Posts Tagged ‘Nick Merlino’

Events on the Horizontal Horizon of the Eventful Event Horizon

February 20, 2017

“Blessed be the ties that bind,” the good book says, referring to the festive ties donned by Medieval lords on the occasions of their weddings to matrons true of virtue and plump of size, who in turn wore flowery gowns and pointed hats in keeping with the custom of the time. The old saying however also could equally apply to the metaphorical plastic zip-ties that once bound the international skateboard community as tightly as the wrists of a newly gagged hostage, but now have been stretched, frayed and slicked with blood after a 20-year ride in a darkened trunk, bumping through energy drink-sponsored contest spectacles, international footwear investment and reality television seasons.

In this brave and bawdy 2017, year of the Rooster, what can draw together late-90s puffy-tongued plaza revivalists with mega-ramping park prodigies and their pastel-draped, body-varialing brethren? Time was, a big video could command the culture’s attention through months of ‘coming soon’ magazine adverts, a few carefully blown deadlines and a riot-inducing premiere. But ‘event’ vids increasingly have become the domain of the major shoe company, and that cupboard looks increasingly barren as Nike, Adidas, Emerica and Vans all have shot their respective full-length wads over the last two years, with mixed results; nearly all now seem to have sworn off the sort of hourlong teamrider-wrangling that takes years and increasingly seldomly stands up under colossal expectations erected with promotional hashtags, tossed-off teaser clips, and internet punditry.

Foundation last week premiered the latest entry into one of history’s stalwart video legacies, ranging from ‘Supercollider Superconductor’ to ‘Rolling Thunder’ to ‘Art Bars’ and ‘That’s Life’ – a heavy underdog narrative was built into the roll-out, including teamriders funding their own trips and pay whittled down to board royalties, making one wonder whether ‘Oddity’ should get you psyched on this latest iteration of the magic F or just hope these legitimately gnarly dudes find themselves a better deal. Ahead lies Transworld’s ‘Riddles in Mathematics,’ extending another beloved video dynasty with a knockout lineup and a GZA-cribbing title, helmed by Chris Theissen, whose Bordeaux-sipping extreme close-up techniques in last year’s ‘Substance’ bypassed perspective and boosted Dramamine sales. The majorest upcoming video may be Lakai’s ‘Flare,’ though with only four names remaining from the decade-ago (!) ‘Fully Flared’ lineup after former pro-model flarees succumbed to the gravitational pull of Nike, Adidas and old age, and much riding on emergent hot shoes such as Tyler Pacheco, Simon Banerot and Cody Chapman, it seems as much a reboot as anything — though the droney zooms and slick panning activity characterizing recently departed flare pilot Daniel Espinoza’s Royal Trucks part, assumed repurposed from his Lakai footage, looks very much prettier/sweeter versus any type of filmographic departures in the Federico Vitetta era.

After witnessing the coming-togetherness spurred by Brian Anderson’s coming out, Dylan Rieder’s death and earlier, John Cardiel’s ‘Epicly Laterd,’ are skating’s shared cultural events leaning less on videos and contests and more on personal narratives like SOTY? Can ‘Sabotage5’ transcend the tragedy of Love Park’s demise or only leave lingering questions as to what the fuck Philadelphia was thinking, and how did the resurrecting Alien Workshop not get behind a group of dudes so heavily infatuated with one of the Sovereign Sect’s most enduring heydays? Will Palace ever get around to doing a ‘proper’ video or are their mixtape-style releases like last year’s ‘V Nice’ so good they needn’t bother? Is Birdhouse gonna take another run at video history with Jason Hernandez behind the lens? Will Danny Way’s now 2-year-overdue video part ever drop or will Bob Burnquist come with another project that pushes it back again? Hasn’t it kind of been a long time since Krooked made a video?

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Any Major Dude With Half A Heart Surely Will Tell You My Friend

August 5, 2013

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On the last tour we went to a school at night but the fence was way too high to get the lights and generator over it. Even after we explained this to Nick he jumped the fence and went in and skated for an hour by himself while we all waited in the van. when he came back we asked him, “Why were you in there so long? We can just come back tomorrow during the day,” to which he replied, “Why? How is it going to be any easier to get the generator over the fence in the day?” I tried to explain to him why we wouldn’t need the generator when the sun was out, but he looked at me like I was speaking Chinese.
-Slap messageboard member and Foundation TM Mike Sinclair on the exploits of independent contractor Nick Merlino, from the current Tum Yeto-flavored Thrasher.

Dispatch From Tod Swank’s Island Of Misfit Toys

November 9, 2011

The realm of the seven-ply maple stick these days is definitely not too real to resist the redemption formula, if ever it was — there’s a “Behind the Music” ring to certain of the “Later’d” series and the heavy 90s nostalgia trip ensures at least one more visit to the trough if you’re any kind of a name, let alone a Mariano or a Muska or a Penny (who I think may actually have attempted to mount his second career revival in the Play-Dough powered “Xtremely Sorry”). Earlier this year TWS tried to sell 16-year-old Nyjah Huston as a comeback story, for crying out loud.

It’s all good if substance and fame took you out for a while but what if your vice was youth, or alleged asshole leanings, or both? Outfits like Cliche and Almost and Santa Cruz have garnered deck sales by scooping up other teams’ supposed dead wood but few have done it like Foundation. In the volatile van ride-making trio of Corey Duffel, Sierra Fellers and Nick Merlino Foundation may have cornered the market in relatively high-profile (if early career) flame-outs from other teams, and these dudes load up the back half of last week’s new video offering from the magic F — distilled for the internet age into a “Brainwash” sort of minimal presentation complete with a keystroke-saving acronym title.

It’s weird to think of Corey Duffel as any kind of elder statesman, of anything, but for Foundation it seems like he now counts. The aging mall-punk employs his boardslides, 50-50s and big jumps with the help of some extra flannel and facial hair, and Sierra Fellers seems kind of on auto pilot a lot of the time, manufacturing flips-heavy ledge lines in a shortened part. He does put out one of the more retarded tricks of the whole video, a kickflip backside lipslide shove-it on one of those California grade-school rails previously leased out by Mikey Taylor.

But this vid is Nick Merlino’s big moment to justify himself and his large-seeming beanies of varying colour, and he goes hatchet-man, opening up a firehose of stacked footage and exercising some degree of restraint since I saw only one of his famed switch backside 360s included. Drama rears up at various points, like when the camera pulls back on the big switch ollie and when the friends race down the hill to shout him out after the kickflip closer, but for this peanut gallery member’s nonexistent price of admission Merlino’s best stuff came in lesser-seen handrail tricks like the nollie backside tailslide, kickflip backside noseblunt and its cousin the kickflip frontside noseslide, which flashed me back to Justin Roy’s brief tenure on the F.

The best parts in “What The Fuck!” though wind up coming from the dudes with probably the least to prove, namely kink chomper Dakota Servold, extra push-taker Ryan Spencer and tall drink of water Taylor Smith who is for sure going some places with those slick backside tailslides and his undercover mall spot. Ryan Spencer’s got a whole menu of tricks over the backs of rails and a pretty muscular bluntslide through a kinked hubba, plus a genuine internet-going-nuts taildrop move. Handsomest trick of the movie earned by Marquis Preston for the tailslide 360.

We’ll Make It Better, the Second Time Around

August 20, 2009

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Where were you on this one, Eli Reed

Unless Gator, Ryan Sheckler, JR Blastoff, Chad Fernandez, Kurtis Colamonico, Adam McNatt, Shaun White, Tyrone Olson, Josh Kasper, Greg Lutzka, Andy Mac and Mike Vallely all climbed into an ocean liner that plowed over some baby whales then smashed into an iceberg, caught fire and was devoured by the horrible kraken, then Nick Merlino is not the most hated dude in skateboarding. Although it is kind of a clever marketing campaign for Foundation, the company that blinked first and this week signed up New Jersey’s favorite switch spinnin’ Baker reject. Foundation and Nick Merlino: Making skateboarding annoying again? Make it work, people…

It’s an interesting tack for Foundation though. Comeback stories are nothing new over the past few years, but really it’s only if you’re an old dude that people liked in the first place*. Flaring out at the beginning of your career is way tougher to rebound from, even in a world as steeped in nostalgia as the skate-sphere. This is the hard road faced by young Justin Case and also those millions of American Idol contestants who will one day show those nasty judges once and for all that they are true superstars. Like, are people still checking for Billy Waldman?

Of course Nick Merlino’s issues were more political in nature. For those of you not caught up on your messageboard drama, a few years back his gap/rail prowess earned him flow positioning for Baker and Krew companies along with a ticket to Australia, where depending on whom you ask, he flagrantly one-upped Bryan Herman, got in a fistfight with Braydon Szafranski, infested the country with bullfrogs and got along quite nicely with Antwuan Dixon, thank you. Whatever the case he returned to the U.S. in despair, promptly injured himself, dealt some cards in Atlantic City and honed his self-deprecation skills.

Ponder, if you will – was his crime being a too-talented young idiot? And how else does one learn not to be?
What the Fuck is your problem?
A.D.D. is my biggest problem. I just can’t wait to land my shit, I’m too goddamn impatient and I want to get it over with.

Anyway. Adding Merlino, whose time away found him switch heelflipping big shit and not winning many more friends, puts Foundation in this interesting spot where they’re giving dudes second chances and letting them sort of correct earlier missteps. Whether or not Corey “NAACP” Duffel is a changed man is a judgment that this blog will hand off to the big messageboard in the sky, but after Foundation got behind him, people/the industry haven’t exactly ignored him. Also consider Mike Ruscyzk and Matt Allen: Tod Swank has been down to stick with dudes other companies definitely would’ve bounced long before they stepped off the world’s biggest skateboard.

Between Baker and Bummer High, Foundation’s ranks have grown kind of thin lately, but the pro refuse pile may still hold some gems if they want to keep going down this road. It’s been a while since the F had a tech dude, and Brian Wenning is still a free agent, right? Bastien Salabanzi could probably be extracted from his Jart deal, or what about Anthony Mosely, is he still doing those one-man demo camps? Perhaps Danny Gonzales could un-retire one more time… for the bros.

*Here again we reference the McGill pic