Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A Kinder, Gentler Nation: Brush-Stroke Bluntslides And Skatespot Compassion

October 17, 2021

Humankind’s deepest yearning is to prove its dominion over the earth. For centuries man has cleaved rock and mountain to make way for our cars, mine its riches and festoon our teeth with rare jewels. Our efficient canals link the planet’s most profitable oceans, our chemically enhanced farms dividing the land’s flat spaces into squares and circles to feed our teeming masses. The power of our machines burns holes in the atmosphere and melts ice. From space, our cities and giant walls can be seen by any alien species still questioning who may be in charge down there.

Skateboarding, among several noteworthy human-race developments of recent decades, is hardly different. Mastery of one’s environment has been a central directive since banana boards were pointed into drained swimming pools in the era of Gerald Ford, and even more so once broadening decks and bouncier wheels were turned loose on ‘the streets.’ Santa Cruz rallied followers beneath its ‘Pave Tha World’ banner; in the 1990s, Concrete Powder was the magazine title that captured prevailing attitudes toward the expanding urban blanket. In the 00s, certain skaters including Wade Speyer and Fred Gall came to be synonymous with demolition, while the intro to ‘Fully Flared’ showcased in hi-def the literal destruction of spots as they were being ripped. Today, one of the culture’s long-serving creeds, ‘skate and destroy,’ is emblazoned for all eternity upon graphical sweatpants. At its core, skateboarding represented a primal human reaction against an increasingly artificial world, one to be discovered, used, discarded and left behind.

Ledge-repainting gestures of figureheads such as Jeremy Wray and Mark Gonzales notwithstanding, this energy of late has seeped sometimes troublingly into the human realm, with security guards in recent years shoved to one side to get the clip, and heated debates with house spots’ owners or renters. But the quiet expansion of the ‘adulting’ trend and a handful of recent clips suggest a kinder, gentler approach to spots as skateboarding collectively pauses to take a hard look at the origins and effects of its decades of antisocialisms, real or postured.

Carlisle Aikens, the reinvigorated Chocolate engine’s most-productive piston whose skating occupies an extreme corner of the smooth/powerful X-Y axes, provided a glimpse last week in the Parisian-flavoured Bye Jeremy clip, softly brushing a stonework out-ledge with a switch frontside bluntslide that whispered where others, like Jake Johnson, previously have thundered. It called to mind a similarly soft-shoed frontside blunt from Josh Wilson in Quasi’s ‘Grand Prairie’ vid from earlier this year, eased down a hubba shortly before a wholesome mother-and-son voiceover on bondo-ing injured spots. The fakie frontside noseslide ticklers in Jacopo Carozzi’s ‘Samurai Safari’ Sardinia vacation a couple weeks ago were reminiscent of Brandon Biebel’s heavyweight dancing from the nollie side a few years back. And the other day, in between slamming down ditches and banks, Ronnie Sandoval in Vans’ vibrant ‘Nice 2 See U,’ lightly tapping a rail on a backside 5-0 transfer where a more harshly inclined individual may have stomped.

Could a more tender approach to spots represent skateboarding’s typical contrarianism rearing up against the hard-pressed pinch and crossed-up ’90-10′-style 50-50s? Are people going easier on spots as year by year, more succumb to the wrecking ball? Does all this have something to do with why so many dudes were wearing gloves in the Vans vid? Could now be the time to roll cryptocurrency gains into downtrodden equity in manufacturers of lappers and Z-rollers?

Purple Sprite, Narrowing Palettes, And The Trilogy Conundrum

September 26, 2021

It is the nature of the human animal to prod and push and gesture wildly at boundaries. Elon Musk, noted billionaire playboy by day and alleged costumed superhero in evenings, is developing a spaceship to land persons as yet unnamed on ‘Planet Mars.’ A Harvard genomic master intends to make un-extinct the powerful wooly mammoth and set them loose upon wild tundras, for profit and pleasure. Nude mountain ascents have become so commonplace as to be regarded as gauche. China intends to have a functioning weather-control system in place before ‘I Like It Here Inside My Mind/Please Don’t Wake Me This Time’ turns 10, and out in Texas they’re working on warp drives.

For several years, skateboarding’s ‘pro elite’ lusted after spins. Time was, the more rotations you could wrest from the vert ramp’s miserly lips, the taller you stood amongst the several dozen other skaters who drifted in that overcast subcultural wilderness that was the late 1980s. This of course followed on the parking-lot pirouette challenges that made hallowed the names of yesteryear’s freestyle kings, and later, pre-Nike skateboard footwear barons. Later on, people built names and fiscal fortunes on many times they could flip the board, how many stairs they could jump, how many kinks they could clank through.

The year is 2021 and skateboarding is all business. Commercial behemoths such as Nike Inc., Red Bull GmbH, PepsiCo Inc. and Frog Skate Boards have seeded their statistical analytics into the modern youth, who heavily fixate upon monetizing social media followings, tabulating trick totals to piece together podium-climbing Street League runs, and stacking minute upon juicesome minute of footage to propel various SOTY campaigns. For pros of a certain age, the business world presents the last and greatest realm in which to level up — a thistly thicket where survival depends on wits, savvy, debt tolerance and nerve, where contest dominators such as Tony Hawk operate on an even playing field as street-level operators such as Steve Williams. And, those who choose to make a go of selling boards in this turbulent hour chase a singular goal, an achievement as elusive and rarified as landing ‘the 900’ — running three separate board companies under one roof.

Such a feat of course was first accomplished by Steve Rocco’s World Industries, under which in the ‘early 1990s’ a whole crop of sister brands sprouted — Blind, 101, Menace, Plan B, eventually the mighty Prime.* Since then, doubling up with a sister brand to house the proverbial homies has become de rigueur — Girl/Chocolate, Alien/Habitat, Zero/Mystery, Baker/Deathwish, FuckingAwesome/Hockey — but precious few others have made the leap to three. The venerable DNA Distribution offered the internationally flavored Seek in the early ’00s, but hobbled it with furtive visuals and no video push. Crailtap at various points flirted briefly with Ruby decks and briefly incubated Skate Mental but neither became a full third under the Girl umbrella. Giant’s period running the power trio of Element, New Deal and Black Label proved short-lived. Street Corner’s confidence in its abilities beyond maintaining the stalwart Think brand at one point was enough to back the sadly short-lived City as well as the not as sadly short-lived Lucky board concern. Black Box distribution gave Garrett Hill and Forrest Edwards a brief shot on the pricepoint-oriented Threat before the center of gravity shifted and retrenching became required. In the post-Rocco era, only the steady hands at Deluxe have been able to consistently manage such multiples, from Real and Anti-Hero to the once-vibrant Stereo and since, Krooked.

Now comes Jason Dill, unlikely industry kingpin, whose FA/Hockey pro stables steadily bulge, and a line of would-be flowees extending around the proverbial block. Jason Dill, who knows something about flying close to the sun, has pondered and shied from a third board company in the past, a rumored ‘Funeral Home’ concept that supposedly was to have included Austyn Gillette and Jake Anderson, among others. The purity-of-youth bottled in Michael Nicholas’ excellent ‘Untitled’ seems to have Bill Strobeck thinking otherwise, though, with key men of the crew regularly popping up in winking Instagram postings centered around a ‘violet’ theme that the Slap boards brain trust already has tagged as the company’s name; other Supreme-orbit talents including Efron Danzig and Kris Brown have been rumored to be in the mix.

If pursued, the venture would represent a bold wager on the demand elasticity of the Supreme/FA merchandise and the wallet-depth of skaters and those willing to spend to present as skate-adjacent. A third FA appendage risks cannibalizing the dollars, euro, yen and cryptocurrency currently dedicated toward Hockey lightning bolt hats, lovingly embossed FA decks and Supreme mattresses; as the global economy wobbles, FA and Hockey already are pushing the envelope to lift the price ceiling on 7-ply maple sticks above the $55 purgatory that has mired the hard-good industry for ye, these past 30 years. Meanwhile shops ponder the constraints of the physical board wall, along with the capital intensiveness and logistical hoops that e-commerce represents in the eventual post-Covid19 era.

Do Jason Dill and William Strobeck, who survived the harshest diversions that New York had to dangle in the early ’00s, retain enough subcultural surefootedness and business knowhow to shoot the moon and successfully maintain a third board imprint? If ‘Violet’ indeed is the name, does it compensate by representing the ‘safest’ name choice of the three after Jason Dill and Anthony Van Engelen already persuaded shop owners to plaster a big f-word across their walls, and followed that up by naming a sister brand after a major-league sport with no wheels involved? Does ‘Hockey’ sometimes remind you of the short-lived ‘Bike’? Between Blue, Crimson, Yellow brand, Bronze, Silverstar, Platinum and Golden State Wheels, are potential colour-themed names for skateboard companies running perilously short after only about 70 years?

*Named in memory of Transformer great Optimus Prime

D3 The Movie

September 19, 2021

A good tale richly told is an oat for the soul. By now, the story of the Osiris D3 2001 is a tale knowed by many, and familiar to millions more. A rapid rise, debauched excess, noise, tragedy, riches, confusion, an all-too-public fall and, yes, a long road back to redemption. It is a story uniquely American in the telling, and it may be the story of us all.

Take not its name in vain. A vision out of time, gaping lace holes and a tongue a-puff, soles as flat and broad as a hippopotamus’ hoof. From there, things grow murky. This was all right around the turn of the century. Onetime Evol filmer and noted Robotech fan Brian Reid co-founded Osiris shoes and put on his onetime roommate David Mayhew, amongst others, developing a series of professional-use and “crazy layered” shoes intended for the commercial market. While Osiris dodged murderous factory managers in South Korea and jealous h8ers stateside, the original D3 hit stores in 1999.

In skateshops, on Limp Biscuit stages and at random ‘raves,’ the D3 stood tall, shouldering aside rivals with its burly physique and raw grip. And yet behind the scenes, discord and vitriol soon fermented. Bad feelings over allegedly purloined D3 royalties preceded David Mayhew’s exit from the big Storm tour bus; in the years since, barbs and sideways comments over design and inspiration credit for a shoe that is widely regarded as a prime example of early 2000s excess, for years a kind of subcultural albatross heralding minifigure hats, toilet-brush goatees and metallic turntables, slowly spinning into infinity.

Did the phenomenon manifest entirely from the vision of A-Team Member David Mayhew? The wizened hand of Osiris footwear architect Brian Reid? The truth may remain unknowed, and few cared until money came back into the picture via the recent puffed-out tech shoe revival, with a sort of vindication for David Mayhew via A$AP Rocky’s UnderArmour-produced D3 clone that landed the former Maple pro on the GQ web page. A potent stew of sneaker-centric content farms, the D3’s rich narrative and that ever-seductive intoxicant, righteous anger, touched off a series of think pieces and jousting interviews. From there, the D3 media war escalated with a Vice magazine mini-documentary, in which Brian Reid and David Mayhew further traded claims and shots.

This week brought a new chapter, as David Mayhew sat for a 3.5 hour Nine Club panel discussion covering the D3 design process. “In my mind I was like, ‘I want something buck wild,’ he relates. “I saw this hiking boot, had the vision, called Brian and tried to explain it over the phone… he came up with the bottom, and the back… it obviously became a hot kind of button issue, but at the end of the day I don’t care what people believe, I can put my head on my pillow.”

Obviously a feature-length film is the only logical next step in this decadeslong war over the monstrous footwear’s legacy. And yet the media arms race so far has overlooked the D3’s real and decisive role in skateboarding culture. Beyond the double-kick deck, urethane wheel and cut-off jean hem, few products have proven as pivotal as the D3. The excess it represented served as a sort of conceptual rock bottom for the overengineered puffy tongue era, setting the stage for the resulting simple-shoe renaissance that followed in the mid-2000s — and no company capitalized better on this shift than Nike Inc. and its classic Dunk silhouette, widely aped by competitors who subsequently fell over themselves in a rush to commoditize minimalist shoe models. Rather than munch popcorn as David Mayhew and Brian Reid stake competing claims for the D3’s dubious stylistic attributes and still-seeping cash flows, they perhaps should be recognized as authors of a cautionary tale that remains relevant as ever, as shoes again gather puff and reach deeper into the ever-confuzzled consumer’s wallet.

Will ‘D3 The Movie’ fully capture the D3’s corrective role in the ever-mutating skate shoe continuum, or is the longer runtime of an exclusive streaming series justified in this case? Or is this ‘Max Max’ type beef that can only be resolved in the ‘Thunderdome’? Can it be true that the original concept for the D3 included packaging each pair with a miniature set of oars to justify a price premium recognizing the shoe’s capacity to serve as scale-appropriate liveboats for common household pets including gerbils, hamsters, mice and even juvenile guinea pigs?

Brian Panebianco Inducted Into Filmers Who Rip On The Board Hall Of Fame After Camera-In-Hand Varial Heelflip Sets Internet On Tilt And Forces Executive Committee’s Hand

September 4, 2021

PHILADELPHIA — Brian Panebianco was inducted into the Filmers Who Rip On The Board Hall of Fame this week in a unanimous vote by the body’s executive committee, meeting in emergency session.

The decision, announced Saturday by current FWROTBHOF chairman Chris Gregson, arrived less than 24 hours after the release of the Sabotage/DCShoeCoUSA joint video, which Panebianco edited and largely filmed while also delivering the closing part.

At a hastily convened press conference outside FWROTBHOF headquarters, Gregson said that the body’s executive committee began discussing Panebianco’s immediate induction before the video, and his part, was even over.

“At least three people hit the group chat simultaneously — ‘varial heelflip filming a Kevin Bilyeu line, not even looking?'” Gregson said. “On the vintage Kalis deck.”

Gregson said a FWROTBHOF board meeting was called via Facetime before the ‘Sabotage X DC’ credits ended, with several board directors replaying Panebianco’s coast-to-coast Baldi bluntslide and observing that he’d done the trick on at least two nonconsecutive occasions. FWROTBHOF executive committee members Gregson, Brad Johnson, Matt Eversole, Jamie Thomas, Jon Miner, Greg Hunt and Beagle and recent executive committee addition Gustav Tønnesen all voted in favor of Panebianco’s induction.

The FWROTBHOF’s move was met with jubilation in the streets of Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC, New York and elsewhere, as thousands thronged to inner-city plazas to celebrate, guzzle mouthwash and tip over cars. For nearly a decade, Panebianco has been the focus of a campaign pushing for his recognition among filmers who merit as much time in front of the camera lens as behind it, with proponents circulating hash tags such as #ForceTheFWROTBHOF and toting signs saying “switch crook Anderson Hall” during downtown demonstrations following Sabotage video releases.

That furor reignited upon the ‘Sabotage X DC’ release this past week, as backers again praised Panebianco’s 180 to switch crooked grind variations and switch backside abilities, as well as his pivotal role in returning DC Shoes to cultural relevance and his longstanding commitment to documenting urban grime, including but not limited to some of the most egregious ass sweat seen in some time in the just-released video.

FWROTBHOF chairman emeritus Mike Manzoori acknowledged that the nod for Panebianco was long overdue. “Whereas, the executive committee historically hath limited itself to one induction per year ere these past six centuries, yon council of esteemed elders hath agreed to reconsider this policy, herewith to depart upon a pilgrimage to Tokyo to seek guidance,” said Manzoori, reading aloud from a long and curly scroll. Tokyo is recognized in FWROTBHOF bylaws as the spiritual birthplace of the VX1000.

Panebianco’s induction this week is unlikely to quell longer-running criticisms of the FWROTBHOF’s arcane and largely opaque practices of choosing new members and directing the organization’s activities. Gregson’s appointment followed a nearly 18-month gathering of FWROTBHOF in a remote mountain retreat, during which only sporadic announcements were offered via smoke signal and the official FWROTBHOF Instagram account hardly ever posted.

Observers now expect activists’ focus will shift to Alien Workshop filmer Miguel Valle, whose switchstance prowess for years has been regarded among the FWROTBHOF’s most glaring omissions.

Meat Puppets

August 29, 2021

Life’s tough in cyberspace. To make it as matrix-savvy muscle for hire in the year 2035, William Gibson’s ‘Neuromancer’ teaches that it takes more than skin-tight black leather and quarts of hair gel. ‘Neuromancer’ anti-heroine Molly Millions sports a rewired nervous system for faster reflexes as well as retractable razorblades tucked beneath her fingertips, courtesy of black-market surgeons. Vision-enhancing mirrored lenses are implanted over her eyes, and on the rare occasion she cries, rerouted ducts send tears to her mouth, where her sorrows are spat upon the ground.

Skaters long have dabbled in ‘the net,’ all the way back to Plan B’s cyberpunk-themed sophomore release ‘Virtual Reality,’ through Ty Evans’ digital psych-trips ‘Tha Skatrix’ and ‘Tha Flat Earth,’ as well as early and furtive efforts to construct entirely digital communes, from alt.skate-board to Salman Agah’s ‘Ice Lounge,’ envisioned as a safe space for skaters to discuss diamond jewelry and certain shared interests. While other sports have forged ahead with high-tech body modifications, virtual crowds and remote sensing capabilities, the skateboarding sphere generally remains stuck in first gear with tattoos and piercings, all respect due adaptive pioneers Og De Souza, Sheldon Melshinski and John Comer.

Perhaps the answer ties back, as ever, to the relative lack of profit margins to be wrung from hardgoods sales, contest circuits and related television ads; so far, the investments pumped into into life extension and fusing computers with human brains have been driven by the rich and technological. Inevitably, conflicts arise over those possessing means to augment and those without, setting up a gilded class of attractive cyborgs and a trod-upon lower caste forced to get by with only two arms, no built-in spellchecker and eyes that cannot see through walls.

Enter skateboarding’s own Daddy Warbucks, Tony Hawk, already colloquially known as a human-avian hybrid (bird-man). In between ‘barging’ the Olympic course and several ventures, Tony Hawk has found time in recent months to casually push the ‘technological envelope’ beyond his hoverboard dalliances. Just in time for a richly deserved pro deck for the incredible double set-charging, handrail-handling ATV Felipe Nunes, Tony Hawk flexed his connections to score his Brazilian vert doubles partner a pair of prosthetic legs. More recently, Tony Hawk has dribbled his own blood into a biopaint mixture for a line of premium skateboards — which rapidly sold out — while ‘joking’ about the potential for creating CASL-dominating clones and/or replicants.

After a poor U.S. showing at the ‘2020’ Olympic Games, is high-tech body modification the Americans’ best hope for capturing medallions in future contests? In a few years, when the ‘every kid can do every trick’ skatepark-ready Moore’s law inevitably becomes literal truth, will prehensile tails and biologically linked boards be required to map out a new universe of tricks to learn? Following Andy Roy’s promotional tooth-pulling that led to the infected canine being packaged with some Spitfires, will the first pro clone matchup see a replicant Tony Hawk face off against a replicant Andy Roy?

Five Multicoloured And Trademarked Rings To Rule Them All: Live From The Sofitel

August 5, 2021

On Alaska’s storm-wracked southern coast, between glaciers, fish canneries and mountains jutting from the frigid sea, there shivers a dab of concrete. With a playground to one side, RV park to the other, the narrow mini ramp, flat-barred pyramid and handful of other obstacles of the Seward skatepark get hit up four, maybe five months before the first of the year’s six feet of snow begins to fly; there is one road out of the 2,800-person town and the nearest skate shop is 130 miles away. Brief as a subartic wildflower’s bloom, maybe, but skateboarding in 2021 reaches here, one of the earth’s ends.

Across the ocean and beyond what have come to be knowed as the Straits of Godzilla, skateboarding has thumped up against another frontier. “Now it’s their time to join the greatest show on earth,” a Brit announcer declared upon the opening of last summer’s most anticipated contest, and by any measure the most expensive — the Tokyo Olympics, or “Big O,” that $30 billion, exclusively licensed and endorsed celebration of humanity’s ultimate physical achievements, available for ad-enabled streaming on the country-approved viewing device that is always by your side, sleek comfort in this bacteria season. Another long-passed showman is said to have declared a sucker born every minute; Japan seemed to wish the whole affair had been axed altogether. For the International Olympic Committee, which itself stands to pocket around $5 billion thanks in part to the participation of Yotu Horigome, Nyjah Huston, Leticia Bufoni, Alexis Sablone and others, it is merely a way-station en route to the next deep-pocketed city willing to divert tens of billions to erect a suitable, perhaps disposable soundstage suitable for the organization’s next televised engagement.

A wet pop, a sly come-hither stare, the jingle of gold pieces in a swollen gunny sack — all these are hallmarks of our human moment. In ancient days, these “Olympik Gamesons” swaggered through honeydewed midsummer festivals and the starvation crucibles of bitter’st winter alike, combatants tearing limbs free from respected opponents, marrow swilled, the ancient rites observed. These modern games, convened in the grasp of a planetwide pestilence, hardly are different. In the end, the Olympic Skateboarding Game Event has been… another contest. A day-glo, somewhat overgrown course that inevitably congealed into a handrail-centric hammer-measuring exercise, under the sun’s baking stare. Pros, slyly flashing those board graphics for that O-sized photo incentive. Behind the announcing din, snatches of skate video soundtracks. Tampa Am was mentioned.

Absorbing and calculating the Olympical frame requires setting all of this aside — unfocusing the eyes, breathing, adopting the uninitiateds’ vision, just off work, pouring a cup of goat’s milk and digesting — what? The top of some skateboard, yellow, blaring “SHAKE JUNT.” Speak the language — commentators largely dispensing with attempts to identify and name each trick, breathlessly instead, “Yuto doing what Yuto does.” “The greatest frontside flip that will ever be done.” There are passing stabs at the byzantine scoring system, no matter — the higher the number, the better to tickle the camera-bearing drones and impassively masked, lanyard-draped spectators. Between jumping, spinning and falling (from Twitter: the world’s best, these are?) young faces and unkempt hair step off the ramps, proffering Samsung electronic devices, light beer, community building on Facebook. In the heat of the final heat, these airpodded disciples of Greg Lutzka’s celebratory finger-snaps bob their heads, hitch up their committee-approved tank tops, take a few pushes and, “LET’S GOOOOO”

The feeling runs deeper when you’re ripping on behalf of your nation, or at least trying not to draw the ire of the powered brass and unelected punditry. Sincerities in those IG apologies to entire countries where, in the past (or present) attempting these Olympic-type feats beyond the presanctioned zones could catch you a ticket, a night in jail, a court date. You see Tony Hawk in a Nike dad polo amble onto ESPN, hiking his pants to show off shinners and ambassadoring among sportscaster hosts who talk of “unbelievable drive” and seem like maybe they get it?

Yes: Inspiring to see Alexis Sablone, of ‘PJ Ladd’s Wonderful, Horrible Life,’ of MIT, of Alltimers, in her mid-30s kickflip 50-50 a big hubba on global TV. Funa Nakayama frontside crooked grinding a 12-stair handrail in a contest run, sheesh. Aurélien Giraud whipping out a hardflip backside lipslide on the gap to rail, achieving international hearthrob status. Pedro Barros, bleached blond and green, barreling and blasting through these Tokyo bowls.

Skateboard industry magnates years ago ceded their governance aspirations to a decades-old rollerskating organization so that the International Olympic Committee could improve its multibillion-dollar event’s appeal to networks and advertisers targeting young consumers and their disposable incomes. Is it working? The IOC has trumpeted the unique eyeballs attuned to skateboarding and surfing, though in context these seem like medals for highest pressure flip: The US, the IOC’s biggest market, is delivering the lowest viewership in 33 years, and ratings sag across Europe too. Prime time coverage is averaging about half that of the 2016 Rio Olympiads, leaving broadcasters to offer bonus spots to disgruntled advertisers. Tokyo’s hospitality industry sunk $14 billion into Olympic-ready accommodations, now rewarded by the Covid-19 Delta variant and half a million cancellations. Japan ponied up for a new stadium, plus a state of the art swimmin hole, gymnastics gym and badminton complex; you already know what happens next. Whereas hosting the Olympics usually costs host cities and countries nearly three times more than budgeted, the Tokyo ones are running around 400% higher.

The International Olympic Committee itself seems likely to do okay, standing to make an estimated $3 billion to $5 billion from television rights alone. Then again, the IOC has had a tough run over the last few decades. There was the bribery scandal around the 2002 winter Olympics in Salt Lake City that allegedly included tuition, violins and plastic surgery. There were the charges that the Olympics looked the other way on China’s crackdowns on protests and press freedom around the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and forced evictions in Rio de Janiero to construct the venues for the 2016 competitions. There also was the apparent 2014 Russian state-sponsored doping program, reportedly overseen by the country’s intelligence agency. The Tokyo Olympics got dealt a corruption scandal before the contests were even postponed last year, with watches and cameras allegedly passed out to secure votes for the city’s hosting bid.

And the skaters? Medal-getters stand to be paid handsomely, by skate-contest standards, even by the most relatively tightfisted countries. For skateboarders the world over, the industry heads who make their livings selling and marketing skateboard and skateboard-adjacent products and services promise that there will be benefits both fringe and tangible. Vague respect of one’s schoolmates or secular coworkers, perhaps, an animated dissection of the athletic benefits from Nyjah Huston-style short shorts at the next neighborhood barbecue. If nothing else, bro, think of the parks that will be built; more prefabricated obstacles, the better to practice, nicer fences.

Tony Hawk’s adage went that the Olympics needed skateboarding more than skateboarding needed the Olympics, and it was true as far as that went. But that presumed the question of whether, not when, Olympic-sanctioned skateboarding events would be offered to broadcast networks and advertisers. It is beyond the parameters of a weblogging internet site to pontificate on whether or how the shot-putters of the world would get on without the Olympics, or the long-jumpers and pole vaulters. The Olympics backed Skatistan, and medal-powered winnings presumably will provide Benzes and other luxury goods to certain of the contest skating class, maybe. On Alaska’s pebbly fringe, though, no Olympic largesse was needed to sketch out the mini ramp. Skateboarding, in its handful of decades of life, of its own accord already has penetrated Brazilian favelas, pushed through the Iron Curtain, east Africa, Mongolia, Peoria, Siberia.

Were the oft-obstructed Olympic long lens shots a quiet tribute to the ominous video style of the now-defunct Numbers Edition? Will a pickup in sales of Yuto pro models for April offset Shane O’Neill himself missing out on an Olympic medal payoff? Being honest would Jereme Rogers have won all this shit if this was ’06? What new spots will emerge once the newly built Tokyo venues fall vacant in a few weeks’ time? Which drew a bigger audience of U.S. skaters, the Olympics or the Dipset/Lox Verzuz? Should Fat Joe really just have brought himself out at the Verzuz?

Summertime Mixtape Vol. 9 – Emmanuel Guzman, ‘Let’s Do This!’

June 25, 2021

In time, yesteryear’s Transworld video voiceovers will be presented in their intended forums: TED-style straight-to-Youtube insisters, purring and pounding atop college lecterns, or directed at bleary-eyed Denny’s diners past midnight in guttural shouts and barks. Santa Cruz A-lister Emmanuel Guzman caught one of the last of a dying breed in 2007’s exhortative ‘Let’s Do This!!1’, an easily paid price for a top-to-bottom summation of his power and range that hasn’t faded as the ATV wave crested and rolled over everything. Here and in the later Thrasher/Cons joint ‘Prevent This Tragic’ you see his puma crouch and forward lean, ready to knock your block off frontside boardsliding a rail or pumping a pool. He looks fearless, hanging onto the board in those queasy seconds he’s transferring from the bowl to the big bowl, or drifting as he pops the backside noseblunt back into the deep end, or jumping off a damn roof into some backyard ramp. This vid opened with Brian Brown, worked in Peter Smolik and Devine Calloway and closed with this Emmanuel Guzman thunderclap, and it’s one of the great sorrows of TWS’ demise that you don’t see many full-lengths offering that type of lineup anymore. 

Summertime Mixtape Vol. 9 — Jimmy Lannon, ‘Shaqueefa Mixtape Vol. 3’

June 23, 2021

Among Florida’s perspiring alleyways and crumbling stuccos, what makes a man? If your response included a fire hydrant, switchstance manuals, nollie flips and floral prints, you may be due an assortment of flow-program Lakais. Achieving true bucket-hat lord status, such that Jimmy Lannon enjoys, requires something more — switch backside 360ing on a bank, maybe, hopping an alligator, for sure. May this dude’s golden shirt-to-pants size ratio never waver, may all hydrants shrink before him, and may his bushings cushion each moss-encrusted tropical brick that comes beneath his wheels. 

Summertime Mixtape Vol. 9 – Shane O’Neill and Theotis Beasley, ‘Debacle’

June 22, 2021

Slipped in between the broken glass and Skid Row screamers in Jason Hernandez’s Technicolor property damager was one of 2009’s less intuitive tag teams. Shane O’neill’s sterilized tech matched well with Theotis Beasley’s gangly gap flights, tagging off on the stairs and ledges to a sunny love song that felt like an oasis in one of the heavier features of the time, am team or otherwise. It now reads like a postcard from a simpler time, pre-influencer follower maintenance and Olympic obligations, when a couple kids could throw on the New Eras, chill amongst the wreckage of a global economic collapse and film tricks on colourful flatbars.

Summertime Mixtape Vol. 9 – Richard Mulder, ‘The Chocolate Tour’

June 21, 2021

Who from the OG Girl/Chocolate camp was still peaking after ‘Mouse’ besides Koston and Carroll? Here in 1999 is Richard Mulder, bass turned way too high, missing no steps since ‘Nautilus.’ In the second half of this Zero-speed edit he’s ripping through the East Coast, putting a beauty of a switch backside 5-0 grind onto Kalis and Stevie’s picnic table and anticipating Brian Wenning’s rise at City Hall. Aside from Gideon Choi’s achingly good and deservedly revisited stuff, there weren’t many to put a hurting on the Chaffey ledge transfer like this dude.