Archive for July, 2015

Nike’s ‘Short a Guy’ Commercial Entertains, Seeds Doomsday Fears Among Industry Boosters

July 22, 2015

A new Nike commercial this week plunged professional skateboarding managers into deep consternation, raising questions around the shoe colossus’ commitment to the extreme sport it has come to dominate.

The ad spot, depicting a youth abandoning his deck for a frenetic smorgasbord of team sports, sent shockwaves through the community of agents, publicists and social media curators responsible for marketing and managing professional skateboarders, some of whom feared the commercial hinted at Nike’s waning interest in action sporting spheres.

“Everybody’s on pins and needles,” moaned one agent who works closely with a journeyman goofy footer who is in the early stages of evaluating potential interest in pursuing discussions with sponsors such as Nike over a possible contract option.

The furrowed brows and chewed-over nails among skateboarding’s professional management sector spotlight how the industry has come to revolve around the Oregonian supplier of Janoskis, a top funder of skatepark construction, contest purses, hard-copy video releases, pro salaries and advertisements in what print magazines remain. Roughly 68% of all sponsored skaters are directly sponsored by Nike or somehow flowed their shoes, according to gussied industry watchers.

Nike’s new “Short a Guy” ad depicts a boy skating up to a neighborhood basketball court, where another kid explains the players are “short a guy” and quickly persuades him to join the game. The youngster rapidly is drawn into a succession of other games and races, pausing momentarily each time to outfit himself in new, sport-specific Nike gear. He eventually returns to his skateboard, but only to leave it behind again as he heeds the call of several pro ballers.

For some, the commercial seemed to compound concerns raised last month when Nike reported generating $736 million in action-sports product sales in its just-completed fiscal year, growing 4% over the previous year, well behind Nike’s overall 10% sales increase.

The commercial also arrived at a particularly sensitive time as Nyjah Huston was rumored to be negotiating a new and lucrative sponsorship agreement with Nike.

“I told these kids this would happen if they insisted on keeping on buying these other shoes,” groused Colnway Haffpuerg, a personal branding consultant and ‘next media’ e-stylist whose client roster includes several pro skaters. “Now look. Who’s gonna pay Gino? BA? What about all those kids, tomorrow’s pros who would have seen skating for the first time on the Street League broadcast? We’re losing a generation if we’re lucky, and maybe more.”

Several skateboarders at New York’s Nike-augmented Lower East Side skatepark, which some advanced internet flunkies already had begun to scour for cracks and weeds and other signals of lax upkeep, expressed confusion toward the commercial.

“Lacrosse, fam?” remarked a bearded driller who gave his name as Skinny Todd.

Longtime skeptics of Nike’s expanding profile and influence in the skateboarding sphere were quick to argue the ad confirmed years-long suspicions that Nike would inevitably pull out of skateboarding at some inopportune moment, leaving certain skaters “high” and various others “dry,” in favor of the more-established legacy sports that require more advanced and expensive shoes and equipment, and where Nike’s technological prowess can draw deeper distinctions between its products and those of rivals — versus pitting its vulcanized soles against those of less deep-pocketed competitors.

“Lacrosse, fam,” said Burt Ballwickey, an artist specializing in dinosaur tattoos who sported a vintage “Don’t Do It” tee to a local bar. “Everybody knew when Nike showed up 15 years ago they wouldn’t stick around when things went south, and now this commercial proves it.”

“And at the end — the football gives the board a final shove, as if to say, ‘the jocks won,'” Ballwickey ranted.

As Ebay footwear merchants deleted skateshops from their Quickstrike-focused RSS feeds and others hopefully floated DVD copies of ‘Nothing But the Truth’ at collector-level prices, professional skateboarding-focused image curators began calculating time left on luxury car leases and mulling vacation home refinancing options.

“I know how it sounds but in a way I feel like Dyrdek bears some of the blame,” said Millie Tidgette, a designer of custom Instagram tagging-bots for pro and am skaters. “They could’ve tried to bring back downhill for Street League. Or a doubles comp! Something, anything that would’ve allowed for some group of skaters to be short one person and be in that commercial and get that kid back on his board. But now — all is lost.”

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Recent Dispatch From the PJ Ladd Plane of Existence

July 16, 2015

PJ_Rodney

A few months on since Plan B teammate and fellow ‘Tru, B’ sideline-sitter Colin McKay casually compared Boston flatground alchemist PJ Ladd to Queen Amidala’s downward-spiraling leotard flexer in ‘Black Swan,’ third-dimension wallie champ Tom Karangelov offers a somewhat more cosmic update on the recluse technician in TWS’ current and fantastic am issue:

TWS: Any news on the PJ Ladd front?
TK: Oh, dude, I skate with PJ a bunch. He’s working on a part, I guess they want to do a part just with him. He’s super into vibes these days. He wants to grow his hair out because he was telling me that the longer your hair is they’re like antennas. They reach out for energy. So his hair’s pretty long. He’s kind of got this mysterious vibe going. Not a lot of people know what he’s up to, and I think that’s cool.

Summertime Mixtape Vol. 3 – Ryan Gallant ‘First Love’

July 12, 2015


Decades in the future when municipalities join heated combats for economic scavengings, the low-bid winner for the shove-it hall of fame may dedicate TIF funds toward a bronzed likeness of Ryan Gallant, whose ‘Fulfill the Dream’ music-supervised video part from a too-often overlooked entry in the TWS cinema pantheon functions as a clinic on rotating the board into a stupefying range of blocks, rails, hubbas and other what-have-yous. Ryan Gallant has flip tricks like the 90s and the knowhow to execute in squeaky-clean terms shit like the pop-shove it frontside k-grind and the hardflip late 180, and enough youthful spring to shoot from way downtown and look like he bounces into the full cab almost by accident going down the hallway. It’s wild how in 2005, before TWS abandoned and then inevitably re-embraced the voiceover intro, Ryan Gallant spoke of appearing long-in-the-tooth for the boarding life — a decade later there’s still gas in the tank.

Summertime Mixtape Vol. 3 – John Buchanan ‘The Good Life’

July 10, 2015

(34:34)
John Buchanan’s surreal Brooklyn Banks opener in this part bookends pretty good with where Jeron Wilson left things off and renders well the atypical elements of this dude’s skating, wringing out a weirdly tweaked assortment of tricks that include in this section a switch frontside rock-n-roll, a spinout, a noseblunt slide to manual and various others. John Buchanan briefly was pro for Yellow Skateboards, a rabble rousing Bay Area outfit that represented skating well both in its piss-off-the-neighborsness and its relatively short lifespan, and John Buchanan had a type of dark side of the moon/brown acid twist on the granola flavor that was getting traction under the Grasshoppers and Kenny Reed pro models at the time. He also wields a certain oily smoothness, like on the nollie noseblunt pop out, and a bracing switch 360 flip, a rare pair card to hold with a switch lazer flip.

Summertime Mixtape Vol. 3 – Jeron Wilson ‘Skate More’

July 8, 2015


‘Skate More’ was DVS shoes’ Terry Gilliam-infused answer to the blockbuster shoe video parade of the early aughts, and while Mikey Taylor and Jereme Rogers supplied handrailing hammers and Jason Dill pushed gritty gravitas in knee socks, it was Daewon Song’s circus of tech and the 1990s-aged swagger from Chico Brenes and Jeron Wilson that spiritually grounded the project. Jeron Wilson’s heelflips, nollied over a fire hydrant or straight-up over gaps, detonate like bombs and a range of other tricks get soundly handled (switch frontside 360 over the bench, switch 180 up onto the big block in Australia) en route to a plenty dazzling ender for the time (or this one). Song and Girl-heavies friend section seals the deal.

Summertime Mixtape Vol. 3 – Jon West ‘Come Together’

July 6, 2015

As 1990s Gonz detritus goes ATM Click didn’t come away with a high-mileage logo like Blind or buried-treasure video footage like 60/40 but it may have had the most vibrant second creative wind under the joint vision of Mike Manzoori and Jon Miner, those later constructors of Emerica’s emerald-tinted movies. ATM Click’s hazily cluttered full-length ‘Come Together,’ later xexored by Andrew Reynolds for Baker’s kitchen-sink approach to videomaking once the baton passed from J Strickland, starts with Jon West scrawling tracers by night across some prominent West Coast spots, getting pitched hard and dealing out some lesser-seen tricks for the time (smith grind 180, frontside salad) years before Foundation, the frontside hurricane grinds and horror movies.

Summertime Mixtape Vol. 3 – Lurker Lou ‘Vicious Cycle’

July 4, 2015


Among the many Zoo-affiliated video projects percolating in the years around the turn of the century, ‘Vicious Cycle’ held weight not just for its function as a vehicle for Zered Bassett, one of the best dudes working at the time off any of this world’s seaboards, but also as a generation-shifting document for certain dudes transitioning to old head status such as Vinny Ponte and Robbie Gangemi, and the ever present young bucks making meals from the New York spot churn, like Aquil Braithwaite, Brian Brown, Eli Reed and a young feeble grinder going by Lurker. Opting to reserve the heavy pyrotechnics for later on, ‘Vicious Cycle’ alots opener duties to Lurker Lou as he strings together numerous and solid tricks in meandering runs with some crouch-surfer landings, scrapping his way across much of the town’s serviceable terrain mix — for some citizens this would be a mellow season saturated in Etnies Raps and gently blaring horns, and perhaps a final gasp of innocence before Lurker Lou singlehandedly would go on to pursue various subcareers ranging from 411-venerating board developer, Osiris legacy-ponderer to ruining skating forevermore.