Third time’s the charge
If the rumors are true then I guess this weekend may go down as skateboarding’s parting barrage at SF’s Wallenberg Alternative High School, as officials stand poised to expand the Bulldogs’ kennels down the hallowed four-step, and dash the dreams of gap-minded amateur skateboarders (and razor scooterers, for what it’s worth). Trailblazers Gonz, Bucchieri, Gerwer and Manfre have secured spots in whatever history books keep track of this stuff, and in the end Chris Cole will probably be remembered as the big boss of the Berg, what with his tre-flip vengeance tale and the nonchalance with which he put down the big tricks yesterday. I was kind of shocked he didn’t bring out the switch frontside heelflip, but with all the nonsense exploding down the steps and out of Phelps’ megaphone, probably I would’ve sat down after one switch frontside flip trick too.
But Chris Cole’s quick-draw makes aside, the winner of this weekend’s big-jump hoedown was for sure skateboarding’s nappy boy, the schnozzed-out seventh son of a seventh son* known as Lizard “Mike Plumb” King. Not so much because he landed more tricks than anybody, which he did, but because he spent his 15 or so minutes in the SF air executing some grade-A dork material… and while it would probably be a stretch to hold up a world record backside 180 one-footer as high-level commentary on the whole get-tricks-or-die-trying affair, it added an amazing unpredictable gonzo element to an event so packed with hungry strivers and messageboard mavens checking off boxes on “most likely to be landed” spreadsheets.
Now, a lot of people find the slobbering pursuit of NBD’s that this type of contest produces rather gauche for understandable reasons, and Jake Phelps has taken plenty of heat in the last 24 hours for his usual self-aggrandizing antics, as well as the way he seemed to relish axing dudes and dashing poor Neil Smith’s nollie heelflip hopes. But fair’s fair and hand it to Thrasher for moving the best-trick format forward, and in the process creating one of the few contests that actual people who ride skateboards care about… another being the Berrics game of skate, which you could say has improved upon the don’t-fall-off-your-board-for-60-seconds format. Whereas the Berrics’ warehouse floor democratizes professional skateboarding competitions, Phelps & Co. have successfully set up camp on the other end of the spectrum with shit like the Wallenberg contests, Slaughter at the Opera and so on, don’t-try-this-at-home affairs where, yeah, there’s money, but a shot at a piece of history too.
There’s an argument that packing 11 groundbreaking tricks into one banner-splashed, frenetic afternoon cheapens what it is to do a trick down the Wallenberg stairs, which I can see, but then I think about the legendary Hubba Hideout. In its nth liberation you had dudes flying out to camp there twenty-four hours a day, and yeah it was cool to see Carroll schralp it on the cover of TSM for all the obvious reasons, but that came amid a million web clips, and even legitimately gnarly stuff like Matt Miller’s nollie noseblunt were eventually relegated to the last 60 seconds in that summer’s TWS vid. So, Wallenbergers, get it if you can, while it’s there, make it count, etc etc.
And if there was a best trick yesterday, I think Lindsey Robertson did it. Wow.
*it’s a Utah joke