Archive for January, 2009

Catholic High School Girls In Trouble

January 31, 2009

Somewhere, someone has already commented on how stupid good kids are today, exemplified in the best trick footage from the recent Girl/Choco/Royal/Ruby/Skate Mental/Fourstar/Podium/Crailtap open house. So, I will not whine. What I will do is note Utility Board Shop’s Daniel Espinosa, who took Carroll’s last trick from “Yeah Right” and flipped it frontside. (Also: how good is it, that he didn’t go to fakie.)

TWS Is Down For The Goofs

January 29, 2009

Does that make me Clarabelle Cow

Transworld Skateboarding presents the first video I will buy that includes a Corey Duffel part. How long do you think he was sitting on that Biebel jersey, hotly anticipating the highest-profile occasion on which to break it out for film documentation? Yes, it’s a new America.

More to the point: I think it would be a moderately good look (or at least a semi-refreshing change of pace) if TWS traded in their dads’ Northern Lights-scented 8 track tape collection for some type of minimal techno soundtrack for this video. And the rainbow quick-cut collage clips make me think of the Tomorrowland motif or whatever I imagined Plan B’s “Superfuture” promo was getting at, until the Beatles kicked in. Do it TWS, keep us guessing.

At this point I would like to turn the blog over to the controlled chaos of the TWS comments section, in deference to their unbending wisdom and powerful variance.

OMG this is going to be the sickest skatevideo ever !!!!!!!!!!!!:P

i know ima get hated on, but its kinda weird they make an all goofy vid

dope skating+time lapse traffic footage+skaters silhouettes on the beach=transworld vid

I heard Bobby did the Canadian Embassy 21 stair and he is saving the footy for this!


Sole Tech: One Foot In Heaven, One Foot In Hell

January 26, 2009

The First Power

Balance is a concept that is critical to skateboarding. And I’m not just talking about the kind of balance that keeps Joey Brezinski in five-panel hats. I’m talking about the cosmic kind of balance. The mystic force that binds us together, and ensuring that for every Saddam Hussein there is a Crocodile Hunter, for every Mark Rogowski a Tim Brauch, for every chaotic evil arms dealer a lawful good veterinarian with a fuel efficient car.

The skateboarding world has explored these concepts of course via the turn of the century battles between Flame Boy and Wet Willy that spilled out across the bottoms of countless World Industries boards, as well as videos such as Mystery’s “Black and White” or, to a more British extent, Blueprint’s “Lost and Found.” And who could forget Digital naturist Bill Weiss’s dearly departed Balance skateboards.*

In the early 90s, Todd Swank even attempted to smash good and evil particle beams against one another via Foundation’s Super Collider-Super Conductor, despite the whole project being hated upon by shook scientists who feared the experiment would create microscopic black holes that would send the world back in time to the days of coordinated freestyle routines.

Thankfully that never happened and here in 2009 we find Sole Tech shoes exploring the concept of cosmic balance through the ultimate late ’00s medium, collaborative footwear endeavors. About a month ago Emerica announced its collabo with Barrier Kultist Deer Man of Dark Woods, the scary-voiced proponent of devil worship through ski masks and the abrupt transition discipline of skateboarding, who is also Canadian and regarded in certain circles as a boss figure.

Representing the side of light is that sworn enemy of Satan, car thieves and other evildoers, Mickey Mouse, who has a shoe coming out with Etnies as part of the only collabo more bizarre than a shoe designed by a masked barrier-skating devil worshiper. I know! This is all part of Etnies’ recently revealed collaboration with Walt Disney that also includes some high top Tinkerbell shoes.

Meanwhile, Sole Tech’s resident black sheep Es is pursuing a relationship with Clipse. “Quit searching for the E’s cuz the O’s is long,” indeed.

*Except, like, all of us.

Video Games Killed The Video Star… Or Something…

January 26, 2009

Every now and again, I’m visited with the pleasant and usually unexpected revelation that there are people in this world that A. have free time on their hands, B. have less pressing matters on which to spend said time, and C. are possibly bigger dorks than I, in a general sense. I know, heaven for-fend. So it is with the cottage industry of recreating skate video parts via EA Skate, known to some as the best skateboard video game since Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2. And, it’s not even classic video parts, I mean, of course there’s Guy Mariano’s “Mouse” section and a whopper of a three-part version of Marc Johnson’s “Fully Flared” closer, but beyond these you’ll find such head-scratching esoterica as Furby’s Berrics clip, Jake Brown’s X-games mega-slam (sans helmet), and a remake of YouTube manual sensation Aaron Kyros’s part.

(On a side note, I would be inclined to say that Aaron Kyros could have been the Soulja Boy Tell’Em of YouTube skate videos, if he would have thought up a name for his manual twirling dance, and made it into a ringtone.)

So as Electronic Arts releases the meticulously titled “Skate 2,” let’s look over a few parts recreated with the original “Skate.”

Antwuan Dixon – “Baker 3”

This entry, if not 100% faithful in size and scope trick-wise, is sort of innovative in that it cribs the soundtrack from the video itself in recreating young Antwuan’s Baker debut. The medium drives home the notion that we are looking back on a more innocent time for all of us, with nice use of the Suburbs picnic tables and a suitable stand-in for the Carlsbad gap.
Rating: Three-up

Nick Trapasso – “Suffer the Joy”

This one gets points for dredging the Suburbs for a passable schoolyard setting for Trapasso’s well-loved bigspin blunt line, but couldn’t fit in the wallie – bummer, brah. The minds who put this clip together give into the all-too-strong desire to boost the stair count on some of the hairier rail/gap stuff, but EA Skate’s “loose style” does a decent Trapasso impersonation and they replicated the wonky landing on the kickflip backside 360 pretty good.
Rating: Three-up

Alex Chalmers – “Sorry”

Probably one of the most impressive EA Skate knock-off parts considering how hard it is to do transition shit in this game. With the Faction pop-punk and general contempt shown for gravity, the Canadian fly-out wizard’s little-loved Flip video makes for a convincing update to those old Tony Hawk clips they used to toss you when you completed the game with such-and-such pro. The only thing holding this back from a perfect five rating are the hilariously awkward telephone voice interlude and the fact that the wits behind this couldn’t figure out a way to recreate Renee Renee’s late back foot flip thing. For shame.
Rating: Four-up

Guy Mariano – “Mouse”

It kind of looks like him, if you squint your eyes, and hit yourself over the head with a whiskey bottle for a few hours. Back to the Suburb playgrounds for the bump-to-picnic-table, which is okay minus the lengthy hangtime, and while I can’t think of any particular spot offhand I have to imagine he could have found a better bank-to-ledge to stand in for the Lockwood bench. Plus the awkward rotations on some of the techy ledge stuff. (There are several recreations of Guy Mariano’s “Fully Flared” opus, but if I’m going to bear seven minutes of Band of Horses music and not actually watch Guy Mariano skate, well, I need to get something out of it besides a lengthy blog posting.)
Rating: Two-up

Ronnie Creager – “What If”

Under the video details it says “I needs me a life.” He got the slow-mo kickflip backside tailslide 360 out, when the song stops, so that’s something. User “BriDenSkates” has several other such parts to his name, as well as a couple super cute kitten videos, which as we all know are the lifeblood of YouTube. For this reason I bestow upon this clip a full five-up rating, and encourage BriDenSkates to get to work on “Trilogy” and “20 Shot Sequence.”

Flame On

January 23, 2009

Slob on my cat

This Darren Navarette photo is all kinds of awesome for all kinds of awesome reasons, but I sort of realized today that if you pulled it out of a big pile of pictures, it could theoretically be from 1999, 1989, or (maybe) 1979… you get the idea, right? Yeah, timeless. (Brendan Klein photo from the Trapasso issue of TSM.)

I Sort Of Want To Believe

January 23, 2009

Caught you lookin for the same thing

I’m not sure what to make of Hype!, which is by all appearances a Popwar retread complete with mass-culture motif, sub-Street Corner graphics (excluding the hover board, and that’s probably already been done by somebody at some point) and an even more muddled mission statement:



But, rather than dwell on their migraine Magic Eye website, Hype has my full support when it comes to their slowly filling handful of team riders. One is Element amateur scorned Mike Barker, a tousle-headed Popwar refugee himself who turned in one of the better parts in the not-nearly-so-bad-as-its-name “This Is My Element” video a couple years ago and apparently was shown the door for his trouble.

Back to throw the dice with another startup after his corporate sponsorship adventure, Barker joins the consistently underrated wandering Texan Jeremy Holmes, the whole point of this posting being his little clip of footage put up on the Hype site a week or so back. The nollie b/s 180 switch b/s 5-0 shove-it trips me out in this clip because of how fast the shove-it is, just about Satva Leung switch frontside flip in “Welcome to Hell” fast:

Supposedly Hype also provides boards to Tyler Price of Toebock fame, possessor of the last part in “Don’t Act Famous” which I ought to address one of these days. He’s really good and all, but I have kind of a hard time getting real excited about his skating. For whatever reason. He reminds me a little bit of another Element-For-Lifer, Colt Cannon, whose name has also been mentioned in the same sentences as Hype, but honestly I don’t know anything about that. If they keep coughing up the Holmes footage I guess I won’t ask any questions.

Mall Justice No Match For Mike Vallely

January 20, 2009

“Somewhat integral”

Mike v is a man of contrasts. There are those who would call him a hypocrite. I view him as a beardly figure brimming with nuance and harsh truths about the human condition. Also, bonelesses. Truly he is a man of our times, but as it ever was, the measure of a man is made not in X-Games or even the wrestling ring, but rather in that penultimate court of American accomplishment, the box office.

Last weekend, you see, Mike V met and introduced himself to the U.S. public, or at least those unlucky few who haven’t seen his Fuel TV series or his numerous biographical documentaries or his poems. As one of the chief villains in the new retail-themed thriller “Mall Cop,” our Vallely is garnering passing mentions, if not rave reviews, in the national press. To wit:

Finally there’s champion skateboarder and musician (in the band Revolution Mother) Mike Vallely, who plays the criminal ringleader, Rudolph.

“They had to find the most bad-ass skateboarders on the planet,” says Vallely, a voracious reader and father of two who wears his blond hair long and scraggly. “I was at the top of that list.”

Vallely has the biggest action sequence of the bunch, battling James throughout the mall. In what he describes as an undoubtedly riveting climax, Rudolph will leap from floor to floor as he chases Paul Blart. Then, in a never-before-done skating move, he’ll jump on – and break into – a moving elevator.

“It’s a whole new challenge,” Vallely says. “I’m not just skateboarding. I play a character that is somewhat integral. This is the first time I feel, as athletes, we’ve really been taken in.”

Somebody’s been taken in for sure, as the Blart-star vehicle hoisted an estimated $40 million over the three-day weekend, putting it in the number one box-office spot.

But the tidings of Vallely’s Hollywood success is of course no news to those of us in the skateboarding sphere, who gladly cheer the multifaceted Mike V as he flexes his pecs in the squared circle, gets his nose cracked open on the hockey rink, recites verses at the poetry slam, snarls through his beard at the Warp Tour, or pushes over and over and over in that Black Label video. Cuz it’s not the destinaton. It’s the journey.

“I just had water, anger and a destination. It’s just how I am,” Vallely says.

Equally transfixing are Vallely’s intellectual travels, transitioning through vegetarianism, straight-edgeism, and non-violence over the years. (Yes, non-violence.) He hews closely to the punk purism of local scenes and staying true to skating’s roots, whatever those may be, while fervently embracing mega-corporate sponsors. He remains fiercely loyal to his sponsors of the moment and wastes no time in spewing poison upon those who dare to cross him.

To this end there’s actually a really good interview in the new Transworld (2-09) where Mackenzie Eisenhour kind of gets Mike V to admit he wants to have his beating-people-up cake and eat it too.

TWS: You repudiated violence after the “Greatest Hits” DVD. (re: fighting “Creature Lee” at Van’s Downtown Showdown last year)
MV: In a broader sense, I have spoken out of both sides of my mouth…. “Greatest Hits” was definitely the capitalist pig in me [laughs]. After the craze of “CKY” and “Jackass”, I saw an opportunity in the marketplace to package that stuff and that’s something I can understand someone disagreeing with.

There’s a lot more, it’s a pretty good interview in terms of putting the harder questions to Vallely as far as his perceived jock nature, whether he ever considers learning new tricks, how he’d be a great cop and that hoary old cliche “skateboarding saved my life.” Also there are two photos of bonelesses.

In Which Mike Carroll Fucks Up My Berrics Bracket And I Learn A Valuable Lesson About Teamwork

January 17, 2009

But seriously fuck Mike Carroll

Not too long ago I was socializing, as is my wont, with some similarly older skateboarding types: real dyed-in-the-wool dudes with car payments who tsk-tsk kids these days, didn’t bother to see the Fallen video, remember the significance of Honda Civics and deep down still believe in the power of switch crooked grinds in Southern Californian schoolyards. Rudy Johnson’s name came up.

So when somebody asked about the outcome of the Berrics game of skate that particular day I expected half the dudes to roll their eyes and the other half to ask what the fuck a Berrics was, but to my pleasant surprise somebody whipped out a laptop, everybody huddled up and we watched in raucous disbelief as a masked Joey Brezinski let himself be casually outfoxed by Mike Carroll, who I was positive would flub out of contention either intentionally or, you know, cuz he’s getting old. How wrong I was, eh?

Anyway the point is if Berra and Koston possess the power to command a bunch of aging ledge-monkeys to feverishly anticipate every Saturday and Sunday morning like a new episode of TMNT was coming on, they definitely have caught lightning in a bottle with this Berrics Battle thing. And since we’re well into the second round at this point, I figured we’d look back on how my picks performed. (I had to print out a bracket and fill it in manually because either the link or my brain wasn’t working that day… go figure)

Joey Brezinski v. Chad Tim Tim
While I like Chad Tim Tim and all, my imagination had the young(er) buck Brezinski sparked and ready to pull out enough bizarro moves even without manuals to win. I also fully expected the double heelflip to rear its head, and was not disappointed.

Jeron Wilson v. Mike Carroll
Honestly I thought that once we got through the frontside bigspin variations and heelflip variations, Carroll’s bag of tricks was way deeper even if he might not be into the whole idea that much. So, right.

Arto Saari v. Chico Brenes
This one totally flummoxed me, as I believed that even an injury-plagued SOTY would be able to triumph over Chico’s fairly limited trick range, but ultimately Arto fell to a combination of 12-year-old tricks and his own sweat-saturated shirt. Bummer brah.

Mike Mo Capaldi v. Furby
Here I picked the Mike Mo with no hesitation. I firmly believe he will make his way to the final matchup.

Chris Roberts v. Steve Berra
Definitely more a fan of Chris Roberts, but I figured I’d give Berra at least one sympathy vote at his own park. He has to go up against Marc Johnson next so…

Marc Johnson v. Johnny Layton
With this one, I kind of thought it might be a blowout, but had I known Koston & co. were going to run a train on poor MJ I may have changed my vote and would have been totally, horribly incorrect. A shocker for sure.

Billy Marks v. Danny Supa
Danny Supa doesn’t strike me as a real hard-charging competitor and Billy Marks skates parks all the time right? So, you know. Marks’ little crow caw was entertaining.

Brandon Biebel v. Nick McLouth
I dislike Nick McLouth’s skating so I’m glad Biebel won.

Clint Peterson v. Paul Shier
Try as I may, I can’t recall Clint Peterson doing any but the more basic flatground tricks, whereas Paul Shier twirls around on ledges and manual pads all day, so that’s where I laid my bet.

Mikey Taylor v. Benny Fairfax
Since the DVS video came out I’ve come to view Mikey Taylor as sort of mentally unstable and I thought he might somehow crack under the pressure. Whereas mellow Briton Fairfax would generally keep his head down and land tricks. Taylor held it together, so far as I could tell, but still came up short…

Danny Montoya v. Erik Ellington
Ellington never seemed to be any great shakes at a wide variety of flip tricks, given the play given to his flatground switch heelflip in the recent Baker vid, but having seen Montoya deal with consistency issues in person I deemed it a toss-up and went with Ellington – who ultimately triumphed in his Speed Racer swimcap, much to my glee.

Jimmy Cao v. Bryan Herman
This one like several other matchups I thought could be determined by the hung-overed-ness of one party, in this case Herman, who indeed eventually succumbed to the flip-flippin’ wiles of Cao.

Daniel Castillo v. Andrew Reynolds
I think Reynolds was throwing him a bone with the switch 360.

PJ Ladd v. Tyler Bledsoe
Probably more than any of the other matches this one had me biting at fingernails and whatnot, because I expected Bledsoe to maybe put up a little bit of a fight, but just in the general process of PJ Ladd wiping the floor with him. Which wasn’t at all what happened and now I’m quite concerned because I had PJ going pretty far. So I don’t know what to do now. Suicide, possibly.

Eric Koston v. Rob Dyrdek
For another dude with his own park I figured Dyrdek would’ve done a wee bit better, even though he was up against the boss of all bosses. Though of course he had a sense of humor about it. Back to the piles of money and beautiful women for him.

Donovan Strain v. Sean Malto.
I was one of those people who had never heard of Donovan Strain before this whole mess. And so I picked Malto. Had I known laser flips and double hardflips and all that were going to enter into it, I probably still would have picked Sean Malto, but maybe wouldn’t have felt as cheated. Hence I remain bitter and dismayed and I’m seriously concerned about Koston’s chances in the coming round.

Street Levitation

January 15, 2009

Enjoy harsh surfaces

The other weekend I was chopping it up with a bro of mine who out of nowhere brazenly declared John Rattray’s “Waiting For the World” video part to be in the top ten video parts of all time. Which I sort of disagreed with, not because it isn’t an amazing part or anything but more like, well, ten parts of all time? From there the conversation meandered toward what parts could be agreed upon (Pat Duffy in “Questionable,” Guy Mariano “Mouse,” Mike Carroll in something or other, not much else) and eventually the debate dissolved back into the session. But shortly thereafter I web-browsered my way onto the Blueprint site where they’d put up a set of photos from the WFTW era.

The John Rattray part in question:

Having not watched it for a couple years, what hits me is not how well the overwrought Brit-pop and Hawaiian shirts have aged (fine wine, cheese), but that this to me will always be the greatest Rattray part, due to any number of intangible factors. Mostly how fast he skates, the b/s tail shove-it, the little carve out of the frontside-floating nollie heelflip in the last line. And that thing he does where he sort of brings his hands up when he lands tricks (see kickflip b/s 50-50 on the rail). He looks kind of, relaxed.

I remember, I first heard about this part from Cairo Foster. It was in an old 411, a “Wheels of Fortune” or something, they asked him the best video parts he saw recently – it was Rattray in “WFTW” and Brian Wenning in “Photosynthesis.” Noble picks, they were.


January 14, 2009

Internet-focused Web site BoingBoing today brings us this lazy susan-style concept table from Studio Mauerer Hendrichs, which incorporates basic skateboard technology to more easily facilitate remote control grabbing, or drink spilling for the more enthusiastic table-spinners amongst us. Available to you in German oak or wal-nut; I assume you’d also have the option of swapping out the plane-jane truck/wheel combo for a jazzier setup. Like maybe those powder blue Krux with Louie Barletta screaming, and some Hubba boob wheels. Swiss bearings to up the revolving suspense during those spin-the-table games on sultry summer nights.

First… would this table even work? Looking at it, I would think that the trucks would have to be tilted slightly toward the center of the table to make it so the glass disc spins like it’s supposed to. And the bottom of the table might have to be sort of convex.

Second, is the $1795 price tag way too low for this level of staggering innovation?