CCS Customs X First Thursdays Interviews: Jay Howell
November 05, 2021 - CCS launches the Customs X First Thursdays program with one of our favorite artists: Jay Howell.
A session is always better with the right crew. But getting everyone on the same page isn't always easy. This was the thinking that sparked the idea for the Loke Skate App. Like google maps for skateboarding, Loke shows skate spots in your area and lets you know where skaters in your network are skating. Get your crew together and find new spots in your area with Loke.
First off, can you explain what Loke is in 10 words or less?Helps you session every single skate spot in the world.
Okay now you have more words, explain what Loke is in as many words as you like. Designed by skaters for skaters, Loke is the largest skate spot app in the world, and the only one that tells you when skaters are skating them. Our vision is to connect the worldwide skate community around spots, sessions, events, brands, social opportunities – Basically everything that makes skateboarding culture so rad and unique.
Why did you start Loke, and how did it come about?We are two lifelong skaters from Sydney, Australia. When we moved to New York City like some noobs, we created Loke to discover spots and make new friends to skate and socialize with. Some years later, Loke has provided us all of that and so much more. We have met so many great people through the app, from users to content creators.
Is everyone involved a skateboarder?We've both been diehard skaters for 20+ years. Growing up on the north shore of Sydney and being surrounded by skate and surf culture, it was inevitable for us to skate. It's been amazing to be part of the evolution of skating, and to now be part of something that will elevate the experience even further. Getting older and having work responsibilities doesn’t allow us to skate as often as we’d like, but with Loke we’re interacting with the community every single day.
How many spots and skaters do you have on the app currently?Loke is unequivocally the largest skate spot app, with 12,000+ spots worldwide, 4500 of which are in the US – all contributed by real skaters. We've seen amazing submissions, from huge public skateparks in Kansas City to cutty ledge spots behind someone's house in Philly. We’ve even seen spots mapped in far flung parts of the world like Afghanistan and Taiwan – You would be surprised how many kids are taking up skating in these parts of the world.
We have a modest 2500 skaters on Loke but growing every day, with large concentrations in NY, CA, FL and NV, and emerging communities in the UK, France, Germany, and Japan. The uptake is wild, and it’s been so amazing to see how many skate spots there are in the world and how many skaters are skating them.
Do any pros use the app?We have so many prolific skaters on Loke, though there are no signs of pros just yet. There probably will be after this interview, though. Haha.
Is there a way to gage the most popular spots? If so, what are they?Every spot is ranked by how much they are sessioned, or how much discussion is generated around a spot. If you opt-in, Loke can notify the homies when you want to skate, and then allow you to democratically agree on which spot the session will go down.
Do you ever have angry spot finder type skaters who get mad at you for making their secrets accessible?Surprisingly, most skaters have been super forthcoming with their spots. We’ve observed that a lot of skaters from smaller cities actually want to see their spots skated – Imagine seeing a photo in Transworld of a pro grind a rail in your neighborhood.
But for the spot-conscious, we're adding a privacy function in the next release for those who want to save their spots for their crew’s eyes only, be it to catch clips, keep bust-level down, or keep kooks out.
Talk a little more about the social aspect of the app. It actually tells you when your friends are skating without you? Seems like that would hurt some feelings, haha. It's not our fault that skaters are wack sauce or haven't picked up filming. JK.
Loke is inclusive, and we see a world where skaters can be bring value regardless of their technical ability. Go huge? Got you. Go tech? Got you. Cinematographer? Got you. Discover spots? Got you. Party hard? Got you.
Skate sessions are transient by nature – The size of the group, the number and location of the spots skated, the length at each spot changes every time, making it hard to connect. But now Loke keeps you in the loop.
Let’s talk about your artist series boards, how did that whole idea come about? There's been a lot of interest inside the skate community to make Loke a brand, so much so that MFs constantly hit us up to collaborate.
We ultimately see Loke as a game of Tony Hawk Pro Skater IRL, and the art collaborations are an amazing way for us to connect skaters with the rich culture that is skateboarding by prizing them with ill shit when they share spots, sessions, and their own personalities.
Art, design, and skating are so interconnected. Individuality and a self-expressed style have always been two powerful cultural values for skateboarders, and it’s often reflected in the graphics on decks, on wheels, or apparel. It was an obvious next move for Loke swag considering our vision for the app.
Tell us about your first artists/boards.We kicked off the Loke Art Collaboration series with a poignant NYC illustrator, Trevor Williams – a very talented skater, an astute painter, and a massively good guy.
Our next art collab drops feature prolific visual designers, Ross McCampbell and James Zanoni, who crafted their graphics through code-driven algorithms and processing techniques.
We are following through with quarterly drops, collaborating with the biggest artists and graphic designers that you absolutely should know, and some you already do.
And of course, we're partnering with CCS because they're about good quality, as are we.
What’s the future look like for Loke? You guys building a skate team or anything like that?2019 will be a big year for Loke – building the brand, building a team, and building an app for skaters, by skaters. Watch this space, or bleed out. Love you. getloke.com