Posts Tagged ‘hills’

Do The Spirit Animals of GX1000 And The International Olympic Committee Howl At The Same Red Moon?

June 4, 2016

“Skateboarding is now 1 step away from the Olympics,” Ride Channel mystics pronounced this week, with all the hollow reservation of an over-the-hill fighter demanding through spat-out teeth and blood to be put in for another round, and all the limp-necked surrender to be revealed in a fistful of counterfeit blimp tickets. This pursuit, once the domain of renegades, outcasts and losers, now is not called but rather ordered up to the big leagues, its youthsome mettle having proven a fuel too valuable for ratings-hungry sponsors to let sit unburned for another decade while the Olympics’ viewership virility flags. The 80s gave, the 90s took away, the 00s gave back — to some — and though a declining number of hard-good consumers and an ever-thickening stew of bootstrappy board companies slicing thinner and thinner pie wedges to share amongst independent and multinational competitors alike, skateboarding’s talismanic powers to restore youth, when its bones are ground into a fine powder and snorted through a €100 bill, have become impossible for the Olympics to ignore.

It is difficult to envision Olympic podiums, matching uniforms and the brassy pomp of various national anthems when Ryan Garshell, Yonnie Cruz, Al Davis, Brian Delatorre, and Jake Johnson are battling irate homeowners, ditching cops, spraying graffiti and barreling crossways into traffic in the bracing and much-awaited ‘GX1000’ vid. Like the ‘Sabotage’ series emanating from the other coast this vid seems less about polishing tricks and placing them on a pedestal for admiration than hunting them through hills and alleys, wrestling them to the ground and cutting notches in the belt after wiping any blades clean of blood let by both parties. The way they let the hill bombs run out with no music has an intensity impossible to concoct with slow-motion drone filmography, and its montage structuring is refreshingly dense, difficult to digest in even a few watches how tech Yonnie Cruz gets in those hills or the burliness of Al Davis’ wallies or all the things Brian Delatorre can do at crazy speed, setting aside the added challenge of having the police, the homeless, and various powers of SF-dwelling Silicon Valleyites arrayed against them.

And yet several planes of existence above, the Olympics may not be so different. Marauding from country to country, city to city, this nationless entity allegedly flouts rules, stokes anger and resentment among locals and from time to time gets kicked out. Some would argue the Olympics embraces a ‘skate and destroy’-like ethos as it briefly sessions municipalities and leaves economic and structural wreckage behind. The Olympics meanwhile cashes its endorsement checks, immortalizes its achievements on high-performance video media, and looks for the next spot.

Should skateboarders, rather than fearing and loathing the Olympics’ crass pyrotechnics and ferocious currency-dealing apparati, embrace it as a spiritual partner in lawlessness amid a more existential battle against local, state and perhaps federal authority figures as well as various other haters? Could Yonnie Cruz handle one of those abandoned Sarajevo ski jumps and bobsled tracks? Switch? Will a future Olympics judging panel be forced to review the GX1000 files as a reference point for tricks that Jake Johnson previously has proven are possible to be wallied into? Did the Cool Runnings dudes pass a test detecting drugs capable of enhancing performance and/or reality? What about Yonnie Cruz’s switch backside 360 tho?

Sixteen in the Clip

May 16, 2015

super self aware mario

As the talent level astride multi-plied-and-coloured popsicle sticks and their occasionally spoonier prodigal forefathers careens forward, sometimes at such a rate as to make close observers dead-eyed and unmoved by steadily rising tides of ledge byzantazia, the skill-level forest easily gets lost in the YouTube-clipped trees of crooked grind nollie inward heelflip bigspins and switch bigspin backside lipslides. Coming to terms with NBDs sprinkled into that second-class content citizen, the web-only clip, can only further remove our collective hive-mind from the basic eye-foot-and-sometimes-hand coordination required to even push down a street.

When Young Gun Charlie Bowdre cautioned that geeks off the street need not apply to be regulators of the hard calibers later celebrated by Warren G, he could just as well have been drawling about skateboards. Whereas your typical civilian, presented a basketball, could likely execute a rudimentary dribble and/or free throw, attempting to handle the tingly and critical building blocks carved out by Alan Gelfand and Rodney Mullen may lead unhappily to ER trips, bellylaughs of derision or both.

So what would the world’s sundry and assorted geeks, perverts, players and pushers make of the daring new GX1000 clip, opened with several stomach-turning minutes of hairy hill bombs down San Francisco streets? What would they see if they peered over their overflowing canvas sacks of Trader Joe’s to witness one of these screwball lines being filmed? The first dude leaps off a curb cut or over a bar, swerves into the street and scooches his wheels back and forth to slow down, while the second follows hunched down, potentially dragging one foot occasionally and pointing a souped-up video camera at the first one.

Might such a geek quizzed hazard to guess that the ‘better’ rider of the two was the one entrusted with costly electronics, required to keep pace with whatever speed is set by his comparatively unencumbered subject and charged with avoiding just as much traffic? Will Ty Evans-endorsed low flying follow-cam drones settle this question in the future or serve only to displace any remaining filmers who have not added ‘cinematographer/director/brand manager’ to their Linkedin pages? Will such a shift issue loathsome economic skate-industry ripples to the same degree that driverless cars are projected to swell human unemployment rolls? Will human filmers again become relevant after artificially intelligent drone filmers achieve self-awareness and start missing tricks due to repeatedly checking their instagram accounts?

10. Luan Oliveira – ‘Strike and Destroy’

December 22, 2014


Around, good lord, thirteen years ago some magazine succinctly summed up the primal appeal of PJ Ladd’s genre-shifting ‘Wonderful, Horrible Life’ video part as “a kid skating down the street, flipping his board;” that is basically what occurs in Luan Oliveira’s Thrasher section out earlier this year, except down some crumbly Brazilian hills and in between the odd pedestrian. After getting a good deal of spazzy tech out of his system in Flip’s claymation movie ‘Xtremely Sorry’ Luan Oliveira has migrated into a Brandon Westgate mode in recent years, and with not a lot to most of the spots in this part the focus winds up being heavily on the tricks, which are fast and textbook-sharp without being lifeless — there is a mean switch frontside heelflip here, which Luan Oliveira has had around for a while, a monstrous hardflip, et cetera. For whatever reason the soundtrack to this one doesn’t grate as much as it probably should.

1. Jake Donnelly – “Since Day One”

December 30, 2011

Jake Donnelly Real Since Day One Part from dlxsf on Vimeo.

In a time of faster and bigger Jake Donnelly out in San Francisco has been quietly making a case for smarts and finesse, putting together a snappy flick with some spring and light-footed landings. All his recent footage suggests he’s got a knack for running some of the best looking tricks, like backside smith grinds on ledges, frontside blunts, nollie backside noseblunt slides, b/s tailslides of course, a good hardflip, et cetera. His part in the Real vid, which early on includes one of the more boss backside shifty kickflips put out lately, is not available for free via Youtube or whatever and really needs to be seen with the bouncy Too Short song to get the full impact, so pasted above is an Adidas clip made by Dan Wolfe that has a really high switch kickflip over a table and a good manual trick. (Note: link to this clip now here.) No doubt the Real part, red bottoms and pom-pom beanies and all, got me more motivated to skate than any other one I seen this year.

Fifteen Year Fallout

August 20, 2011

No deep thoughts today, only posting up a youtube-unearthed gemerald that I try and revisit periodically, Dan Drehobl’s closer for Think’s 1996 production “Damage.” I bought this tape on the strength of a review in Big Brother, funded by a grocery store paycheck on summer vacation. Tricks in this section, which hit hard at the time, have passed in and out of fashion to the point that a lot of these would stand up fine if some dude filmed them today (gap to lipslide), and to date I’m not sure anybody is fucking with his China Banks assault near the end. The song does it too, skateboard this weekend.

Is Brandon Westgate’s New Emerica Video The Career Equivalent Of Ollieing Over The Back Of A Rail And Grinding It Uphill? Switch??

January 19, 2011

Now that everybody can do all tricks and caballerial kickflips are a prerequisite for post-roshambo strategy I kind of have no idea whether restraint as a concept is still in play. Probably not the time or the place to have the conversation about whether or not the bro going for the kickflip frontside blunt down the park handrail can do it consistently on a curb but maybe there’s some similar elements. Pretty sure that Spiderman explored some related themes of power and responsibility in his new off-broadway production, I think it’s called “U Do U And I’ll Do Me: Turn Off The Dark While I File This Workman’s Comp Claim On U” or something.

Speaking of responsibilities young Zoo Yorker Brandon Westgate has professionally designed footwear to sell and name recognition to build ahead of a potential retirement gig as an “extremely” informed home renovation specialist on HGTVX. Your more seasoned pro might get his companies to pony up for a mini-ramp jam in a strip club and let the blurred web-only footage do the heavy lifting, but instead you’ve got handyman Westgate continuing to push the old boulder uphill with a whole new video section after an teeth-rattling entry in the Emerica vid a couple months ago.

To me this one’s way better — half the length and zeroes in on the more dramatic aspects of his skating, bombing down those San Francisco hills like he’s riding a snowboard* and the ungodly pop up onto some of those bars. The run where he 50-50s the fence off of the sidewalk bump is the kind of clip you want to watch every day, all the time, one of those little slices of what skating is perfectly captured on a digital video-making machine. The nagging reservations I harboured around his sort-of weird-looking flip tricks in the past are basically washed away here with not a lot of complex moves — Quartersnacks and Platinum Seagulls are riding for the giant kickflip but over here I’m promoting the 360 flip over the rail that seems like a totally ridiculously long distance to launch that particular trick. Later on the ender quietly asks the world at large how much better they can do with the up-rail movement in 2011, the answer could be some time coming.

*in a good way, dudes

The Year Of The Lion

January 3, 2011

Looking back on that “top ten” list I’m seeing now a lot of rap songs, not a lot of transition and almost everybody did some kind of crooked grind pop-over. So be it…

Some other really good ones:
Matt Bennett – “Brainwash”
-I’ve been a fan of his pretty well-established range of tricks so it was nice to see him stretch for this (switch f/s hurricane for instance)

Bryan Herman – “Stay Gold”
-predictable, but would’ve won this site’s heart if his part stopped after the schoolyard

Tyler Bledsoe – “Hallelujiah”
-eight, nine months on and the backside tail flip-out clip still isn’t old

Rory Milanes – “This Time Tomorrow”
-partly for the song

Chewy Cannon – “Make Friends With The Colour Blue”
-felt almost like it would be unfair to stick him toward the top half of this year’s list after last year and the Adidas part, but this dude is a machine. The switch backside smith grind

Greg Myers – “Skateboarding Is Forever”
-I see some of the critiques of this dude’s style but he’s got a lot of super hard tricks and I think is probably overlooked for how vicious some of his flip tricks are

Chad Timtim – “Trio”
-The most aggressive sidewalk-cruising part of this year with a guest appearance by one of the most urban tricks, the switch pop-shove it nosegrind revert. Honorable mention to Levi Brown’s very major b/s 180 over the two poles in this same vid.

Steve Durante/Fred Gall – Seasons/Orchard web clip
-NJ’s bash brothers in what would be my vote for the best shared part

Wes Kremer – “Skateboarding Is Forever”
-As mind-melting as the Torey Pudwill part, but with more wall-rides

Brandon Westgate – “Stay Gold”
-I still have difficulty getting into his styles* but it’s hard to deny all the San Francisco hill-blazing

Feel like Leo Romero returned the SOTY race to where it ought to be, that is, a genuinely hardworking dude that most folks can get behind as elevating the trick and/or gnarliness bar while being fairly representative of skating current and/or enduring themes — in Leo’s case you get a sometimes subtlely dazzling angle on handrail skating, a satisfactory anti-social demeanor and often a cowboy hat or a moustache, which you know, Chris Cole won it twice these past few years, and I don’t remember him getting behind cowboy hats like that. These are the weighty issues I feel are at stake when Thrasher/Phelps appear to be edging dangerously toward giving the one award that matters to some pampered television personality, and in the process totally fucking up my fragile worldview.

Wouldn’t even pretend that I’ve seen enough photos to pick out a “best of the year” or anything, but this Yaje Popson SSBSTS had all the elements.

Special mention to all rocket scientist video surgeons at Krooked who managed to not only make the first 3D skate dvd, but to execute it with a minimum of heavy-handed editing and sanctimoniousness that probably would’ve sapped the silly fun out of such a project with a lot of slow-mo if it had fallen to somebody like Ty Evans. On a related note, this blog (also predictably) fell into the camp viewing the annual TWS video project contest as a terrific hose-job for the Etnies effort, so here’s a link to that if you missed it.

*it’s a personal problem, I realize