Posts Tagged ‘CCS’

A Bold New Era Of Robotics And Certain Processed Plastics May Affect Our Future Debates Over JP Jadeed Footage Dudes

March 9, 2013

johnny5

Across the epoch of time, asteroids have associated themselves with the evolutionary process. A rogue meteor struck down the age of the dinosaurs, which ruled the planet and amassed wealth for several years. Later, space rocks struck the Earth’s moon, producing a pockmarked appearance that has come to be accepted as the common image of the moon. In recent weeks three other asteroids harried our planet, with not a little excitement and millions of rubles’ worth of property damage. As our planetary hair was ruffled, quietly the skateboard industry found itself shedding some of yesteryear’s trappings and business motifs. Coincidence? Possibly, but in this daring age we bear in mind the timeworn slogan, “in space there are no coincidences.” It is important to note that the earth travels in space.

Growths in new technology are forcing a painful and sometimes messy transition upon the business. Unicron.net, which had touted itself as the ultimate skateboard DVD source, now lists 22 videos in a search for ‘all products’. Time was, if you hankered after an esoteric or hard-to-find foreign-produced video, and your shop could not accommodate, Mikendo was a source. ‘Pretty Sweet’s’ rise to the top of the Itunes charts, sign o’ the times though it may be, has not obliterated the digital video disc, as the Quartersnacks dudes officiated. However, BigCartel and Etsy have enabled video authors to rub out the middleman and distribute physical movies directly to those who would continue to fill DVD trays, and Youtube bootlegs serve others.

Whilst magazines still argue for a role as gatekeepers of, and longer-lasting billboards for, top-drawer photos and interviews, the daily grind of content cycling a-churn on the internet washingmachine alongside general economic malaise has built pressure upon paper-pushers everywhere, and already twice-resurrected Skateboarder mag in particular. The “GrindMedia” title last month divulged that it would zestily evolve away from the traditional send-you-a-mag-each month format, instead selling some issues in stores and focusing on their website. Now also going “digital only” is onetime California Cheap Skates, CCS, planning to shutter brick-n-mortar locations in favor of glossy mailers and powerful email listservs. A further impairment charge to corporate parent Foot Locker is anticipated in relation to the closures, according to media accounts.

Technology really seems here to stay. But what products and services are the next to become supplanted?

Helmets and pads: Safety gear has long resided at the bottom of the priority-buying list for tween consumers transfixed by graphical decks, D3 sneakers and (lately) weed-leaf socks, while simultaneously battling against the perception that pads and whatnot are the exclusive domain of “wimps” and the related offshoot segment “wussies.” Now, the padless deep-pool and vert work of Ben Hatchell, Grant Taylor, Elijah Berle and Jaws may for the coming generation obviate pads and helmets altogether, because, when everybody’s good enough to do every trick, there is no point in falling and getting hurt.

Bushings: Deep wobblers including Daewon Song and Matt Rodriguez have established the widely thought about fact that bushings are at best an impediment to fully turning trucks, to be microwaved, squished and generally derided. If Daewon can switch nose manual a curvy block with his kingpin nut barely hanging on, why bog down a board with additional plastic weight? This development will raise new questions around whether kingpin nuts are necessary whatsoever.

Skateshop employees: CCS’s bold move to revert to its mail-order roots, framed by Amazon.com’s development of ‘pickup lockers,’ poses sticky queries for would-be skateshop careerists. May we be encountering a robot-commanded future in which the vast selection offered by the CCSs of the world shall be deployed to secure locations for pickup, or even the immediate, automated dispensal of everyday staples such as decks and shoelaces and weed-leaf socks? Would such technology relegate former skate shop workers to offering grip-jobs around back for loose change? Would dispensers become clogged with lengthy lines of pre-tweens counting out sticky pennies to purchase the 2035 analog of a Flameboy sticker? Will all future discussions of JP Jadeed video sections henceforth be relegated to the internet under the new regime? Has this already come to pass?

1990s Antique Roadshow: CCS Catalogue From Spring 1998

March 13, 2010

Eric Koston is featured on the cover here in some original Es Koston’s and the same Four-Star wind pants that he wears to help him do that humongous backside flip in “The Chocolate Tour.” This appeared during a reboxing of some old magazines and briefly I toyed with the idea of doing a some type of Police Informer spoof with old CCS and Cali4niaSk8express catalogs, but later saw that somebody else already did it. Most interesting are the board graphics and the shoes. Slick bottoms were gasping their last breaths, there’s a nice Andy Roy Anti-Hero, and there are boards from 23, Invisible, Acme, Scarecrow and Wu-Tang. This was around the time when Birdhouse was beginning to bank off Tony Hawk’s X-game reign, and Flameboy and Wet Willy rode high in the saddle. The Kris Markovich circle-K Duffs shoes are in here, along with two pages of Axions and the beloved DC Boxers. There are only two pairs of Vans and “loose fit” is the watchword for the pants section.

By the way, what’s become of Police Informer lately?

And Then We Came To The End!

June 11, 2009


Eric Koston scouts his last-minute trick for “Debacle.” Interesting fact: The truck, made of crepe paper, was designed by Swedish architect Johan Fredrik Ă…bom and cost $850,000.

Nike’s final, successful attempt to crack the shoe-chewing skateboard market is probably the story of our lil pasttime in the ’00 decade, even if it’s sort of a bass-ackwards version of what the rest of the industry has undergone. Skate shoe companies took center stage as the big-money game beyond boards and wheels, muddling through the thankless game of trying to maintain credibility with the dirty, scabbed kids that brung em to the dance, while signing pro wakeboarders and serving up juicy discounts to big-box retailers that will happily put your trucks on backwards as you shop for carabiners. Meanwhile, the suits at Nike were cherry-picking independent skate shops and aging East-coast pros that together would ride the wave of sneakerhead largesse and make it hard for even the die-hard purists to argue that Nike was the bloodthirsty corporate monster we’d all been led to believe.

It was an interesting story that died a boring death today, as Nike SB signed Eric Koston and can no longer be seen in any shape or form as an underdog in skateboarding. The Birdos were half-right in that Nike eventually decided to be Nike and throw its wallet around, buying up top talent as they see fit, flowing everybody in the industry who isn’t skating for another shoe company, reigning supreme over Tampa, flooding the mall shops with SB’s and pushing “Jocks Suck” 6.0s elsewhere. Meanwhile the current generation doesn’t remember a time when people didn’t skate Nike shoes, pre-fab skateparks are awash with swooshes, and the SB branch has more or less figured out how to act like a skateboard company as far as putting out videos, doing demos, getting tour articles into the magazines; eventually they can be expected to start blowing video deadlines I guess.

Getting Koston has seemed so much like the predestined move for Nike from the beginning that you wonder what’s next, except it appears Nike’s already provided the answer in the form of Sacto-birthed pro models for Stefan Janoski and Omar Salazar, both Vans knock-offs that make it pretty clear Nike’s given up on trying to be any kind of leader, the way they were when they came in with the Dunk a few years ago and helped the Es Accel usher in the wave of low-tech simple shoes. Beyond the staple Blazers and Dunks Nike SB is/was the one company making teched-out shoes that A. had serious space technology behind them and B. actually sold despite said low-tech shoe trend, so seeing their operation fall into line with the parade of Vans imitators (belatedly) communicates complacency at best, surrender at worst, or perhaps an Antarctic sabbatical with Marty Stouffer for the shoe design squad.

There have been and will be long and usually boring debates on Nike’s role in this big teddy bear picnic, but at this point the threads feel like they’ve been played out — Nike came on the scene and boosted some half-forgotten pros* like Danny Supa, Reese Forbes, Gino, etc.; they proceeded to make the expected power moves via P-Rod, Janoski, Salazar, and now Koston. For a few years there SB sales, restricted to actual real skateboard stores, translated to serious loot for the operators that they weren’t seeing selling other shoes, for various reasons; now you can order “CCS Exclusive” colors of Nike Dunks off the internet or get them at Zumiez. Nike takes good care of its people, pros to reps, and they do joint ventures with Blueprint and Slam City and the SPOT and Slap and Skate Mental; they should do all this stuff because they can and it keeps cranks like me from complaining too much.

But now that Nike’s at last acting like the 800-pound gorilla it is, it’s hard not to feel wary about what comes next. Best case scenario is they generallhy follow the rest of the shoe pack, make good videos and do right by the proper people. Or, perhaps they scoop up Ryan Sheckler, appoint him president of the 6.0 division, and sponsor nationwide skate camps hooked up to Rob Dyrdek’s proposed “skateboard league”… clearing the way for a generation of talent scouts and parent-managers hanging off the skatepark chain-link fence, calling the cops on the oldsters and scaring away all the precious weirdos that came up with the screaming hand and the idea to jump a skateboard on a handrail.

*By the other shoe companies, anyway

Heard On the Street

October 24, 2008


Listen up

Sad news from Listen today:

First of all thanks to everyone who has supported us for the past 4 years. Due to the unforeseen economic downfall and obstacles beyond our control, we have collectively decided to take these next two months to restructure our company financially and operationally in order to bring you a new and improved Listen skateboards and Listenskateboards.com, in January 2009.

Man. First of all, let’s hope that’s two months in calendar time and not “Fulfill the Dream: Coming Soon” time. Either way, hopefully these dudes can hold it together, because right now skateboarding could do with more Listens and less multinational conglomerate hard/softgood concerns.

Speaking of, those guys aren’t doing so hot either…

Foot Locker Inc.

Citigroup Global Markets analyst Kate McShane describes shares in the new owner of CCS as “beaten down” and ripe for buying after FL lost 30% of its value over the past month. It hurts, like a shinner or seeing the words “Core Shop Exclusive!!” in a $102 million mail-order company’s catalog. McShane telegraphs what may be positive news for Es, however: “Over the longer term, we think Foot Locker is well positioned to capitalize on a healthier consumer & a technical athletic footwear trend.”

Globe International Ltd.

Globe caught a tough one last month when they closed out fiscal 2007/2008 with a $24.6 million net loss, but they’re keeping an Australian stiff upper lip judging from their annual report, which looks more like a booking catalog and is probably the only shareholder document to feature beardmaster Chris Haslam gooning it up in a Slayer shirt. Do you think he gets photo incentive for that?

Also, important facts to bear in mind when considering GLB.AX: Major competitors would be other apparel-related businesses providing the same services to the general public through its shops or on-line. Customers are the general public who are fashion conscious.

Billabong International Ltd.

Australia-based surf clothier and owner of Element finds itself pitched on the fickle waves of teen consumerism, and while Billabong hasn’t been hit as hard as some of the other guys, one of their top executives last month unloaded a quarter-million shares just prior to the credit crisis kicking into high gear. It’s never really a good look when one of your top dogs trims his personal stake in the company, but by selling when he did our boy avoided losing $500,000 or so, which speaks to brains of a sort at the helm.

Quiksilver Inc.

ZQK has had a tough run of things, trading this week to a one-year low as debt balloons and investors flee the DC parent like so many Lakai riders. The plunging chart pretty much tells a sad tale, but messageboard advice-dispenser “giveitup4muffinz” claims the story is more dire yet… “ZQK DEBT NOW = 150% OF MARKET CAP this turd is sinking fast!!! this company is f*cked!!! do not invest in this company. you’ll be broke. it’s going under!! no future for ZQK.