Sk8 Skates Northern Manitoba Tour 2023

Sk8 Skates Northern Manitoba Tour 2023

Read the article in the newest SBC Skateboard Mag Volume 24 Issue #1 on our 2023 Northern Manitoba Tour. Full magazine available at the shop for free!
Photos by Jackson Toone
Jeff Thorburn Interviewing Fane:
fane and shaun in cross lake
After taking over Sk8 Skates in Winnipeg with his mother and younger brother just as the Covid-19 pandemic shutdown businesses everywhere, Fane Small has steadily found his footing as a shopowner. He's learned what wheelbases and durometers are all about, how to manage inventory, and all the other fun stuff that comes with the dream job of young skaters everywhere--after the dream job of being a pro skater, of course. We caught up with Fane recently to talk about Sk8's annual demo tour through Northern Manitoba.
- Jeff
carter with the cross lake youth
How did these annual shop tours through Northern Manitoba come about? 
Colin Lambert (previous Sk8 owner) started doing them in 2018, right when I got on the team. With all those towns up north, there's just one shop up in Thompson, Funky Thread. There wasn't much happening up there. It feels so isolated. So I think Colin just wanted to bring skateboarding up there-it's such a cool thing to show to people. We're one of the few Manitoba skateshops, and I feel like Sk8 is kind of core in Canada's skateboard history, so I definitely feel like we should be supporting Manitoban towns. We make sure we go up there at least once a year, and everyone looks forward to it. Of course we couldn't do it for a couple of years with Covid, so we started again last year in 2022, and everyone remembered us from the previous trips. This year we did it again and tried to switch it up a bit. Cross Lake is way up there, like 8 hours north of Winnipeg, this little reservation on a lake, where a bunch of lakes cross. It's amazing. There were just kids and dogs running everywhere. When we did the demo, it was all kids, and none of their parents there. We gave away the completes we had, but I only had a few, and then decks. So next year I have to bring more completes, because a kid can't do much with just a deck.
- Fane
Julian with a fat fs pop shuv
Tell me the route you took this year? - J
We loaded the team into two big vans and then drove to Brandon. It was chill, it's a city, so there's still that mindset where only people interested in skateboarding come. Whereas elsewhere, not much happens, so all types of people show up. In Brandon. all the skaters came out. Their scene is super small. and it's only two hours from Winnipeg, but they don't come here that much. From there, we went up to Flin Flon and The Pas in one day. Each place, we'd do a demo, but more so just be skating with people, We just let people skate our boards, hang out with the kids and stuff. All the parks up there are like concrete parks with aluminum rails and coping. Hard to grind and slide. - F
So you give the kids a little introduction to this toy. - J
Yeah, it's crazy. To me it doesn't seem like much, and I can't believe they want us to come up for this. But it's such a good time, and like I said, they alwavs remember us, which is really cool. The last place we hit was Thompson. - F
What kind of distance and days are you covering in total? - J
Cross Lake is the furthest, like 800km from Winnipeg. And we're kind of going diagonal. I'd say we probably covered 3000km over the week, Monday to Friday. Brandon is just two hours away, so we did that the first day. The next day we did 5 hours to The Pas, and then Flin Flon the same day, 2 hours away. We did a demo in The Pas around 2 or 3pm, and then another in Flin Flon around 7pm. From there we went to Cross Lake, around 5 hours. And then from there to Thompson was only around 3 hours. Then Thompson back to Winnipeg, around 7 hours. Decent amount of distance each day, and I think we planned it out alright. - F
Were you guys camping or staying in hotels? - J
We just camped pretty much the whole time. It's super nice up north. Way nicer than where Winnipeg is. They've got super nice big lakes, waterfalls-| didn't know how nice Northern Manitoba was until I got up there. It's really beautiful up there. - F
What's the goal of these tours? How do you measure success? - J
Just to get these scenes going. The kids are super stoked on skating, they just don't have much up there. My goal for next year is to be able to get a bunch of completes that I can bring to give out. I want it to be more like what it naturally is, not a demo and contest, but just hanging out with kids. When I gave away those two skateboards to kids in Cross Lake, they were just so stoked. If I could do that for every kid, that would be amazing. It's not like my goal is to have them ordering from Sk8 Skates. I just want to see them skateboarding, because I think it can really help them up there, because it's pretty isolated, and skateboarding is perfect for those small towns so they can hang out together and stay away from rough stuff. - F 
Since it's not about sales for your store, it's just about getting skateboarding out there to people, tell me in closing, what's so great about skateboarding? - J
No one judges you, no one cares. Anyone can skate, and people come at it from way different lives. I have so many friends I never would have met if I hadn't pulled up to The Edge Skatepark when I was a kid. Just having something you can care about for the rest of your life is so great. This trip is really great for the team as well, to bring us together to do something that's not just going out to film. This is more about getting our tents together, cooking our food, and get out and going for these demos. We're not just focusing on our skating, we're focusing on helping others skate. - F
sk8 skates and the cross lake crew
Checkout the edit from the trip here:
As well with some more photos below :)
Shoutout to the sponsors over at Ultimate Dist, Timebomb Dist, and Supra Dist :)
Couldn't hook up the locals without you <3 
Thanks for reading!


- Fane


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