Posts Tagged ‘Active’

Industry Meta-Post

July 7, 2009


“It’s on”

So: in the last few weeks, JR Blastoff retired to the tune of a logo graphic, Nike scooped Koston, Heath Kirchart channeled Joaquin Phoenix on the TWS red carpet and Brewce Martin clung to life following a freak accident with a tire mounting machine. Strictly speaking yall can be forgiven if you didn’t notice that the yellow, coned wheels are coming off the skateboard business, while the powers that be do their damnedest to hold it all together, up to and including pro model shoes for Kyle Leeper and Shuriken Shannon. Perhaps it is time for a collective Bad Boys 2 moment.

First there was the nasty fight over who would be the lucky duck to nurse Active Mailorder back to health… because sometimes, “buy-two-clearance-items-get-one-free” deals just can’t get the bros buying flame graphic boardshorts again. Zumiez made a play with designs toward creating some sort of unholy mall-shop monstrosity, but couldn’t close the deal. The ultimate winners of the $5.2 million Active auction chose to remain nameless for reasons that remain their own (think they’re from Florida) but remember, you cannot put a price on the personal brand of Active Erica, though many have tried.

In a similar battle for a skate brand nobody cares about, Kareem Campbell issued a big “nuh uh” Tweet towards Circa, regarding the latter’s claimed ownership of the storied Axion footwear trademark. It’s hard to think who’d do better by this company, which had little going for it in its heyday besides the Guy Mariano model, a hot team and Kevin Taylor’s stab at a running shoe. As far as I know they’re currently counting on Brian Wenning to lead the charge back into the mosh pit that is the skate shoe market, which seems like the type of crazy-like-a-fox move the post-MNC Kareem would green-light, so maybe there’s room for the two parties to get together on this.

Elsewhere, Jamie Thomas’s Black Box distribution recruited Frank Messman, a known wizard with powers to conjure profits from skateboard sales. His brief is said to include constructing elaborate financial hedges against the shifting prices of Canadian hard-rock maple, urethane and black leather dye. Messman is familiar to some as the dude who “turned World around,” if that gives you any idea as to his credentials, but considering Messman’s rumored supernatural powers this actually could have been a back-door Trojan Horse power move by the Chief to head off competition in the past through time travel. (Terminator part 4 release this summer only a coincidence?) Regardless these are tough times indeed. Jamie Thomas famously tests the work ethic of his flow kids in the trenches of the Black Box warehouse; could traveling sales rep responsibilities await willing amateurs? Highly paid pros set to work devising a comeback strategy for Monster Trucks?

One idea to get the industry back on the rails that’s been floated by multiple “industry leaders is that old chestnut, the Olympics. This would “Grow the Sport” while simultaneously putting skateboarders alongside soccer and basketball players, thus earning them the respect of overweight middle-Americans that they so richly deserve. A similar gambit in the late 1980s resurrected the ping-pong industry, which had been all but dead after star paddleman Jerry Rogerman quit the sport to focus on a career in hair rock.

We at Boil the Ocean tend to believe that skateboarding in the Olympics is a bad idea, not because of any evil intentions by the IOC or the IASC or even Tony Iommi, all of whom are upstanding persons with nothing but the purest of intentions for athletic pursuits of all varieties. More problematic is the still-fresh memory of poor Bode Miller, pilloried in the press for his love of the bottle, and to make it plain I fear the same thing might happen to the gentle Fred Gall. Also certain sectors may object to putting professional skateboard riders in close proximity with teen girls in tights.

A better plan, of course, was already dreamed up by the wits at K-Swiss, who stunned the skate industry and rational thinkers everywhere by naming none other than Greg Lutzka “creative director.” Video evidence follows, if you somehow haven’t seen it already, it’s amazing.

BTO votes we put Billy Rohan in charge of everything. View his platform here around the 1:00 minute mark.

Active Ride Shop Attacks Bankruptcy Monster With +30 Sword of Discounts

March 26, 2009


Free shoelace belt, schadenfreude included with every order

Wherefore art thou, Active Erica lifestyle spin-off brand? Dark whispers surround the retail business these days and while the cynical among us may chuckle at the tumbling same-store comparisons of megamall corpo-goons, the Chapter 11 filing of Active Ride Shop, despite its generic clothing line and often clue-deprived layabout employees, hits a bit closer to home as a skateboarder-established business that has maintained at least one foot in the legit skateboard sphere, even while riding the web/mailorder blimp to untold riches during the boom years.

Ah yes. The boom years, when Brian Wenning leased a Bentley, filming video parts on American soil was tres gauche and a spacious suburban California home was just a shoe deal/zero-down mortgage away. In many ways it was a simpler time, free of the heated and conflicted emotions that troubled us in the aftermath of the Osiris video (embodied by the Aftermath Tour, and to a lesser extent Aftermath Records). My memory is not what it used to be, but I remember it more or less exactly like this.

What does a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing mean for Active? Jeff Harbaugh, an action sports industry consultant who I can imagine sporting a goatee, explains in 1500 or so words over at TWS Business. Now I’m no lawyer, though I served as an understudy for this kid who played one in a poorly received junior high play, but I will attempt the same feat in 150 words: Basically Active has four months to get their shit together, conferring with legal wizards and big suppliers (read: skateboard distributors) to figure out how best to keep the crazy blimp afloat, as in the current climate you can imagine no skate company is especially eager to see a major buyer of hard and soft goods snuff it.

(Only 57 words! Note, the remaining unused words I have divided into several tranches according to their relative risk, packaged as securities and sold the lot off to investment banks, where noisy professionals are already at work structuring complex debt instruments around them – a plan assured to reward everyone handsomely and forever.)

There have been convincing arguments made to separate Active out from the likes of Zumiez*, PacSun and even famed Steve Rocco flip-job CCS, but the fact remains that on-premises miniramps or not, those semi-monthly catalogs and website saw Active eat off the plate of many a local skateboard shop, in the US and elsewhere, who haven’t had an easy ride either. I can’t say if Active is more or less worthy as far as “giving back to skating,” whatever that means in 2009, but I suppose the coming months will determine whether it’s worthy as a commercial enterprise. You would imagine that it is, though maybe in slimmed-down form. (There is an easy Active Erica joke in there somewhere for those who seek it.) If not, we’ll survive, yeah, but I can’t imagine things will be looking too hot for other entities on the brink of the abyss.

Regardless, people losing jobs is scary and not funny even when the economy isn’t in the toilet. Unless you’re one of those reptilian demons who works for AIG and bathes in kitten blood during your spare time. Because those guys are the total blurst.

*By the way, TWSB’s Josh Hunter earns a gold star for slogging through the Zumiez 10K filing

Active has bargains

April 22, 2008

The fates today decided to bless me with the Active spring 08 catalog. Obviously a rare piece of luck. Against my better judgment I flipped through it after work and really, there are some pretty amazing deals to be had…


Say you’re silly enough to buy a class ring, but you’re not feeling the school spirit… Emerica gives you the option of indulging your taste for fake gold and plastic emeralds to the tune of $14.99. If you own this and you’re over 18 you are completely without hope. Active also has a pretty badass Krew ring that says “Krew” on it, FYI.


At least when CCS fills up a dozen pages with their in-house shit, they don’t pretend it’s not cut-rate shit. Active allows you to advertise their mail-order skate shop with a $60 sweatshirt. For serious Active fanatics only.


Altamont presents the $30 pocket t-shirt. But I’m sure the cut is, like, amazing.


Krew again. $47. Knockoff Burberry shorts fetch a cool $9.99 at the bodega around the corner from my house. So if anybody out there deems these babies a must-have for the summer season hit me up and I’ll make it happen for $40 (shipping plus finder’s fee). If you’re a major fan, inquire about our $59.99 two-piece Burberry suit…


Stussy flip-flops. As far as I remember, back in the mid-90s Stussy was like a late arrival on the Ocean Pacific/junior high surf-wear scene. It still puzzles me how they hoodwinked everybody into accepting them as some kind of cutting edge streetwear company. Active’s selling Stussy’s god-awful t-shirts for $23, so at $33, maybe these flip flops are a bargain? Yes?


Here we have an Element product. On the subject of t-shirts, insert the comment about the Krew Burba shorts and replace “bodega” with “truck stop of your choice.” The $32 price tag would be kind of amusing if this wolf/eagle/grizzly/whatever novelty graphic shit wasn’t played out a year or two ago.


not even bad shoes, some of the better ones Es has out now or anytime in the last few years actually, but the bite of the Bratrud Nikes is so completely obvious it leaves me wondering if this is some kind of joke that I’m not in on. I don’t like to think so of course, but it would explain some of Es’s more bizarre moves lately, like bringing back the scheme.


OK, I’m getting behind this one here. I think it’s cool that kids today, even those who order from Active, have the option of rocking a Venture “Awake” shirt. I know Indy is the cool truck company right now and all, but this is a classic. And wouldn’t you know, it’s on sale–$12.99.