Posts Tagged ‘flatground only’

Just Sayin

November 22, 2009

For the record. Cole v. P-rod was pretty stellar, but as ever, the runner-up match with Cory Kennedy and Torey Pudwill took the cake…

Was Cory Kennedy’s All-Out Berrics Assault Actually Kind of A Dick Move?

October 6, 2009

It went kind of exactly like this

As the drudgery of Real Life keeps me from ruminating on things like the music in the new Flip video, I throw this one out to the Berrics-minded masses who have stuck with this second iteration of the Game of Skate through myriad substitutions, explanation-free delays and wholesale bending/breaking of the tattered rules sheet: what, then, do we make of Cory Kennedy’s swing-for-the-fences approach to this weekend’s matchup against Peter Ramondetta? To this viewer, the game was probably some type of watershed moment for the BATB series, in spirit if not in edge-of-your-seatness or whatever. Because, you had one contestant with everything to gain, wasting no time in his bid to roll his way into the semis and messageboard lionization; then you had another dude who’s more or less a veteran pro at this point, from the purportedly less dog-eat-dog zone of Northern California, who nevertheless was able to whip out a nollie frontside heelflip with an extra body varial upon command.

Andy of the Program zine described the nollie flip backside 360 opener thusly: “It’s like playing horse in basketball and taking your first shot from full court.”

Which is sort of true. But then again, if I’m watching a couple NBA types play a game of horse at my local playground, do I need to wait for them to each sink shots from the free-throw line and various three-pointers and lay-ups before they get to the zany shit? In his own way, Cory Kennedy’s showing consideration for my time, an increasingly precious commodity even after forgetting about Twitter yet again. In another way, he’s being more up-front about his skill level (and his view of the Berrics Battle) than he would by going the now-standard route of opening with a kickflip, 360 flip, fakie bigspin flip, nollie flip, etc etc and then whipping out the Greg Lutzka finishing move over and over on the final letter.

Some have said that CK came off jock-ish and concerned only with winning, while others say that if somebody whipped out that first trick on them in a friendly skatepark game they’d instantly be over it. Both true, sort of, but also kind of beside the point, because with (at least) $10,000 on the line and a potential career-goose at stake, I think it would be more disingenuous of Cory Kennedy to try and pretend like he didn’t care.

I’ll wind down this ramble by stating I don’t know Cory Kennedy/his actual persona whatsoever, and I make it a policy of not watching any of the ad nauseum coverage of this event as far as the pre- and post-game interviews go, mostly because I have yachts to wax and so on.

Did $10,000 Cheapen the Battle at the Berrics?

March 8, 2009

Rolex watches and colorful swatches

So first off, let us one and all congratulate Mitchell Maurice Capaldi on a tough-earned but convincing win last Monday (?) in the Battle at the Berrics, and also for fulfilling the hopes and dreams of myself and no doubt thousands of others who chose him as the ultimate flatground power what seems like years ago. Alas, it’s over now, the absence of those three-minute slices of nail-bitin’ board-flippin’ thrillage making our hangovers that much bittersweeter, our Sunday mornings that much foggier. Life goes on, even as some of us wonder why, and to what end. BATB round two? Hopefully they wait at least six months and don’t let the thing get played out before throwing in some bizarro twists: ’80s board round, manual round, blindfold round, mega-ramp round, blindfold megaramp round, etc.

Whether you were feverishly pressing the refresh button at the stroke of 12:00 a.m. PST, tsk-tsking the jockification inherent in filling out a winner’s bracket or rolling your eyes at the entire spectacle, it probably is safe to say that the Berrics Battle currently is for sure the biggest and most important contest in skateboarding. I mean, Jake Brown had to fall off a fucking skyscraper for the X-Games to draw any attention from the non-Fuel TV-watching population recently; I’m assuming either Ryan Sheckler or Greg Lutzka won the Dew Tour last year, and probably nobody cares either way. The Maloof thing was notable for its course, Leo’s trick and, in retrospect, the namesake bros’ Scrooge McDuck-type frivolity and general money-throwin’, but that’s about it.

On the other hand, roughly the entire skateboarding planet now knows who Benny Fairfax is, and he didn’t even win the thing. While I understand his board was in the works at Stereo before his unlikely rise to flip-trick hierarchy and amazing comeback against the fearsome PJ Ladd, I could imagine the British buckaroo joining the professional ranks off his showing in the BATB alone. Kind of like what Tampa Am used to do for a kid, before all those Brazilian tweens took over.

Which is partly why, along with the general minimalism of the whole affair (bare bones tricks, warehouse floor, no announcer, handful of randoms as spectators) I sort of agreed when a buddy of mine expressed mild distaste for the last-minute addition of the $10,000 purse. While I don’t know that it would have had any affect on who participated, how hard they tried, etc. it sort of threw something off – sort of the opposite effect prize money has with regard to an X-Game, where at least dudes are getting paid big bucks for wading through the pool of energy drink banners and slang-slinging Fraggle Rock announcers.*

No doubt Mitchell Maurice deserved more than fleeting internet fame for winning the battle, and lord knows we could all use ten thousand dollars right now. Perhaps he is upside down on his mortgage, which I understand to mean that fluctuating financial markets have flipped his house upon its roof and he needs expensive contractors to put it right side up again. Yet Tupac teaches us that money is the root of all evil, and for a contest that defied so many of the usual constructs that make most skateboard competitions boring, lame and irrelevant, it would have been cool if the end result could’ve been refreshing in the same way.

*Berra’s dig at EXPN et al was appreciated, though

Wait ‘Til The Midnight Hour

February 28, 2009


For some reason I find it hard to write anything that seems at all interesting about the epic game of skate going on at that undisclosed Los Angeles location, which is alright I guess, seeing’s how there’s a 59-page topic a-churning over at the Slap message boards, untold billions of postings on it at the Berric’s low-cost Slap board knockoff, and oh yeah, a feature-length feature in the Wall Street Journal that’s rather on point with regard to the spirit of the thing, while making an end run around the old gray lady for the skateboard mass media crown (sorry, Bonnier Corp). There’s a video too, though it’s clear the narrator is biased toward the goofy footer…

Probably the best part, aside from any reference to Mike Mo as “Mr. Capaldi”:*

Talent is what sets the Berrics’ games apart. No one trick they try is awe-inspiring, but the contestants are the world’s best. They possess a humbling command of the basics, ripping through dozens of tricks and landing most in one try. It’s like going to the practice tee at the Masters and seeing Tiger Woods place golf balls wherever he pleases. (In skateboarding, as in golf, sometimes it’s more impressive watching a professional practice than compete.)

That’s pretty much it right? We rush (or shuffle bleary-eyed, stinking and off kilter, depending on your own personal mileage) to our computers twice per weekend to watch grown men flip skateboards about on a concrete block, shouting at themselves and one another and sometimes a siren blares. Yes, my dudes, these are the salad days. Before it’s over and the second round is inevitably scheduled, musings on some of the matches that have come before:

Koston v. Donovan Strain
Not even a laser flip could save a very nervous-looking Butters in this slop-filled and ultimately anticlimatic match-up. I almost felt bad for the kid, until I considered how annoyed I probably would’ve felt if Donovan ran the table on a trick cribbed from the credits of a 10-year-old TWS video. Then again, maybe it would’ve been awesome.

Chico v. Mike Mo Capaldi
I wouldn’t have thought that this heavily imbalanced round would be the one to see Mike Mo unsheath the nollie kickflip 360, but I’m assuming this is one of the tricks that he’ll ride to the final round and beyond, if Jehovah wills it. The catch on the switch 360 flip is also notable.

PJ Ladd vs. Andrew Reynolds
A blistering, toe-to-toe, knock-down-drag-out cliche/cliche/cliche battle in which a very staid Reynolds knew what he was up against, but refused to go gently. I think he knew what time it was when the switch backside kickflip was offered, but a valiant effort all the same, bruh.

Steve Berra vs. Marc Johnson
Probably my favorite one so far.

Erik Ellington v. Jimmy Cao
The awesome shockingness of Ellington’s backside bigger spin eased the pain of seeing my Jimmy Cao pick swirl down the drain like so many loose turds. Eh, so be it.

Mike Carroll v. Mike Mo
I think Carroll was genuinely bummed about losing this, although, he maybe saw it coming.

Koston vs. PJ Ladd
For sure, the best battle yet, and one of the few where I felt like a fool when it was over and I found myself hunched all over the computer with my fists balled up, sweaty, the cat bewildered as to what I was on about. I picked PJ of course, but when Eric Koston broke out all those goddam pressure flips and shit, well, I just about had to go and have a glass of warm milk and take a walk around the block. Was it a cheap shot to take him out on the hardflip? Maybe…

This weekend:
If I can just toot my own horn for a minute here, I’ve had Mike Mo vs. PJ Ladd for the final match since the start, so yeah. I think Mike Mo’s gonna win. $10,000 on the line (?) and he’s got the spark.

*So is “Mo” a nickname or what?