Mark Suciu seemed to lurk around every corner in 2012, roaming the map and riddling spots with very hard tricks before resurfacing every few weeks with yet another video clip, earning him favorable comparisons to Gucci Mane in his prime. In recent months Suciu has ripped downtown San Jose, Spain, the southern U.S., Philadelphia and most recently New York, finding a new way over the courthouse cliff en route to an Adidas paycheck. And this all came after setting off 2012 with a skateshop part that digs deep into a trove of well-worn spots to unearth some bar-lifting lines and certain yet-to-be-dones. Views can and will differ as to the tastefulness of frontside reverts out of backside noseblunts or frontside crooks, but Suciu proponents were handed piles of ammunition this year in favor of a rare talent that gets over without slavish retreads of coast-specific tricks on coast-specific spots, hands-off editing and (aside from a little wavy animation) no punchlines and no gimmicks when it comes to execution. Mark Suciu in the “Cross Continental” part shakes out a seemingly bottomless bag of tricks, including the little-seen switch frontside smith grind and an immaculate hardflip, and rolls below nighttime lights of skate capitals on both coasts as he composes a love letter to turn-of-the-century urban classics like “Photosynthesis” and “Ryde or Die Vol. 2” and possibly the first “EST.” It is rare that he passes up the chance to add a flip trick up a curb or a 180-out at the bottom of a bank, and he packs multiple variations on 360 flips and 360s into the same line, but it still doesn’t come off all egregious. I for sure watched this part more than any other one this year and maybe more than any other part in the last couple years, up there with Dylan Reider and Jake Donnelly.
Posts Tagged ‘Adidas’
As a sorta postscript to the last couple rambles, formerly Cliched professional JJ Rousseau offers one spin on a post-honeymoon occupation, setting in as lensman for a day at the foundation with recent summertime ambassador Lucas Puig. He seems to be vying with Mark Suciu for lines of the year, will anybody in the Crailtap production get in their way? Section bears ties with another former pro, Alphonso Rawls, who reveals that the three-stripe idea has been done not once but twice before. That frontside 180 to fakie manual, I can’t stand it..
Lucas Puig Ledge Sequence Raises Concerns That The Ghost Of Chris Lambert’s Career May Be Trying To Possess His Soul DudesFebruary 10, 2012
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
In a time of faster and bigger Jake Donnelly out in San Francisco has been quietly making a case for smarts and finesse, putting together a snappy flick with some spring and light-footed landings. All his recent footage suggests he’s got a knack for running some of the best looking tricks, like backside smith grinds on ledges, frontside blunts, nollie backside noseblunt slides, b/s tailslides of course, a good hardflip, et cetera. His part in the Real vid, which early on includes one of the more boss backside shifty kickflips put out lately, is not available for free via Youtube or whatever and really needs to be seen with the bouncy Too Short song to get the full impact, so pasted above is an Adidas clip made by Dan Wolfe that has a really high switch kickflip over a table and a good manual trick. (Note: link to this clip now here.) No doubt the Real part, red bottoms and pom-pom beanies and all, got me more motivated to skate than any other one I seen this year.
Frenchman’s Defection To German Shoe Company From Californian One Spotlights A Deepening Fissure In The Industry DudesSeptember 11, 2011
“…Along the way, amazing things have simply continued to happen–like a Francophile Forrest Gump, seemingly stumbling obliviously from one victory to the next…”
Did you leave on good terms?
We talked a lot about it. For them it was hard. I understand their point of view. It’s the skate brands that make all this happen. They have the real sense for it. They are the ones that go find riders and build them up. Without Rick Howard, Mike Carroll, or Guy, I would still be out in the French countryside. They push people like me up and then the big companies can come in and help themselves. I see their side of it. That’s why it was so hard to make that decision.
Trying to figure out which plot point in “Forrest Gump” would correspond with Lucas Puig’s fraught parting with Lakai to don triple-striped track suits. (Spoiler alert) Maybe when him and Lieutenant Dan ride out the hurricane and Lt. Dan loudly curses God? Or the point where Forrest decides to stop running cross-country with his new pack of followers? Sleeping with his elementary school heartthrob and then she abruptly bounces?
Like Gump’s rise to become a shrimping magnate, Lucas Puig’s shift to Adidas was in the works long before Es went into suspended animation, but this month’s splashy teamrider interviews in the new TWS, Adidas-backed web part and the magazine’s concurrent gushing over a lavish Nike shoe-release party in Spain comes off sorta tone deaf, coming a shortly after the towel was thrown in by the dudes who touched off the current generation’s Game of Skate obsession.
I guess if the years go on and footwear heavies like Lakai, Sole Tech, etc are forced into a farm-league role by virtue of their slimmer wallets, interview responses like Chris Cole’s recent DC talk or the one above (or maybe the “why’d you move” question itself) will vanish and look kinda quaint in the rear-view mirror, but currently Puig’s comment makes me feel for the Crail camp. They bring up the hot young’ns, occasionally turn them into stars good for a pro model or two before they wave goodbye and head for money-greener pastures. And if you don’t cheer them on the way out you risk looking a hater in the “do u” era.
From a P&L perspective it seems like a kick in the pants too–like you can have Cory Kennedy sell your wood and urethane, but when it comes to moving high-margin kicks and clothes, a dude like that may ascend outta your price bracket. So does your enterprise turn into a staging ground for the more well-heeled shoemakers, or does a Lakai satisfy themselves with a role as tastemakers and scouts scooping talent on the upswing? Do these companies need to figure out tie-ups to ensure some type of compensation/protection for bringing dudes up? Long-running contracts? Does skateboarding need break-up fees?
There’s a rumor going around that Sean Malto is being wooed away to DC to the tune of $5 million over a period of five years, a princely sum that raises the interesting question as to where DC ranks along the shoe co spending spectrum, what with their recent team overhaul-splurge. You could also ponder the potential for the multinational Nikes and Adidases to raise up new faces–in their now-decade of SBness has Nike gotten behind many lesser-known ams? I’m thinking Shane O’Neill, Grant Taylor? Lewis Marnell? With Adidas one would be Lem Villemin, who it’s nice to see get on with Cliche at last.
As far as that part goes it’s usual killer Lucas Puig stuff–he has got a real good handle right now on manual tricks, especially the one at three-up-three-down and the crazy squeaker. The BA/SF run was a nice point-scorer and the backside nosegrind revert up that brick ledge is heavy duty.
It’s gotta not be the shoes: First thought I had upon official confirmation that the pioneering freestyler behind Sole Technologies was mothballing Es, not even ten years ago the mightiest shoe company out, was that the actual product probably had nothing to do with anything. The slippery slope greased up, in some ways, by the resurgence of the Accel itself (personally would ID the Nike Dunk as a co-conspirator) put footwear trends on a path toward the reigning minimalist silhouette atop a white vulcan sole to the point where shops might as well be doing their own Half-Cab and Chuck Taylor renditions. If anything I’d think the commodification of super-simple shoe designs bought Es a few more years than they might otherwise have had if the pendulum had swung violently back toward the basketball court, but then again a meteor could have struck the planet and we may all have wound up atomized.
Then some other people are quick to heap blame on big fishes Nike/Converse/Adidas/probably not Reebok for trolling through the shallow end with their fat wallets, fucking up the food chain for mellower sea creatures that never harbored deeper ambitions, sort of like the Jamaican lobster sang about in “Little Mermaid.” That lobster is convincing and seems wise. But if that were the case, how come Es can’t survive but companies with a fraction of the name recognition and history and established sales/shop networks can still make it? Thinking here of Vox, Dekline, the revived Axion and Duffs, NSS. Or what about little-loved competitors like Globe, Osiris, Circa? How come Circa still has two subdivisions? This may be one of those deals where the amorphous “international markets” comes in as the explainer, but I always thought that was why Es kept around those occasional space-age models in the garish colors.
You look at the Es team website and it’s interesting. On one end you’ve got journeymen pro-dudes like perennial teamriders Rick McCrank and Rodrigo TX, more recent addition John Rattray, you could even include Justin Eldridge here. And then you’ve got a slew of relative newbies like Jimmy McDonald, Kevin Terpening, Ben Raemers, Josh Matthews. We can carve out a middle tier for Bobby Worrest/Kellen James/Mike Anderson but if you’re one of those types who likes to dissect “fit” when it comes to roster moves it would be easy to formulate some messageboard post questioning the cohesion. Maybe there’s a cautionary tale about putting too much weight on up-and-comer internet favorites as opposed to picking some genre lane and staying in it, which seems like it’s working for a company like Emerica. Or maybe it’s a lesson about going the super-team route, and how you better have a good backup plan if and when your super-team scatters to the four shoe sponsorship winds.*
And maybe this episode is more a sign o’ the times than anything else, since it seems like a really big company hasn’t unwound in a while. Es is quite a bit diminished from its Menikmati heights nowadays, but it doesn’t sit right to see this end for an operation with so much history. First three Koston models, Muska’s airbag, Penny stepping in from the wilderness with a switch front-foot impossible of all tricks, the “Enjoy Skateboarding” series, a good run with Ronnie Creager, the Accel obviously, the overlooked “Especial” video, the first Arto shoes, the Contracts, etc etc.
As one of those people who skated in Accels or derivatives like the Square One more than any other single shoe over the past 10 or 12 years, I mourn Es, though partly it’s out of confusion as to how the company with the little tilde thing wound up on the chopping block as opposed to others shopping for some pro-backed identity in an overcrowded segment. I was and still am considering a separate post that may serve as a sappy love letter to the Koston 2, one of the hardest to love shoes ever made that gave back twice as much after they were broke in, and in some ways were ahead of their time in terms of a less-padded tongue and being something like an unapologetic mid-top.
*Another thought, might things have turned out different if Pierre-Andre had cut Koston in via an equity stake?
Hat flipped backward and polo shirt fluttering in the wind, Blueprint’s Chewy Cannon skidded, slid and scootched to a new level this year via a combo of breakneck speed, spastic technicalness and a ’90s eye for trick selection. This dude is one of the chosen few who can make both cranium-endangering crashes and frontside boardslides on ledges look good, and Adidas’ “Diagonal” found him weaving in and out of pedestrians, pets and pests while doing an impressive job of making it look as though he’s got no particular plan in terms of what’s to come next. Half the time, like on the hubba b/s tailslide, it’s like he’s barely hanging on, other times his feet seem glued to the griptape as though it were that magical Paradox griptape that is aligned with your inner chi, and perhaps this is indeed the horrible secret behind Chewy Cannon’s success.
Render unto John Lucero…
Haven’t heard a great deal of buzz over the new Black Label video, which debuted a few weeks back, something that could be chalked up to people being busy tearing up obsolete Berrics brackets, downloading any of the other 40 videos that came out this summer, or still watching “Debacle” which is high in this blog’s personal running for top five vids of the year (maybe). Whatever the case it’s kind of a shame because the venerable Black Label spirit is very much intact through this new production, despite dumping half the team and making some questionable additions over the last couple years. Not that it means much, but when they put out that preview clip a few months ago, I didn’t know who half the dudes were, and this is coming from somebody who recently went out of their way to read a Slap board topic listing all their flow kids.
Scraggly speedster Vince Del Valle I had heard of, and mainly associated with that one Adidas ad where he’s doing a backside tailslide shove-it on a ledge above a set of stairs – it made a more interesting ad than usual because they’d gone with the still shot instead of the sequence, well-timed with the shove-it halfway to his feet, which probably incited a few arguments amongst the current crop of driveway kickflippers as to what trick it was supposed to be really. When Vince Del Valle popped up as the first elephant on parade in “God Save the Label” I was hoping to see how it turned out, since that maneuver wasn’t in his “Diagonal” clip… alas, not. But there’s plenty of chicken-fried flavor to this part, which includes tricks over pieces of trash and a proper 90′s-style switch` hardflip into a ditch – on a related topic VDV also packs one of the more classical 360 flips in a world gone mad with Brian Boitano flare-foot*. Also nice: the underpass escalator backside lipslide, pictured above, the tailslide to regular on a rail, cruise control on the multicolored bank and the horns chiming in for the helicopter ender.
*We’re blogging at you, Josiah Gatlyn