Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Kickflipping, Hovering, Masher-Upper Jit Of The Month

June 3, 2023

In the mid-00s, a period in which boot-cut denims briefly passed into fashion and the powers of Gulf Wax were being pushed and rubbed further than ever before, a new cadre of musical pirates took the charts by storm using little more than their laptops and a nose for the aural peanut butter-n-chocolate combos to be plucked from other artists’ hit singles and sleeper jams. These mash-up specialists dug deeply into backcatalogues for head-bobbing and amusing juxtapositions like Nirvana, Young Jeezy, Sinead O’Connor and Webbie, until running aground after the vaguely nautical sounding ‘plunderphonics’ genre drained its aquifer of sample material.

In the skateboarding sphere in the year of 2023, one has to try mightily hard to deliver a musical-supervision curveball, when you have folks freely skating to ska bands and Blink 182, and the more varied and adventurous the clothing, the better. Tricks though are a different story, where even several generations into the ‘everybody can do every trick’ era, the most straightforward path remains playing to genre. To catch people off guard means digging deep in the archives, thinking flexibly, lacing the ball with multiple layers of Spider tac snd saliva.

Now comes Florida’s Nikolai Piombo, of the swishy pant and lower case polo getup, lately of amateur status on WKND Boards Co. In last month’s pleasing ‘Jit’ video, Nikolai Piombo applies heavily the curved-ledge filter to the squad’s vaunted pin reservoir, most impressively on a crispy caught and locked fakie flip switch crooked grind, but also most impressively on a backside tailslide hop over to backside smith grind. There are some crushing manuals, pre-art collector Jay-Z music and an appearance by the Suski grind, but while passing through Barcelona’s Sants, Nikolai Piombo casts back to a couple different eras to formulate a truly rare bird that would seem to be termed a ‘kickflip hover slide.’

All the way back in 1994, the precursor to the Quartersnacks Top 10 arrived every two months via 411 Video Magazine’s opener section, mainly in slow mo and soundtracked to the jaunty ‘Boxcar’ tune. In one of the more confounding entries of that year, Mad Circle comer-upper Scott Johnston ollied up for what initially appeared a backside tailslide at SF’s Brown Marble, except his wheels scooted along on top of the ledge, before popping off in the traditional fashion. Its like would not be seen again for nearly a decade, until Stefan Janoski slid not one but two versions of the trick in his seminal ‘Moasic’ section, one across the top of a bench and another on a ledge in a line. Since then it has remained a rarity, though of course the Sour dudes broke one out at one point, also at Sants.

Asked about it a few years back on the Bunt, Stefan Janoski termed it a ‘hover slide’: ”I started trying to do them and Biebel was like what ‘what fuck is that shit?’ I was like ‘no, I got it from Scott Johnston.’”

Nikolai Piombo’s take on the trick, kickflipping into it, also echoes the early 2000s handrail era. As pants slimmed, rawk was cranked and ever-larger targets were hunted, an efficient if risky way to raise the bar was to tack on a kickflip to a boardslide, 50-50, or other trick, as memorably captured in Jon Allie’s ‘Dying to Live’ barrage.

Is the frontside blunt/backside tail version of the Johnston/Janoski hover-slide the only real acceptable one, with others veering into booger-slide territory? What about a backside noseblunt/frontside noseslide version? The ollie over to frontside bluntslide, as done by Gideon Choi, Darrell Stanton and Mark Suciu in the midst of his Skater O The Year run, should be considered a different trick right? What about a shove-it in, or out?

Tossed Upon Waves Of Chain Link, A Cosmic Fencing Match

May 19, 2023

And so it is that Joey O’Brien and Chris Mulhern delivered unto the people this week another blessing, in the form of a video for erstwhile collaborationists Alien Workshop and Thrasher, resounding with authority and some pomp. There can be no doubt about the Philadelphia-scene journeyman’s noseblunts, no second guessing his masteries of the frontside 5-0 backside 180 out or the 180 switch k-grind. With the ringing song it could credibly slot into the final section of a full-length vid of your choosing; has the time come for another Alien Workshop feature? Have nearly 15 years truly passed since the last go-round or is a new carbon rod required to measure the company’s current iteration? Do you remember ‘Bunker Down’?

A whiff of finality and persistent question marks also wafted through Philadelphia’s Municipal Plaza this week as stretches of chain-link fence materialized across a swatch of the tiles, an ominous sign for Joey O’Brien, the rest of the Philly heads and all others who remember similar portents popping up ahead of the overhaul and later plowing under of Love Park, and before that City Hall’s plaza. The nigh-bottomless well of online speculatories is a-flow and various artists’ renderings have been digitally bandied about, but for now all that seems clear is the reminder that skateboarders are at best unpaying tenants and squatters in these spaces — disused and oftentimes overtly avoided tho they may be. 

Whether shock troops of gentrification or community builders who carve out an accepted niche, the colonization of a plaza-type spot brings with it a familiar rhythm, patterns of movement and use and behaviours that can over time lull a body into a sense of propriety, or earned localism that sometimes can seem to extend beyond the skateboarding sphere. That is, until the fences go up and the excavators begin to crawl, the C-block torn out, the onramp-adjacent bricking torn asunder and transformed into valuable keepsakes that can be packed and shipped for internet electronic commerce. 

Can it be different? Incredibly, an apparent ‘yeah’ emanates this week from one of the most costliest real estate markets in the U.S., New York City, where 5Boro impresario turned municipal fixer Steve Rodriguez announced this week that the legendary Brooklyn Banks would soon begin reopening — not just a go to skate, but refurbished, including the incredible prospect of the small banks’ return. An alliance of civic workers, local skaters, residents, and Tony Hawk’s Skatepark Project seem over the course of the past decade-plus to have successfully argued the case that skaters have and should continue to hold some stake in the overpass-shadowed nook of the city, which plenty had given up for dead years ago. It is a rare and savoursome piece of good news after a stretch that felt like a lot of losses have piled up, and a signal victory for the idea that skating’s cultivation of these places can amount to some type of real world equity building, at least in some cases. 

If the Brooklyn Banks can be safely slotted into skateboarding’s ‘win column,’ where does that leave the cosmic scorecard, following the preservations of Southbank and Stalin Plaza, and the demolishments of the Philly plazas and Venice pit? Given EMB’s recent renaissance, should it be taken out of the L column?  Could DIY spot builders assert a form of squatter’s rights under adverse possession law to ward off encroachsome bulldozers and warbling dump trucks, laden with bad vibes? If possession is nine-tenths of the law how come there aren’t more residential deeds handed over to hardworking poltergeists? 

Matt Militano Has Returned To Us

May 6, 2023

Fear of the sophomore slump, the one-down, the ill-favoured return trip to the buffet only to find the macaroni and cheese is now only a hollowed-out ruin of crusted detritus — the trepidation of the sequel is not only that the bad guy has come back, or that some irksome and overlooked part of the quest remains unfulfilled. It is that the second time around may never measure up to the first, and worse than that, threatens to diminish the original legacy in the process. It has been scientifically demonstrated that ‘tha Simpsons,’ once heralded as the greatest TV show evar, has now been bad for a period of time multiples greater than when it was good

‘Veil,’ the new Philly vid from Zach Sayles, faces the formidable prospect of measuring up to his 2019 release ‘Vanish,’ a great vid with a god-level curtains part from longtime East Coast underdog Matt Militano, whose lackadaisical lank, intricate flippancies and bent imagination captured internet accolades and a position on the 5Boro team, while inspiring spiritual pilgrimages to various cellar doors positioned nearby to plausibly hittable windowsills. Beloved was the video part, and Matt Militano’s continued under-the-radarness since, chosen or not, only bolstered the legend. 

Now it is the year 2023, and much that had been is no longer. Self-taught computers masquerade as chart-topping club crooners, Super Mario is the year’s most powerfully grossing film star, and in the wilds of Colombia, wetlands boil with the husky and illicit offspring of Pablo Escobar’s hippo collection.

And yet, even in the midst of all these unfamiliars and turmoily change, there can be no doubt that Matt Militano and Zach Sayles have come through, meeting and perhaps surpassing the lofty bar set all those years ago in 2,019. Starting with a switch Ellington shove-out the hard way and proceeding from there, Matt Militano in ‘Veil’ rummages deeply through his bag across two glove-snug tunes, draping wallrides and nose manuals across new corners of PA crust. Jewels are dispensed generously, like a pretzeling backside 180 nosegrind nose manual, a deeply pleasing backside nosegrind to switch 5-0, a leveled-up backside noseblunt on the multi-coloured step-up block at the Puerto Rico school. There is a velveteen set-up nollie, a resplendent saxophone solo, and a centerpiece after-dark line through the Muni plaza that is almost comical in its spotless execution and rumbling drama. 

‘Veil’ holds many other riches, ranging from Wu-powered section from Jersey luminary Devon Connell, Quel Haddox flipping his way down steps and over brick and across a street gap, a cyclone of a trick from Neil Herrick involving two backside 180s plus a wallride and a switch manual,Anatoly Bitny doing the scariest-looking switch ollie in quite some time, and a clip from Sergei Trudnowski. Physical DVDs can be bought here.

21 Questions About Bombing Hills In The Rain In The New GX Vid

April 22, 2023

If they slipped out and spilled halfway down, would you still love em?
If rain didn’t make the hills smell like spring would they still run em?
If those new Spitfires are too wet to powerslide would they still try? 
Or are they going way too fast even if it was dry?

Does Andrew Fiene’s higher gravity center make his bombs extra heavy?
What would a civilian think, gaping behind the wipers in a Chevy?
Beanies maybe got played when every kid wore em in the SoCal heat
but wouldn’t this be the time for a cotton helmet for the street?

Do the soaked boards go in the trash? 
Or on ice a couple decades before they’re pulled out for collector cash?
If they slammed and got soaked would you be by their side?
These questions are to find out how you feel inside

Did they resist the urge to push down like Sean Young, or would that’ve been too on the nose?
Did the inspiration come from some pissed-off hill-dweller getting aggro with a hose?
When T-Funk hit that puddle did you fear he’d hydroplane? 
Does it not work like that when you’re riding urethane?

How come Dan Wolfe’s move to put dudes’ names in the closed captioning never caught on?
Is it about aesthetics, or shielding government names from the courts and law? 
Did Supreme SF offer to lace em with some Gortex gear?
Were those raindrops the last skate-related ASMR you’d expect to hear?

Are these GX heads in the rain hall of fame now with Duffy, Creager and Marc?
Was it ‘Roll Up’ or Mason Street the last time hill bomb clips hit this hard?
Is it a skater thing to try and make shit harder in every way
Or is this just a maddening and unchangeable human trait?

Would you love em if they blew past a Bentley
Would you love em if they blew past a bus
This WWW blog is asking 21 questions
And they’re all about the GX1000 ‘Feels Like Spring’ video

Stress Sticking And The Still-Potent Prognosticative Powers Of The Skate Vid Skit

April 15, 2023

For several years now, the skateboard video has alternatively been an object of fear, fascination, reverence and rejection for its uncannily accurate powers of soothsaying. Gaze glazey-eyed into its projection-, flat- or phone-screened crystal ball, and bear witness to a history of skits that at the time may have seemed whimsical or ‘snarky’, and yet with the reelin’ in of the years, have proven weirdly, surprisingly, sometimes distressingly true.

‘Propaganda,’ that late-period Powell + Peralta classic that captured Frankie Hill at his Kris Markovich/Pat Duffy/Jamie Thomas-anticipating prime, not only foresaw the concept of skateboard coaches and the streaming video-enabled, ill-favoured detour into skating-themed game shows, it also previewed the concept of skater-endorsed credit cards. told of how Girl’s 2004 epic ‘Yeah Right’ teased special effects-enabled tricks that mostly would be done for real less than a decade later, and in 1996’s ‘Mouse,’ 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 ‘DC Video’ skit on Brian Wenning’s untimely fade-out proved sadly prescient.

Do such Ouija-like properties, invisibly guiding fingertips from rubbery remote buttons or factory-slick smart-screens into ‘real world situations,’ extend beyond the realm of the seven maple plies, the urethane wheel and the alloyed hanger? None less than Aaron ‘Jaws’ Homoki this week suggests that it is so.

“Stickin’ is lame,” groused the world-weary narrator of ‘The Parallel,’ a chapter toward the back half of Girl’s 1993 video debut ‘Goldfish’ that functioned as a cautionary tale about making your passion into your job, and as a post-Plan B statement of purpose for Crailtap brain trust. Lance Mountain portrays a youthful pogoer who progresses from carefree driveway bouncing to focused questing with the homies to jaded pro, freighted with pressure and expectation, until casting off the spring-loaded shackles of professional pogoing. If the metaphor was lost on the viewer, the title card drove it home with all ten fingers wrapped ’round steel handlebars.

Yet in 2023, Year of the Iguana, the wry parable seems to have proved out. On Insta*Gram, Aaron ‘Jaws’ Homoki this week related fond memories of shepherding a crew of pro pogo stickers around his native New Mexico for a tour vid of sorts by pogo brand XPogo, entitled ‘Spring Break II: Tha Breakening’. In it, top pogoers footplant off walls, do BMX-style bar spins, rollerblade-style shoe grabs, bounce off rocks and trees; one dude does a no-handed backflip. There are some rail and stair-set double runs with Jaws his own self and elsewhere the pogoers do their thing near needle-sharp cacti and in slow-mo before arid mountain scenes, conveying a certain feeling of freedom that is to some extent universal in vibe.

But within the pogo sphere there is also pain, and pressure. There are repeated, gnarly slams amongst concrete slabs in the ‘Spring Break II’ vid, and in a separate XPogo summer trip to NY vid, a brutal 10-foot slam to some stairs. Dalton Smith, one of the aforementioned New Mexico spring breakers, speaks in an earlier interview on the stress and rigours of the professional life:

“During those Pogopaloozas I was a ball of stress, a rubber band about to snap, quiet and always plotting my runs, I was barely there. So I basically would black out right before big air started and then I would come to after holding my trophy. I wanted to win palooza so bad, my body mind and spirit were all geared towards that single task. I had no room for feeling anything.

After the competitions I felt satisfied and ecstatic, reaffirmed in my skills, but I also knew it was all bulls**t. Competition, especially one as loose as palooza, is never really about who is the best but rather who can show up and perform for this sliver of time with immense amount of pressure behind them. I am good under pressure, but I am by no means the best or gnarliest pogoer and I never have been. Palooza is about getting together and sharing our culture, experiencing each other and bring the sport further and further into the world. After competition I always felt empty because I knew that that trophy didn’t solve a damn thing going on in my heart, I still wanted to jump, I still had to prove myself, I still wanted to progress.”

Could Dalton Smith’s commentary on competitive stressors be cut-and-pasted, find/replacing ‘pogoer’ with ‘skater’ and ‘Pogopalooza’ with ‘XGames’ or ‘Street League,’ and be dropped into some pro skater interview from anywhere in the past few decades? Are pogoing videos right now recording skits that will foreshadow the future of still-more esoteric subcultures yet to fully emerge? With the skate video skit generally a lost art these days, are all remaining future-predicting powers now concentrated in the hands of WKND and the occasional Crailtap/MandibleClaw effort — or does the growing skit scarcity suggest no future whatsoever?

Stealth Games, Tile Medleys and Other Recent Achievements in Skate Video Sound Design

March 18, 2023

Still pinkish and unsteady on its paws, but already beginning to sharpen cuspids and canines on accessible trees and stumps, this yung Year of the Rabbit already has delivered in service of skate video sound design, that untelevised and yet fiercely contested also- also-ran of the fourth-quarter awards season. The early and obvious standout as springtime draws nigh is Tightbooth’s frenetic and swaggering ‘Lenz III,’ proportioning its goods out in a fairly audible drip-drop sequence over these past few weeks, several of the dudes’ clips rewindable for their eardrum-tingling properties nearly as much as the relentlessly combusting tricks — check the percussive tempo shifts as Kotora Mitani samples varying sizes and shapes of tiles, the whetstone-slick scrape of Ayahiro Uratsuka’s humpy 50-50,  the hallucinatory barrage that is Japanese Super Rat, a part that plays like a ‘Beez’ vid. Ryuhei Kitazume, the world’s favorite skater, delivers a comparatively more classically mic’ed frontside k-grind revert and elsewhere, in his accompanying ‘Meet You There’ part for Free, a stair ride-out that thrums like a drumbeat.

Are the auditory pleasures of such footages enough to render any musical soundtrack superfluous? It is a question that has been probed, poked and at times vigorously prodded over the years, with vids from World’s ‘Rubbish Heap’ to the GX1000 full-lengths going musicless for extended stretches; Tim Dowling’s late campus-period document ‘Listen’ famously made the skating sounds the sole soundtrack, a tactic variously employed by Dan Wolfe’s ‘Eastern Exposure Zero’ comp, PJ Ladd in ‘Really Sorry,’ Hockey’s 2017 promo, and various others.

The most intense use of sound in this nubbly and provocative season though may arise from the Mason-Dixon straddling Quasi camp, which over the past week uploaded two distinct video computer files related to Bobby DeKeyzer, a knowed pro and established ASMR supplier in his own right. In ‘Prototype,’ the Youtoob video file preceding the somewhat more conventional ‘Hard Dream‘ BDK vid, sounds woosh and clang and cut in and out in a cut-up manner matching the footage itself — til an extended passage toward the end in which Bobby DeKeyzer and filmer enter into a real-life ‘Metal Gear Solid’ episode with a roving security guard; they are signaled from quiet across the street to keep as the security guard looks, listens, and the tension piles up by the metric ton, building toward an optimistic but still uncertain end.

Does ‘Prototype’s silent cat-and-mouse standoff with security reveal the lasting influence of the nonstarting Numbers Edition, whose unique and unfortunately limited video output positioned the audience as voyeur to sessions spiked with a weirdly ominous vibe? Do the earmuff headphones rocked of late by pros ranging from TJ Rogers to Jahmir Brown suggest a school that instead seeks to block out all ambient noise and sound while the actual skating is being pursued, similar to those weird vids with the skating sounds totally muted? Would the correct way to honor the potential passing of, for so long a matchless source of auditory motivation to generations of skaters, be to soundtrack parts or maybe an entire video solely with DJ drops?

Mike Carroll Comes Out of Voiceover Retirement As Niels Bennett Puts On A Transatlantic Pants Clinic

March 4, 2023

Have all the myths been made, all the great tales handed down, chiseled into stone tablets, and pulverized into a fine powder to be taken up and lilted unto the planet’s corners, crannies and nooks? Sometimes, a bro wonders. Several eons ago, in a dinosauric age, dispatches from ‘the pro scene’ and available industry hype were parceled out in monthly-arriving periodicals and less-predictable videocassette releases, strained through the keyboards and mouse-movements of editors and film-o-graphers. The stories that were had were the ones that were determined to be told, in the decided style and length, sometimes fine-tuned for drama and legendmaking and lulz. 

Amongst the signature tools in the big box of Transworld video production values during their late ’90s/early ’00s heyday was the voiceover, a concept previously explored in such vids as Foundation’s ‘Rolling Thunder,’ and seasoned with that signature TWS Pro Spotlight sauce to deepen narratives and make parts like Henry Sanchez’s ‘Sight Unseen’ comeback or Marc Johnson’s upper-echelon arrival in ‘Modus’ land harder, linger longer. Through the voiceover, Brian Anderson taught a generation of kids the powers of visualization; the story of Cliff Coffman’s kickflip led to a reconsideration of football players everywhere, and Mark Gonzales anointed John Cardiel an ‘Original Coors.’ Around the time of the Great Recession the voiceover lost favour, occasionally resurfaced by the history- and vibe-mindeds such as Pontus Alv and Mark Suciu, but more broadly buried by the cinema verite wave of raw files, video-part commentaries and IG stories of name skaters’ meals and home improvement projects that have torn away the proverbial curtain and obviated much of the more choreographed mythmaking activities. 

Daly City backside smith angler Mike Carroll not only was a prime featuree of the Transworld video heyday, he also for years was a voiceover heavyweight, channeling a uniquely 1990s alloy of sarcasm and self-deprecation to assess his own neuroses in ‘Modus Operandi’, speak on tour life in ‘Beware O The Flare’ and lament slams in ‘Harsh Euro Barge.’ For much of the past decade Mike Carroll has shifted into behind the scenes roles as Girl has installed a new generation, while simultaneously remaining retired from voiceover work. 

Until this week, as Niels Bennett, among the more incandescent lights shining forth from the Crailtap set in recent years, brought forth via Free his spectacular ‘Heroes/Helden’ vid, replete with soulful music, popped tongues, switch bs 5-0s and tricks done the hard way across multiple time zones and tax jurisdictions. The vid makes resourceful use of Niels Bennett’s great fortune in filmers, parceling the Chris Mulhern-filmed US stuff and the Torsten Frank-filmed Euro stuff into halves, which are stitched together via a Mike Carroll voiceover, expounding upon Niels Bennett’s Crail-bestowed ‘Professor’ nickname and what’s described as a questing quality to his choices in spots and tricks. The vid is on the one hand another progression for Niels Bennett, whose tricks and ability never have been in doubt but here look stronger, perhaps elevated by a more grown visage and particularly a baggier cut of pant that seem destined for a @whatpantsarethose feature, or 10, in the days and weeks ahead. It also is a return to form for Mike Carroll’s voiceovering, the years seeming to have slightly weathered his sound but his noun and verb and adjective selection still in top form. 

Did some of Tom Snape’s pants game, long regarded among the sharpest in any hemisphere, rub off on Niels Bennett during the course of filming Adidas’ still super-good ‘Reverb’ video? Did you get the Guy vibes too on those nosegrind revert tricks on the one lil rail? With Mike Carroll having ceded the spotlight to successive generations of Crailtap pros and yungstars, is it nice just to hear his voice

Trendwatch 2K23: Destroying The Entire Planet

February 25, 2023

Young Joc would weep to see it: this week’s highlight ‘Shopaholics,’ an apocalypse-flavoured dispatch from inside a dilapidated Milwaukee-area shopping mall compiled by N95-packing Wiskate affiliates. Conjuring the spirit of 1978 fantasy epic ‘Dawn of tha Dead,’ which portrayed an idyllic life of ‘chilling’ 24-7 in an abandoned mall with your closest pals, Josh Ellis and Eric Risser follow Strangelove fuzzbuster Max Murphy and certain other urban spelunkers through skylit and mold-encrusted ledge plazas, darkened corridors and occasionally through holes in the walls, whilst surveying a menagerie of adolescent graffiti (including obligatory Slayer tag) and the worldly mysteries of Mr. Bulky. There’s a lovely bluntslide across a tipped-over desk, a gruff wallie off a grate to long backside 5-0, and a backside noseblunt to fakie on a bump to block that seems fit to rev the Muni crowd. 

‘Shopaholics’ is the latest in a line of ruin-repurposings and blight tourism that have enabled fleeting if often unsanitary glimpses at a world in which ‘turn off pedestrians’ and ‘turn off cars’ can be clicked in some grand options menu. The excellent ‘Grains’ series probed the loading docks and weathered brick of the emptying-out rural Midwest; ‘Rust Belt Trap’ and any number of Jersey and upstate NY vids have plumbed that region’s industrial swamps, while the reconstituted Alien team roamed the seemingly empty Detroit; the Girl team a few years went into pre-demolition mode at Mike Carroll’s house and also Rick McCrank for a time hosted a TV show called ‘Abandoned.’ 

While HBO’s ‘Last of Us’ has suburban Californiano moms reconsidering their mushroom microdosing regiments, it is worth pondering skating’s fixation on the barren and derelict, and whether this may suggest an embrace, or even cheering on, of the planet’s demise. As always, subconscious signals can be vaguely gleaned from the annals of skate graphics and logos, a CCS-flavoured Ouija board that has mutated and evolved alongside skating’s swerving and occasionally flatspotted path from spat-upon misfit to bankable Olympic partner. In the early 1990s, regarded by some as a ‘simpler time’ when the trick frontier still was being mapped and nobody had any money, World Industries conveyed a gigglesome and mischeivous worldview in the form of grinning, carefree and childlike globes:

Seasons changed, summer gave way to fall, television ratings expanded and a bunch of stuff got more serious. A shift in vibe was detectable by the time Habitat brought ‘Inhabitants’ in 2007, hopscotching between deciduous leafage and Fred Gall blowing up a spraypainted TV on some train tracks, tagged with the slogan ‘A World In Decline.’ A global Great Recession set venerable hard- and soft-good suppliers on their heels, clipped pro paychecks and set in motion a steadily fragmenting galaxy of smaller companies exhibiting a darker and more nihilistic worldview that presented itself in the form of graphics with the earth looking sad, ill, and suicidal:

As another crisis gripped the globe at the turn of a new and pricklesome decade, the lockdowns that accompanied the Covid-19 pandemic gave rise to theories and fantasies that the planet, for a time bereft of human industry and machinations, may begin to ‘heal itself’. Amid this tumultuous and nervy period, the more ominous globe graphics of late came to be reconsidered:

However, science soon debunked such future-bucolic notions, and the planet’s residents resumed jamming the surface with cars and warring. Skating’s planetary portrayals reverted as well, offering visions of the earth in a zombie-like grip, or sporting a firing squad-ready cigarillo-and-blindfold combo:

Do the darker and more malevolent depictions of the Planet Earth in graphical t-shirt and board designs over the past decade reflect a latent desire for a post-apocalyptic future, featuring abandoned and readily skatable malls around every corner and accessible debris free for line-friendly configuring? Even if the all ledges were nice and squared off, would the loss of billions of lives really be worth it? Between their various Hollywood outings, is Jason Lee or Mike Vallely skating’s true lord of the mall, or is this a title that rightfully must be ascribed to Mac Mall?

Chopper City In Sponsorship No-Man’s Land

February 12, 2023

The life of the free agent can be fast-moving and merciless, where emotions must be shedded and checked at the door, skin lathered with moisturizing thickening agents, and at least one eye trained upon the proverbial ‘prize.’ It is an eat-what-you-kill enterprise, where a bro may at the end of the day find his own self upon the proverbial ‘menu.’ For the end of these rainbows could hold a decade long, one-third-of-a-billion payday; or it could be only series of highly tax-bracketed mirages, where one can be briefly romanced by a giant or a metropolitan or both before being tossed aside like so many mouldering tangerines, cast back into one of 10,000 boreal lakes for a paltry $200M.

Within the skate industry’s comparatively blue-collar dimension, where tee shirt-protected pros must be able to balance on the toes of their weaker foot whilst going backward down a handrail for pennies on the dollar of a major-league contract agreement, patience sometime rewards the field-player. Witness yung Dylan Jaeb, that ‘Forecast’-era Mike Mo doppelgänger who appeared born incarnate of the Poods park and sublimely switch 360 flipped in Thrasher’s recent ‘Am Scramble,’ play the field for around 18 months before placing his footage with Primitive in time for its ‘DEFINE’ production and moving various Dragonball and Megadeth merchandise. Downtown Chicago pop monster Nick Matthews bounced between flow arrangements for years until in recent months bashing through to the cover of Thrasher and the new Anti-Hero vid.

In years past, barrel-chested surf dad Lucas Puig kept message boarders guessing for nearly a year after Dwindle tugged loose Cliche’s plug, before jilting the short-lived Numbers imprint and other unfortunates and linking with the stripes-allied Palace group. Sometimes it’s millennium ducats and other times, the dividends are paid in career longevity and general goodwill drizzled generously over personal brands, with thumb-up, plumped bicep and flamey emojis flowing liberally when Chris Cole returned to Zero, Austyn Gillette to Habitat, Arto Saari to Flip.

The patience required to play ‘tha long game’ can be learned elbow-to-elbow with cardsharps in a seaside high-rollers’ den; it can be driven into the bone with the sub-zero intensity of a lifetime spent in Siberian gulag. It also can be acquired marching step by step up the side of a mountain-installed MegaRampTM, battling for building-sized tricks at 45 miles per hour. As of this writing, it has been a decade since Bob Burnquist twisted no-grab flip tricks the length of an Olympic swimmin’ hole and switch backside 360ed UP onto the MegaQP deck in his ‘Dreamland’ magnum opus vid, and during this time the vertical switchstance pioneer and MegaRampTM chancer has enjoyed a stable arrangement with international hardgoods provider Flip, while endorsing a steady diet of beverage products, apparel designs and footwear options. And yet Bob Burnquist’s helicopter, lowkey MVP on the enders and doer of several heli NBDs in a whirlsome cameo, has hovered in sponsorship no-man’s land.

Until now? The boldfaced collab factory Supreme this week on IG revealed that it apparently has put the helicopter on its team, generating hundreds of thousands of likes and comments including ‘wut.’ Aviation Youtubers who had days earlier spotted and filmed the vehicle’s takeoff tagged it as an AS350 / H125 model on an LA session with a homie from DHL in yellow and white livery. With the basic version retailing for around $2.9 million, a brand-appropriate markup to Bob Burnquist helicopter’s pro models issued by Supreme must be assumed to eventually command $48 billion on Grailed.

Is Bob Burnquist, still technically governed by the forces of gravity so far as we all know, in danger of being shown up by his helicopter appearing to land an exclusive aerospace endorsement deal with Supreme? Will the helicopter jump on the next filming trip, helping teamriders reach higher-altitude, unskated grass- and dirt-ride spots, while Bill Strobeck zooms out from the cockpit and into the ski landers? Now that winterized extremophile Shaun White is retired from Olympic competing, must the ‘Flying Tomato’ title shift to this becrimsoned ‘copter? Does Palace, which recently branded some cars, need to come with a plane or blimp next? With Nick Matthews hopefully now fully aboard with Anti-Hero, does Walker Ryan become the most criminal case of being overlooked by the industry, following his dumbfounding, self-released ‘Textures’ video?

Girl Joins The Hardware Wars, And So Potential Planetary Destructions Must Be Contemplated

February 3, 2023

Beneath a grimly monolithic sky, ‘Punxsutawney Phil’ waits dreaming — until hoisted by the scruff and slung aloft for the mirth of the masses, and to pad the pockets of his masters. On this day, in the spatial and rugged year of 2023, the befurred savant speaks blind his truth — no easy escape from winter’s brittle grasp — and summarily is returned to gaol, industrial animal pellets a paltry but scrumptious reward. And then it is done.

Over in the hardware game though, hope springs eternal. Girl Skateboards, the southern California hard-good concern that has also previously employed a rodent mascot, of late is promoting to potential buyers a newly innovative bolt design under the banner of ‘Longneck Hardware.’ Presumably modeled upon bottled beers, the bolts feature a mostly smooth length, topped with threads only where the tip protrudes beyond a truck’s baseplate. The concept is geared toward battling a scourge that the Girl IG has named ‘baseplate blowout.’

Is your board rattling or making an undesired turn? Over time, the friction of your hardware threads rubbing against your truck holes can make them oval out, causing truck wobble. Our Longneck™ Hardware has reduced threading, to minimize that wear.

Purse your lips and whistle, for a moment if you can, past the graveyard’s worth of coffins rattling with attempted mounting hardware innovations from the last several decades — BridgeBolts, Diamond’s reverse-threading of the nuts into the bolts, and the mighty Thunderbolt ones that you pounded in with a hammer. More fearsome still is the current bolt-market, saturated as it is with colorful combos and projects that exist partly to fund trips for teams of multi-shoed/boarded bros, and as vehicles for premiumly priced soft-goods with unique designs. In this realm, titans such as Diamond Supply Co., Shake Junt and Bronze 56K jockey for position, and woe to the interloper who finds themselfs underfoot.

In this sense, Girl’s arrival is auspicious — and potentially courts global disaster. During what likely was several years of R&D devoted to the Longneck hardware’s innovative design, there have been signs and siguls of an ancient power, moving here and there. In various vids, long-forgotten t-shirts and hoodies have been sported anew by the likes of Jordan Taylor, Kevin Tshala, Nico Marti’s one homie at the end of ‘STILL’, and even Chocolate’s own Erik Herrera, carrying the name of onetime hardware deity Shorty’s.

To HeckRide, Erik Herrera related the mysterious circumstances by which the HORTY sweater came to his possession:

How long were you working at Goodwill? And is that where you found that Shorty’s hoodie that was in your Welcome to Chocolate part?
I worked there for about three years and yeah, that’s where I got the hoodie (laughs). I just remember some guy dropped off a box of a bunch of skate stuff and just took it.

Similar to how drilling humans’ erroneous awakening of the so-called MUTOs in the 2014 biopic ‘Godzilla’ aroused the blue fire-heaving avenger from his own centuries-long slumber, resulting in several instances of property damage, has the increasingly active hard-ware space set in motion a revival for the long-dormant spirit of Shorty’s? Can the Muska be assume to be involved in such efforts, given his recent e-vending of classic Shorty’s decks? After all these years, does the Silverado remain the longest-lived and most-influential mounting hardware innovation? At this point, has ‘Solo Jazz’ come to rival ‘Fulfill the Dream’ for classic status, and does ‘Shrimp Blunt’ best them both in terms of music supervisions?