Posts Tagged ‘element’

Block Movement

August 19, 2009

Recalling a time when world records were giggled at

Element’s newest towheaded amateur Nick Garcia doesn’t exactly stand out from the current generation of ditch-skating ATV types, but there’s a couple things worth checking in this welcome-to-the-team video: namely the opening manual, the half-cab frontside nosegrind and the backside 180 magic-feet maneuver that takes a few rewinds to fully sink in. As far as that manual goes, at a quarter of the video’s runtime it’s probably one for the record books, up there with Hufnagel’s SF city block in “Roll Forever” and Vallely in that one older video I’m having trouble remembering right now. In terms of sheer distance, though, I think the one at the end of “Come Together” still takes the cake, right?

Mike Vallely Films the First ‘Battle Commander’ Part I Watch More Than Once

July 26, 2009

File under: skateboard tricks

When the untamed New Jerseyan, slam poet and personal brand that is Mike Vallely parked his black novelty sportscar outside the Berrics’ hallowed walls, we should have known something was up. Inviting the streetplanting hockey blogger to a technical flip-trick contest for which he was ill-suited was silly enough, and while Vallely kept a lid on his famously flaring temper throughout what looked like a pretty lighthearted affair, it stands to reason that he/his people wanted a little sugar to go with the tough flatground medicine that Chris Cole was dishing out. And so it swung onto the interwebs this weekend, the Mike Vallely “Battle Commander” section, crushing preconceived notions of skateboarding and reality itself. Sort of exactly like the iconic monster truck scene from “Road House.”

These little parts have been used by marquee pros to tease “legit” video parts and test-drive new tricks, but for me at least they’re generally snoozers, seeings’ how it is a part filmed entirely in one skatepark (dramatic light notwithstanding). For Vallely though this is kind of the ultimate environment. It’s a park for one, and the dude has filmed entire documentaries and TV miniseries in parks. Their legal nature provides him plenty of tries for the type of big jumps that get the kids on their feet, and the Berrics’ malleable format gives Vallely’s inner elephant plenty of room to swing its tattooed trunk and plant its broad feet here and there, as the whims of Vallely dictate. At one point they even show him drilling down a board that I thought was going to facilitate an even more huger boneless, but in a typical Mike V twist, he uses it for a drop-in (!) and leaves me confounded once more.

There are all types of amazing tricks in this part though, set off with that somersault/cartwheel into the Chris Cole-approved streetplant transfer thing. Vallely shits upon naysayers, breaking out his legendary no-handed 360 flip along with a couple other flip tricks that incorporate grabs and/or walking up a hubba ledge. Proving that he pays more attention to “new school” skating than he likes to let on, he throws in an up-the-stairs move, along with an up-rail trick with a launch-ramp assist, an obvious reference to “Storm”-era T-bone. Also he wears a vest.

Mike Vallely has been many things to many people. For instance he was once a vegetarian, a lifestyle he left behind in order to chew scenery in the Paul Blart movie.* He’s been called more politician than skateboarder, but what I think Mike V is, is a showman. And he figured out a while ago that he tends to perform best in controlled environments, with the possible exception of Warp Tours, where it seems like just about anything goes. Revolution Mutha music included, this really was the most entertaining Berrics segment I’ve watched in a long time. A few tricks over that hot rod and two solid minutes of purposeful pushing and it would’ve been easily the best part Mike V has filmed in the last 20 years I bet.

*oh, we went there

I Sort Of Want To Believe

January 23, 2009

Caught you lookin for the same thing

I’m not sure what to make of Hype!, which is by all appearances a Popwar retread complete with mass-culture motif, sub-Street Corner graphics (excluding the hover board, and that’s probably already been done by somebody at some point) and an even more muddled mission statement:



But, rather than dwell on their migraine Magic Eye website, Hype has my full support when it comes to their slowly filling handful of team riders. One is Element amateur scorned Mike Barker, a tousle-headed Popwar refugee himself who turned in one of the better parts in the not-nearly-so-bad-as-its-name “This Is My Element” video a couple years ago and apparently was shown the door for his trouble.

Back to throw the dice with another startup after his corporate sponsorship adventure, Barker joins the consistently underrated wandering Texan Jeremy Holmes, the whole point of this posting being his little clip of footage put up on the Hype site a week or so back. The nollie b/s 180 switch b/s 5-0 shove-it trips me out in this clip because of how fast the shove-it is, just about Satva Leung switch frontside flip in “Welcome to Hell” fast:

Supposedly Hype also provides boards to Tyler Price of Toebock fame, possessor of the last part in “Don’t Act Famous” which I ought to address one of these days. He’s really good and all, but I have kind of a hard time getting real excited about his skating. For whatever reason. He reminds me a little bit of another Element-For-Lifer, Colt Cannon, whose name has also been mentioned in the same sentences as Hype, but honestly I don’t know anything about that. If they keep coughing up the Holmes footage I guess I won’t ask any questions.

Mall Justice No Match For Mike Vallely

January 20, 2009

“Somewhat integral”

Mike v is a man of contrasts. There are those who would call him a hypocrite. I view him as a beardly figure brimming with nuance and harsh truths about the human condition. Also, bonelesses. Truly he is a man of our times, but as it ever was, the measure of a man is made not in X-Games or even the wrestling ring, but rather in that penultimate court of American accomplishment, the box office.

Last weekend, you see, Mike V met and introduced himself to the U.S. public, or at least those unlucky few who haven’t seen his Fuel TV series or his numerous biographical documentaries or his poems. As one of the chief villains in the new retail-themed thriller “Mall Cop,” our Vallely is garnering passing mentions, if not rave reviews, in the national press. To wit:

Finally there’s champion skateboarder and musician (in the band Revolution Mother) Mike Vallely, who plays the criminal ringleader, Rudolph.

“They had to find the most bad-ass skateboarders on the planet,” says Vallely, a voracious reader and father of two who wears his blond hair long and scraggly. “I was at the top of that list.”

Vallely has the biggest action sequence of the bunch, battling James throughout the mall. In what he describes as an undoubtedly riveting climax, Rudolph will leap from floor to floor as he chases Paul Blart. Then, in a never-before-done skating move, he’ll jump on – and break into – a moving elevator.

“It’s a whole new challenge,” Vallely says. “I’m not just skateboarding. I play a character that is somewhat integral. This is the first time I feel, as athletes, we’ve really been taken in.”

Somebody’s been taken in for sure, as the Blart-star vehicle hoisted an estimated $40 million over the three-day weekend, putting it in the number one box-office spot.

But the tidings of Vallely’s Hollywood success is of course no news to those of us in the skateboarding sphere, who gladly cheer the multifaceted Mike V as he flexes his pecs in the squared circle, gets his nose cracked open on the hockey rink, recites verses at the poetry slam, snarls through his beard at the Warp Tour, or pushes over and over and over in that Black Label video. Cuz it’s not the destinaton. It’s the journey.

“I just had water, anger and a destination. It’s just how I am,” Vallely says.

Equally transfixing are Vallely’s intellectual travels, transitioning through vegetarianism, straight-edgeism, and non-violence over the years. (Yes, non-violence.) He hews closely to the punk purism of local scenes and staying true to skating’s roots, whatever those may be, while fervently embracing mega-corporate sponsors. He remains fiercely loyal to his sponsors of the moment and wastes no time in spewing poison upon those who dare to cross him.

To this end there’s actually a really good interview in the new Transworld (2-09) where Mackenzie Eisenhour kind of gets Mike V to admit he wants to have his beating-people-up cake and eat it too.

TWS: You repudiated violence after the “Greatest Hits” DVD. (re: fighting “Creature Lee” at Van’s Downtown Showdown last year)
MV: In a broader sense, I have spoken out of both sides of my mouth…. “Greatest Hits” was definitely the capitalist pig in me [laughs]. After the craze of “CKY” and “Jackass”, I saw an opportunity in the marketplace to package that stuff and that’s something I can understand someone disagreeing with.

There’s a lot more, it’s a pretty good interview in terms of putting the harder questions to Vallely as far as his perceived jock nature, whether he ever considers learning new tricks, how he’d be a great cop and that hoary old cliche “skateboarding saved my life.” Also there are two photos of bonelesses.

Christ Air

November 20, 2008

The only way to fly

Australians love to party, and who can blame them? Their scenic island nation is surrounded by lovely beaches and reefs, crocodiles and concrete skateparks are abundant, and the land was immortalized by 80s hit machine Men At Work (later covered by Sheckler favorites MGMT).

But, as Rupert Murdoch has made clear, there’s always one guy who’s gotta take things too far. Behold the sobering tale of a homebound Aussie and his ignoble choice of coke mule:

A 33-YEAR-old Victorian man faces up to 25 years in jail after cocaine was found hidden inside two skateboards at Sydney Airport.

The man was stopped by Customs officers yesterday after arriving on a flight from Auckland, Customs and Australian Federal Police (AFP) said in a joint statement.

Get it? Joint statement? Anyway.

Customs officers became suspicious that drugs were hidden inside two skateboard decks and an X-ray revealed an image consistent with a possible drug concealment.

Now when I read this I immediately thought to myself, how exactly might one go about hiding a bunch of blow in a board? And it came to me. The Element Push/Helium constructions! Obviously this Down Under Rick Ross had read his TWS Buyer’s Guide.*

If you think about it, this sort of makes sense. We’re nearly a decade on from one of Muska’s more nefarious contributions to the skateboard style canon – the weed stash pocket – and as the stair sets get bigger and the rails longer and the mega-ramps span more and more famous landmarks, it’s natural for someone to come along and up the stakes. Hence the coke smuggling board from Element. Shit, check out the Helium construction logo. No business like snow business.

Curiosity got the better of me and I pulled up this handy cocaine street value calculator, because that’s the beauty of the internet right there, and if the estimate is correct, this dude fit like $75 grand worth of blow in each board. “$75 grand per board… I don’t care how many Dew Tours you win… you got to win forever to make that kinda loot.”

No doubt. You have to wonder how deep this goes. Is Tosh Townend’s new deal over at Pocket Pistol skates a new distribution venue, or a pit stop on the way to a Colombian necktie? Does Element operate an extensive and shadowy Latin American “flow team?” Does this all somehow explain Mike Vallely’s seemingly constant aggression? Are the, ahem, Helium deck exports keeping Element afloat through this difficult economic period? Too many questions, and too many bad puns. I’m quitting while I’m ahead…

*It’s worth revisiting Cairo’s comments on deck technology: “I’m totally not backing anything with a missing ply inside. I’m not going to name names.” Possible endorsement of the stop snitching campaign?

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, 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 the tale, but why not give the last word to messageboard advice-dispenser “giveitup4muffinz”… “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.

The WASPafarian’s dilemma

June 3, 2008

“Jah bless, bros”

So the news came out yesterday that longtime Element posterchild Tosh Townend has been relieved of his duties as head dread in charge over at the shareholder-friendly skate company for suburban tweenage hippies. Much is already being made of the fact that Tosh was an early adopter of the Element “package”—consolidating clothing, shoe, board, wheel, and whatever other sponsorships under one roof that almost certainly would never fall in on you. Right? But like many environmentally themed construction projects, Tosh’s Elemental Odyssey suffered from a fatal design flaw, possibly related to the enduring presence of Mike V. Glass houses and stones, etc.

You could feel sorry for Tosh. I might, if he weren’t the biological heir to a surfing dynasty, pulling pro shoe money since he was 18, and seemingly not slowed by major surgeries. Me, I feel worse for Element. Because like many parents, the honchos of ElementBillabongCoIntlGroup seem to have got out of bed one day, looked at the bedraggled and odorous dreadlocked mess snoring on the couch, and decided enough was enough. Like any parent of a carefree hippie who’s left one too many roaches between the sofa cushions, Element had to take a deep breath, throw the front door open and tell the boy they’d raised to get the hell out and get a job.*

I expect that Tosh will spend the next few days blearily blinking his reddened eyes, smoking a sympathy bowl or two with his fellow rude boys, possibly cursing the name of Johnny Schillereff and pondering a return to Zion. But he’s long overdue for starting his own shit. He was a big force behind the Sin Habits crew/video, which gave way to something called the Weenabago Projekt, where—get this—a white guy with dreadlocks is gonna drive across the country in a retro bus with all his best bros. Crazy idea, right?

Anyway the point is young Tosh (still only 23, which kind of bugs me out) has his own crew, he’s been doing his own projects for a while, and he’s got a cozy relationship with the High Grade distribution camp. So if the hobbit’s leaf gets the better of him he can probably crash on Creation’s couch for a while. One love, Tosh.

*For what it’s worth, the financial markets seem to have taken this as moderately good news.

Oh snap

May 1, 2008

(via enjoi)

back to deathwish week tomorrow…