It all started on a Sunday afternoon as etnies PR honcho Ashton Maxfield picked up Adam Sullivan, Eric Stricker, and myself from the Transworld offices in Oceanside and drove us to Sole Tech founder Pierre Andre Senizergues’ harbor side lofts in Newport Beach. Waiting for us was a fully stocked bar and our friends that work at various other magazines and Web sites, and we even met a bunch of cool guys that run skate mags in Europe. We set out for a nice cruise around the harbor and then a tour of Pierre’s skate museum before dinner. Don Brown was so pleased at the job Ashton was doing being our host, that he ordered him an extra taco salad—and threw it in his face. We enjoyed our loft-y accomodations late into the night.
Early the next morning our day started in the STI Lab—an impressive research center where everything from impact pressure to shoelace durability is tested on a number of machines, not to mention the mini ramp and eight-stair rail they have set up. The amount of effort in their R&D was impressive to say the least. A lot of pros that ride for other companies hit them up for their G2 insoles! After lunch we got short presentations from the brand managers and head designers of etnies, Emerica, and eS. We got to peep Mikey Taylor’s and Andrew Reynolds’ new shoes while we sipped on some brews—not a bad business meeting. After that, the etnies skatepark was ours to shred padless. We also got treated to a little shopping spree in the company store. Those new Herman 2’s are killing it.
Another evening meant another lavish dinner. This time, Ashton had his revenge on Don in the form of a margarita pitcher/coaching victory douse. Peep this:
The Sole Tech family works hard and plays hard, that’s why we love ’em. Oh, but the night wasn’t over yet. We then charged K-1 Go Karts, which if you haven’t done it, is insanely fun. We raced for a couple hours, the employess even let us race after they closed since Ashton promised them all free shoes. And yes, yours truly took top honors in the final tournament and even put up a “best lap time of the week.” Thanks Sole Tech, you rule.—Blair Alley
The SPoT dudes posted up this vid to give you some idea of the madness: