With a population of just under 600,000 people, Hamilton, Ontario is located just west of Toronto. It has a vibrant music and art scene, but just as important is its thriving skateboarding scene. Hamilton’s Beasley Skate Park is one of the oldest skateparks in North America where many competitive skateboarding events take place each year. And, thanks to folks like Rob DeFreitas and many more, the longboarding community has been starting to make waves. During our visit, we had a chance to meet for a gathering at the Bombora Farm and experience the Bombora Brotherhood’s hospitality. It was there that we met one of the guests present at the gathering; Meghan Guevarra, founder of the Hamilton Bayfront Cruise.
What drew you to longboarding?
Meghan: I saw a rider on a longboard for the first time in 2009. When I asked the rider about his longboard, he explained its increased stability, higher speed capability, convenience for long-distance travel and more. I was intrigued. In 2011, my partner Alexandre Veillette and I discussed our past experiences and struggles while skateboarding during our childhood. He mentioned his interest to try a longboard because of his 6-foot 7-inch height and his style of riding. I felt that longboarding might be fun and right for us. The following year, the opportunity came along which transformed our lives and brought us to a whole new world. A friend, John Poff, the spark who lit the fire in our hearts, decided to sell his longboard; a complete 2008 Sector 9 Goddess pintail. I bought it for $40.00 and a pint of beer. The longboard was a Valentine’s Day gift for Alex. During that mild and bone-dry February, Alex and I used his longboard together and became hooked on the drug that is longboarding.
What drove you to create the Hamilton Bayfront Cruise?
In 2013, we met Steve Leibold. Along with Steve, we established a longboarding crew called the All-Star Pavement Pounders. Our crew is made of diverse friends with a bond like family. Together, we regularly brought our longboards along a circuit at Hamilton’s Bayfront Park, movingfrom the entryway to cruise along the waterfront trail, to Longwood Hill for downhill fun, and then finally to Kay Drage Park for freeride and slalom. This is the circuit of the Hamilton Bayfront Cruise.
Hamilton’s longboarding community was fragmented. With many riders expressing their interest to meet new people, learn together, and share adventures throughout the city, the timing to create an all-inclusive monthly event for unity was perfect.
With the helpful insight of Kyle “Stoke Machine” Salmon (aka Draco) and “Punksy” Phil Sadiwnyk, as well as inspiration drawn from the many community members and events within Ontario, HBFC was born in 2016.
What is your favorite memory so far?
Each monthly event is filled with memorable moments which fill Alex and I with joy beyond any dream we could’ve imagined before. We can agree that our favorite memories are the moments when we can see the entire event in motion; witnessing the happiness, love, growth and diversity surrounding us, which validates the event’s existence and the challenging efforts of hosting HBFC. This community’s people are so bright and beautiful!
What are your plans for the future?
In the past, the Bombora Brotherhood combined their efforts with our own to co-host a special edition of HBFC: The NOOBeginnings Edition. (NOOBeginnings is a touring project founded by Luis Bustamante and Rob DeFreitas, which brought additional tools needed to multiple all-inclusive events throughout the Golden Horseshoe, encouraging community growth in Ontario while forming new riders who are equipped with Bombora’s beautifully crafted gear to this day). The success of that particular collaborative event brought HBFC to an entirely new level of hype. We’re [inspired] by Bombora’s leadership. Therefore, at this time, we anticipate the upcoming event hosted in collaboration with Bombora once again, with a whole new beach environment to be revealed to many HBFC members
Also, as many of us enjoy the magic of the night, we will host our first ever experimental glow-in-the-dark event called “Nocturnal De Lux” at an all-new location in July.
With a rapidly growing community comes the demand for accessibility to affordable new and used equipment in our area. In August, we’d like to work with members of our community to host an annual Buy/Sell/Trade market and other festivities at Kay Drage Park.
Otherwise, we’ll simply go with the flow, doing our best to incorporate new ideas as they come, which we feel will enhance the atmosphere positively and represent the all-inclusive spirit of HBFC and its associated events. Each member of our community offers special elements to HBFC which make each event unique. As we have been inspired by so many all over the world, we hope to inspire others to spread the peace, love and stoke
What do you hear from people about what you’ve created here in Hamilton?
Incredibly, HBFC is enjoyed by people of every sort, from 6 years of age to 60. As an event designed originally for longboarders, it’s drawn the interest of riders using all types of recreational rolling devices who are happily welcomed to participate in all aspects of the event.
Often members express gratitude for the opportunity to find and share love of all kinds and to share memorable moments together. It’s apparent that Hamilton’s longboarding community wanted and needed unity, and that this eventbenefits us as individuals and as a collective, while spreading positivity beyond ourselves.
HOW IT ALL CAME TOGETHER
Alex, Steve, Draco and Phil were the helping hands guiding and supporting me over the years with their wisdom and love. These are the people who came together with me to form the spark igniting the longboarding explosion in Hamilton. Through their many inspiring examples as skilled individuals (artists, musicians, parents, and of course, longboarders), I was led to create HBFC.
Alex and I would like to express many thanks to Gordon Houser, Spensir and Nelson Knight, Phil Sadiwnyk, Andrew Fox, Kyle Salmon, Hailey Riddell, Shane Lannen, Luis Bustamante, Aaron Gordon (Beefer’s Skate Shop), John McAteer (Geared To Win Sports), Jason and Brad Dworsky (The Local Skateshop), Jason and his late father David Greenidge (S&J Sales), Samson Simpson (Zero Fucks Bolt Company), Jonathan Nuss (Skate Invaders), Rob DeFreitas (Bombora Boards) and countless other community members for their support, efforts and other contributions in preparation for and during HBFC events. Hamilton’s longboarding community is extremely grateful.