enemy headlining with support from Roots Manuva, Dinosaur JR, Toddla T and more, showing the diverse range of musical subcultures that Vans attracts.

We were walking around star struck for most of the evening, bumping shoulders with the likes of Tony Alva, Geoff Rowley and Christian Hosoi to name but a few. With drinks and food on tap and a good vibe all round, Vans certainly know how to throw a party. Launch event aside, it has to be said that the House of Vans is a great use of space and the perfect venue to bring a community together.

House Of Vans London is open now, free always to the public. You can head over to the official site to book yourself a skate session, check out upcoming gigs, see whats going on in the galleries and find out any more information you may need. Be sure to check out the video below that shows the events of the launch.

London House of Vans
Arches 228-232 Station Approach Road
SE1 8SW London
United Kingdom





House of Vans Launch Night by Sam Mellish


Public Enemy - House of Vans Launch Night by Sam Mellish

Public Enemy - House of Vans Launch Night by Sam Mellish

Public Enemy - House of Vans Launch Night by Sam Mellish


House of Vans Launch Night by Sam Mellish

House of Vans Launch Night by Sam Mellish

House of Vans Launch Night by Sam Mellish


House of Vans Launch Night by Sam Mellish







House of Vans LONDON Preview



News that is sure to bring excitement to any budding creative, in particular to those with an interest in skateboarding – House of Vans is set to open its first ever London location early next month!

Spread over 3,000 square metres and located in London’s Old Vic Tunnel’s just beneath Waterloo station, the permanent venue will be home to a music venue, cinema, cafe, bars and of course skatepark, in a space that will combine creativity and community.

Taking inspiration from Van’s Brooklyn location, the venue contains various, multi-functional tunnels that are open to all and completely free. Tunnel #2 holds four studios that will be made available to both emerging and established artists, which will also see workshops being held for the local community. Tunnel #3 sustains Vans rich heritage in music with an 850 person capacity gig space, using innovative streaming of events and free ticketing, to make it accessible to the masses.

Tunnels #4 and #5 are dedicated to the cities skaters, combining street courses with mini ramps, as well as a deep concrete bowl reminiscent of the pools skated by the original Vans riders in California.

The House of Vans continues its commitment to community as they partner with three charities: Old Vic New Voices, Railway Children and Action for Children. The space will be open 5 days a week from it’s launch on the 9th of August.

Check out preview images from the sites construction and check out the short teaser video below, giving you a taste of whats to come. Keep an eye out for more info, on its way soon.