Where were you on this one, Eli Reed
Unless Gator, Ryan Sheckler, JR Blastoff, Chad Fernandez, Kurtis Colamonico, Adam McNatt, Shaun White, Tyrone Olson, Josh Kasper, Greg Lutzka, Andy Mac and Mike Vallely all climbed into an ocean liner that plowed over some baby whales then smashed into an iceberg, caught fire and was devoured by the horrible kraken, then Nick Merlino is not the most hated dude in skateboarding. Although it is kind of a clever marketing campaign for Foundation, the company that blinked first and this week signed up New Jersey’s favorite switch spinnin’ Baker reject. Foundation and Nick Merlino: Making skateboarding annoying again? Make it work, people…
It’s an interesting tack for Foundation though. Comeback stories are nothing new over the past few years, but really it’s only if you’re an old dude that people liked in the first place*. Flaring out at the beginning of your career is way tougher to rebound from, even in a world as steeped in nostalgia as the skate-sphere. This is the hard road faced by young Justin Case and also those millions of American Idol contestants who will one day show those nasty judges once and for all that they are true superstars. Like, are people still checking for Billy Waldman?
Of course Nick Merlino’s issues were more political in nature. For those of you not caught up on your messageboard drama, a few years back his gap/rail prowess earned him flow positioning for Baker and Krew companies along with a ticket to Australia, where depending on whom you ask, he flagrantly one-upped Bryan Herman, got in a fistfight with Braydon Szafranski, infested the country with bullfrogs and got along quite nicely with Antwuan Dixon, thank you. Whatever the case he returned to the U.S. in despair, promptly injured himself, dealt some cards in Atlantic City and honed his self-deprecation skills.
Ponder, if you will – was his crime being a too-talented young idiot? And how else does one learn not to be?
What the Fuck is your problem?
A.D.D. is my biggest problem. I just can’t wait to land my shit, I’m too goddamn impatient and I want to get it over with.
Anyway. Adding Merlino, whose time away found him switch heelflipping big shit and not winning many more friends, puts Foundation in this interesting spot where they’re giving dudes second chances and letting them sort of correct earlier missteps. Whether or not Corey “NAACP” Duffel is a changed man is a judgment that this blog will hand off to the big messageboard in the sky, but after Foundation got behind him, people/the industry haven’t exactly ignored him. Also consider Mike Ruscyzk and Matt Allen: Tod Swank has been down to stick with dudes other companies definitely would’ve bounced long before they stepped off the world’s biggest skateboard.
Between Baker and Bummer High, Foundation’s ranks have grown kind of thin lately, but the pro refuse pile may still hold some gems if they want to keep going down this road. It’s been a while since the F had a tech dude, and Brian Wenning is still a free agent, right? Bastien Salabanzi could probably be extracted from his Jart deal, or what about Anthony Mosely, is he still doing those one-man demo camps? Perhaps Danny Gonzales could un-retire one more time… for the bros.
*Here again we reference the McGill pic
Tags: Australia, Baker, Billy Waldman, chazwazzers, companies, Corey Duffel, demon child, Foundation, hatred, Iceberg Shorty, Jart, Justin Case, kraken, Krew, lawn darts, Lost and Found, marketing, Nick Merlino, Project Runway premiere, Step By Step, whales