Hi. I’m the new guy. The new kid on the block. The N.K.O.T.B. You know, the guy you’re checking out from the corner of your eye to see which crowd he’ll fit into, or which crowd will reject him first, or which schoolyard thug will like him least. “What a sucker, you snicker. It ain’t easy being the N.K.O.T.B.

But I skate.

And that changes everything.

Because that’s the beauty of skateboarding: You can travel anywhere in the world with your board, and you’ll be welcomed like a brother wherever you end up. San Francisco? Check. São Paulo? Check. Sydney? Check mate. It doesn’t matter if you’re hesh, if you’re fresh, or if you’re part of the white T-shirt posse. If you skate, you’re instantly down.

Just ask Diego Bucchieri. He didn’t speak a lick of English five years ago when the Axion team visited his hometown in Argentina. But everyone got along famously, and The Butcher even snagged his first magazine photo out of the deal. Or talk to Heath Kirchart and his Harley homeys, who were warmly greeted by the scurviest of skate rats in this month’s “Emerica Across America feature—holdin’ down the local spots like their lives depended on it! Then there’s Alex Carolino, who first met Danny Way at a random Barcelona session a few years back—just your average, everyday new friend.

And finally, there’s me. Your new managing editor here at TWS. When you share a common interest that you’re uncommonly fanatical about, things come easy. And that includes making new friends here at the magazine and with you, the reader. Your TWS homeys have much more new shit on the block lined up for you in 2006, starting with the issue you’re holding. So snoop around, look under the rug, watch for what’s new and what’s a golden oldie. We know you’ll be hyped.

Carleton Curtis