Posts Tagged ‘Nike’

Si Se Puede

June 21, 2015

wild_streets

“Because We Can” is the tagline for the Emerica-Lakai joint venture summer demo tour, ostensibly nodding to rootsy trappings of a bros-before-focused-branding jaunt that recalls Crailtap’s past roadtrip tie-ups with the Firm and Anti Hero, and perhaps also the idea that Stayed Flarees aren’t contractually bound to bulge bracket contest stops, or fettered by corporate interests broiling with jealousy and alleged to have previously boxed out events planned by rivals.

Might this thundersome tour, boasting the caliber of lineup to collectively bless parks and spots alike perhaps once per decade, also be called ‘Because We Should’? It makes certain business senses for skater owned/directed shoe companies to band together as Nike has rolled out heavy artillery on multiple fronts between SB and the revival of its Converse skate program, while K-Swiss hoovers up Supra and New Balance tries its hand at ‘Pretty Sweet’ intro cinematography and attempts to one-up Plan B in the video-supervision after-black hammer that is securing PJ Ladd footage.

Assuming any relevant private equity fund analysts are safely off parking the vans, there probably exist few more-direct methods to illuminate any ‘skater-owned’ halo than to situate various owners, founders and shot-callers atop a pic-a-nic table in a sweaty Milwaukee warehouse, or nose manualing across pads in Pittsburgh. Whereas an demo featuring Mike Parker or Herbert Hainer might draw its own standing-room gaggle of vexed shareowners, slack-jawed blog proprietours and other would-be looky-lous, any effect on unit volume likely would present as incremental and potentially surprise to the downside, after all due rep points awarded for trying.

Pressing flesh among the seven-ply’s huddled masses though remains a worthy public service in an incarnation similar to the interstate highway system and other feats of two-way public infrastructuring. Impressions seared into yung psyches run deep enough that Andrew Reynolds, who’s got to be as hardened as anybody after two decades grinding through the industry, still turns slightly giddy recollecting the time and place he first saw Mike Carroll skate, at a demo. Whereas some kickflipping kid out there this summer will in a couple decades relate seeing Andrew Reynolds and Mike Carroll staying flared as he or she speaks on the formative transpirings that set him or her on the jittery path toward running his or her own skate concern, there would seem also some current temperature-taking value for today’s company runners to be gleaned from a month or two rolling amongst chronically undercompensated shop managers and the broader goods-buying populace.

Instagram and Facebook are gently ballyhooed as grand equalizers that place access to each tween’s favorite professional a mere few keystrokes away, but any digital fuzzies warmed by the internet’s flat culture inevitably contend with personal-branding business machinations that would program bots to holler back at random followers, or transform subscriber figures into bargaining chits for contract maneuverings. From certain angles far up in the nosebleed seats the gulf between the industry’s top talents and the larger boardbuying populace seems in some ways wider — wristband warrior and NBDDer Chris Cole in a recent interview speaks angrily of pro-athlete pressures and his impatience with weekend warrior types who don’t get it:

Actually, I’m gonna go on a tirade right now: When the “core” dudes try to clown, and I’m sure you’ve fucking heard it – it’s a defense mechanism – they say stuff like, “It’s just skateboarding, man.” Implying that you’re taking it too seriously.

A. You’re telling me what skateboarding is? Get the fuck out of my face. And B., Street League is a contest with a lot of money on the line and this is actually what I do for a living. This is my job. I love the hell out of skating; I love it more than anyone. But it’s not “Just skating, maaaaan.”That’s throwing what I love and what I’ve dedicated my life to, into some hobby that you kind of fuck around with. They love to throw that one around.

Chris Cole, who knows his way around a demo as good as anybody, elsewhere rehashes yet again his awkward early years of professional development, as well as hearing firsthand critiques of his chosen outfits and conduct from prior detractors in the course of compiling talking head footage for some forthcoming documentary. It’s unclear whether any who bore ill will toward snowplow nosegrinds or flapping yellow t-shirts ever took a demo appearance as an opportunity to directly air concerns with a younger Chris Cole, or if a few weeks traversing American byways and mingling with shop employees and early-morning sessioners logging park time prior to diaper-changing duties or weekend overtime might sand edges off Chris Cole’s stance on the diverse and potentially spicy views on skating harboured by aging hobbyist/purists.

Whether deep and heady assessments of skating’s true nature can or should be chopped up between pros and average joes at local skatepark facilities or tour clip-worthy spots along the way remains a question for us all to chew over as we toddle toward our mysterious graves, but it is skating’s uniquely democratic nature that allows it even to be possible. You don’t see major league baseball teams materializing unannounced for pickup games at neighborhood sandlots; the recognized and registered sucker-free boss ballers of figure skating or tennis aren’t in the practice of swelling about local rinks and courts*, twirling axels and swatting balls alongside the fanning hoards, and potentially talking sponsor-jumps or fearsome performances.

In what other pursuit can you be hobby-horsing it upon a weekend and look up to see the world’s accepted best wandering in to join, or augment onlooker activities by also serving as a human safety net for sweaty professionals breaking themselves off at your local park? Should a board-and-shoe consuming Joe Kickflip’s views on skating, seriousness and Street Leagues carry the same weight as professional contract players with long years in these trenches? Are pitchers’ mound rushers and stands-charging small forwards similarly chided that it’s ‘just a game’? Does man remain ‘the most dangerous game’ or has this title been usurped by quadruped robots and armed drones?

*Courts of law don’t count

1. Bobby Worrest – ‘Hometown Turf Killer’

December 31, 2014


Are ‘au natural’ street plazas going the way of the proverbial buffalo as city councils approve expensively designed, corporate-sponsored alternatives to be tucked safely away from the gentle arts of commerce and civic life? Was Bobby Worrest, by soaking his first and best of three 2014 video parts exclusively in DC’s notoriously hard-to-skate Pulaski plaza, making a point to us all about using every part of such diminishing urban resources, from its highly regarded dish to the bitty handrails? Was he really high-tailing it from the cops at 00:25? Such questions are unanswerable at best and at worst open up the possibility of galactic damnation, which would make it incrementally more difficult to draw continued pleasure from the way Bobby Worrest threads his way through the spot, sometimes seeming to chart his route on the fly (like the line with the frontside 180 nosegrind revert), getting chummy with ledges and with no wack tricks. His lines in this part are varied and deep with hard tricks (switch frontside bluntslide, switch kickflip backside tailslide, switch kickflip frontside noseslide, etc etc), sparing little notice for traffic of the human or auto persuasion. Whether it was the U.S. government shutdown, Zero’s molar-rattling ‘Cold War’ vid, salvation via Nike from the dregs of shoe sponsorlessness or just ‘his people’ (as pictured following the final switch flip), something kindled a fire beneath Bobby Worrest’s sneakers this past year, and the adoring populace can only hope it continues to bubble, blister and blacken his foot-flesh well into 2015.

10. Luan Oliveira – ‘Strike and Destroy’

December 22, 2014


Around, good lord, thirteen years ago some magazine succinctly summed up the primal appeal of PJ Ladd’s genre-shifting ‘Wonderful, Horrible Life’ video part as “a kid skating down the street, flipping his board;” that is basically what occurs in Luan Oliveira’s Thrasher section out earlier this year, except down some crumbly Brazilian hills and in between the odd pedestrian. After getting a good deal of spazzy tech out of his system in Flip’s claymation movie ‘Xtremely Sorry’ Luan Oliveira has migrated into a Brandon Westgate mode in recent years, and with not a lot to most of the spots in this part the focus winds up being heavily on the tricks, which are fast and textbook-sharp without being lifeless — there is a mean switch frontside heelflip here, which Luan Oliveira has had around for a while, a monstrous hardflip, et cetera. For whatever reason the soundtrack to this one doesn’t grate as much as it probably should.

Where Are All the Vanity Board Team Owners?

September 30, 2014

scrooge_mcduck

Loudly, the “Lego Movie” demonstrated how this earthy life is built upon deception and a series of injurious failures, with the slim chance of revolutionizing society or overthrowing a malevolent dictator baked in to stave off utter hopelessness. So it may also be in the boardgoods galaxy, where increasingly it would seem that proprietorship of a deck company is tantamount to some sort of Sisyphean trek in holey vulc-soles, or several pelvic fractures, or maybe just an unfulfilling relationship.

Alien Workshop owners Chris Carter and Mike Hill’s grab for the brass life-ring of corporate ownership devolved into a game of M&A hot potato that may have soured them on the business for life, Jake Johnson said in an interview the other day: “I don’t think these guys wanna do it anymore. I think that they’re pretty pissed off.” Smoothie king Andrew Reynolds, in a separate interview, described running Baker and its affiliates more like a labor of love: “I own some skateboard companies and there’s not that much money in it. I see the truth.” Pontus Alv, owner/operator of by all accounts one of the more successful board companies at the moment, sounds fatigued as he oscillates between evaluating Chinese factories and trying to hold down a pro career: “It’s a shit load of work plus trying to be a team manager, going on a tour, promoting the brand, trying to skate…. I try to work with other people but a lot of times I just end up doing it myself because I can and they don’t have the same vision as me.”

Boards have yet to devolve into unfashionable utilities. The hierarchy of professional image and personal branding dictates that deck sponsors provide meaningful direction that appears to matter to the moneyed international footwear conglomerates that riders require to pay various mortgages and car notes and things. Nike, Jamie Thomas says, helped shepherd Trevor Colden from Mystery to the swish-heavy pastures of Skate Mental, and conspiracy theory-minded observers will note that EU comer-upper Karsten Kleppan did a similar two-step from Lakai and Element in recent months.

So are board company owners doing it wrong? The argument has been made that owning professional sports teams should not be a profit-seeking venture, but rather a long-term luxury investment similar to a yacht or bankrolling a Ron Artest CD. Rather than paper dollar bill wads, rewards arrive in the form of grand intangibles and assorted life hammers such as the prestige that comes with fielding a championship team or sweatily mounting a Grammys stage to collect hard-won trophies for hit Ron Artest singles. Sports team owners enjoy earthly delights like fostering relevant cultural memes, cheering as your employees innovate new ways to involve animals in celebrations, and build in the lab with the Pandas’ Friend formerly known as Metta World Peace from time to time.

Former World Industries Chief Financial Officer Scott Drouillard, in a recent interview with Jenkem, described blindly speculating on Florida swampland as preferable to working for a skateboard company, and the rationale for selling out over a decade ago:

All of us had invested all of our wealth in this company, and there were three big factors. One, the overall economy and stock market was at a historic high, going off the scale. Two was our industry… Our industry was blowing up! And knowing it goes in cycles, about 10 year cycles, we knew we were really at the explosive peak of it. Lastly, is how we were managing the company. We were hitting home runs like 3 out of 4 times, and you can’t be expected to continue hitting home runs like that forever.

Viewed through such a lens, does this portray decades-deep boardsportsmen such as Tod Swank, Ed Templeton, Mike Carroll and Rick Howard as grinning sadomasochists? Does Steve Rocco, reclining on some Malibu beach, kick himself for not finagling a stake in the Big Brother-spawned Jackass franchise? Would there be more rap careers if board companies were backed by deep-pocketed benefactors? Would there be worse ones? Are Pat Pasquale and Nick Trapasso employing some Billy Beane-esque algorithm in building the Life Extention team, or only their video soundtracks?

We Fly These Asphalt Yachts On City Streets, Pain In Our Souls, We’re Eating

April 28, 2014

happy_jeezy

“Recession over!” arose the jubilant cry across American streets and by-ways these past days, as consumers cheered on trucks, trains and cargo ships plumped with exportable goods, steady gains in housing values and now, the most recent leading indicator: yung Trevor Colden, wearer of the beanie and holder of the 2011 Tampa Am belt, discussed emptying his savings account, to the tune of $15,000, for the pleasure of leaving Mystery ASAP for the presumably greener* pastures of Brad Staba’s Skate Mental imprint.

Trevor Colden offered his account of the career-minded balling in a Thrasher website interview shortly after a similarly themed Instagram posting set off questions about his spendthrift approach to contract management.

The graphic that people are probably talking about the most was the one with the check. What was that all about?
That check is the check I had to pay to buy my way out of my contract with Mystery.

So you had a contract and wanted to get out early to switch to Skate Mental?
Yeah, I tried to call Jamie a couple of times and he didn’t answer. I talked to Bobier and he knew the situation and they were going to find a way to solve it. Long story short, there was no way he was going to let me out of the contract, no matter what. He was asking people for a lot of money and they weren’t going to give it to him so I went ahead and said, “Fuck, he’s not going to let me out of my contract, I’ve got $15,000 in the bank.” He was asking for double that. So I called him and told him, “Hey, I know you’re really mad at me right now. I just really want to make some changes. I can offer you $15,000. That’s all I have. I’ll come down there tomorrow and give you a check.” He said, “Yes, I graciously accept your offer. I’ll have Bobier meet up with you.” Then I started thinking, “Fuck, that’s a lot of money! Taxes are right around the corner! Shit!” So I called him back and offered him $10,000. That was still more money than he owed me in my contract. I was hoping he’d go for it. But nope, he wasn’t down. So I went down there the next day and gave Bobier the check.

Computer bash files worldwide can testify to the numerous keystrokes and characters deployed on either side of this heated matter in the days since, though Jamie Thomas’ side remains untold. Was Trevor Colden, into whom Black Box/Mystery presumably had invested valuable U.S. dollars, time and transport fuel over the course of his amateur rise, now looking to play fast and loose with legal terms to which he had agreed in the not so distant past? Did Jamie Thomas, who recently touched on the hardgood industry’s struggles in his own Thrasher interview, play needless corporate hardball with a youngster who apparently really really didn’t want to represent Mystery any longer? Is Skate Mental, which one might reasonably assume would pick up part of the tab for this kind of personnel wheeling and/or dealing, grinning through Doritos-yellowed teeth at all this? Absent details on guarantees, prepaid incentives and otherwise, does the math described above make sense?

Such questions invariably amount to little more than smoke and mirrors obstructing the real debate here, which as ever must harken back to that one other time period when America was emerging from a recession and war in the Middle East, Nas was preparing to release an album called “Illmatic” and a person with the last name of Hawk was performing pressure flips: the early 1990s. In the matter of Trevor Colden and his $15,000 check, is the true question not “who was more Rocco?”

Steve Rocco’s daring feats of team-raiding, fueled in turns by rampant money-throwing and sheer gusto, remain the stuff of slurred legend and at times serious documentary filmmaking. Gazing out upon the Pacific from his opulent trailer home, the gold fronts of Steve Rocco’s inner Bryan “Baby” Williams no doubt would have cracked a smile at the thought of a kid nonchalantly cutting a check to take his destiny into his own hands, and then plastering it across the bottom of one of his debut pro models (even if Trevor Colden’s dealmaking remains decidedly amateur-level). Or, Ipad in hand, might Steve Rocco have half-smiled and nodded in the general vicinity of San Diego, recognizing the real in a company holding a itchy-footed teamrider to terms that both had agreed, while sending a signal regarding expectations to other riders future and present, and providing a roadmap to other company owners contemplating their own next moves when top-drawer talent, if Trevor Colden should so be called, abruptly announces its intention to fly the company coop?

How much, if any, of the previously-quoted dollar figure represented Trevor Colden’s footage for his Skate Mental debut part? Are the excellent frontside noseslide, backside smith grind backside 180 and switch backside tailslide line offset entirely by an ill-conceived choice involving skinny camos and colourful socks? Would pro-level negotiator Rob Dyrdek have counseled Trevor Colden to instead ride out his contract til the end, to avoid burning bridges and potentially to help stoke a broader bidding war for his frontside k-grinds? Relatedly, is Alien Workshop thousands of dollars richer in hamburgers and hair grease now that John Fitzgerald and Donovon Piscopo are off the team, as suggested by the AWS website?

*Correct, a weed leaf joke

2. Ishod Wair – ‘Wair N Tear’

December 30, 2013


Future pros who master the art of juggling corporate sponsorship video productions and VX-flavored bro-cam affairs, bankable via messageboard-approved Bitcoin dividends, will look back on early masters of the great balancing act such as newly anointed SOTY Ishod Wair, who initiated his 12-month pillage of US spots late last year in the legendary ‘Sabotage 3’ and wound it down with another NKE-underwritten one-two Thrashermagazine.com combination that proved effective in snaring the industry’s most-prestigious award for the second time in three years, after Grant Taylor similarly ran the servers in December 2011. Depending on how you count them Ishod Wair turned out four video parts this year, but this one for Fourstar earns the highest across-the-board score as far as the after-black hammer material he’s capable of, the lengthy lines and the much-beloved ‘Photosynthesis’ production, from the cameras to the Love ledges. Some of Ishod Wair’s tricks have this ethereal, floaty quality, like the full 360 out of the backside tailslide and the drift on the heelflip over the rail toward the beginning, but then he’ll set down something like that nollie backside kickflip around 2:29 that is solid enough to seal international peace accords. Ishod Wair in 2013 is a dude at the height of his powers but still putting in work — witness his fountain combat for the switch frontside bigspin here if you haven’t seen it.

9. Donovon Piscopo – ‘SB Chronicles Vol. 2’

December 22, 2013

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Jason Hernandez is one of those rare filmers whose steady hand has the power to make good skating look better, versus the other way around like a lot of dudes, and Donovon Piscopo’s greasefired debut via the Nike vid is a good example, keeping the Dill/AVE progeny careening safely in-frame as he tornadoes over a handrail, hurls himself around a curvy bar, carves curbs and generally chews scenery all over the place. I didn’t have much of a position on Donovon Piscopo’s slicked hair and general T&C Surf Designs approach prior to his proper arrival here, but the way he glides that shove-it along the ditch and his feet clamp the board onto the garage door on that wallride sold me, with a TNT-approved property/casualty ender thrown in. Not sure I need to see another frontside bluntslide impossible out, but I didn’t hate it.

Eric Koston, Exploring The Potential For Hammers In Personal Wardrobing, May Suddenly Have Del Boca Vista On Smash

December 11, 2012

hawaiianshirts

At Boil the ocean custom sceptre repair and old-tyme blogginghaus we make few pretenses to the effect that our ultimate loyalties lie elsewise than with the 1990s torch-bearing set, and it is against these currents that we swim when trying to weigh the personal bearing and heaviness of the newer faces on Girl/Chocolate, as juxtaposed in particular across “Pretty Sweet.” The task grows no easier when you have Eric Koston, a five-star general in the game who wears a jersey that says Champion and eats a bowl of Wheaties every morning, pushing around dressed like he’s got his mind set on the shuffleboard court and the early-bird special.

Initially “Pretty Sweet” finds him dressed for the PGA tour, schralping a California ditch in a soberly striped shirt and well-appointed swoosh hat, but before long he’s going for that high-risk 360 flip to switch manual off the drop where he can be seen breaking out the neon crayola crayon tees and, importantly, the camo. You may not guess it coming from a dude of his stature, but I am beginning to suspect that Eric Koston does not have a firm grasp on the efficient use of camo. Case in point being the run down the brick banks where Koston, possibly in a fit of wild abandon, chooses to combine a striped soccer jersey with some camouflage army fatigues, breaking several international accords against pairing stripes with camos. Later he indulges in some cut-off blue jean shorts while going all Jake Johnson down an APAC staircase.

More recently, Koston has been noticed swanning about certain European properties in a floral print hat, basketball jerseys and faux leopard skin, like some headphone-endorsing, crash helmet-wearing Tony Manfre.

While curiously diverse the point is not to catalogue the various and sundry fashion combinations that Eric Koston chooses to pursue, bizarre though some may be, but rather to speculate irresponsibly as to what these may reveal about his current mental state. One can imagine Koston, more than two decades into the video deadline grind and flush at last with Nike fuck-you money, grumpily rejecting any claims on tightly choreographed shirt/pant ensembles and thrusting his fingers deeper and deeper into whatever bottomless and mouldering duffel bag he has in tow on the current filming tour, cobbling together increasingly outlandish getups and upbraiding any youngster that hazards a question or sideways glance. You can begin to picture him treating a particularly day-glo hue of pants, better left undiscovered in some discount bin long since abandoned by a merciful god, as a personal challenge not to be left unaccepted and preferably matched with a pair of banana yellow sneakers, a cantankerous sneer perched on his lip and maybe a bingo card stuffed into his back pocket.

Will Eric Koston’s embrace of ultra-technical, two-sided curb tricks reach a peak concurrent to his recent exploration of colorful and multi-disciplined outfits, potentially involving a sombrero? Has Koston finally gone “too far”? Is this all a natural (though somewhat delayed) reaction to the white tee/blue jean uniform of 1995?

Cup Fulla Beetlejuice

February 28, 2012

It seems like it’s been a little while since we seen one of those curveball tricks that gave Stefan Janoski another couple dimensions past just being a style-killer type during his lengthy come up from “Alone” onwards — since “Nothing But The Truth” you sometimes got the feeling he was operating under some legal obligation to represent the premium coffee swirling, fine food tasting, mahogany wood sniffing lifestyle represented by his premium boat shoes. But the above trick, which comes out of the recent Habitat catalogue and is the first time I can think of seeing this move on a hubba ledge, moves back toward the line of thinking that produced big switch b/s shifties and those backside tailslides on top of the curb, Scott Johnston style. Anybody else take this down a hubba to fakie like that?

2. Grant Taylor – Thrasher SOTY Part

December 29, 2011

A lot of people did harder tricks and pocketed more soda-pop contest money in 2011 than did Atlanta hatee Grant Taylor but as a Skater of the Year he covers all the critical bases… fast-moving and fearless with little regard for private property and embodying the speed/simple/all-terrain concept that drove a lot of peoples’ skating this year. It seemed like Grant Taylor was doing his floaty frontside ollies, swilling domestic beers and bleeding all over the place in 2011 and the chips all got cashed in with two video parts at the end of the year, but I wound up watching the Thrasher-exclusive one a little bit more partly because of the seven frontside 5-0s, partly because the street edge seemed a little sharper, partly just because of the line at that one humpy spot in China that says up a lot about this dude all by itself. Then the windowsill 5-0 and the boardslide through the curvy handrails with a gap, this dude goes full tilt.