Posts Tagged ‘David Gravette’

In an Age of Plenty, the Challenge of Getting Past Lavar McBride’s Arms When He Nollie Backside Flips the Hubba Hideout Stairs

May 21, 2017

The larcenous subtlety of the X-Games, now legal to drink at 22 years old, lies in its unassailable hamhandedness. From its early, lingering and loving embrace of the “extreme” label even through the market segment’s maturation into ‘action sports,’ to its endorsement of the MegaRampTM and multiyear employment of frequent seagull target Sal Masakela; even as contest-course stewards seek to more tightly bottle and present street skating’s outlaw allure, there could only be one competitive franchise when duty requires blurting onto the interwebs ten minutes of fresh video part footage from the likes of Ishod Wair, Tiago Lemos, Cole Wilson and Na-Kel Smith. If it isn’t the best contest, strictly speaking, it’s probably the easiest spoonful of corporate-sponsored tournamentation to be gulped amongst a medicine chest otherwise proffering antiseptic runs formulated with rocks to fakie, and board-in-hand youngsters hustling up embankments and across quarterpipe decks.

Between sequences extolling the powers of Home Depot’s flooring products, Tiago Lemos’ fakie 360 flip switch backside tailslide pop out and Ishod Wair’s nighttime run through Muni are ladled liberally onto a La La Palooza of skating scooped up over the past week or so. Consider: May 12, Adidas releases a ringing video from a London trip, loaded with Rodrigo TX’s impeccably swished-out technicalities*, the magic-footed Gustav Tonnesen and freshly resurfaced matriculant Mark Suciu; it is this type of clip Adidas’ Juice crew does best and crafts better than nearly anybody. A day later, quasi-Texan Keegan McCutcheon delivers a fulsome spread of shove-its and various relatables over bars, including the hallowed wallride shove. In there somewheres was Mark Del Negro’s ambidextrous arrival via Philly on Hopps, Mark Humienik’s Sable section boasting a blistering noseblunt shove-it, and a Niels Bennett footage dump from Venture, in which a wallie 50-50 on a rail and a humongous switch wallride draws another mop-topped gangler ever closer to the still-glowing OG bathroom sign. On May 17 yung Polar wonder-bowlrider Oskar Rozenberg put out a street-heavy part for Nike, going GX in the SF hills and helping shake the Brooklyn Banks from a seven-year hibernation. And then Thrasher began dropping the Creature video, with full-throated David Gravette and Milton Martinez entries.

A daunting and woundrous time it is for footage consumers, who entertain the challenge of processing and absorbing valuable experience points from video parts with nearly each meal of the day, to say nothing of posting and or in-person pontificating on each amongst one’s chosen bros. For those with the skill, mental gonads and ill judgement to angle for their own slice of the day’s skate video watching capacity, with all of its punishing fickleness and readily rendered harshitudes, it’s gotta be awful tough.

And yet there lurks another threat to these freshly scrubbed video parts, nervously approaching their public debuts with each pixel the upload progress bar adds. Like an icey iceberg sailing deeper into frigid arctic waters, this danger is largely hidden and only grows, sometimes with only small and pointy bits visible to the non-radar enhanced eye. It appears to you in the form of Lavar McBride’s arms, downward cast after flicking one of mankind’s greatest nollie backside kickflips down the Hubba Hideout steps in ‘Trilogy,’ twenty-one years in the past. Maybe it appears as Tom Penny blurrily pushing through the parking ramp in TSA’s ‘Life in the Fast Lane,’ or maybe Steve Durante switch heelflipping into a switch frontside bluntslide, or Diego Najera’s still-incomprehensible switch varial heelflip. Those lionhearted bros offering up new video parts to the internet’s altar not only compete day-to-day with their contemporaries for its fleeting and capricious favour, but now with the entire history of what has come before.

Of the nollie backside flip’s many historical high points, are Jim Greco’s Baker2G edition or Jake Johnson’s in Mind Field able to command as many repeat rewinds as Lavar McBride’s one with the arms? Where were yall when Lavar McBride was trying to teach you to nollie flip at the DMV? How many minutes in a typical day need be devoted to consuming new footage so as to convincingly hold one’s own on the Slap boards? Where will you be for the X-Games’ dirty thirty?

*just for the record

‘Word Up’ or, Boil the Ocean’s Generally Uninformed Views Regarding Runners and Riders for 2013 SOTY

November 3, 2013

sheriff

As contest grow, amass greater cash purses and consolidate power, Thrasher’s ‘Skater of the Year’ has come to command a late-year rush of award-season bait generally angled toward capturing the short-pantsed golden bro with the Lego-man cap on. The phenomenon has birthed horrific mutations and eddies in the space-time continuum, such as making the front half of the year sleepier than it might otherwise have been video-wise and flummoxing innocent blog websites that generally speaking might boast somewhat better SOTY oddsmaking without having to account for an early-December crush of Phelps-baiting footage arising out of nowhere. Nevertheless:

David Gravette A scrappy journeyman working in the medium of hairy 50-50s, Creature’s golden child is the onliest 2013 candidate whose resume totes a Thrasher-themed facial tattoo. Amongst all the ditches, bars and his not-quite-a-flyout backflip, Gravette demanded a cover photo and received it, though similar to the initial landing on his round-the-horn rail ride in this year’s CSFU part, Gravette’s bid is solid but may suffer from bad timing, its arrival earlier in the year having been obscured by any number of team-jumps, jailings, gay-rights ruminations and related chatterboxing.

Nyjah Huston: His contest-circuit profile and ability to consistently stretch handrail tricks down an additional few stairs each year have made Nyjah Huston a perennial candidate lately, and similar to Ryan Sheckler, he seems to have preemptively cleared a spot in his trophy room for the Thrasher award, so far to no avail. He has offered up to the mag some kinked-bar prowess and a politically incorrect comment that may otherwise have played well to a wizard-staffed campfire, but the ensuing press-release apology and tearful track record when a gold medal eludes him may make SOTY a long shot.

Bob Burnquist’s helicopter: Never has a helicopter so boldly staked a claim to an award that otherwise has purely been the affectation of human beings, yet as digital technology advances and extreme athletes continue to achieve on stronger and deeper stages, machinery has played an ever-larger role, be it lasering substandard eyeballs, defending against rogue-state missile launches or ferrying Danny Way back to his next MegaRampTM run. It’s difficult to argue against Bob Burnquist’s helicopter as the most-extreme propeller-driven aircraft of modern times, though Thrasher underbosses may look askance at an all-park part.

Clint Walker: Like a bearded young demon conjured by blaspheming worshippers of Heath Kirchart’s career, the long-simmering Clint Walker boiled over last spring in Ambig’s ‘Modern Art’ video. Clint Walker did a truly gnarly crooked grind revert and in addition to all those damn-the-wobbles ending tricks managed that rare feat of the YouTube age, forcing rewinds after a vertigo-inducing miss on an otherwise unassuming nollie heelflip. The knock against Clint Walker would be that he’s too new, but few have chomped as hard as he this year.

Brandon Westgate: New England’s famed cranberry boggart recorded some of the year’s heaviest tricks, some flung down San Francisco hills, others up from handicap ramps, and one across a massive loading dock that looked roughly on par with the size of Brandon Westgate’s quiet and domesticated family home. Should Brandon Westgate, an accomplished tiler and this world wide web log’s odds-on favorite for the award, somehow dodge it this year, he seems assured that little-loved consolation prize which is to be attached to perpetual message-board grumblings also concerning Dennis Busenitz and Guy Mariano in the could’ve/should’ve SOTY sphere.

Bronze Hardware: With impeccable taste since the start, Bronze’s mastery of its particular/singular domain and subject matter have become harder to ignore with each passing year, braiding together a thick and lustrous twine of classic tricks, foreboding soundscapes and ‘found recordings’ into this year’s ‘Solo Jazz’ offering. Bronze Hardware’s prowess and promiscuity have engendered anger and half-mumbled threats from adversaries, which may for Thrasher staffers pose questions of peacekeeping and insurance liabilities for any SOTY event in which Bronze Hardware is named the ultimate winner.

Ben Rayborne: a grimy, bespectacled veteran of patchy backyard ramps and full pipes, who introduced the industry to the phrase “horse pool” and as much as anybody else in the running this year is of the Thrasher mold. Ben Raybourne skates giant sewers in the dark, threatens weak amphibians, rides ceilings where others may settle for the wall and fence-jams at Burnside, pumping out an array of footage this year that did include the obligatory Thrasher part. He also boasts the distinction of having some of his tricks translated into Lego formats.

Ishod Wair VX’ed footage of nighttime Love Park lines soundtracked to Raekwon in 2013 qualifies as certified blog fodder and must be treated as such. Nevertheless, it’s difficult not to rate Ishod’s real-streetness after two parts worth of “Photosynthesis”-mining grit over the last year that also did include some Juicy J and multiple trips down the fountain gap. It’s a good look for Ishod Wair, whose skills never have been in doubt but whose “Since Day One” section spoke more toward the type of SoCal one-hitters that many a Street League jockey could have formulated. A lengthy interview in Thrasher, Deluxe affiliation and the promise of another possible part by year’s end further bolster his candidacy.

Jim Greco: Worse than a gruesome death or a quiet fade from the scene for Jim Greco would be damnation by being decreed ‘boring,’ and so in 2013 Greco challenges conventional norms and mores by embracing concepts like darkslides and Wrangler pants. Tangling with cars, dumpsters, hydrants and fearsome embankments, Greco pulled out a Slayer tape and most all the stops for his “Deathwish” video appearance and, seeming to grasp the spell Rodney Mullen commands over U.S. tweens, potentially extended his career another five years easy as he dares to navigate the turbulent waters of pants and sunglasses sponsorships.

Insight On Current Priorities In Pro-Model Promotion From A Dude With Multiple Face Tattoos

April 7, 2013

gravette

Under the eyebrows, but:
“…[T]he amount of innocent things that are translated wrong through Instagram or Facebook… It’s annoying. There are people who know where you are when you don’t want them to know where you are. Add to that the fact that I’m being told by people that I’m blowing it and losing out on board royalties and shoe royalties because of not being on the stuff? That makes me sick. That, in skateboarding, you’re hurting yourself by choosing not to spend more time stuck behind a computer. That just doesn’t make sense. Just talk to a kid when you’re out skating, and they buy your board, you know? I’ll talk to anyone who comes up to me at a park, but I don’t want to get sucked into Facebook.”

-Technophobiac David Gravette, the May/Creature issue of Thrasher

Pat Burke’s Arrested Development

December 7, 2009


40 break

Let’s use Chris Cole’s SOTY as a stepping off-point for some chatter around the new Black Box Dist. videos, how aobut? OK then.

File Pat Burke alongside David Gravette, Bryan Herman and other gleeful rabble-rouser types who seem to want nothing more of this earthly life than to cut class, smoke ditch weed and kickflip shit. The scuzzy Virginian’s section in the Slave production “Radio Television”, maybe/probably the best one in a good video, has that slightly intoxicated spark of youth that for a lot of us made this whole thing exciting for reasons aside from jumping gaps and sliding blocks, in the days before you could skate the prefab park for your gym class credit. (For this blog’s next trick, it will stand with its virtual hand held up in front of a virtual bulldozer bearing down on the virtual habitat of some cute and furry mammal like maybe a certain species of marmot.)

Meanwhile the kids like young Pat Burke probably would not care, similar to how he may or may not have cared about potential internet nitpicking over a sorta-janky switch kickflip he does before the fakie heelflip to switch crooked grind in this section, or any potential consequences involved with nollie backside flipping into a big scary bank. There’s the opening mudbath and also a noseblunt/lipslide surprise sort of thing in here that suggest a Spicoli/Trapasso/Lebowski type of rolling with punches going on with his skating*, and it seems as if he likes his one red striped polo shirt about as much as switch frontside heelflips, and both probably suit him.

At the risk of getting a lil too Larry Clark here–there’s a kind of rotten majesty that this section has in spades, a who-cares spark that dims when dudes get older and battle their demons and gotta skate for their mortgages and car notes and whatnot, even if they’re lucky enough to be packing a backside heelflip informed by a few summers at Lockwood or something. Well, except maybe Duane Peters. Then again it’s probably an indication you’re getting old yourself when you watch this kid Pat Burke slide a little whooping noseblunt on a quarterpipe and envy the whole scenario for the trick itself, but also that school’s-out-for-the-weekend feeling that gets fleeting pretty quick. Hold onto it, young Burke, and make sure you thank the gods of onion rings and canned beer for giving you your switch heelflips and all the sweet animal feasting stock footage for the video.

*and the clip with the biker maybe indicates he expects the rest of the world to roll along with him

Five-Ooooooooooohhhhhhhh

June 19, 2009

The really important thing today is that you watch this entry in Thrasher’s “Saints & Sinners” tour, which features one of the more blistering bowl sessions I’ve seen pretty much ever – witness, if you will, street skating by Neil Heddings; Sam Hitz’s Matterhorn Screamer 5-0 grind; the corresponding nosegrind; Al Partanen’s caballerial; and my favorite, the determined fakie pump around the bend. Gravette’s ollie-out-ollie-in is the icing on the cake. Yow

Midsummer Video Roundup: And Now

August 21, 2008


“Fuckin, I don’t know”

Okay, can I just tell you my favorite thing about this new Transworld video, even more so than Kenny Hoyle’s opening kickflip, or Richie Jackson’s paisley pirate outfits, or Nick Trapasso: no fucking voiceovers. This closely approximates my personal reaction, except on a couch. I was wearing basically the same amount of body armor.

Pretty much every time a TWS video has come out in the last few years I’m inclined to think “hmm, this is the best TWS video in years” which may or may not actually be the case after a few weeks of viewing. But this time, guys… this time for sure (no Bullwinkle) I think “And Now” really is the best TWS vids in quite some time. There’s been some hoopla in the magazine about how this is like the new “In Bloom,” which I can see, sort of. But that begs the question: who’s gonna plump up and fizzle out Alex Gall style? My money’s on Sean Malto personally. Mostly because he seems like such a volatile, angry drunk.

Transworld videos at this point are basically an institution, like Madonna for instance, and if you took the 20 or so videos they’ve put out over the last 15 years (TWS that is) you’d have a fairly accurate roadmap of trick trends, skateboard fashion, and evolving film/edit techniques that generally represent the best in skate videos at any particular point. A lot of the credit goes to Ty Evans, who presided over the TWS golden age of “Feedback”/”The Reason”/”Modus Operandi,” but the revolving cast of filmer/editors that has passed through those hallowed AOL/Time Warner doors since has taken up his blueprint and soldiered on, with mostly positive results. Filming innovations and high production value aside though, there’s Ty tropes that maintained long past their expiration date, like the intolerable voiceovers (some sounded like they were reading off a fucking teleprompter) and the vaguely hilarious inanity of the titles.

So it’s cool that “And Now,” humorously inane title aside, tones down the starry-eyed “wow, skating, man” aspect and keeps things moving. No overblown intro montage (not too overblown anyhow), no goddamn voiceovers, no skits unless you count Richie Jackson’s whole part. Reckless dumbass David Gravette comes out blasting with his charbroiled rail moves and winds things up with a trick that’s sure to get some novices sacked before the snow flies. Matt Miller I was really looking forward to and he came through with a solid part of fairly straightforward skating, fakie flip body varial noseblunt aside. (That’s what it was right? I had to rewind many times.) But generally he had a minimum of the polejam/wallie/manual combos that TWS videos have showcased heavily the last couple years.

That of course is handled with psychedelic aplomb by Richie Jackson, dark hippie avenger from Oz, who twirls and skids and somehow powerslides down stairs. Some of the tricks are pretty inspired and I was relieved to see him work in some more standard-issue shit, like the b/s 5-0 revert and the switch 360 flip, because sometimes I get the sinking feeling that these guys known for doing nutty/dork/novelty tricks all day long may not be able to actually skate any other way.

Kenny Hoyle is just great. The angle on that switch bigspin heelflip he does over the hump is so good. A prime example of a skater who on paper might not sound that sound exciting but the way he lands tricks does it all. I love watching this kid skate. Nick Trapasso is sort of the same (see the way he rides away from the double-set switch frontside heelflip) but freakishly talented enough to inspire head-scratching and rewinding. There’s some stuff I’m not into at all, like the nollie tuck-knee, but it’s hard to complain much. It’s like he can do anything. Both the song choice and the electric blue socks are kind of untouchable.

Then there’s Sean Malto, who seems to be the living, hardflipping nightmare of every skatepark old guy who narrows his eyes and mutters “damn kids” as some 9th-grader glides down the rail. Switch kickflip frontside k-grinds, cab feebles, et cetera. It goes on for some time. I can imagine people complaining that the marquee tricks have already been in ads, but for me, the full gnarliness of those tricks didn’t quite translate through the 2-D photo format, although that could just be my brain problem at work again. Malto, though: So much command and confidence, and he’s so young. At least he looks young. Trainwreck used to look young too. If my calculations above are correct Malto will soon be sleeved up and bloated from alcohol misuse, so as long as the legions of skatepark old guys can keep their guts in check til then, the last laugh may yet be theirs for the laughing.

In summary, best TWS video in years. I think. No voiceovers!

“These guys are idiots so I was just running with it”

May 16, 2008

When I was little I used to read skate magazines and bug out at the crazy stories spun by pros in their interviews because they seemed to live such wild, reckless lives. Case in point: the Andy Roy interview in BB, which I could scan if somebody hasn’t already done it, Shiloh, etc. Jim Gagne of all people had a really entertaining interview in a mid-90s Thrasher I have somewhere. And Ryan Kenreich, I think, had a pretty hilarious interview in the waning years of BB where he broke down his lengthy arrest record.

Nowadays of course most interviews are bland as plain yogurt–name, sponsors, hometown, how’d you get into skating, blah blah–and the stories about getting fucked up and whatnot have become pretty passe, if not quaint. But now and then I read something that, while it doesn’t bug me out like it would in the past, produces a laugh or something for the same reasons.*

Anyway, in the May issue of Slap there’s a tag team interview with David Gravette and Devin Appelo that was pretty funny. I have to marvel at the logic at work in this story, really.

David Gravette: It started out as five of us walking through the streets with ski masks. One of us was carrying a crow bar, the other one had a thing of rope, and the other dude had a flashlight.

Devin Appelo: Didn’t we have a saw?

DG: No. Anyone who saw us out the window was gonna call the cops, but these guys are idiots so I was just running with it. So we walked to the house–it’s this big Indian museum with a bunch of Indian artifacts. Taylor’s plan was to jump on the roof and take a smoke ventilation piece out and rappel in. We found out when we got there that the shingles were too icy to climb up, but Devin used his crow bar to pop the door open. We walked in and hung out for a bit. I had to convince Taylor not to take a bear pelt. He was running around with the bear pelt over him pretending to be a bear and ran into a pole. Then Taylor and Devin wanted to light a fire in there.

DA: Dude, how cool would it be to light a fire in there?

DG: I was like, no, we gotta go.” So we left and Devin was like, “Let’s get on this train, it’ll take us back to where we wanna go.” So we get on this train in the middle of winter in Portland and it’s so cold. We’re holding on and it started picking up speed for a second and I was like, “Dude, we’re not gonna be able to jump off if it keeps going!” It kept going for a bit and it got pretty scary, but then it slowed down and we hopped off. We weren’t really close to anywhere near where we wanted to be, but it was alright.

Slap: Spell “alligator.”

DG: Fuck you. What if I get it wrong? I can’t even try right now; it’s too dangerous.

DA: Dude, I could never spell that word.

DG: I can write it. A-L-I… Does it got two L’s?

DA: No, I don’t think so.

DG: It’s just A-L-I-G-A-T-O-R, right?

Slap:There’s two L’s, but I’ll give you an “A” for effort, idiot.

DG: Dude, this is gonna make me look like a dumb ass.

Despite (because of?) his general idiocy Gravette has been skating like a man possessed this last year. He landed the new TWS cover with one of his kinker rail attacks and the photo above from the Slap interview is pretty bananas. I half-expected Reynolds to tap him for the Deathwish lineup, because shitty as it is, third-tier companies like Creature tend to have a hard time hanging on to their young guns. Plus he has the TWS video part coming up. Get your money up Navarette.

*Like many skateboard bloggers I am over the hill and nurse serious nostalgia for the 1990s. Don’t get mad, I’m only being real.