Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Tiago Lemos Responds To ‘Verso’ With 17-Minute Canadian Part

November 10, 2019

In a time of ceaseless flux, resourcefulness and ingenuity are the watchwords that launch names onto marquees and plump cartoon moneybags. Similar to Beyonce’s smash hit revenge album ‘Lemonade’ but with visa problems instead of Jay-Z cheating on you, Brazilian pop sensation Tiago Lemos found Montreal’s spots and poutineries wide open to his throwback DCs after an alcohol-infused airline excursion got his US papers yanked. In what has become a hallowed annual event, the Tiago Lemos footage dump, Canada’s premiere Canadians ‘Dime’ blessed various masses this week with their latest ‘Knowing’ mixtape release, compensating for a shortfall in bowling ball hammers with generous helpings of forced international nomad Tiago Lemos, his bionic ledgework and multicoloured DC sweaters gracing the ‘City of Saints.’

‘Knowing Mixtape Vol. 1’ was rightly regarded as one of the most shocking and introspective vids of the time. Still, it is used to calm jittery racehorses and inspire young businesspersons clicking shut their briefcases before heading out to close their first big deal. Lacking the same level of bowling ender-enders, Dime unites now with Tiago Lemos as the world’s preeminent switch backside tailslider faces a career crossroads. With a Primitive video release looming — presumably to unload his DC-clad footage prior to taking his talents to a major international sportswear conglomerate — and after that, putting all of Brazil on his back for the 2020 Olympic gold hunt, Tiago Lemos in the coming years may well have less time to toss white rappers over picnic tables among friends on Quebecios hillsides, or engage in lengthy dap sessions in container-shipping yards.

Draped in XL cotton, here Tiago Lemos unloads an all-time switch shove-it rewind over a bench, a switch heelflip tailslide on a gap to ledge, a switch heelflip nosegrind during some only-in-Montreal session for the ages that also featured Jake Johnson jumping on a switch Pupecki grind. Elsewhere skateboarding’s collective kid brother Etienne Gagne twirls a nollie backside bigspin noseblunt, Leon Chapdelaine hops from a backside smith grind out and down some stairs, and Tristan Funkhouser bluntslides out to a base jump. There is Alexis Lacroix’s weirdly impressive duckfooted backside tailslide and the always worthwhile Antoine Asselin, cultivating a Jimmy Carlin look.

Does ‘Knowing Mixtape Vol 2’ represent one last carefree nollie frontside crooked-grinding summer vacation for Tiago Lemos before having to ‘get serious’ for career and country in the 2K2oh? Did the Dime people get the boot from that one bowling alley or merely shut it down eternally? Is the cat riding Alexis Lacroix’s shoulders through the China Banks part of a new generation of ‘skate pets’ including recent pro Murdy The Dog, ready to carry the sub-subculture forward from famous and moneyed skate pets of yesteryear including Meaty, Liam and the well-traveled Girl goldfish?

Are You People Paying Attention To The Things Jackson Curtin Is Doing Right Now?

November 2, 2019

This photo should be enough. Great skater, super hard trick, exactly the right angle, tweaked to the maximum, pants right. Time was, you’d painstakingly tear out a page like this one in the Milton Martinez Thrasher and tape it onto the wall. That still happens, but the time for wall-staring slowly is passing into shadow. Soon enough, our walls will stare at themselves.

The photo’s primal waves lead to another, more fundamental question, which is whether the swipe-happy, dead-eyed and flesh-consuming populace is giving Jack Curtin his proper due. In a world that criminally overlooked Ryan Gallant’s late-period surge, only now seems to be appreciating the treasure that is Javier Sarmiento, and failed to elevate Steve Durante to household name status, it is not an idle question.

A seminal technician with international flair and an allergy to basic-ass T-shirts, Jackson Curtin approaches the 2020s a seasoned veteran, but from ‘Pack a Lunch’ onward he seems never to have blown up relative to the skill and stylistic levels implied. Last year, he switch kickflip wallrode and switch backside noseblunted a chunky hubba for the ever-inscrutable Skate Mental label. This year he slid through New York for the Gridlock series, ripped Pier 7 and the SF Library amid the broader SF reinvigoration GX1000 set off in the hills and Supreme carried to EMB, and last week he slapped up trickblockers and put a noseblunt onto the Carroll/Chico block-to-block list for his most recent New Balance shoe design, centered on the increasingly on-burn black and clear colour scheme.

Is everybody properly savouring the current Jackson Curtin moment? Can the collective powers of Jack Curtin, Tyler Surrey, Tom Knox and recent DC Shoe Co USA defector Tiago Lemos unite to somehow make it cool to wear grandpa shoes with with a big letter N on the side? What are the odds Jack Curtin could get back to Pulaski for a joint part with Bobby Worrest? Should Paul Rodriguez, dealing with Primitive’s steadily expanding roster, spend some of his Naruto duckets on the apparently still existing Deca and put on Jack Curtain, JB Gillet, Daewon Song and fuck it, Carlos Iqui?

Footage Chasms, The Ultimate Answer, And An Alternate Quartersnacks Ballot

October 26, 2019

In Douglas Adams’ cautionary coming-of-space-age ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ series, men at one point design, construct and program a computer powerful enough to deliver the answer to ‘life, the universe and everything.’ The momentousness of the answer upon its final calculation, ’42,’ is undermined by its numerical and rather tingly nature. Their next technological plate of crow was to design, construct and program a computer powerful enough to supply the actual question, though it is unclear whether this strategem saved the ultimate answer-seekers from being torn to bits by an angry mob.

Thug-motivated New York City scene chroniclers Quartersnacks this month asked an only slightly less weighty question: If you were to bury five video parts and five full-lengths released between January 1, 2010 and today under your house for future generations to reference when they discover skateboarding, what would they be? Loaders of the website subsequently were directed to enter the five best video parts, in order, followed by the best five full-lengths, in order.

Mind the gap, gentle reader, as you are swallowed into a gaping chasm of IG footage comps, Thrashermagazine.com web entries and full-length contributions from a constellation of pros, ams and assorted bros that sputtering economic gravity pumps cannot stop from expanding. The Snack Man requests favorites, and so these shall be received. But tweaking the first iteration of the question — burying only a handful of vids for future generations to unearth — exhumes an entirely different answer.

Would such a time-capsule document contain the subjective faves of its stuffer, including subtle but essential variations on Love Park ledge, backside noseblunts, prohibitions against varial kickflips and kids under 16? Or might it objectively map the body of 2010s skating, with all its gasface-inducing ender-enders, its thirsty moneyraking, its aching tragedy, its wonderful stylistic entropy? Which five video parts* could guide some 2050s hardflipper through this expiring decade’s ups, downs and wooly sideways moves? Is it possible to capture a whole decade in a five-part ‘mixtape’ or is this the type of ill-considered subintellectual exercise best left to archaic blogging platforms and their sludge-dripping ilk? Let’s read on.

Tiago Lemos — ‘Press Play,’ 2016

Did any individual person over these past ten years expand and warp the known boundaries of skateboard possibilities more than loose fitted bio-Brazilian Tiago Lemos? The answer is maybe, but they all could be stacked and concrete poured over them and still Tiago Lemos could switch backside tailslide the lot. His godlike pop only is one part of the picture, and in this clip for DC he dishes forth various handrail barges and pants-wrinkling technicalities like the nollie inward heelflip backside lipslide.

Nyjah Huston — ‘Til Death,’ 2018

This long-in-the-making union of Nyjah Huston, Nike and Ty Evans aligned the sector’s highest-powered and most bankable entities to create a relentlessly hyped part that was at once gobsmacking, expensive looking and oftentimes difficult to watch. Nyjah Huston has come to embody a certain kind of moneyed excess, both on and off the board, and as global wallets open and the hoopla machine winds up ahead of the 2020 Olympics, ‘Til Death’ was an apt warm-up act.

Blobys — ‘I Like It Here Inside My Mind, Please Don’t Wake Me This Time,’ 2016

Polar’s rise to prominence in the early ’10s marked the power shift away from the distributor-conglomerates like Crailtap, DNA and Black Box, raised up on THPS-driven largesse in the years before the skate economy’s bottom fell out, and Pontus Alv’s pulsing, frenetic full-length debut for his Nordic board designer cemented the new vanguard. The Polar dudes scattered their shove-its, wallrides and no-complies across Europe, New York and the Pacific Northwest, but if you were to bottle the aged grayscale stone, fast-and-loose street schralps and Continental accents that wielded influence across much of the decade’s second half, you would pour out something like the Paul Grund, Roman Gonzeles and Kevin Rodrigues JV that closed this vid — bashing walls and curbs, early grabbing and disastering through swinging chains and neon glare past midnight in the Paris cuts.

Lacey Baker — ‘My World’, 2017

Fragmentation of skateboarding’s controlling constellations over the past decade, aided by Instagram, canny corporations and the proliferation of screenprint brands, helped throw doors open to any number of comers, importantly including a fresh and focused female generation. Lacey Baker is pushing forward the front lines, dealing in a rapid-snapping brand of tech at home atop SoCal pic-a-nic tables and East Coast monument blocks alike, here flicking impeccably over a bench, there unfurling a noseslide nose manual to flip out combo to the delight of some young Ghostbuster.

Alien Workshop — TWS ‘Cinematographer Project,’ 2012

Josh Kalis was off the team for like three years and it still got him emotional! It goes without saying that the skating, music, lineup and aesthetic here in this, last part in Transworld’s second ‘Cinematographer’ outing, held up as the decade ran its course. Alien Workshop stood at its eleventh hour apex with Dylan Rieder wrapping one of his impossibles over a picnic table, AVE tackling the Heath Kirchart hubba backside, Tyler Bledsoe threading a backside tailslide across a tight top step, some screwball Omar Salazar stuff — and then Gilbert Crockett and Jake Johnson rising to the pro ranks, that switch kickflip, the nollie backside wallride with all four wheels, the switch front blunt. It’s hard to imagine one video part touching ten years’ worth of heights, tragedies, power shifts and stylistic milemarkers, but this one set up an awful lot of them.

*Naming five feature-length videos that capture the era is relatively easy. They are, in no particular order, all of the Bronze videos.

Last Days Of The ’10 SOTYs, For 90 Years Anyway

October 13, 2019

As another decade winds down, uninterrupted* by rogue asteroid strikes, Mayan doomsday prophecy or thermonuclear holocaust, we remain fortunate enough to ponder which professional-level skateboarder will absorb this, the final Skater of the Year trophy to be handed down before the dawn of a new decade, gilded with Olympic golds. It is an auspicious moment, the first short-pantsed bronze boarder handed down in Thrasher’s post-Jake Phelps era. Will the Knights Templar of Hunter’s Point raise up Mark Suciu, who screeched a precision frontside blunt across NY’s Con Edison banks, incredibly back to regular? To the bloodthirsty Milton Martinez, who ollied over the whole damn thing? Let’s read on.

Mark Suciu: Cultured, poised and stepping into the moment, streetstyle codebreaker Mark Suciu is the obvious contender if only because of the buckets’ worth of elbow grease he’s applied across the spectrum this year: Turned in a truck part, won the final Grotto Lotto, landed a Thrasher cover and interview, ripped the Dime Olympics, and wrangled not one but two media cycles out of a marathon, epic part that somehow managed to match the hype and map new dimensions of the form. Given Mark Suciu has ample time to film another couple video parts between now and mid-December, his candidacy has a certain whiff of inevitability, but two months are a long time.

Simon Bannerot: One of the increasingly reliable tentpoles of Girl’s new era, young and wavy PNWATV Simon Bannerot has done his bleeding and gotten it in that most Thrasher of theaters, the road. His turn on Thrasher’s ‘Am Scramble’ franchise netted a rare no-hands inverted cover, he conquered the Bronx’s four banks, unleashed the ender-ender for Girl’s UK tour vid, and conceivably could release some other video before the year is out. His comeback from a gnarly car accident would seem to answer the ‘has he suffered enough?’ Hewittism, but he may be deemed to require further seasoning.

Milton Martinez: The scion of a disgraced industrialist out to clear the family name and reclaim its fortunes, Milton Martinez brings the backstory and drive required for a late-innings Skater of the Year push, with Thrasher chops in spades. Over the course of the year Milton Martinez served up snippets of what he’s building toward, such as his blazing, downhill Australia line, his mountainside descent in April, the Independent and Volcom tour appearances, and now the threat of bigger things to come, a pulse-quickening kickflip into the hallowed Sunset carwash to set off 2019’s final sprint. Presumably, he has a video in the offing.

Clive Dixon: Did you remember that Birdhouse put out a video earlier this year? Perhaps not, but the Thrasher brain trust certainly does, having turned one cover over to Clive Dixon’s jaw-slackening handrail spin on Jeremy Wray’s water tower leap, and his more recent Staples noseblunt slide, with the really odd backdrop of Geoff Rowley’s bronzed 50-50 in the backdrop, presumably missing just by a hair. For those keeping score at home Clive Dixon also nollie noseblunted El Toro last year, but does he have more to uncork prior to year’s end?

Bobby Worrest: The champion of the people, the AVE-category 2019 veteran ballot entry, the king of Pulaski, Bobby Worrest played a major role in this year’s somewhat improbable but very welcome Venture resurgence, turning in an overstuffed Gucci bag of a part that included the now-notorious ‘up the three’ line, with only the house music throbs holding it back from immediate classic certification. Bobby Worrest quickly resurfaced in Gang Intl’s ‘Facades’ last summer, made an obligatory appearance in Nike’s ‘Crust Belt’ tour, and seems like he never runs out of fuel or fresh angles on those beloved Washington blocks. With Tiago Lemos not overtly tilting toward this year’s title, Bobby Worrest is the candidate most easily imagined in a gilded throne SOTY cover along the lines of Brian Anderson’s CMB-themed entry.

Rowan Zorilla: After a sleeper part being zoomed in and out upon in Bill Strobek’s ‘Blessed’ Film last year, off-kilter Shep Dawger Rowan Zorilla in 2019 has slouched back into a more lackadaisical pose, closing out the second installment of Iphone vibe project ‘Boys of Summer’ II — a t-shirt and sweater-promoting vehicle that included him fakie 360 flipping up the EMB steps, an important trick for people to know about. A more ‘serious’ part, if such a descriptor could be applied to Rowan Zorilla’s unique, bandy-legged swerves, would seem to hinge upon ‘Baker 4’ arriving before year’s end. But this is an even-money bet at best for a proven ‘keep it skate’ company that could opt to reward nostalgia for late-90s style two-year ‘coming soon’ campaigns and pushed back release dates.

*as of this writing.

Update 2K19: Mark Suciu’s Pants Are Starting To Properly Fit Again

October 6, 2019

There is a moment a few minutes into Mark Suciu’s ‘Verso’ opus when the druggy Air saxophone slinks in, you settle back into your chair, set aside the anticipation and the mental trick tableture and pattern recognition software updates, and let the waves wash over. In this brassy and bulging era in which everybody can do every trick, the differentiator between the merely ‘super good’ and the truly great is the capacity to innovate and the vision thing. Talking tricks, Mark Suciu has always had the bag; his ‘Cross Continental’ statement of purpose showed he could pull out some interesting ones and place them well; his Philadelphia residence demonstrated he could think up some new ones. His eight-minute flex in ‘Search the Horizon’ unspooled seemingly boundless consistency and energy and reach on a global level, but for Mark Suciu even that at times failed to scratch some maddening, internal itch, sampling a planet’s worth of spots with just minutes or hours to think of which rabbit to pull out:

On a trip, it’s a give and take. Staying in one area you get to really understand a certain spot, and putting a lot of time to think about if something is going to yield a great trick. But, also, on the flip side, travelling from spot to spot, you don’t really care, like, ‘Oh, this is really an amazing spot, I need to get something here, even if it’s a simple trick.’

After a couple years’ worth of relatively paint-by-numbers outings — at least, by the lofty standard set in his Gucci Mane-esque 2012-2015 run — ‘Verso’ aims to answer all that. Mark Suciu’s characterized it as one part labor of love, crossing off bucket-list tricks at spots sentimental and seminal, while stretching outside his Swiss-engineered ledgework to jump back onto some big gaps and hairy rails. But he also aspires to ‘level up’ in the video game, hinting for months about themes of trick symmetry and ‘rhyming lines’ that sounded like a rethinking of skateboard video parts themselves, a feat only a few folks have really pulled over the past couple decades — Spike Jonze, Mike Hill, Danny Way, Colin Read, Miles Silvas and Colin Kennedy, maybe some others.

Mark Suciu’s skating always has been best presented in the video projects that help humanize his always-preternatural talent and more recently, his burgeoning intellectualism (which remains a welcome swerve from decades of increasingly rote Q&As revolving around domestical macrobrews, weed and good times with the homies, often plated with some zesty ego stroking). It helps when his otherworldly precision and clean cuttedness is played off against some grit, be it the crack-dusted Love blocks, Elliott Smith’s caterwauling guitar, a sweat-stained shirt, sweary drunken louts, grainy VX, or Swizz Beats’ gutteral yelling.

For a little while it looked like ‘Verso’ might be marred by another humanizing trait: hubris, as the vid’s pre-release media campaign built towering expectations, an IG hashtag was launched, and the premiere came and went an apparent work in progress. Then the wait began, a weeks- and then months-long vacuum inevitably filled with chatter of some unfilmed trick, ‘Better Call Lory’-level music rights frustrations, or on those tingly late nights, visions of Mark Suciu descending into a Caden Cotard-like spiral of creative madness, the stacks of footage and trick lists piling upon one another and steadily eroding the young fella’s sanity.

All this of course comes back to pants, for what is more human*? This week’s long-awaited arrival of ‘Verso’ puts to rest many of these wiggly questions: The part exists. Mark Suciu goes in. Importantly, his pants are looking looser and freer, getting closer to the ‘Cross Continental’ sweet spot of his own personal stylistic trouser spectrum. Initially it can be a disorienting and even tiring view, trying to pick out instances of trick symmetry shuffled amongst the typical deluge of up-across-and-over, and rapid-fire flickery. The nice saxophone was previously mentioned.

Some early hints, like the bigspin tailslide/fakie frontside noseslide 270 shove out and the panaltitudinal Lloyds line**, wink at where Mark Suciu’s head has been, but the part’s core lies in the fourth ‘chiasmus’ section where he strings together trick sequences that progress toward reversed versions of themselves, based on the board’s rotation and flip versus the ledge. It is a level or two deeper than the widely anticipated ‘mirror lines’, and suggest a new depth to what’s possible with a video part. Whether or not Mark Suciu needed 8 minutes of other footage to build to this point is a different question, but this is the vid’s big achievement, and it raises interesting possibilities as to what the medium can do beneath feet as talented as a Mark Suciu’s. If tricks, spots, lines and music can be considered a palette, or language, can skate videos function as ascerbic commentary, a winsome love tune, coded screeds, an impressionist’s blur? To what extent have they already?

Is the Mark Suciu of ‘Verso’ more poet or mathematician? Are we so far away from Dave Carnie’s ‘Me, Skateboard,’ performance piece of 20 years ago? Where was the Joey Guevara clip? Does his IG story pic from a few weeks back, looking down on Wallenberg, suggest he’s got more in the tank as the 2019 SOTY campaign lurches into its final trimester, pregnant with potential?

*Nothing, bro. Pants are a human creation firmly separating the species from kangaroos, swine and even the most confident invertebrates

**to truly ‘rhyme,’ shouldn’t either the frontside flip or the switch backside flip over the NY rail have been a frontside heelflip/switch backside heelflip, so that the board flips the same way in both tricks?

Breakups 2 Makeups

September 22, 2019

This week’s most entertaining spectator sport took place inside Manhattan’s Thurgood Marshall Courthouse, where Tekashi 6ix9ine snitched with wild abandon upon his former Nine Trey Blood gang affiliates, other rappers, and also himself. In the ‘Goodfellas’ narrative of 6ix9ine’s unlikely rise from restaurant employee to rainbow-haired viral shouter, it was a faster-than-expected arrival at the penultimate, pointy-fingered courtroom scene, but probably well suited to 6ix9ine’s speed-of-social media career arc, not to mention the attention spans of ‘kids these days.’

Are there takeaways or extrapolations toward skateboarding beyond the pop shove-it reference in 6ix9ine’s 2018 barker ‘Gummo’? Well, as 6ix9ine bid goodbye to his former gang pals with several days of heavyweight tattling and lawyers pontificated upon ‘stanzas’ of his songs, the longer-running and more wholesome partnership between Andrew Reynolds and Emerica concurrently drew to an end — a different yet no less seismic breakup that even a year ago seemed at once inevitable and unthinkable, unless you were up on all those earlier Adidas rumors.

For those keeping score at home, Kader Sylla was born, learned to walk, was spotted by Reynolds, turned pro and backside noseblunted the Muni bench within the span of Andrew Reynolds’ 20-year Emerica sponsorship. This was multiples longer than the couple years 6ix9ine and Nine Trey spent mutually exploiting one another, and likely more lucrative in both monetary and cultural senses: Andrew Reynolds headlined ‘This is Skateboarding’ and ‘Stay Gold,’ helped define multiple eras and Emerica itself, immortalizing stretch denim and green filters along with handrails and big jumps, and selling boatloads of footwear. Few pros have been more closely entwined with a shoe supplier. Three of Google’s top ten suggested Emerica searches involve Reynolds, both share the letters ‘E’ and ‘R’ and ‘A’ in their names*, the company continues to have dozens of his products for sale, and didn’t they cut him an equity stake after denying Eric Koston’s similar demand before losing him to Lakai?

For these reasons and others, Andrew Reynolds’ Emerica departure has birthed much moisty-eyed reminiscing and a vague sense of sadness for days past, viewed through emerald-coloured glasses. And perhaps rightfully so, but what’s being mourned? Wistful feels for Andrew Reynolds’ decades on the Sole Tech payroll remind how, as the years get reeled in and healthy livin helps careers sprawl across multiple decades, skateboarding maybe ain’t so much different than the industry’s rivals-turned-idols, major league sports, where legacies are lionized, jerseys retired, and extensive commemorative marketing campaigns marshaled. It’s also worth pondering, as the dissolution of Andrew Reynolds’ and Emerica’s long-running economic relationship stirs the loins and emotions of various devotees, how ‘the culture’ remains heavily tethered to the mutualized interests of both hard- and softgood manufacturers and their independent contractors.

While busily telling on his illegal gang affiliates in court last week, 6ix9ine described his own deal with Nine Trey:

Q. As a member of Nine Trey what responsibilities, if any, did you have?
A. Just keep making hits and be the financial support for the gang.

Q. And what, if anything, did you get from Nine Trey?
A. I would say my career.

In the final analysis, was Andrew Reynold’s 20-year run with Emerica substantially different? In this blog web site’s belaboured metaphor, is Andrew Reynolds 6ix9ine, or really Nine Trey? Could Emerica’s classy IG goodbye to Reynolds be a lesson for Plan B, which offered a hamhanded sendoff to Brazilian dynamo Leticia Bufoni by way of a photo of a second-place win with some chatbot-level pleasantries? Could all the 6ix9ine/Nine Trey hurt feelings, federal charges and personal stress for Jim Jones have been avoided if 6ix9ine and his friends could have gazed into some digitally social** crystal ball to witness, in advance, how Andrew Reynolds and Emerica handled their parting, while also peeping a Vans-clad Reynolds ripping in the Lotties vid? If 6ix9ine got an early look at Nick Michel’s Lotties footage would he have spilled the beans on the Slap board?

*Spelling out ‘Era,’ a well knowed Vans pro model shoe, possibly foreshadowing his eventual footwear landing pad?
**Or socially digital

Can An Old Dog Unlearn New Tricks?

August 31, 2019

Before his untimely leap into the afterworld, Bruce Lee was fond of quoting a Zen proverb: “Empty your cup so that it may be filled; become devoid to gain totality.” Thereafter, it became safe for humans, space aliens and various others to widely bite Bruce Lee, reformulating and broadcasting the sentiment via Hollywood space operas, superhero epics and carbon fiber manufacturers. Indeed, it is now hard to remember to forget what we thought we once knew about letting memories slip our mind in our communal quest to recall our true selfs.

The parallels between Bruce Lee and Guy Mariano by now are obvious. Both were born in the year of the dragon, descended from powerful family clans, and pursued martial arts first to defend themselves against street toughs and later as a path toward self-actualization and ‘total enlightenment.’ After beating up triad gang members, legend has it, both Bruce Lee and Guy Mariano fled Hong Kong for new lifes in the United States. The rest of the story you know.

Flash forward to the present, when over the past year Guy Mariano seems to be cracking out of some self-spun cocoon threaded with high-tech Nike shoelaces and stuck together with viscous, yellowish saliva. After his ‘Fully Flared’ second coming and a followup chapter in ‘Pretty Sweet,’ Guy Mariano’s remained largely off the grid since swapping out his decadeslong Crailtap affiliations for deals with athletic goods conglomerate Nike and a garage brand co-owned by once and future retiree Eric Koston. The question seems not whether a third act is in the offing, but what form it may take as Guy Mariano attempts that most daunting of combos, mid-40s to technical progression.

In the hypercritical realm of trick/kit/vibe deconstruction — and there is none truer, oh best beloved — Guy Mariano’s now-legendary mid-2000s comeback has become much debated as equal part pyrrhic victory. We got back one of the 1990s’ purest talents, the uber-cool embodiment of 1990s Los Angeles street skating, who clawed his way out of some hopeless cesspool and even then wasn’t satisfied with the Crailtap cruise-control chill program that dudes like his former self helped invent. Re-earning his spot involved Guy Mariano deeply in the ‘Fully Flared’ envelope-pushing ledge technicalities, and after again cementing his name atop those cultural totems he pressed on in ‘Pretty Sweet,’ questing after aesthetically side-eyed choices such as the smith grind laser flip, or the fakie backside tailslide varial heelflip body varial.*

Ruminating toward the end of the novel with the same name, Webber Grill inventor George Webber laments the impossibility of going “back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time.” Whereas Polar would have missed George Webber with its recent and successful ‘Big Boy Jeans’ line, Guy Mariano’s trick selection of late teases the mind. Debuting for Thunder trucks last spring, he leaned on gap-hopping tailslides by the old sand gaps. Last summer he flashed a bracing switch wallride to switch frontside crooked grind and more recently has been frontside 180ing into a a fakie frontside flipper, a carve-up to switch frontside crooked grind with that right arm trailing just so, and a switch crooked grind to vicious fakie flip back over the curb. Last week he posted a teeth-chattering and really hard two-piece through LA’s brick volcanos, sans combos, and where the actual highlight may be that achingly familiar turnaround.

Does Guy Mariano’s recent internet output rekindle hope for a simpler, more classical trick repertoire showcasing that incomparable form, which clearly still exists, and perhaps is best reflected in sensibly baggy pants? Does the potentially related reappearance of the goatee serve as some sort of stylistic leading indicator? Would ‘Become Devoid’ be a suitable album name for a metal band named ‘Totality’? Could Guy Mariano recapturing something closer to ‘Chocolate Tour’ on the tech spectrum offer hope for a Rich Gang reunion? Before all is said and done could Guy Mariano’s skating in its autumn years circle back to the youthful simplisms of his SK8 TV appearances?

*?

Giant Hubbas Again Detect Geoff Rowley’s Scent As Multidecade Pursuit Heats Up

August 17, 2019

A long-sought trophy slipped through hunters’ fingers this week. Vans Shoe, among the relatively few companies to successfully thread the space between full-length and one-off part, provided via its strong ‘Take It Back’ video evidence that un-sorry scouser Geoff Rowley continues to get down, to the hilt, peppering his fairly earned post-40 ditch tricks with legitimately fearsome hubbas and jumps, the type of spots that for decades have stalked Geoff Rowley in hopes of finally bagging him and posing for a golden-hour tinted IG pic* before field-dressing him and packing out his meat and antlers.

A chronic thrill dependent, Geoff Rowley in the year 2019 seems yet unable or unwilling to fully embrace a likely lucrative career sharpening knives or guiding rifle-equipped C-suiters and other big game fanatics — one of the few off-ramps from the pro ranks that holds a generous runway toward one’s autumn years and does not involve the words ‘brand’ or ‘manager.’ At least, not while he still has the chance to flirt with and occasionally bed that unpredictable mistress, streetstyle skateboarding, and her oft-wielded riding crop, gross bodily harm.

For certains that found perfect pitch in 1999’s ‘Feedback’ combo of Geoff Rowley with a young Arto Saari and some old Fugazi, the volatile mixture remains intoxicating. Geoff Rowley’s slowed down some, but familiar tingles arise watching him boardslide a bridge railing, screech a noseslide down a hefty hubba ledge, stomp on a lofted kickflip disaster in the deep end, or take the requisite push away into traffic after floating a pop-shove it over the wall and into the street.

Whereas in the past Geoff Rowley’s footage evenly matched a measure of skill and fearlessness against ever-gnarlier terrain, the equation now contains a psychological question around what position he occupies in the greater food chain. For much of his career Geoff Rowley played a scumstached Bugs Bunny to the bumbling Elmer Fudds of the Hollywood High 16, the Staples Center hubba, that one Lyon hubba. The question now is whether these spots, having again picked up Geoff Rowley’s scent after 2015’s ‘Propeller,’ have lulled Geoff Rowley into believing that he remains an apex predator, rather than potentially being separated from the pack, taken down, stuffed and placed on display wherever it is that the world’s most fearsome spots gather in their smoking jackets to sip scotch and stroke their meticulously trimmed whiskers.

Are skater-hunting spots purposefully going after older targets as kids like Kevin Bradley regularly make them look silly? Did Vans fund the bronze Rowley statue as a decoy to aid in his escapes? What happened to the sign from the ender wall-bash in the cover photo? When his day comes, will tears cloud Geoff Rowley’s vision as he knowingly pushes up to his final, fatal hubba or gap, similar to Mickey Rourke’s glory-doomed ‘The Wrassler’?

*Such pics often are submitted in return for ‘likes’ which can be exchanged for goods and services in an open forum.

Oh So We’re Good Now With Fakie Frontside Shove-Its Fam?

July 28, 2019

The ancient Egyptians, knowed as a people sprung from the intergalactic union of slender dog-headed humanoids and architecturally inclined space aliens, based their centuries-long dynasty upon advanced mathematics and in particular, the power of three. Just as star-guided numerologies dictated the design of pyramidal tombs and, later, the sport trike, so too can these be drawn upon to identify and analyze a prickly and little-foreseen situation confronting ‘the culture’ in 2019: the unlikely normalization of the fakie frontside shove-it.

Lo, the pathway to this current state of affairs was laid equally by the ascendance of Polar, where an early vid nodded to and propelled the shove-it, and the broad rejection of ’00s kickflip culture, characterized by thirsty ams balling for position by adding toe-centric flip tricks into or out of various other activities, or clamoring for ever-larger parking lot gaps. The frontside shove-it, notoriously difficult to photograph, in recent years has offered both a reprieve from the switch frontside bigspin, largely discarded as a gap-chomping tool, and the backside bigspin, thoroughly rinsed as a line-ender as the current decade limps to its unknown conclusion.

Where does this leave hot shoes hungry to differentiate their video part/montage slice/IG post from the footage glut’s deafening roar? There are few untouched trick deposits of years past left to be mined, and those still remaining can be treacherous — enter verbose career risk-taker Jason Dill, whose Vita-shod stairstepping became an instant rewind in the VCR age and has rightly become the stuff of legend. The current generation, though, holds up this rare gem and turns it topwise, gazing beyond the set-top dismount and fixating instead on the mostly forgotten trick preceding it, a fat fakie frontside pop shove-it over a barrier.

Beyond the frontside pop shove-it, the nollie pop shove-it for years has been a standby for popping over fences and blocks, the regular pop shove-it has enjoyed a resurgence recently as a kickflip alternative over bumps-to-cans and -bars, and switch versions continue to have their place in lines and down gaps. Whereas the nollie frontside pop shove-it might remain too near a relative to the unfairly maligned nollie backside bigspin, the fakie frontside pop shove-it, not much better aesthetically, is finding unlikely traction. Austyn Gillette, still fleet of foot despite life’s heavy wear, threw one over a bench and down a drop in his ‘Radiant Cure’ part last year. John Shanahan, cut-and-sew curator of the late-90s movement who also has assisted in the debatable reclamation of mustard-coloured tees, pulled from Dill’s ‘Photosynthesis’ archives for his Thoro ender. And last week, Skyscraper City Quasi flowee Nick Matthews hopped perhaps the best-looking recent example at Flushing’s recently hot gap, pristinely popped and whip-quick spun.

Is the fakie frontside pop shove-it’s rise an offshoot of the ‘dad trick’ movement, the tip of a ‘Brutalist’-minded stylistic school centered on ugly tricks including but not limited to varial flips and wallride nollie outs, or something far more weird and outlandish? Which would score higher in a Street League impact section, a fakie frontside pop shove-it or its more successful cousin, the fakie heelflip? Who’s gone one over the big wall at Pulaski?

Summertime Mixtape Vol. 7 — Lucien Clarke, ‘Palasonic’

July 12, 2019

It’s an old saw, calling so-and-so’s skating ‘effortless,’ and increasingly inaccurate, given the curtain-pulling-backness that comes with obligatory ‘raw files’ follow-ups to each vid of significance, plus the coverage subgenres devoted to meltdowns and slams. So it’s probably wrong to perceive Lucien Clarke’s ‘Palasonic’ opus as some type of gentle breeze through London’s urban meadows, as far as the skating goes, but it’s not difficult to come away from the part feeling some stresses shed: There’s the gentle Toby Shuall strumming as Lucien Clarke pushes through bushes and chips away those loathsome caps at the benches what raised him, not terribly concerned about what company’s shoes he’s sporting, whether there’s a tick-tack here or there, repeated tricks, or a mid-push stance switch. The point is the pop onto the nollie frontside noseslide, the no hesitation on the three-stack ollies, the arm drop on the switch heelflip frontside noseslide, the glide through the switch noseblunt slide, seven and a half minutes of street skating the way it was meant to be done.