Kevin Coakley: Like a soft-spoken wave.
Like a Wave has been slipping on all fronts but none more than its commitment to skateboarding. The truth is that there are fewer and fewer real rippers out there. As our staff ages, nostalgia stinks up the cubicles at LAW Headquarters. This is a phenomenon experienced by all twenty-something skater boys. Past are the days of spending all night in a parking lot or ditch laughing at bloody elbows with the homies. Now, our ankles are crunchy, and life is the grind. The consensus around here is that the grass roots aspect of our art is no longer the emphasis. No, selling sneakers and soda seems to be the focus. Our staff encourages you, disenchanted skate rats, to push fast down the street, bomb a hill, and slash a curb. Fuck it. We decide when we’re benched. ‘Flip in, flip’ out can’t kill the kid in us.
Many readers may be unaware, but one of the piddly excuses for our frequent hiatus is relocation and its dizzying implications. Back in 2010, our start-up office was an apartment in the heart of dairy land: Wisconsin, home of endless farm fields and unforgivable winters. Soon after, Like a Wave went international, conducting its operations out of a one-room cell in South Korea. The scene was encouraging but ultimately stifled by economic disaster. Back in Wisconsin, the blog suffered tremendously. Moving back to the Midwest was a huge set-back in terms of inspiration on wood and wheels. At last, our small firm has planted itself on the east coast at arguably the birthplace of America, Boston, Mass. The skate ideology in this region is raw and heavily centered on reputation. Careers aren’t championed here; they are held onto as pipe dreams. No one readily admits, but while surrounded by urban decay, skateboards are security blankets, objects of unwavering attachment. Inanimate as they are, skateboards breath life. Here in Boston, it’s trial by fire, sink-or-swim tea party style.
There are a slew of mentionable Bostonian skateboarders: Jerry Fowler, Lee Berman, Bro Gumpright… ummm, PJ Ladd. But, at the moment, Kevin Coakley is blazing his own trail as a hometown hero. This guy isn’t new to the scene, but he’s not often in the spotlight. Like a Wave sings the praises of this underrated OG.
Street skateboarding is an extension of inherent urban design. Coakley drops lines through his city like one might walk a familiar route to work. He turns even the roughest spots into smooth canvases. His stand-out, opening part in Blueprint’s Make Friends with the Colour Blue cemented him as an ‘east coast creative type.’ This entry into skateboarding’s often straightforward progression stood out as tangential. Coakley didn’t travel to California or, heaven forbid, China to craft a video part. He stayed at home and made his imperfect stomping ground into a playground. This aesthetic direction goes all the way back to the seventies, when Venice Beach Dogtowners painted their walls with the phrase ‘Locals Only,’ as if to say: ‘You don’t belong because you don’t eat, sleep, and breath these streets.’
Like a Wave proudly places a feather in Kevin Coakley’s cap. Cheers! And best of luck keeping our essence alive. The ‘Red-Eye’ feature on SLAP was another gem.