Archive for April, 2015

An Item About the ‘Gypsy Life’ Vid that Maybe Was Gonna Be Called ‘How Cliche Got Its Louvre Back’

April 25, 2015

freedomfries

As the pot of boiling molten lead that is euro zone’s economic crisis continues to upend itself over the continental bloc, scalding and blistering the region’s economic back and dribbling into the frayed and threadbare underpants of its long term growth prospects, seeking sales abroad makes sound business sense. In recent years Blueprint and Cliche have followed the trail blazed decades back by Flip, settling into So Cal distributorships and placing themselves into contention to sign American handrail hopefuls and carve forth that ever-succulent slice of the lucrative US boards market, with the throbbily rising greenback translating to ever-larger piles of euros and related European commodities such as wine, Matif wheat and heavily sold David Hasslehoff albums.

Cliché’s latest vid arrives entitled ‘Gypsy Life,’ perhaps in a nod to the company’s Frommian series of tours as well as its increasingly nationless nature. A decade ago, in the ‘Bon Appetit’/French Fred era that elevated Cliche to the world stage, Australian phenom Cale Nuske represented a major off-continent shift in Jereme Daclin’s teambuilding. Two years after that Cliché scooped Arcadian manual-pad mixologist Joey Brezinski who had languished for a time in a kind of post-Tyron Olson teammate limbo, considered to be a uniquely singular experience, and also representing Cliché’s initial foray into employing Americans.

While Lucas Puig, that postnaturally gifted ledge soothsayer, and drop-down sweatsuit maestro JB Gillet remain spiritual viceroys, the current Gypsy Cliché is more multinational than ever, with Frenchmen representing just over one-third of the team; U.S. riders now make up the largest non-French bloc, with the remainder split between the U.K., euro zone and Australia. While Palace and Polar ball for position in an effort to crack some long-standing glass ceiling long constraining east-of-the-Atlantic hardgoods operators, Cliché’s recent hires of the triple set-thundering Paul Hart, transition muncher Brad McClain and schoolyard impressionists like Daniel Espinoza and the now-FA’d Kevin Bradley give the company firm US positioning in several relevant subgenres.

In Cliché’s bid for cross-borderdom, it is Lyonnaise hot shoe Max Geronzi` who makes the most powerful argument for France’s continued dominion, uncorking probably the best video part so far this year – Thrasher drew the easy comparison to Puig but for our unconverted francs the better metric is Chewy Cannon, whose nervy energy, switch ollie poke and merciless flick Max Geronzi closely approximates. He also constructs some of the more incredible lines in a while, weaving in poorly understood tricks such as the fakie frontside bluntslide, an arcane god few recently have prayed to beyond the house of Cobra Chris Cole. In another frightening turn, Max Geronzi backside lipslides a legit handrail out of a manual.

With some three parts under his belt so far this year, is Max Geronzi preparing for a Mark Suciu-esque run of productivity that can only end under the crushing drudgery and long-term wisdom of pursuing higher education? Is French still regarded as the international language of ledges? Is JJ Rousseau still recording footage? Did the boy seriously backside lipslide a handrail from a manual? If what Joey Brezinski said years back about using EA Skate to craft new manual combinations, would this qualify him as the first dual-level professional both on board and on screen?

Has Handrail Skating Entered Middle Age?

April 17, 2015

muska_handrail_help_call

“Nobody pays taxes on Mars,” the old saying goes, and it rings as true today as it ever was. For the astronaut, moustachioed and physically capable of handling several Gs, space travel draws a fat, black dividing line between youth and that which comes after; no man, they say, is the same after penetrating celestial orbit. For the ancient dinosaurs, to enter middle age was a feat accomplished by only the clever and ruthless, and these became chieftans and enriched warlords.

Today little has changed. History barrels forward similar to a kettle of fine fish packed into a barrel and rolled downhill and, come this time next year, handrail skating will be 30 years removed from those nervy days when Mark Gonzales and Natas Kaupas took it in their heads to ollie air up onto safely secured hand-bannisters and chart a bold and zesty course toward best-trick contest purses, ponderous stair counts, bike-lock controversies and the occasional bloody discharge. There was a gawky, turn-of-the-decade adolescence, followed by a coming of age under the dauntless feet of Duffy, Kirchart, Thomas and Muska, and the bigger-longer-taller maturation spree pursued in the early aughts by the Flip-Zero-Baker contingent.

Wither the handrail in 2015? In the last year and a half Transworld has featured just a single handrail trick on its cover, as page counts dwindle and TWS embraces wallrides and assorted transition terrains. Over at Thrasher, which cover-wise years ago threw in its lot with the Wade Speyer side of the tech-vs-gnar continuum, handrail tricks as a percentage of covers each year seem to have plateaued.

handrails_graph1

Is handrail skating becoming engulfed in a midlife crisis, with nollie heelflip crooked grinds widely regarded as passe, 39 stair curvers suggesting some possible upper limit and El Toro gelded? Resurgent bowls, abrupt transitions and even the vert ramp seem to have splintered handrail skating into restless and nomadic tribes, including displaced wallriders, wall-rejecting against-the-grainers, deep-crouching over-the-toppers, body varialing rewinders and a Mariano-bred stripe of small-bar uber-tech.

Recent signals however suggest that a certain purity of the round slanted bar continues to draw admirers, even without a fire-engine red, glasspacked sports car or wallie on. Australian dervish Jack Fardell, in the process of extensively notching some unholy San Francisco skatespot bedpost, commanded Thrasher’s May cover with a rabid 50-50 grind down a kinked beast that had bucked known master John Cardiel more than a decade back. Further south Paul Hart, a Floridian partly responsible for shifting Cliche’s center of gravity increasingly west of the Atlantic, recorded a sit-and-stare worthy nollie backside noseblunt to fakie sequence that naturally occurred also near the end of an Arto-aspiring ‘Gypsy Life’ section.

Is a midlife crisis a healthy and productive exercise for handrail skating generally? When handrail skating begins wearing tight polo shirts with the collars flipped up, pumping weights and loudly quoting Rae Sremmurd lyrics, at what point should a friend intervene? Will people start painting gray handrails black and then denying it? Will photoshopping gray handrails black represent the greatest ethical quandary to confront Instagram accountholders in the years ahead? Could Thrasher re-run this Kasai cover next month without anyone being the wiser except probably Jason Dill?

The Battle Hymn of Ren McCormack

April 3, 2015

Morris-and-Jerome

As a web blog Boil the ocean site faces unique challenges and may even be a dying breed similar to a breed of dying dinosaur. Semi-coherent and tiresome 4000-word posts have relinquished valuable readership to Mountain Dew listicles, clickable Tumbly sites and other increasingly micro platforms. Police Informer, Skateboarding Sucks, Carles and YouWillSoon all hung it up and now you got Andrew Sullivan warning that operating a blog could cause physical harm or even dinosaur-like death.

The video age did not shove skate photography into the proverbial tar pit in such a fashion but the internet age surely seems to be strangling the skate print-media sphere, perhaps within a vat of dangerous tar. In recent days beloved U.K. standbys Sidewalk and Kingpin decided to stop printing magazines and focus on computerized publishing, along with Germany’s Monster. This ominous gong rings out through the noble halls of Valhalla shortly after Slap and Skateboarder’s similar decisions to become online-only publishers portended a further initiative to stop publishing new content altogether, with Skateboarder’s website stocked with a Sept. 2013 issue and Slap distilled down to its message boards.

The speed at which generations turn over within skating suggests that, just as few current park ledge tailsliders recall a time when footwear logos did not default to a swoosh, within five years’ time the same may go for all but a small handful of physical magazines, specialty items turned to amid days-long power failures or the refuge of he or she who fatally cracks his strokable glass of choice. More noses warmed by gently shining screens and fewer physical paper pages in time could similarly cull both the number of photographers the industry is able to meaningfully support and the landing pads for their art, particularly if future trick-claiming scandals infect wheel and shoe buyers with a baseline distrust for anything beyond raw footage set to appropriately curated Atlanta rap songs.

As ever this Blogg site’s thoughts go to the children, or rather more specifically those children who eventually may find their trick quivers bizarrely stunted by a dearth of photographs. Whither the one foot ollie, that occasionally majestic and uniquely 1980s maneuvre that when correctly captured has the power to move a man such that he sloughs off decades’ worth of middling Hollywood toilings and industry false-starts and remembers only impressively shredded Airwalk high-tops of summers gone by. And yet the one-footer remains that peculiar and little understood enigma whose majesty almost entirely dissolves on film, with AO and Antwuan Dixon turning in some bizarre renditions lately and Grant Taylor’s comparatively more classic execution residing on transition rather than the streets.

Can the one-footer subsist in a severely constrained skate photo galaxy, a hellish nightscape where fevery competition from bigspin double flips and sugarcanes leave a scant few pages for the sometimes-AKA ollie north to continue in its most pleasurable form? The Skateboard Mag last month showcased a lovely one-footer by yung CJ Collins, a promising lamppost for all current comer-uppers, and Chris Cole featured a tailgrabbed version in this month’s — though an ominous tone also emanated from the current issue, as its cover required an image of a cell phone to incent potentially befuddled youngsters to peer inside.

In the future, will aging new-schoolers promote crowdfunding campaigns to secure remaining magazine page-space in a one-footer conservation effort? Did the ollie impossible’s resurgence already prove such repertoire rebounds are possible? Will the Vision Shoe Crew reunite for an acoustic tour of intimate East Coast venues? Shall time prove J Strickland right again?