At a moment in time when our graybeard forefathers are pursuing Hollywood starlets a fraction of their age it’s refreshing and reassuring to see an elder statesman straighten his back, hike his pants well past the bellybutton and deliver a verbal threshing to all deserving whippersnappers out here: witness streetstyle legend Ricky Oyola’s VBS turn, front-loaded with do’s, don’ts, shoulda-beens and topical lectures that come off more bemused than bitter, in this longtime fan’s estimation.
Ricky Oyola has earned his bully porch-seat from which to shout and wave various objects at skateboarding’s wayward youth. He has on film one of the best switch kickflips ever performed (flat gap in the street, Sub Zero vid), did switch backside shifty ollies and for those around at the time it’s not overstating it to say his “Underachievers” section shifted skating’s point of view for some years afterward. So let him say his piece: having to stick up for himself, his friends and town, possibly sometimes all at once, living in the shadow of New York City and California, skating uphill to school in the rain both ways — there may be few better suited to a role as what may be the first post-young skateboarder, righteously rattling his cane at an industry obsessed with youth and not properly thinking out which end of the board they’re going to pop off next when filming their lines.
A certain world-weariness seems to have replaced the belly-fire that prompted vagrant beatings and sober instructions as to how one skated the Love Park ledges, and as an occasional grumbler on various topics beginning with “kids these days” it’s nice to see someone with a legitimate claim comfortably shift into the role of loudly complaining oldster. There is a goal and purpose to growing old and the luxury of righteously bitching is at the top of the list. You’d think this opens up a whole new realm of potential sponsorship deals to supplement Traffic — pro model arch supports or knee braces, stretching videos, Aleve, etc.