Archive for June, 2008

We do this in broad daylight

June 24, 2008

Wha happen?

Jamie Thomas is given credit for a lot of things, such as the Zero quick-cut editing technique, reintroducing the world to Chris Cole and ruining skateboarding forevermore. But often people end up overlooking other things about the Zero warlord, like his deep flatground skills, his vertically integrated business approach and his eye for great tech skaters. While he’s generally associated with greaseball hessians of the Ellington and Garrett Hill variety, Jamie Thomas also put on the likes of Josh Kalis and Adrian Lopez, whose first line in Thrill of It All is still hot a decade-plus later.

(Did Jamie Thomas recruit Satva Leung to Toy Machine? Been a while…)

It’s a close thing, but at this point I guess I can pretty safely say that Gilbert Crockett had my favorite part in the generally underrated Mystery video last summer–snappy flip tricks, fast pushing and quick set-ups. As is the way of the skateboard world, he got a spot on the Fallen shoes team a couple months ago ahead of their video this summer, and the powers that be posted up this video last week of Crockett skating the Black-Box warehouse. Pretty much all these tricks are boss material in one way or another but the smooth-sailing switch b/s lipslide and the way he pops out of the frontside k-grind are particularly thrilling to me. Note to HD filmers: it is indeed possible to toggle the slo-mo off on HD footage, and it still looks amazing.

So while we all wait for the Fallen video, which supposedly is going to premier online at some point, here’s an older Gilbert Crockett part from the “Whathadhappenwaz” video, made by the Endless Grind people in North Carolina. Watch for the flared-out nosebonk at 2:05. And the sweet Arby’s product placement about 10 seconds earlier.

Hallmark holiday

June 21, 2008


Remember that Simpsons episode where the suits are trying to think up a new summer holiday to sell greeting cards, presents and “assorted gougables”? I had a nice cynical chuckle over it at the time, until a couple years later when I heard about Sweetest Day, basically Valentine’s Day 2 in October invented by some candy company tycoon types who insist they didn’t make it up. Hallmark still pushes it with cards and whatnot, but somehow it has yet to catch on, with the possible exception of Detroit.

To the IASC’s credit they have not, as far as I can tell, tried to pretend that Go Skateboarding Day isn’t their creation. Although maybe I’m just not looking hard enough. It’s hard to imagine that designating the first day of summer for skating moves a significant number of boards/shoes/skate-related gougables, but then again, I’m out here in the peanut gallery.

No, as far as I can tell it’s more to raise skateboarding’s profile, ostensibly to build support for building parks and to let the general public know “we’re out here.” Which makes sense, I guess. Skateboarding is still beating the pants off other sports in terms of growth, and despite the damnedest efforts of ESPN and the Dew, there’s still no world series of skateboarding for all those Sheckler-foam-hand-wearing fans to tune in every year.

But skating isn’t baseball, parks get boring, and most other places skateboarding remains illegal. For those who come of age in the days when Tony Hawk was sleeping in his Lexus, there’s an argument for keeping it that way, and gatherings of thousands of people, who commence to cheer, wave their illicit instruments and then put them to use isn’t how you keep a low profile.  Mobs of skaters barging spots and stopping traffic gets noticed, but probably not in any way that’s positive from the secular viewpoint, and may well serve the agenda of the “build a park and write tickets everywhere else” approach to regulating skateboards.

However. I’ve been in on one of these Emerica events, and it was a pretty amazing experience. The rah-rah fist-pumping stuff beforehand was one thing, but once the crowd broke for the street it was crazy to hear hundreds of wheels hitting the ground at once, charging down a major road, people sitting in their cars or standing on the sidewalk just staring. Trying tricks with people skating four feet in front of you and four feet behind inevitably leads to pile-ups and it turns into everyone bombing down the street at full speed, and slowing to a cruise when people start getting tired. It’s a pretty unique situation to have your usual posse on one side and have a dude you’ve seen in magazines pushing on the other side, and thousands of skateboarders hitting a spot, chilling, skating, and moving on, all together… all that isn’t something you’d ever see with, say, baseball. That day took me back to the first big demo I ever went to, how wide-eyed and awe-struck I was to see so many skateboarders in one place, and the reckless camaraderie when it turned into a big free-for-all session afterwards.

Over the next few days there may well be talk of poor choices of venue and various renditions of “don’t taze me bro,” but hopefully Go Skateboarding Day will amount to something more than soft news features on local TV stations, speechifying and funding for a few pre-fab parks. Maybe it’ll bump up sales for skate shops, some kids will get to skate with their favorite pros and maybe warm the hearts of bitter old skaters such as myself.

By the way the photo above is from Alex Cave.

The (future) college dropout

June 20, 2008

I thought this was kind of heartwarming. (Via the Habitat site.) In an age where everybody and their lazy-eyed little brother can backside noseblunt handrails, big up to Austyn Gillette for achieving that which continues to elude so many skateboarders, both professional and otherwise: a high school diploma. I wish Danny Garcia hit up my graduation. Let’s hope his big day went better than it did for Hoops McCann and replay his cut footage from the Habitat video which is pretty banging.


June 19, 2008

Speaking of dudes who are still on it, the new issue of the Skateboard Mag has this amazing shot of Quim Cardona just cranking this monstrous duck-and-cover ollie. Still got it, that unpleasant business in the Kayo video aside. His website is kind of another conversation but this shot is a beaut for sure.


June 19, 2008

“You like me, you really like me”

Guy Mariano cleaned up at the TWS awards last weekend huh? Street skater of the year, best video part and reader’s choice, the latter of which is especially impressive from one of the magazines that was backing Sheckler so hard, and the 10-year-old demographic that they seem to be shooting for. Not to downplay anything/everything Guy Mariano’s done, but you kind of get the feeling that this is one of those deals where they’ll honor a dude’s career by recognizing his recent work after ignoring him for so long. Like how only the last Lord of the Rings movie got an Oscar, or how Scorsese only just got one for “The Departed” and not “Taxi Driver” or “Raging Bull” or “Goodfellas.”

The TWS awards are in their 10th year now… Mouse came out in what, 96? They gave Jerry Hsu all those awards last year and the enjoi video came out in early 2006… well, like writing, math isn’t one of my strong suits, but you see what I’m getting at. Whatever. I’m happy for Mariano and I remain very very glad he’s back. Here’s some leftover Berrics footage they posted up today. Still a beast.

But way more interesting is that TWS got Stevie Williams and Corey Duffel to present the award together, which struck me as kind of ingenious, and raises the possibility of similar odd-couple award presentations to come. Some potential combos:

-Mike Vallely and Mike O’Meally
-Chad Fernandez and Knox Godoy (perhaps Knox could open the envelope and call Nandez’s cell phone with the winner’s name)
-Henry Sanchez and half the skateboard industry (video screen in the background could feature a photoshopped picture of the Golden Gate Bridge in flames)
-Sean Sheffey and Ryan Fabry (or maybe Earl Parker and Chris Senn)
-Steve Berra and Jovontae Turner
-Heath Kirchart and a crew of Midwestern crack dealers
-Ed Templeton and David C. Novak, CEO of Yum! Brands, which runs Kentucky Fried Chicken
-Tony Hawk’s dad and Rodney Mullen’s dad
the SF twins

Vincent Alvarez has potential

June 17, 2008

Ain’t shit to do but cook

The long-awaited (well at least a month or two) debut video part for young Vincent Alvarez hit today and mostly it’s pretty good, mostly because little VA isn’t the same type of super am the Crailtap posse has been signing in this, the Malto Age or whatever. He’s got a kind of weird selection of tricks, and they’re definitely not all pretty, but it’s refreshing to watch a kid who chooses to huck a switch smith grind up onto a tall flatbar instead of scootching b/s tail reverts on a three-foot-high bank or nollie inward heelflipping 16 stairs.

It’s also refreshing to see that Ty Bruckheimer has trimmed his Fully Flannel lumberjack beard and locks. Next let’s work on trimming the clips of dudes sitting on curbs and suddenly standing up, or the always inspiring run-and-throw-down-the-board shot.

With tricks like his first line and that switch 180 to 5-0 on the yellow rail, combined with the Diamond Head, brought to mind POL-era Henry Sanchez. Some tricks were pretty gross-looking, like the cab b/s lip on the ledge and the fakie lipslide tricks up the loading dock, and the switch tailslide 270 shove-it body varial (?) I’m kind of half-and-half on, but like Torey Pudwill, Alvarez seems like he’s putting some thought into his skating which I’m always a fan of. It was even cool to me how he landed horizontal on the bank with the fakie flip and half-cab flip.

So yeah. I wished there was more of his celebrated switch transition skating, but a few of those tricks (b/s lipslide to bluntslide, fakie bigspin bluntslide) were gold and the waterslide guitar hero moment was pretty inspired. Mike Mo and Malto are good and all, and I’m a fan of their skating, but it’s cool to me that an institution like Girl/Choco is still down to put on a kid like this who doesn’t land every trick the same exact way and has a little upper-body spaz. You know? Paco had Chico and Mulder next to Paulo and Gabe.

24 Hour Party Person

June 11, 2008

Great part from Joe Gavin in the 2006 Manchester DVD “Workers and Lurkers”, vital information which you may notice I copied directly from the Mpora link. I’ve seen clips here and there of this guy but this part is for sure my favorite. He’s got some Paul Shier sort of hyper-flippy ledge tricks happening but he can do power moves too, like the switch ollie at 1:24 in the link. Also I’m really into the way he points his ollies and the way he snaps his tricks in the parking garage line (1:40), which sound so great in this clip for some reason.

This dude’s got a longer part here from last year but I’m more a fan of this video that features one of the better-looking nollie noseslides on a ledge that I’ve seen in quite some time and a switch frontside schralp on a planter. Interesting question: which of these three pretty bad music selections is the worst? I lean toward the PBJ out of principle, but “Landslide” is a whole nother level of depressing.

And to everything, turn turn turn

June 6, 2008

Seems weird that there’s this big pro-board shuffle right smack between the ASR’s, but what the fuck right? Summer’s here. Time for the young bucks to live it up while they’re young, time for old dudes like Klein to have their “Summer of Klein” complete with cheese block and fridge chair before… well I guess before going back to the same shit he’s been doing for these past 10 years that hasn’t really involved much skating.

The big news of course was at Girl, where every day’s a party in this post “Fully Flared” era. They throw you a surprise shindig for getting on the team, Guy Mariano skates with you all the time, and you get to go on vacation with Frank Gerwer. I mean, Jesus Christ. So what to do, what to do, with three super-ams that are no doubt getting offers left and right, two of them already opting for bigger shoe paychecks, all fresh off video parts… bite the bullet and turn em all pro at once I suppose. Kareem, in his infinite wisdom, pulled the same shit with P-rod and Mikey Taylor, if you’ll recall, and they were kind enough to sell a few City Stars boards before jumping ship. So hopefully everybody over at the Crailtap camp enjoys the hugs and rainbows while they last.

Turning in his pro board is Jeremy Klein, and let me tell you, this news shocked me to the core. Now, I understand he’s got a part in the Birdhouse video that came out last fall, which I haven’t seen because nobody saw it. (Quote from Tony Hawk at the premiere: “We’re still here.”) Which is partly why it’s such a surprise, this retirement. You’d think with a new video part, he’d have justification to keep his board on shelves for another five years, at least. If Jeremy Klein can’t milk a video part for 10-plus years, who can?

Anyway. At DLX there’s rumblings of Van Wastell getting a board this fall, which is kind of overdue in a Pappalardo-Wenning sort of way, when you look at Bobby Worrest. I mean, I’m a big Worrest fan, but I can see why a Van Wastell fan would be bummed that it’s taken so long for the dude to get the pro nod. In sadder news it appears Flip may retire Ali’s board next fall. Flip site says Boulala’s up for parole in two years, at which point he’ll hopefully be back in some kind of skating form.

Addendum: Here’s Alex Olson’s part in “Gnar Gnar” which to me is still the best shit he’s put out.

Es loses their damn mind

June 4, 2008

The Osiris of this shit

I feel sort of bad ragging on Es, because it seems like they’re really trying. They figured out pretty quick that they weren’t going to be able to hang on to their Menikmati-era all stars, finally scrapped the ill-fated “YeS” project, put together a fairly interesting team and got busy moving on. Last year’s Especial promo wasn’t bad at all and they’re staying busy on their website, but I can’t help but wonder if they’re fighting a losing battle, because it’s becoming so plainly clear that they’ve lost their way when it comes to, you know, the actual shoes.

Now, in an age where one could start a skate shoe company and bank off rehashing the dunk, Chuck Taylors, half cabs, eras, and on and on, I do give Es a lot of credit for trying something new, over and over again, often with simply bizarre results. From what I can tell, with their new fall lineup, they’re betting big on the technological shoes of the late 90s/early 00s coming back into fashion. Will they be right? You be the judge…

The amazingly ill-conceived Scheme remix makes it back for another season, though they insist right on the sight that it’s not a throwback. Embrace it, Es!

It seems to me Es has been trying to push this design in various forms for a while now. Do the euros go in for the teched-out shoes anymore?

Currency symbols really aren’t anywhere near the worst all-over print, but it’s still pretty stupid.

This “TXL” may or may not be a Rodrigo creation. I picture TX tilted far back in an office chair, eyes far off and muttering “it’s crazy like,” while a pair of designers scribble furiously and dart frightened, confused looks at one another.

Here, the Es team muscles in on C1RCA territory with the mysteriously named “FV-1.” Although I guess it could have been designed by Fausto’s ghost? Actually don’t mind the colors on this one but packing in not-one-but-TWO airbags at the height of the vulcan era is a bold move indeed.

Like the half-formed remnants of a Vans janitor’s trunk sale. Moving on…

This one, the color combo is almost crazy enough to work, almost, but these knockoffs of dearly departed pro models never really work out.

Here we have an example of taking a great idea that hasn’t been blown out yet (black soles on lighter shoes) and screwing it up with the all-over-print panel in the back.

This one really isn’t that bad, aside from the laces. Classic Es design and it looks like they threw in one of those SLB/AVE inner-sock things, which deserves to be revived every few years. Some colors other than white/black and gray/black would help, but this is good mostly.