Is Brad Staba’s jaded/sarcastic persona an elaborate mask for a decade’s worth of bottled-up embarrassment and discomfort after perpetrating several high-profile backside salad grinds in the late 1990s and early 2000s? The answer undoubtedly is yes, though allowances must be made within a time period of hotly fermenting excess when Tum Yeto rode high upon the skate hog, selling decks emblazoned with nothing but Tod Swank’s juvenile and colourful scrawls and later embarking upon a plan to build a skateboard so large it would be an affront to God himself. ‘Nervous Breakdown’ was another chapter in Foundation’s by then established strategy of reinventing itself roughly every 18 months or so, introducing Daniel Shimizu and Omar Salazar and copping Ethan Fowler from atop various European contest-circuit podiums. Yet it was floppy-haired vintage tee shopper Brad Staba who closed the video, shuffling down monstrous handrails and cruising through dirt and occasionally flashing a grin that would later launch a thousand Skate Mental graphics of questionable moral standing. Brad Staba possessed one of the skating world’s best nollie frontside 180s around this time as well as a command of the kickflip backside 360, then a rare bird. The line at 1:07 bumps up the bar from the opening run in his Duty Now for the Future debut, where Brad Staba opened for future Latin American real-estate speculator Daniel Haney and horror movie budgeteer Jon West.
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Probably it’s yet another sign that I’m getting older and higher strung and less cool with kids on the proverbial lawn that I look at the newly launched Life Extention Skateboard Group LLC and wonder not so much at its lifespan as much as the fact that it came together in the first place — when bros ten years older than I no doubt mumbled and grumbled the same thing about a decade back, around the unsteady unveiling of Baker. Say what you will about the various and sundry looks pursued by Jim Greco in the years since, but the Baker Bootleg boys bottled and guzzled the lightning of a very particular aesthetic that proved a lot longer-lived than even I would’ve thought, and I was a fan, although it seems like their vices/demons have plumbed greater depths than than this foglit new guard.
I’m not sure what they got together for the trade show, but they did approve a canned quote for a press release last month:
“The Life Extention Skateboard Group looks forward to working together with Blitz, to create an essential skateboard brand. Extend it,” said Trapasso.
As a card-carrying fan of the recently rejailed Lennie Kirk and respecter of risk-taking, I am compelled to acknowledge sheer balls, and the life-extenters look to be packing church bells — spearheaded by one of the industry’s spaciest cadets, sporting a misspelled name*, co-signed by malcontent recluse J Strickland, formed in the middle of an economic slow patch that’s steadily separating the old and infirm from the pack. Not that I’d begrudge the existence of a Tom Cruise-inspired company backed by some of the finer fuckups to fumble a tattoo gun in recent years, with the laid-back gumption to make good on the vow to deal decks out of their garage. If anything more of these kinds of shots oughtta be taken, even if the target’s invisible through a cloud of smoke and barrier of beer cans, to balance out the Business Plans For Dummies 2nd Edition strategizing and and paint-by-number logo decks pumped out each season. And what if they do blow it? Those early Big Brothers command classic status, and it was all those dudes could do to get issues out every couple months back then.
*I don’t believe that shit that they did it on purpose
Looking back I wouldn’t have figured I’d be at the point where seeing a longhaired kid in tight jeans pilot a straight-up frontside boardslide down a rail would be refreshing, nor would I have picked Justin Figueroa to record one of the more rewatchable sections in the long-awaited Emerica vid, but here we are. Many of the thumbs-up to this dude’s section (begrudged or not) focused on the central line through the apartments, and I was on board there too, but the more times I rewatched “Stay Gold” the more times I wound up skipping Szafranksi and Spanky and even Marquise` Preston and sticking on this part, marveling at one of the very few to make nollie frontside feeble grinds and nollie backside 50-50s seem cool. Justin Figueroa’s got some drama to his frame when he comes off the handrails and looks relaxed at speed, rare for your greaseball hessian type and like Bryan Herman a validation of Reynolds’ choice in rail skaters. I like the switch backside flip, the nollie frontside boardslide and the 5-0 backside 180 out, which seems mighty scary on a big rail.
Between these Pappalardo clips, Deluxe’s zip-zinger features and this recent Brent Atchley commercial there seems to be a wave of cruising-oriented video coming out lately, coincidental or not. Depending on who’s doing the cruisering and where, such clips can be alternately boring, sublime or non-affecting, but all these clips recently reminded me of the above Tom Penny part from one of my most favorite and least-discussed videos, ATM Click’s “Come Together.” An early Manzoori/Miner production at a time when both were sponsored by the company, after working through some early days of being Gonz’s new and soon-to-be-discarded toy (and prior to its current form as a “mini logo” deck purveyour). The company was some type of sister to New School and home to a budding Jon West, who skated to “Andy Warhol” by David Bowie in this video that was really more like an extended friends-section, roping in everybody from Mat O’Brien to Hondo Soto to Jamie Thomas to Mike Frazier to a clip of Rob “Sluggo” Boyce hitting what looks like a backyard kicker on a snowboard. This mini-part by Penny gets squeezed in somewhere in the middle and is really just a couple launches at the Santa Rosa park and a lengthy street ramble that puts a lot of the dude’s greatness front and center — the supernaturally relaxed mannerisms, casually caught flips and a general kind of meandering genius. The song works too.
Ayy, don’t think of it as a lull in posting, but instead rather a meta-type comment on laziness and sloth, or more specifically the type of calculated and semi-responsible laziness apparently practiced by Mark Appleyard over the last half-decade as we continue to parse the new Flip video. Appleyard’s part was good and all – indeed pretty great at points, yah – but kind of like when you first learned about Dr. Dre’s history with Eazy E and Jerry Heller, the thing took on a whole new depth after I checked out Appleyard’s Thrasher interview (Geoff Rowley cover).
I heard a rumor that you finished your part years ago.
Yes I did. The bulk of it I fininshed in 2004, right after the SOTY, when I was really on fire.
You’re like the kid that finishes his homework before class is even over.
Yeah, get ‘er done. Finish it on up.
So this hasn’t been a big push for you these last few months.
Not really. I don’t really work well under pressure. I try, but as far as going out and kickflip boardsliding down El Toro, that’s not really my style. I don’t really want to risk anything or get hurt ’cause I like to skate a lot. I want to be able to skate on a daily basis and not to anything that’s too stressful.
What trick are you most pleased with in the video?
Maybe the tre flip noseslide I did down Wilshire — five years ago.
Reading between the lines (on the page and in the vid) you can roughly guess that Appleyard has spent the past five years more or less perpetually smoked out, becoming a devout follower of Jah and occasionally buying expensive Rolex timepieces or filming a trick. There’s no jarring fresh-to-hesh stuff going on but you could kind of place some of the footage by the bagginess of any given pair of pants. Beyond an acknowledged addiction to the nollie backside bigspin he remains super good, a solid case for the frontside noseslide to fakie and other tricks that others sometimes would do better to leave alone, like the switch 180 manual/5-0 (the one down the Standford hubba ledge was pretty bonkers). Notable also: the nollie bigspin b/s tailslide and the kickflip b/s tailslide shove-it on the just-liberated Hubba Hideout, and taken on its own, slipping the nollie backside noseblunt in the first third of the part hints at a far more interesting video that could’ve been, at least editing-wise.
There’s less nuance to former Appleyard roomie Rodrigo TX’s section, but of course way more tech-trick fireworks, with a lot of stuff that looks like it could’ve been shoehorned into his “Menikmati” section (5-0 180 out on the hubba, or anytime he wears shorts). The tall backside tail’s awesome, along with the picnic table Pupecki and the Mariano bench trick, and that one line sort of made me wish more dudes skated in camo pants still. Most of those Barcelona bench moves are totally out of hand and in terms of raw unbridled skills TX probably still ranks alongside your Chris Coles, Marc Johnsons and Eric Kostons, but I’m not sure if the dude has a real classic video part in him.
Even though they don’t really make money anymore the blockbuster skate video model continues to hold, at least until somebody thinks up a better idea, and with every major pro skateboarder (or at least the 100 or so with signature model shoes) stockpiling footage for a coming-soon-in-2010 release you don’t often see the quick little parts that were popular in the 1990s, which was due to weed smoking, the shitty slow-mo available at the time, general laziness, Barcelona having yet to be discovered, and the quick-cut lifestyle shot still a few TWS videos away. So you got stuff like Jason Dill’s “Trilogy” section, Sheffey’s part in “Mouse,” or RB Umali’s “Peep This” which you could say was a whole video based on this idea.
Steve Durante, who made probably my favorite video part last year between the Habitat video and Static 3, kept the ball rolling this year with a brief entry in Joe Perrin’s “Last of the Mohicans”… I don’t know if this is throwaway stuff from some upcoming Adidas production or just his daily grind but it’s as good as any of the other shit he’s done in the last couple of years: all the sick two-hitter lines, the flat-ground kickflip at 1:19, and even though he milks it in every part, the switch backside tailslide heelflip out, except this time on a thigh-high ledge. On a semi-related note, Kyle Nicholson needs to come up in 2009.