Posts Tagged ‘DGK’

Got To Give It Up… But To Yog-Sothoth Dudes?

September 16, 2018

It has been a big month for Gershon Mosley, one of the unlikelier phrases one may expect to read in 2018, year of the dawg. But there he is, pumping footage on IG, pontificating on Mark Suciu and Chris Joslin and Jason Lee with Jenkem, chopping it up with the Nine Club on the factors and feelings behind his fade from the industry round about a decade back. To hear him tell it, leaving behind a professional career was a sacrifice worth making to keep his skating pure, and to loosen corporate reins chafing the soul of a spiritual wanderer:

GM: I left for multiple reasons. Part of it was my life. I couldn’t stay in San Jose when I left Santa Cruz. I couldn’t afford rent. Also, I wanted to get away from there because that’s where I spent so many years growing and the world is bigger.

I had to separate the art from the business. When people get mad, they’ll say, “Skateboarding sucks!” But it’s not skateboarding that sucks, it’s the business and politics of it that suck. We’re so self-centered and so lost in just wanting to do that thing, that we don’t see the bigger picture when we say that shit. I’ve heard so many people [say it] and they quit skating altogether. Some of them still have issues. They’re still ego based. But if nothing else, skateboarding should have destroyed the ego.

It’s nothing new to put the trick, the road trip, or even the after-hours lifestyle before one’s physical human body, or mental health, or academic pursuits. But the current adulting trend — positioning earthly pleasures, financial gains and even the proverbial good times with the hemmies behind skating’s fishscale purity, with sometimes a dash of careerism — remains in full swing. Two-thirds of the interviews in the October Thrasher extol the virtues of a sober lifestyle; cover man Brandon Westgate again details the rustic charms of his dirt-under-fingernails lifestyle on da cranberry bog, fixing machinery and popping mad crans. Across the Atlantic Ocean, over centuries renowned for its depth and waves, Max Geronzi, among this generation’s most naturally gifted Frenchmen, is putting a prime period of popsicle-shape filming to the side while he inexplicably engages in a longterm engagement with a retro shaped board that appears free of any concave but nonetheless capable of lofty kickflips.

For independent shops, it is financial sacrifice being considered, as Theories of Atlantis, DGK and Deluxe nudge purchasing managers to pony up a handful of additional wholesale dollars for decks that in some cases are also available online via companies’ own web-stores. Efforts to squeeze a bit more juice from the commoditized deck-berry are understood, given deck marketers’ unwillingness and/or failure to persuade the unflowed masses to pay more for their seven plies’ worth of maple over the past couple decades. But it remains unclear whether shops are paying for anything more than maintaining status-quo brand access.

All such trade-offs possess their own merits and potential pitfalls, ranging from limitless riches to spitting out scurvy-rotted molars while starving to death in gaol. Yet in Canada, a darker practice seems to have taken hold. A thick and putrid whiff of the occult emanates from this year’s Dime Glory Challenge, kicked off with what appeared to be a clique of berobed pagans toting a baby, which promptly was elevated up toward the warehouse ceiling in what can only be assume to have been a gnarly and unspeakable ritual geared toward hyping up Azathoth, Shub-Niggurath and various other Great Old Ones. None dare call it coincidence — that World Champion of Skateboarding Wade Desarmo casually slew one of his several minions just ahead of what was anticipated to be the strongest challenge ever to the belt by one Ishod Wair… who would unluckily roll his ankle on the Wallride ChallengeTM shortly before the most important game of SKATE of his lifetime.

Is human sacrifice what’s hot in the streets of Montreal? Will Miskatonic University replace real-estate speculation as the extracurricular path of choice for aging pros looking to augment on-board professional prospects? Did the Dime dudes get that baby down? Will skateboarding’s notoriously rapid generational churn soon spur a backlash against sober, thoughtful life choices, and bring about a new era of ‘hammer’ tricks, illegitimate children and unpaid debt?

6. Dylan Sourbeer – ‘Sabotage 5’

December 26, 2017


Putting up two parts for each of the last two ‘Sabotage’ releases, and several before that, Dylan Sourbeer has maybe drawn more tricks out of Love Park’s now-mothballed granite blocks than anybody else, and their consistent quality gives hope for seasons to come across the way at Philadelphia’s Municipal plaza. It was already happening as Ryan Higgins and Brian Panebianco made ‘Sabotage 5,’ with Dylan Sourbeer’s ample footage largely split between Love, Muni and deconstructed Love — backside noseblunting the entire Muni bench easily ranks up there with his backside nosegrind flip out on the long out-ledge at Love, and his two-hitter line on the benches with the shirt in hand will be remembered long after our computer systems gain sentience and begin optimizing efficiency by minimizing human involvement and interference. The lines and tricks seem to pour out of this dude and you could watch it all day. Perhaps in some fashion, forcing these dudes out of Love Park will wind up opening another new Philly chapter.

9. John Shanahan – ‘Mean Streets’

December 23, 2017


Half the fun in John Shanahan’s increasingly sick video parts is analyzing, placing and appreciating the attention to detail in his sometimes fairly ludicrous outfits, which show an hands-onness maybe not seen since Ali Boulala, Jim Greco and Dustin Dollin were trolling thrift stores for vintage leathers. John Shanahan’s curatorial efforts extend to his tricks and spots too, constructing something greater than the sum of several very good parts over the last couple years. He’s polished his 360 flip over the can, of course, and his backside nosegrind pop-outs and switch k-grinds, but in his VX part for LurkNYC he puts himself out there a little but more with a straight-up hubba noseslide, goes big out of a bank and shows some deference to post-2000 trend gyrations when he hippy jumps away from an otherwise textbook noseblunt.

John Shanahan, Chopped and Sewed on the Final Frontier

May 28, 2017

Some weeks back a video Youtube link circulated advertising an attempted backside 360 down the famed El Toro stair set, the sort of heart-testing maneuver around which you’d either anticipate a fire-legged professional like Chris Joslin’s name attached, or else some risk-friendly unknown ready to offer up his effort to the world as some type of return on a foolhardy willingness to get uniquely pitched and presumably walk away. It was surprisingly convincing try — they say the last quarter spin is the moneymaker when hurling one’s self down twenty steps or more — and it rolls above a disclaimer revealing that the bros involved “might not go back for this” and various other pink-panted jumps and things.

But is it so easy? Many of skating’s seemingly most harebrained ideas have proven shockingly hard to let go. Duane Peters’ tangles with the fibreglass loop captivated a world-conquering Tony Hawk in his video game-designing prime, and assorted others after its bullring subduing. Jamie Thomas’ “leap of faith” drew Richard King to test his luck before the Point Loma school board took matters into their own hands and constructed a solid platinum elevator in one of this young century’s most stunning acts of baller-blockingism. In test fittings for the MegaRampTM crown, Bob Burnquist discovered that he, like propellerheaded originator Danny Way, could no longer resist the uniquely arousing allure of skating helicopters. Aaron Homoki’s taming of Lyon’s most notorious 25 stairs, 13 years after Ali Boulala charted its glide path en route to part-ending slams, became fodder for a Thrasher mini-doc.

Steeped in early ‘ESTs’, Flexfitted hats and the colour yellow, John Shanahan seems more concerned with resuscitating a specific vibe and era than etching his multisyllabic rhyming surname into history’s annals via big-spot trophy hunting. Bubbling under the DGK umbrella for a minute, John Shanahan this week officially arrives on the DC Shoes payroll via a cracking intro clip that pointedly trots out the bold/less bold/standard font DCSHOECOUSA logo of old along with eastern seaboard spots rinsed and fresh. Between the DC one and a separate LurkNYC VX footage dump, John Shanahan flexes backside nosegrind pop-outs, a slicing 360 flip out of the Kalis school, some tricks outta the modern school’s playbook (driveway wallride, ride-on tailslide kickflip), some flamboyantly retro Droors gear and hubba noseslides. Toeing some blurry line between ‘Photosynthesis’ and ‘The Storm,’ he wields a serious switch k-grind and a judicious use of camouflage, which is rare to see these days.

Like Philly neighbors Kevin Bilyeu and Brian Panebianco, it’s easy and erroneous to pigeonhole John Shanahan’s shared enthusiasm for the numbers 07 and 43 and all their sportsweary accoutrements as retroactivism rooted in personal branding. Just as the Sabotage dudes unearthed, resurfaced and restored an entire scene that had been municipally buried and professionally abandoned, John Shanahan seems to harbour deeper ambitions. Sharpening cut and sew skills, where else, on Instagram, John Shanahan demonstrates enough technical proficiency and stylistic nerve to construct cargo and swishy pants that command triple-digit price tags and earn “levels” hash tags when positioned alongside skaters’ current affection for graphical sweatpants and other sub-waistline achievements. But as he tests his growing powers, is John Shanahan consciously or not flying too close to that blazing sun of skate pants fashiondom, the two-toned pant?

It is a stylistic Leap of Faith that has shadowed previous practitioner Garrett Hill throughout his sponsored career, and one not lightly rolled up to. A year after Garrett Hill’s pants debuted in video footage, Tim O’Connor gleefully went in. Eight years on, the pants’ impression lingered enough that former teammates would bring them up as a cautionary tale of judgment, hubris and star-crossed romance:

Tom Karangelov: But when there’s someone that’s so original and out there, he gets so much shit. It’s crazy. Like with Garrett [Hill], half red half black pants. People are still talking to him about that. But dude, was it really that big of a deal? They are just fucking pants. Aren’t you encouraged to be creative when you skateboard? The dude who tries to go out of the box gets like, so much shit for it.

Jenkem: Have you ever considered wearing “crazy pants” like that?
Ah, no.

Has an Adidas-supported revolution in swishy pants and increasingly garish sweats provided enough air cover for John Shanahan to push pants envelope in ever-more colourful envelopes? Which trick ranks higher in terms of ’90s/east-coastness, the backside 5-0 backside 180 out or the fakie backside nosegrind shove-it? Yall caught that one switch backside heelflip over and down the blocks right? How is the resurrected Alien Workshop not sponsoring at least one of these ‘Photosynthesis’ acolytes? You been keeping an eye on Brian Wenning’s Instagram right?

The Incomparable Rodrigo TX

June 26, 2016

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The annals of skate history are littered with x-rays, unpaid medical bills, jail sentences and as-yet undiagnosed cases of chronic traumatic encephalopathy that would argue against the timeworn slogan that skateboarding is a youthful fountain worthy of Juan Ponce de Leon’s most brutal fantasies. And then, there are those who seem to truly defy age’s gravitational yankings, such as Daewon Song, Louie Barletta and, in the dirtier, ghettoier and kidlike column, Rodrigo Teixeira.

Renowned under his AP Stylebook-friendly acronymical abbreviator, Rodrigo TX is that unlikely child prodigy whose career has achieved not just a second act but a third and now perhaps fourth, as his immaculately curated flippery augurs for the pinnacle, or one of them, in Adidas’ overstuffed tongue of a full-length ‘Away Days.’ Some of these dudes in a few years’ time will rightly be regarded as swishy pant bandwagoners and then there are others, such as TX and Great Yarmouth whirlwind Chewy Cannon, who look born into them, and rarer still is the type of finesse that allows TX to crib ‘Menikmati’-era moves like the nollie flip noseslide and make them look not just crazy good but a welcome alternative to a tenement city’s worth of wallies.

While former roommate Mark Appleyard opted to take years off before repositioning himself in skating’s orbit like he never floated away, Rodrigo TX seems to have redoubled efforts year to year, cranking out video parts while honing his tricks to finely shaped points, such that his fakie flip for Adidas not long ago merited hushed discussion among the alltime greats. Draped in monochromatic stripeyness Rodrigo TX’s ‘Away Days’ clips like the fakie frontside boardslide, the frontside tailslide kickflip out and the one where he does Mikey Taylor’s DVS ender switch bedazzle the watcher in a video chockablock with hyper-clean ledge skating, and then comes with rubbernecker-friendly fare like the nollie inward heelflip backside 180 to make sure everybody’s paying attention. TX’s Muni frontside heelflip rivals Lucas Puig’s for best in the vid and that last backside flip needs to go into a time capsule.

Does Rodrigo TX’s Adidas sponsorship, similar to Bobby Worrest’s Nike deal, rank as one of those rare cases that makes perfect sense for all involved given dues paid, legacy ‘skate’ industry bridges apparently left standing and peak on-board performance capacity still somehow yet ahead? Is it possible to say that somebody else did that backside kickflip or is such a statement impossibly untrue? Are Carlos Iqui and Tiago Lemos together the new Rodrigo TX or is Rodrigo TX the new Rodrigo TX (and also the Rodrigo TX of the Flip years)? What if somebody told you there was a video with Rodrigo TX, Silas Baxter Neal, Nyjah Huston, Bobby Worrest, Rick McCrank and PJ Ladd?

8. Dane Vaughn – ‘Laugh Now Cry Later’

December 24, 2015

Occasionally fitted like Puffy’s Hamptons pool boy and targeting tricks at times like DGK’s answer to Dylan Rieder, swamp threat Dane Vaughn has been one of the more interesting dudes coming up among the company’s third generation, or fourth, or whatever it may be with Stevie Williams piloting nautical clothing concerns, Jack Curtain riding for Staba and Keelan Dadd striking out on his own. The sun is shining on Dane Vaughn, nudging noseblunt slides across sporadically reluctant planters, kickflipping into a frontside noseslide on JKwon’s tall block like it’s a curb, laughing off a nollie inward heelflip to calamity crash and on the ender, defying any type of conventional wisdom as to the smooth handling of a barely imaginable block-top move.

Will the New Transworld Cover Slake Skating’s Quenchless Thirst for Pants Progression?

March 23, 2015

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Like a fire that, once lit, cannot help but to consume an entire bulldozer-built pile of disco records, or a shark that must ceaselessly advance through a sea of Pace Picante Style salsa or face its untimely Picante Style demise, skating since the beginning has been possessed of a need to progress. Alan Gelfand’s ollie wasn’t enough, it had to be did backwards; what’s the point doing a loop when you can turn it switch with a section chopped out of the top? Josh Kalis’ straight kickflip in a Love Park ‘Time Code’ line, immaculate as it is, looks quaint through the Mark Suciu lens.

Through it all the shoe has come to be regarded as the most immediate extension of the seven-ply-trucks-and-urethane configuration, but the past decade’s footwear fetishization mainly serves to obscure a decades-long struggle with pants. After clamoring out of pools and associated surf trunks the story of skating and pants has reflected that of mankind’s tortured grappling against his very own nature, occasionally overreaching, failing, burning piles of disco records, and starting anew. In the 1980s Limpies and Vision offered chaotic and unpredictable* print varieties for those zestful spirits unsatisfied by blue jeans or more-pedestrian sweatpants with skeletal rats ascending outseams; vert soon gave way to street these fell back while multicoloured and flapping denim advanced, several years passing before the East rejuvenated woodland camo and more adventurous spirits embraced snow and urban variations.

While the aughts saw style magnets such as Dylan Rieder and Nick Trapasso alternately fuck with pinestripes and pajama pants, this period of war and economic turmoil mainly reflected itself in darkened indigo denim and brown cords, the re-embrace of printed patterned pants not arriving until well into the 2010s when all-over print shirts primed a newly emboldened consumer base to throw wide the camo floodgates for increasingly esoteric prints. Thanks partly to relentless boosterism within DGK vids, the movement eventually demanding notice by the mass-market media: “It’s the one pattern that pretty much every guy is down with. What other pattern has a macho angle to it?”

Masculinities aside, the door now lies kicked down for pants makers — Thrasher offers a SAD sweatpant among several options, and now comes Fucking Awesome heavyweight Na’kel Smith on the cover of Transworld, gapping out in Tokyo within a pair of florid leggings that seem to also have crossed the Atlantic in recent months. In his numbers-taking, asses-kicking process over the last two years, Na’kel Smith seems to have taken it upon himself to push back the pants pendulum to a level of intricate and flowery detail not seen in probably about 25 years, no small undertaking when considering the intense internet flames stoked beneath noted 360 flip 50-50er** Garrett Hill, daring to step out in a still-notorious red-and-black combo.

Has Na’kel Smith doomed himself to a Sisyphusian task, destined to be squashed by a heavy and oblong fashion boulder that will waver under the weight of resurgent dad jeans, or is his pants choice more conservative than it may first appear when laid alongside a freely purchasable array of similarly floral hats, shirts, shoes, and obviously weed socks? Are authorities overlooking an emerging form of camo that now clothes newly militarized toughs hired to defend a booming US marijuana industry? Are scarfs next? As it thins has Transworld on the low had the best covers of the last year?

*particularly for Cali4nia Cheap Sk8 clientele
**And backer of 360 flip 50-50ers

7. Boo Johnson – ‘Blood Money’

December 25, 2014


Habitat last winter may have synthesized the premium combo of YouTube-era runtime and full-part gravitas in ‘Search the Horizon,’ comprised of 2.5 real-deal video parts and some team montageness; DGK ran the same format this year to similarly potent results, unveiling their own newly minted pro duo and a smattering of tricks from the rest of the Kidz, including this bloggosite’s vote for most accomplished use of skuzz in an original production, Dane Vaughn. ‘Blood Money’ ends with Boo Johnson, boasting the most impeccablest arms in the game, espousing various casual comforts to be had olleing up ledges or hopping over the back of massive handrails, hardflipping over bars, and also a boss backside heelflip. Frontside 360 shove-its suggest he paid attention during Devine Calloway’s second career arc and you can tell he thinks about his tricks with how he jumps out to regular from a lot of his frontside tailslides, like the one across the long flatbar.

8. Stevie Williams – “Parental Advisory”

December 24, 2012

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Stevie Williams to me never really exuded rap-star decadence, but maybe I’m looking at it all wrong — here he is, tapping spots across three continents for a relatively slim three-minute part, stopping through the old Philadelphia stomping grounds because he knows how a far a couple tossed-off tricks will carry. It seems like Stevie Williams isn’t regularly mentioned among the all-time style slayers, even though his old Chocolate commercial inevitably bubbles up in any meaningful discussion of the best lines ever done, but his first run through the Barcelona blocks here reminds of a gap when he’s not out skating. The fakie hardflip, white tees, waist-high switch frontside noseslides and switch heelflips remain in effect but he still seems to be making an effort when it comes to clips like the switch front blunt and the switch varial flip nosegrind revert (a new spin on one of the all-time Lockwood classics). He keeps his ledge combos Satva and Lucas tasteful and finds a couple angles on the MACBA ledges that I haven’t seen before. Between the show-closer status, heavy Jay-Z tune and his first full part in years Stevie Williams sorta has this section tracking towards a ‘moment’ but does himself a favor by not overextending it toward the five-minute/two-song zone, whether by judicious editing or lack of actual tricks filmed.

9. Fabian Alomar – “Free Fabes”

December 23, 2012

Whatever happened with the DGK video and the fortunes to be gained and lost peddling this generation’s version of the FUCT t-shirt line to rap singers and their suburban admirers, Stevie Williams cemented his position as a skate mogul by using his clout to help put out a video part that a certain segment of the populace had been waiting on for 15 years — a feat that apparently had eluded Kareem Campbell, Steve Rocco, Patrick O’Dell and possibly others. The continued fetishization of mid-90s attitudes and filming equipments can’t recreate the fit of the jeans or the sound of a k-grind across the Venice pit ledges, and Fabian Alomar’s nollie backside flip over the sand gap, the line at the white planters and the tricks off the bump at the end could have run in any of the greatest videos of that era. Tough luck that it took a personal tragedy for this footage to see the light of day, but it would be testing fate to overlook a gift pony internet sites such as this one have been requesting from Santa Claus for so long. DGK’s “Free Fabes” website is here.