Posts Tagged ‘Dave Carnie’

Meet Sabatino Aracu, Boss Of All Skateboarding Bosses

March 3, 2019

Within the warehouses clapped together in that storied, swampy section of eastern Tampa, none appeared more powerful on this Tampa Pro weekend than sportpantsed ghetto birder Aurelien Giraud, a young French Plan B rider and Red Bull sipper of some description, positively soaring over would-be competitors en route to an obvious Best Trick crown and sceptre. Aurelien ‘Girbaud’ Giraud only is beginning to pen his own tale, to be told in ultra 4K, homie phone vids and promotional materials for his sponsors; it shall be cradled in digital video and still imagery and the occasional Q&A text companion.

Yet talents like Aurelien Giraud, immense and highflying as they may be, come and go. For nigh 20 years the Tampa contest and its drainage-ditch accoutrements have been governed by SPoT impresario Brian Shaefer. Since 2015, SPoT’s career-making Tampa events have shifted under the contesturial auspices of Street League Skateboarding, managed by former extreme sporting FuelTV media figure CJ Olivares. Street League itself since last year has been in thrall to World Skate, a global governing body created through the IOC-officiated shotgun marriage of the International Roller Sports Federation and the International Skateboarding Federation, where gymnastics camping mogul Gary Ream oversees skateboarding content. Above him — holding in his hands the global fate of skateboarding — sits, in a worldly Italian’s repose, Sabatino Aracua, CEO of World Skate.

64-year-old Sabatino Aracu rose to rollersports power thanks to a canny combo of political pragmatism and raw wit. In 2004, the former rollerskating athlete and Italian lawmaker saw his moment: the International Roller Sports Federation, entering its eighth decade and shut out of recognition as an Olympic sport, faced a schism over recognizing the rollerbladers of Spain’s Catalonia province as a separate nation. Sabatino Aracu vociferously argued against recognizing the Catalans, warning such a bold maneuver could torpedo rollersporting’s Olympic dreams. His predecessor stepped down over the debate, and Sabatino Aracu ascended to his first of four terms as the organization’s president; in his 2017 election, none opposed him.

Another brass ring was furiously rollerskated after and grabbed in the late 1990s, when skateboarding, roller sports’ comparatively scrappy stepchild which remained unrefined through choreographed dance routines, had drawn the Olympic Argus’ wandering eye. Here, the FIRS flexed its decades of familiarity with Olympic rules, asserting itself the official governing body of skateboarding. Sabatino Aracu, in a 2016 interview with ‘I, Skateboard’ dance abstractionist Dave Carnie, presents himself as a uniter of multi-wheeled disciplines, forging a kind of bureaucratic harmony wherein skateboarding will provide a camera-ready vehicle for rollersports’ final triumph over the Olympic cold shoulder — pushing, together, past provincial turf battles and fun-poking novelty t-shirts (on the skateboarders’ side at least):

“Concerning the relationship between skateboarders and rollerbladers,” President Aracu replied, “I honestly do not understand, and I do not see a reason for such a riff: Everyone has its own culture and its own uniqueness. As multidisciplinary International Federation, for years we have managed different disciplines without disagreements simply because we guarantee and respect culture, autonomy, and individuality of each discipline. The role of a manager transcends the specific technical skills inside the international federations.”

As skateboarding preps for its global internet streaming debut next year, Sabatino Aracu remains singular as its planetary controlling persona. His steely eyes and shining pate call to mind the futuristic empire-building of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, the intergalactic masculinity of Captain Jean Luc Picard, the cerebral superpowers of Professor Charles Xavier. As a onetime competitive rollerskater he is intimately familiar with speeds that would make even the most iron-willed GX1000er drag his foot. He doubtless knows bearing-greasing secrets long ago handed down by the gods of yore and, when the chips are down, can be counted upon to don chainmail, hoist a helberd and raise aloud the battle cry in the face of overwhelming odds and an army of the living dead.

Could Sabatino Aracu’s yearslong rule and erudite quotations argue for or against presidential term limits for World Skate? Could enforced, compulsory participation in choreographed skate routines such as this help skateboarding heal the divisions and fragmentation wrought by the Instagram age? Are competitive speed rollerbladers and rollerdancing pros distraught at the prospect of their comparatively underground subcultures being coopted by skateboarding’s mainstream-and-malls set for an Olympic gold grab?

Rating the E-beefs

May 27, 2008


Hit ’em up

I thought about posting something with Brian Patch getting arrested for sexually congressing a 15-year-old (girl) but the general reaction among the skateboard sphere has been “dude have you SEEN 15-year-old girls lately?! OMG” so I’ll take a pass, unless it turns into a hilarious circus similiar to the current R Kelly trial. Which we all hope that it will.

Instead let us turn to the blog-o-sphere itself, which has been more entertaining than usual lately, what with the willingness of pros and other industry types to air one another out. Since most of these people still have a dog in the skateboard fight, a lot of the shots are pretty passive-aggressive, making the whole thing even more high-schoolish than the industry usually is… and not nearly as entertaining as the bridge-burning tirades posted by the likes of Kris Markovich and Henry Sanchez. But we’ll make do.

Rather than running down the fascinating minutia of each dust-up, which everybody probably knows already, I’ll summarize and pass judgment upon each battle, as is my wont, and employ the hard-won experience gained in my 15 years of internet usage… all the way back to impersonating John Fogarty in Prodigy chatrooms.

Clyde Singleton v. Jamie Thomas

Recap: So our old friend Clyde, who seems to take great pleasure in letting everyone know he’s no longer a pro skateboarder, has come out as a Sheckler apologist, joining the rarified ranks of Danny Way, Rob Dyrdek and, uh, Sheckler’s parents. Separately, Jamie Thomas took it upon himself to explain to Danny Way his perception of the whole “Sheckler Is Ruining Skateboarding” school of thought, a conversation that Danny Way apparently related to Sheckler, who no doubt spent several days contemplating this in solitude before placing Jamie Thomas into the “haters” camp, and letting the world know in the Skateboard Mag. For what it’s worth, Sheckler has insinuated that Thomas is boring in earlier interviews.

Anyway. Clyde gets hate mail for coming out in defense of Sheckler. (I personally interpret Clyde’s thumbs-up as general approval for anyone who’s young, good at skating, raking in money and rolling in chicks, as opposed to a thoroughly researched view on Sheckler’s video parts and MTV persona.) Clyde responds to Sheckler haters on his blog, naming Thomas amongst their kind and taking thinly veiled shots at the Zero chieftan for the usual handrail fetish, playing dress up with riders, and issuing trick lists. Thomas, a new inductee to the hallowed church of internet discourse, responds; much back-pedaling and over-explanation by Clyde ensues.

Powers of reasoning: Clyde’s TWS “15 Reasons You Hate Ryan Sheckler” would have come off half-baked even in an environment not already permeated with “Sheckler vs. Haters” coverage, but I think I get his angle, maybe. Jamie Thomas, the injured/misquoted party here, is pretty civil calling Clyde out for getting the story wrong and keeps it classy, though it’s a little bit scary that he’s right there with the second comment after Clyde’s post went up. Clyde may have a point re: the tight rein Jamie Thomas keeps when it comes to his image, but it’s lost amid all the “you got me wrong fam.” Edge: Jamie Thomas

Internet savvy: Clyde started a blog, but any idiot can. Jamie Thomas withstood the trials of the Slap board and his screen name survived to tell the tale, with a positive rep even. Clyde claims he doesn’t read the comments on his own site. Yeah, sure. Edge: Jamie Thomas

Career: This is a tough one. Jamie Thomas changed the game with Welcome to Hell, etc etc, but Clyde came up in the World camp and rode with Sal through Aesthetics. JT did the leap of faith but Clyde fakie b/s tailslid Hubba Hideout. So it’s close. Draw

Dollars: What it all comes down to, right? Edge: Jamie Thomas (obviously)

What animals they would be: Jamie Thomas has employed lions and eagles in the past but I see him as more of a horse. Clyde would maybe be a hyena. Edge: Clyde Singleton

Winner: Jamie Thomas

Dave Carnie v. Bob Burnquist

Recap: This has been a long-simmering one, with Carnie being one of the few to openly call out Bob Burnquist for watching Jake Brown’s legendary slam at the X-games, playing up the drama and gravity of the situation prior to his last run and then winning a contest that would have otherwise gone to the fallen Brown. Carnie, for better or worse, tends not to hold his tongue on shit, and his take on the whole Jake Brown thing voiced a lot of people’s dissatisfaction with Bob for his general tendency to not keep it real at all.

Powers of reasoning: Bob rightly called out Carnie on not contacting him for his side of the story, although Bob’s side of the story was already told in numerous articles on the Jake Brown slam. Carnie agreed with Bob, admitted he was wrong, and big-upped Bob for handling his shit in an adult manner. Maybe, but Bob did wait until Carnie called him to skate his ramp to finally broach the issue… Edge: Bob Burnquist

Internet savvy: Dave Carnie has a blog, which he acknowledged should probably be afforded higher journalistic standards than ‘write whatever the fuck I feel.’ Bob Burnquist is a vegan hippie who grows his own vegetables. Edge: Dave Carnie

Career: I don’t know how to go about comparing the career of an X-Games champ to one of the handful of skateboard magazine writers who isn’t also a photographer. Dave Carnie probably has more street cred, and we all know how far that goes. Edge: Bob Burnquist

Dollars: Bob hasn’t let his hippiefied leanings stand in the way of carving 100-foot-tall ramps into the sides of mountains, or grinding giant handrails that drop off into the Grand Canyon. Does he also own a helicopter? I can’t remember. Edge: Bob Burnquist

What animals would they be: Dave Carnie is often associated with cats, but despite his fluffy beard and happy-go-lucky approach to life, his analytical nature and self-destructive tendencies bely a deeper anger and perhaps some bitterness too. So maybe an elephant seal. Bob I would maybe say is a falcon. Formidable, but also kind of a priss. Edge: Dave Carnie

Winner: Dave Carnie… because he’s able to admit when he’s wrong, and because I think he was basically right about the Bob/Jake situation.

Ted Barrow v. Ryan Sheckler

Recap: Kind of a one-sided beef here, but with Barrow dedicating a lengthy blog post to the Sheckler issue and drawing parallels to the assholish nature of a young Danny Way, someone with Sheckler’s black-and-white worldview could promptly file Barrow into the haters category.

Powers of reasoning: Barrow acknowledges Sheckler’s argument, which is that Way was a child prodigy pro way back when, and he’s respected now, so you haters, you shut up. But Barrow points out that Danny Way, asshole that he may have been as a kid, came up through the usual channels of the day–contests, videos and photos–where he was judged on his skating first and foremost, whereas Sheckler is being savaged in the court of public opinion for his life of cryin’, rather than his skate tricks.

I don’t think Barrow takes this far enough though. By all means, let’s evaluate Sheckler on the basis of his skating alone—what’s he got? Big kickflips, backside flips, some stock handrail tricks and a tuck-knee air that got played out a couple years ago. I think it’s the opposite—Sheckler is in the spot he’s in because of his personality, not his skating. And though they may be brothers in youthful assholedom, Sheckler or anyone else equating his skill to a young Danny Way—the kid who almost landed the 900 a good eight or nine years before Tony Hawk—is way off. Anyway. Edge: Barrow

Career: Sheckler has an MTV show about himself. Here’s Ted Barrow’s part in Lurkers 2. He can do switch b/s smith grinds on ledges. Edge: Barrow

Dollars: Sheckler makes that Mountain Dew money. Barrow seems like the starving artist type, although I guess he could be a secret trust fund case, like a certain videographer might be. Edge: Sheckler

What animals they would be: Barrow would be a barn owl, of modest means, but maybe a little bit pretentious, and he eats mice. Sheckler would be a Pomeranian. Edge: Barrow

Winner: Ted Barrow, in a walk.