Several people noticed a change when Lucas Puig left Lakai Footwear Ltd. to go work for Adidas, fulfilling a longtime dream of endorsing certain of the same sportswear products as his French heroes of years past. For most people, the difference centered on his feet and the shoes he was wearing. But behind the scenes at industry functions some began to whisper that a stranger and potentially more troubling metamorphosis could be at work, namely that during this time of upheaval in Lucas Puig’s sponsorship situation that the specter of a defunct pro career, years in the grave, may be seeking to supplant the “Fully Flared” skater’s grasp on his own affairs and remake his career in the poltergeist’s own graven image.
This month’s Adidas ad spotlights what we must interpret as a silent battle for nothing less than Lucas Puig’s soul. Here we find him maxing out his “special” bar with a switch hardflip backside tailslide, back to switch even, a maneuver that requires intense concentration to successfully land for maximum bonus points. Deep in thought and staring down the ledge similar to the way a hungry wolf in the French hillsides might stare down a wayward baguette, Lucas Puig does not notice his hands beginning to move on their own, seeking some extra token to take the photo to some other, unspeakable level. Over one shoulder hovers the translucent shade of Chris Lambert, gleefully urging Lucas Puig’s hand toward a clear plastic water bottle, long since damned for cluttering European cities and being overpriced to begin with. Over the other shoulder floats SAD, fingertips at his temples and eyes closed, exerting all of his internal forces in order to sway Lucas Puig’s hand instead toward a white handtowel that represents purity of soul and also the Ramada Inn.
Luckily for Lucas Puig’s future prospects we can see that the white towelette was the victor. But this episode raises a more deeply troubling threat, that the skateboard industry in this time of harsh recession could be primed for haunting. Ghosts regularly preyed on pros in at the tail end of the 1980s and early 1990s when the industry lolled over and exposed its weak underbelly during the administration of George Bush Sr., and many privately fear that a worse haunting could be at hand soon. Besides the usual property damage and costs related to expungement, an abrupt rise in hauntings poses longer-term threats because it can be scary and equity investors find it difficult to secure insurance against ghosts. This weekend Boil the ocean urges all friends and defenders of the industry to attend church and not answer the door if it seems like a ghost is ringing the bell. Thank you