Celebrating skateboarding and London, the third Vans Downtown Showdown lands in Europe this Saturday August 20, taking over the historic Old Spitalfields Market with a huge skate event featuring some of the world’s best skateboarders, teams and Vans legends including Tony Alva, Geoff Rowley and Dustin Dollin.
With a prize pot of 50,000 Euros and the Vans team turning Spitafields into a customised skate park inspired by the Ripper and Victorian London, it’s going to be pretty special. Hell, even Vans’ own Steve Van Doren (whose father founded the iconic skate shoe company) will be in town, taking over Spitalfields Fire & Stone pizza restaurant to serve up his own specially customised Van Doren slices.
Dazed Digital: What are you looking forward to most coming to London?
Steve Van Doren: Coming to London one year before the Olympics is a great thing in my eyes. Next year athletes from around the world will gather to show their abilities in sports and Vans has a head start by having the best Europe has to offer in skateboarding all coming to compete in the streets of London.
DD: Will you be bringing a little bit of California over The Pond?
Steve Van Doren: Whenever I go somewhere I always hope I take with me bit of California culture. The American hub of skateboarding is in Southern California and that is where the Vans brand has forged it's roots for 46 years. I have had some special treats sent over from California to give out to the local kids to make them feel part of this great event.
DD: Vans has a long time heritage with the UK and of course with Geoff Rowley, what is it about the UK style and attitude that you like?
Steve Van Doren: The UK is a breeding ground of skating spirit and has produced some of the worlds skateboarding legends. From the early days of skateboarding the UK riders always lead the efforts to push skateboarding forward to another level in both ability and style.
Many have come to the US to see their dreams become reality, but they always remember where they came from. Riders like Geoff Rowley set the standard globally when it comes to the attitude towards the sport.
DD: Did you ever think the Vans Waffle sole would turn into something as iconic as it did?
Steve Van Doren: The Waffle sole is Vans through and through, one of Vans true trademarks, we even make edible waffles on a stick! My Uncle Jim made the moulds himself out of steel in his garage. I remember back in the early 80s we won a court case when we proved that people knew our brand just from the waffle. They would show them five different soles and asked them to name the brands. The only one they got right was Vans.
DD: What's in a Van Doren Pizza?
Steve Van Doren: I am a quarter Italian, so a Van Doren Pizza is a thin crust with a great tomato sauce and spices with some great cheese blends. Simple, like our waffle sole, but the best, and you can add whatever you like. Just like a pair of Vans in your special favourite colours, simple but totally perfect.
Vans Downtown Showdown at Old Spitalfields Market, noon start, Saturday August 20, free entry