Archive for September, 2012

Did He Or Didn’t He? The True Story Of How A Ledge Trick Tom Penny Did 10 Years Ago Continues To Baffle Investigators

September 26, 2012

Yall seen this recent spate of lost Tom Penny footage, no doubt sending the original VHS-dubber of the semi-legendary “Penny Files” tape to check his watertight plastic tub for scratch marks, sleeve rips or other signs of six-foot-under rotations. It is conventional wisdom that Tom Penny in 2012 is not what he once was, the tolls of life as Tom Penny having set in with time, but the above Vimeo clip is a good footnote to the “Sorry” revival period as he transitioned from the mid-90s apex to the XXL solid-color tee era and all the matching sneakers and doo-rags that came with it.

However, for a dude famed for languid movements and lackadaisical attitude towards life in general though this clip boasts one of the most illusory optics ever captured on DV cassette since Satva Leung’s switch frontside flip — I pose to you the question, does Tom Penny or does he not shove-it out of the backside 5-0 at 2:08 above? After about a dozen passes I’m fairly sure that he does, but hard to be 100% without one of Spike Jonze’s massive slow-mo cameras.

Tossed On Stormy Financial Seas And Seeking A Leash, Billabong International Ltd. Eyes A Private-Equity Life Ring

September 24, 2012

The surfs of capitalism are a-froth down under, where action sporting goods developer Billabong in recent weeks has found itself courted by Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital and a rival private equity enterprise, TPG Capital, both of which eyed plans to acquire the ‘Bong, buff out its financial dents, slap on a new coat of paint and present a trimmer, more profitable extreme enterprise to the capital markets. Billabong, purveyor of the eponymous boardshorts supplier as well as tree-hugging-and-then-cutting-down skateboard maker Element and the glasses company Von Zippa, already has mapped out a path to enhanced earnings power but the investment mavens of the private equity world bring to the table their own ideas. Boil the Ocean has put its own venturing capital war-chest away in the attic in favor of more economically conservative armchair critiques of the contemporary scene, but nonetheless proffers a few strategic alternatives that Billabong’s management squad and its new partner may take under consideration in this heady season of risk-taking and risk-making.

Incentivize multiple disciplines among RVCA signess. The unpronouncable alternative sporting clothes unit already keeps one foot on the board and the other in the proverbial octagon of mixed ultimate fighting, a scenario that represents an elixir for investors thirsting after operational synergies. Thought leaders such as Jason Ellis already have paved the way for pro skateboarders to test their capacity for head injuries within the fighting pits of Las Vegas and elsewhere, and RVCA already counts within its skate ranks well-known aggressor types such as Kevin ‘Spanky’ Long, Josh Harmony and Nestor Judkins.

Set an aggressive hurdle rate for Mike V’s next contract with Element. Multiple stints with Powell and a record of high attrition among his own hardgood ventures virtually ensure that Mike V has another nature-future ahead of him at some point, plus he already got the tattoo. Vallely’s ceaseless grind, grassroots efforts to reach the kids and willingness to tackle new projects like pro wrestling have seen his board-selling abilities endure, but striking a deal that would require a certain number of pachyderm-printed decks, wheels and shoes to move before alotting incentive pay would be one way to maximize income before Mike Vallely roams on toward life’s next green pasture.

Sell more $46 t-shirts. New Billabong CEO Launa Inman last month identified a AUD40 million sales target for the Element, Da-Kine and RVCA brands. At the current conversion rate, you would only have to sell 909,091 such shirts to make up the difference, compared to about 2 million regular shirts at like $20, less than half the work.

Harness Element’s ‘back to nature’ vibe. “Just to give you a little bit of a sense, Element is very much a skate brand. It’s all about urban,” said CEO Inman, remarking to analysts on a conference call last month. “It’s a brand that has done well in America, we just need to refresh it.” This makes sense — the U.S. launched ebonics, rap music and the career of Keith Urban. However, it leaves another segment of the marketplace untapped: rural. The hinterlands match up well with Element’s rootsy ethos but there is also a smart business move to be made here, as there seem to be far less competitors. Google returns about 127,000 results for “urban lifestyle brand” compared to just 4,200 for “rural lifestyle brand.” There may also be opportunities for a smaller, more nimble retail competitor to entrenched big-boxers such as Fleet Farm, Farm & Fleet and Runnings’.

Avoid global financial crises when possible. Responding to a shareholder query in August, Billabong CFO Craig White acknowledged that the worldwide financial meltdown of 2008 may have set the parent company back some 10 years in terms of earnings, which had to be a bummer. Now the European sovereign debt crisis is afflicting Billabong’s wholesaling business in that region, all of it highlighting the import of extraplanetary diversification.

In Which We Pause For A Moment To Take Cheap Shots At Not One But Three Action Sport Celebrities

September 18, 2012

For better or worse, this web log’s entry into this particular caption contest occurred to me pretty much immediately upon hearing* that the ‘Flying Tomato’ had gone tragically HAM on a hotel fire alarm at 2:00 a.m.:
‘Shawn White’s credibility among hard-core skateboarders briefly rises to the level of Jereme Rogers.’

An employee also reported seeing White destroy a hotel phone.

In the xtreme sphere’s neverending quest for equilibrium, it should be noted that Shawn White’s subsequent apology to his family and business partners returned him to his prior neighborhood, also inhabited by Andy Mac, who it happens recently debuted a new video part. The production features a relatively small amount of yellow cotton, some truly Ty Evans-worthy slow motion sequences, Dave Metty’s name in the credits and a big ollie out of a 50-50 that really is no joke. For those keeping score Andy Mac’s website notes that this is his first video section in 12 years, which places him well beyond Gino Iannucci on the great footage-o-meter.

*In the interest of full disclosure, I learned this news from my mom, which is a whole other conversation.

Up With Smoke

September 9, 2012

Can a shop video to succeed without doubling as a love letter to the city in which its backing store is based? The enduring ones, like by Coliseum, FTC, Orchard, Uprise, MIA and Fobia, have been as much a ‘where’s where’ of the meanest spots as they are a ‘who’s who’ of the dudeliest dudes on the scene and while it’s gotta be a blast wallowing in all those marble ledges under the Spanish sun, you’d think most DVD purchasaurs really are not trying to see the local bros going Mr. Me Too at the spots the top-rung pros scraped clean five years prior.

For those of you who, like me, furrowed a brow at the outsized representation of AZ ditches and Boston loading docks in the last Blueprint video, Henry Edwards-Wood invites you to spend a solid hour submerged into the claustrophobic, bustling, brick-lined canyons of London, where streets drip with smoke stains, spray paint and wrought iron. Slam City Skates’ “City of Rats” has been out for a while but has rarely left the player this summer, as all these Palace, Blueprint, Landscape and other dudes shiver and sweat through what looks like one long, generally overcast season here, all the hovels and tight alleyways and weathered stone served up like red meat to “Static” faithfuls. South-Bank gets a loving soliloquy and two of the best-loved spots in this video include a sidewalk ledge set up for lines to close out with flatground tricks over a red rumble-strip and a thread-the-needle street gap into a corridor that’s probably far gnarlier than it already looks. It is jarring when, early in the video, you can see a Texaco sign.

Nick Jensen’s first run communicates the basic idea through a sidewalk bump to noseslide on a windowsill ledge, and isn’t long before he is back at that one sidewalk gap (switch 360 flip this time) and South Bank, where for weeks I have struggled to recall whether anyone else has kickflipped that high bar in the past. For a while it’s a parade of all the dudes you want to see skating these spots, like Joey Crack coming with the movie’s best nosegrind, a line from Snowy starting with an ollie snapped into a bank that celebrates all that is fantastic about that dude and the galaxy that we live in, Danny Brady pushing lines that confidently extend his career to the decade mark and Neil Smith steadily going hard, manualing into some big launch over a gate.

Palace’s Karim Bakhtaoui has garnered fame as a sort of London edition of Darren Harper but for my money I’m backing the light-footed Pluhowski styling of Jin Shimizu, looking relaxed in this sometimes oppressive environment. He’s flipping his board around and not too fussed, the chain ollie to no-comply submitting a general lesson in quick work under pressure. Lucien Clarke and Steph Morgan combine for the best kind of shared part, one where you can always tell which dude is up, and Lucien Clarke looks to be spending some time to craft one of the best nollie inward heelflips on the market. Ender-ending Rory Milanes helps the Palace dudes more or less corner this vid, going around the horn with a backside smith grind, completing the circle on a nosebluntslide 180 back in, switch jumping a block and capturing a Chewy Cannon cameo that in general sees these dudes at the peak of their power right now.

Palace this week opened a temporary store that enables the company to directly tap Supremesque demand levels for their triangular optical illusion logo that already has sold not-so-gently-used softgoods for hundreds of pounds sterling in transactions, moderately rattling international currency segments. Celebrity-spiced embrace of the company as its thematic output has tilted closer to All City and further away from Silverstar has driven some internet backlash, and if the rule holds that the best retort to such critiques is to let tricks do the talking you wonder whether hefty proceeds from the pop-up boutique will finance some China trips to seal the deal on their own VHS sooner rather than later, but coming off the strength of this Slam production I’d sort of rather they stay home.

Diced Pineapples II

September 3, 2012

Taking another run at this as the prior attempt to lay out this idea didn’t get all the way there and, lord knows Maybach Music Group isn’t afraid to go back to the well.

The thinking was, has somebody done a wallride (90-degree wall, off a flat surface/sidewalk/etc) and then grinded (say a 50-50 or 5-0) the top of the wall, with wheels remaining generally in the wallride position? The Jordan Sanchez, Stefan Janoski and Silas ones referenced in the previous episode of ‘Diced Pineapples’ all involve a bank up to the wall, gnarly though they all be. The Forest Kirby one is pretty close, and very gnarly indeed, but had been visualizing more like a grind that locks in briefly on a square ledge. Danny Sargent’s in 1281 and the bro in the ‘Welcome to Hell’ friends section both kind of end up transitioning to the top of the ledge, I’m thinking more sitting sideways.

This dude is on my wavelength: “… a normal bs crooked grind could be an unnormal fs nosegrind. daewon could probably do it …”

Thinking like the Jake Johnson pic above, except if his trucks were about eight inches higher, scratching at the top of the wall. Thanks for bearing with me yall


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