Posts Tagged ‘evenhandedness’

Jamie Foy Is The 90-10 King

May 26, 2019

These days, tricks need to do more. Executing barrel rolls, 180-degree denominated rotations and combinations thereof long ago ceased to be enough. In our bristly and perspirating time, tricks are called upon to be vehicles — grinding, sliding platforms upon which a body can place other tricks, greater distance, more kinks, personal brands, and, for those heedful of Rob Dyrdek’s sensible advice, luxury automobile lease payments.

Such is the role for certain tricks that years ago became too basic to regularly inspire on their own — the boardslide, the 50-50 grind, the backside noseslide. The recent dad trick renaissance aside, these maneuveurs now occupy a building-block role similar to the wide and flat Lego pieces upon which any number of castles, moon bases or Disney-licensed models can and must be constructed. While the noseslide has segued into a nostalgia piece and the boardslide has undergone some brutal grafting-on of other tricks to ‘stay relevant,’ their forms by and large have remained the same. Less so with the 50-50, which as we shall see has gradually mutated into nearly an entirely different trick altogether, so as to go deeper, farther and sometimes, to a different time/space entirely.

The year was 1992, Instagram had yet to be innovated, and Pat Duffy was the Terminator in plaid flannel; upon initial viewing, his double-kink 50-50 grind down the handrail towards the end initially struck some as unbelievable camera trickery. But upon chin-strokeful lookings back, the trick is fairly textbook in its execution, a hint of toe-side pinch on the mount, leveled out between the trucks for the rest of the descent. Jamie Thomas, top street-style skateboarder and late-1990s inheritor of the House 50-50, made them truly so in ‘Welcome to Hell’ — sailing one down the big Brooklyn Banks rail, the noted tail-tap ride-out on the long flat bar, and leaning slightly backside through the final 20-stair. But similar to the industry empire-building that was to come, Jamie Thomas also hints toward the utilitarian evolution the 50-50 itself would undergo over the next decades, skewing the rail between the toe-side of his front truck and the heel side of his rear truck in the bump-to-bar 50-50 transfer.

Twenty something years later, robots drive our semi trucks, the biggest Nas in the music biz is a country-western singer, and the 50-50 is a different creature. You can still find the ‘classic editions,’ but it’s just as common to find the post-Y2K, hybrid-ready variant: the 90/10, or 10/90, in which the rail is jammed nearly crossways between the front and back trucks for improved positioning for the next kink, or the flip trick out, or the final 20 feet. In our bionic age, the main requirement no longer is just getting to the bottom, the people require more.

It should come as no surprise that the lead 90-10 practitioner is Jamie Foy, the ‘pinch god’ knowed for popping out of frontside crooked grinds higher than lesser ones can ollie. For Jamie Foy, the 90-10 is the preferred landing position for once-unthinkables like kickflipping onto a round and ‘skateproofed’ bar. With the 90-10, he can hop onto a round kinker and very soon pop a shove-it out, relax atop a cutty triple set while eyeing the sidewalk ride-off to come, or navigate the gentleman’s curve of yet another overlong and kinked round rail.

Like all worthwhile paydirt in skateboarding’s great intellectual property pile, the 90-10 rapidly has drawn eager prospectors well on their way toward mining it out. The skate industry’s little bro made good Kader Sylla is a convert, as is Creature’s heathen warlord Kevin Baekkel. Jamie Foy’s SOTY predecessor Kyle Walker uses a long 90-10 to reposition at the tail end of his ‘Spinning Away’ helicopter factory before riding away clean.

Will the 90-10, practical but aesthetically sort of off-putting, clear the way for a renaissance of ‘true’ 50-50s, similar to what Brian Wenning’s mid-block pop-outs did for the backside nosegrind? Is the 90-10 made easier through truck wear on similarly pinch-ready tricks, such as the crooked grinds that dig out what Ted Barrow has termed the ‘crook nook’? Is the increasingly technical nature and rising danger quotient of modern 90-10-related tricks antithetical to the more mellow, soul-carving world envisioned by the probable Ipath-skating hippies whose loose trucks style opened the way for first the pinch and then the 90-10 itself?