About Lee Elliott

Co-Founder of Ambush Board Co., family man, landlocked surfer, warm climate snowboarder, and lover of good food.

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Here are my most recent posts

Ambush Skateboarding and ABV Gallery Present: Decked Out

Video and Edit by Cole Vanthof

Skateboarding and art have always had a symbiotic relationship. Ever since the first graphics were screen printed on the bottoms of skate decks, art has been used to communicate ideals, encrypt messages, and differentiate between sub sections of skate culture. Art and skateboarding both draw inspiration from the streets. Both feed off of angst. And, are both the result of channeling something super personal into a creative outlet.

In keeping with the art/skateboarding love affair, Ambush Skateboarding partnered with ABV Gallery to create a night-cap art show opening on Go Skateboarding Day titled Decked Out. The goal was to gather 30 artists from Atlanta, as well as nationally and internationally recognized creators, to produce one-of-a-kind, hand-painted decks to commemorate the relationship between art and skateboarding on skateboarding’s international day of observance. Read More >

The Story Behind the Series

Skateboard graphics have reached a really good spot at the moment. Gone are the ho hum days where every graphic is a parody or revolves around some sort of skull, weapon, flames, or some generic attempt at badassery. Contemporary skateboard brands have developed their own distinct art directions that are clearly identifiable and evoke cranial innervation. Modern skateboard graphics tell a story and give skaters something to enjoy and react to that is fresh and new.

Brands are experimenting with multi-stained top sheets, employing vintage screen-printing techniques, adding textures to their graphics (check the new decks from Madness), collaborating with accomplished artists (like Isle’s series with Jack Brindley), or incorporating culturally iconic elements from their respective locations (a la Evisen and Pass~Port). Read More >

Sesame: The Contest #5 Photos & Video Recap is Live!

As told by Matthew Goodison-Orr

The morning of March 23rd was clear, with a promise to be sunny.  The temperatures promised a beautiful Spring day.  At Brook Run Skate Park, tables and chairs were being set up, pens and clipboards put out, signs erected.  The music started to fill the air.  Sesame: The Contest was being held.  This would be the 5th contest in the series hosted by Christian “Drizzy” Hanna.  Soon, the skaters would roll up to the tables to sign up for the beginner or advanced divisions.  Drizzy is busy filming a few of the skaters for the highlight video shown here.  The skaters are warming up and practicing their tricks while sizing up their competition. And then Drizzy slowly skates out, megaphone in hand, and announces the start of the contest. Immediately the park clears out, he thanks everyone for coming and calls out the first 3 names. Read More >

Greyson Beal – Chasing a Dream

Greyson Beal Ambush Skateboarding

“Do not underestimate the ‘power of underestimation’. They can’t stop you, if they don’t see you coming.” 

Izey Victoria Odiase

Greyson Beal has always been on the outside looking in. People question his street cred, doubt his “core” bona fides, and generally dismiss his skateboarding as “too contesty”. Greyson is an undeniably talented skateboarder, but why is he always looked at with a sort of side-eyed suspicion? Why are people so quick to write him off?  Well, maybe that’s right where he wants to be? Maybe that’s his plan? Maybe we’re all playing checkers while he’s playing chess?

Greyson Beal Ambush Skateboarding

“Only a fool would underestimate a man with nothing to lose.” 
Read More >

The Big Bang | 2018 OuterSpace Project | Ambush + Friends

Skateboarding has had a long and lusty love affair with art.  If you want to get hippy with it, skateboarding can be construed as analogous to a type of performance art where the skateboarder is the artist, the skateboard is the tool, and the streets are the canvas.  All abstract mumbo jumbo aside, skateboarding and art just go together.  We celebrate board graphics, have a deep respect for filmers and photographers, and basically can’t function without music.  And, many skateboarders are accomplished artists, filmmakers, musicians, graphics designers, illustrators, chefs, and more.  Skateboarding and art are so closely aligned culturally that they have essentially morphed into two distinct subcultures of a larger, broader lifestyle.  The OuterSpace Project is Greg Mike‘s full embodiment of this concept. Read More >

The Brotherhood of Snowboarding

Being alone can be therapeutic. The silence of your self-imposed isolation can open up your mind and allow it to wander in ways that are unimaginable with the constant noise and interruptions of being among others. You are able to hear the sounds of your breathing and follow your thoughts as they crawl through your mind and into places you didn’t even know existed. When you’re alone, relaxation and revitalization come easy. Snowboarding in solitude can be strangely satisfying as well. With no one pressuring you to party the night before, waking up at dawn is painless. You make your way to the mountain at your own gradual pace, which is still somehow faster than the frenetic, rush-out-the-door pace when you are with a group of friends. You take the series of long, quiet lifts up to the peak. You hike across the ridge while the snow softly crunches under your feet. You’re living in your own private Thoreau novel as you strap on your bindings. Then, you drop in off the peak, gouge a huge turn, and immediately wish you were experiencing this with all of your closest friends.


Yeah, snowboarding alone is fun. But, snowboarding with your buddies is the BEST. And, aside from skateboarding, snowboarding is one of the few board sports you can actually do together. With surfing, currents can separate you from your crew and with wakeboarding you can only ride one at a time. From a group shred standpoint, snowboarding can’t be beat.

Snowboarding is one of the most incredible experiences on this planet. Enjoying it with your crew is next level bliss. Showing off for one another, pushing each other to perform beyond your abilities, and hooting and hollering with stoke down every run makes all those days cooped up in the office worth it. Every single run is a race down the face of the mountain trying to be in front so your whole squad can see you shralp. And, if it becomes time to film, the guy who draws the shortest straw better get the shot. Oh, and the partying that starts après and rages until the coffee pot turns on, is all part of the gig. Ever be that sorry, hungover sap that puked in the snow? Yeah, me neither.

Photo: Xabier Azcerate

Like the old saying goes, if you hucked clean trick and no one sees it, did it really happen? Do you push your snowboarding more when your friends are around? Were you really going to learn a new trick on that solo mission or your “couples trip”? The workaday snowboarder can, and often does, improve his skills rapidly and dramatically when riding as a group. It’s easy to take the comfortable route when riding alone. Try pussying out amongst friends. You won’t live it down until someone else wimps out harder that you just did. But, when you have an image to uphold, look out body…you’re getting sacrificed. And, your snowboard skills are the direct beneficiary.

Style can benefit from riding together too. Do you pay attention to how you snowboard when riding alone? I don’t. But, when my friends are around, I hold my positioning just right. Sure, my riding style is fishing for compliments. To me, it doesn’t matter why your style looks clean and alluring, it’s just nice that it does.

Ambush Snowboarding

Snowboard trips with your compadres can give you a whole new perspective on life and vastly different level of appreciation for the lives of your friends. Ever have a deep, meaningful conversation on the gondola? What did you discover about yourself and about your relationship with your buds? Ever come back from a snowboard trip closer than when you left? Ever look out over the peaks and say to your squad “look at how incredible this is. Look where we are?” Those profound moments of gratitude and camaraderie can impact your friendships forever.

What’s the reason for your trip? Are you celebrating a milestone birthday on the mountain? Maybe a bachelor party? Is your snowboard trip an escape as you help a friend navigate through tough times? Or, are you like most of us and just NEED to ride? Whatever your reason, snowboarding can produce some of life’s most cherished moments.



The brotherhood of snowboarding is a peculiar, inexplicable bond that manifests itself in different ways depending on the circumstances surrounding your trip. But, it is there and it is unmistakable. The brotherhood of snowboarding is what separates snowboarding from other “sports”. It’s a feeling and a vibe. It’s progressing at a rapid clip. It’s sharing in moments of both triumphs and setbacks. It’s disengaging from the rat race, social media, and your devices and focusing on your personal relationships. It’s about experiencing one of the greatest feelings in life: sharing something you love with people you love. And, that’s what makes snowboarding, well, snowboarding.


Amazombie Apocalypse – The Clash Between Amazon and Action Sports

As Jeff Bezos scours the United States looking for a place to plop a second Amazon headquarters, I started thinking of how deeply addicted we as Americans are to Amazon. It started with the seduction of big discounts, intoxicating convenience, and the opportunity to buy anything capitalism has to offer under one domain. Now, Amazon has become the gatekeeper of all that is sold online and the place we as consumers go when we want to do the least amount of shopping and still get the best (at least, we think it’s the best) deal on the planet. I started looking inward as to whether or not Amazon’s outright dominance of all things ecommerce is a good thing for us in the long term. I mean, there’s a reason they call shoppers who buy exclusively on Amazon “Amazombies,” right?

Ambush Amazombies

In full disclosure, we at Ambush Board Co. absolutely offer a large percentage of our catalog on Amazon, but is that the right thing to do? We experience successes and failures on Amazon just like every other retailer.  I just wonder if this is healthy for us (and everyone else) in the long term.

Before we go any further, I feel compelled to illustrate how products actually get catalogued on Amazon. The most basic answer is: marketplace sellers (such as Ambush) list their products. Retailers pay a hefty per transaction commission to Amazon in exchange for visibility and sales on their site. Seems like a good deal, right? Well, in many senses, it is. The whole world has adopted ecommerce and an incredibly huge number of web shoppers are using Amazon as their sole source for online purchases.  Amazon has hit such a critical mass that retailers are almost forced to sell on Amazon. Shoppers are abandoning specialty retail websites at such a rapid clip that, in order to keep their products moving, retailers have become chained to Amazon. For many, many specialty retailers, Amazon is their primary source or revenue.

So what? Revenue is revenue, right? Those specialty retailers should be happy that Amazon affords them the opportunity to sell on their site, some might say. Not so fast. Amazon actually pits its specialty retailers against themselves. The more units retailers move on Amazon, the more eyebrows they raise at corporate headquarters.

Ever wonder how Amazon selects which products it decides to sell and ship itself? Ever wonder what happens to the original sellers once Amazon takes control of the distribution of that product? Amazon uses the data it collects from its marketplace sellers to find popular items that are creating a buzz on their site. Amazon then moves in and corners the market on those items. And, it doesn’t do this through friendly competition; it does so by boxing out the original sellers that had success with the products in the first place. Amazon then creates an artificial environment where the only option to buy is from Amazon itself. So, when an up-and-coming skate shop in Middle America is having success selling its merchandise to the world via Amazon, those sales make a huge contribution to that shop’s overall success. If one of their products is profitable enough, Amazon will block said skate shop from making those sales and put a major squeeze on their business, regardless of the investment that business has made in that product or in its ability to sell the product. Whether or not the shop can survive the pinch is of no consequence to Amazon. They will do whatever it takes in the pursuit of bigness.

The manufacturers of your favorite brand are partially to blame. Amazon can only decide to gate retailers if they have the products to sell in the first place, and they can’t get the products unless the manufacturer sells it to them. I don’t blame manufacturers for being seduced by Amazon, either. The allure of one of the sexiest companies in the world offering untold sums of money to sell your products has got to be nearly impossible to turn down, especially given that most manufacturers don’t readily recognize that, once Amazon makes its pricing demands, there isn’t much actually there for the manufacturer once the product has been produced and shipped. For some manufacturers, though, an order from Amazon is the difference between barely surviving and extraordinary short term success. The manufacturers simply taking the cash now over long-term viability. But, that fleeting moment of short-sidedness can have grave consequences.

Amazon does not need to make money in the short term. They are so cash rich that they even set aside hundreds of millions of dollars just to harm to a company it sees as a threat (look up what it did to Diapers.com). Amazon simply considers taking losses on the sales of a specific product, brand, or category a small price to pay in the conquest of a market segment. They also view it as a small investment that they will see a massive return on once they have become the monopoly of their wettest dreams. They can discount deeper, and for a longer period of time, than everyone else. While the extreme markdowns sound good for the end user, they, along with Amazon’s gating tactics, will eventually push all specialty retailers away from Amazon. And, due to their total domination in all aspects of retail, the ruthless combo will drive specialty retailers out of business, as well. What will likely remain is a massive megalopoly where all skateboard, wakeboard, and snowboard merchandise is completely sold and shipped by Amazon and all board sales are totally devoid of any level of passion or tacit knowledge of the products or culture in general. This, in turn, commoditizes the very foundation from which we base our entire existence and vaporizes our sense of community.

Where does our industry go from there? Who will nurture it and help it grow? Will Amazon bring a demo to your town? Will Amazon sponsor the next rising am skateboarder? Will Amazon put on the next WSL event? Will Amazon film Travis Rice’s next project? I seriously doubt it.

I am cautiously optimistic that we will never get to that point. Amazon seems to have realized what a race to the bottom truly means for itself in the long run. It seems that they also recognize that they could very well be the kind of organization that 21st century anti-trust law is designed to protect us from. Plus…I’d like to think that it can only get so far using its current bully tactics (at least in our industry). Manufacturers are gaining the foresight to realize that, although it is beneficial for retailers to sell on Amazon, its increasingly unhealthy for them to sell to Amazon directly. And, authenticity, product knowledge, service, and a lifelong dedication to board sports are becoming more important to consumers than just price. If we as board sports retailers can show our customers that embracing retailers that embrace them is key to having a thriving culture to call our own (in addition to offering the the best price and service we can possibly), we will move into the digital shopping age where specialty retail is special again.

This is by no means meant to be a definitive treatise against the monolith. I just want to give people some food for thought. What do you think?


Size Matters – Sizing Your Snowboard Right


“Hold the board up to your face. If the board lies between your nose and chin, it’s the right size for you.”

How many times have you heard that in your life? I think some guy at a random rental shop back in 1995 just made that up and it stuck. No matter how that rumor became the standard in snowboard sizing, it’s important that we push passed the lazy anecdotes and get the right size snowboard for your ride. Simply ask yourself two easy questions and you’ll be on your way to snowboard bliss:

How much do you weigh?
The most important piece of information needed to correctly size a snowboard is your weight. Snowboards react to the amount of pressure put on them. The heavier you are, the more pressure the board is put under. The lighter you are, the opposite is true. The goal is to create a balance to where you put enough load on the board so that it grips the snow and reacts to your movements without flattening it out and making the board ride sluggishly.

What type of rider are you?
Matching the size of your board to the type of riding you do is critical. If you ride big, gnarly mountains, you need a bigger (and often times stiffer) board to handle the increased amount of force the extra speed puts on the board. If you ride smaller hills or just cruise around the mountain, you are putting less pressure on the board and should ride it a little smaller. Similarly, if you spend most of your time in the park, a smaller board is usually advised. The smaller outline makes it easier to spin, press in and out of park features, and flex out sketchy landings.

Check out the size chart below:

Ambush Snowboard Size Chart

You want to be at the lighter end of the weight range if you are scorching down the mountain or taking your board into the back bowls. You would want to be at the heavier end of the weight range if you are a beginner, are a more cruisey rider, or spend most of the time thrashing the park. And, if you are looking to do it all, make sure you are right in the middle of the weight range. For more information on how to choose the right snowboard for you, click here.

Happy shredding.



Ambush Video Challenge

Nothing ever goes as planned. We hoped to premiere the Ambush Video Challenge edits at Kennesaw Skatepark as part of our Go Skateboarding Day festivities, but the weatherman had other ideas.

The City of Kennesaw was kind enough to bail us out and offer up the Ben Robertson Community Center as a venue. We quickly called an audible and moved everything there. After a few frustrating AV issues, the Video Challenge was on.

The videos were incredible. The creativity, the spots, and the editing were phenomenal. But, what stood out the most, was the insane amount of footage each team stacked in 24 hours. Mind blown.

Each montage was so good we couldn’t narrow it down to the planned five finalists. Seven teams made the finals each with their own vibe. Crust First took the path of most resistance and centered their edit around chunky, East-coast style spots, while Burnt had a polished, professional feel focused on absurdly talented skating. Pretty SB, Boi Boi Tour, and Loyal brought the whole skateboard lifestyle element into focus while Lowkii and Varolina simply brought the hammers. In the end, Lowkii took the crown as Video Challenge champions.

Ambush Video Challenge – Lowkii – Winner from Ambush Board Co. on Vimeo.

Much thanks to all who participated in the Ambush Video Challenge. You are pushing skateboarding to the next level. You are giving us all a glimpse into skateboarding’s future. And, you are what makes skateboarding go around. We have nothing but respect for you.