Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

In The Great Dice Game That Is The Skate Shoe Business, Gravis IVSK8 Wagered, Rolled And Lost

October 24, 2012

Winter arrived early this week for the action-goods provider Burton, as P&L discontent forced tough decisions at the top that abruptly left Nordic sweater Arto Saari, stylistic watchword Dylan Rieder and others shoe deal-less and set adrift on the ice floe that is free agency in the current economy, increasingly resembling a scene from one of the early, J Strickland-helmed Baker videos where a poor dude is rolling on the ground and groaning in super slow-mo. Is what it is and all involved are wished well, though things appear somewhat brighter for pro and am endorsers of Analog brand pants, who according to this press release will enjoy certain hand-holding procedures throughout this difficult period:

Regarding the Analog surf and skate teams, we will be working with each team rider individually on an exit plan to transition them out of the brand.

The gap in sponsorship largesse is expected to be felt most heavily by Southern California thrift-store proprietors, several leasing agents and various weed spots, while the hardgoods industry collectively contorts and careens as it attempts to financially nose manual through a global recession period. As consumers we lose out by way of a thinner selection of goods available for our paycheques and one less competitor to keep honest rival shoe sellers. Yet the untimely demise of Gravis’ “IVSK8” lineup could signal that a deeper and more troubling loss already be lurks elsewhere, buried among footnotes in the great balance sheet of our psyches.

Foisting another footwear choice on an oversaturated population, backed by a big snowboard concern and incorporating a rather on-the-nose identifier amounted to long odds facing the Gravis venture from the jump, but was the company’s true crime being too daring? The much-derided Dylan pro model and later loafer drew wide attention but by all accounts made relatively few sales when stacked against the various iterations of the half-dozen vulcanized templates that have domineered shop walls for what seems now like the better part of the last decade, possibly the longest span of time a shoe trend has held sway over a previously fickle subset of trend-hoppers.

In a time of war abroad and economic upheaval at home, have our shoe choices skewed too far toward the safe, familiar and disposable, virtually ensuring that even the likes of PJ Ladd cannot persuade us to spend freely on a technology-forward, expensive signature model? Did Gravis roam too far off the stylistic reservation without a properly tested avalanche transceiver? Or must we make conscious, tribal decisions to periodically embrace outlandish design silhouettes so as to maintain our group ‘edge’?

Ten More From 2011

January 6, 2012

In no particular order. BTW, Deluxe posted up a link to Jake Donnelly’s missing “Since Day One” part that is salivated over in the posting below, so watch that too if you haven’t seen.

Chewy Cannon – “Tres Trill”
Switch wallie backside 180. RZA = PALACE TM

Torey Pudwill – “Big Bang”
Going forward there will always be a camp that solemnly believes Torey Pudwill was robbed for SOTY 2011 and they will always have a reasonable argument to make. Some of these tricks even six months later seem so obnoxiously difficult, like it’s not enough to jump a rail and lipslide a pic-a-nic table, then you gotta kickflip out too. But it’s hard not to cheer for this dude, his spring and zest for colorful shoes and big ledges.

Gou Miyagi – “Subspecies”
Don’t know much about this dude aside from the Slap interview a while back but have come to think of him as one of the precious few authentic weirdos that hopefully will always be able to find some kind of outlet in a skateboard, whether it’s gripped with felt squares or whatever.

Lucas Puig – Transworld Profile
Think I liked Lucas Puig more when he was a kid who seemed like he had the potential to do anything, versus the grown-up beast man who can and does do everything. I dig the idea of a French counterweight to the US-bred Kostons and Chris Coles and so on though, and Puig makes wise trick choices especially for one of the main proponents of the “Beware of the Flare” school of ledge combos. Also contains Lem Villemin’s challenge to Torrey Pudwill for backside tailslide of the year.

Tom Asta – Mystery pro part
The song got to me after a while, but the Love Park gap at night still is one of the more dramatic/picturesque settings for your power moves, reiterated in the new Mark Suciu ad.

Mike Anderson “Not Another TWS Video”
They are some fast feet

Gilbert Crockett – “Life Splicing No. 005”
Lifting his cat-pounce a few levels out there — was surprised the clip of the bench leap and the three-times manual weren’t held for some more prestigious release, but one of the upsides to the more-disposable nature of the web clip is a sort of throwback to the days when you could catch something inspiring between “Chaos” and the first “Wheels of Fortune.”

Travis Erickson – Santa Cruz part
Still one of the funnest to watch. Like to imagine he’s doing this stuff on his way home from work, keys hanging off the belt and backpack on.

Justin Brock – “Since Day One.”
When I think back on this section I think about the tricks off the bump and onto the shorty ledge, like the noseblunt, the Snowman-Eazy E mash-up and that long run through the park at the beginning. Justin Brock might not be your first choice as a thinking man’s skateboarder but I think he’s got more depth than he gets credit for.

Nick Boserio – “Life Splicing No. 004”
One of the better-edited parts made this year. Nosegrind through the kink was bananas

Is Gou Miyagi An Undercover Dream Policeman?

December 15, 2011

This holiday season the laboratory statisticians who devise Street League algorithms have further reason to curse the name and shovel coal into the stocking of Gou Miyagi, the Japanese urchin busily polishing the “other” bucket that sits alongside the lengthening ranks of subgenres residing under the twin pillars of “street” and “transition,” with an asterisk even. The ongoing uphill/big ollie/super fast movement reminds that people will find a way to keep things from getting too stale (here, a firecracker up six), but this dude is still out there figuring out ways to do tricks backward and inside out.

When I seen this guy’s previous part in “Overground Broadcasting” I sat back and thought it over for a while since personally I didn’t go in for William Spencer’s brand of stuntwork, where a lot of the time the skateboard seemed incidental to the whole thing. Like he could have been flipping onto a pogo ball, or an ironing board. Richie Jackson’s stuff skewed a little bit more toward conventional firecrackers and powerslides and pole jams so on. This Gou Miyagi still seems like he’s on his own wonderful/horrible planet decked out with a bunch of curvy round handrails all over the place.

It’s cool to me that this “Subspecies” part is shorter. Maybe he’s working off some injury since it does seem like several things could go terribly wrong with a few of these moves but you like to think he’s sitting around like Joey Brezinski and envisioning tricks, like he suggested in that Slap interview a while ago. My favorite one is when he walks his axles across the top of the ledge, attention former freestylers, please post in the comments section the technical name for walking on the axles, thx.

Night Fever

December 21, 2009


We know how to do it

Despite the continental-sized chip on its shoulder, one of the things that made the 2004 Lordz wheels video “They Don’t Give A Fuck About Us” great was the exotic nature of these amazing spots the dudes were skating… wide-open and untouched plazas, old timey-looking buildings in the background, enough grime caked into the cracks on the sidewalks to make it interesting, cops who didn’t seem ready to draw down on four-wheeled miscreants, et cetera. The new “Night Prowler” video out of Japan has a similar thing going on but in a way that’s a lot more claustrophobic, like these walls and buildings are pressing in on the camera’s field of vision or something.

Flannel shirts, Vans and ski caps have fully taken over in Japan and Hiroki Muraoka is pretty exemplary of what’s going on for the next half hour: tall 50-50s, fast ollies, speedy lines and urban transition, all that. The mini-backside tailslide he does is great. Traffic’s Rich Adler makes an extended guest appearance, and there’s tricks from Soy Panday, Emanuel Guzman as well as the never-seen-enough Mike Manzoori of all people. Akira Imamura does a zany backside flip wallride thing and Deshi performs some Natas spin moves amid some sketchy 50-50s.

It might have something to do with the type of skating that’s going on, with a lot less gap-sailing and more of jamming the boards up, onto and over various obstacles and things that creates almost a constant clattering of urethane on stone, cement, steel and whatnot. I don’t know if there’s some kind of superior Japanese technology at work here but beyond the collage of streetlights, wallrides and transfer grinds what I took away from this vid was the sound of wheels rattling and skidding from surface to surface. It sounds interesting here, different from other videos it seems like, and you could picture ripping this to an mp3 and laying on your newly acquired rug, eyes half-closed with headphones on, listening to the sounds until yet another interloper cracks you across the jaw.

Beast of Both Worlds

October 21, 2008


The Which Beer Project

Like Guns’n’Roses and Metallica, peanut butter and chocolate, Hall & Oates, some combos seem predestined somehow – bear witness to Girl and Anti-Hero’s “Beauty and the Beast” tour, already inked into the annals of legendary road trips, and the video the best tour documentary to come along since probably “Harsh Euro Barge.” It’s no “Barbarians At the Gate” or “Shit” but I’d definitely rate it above the bloated “Super Champion Fun Zone,” and let’s be honest, in the late 00’s, making a tour video that’s worth watching more than once is no mean feat. Even O’Dell and his all-seeing VX1000 didn’t clear that bar with last year’s “Wild Ride” doc.

The 10 Beast Moments:
10. McCrank’s Miller flip subtitle – he skates for Girl, remember?
9. Gerwer no-handed climbing the ladder / Koston crapping out on the boat
8. Jack Rebney Beast edit cameo
7. Trujillo’s hardflip – Scarface sidewalk gap soundtrack
6. Wizard staffs – on track to become as ubiquitous as Half-Cabs, or played out like Leo Romero’s black eye game?
5. BA’s pants sag – Gerwer’s AH sombrero
4. Malto’s nosegrind pop-out – Peabody gap to b/s smith grind
3. Julien Stranger nollie noseblunt – Alex Olson brick nosegrind
2. John Cardiel – backside 50/50
1. Mike Carroll, Japan air – very possibly the best trick caught on film this year: