Posts Tagged ‘Geoff Rowley’

Save The Last Dance: Rough Cuts, Tony Hawk, And The End

April 3, 2021

For all of the sporting goods conglomerates and beverage merchants’ noble efforts toward social network policing, considered product placement and synergetic collabos with anointed undergrounders, freewheeling inventiveness and excruciating self discovery inherent to street skating lives on in the photograph, the video part, and perhaps soon in speculatively priced NFTs. The televised free-thrower or would-be home run swatter has been broadcast hundreds, thousands of times taking his or her shot; even Dill-acknowledged ice skaters have drilled their routines for weeks, years. Free from editorial hanky panky or daydreaming filmers, what you see in the still-going print mags and steady churn of video drops almost always represents the first time a given person has ever landed the trick or line in question, and even as the content drifts deepen, ABDs remain frowned upon, to the point that a talent so diamond-rare as Louie Lopez had his ollie into a slick NY bannister immediately asterisked as previously tamed by Cons colleague Jake Johnson, in the Mindfield DVD bonus materials no less.

The homies jumping up and screaming and mobbing after the trick’s been landed is such a timeworn trope now that the reason they’re fired up is assumed to be ingrained — he or she’s never done it before, the bros have never seen them do it it before, and if it’s your first time watching, you haven’t either. It’s been so since way back too, from the 1980s when capturing just-birthed tricks still awkward and wobbly helped push out the boundaries of what was possible and imaginable, to chases for the first version landed on film, to the pros themselves momentarily transported back to their first ollie on that long-ago sidewalk out front: Harold Hunter, happily shocked in ‘Mixtape’ — “never landed that trick in my life!” Geoff Rowley’s euphoric post-Clipper pushing and flatgrounding in ‘Really Sorry,’ the father to so many turning lane backside bigspins spun after bumps-to-bars.

All this is part of the engrossing spell cast by the rough cut/raw files vids rolled out in recent years, to feed forever-scrollers and reheat the steadily eroding shelf life of the IG-age video part. Mason Silva’s Spitfire part footage posted up a few weeks back is the case in point. Between soundtrackless clips of absurdly hard tricks seemingly cracked out in one or two gos, you wade into battle with him, your breath catching as each roll up ratchets the stakes higher. Toward the end when he’s tangling with the drop-down boardslide, he somehow over and over steps off, snaps his board and then the inevitable, not only sacking but pitched six feet to his shoulder. You watch him get up, suffer, trudge to the top and start in again, til he lands it — first time he’s ever done this — rides across the street, halfheartedly pops up the curb, lays down, pulls his shirt over his face… he sits up, daps the bros and grins, but then is keeling over again to the concrete and smiling and more than anything, relieved. You’re relieved too, but energized and inspired and you wonder — what will he try next?

Tony Hawk, owner of numerous firsts over the course of history’s most illustrious pro career, has in the last few months been documenting the opposite: the process of saying goodbye to tricks, doing them not for the first time, but the last. Now 52, solidly in what human biologists have identified as the ‘grandpa zone,’ Tony Hawk has been vocal about how his hollow bird bones don’t have many 900s in them anymore, and he seems to be methodically whittling away the list of what he’s willing or physically able to do, documenting some of these last dances for charity purposes and, one assumes, for personal posterity.

There’s a much different tone to these battles than those of Mason Silva or other still-ascendant talents. The stakes seem both lower — having twice put the Bagel Bites brand up on his back, Tony Hawk has little left to prove to anybody — and heavier, with every flatbottom slam carrying a premium for each year past 30. He means to do these tricks on his own terms, with no filming deadline or contest purse up for grabs, but he does have something on the line. If he doesn’t, can’t land these tricks, then maybe his last go-round with them is already in the rearview mirror, and that much more of his abundant ability already ebbed?

A couple months ago Tony Hawk posted up what he said would likely be his last 720, with rickety joints and dwindling appetite for pain already having placed them further out of reach. After repeatedly flinging away his board and queasily folding one leg underneath him on one slam, he of course nails one, some 35 years after doing the first ever. He hops up onto the opposite platform and hurls down his board in ‘The End’ fashion, pumps his fists and throws his helmet, sliding down the transition to throaty yells all around. It’s a triumph; he’s still got it.

Several weeks later Tony Hawk went for one more go-round with the ollie 540, another one he pioneered when he had youth’s faster feet and quicker bounceback on his side. This time he spins and spins, the board always slipping away, until he cranks one around as clean as you could possibly want. He scratches the opposite coping, kicks away his board and drops to his knees, covering his face — laughing, or sobbing — wiping at his eyes. “Definitely the last one I’ll ever do.”

Watching Tony Hawk take out some of the moves that made him for one last spin, do you feel hyped, melancholy, old, or some confusing and indigestion-courting combo of all three? Even as Tony Hawk puts away one by one his above-coping contest pyrotechnics, does a broader universe of grinds and slides await him, suggested by what he called his first switch Bennett grind the other day? For old dudes tuned to Mackenzie Eisenhour’s IG account, is his recent string of post-40 breakthroughs on everything from kickflip backside tailslides to backside smith grinds to backside noseblunts on transition inspiring or just confounding?

Giant Hubbas Again Detect Geoff Rowley’s Scent As Multidecade Pursuit Heats Up

August 17, 2019

A long-sought trophy slipped through hunters’ fingers this week. Vans Shoe, among the relatively few companies to successfully thread the space between full-length and one-off part, provided via its strong ‘Take It Back’ video evidence that un-sorry scouser Geoff Rowley continues to get down, to the hilt, peppering his fairly earned post-40 ditch tricks with legitimately fearsome hubbas and jumps, the type of spots that for decades have stalked Geoff Rowley in hopes of finally bagging him and posing for a golden-hour tinted IG pic* before field-dressing him and packing out his meat and antlers.

A chronic thrill dependent, Geoff Rowley in the year 2019 seems yet unable or unwilling to fully embrace a likely lucrative career sharpening knives or guiding rifle-equipped C-suiters and other big game fanatics — one of the few off-ramps from the pro ranks that holds a generous runway toward one’s autumn years and does not involve the words ‘brand’ or ‘manager.’ At least, not while he still has the chance to flirt with and occasionally bed that unpredictable mistress, streetstyle skateboarding, and her oft-wielded riding crop, gross bodily harm.

For certains that found perfect pitch in 1999’s ‘Feedback’ combo of Geoff Rowley with a young Arto Saari and some old Fugazi, the volatile mixture remains intoxicating. Geoff Rowley’s slowed down some, but familiar tingles arise watching him boardslide a bridge railing, screech a noseslide down a hefty hubba ledge, stomp on a lofted kickflip disaster in the deep end, or take the requisite push away into traffic after floating a pop-shove it over the wall and into the street.

Whereas in the past Geoff Rowley’s footage evenly matched a measure of skill and fearlessness against ever-gnarlier terrain, the equation now contains a psychological question around what position he occupies in the greater food chain. For much of his career Geoff Rowley played a scumstached Bugs Bunny to the bumbling Elmer Fudds of the Hollywood High 16, the Staples Center hubba, that one Lyon hubba. The question now is whether these spots, having again picked up Geoff Rowley’s scent after 2015’s ‘Propeller,’ have lulled Geoff Rowley into believing that he remains an apex predator, rather than potentially being separated from the pack, taken down, stuffed and placed on display wherever it is that the world’s most fearsome spots gather in their smoking jackets to sip scotch and stroke their meticulously trimmed whiskers.

Are skater-hunting spots purposefully going after older targets as kids like Kevin Bradley regularly make them look silly? Did Vans fund the bronze Rowley statue as a decoy to aid in his escapes? What happened to the sign from the ender wall-bash in the cover photo? When his day comes, will tears cloud Geoff Rowley’s vision as he knowingly pushes up to his final, fatal hubba or gap, similar to Mickey Rourke’s glory-doomed ‘The Wrassler’?

*Such pics often are submitted in return for ‘likes’ which can be exchanged for goods and services in an open forum.

Canada in Ruggish Show of Ten-Pin Aggression Following Trump Election

November 19, 2016

angrypoutine1

The shock election of Donald G. Trump to the U.S. presidency last week sent up a massive “ZOMG” shaped smoke signal from the collective skateboard camp. While New York’s useful wooden toy ambassador Billy Rohan sought to build bridges between Tompkins and Trump Tower, international ripples and wrinkles almost immediately rippled and wrinkled up as the globe at large cocked an eyebrow and looked over the tops of its glasses at a Trump-headed United States.

Already, there are signs that cross-border skateboard relations may be fraying. Fresh off the Brexit break-up, Liverpoolian ditch-slasher Geoff Rowley cut his remaining ties to the Americanized Flip, while Brazilian-born Rodrigo TX bounced from North Philly’s DGK. And late this week, reports of Cliche’s demise under Dwindle left an Eiffel-tower sized hole in skating’s increasingly Francophiliac soul.

Whereas much of the Trump campaign focused on trans-oceanal misdeeds by China and Mexico, his threats to rehash NAFTA, the Bushian trade policy beloved to Canada’s shivering cabals of beerbrewers, mining conglomerates and wealthy bears, posed a risk too great to go unchallenged by Dime Mtl’s specialist bowling posse. In a swaggering display of cross-border belligerence, Canadians scrambled several athletes to wear sunglasses indoors and create a show of force in a bowling alley, a shot across the bow of Canada’s neighbor to the south following months of heated campaign-trail rhetoric.

The aggressive bowling video, unnerving in its feats of raw agility and power throws, seemed calculated to strike at Trump’s vulnerabilities. Dime bowlers, enriched by their own line of clothing items and yellow shirts, don’t wait for the strike to be scored, they “just start kissing,” no Tic-Tac. The cross-alley throw, bouncing into the gutter and then out again to pick up a spare no Wisconsin pollster could have envisioned, is a clear metaphor for Trump’s come-from-behind win. And yet as wall after wall of pins fall to the Dime squadron’s merciless strikes, the video file seems to defy any attempted fence-building that could slow the flood of cheap Canadian goods, manufactured by low-paid penguins and elk, into the trembling hands of U.S. consumer-purchasers.

How many hours will it take Lucas Puig to go to Palace? With Miles Silvas apparently headed to GuyKo’s Numbers, is Max Geronzi the world’s hottest free agent? Is Canada feeling itself, after Dime already upended the dominance of the U.S. contest circuit via its Glory Challenges, and its endearingly urbane Bunt aims to do likewise in the increasingly vibrant skate podcast market? Does the involvement of Jamal Smith and Forrest Edwards suggest Canada already has cultivated sympathizers on U.S. soils? Could a trade war erupt over hard rock Canadian maple and tall tees, or would a stronger Canadian dollar drag down overseas sales of premium quality Dime shirts?

Invincible Criminal

October 18, 2009

rowley_xtremely
Revel in your pain(!)

There’s a certain quality to Geoff Rowley’s skating, or maybe more accurately to his “being” as a pro-whatever, that is highlighted when the filmer stills his hand from marking that day’s hammer and instead follows along as Rowley pushes once, twice, and diddles about with various flatground tricks like he was getting double points for those shove-its like it was his own personal bonus round. Which it may well be, and of course we’ve only a vague idea how long any particular trick takes him to land, but if you were to pick a scrawny Brit to shoulder the weight of a baggage-heavy production like “Extremely Sorry” you could do worse than a never-say-die type who won’t stop even after he’s won that particular day’s battle.

So you could interpret Rowley’s lead-off position in the Flip video proper in any number of ways: that it’s the second-best part, following on some unwritten rule of video sequencing that came to prominence around the time of “Misled Youth”… that it has a frontside flip late shove-it in it, which is a trick that everyone will be feverishly gossiping about and therefore it’s pointless to put it at the end of the video because everybody is gonna just fast-forward to see it anyhow… or that Rowley looks to meet head-on the challenge of following up the two past Flip videos, some six years since the last one, half the team gone, crazy diamond Shane Cross departed, Boulala jailed, and the mountain-sized expectations of a viewing public eager to write off this new generation of longhaired tween ATVs and the custom-composed rap/rock soundtrack.

There’s some validity to this whole mess – you take your chance going for a trilogy when half the cast checks out after the second reel, and years of anticipatory ads and deadline back-pushing and Grand Canyon base-jumps do not dull usually a video hype cycle. Geoff Rowley the human probably cares as much about all this as he does about those who would gnash their teeth over the thought of him slaying a mountain lion, or his engaging in those aesthetically displeasing truck hang-up tricks (that would include me). “Extremely Sorry” has some of his craziest shit ever, the part will not be remembered as his best, but he is still out there doing things like that wallride 5050 and that into-the-bank ollie and the rather costly rooftop maneuver, and his brand of ultra-gnarly skateboarding has never really beaten you over the head with its ultra-gnarliness. All of which oughtta be respected, whatever comes next – b/s 360 powerslide or one of those puberty-stricken gap kickflippers. Or satanic poetry, or claymation. Or drum’n’bass music.

Future Shock

December 2, 2008


File under tea leaves, goat entrails, etc.

Because I sometimes feel this blog doesn’t do nearly as much navel-gazing as the medium seems to require, I’ll be indulging in end-of-year list tedium with regard to video parts and tricks and haircuts and so on. But before we get into all that mess I thought it would be interesting to look back on the 2008 prognostications of another internet commentator, whose anonymous laundry list of skate predictions for this year turned out to be interestingly accurate.

Among others the noble Canucks of Temple Skate Supply put up the list here but I’ll re-post bit by bit, starting with one prediction that finally came true yesterday after more than a year of whisperings:

Blitz breaks up… Flip to NHS… Baker gives up ownership of its name and starts under a new Distribution(deathwish).
And as the world now knows, Flip has indeed packed up its cartoons and kiddie ams and set up shop under Bob Denike’s Norcal empire. The rest is uncertain, but now that Tony Hawk has flown the coop with Birdhouse after buying out Per Welinder and Reynolds & co. have set up Baker Boyz distribution, that leaves the house of Blitz with the Baker name (for the time being)… erm, Hook-Ups, Sk8 Mafia and the venerable Fury trucks. No doubt 2009 will see Mr. Welinder with plenty of time to indulge his “passion for incubating core brands.”

As for the rest of the 2008 predictions:

Rowley and Arto move to a new Burton backed shoe company.
Half right, at least so far, though this was telegraphed well in advance along with the next item…

Burton Buys Workshop and habitat
…which is a dead horse beaten to dust in this space. It did happen.

Appleyard follows his friends and leaves Globe
Or maybe Flip, but as of right now his name remains on both websites, an all-important barometer of team integrity.

TK Rides for ES (the true sign of the end)
I too heard this rather hilarious bit of info, but unfortunately rational thought intervened (to whatever extent it can where Terry Kennedy is involved) and he went to Supra. Ah, for what could have been…

Sheckler Wins the X Games and Finally takes his place as the new reynolds
A quick check of the distressingly lengthy Wikipedia entry on Sheckler’s contest performance reveals that he did indeed win the X-games, though whether he represents the new anything at all remains in high dispute, at least in this space.

Photo incentive photo shopping scandals
What scandal? Things are tough out there, brah. Get those logos in where they fit in. There’s always room for one more.

Big Brother Comes back but only on the internet
True, but discussed years ahead of the Jackass World debut.

Krew gives up traditional skateboard marketing for hollywood glam
This one I’m not sure on, if only because I’m not sure if Krew actively engaged in traditional skateboard marketing to begin with. I guess they had that photo of Penny doing the switch noseblunt, if I remember right. But didn’t they run an ad with Greco doing an actual skate trick recently? That’s like a two-fer right there.

Alphanumeric comes back
They did, though a clothing company returning as a purveyor of high-end (high priced) T-shirts is kind of like a magazine returning as a website…

Circa sells out but hides it by starting a combat division. (pay attention to the left hand while being distracted by the right)
Also true! But most likely it was already in the works for a while when the list was written. I have no idea how well these shoes are selling, but you have to hand it to Circa for having the sheer balls to, in the tradition of Antoine Bugle Boy, see an overcrowded marketplace and say “me too.”

Burton brings birdhouse under its corporate wing
Is there room for B-House to play a sort of un-ironic Skate Mental to DNA’s Girl and Chocolate? I’d be inclined to say no, but it would play into some nice Hawk/White synergies, which I’m assured are all the rage among smart skate conglomerates these days.

Purple Pants become hip
Incorrect, but only because purple pants have always been hip.