Davos Man And The Risk-To-Reward Ratio Of The Frontside 180

January 20, 2020

He is knowed as the Oracle of Thousand Oaks. From an ergonomically conscious, low-emissions chair, Mikey Taylor gazes from full-bleed windows upon an empire to hold — sands and wave, manicured desert fauna, native wood, electricalized vehicles, a rain garden. It is a world of opportunity, progression, mindful hustle and passion, with no single-use plastics, preserving natural spaces and personal wealths for future generations. On the weekends, good wine, and good friends.

The game is real estate development. The stakes: Working capital, and maybe, your life. First in are the sharp-nosed swift simmers that take the choicest, juiciest morsels and move along when the throbbing, silvery schools press in. For these must settle for smaller, faster, needier bites, budging and shoving and taking what they can. Always hurried, for you know what comes next: The massive, ironclad submersibles, their snaky sucking hoses pulling in everything not fast enough to flee, their bowels a-churn with knives and rotors chopping all into low-cost slurry for the industrial meat farms that pulsate privately above.

This is the world, and its strife. Mikey Taylor unscrews his hydroflask and regards the waves. As Commune Capital’s president and managing principle, his fiduciary duty is to be the early swimmer, not a slurry-bound slowpoke. There are buildings to be gut rehabbed, multi-unit leasables to be securitized, tracts to be acquired at auction for a song. And yet, it is all the same sea. What if there were another?

Bronze 56K became the first company to drop a skate video in the ’20s, earning several experience points and perhaps a cash award. (As a privately held company Bronze 56K is not obligated to publicize its financial performance.) ‘Hardware For The Masses’ revealed itself to be another timeless entry in Bronze 56K’s discography, now arguably among the most consistent of any company currently in operation. Bronze 56K always has been a spendthrift entity, repurposing defunct software logos, beer commercials and Wolfenstein 3D editions to conjure among the most powerful branded shirt conglomerates east of St. Louis.

Can tricks too be exhumed, gently brushed and refurbished in a retrofied way to again command a market premium? Bronze’s cultural dumpster divers work these seams too. Consider the humble frontside 180. The board goes up, it turns, you turn, and ride away clean. For decades far too basic for lines, and after thorough early-00s hucking by the likes of Andrew Reynolds, Dustin Dollin, Kerry Getz and Jamie Thomas, it summarily was cast aside as a stair or gap rattler in favor of variations involving flips, shove-its and/or switch-stance. For years the frontside 180 rotted as though entombed beneath an aromatic, regenerative compost heap. Then arrived muckraking New Jerusalemer Dick Rizzo, coiled and unshaven. In Quasi’s seminal ‘Mother’ Dick Rizzo boosts back-to-back frontside 180s down the Bronx’s Jerome Ave banks, turns a switch one over a gold rail under security pressure and goes regular off a miniscule bump to standard-sized bar; in Bust Crew’s deep-tissue tingling ‘Nightmare Van’ last year, he jumps another frontside 180 into a kinked bank ride-out. Italian Bronzester Jacopo Carozzi likes them, and in ‘Hardware for the Masses’ Adrian Vega turns one over the Pulaski wall in a line, while GangCorp youngster Dougie pops one off a bump to stair, and on IG frontside 180s over a studily built wooden bench.

As the World Economic Forum convenes this week to ponder the monetary conundrums of our time, could Mikey Taylor’s financial technicians, uninspired by rental returns and flexy property valuations, direct their intellectual horsepower and florid body heat toward overlooked tricks such as the frontside 180 that exhibit solid returns and honest thrills even if they may not feature in a Primitive vid? Does the frontside 180’s market valuation increase, and the potential return on investment decrease, with each such clip collected in a Bronze 56K vid? Does former SOTY Kyle Walker’s frontside 180 in ‘Be Free’ stand as an early indicator that the trick is ripe for a ’20s resurgence?

After Tyshawn Jones And Tom Snape, Who Will Pen The Switch Inward Heelflip’s Next Chapter In 2020?

January 1, 2020

Ten more
Dom Henry, ‘Cottonopolis’ — an artist working mainly in the medium of switch nosegrinds and fakie frontside noseslides
Tiago Lemos, ‘Encore’ — nollie over the back, as the fella says, hits different
Tyler Bledsoe, ‘Huf 003’ — backside tailslide drop down to backside noseblunt, what is the world coming to
Brian Peacock, ‘Fellas’ — like a swishies-dripped Gustav Tonnesen, frontside flip switch manual to switch frontside flip back
Kauwe Cossa, ‘Chrystie Chapter 1’ — sterling command of the switch backside heelflip
Nick Matthews, ‘Pavement’ — young in the city with Pupecki grind fakie flips out on lock
Yaje Popson, ‘Untitled 004’ — a top 10 Muni line contender
Wilton Souza, ‘Your World Don’t Stop’ — beating on the Brazilian blocks
Miles Silvas, ‘PLA x Thrasher’ — a mirror line with shock value
Nick Michel, ‘Lotties Must Be Stopped’ — the year’s most fearless frontside half-cab

1. Matt Militano — ‘Vanish’

December 31, 2019

Whether or not the 5Boro hookup proves as lucrative and titillating as Habitat flow or the pizza delivery game remains to be seen, but the late-arriving development if nothing else suggests that intergalactic powers are beginning to exercise their might more responsibly with regard to the fate of lanky and laconic Matt Militano, whose tricks seem only to sharpen as potential sponsors dither, seasons change and the expanding universe challenges mathematicians to keep up. Zach Sayles’ excellent ‘Vanish’ vid teed up the final ’10s summertime with Matt Militano banging on cellar doors, fully wrapping impossibles and bending physics in such a way as to wallie out of a nose manual, in time with ‘Twin Peaks’ bass plucking. All his tricks are gems here — he shove-its the hard way off a smith grind in the middle of a round bar, takes a backside 180 nosegrind back to regular on Philadelphia’s big red blocks, he grinds the middle of a metal fence — and his song has a bassoon.

2. Korahn Gayle – ‘Cover Version’

December 30, 2019

Dan Magee and Kevin Parrott’s Blips full-length ‘Cover Version’ this year came as a passion project ostensibly in tribute to seminal clips and tricks from decades past, but read like a clinic in how to film, construct and sequence a top-shelf full length with skating to match, all the requisite London bustle and grit in sharp relief. Quiet handstyler Korahn Gayle’s part is the best in it, gifted with screwface-inducing one-off ledge tricks such as the fakie backside tailslide flip out and the nollie heelflip backside noseblunt up the angled South Bank block, switch kickflip backside tailsliding Blueprint’s favourite gap to ledge, shocking and stoking the sidewalk elderly. It’s the type of video part that needs only one song to cover all the bases, the blocks and the big stuff, the mean backside drift on the London Bridge stack fakie heelflip to the switch wallride to frontside crooked grind a crack in the wall.

3. Mark Suciu — ‘Verso’

December 29, 2019

Does Mark Suciu need an editor? After four video parts this year totaling about 22.5 minutes of footage — last week he said he’d originally planned to do six — one risks growing numbed to further midsized hubba bluntslides, bump-to-bar kickflips, bigspins out. Award season aside, there can be no doubt that Mark Suciu is among the most gifted ever to put sole to grip, but his machinelike footage zone-flooding risks turning the exercise into a slog all around, Mark Suciu included, as per his recent Chrome Ball entry. His best stuff comes when he’s really reaching, like the Municipal Plaza line in ‘Search the Horizon,’ his clips involving the Fred Gall rail at Love Park, and this year’s ‘Verso’ opus,* culminating in its matched sets of tricks stacked against one another like a color-coded bookshelf, except with previously unseen ledge combos. Maybe sheer volume cannot win Mark Suciu Skater of the Year — maybe he never will be ‘Thrasher enough,’ even as the mag elevates self-care and underrepresented groups — but as skating sorts itself into ever-more specialized niches it’s bracing to watch a fleetfooted tech master huck at thunder gaps and big rails to see if he can, and ponder what new directions remain as far as ledge wizardry. ‘Verso’ is too long, of course, but it also is a part you can get lost in and savor new wrinkles, like the nighttime line in Milan, Grant’s Tomb ollie flex, the ride out on the varial heelflip.

*no magnum

4. Gustav Tønnesen — ‘Reverb’

December 28, 2019

The easygoing freedom radiating off Gustav Tønnesen’s otherworldly tricks arises partly from his and Sour’s congenial, blissful separate-ness from the California pro-circuit rat race. He generally seems unconcerned, and it’s probably a contributor to rather than detractor from Sour’s assorted successes and achievements since the Sweet split. The askew ‘spot’ choosings and bottomless skill reservoir regularly exhibited in the ‘Sour Solution’ entires can leave one wondering what a Gustav Tønnesen part could look like given the ‘big-budget’ treatment and an indulgence toward more-standard video part trick choices, and Adidas’ late-arriving ‘Reverb’ vid offers one version — there’s a nollie 270 fronside noseslide into a bank, a switch crooked grind in a line, a switch hardflip over a gap, all typically feather-light and unhurried, but it’s not long before he’s wallriding out of a backside noseblunt slide and finding all types of things to do with a corrugated metal vent thing. Inevitably, he is drawn to Max Palmer’s angle-ironed cage-bank and the Rector Street bench’s final hours before boosting a switch kickflip off a few angled bricks and up a four-foot euro gap, as it was foretold. An actual magician.

5. Nik Stain — ‘Skate Clip’

December 27, 2019

Whether or not the planet will receive a ‘definitive’ Nik Stain video part maybe is not the right question; there are those who would pound their fists and tear their hair and pronounce that it was already in ‘Bruns’ while others may suggest that there shouldn’t be one, requiring questers to sift 917, Supreme and assorted Jersey video files for a fleeting and piecemeal picture of the truth. Johnny Wilson’s springtime Vimeo freshener hit closer than anything else for a while, the elbows-out backside smith grinds and backside tailslides seared further into the permanent record as critical reference points for a moorless age. Nik Stain gives himself to the purpose, scorpioning across water and asphalt, barreling over rails and double sets and painting urethane swipes across the Manhattan marble, until the next one.

6. Tristan Funkhouser — ‘Baker 4’

December 26, 2019

Baker’s generational handoff over the course of its seven-year weekend since ‘Bake and Destroy’ has gone better than a lot of its old-guard board brand contemporaries, aided by the company’s more malleable and freewheeling character and recent, forceful returns of formerly wandering veterans like Kevin Long and Sammy Baca, who really came out of the wilderness to put a calf-socked Chuck onto 2019. As far as distilling Baker’s ethos for the Ross-shopping set, covering the late-’10s trick spectrum and general get-in-the-vanness, Tristan Funkhouser’s ‘Baker 4’ rave-up fired on all cylinders, combining a speedball crouch and the type of wild lower-body contortions that Baker spirit animal Ali Boulala shimmied across an alcohol-drenched floor in an earlier installment (see: pyramid ledge, backside smith frontside shove-it out). This is for sure the yung T-Funk’s best and most-developed skating to date, between shit like the wallride shove-its, the overpass 5-0 rollercoaser and the stomach-churning float after the last 50-50, but the screaming ollie out to frontside wallride — teed up by his friends hollering at gapers, a GX bomb while the crew loses their minds, and needle-thread through what looks like a TV film unit on lunch break — is basically a Baker video all by itself.

7. Ronnie Sandoval — ‘Take It Back’

December 25, 2019

The grievous-injury-as-part-opener has held fast through another decade, mayhap serving some drama-injector function, or at least stating a particular skater’s price of admission for the clips to come, even if in the more-general sense of skate video function it rarely contributes to the basic chore of firing up the viewer. Ronnie Sandoval’s life after kneecap shattering, as presented in the ensuing five minutos of Vans’ slow-burning ‘Take it Back’ and uploaded in an August heatwave’s sweaty grip, does pitch in. Between screaming pumps through transitions he’s generally either out to test his recently refurbished patella or keep it as far away from the coping as possible, heavily tweaking inverts and placing his hands and feet in all types of rarely recommended places, ranging from over-vert bowl sections to a dinosaur face. For an imperatively tilted video, Ronnie Sandoval’s part makes its own arguments, such as not writing off future American involvement with Oski’s monstrous vert wall, and for beautifully executed filming, in an era when hyper stylization steadily gnaws at visual comprehension of the actual trick.

8. Bobby Worrest – ‘Welcome to Venture’

December 24, 2019

After the late-00s ATV movement helped push AntiHero, Spitfire, Indy and Thrasher to the top of the stack, it probably was inevitable that the merciless and ever-turning ‘wheel of skate trends’ would revolve from ‘fight’ to ‘switch,’ and Venture’s 2019 rebirth maybe was foretold by the same stylistic lodestar that guided swishy pants’ replacement of stretch denim. Nabbing East Coast ledge journeyman Bobby Worrest marked Venture’s re-arrival this year, as well as a recent peak among a string of video part gems he’s continued pumping out while traversing certain hemispheres and defying age’s vagaries. There is a certain torch long carried by Dennis Busenitz on which Bobby Worrest seems to have his own grip and feel, holding court first in southeast Asian public spaces where he cracks over artisanal bridges and slaloms past mopeds, and eventually/inevitably back in his beloved Pulaski park, working all corners and exhorting his filmers to keep up — honk if you turn up the volume for ‘up the three’ on repeat watches. His hat stays backwards, the beard stays on, the noseslide 270 line is all-time and he still is putting notches on the big white wall.