Some say it was a balmy afternoon. It could’ve been a Tuesday if it wasn’t already the end of the week. But, it WAS September. An unassuming, ethically-themed skarfing establishment and seminal OG skateboard magazine writer/artist/musician/photographer, Mofo collided with Cindi Ferreira Busenhart— long-time, low-profile, NorCal action-sports’ MAVENtrepreneur. Discussion intermingled, thoughts about newer technologies, todays broader spectrum of visual presentation capabilities, day-dreams of vintage action images, graphics, art and athletes of many kinds. The wheels of creativity begin to churn, as an idea began to take shape. Cindi got to thinking. One thought blended with another; Mo’s images, some more ideas, some technology, the jalapeños - BIFF-BANG-BOOM! she synthesizes a potent business concept swiftly into action. She enlists OG skateboard-legend Keith Meek—master artist, digital graphics/pool ripper. She incorporates hard-rockin’ Las Vegas restauranteur Gigli Locatelli. Completing the quartet is 80s Professional skateboarding icon/half-pipe crusher/mountain-bike pioneer/businessman, Rob Roskopp, forming MERGE4—a sock company.
- From the 80s into the 21st Century, 26th Avenue to Chopes, Mavericks to the Mentawai, Sewer Peak to Super Tubes, Dave Nelson has evolved into one of the world’s best surf photographers. Whether in the water or on the concrete his fluid yet powerful surf skate style transcends over to his photography. Arriving in the 80s, Nelly fell into an evolving surf scene that was on the rise, as surfers with funny nicknames like Flea, Skindog, Ratboy, Barney and Condor were pushing the limits of performance surf at Steamer Lane and along the Westside, and hurtling into giant surf at the monster up Highway 1: Mavericks. As Santa Cruz surfers moved and rose, so did Nelly. Mentored by one of the most innovative surf photographers, Tony Roberts, Nelly is the man with the right talents, shooting locally and globally, and expanding his focus from East Side/West Side to all hemispheres and the seven oceans, shooting the best surfers in the best surf, around the world.
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- Steve practically teethed on grip-tape. Woven from the gnarly fabric of San Jose’s outer Eastside, deeply established and in the groove of skateboarding’s fledgling puberty during the mid to late ‘70s. He was a hard-core super-athlete about ready to burst the paradigm of skateboarding wide open. He was/is a trend-setting machine, with a keen eye for what has soul, what is cool and what is absolutely crap. His inner creativity is overwhelmingly powerful - music, painting, illustration, motorcycles, hot rods, and a furious dedication to constant personal and spiritual growth. Caballero holds many distinctions, from being the first to have his own signature brand shoe, the “Half Cab” to the longest continually selling signature model skateboard deck with Powell Peralta, a company he started with and remains with since 1979. His contributions and inspirations to musicians/skaters the world over are found in his numerous musical efforts with bands that include Faction, Odd Man Out, Shovelhead, Soda and peppered with a little Agent Orange during their 2012 tour.
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- Skateboarding has it power-house legends, all known for their varied and unique degrees of 4-wheeled prowess— from mega-ramp riders in the X-Games to the professional street-skaters buying up mansions just for throwing parties. Each has their “thing” they’re famous for. How they’d developed and adapted their proportion, size, scale and skills to the terrain, or chosen discipline, into world-wide recognition are each unique stories of their own. All of that changes, and the physics involved take on an entirely new meaning when it comes to Wee Man, and vast, new perspectives in skateboarding open up to a level unobtainable by most all other skaters. Watch him ride. You’ll see what we mean. Unless you’ve lived under some dang rock the past 2 decades, you know who WeeMan, who will ONLY cash checks made out to Jason Acuna. We KNOW you’ve seen him, from playing a convincing antagonist in the popular movie and episodes we can’t mention, to insane stunts, gags, film-bits, video-bits and bacon-bits.
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- If you were around in the mid 70’s to early 80’s and had anything to do with the skate-punk revolution, odds are you knew of this classic character that goes by many names. The Orange Bowl, Bombora, Winchester Skatepark, Campbell Skatepark, Milpitas Skatepark, The Temple Beautiful, Mabuhay Gardens, Deaf Club, Elite Club, Sound of Music, Tool and Die, and 10th Street Hall, these are some of the places he called home. Mofo has been part of the Nor Cal scene since day one. He has sung in a few of the best underground bands the bay Area had to offer, has shot photos of some of the most classic, legendary skaters of all time and has probably slept on more couches in his travels than most humans could bare. He is one of a handful of skaters that had the vision and resolve that made Thrasher Skate Magazine a reality and was recently inducted into Skateboardings Hall of Fame.
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- Our witness from the eye of the storm. The lens-pirate responsible for shooting the actual birthing pains of LA PUNK ROCK! His body of work encompasses not just the music, but the fashion, the art, the lifestyle —ALL THE RIGHT STUFF from the most critical juncture. After the skateboarders brought slam- dancing down from Nor-Cal in the late ‘70s, the first slam-pits began to take shape, were refined, perfected, then developed into varying styles, like ’The HB STRUT’, ‘The SWIVEL’, etc. Always on the spot, when and where the action was, Ed captured history at the feet of, and in the midst of TSOL, Bad Religion, Dead Kennedys, Minor Threat, Black Flag, Social Distortion, Circle Jerks, Fear, Social Distortion, X, Adolescents, Christian Death, and too many more bands to count. If you can ever catch a showing of Ed Colvers’ work, do so. They are the loudest, most action-pact, screaming black and white photos you’ve ever seen.
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- Out of NorCal, world ditty-bopping, urban-street-guerrilla photog, who has been shootin skateboarding since he was a pup. Shooting Musicians, DJ’s & their
crowds behind gritty eyelids, Grady Brannan remains estranged from the echoes of reality. Scrumptious visuals that he’s sucked into his apertures from G Eazy to visuals on billboards at Times Square, taste oddly like a spoonful of honey under each arm, huge dabs of mischief behind each ear, capturing noiselessly loud images that are stilled in the strobes fragmented moment.
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- Punk Rock Art is Bad Otis’ game. He’s played it long, and plays it well. So well, he’s inspired censorship. Crazy. Right? Like a lot of you tatted, scarred ‘n begrizzled punkers Bad Otis arose from beyond the suburban-ooze churned and boiled beneath the bandana’d engineer boots of legions of kids during those SoCal nights, when creativity and inspiration became highly aggressive. This new kind of counter- culture exploded in California—with it came new, exciting, assaulting music and graphic visuals. Practically since day one, Bad became a highly recognized artist, alternating scratchy-edginess, moody colors, stark fine lines—simultaneously stylistic, yet discomforting. Aggressive, harsh. The consummate absolute artist from beyond the fringe, Bad Otis Link is by all accounts “Lowbrow-Art” extraordinaire —before it was ever a thing, and long before it’s 15 minutes of cool had even begun. You’re already familiar with Bad Otis’ art from hundreds of bands he’s created for, or from his art and custom shirts at Coachella.
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- Life doesn’t exactly suck when you live in Las Vegas, play in a long-running kick-ass punk band, make your living at your own tattoo studio, parlay a cause célèbre from a reality show into creative artistic visual and liquid opportunities, tending to a variety of business endeavors, while juggling the balancing act and priorities of fatherhood. Some say ‘tsunami’, others say Dirk Vermins’ world. A life like a hot-rod V8 engine, always rumbling, and when he’s wide open, all heads turn. With a pedigree like this, and the hard miles exposed to the best visuals punk rock, hot rods and the tattoo worlds have to offer, add decades of art and life experiences, he’s developed a wide range of styles, from traditional to portrait, and he’s the go-to guy for your cover-up work. Unique Las Vegas OG’s don’t come much more stalwart than a cat like this. If ya gonna get marked, and get marked up really good by the best tatt-cats in the biz’, you gotta have a Dirk Vermin piece. You just gotta.
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- Scotty Greathouse is a Santa Cruz surf/skate rat who spent countless hours staring at art & graphics as a kid, unaware he'd join the art ranks the way he has. Inspired, yet far from a duplicator, he likes colliding varying mediums, free from all rules. Creation through experimentation is the ideal process for him and his work is different because he needs it to be: Xanadu Surfboards, Consolidated Skateboards, Skateworks, Sessions and now, Merge4 have run his graphics worldwide. His words have graced the pages of Thrasher, Heckler and Juice. While his murals have blasted the walls of LinkedIn, AnnieGlass and Lucille Packard Children's Hospital Stanford. He's showed work in numerous venues including California's Seeing Things, Cukui, empire 7, and Gund Galleries. He runs his business ideasforwalls.com, peddles gear thru his ideasforwalls.bigcartel and spends every moment he possibly can with his two sons, Branden and Lee.
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- Devastating demonstrations of downhill demolition fly from the furiously flailing cycle-tires—trees, boulders and wood-peckers blurring in the peripheral edges of Greg Minnaar’s highly complex eye site. His motor-senses, centered-gravity and laser-focus on the quickest line down the mountain are good things to have for a South African World Champion racer who’s has been on a podium more times than any other mountain biker.
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- Jay Moriarity became famous to the world when he was launched with the lip on this giant, 35 foot, offshore, top to bottom Mavericks monster - which was captured by surf photographer Bob Barbour and made the cover of Surfer Magazine in December 1994. At 14 years old, Jay began a grueling, five-year apprenticeship of swimming, paddling and writing essays before he took on the challenge of Mavericks. Jay Moriarity continued evolving into one of the best big-wave surfers in the world thru the 1990’s. He lived heroically, with passion and has been immortalized as an inspiration to young water athletes from around the world to live their dreams, face their fears. Jay left this earth too young, and the surfing world mourned. His life was made into the movie Chasing Mavericks in 2012, inspiring a new generation of water athletes to Live Like Jay. Santa Cruz photographer Bob Barbour was witness to many of young Jay Moriarity’s greatest moments but never more so than the morning this photo was taken. After arriving in Half Moon Bay together and heading out to the break, Jay waxed up and jumped off the boat and into the lineup. This was Jay’s first wave of the day… 16 years old, hair still dry and he paddles into this Mavericks monster.
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- Pro Snowboarder Mike Basich has a unique style of photography – he shoots snowboard action self-portraits that predates selfies. Basich began documenting his life by shooting his own snowboard selfies using a 35mm film camera and tripod complete with special effects like fireworks. His DIY methods of crafting portraitures have everything from furious flurries of fabulously-fancy fluffy-snow sprays to slicing and churning down the slopes of the frigid mountain sides. He’s a wild spirit - like that of an albino-Gremlin with white batwings, lasting thru white-chocolate mud-puddles.
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- Taylor Reinhold: MFC color-mix-illustration-mural master!! Talk about one of the most talented, well-rounded artists alive!! You've chosen his sock design for a reason, this kid's got style!! But that's not enough to explain Taylor's true character. Sure, he can ROPE out the most insane animal/lettering creations (and has the spray can control most graff writers can only dream about); but, essentially, it's his love for art and love for people that's most impressive. Tay is all-in and FULL BLAST when it comes to sharing his enthusiasm. He paints some of the most inspiring murals (taylorreinhold.com) and naturally people can't help but hang out and watch. Taylor is so good at sharing the positive, cultural and community side of what a pure muralist/artist represents. He's confident
in his craft and is always innovating. We're constantly amazed by his talent and BEYOND proud that he's a part of the merge4 line-up!!
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- In 1996, Matt Rockhold began competing in the Air Show Series and made the top 10 in all five years he competed on the tour - busting skateboard moves above the lip and moving aerial surfing forward into the 21st Century. Matt’s success is a combination of nature and nurture. He comes from an athletic family that includes his basketball-playing father, and his brother Luke, who became the UFC Middleweight champion in December of 2015. The Rockholds are the product of a NorCal culture known for producing innovative, tough athletes - from the ocean to the octagon. The aerial surfing that is now changing pro surfing in the 21st Century was laid down by Matt Rockhold and a handful of others. Matt’s still flying from Santa Cruz to the world.
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- Swept away from the shady turf of a cattle ranch to the sunny surf of the California coast - Skyler the Surfing Dog is a badass Queensland Heeler who rides waves with Homer Henard. Skyler was a present to Homer at five weeks old, and Homer was stoked to have a loyal friend who became a surfing buddy. Homer took Skyler down to a break, and she jumped onto his standup paddleboard. “Next adventure, I took her out surfing on a small day and she just loved it! After that there was no turning back!” Homer and Skyler have been riding waves together for years now, and they have it dialed. They’ve shot with Dave “Nelly” Nelson and they have been featured in magazines and have a growing following on social media. Skyler would have won the XXL Big Wave Awards Best Performance - Dog category - if there was such a thing, for a wave they rode together at Middle Peak, Santa Cruz. Their next goal is to get barreled.
View Skyler the Surfing Dog Collab Series