Archive for October, 2022

Wrath, Reality And The Raw Deal: Runners ‘N Riders For Thrasher Skater Of Tha Year 2022

October 30, 2022

In these topsy turvy times of celebrity curses and automated internet warfare, when superheroes serve mainly as anchors for movie franchises or heavy-class ocean freighters, what truly matters? If you answered ‘nothing’ you have achieved a level of nihilism that may qualify you for hawking used autos or maintaining any number of illicit substance problems. If you answered Thrasher Magazine’s ‘Skater of tha Year’ award, you may possess sufficiently heightened awareness to accurately recognize the lesser import of golden medallions, money cups and corn syrup-and-caffeine-drenched riches of various description. Who has a line on it this year? Who is bound for eternal glory, and who for the flamey fires of darkest Hades, or maybe both? Let us read along and find out.

Louie Lopez: A perennial contender over much of the past decade and in the discussion once again, the ‘Rusty’ trophy may be starting to resemble Lucy’s football to the Lou stans of the world. His bona fides at this point are not debatable and he’s this year made vids for FuckingAwesome and Spitfire, held down a Volcom tour clip, produced one of those less-common covers that commands repeated close examination and came up with possibly the most-reposted trick out of CPH Pro. He’s just had another interview-length feature in the mag with a bunch of photos that suggest more footage to come, and he’s still got a month or so to film, so odds are he could produce two if he was looking to turn up the volume.

Tristan Funkhouser: Baker’s can’t-drive-55 grease fire had so far probably the most classically ‘Thrasher’ video part this year in last spring’s Baker production, mixing his typical hairball shit like the drop down to nose manual on the Union Square block and the ferocious rip all the way through the China Banks with other pulls from his increasingly deep bag, like that switch heelflip down the SF triple set. He was all over last summer’s GX video too, most crazily the nosegrind down the Mason Street rail into the hill, and maybe will have some more before the year is out. That jaw-dropper cover shot of the frontside ollie across the long China Banks bench, a trick that was landmark enough to cap off a documentary, and with the checkerboard slips and Jagermeister shirt, seems a credible deal-sealer that would be tough to argue against.

Tyshawn Jones: After flying the FuckingAwesome coop earlier this summer, Tyshawn Jones now is fully in album mode, in the past month putting out an all-time cover for the magazine and unloading the first of at least a couple promised batches of footage in a ‘Hardies Hardware’ video that seemed comprised mainly of clips that would rank as enders for a good deal of other dudes. His bar for the tricks and spots he chooses and judicious dispensing of footage and photos makes his stuff hit harder when it lands, and it’s a strong case when he’s firing on all cylinders like this. But there’s way too many credible candidates year in and year out to hand the award to the same dude twice; the Thrasher brain trust should let Tyshawn’s current run, like Ishod’s and Kyle Walker’s in various years past, function as further justification for the years they won, and show that the title is just as much a bet on longevity beyond one or two big years or vids.

Fred Gall: In years past a half-joking response to this question that after a 25-year run now seems fairly credible, Uncle Fred has evolved from a beloved ODB-style wildman into one of the culture’s more unlikely elder statesmen, maybe even more deeply beloved. This year he did a heavy video part that stands up with some of his best stuff going back to the Sub-Zero days, has been DIYing spots all around New Jersey, presided over a more-official relaunch of his longtime homies’ board company, is helping people kick drugs, and stood for a rare portrait cover for Thrasher wearing a stained shirt and war-weary stare. It’s probably not him this year, but imagine if it were.

TJ Rogers: The leading contender for biggest pants on a Canadian — itself a heavily contested title from year to year — TJ Rogers also has represented one of the more upbeat storylines in another tumultuous year, battling cancer and appearing in recent months to have gained the upper hand. He has pumped out video parts while doing so, with some heavy stuff like a really scary nollie backside 180 over the fence at Hollywood High and an earmuff headphone save after a big backside lipslide; whereas 20 years ago riding for Blind and Es could put a pro like Ronnie Creager comfortably atop the sponsorship food chain, these days it gives TJ Rogers kind of an underdog sheen.

Jeff Carlyle: His shaved head/beard combo helping to pick him out in the various GX1000 productions, Jeff Carlyle could be argued to have gotten the gnarliest in ‘Right Here for Pablo’ a few months ago, hitting up a burly rail while the authorities close in, going back to back with Jake Johnson on a bump to bar to ledge, backside lipsliding to plunging down Mason Street, and certain other notables. All that being said, while Greyson Fletcher and Nick Boserio have done a lot to bring the flowing wizard whiskers to the fore in recent years, history shows that nobody has won Skater of the Year whilst sporting a big, full beard.

Over 15 Years Hence, Are The Notorious Red-And-Black Legged Pants At Risk Of Becoming Passé?

October 23, 2022

“You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” These are the now-famous lyrics of Batman’s 1989 hit single ‘Batdance,’ and eerily prescient ones at that — from topping the charts amidst the George Bush Sr presidency, Batman his own self would soon succumb to those ill-fated familiars that dragged down many of his ’80s pop contemporaries — drink, drugging and crushing self-doubt, costing him collaborators, his major-label deal and nearly his life, until mounting a comeback on the mixtape circuit several years later. 

It is a horrific parable knowed all to well to Batpersons. But what about the rest of us? There can be many applications of Batman’s particular flavour of bumper sticker-ready, vigilantistic sloganeering, but the one that demands immediate action relates, like so many things, to pants. It has been scientifically established that fit, material and the incorporation of extra pockets follows a fairly rigorous 8-12 year time cycle, with denims, chinos and corduroys rising and like the oceanic tides. Other, more exotic approaches, such as the Muska-bunch or the graphical sweatpant, surface more sporadically, and then there are the periodic transgressions, when things are deemed to have gotten ‘out of hand’ and appear to require course-correcting or some kind of cultural gut-check. 

So it was back in the mid-00s, when yung Garrett Hill donned a pair of customized jeans with one red leg and one black prior to 360 flip 50-50 grinding a round handrail for an Osiris Shoe Co ad and subsequent Zero promo. The trick rated among the era’s gnarliest and rarest filmed, at least for those not named Forrest Edwards, but it was the pants selection that would go on to live in infamy. As Garrett Hill himself related to Thrasher’s Michael Burnett in 2014:

The immediate reaction was obviously, “What the fuck?” Some people were hilariously offended. It was so funny to read the comments. Some people reacted like I had legitimately offended their mother!

It was true. Though skateboarding’s broader acceptance of its proximity to the fashion sphere would be several more years and several shiploads of digital clout still in the coming, pants for years had ranked just behind shoes as objects of both performance demands and stylistic scrutiny, particularly among the pack-hunting skateboard consumer. The knives were out for Garrett Hill’s red and black pants, and their like would not be seen again for well over a decade. 

Does a point arrive when a long-derided misstep can be reconsidered as a work of ahead-of-the-curve daring, or even overlooked genius? It was Tyshawn Jones, 2018 Skater of the Year and recently of the FuckingAwesome imprint, who in Supreme’s ‘Blessed’ initiated a reconsideration of Garrett Hill’s pants decision, wearing some eerily similar black/red legged track pants in which to nollie backside kickflip the Blubba; thereafter, Vincent Nava plumbed similar depths before departing sadly way too soon.

This year pants with two different coloured legs have threatened to push into the mainstream, with cut-and-sew pop shove-iter John Shanahan’s Pangea Jeans label offering multiple styles for $150 each; whereas asymmetrical pants have yet to rise to the ubiquity required for CCS and Active to market their own pricepoint versions, here and there, kids like Juan Pablo Velez are chipping away at the symmetrical pants standard. 

In the Thrasher interview, Garrett Hill suggested that he foresaw all of this:
Any chance of bringing these pants onto the Zero soft goods roster?
You know what? When do bands do big reunion tours? After ten years? I’m going to wait until the 10th anniversary and then bring them back. Take them on a reunion tour! Black and yellow? Might be fuckin’ orange and green? I don’t know. I’m gonna blow some minds with these pants!

Where there once was seen a stylistic tar pit, do pants with two different coloured legs now represent a potential goldmine, or is this all only a case of the sun occasionally shining on the dog’s proverbial rear? Are these type of unorthodox pants not much of a leap after various dudes for several years have experimented with bifurcated shirts and two different coloured shoes? Having challenged nearly every fashion convention available, are the 10C41 dudes now turning their attentions toward aggressive scootering?

As Above, So Below — Tyshawn Jones And The Power Of The ‘Event Trick’

October 9, 2022

In an increasingly fractitious USA, the dark turn brought by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has had the somewhat bittersweet side effect of being that rare event that found Americans of nearly all political stripes and persuasions in agreement — a rarer and rarer occurrence in a land wherein the populace seems intent on sorting itself into ever-more specific subgroups of their own choosing. Timelines are tweaked to reflect favoured realities, the hit radio single or must-see TV event now relics of simpler and perhaps more naive times, replaced by self-targeted streaming series and machine-learned DJ programs that fine tune algorithms to dial up personalization, and tune out the rest of the world. The local sports franchise may briefly unite a riven city, and culture-capturing beguilers including ‘Olde Towne Road’ may still prove themselfs occasionally impossible to avoid, but these more and more seem exceptions to a deepening rule of fragmentation that shows little sign of reversing.

The seven-ply hard rock maple contingent has long satisified itself with the idea that it blazes trails and sets agendas for fashion conglomerates, artistes and less-evolved species such as scooter handlers; sometimes this proves true, like when Gilbert Crockett’s fixation on Depression-era paper bag pants eventually trickles into the fashion pages of the Wall-Street Journal, and sometimes less so, like paying women pros in line with what men make. The same entropic forces have been at work for years, though, with the street-vert dichotomy splintering into subdisciplines and microgenres that now range from SoCal handrail persisters to Love Park ledge religionists, beverage manufacturer-bankrolled mega ramp athletes, hyper-urban night skating in Japan, and Bobby Puleo carrying his torch for Texas’ 1980s backyard ramp scene. On the contest circuit, there are efforts to harness the political polarization that the much of the US seems to have adopted as its national pasttime.

This week within the span of a few minutes Thrasher, Tyshawn Jones and Atiba Jefferson digitally threw down a photo of the reigning king of New York kickflipping over the tracks at the 145th street subway station, fresh off the presses as the cover of the magazine’s December issue. IG stories proliferated and forceful emojis deployed as people raced to estimate the distance and speculate on the gnar factor of blind bumps or the science of electricity transference; a snippet of an apparent video “will” that Tyshawn Jones recorded before squaring up to the platform gap and an Atiba Jefferson selfie at track level upped the how’d-they-do-it drama that would easily make a mini-doc, like Thrasher did with Jaws’ Lyon 25 jump.

The danger factor, instantly interpretable trick and beautifully simple composition of the photo — plus the footage not yet out — added up to a seldom-encountered ‘event trick’ and immediately catapulted it into the ranks of all-time classic Thrasher covers, Jeremy Wray’s water tower ollie the most direct translation for the still-flummoxed masses. Over the near-eternity represented by a 24-hour period or so on IG, the trick consumed the entire skateboard sphere, bowl barneys and manual pad savants united in shock, praise, thrill and wonder. For Tyshawn Jones, it’s the best yet among a four-year run of four Thrasher covers, which at 23 years old places him alongside Andrew Reynolds, Lance Mountain, Marc Johnson and Jamie Thomas in terms of the number of times he’s been on the magazine’s front.

Since Tyshawn Jones and Atiba Jefferson were sporting masks on the way to the spot, how long has this trick been in the can, and was the Supreme IG video clip, featuring Tyshawn Jones in a different outfit throwing down his board in a subway station, indicative of another trick like a backside kickflip or switch ollie? How seriously do you think were any discussions around timing attempts to include in the photo subway train lights down the tunnel? By how much does this photo up the risk of harm or even death for less-able contenders looking for a shot at glory, like Jamie Thomas’ Leap of Faith? Will the perhaps-near discovery of alien life bring together the earth’s people in a new way, or only drive them deeper into alien-appeasing and alien-opposing camps? For the Thrasher mini-doc, did Thrasher bring along Mike from the Bronx like Jaws did with Ali for the Lyon 25 melon grab?