Autobahn Wheels this week released the follow-cam view of last year’s best 360 flip via the above clip welcoming Jordan Trahan, which also features a pop shove-it 50-50 that’s out of the Tim O’Connor playbook and a burly ditch kickflip.
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As the pot of boiling molten lead that is euro zone’s economic crisis continues to upend itself over the continental bloc, scalding and blistering the region’s economic back and dribbling into the frayed and threadbare underpants of its long term growth prospects, seeking sales abroad makes sound business sense. In recent years Blueprint and Cliche have followed the trail blazed decades back by Flip, settling into So Cal distributorships and placing themselves into contention to sign American handrail hopefuls and carve forth that ever-succulent slice of the lucrative US boards market, with the throbbily rising greenback translating to ever-larger piles of euros and related European commodities such as wine, Matif wheat and heavily sold David Hasslehoff albums.
Cliché’s latest vid arrives entitled ‘Gypsy Life,’ perhaps in a nod to the company’s Frommian series of tours as well as its increasingly nationless nature. A decade ago, in the ‘Bon Appetit’/French Fred era that elevated Cliche to the world stage, Australian phenom Cale Nuske represented a major off-continent shift in Jereme Daclin’s teambuilding. Two years after that Cliché scooped Arcadian manual-pad mixologist Joey Brezinski who had languished for a time in a kind of post-Tyron Olson teammate limbo, considered to be a uniquely singular experience, and also representing Cliché’s initial foray into employing Americans.
While Lucas Puig, that postnaturally gifted ledge soothsayer, and drop-down sweatsuit maestro JB Gillet remain spiritual viceroys, the current Gypsy Cliché is more multinational than ever, with Frenchmen representing just over one-third of the team; U.S. riders now make up the largest non-French bloc, with the remainder split between the U.K., euro zone and Australia. While Palace and Polar ball for position in an effort to crack some long-standing glass ceiling long constraining east-of-the-Atlantic hardgoods operators, Cliché’s recent hires of the triple set-thundering Paul Hart, transition muncher Brad McClain and schoolyard impressionists like Daniel Espinoza and the now-FA’d Kevin Bradley give the company firm US positioning in several relevant subgenres.
In Cliché’s bid for cross-borderdom, it is Lyonnaise hot shoe Max Geronzi` who makes the most powerful argument for France’s continued dominion, uncorking probably the best video part so far this year – Thrasher drew the easy comparison to Puig but for our unconverted francs the better metric is Chewy Cannon, whose nervy energy, switch ollie poke and merciless flick Max Geronzi closely approximates. He also constructs some of the more incredible lines in a while, weaving in poorly understood tricks such as the fakie frontside bluntslide, an arcane god few recently have prayed to beyond the house of Cobra Chris Cole. In another frightening turn, Max Geronzi backside lipslides a legit handrail out of a manual.
With some three parts under his belt so far this year, is Max Geronzi preparing for a Mark Suciu-esque run of productivity that can only end under the crushing drudgery and long-term wisdom of pursuing higher education? Is French still regarded as the international language of ledges? Is JJ Rousseau still recording footage? Did the boy seriously backside lipslide a handrail from a manual? If what Joey Brezinski said years back about using EA Skate to craft new manual combinations, would this qualify him as the first dual-level professional both on board and on screen?
“Nobody pays taxes on Mars,” the old saying goes, and it rings as true today as it ever was. For the astronaut, moustachioed and physically capable of handling several Gs, space travel draws a fat, black dividing line between youth and that which comes after; no man, they say, is the same after penetrating celestial orbit. For the ancient dinosaurs, to enter middle age was a feat accomplished by only the clever and ruthless, and these became chieftans and enriched warlords.
Today little has changed. History barrels forward similar to a kettle of fine fish packed into a barrel and rolled downhill and, come this time next year, handrail skating will be 30 years removed from those nervy days when Mark Gonzales and Natas Kaupas took it in their heads to ollie air up onto safely secured hand-bannisters and chart a bold and zesty course toward best-trick contest purses, ponderous stair counts, bike-lock controversies and the occasional bloody discharge. There was a gawky, turn-of-the-decade adolescence, followed by a coming of age under the dauntless feet of Duffy, Kirchart, Thomas and Muska, and the bigger-longer-taller maturation spree pursued in the early aughts by the Flip-Zero-Baker contingent.
Wither the handrail in 2015? In the last year and a half Transworld has featured just a single handrail trick on its cover, as page counts dwindle and TWS embraces wallrides and assorted transition terrains. Over at Thrasher, which cover-wise years ago threw in its lot with the Wade Speyer side of the tech-vs-gnar continuum, handrail tricks as a percentage of covers each year seem to have plateaued.
Is handrail skating becoming engulfed in a midlife crisis, with nollie heelflip crooked grinds widely regarded as passe, 39 stair curvers suggesting some possible upper limit and El Toro gelded? Resurgent bowls, abrupt transitions and even the vert ramp seem to have splintered handrail skating into restless and nomadic tribes, including displaced wallriders, wall-rejecting against-the-grainers, deep-crouching over-the-toppers, body varialing rewinders and a Mariano-bred stripe of small-bar uber-tech.
Recent signals however suggest that a certain purity of the round slanted bar continues to draw admirers, even without a fire-engine red, glasspacked sports car or wallie on. Australian dervish Jack Fardell, in the process of extensively notching some unholy San Francisco skatespot bedpost, commanded Thrasher’s May cover with a rabid 50-50 grind down a kinked beast that had bucked known master John Cardiel more than a decade back. Further south Paul Hart, a Floridian partly responsible for shifting Cliche’s center of gravity increasingly west of the Atlantic, recorded a sit-and-stare worthy nollie backside noseblunt to fakie sequence that naturally occurred also near the end of an Arto-aspiring ‘Gypsy Life’ section.
Is a midlife crisis a healthy and productive exercise for handrail skating generally? When handrail skating begins wearing tight polo shirts with the collars flipped up, pumping weights and loudly quoting Rae Sremmurd lyrics, at what point should a friend intervene? Will people start painting gray handrails black and then denying it? Will photoshopping gray handrails black represent the greatest ethical quandary to confront Instagram accountholders in the years ahead? Could Thrasher re-run this Kasai cover next month without anyone being the wiser except probably Jason Dill?
As a web blog Boil the ocean site faces unique challenges and may even be a dying breed similar to a breed of dying dinosaur. Semi-coherent and tiresome 4000-word posts have relinquished valuable readership to Mountain Dew listicles, clickable Tumbly sites and other increasingly micro platforms. Police Informer, Skateboarding Sucks, Carles and YouWillSoon all hung it up and now you got Andrew Sullivan warning that operating a blog could cause physical harm or even dinosaur-like death.
The video age did not shove skate photography into the proverbial tar pit in such a fashion but the internet age surely seems to be strangling the skate print-media sphere, perhaps within a vat of dangerous tar. In recent days beloved U.K. standbys Sidewalk and Kingpin decided to stop printing magazines and focus on computerized publishing, along with Germany’s Monster. This ominous gong rings out through the noble halls of Valhalla shortly after Slap and Skateboarder’s similar decisions to become online-only publishers portended a further initiative to stop publishing new content altogether, with Skateboarder’s website stocked with a Sept. 2013 issue and Slap distilled down to its message boards.
The speed at which generations turn over within skating suggests that, just as few current park ledge tailsliders recall a time when footwear logos did not default to a swoosh, within five years’ time the same may go for all but a small handful of physical magazines, specialty items turned to amid days-long power failures or the refuge of he or she who fatally cracks his strokable glass of choice. More noses warmed by gently shining screens and fewer physical paper pages in time could similarly cull both the number of photographers the industry is able to meaningfully support and the landing pads for their art, particularly if future trick-claiming scandals infect wheel and shoe buyers with a baseline distrust for anything beyond raw footage set to appropriately curated Atlanta rap songs.
As ever this Blogg site’s thoughts go to the children, or rather more specifically those children who eventually may find their trick quivers bizarrely stunted by a dearth of photographs. Whither the one foot ollie, that occasionally majestic and uniquely 1980s maneuvre that when correctly captured has the power to move a man such that he sloughs off decades’ worth of middling Hollywood toilings and industry false-starts and remembers only impressively shredded Airwalk high-tops of summers gone by. And yet the one-footer remains that peculiar and little understood enigma whose majesty almost entirely dissolves on film, with AO and Antwuan Dixon turning in some bizarre renditions lately and Grant Taylor’s comparatively more classic execution residing on transition rather than the streets.
Can the one-footer subsist in a severely constrained skate photo galaxy, a hellish nightscape where fevery competition from bigspin double flips and sugarcanes leave a scant few pages for the sometimes-AKA ollie north to continue in its most pleasurable form? The Skateboard Mag last month showcased a lovely one-footer by yung CJ Collins, a promising lamppost for all current comer-uppers, and Chris Cole featured a tailgrabbed version in this month’s — though an ominous tone also emanated from the current issue, as its cover required an image of a cell phone to incent potentially befuddled youngsters to peer inside.
In the future, will aging new-schoolers promote crowdfunding campaigns to secure remaining magazine page-space in a one-footer conservation effort? Did the ollie impossible’s resurgence already prove such repertoire rebounds are possible? Will the Vision Shoe Crew reunite for an acoustic tour of intimate East Coast venues? Shall time prove J Strickland right again?
Like a fire that, once lit, cannot help but to consume an entire bulldozer-built pile of disco records, or a shark that must ceaselessly advance through a sea of Pace Picante Style salsa or face its untimely Picante Style demise, skating since the beginning has been possessed of a need to progress. Alan Gelfand’s ollie wasn’t enough, it had to be did backwards; what’s the point doing a loop when you can turn it switch with a section chopped out of the top? Josh Kalis’ straight kickflip in a Love Park ‘Time Code’ line, immaculate as it is, looks quaint through the Mark Suciu lens.
Through it all the shoe has come to be regarded as the most immediate extension of the seven-ply-trucks-and-urethane configuration, but the past decade’s footwear fetishization mainly serves to obscure a decades-long struggle with pants. After clamoring out of pools and associated surf trunks the story of skating and pants has reflected that of mankind’s tortured grappling against his very own nature, occasionally overreaching, failing, burning piles of disco records, and starting anew. In the 1980s Limpies and Vision offered chaotic and unpredictable* print varieties for those zestful spirits unsatisfied by blue jeans or more-pedestrian sweatpants with skeletal rats ascending outseams; vert soon gave way to street these fell back while multicoloured and flapping denim advanced, several years passing before the East rejuvenated woodland camo and more adventurous spirits embraced snow and urban variations.
While the aughts saw style magnets such as Dylan Rieder and Nick Trapasso alternately fuck with pinestripes and pajama pants, this period of war and economic turmoil mainly reflected itself in darkened indigo denim and brown cords, the re-embrace of printed patterned pants not arriving until well into the 2010s when all-over print shirts primed a newly emboldened consumer base to throw wide the camo floodgates for increasingly esoteric prints. Thanks partly to relentless boosterism within DGK vids, the movement eventually demanding notice by the mass-market media: “It’s the one pattern that pretty much every guy is down with. What other pattern has a macho angle to it?”
Masculinities aside, the door now lies kicked down for pants makers — Thrasher offers a SAD sweatpant among several options, and now comes Fucking Awesome heavyweight Na’kel Smith on the cover of Transworld, gapping out in Tokyo within a pair of florid leggings that seem to also have crossed the Atlantic in recent months. In his numbers-taking, asses-kicking process over the last two years, Na’kel Smith seems to have taken it upon himself to push back the pants pendulum to a level of intricate and flowery detail not seen in probably about 25 years, no small undertaking when considering the intense internet flames stoked beneath noted 360 flip 50-50er** Garrett Hill, daring to step out in a still-notorious red-and-black combo.
Has Na’kel Smith doomed himself to a Sisyphusian task, destined to be squashed by a heavy and oblong fashion boulder that will waver under the weight of resurgent dad jeans, or is his pants choice more conservative than it may first appear when laid alongside a freely purchasable array of similarly floral hats, shirts, shoes, and obviously weed socks? Are authorities overlooking an emerging form of camo that now clothes newly militarized toughs hired to defend a booming US marijuana industry? Are scarfs next? As it thins has Transworld on the low had the best covers of the last year?
*particularly for Cali4nia Cheap Sk8 clientele
**And backer of 360 flip 50-50ers
Published on Mar 8, 2015
All comments (290)
Mega Mannn 2 days ago
Ay i NEED some of these old AOL/Prodigy/CompuServ discs You got em I got Paypal let’s deal Trying to step up my sponsor me tape game Trying to come up! Need some of them clips so Hit me up!
Mega Mannnn 1 day ago
Ay I’m so sincere w it HMU with those old internet clips Gonna use Um!
John W Sidgmore Lives 1 day ago
King dave 2 days ago
search “hella thots” by king dave , if u wanna turn up to a thot anthem
Big Una 2 days ago
BWeatherby 2 days ago
Jordan Trahan tho. DICK RIZZO THO
Rap Game Grandpa 2 days ago
As a rap game grandpa, i have different concerns. like how a generation of young children are growing up without any adults in the household to teach them that Drake is soft
Unemployed Grimace 2 days ago
calling it…Suge Knight vehicular homicide footage in the next one
GLUPPITY GLUP 2 days ago
do u even believe that shit on those two bubbles i mean damm
Green mind 2 days ago
Rizzo on his Wes Kremer shit
GLUPPITY GLUP 1 day ago
on his Jason Dill
Jordan Trahan also 360 flipped my shed 1 day ago
Tom from Myspace 1 day ago
anybody skated the hardware how it sk8???? real replies only please
Huf shoes need to st 1 day ago
Huf shoes need to start a shorts team
Michael 4000 Watts The Boy 1 day ago
Yall using the funny voice and makin joke like somebody ain’t just lose they life.SmH
Every Day We 1 day ago
Wept when Joseph Delgado came thru with Killa
Ronnie 1 day ago
Is the chick with the camcorder and the other chick the same chick ? Serous replies only plz
Also need more empire drops
King dave 1 day ago
search “hella thots” by king dave , if u wanna turn up to a thot anthem
Quon King 1 day ago
nobody had my baxk wen i was loxk down !!! on mehhh
MNMFTB fan 187
Billy McFeely I trust u
Tone Def 1 day ago
dope as fuuuuccckkk
Freaknik Wozniak 1 day ago
kinda think they predicted the gold macbook TBH
Dennis.DeYoung 1 day ago
ti tie my shoes n double knots jus 2 run witcha
King dave 1 day ago
search “hella thots” by king dave , if u wanna turn up to a thot anthem
Prince doug 1 day ago
Somehow, as global intelligence and stylistic nets began tightening around the turn of the century, the 5-0 achieved a Keyser Söze-esque exit that eluded other tricks. Kickflips? Jim Greco was on the case in ‘Feedback,’ laying down a red line between ‘flick’ and ‘mob’ that left room for the Gonz but few others as Tom Penny’s shredded Accel toe caps ascended to deity status. Snowplow nosegrinds were sidelined after Anthony Pappalardo and Brian Wenning came through in ‘Photosynthesis,’ reserving any deck contact for an early pop out. Even a freshly celebrified Chad Muska couldn’t preserve the ‘illusion’ frontside flip from the Andrew Reynolds movement, and Bryan Herman did likewise for hardflips a few years later.
The 5-0 kept on skidding its tail into a fresh millennium though. “Mileage,” a naysayer may neigh. “How much better is a truck-balanced 5-0 going to look, anyway.” Well, how much ‘worse’ did a classically vertical hardflip in the Kareem Campbell mode look than the commoditized version available today in most city-sanctioned street plazas? The answer may confuse and arouse, but rarely satisfy.
Erstwhile French Canadian Wade Desarmo these days often occupies what could be construed as the ‘style’ wing of the DGK/Gold Wheels spectrum versus the increasingly convoluted flip-in and/or -out combinations forged in the J-Kwon smithy on recent weekends. It was sort of hard to tell through the compressed vision of the ‘Parental Advisory’ VX footage, but time seems to have worn away the past decade’s profuse denim and freely flapping basketball jerseys, leaving in place a journeyman hardflipper who nowadays mines a sensibly pantsed seam somewhere in that rational no-man’s land between stylistic spectrum endpoint-holders Dane Vaughn and Dustin Montie, with tricks increasingly resemblant of Mark Appleyard in his oversleeping SOTY heyday.
Is Wade Desarmo, whose appearances in last month’s ‘Gold Goons’ and last year’s ‘Blood Money’ quickly become highlights on repeated viewings, the case-maker for a balanced 5-0 grind? He hardflipped beautifully into one in ‘Parental Advisory,’ script-flipping of a sort versus a similarly balanced 5-0 that Marc Johnson varial heelflipped out of in ‘Modus Operandi.’ ‘Gold Goons’ is a worthy successor to ‘Got Gold’ in all of the necessary ways and the eponymous goons produce obvious highlights such as Rodrigo TX’s tailslide kickflip with the Keenan Milton mail in the back pocket, Tiagos Lemos’ massive switch backside tailslide on the stage and run through Carroll’s loading dock, Carlos Iqui’s hardflip b/s nosegrind revert and switch frontside 360.
Many of these tricks nevertheless would leave the 5-0 grind feeling safely skidding its tail through another decade, aside from a hardflip or varial heelflip between friends now and then — if it were not for again, Wade Desarmo, fresh off a switchstance Pupecki grind back to switch, still facing the ledge with one of the more ominous look-backs since Birdhouse flew Rick McCrank to a nighttime jam session at the San Dieguito handrail, perhaps signaling that the 5-0 grind may yet be revisited before completion of the looming presidential campaign.
It’s 2015 and despite some generational turnover-style moulting, skateboarding has a lot to feel good about. Tony Hawk’s a millionaire several times over. Rodney Mullen is a snaggle-toothed guru of non-linear thought to Silicon Valley. We got Andy Roy gainfully employed and Fred Gall hitched. Even in the beleaguered independent board-and-shoe biz, growth prospects are good enough for capital formation to have graduated from loan sharks to the gaudily moneyed arena of private equity, placing the Flare and OG logo in good company with assorted interior design firms and taco retailers. The fat tail distribution of the skate-doc curve suggests that within several years’ time everyone who was pro in the 1980s will have had a movie made about them, prioritized somewhat by property-damage totals and conspiracy theorizing. There is a new Bronze vid.
Like a satisfied father, hoarse of voice after lustily screaming through the chain-link fence, watching his sponsorship-bound progeny trudge back up the park steps for another try at the kickflip frontside boardslide, skating seems to be feeling its oats and raring to tell the world — in press release form, as has become the industry’s customary form of communication besides Instagram. Graphical sock firm Stance and their shoe collaborators Vans seemed barely able to contain themselves recently, declaring themselves ‘honored’ to begin selling a group of socks colored to look like famous skateboards. “[A]s much as these legends have redefined skating, they have also reminded us to be true to ourselves,” Vans and Stance socks counseled shoppers.
Medieval theologian Pat Pasquale has been quoted warning that ‘inordinate self-love is the cause of every sin,’ but leave it to the skating biz to thumb nose and/or tail at even the highest of authorities, never mind those Mother Mary sleeves. With the Plan B video looming, Etnies last autumn proudly welcomed Chris Joslin, not long after those Sole Tech tourmates to be at Lakai proudly introduced Jon Sciano and the Fura shoe. Lakai also proudly launched the Spring 2014 Echelon collection, having earlier proudly announced Daniel Espinoza to the team and proudly introduced Vincent Alvarez’s shoe.
Just last month Paul Rodriguez’s Primitive skateboards proudly welcomed double Flip king Bastien Salabanzi, the same month Transworld was proud to grant a posthumous ‘legend’ award to Jay Adams, while Vox shoes proudly hired Victor Garibay and RVCA was proud to offer clothes designed by Elementeer Juian Davidson.
Things slowed down somewhat this month with Street League and SPOT contest supervisors proudly joining forces, and the water company Fred Water proud to sponsor Jamie Thomas and Tony Hawk, among others.
Who retains humility in these heady times? As ever it requires an injection of that fabled 1990s rawness, in this instance, taking the form of JNCO denim pants, those heavily stitched movables with the reliably ballooning seats. Emboldened by its own capital infusion, JNCO pants have reannounced themselves to the world while communicating its investors’ zest for selling unconstrained denim garments without using the word ‘proudly,’ setting an example of understated modesty and grace that other action sport concerns might well emulate.
“JNCO defined a way of life that pushed the limits, encouraged creativity and championed individuality creating the original lifestyle brand that became the foundation of the 90’s youth generation. Presently, the Journey of the Chosen Ones (JNCO) is guided by its main principle: “Challenge conventionalism. Explore the unfamiliar. Honor individuality.” Through this platform, JNCO aspires to bring together the chosen ones – a multitude of like-minded individuals with a shared passion for culture, sports and the arts, on a collective journey that will strengthen their position as the leaders of today’s society.”