Posts Tagged ‘Nike SB’

Summertime Mixtape Vol. 5 – Dustin Dollin and Lewis Marnell ‘Chichagof’

June 20, 2017

Beyond your typical personal chemistry and blood oaths, one key to great skate duos of any era is a certain peanut butter-meets-chocolate stylistic matchup. It was true for Jason Dill and AVE, for Louie Barletta and Jerry Hsu, for Mike Carroll and Rick Howard, and it was true for Dustin Dollin as he introduced his preternaturally gifted ‘filmer’ in Volcom’s 2004 pronunciation challenge to tongue-tied shop employees worldwide. Dustin Dollin by this point had established himself as one of the highest-functioning soaks among the Baker squad, solidified via Transworld’s ‘Sight Unseen’ and ‘Baker2G’. By this point his rapid flick, penchant for hairy crooked grinds, and frontside heelflip were known across the hills and dales, but Dustin Dollin’s tricks had a little different flavor when sandwiched around those of relative newcomer Lewis Marnell, who was toward the beginning of his too-short run. The Dunks still were fresh and the hair had yet to dread but other pivotal pieces in the Lewis Marnell repertoire — the heelflip, 360 flips both ways, the switch varial heelflip — already were fully formed.

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This Week in Skate Tech, In Which We Reference the Legendary Manticore and Also Bridgebolts

March 5, 2016

genetic-shoes-lasek

In neon-toned and bumbling eras past, technology’s reputation was to be bemusedly regarded and toyed with, or ultimately cast aside. Powell Nose Bones, Rip Grip, lappers and Bridgebolts vied for premium positioning within griptape-scarred glass cases, promising attractive profit margins and incremental on-board advantages. As these were briefly coveted, idly worshiped and soon cast aside, skaters remained in thrall to the Old Ways, gleaning yearly glimpses at the future handed down by Thrasher’s pagan oracle Mephisto, engaging in various griptape superstitions and praying to volcanoes.

What changed? Like most facets of modern skateboarding it can be traced to the 1990s, when cheap electronics baptized a new generation of videomakers, stuffed-tongue lucre-funded and Flash-laden websites for DC Shoe Co USA, and a Storm surge of yellow t-shirts ultimately birthed the Osiris G-bag (whose influence has vibrated across the decades). As a generation of ramped slo-mo induced motion sickness sufferers can attest, it soon became impossible to avoid wallowing in digitized video parts, lovingly retouched photos and ender-level tricks captured within cassette tape-sized telephones and beamed within seconds to tens of thousands of screens worldwide, enabling near-instantaneous commentary on pants size.

Now, a bold and bristly vanguard of new products stands intent upon elbowing its way to the front of the technological queue, competing against steadily rising sneaker prices and highly designed special fitting t-shirts in the perennial combat for skaters’ discretionary spending:

Nike SB Eric Koston Hyperfeel 3: Eric Koston’s latest attempt to match the runaway success of his early Es shoes* manifests itself as a genetic hybrid of shoe and sock, doing one better the interior-sock playacting of shoes past such as the old DC AVE, and suggesting mystical powers similar to those enjoyed by fantastical mash-ups such the liger, pegasus, manticore and chimera. Superlatives aplenty adorn this garish creation, including the timeworn ‘game-changing’ and ‘disruptive,’ always an ominous sign. Only time will tell whether the sock component passes the oft-brutal smell test represented by the wafty smell that comes from days-unchanged socks, and whether this crossbreed proves itself a reliable steed such as the mule or a doomed hybrid like the aquatic car.

The Curb Stone: As the 1993 expose ‘Jurassic Park’ demonstrated, the laws of unintended consequences ride high in the saddle when man plays god, occasionally requiring lofty insurance payouts. So it is with the Curb Stone, an upgraded rub brick purpose-made for simultaneously smoothing and slicking ledges with a high-grade composite material conceived to dominate various concretes and cements. Useful for sure, but potentially unlocking a Pandora’s Box with its power to reshape the world around us. Holding the authority and gusto to create ledges, hubbas and wallride-friendly surfaces anywhere within reach, will this Stone inevitably result in pristine mountain ranges and national monuments such as Mt Rushmore refashioned to fit our purposes and rack up valuable ‘Likes’ on sociable computer networks?

Chocolate’s ‘Carabiner Cup’: Water quality and availability is widely predicted to be the cause of future wars and strife, and such trembly fears have unleashed investment dollars that would head such global conflicts off at the proverbial pass while also handily clipping to one’s belt loop. Chocolate, that supplier of graphical socks and party cup sets, has introduced a Carabiner Cup capable of resolving world water availability threats through a unique and burgundy coloured technology that makes seawater drinkable with the help of a gentle flame. The years ahead will reveal whether Chocolate’s powerful scientists stay on a helpful path for people or become twisted and grotesque beneath the crushing weight of their own intellect, musing about atom bombing rival planets on late-nite TV.

*Such as that “other” Koston 3

Who’s Got It For Cheap

September 14, 2013

NightmareOnCanalStreet

In the latest sign that we collectively have abandoned our humbler roots in favor of active sporting trophy cups and lucrative endorsement deals, one of the cardinal learnings of the 1990s seems to have faded from memory. Like so much L.A. confetti pushed before the broom of a blind disco custodian, skateboarders* seemingly have discarded their collective ambition to be like rap singers.

Perversely, more than a decade and a half since the grand fragmentation of street-skating into various splintered genres and jeans fittings, it is the black-denimed and tattooed long-hairs who seem closest to maintaining a form of business mind-meld with the likes of Gorilla Zoe and Charles Hamilton. As the internet buccaneers set sail and pillaged the profitability of compact discs and DVDs alike, urban musicians, many confident in their ability to subsidize any lost musical revenue with the street kind, largely abandoned the blockbuster commercial release ritual in favor of flooding the zone with a steady stream of sometimes tossed-off but generally more interesting and immediate free releases, oriented around building and maintaining a support base rather than trying to squeeze a shrinking number of dollars from an antiquated medium, which requires cutting in any number of increasingly irrelevant corporate interests to boot.

One-off web-centric video parts aside you maybe could draw a thin and blurry line between the decades-old concerns that still insist on a multi-year production process with the requisite release-date pushbacks, monthly ad campaigns and internal deadline turmoil that seem attendant upon such projects, versus the Magentas, Palaces and perhaps Adidases whose trip clips and internet parts skew more toward the mixtape format, without the gravity of a once-per-decade project pervading everything.

Jamie Thomas a few years ago, when Zero was like 20 dudes/dudettes deep, described a certain plan to release annually a video that would tot up whatever footage had amassed over that time period and push it out upon the salivating masses. It sounded logical, but “Cold War” seems to have wound up following the established build-and-release pattern, maybe due to Jamie Thomas’ famous adherence to rigid standards. But now comes Emerica with the first in their “Made” series, this one featuring about one-third of their team, in what’s alleged to be a succession of smaller videos that would appear to harken back to the medium’s optimal runtime of 20-30 minutes, as laid down under interplanetary law by wizened walruses able to communicate telepathically and also with crude grunting sounds.**

Must this be the way of the future for all as TV-stand real estate is ceded to Roku boxes and streaming services? Has Skate.ly already become the unofficial DatPiff.com to the industry, and Quartersnacks its Traps N Trunks? If Mark Suciu has laid claim to the Gucci analog, who is our Lil B? Which company, if any, has the balls to release the skate-video equivalent of the long-feared “all-skits rap album”?

*Or maybe just those that don’t run companies***
**Nike purported to be doing something similar, but with 50 dudes on their team and several years between each video, it winds up being sort of a half-measure.
***That are not DGK or Selfish

Walking On Broken Glass

June 24, 2009


Alternate corny post title: “Smash Hit”

Keeping Nike honest means awarding plaudits when they make the right moves, and firing out the fast, noisy, technicolor explosion that is “Debacle” amidst a summer of sweaty and bloated full-lengths qualifies as a win even if they hadn’t put it up in varying degrees of HD glory for free and speedy download. The powers that SB show they can learn too, deep-sixing the skits that mired “NBTT” (for the most part) and amazingly not playing out the car-skating thing… you’d kind of expect the predictable slow-mo one-trick intros centered on the autos.

Skating-wise Habitat’s transfer-happy Daryl Angel brings his brand of inoffensive modern skateboarding to spots in San Jose, Europe and, er, China, and wages his ongoing battle against the bland through two songs, but the little dude manages to turn up the heat around the time the half-cab feeble grind; the up-down Far East rail combo is a head-nodder, if a little predictable for someone to do at that spot, and he flexes gnar chops on the gap to pole jam and an AVE line reconstruction. Other shit like that f/s halfcab nosegrind and the kinked b/s smith point at potential but this dude’s footage needs an editor more than anything else. David Clark’s kind of a mixed bag; the sort of mellow, vibe-friendly tricks in which he traffics don’t stack up well next to the fireworks of a Nugget or Brock in most instances, but he’s not even getting over on style points here that much, though the hubba wallie is a heater. He might be on the Austin Stephens road.

Jolting between China, SoCal and points unknown, Shane Oneill and Theotis Beasley go blow-for-blow in one of the more effect tag-team/cameo combos recently, and for whatever reason the Nugget’s footage here went over better than his part for the novelty t-shirt purveyor Skate Mental… it could be the song, which probably is my favorite in a skate vid so far this year, or the Beasley backside double-flip, or maybe just the filming which is really on point throughout this whole production and helps the between-skating clips go down a lot easier.

Grant Taylor seems to be refocusing on which grabs look the coolest these days, moving away from his sophisticated take on 50-50 grinds in the Alien video, though he packs a cool block gap backside lipslide into his bud-green drug rug. A few months back I was kind of bummed that his “Mind Field” section didn’t have more transition skating but he roars through the bowls here, blasting this crazy transfer out of the whoop-de-whoops and puddle jumping with the bros before rekindling the dashed dreams of one Frankie Hill. The power beanie gets a lot of play with Justin Brock, who rumbles through spots like a rainbow-colored rockslide with a different array of tricks – bigspin grabs above the coping and a pretty impressive run through the pipes. Somebody more pool-inclined than I will have to determine whether a willy grind on backyard transition is legit, but if the sea-green stocking hat didn’t convince you Justin Brock’s going for it, that move oughtta help.

Really I think the hero of this vid has to be Jason Hernandez, who mixes Zero-style editing slices with some of the more interesting lifestyle clips (like David Clark in the window) to move “Debacle” along at precisely the right pace, clocking in under the critical 20-minute mark if you don’t count the credits. It’s a testament to restraint and judicious cutting, especially considering how a lot of filmers still seem held in thrall by the picture quality that HD camcorders afford. Now begins a new debate: is HD video destroying video grabs’ low-fi kitsch?

And Then We Came To The End!

June 11, 2009


Eric Koston scouts his last-minute trick for “Debacle.” Interesting fact: The truck, made of crepe paper, was designed by Swedish architect Johan Fredrik Ă…bom and cost $850,000.

Nike’s final, successful attempt to crack the shoe-chewing skateboard market is probably the story of our lil pasttime in the ’00 decade, even if it’s sort of a bass-ackwards version of what the rest of the industry has undergone. Skate shoe companies took center stage as the big-money game beyond boards and wheels, muddling through the thankless game of trying to maintain credibility with the dirty, scabbed kids that brung em to the dance, while signing pro wakeboarders and serving up juicy discounts to big-box retailers that will happily put your trucks on backwards as you shop for carabiners. Meanwhile, the suits at Nike were cherry-picking independent skate shops and aging East-coast pros that together would ride the wave of sneakerhead largesse and make it hard for even the die-hard purists to argue that Nike was the bloodthirsty corporate monster we’d all been led to believe.

It was an interesting story that died a boring death today, as Nike SB signed Eric Koston and can no longer be seen in any shape or form as an underdog in skateboarding. The Birdos were half-right in that Nike eventually decided to be Nike and throw its wallet around, buying up top talent as they see fit, flowing everybody in the industry who isn’t skating for another shoe company, reigning supreme over Tampa, flooding the mall shops with SB’s and pushing “Jocks Suck” 6.0s elsewhere. Meanwhile the current generation doesn’t remember a time when people didn’t skate Nike shoes, pre-fab skateparks are awash with swooshes, and the SB branch has more or less figured out how to act like a skateboard company as far as putting out videos, doing demos, getting tour articles into the magazines; eventually they can be expected to start blowing video deadlines I guess.

Getting Koston has seemed so much like the predestined move for Nike from the beginning that you wonder what’s next, except it appears Nike’s already provided the answer in the form of Sacto-birthed pro models for Stefan Janoski and Omar Salazar, both Vans knock-offs that make it pretty clear Nike’s given up on trying to be any kind of leader, the way they were when they came in with the Dunk a few years ago and helped the Es Accel usher in the wave of low-tech simple shoes. Beyond the staple Blazers and Dunks Nike SB is/was the one company making teched-out shoes that A. had serious space technology behind them and B. actually sold despite said low-tech shoe trend, so seeing their operation fall into line with the parade of Vans imitators (belatedly) communicates complacency at best, surrender at worst, or perhaps an Antarctic sabbatical with Marty Stouffer for the shoe design squad.

There have been and will be long and usually boring debates on Nike’s role in this big teddy bear picnic, but at this point the threads feel like they’ve been played out — Nike came on the scene and boosted some half-forgotten pros* like Danny Supa, Reese Forbes, Gino, etc.; they proceeded to make the expected power moves via P-Rod, Janoski, Salazar, and now Koston. For a few years there SB sales, restricted to actual real skateboard stores, translated to serious loot for the operators that they weren’t seeing selling other shoes, for various reasons; now you can order “CCS Exclusive” colors of Nike Dunks off the internet or get them at Zumiez. Nike takes good care of its people, pros to reps, and they do joint ventures with Blueprint and Slam City and the SPOT and Slap and Skate Mental; they should do all this stuff because they can and it keeps cranks like me from complaining too much.

But now that Nike’s at last acting like the 800-pound gorilla it is, it’s hard not to feel wary about what comes next. Best case scenario is they generallhy follow the rest of the shoe pack, make good videos and do right by the proper people. Or, perhaps they scoop up Ryan Sheckler, appoint him president of the 6.0 division, and sponsor nationwide skate camps hooked up to Rob Dyrdek’s proposed “skateboard league”… clearing the way for a generation of talent scouts and parent-managers hanging off the skatepark chain-link fence, calling the cops on the oldsters and scaring away all the precious weirdos that came up with the screaming hand and the idea to jump a skateboard on a handrail.

*By the other shoe companies, anyway