Posts Tagged ‘Mike Mo Capaldi’

Wait ‘Til The Midnight Hour

February 28, 2009


For some reason I find it hard to write anything that seems at all interesting about the epic game of skate going on at that undisclosed Los Angeles location, which is alright I guess, seeing’s how there’s a 59-page topic a-churning over at the Slap message boards, untold billions of postings on it at the Berric’s low-cost Slap board knockoff, and oh yeah, a feature-length feature in the Wall Street Journal that’s rather on point with regard to the spirit of the thing, while making an end run around the old gray lady for the skateboard mass media crown (sorry, Bonnier Corp). There’s a video too, though it’s clear the narrator is biased toward the goofy footer…

Probably the best part, aside from any reference to Mike Mo as “Mr. Capaldi”:*

Talent is what sets the Berrics’ games apart. No one trick they try is awe-inspiring, but the contestants are the world’s best. They possess a humbling command of the basics, ripping through dozens of tricks and landing most in one try. It’s like going to the practice tee at the Masters and seeing Tiger Woods place golf balls wherever he pleases. (In skateboarding, as in golf, sometimes it’s more impressive watching a professional practice than compete.)

That’s pretty much it right? We rush (or shuffle bleary-eyed, stinking and off kilter, depending on your own personal mileage) to our computers twice per weekend to watch grown men flip skateboards about on a concrete block, shouting at themselves and one another and sometimes a siren blares. Yes, my dudes, these are the salad days. Before it’s over and the second round is inevitably scheduled, musings on some of the matches that have come before:

Koston v. Donovan Strain
Not even a laser flip could save a very nervous-looking Butters in this slop-filled and ultimately anticlimatic match-up. I almost felt bad for the kid, until I considered how annoyed I probably would’ve felt if Donovan ran the table on a trick cribbed from the credits of a 10-year-old TWS video. Then again, maybe it would’ve been awesome.

Chico v. Mike Mo Capaldi
I wouldn’t have thought that this heavily imbalanced round would be the one to see Mike Mo unsheath the nollie kickflip 360, but I’m assuming this is one of the tricks that he’ll ride to the final round and beyond, if Jehovah wills it. The catch on the switch 360 flip is also notable.

PJ Ladd vs. Andrew Reynolds
A blistering, toe-to-toe, knock-down-drag-out cliche/cliche/cliche battle in which a very staid Reynolds knew what he was up against, but refused to go gently. I think he knew what time it was when the switch backside kickflip was offered, but a valiant effort all the same, bruh.

Steve Berra vs. Marc Johnson
Probably my favorite one so far.

Erik Ellington v. Jimmy Cao
The awesome shockingness of Ellington’s backside bigger spin eased the pain of seeing my Jimmy Cao pick swirl down the drain like so many loose turds. Eh, so be it.

Mike Carroll v. Mike Mo
I think Carroll was genuinely bummed about losing this, although, he maybe saw it coming.

Koston vs. PJ Ladd
For sure, the best battle yet, and one of the few where I felt like a fool when it was over and I found myself hunched all over the computer with my fists balled up, sweaty, the cat bewildered as to what I was on about. I picked PJ of course, but when Eric Koston broke out all those goddam pressure flips and shit, well, I just about had to go and have a glass of warm milk and take a walk around the block. Was it a cheap shot to take him out on the hardflip? Maybe…

This weekend:
If I can just toot my own horn for a minute here, I’ve had Mike Mo vs. PJ Ladd for the final match since the start, so yeah. I think Mike Mo’s gonna win. $10,000 on the line (?) and he’s got the spark.

*So is “Mo” a nickname or what?

Product Toss

November 18, 2008

“You don’t innovate ’cause you can’t innovate, it’s not a choice”

Like many of you, my immediate reaction to the words “TWS Buyer’s Guide” is cynicism to the x-treme, at the prospect of a glorified CCS catalogue with (wait for it) ads between the glossy color pics of deck after shoe after truck after wheel. And then, you get to pay for it! It’s like those old Abercrombie & Fitch catalogs, except without the nudity and legal gray area.

But. I’m a fan of the TWS buyer’s guide. Yes, it’s true. For one thing, I think they do an impressive job of educating the young’uns (those cursed with the ability and/or inclination to read, anyway) when it comes to explaining concepts like wheelbase, bearing seats, and, er, what a millimeter is. That’s something you can’t learn in school if you’re not paying attention, which sadly is most likely the case, so we could look upon this as an important public service in the event that our fair nation is stormed by ravenous villains bearing metric rulers and roadsigns.

Also I tend to find the Q&A’s in these things generally more informative on the whole than the average “how many years skating/who’s your sponsors/man when does skating become like a JOB man?” interview. That is, when the appointed pro isn’t plugging his signature bearings or whatever. (What constitutes a signature bearing anyway? A [meaningless] ABEC rating and a colored shield? Fancy packaging?)

It’s interesting though how some skateboarders genuinely enjoy nerding out over the various processes involved in setting up and maintaining a board, the technology or lack thereof that works for them, and how much attention they pay to setup fads, like ultra-loose trucks, the 38mm wheel of 2008. Kind of like when an otherwise moribund rock musician lights up like a Christmas tree when Guitar Magazine inquires after his pedals or whatever.

Of course you get the usual boring setup “madness” stories, but between these and two of the ugliest frontside flip photos I’ve seen in a good long time, there’s some interesting tidbits in this year’s Buyer’s Guide. Plus it’s entertaining how often the “if it ain’t broke” refrain rings out among the pro ranks, no doubt bumming Rodney Mullen and his pile of unsold $100 Almost impact boards (which I’m admittedly sort of curious to try), along with the rest of the deck industry, stuck with a product that should have climbed to $80 per board (in the US) over the last 15 years, if it kept up with inflation.

Overheard among ruminations on the superior flick properties possessed by suede toe-caps and the proper order in which to tighten mounting hardware:

“When I put my wheels on, I have to put extra washers on my truck axle, so when I tighten the bolt, there’s some extra slack, but the bolt will be flush with the axle. This way you won’t fuck the axle up.”
-a helpful hint from Bobby Worrest

“Right now I’m rocking the standard Swiss Bones bearings. These bearings could seriously be shit, but since I grew up hearing they’re the best, they feel great.”
-Cairo Foster on independent thinking

“I usually put the grip all the way to the left, so that way I don’t have to use the razor blade on the right side of the board. It saves me a little time. After hooking up so m any boards over the years, you find ways to make it easier.”
-Jeron Wilson explains how to accumulate valuable seconds over a period of several years

“Dustin [Dollin]’s working on getting a nine-inch board.”
-Lizard King, 80s revivalist

“I take ’em off and I spray Windex in ’em to take some of the grease out.”
Elissa Steamer, Martha Stewart of bearing care

“Other trucks turn better, but if you’re gonna ride a pool or vert, there’s nothing else to ride. I used to ride Indys, but now I can’t do it. I haven’t even tried the new ones because that whole kingpin-breaking thing happened. They kinda took a turn for the worse.”
-Amy Caron, ensuring a doorstep free of NHS products and weeks of ridicule on slash dog-centric messageboards

“Remember when I was skating Terell’s board? That Darkstar board and it had this weird carbon fiber in it? The point of the 7-ply board is to break it in half. I could not break the carbon fiber – it was so annoying. It gets me even more mad.”
-Mike Mo Capaldi on technological innovation

Breakin 2 – Electric Boogaloo

July 26, 2008

Mike Mo channels Guy, Louie and Ozone to twirl his own personal zulu spin. TKO…

And to everything, turn turn turn

June 6, 2008

Seems weird that there’s this big pro-board shuffle right smack between the ASR’s, but what the fuck right? Summer’s here. Time for the young bucks to live it up while they’re young, time for old dudes like Klein to have their “Summer of Klein” complete with cheese block and fridge chair before… well I guess before going back to the same shit he’s been doing for these past 10 years that hasn’t really involved much skating.

The big news of course was at Girl, where every day’s a party in this post “Fully Flared” era. They throw you a surprise shindig for getting on the team, Guy Mariano skates with you all the time, and you get to go on vacation with Frank Gerwer. I mean, Jesus Christ. So what to do, what to do, with three super-ams that are no doubt getting offers left and right, two of them already opting for bigger shoe paychecks, all fresh off video parts… bite the bullet and turn em all pro at once I suppose. Kareem, in his infinite wisdom, pulled the same shit with P-rod and Mikey Taylor, if you’ll recall, and they were kind enough to sell a few City Stars boards before jumping ship. So hopefully everybody over at the Crailtap camp enjoys the hugs and rainbows while they last.

Turning in his pro board is Jeremy Klein, and let me tell you, this news shocked me to the core. For a few years there I was mad that Klein still had a board out. “He’s milking it!” I would seethe to myself late at night, fingers clutched tight around some issue of TWS. And it was true! How many years did he ride that terrible “Destroying America” video, which stretched his and Heath’s brilliant “The End” part to an interminable length? And he barely skated in that. Now, I understand he’s got a part in the Birdhouse video that came out last fall, which I haven’t seen because nobody saw it. (Quote from Tony Hawk at the premiere: “We’re still here.”) Which is partly why it’s such a surprise, this retirement. You’d think with a new video part, he’d have justification to keep his board on shelves for another five years, at least. And shit, he didn’t even need justification. If Jeremy Klein, your favorite asshole pro’s favorite asshole pro, can’t milk a video part for 10-plus years, who can? In a way, I gained far more respect for Klein in the last few years than I ever had for him when he was ripping in the early 90s, simply because he was pushing the envelope so much further than anyone else in terms of keeping his career running on fumes.

Anyway. At DLX there’s rumblings of Van Wastell getting a board this fall, which is kind of overdue in a Pappalardo-Wenning sort of way, when you look at Bobby Worrest. I mean, I’m a big Worrest fan, but I can see why a Van Wastell fan would be bummed that it’s taken so long for the dude to get the pro nod. In sadder news it appears Flip may retire Ali’s board next fall. I won’t moralize on that one, other than to point out that Flip had Penny’s back through all those years in the wilderness, but nothing’s certain yet I suppose. Flip site says Boulala’s up for parole in two years, at which point he’ll hopefully be back in some kind of skating form. In the meantime, here’s what I imagine Australian prison is like.

Addendum: Here’s Alex Olson’s part in “Gnar Gnar” which to me is still the best shit he’s put out.