Posts Tagged ‘Adidas’

If Franky Spears Kickflip Backside Noseblunts The Pyramid Ledges And The Footage Disappears, Is It Again An NBD?

February 21, 2020

Current events. Priceless works of art. Mankind’s steamiest industrial achievements. The beauty of a peacock’s feather. A plate of shrimp. All are fleeting in the arc of the universe, spilling out across millennia, like so much galactical flab. In the time of the electronic cigarette and smouldering anxieties, time is a loosened and wiggly loop, like the yellowed waistband on a ragged pair of Hanes.

A man’s body of work, they say, can be measured two ways: by souls ignited in inspiration, or by enemies’ bodies rotting beneath the ground. Just for the sake of argument let’s consider Niels Bennett, Frankie Spears, Felipe Gustavo, Tom Snape and Gustav Tonnesen in the former category. Their efforts featured in last year’s post-SOTY season Adidas release ‘Reverb,’ reliably extending the sportswear conglomerate’s series of professionally executed, inoffensive videos that, like the company’s other releases over the last four or five years, is precisely as interesting as whatever dudes are featured. Who in this case are excellent: Tom Snape, possessed of an uncommon switch inward heelflip, joined co-Commonwealther Dom Henry on the board of the ‘Peep This’ preservation society; Frankie Spears, under Mark Suciu’s tutelage, burnishes an upper-classman’s refinement to handrail brutality; Niels Bennett puts a fakie frontside blunt to regular on Philly’s Puerto Rico school up-block and argues further for a pro board at the reinvigorated Girl; Gustav does Gustav stuff — a strong 20 minutes.

Or was it? Perhaps in a nod to camera-dodging subcultural sasquatches such as Ryan Hickey and Tom Penny, if you weren’t there, all you have to go on are stories and substance-fogged innuendo. Days after its internet posting, ’Reverb’ evaporated, leaving behind only fond memories and sadly pixelated vid-not-founds. It is not the only Adidas video to have vanished; Mark Suciu’s 2015 voiceovered, butt-sweaty shoe mover ’Civil Liberty’ is gone, as is Dennis Busenitz’s very good ‘Euro Lines’ part, and others. Whereas some remain archived elsewhere, speculation abounds over music-licensing half-lives or other yet murkier doings.

Given skate videos’ gradual elevation to cultural documents — along with photographs, they are the true record and benchmark for careers and achievement in an inherently subjective and qualitative realm — the abrupt erasure of lines, phrases or entire paragraphs from what’s effectively skateboarding history raises all types of unsettling questions about control and ownership. Particularly as corporate footwear actors consolidate their position as the industry’s gravitational core, the issues run well beyond memory-holed proof of who did what where, or the need for agent-repped pros to begin requesting contract clauses to preserve months or years of work for posterity purposes, let alone resume material for future sponsorships or TB-hashtagged IG postings.

If companies are bankrolling skating’s historical documents, are they also purchasing the responsibility for maintaining their piece in internet-age perpetuity, or do vids remain the entity’s property to digitally dustbin if they so please? Will the body of skate video history ultimately rest on how strictly Google, Facebook, InterActiveCorp and others decide to enforce royalty payments to musical publishers? In an age where hot shoes are ready and willing to pump out multiple video parts in any given year, are disposable video parts actually a type of flex?
Are sometime grating, mostly generic license-free songs a worthwhile price to pay for secure YouToob real estate? Will people even notice amid the growing ‘content crush’?

4. Gustav Tønnesen — ‘Reverb’

December 28, 2019

The easygoing freedom radiating off Gustav Tønnesen’s otherworldly tricks arises partly from his and Sour’s congenial, blissful separate-ness from the California pro-circuit rat race. He generally seems unconcerned, and it’s probably a contributor to rather than detractor from Sour’s assorted successes and achievements since the Sweet split. The askew ‘spot’ choosings and bottomless skill reservoir regularly exhibited in the ‘Sour Solution’ entires can leave one wondering what a Gustav Tønnesen part could look like given the ‘big-budget’ treatment and an indulgence toward more-standard video part trick choices, and Adidas’ late-arriving ‘Reverb’ vid offers one version — there’s a nollie 270 fronside noseslide into a bank, a switch crooked grind in a line, a switch hardflip over a gap, all typically feather-light and unhurried, but it’s not long before he’s wallriding out of a backside noseblunt slide and finding all types of things to do with a corrugated metal vent thing. Inevitably, he is drawn to Max Palmer’s angle-ironed cage-bank and the Rector Street bench’s final hours before boosting a switch kickflip off a few angled bricks and up a four-foot euro gap, as it was foretold. An actual magician.

9. Heitor Da Silva – ‘Adidas Skateboarding Presents’

December 23, 2019

Olympic handlers this year plotted 2020 precious-metaling strategies, Mark Suciu translated ledge combos into matching syllables, and trophy-hunting hillbombers gritted their teeth and hung on; others gathered valuable items or built up experience points. Palace it kid Heitor Da Silva seemed to spend his year swerving in good jeans and savoring an achingly ’90s switch frontside flip. His skating’s an easy breeze on a hot afternoon, even hucking out of a backside tailslide, he never seems to be sweating stuff much, including a standalone intro vid for big-two sneaker supplier Adidas. It’s in the push before the bank-to-bank ollie and the consolation-prize kick-out wallride, the powerslide down the bank almost as good as the gap switch heelflip preceding it, daring even the most grimly stair-counting contest-run programmer not to grin.

3. Diego Najera — ‘Adelante’

December 29, 2018

It has been a good year for 90-degree catches, from Tyshawn Jones’ vicious backside drifts to Josh Wilson’s expertly turned varial flip in ‘Mother,’ placing him among the trick’s few acceptable practitioners. Striped-pants rippler Diego Najera makes the list with one of the finer switch inward heelflips since John Igei flew a black flag over the Pier 7 block, piloted with the gentle giant grace that this dude has settled into over the past coupla years. From his opening performance of the dope dance in its classic form, you know the vid is gonna be good: Diego Najera’s upper-body trajectory on the switch kickflip up New York’s three up-three down is so perfect as to fool the watcher into thinking there maybe weren’t any stairs there at all; a nollie frontside 180 nosegrind 180 out is managed with no tic-tac, a feat; he spreads a Kalis wingspan on the beautifully filmed 360 flip and later on cab flips into a crowdful of Macba bustle, no pit stains. This dude has the typical Primitive flip-trick command but also a taste for some lesser-dones, like the nollie flip backside nosegrind on the little rail or the backside noseblunt to fakie on the bench, and heavily skating Primitive’s attractive Don Pendleton series hurts none at all.

The Best Night of Sleep Sanger Rainsford Ever Had

May 13, 2018

In Richard Connell’s 1924 classic ‘The Most Dangerous Game,’ a big-city trophy hunter washes up on a remote island, soon revealed to be inhabited by a philosophizing fellow hunter. Over a stately dinner, the host identifies himself to be a prize hunter too, as well as something of a freethinking homicidal. Stalking elephants and leopards had grown tiresome, he explained — hence the island equipped with treacherous waters, occasionally delivering via shipwreck to its proprietor the only remaining worthwhile quarry: Men. Soon, a new hunt is on.

Among the improbably growing ranks of skateboard filmers, the thrill of the hunt tends to scale alongside duration. Instagram-ready clips are single-digit ‘Duck Hunt’ level potshots; the one-off/solo part barely Bambi. There is a worthy challenge in nailing and transcending the attention-span sweet spot that is the 15 to 20-minute promo, with a couple full parts and a couple montages, or the footage-dumping ‘mixtape’ project of similar length. But in this woolly realm, the most dangerous game is the full-length video —- its gaping maw of hubris, its difficult-to-wrangle girth, its often unbearable weight, threatening to trample less-seasoned filmers under viewers’ colossal expectations.

Having conquered skateboard professionals, shops and the upper-shredding masses, what prey remains for those moneyed alphas of the industry, the industrial shoe merchants? Mastering the full-length video, that great unquantifiable, that tantalizing money pit, that great ‘Branding Statement,’ continues to beckon and tempt international sporting goods manufacturers like some VX1000-mic’d siren song. For Nike Inc., this has been a slow process. The Oregonian sportswear conglomerate dipped in its toe-piece with 2004’s ‘On Tap,’ flexing some plotting and production and a little bit of those Rodriguez acting chops, but never fully committing. Nike saved that for 2007’s bloated misfire ‘Nuttin’ But the Truth,’ which saddled some truly great skating, a still-corralable team and perhaps the all-time greatest Danny Supa part with an insistent storyline that, while intriguingly bizarre, asked far too much of a skate video viewer base freshly armed with DVD ‘skip’ buttons. Jason Hernandez’s excellent ‘Debacle’ project from 2009 hit all the marks for length, range and focus, but led into the increasingly rote ‘Chronicles’ series, which by the third installment had devolved into a transactional, paint-by-numbers affair.

Adidas, which for a while mastered the five-to-six minute road trip video with rotating picks from its more diverse roster, also veered into a predictable pattern to where it eventually seemed obligatory to attempt something bigger — and they wound up with 2016’s ‘Away Days,’ overlong and too top-heavy with too many good parts that wound up buried. The Juice crew seemed to struggle to construct a project greater than the sum of its parts, linked by something more than Gonz vignettes and blurred shots of streetlights and moving cars.

Now comes Cons, Nike’s subsidiary for the thrift-shop set, which moves without the weight of the world’s biggest sporting goods franchise stuffed into its canvas and rubber. For this reason Cons maybe squares a bit easier with skateboarding’s historic resume of scruffiness, artsiness and a general low-fi bearing, and ‘Purple’ headmaster Ben Chadbourne plays up this angle from the opening frames, typing out an introductory monologue on mid-century equipment (though not without some mobile-phone shorthand).

‘Purple’ justifies a good chunk of its 45-minute runtime in a way that, say, a Primitive full-length might struggle with, that is, diversity in style and approach. Straightaway Bobby De Keyzer pops out of all the backside noseblunts, sets his wide-bottoms whipping with a switch backside 360 in a line, and displays a mean halfway half-cab flip — but then you veer into Sage Elsesser, languid over tall bars, and what seems like whole-body lipslides. Kevin Rodriguez brings his abrasive wallrides and grabs in a Neubauten shirt, though Pontus Alv’s more-frenetic framing maybe was a better look for him, while Aaron Herrington stays on his ‘Welcome to Hell’ shit and there’s a weirdly endearing amount of Corey Duffel clips throughout. Underground style soldier Eli Reed swerves switch over a China Bank long bench, Frank Gerwer briefly reprises his star-making Transworld turn and Brian Delatorre somewhere in the middle dishes out maybe his best part ever, a half-switch scorcher that incorporates some brawny Al Davis moves and a wild new branch line from Black Rock. There’s some curated roll-ups courtesy of Sean Pablo, a mind-numbing Sean Greene ollie and then Louie Lopez, offering another few minutes of heaters with the occasional curveball — the rarely seen fakie frontside shove-it, a night line at Third and Army.

But it is Ben Chadbourne’s choice to close not with the obvious enders from a SOTY coulda/shoulda-been, but rather a comparatively skimpy contribution from the mercurial Jake Johnson, that argues strongest for Cons pulling off the full-length better than its larger-revenued predecessors. It’s easy to make the ‘quality over quantity’ argument justifying Jake Johnson’s solemn two minute wind-down to ‘Purple,’ even if it’s also a little disappointing, given prodigious recent output elsewhere. This though is the same logic that placed Guy Mariano’s ledge-heavy part last in ‘Mouse,’ not Eric Koston’s handrail-heavier section with its NBDs; or when Birdhouse’s blockbuster ‘The End’ stuck by its winking sketch to close on a shorter Bucky Lasek section rather than the stadium-touring Tony Hawk; or how Bill Strobeck’s ‘Cherry,’ among the strongest full-lengths of this aging decade, came with hardly any conventional ‘parts’ at all.

Does humankind’s hope for deeper Jake Johnson satisfaction now hinge upon the coming Quasi video? How many angles did Sean Greene’s ollie need for real? Was Adidas putting Dennis Busenitz last in ‘Away Days’ a left turn or playing it safe? Were people allowed to smoke in prior big shoe company videos? How come there were no Game Genie codes that let you shoot the dog in Duck Hunt?

Bathe in the Glory and Horror of Post-Everything Skating

January 29, 2018

Last week was notable in the sense that Miles Silvas ended lines for all professional skateboarders forevermore. For a meandering five minutes, he pushes, flips and slides his way through several Los Angelean blocks, swerving past security, adjusting his chain and switch heelflipping an artfully knocked-over trash bin on the way to a truly gnarly ender and a history-book entry for probably the craziest run ever. But has Miles Silvas’ ‘One Stop’ line pushed things not only forward, but over some maddening brink?

We now enter a realm where seemingly everything been done, in which all eras exist simultaneously, where nothing and everything is cool and wack all at once everywhere. Observe, on any given day. Switch tailslide something-out champ Luan Oliveira nonchalantly rips wearing a visor. A Florida flow kid lands on Thrasher’s cover, just a few months after a similarly situated young buck frontside crooked grinded the fearsome El Toro first try. Not long before that, Gabriel Summers nosegrinds a larger 21-stair handrail first try whilst wearing a dogs-playing-poker shirt. All over, the established ways dissolve before your eyes: Varial flips are commonplace, people are sponsored by weed mobile phone apps, neon camouflage is freely worn, and CCS proudly advertises its mail-order catalogues in the pages of Thrasher while marketing jeans with macaroni and cheese print interiors.

It’s easier to exhale and surrender to feeling permanently unmoored, eyes glazing over as irony and confusion blunt shock’s few remaining edges, and one brow-furrowing surprise after another leaves you punch drunk. For Youtube browsers in this state, caution is the watchword as skate videos, once content to function as a compendium of individual skaters’ tricks set against a driving tune of their own choosing, now throw loose whatever bonds of convention remain, seemingly pursuing their own brand of ‘What, Me Worry?’ lawlessness.

Drone buff Ty Evans has long shouldered criticisms that his brand of Filmmaking prizes high-end camera rigs and general spectacle over actual tricks, and more than two decades into his skate Film career, no stripes-changing can be detected in ‘The Flat Earth.’ The Film’s heavy incorporation of 360-degree video, digitally rolled onto two dimensions for consumption on high-resolution flattened TV screens, suggests a project that perhaps once aspired to some virtual reality gambit — but settled for a version of Ty Evans’ prior outing, ‘We Are Blood,’ with the storyline switched out for intense bouts of psychedelia, where mountain peaks and highways contort and spasm to dubstep blurts for minutes on end with no identifiable skateboards in sight.

There’s of course blistering footage, in particular from the unsinkable Carlos Iqui and aforementioned one-time Floridian flow rider Jamie Foy. But whereas the Brain Farm budget permitted Ty Evans to indulge in peak Ty Evansness (see: slow-motioned puddle splashing, skating the world’s tallest building, fire) the comparatively bootstrapped ‘Flat Earth’ production may be the first time in 15 or so years where his level of resources significantly declined for a new full-length skate Film, and the result suggests something like Ty Evans’ version of ‘Memory Screen.’

As Ty Evans casts about for purchase in this sloppy, undulating stew that is skating in 2018, simmering a few sub-basements below Bronze and Beez, nearby to Ssquirted, thrives the Instagram video clips of @dogceo. Here is a euphoric and jarring dimension in which park and street footage are hurled with abandon into some video toaster, sauced liberally with vintage video games from other countries and blurred text offering repeated and nonsensical exhortations — where it’s not enough for a grab-bag of logos to bleed through background (or foreground) of a clip, they must flash, and ripple. Skating is happening here, to an extent, at times, but the giddy, disorienting thrill is squeezed from not really knowing whether the steadily immolating visual salad bar is a vehicle for the tricks, or the other way around.

In a time of pink swishy pants and backside smith grind body varials, where’s the lane for a comparatively level-headed dude such as Walker Ryan? Is the steady erosion of conventional wisdoms and tribal law behind the continued appeal of high-handed authorities such as Jake Phelps and @FeedbackTS? If everything officially is over what happens next?

2. Miles Silvas – ‘Numbers Edition 3’

December 30, 2017


Realistically, which is to say in the realm of reality, track pants movement-pusher Miles Silvas made this list, inconsequential as it is, with just the knee drop after the switch frontside bluntslide in this part. The depth of his talent and taste though means he delivers another fulsome video part of his uncommonly singular style and near-peerless choice in tricks — in just the first minute here he’s got a backside bigspin the hard way over a handrail, a backside noseblunt at a tough-to-recommend speed, and Cam’ron. Nobody really is landing tricks like this dude (see: the hubba kickflip backside tailside roll-away, or after the switch backside heelflip over the bar) and there’s not so many who measure up when it comes to mind-bending backside tailslides in general, variations on which this part is sort of built around. Quibbling is restricted to how Miles Silvas seems to have toned down his outfits from the LRG pattern wars.

6. Dylan Sourbeer – ‘Sabotage 5’

December 26, 2017


Putting up two parts for each of the last two ‘Sabotage’ releases, and several before that, Dylan Sourbeer has maybe drawn more tricks out of Love Park’s now-mothballed granite blocks than anybody else, and their consistent quality gives hope for seasons to come across the way at Philadelphia’s Municipal plaza. It was already happening as Ryan Higgins and Brian Panebianco made ‘Sabotage 5,’ with Dylan Sourbeer’s ample footage largely split between Love, Muni and deconstructed Love — backside noseblunting the entire Muni bench easily ranks up there with his backside nosegrind flip out on the long out-ledge at Love, and his two-hitter line on the benches with the shirt in hand will be remembered long after our computer systems gain sentience and begin optimizing efficiency by minimizing human involvement and interference. The lines and tricks seem to pour out of this dude and you could watch it all day. Perhaps in some fashion, forcing these dudes out of Love Park will wind up opening another new Philly chapter.

10. Joey Guevara – ‘Pyramid of the Sun’

December 22, 2017


‘Right to Exist’ was last year the title of a Santa Cruz video, amusingly suggesting a chip on the shoulder of a decades-deep stalwart once more having to assert itself amid a barrage of smaller, hipper upstarts. The title could just as easily apply to Alien Workshop, whose untimely implosion beneath overleveraged corporate bloat and fairly rapid resurrection — sans prior teamriders — brought on any number of reprisals and bad feeling. Three years down the line, it feels like Mike Hill has reestablished a footing with Yaje Popson, Frankie Spears, Brandon Nguyen and Joey Guevara — this last with the velvet-soled feet and affinity for Detroit’s crumbling foundations. His going-pro part this year, which could’ve been ported straight out of ‘Inhabitants,’ trades in mainly basic ingredients that Joey Guevara can craft into uncommonly satisfying-to-watch tricks — the frontside tailslide shove-it, the nollie backside 180, the fakie shove-it. It’s maybe a little bit long but gets over on the little touches, like the quick switch 180 up the step and the mild surf action following the bar-hop backside 180.

FUBU or BUFU? A Podcast Indictment of Skate Shoe Companies and the Dark Age Few Speak of

March 6, 2017

duffsdog

History is written by the winners, each new generation a fresh lump of clay for the victorious potter’s hands to mold into his own graven image, funny animal shapes or mixed metaphors of one’s own choosing. In skateboarding in 2017 the winners are clear and have been for some time — the heavyweight sporting goods manufacturers, whose near-mindless devotion to quality, largess showered upon long-suffering professional athletes and resolute stewardship of investor dollars grows with each telling. Around ritual bonfires, their names and the names of their boardroom directors are exalted unto the spirit world.

Sometimes, people forget. Truth bombs are deployed — Nine Club Ipod-cast co-host Roger Bagley lit one such fuse during last week’s newsmaking Marc Johnson interview, which turned, as it must, toward the claustrophobic pachyderm that had eluded the rest of the skate media world for the preceding nine months, Marc Johnson’s messy break-up with the Crailtap camp amid his move from Lakai to Adidas. “You didn’t do anything wrong,” Roger Bagley said. “Skateboard shoe companies make shitty shoes. Nike, Adidas, Converse make really great shoes. People got tired of buying shitty shoes and decided to start buying really good shoes. Their business started hurting.”

He elaborated on Instagram: the_breadcrumb_trail@thattomcox I never called them out…and they know what I meant by the comment. They make good shoes and they try their best to make the best possible shoes they can for a good price, but the majority of brands out there make garbage. Everyone wants to stay “core” …but, when it comes to spending $75 on a pair of shoes that aren’t comfortable on your feet versus spending that money on something that feels amazing…I know where I’m spending my money. Don’t get me wrong, I’m wearing @esskateboarding right now…but, the fact is “core” brands can’t produce a shoe at the same quality as these corporations….and the sad fact is people aren’t buying “core” skate shoes at the shops like they used to…and people can blame it on the corporations ability to market the shit out their products to the masses…but, when it comes down to it they just make a better product and “core” brands can’t compete

Skateboarders for many years nursed a guilt complex over purchasing shoes and other products from international shoe merchandisers, which had spent decades of years and millions of dollars building up the athletes, major-league sport organizations and associated fanbases that many picked up a skateboard to avoid in the first place. Whereas various tennis shoes and basketball sneakers got put to griptape out of necessity in the early days, most of these eventually were cast aside in favor of skateboard industry-birthed footwear concerns that promised flatness of sole, adherence to rapidly shifting fashions and a pureness of heart that could never be matched by corporate mega-cobblers’ social responsibility covenants.

But was it all FUBU or BUFU? Duffs shoes, out of the World Industries empire that was, did little to hide the human, environmental and moral toll exacted by Cobnobblers and Strombolis. The cultural crimes of the D3 often are mentioned, but less discussed are funny-sounding enablers such as the Oarb. As skateboarding collectively rejoiced in Tony Hawk’s 900 spin achievement, the validation that only can come from a blockbuster video game franchise, and all of the ensuing merchandise sales, did the irrational exuberance only serve to throw a garish, overpriced and low-quality shoe-shaped blanket over a truly horrific era, before the global shoe makers deigned to begin supplying skateboarding in earnest starting around 2003?

One marvels to think about what could have been possible had bulge bracket footwear companies been wholeheartedly embraced instead of rejected. Properly shod, Jamie Thomas, for instance, perhaps could have landed the Leap of Faith. Or, Bob Burnquist might have landed those couple Transworld covers. If Marc Johnson hadn’t waited until 2016 to move to Adidas, could his ‘Fully Flared’ part have been 26 minutes long? Backed by corporate shoe money, could ‘The End’ have offered more realistic pyrotechnics? If DGK had clung to the Reebok deal, could ‘Parental Advisory’ have offered a Jay-Z cameo instead of Beanie Siegel?

Should skate shoe companies just give up already and thank Nike and Adidas for letting them do business as long as they have? Will the late 1980s through the early 2000s in future decades be regarded as a dark age, or will technology eventually provide a way to retroactively apply VX-quality swooshes and stripes and circular stars to lesser shoes, as a form of atonement? Does VF Corp.’s Vans count as a skate shoe company or the other kind?