Ams Behaving Badly and The Struggle For Our Immortal Souls Dudes

January 9, 2016

lobstrosity

As the sleek and plush (if leased [and somehow less flavourful than the Honda Civics and cliff-bound Cadillacs of decades past]) Porsche that is skating’s motorvehicular avatar purrs into 2016, the dashbound is fruitlessly thumped again and again in a hapless bid to steady the jittery moral compass mounted somewhere south of the cracked rear view and fuzzy dice. Turmoil abounds. Tweenage inward heelflip lothario Baby Scumbag and self-styled switchstance deity Keelan Dadd stand accused of sexually exploiting a 12-year-old, drawing revulsion from all but their most loyal Instagram subscribers. Knox Godoy, that onetime Baker bidder for Billy Waldman status, assures Jenkem that a hybrid lifestyle of drug selling, professional chefing and knocking over the odd Wal-Greens is preferred over the comparatively stressful elements of pro-level boardsmanship. Elsewhere there is an uneasy peace to be made with contractually obligated energy-drink hoisting, ‘name’ pros openly endorsing Drake material and Thrasher ringing in this uncertain new year by dabbling in emoticons.

Polarization and its closely related national pasttime, the culture war, seem bound to lay hooks into the skating sphere as it embarks upon a bold age in which a pro can be sacked for too-loose poo talk, while Andy Roy, noted degenerate, holds forth as a wizened confidant and adviser. Mythmaking and condemnation continue their two-decade waltz* around a film meditation on trading HIV status and various assaults while Lenny Kirk admonishes snitches and trafficks in Biblical morality from behind bars:

“A lot of Americans don’t know these things. They’re too caught up with fake tits and butts, plastic surgery, gay sex, drugs, and how to get God out of America. Obsessed with themselves. The flesh. Perverted, influenced by bimbo hoes with twisted minds and famous because of pornos. America is heading to Hell yet they don’t think so. Some try to make it as if homosexuals are normal people but it’s a lie, a deception. You’re not born that way! Men move from viewing pornography to homosexuality, to rape, to incest and to pedophilia… from one glass of wine to abusive alcoholism and from smoking marijuana to crack cocaine.”

As skating’s graying corporate checkhandlers steer it toward an Olympic status and the balance sheet replenishing endorsement largesse to follow, skaters must determine whether they continue cheering bad guys. The general public already had split over Palace’s prodigal ‘old New York’er Shawn Powers’ art career, jacket game and skating generally, but the gulf widened this week upon digital unearthing of a clip in which Shawn Powers forcefully liberated several lobsters before sending several toward an untimely and preemptive broiling via wall.

Shawn Powers’ shock-and-awe campaign upon these semi-suspecting lobsters drew widespread shrugs and condemnation in turn within the skating sphere and without, amid calls for Palace to cease his sponsorship, police to jail him and aquatic beings across the region to rise up in moistened vengeance.

Skating of course already has had a long and fraught relationship with lobsters, mainly manifested through footwear color schemes. Lobsters, despite their cuddly appearance and gregarious ways, are among the most enigmatic and threatening invertebrates of the time. Long rumoured to possess the secrets of immortality, they will feast upon the flesh and carapaces of their own kind, spreading dangerous bacteria wherever they scuttle and threatening the toes and, indeed, the very souls of the unwary:

These you may eat of all that are in the water: whatever in the water has fins and scales, whether in the seas or in the rivers—that you may eat…. Whatever in the water does not have fins or scales—that shall be an abomination to you. Leviticus 11:9, 12

Did Shawn Powers, possibly fresh off Chrome Ball Incident’s landmark Lennie Kirk post and a recent poll that voted God most likely to destroy humanity, simply seek to look out for immortal souls generally and avoid potential abominations by the best means possible? Would lobsters rather die briefly free on the pavement than live doomed behind glass? Dad-a-cham? Dum-a-chum? How does this clip not go in the next Bronze vid? What would Andy Roy do?

Oblivion Access

January 1, 2016

Some others

Gilbert Crockett – ‘Salt Life’
Hard-cut edit on the post-Workshop frontier from Gilbert Crockett’s perpetually spring-loaded feet

Jack Kirk – ‘Krew Killers’
Spyro gyro tailslide

Andrew Allen – ‘Boys of Summer’
Between this, ‘Propeller’ and the Vans offcuts, there is some type of unholy Skater of the Year bid

Kevin Bradley – ‘Chronicles 3’
Neck and neck with ‘Sickness’ in turn up terms, last 30 seconds particularly

Tyler Surrey – ‘Spanish VX’
Lines that go forever, and a case for nollie flip noseslides in 2016

Tom Asta – ‘1947’
Nollie heelflip backside noseblunt on a handrail

Jerry Hsu – ‘Boys of Summer’
The heartwarming results possible – feeble grind, smith grind – when beloved pros oblige requests to ‘just see you skate’

Nick Boserio – ‘No Cash Value’
2015’s reigning lord of hairball, where you wouldn’t be surprised if he loosened his trucks before the penultimate escalator plunge

Dylan Sourbeer – ‘Sabotage4 Promo’
Love park ledgelord with Wenning slump status

Tony Trujillo – ‘Propeller’
His best one since the Transworld vid

Donovan Piscopo – ‘Hockey promo’
The planter backside tailslide line

Josh Kalis – ‘Sabotage4’
*shrug*

Yaje Popson – ‘SK8RATS’
Back in living color, but for good?

Mark Suciu – ‘Civil Liberty’ sans voiceovers
Also including Dennis Busenitz at Pulaski, and ending with one of the most Mark Suciu tricks doable there

Hats off to Chrome Ball Incident for its exhaustive (yet apparently truncated) interview-by-mail with jailed switchstance barbarian, stunt cycler and street preacher Lennie Kirk, which nearly met 2015’s quotables quota on its own and expands upon all the old stories, nearly all of which seem to be true and then some:

“Many times with Jesus’ guidance, Him, I and my girl, Ez, took the bike to 177mph at night on the 101 freeway. All out throttle to the max. Alone, I topped the bike out at 184mph, wide open for more than 10 miles. Just me and God. It’s a surreal spiritual experience. God’s glory in it all. Other drivers seeing a bike fly by them at 184mph in the night! It’s deeply personal, eternal and unique. A oneness with God, my girl and my bike… flowing and free, not worried about cops.”

nike-sb-the-sb-chronicles-vol-3

The print media struggle in 2015 means taking risks to stand out. Transworld, its revival already well underway, rolled further dice by essentially re-running The Skateboard Mag’s most-recent cover on page 56-57 of its Jan. 2016 issue.

Also flexing on print media this year was Quartersnacks, one of the few (if only) internet web pages with not only the balls to make a book but the well of stories, hoarded text messagement, pic of folks skating castoff TVs and depth of collective character to pull it off in spades – buy it here.

1. Max Geronzi – ‘Gypsy Life’

December 31, 2015

Tenured psychology professors in 1985 formulated the ‘Francis Buxton’ principle to warn of spendthrift excess, dangerous gorging and aquatic Godzilla delusions that may arise from privileged upbringing, a cautionary stance that should be paid mind by the ‘everyone can do every trick’ generation, particularly given an ongoing fixation on 1980s artifacts including but not limited to bonelesses and sport vests. Cliché’s contrast pocketeer Max Geronzi, one of those seemingly capable of doing every trick, also appears imbued with the good sense to know what ones are worth trying as he runs the streetstyle gamut from Photosynthesis tech lines to flip-in-flip-outs to tall rails to bump-to-bar crust spots, griptape hanging off the nose and a Jake Johnson arm on the switch ollie into the bank. In spite of dated lifestyle-shot jumbling, the mysterious and swirly grab bag of seldom-seen-elsewhere maneuvers Max Geronzi pulls from – switch late shove-it, fakie frontside bluntslide, nollie backside 180 to switch 5-0, on a rail – and razory execution on more straightforward gnar like the full-tilt switch nose manual and the towering switch 360 flip off the Barcelona wave make his ‘Gypsy Life’ section more rewatchable than nearly any other video part this year.

2. Miles Silvas – ‘1947’

December 30, 2015

It is an interesting and engaging investment of time to consider Miles Silvas’ skating as a cipher for the youth of today, in all of their seeming contradictions and thirst for rapid gratification: Here is a young man, alternately clad in slimly tailored, above-the-knee shorts and a Guwop-for-Prez tee, not bothering to sweet talk or buy the hubba flowers first with a switch crooked grind or backside 5-0 before unleashing the switch backside smith grind. Miles Silvas is a budding beast capable of switch backside heelflipping off a damn house but psyched to twirl a vanilla 360 flip down a smallish stair set for kicks and free-of-charge LRG shirts and apparel, slathering plenty of mustard onto his roll-aways but never writing uncashable tickets. The boy right now seems to embody Jason Dill and AVE’s “in the window” theory and his daring and measured matching of tricks to spots, as well as potential free-world leaders, is as sharp as his judgment in pattern combos is awesomely lacking, and one assumes he’s got more heaviness on offer in the Adidas vid to come.

3. Anthony Van Engelen – ‘Propeller’

December 29, 2015

In a just and honourably logical world there are two sorts of Skaters of the Year: Those undeniable destroyers whose up-and-comingness has already established them as power forces and for whom the Thrasher nod bestows gravitas and permanence of place that the honoree bears out through photos, video footage and survivability over the ensuing years; or, a recognition of plants aligning and a moment arriving for those understood to have achieved all of that except the award itself already.* Anthony Van Engelen, that early embracer of body art, hard living and Jason Dill’s fractured and improbably profitable take on popular culture, falls squarely into the latter compartment with a blistering burn of a closing-section in Vans’ ‘Propeller’ video that refurbished some already-patented AVE tricks, such as the backside nosegrind and the switch frontside crooked grind, broke out new ones, like the switch backside smith grind and switch frontside 180 nosegrind 180 out, and drew recommendations to wipe the blood from his teeth upon floating that ollie off the volcano and barely hanging onto the fence frontside 5-0. On the strength of always-quality production and wack trick avoidance AVE a long time ago registered as a consummate pro but between the Vans part, which also placed him alongside Bobby Worrest in a class of aging dudes who still fuck with handrails, and the equivalent of three video parts (across the Vans vid, the associated raw footage (above) and tricks strewn across various Bill Strobeck and Jeff Kutter productions) cement his status as forevermore.

*Danny Way’s mega reinvention aside, maybe, repeats suggest lack of imagination

4. Tiago Lemos – De La Calle/Da Rua

December 28, 2015

A frightening shadow passed over the skating sphere in late August when the Tiago Lemos ‘We Are Blood’ remix part, an important public service to vertebrates, for a time vanished from Facebook and immediately assumed a new and mercifully brief existence as internet lore, telling of a unique realm where a switch backside tailslide kickflip out down a rail and a massively tall switch bigspin backside tailslide can be viewed without skipping past any number of joyously shaken boards and the frolicking RV that transports them in four-stacks HD. Not that it would have mattered though. In some surely quantifiable sense Tiago Lemos has done and filmed the most hardest craziest tricks all year and another video part spilling over with jaw-slackening feats invariably was due within months, and so it was that DC unleashed this section that included at last the planter-top switch frontside crooked grind, various crazy-big switch backside smith and noseblunt varietals, and continued his endearing devotion to the switch mongo push, baggy denim and DC shoes that have kept Tiago Lemos in good standing among aging “LA County” fans. The most-impressive Tiago Lemos related move of the year may have been BLVD hanging onto him.

5. Joey O’Brien – ‘Sabotage 4’

December 27, 2015

joeyob

Nuff respect due to Alex Olson’s ringing Republique line, Greyson Fletcher’s concrete slopestyle, Josh Kalis’ backside noseblunt face-off and Gino Iannucci’s 40 shove-its to freedom, but Joey O’Brien’s run in, out and under Love Park’s granite skeleton ranks not just as the year’s best run of tricks but among the craziest period at a spot that’s yielded some of the most memorable for all of earth’s eternity. In the fourth ‘Sabotage’ volume Joey O’Brien proved willing to and capable of digging his fingernails deeper into Philadelphia’s hallowed and hectic crust than even many of his mouthwash guzzling compatriots, chiseling through handrails and gaps to keep pro-level fans from usurping any curtains as wrecking balls again threaten to end this latest Love era. If wink out it must, there are worse ways to go than under the twinkling neutron star that is Joey O’Brien’s tightly spun 360 flip closer.

6. Dick Rizzo – ‘Trust’

December 26, 2015

Buoyed by a surname associated with intensely described roofing and auto repair, Dick Rizzo cemented a calendar year of powerful persuasion despite entanglements with the aged Elvis of postage stamp controversies past and ersatz poetry by Quentin Miller. In between uniquely musical bike-rack clankers and bidding for Huf wallride titlist the Bronze ‘Trust’ chapter offered viewers a long sip of Dick Rizzo’s broiling and magma-like psyche as he hopped skatestoppers at speed, switch grinded bars and united bizarrely positioned ground nubs via kickflip.

7. Lance Mountain – ‘Chronicles 3’

December 25, 2015

The increasingly rote presentation of Nike’s ‘Chronicle’ entries, from the name to the kinetic editing that carries the familiarity of a seventh-season TV show, has upped pressure on Swooshified pros and ams to stake out series high points through force of personality — beside debates over Cory Kennedy’s offbeat vest maneuvers distracting him from urban achiever status and Eric Koston’s late-blooming ‘Cherry’ rebrand, the most-buzzing part this time around came from a former board company owner and graphic drawer born under the LBJ administration. The handplants, rocks-n-rolls and mile-long boardslides all are knowed and beloved Lance Mountain quantities, but the hanger-wiggling feeble grinds, tight-corner 50-50 and over-the ladder thunder would be deemed gnarly by dudes half his age, and the street footage — which he probably didn’t need to get and which shocked unwary and plodding weblog typers — cleared benches even before the father-son kickflip registered as that rare hammer of both the standard and lifestyle varieties.

8. Dane Vaughn – ‘Laugh Now Cry Later’

December 24, 2015

Occasionally fitted like Puffy’s Hamptons pool boy and targeting tricks at times like DGK’s answer to Dylan Rieder, swamp threat Dane Vaughn has been one of the more interesting dudes coming up among the company’s third generation, or fourth, or whatever it may be with Stevie Williams piloting nautical clothing concerns, Jack Curtain riding for Staba and Keelan Dadd striking out on his own. The sun is shining on Dane Vaughn, nudging noseblunt slides across sporadically reluctant planters, kickflipping into a frontside noseslide on JKwon’s tall block like it’s a curb, laughing off a nollie inward heelflip to calamity crash and on the ender, defying any type of conventional wisdom as to the smooth handling of a barely imaginable block-top move.


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