Posts Tagged ‘Nyjah Huston’

Footage Chasms, The Ultimate Answer, And An Alternate Quartersnacks Ballot

October 26, 2019

In Douglas Adams’ cautionary coming-of-space-age ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ series, men at one point design, construct and program a computer powerful enough to deliver the answer to ‘life, the universe and everything.’ The momentousness of the answer upon its final calculation, ’42,’ is undermined by its numerical and rather tingly nature. Their next technological plate of crow was to design, construct and program a computer powerful enough to supply the actual question, though it is unclear whether this strategem saved the ultimate answer-seekers from being torn to bits by an angry mob.

Thug-motivated New York City scene chroniclers Quartersnacks this month asked an only slightly less weighty question: If you were to bury five video parts and five full-lengths released between January 1, 2010 and today under your house for future generations to reference when they discover skateboarding, what would they be? Loaders of the website subsequently were directed to enter the five best video parts, in order, followed by the best five full-lengths, in order.

Mind the gap, gentle reader, as you are swallowed into a gaping chasm of IG footage comps, Thrashermagazine.com web entries and full-length contributions from a constellation of pros, ams and assorted bros that sputtering economic gravity pumps cannot stop from expanding. The Snack Man requests favorites, and so these shall be received. But tweaking the first iteration of the question — burying only a handful of vids for future generations to unearth — exhumes an entirely different answer.

Would such a time-capsule document contain the subjective faves of its stuffer, including subtle but essential variations on Love Park ledge, backside noseblunts, prohibitions against varial kickflips and kids under 16? Or might it objectively map the body of 2010s skating, with all its gasface-inducing ender-enders, its thirsty moneyraking, its aching tragedy, its wonderful stylistic entropy? Which five video parts* could guide some 2050s hardflipper through this expiring decade’s ups, downs and wooly sideways moves? Is it possible to capture a whole decade in a five-part ‘mixtape’ or is this the type of ill-considered subintellectual exercise best left to archaic blogging platforms and their sludge-dripping ilk? Let’s read on.

Tiago Lemos — ‘Press Play,’ 2016

Did any individual person over these past ten years expand and warp the known boundaries of skateboard possibilities more than loose fitted bio-Brazilian Tiago Lemos? The answer is maybe, but they all could be stacked and concrete poured over them and still Tiago Lemos could switch backside tailslide the lot. His godlike pop only is one part of the picture, and in this clip for DC he dishes forth various handrail barges and pants-wrinkling technicalities like the nollie inward heelflip backside lipslide.

Nyjah Huston — ‘Til Death,’ 2018

This long-in-the-making union of Nyjah Huston, Nike and Ty Evans aligned the sector’s highest-powered and most bankable entities to create a relentlessly hyped part that was at once gobsmacking, expensive looking and oftentimes difficult to watch. Nyjah Huston has come to embody a certain kind of moneyed excess, both on and off the board, and as global wallets open and the hoopla machine winds up ahead of the 2020 Olympics, ‘Til Death’ was an apt warm-up act.

Blobys — ‘I Like It Here Inside My Mind, Please Don’t Wake Me This Time,’ 2016

Polar’s rise to prominence in the early ’10s marked the power shift away from the distributor-conglomerates like Crailtap, DNA and Black Box, raised up on THPS-driven largesse in the years before the skate economy’s bottom fell out, and Pontus Alv’s pulsing, frenetic full-length debut for his Nordic board designer cemented the new vanguard. The Polar dudes scattered their shove-its, wallrides and no-complies across Europe, New York and the Pacific Northwest, but if you were to bottle the aged grayscale stone, fast-and-loose street schralps and Continental accents that wielded influence across much of the decade’s second half, you would pour out something like the Paul Grund, Roman Gonzeles and Kevin Rodrigues JV that closed this vid — bashing walls and curbs, early grabbing and disastering through swinging chains and neon glare past midnight in the Paris cuts.

Lacey Baker — ‘My World’, 2017

Fragmentation of skateboarding’s controlling constellations over the past decade, aided by Instagram, canny corporations and the proliferation of screenprint brands, helped throw doors open to any number of comers, importantly including a fresh and focused female generation. Lacey Baker is pushing forward the front lines, dealing in a rapid-snapping brand of tech at home atop SoCal pic-a-nic tables and East Coast monument blocks alike, here flicking impeccably over a bench, there unfurling a noseslide nose manual to flip out combo to the delight of some young Ghostbuster.

Alien Workshop — TWS ‘Cinematographer Project,’ 2012

Josh Kalis was off the team for like three years and it still got him emotional! It goes without saying that the skating, music, lineup and aesthetic here in this, last part in Transworld’s second ‘Cinematographer’ outing, held up as the decade ran its course. Alien Workshop stood at its eleventh hour apex with Dylan Rieder wrapping one of his impossibles over a picnic table, AVE tackling the Heath Kirchart hubba backside, Tyler Bledsoe threading a backside tailslide across a tight top step, some screwball Omar Salazar stuff — and then Gilbert Crockett and Jake Johnson rising to the pro ranks, that switch kickflip, the nollie backside wallride with all four wheels, the switch front blunt. It’s hard to imagine one video part touching ten years’ worth of heights, tragedies, power shifts and stylistic milemarkers, but this one set up an awful lot of them.

*Naming five feature-length videos that capture the era is relatively easy. They are, in no particular order, all of the Bronze videos.

Trendwatch 2K19: Lawyering Up

January 26, 2019

Soda headband all the way on, Leticia Bufoni last week showed the rickety, seatbeltless and whiplash-providing rollercoaster that is the competitive contest skater’s emotional inner life on this, tha eve of the 2020 Summer Time Olympics. With a nearly half-full arena on its feet, Leticia Bufoni goes full Bastien on a serviceable lipslide, only to see it all torn away moments later by the fatal combo of Aori Nishimura’s rote boardslide and an opaque scoring algorithm. Such is the story of all our lives, only with less national pride and energy juice funds at stake, and perhaps bodily safety.

The Seaholmed setup says it all, speaking not only for Leticia Bufoni, but the team she represents. Beyond the Plan B FamilyTM, the path toward wallowing in Olympic gold and loudly blared sovereign anthems increasingly stands a group effort, paved in judicial tomes and buttressed by rich mahogany wall paneling, professionalized places where all-black Emerica shifters probably don’t cut the workwear mustard like they might in the computer science or customer service realms. It is within such hallowed halls that the would-be action sporting medalhoister must seek wisdom and succor for those tricks that require fine print decypherage, or specialist counsel for bloody scrapes of the legal kind.

Skateboarding always has been governed by unwritten rules; increasingly, it bows to written ones, trading no-compliance for steadier career pathways, societal thumbs-ups and, crucially, coin of the realm with which any number of foreign cars and uniquely shaped vape pens can be acquired*. Egged on by roller sports governing bureaucracies and gymnastics entrepreneurs, skateboarding has tooted the Olympics Warp Whistle, and now the miniature tornado approaches, promising transport to a new and wetly glistening land. Here awaits governance: the uniforms and sticker placement strictures are yet to come, but already Olympic aspirants such as Creature fiend Cory Juneau are running afoul of drug policies, with the support and encouragement of Mount Olympus clout-chasers such as Street League, and shouted from official rooftops by megaphone-bearers including World Skate President Sabatino Aracu and UK Anti-Doping educational and support executive Amanda Hudson:

“With skateboarding set to make its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020, it’s vital that athletes have a good educational grounding on all things ‘clean sport’ and their anti-doping responsibilities, ahead of the Games.”

In many ways these developments reflect simply an Elton Johnish mobius strip: More rules require more lawyers and administrators, whose salaries and billable hours require more funding via corporate sponsorships, requiring more big events, requiring more rules and administration, requiring more administrators and lawyers, requiring more sponsors and exclusive partners. This looping logic is reminiscent of many naturally occurring circles, including the bassline of the Big Tymers’ famous 2000 single ‘Get Ur Roll On.’

Are the Olympics the end result of such a cycle or a catalyst for more? Does the accumulation of wealth, like a katamari rolling swiftly down a mountain made of dollar bills, make legal targets out of accumulators and profit drivers such as Nyjah Huston? Could a reasonably priced yet highly respected correspondence-course law degree place Frank Gerwer in position to emerge as skating’s Jackie Chiles?

*Real ones will recall one of Rob Dyrdek’s cardinal rules of professional skating: lease, don’t buy

Trendwatch 2K18: Jumping Up and Down On Special Athletic Boxes

March 3, 2018

Grim days as the United States confronts a missile-wagging Vladimir Putin, unreasonable natural disasters and now, an embarrassing Olympic chapter on the increasingly nuclear Korean peninsula. Despite the best efforts of Shaun “Flying TomatoTM” White and several mighty American curlers, the country that eagles built went home the most medal-poor in 20 years and badly underperformed its podium-claiming potential, according to FiveThirtyEight, a blogging website concerned with important numbers and equations.

To reclaim international glory, the U.S. is counting on the only tried-and-true solution to overwhelming sporting odds: the ragtag band of misfits. Skateboarding, a sport ostensibly invented in the U.S. (if one ignores Josh Stewart’s ‘ancient alien’ theories), offers the best chance for America to assert its citizens’ physical primacy on the planetary stage, while justifying all that feigned ignorance of Japanese security guards’ exasperation over the years when the Olympic torch is lit in Tokyo. No doubt, federal data scientists are building algorithms to rank candidates based on flatground contest consistency, after-black hammer intensity and general ‘swagger,’ that hard-to-quantify ‘X factor’ that could help put the USA over the top in a tight medal race.

But it will take more than gumption and snappy one-liners. To achieve ultimate glory, top-tier skateboard competitors are thinking inside the box: specially designed space-age boxes, to be exact, which have become involved in unique and revolutionary exercise regimens. Jumping up and down on these expensive exercise boxes, human scientists believe, is the closest approximation to the ollie that is possible within the confines of a properly sanitized, chromed-out gym.

Physical advisers to Ryan Sheckler, no stranger to tightly plotted TV dramatics, suggested that he jump up and down on a box as part of his gym exercise regimen. Sean Malto, pursuing a comeback from his gruesome ankle injury, similarly employed a variety of special gym jumping-boxes. Danny Way, in his envelope-pushing way, perhaps already has moved beyond the box to swinging giant medieval spheres. But Americans do not hold a monopoly on advanced box technology, as Brazilian Street League phenom Leticia Bufoni also has come to know the box-jumping technique and its powers.

Nyjah Huston could represent the United State’s best hope for a 2020 golden coin. Having balanced his energy by finally shifting the mass of his long-shorn dreads to his torso, arms and neck via assorted tattooings, Nyjah Huston is pushing the boundaries of possibility on handrails, this week releasing an 11-minute long video part to help promote new Nike products. It is a video filled with tricks made to end lesser full-lengths, such as the curvy-wurvy frontside 5-0 grind, a backside smith grind backside 180 out on a kinked handrail, a mile-long backside tailslide and, perhaps in tribute to Dan Pageau’s freshly funded legacy, a switchstance trip down the fearsome El Toro handrail. It’s unclear how heavily Nyjah Huston has been box-training, but a watchful eye on his Insta Gram site shows that a high-tech training box is never far away in his gym.

Is jumping up and down onto a special athletic box how Nyjah Huston gained the power to contort his body and achieve his ‘Til Death’ tricks? Will advanced box jumping sets help ward off chronic traumatic encephalopathy or are the bros cracking some brews and hoping for the best? Did Omar Salazar predict all this with his yelpy off-board parkour stylings? Is Shaun White already jumping up and down off boxes as he pursues his life goal of becoming a multi-board Olympic gold medallion holder, but putting himself at risk of overgolding?

Aggravated Breed

November 7, 2015

thugger_dunk

Justin Brock’s part in Nike’s 2009 all-am ‘Debacle’ six years later remains rightly heralded as a triumph of chunky wallrides and massive frontside bigspins, yet its underlying theme of hard labor as a unifying force, if not a humanizing one, remains dusty and obscured like a dust-covered, obscure book somewhere. Bankrolled by the biggest employer in skating and soundtracked not coincidentally to blue-collar bards Skid Row’s number one platinum single ‘Slave to the Grind,’ Justin Brock meditated upon themes of toil and control, driving home the point by sporting spectacles that reflected the drudgery of the assembly-line worker, whose dreams of becoming Montana’s poet laureate or a champ bass angler are rendered wholly unrecognizable by smeary, sweat-fogged safety goggles.

Now it is nearly 2016*, the fall breeze bears whiffs of a fresh Nike video release, and pros are considering their futures. Haves increasingly are separated out from have-nots: Witness the footage largesse of Nyjah Huston, allegedly on the cusp of his own Nike payday, releasing a video section in accordance with various contractual niceties rather than any particular team effort, only to slide off the Thrasher front page in a matter of days. Chris Joslin, whose skills on the gaps left him somehow overdue for a professional nod only about a year after manifesting on mobile screens, achieved his own signature board after heading to the Eastern Hemisphere to film a part in under two weeks, a future seemingly assured so long as his ligaments stay game. Elsewhere the industry’s economic contraction ensures that the rich tradition of pros and would-be pros with day jobs continues, nodded to recently by Aaron Herrington and, in the TWS issue sporting his skyscraper backside tailslide on the cover, Jon Nguyen:

TWS: Do you drive Uber cars to supplement your income too? How is that?
JN: Yeah, I do. It’s fine. It’s work. It’s relatively easy. If you don’t mind driving, it’s not a big deal. It’s kind of cool because I can just do it whenever I need to. If I’m really hurting for money, I can just push it and work like a week straight too.

How does it work? You’re just in the system and if you want to give rides, you clock in?
You sign up to be a driver and then you just turn the app on and set it to driver mode when you want to work and you’re ready to go. You get paid weekly; it goes straight to your bank account. They take like 25 percent or something, but it’s so convenient. You don’t have a boss and then if I’m going on a trip, I can just not work for a couple of weeks. They’re just trying to make money, so they don’t give a shit about you. But I’m just trying to make money too, so I don’t give a shit about them.

Are those would-be careerists that lack any fiscal lifelines dangled by a diversified sporting goods merchant, soda company or televised competition circuit boxing themselves out of any path toward a secure and comfortable life beyond the world’s urine-soaked hubbas, bondo’d handrail approaches and urethane-scarred walls? According to 360 flip smith grind popularizer and onetime beanie magnate Josiah Gatlyn the answer is a tantalizing ‘maybe,’ as per a widely-circulated YouToob comment that dared to call into question skating’s long-held subcultural maxim which positions the ‘office job’ somewhere toward the bottom of Dante’s flamey underworldly rings, probably around ‘anger’ and ‘heresy.’ Josiah Gatlyn goes on to suggest such verboten concepts as pursuing education and recommends cutting any street dreams with a healthy splash of pragmatism:

The average career only lasts around 5-10 years tops, and I’m pretty sure there’s only been about 10-20 professionals (at the very most, I feel like there are way less) out of thousands who have even gotten close to making enough money that they wouldn’t have to worry about getting a career job after their career was over. I have no idea why people assume that professional skateboarders make so much money. That’s absolutely not true. Basically, every pro will eventually be spit out into the real world. That process only gets harder and harder the older you get. From age 20 – 25 are the most important years of your entire life and regardless if you’re a skateboarder or not, if you do not figure out what career path you’re going to take, you’re going to struggle pretty hard.

The skateboard business, awash with young souls eager to quit high school and skate for boards, beers, airfare, hotel rooms and per diem, seemed in no mood for Josiah Gatlyn’s broadsides, and an unlikely figure emerged to rebut them — Sierra Fellers, whose own career seemed on the wane after Foundation dropped him, but who maintains with the Ramshakle company. Sierra Fellers’ response Ride Channel article wonders whether Josiah Gatlyn is making excuses for not wanting a pro career badly enough to make whatever steep sacrifices may be required, and taking the ‘easy way out’ by returning to the ‘real world.’

Recently I’ve asked a lot of people about what happened to him and what he was doing, and everyone I’ve talked to said that he was bitter at the skate industry and gave up to be a designer. Which, sadly, after reading the YouTube comment that’s been circulating, seems to be true.

When you do what you’re truly passionate about, it’s usually so much harder and more work than anything else. It would have been a lot easier for me to get a “normal job” and start working on my promotions. If anything, skateboarding has been the main source of education for me. All the traveling, skating, having a good time, and even the partying have taught me way more than I could have ever imagined to prepare me for the “real world.”

Could Sierra Fellers be correct? Speaking from experience, former Foundation 360 flipper and first-wave PissDrunxist Tony DaSilva recently described to Jenkem his own leisurely and mellow path back to the real world as being lined with plush comforts such as indoor pollution clouds, general societal disconnect and close proximity to hot, hot truckstop fellatio:

Many of us that step out of the skate industry after making a living at it are left over as society’s bottom feeders. We don’t have anything to offer. We don’t have a degree. We don’t write with proper grammar. We speak our own language.

I started realizing we’re all a part of the same day-to-day struggle. We’re all scrambling to figure out where the hell we’re going. And that through skateboarding, I had retained and gained a hell of a lot more life experience than most of the people I was getting to know. This was the factor that separated me from all of them, but it was becoming one of the pieces that now gave me more confidence.

It was skateboarding that gave me the tools that enabled me to transition into the “real world.” I couldn’t see it at the time though. The thing that I thought had kept me so sheltered and embedded in a niche culture, was ultimately what prepared me for what was next.

Is Sierra Fellers’ plight for street-dreaming dreamers to keep chasing those nocturnal transmissions a pure-hearted effort to talk the next generation’s Jake Johnsons and Paul Rodriguezes from tossing their skills and promises of video parts yet to come into that fetid toilet bowl that is the 9-5 lifestyle? Or is he carrying water for a secretive cabal of vampyric industry heads who require a steady supply of youthful aspiration and low-cost human tissue to power their mechanized operations, similar to the global baller robots profiled in the ‘Matrix’ movies? It’s often hard to tell with baller robots, and so these questions must be asked.

Sierra Fellers’ response to Josiah Gatlyn does regurgitate one of skating’s more timeworn tropes, which is that despite all the various injuries and indignities, skating as a career is a rich, fulfilling wonderland versus the vacuous, soul-corroding netherworld represented by the dreaded ‘office job.’ It can come off rather rich coming from the genetically and geographically gifted who are lucky enough to entertain the choice, and whereas skating’s far from the first sphere to hum the semi-sensical ‘do what you love’ mantra, it seems fair to wonder whether nurturing personal wish-fulfillment scenarios and squinting at longterm security through meager monthly minimums and ready-to-flip flow packages can persist as one’s third decade approaches.

Among the world’s ditchdiggers, insurance claim adjustors and adult cinema custodians are there solely embittered quitters to be found, who otherwise might have blessed the planet and achieved their dreams as opera singers, socialite-philosophers or addled weblog authors? What then of our ditches, insurance claims and adult cinema floors? As the skate biz constricts and veteran pros bat eyes at high-toned corporate sponsors in hopes of stretching their own careers a few more years, do the web mavens, graphic artists, logistics staff and talent managers ponder their own monetary sacrifices to continue under the industry’s independent division, versus buddying up to more corporate concerns? For their own good, should pros consider the maxim of Pontus Alv, who figured the optimum lifespan of a board company at about ten years, with regard to professional careers?

*Partially because the Mayan calendar flubbed the alleged 2012 apocalypse

Certain Presumptive Skaters Of The Year Could Benefit From Additional Pain, Frustration And Aging, Top Pros Say

December 6, 2013

election1

Assorted musings and murmurings on the SOTY race, as Thrasher ratchets the tension and unique page-views ever higher by announcing a short list.

Salman Agah: “I’m going with Greco. It’s my opinion that you shouldn’t even be eligible until you’re at least 30.”

Peter Hewitt: “So I’m looking at the contenders & here’s my opinion: Greco- if that was going to happen Guy would’ve won last year. Burman- Burly, but needs to suffer more. Ishod- again, he has much more to prove. Sandoval- I feel this guy has earned it the Thrasher way. Nyjah- so talented it could be a video game. Does he say Thrasher to me? Not really. Westgate- One of my favorites, bionic-man stuff. Raybourn- Also one of my faves but he must suffer more. Suciu- must suffer more. Burnquist- dimension X of skateboarding… Only one percent of skateboarders can comprehend. Provost, Walker, & Gravette must all suffer more. My picks are Tommy Sandoval & Brandon Westgate!”

Leo Romero: “First I would say Westgate, but he doesn’t care much for these shenanigans. So second would be Nyjah because he came out with multiple video parts for you guys that are fucking crazy. He seems like he really wants it. Also DC has spent quite a bit on advertising in the mag.”

Jeff Grosso: “Westgate is rad, but I vote for Mark Suciu. I like his East coast style and vibe. I’m a big fan of the varial heel flip and he’s got a pretty one! I like his simple, effortless, style. Also, one of his video parts I watched he skated to “junk bond trader” by Elliott Smith which is a beautiful song about art as commodity and the selling of ones soul. As an Elliott fan, I found his choice of music… Interesting? So, when I saw an interview with him in the mag, I was curious. I like what I read about the dude. He seems like a thoughtful, talented, bad ass, young skateboarder. No frills. Just style and shred! But, with a nod to the people he grew up influenced by. I don’t know. I just dig his style.”

Silas Baxter-Neal: “Ishod – skate rat ripping for himself not for a trophy. Skates EVERYTHING, and looks sick doing it. Still puts out video parts for the homies while filming for corpo vids. If Thrasher stands for real skateboarding then Ishod should be the SOTY. If you guys like handrails and gold medals and a shitty push then give it to Nyjah Bingy.”

Josh Kalis: “I have two answers. Two very different dudes for two very different reasons. One is based off a points system – Nyjah, and the other is based off being a pure skater who came through with video parts, coverage, etc. without stepping outside of the skate world – core mentality. For skateboarding – Suciu. Both deserve it, in my opinion, but if it was solely up to me I’d pick Suciu.”

Andrew Reynolds: “I think Ishod should get it because the amount of skateboarding he does – he has three video parts: Sabotage 3, Wair and Tear, and the Chronicles video. I think he won a contest,too. And he did it all without trying to get Skater of the Year.”

Peter Smolik: “It should be me! But on some real shit, Nyjah.”

Some Kind of Monster

November 30, 2013

torben-ulrich

Nyjah Huston is in the news again, this time seeking to reel in among the biggest and slipperiest, if not necessarily the most lucrative, fish of the skate-award realm: Thrasher’s often-legendary Skater of the Year award, which if nothing else remains a monument to the grand intangibles in a world increasingly dominated by quantitative benchmarks such as Street-League scoring points, unique page-views and ‘likes.’ Before running out the remainder of the year swilling macrobrews and lighting cars on fire before giggling and bearded photographers, Nyjah Huston in his just-released ‘Fade to Black’ part cranks the Old Metallica, dons several colors of Thrasher branded t-shirt apparels and deploys any number of massive backside lipslides, kinked 50-50s and blizzard flips onto handrails in his bid for the SOTY prize.

Like many Nyjah Huston video parts before it, this year’s comes packaged as an ‘event’ chock full of feats that go several stairs further than others have dared, and inevitably has ignited frothy debates over the ‘jock’ nature of Nyjah Huston’s skating. A gently probing analysis of the topic reveals a more fundamental question, however: Are skateboarders, who draw their identities from an athletic activity, by definition ‘jocks’?

When weighing such weighty questions, it’s helpful to begin with the basics. Webster’s dictionary defines ‘jock’ as an ‘athlete, especially: a school or college athlete,’ derived from the noun ‘jock strap.’ The stretchy but supportive apparatus that embraces sportsmen worldwide today originally was invented around 4,500 B.C. by Tunisian animal husbandrists, casting about for methods to speed spice-laden camels across North Africa’s arid plains.

Modern-day skateboarding has had little use for what we now understand to be the commoditized jock strap, eschewing more-formalized undergarment support in favor of short-shorts in the early days of taming backyard transitions, to the no-safety-net stance of the early 1990s’ goofy-boy scene. But as contest purses grew more lucrative, skateboarders began to gravitate toward more form-fitting garments previously regarded as the exclusive realm of Ed Templeton and Mario Rubalcaba. The advent of stretch denim largely obviated the need for classical support regimes and some skateboarders now even have adopted tighty-whities, a mindset unthinkable just a decade ago.

Gleaming trophies and contest hauls go only so far in rationalizing such an attitudinal shift, however, and so to better understand the gravitational forces and wearable whims at play, Boil the Ocean sought out H. Stoss ‘Boss’ Perot, professor of chemical and metallurgical anthropology at the highly regarded East Wangle University. Boil the Ocean Web Site was particularly intent on engaging Professor Perot’s viewpoints given his long-running research into the fibrous content of modern-day jockstraps and designer sweatpants, a marketplace now cornered by just three multinational gargantuates — ancient trade-houses of vast means.

“There’s far more afoot than people understand,” Prof. Perot claimed while on the phone from his research facility where he looks at elastic bands. “And far more at stake. I believe this shift reflects a systemic risk that has gone unaddressed, if not willfully ignored, for far too long.”

We departed immediately for Prof. Perot’s facilities, as per coded instructions faxed over so as to elude what the academic referred to cryptically as ‘overeager aficionados’ of his singular research. Yet upon arrival we discovered the once-immaculate lab, typically festooned with stretchy materials of all types, ransacked and smoldering with no sign of the professor. A breathy croak emanating from beneath a pile of debris in one corner offered sign that the destruction was not total, and we rushed to dismantle the wreckage.

A toothy, bearded maw presented itself; that of an orangutan, a specimen out of the northeastern hills that was known to me as Mike. “They’ve got him,” Mike rasped, before lapsing into a pitiable swoon of the sort only a highly intelligent primate can truly manage.

Our mission revealed to us, we sped directly to the local ammunition dump before taking a back-room table at a friendly ale-house to plan. Pots of coffee, roasted meat and strong drink emboldened us to our cause, which became increasingly clear to be a suicide mission. The orangutan kept silent counsel at the table’s far end, slowly twirling a Bowie knife amongst his spidery fingers as his cigar burned to a stump. “So it must be,” the creature muttered, to no one in particular. “The hard way, as it ever was.”

Bizzell Hutchinson, that tavern’s deeply whiskered proprietor, had time only to throw wide the door and bark “we’ve got company” before the mortar fire began. Rockets screeched down, peeling back the roof and walls in great fiery curtains as we scrambled across the floorboards and broken mugs. Half a chair careened by and through the haze Mike, machine-gun braced against his shoulder and clattering, still gnawing his cigar and faintly, grinning. The elastics cartel had located us.

TO BE CONCLUDED…

‘Word Up’ or, Boil the Ocean’s Generally Uninformed Views Regarding Runners and Riders for 2013 SOTY

November 3, 2013

sheriff

As contest grow, amass greater cash purses and consolidate power, Thrasher’s ‘Skater of the Year’ has come to command a late-year rush of award-season bait generally angled toward capturing the short-pantsed golden bro with the Lego-man cap on. The phenomenon has birthed horrific mutations and eddies in the space-time continuum, such as making the front half of the year sleepier than it might otherwise have been video-wise and flummoxing innocent blog websites that generally speaking might boast somewhat better SOTY oddsmaking without having to account for an early-December crush of Phelps-baiting footage arising out of nowhere. Nevertheless:

David Gravette A scrappy journeyman working in the medium of hairy 50-50s, Creature’s golden child is the onliest 2013 candidate whose resume totes a Thrasher-themed facial tattoo. Amongst all the ditches, bars and his not-quite-a-flyout backflip, Gravette demanded a cover photo and received it, though similar to the initial landing on his round-the-horn rail ride in this year’s CSFU part, Gravette’s bid is solid but may suffer from bad timing, its arrival earlier in the year having been obscured by any number of team-jumps, jailings, gay-rights ruminations and related chatterboxing.

Nyjah Huston: His contest-circuit profile and ability to consistently stretch handrail tricks down an additional few stairs each year have made Nyjah Huston a perennial candidate lately, and similar to Ryan Sheckler, he seems to have preemptively cleared a spot in his trophy room for the Thrasher award, so far to no avail. He has offered up to the mag some kinked-bar prowess and a politically incorrect comment that may otherwise have played well to a wizard-staffed campfire, but the ensuing press-release apology and tearful track record when a gold medal eludes him may make SOTY a long shot.

Bob Burnquist’s helicopter: Never has a helicopter so boldly staked a claim to an award that otherwise has purely been the affectation of human beings, yet as digital technology advances and extreme athletes continue to achieve on stronger and deeper stages, machinery has played an ever-larger role, be it lasering substandard eyeballs, defending against rogue-state missile launches or ferrying Danny Way back to his next MegaRampTM run. It’s difficult to argue against Bob Burnquist’s helicopter as the most-extreme propeller-driven aircraft of modern times, though Thrasher underbosses may look askance at an all-park part.

Clint Walker: Like a bearded young demon conjured by blaspheming worshippers of Heath Kirchart’s career, the long-simmering Clint Walker boiled over last spring in Ambig’s ‘Modern Art’ video. Clint Walker did a truly gnarly crooked grind revert and in addition to all those damn-the-wobbles ending tricks managed that rare feat of the YouTube age, forcing rewinds after a vertigo-inducing miss on an otherwise unassuming nollie heelflip. The knock against Clint Walker would be that he’s too new, but few have chomped as hard as he this year.

Brandon Westgate: New England’s famed cranberry boggart recorded some of the year’s heaviest tricks, some flung down San Francisco hills, others up from handicap ramps, and one across a massive loading dock that looked roughly on par with the size of Brandon Westgate’s quiet and domesticated family home. Should Brandon Westgate, an accomplished tiler and this world wide web log’s odds-on favorite for the award, somehow dodge it this year, he seems assured that little-loved consolation prize which is to be attached to perpetual message-board grumblings also concerning Dennis Busenitz and Guy Mariano in the could’ve/should’ve SOTY sphere.

Bronze Hardware: With impeccable taste since the start, Bronze’s mastery of its particular/singular domain and subject matter have become harder to ignore with each passing year, braiding together a thick and lustrous twine of classic tricks, foreboding soundscapes and ‘found recordings’ into this year’s ‘Solo Jazz’ offering. Bronze Hardware’s prowess and promiscuity have engendered anger and half-mumbled threats from adversaries, which may for Thrasher staffers pose questions of peacekeeping and insurance liabilities for any SOTY event in which Bronze Hardware is named the ultimate winner.

Ben Rayborne: a grimy, bespectacled veteran of patchy backyard ramps and full pipes, who introduced the industry to the phrase “horse pool” and as much as anybody else in the running this year is of the Thrasher mold. Ben Raybourne skates giant sewers in the dark, threatens weak amphibians, rides ceilings where others may settle for the wall and fence-jams at Burnside, pumping out an array of footage this year that did include the obligatory Thrasher part. He also boasts the distinction of having some of his tricks translated into Lego formats.

Ishod Wair VX’ed footage of nighttime Love Park lines soundtracked to Raekwon in 2013 qualifies as certified blog fodder and must be treated as such. Nevertheless, it’s difficult not to rate Ishod’s real-streetness after two parts worth of “Photosynthesis”-mining grit over the last year that also did include some Juicy J and multiple trips down the fountain gap. It’s a good look for Ishod Wair, whose skills never have been in doubt but whose “Since Day One” section spoke more toward the type of SoCal one-hitters that many a Street League jockey could have formulated. A lengthy interview in Thrasher, Deluxe affiliation and the promise of another possible part by year’s end further bolster his candidacy.

Jim Greco: Worse than a gruesome death or a quiet fade from the scene for Jim Greco would be damnation by being decreed ‘boring,’ and so in 2013 Greco challenges conventional norms and mores by embracing concepts like darkslides and Wrangler pants. Tangling with cars, dumpsters, hydrants and fearsome embankments, Greco pulled out a Slayer tape and most all the stops for his “Deathwish” video appearance and, seeming to grasp the spell Rodney Mullen commands over U.S. tweens, potentially extended his career another five years easy as he dares to navigate the turbulent waters of pants and sunglasses sponsorships.

Who Will Win The Great 2012 SOTY Race, Potentially The Final SOTY Determination For All Eternity, If The Ancient Mayans Are To Be Believed?

October 3, 2012

Fall officially is upon us and the crispening air is thick with rumor and innuendo as professional bros vie to acquire SOTY status in what could be humankind’s final trip around our sun, depending on whether or not you subscribe to certain apocalyptic theories. This site, which previously floated a bunk theory regarding Freddy Gall potentially being awarded a small golden figurine wearing a backward golden hat and short pants, is not so cocksure as to entirely rule out a galactic realignment racking our beloved magnetic poles on Dec. 21, upending convention and fermenting a cataclysm alongside several shortages of encased meats. There are some who say the recent projections of a 2013 bacon shortage may represent an early warning sign.

In keeping with this internet page’s longstanding tradition of a stiffened upper lip we nevertheless brush off certain galactic problems and consider probable front-runners for this year’s SOTY.

Justin Figueroa, alleged front-runner, has all of the stringy hair, yellowy teeth and poor hygiene choices that represent hallowed wishstones of the Thrasher lifestyle, and he has given generously of his volatile handrail riding unto Jake Phelps & co this year and those past — his 50-50 to ollie out over the steps in that Lizard King roadtrip series was some straight video game nonsense and expectations for his section in the (Thrasher exclusive, natch) upcoming Baker Boys production are riding high, particularly after he clear-cut much of the stockpile from his recent ad photo archive for the Shake Junt vid late last year.

Nyjah Huston has on offer a largish contest win in his Street League championship and a reality TV show-worthy redemption song narrative to sell, if Thrasher is buying, though you may prefer to believe their executives in the market for more unrated fare such as the XYZ video or the Menace “Epicly Later’d.” Cutting the dreads and ties to his dad-manager may have helped and Nyjah Huston no doubt pushes the big tricks, but his major video part moment was late 2011, and does Thrasher care about big-money contests as opposed to their own small-stakes, spot-specific ventures?

Vincent Alvarez seems in certain ways like he should be a readymade Thrasher success story, multidisciplined, not too beholden to fussy technical skating and traditionally clad in work pants. “Pretty Sweet” and the Skate Sauce vid represent a tall-pour rail drink elixir that ought to put him at least in the conversation. He’s not flown too far beneath the Thrasher radar, running the year’s first cover for Lakai’s KOTR win. One downside, he may not have enough tattoos.

David Gonzales is a young aggressor with boss moves, a Thrasher cover photo and the near-requisite web-exclusive video part complete with Judas Priest, copious black denim and various throw-up-the-horns poses. There’s no point denying the high-test handrails he gets on, even if he does some of the time wind up basically steering backside onto a previously frontsided obstacle with not a lot of other imagination at work. If I had a vote I’d have a hard time casting it for him, though his video part last month is real good and for sure the best thing yet he’s documented, but then again, I don’t.

Mark Suciu can be the sleeper submission, spending the past year-plus roving the countryside, oozing tricks and video footage as he ascends the sponsorship ranks. For those counting High Speed Productions-specific scoring he put his landmark Atlas shop section on Thrasher’s website, put his “Cityscape” part on Slap and as a Bay Area representative has toiled away not just at SF spots but also in and around lesser-seen urban San Jose. Since he’s legally still an amateur he may not have the needed gravitas to command the hot SOTY spotlight, but if this dude does not have a pro board in the works by year’s end something wrong and you can reasonably assume the galactic realignment is affecting the workflow on earth.

Ryan Decenzo comes off a little like a knuckle-dragging rail fighter in the Nyjah mode but with generally more thoughtful trick offerings, and this year has made some nominal Thrasher waves via his KOTR MVP turn and some choice photos here and there. Maybe not enough to win the big nod, but Jake Phelps has a well-publicized soft spot for Canadian burlies, and regardless it’s interesting to someone somewhere how the one on Darkstar at this point seems to have eclipsed the one on Plan B.

Cory Kennedy is our dark-horse pick, harboring a formidable head of steam in the way of sequences and the odd clip here and there over the last couple years, plus time logged in a King of the Road van and a prime year-end stage for deploying all his egregious footage bombs in the Girl/Choco video next month. The b/s tail kickflip b/s tail still haunts the mind. At this juncture Cory Kennedy’s a young pro with little but mind-boggling output on his resume, placing him in around the same chronological marker as Andrew Reynolds, Grant Taylor, Silas Baxter Neal or Brian Anderson when they won it, so he’s not too green.

To Have And Have Not

March 18, 2012

The mildest U.S. winter in decades has helped reduce reliance on private indoor facilities rented for the purposes to safeguarding 360 flips from rust and cobwebs in recent months, and probably also helped to nurture the “Occupy” movement such that occupiers across the country were able to blow out half a candle in recent days, situated atop a free-range cake and served family-style at a sanctioned local park/streetcorner. But deeper strife may yet lay ahead.

Zered Bassett, raised in the shadow of a failed Dukakis presidential bid and a onetime beneficiary of Mitt Romney’s health programme, suggests in the Appleyard TSM that skateboarding may be watching the rise of its own so-called 1%, and an inevitable widening of the income and performance gap between two increasingly disparate camps:

The Skateboard Mag: To go back to Street League, why don’t you compete in that contest?
Zered Bassett: Why are we talking about Street League? I’m not a contest skater, man.
TSM: I think you’re capable of doing really well in contests.
ZB: I don’t have a skatepark that I can skate and learn tricks at to take to a contest and feel confident enough to skate the contest well. If I had a skatepark that I could skate with my homies every day and learn shit, not in the public eye, I’d feel way more confident.

It’s a well-worn chestnut that for every Mark Appleyard, switch backside flipping in finely tuned leathers and pushing a Jaguar, there are a half-dozen Rob Welshes manning liquor-store tills and Wade Speyers filling large dump trucks full of debris and then dumping them at a dirty dump. Even Heath Kirchart, receiver of several signature shoe payment deals, was reduced to delivering pizzas and servicing snack machines upon his self-directed retirement. Things are tough all over out there and keep in mind this isn’t some fly-by-night youtube hot-shoe we’re discussing here, this is Zered Bassett, who’s either awash in Red Bull energy beverage endorsement fees or a consistently poor chooser of hatwear.

Yet Zered Bassett goes wanting when it comes to private parkdom, ensuring he will never develop the machinelike consistency that makes Nyjah Huston, Chaz Ortiz and Ryan Sheckler such riveting competitors to watch amass those hard-to-follow Street League points, and bring home the big moneybags (or at least get the chance to fall victim to high-profile jewelry heists). While Paul Rodriguez parlays his Fuel TV heroics into lucrative sponsorship arrangements with Target Corp., that in turn provides branded obstacles with which to expand his personal training ground, Zered Bassett moves to Brooklyn and farms his beard.

While Nyjah Huston blows tens of thousands of American dollars on hot cars, Ricky Oyola spends his winter driving a truck in Philadelphia. And as Rob Dyrdek lays peacefully asleep on his yacht off the shores of Key West, the bullet-riddled body of Danny Renaud, stone dead, is borne ashore by friends and well-wishers in the still of night after a lifetime of hard choices and short chances finally caught up with him on that one last run back from Cuba.

11+1+11 +/- 11+11+11 =/≠ log sin cos

November 21, 2011

Ever since the skateboarding industry rebounded from its early-90s revenue nadir pros and companies alike have dreamed of releasing a video in November 2011, to reap the branding advantages of the 11/11 dateline that would occur only once in this thousand-year span. But several challenges arose. First several pros became drunk and forgot their plans. Later, California radio preacher Harold Camping predicted a rapture event occurring May 21, 2011, prompting several other parties to abandon their effort as sales were widely seen slackening after the end of the world. Then the Rev Harold Camping postponed his date further to October 21, 2011, and several more plans were waylaid. But that did not happen and now there are dueling video parts from Walker Ryan and Nyjah Huston, the only two with the sheer gumption to grasp hold of these powerful dates after so many others lost hope, and each laying claim to one of the all-ones dates that we are to see in our lifetimes, 11/1/11 vs 11/11/11.

True as it has been, there can only be “one” and the contest is rightly joined. Immediately Nyjah Huston rises to the level of advantagor because he has more letters in his name, and understood the ancient power of claiming runes. Nyjah Huston’s youthful mastery of alphabetics and numberology carries power over to him that allows him to jump down more stairs than the average person who is five or ten years older and several hundred six-packs heavier than he is. Nyjah Huston has chiseled these handrail tricks many times over in the walls of the Maloof caverns and soaked them for 50 days in some cauldron full of Monster Energy Drinks. His reward is to bathe in vats of gold pieces, gathering even more through the sale of an exclusive video clip on Itunes.

Walker Ryan was cursed with an over-functioning brain that burdened him from a young age, kidnapped by G-men and enslaved at a secret government facility known as “the Shop” where specially gifted individuals are studied. The curse drives Walker Ryan to spin rapidly in a switch backside direction, into frontside tailslides and bigspin flips. He has rejected society and bombs more hills than Nyjah Huston, creates a greater number of lines and more peculiar manuals like the switch wheelie switch backside flip, or the kickflip up onto the table at the new spot. This part is given away for free, signaling that Walker Ryan has rejected material objects.

The twin video sections clash because either one could be the same title of a terrible Kanye West CD, with the edge going to Walker Ryan because it actually was. The two clash at Rincon, with Nyjah Huston risking more limbs by kickflip backside lipsliding on the railing. Nyjah Huston’s backside flip nosegrind edges the one done by Walker Ryan, but Walker Ryan battles back since he never cried after losing an expensive contest on TV.

But in the ultimate end Nyjah Huston turns in an aggressive last couple of tricks (if that sequence wasn’t pieced together), but even still Walker Ryan turns in a lesser-hyped volume that applies a greater tax to the mind and has not already been ladled out over a thousand and one street courses, thereby decapitating Nyjah Huston in the great battle to release video footage on either November 1 or November 11 of this month. Each man’s thoughts and dreams are now his to know.