In the beaches area of Toronto,Canada. There is a small skater owned skate shop that holds a vibe that can't be described and must be experienced... 

If you skate Vanderhoof skate park and you ask any of the locals where you should buy a skateboard or anything skate related, 9 out of 10 will say "Hammer man, its an awesome shop!"
2225 Queen St. E

Where is Hammer?!?!
To 2225 Queen Street East, I drove.
The shop is in the basement of a Tatto shop. When the Tattoo shop is closed the door remains open so you can walk into the skate shop downstairs...
Once you get to the bottom of the stairs, the first thing you see is a shoe wall with plenty of brand selection.
There were two skaters in their early 20's working.  They both greeted me as soon as I walked in. The shop was empty as it had just opened, a dude in a Baker Skateboards T was organizing the cash register area and the other, the Creature T-shirt dude, was holding down the deck wall, pulling boards out of boxes and organizing them.
 I told the Baker t-shirt dude by the cash register that I was there to buy a complete as I headed straight for the deck wall,..

 ...the wider deck(s) wall to be more precise...
 The awesome selection on the wall made me think that maybe I should buy a bunch of decks, since it's going be hard to just pick one.
As I got there, another dude popped out from behind the wall...
"Hey man, how's it goin'?!"
"good dude!.. i'm here for a complete.." I said as excited as the first time i went to Rudy's skate shop in the mid 80's to grab my first pro set up.
"cool! you gonna need some help!"
You could tell this was the shop owner.
 He had a vibe; this is my shop and I'm here to sell you quality skateboard products.
 I had walked into the right skate shop!

 This was the first monday of summer holidays and in a minute the place got relatively busy, with eager kids coming in to get their skate fix. These kids knew what they were there to buy and they wanted to get it faster than it can be assembled. They could barely wait on their new; deck, trucks or wheels, so they can rush out to Ashbridges Bay Skatepark or any other local spot and spend all day, all summer, shreddin' with their homies.
I on the other hand, had to run around the city to do errands, had no chance to go skating and no clue what I was going to buy, so I didn't mind stepping aside and letting them service the eager groms and help the local rippers get what they needed.
This gave me time to go through their huge board selection and narrow down my choice of decks.  It also momentarily postponed me driving around Toronto's crowded streets on a hot and sunny summer day. It also gave me a chance to speak to the owner, Dave.
He, not only owns/manages the coolest hardcore shop in T.O, he has been on a deck forever,  he has seen a lot and is willing to share his stories. If you don't believe me, check out the museum tab on his website : http://www.hammertoronto.com/museum.htm
As I shuffled through decks and checked the different shapes, we talked about the local skate scene and how we had it in the good old days...
Once the shop cleared out, I had narrowed my skate decision to 4 decks :

A beautifully shaped pool deck 8.8" wide, designed by the pool riders at Creature.  A Darren Navarrette 8.0 also made by Creature, Jeff Grosso's brand new Anti Hero vert monster, 9.2' wide with antihero meets black label Grosso graphics and lastly Anti Hero's 8.5 xxl team deck. I stepped on all of them and visualized riding around in them. After going through the whole wall, I had 4 decks I was willing to buy, but I could only get one, so I had to make the final eliminations...
The Navarrette was too skinny, the shape was nice, but i needed something wider. The Grosso, (if i could buy two decks that day, the grosso would have also come home with me), I couldn't buy it, it was too wide and I wanted something to ride, not to hang on my wall. But if the 8.5 version had been there, then this post would have a slightly different ending...
It was beetween the Creature pool deck or the 8.5 Anti Hero, which looked perfect for pool/vert riding.

I turned to the dude that was holding down the deck area and with a smile from ear to ear said..."this is the one!"
"yeah, that's a nice shape!", said the dude by the cash register.
I brought the deck over to the counter and asked to see some Ace & Theeve trucks. Having ridden Indy's for the longest time, I had decided to try something new.
Theeve's are the first all titanium trucks, built for riders like Jake Duncombe &  Tony Hawk.

They don't grind down, but they grind your bank at $150 for a pair. A bit much for a rider of my abilities, Ace was the way to go. I had heard they are made by a cat who worked for Independent, they turn quicker and are lighter than indy's. I decided to grab a set of 44's. For wheels I had wanted to try Bones SPF, so when I saw a set of Chris Miller's 60mm, I had no choice, the size was bigger than I wanted, but I could not resist getting the same wheels the stylish legend Miller rides. Inside them some Bones reds bearings and hardware, the selections were made.
"Am I putting this together for you?" he asked... "No don't, I have errands to run today, and if you put it together for me now, I will end up at the skatepark instead of running errands!"  I replied...,.."I'm putting it together then!" he said as we all laughed.  While I waited for him to assemble the deck,  I picked out a ATM 8.0" deck for a friend, and continued my conversation with Dave. "here, this is going to ride nice at the hoof, enjoy it dude!" He said and handed me my new skateboard. I was good to go. I had the perfect set up!
Just then another busload of eager rippers rushed in, so I stepped aside and headed for the door, as I walked past the owner, he handed me a shop t-shirt and said, "here man, see you around!" I thanked him for the quality service I had received and headed out to do my errands. As soon as I stepped out of the door of the shop, I could not resist, I skated to my car, got in it, and drove straight to the skatepark, I could not give up the chance of  hitting the hoof with this brand new gnar stick in my possession!


  1. Just was searching for info On Rudy's skateshop in Toronto, You were basically the only thing that came up. Got my first deck there, The first Lance Mountain Pro. I remember the pictures of Rudy skating the Wallows on the wall, Love that shop, Love the guys Rudy jr. was super cool.

    1. got my first deck at Rudy's too. a Tony Hawk, with indy 159's & oj teamriders. Rudy's was awesome.