Was Jamie Foy’s Yellow-Shirted SOTY Surprise an Implicit Rebuke Of Overt Trophy Hunting or Gasoline for More?

In an age where fortunes are made and dashed again with the fateful tapping of a touchscreen or a practiced turn before the correct lens, does anything remain inevitable? The SOTY campaign, one of Thrasher’s sturdiest tentpoles in a domination of new media forms that other, older publications could learn from, is proving increasingly tough to pin down as potentate pros’ lust for the Rusty statue tilts video releases toward a year-end glut and dudes go all in with bones and ligaments as autumn shrivels the leaves to warmful tones.

Throughout much of 2017, a heavy whiff of inevitability trailed yung Louie Lopez, once derided among Flip 3.0’s crop of hard-to-watch tween pickups, now a fully formed ATV testing the limits of his considerable powers in all the correct venues. Even before his Spitfire part hit, rumblings could be sensed that this was Louie Lopez’s year (or major sponsors believed so), a concept that seemed more and more certain as he ripped the SPoT to pieces en route to first place, joined Jake Phelps and co. in a cobranded Thrasher and Spitfire trip, and bounded up and across massive walls and onto the mag’s cover*. Hash tags endorsing his candidacy piled up and in recent weeks, following his searing ‘West End’ part, he was positioned as an Arto Saari heir apparent, while an interviewer wondered about a post-SOTY life for Louie Lopez.

What happened? With a meaty thud, much is swept aside by a buzzer-beating trip down a double-digit sized stair set, same as the multi-kink hulk that Kyle Walker conquered to gazump Evan Smith last year. Fate opened a lane for Fred Gall-shaped Floridian Jamie Foy this year, dispening tickets to Thrasher’s KOTR and Am Scramble trips, and Jamie Foy pushed the pedal all the way down. It is difficult to remember or indeed, imagine a faster rise — getting on a board company at the start of the year, a pro board a few months later, and then Ty Evans’ ‘Flat Earth’ film, providing a ham-going fourth-quarter opportunity that Jamie Foy took once again, carving two notches into the famed El Toro set. If Skater of the Year campaigns are evolving into meticulously planned, months-long efforts to strategically release footage, get your guy onto the right trips and pump up the IG volume, is there a certain allure in getting behind the bowling ball barreling toward all the carefully set pins?

Is the speed of Jamie Foy’s ascent, from amateur to pro and SOTY the same year, a reflection of or reason behind the breakneck pace driving skate media these days? Will a starring turn on Thrasher’s Viceland series become a prime propulsion toward future SOTY titles, as Vice veers frighteningly close to MTV territory in terms of thirstily mining skating for TV fodder? Could the nod to Jamie Foy also serve as a quiet acknowledgement that it shoulda been Fred Gall one of those years? Do we, the slack-jawed viewer, remain the ultimate winners even as Skater of the Year campaigns grow more overt and assertive? Do all the stair counts and smoothly executed pop shove-it reverts fall by the wayside when considering the way another perennial contender, Tiago Lemos, forces the world to reimagine what is even possible?

*With The Skateboard Mag gone away, does Thrasher revert to the shorthand “the mag” again?

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4 Responses to “Was Jamie Foy’s Yellow-Shirted SOTY Surprise an Implicit Rebuke Of Overt Trophy Hunting or Gasoline for More?”

  1. Warm Up Zone Says:

    I think Brian Anderson got SOTY the same year he turned pro. Anybody else go Am to SOTY in a year?

    This ‘rapid ascent’ is likely to be the way of things. It is pretty clear that Ams and newly minted Pros are way hungrier and skating way harder than established pros. No surprise there. Most of the ‘finalists’ have only been pro a couple years at best. Riley, Mason, Daan, Miles Silvas, T-Funk… the only reason Louie is an established is because he was a little kid skater.

    When SOTY consideration requires multiple full parts (how many did Tiago have in 2017? Four?) as well as participation in a lot of Thrasher exclusive content, there is no way some locked-in professional can keep up, and why would he? Seeing the year ‘losers’ like Evan Smith had in 2016, or Tiago and Louie and Hawk had this year, why would an aging pro even consider trying to compete.

    AVE was likely the last SOTY over the age of 30 we will ever see.

    • taluk Says:

      Its not that an older person can’t pump out content, its that, some things are easier to judge than other things. Optimizing judging more and more, makes the box of eligible skaters smaller and smaller. Its the easiest, simplest, most profitable, and most importantly safest way to judge a contest. Bigger companies will always choose more stable and safe investments.

  2. djtwit Says:

    great read, curious times we skate in

  3. taluk Says:

    I believe the reason why it isn’t inevitable anymore is because skaters are no longer in control of the media. Thrasher is a slave to the technological media, they don’t own youtube, instagram, facebook, or twitter. Those who own those platforms know the algorithm, and for those who own the platform, it is very inevitable and calculated. From that lens, it makes sense that we see the things we see. It should come at no surprise, that those who are in control of the algorithm know the outcome.

    In the realm of technology skateboarders need to do what skaters do best and create their own way, and come up with their own unique solutions. Solutions that promote skateboarding and the building of what it is, rather than promoting google or facebook or any other company with different goals.

    In other words, back when thrasher started I’m sure they didn’t build their business off of using the wall street journal, or any other magazine, they made their own magazine. They used paper as their media. In this day in age we have the internet as a media, so following that same style, take the internet and do your own thing with it and use the media that is available to you to take control, rather than trying to post your stuff on somebody else’s platform.

    Boiltheocean is an example of somebody who took the initiative to take control of the new media and do something with it. And even still boiltheocean is under control of searching algorithms, seo, and wordpress, yet its still a better example of taking control than what thrasher has done. Imagine what bigger companies like thrasher could do with this type of mentality. There are much bigger things that can be built to push skating to new heights. I just don’t think we’ve found them yet.

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