Rip Grip

August 14, 2016

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Dear Readers: Remember the reader who was having an argument with his bro about the proper way to carry his board? He was certain the right way was with the trucks and wheels facing inward, toward his waist. His bro insisted the trucks and wheels should face away from the body. Boil the Ocean sided with his bro for reasons elaborated upon below. The letter nearly didn’t get printed because it seemed so inconsequential. Well, that couldn’t have been more mistaken.

In short order this blogging internet Web site page was bombarded with letters from the four corners — including Samoa, Guadalajara, Athens and Mexico City. You’d have had no idea so many people cared about the ‘right’ way to carry your board. Here’s a sampling of how passions were stirred:

Dear Boilie: Obviously, you come from a wealthy background. The chief reason for carrying your board ‘griptape out’ is to avoid shredding one’s t-shirt, belt, limited edition swishy jacket, and various other undergarments to pieces on the griptape. Maybe this isn’t an issue for ‘silver spooners’ such as yourself — especially in a day when all your favorite ‘small’ board brands float themselves on sales of $35 t-shirts — but the rest of us have to think a little harder. Maybe you should try the same in your next column!
Yours sincerely, Crown Connect

Dear Boilie: Nice try fam. The way to carry your skateboard is under your feet. Get killed.
-Grumps

Dear Boilie: u fucked up again lol no surprise smh but as usual it took you about 2000 words and a bunch of trips to Thesaurus.com i bet haha. hate if u want but actually i mall grab haha no shame in my Game. think about it trucks are designed to fit your hand and u never know when u might have to Swing on some body!!! u wont catch me slippin …. or reading ur stupid ass sight smdh
-Rudie

Dear Boilie: Numerous studies have demonstrated that carrying your board griptape side in throws off the Earth’s rotation and incrementally slows its spin. A more slowly spinning Earth relaxes its gravitational pull on the Moon, letting it slip further and further away. Eventually we’ll lose our Moon, fucking up the tides and crippling natural surf spots. Just another example of your grotesque and bizarre anti-surfing agenda. Thanks a lot asshole.
-Haole Hater

Dear Boilie: I’m actually with you on this one, but for a completely different reason. Since the wheels and bottom of my board sometimes become wet from the oceans of blood that I push through every day, I prefer to carry my board graphics-side out. May the darkness guide you.
-Dan Watson

Dear Boilie: You are right about the way to carry a skateboard and for a very good reason. The skateboard, when cradled in the fingers, pivots around the line of support between the knuckles and the opposite edge of the board; the weight of the trucks and wheels, attached to the *bottom* of the skateboard under traditional configurations, creates imbalance. When carrying the skateboard with the griptape side facing away from the carrier, that imbalance forces the skateboard to “lean” against the carrier’s torso, which can be a source of annoyance, discomfort and any number of dirty streaks across otherwise crisp white Ts. To compensate and hold it straight, the carrier will have to exert more force with his or her fingers and hand. When carried griptape side in, however, the board’s “lean” goes against the interior of the carrier’s forearm, which moves in tandem with the skateboard, leading to less uncomfortable motion and rubbing for both parties. When properly balanced, this method also minimizes any griptape rub against the carrier’s torso and leaves the carrier’s arm freer to move, making it easier to climb stairs, shift grip or run from police.
Your Friendly Physics Prof

Lords of Tha Rings, The Magic Castle, and The Magician’s Secret

August 7, 2016

BB2

This week skateboard wheel magnates, action sport coaches and boardshort flame embroidiers linked hands to rejoice and toast a magnum of OE Ice 800 to Zeus, Hera and various lesser Greek deities who first copyrighted the Olympic Games and then agreed to various franchise rights that thereby bound mortals in commerce and athletic competition across the centuries. Just as an ashen altar hosted numerous animals sacrificed in the name of the dashing god of thunder and all skies, so too does skateboarding now ready its own fatted goats and oxen to sate a decades-long lust for Olympic golden doubloons, alongside hard- and softgoods vendors who have selflessly given of themselves for over a decade. These worthies reluctantly but heroically steered skateboarding into the blingy embrace of roller-hockey regulators and the International Olympic Consortium, a group of straight-up bros focused on creating the greatest sports entertainment knowed among the known universe.

Time was, a flabby oxen and a lunar cycle’s worth of fervent prayers to Poseidon, Hades or any number of other supernatural figures could get your javelin onto the podium, if you catch the drift. Nowadays, bovine growth hormone and illicit blood transfusions have angered the gods and transformed Mount Olympus into a $12 billion cesspool ruled by suspect windsurfers. Now, for the first time, skateboarders will prostrate themselves before these mighty gods and their painful thunderbolts with an official nod for the 2020 competitions in Japan, promising less actual prize money than at Tampa Pro but carrying a strict rules regimen functioning as a sort of ‘Infinite Jest’-length footnote to the 10 Commandments, except in Greek and prayed over by an international battery of lawyers.

But now is not the time to try and apply valuations to a cultural transaction in which participating skateboarders will be held to globally regulated anti-drug lifestyles, dress themselves in national sponsors’ chosen ensembles and ensure that all their relevant Instagram posts carry appropriate hashtags so as to comport with requirements of advertisers and broadcasters that have plunked down for the rights to control all Mt. Olympus-related communications:

The International Olympic Committee may not be able to stop doping, but it will be damned if it will let athletes or the companies sponsoring them tweet terms such as “2016,” “Rio,” “Medal,” “Games,” “Summer” or “Games” if the mention doesn’t benefit an official Olympics business partner.

If the context of “Rio de Janeiro,” “Effort,” “Performance” “Challenge” or “Victory” mentions on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram tie unauthorized “Sponsors” and “Olympians” they support to the “Olympics,” the IOC will intercede.

In return for all this, there are limited efforts and vague aspirations for skateboarding not be portrayed foolishly or in a wack fashion before a worldwide audience sought by advertisers, organizations erected to throw sporting events, and companies peddling skateboard-related goods, but few others. Vert vet Neal Hendrix, who has bushwhacked through a certain amount of bureaucratic underbrush on this long, strange Olympic expedition, offers a demo of sorts in Kevin Wilkins’ recent interview, gently replacing his ‘fucks’ with basic cable-friendly ‘Fs’ and ‘freakins.’ Gary Ream, whose background in gymnastics and BMX hospitality helped create the Woodward Skateboarding Camp chain, says not to sweat stuff like uniforms and other stuff because it’s like four years away. As for Tony Hawk’s famed observation that the Olympics needs skateboarding more than the other way around?

“Come on—skateboarding is all about commercial. It’s all about sponsorship. Look how many skateboard companies… It’s cool. It’s free enterprise. It’s OK. If somebody makes out a little bit more than skateboarding does, so be it.”

Now, with committees of icon advisors, international event coordinators and women toiling under the observation of the Roller Sports Federation to shape a 2020 Olympic skateboard event, the time is upon us to turn away from the bawdy and blaring spectacle of Rio, weaponized Zika mosquitoes and toxic sludge. Now is the hour for anthem humming and reflecting upon the values, truths and yes, occasional heathen sacrifices, that brought skateboarding to this hallowed juncture. Via the KOTR Thrasher:

How did you learn to hypnotize chickens?
Jason Jessee: It’s a talent you’re born with but you may not realize it until your best friend’s dad tells you how to do it. My homie Manuel Hernandez’s dad is a Watsonville legend, so I learned it from him. You just have to be really sure of yourself and hopefully you have a girlfriend and everything’s cool with that. Hopefully you have the relationship side handled. You go in there with a solid relationship and you attack them. You don’t even really touch them. You don’t squeeze them or anything. You’re just really gentle with them but you’re not gentle mentally.

Are they like pit bulls in that they can sense fear?
Yeah. They’ll wait until you’re off guard and they’ll attack you from behind — attack your balls and cheeks. They’re just hungry. They can’t help it! They’re just hungry all the time. So you’ve gotta be gentle with them but mentally fierce. You don’t want your mind to wander. You don’t want to be thinking about other problems.

So what about the part where you swirl your finger in their eyes and make them play dead?
That’s a magician’s secret. That’s only known to the brothers of the Magic Castle. I can’t really talk about it. You want to swirl your finger in their eyes. You don’t really want to talk about it, though.


Okay. Sorry. And then after he was hypnotized, putting him on the back of the stuffed dead rooster, that was just to shame him, right?
Exactly. Let him know he’s the lowest man in the barnyard.

Choices 3: Judgment Day

July 30, 2016

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Thirty-eight years ago to the day, Memphis rap posse Three 6 Mafia uncannily predicted the brassiness and unbridled vamping of this 2016 US political election season in the motion picture release ‘Choices 2,’ an airy farce with a rhetorical title referencing how two people compete to be the ‘People’s Choice’ and win the ‘People’s Choice Award,’ also knowed as the US presidency. Over time the prize has gone to saxophonists, cowboy actors and even enjoyors of post-retirement Jay-Z songs, but many of the heartiest feats of achievement that shall define the 2016 contest still lie ahead.

Several miles below sea level, the deep-pocketed forces steering the skateboarding industry from an underwater base confront their own conundrum. Josh Kalis, he of the nigh-spotless twenty-plus year career, channeled the syrupy spirits of DJ Paul and Juicy J to record his own ‘Choices,’ a satirical short film that alternately bemoans and bellylaughs at the long-armed reach of international sporting equipment companies into skate shops, sweeping less powerful companies’ shoes from shelves and leaving a paucity of options for the toecap-chewing hardflipper.

It can be no coincidence that the messenger for this unhappy fable is Josh Kalis, whose reintroduction of the ‘Kalis Lite’ to a generation of Love Park-fetishizing saboteurs comes as the most important geopolitical shoe event of the year. Despite its hikey sole and lack of air bag, the ‘Lite/LTE’ is the most credible-yet throwback to the puffy shoe era*, boosted by a particularly East Coast persuasion of nostalgia arising out of #skateshoewars and Philadelphia spot paleontology. The Kalis Lites, the most vital release from DC in years, also comes as sporting apparel makers Nike and Adidas try ever so softly to nudge skaters’ sweatstained wallets further ajar, coaxing dollaridoos toward higher-tech footwears that command fatter margins and further cement the big, swinging corporation as the dominant force in skate shoedom, widening the gap between their space-age materials and those lesser peddlers of vulcanized suede.

But a good decade into this slim-shoe era, as the Janoski continues to run roughshod over besocked $150 Kostons and rivals’ new pro models retain slender, suedey templates, the tech shoe increasingly threatens to fall back into its typecast role as a periodic fad. The rubbered-out Airwalks and Etnies briefly ushered in the 90s before Jason Lee and Jim swept the table clear for a generation of grunge rockers, conscious MCs and others to wallow, before DC began slowly turning up the tech with the Boxer and the newly-reissued Syntax. The oft-maligned D3, also recently reissued, arguably represented the apex/nadir of this period, before Nike’s Dunk fanned the Luddite spark struck by Tom Penny’s Accel-boosting Menikmati part, and within a few years the Half Cab ascended to the throne. Es, which never fully relinquished its mantle of Schemes and Logics, entered the cryogenic chamber as the vulcanized sole trampled all comers.

Are the recent techy stabs a sign that the tide finally is turning away from simplicity or just further fodder to an every-ten-years-tech-shoe fad? Could a longterm tech-shoe revival help propel Quiksilver into a new glory age of booze and boardshorts? Is independent shoe company booster Josh Kalis making a bigger and broader design statement when he talks about ‘choices’? Will the fact that Oscar-winners DJ Paul and Juicy J have one up on Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock and Charlie Chaplin ever truly sink in with the general public?

*Which perhaps not coincidentally overlapped with the Puff Daddy era

Cower and Kneel Before the $9 Billion Digital Skatestopper

July 13, 2016

pokemon_LA

For centuries, man schemed and toiled to turn technology to his advantage, from the spearing and roasting of the first woolly mammoth to mass-producing plastic woolly mammoth baubles for personal fun to resurrecting the woolly mammoth via cloning systems. Skateboarders are no different, if one simply swaps out the woolly mammoth for a shambling, hairy metaphor that posits hammers, enders and assorted NBDs, and quick-dry cement, sawzalls, pinned spots, Iphone-ready death lenses and the urethane wheel in place of wooden spears and genome-sequencing software.

Yet just as Russian-made woolly mammoth clones inevitably will turn against their creators* and run rampant across textile mills and used-car lots, technology has been turned into an enemy of skating. The telephone, developed by Alexander Graham Bell to relay stock-market quotations and pizza instructions, was transformed into a high-speed snitching device shortly after the first pools were barged. The powers of metallurgy, honed by the dwarves in the mines of Moria, were harnessed by demonic forces to forge skatestoppers. In the same spirit, skateboarders have fought back.

Now comes a new threat, lurking within the smartphones of children, that promises strife, subjugation and certain doom: the mobile reality role-playing fantasy, Pokemon Go. The premise involves capturing and conscripting fantastical, suitcase-sized creatures and pitting them against one another in battle for the pure glory of it. These cartoonish organisms must be detected by physically traveling to physical world locations where the next step is to stand around swiping upon the telephone screen. There are reasons aplenty to suspect that Pokemon Go is only part of a larger, sickening “game within a game” that may murderously ape the 1990s platformer hit “Lemmings”**.

But the Pokemon game’s demented and unholy true purpose has slowly emerged as sharp-minded watchers began observing the game herding players toward famed skatespots (see above), where their loiterly meanderings provide a skatestopper more effective than a hundred curled metal flanges. Yet the plot runs deeper and hoarier still, given the apparent targeting of sanctioned skateparks as destinations for sheepish players to gather, oblivious with their mass, and obstaclize. Moneyed interests of the world have responded, valuing the Pokemon application to the tune of the Bahamas’ economy.

Could animated, bouncing rabbitoids and birds do what generations of business owners, security guards and disapproving moms have failed at, and erase skateboarding from this mortal coil forevermore? Could Street League and X-Game courses, if not overrun by phone-staring drifters, yet be rendered obsolete if no one looks up from their screen to pump a fist or holler at a 9.0 run? Is Jeremy Klein, with his extensive anime knowledge, disregard for social mores, and increasingly professorial look what with the spectacles, be skateboarding’s only hope to somehow infiltrate the Pokemon Go machinery and destroy it from within?

*As well as the band Kreator most likely
**SNES version soundtrack for all-time top 10

Summertime Mixtape Vol. 4 – Marc Johnson ‘Man Down’

July 9, 2016


Tilt Mode released ‘Man Down’ at the height of the collective’s cultural and military might, spreading its power across several otherwise drab and peaceable continents before the dueling demands of heavy duty sponsorship and real life in general intervened for many of the mode’s most heavily tilted. Here though was crew captain Marc Johnson having a good time in baggy shorts as the Rolling Stones stuffed their noses with disco-era stardust, enjoying his enormous talents amongst playgrounds and makeshift jumpramps before stretching it to its breaking point a few years later in the Lakai vid — his embankment backside 360 kickflip here is a much more relaxed edition than Alex Carolino’s in the contemporary Lordz vid, and tricks such as the switch backside nosegrind and the 5-0 backside 180 are for the ages. At a time when triple-striped shoes again adorn Marc Johnson’s feet after an acrimonious split with a shoe sponsor, it would be a treat to see him do another one like this.

Summertime Mixtape Vol. 4 – Gabriel Rodriguez, Daniel Castillo and Shamil Randle ‘Mouse’

July 8, 2016


Of the many ‘what-ifs’ associated with all-time top fiver ‘Mouse,’ the potential for a full-on follow-up to Gabriel Rodriguez’s ‘Paco’ closing section forever will be up there with the prospects for a healthy Mike Carroll and a reenergized Jovontae Turner. He does come through in this Choco-trio section with some massive tailslides and two of the grimier fakie tricks to chunk out the courthouse ledge, before Daniel Castillo comes with a good Venice pit line and some below-the-knees cargo pockets, the height of fashion for summer 1996. Shamil Randle gets in two of the video’s best-looking manual tricks in the same line plus the rarely-seen fakie frontside shove-it, possibly an asterisked outlier to Jimmy Gorecki’s generally on-point ‘Trilogy’ rule.

Summertime Mixtape Vol. 4 – Aaron Artis ‘What If’

July 6, 2016


There are videos rightly and wrongly misplaced within the eddies of the space-time continuum, and despite Carlos Ruiz’s Heath Kirchart-baiting spot checks, a late-arriving stop on Kris Markovich’s decades-spanning board sponsor tour, and a fine Ronnie Creager part, Blind’s Bill Weiss-helmed 2005 vid ‘What If’ did little to stake out turf far from your typical Digital issue of the day. It did have this Aaron Artis part that gets over on some swervy turns, floaty kickflips and a sunny song, with an untamed melon grab taking the Pacific Northwesterner over a Spanish hump and the Hollywood High spikes. The powerslide surf spray revives long-suppressed memories of July afternoons lounging beside stagnant ponds of gray water, sipping a highball of unleaded gasoline. 

Summertime Mixtape Vol. 4 – Tum Yeto Road Trip, 411 #29

July 5, 2016


Tum Yeto hoisted itself to perhaps the hoistiest of its various golden ages in the waning months of the 1990s partly thanks to visceral and brutally earned slam sections that reserved a singular ability to snuff any spark to skate that the preceding video had kindled. Jarring bails pepper this 411 road trip through Canada, populated by a wrecking-ball cast belonging at this point to another age: an Adio-endorsing, lion-maned Jamie Thomas; Mike Maldonado, decked out in corn rows and late shove-its; Ed Templeton impossible tailgrabbing with a few hundred miles’ worth of buffer from the Huntington Beach Pier fleshpots; Elissa Steamer at her pre-Bootleg peak; handrail doubles runs; Adrian Lopez, full cabbing John Drake’s ender spot from ‘Time Code;’ board-catching dome pieces; a miniramp-wrecking Bam Margera, face as yet unlined by the gravities and scars of a reality television career. This clip, considered in some circles the greatest 411 tour part evar, also features a content-complementing, classically licensing-friendly Dischord catalog pick.

Summertime Mixtape Vol. 4 – Nate Jones ‘Real to Reel’

July 5, 2016

Midsummer days hot enough to put the sweat on you by 8 a.m. call to mind the carefree love that can blossom in young muskrats’ hearts, and of simpler and more wholesome times when highlights from a 411 commercial and a nice backside 5-0 on a ledge were legit inclusions for a video-opening, pro-inducing video part such as Nate Jones’ in Real’s century-launching ‘Real to Reel.’ Besides Nate Jones’ immaculate kickflip stylings, the rarely seen overhead angle to a street gap and the rarer-still acceptable varial flip, Nate Jones’s breezy, no-muss part captures him midway between the baggy-hoodied, yellow-teed everyman and the patchouli scented Bay ramblor that would years later claim his pro career. Beyond the snapshot of SF in a more livable time, you can catch glimpses of a spiritual forebear to Brian Delatorre’s GX hills handling and Dylan Rieder’s ‘Mindfield’ ender.

The Incomparable Rodrigo TX

June 26, 2016

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The annals of skate history are littered with x-rays, unpaid medical bills, jail sentences and as-yet undiagnosed cases of chronic traumatic encephalopathy that would argue against the timeworn slogan that skateboarding is a youthful fountain worthy of Juan Ponce de Leon’s most brutal fantasies. And then, there are those who seem to truly defy age’s gravitational yankings, such as Daewon Song, Louie Barletta and, in the dirtier, ghettoier and kidlike column, Rodrigo Teixeira.

Renowned under his AP Stylebook-friendly acronymical abbreviator, Rodrigo TX is that unlikely child prodigy whose career has achieved not just a second act but a third and now perhaps fourth, as his immaculately curated flippery augurs for the pinnacle, or one of them, in Adidas’ overstuffed tongue of a full-length ‘Away Days.’ Some of these dudes in a few years’ time will rightly be regarded as swishy pant bandwagoners and then there are others, such as TX and Great Yarmouth whirlwind Chewy Cannon, who look born into them, and rarer still is the type of finesse that allows TX to crib ‘Menikmati’-era moves like the nollie flip noseslide and make them look not just crazy good but a welcome alternative to a tenement city’s worth of wallies.

While former roommate Mark Appleyard opted to take years off before repositioning himself in skating’s orbit like he never floated away, Rodrigo TX seems to have redoubled efforts year to year, cranking out video parts while honing his tricks to finely shaped points, such that his fakie flip for Adidas not long ago merited hushed discussion among the alltime greats. Draped in monochromatic stripeyness Rodrigo TX’s ‘Away Days’ clips like the fakie frontside boardslide, the frontside tailslide kickflip out and the one where he does Mikey Taylor’s DVS ender switch bedazzle the watcher in a video chockablock with hyper-clean ledge skating, and then comes with rubbernecker-friendly fare like the nollie inward heelflip backside 180 to make sure everybody’s paying attention. TX’s Muni frontside heelflip rivals Lucas Puig’s for best in the vid and that last backside flip needs to go into a time capsule.

Does Rodrigo TX’s Adidas sponsorship, similar to Bobby Worrest’s Nike deal, rank as one of those rare cases that makes perfect sense for all involved given dues paid, legacy ‘skate’ industry bridges apparently left standing and peak on-board performance capacity still somehow yet ahead? Is it possible to say that somebody else did that backside kickflip or is such a statement impossibly untrue? Are Carlos Iqui and Tiago Lemos together the new Rodrigo TX or is Rodrigo TX the new Rodrigo TX (and also the Rodrigo TX of the Flip years)? What if somebody told you there was a video with Rodrigo TX, Silas Baxter Neal, Nyjah Huston, Bobby Worrest, Rick McCrank and PJ Ladd?


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