SkateScenes: Singapore - Kevin Mok From ThaneLife

SkateScenes: Singapore - Kevin Mok From ThaneLife

Introduction: why we’re talking.

We began noticing ThaneLife on Instagram several years ago. Every day they were posting pictures of happy customers with their new boards from an impressive line of brands. It’s one of a few skate shops in the world that carries a full inventory of LDP equipment. 

As we decided to open up the brand membership program to shops, ThaneLife was top of the list. We reached out to owner Kevin Mok and immediately had a productive call. After talking to him for just a few minutes we began to wonder, is Singapore the longboarding capital of Asia? 

This interview took place at 8pm in Miami on Friday and 9am on Saturday in Singapore. I had polished off a few beers, Kevin had just finished his coffee. 13 hours apart, we connected to geek out about skating via Zoom.

Quickly tell us about the shop. How did ThaneLife get started?

In 2016, I began LDP skating in my 40s with a small group of people and started the business organically. In 2019, I was able to be one of the first in Asia to bring in Pantheon longboards and we just kept growing our brand partners from there. We began focusing on LDP early because it was something I was passionate about.

ThaneLife the shop

The shop is open 7 days a week, we carry all skate products and protective gear. We’re in a very central part of the country and offer sales online. Our country is a big shipping hub so we have better International Shipping rates than you would expect. 

For example,

All purchases above S$500 (about $375 USD, the price of a new complete) gets free shipping to the USA.

 What kind of products/brands in the shop get you excited?

I like the LDP stuff personally. We just got a new special edition Pantheon collaboration, a Trip with a carbon fiber layer. Don’t Trip trucks, Bossa has supported us for a long time. Recently, a company SuperSteadySkates has released some brackets and a tail made locally in Singapore. We keep a full line of Riptide bushings in the shop and like to encourage our customers to “tinker” with their setups. 

The ThaneLife x Pantheon Trip Special Edition

What kind of product trends are you seeing in Asia? 

There’s other skate scenes around Asia but they are not as LDP-focused. For example, there’s some smaller shops in the Philippines and Malaysia more focused on downhill skating. In Thailand, Surfskate and SUPSkate are gaining more popularity along with downhill. In Singapore, LDP is one of the best selling categories along with the freestyle/ dance-oriented gear. 

Tell us about the Skate Scene in SG. What kind of events are going on? Are there local skate crews that meet up frequently? Who are the key players?

Again, we’re very LDP focused. The community organizes mostly via a 180-ish person Telegram chat group. Also there’s a pretty active local strava group SG Distance Skating. There’s rides pretty much every weekend on the park connectors. Our country has a well-planned “Park Connectors” system which is more or less a system of trails that link together different parks of the city. They are separated from traffic, have great pavement and are safe to ride. The Tenah Merah Coastal Road (TMCR) is longest, about 20km, all nice pavement. Singapore is a place where you can get actually get around the entire country by board.

I think the parkway system is one of the main reasons we have such a robust LDP scene here. Having access to nice pavement so we can safely skate is crucial. Also, island country is also rather small so it makes it easier to host accessible meetups.

In general, we’re pretty well received by joggers and cyclists sharing the pathways. Cyclists tend to give us respect after we keep up with them for a few kilometers. Lots of younger people skateboard, but we see a slightly more mature crowd on longboards.

Singapore Parks Connector System

As far as organizers go there’s Casual Cruise Collective on the Group Ride/LDP side of things. There’s a few dance crews such as ChillVibesOnlySG, DockSessionSG, Longboard Girls Crew SG. For beginners there’s SG Longboard Academy. How can we not mention that the legendary Adrian Oh lives right by the shop, so we get to see him often.

SkateScenes: Singapore
The shop tries to organize events whenever possible. For example, we did a Pantheon Ride in September and just hosted our first major race last October.

 Tell us about the Singapore Distance Skating Nationals.

The race was the first of it’s kind in Singapore. We actually got the government to recognize the sport first and now all the results go in a national database. When LDP becomes more organized on a global level, the SG National team will be ready. 

But the race itself took place on Oct 30 at Tanjong Beach. It started extremely early at 5:30AM so we could shut down the road but also helped beat the heat. We played it a little conservatively and capped it a 30 riders. However, we quickly learned that the course could have accommodated much more. We had 3 categories: Men, Women and Masters. The course itself was a 1.08 KM closed loop, each rider required 39 laps to finish the 42km distance. 

There was also a freestyle/dance competition we hosted later on that morning so we were able to bring out a big skate crowd that day. 

Recap of the Singapore Distance Skating Nationals

What did you learn doing your first event? Anything you will do differently next time?

We learned that it’s challenging but rewarding. Finding a suitable venue was difficult but we made it work. The response was amazing, next year we’ll have more participants. After the start, everyone spread out on the course and space wasn’t as much as an issue as we thought it would be. 

We started small but were thinking very much long term. Adding a free style competition was a great way to make the event much larger and activate more skaters.

What’s your top tips for a skater that’s planning to visit SG?

Easy, come see us at the shop. We’ll hook you up and help you experience SG from the skater’s perspective. 

Where do you want to skate in the world? Bucket list spot?

I would really like to skate in Europe. Germany and The Netherlands seem to have cool events and a great scene.

To wrap things up, tell us about the giveaway we’re doing this month?

We’re giving away one of Super Steady Skate’s brand new Strafe Precision TKP 23Deg Truck. Perfect for Top Mount pumpers! Also included, an IDSA T-shirt from the gift shop. Be the first on the block to try this truck, enter by following @ThaneLife, @SuperSteadySkates and @TheIDSA on Instagram, then click here to submit. Winner announced Feb 28th.

SuperSteadySkates - Strafe Precision Truck

Want More?

Members can geek out and watch the video interview. Sign in with your IDSA login and head over to the members section. Look out for more "SkateScenes" features in the future. Not a member yet? Click here.

Words by @szieg

ThaneLife is a Brand Member of The IDSA.

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