Posts Tagged ‘the Skateboard Mag’

CJ Tambornino, The Crazy Internet Footage Monster and The Plight of the Amateur Skateboarder In 2009

October 13, 2009

CJ_tambornino
For a second I thought about titling this “Hey Mr Tambornino Man” and now I’m sorta thinking about it again

With getting a signature model shoe now the dividing line between the men and the boys occupying the pro ranks*, and sponsored amateur status splattered across various distributor/factory/direct programs, there are more rungs than ever for today’s hungry young am to traverse on his way toward that gold-plated Honda Civic in the sky. Theoretically I guess it’s possible to still get over on a blazing Tampa run or sheer hype but it seems more and more like dudes need a stack of Youtube-accessible DIY video parts to even get in the door, and you better have another stack to feed the internet footage monster so you can squeak past and claim the princess/treasure/golden Honda. Crazy tricks help but the Tweet-addled public’s attention span has shriveled to miliseconds and they’re gonna forget that triple-set switch frontside heelflip in a matter of weeks, if not days.**

And so, from the land of ice and snow comes CJ Tambornino, ravenous and bearing some brain-scraping new footage at The Skateboard Mag website. Despite being dubbed King of Chicago last weekend Tambornino is of the same Minnesota scene that birthed Davis Torgerson’s nollie frontside hurricane grind and this clip sees the dude looking to up some antes as far as concocting several what-the-fuck combos that I personally have never seen before: switch backside tailslide inward heelflip bigspin out, nollie 360 inward heelflip, switch hardflip frontside crooked grind. And then, switch 360 flipping a triple-set. Sleep, crazy footage monster…

What Tambornino does, or is able to do, with his newfound “Best Week Evar” status remains to be seen but his general topic is trending to the max just now all across this internet, prompting widespread disbelief, miscellaneous style critiques and this amusing anecdote from Slap board user “liver knees”:

I saw this guy skating in Barca back in March, I’d never heard of him then but have since seen a couple of clips on Platinum Seagulls. At MACBA, he was doing this line at the top ledge near enough every go: nollie heel/nollie flip noseslide (whichevery he felt like I guess), nollie 360 inward heel, switch flip tailslide/switch tail flip out (again, whichever he felt like) then switch tre off the ledge. I was dumbfounded, a guy I’d never heard of doing a trick I’d never seen in my life, every try, in the middle of a line. That’s why you shouldn’t go skate in Barca unless you’re comfortable being sucky at skateboarding.

We here at BTO kicked up our feet some time ago, which makes it far easier to sit back and let something like a switch backside tailslide inward heelflip bigspin wash over you. It also makes weekends less stressful, makes peanut butter sandwiches taste better and also helps to avoid internet footage monsters.

*unless we’re counting TV show money I guess
**PS, what happened to that little kid who had that amazing kickflip to b/s wallride over the gap, to a dumpster/electrical box? Anybody?

Debut of the Dazzler

September 10, 2009

marquisshades
“Yeah, whatever. I masturbate.”

Mystique is an amorphous, squishy thing, much like a color-changing cuttlefish or the nature of life itself. Yet if you can only attain it, the door stands open to early retirement, coasting on lifestyle ads and occasional blog photo appearances, minimal footage obligations if any and the giddy thrill of knowing that somewhere out there, an internet forum post is being crafted: “when is ___ gonna put out another part” translates to higher board sales than “does anybody know what’s up with ___ lately?” with both ranking above “anybody remember ___?” or the dreaded “___ denied parole again LOL”

Of course it is easier to establish said mystique if you’re some typa well-known 90s-bred style wizard (Iannucci, Stranger), a flagrant breaker of state or federal laws (Roy, Case) or generalized misfit weirdo (Martin, Alv). Far tougher if you’re some middling front-blunt-to-5-0er in black shoes w/white soles without bulimia or a nose tattoo.

Worse yet, you are a young flow-bro on the come-up in an age of instant judgment and sentencing via YouTube: message boards pore over the minutiae of park footage trick selection, SPoT profiles are tracked for sponsor switches and the Berrics transforms today’s pre-fab park hero into tomorrow’s factory-direct wunderkind. So basically by the time kids “go am”* they’re generally vets by the internet exposure benchmark.

Emerica’s Marquis Preston is one of these increasingly rare exceptions**, with a relatively small number of photos prior to this month’s Paul Rodriguez TSM appearance and paltry seconds’ worth of footage scattered across contest, demo and “Stay Gold” clips – the intro to his magazine interview directs people to this six-second clip as a starting point and it’s a slog from there, but indications are that some of the anticipation may be justified. Foot swag through the roof, as the fella says, there’s a few more tricks here on the off chance you haven’t seen all this shit already.

He gives a fairly good interview too:

So everybody had this funny idea to get porno mags from the liquor store. I got myself a mag and seen this hot-ass woman in it. She was seriously stuck in my head for hours. Like, I couldn’t even skate around without thinking about doing her or just being with her. So I decided to go rub one off in the van while everybody was skating. And it did the trick.

Jeff said you soiled one of Braydon’s mags?
Braydon had his own mag and I had mine. He seen my mag and he was like “oh, who got this one?” I was like “Oh shit.” I didn’t say it out loud but I already knew it was mine. I knew I fucking jacked off in it. I busted on her. I just wanted to wait for him to see for himself. So he was just looking through it and was like “What the fuck? No!” I was like “Hell yeah.”

*an actual expression I guess
**Ishod Wair may be nominated as another

McDoubles

September 7, 2009

birdhouse_mctwsts
Royale with cheese

For those of us who started skating in the 1980s there’s shit being done now that of course seems unfathomable in retrospect, for instance, switch 360 flipping double-sets, 360 flip noseblunts, nose tattoos and so on. Then there’s a whole other world of tricks that are the type of thing that theoretically were within the realm of possibility, but so out of hand as to be restricted to idle speculation during recess or in the wee hours of a sleepover after the third watch of “Public Domain,” and it is into this category that this sequence from the new TSM falls: Tony Hawk blasting a quarter century’s worth of contest-honed McTwisting over Aaron “No” Homoki’s parlour trick somewhere in Australia. It’s very possible this same pairing went down in some X-Fest or another, and I missed it because I never think to watch that sorta thing, but I really did set down the magazine and ponder this one for a minute when I saw it.

The Nieratko-penned article on this trip is a generally good one by the way – brief and BB-tinged, it’s telling of the way things are reshaping at the ‘house that Hawk built. For one, there’s an amusing and unapologetic Shawn White diss, and much is made of the fact that the Birdman was in the van* as opposed to sipping Chardonnay on his Lear jet or whatever on their city-to-city jaunts. Plus, the dude skated street with the bros (who included his son of course) and threw down his personal plastic when more juice was required to keep the distillates flowing. Who can say whether the B-House corporate account remains solvent. Perhaps Willy Santos, who also has a Birdhouse ad this month. No shit, Willy Santos. Either way, as far as the article goes, we can assume that none of this, including Nieratko’s invitation, happened by accident, but it’s nice to see nevertheless because Birdhouse continues to be home to some genuinely dirty/dedicated dudes and there’s some effort being put in over there to have a say in the way things are right now. It’s a long way for them to go of course, but I’m curious to see how far Tony Hawk is willing to push to get his shit back on track.

*they rented a van

Gotta Be The Shoes

April 13, 2009

When I saw the cover of this month’s Skateboard Mag, which features a wild-and-wooly interview with sometime BTO favorite Torey Pudwill, I got to wondering whether Swooshbuckler Brian Anderson was channeling the Ghost of P-Rod Advertisements Past with this “taste the rainbow” ensemble that harkens back to those anticipation-tinged days surrounding the release of the Paul Rodriguez 2 model. This ad made a big impression on me, because P-Rod at once debuted a wacky color-scheme for a pair of shoes, and simultaneously obliterated the days-long thought process that surely would go into constructing a matched outfit for them, by donning the only logical hat-shirt-pants combo in the universe that could possibly work. Clearly it also made a big impression on our hearty street pirate, who may have thought his people would receive more equitable treatment under an Obama presidency, but was proven woefully wrong last weekend.

Irregardless, the ad in question:

So. Hear any other good ones about Nike lately?

Sisyphean Task Force

April 6, 2009

patpasqualefsns
The power of positive thinking and possibly also ankle-weight training

If doing ollies straight onto rails is the new nosegrind pop-out early, as some wags have proclaimed in recent weeks, does that mean that doing shit up other shit now counts as the new pole jam? I ask partly because noted fan Kyle Leeper recently voiced his over-ness of pole jams in the text-heavy interview issue of Skateboarder*, but also because sweet Jesus, there’s been some crazy ascending tricks going around lately. If anybody else has made it up the pyramid ledges in New York, I haven’t seen it. This is a photo of alleged Commandment-breaker and known Tosh Townend associate Pat Pasquale, lifted from a rather entertaining interview with photog Bart Jones, TSM’s answer to Seth Rogan, at TypicalCulture.com.

Time will tell of course if we’re setting ourselves up for a video let-down of three-inch scratchers and dead-stop landings, but the uphill battles recently fought by Leo and others have made for some pretty entertaining photos. I could see Andrew Brophy going Jr Mint up the South Bank stairs with some kind of kickflip or pop-shove variation. And recent reports have the down-up stair component of Philadelphia City Hall still fully skatable, so pro dudes and bite-your-arm-off ams, let’s get some new stuff popping up that thing.

*Two dumps’ worth, easy

The Grimness and Grace of Heath Kirchart

February 16, 2009


Superbeast

Somehow, though a combination of reticence, grouchiness and no small amount of punishing gnarlitude, former crack cocaine purchaser and sometime bikini contest judge Heath Kirchart has over the years perfected the quality/quantity cocktail of skateboarding career moves that most never get right and others probably shouldn’t even bother with, to the degree that few dudes’ video parts are as hotly anticipated as the greasy-haired fellow who these days motors across the country decked out in somebody else’s military medals. It’s a beautiful thing, that such a willfully antisocial weirdo can surface once every few years, command our full attention, and yes, cement his place in the history books by earning the title of TWS’s Best All-Around Skater.

In terms of what he films Heath Kirchart generally isn’t reaching for the high-hanging tech/gnar fruits plucked by the likes of Chris Cole and Eric Koston, and he’s not chasing the biggest/highest/farthest challenges for bonus points either really. And it’s not as though he pulls from a bottomless bag of tricks either (shoutout to the bluntslide and backside flip). But there’s a kind of contemptuous recklessness in the way he skates, heaving himself onto a handrail or slowly twirling ten feet out of some skatepark bowl. And intensity. Oodles and oodles of piping hot intensity.

This sort of contemptuous nonchalance fuels Heath Kirchart’s thundering bloodbath of a bookend to “Mind Field” on a suitably dour Morrissey note as we lap up the usual tropes (backside noseblunt, switch kickflip, frontside noseslide, frontside tailslide) and some newer ones (switch heelflip, backside lipslide bigspin, kickflip nosegrind, the JT Aultz/ollie over to noseblunt slide); in the meantime we’re treated to a hyperventilating owl and an effort to loosen up the collar of the shoelace belt look for summer ’09. It’s not a party exactly – it seems like it never really is with this dude, even when him and Jeremy Klein were terrorizing shrubberies over a decade ago – but when he gets his inner whipsaw or whatever revved up there aren’t many who shove-it out over gaps or bomb frontside boardslides down hubbas or eat shit better than Heath Kirchart really. And it was nice to see the TSM covers, years old though they may be.

Out of pocket

July 23, 2008


When keeping it real goes wrong

Skate magazines these days catch a lot of flack from world-weary oldsters on the internet who view modern interviews in the long shadow of the mid-90s rags, in which certain pro skaters vowed to, for instance, infect every other pro skater they could with the HIV virus. Or simply murder one another. What can I say, it was a different time.

What’s funny, in a not-so-funny way, is that as social standards continue their gentle downward slide, interviews in skateboard magazines have generally gotten less interesting*. Now, there are any number of explanations for this. For one thing, there’s more skateboarders in general, and thanks to the law of averages and the forum provided by the likes of ESPN and the Dew, skateboarding has attracted a greater number of less-interesting individuals than it used to.

Then there’s the general corporatization of the skateboard industry, another slow process, since a lot of reputable corporations are way too uptight when it comes to the type of lackadaisical shipping schedules and haphazard bookkeeping practices that fly at skateboard outfits (shoutout to Ipath). Magazines were one of the first juicy morsels of the industry gobbled up by corporate concerns, since the magazine business is a known commodity. Cue ads for the Army and Ford Trucks, font size limits for the word “fuck,” and the sudden appearance of kiddie graphics over top of previously entertaining nudity (from Larry Flynt, of all people).

So yeah, the Time Warners of the world definitely bear some blame for the watering-down of skate magazine content. But what’s becoming more and more clear is that skateboard magazines themselves seem to be doing their damndest to sanitize their own shit.

About a year ago there was that industry-wide panties-bunching over blank boards. You may remember how they destroyed skateboarding forevermore and took food from the mouth of Andrew Reynolds’ baby. Anyway, the IASC printed up a little pamphlet for the winter ASR that featured a load of prominent pros going off on blank decks and espousing the virtues of branded hardgoods concerns, real warm and fuzzy stuff. Part of the deal was that said pros posed for a big group photo in some LA ditch… and around the same time, TWS ran the same photos under the guise of “a bunch of pros getting together for no reason except just to skate, man.” Slap messageboard maven Neal Boyd broke it down nicely here. Kind of slimy altogether.

There’s loads of other political stuff that goes on, photoshopping of shoes and clothing logos of course, and during his recent debate with Jamie Thomas, Clyde Singleton alleged that the Zero chief is notified whenever his name or likeness appears in any magazine, and presumably he gets the final sign-off on it. Which may or may not be true.

Anyway, all of this of course is a longwinded buildup to me calling Arto Saari a total pussy.

Apparently about four months ago Arto spoke with Big Brother/Vice alum Chris Nieratko (who knows from journalism, at least to some degree) for what was, by all accounts, a pretty straightforward interview: what have you been up to, what’s up with injuries, what went on with the big sponsor changes, and the now apparently obligatory questions about his mobile sauna, which I find a total snoozer. But after hanging up the phone, Arto apparently came down with the old 120-day itch and called up the boys at TSM, ordering them to pull the interview… which apparently they did.

Let’s all take a moment now to revel in the sad irony of TSM, a magazine supposedly started by the TWS staffers fed up with corporate bullshit, cowtowing to the corporate concerns of Arto, a fully owned subsidiary of Burton snowboards.

Now, I like Arto. He’s a bona fide legend, though I’m fairly certain the best of his skating is behind him at this point. I like DNA, though I’ve aired concerns that they’re losing their identity with this whole Burton takeover. I don’t even hate Burton. I mean fuck, they’re not K2 or Salomon.

But how this doesn’t make all parties involved look like boardroom image-management assholes totally escapes me. Contrary to what a lot of people have said, I don’t have a real hard time seeing why Burton suits would want this axed: Arto said in no uncertain terms how difficult it was to leave Flip, sort of agreed when Nieratko made fund of Burton and Gravis, and tugged back the curtain on how dead serious Burton is about their riders’ contractual obligations. With all the work the company does to promote Jake Burton as this “jus’ folks” granola-munching dude who’d rather be hiking the backcountry than sit on a conference call, it’s not a good look. And Arto of all people should have known better.

The problem of course is Nieratko. He dipped out of the skate magazine scene when Big Brother was still drawing breath and just recently checked back in, which shows in the way he interviews people and is probably one of the reasons why he’s still one of the best dudes doing this kind of thing. He calls bullshit on stuff—i.e. the sad state of Gravis’s past footwear designs—and probably used his silver-tongued powers to lull Arto into forgetting his Burton loyalty oaths.

The mistake Nieratko made was assuming that his editors at TSM would have his back on the whole deal. With Gravis just rolling out and Alien gearing up for a video release, Burton probably has got a good amount invested in TSM real estate, and at a time when belts are tightening at magazines in general and skate magazines in particular, I’m sure the threat to pull that dough probably was heard loud and clear. You have to wonder though, if magazines keep pulling this type of shit and running interviews bland as a late-period 411 (RIP), who’s even going to read them anymore.

*There are exceptions. Tony Tave’s interview in Thrasher last year, when he was fucked up on salvia, was pretty entertaining, for instance.

Mr. Roper’s Neighborhood

July 9, 2008


Blood on the asphalt

In the past I’ve kind of been turned off by Billy Roper’s effusive exuberance when it comes to his skateboarding prowess, but I won’t pretend that his “Mag Minute” video from the Skateboard Mag isn’t ridiculous or anything. The way things stand, my capacity for self deception hit the limit for the summer when I tried to convince myself the new Indiana Jones didn’t sort of suck. While it was easier to dismiss Billy Roper when he was backside tailsliding rails that Carroll backside lipslided a dozen years earlier (in a line), he definitely doesn’t suck and a lot of his tricks in this clip are serious bananas. To wit, the frontside tailslide bigger spin out.

Shit like that makes me wonder why PJ Ladd hasn’t thought up that trick and done it already, and Billy Roper definitely seems to take cues from PJ’s Boston heyday, especially with his tendency to do things the hard way: see the nollie crooked grind shove-it (frontside), backside bluntslide 360 shove-it (also frontside), f/s 5-0 b/s 180 out in the middle of the ledge, and the f/s nosegrind 180 off the wall. Yowch. Roper recently left the illustrious stables of Sugar Skateboards for some presumably greener pasture yet to be named, but in the meantime he’s wearing $30 T-shirts courtesty of the Hundreds and maybe he’ll show up on the Berrics in the next couple weeks.


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