‘Word Zine #4: The California Edition’ showcases the wonder and weirdness of California’s skateboard scene

Word Zine #4: The California Edition

Zine, Wade DesArmo, Weiss, Dan Z & TJ Rogers, 128 pgs, @word_zine

At its best, skateboard culture should feel a bit choppy, a bit grimy, a bit scattered. Word Zine is all three! It filters the wonder and weirdness of California’s skateboard scene through the lens of the dull roar of Southern Ontario. It works and it’s awesome.

Word Zine mixes a ton of content with plenty of action shot collages of skater life, interspersed with assorted North American junk culture flotsam and jetsam. It feels extremely last century in such a good way. There’s no real flow to the guts, but overall everything is quite good. An interview with Dan Zaslavsky, a photographer for Thrasher, is one such highlight. It’s part interview and part high school memoir. It’s surprisingly jam packed with detail as it dives into Zaslavsky’s life in San Francisco and formative years, taking pics on the regular. The skater profiles that inhabit the zine’s first two dozen pages are likewise stellar, showcasing Canadian skaters from Winnipeg, Vancouver, PEI and beyond (plus assorted Americans, of course).

Word Zine is great. It’s clearly a group effort, given how thick this zine is (and the commitment to staple binding over 100 pages always charms). With more than three dozen contributors and basically zero white space, it’s a welcome throwback to zine-making of yesteryear, bashing up against the 2020s and somehow still feeling of the moment.