Posts Tagged ‘credit crunch’

Hail to the Chief

November 26, 2008


If Boil the Ocean had an art budget (and an artist) the photo above would be some combo of this and this with the letters “SOTY” underneath, but, yeah. Budgetless art courtesy of Erik; thanks also to YWS Eeen for his offer.

Much like the U.S. o’ A, Thrasher put a fresh-faced, left-leaning young buck in the number one spot, largely untested and with a rather unlikely three-name combo. Perhaps a sign of change, elevating young breakout types with similarly thin resumes – five years ago Barack Obama’s a state senator, and Silas Baxter-Neal was Powell flow trash. Perhaps an indication of no better candidates. But as far as reaching the top of the heap early on in their careers, SBN and BHO are in there with JFK, TR, BA and, er, Cardiel.

Like the big O, Baxter-Neal seems to capture the current zeitgeist: promoting new ideas (noseslide to switch nosegrind transfer), recognition of classic form (Thrasher Th13rteen cover) shaking up established schools of though (frontside flip wallride revert). Both have smoked weed.

But unlike the Pres-elect SBN comes to SOTY with a noticeable absence of flash, lacking the superhuman skill set of a Chris Cole, Daewon Song or Marc Johnson, and the hellbent-for-leather risk appetite of a Danny Way or Geoff Rowley. He’s definitely no slouch on the board but it seems Baxter-Neal succeeded via elbow grease, a workhorse attitude and probably a lack of serious injury. It’s hard to imagine a hardertoiling skateboarder in the last couple years, with the obvious exception of Wade Speyer.

It’s possible that Obama, too, has picked up on his inner Baxter-Nealness, with the politisphere ablaze with news that he plans to name Tim Geithner, NY Fed honcho and alleged skateboarder, to head the Treasury department. The early reports proved premature however, as the Federales quickly took it upon themselves to clear Geithner’s name of any thrashing of the four-wheeled variety:

A skateboarding Treasury secretary would indeed be something special. However, a Fed spokesman said yesterday that, in fact, Mr. Geithner doesn’t actively participate in skateboarding.

There are some theories as to why surfers and snowboarders have outdone skaters in seeking political office. Surfing and snowboarding tend to cost more, and this may act as a social filter.

Also, a lot of people start surfing and snowboarding in middle age. It’s certainly possible to pick-up skateboarding later in life, but few adults can stomach the time and pain commitment that learning skateboarding requires.

So it seems skaters will have to wait a bit longer for the first skateboarding Treasury secretary. Change can only happen so fast.

24 Hour Party People

November 15, 2008


Irrational exuberance

It’s not without a certain jealousy that I peruse the photos of Rob Dyrdek’s shoe release party and wonder just how long the skateboard industry (or, if you prefer, the action sports/energy drink/reality TV industry) can sustain this mode of operation – race cars, multiple TV crews, all the Monster energy drink one can stomach. Why not throw a party for the 30-somethingth shoe from a 30-something pro? Why not rent out a spot to premiere the new 411? (If memory serves, they were doing this at one point.) Meanwhile we’ll print up big ol’ hardbound magazines – er, books – and hand ’em out for free. And, go right ahead and build that $1.7 million ramp so Danny Way can jump the Great Wall of China.

Oh, I just wonder about all this stuff as retail sales drop through the floor and factories shut down and houses go into foreclosure. (Oil’s down to $60 per barrel though, so maybe they’ll do King of the Road next summer.) Certain of the skateboard internet sphere almost giddily predicts the next 1993 year in and year out, and while I don’t expect Tony Hawk to go back to living out of his Lexus anytime soon, you kind of wonder when the skateboard business as a whole is gonna have to take a step back.

I mean it wasn’t even two years ago that blank boards killed the industry – how are dudes supposed to make their Cadillac payments? Meanwhile kids are downloading videos off the Napster and now we’re in a recession. It’s almost noble, the way Dyrdek maintains a stiff upper lip while the ice swans in his Candyland bunker slowly lose shape.

For serious though, where does the money come from? And is it gonna keep coming? Zumiez and PacSun are bleeding cash. Rumors are a-float about layoffs at hard and softgood suppliers alike. Hopefully those crazy sneakerheads manage their trust funds wisely through this trying time in our nation’s economic history.

But if boards aren’t selling, videos aren’t selling, clothes and shoes are sitting on the shelves longer and, erm, I guess I’m not clued in on the movements of wheel markets… well you get the idea. Who’s gonna keep the free drinks flowing at the magazine/shoe collabo release parties? Is Panasonic Car Audio going to keep flying 300 of Sheckler’s tightest brahs from way back to Vegas for his sweet nineteenth? How many Red Bull hats does JR-Blastoff gotta wear every month to keep current on his Bentley lease?

Like with the government bailout or the Firm video, the questions don’t stop. Will the industry ever have to live with less? If it does, will that mean we have to wear giant pants again? Would the wise investor purchase stocks in a canvas wholesaler now, ahead of our return to 44″ waistlines? And is Wade D way ahead of everybody on this?