Posts Tagged ‘Adidas’

How To Fix the Marc Johnson/Lakai Mess in 10 Easy Steps Dudes

May 20, 2016

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Mike Carroll, who knows a thing or two about dipping out on sponsors, hit up Jenkem the other day ostensibly to discuss “the future of Crailtap” but really to confront and publicly grapple with the proverbial and newly striped elephant in the room, Marc Johnson’s heavily rumored ship-jumping from Lakai to Adidas, eventually turning into one of the more noteworthy airings out in recent memory. Making clear his beef was not that Marc Johnson left, but how — popping up in the new Adidas vid without prior warning to Lakai’s owners/team/staff and with a loading dockful of fresh pro-model shoes rendered abruptly obsolete — Mike Carroll got his Rocco on in the age of information immediacy, booting Marc Johnson from Chocolate mid-interview:

J: What are you gonna do with that upcoming Marc Johnson Lakai product? What does a company usually do when this sort of thing happens?
MC: Send it all to his fucking house, COD with a fucking strap on, and no vaseline. Well what we’re gonna do now, first things first, I’m gonna kick him off Chocolate. I’m not gonna text him, so he can read this or someone can tell him. Maybe he’s already quit in his mind, who knows. Marc, is kicked off of Chocolate as of right now. We’ll deal with whatever we have to deal with. Shoe wise… we have a lot of shoe production in the works… Normally when this happens to companies we’d usually take legal action, but that’s something we think is not in our character to do. But I’m starting to consider it, but that’s not really on the top of our priority list.

The resulting social media froth, whipped higher by pent-up angst as more and more top-tier professionals slip into the gravitational orbit of multibillion dollar sports shoe manufacturers, has cast a pall over Adidas’ video release as well as the signing of Marc Johnson and Daewon Song, and perhaps tarnished the Adidas skateboard division with an elbows-out corporate tone that previously had mainly been Nike Inc.’s domain. Lakai meanwhile looks further sidelined following the recent exits of Guy Mariano, Nick Jensen, Na’Kel Smith, Miles Silvas, Lucas Puig and Eric Koston for Nike or Adidas.

But the situation can still be fixed. Here is Boil the Ocean web log site’s 10-point plan for patching up the relationship between Marc Johnson, Mike Carroll and Rick Howard, burnishing Adidas’ image, plugging any sales hole for Lakai, and more.

1. Marc Johnson calls up Adidas on his cellular smart phone and designs a plan for Adidas to buy all the unsold Marc Johnson Lakai shoes, both current and past models, currently in production or in the warehouse. Adidas also could buy several sets of Carrolls in full size runs.

2. Adidas employees and Marc Johnson package up the Lakai shoes and donate them, along with a matching quantity of Adidas skate shoes, to Skateistan, Cuba Skate, Skate for Change and similar charities promoting skating in risky and impoverished nations.

3. Marc Johnson personally delivers some of these shoes and skates a demo or two with a T-shirt that says “sorry Mike & Rick” written on it in marker. He posts to Instagram pics of him posing with kids holding up a box of Lakais and/or Adidas and handwritten signs personally saying sorry to various Lakai staff members and former teammates.

4. Marc Johnson persuades Mike Carroll, Rick Howard and the rest of the “Fully Flared” lineup to gather for a reunion demo where he gives a heartfelt speech thanking the Crailtap posse and fondly reminiscing on their years together, while more donations are collected for skatepark funds and organizations.

5. After burying the hatchet, Marc Johnson, Mike Carroll and Rick Howard hang around the park for hours afterward mending fences and reminiscing, until they realize that the money collected for the skatepark funds has been gaffled by a shadowy thief. The trio leap upon matching neon coloured crotch rocket motorcycles and plunge into the LA expressways in pursuit.

6. After pulling alongside the skate funds bandit, also astride a fast crotch rocket bike, Rick Howard, Mike Carroll and Marc Johnson trade punches with him at 130 mph, pausing only to swerve past slower-moving vehicles and struggling to maintain control of their bikes. After one final blow, the thief’s hood flies back to reveal he is none other than ex-Pope Benedict XVI, wearing an eye patch and spitting curses in Latin at the pro skaters.

7. The former supreme pontiff takes advantage of his pursuers’ shock and disgust to haul off and deliver a punishing haymaker to Mike Carroll’s jaw, stunning him and sending him reeling off the back of his bike. His face inches from the pavement’s blur, a sinewy hand closes around his Fourstar jacket collar and yanks him back up onto his bike, which miraculously steadies. “Still teammates — for one more night,” growls Marc Johnson, before twisting the throttle to pull up alongside Pope Benedict XVI. The two grapple briefly before a vicious kick knocks Marc Johnson loose, and the ex-Pope veers right to sideswipe Rick Howard before speeding ahead, up a dangling ramp into the trailer of a semi truck. Pope Benedict XVI hops off his bike, turns and tosses a small, blinking sphere toward the pro skaters, grinning as the trailer door rattles shut.

8. “Thermal detonator!” Rick Howard hollers, crashing his bike sideways into the others and knocking them clear before the bomb’s white flash blasts Rick Howard’s motorcycle out from under him and sends him tumbling into the breakdown lane. “Feels like the ‘Mouse’ intro,” he rasps. “Now get that bastard.” Marc Johnson and Mike Carroll nod, rev their crotch rockets and roar off after the rogue Pope. They tail the semi until dawn, far into the desert where finally it reaches Pope Benedict XVI’s secret mountain compound — an impenetrable structure of steel and rock, girdled in sheer cliff faces and watched over by lazily looping vultures. Marc Johnson and Mike Carroll exchange a glance and draw their pistols, nodding. “Just like the old days,” Mike Carroll murmurs as he fills a spare clip with bullets drawn one by one from his belt. “I thought those days were done.” “Let’s go,” says Marc Johnson, making for a break in the cliff. They scale the wall, silent and methodical, neither looking down and neither pausing when his fingertips begin to bleed. When they heave themselves atop the cliff, gasping, Marc Johnson immediately gets low. Just a few feet away, Pope Benedict XVI stands with his back to the pro skaters, punching feverishly at flashing buttons on a vast control pad. Before him, bolts of raw electricity begin arcing between a series of tall metal coils, and the air begins to thrum.

9. “That’s a relativistic heavy ion collider,” breathes Marc Johnson. “He’s overcharging its computing grid…” “…To rip thousands of tiny black holes in the space-time continuum,” Mike Carroll finishes. “And if we don’t stop him, he’s going to destroy L.A.” Marc Johnson is already up and firing, his left hand fanning the hammer on his Colt Python as he sprays the ex-pope’s base with hot lead. Mike Carroll rolls and unloads his own pistol but stops before his clip runs dry; Pope Benedict XVI has spun to face them, laughing, the bullets sailing wide and high around him. “Fools,” he rasps. “You’ll never attain true power.” Hands raised over his head, the former pontiff pivots to point at Mike Carroll, sending a blinding rope of electricity leaping from one coil to wrap the Crailtap Distribution co-owner in a hot, vibrating grip; with a thrust of his other hand, a second bolt entwines Marc Johnson, and both begin to squeeze. Pope Benedict XVI’s laughter grows louder until he abruptly stops, twisting his lips in horror. A rocket-propelled grenade screams down and strikes him square in the chest, bursting his torso into liquified nuggets of blood and tissue and bone that drench the sand and the control panel, shorting out the ion collider. The coils fall dark and Marc Johnson and Mike Carroll sink to the ground, gasping. Two cans of Bud land beside them, and they squint through the glare to see Rick Howard ambling through the dust, a still-smoking rocket launcher slung over his Girl OG tee. “They didn’t have LaBatt.” He cocks his head and regards the carnage. “But I wasn’t about to miss this party.” After locating the semi, Mike Carroll pulls it around to the heavy ion collider and stuffs a rag into its fuel tank, Marc Johnson lighting it with a cigarette. Rick Howard grabs the bag with the $45 in skatepark funds and the pros climb astride their bikes, rolling onto the asphalt as flames engulf Pope Benedict XVI’s compound behind them.

10. Rick Howard and Mike Carroll return to Los Angeles to film for the Lakai video and Marc Johnson starts work on a welcome clip for Adidas.

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.

Pazuzu 2: Necronomicon Boogaloo

October 31, 2015

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Ellington

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Pic dump from recent mags raises the question as to how many of these make their way to mobile screens via enabled social media sharing apps, and whether getting your photo run in a legacy papyrus-related periodical ensures it will be viewed by fewer unique heads in all?

#POWERSLIDEWATCH2013 b/w “Like Red Meat To Starving Wolfs”

June 27, 2013

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Though fetishized and taken to strange new places in recent years by Frenchmen, the powerslide, much like its close cousin in the mid-line revert so derided by Ricky Oyola, is at its best when spontaneously and sparingly sprinkled. The annals of history bear beloved black markings from marquee powerslides such as Rob Welsh’s backside skid down the SF hills in “Free Your Mind” and lengthier frontside ones rassled by Dennis Busenitz in “Roll Forever,” and whispered “what ifs” will forever trail Guy Mariano’s turnaround at LA High in “Mouse.” Busenitz more decisively combines the two for what will be one of the year’s better-remembered powerslide/revert type moves in this new Adidas Madrid clip, viewable around 5:48, shortly before a really cool step-down ledge trick. This clip is also notable for the most actual Mark Gonzales skate footage in one place in about several years and for deepening Mark Suciu’s typecasting as a perpetual video clip getter to whom varial heelflips come as easily as an ollie, or weed leaf emblems to mid-length socks.

On a related note, watch this space in the future for a half-baked ramble on how Adidas’ geographically oriented team clips are the new Transworld videos, dropping with the regularity of a semi-working clock with solid, if formulaic, production values, a similar devotion to indie rock staples and a steady supply of quality skating.

1. Mark Suciu – “Cross Continental”

December 31, 2012

Mark Suciu seemed to lurk around every corner in 2012, roaming the map and riddling spots with very hard tricks before resurfacing every few weeks with yet another video clip, earning him favorable comparisons to Gucci Mane in his prime. In recent months Suciu has ripped downtown San Jose, Spain, the southern U.S., Philadelphia and most recently New York, finding a new way over the courthouse cliff en route to an Adidas paycheck. And this all came after setting off 2012 with a skateshop part that digs deep into a trove of well-worn spots to unearth some bar-lifting lines and certain yet-to-be-dones. Views can and will differ as to the tastefulness of frontside reverts out of backside noseblunts or frontside crooks, but Suciu proponents were handed piles of ammunition this year in favor of a rare talent that gets over without slavish retreads of coast-specific tricks on coast-specific spots, hands-off editing and (aside from a little wavy animation) no punchlines and no gimmicks when it comes to execution. Mark Suciu in the “Cross Continental” part shakes out a seemingly bottomless bag of tricks, including the little-seen switch frontside smith grind and an immaculate hardflip, and rolls below nighttime lights of skate capitals on both coasts as he composes a love letter to turn-of-the-century urban classics like “Photosynthesis” and “Ryde or Die Vol. 2” and possibly the first “EST.” It is rare that he passes up the chance to add a flip trick up a curb or a 180-out at the bottom of a bank, and he packs multiple variations on 360 flips and 360s into the same line, but it still doesn’t come off all egregious. I for sure watched this part more than any other one this year and maybe more than any other part in the last couple years, up there with Dylan Reider and Jake Donnelly.

Slim, French and Dynomite

June 20, 2012

As a sorta postscript to the last couple rambles, formerly Cliched professional JJ Rousseau offers one spin on a post-honeymoon occupation, setting in as lensman for a day at the foundation with recent summertime ambassador Lucas Puig. He seems to be vying with Mark Suciu for lines of the year, will anybody in the Crailtap production get in their way? Section bears ties with another former pro, Alphonso Rawls, who reveals that the three-stripe idea has been done not once but twice before. That frontside 180 to fakie manual, I can’t stand it..

Lucas Puig Ledge Sequence Raises Concerns That The Ghost Of Chris Lambert’s Career May Be Trying To Possess His Soul Dudes

February 10, 2012

Several people noticed a change when Lucas Puig left Lakai Footwear Ltd. to go work for Adidas, fulfilling a longtime dream of endorsing certain of the same sportswear products as his French heroes of years past. For most people, the difference centered on his feet and the shoes he was wearing. But behind the scenes at industry functions some began to whisper that a stranger and potentially more troubling metamorphosis could be at work, namely that during this time of upheaval in Lucas Puig’s sponsorship situation that the specter of a defunct pro career, years in the grave, may be seeking to supplant the “Fully Flared” skater’s grasp on his own affairs and remake his career in the poltergeist’s own graven image.

This month’s Adidas ad spotlights what we must interpret as a silent battle for nothing less than Lucas Puig’s soul. Here we find him maxing out his “special” bar with a switch hardflip backside tailslide, back to switch even, a maneuver that requires intense concentration to successfully land for maximum bonus points. Deep in thought and staring down the ledge similar to the way a hungry wolf in the French hillsides might stare down a wayward baguette, Lucas Puig does not notice his hands beginning to move on their own, seeking some extra token to take the photo to some other, unspeakable level. Over one shoulder hovers the translucent shade of Chris Lambert, gleefully urging Lucas Puig’s hand toward a clear plastic water bottle, long since damned for cluttering European cities and being overpriced to begin with. Over the other shoulder floats SAD, fingertips at his temples and eyes closed, exerting all of his internal forces in order to sway Lucas Puig’s hand instead toward a white handtowel that represents purity of soul and also the Ramada Inn.

Luckily for Lucas Puig’s future prospects we can see that the white towelette was the victor. But this episode raises a more deeply troubling threat, that the skateboard industry in this time of harsh recession could be primed for haunting. Ghosts regularly preyed on pros in at the tail end of the 1980s and early 1990s when the industry lolled over and exposed its weak underbelly during the administration of George Bush Sr., and many privately fear that a worse haunting could be at hand soon. Besides the usual property damage and costs related to expungement, an abrupt rise in hauntings poses longer-term threats because it can be scary and equity investors find it difficult to secure insurance against ghosts. This weekend Boil the ocean urges all friends and defenders of the industry to attend church and not answer the door if it seems like a ghost is ringing the bell. Thank you

1. Jake Donnelly – “Since Day One”

December 30, 2011

Jake Donnelly Real Since Day One Part from dlxsf on Vimeo.

In a time of faster and bigger Jake Donnelly out in San Francisco has been quietly making a case for smarts and finesse, putting together a snappy flick with some spring and light-footed landings. All his recent footage suggests he’s got a knack for running some of the best looking tricks, like backside smith grinds on ledges, frontside blunts, nollie backside noseblunt slides, b/s tailslides of course, a good hardflip, et cetera. His part in the Real vid, which early on includes one of the more boss backside shifty kickflips put out lately, is not available for free via Youtube or whatever and really needs to be seen with the bouncy Too Short song to get the full impact, so pasted above is an Adidas clip made by Dan Wolfe that has a really high switch kickflip over a table and a good manual trick. (Note: link to this clip now here.) No doubt the Real part, red bottoms and pom-pom beanies and all, got me more motivated to skate than any other one I seen this year.

Frenchman’s Defection To German Shoe Company From Californian One Spotlights A Deepening Fissure In The Industry Dudes

September 11, 2011

“…Along the way, amazing things have simply continued to happen–like a Francophile Forrest Gump, seemingly stumbling obliviously from one victory to the next…”

Did you leave on good terms?
We talked a lot about it. For them it was hard. I understand their point of view. It’s the skate brands that make all this happen. They have the real sense for it. They are the ones that go find riders and build them up. Without Rick Howard, Mike Carroll, or Guy, I would still be out in the French countryside. They push people like me up and then the big companies can come in and help themselves. I see their side of it. That’s why it was so hard to make that decision.

Trying to figure out which plot point in “Forrest Gump” would correspond with Lucas Puig’s fraught parting with Lakai to don triple-striped track suits. (Spoiler alert) Maybe when him and Lieutenant Dan ride out the hurricane and Lt. Dan loudly curses God? Or the point where Forrest decides to stop running cross-country with his new pack of followers? Sleeping with his elementary school heartthrob and then she abruptly bounces?

Like Gump’s rise to become a shrimping magnate, Lucas Puig’s shift to Adidas was in the works long before Es went into suspended animation, but this month’s splashy teamrider interviews in the new TWS, Adidas-backed web part and the magazine’s concurrent gushing over a lavish Nike shoe-release party in Spain comes off sorta tone deaf, coming a shortly after the towel was thrown in by the dudes who touched off the current generation’s Game of Skate obsession.

I guess if the years go on and footwear heavies like Lakai, Sole Tech, etc are forced into a farm-league role by virtue of their slimmer wallets, interview responses like Chris Cole’s recent DC talk or the one above (or maybe the “why’d you move” question itself) will vanish and look kinda quaint in the rear-view mirror, but currently Puig’s comment makes me feel for the Crail camp. They bring up the hot young’ns, occasionally turn them into stars good for a pro model or two before they wave goodbye and head for money-greener pastures. And if you don’t cheer them on the way out you risk looking a hater in the “do u” era.

From a P&L perspective it seems like a kick in the pants too–like you can have Cory Kennedy sell your wood and urethane, but when it comes to moving high-margin kicks and clothes, a dude like that may ascend outta your price bracket. So does your enterprise turn into a staging ground for the more well-heeled shoemakers, or does a Lakai satisfy themselves with a role as tastemakers and scouts scooping talent on the upswing? Do these companies need to figure out tie-ups to ensure some type of compensation/protection for bringing dudes up? Long-running contracts? Does skateboarding need break-up fees?

There’s a rumor going around that Sean Malto is being wooed away to DC to the tune of $5 million over a period of five years, a princely sum that raises the interesting question as to where DC ranks along the shoe co spending spectrum, what with their recent team overhaul-splurge. You could also ponder the potential for the multinational Nikes and Adidases to raise up new faces–in their now-decade of SBness has Nike gotten behind many lesser-known ams? I’m thinking Shane O’Neill, Grant Taylor? Lewis Marnell? With Adidas one would be Lem Villemin, who it’s nice to see get on with Cliche at last.

As far as that part goes it’s usual killer Lucas Puig stuff–he has got a real good handle right now on manual tricks, especially the one at three-up-three-down and the crazy squeaker. The BA/SF run was a nice point-scorer and the backside nosegrind revert up that brick ledge is heavy duty.

Who Killed Es Footwear?

August 15, 2011


I’ll be missing u

It’s gotta not be the shoes: First thought I had upon official confirmation that the pioneering freestyler behind Sole Technologies was mothballing Es, not even ten years ago the mightiest shoe company out, was that the actual product probably had nothing to do with anything. The slippery slope greased up, in some ways, by the resurgence of the Accel itself (personally would ID the Nike Dunk as a co-conspirator) put footwear trends on a path toward the reigning minimalist silhouette atop a white vulcan sole to the point where shops might as well be doing their own Half-Cab and Chuck Taylor renditions. If anything I’d think the commodification of super-simple shoe designs bought Es a few more years than they might otherwise have had if the pendulum had swung violently back toward the basketball court, but then again a meteor could have struck the planet and we may all have wound up atomized.

Then some other people are quick to heap blame on big fishes Nike/Converse/Adidas/probably not Reebok for trolling through the shallow end with their fat wallets, fucking up the food chain for mellower sea creatures that never harbored deeper ambitions, sort of like the Jamaican lobster sang about in “Little Mermaid.” That lobster is convincing and seems wise. But if that were the case, how come Es can’t survive but companies with a fraction of the name recognition and history and established sales/shop networks can still make it? Thinking here of Vox, Dekline, the revived Axion and Duffs, NSS. Or what about little-loved competitors like Globe, Osiris, Circa? How come Circa still has two subdivisions? This may be one of those deals where the amorphous “international markets” comes in as the explainer, but I always thought that was why Es kept around those occasional space-age models in the garish colors.

You look at the Es team website and it’s interesting. On one end you’ve got journeymen pro-dudes like perennial teamriders Rick McCrank and Rodrigo TX, more recent addition John Rattray, you could even include Justin Eldridge here. And then you’ve got a slew of relative newbies like Jimmy McDonald, Kevin Terpening, Ben Raemers, Josh Matthews. We can carve out a middle tier for Bobby Worrest/Kellen James/Mike Anderson but if you’re one of those types who likes to dissect “fit” when it comes to roster moves it would be easy to formulate some messageboard post questioning the cohesion. Maybe there’s a cautionary tale about putting too much weight on up-and-comer internet favorites as opposed to picking some genre lane and staying in it, which seems like it’s working for a company like Emerica. Or maybe it’s a lesson about going the super-team route, and how you better have a good backup plan if and when your super-team scatters to the four shoe sponsorship winds.*

And maybe this episode is more a sign o’ the times than anything else, since it seems like a really big company hasn’t unwound in a while. Es is quite a bit diminished from its Menikmati heights nowadays, but it doesn’t sit right to see this end for an operation with so much history. First three Koston models, Muska’s airbag, Penny stepping in from the wilderness with a switch front-foot impossible of all tricks, the “Enjoy Skateboarding” series, a good run with Ronnie Creager, the Accel obviously, the overlooked “Especial” video, the first Arto shoes, the Contracts, etc etc.

As one of those people who skated in Accels or derivatives like the Square One more than any other single shoe over the past 10 or 12 years, I mourn Es, though partly it’s out of confusion as to how the company with the little tilde thing wound up on the chopping block as opposed to others shopping for some pro-backed identity in an overcrowded segment. I was and still am considering a separate post that may serve as a sappy love letter to the Koston 2, one of the hardest to love shoes ever made that gave back twice as much after they were broke in, and in some ways were ahead of their time in terms of a less-padded tongue and being something like an unapologetic mid-top.

*Another thought, might things have turned out different if Pierre-Andre had cut Koston in via an equity stake?


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