Grass Is The New Cellar Door

A little over a year after carving purpose-built Olympic coping for the enduring glory of the Republic of Finland, Lizzie Armanto could be glimpsed ripping a giant exploding volcano earlier this month up in Montreal, Canada, rapturous roars erupting from the crowd with each trick like so many molten vibes. The fiery spectacle sponsored by noted Canadian pants vendor Dime was the capstone to a girthy contest season that careened from a steadily expanding rainbow slappy rail at the Dime event to a FuckingAwesome/Hockey street jam that featured a flaming police car, and a quarterpipe-enabled slam-dunk contest put on by Canadian podcast brand The Bunt. Prize money flowed directly into bar tabs and pride of position was considered the ultimate triumph.

The deepening circusization of the contest circuit is not only a freewheeling corrective from the governance and financial problems gripping the USA Skateboarding Olympic operation. It also speaks to a restless, searching spirit a-foot in the once sub-culture. East coast crust mining has expanded into Midwestern rust belt towns, while internationally able pros and bros drop pins in increasingly exotic locales. What does it say when the marquee contest in the city of New York, a skate mecca for lo these past 80 years, revolves around a basic trash can?

This apparent listlessness and malaise has helped to broaden the lane for talents including but by no means limited to Dan Mancina and Felipe Nunes. For others, it is pushing tricks toward less orthodox and greener pastures. The quest for handrail dominance as the central pursuit of the professional class petered out sometime around the early ’10s, and not long after, some ceiling seemed to be similarly hit for ledge-dancing; in the years hence, taking tricks to harder-to-skate spots has become its own discipline, at times seeming the dominant one. But just as certain pants sizing parameters can be plucked from retro archives, updated with modern materials, marketed for an inflation-adjusted MSRP, and then just as quickly be cast into the abyss, so progresses the drive to find some as-yet untapped spin on timeworn tricks.

As it turns out, the answer can be found in one’s own backyard. For decades an occasional seconds-filler in credits sections, or subject of grainy super-8 for the feels, grass has suddenly moved from background contrast to center stage, elevated in recent years by the likes of Aidan Mackey’s off-road bombs and Dane Brady’s Lincoln line in ‘I Like It Here Inside My Mind/Please Don’t Wake Me This Time.’ This summer has brought rapid growth in grass-oriented tricks, including Sascha Daley tangling with a kickflip grass hill bomb at the beginning of his ‘El Caliente’ vid, Sammy Montano working in both a grass throw-down and ride away on a traffic barrier smith grind in a vid for Globe Shoe Co AUS, and bearded Sourman Simon Isaksson backside flipping into a switch manual down a grass bank in some ‘Solution III’ b-sides. Victor Cascarigny’s OJ Wheels video kicked off with a ride up over and across a couple dried-out grass planters, while Griffin Gass applied a plant rights-friendly mirrored manual duo to some astroturf that has been deemed to count for Web Log rationalization purposes.

Is this new willingness to skate grass a terrainial innovation that stands to unlock a fresh universe of spots, like Bob Puleo’s celebration of the cellar door did for otherwise featureless alleyways in the ‘Static II’ era, or is this all only a troubling indicator that supplies of more conventional spots are running dangerously low? Will twin tracks of beaten-down turf come to be knowed as the same sort of telltale sign as a wax-darkened ledge, or the notorious ‘black rainbows?’ Are the XT Dirt Wheelz set to make a Tail Devil-style comeback from the back pages of 1990s magazines, or will expanding drought and rising temperatures make once-unskateable soils as dry and hard as concrete?

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2 Responses to “Grass Is The New Cellar Door”

  1. EverydayHybridity Says:

    Agreed on the grass… I argued this a couple of years ago. The answers I got were drought

  2. Stress Sticking And The Still-Potent Prognosticative Powers Of The Skate Vid Skit | boil the ocean Says:

    […] Rick Howard’s run through the woods wound up setting the stage for any number of dirt/grass/log rides soundtracked to Motley Crue power balladry and dissonant guitar squalling some 30 years on. The […]

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