WCS 30th Anniversary—Steve & Kristy Van Doren Interview

May 8, 2024 / By vanessa

Buckle up for a journey through skate culture with the Van Dorens, from game-changing moves in skateboarding to fun stories. Our recent conversation with Steve and Kristy takes us deeper into moments of the collaborative magic between Vans and World Cup Skateboarding that has shaped this vibrant world.

Steve, the innovative offspring of Vans co-founder Paul Van Doren, has been pivotal in shaping the essence of skateboarding through his insights and contributions. Alongside him stands his daughter, Kristy stands as a testament to the family’s unwavering commitment to shaping the brand’s enduring impact.

Christian Hosoi, Judo Air over Steve Van Doren at the Vans Skatepark in Orange CA

Steve Van Doren: CEO of Hot Dogs

Steve has always been deeply involved in events, finding ways to engage and connect with everyone present. One of his enduring traditions is his role as the hot dog distributor at many events. This tradition originated from a snowboarding event where he started barbecuing to stay warm in the cold weather, especially coming from Southern California. Cooking hot dogs not only kept him warm but also created a relaxed atmosphere for mingling and conversing with people.

The hot dog tradition holds special significance beyond its surface appeal. It symbolizes Steve’s commitment to creating an inclusive and engaging environment within the skateboarding community. By cooking hot dogs and personally distributing them at events, Steve fosters a sense of connection among participants and spectators alike. It’s not just about food; it’s about building a welcoming space where everyone feels valued and part of the larger skate culture family.

Imagine Kristy, just a high school student back in the days, already traveling the world with her father, fully immersed in the dynamic ambiance of these events! She has been involved in these gatherings since a very young age and continues to play a remarkable role today. Together, their efforts have greatly influenced Vans’ evolution into the iconic brand it is today.

Vans—a name that resonates deeply within the veins of action sports culture, renowned not just for their iconic shoes but also for their profound impact across various domains. As we explored our conversation with Steve and Kristy, we discovered a wealth of insights and stories that could fill a few different articles.

Their contributions extend far beyond footwear, encompassing support for grassroots initiatives and the orchestration of emblematic events. The reverberations of their influence stretch well beyond the realm of shoes, prompting us to dedicate a showcase at the conclusion of this article, highlighting  their core values and their impact on Montreal culture.


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Skateboarding, for better or for worse?

Get ready for an inside look at some unforgettable moments with Steve and Kristy over the years. From hilarious pranks to heartwarming stories, let’s dive into their treasure trove of anecdotes.

1. Kristy and Her Supportive Hand
2. Rainy Day Improv
3. Never Stay Where The Skaters Stay!
4. When June Bugs Take Over
5. Tony Hawk and Steve’s Hawaiian Shirt
6. Kristy Pieing the Announcer
7. Improvised Hot Dog Eating Contest

1. Kristy and Her Supportive Hand

Steve shared how Kristy’s quick thinking and compassion shone brightly during critical moments. For instance, at one event, when a Japanese snowboarder was injured, Kristy acted swiftly. She jumped into the ambulance with them and accompanied them to the hospital due to the language barrier for the athlete, providing much-needed support.

Similarly, during the Downtown Showdown, skateboarder Omar Hassan suffered an injury. Once again, Kristy stepped up, identifying herself as his wife to stay by his side throughout the medical attention. These instances exemplify Kristy’s genuine concern for athletes’ well-being, a value deeply rooted in their event culture. Ensuring the safety and support of athletes has always been a top priority at their events.

2. Rainy Day Improv

Another year, heavy rain caught them off guard. The unexpected downpour had an immediate impact on the skate light and Masonite surface, raising concerns about safety and the ramp’s condition. This made it impossible to proceed with the planned activities. However, Steve, quick on his feet, sought to inject some excitement for the TV cameras capturing the event. He improvised by sliding down the slick ramp with a Vans banner, creating a spontaneous and entertaining moment that added flair to the filming.

3. Never Stay Where The Skaters Stay!

Steve also remembers his many trips for the Vans Triple Crown skateboarding events, and one lesson stuck with him: never stay where the skaters stay! He chuckled while sharing a funny story about a fight in the hotel lobby during one event, which got them kicked out. Since then, Steve’s rule is to steer clear of skater hangouts, knowing they can get rowdy and even pull fire alarms. Can’t make this stuff up!

4. June Bugs Take Over

During one of the contests, Steve and Kristy recounted a memorable incident involving a swarm of June bugs. They vividly described how the bugs covered everything; these bugs mate for like two days every year, and it happened to be when they had the contest. Despite their best efforts with bug spray, they struggled to completely clear the bugs.

5. Tony Hawk and Steve’s Hawaiian Shirt

Steve was transported back to the legendary moment when Tony Hawk landed the 900 at the X Games in ’99. It reminded him of the time he asked Tony to sign his favorite Hawaiian shirt after that iconic achievement—a shirt that would undoubtedly be worth framing. A few days later, Steve’s wife surprised him by successfully removing the ink stain from his shirt, a memory that now brings him laughter.

Vert skating has always held a special place in Steve’s heart. Spectators don’t always grasp the difficulty of the tricks or understand why skaters fall often, especially in street skateboarding. “Skating is tough; why don’t you give it a try yourself? But when you watch vert skating and they nail it, it’s like poetry in motion, incredibly entertaining,” Steve exclaims. Even if viewers aren’t familiar with all the technical terms, they can still appreciate the skill and artistry involved.

6. Kristy Pieing the Announcer

Steve and Kristy fondly reminisced about a memorable prank they pulled during a snowboarding event. The prank involved Kristy surprising the announcer with a pie just as he was about to announce the winner. Despite the unexpected interruption, the announcer handled it with humor and professionalism, proceeding to announce the winner as if nothing had happened. The incident brought laughter and added an unexpected highlight to the event’s conclusion.

7. Improvised Hot Dog Eating Contest

During a memorable event at Mont Seymour, humorously dubbed Mont See-less by Steve due to the persistent fog, no contests were scheduled because of the foggy conditions. Ever resourceful, Steve decided to improvise and organized a hot dog eating contest on the spot. To everyone’s surprise, the victor of this impromptu contest was none other than a youthful Shaun White, then just 13 or 14 years old.

As we reflect on these anecdotes and insights, it’s clear that behind every trick, every event, and every milestone, there’s a deep-seated dedication to fostering a sense of belonging and pushing boundaries. The Van Dorens’ journey is not just about Vans; it’s a testament to the enduring power of skate culture and the countless lives it continues to inspire. Here’s to the next chapter of WCS, Vans, and the ever-evolving landscape of action sports!

Dedicated Showcase

Recognizing Their Contributions to Our Community

Vans’ Influence on Montreal’s Skateboard and Snowboard Culture

We wanted to kick off this discussion by expressing our gratitude to Vans Canada for their profound impact in Montreal, the hometown of JACKALOPE, and their contributions to the skateboarding and snowboarding scenes. Here are some highlights of what they brought to the community:

  • Projet 45 and the creation of the Chukka Low shoe. The sales proceeds from this shoe played a significant role in funding the construction of a local DIY skatepark.
Frederik Khun at P45:


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  • The Olympic Stadium Skatepark, which has one of the city’s finest bowls.
Highlights of the 2023 Pabst Canada best trick pro bowl at JACKALOPE Montreal:


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Sneak peek of the Ojo Fest 2023 recap:


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Decades of Vans: Worldwide Events Since the 90s

Vans’ unwavering passion and dedication have not only fueled countless dreams but also inspired generations of athletes and enthusiasts across the globe. Their impact transcends mere footwear, extending into the realms of culture, community, and sportsmanship.

Here are a few notable events that showcase Vans’ commitment and influence:

1996 – The Vans Warped Tour: This iconic tour brought together winners from around the world, spanning both vert and street disciplines, for a special contest. The ultimate victor earned a coveted sponsorship with Vans, complete with a year-long salary. Steve noted, “This allowed them to travel to more World Cup events and such. It was a pretty cool thing for both vert and street.”

1997 – The Vans Triple Crown Series: Inspired by Steve’s father’s admiration for Triple Crown horse racing, this series marked a pivotal moment in the evolution of professional street and vert contests. Through an agreement with NBC, Vans expanded the series to encompass skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding, BMX, Motocross, and wakeboarding, in collaboration with WCS.

Vans Combi: Steve passionately described the Van’s Combi as a revered sanctuary for skateboarding, akin to the Colosseum in Rome. Adorned with banners honoring skateboarding legends like Omar Hassan, Cara-Beth Burnside, Bucky Lasek, Pedro Barros, Lizzie Armanto and Tom Schaar, the Combi stands as a testament to Vans’ enduring legacy in the skateboarding community.

An inspiration for JACKALOPE’s core values

1: Valuing the Riders

Steve’s consistent focus has always been on prioritizing the happiness of riders. He has always stressed the importance of ensuring that every rider feels valued, engaged, and fully part of the community, regardless of their standing within the sport. “Our goal is to foster an environment where every rider, be it a seasoned professional like Pierre Luc Gagnon or an amateur, feels welcomed and receives equal treatment,” Steve emphasized.

Additionally, Steve highlighted the pivotal roles of Don and Danielle Bostick, the founders of WCS, in organizing and judging events. Not only were they exceptional in these roles, but they also served as the backbone of operations, ensuring smooth execution and prioritizing rider satisfaction. Working closely with Steve and his team, the Bosticks played a crucial part in creating an unparalleled experience for both riders and spectators alike.

2: Equal Prize Purses

She highlighted Vans and WCS as pioneers in fair competition, leading the charge by offering equal prizes and advancing fairness and equality in snowboarding, skateboarding, and surfing. Kristy emphasized the significance of providing women with a dedicated platform, leading initiatives to ensure equitable treatment.For instance, they ensured that prize money was equal; if the men’s purse was $71,000, the women’s prize money matched that amount.

Vans and WCS played a pioneering role in promoting gender equality within the skateboarding industry by offering equal prize purses to both men and women athletes. This significant step not only reflected their commitment to fairness but also set a powerful example for the entire sports community. By ensuring parity in prize money, they challenged long standing norms and paved the way for greater inclusivity and opportunities for female skateboarders.


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