Posts Tagged ‘nosegrinds’

Heated Seats And Pants With No Pleats

October 17, 2015

judge_kiss

“There’s been an awakening. Have you felt it,” grumbled the dark lord Sauron in a recent and grumbly voiceover advertising the new Star Wars movie. “The dark side, and the light.” The vibrant world of wookies and hard-partying ewoks again has fallen into strife and discord, lousy with massing storm troopers and crashed spaceships. It represents an extension of what is perhaps the nation’s best-known workplace drama, in which the rigors of toiling under the Emperor’s exacting standards caused Darth Vader to crack and fail to recoup the Empire’s lofty investment in the initial Death Star, then resign his position before construction on the second could complete.

Darth Vader, like so many other career professionals laboring under layers of blubbery bureaucracy, encountered distressors* that occasionally drove him to lash out at colleagues and competitors, employing telekinesis and a lazery sword in equal measure, often illegally. As hinted by the Star Warrior-baiting Santa Cruz decks of yesteryear, Darth Vader’s broiling frustrations may mirror those gripping the skateboard sphere in these, the autumn days of 2015.

Like an incredulous Death Star space welder handed a snorkel, a flathead screwdriver and an unconvincing clap on the shoulder, stakes and requirements for workaday professional bros seem to ratchet ever higher while the constraints of a turbulent global economy seem intent on culling the industry herd. Once high-flying board affairs like Alien Workshop, Zero and Girl are undergoing painful evolutions, while rumors swirl around the future of Dekline shoes and Adio has taken to advertising former team riders in its bid for continued relevance. Signature-model toting professionals increasingly are expected to bear the responsibility of marketing themselves via crowd-courting internet pages, and we live in a time when not only is it unshocking to see a marginally-known amateur break off tricks like Gabriel Summers’ shiveringly gnarly nosegrind, it also is de regueur do it nominally for free. Olympic endorsement contracts would beckon skateboarding’s sobriety-compatible 1%, while remaining ne’er do wells contemplate crowdfunding raisers to sop up medical bills.

Are stress levels within skating’s grand talent pool rising to a Vader level in which colleagues get choked out at sit-down meetings? You hear these things, but it is hard to know for sure. There are signs and siguls, including but not limited to growth in powerviolence-sprinkled parts and graphics, or soundtracks bearing murderer music. Vignettes tucked into ‘Sabotage 4’ and the ‘Our Life’ video, two of the grittier and grottier outputs of recent weeks, feature fights with cops and passersby, recalling a previous industry crunch that manifested itself in part via board-to-drill combat.

Veins of latent but palpable anger burble beneath the overcast surface and betwixt combusting switchstance tricks in Gilbert Crockett’s ‘Salt Life’ video part for the redubbed Quasi, an outfit forged from the wreckage and occasional raw feelings of a highflying corporate adventure gone kaput. Quasi’s initial video look transposes some of the hi-contrast and sharp cuts of their graphical concepts, anchored in a somewhat deeper trench of Gilbert Crockett’s technical skating, including a crunchy switch backside smith grind and one of the more eye-popping switch shove-its in recent memory, and peppered with enraged grunts and a viciously celebratory board beating.

Has the quantity of cathartic, building-slapping wallrides and wallies risen in lockstep with the industry’s general level of fiscal insecurity? Will snapchatted pro boxing matches emerge as a multipronged answer to slackened incomes and late night instagram sniping? May all of it be symptomatic of a divide-and-conquer conspiracy among deep-pocketed sportswear and drink manufacturers? Does the environment grow ever riper for a Bo Turner comeback?

*versus happier eustressors trafficked among those hard-partying ewoks and jawas

Protection Money

March 7, 2015

wade

Somehow, as global intelligence and stylistic nets began tightening around the turn of the century, the 5-0 achieved a Keyser Söze-esque exit that eluded other tricks. Kickflips? Jim Greco was on the case in ‘Feedback,’ laying down a red line between ‘flick’ and ‘mob’ that left room for the Gonz but few others as Tom Penny’s shredded Accel toe caps ascended to deity status. Snowplow nosegrinds were sidelined after Anthony Pappalardo and Brian Wenning came through in ‘Photosynthesis,’ reserving any deck contact for an early pop out. Even a freshly celebrified Chad Muska couldn’t preserve the ‘illusion’ frontside flip from the Andrew Reynolds movement, and Bryan Herman did likewise for hardflips a few years later.

The 5-0 kept on skidding its tail into a fresh millennium though. “Mileage,” a naysayer may neigh. “How much better is a truck-balanced 5-0 going to look, anyway.” Well, how much ‘worse’ did a classically vertical hardflip in the Kareem Campbell mode look than the commoditized version available today in most city-sanctioned street plazas? The answer may confuse and arouse, but rarely satisfy.

Erstwhile French Canadian Wade Desarmo these days often occupies what could be construed as the ‘style’ wing of the DGK/Gold Wheels spectrum versus the increasingly convoluted flip-in and/or -out combinations forged in the J-Kwon smithy on recent weekends. It was sort of hard to tell through the compressed vision of the ‘Parental Advisory’ VX footage, but time seems to have worn away the past decade’s profuse denim and freely flapping basketball jerseys, leaving in place a journeyman hardflipper who nowadays mines a sensibly pantsed seam somewhere in that rational no-man’s land between stylistic spectrum endpoint-holders Dane Vaughn and Dustin Montie, with tricks increasingly resemblant of Mark Appleyard in his oversleeping SOTY heyday.

Is Wade Desarmo, whose appearances in last month’s ‘Gold Goons’ and last year’s ‘Blood Money’ quickly become highlights on repeated viewings, the case-maker for a balanced 5-0 grind? He hardflipped beautifully into one in ‘Parental Advisory,’ script-flipping of a sort versus a similarly balanced 5-0 that Marc Johnson varial heelflipped out of in ‘Modus Operandi.’ ‘Gold Goons’ is a worthy successor to ‘Got Gold’ in all of the necessary ways and the eponymous goons produce obvious highlights such as Rodrigo TX’s tailslide kickflip with the Keenan Milton mail in the back pocket, Tiagos Lemos’ massive switch backside tailslide on the stage and run through Carroll’s loading dock, Carlos Iqui’s hardflip b/s nosegrind revert and switch frontside 360.

Many of these tricks nevertheless would leave the 5-0 grind feeling safely skidding its tail through another decade, aside from a hardflip or varial heelflip between friends now and then — if it were not for again, Wade Desarmo, fresh off a switchstance Pupecki grind back to switch, still facing the ledge with one of the more ominous look-backs since Birdhouse flew Rick McCrank to a nighttime jam session at the San Dieguito handrail, perhaps signaling that the 5-0 grind may yet be revisited before completion of the looming presidential campaign.