Posts Tagged ‘Louie Lopez’

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?

Experimental Drugs, Dead Gods And Locust Swarms: Runners And Riders For 2020 SOTY

October 11, 2020

And this calamitous year shifts now into high gear for the final quarter. The USA president, administered experimental drugs to save his life from a bat-borne disease. Eddie Van Halen, guitar diety, claimed by the Grim Reaper. Brawny hurricanes pummel our valuable beaches and locust swarms afflict Africa’s farms.

Anti-Hero Skate Boards, that atoll of relative calm betwixt the news cycle’s fearsome winds that also employs Frank Gerwer, this past week took the unusual step of sponsoring and affixing its famous eagle logo to the vice USA presidential debates (seen above) to remind those seeking cranium-ready sand openings that Skater of The Year season is again in full swing. Must Chris Pfanner’s cool-headed and European approach to existentially risky handrails be considered in any such conversation? Will 2020 be the year that ‘at last’ delivers the coveted Rusty artifact to the doorstep of a perennial contender? Could a hazy concoction of absentee ballots, hanging chads and unknowable identities of persons most mysterious forever cast an asterisk-shaped shadow over this, the first SOTY of these new roaring ’20s? Let’s read on.

Alexis Ramirez: With a solid grip on curtain-closing activities in Sk8Mafia’s video productions and a pungent tailwind from 2014 SOTY Wes Kremer, Alexis Ramirez has impressed with various IG-ready full-circle planter grinds while covering nearly all bases in last summer’s ‘2020 Promo’, from rooftop bomb-drops to rainbow-ledged SD schoolyards to the big bars. He returned this week, with another six-minute segment that drafts off the life-affirming TikTok of the moment and includes a head-scratcher of a backside lipslide bounce-out.

Louie Lopez: The first line in that ‘Lola’ part from August pretty much says it, 360 flip up a curb, hop up onto a ledge, frontside shove out to backside nosegrind on a planter, precise and easygoing and velvet-soft. Louie Lopez is one of those skaters whose highly nonchalant execution can distract from the hairyness of the tricks and situations, like his backside lipslide shoves-out for instance, and stuff like the tailslide pop to tailslide in his concurrent ‘II’ vid for FuckingAwesome makes it all look like kind of a lark. He’s got a Thrasher cover and likely more on deck, but is he the ‘right’ SOTY for such a grim, tumultuous year?

Mason Silva: Owner of the year’s most beastly Thrasher cover so far, the whiff of inevitability follows yung Mason Silva, hopping from Element to NorCal’s storied Deluxe kingdom and dropping video parts with unsettling regularity. It’s a real shame about the filming on that gargantuan bank ollie, but the dude skates like he’s got plenty of gas in the tank and the sponsorship firepower to make a formidable fourth-quarter press. The remarkable clips in the Nike part, Mason Silva’s effort toward a ‘Dylan’ statement-of-purpose, are too many to fully list — the 180 fakie manual half-cab out at the bumpy NY banks, the halfcab wallride over the rail, the snowboard kicker 360, the #fakiehard — and at this point it seems much like his award to lose.

Evan Smith: The starry-eyed rambler’s seat among likely finalists seems de rigueur in these last few years, as does multiple crazy parts from him within the 12-month calendar. There was his blurred, kaleidoscopic part for Anti Hero’s Grimple imprint, where he at one point did a kickflip backside wallride backside 180 out on a roof, and then another 5 minutes for DC Shoe, including that long k-grind drop down to backside 50-50, kickflips over and down and through a bunch of stuff and the occasional, sort of incongruous Droors shirt. A rumored new board company could provide the platform for yet another Evan Smith vid by early December, but you wonder whether his moment to capture the SOTY trophy is passing, sort of like longrunning runners-up Dane Burman and Clive Dixon, both of whom registered powerful footage this year — Clive Dixon noseblunted the Staples Center ledge to one of our time’s illest-advised musical selections, remember — but seem again like long shots as the time draws nigh.

Tiago Lemos: There is a sort of confusing sequence toward the beginning of New Balance’s August ‘Trust Tiago’ vid where some dudes seem to be cutting/removing a bar after Tiago Lemos skates it, symbolizing the international discomfiture over his not having been awarded top prize, gilded crowns, chestsful of golden doubloons and other special honors corresponding to the skill level required for the fakie flip backside nosegrind shove-it out and other feats that Tiago Lemos has completed for several years now. Hopefully his moves toward deeper-pocketed sponsors over the last couple of years are supplying certain amounts of golden coins. As far as SOTY goes, Tiago Lemos must continue to be included on any contenders’ shortlist, and not for nothing he’s put out two more video parts this year, including the head-exploding emoji repeater hardflip frontside noseslide toward the end of his one for ‘Crupie Wheels.’

Elijah Berle: Flicka was the name of a mysterious mustang with a dangerously waving dark mane, and so we shall call Elijah Berle, who assumes a sort of ‘dark horse’ position with not a lot of footage or coverage to show as the seasons change, but now a bracing cover hinting at the long-deferred promise of video footage commemorating his migration to the lush but increasingly crowded FA stable a couple years ago. Elijah Berle’s teeth-chattering handrails and transition charges are Thrasher-approved, but it seems like he’d need a document of Tyshawn Jones proportions to command the nod after working away in the wings most of the year.

SCOTUS, FAWWEnt, And The Supreme Trials of Jason Dill

May 5, 2019

Jason Dill is in the news again, preparing to open a new, Hollywood-located retail outlet location for physically vending Fucking Awesome and Hockey gear to queue-friendly currencyholders, in an arid desert climate. Elsewhere, the FA squad girds for possible Olympic podium representation via Louie Lopez’s at-last confirmed jump from a Flip team that’s suddenly looking weirdly middle-aged, in skate years. And Jason Dill hisself, celebrated and dissected in a recent glossy magazine profile that presents a relatively domesticated chapter in a tumultuous and well-worn life, provided he’s not sweating beneath the galactically-sized expectations laid upon him by GQ:

He is a titan of influence in skateboarding. Every trick he’s done, every outfit he’s worn, and all of the crazy stories that make up the Jason Dill mythology are crucial entries in the skate canon. That influence began when he was just a kid in Huntington Beach, California, and extends soundly, unwaveringly into 2019. Dill’s style—his tricks, his attitude, his clothes, hell, his visage—is foundational to what skateboarding is today.

Were it an ‘Epicly Later’d’ or ‘Nine Club,’ the tension might be cut here with a wet belch or other affectation emanated bodily by Jason Dill. But this is a world of legal sawmills and customized financial derivatives, where each strategic step is more precarious than the last and could end in a volcano’s fiery maw. The pressure is tangible because it’s real: 3,000 miles to the east, the fate of Jason Dill’s holdings may rest inside the rich mahogany chambers of the highest court in tha land.

You see, it turns out that Fuct, the alternative t-shirt supplier known for spreading silkscreened exhortations such as ‘RAVERS SUCK’ during a certain portion of the early 1990s, for years has been lowkey locked in a legal tussle with Uncle Sam, who so far has refused to extend his sturdy cobblestone walls of federal intellectual property protections around the barony of Fuct. This has created any number of problems for the Fuct group managers and equityholders, specifically in the form of 100% cotton-wielding pirates focused on knocking off Fuct merchandise for their own illicit profits and pleasures. While carefully dancing around audibly pronunciating the company’s name, lettered lawmen for both Fuct and the US last month sparred over whether federal trademark protections shall be applied to a brand name that Justice Dept lawyers have determined to be scandalous and unworthy of protective legal shields afforded to more buttoned-down clothiers such as Ocean Pacific and Bugle Boy and Big Johnson. The government argues that, while having extended trademark protection to PG-13 brandings including ‘FUBAR’ and various ‘crap’ iterations, the f-bomb is a bridge too far; Fuct’s lawyers counter that they’re not trying to put up Fuct billboards and hardly anybody considers ‘fuck’ truly offensive these days anyways.

While Supreme Justices ponder these arguments, it is this shifty patch of regulatory sand upon which Jason Dill has staked Fucking Awesome’s fortunes. Though American IP defenders may strike a more confident pose around the more prime-time network friendly FA Worldwide Ent varietal, it is the Hulked-out, admittedly ‘dumbest,’ glaringly profane moniker to which Jason Dill and AVE hitched their uncertain sojourn from Dayton, OH what already seems like so many years ago, and which continues to sell $40 t-shirts and graphically decorated premium sweatpants. For Jason Dill, reared in the World camps of the 1990s, Fuct’s travails in the USA legal system is a path he ought to know well: Trademark missteps forced Kareem Campbell to abandon Menace and MNC before briefly stopping off at All City prior to City Stars. Bitch skateboards’ earlier, briefer run and vanishment may or may not have had much to do with trademark challenges, but these probably ensure that Sal Rocco Jr isn’t getting paid off the remarkably resilient Japanese knock-offs. And widespread bootlegging may help to explain why Girl was never able to fully capitalize off its VHS stereo-ready ‘SHT Sound’ innovations.

Is Jason Dill’s high-stakes devotion to a difficult-to-trademark brand name a keep-it-skate act of defiance, a subconscious act of self-sabotage, or some rich and creamy mixture of both? Might fat boxes of reseller-ready Supreme judicial robes help sway a critical SCOTUS majority in FA’s favor? Could an FA/Hockey/Supreme teamrider, well-trained by Fat Bill’s lens in steely stare-downs, make a wordless, slightly intimidating and ultimately victorious argument in defense of the FA intellectual property portfolio to skeptical justices?

More 2017 Video Part Life

January 1, 2018

Griffin Gass, ’35th North’ – Future ‘Say My Name, Say My Name’ T-Eddy candidate again raises the question, as the Girl camp dips deeper into the Pacific Northwest for its new pickups, are they indulging in continued Anti Hero fandom or returning to the company’s partial Vancouverian roots? Also, the Pupecki grind on the Seattle rail

Magnus Bordewick, ‘Tigerstaden’ – This dude makes flip tricks look like explosions, with a jacket game to rival SP

Lucien Clarke, ‘Palasonic’ – From the Landscape intro to the Boss seven minutes later, Lucien Clark goes in

Kyle Nicholson, ‘Olympic Demo Reel’ – If there ever was a dude who belonged on ScumCo it’s the perennially overlooked Kyle Nicholson, bouncing back here after the City of Philadelphia robbed him of a Love gap switch 360 flip

Josh Drysen, ‘sml. Wheels’ – Solidly weird tech

Yonnie Cruz, ‘The Flare’ – It’s up for debate whether Lakai lensmen Federico Vitetta and Daniel Wheatly can capture Yonnie Cruz’ skating with the same combination of reckless abandon and high stakes that Ryan Garshell managed, but this part ripped, and James Capps tricks helped too

Yaje Popson, ‘Riddles in Mathematics’ – Whatever headaches were saved thanks to having the least-claustrophobic camera work in Chris Theissen’s latest paean to the uncomfortable close-up were offset by some of the most garish camo going. But Yaje Popson’s skating surpasses all

Kevin Taylor, ’42’ – A deep indulgence from one of the discipline’s true masters

Jimmy Lannon, ‘Shaqueefa Mixtape Vol 3’ – If you’re among those that can watch Jimmy Lannon do bump-to-bars for several minutes straight, you can do so via one of the year’s best-soundtracked videos

Niels Bennett, ‘Awake’ – The catch on the frontside 5-0 shove-it in this is nearly enough to tide people over until this dude’s next clip, which would benefit all involved if it announced Niels Bennett as the next curly-haired wallrider for Girl

Louie Lopez, ‘West End’ – people will debate whether he should’ve gotten Skater of the Year, but he gets points for prioritizing shove-its over kickflips when it comes to bump and gaps. And who’s whipping caballerials out of wallrides?

Tore Bevivino, ‘Sabotage 5’ – Strapping on the face mask for some of the gulliest levels lines ever done at Love Park

Was Jamie Foy’s Yellow-Shirted SOTY Surprise an Implicit Rebuke Of Overt Trophy Hunting or Gasoline for More?

December 11, 2017

In an age where fortunes are made and dashed again with the fateful tapping of a touchscreen or a practiced turn before the correct lens, does anything remain inevitable? The SOTY campaign, one of Thrasher’s sturdiest tentpoles in a domination of new media forms that other, older publications could learn from, is proving increasingly tough to pin down as potentate pros’ lust for the Rusty statue tilts video releases toward a year-end glut and dudes go all in with bones and ligaments as autumn shrivels the leaves to warmful tones.

Throughout much of 2017, a heavy whiff of inevitability trailed yung Louie Lopez, once derided among Flip 3.0’s crop of hard-to-watch tween pickups, now a fully formed ATV testing the limits of his considerable powers in all the correct venues. Even before his Spitfire part hit, rumblings could be sensed that this was Louie Lopez’s year (or major sponsors believed so), a concept that seemed more and more certain as he ripped the SPoT to pieces en route to first place, joined Jake Phelps and co. in a cobranded Thrasher and Spitfire trip, and bounded up and across massive walls and onto the mag’s cover*. Hash tags endorsing his candidacy piled up and in recent weeks, following his searing ‘West End’ part, he was positioned as an Arto Saari heir apparent, while an interviewer wondered about a post-SOTY life for Louie Lopez.

What happened? With a meaty thud, much is swept aside by a buzzer-beating trip down a double-digit sized stair set, same as the multi-kink hulk that Kyle Walker conquered to gazump Evan Smith last year. Fate opened a lane for Fred Gall-shaped Floridian Jamie Foy this year, dispening tickets to Thrasher’s KOTR and Am Scramble trips, and Jamie Foy pushed the pedal all the way down. It is difficult to remember or indeed, imagine a faster rise — getting on a board company at the start of the year, a pro board a few months later, and then Ty Evans’ ‘Flat Earth’ film, providing a ham-going fourth-quarter opportunity that Jamie Foy took once again, carving two notches into the famed El Toro set. If Skater of the Year campaigns are evolving into meticulously planned, months-long efforts to strategically release footage, get your guy onto the right trips and pump up the IG volume, is there a certain allure in getting behind the bowling ball barreling toward all the carefully set pins?

Is the speed of Jamie Foy’s ascent, from amateur to pro and SOTY the same year, a reflection of or reason behind the breakneck pace driving skate media these days? Will a starring turn on Thrasher’s Viceland series become a prime propulsion toward future SOTY titles, as Vice veers frighteningly close to MTV territory in terms of thirstily mining skating for TV fodder? Could the nod to Jamie Foy also serve as a quiet acknowledgement that it shoulda been Fred Gall one of those years? Do we, the slack-jawed viewer, remain the ultimate winners even as Skater of the Year campaigns grow more overt and assertive? Do all the stair counts and smoothly executed pop shove-it reverts fall by the wayside when considering the way another perennial contender, Tiago Lemos, forces the world to reimagine what is even possible?

*With The Skateboard Mag gone away, does Thrasher revert to the shorthand “the mag” again?