Posts Tagged ‘Plan B’

Recent Dispatch From the PJ Ladd Plane of Existence

July 16, 2015


A few months on since Plan B teammate and fellow ‘Tru, B’ sideline-sitter Colin McKay casually compared Boston flatground alchemist PJ Ladd to Queen Amidala’s downward-spiraling leotard flexer in ‘Black Swan,’ third-dimension wallie champ Tom Karangelov offers a somewhat more cosmic update on the recluse technician in TWS’ current and fantastic am issue:

TWS: Any news on the PJ Ladd front?
TK: Oh, dude, I skate with PJ a bunch. He’s working on a part, I guess they want to do a part just with him. He’s super into vibes these days. He wants to grow his hair out because he was telling me that the longer your hair is they’re like antennas. They reach out for energy. So his hair’s pretty long. He’s kind of got this mysterious vibe going. Not a lot of people know what he’s up to, and I think that’s cool.


Tha Agony and Tha Ecstasy

May 31, 2015


For all the mumblings of Peter Pan syndrome and deferred adulthood attached to pro-level boarding careers and various man-amhoods, such pursuits are not built for the emotionally unhinged: Marking one’s day-to-day progress by recording hard-fought clips destined to be trimmed to a few seconds each and pasted into a web-video in a couple years’ time, clinging to fleeting victories during which a hammer is performed, landed and hand-on-death-lens marked, then past, perchance to plow through a 30-pack and next week try for another one. Anthony Van Engelen speaks of grappling with emotional voids after completing big video projects, and witness the deep valleys leading to an uncertain but undeniably triumphant peak in Jamie Thomas’ cold war with the not-long-for-this-world Clipper ledge.

Love/hate relations betwixt bros and boards are to be understood and forcibly massaged when circumstances demand. But what of those emotional snake-runs entangling teamriders and sponsors, which have taken to marketing themselves as families and brotherhoods? Chris Cole and his new Plan B family exhibited their unbridled giddiness upon his joining the ‘Tru’ Tank this month, cheesing and fist-pumping and committing various spelling transgressions as the onetime Zero heavyweight apparently shelved any plans to market decks on his own and instead chose to endorse monocoloured boards with skulls and guitars manufactured by another company.

It’s hard to imagine the Black Box camp not feeling some type of way after clicking on this clip, given Zero’s role plucking Chris Cole from the World camp and providing a hard-rocking hessian launchpad for the next dozen years of his career; to boot, Chris Cole just a year before seemed to identify with Paul Rodriguez’ abrupt flying of the Plan B coop as a cue to carve out one’s own deck-centric microbrand: “I think at some point Paul figured out it wasn’t about Plan B selling Paul Rodriguez skateboards anymore, it was about him selling Plan B, and that’s the point where you start to realize you could be doing something more.”

Any career-minded gnar merchant gathers a certain amount of lumps along the road, and Jamie Thomas like other pros-turned-entrepreneurs signed up for an extra helping by starting his own companies and seeing dudes he put on later pack up and leave. But Zero proved to be one of the relatively few sellers of skate goods to not only publicly acknowledge the departure of a team lynchpin in Chris Cole, but go so far as to post a brief retrospective video and wish him well.

Few others do — Brandon Westgate’s decision in April to join the Element family after seven years holding down the Zoo York family passed with little notice on Zoo York’s Instagram. Gino Iannucci’s Slap board-shaking jump to Fucking Awesome just shy of 19 years as a red block head drew nary an official peep from the Crailtap camp, though months later his former teammates can’t finish interviews without being asked about it. Whereas Mic-E Reyes headbutt sendoffs now rank as just another hallowed memory of 1990s realness and sour jpgs are a Web 1.0-ready if rarely utilized substitute, the default seems to have become an Orwellian electronic eraser applied to the team webpage, removal of the defector from relevant social media hype circles and moving on.

Like insurance and the signing of openly gay athletes, is skateboarding again in danger of being outpaced by major-league sports when it comes to acknowledging contributions from longstanding-but-departing riders? The Seattle Mariners deployed a warm statement of gratitude when outfielder Ichiro Suzuki bounced after more than a decade on the squad, and later publicly big upped him when he got his 4000th hit playing for the Yankees.

Besides agreed-upon stacks of legal tenders, what if anything do companies owe their independent contractors who toil atop handrails and within ditches in the name of endorsement deals? In Alien Workshop’s ultimately transient dissolution last year, some of the then-remaining abductees seem to have received no official word of the shutdown at all, much less any word of thanks:

Jake Johnson: It’s a strange one. Nobody said good bye. Mike Hill didn’t throw in the towel. It’s strange. It was on the internet.

Omar Salazar: I never spoke to anyone. No one ever called me, I’m just like, who is running this thing? They got rid of the only dude who I was talking to [Chad] who told me to stick around. And that’s how you get rid of people after all these years? I was bummed and then got hurt.. But no phonecall. No Rob Dyrdek phonecall… I mean jesus, who are you, man? I thought we were homies, bro [laughs]. Just kidding. Whatever.
…And I still haven’t got a paycheck like, oh, here you go, thanks for your time. Cause I could sure as hell use that for my medical bill right now. Thats all I gotta say about that.

Should the resurfaced Alien Workshop, now promoting a new tribe, offer some parting nod to the former pros who hung on til the bitter end? Did Rocco write the former sponsors of riders he stole publish thank-you notes, or rather did he demand such sponsors publicly acknowledge the service of their former riders for purposes of free promotion? Do digital thank-you notes count? What is the Instagram equivalent of a dismissal-by-headbutt?

Did the Plan B Video Really Come Out?

December 17, 2014


What happened at the end of November 2014? It is a question that may vex intelligent physicists and lyrical masterminds for years to come. The easy answer is, Plan B released their re-debut video movie “B Tru” after a heady 9 years of anticipatory anxiousness. Like many video releases, it raises questions about the basic nature of reality and human perception. Did it really come out? This is a more difficult question*.

Befitting the Snapchat age, much of the substance, happenstance and Stance socks-related materials surrounding the video are not what they appear, leading the viewer by his or her trembling and possibly tatted hand into an advanced unit of smoke and mirrors that requires at least a leveled Staff of Clarifying to navigate. And even then your Staff may be heisted from your Bag of Holding by any number of untrustworthy NPCs. As OPEC crashed global crude oil markets and millions of turkeys fell under American knives, what had long been billed as the triumphal reconnoitering of the Plan B destiny revealed itself as something else: none of the original reboot lineup had sections, including currently serving vets PJ Ladd, Colin McKay and Danny Way. Opening the video was the spracking Chris Joslin, a gap-fixated bazooka dealer little understood just six months ago and who would seem to singlehandedly obviate many of Plan B’s earlier-acquired hot shoes. The young bro, it would seem, was built for 360 flipping off buildings and publicly endorsing Plan B skateboards; the messageboards have him married at 18 and blowing off post-premiere champagne rooms to skate a park. Let the bidding commence.

Heady days that followed included a mysterious message from Danny Way pushing off his own, years-in-the-making video part and Hawaiian infrastructure reveal as much as another year to conform with scheduling of an unknown DC project. Colin McKay gave a rambling interview in which he seemed to promise Ryan Sheckler would again attempt to make good on his hot-check El Toro backside kickflip, possibly with Chris Joslin in tow for an entirely separate 20-stair flip trick to record. The video interview abruptly vanished shortly thereafter.

Simultaneously rumors began to swirl around Trevor McClung’s part-opening burn of an unnamed pizza delivery driver, who borrows a board to skate a dumpster with the Plan B bros and lands his trick, only to try it again and slam, earning laughter and derision from Trevor McClung, a superior skater. “Don’t quit your day job,” Trevor McClung counseled, in a blistering takedown said to have earned a potential late-arriving invitation to the 2014 Hater’s Ball, and particularly searing as the day job in question already is less than glamorous.

The latest warping of our current reality** arrived last weekend, when Plan B video-closer Torey Pudwill did not win Skater of the Year. It would be a relatively short astral projection to reach several alternate realities where he did earn the shiny trophy, or others similar to it except with added useful tentacles in place of arms or other hallmarks of shadow earths that we cannot fathom. (One also can endorse multiple versions of this “Tru Earth” in which Sk8Mafia’s Wes Kremer, who won, also again earned the award but with minor variations, such as a $50 billion cash purse or a science experiment gone awry in a nearby laboratory that by sheer chance afflicted Peter Smolik with radioactive powers that expanded his mass by 300 times, to a scale such that he wreaks havoc upon downtown San Diego before receding back into the ocean to sleep beneath the waves near a warm lava vent.)

The purpose and responsibility of semi-readable blog web pages is to parse only the reality that is readily glimpsable, and truly Torey Pudwill’s video-closing part is difficult to comprehend on these grounds. His backside-approaching ledge and handrail tricks are increasingly otherworldly, from his five-times-kinked backside lipslide to the mile-long backside noseblunt pop-out to his fearsomely hiked backside smith grinds, shoulder high or up a railing. Whereas previously-claimed tricks failed to materialize elsewhere Torey Pudwill hoists aboard the fleshy, shark-bitten carcass of his own white whale, a backside lipslide kickflip to backside noseblunt, one of several such moves that in some other dimension might set Cory Kennedy to perspiring beneath his white linen and Panama straw hat ensemble. The backside noseblunt hubba transfer and blizzardy bigger-spin flip are others.

There is a natural but perhaps fading aversion in skateboarding, in years past a haven for slackers and outcasts either self-styled or actual, to the capital-S sports concept of playing to win, and through this prism Wes Kremer’s seeming obliviousness to the world in general is at the least endearing and at most worth celebrating alongside his own uncanny skills and envelope pushing, up the side of the Clipper ledge or wherever. But maybe coming through and delivering the sort of conversation-changing footage that this Plan B movie for years promised, while longer-serving colleagues opted not to, and burnishing the company’s now 20-year video legacy is a different type of accolade for Torey Pudwill, sort of like the ones referred to by Quartersnacks deity and Project Pat’s bosom Canadian chum Aubrey Taylor in his song ‘Trophies, B.’

*Don’t forget how that one Plan B video was called ‘Virtual Reality, B’
** describes reality as ‘property or real estate.’

Ryan Sheckler’s Saturday Night Workout

December 1, 2014


Earlier this fall, one of Dr. Dre’s many proteges/studio heavy-lifters divulged that the good doctor’s 13-years-in-the-making ‘Detox’ album isn’t coming out. After numerous blown release dates going back to 2005, around the time the US wound up its search for Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, this understandably sent out some shockwaves. The yeti-like album has been called rap’s ‘Chinese Democracy,’ but since that one only took about 14 years to make, the comparison pretty soon might seem kind of unfair. After all, it’s been 8 years since Game threatened to put out his own version, and it seems like he’s moved on. And we all know how hard that is for Game.

Lord knows, it’s tough to take rappers at their word anymore. Dr. Dre hyped ‘Detox’ on XXL’s cover back in 2010, but that was before he went and got a job at Apple, shortly after getting drunk and enjoying his alleged billionaire status upon the sale of his Beats headphone company.

But Dr. Dre’s not the only one. Lil Wayne and Juelz Santana haven’t delivered their long-promised ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ album, alternately blaming Weezy’s jail bid and a badly timed raid on Juelz’s studio. Which happens. And we don’t need to get into Rick Ross’ shifting stories on his past run-in with the law, as in, when he worked as an officer of the law in a Florida jailhouse.

This week, internet ruffians are up in arms again over Ryan Sheckler, that oft-shirtless reality TV heartthrob who’s been moonlighting in recent years as the resurrected Plan B’s answer to Jeremy Wray, or depending on your view of the world, Andy Mac. It all has to do with the new Plan B video ‘B Tru,’ which has been on its own Captain Ahab type of quest to a release date over the past nine-plus years. While Ryan Sheckler and the Plan B team can gather more footage in one trip to China than the entire Girl team can in years’ worth of visits, they maintain exacting standards.

Anyway, peoples’ boxer shorts, or boxer briefs, or whatever you call it for those like Justin Figueroa who probably can’t be expected to indulge in any underwear whatsoever, are all in a bunch because all that Ryan Sheckler footage didn’t include one clip in particular, a successful backside kickflip down the El Toro stairs. You may remember it as home to the monster handrail that Carlos Ruiz backside lipslid(ed?) in Bill Weiss’ directorial debut for Blind. You might say that people had their hopes set unrealistically high, since those are some pretty big stairs and all. Then again, Ryan Sheckler told Thrasher boss Jake Phelps that he did it about five years ago.

Jake Phelps: This is what I heard, that you backside flipped el toro. Yes or no?
Ryan Sheckler: Yes.
JP: You did. How come we don’t see it? How come no flashes of the Plan B video, no nothing?
RS: I’ve been hurt, man.
JP: So what, they don’t want to keep it going? Stoke me out?
RS: Yeah, we’re keeping it going.
JP: Three flip?
RS: No.
JP: Hardflip?
RS: El Toro? Nah.
JP: Just backside flip? Say it.
RS: Just backside flip.

Flash forward several years — in an interview with Thrasher prior to the Plan B video premiere, Ryan Sheckler says that as the video deadline loomed, he had consulted doctors on the health implications of jumping down the famed 20-stair and still hoped to land the buzzworthy trick, which he apparently didn’t land in the prior years:

Thrasher: You know, I got to go with you when you tried El Toro a couple of years ago, and it was super amazing even though you got smoked. Are you trying to go back before this deadline?

Ryan Sheckler: If I’m gonna speak honestly, yeah, that’s the goal. I’m going so diehard on getting my ankle 100 percent. That’s why we brought in these doctors to make sure everything’s put in place so that if it does come down to the time to go, I’m ready to do it. So I’m just taking it day by day and really, really focusing on getting things strong and being able to take that impact. So that’s the goal. We’ll see, dude. I’m trying.

T: I know last time we were there, you tried the backside flip, it looked perfect and then you hit your nose on the last stair. Does that go through your head at all when you think about going back?

RS: Nah, dude, not really. I just need an extra push, thinking about it now. I watched that slam last night and it’s frustrating to watch it, but I don’t know. That was just a random day. I wasn’t warmed up. I was just amped, running off pure adrenaline and pure emotion that day and that’s how it’s gonna have to be this time around. I’m psyched, man. We’ll see what happens, dude.

Last week the Plan B video premiered at the Ricardo Montalban theater, named for the actor who achieved fame over seven decades that included being loudly shouted at by Captain Kirk of the starship Enterprise. After the premiere version of the video apparently did not include Ryan Sheckler landing the much-ballyhooed El Toro backside 180 kickflip, some of that residual intergalatic Hollywood anger appears to have spilled over into internet realms, where Ryan Sheckler has taken e-lashings for appearing to have lied about making the trick.

sk8intreesquidzero24 If you didn’t land that backside flip ur dead to me@shecks

keetnn Do they make plan b grip that sais liar?

mijo_gavino I thought the video was called True?

torysbonergarage Dude why

Meanwhile, Ryan Sheckler is absent from a laundry list of SOTY contenders published by Thrasher the other day, though some amateurs with no big video parts out this year made it.

Ryan Sheckler’s fans over the past week proffered various excuses: Perhaps he did land the trick and the footage was withheld from the premiere version so as to drive mp4 sales higher when word spread that the for-sale version includes an El Toro conquest. Or that an as-yet unnamed Plan B video, to arrive next year and feature Colin McKay, Danny Way and PJ Ladd, who at some point inexplicably vanished from the final ‘B Tru’ cut, also will include the elusive backside flip. Others, resigned to the idea that Ryan Sheckler did not and will not land the trick he seems to have said he did, credit him for claiming it for self-motivation purposes and offer points for trying it at all, and question whether it is even humanly possible.

If Ryan Sheckler turns out to have lied about landing what many would consider an ‘ender ender’-worthy blockbuster, what then? In the past, it would seem the industry shunned dudes for less. Witness former Plan B revolutionary Brian Emmers, shadowed by the urban legend of a self-aggrandizing letter he apparently never even wrote. Has Ryan Sheckler logged too many caffeine-drink advertisements and emotional reality television hours to be so easily heaved overboard? Or will the internet’s 24-minute news cycle rapidly bury critics’ threads and replies, effectively glossing over the whole episode like so many filmers and light poles photoshopped out of the way? Skateboarding differs from major-league alternatives partly because bars are raised and legends are written not inside stadiums and on some game clock but in K-Mart parking lots on the weekend, or in some ditch in the middle of the night. If proof does not reveal itself in the HD video pudding, what happens next?

Too Many Cooks

November 19, 2014


Roots-rocking revivalist Yasiin Bey famously claimed in space that the knack to flying is learning to throw yourself at the ground and miss. So shall it be for SOTY, and the yearlong subliminal toilings or lack thereof that may or may not place a 24th precious metaled and pantsed man atop some lucky pro’s professionally burbling toilet tank. Whereas recent bald-faced attempts to remake personal brands in the Thrasher mode, just happening to drop video projects near year’s end whilst wearing around S-A-D tees, generally have fallen flat, low-key schralping one’s fanny off in front of the proper HD lenses may yet prove to be the reliable path. Consider:

Cory Kennedy: A cheeseburger in paradise on a seven-day weekend, Cory Kennedy this year has spent much of his permanent vacation garbing himself in gift-shop merchandise on Thrasher-affiliated tours. His love affair with crust continues and ‘what-me-worry’ Oakley blading approach to life has taken him into the deep end sans pads, another plus in the Thrasher galaxy. Certain stony adventures truly put him on the road alongside various Bru-Rayers, Fourstars and the current SOTY clique, but has he been hittin hard enough between all the good times to shut the door on would-be campaigners?

Bobby Worrest: In recent years Bobby Worrest’s inclusion on such a list may have served merely as Facebook Timeline-ready clickbait for aging e-commercers reminiscing on early Brick Harbor clips, but consider: Ten years into his career, the DC-area’s kid beard has sidestepped career distractions as varied and alluring as shoe-sponsor travails and a potential second life as a right-wing pundit, only to switch backside noseblunt a handrail in one of his three video parts this year, each certified urban grade with no artificial flavors and seasonings. A hard-earned corporate sponsor paycheck may be a consolation prize if Thrasher fails to be won over by days of Pulaski clip-logging.

Wes Kremer: Similar to now-teammate Jake Brown giggling his way around the loop at Tampa that one year, Wes Kremer wobblingly cruised through to late-summer bomb the galaxy via an unassuming video that contained a wallie late-shove it over a chunky hubba, a slappy b/s 5-0 down some other hubba and one of the larger switch backside bigspin flips on offer recently. (It also copped a TWS cover for the curtain call, which you could look like as a plus or a minus in Thrasherland.) Then this week he did it again, running yet another slappy variation down the Clipper ledge, hucking massive shifty kickflips and resurrecting hallowed Peter Smolik career touchstones. Wes Kremer approaches Jake Johnson level wallrides, keeps his bushings slack and meanwhile seems like he’d be doing much the same shit whether they were handing awards out for it or not, so the Phelps brain-trust could easily do worse.

Torey Pudwill: With the mane of a virile walrus and a love interest that could’ve come off the arm of a freshly IPO’d internet mogul, Torey Pudwill hardly requires Thrasher’s most-exclusive title to achieve fulfillment, but there he was last summer, bringing back the so-called suski grind, pushing his ever-longer backside tailslides and exhibiting that generally ludicrous pop en route to what’s billed as a blockbuster entry in the Plan B video, which for real really is seriously coming out. Torey Pudwill gifted unto High Speed Productions two Thrasher covers this year, but does his wiggly armed comet orbit close enough to the magazine’s star to get him over?

Dylan Rieder: Our black leather pant-clad dark horse candidate, Dylan Rieder’s muscular pop and eye for Soviet-era public art as background flair got him onto the front of Thrasher earlier this year, sporting sunglasses to boot. For all those years of brutality when Heath Kirchart prowled under the radar, could Dylan Rieder’s zeitgeist-capturing turn in Bill Strobeck’s “Cherry” and Berlin residency — including that pop out of the noseblunt — in support of his latest pro-model wing tip be too much for the Thrasher camp to resist? No other name on this list brought nudity to the table the way Dylan Rieder has this year; levels yall.

Separately, if Danny Way repeated off the strength of his Mega-RampingTM “DC Video” part last decade, should Tony Hawk merit a mention for recording two parts this year with time left over to tame the Nessie-like hoverboard? Where does Mark Suciu’s MJ-sized “Search the Horizon” opus fall for Thrasher’s fiscal-year purposes? How many Wasserman Clients this year will garner a coveted nomination?

Boil A Ocean Summertime Mixtape Vol. 2 #1 – Pat Channita ‘Second Hand Smoke’

June 25, 2014

Some time back a series of summerish video parts was posted up onto this space while the world bided its time until the new Rick Ross CD arrived. To come are several more in a series curated so as to give appropriate glory to Rick Ross, his Wing Stop franchise poultry restaurants and summertime in general.

As far as second-wave Plan B riders go Pat Channita’s not talked about as much as Jeremy Wray or Rick McCrank or even Ronnie Bertino, but around the time he came out the crispiness of his flip tricks was regarded in certain circles as on a par with fellow World employees Daewon Song and Lavar McBride. Between the capacity for ambidextrous pushing, significant pop beneath the inward heelflips and that one backside heelflip over the bench Pat Channita represents a legitimate before-his-time contender, as well as the fact that he looks to have been 15 or 16 around the time he filmed all this, raising questions as to how or why he otherwise seems to have fallen through the cracks of message-board debates and where-are-they-now retrospecticuses — an obvious question to ponder is whether the fretful black slime from those Genetic shoe ads may have poisoned Pat Channita into a plotting supervillain bent on general chaos as well as ruining Peter Parker’s personal relationships. Irregardless, all the curbs, khaki shorts and Barack Obama presidential campaign tune make this an enjoyably breezy summer video part.

Thoughts On The Current State Of Skateboarding But More Specifically The Eternally Springing Hope Brought On By A Recent PJ Ladd Video Clip

June 16, 2013


Although certain other Boston-area pro acts are as associated with rap music as with nollie 360s in recent times, PJ Ladd’s career may be the one to most closely track the fortunes of the Wu-Tang Clan. Both arrived out of left field, offered something very different than the going thing at the time of their respective debuts and garnered legendary stature amongst tweens fine-tuning kickflips off quarterpipe decks. Arguments could be made that neither one so far has surpassed the bar set for themselves straight out of the gate, though “Forever” and “Really Sorry” had their moments (Inspecta Deck’s human-fly escapade in the “Triumph” video, the fakie frontside heelflip backside 5-0 on one of those notorious window ledges).

The years since have seen certain Wu members and PJ Ladd trade in various overcast and colonial-constructed eastern seaboard streetcorners for sunnier but less-descript locales of southern California, while combating the dilutive effects of fame and fortune, and inevitably misplacing some intangibles in the process. There are rich message-board seams to mine as to why PJ Ladd has yet to properly follow up the “Wonderful, Horrible” paradigm-shifter, instead offering dribs and drabs of footage across a decadelong shuffle of shoe sponsors and road trips. This latest clip, from the X Games “Real Street” series, is more potent than recent skatepark fare when it comes to resurrecting ghosts of a kid whipping off flatground tricks in lines that most people hadn’t conceived of — here a fakie frontside 180 b/s 5-0 shove-it and a frontside 180 switch crooked grind frontside shove-it out that perhaps have been notched somewhere in the wilds of Youtube, but probably not so well, and another rendition of the floaty sort of revert out of a crooked grind that once helped PJ Ladd defy some parameters of physics on one of those window ledges some 10 years ago. Nice to see the fakie flip frontside noseslide 270 shove-it again.

Are We As A Subculture Strong Enough To Stick Together As Mike Carroll Goes Gray?

November 14, 2012

Around 18 short months ago the singer Chris Brown released the Toto-sampling single “She Ain’t You” and later had the planet on smash. The move was a unique look for Chris Brown, coming off a domestic violence scandal that rocked the industry, potentially lost marketing revenue, and left the nation jaded on celebrity relationships. Now, Chris Brown, performing in a tan outfit and with a wide-brimmed hat that was not really a cowboy hat but looked kind of like something that Michael Jackson might wear. He modeled certain parts of his new song on the original Michael Jackson song and another part on Sisters With Voices, and sold ringtones. Chris Brown hit #5 on the R&B charts and went gold in Australia in what some characterized as a turning point for his career.

This web blog sometimes speaks openly on topics including ageism, the arrow of time, and futuristic battlefields littered with the limbs of damaged ‘mechs, some brought down by SRMs aimed at the groin. One can try and mentally prepare for the unknowable, spinning curveballs that life places upon you, but only so much. So it was that longtime watchers of Mike Carroll encountered several surprises in recent months — one, hints and several suggestions of gray hairs along the sides of his head during the Eric Koston Epicly Later’ds. The second was a revelation that he had not long ago been diagnosed with that feral-sounding disorder that brought down J Dilla, lupus.

On the cusp of this new decade’s full-length offering from the Crailtap camp the hype cycle is unsurprisingly focused on any potential star turn from the reinvigorated Guy Mariano and whether this may be enough to achieve a magazine trophy, some limb-risking efforts on behalf of this crop of would-be torch-picker-uppers such as Elijah Berle, the length of Marc Johnson’s er video section and whether an allegedly more relaxed filming schedule might manifest itself in a movie that doesn’t carry the weight of the world in terms of production effects and moody techno. I have not heard a great deal about Koston. And though there have been offstage mutterings to the effect of ‘this is really the last hurrah for some of these dudes’ you have to wonder in the year 2012 whether it is really the last hurrah for some of these dudes.

Versus the clockwork-like recording of NBDs that Eric Koston has been able to turn in over the past two decades, Carroll’s career has always been a subtler affair with less fussing involved, that synthesizes the EMB cool-guy envelope-pushing with the self-deprecating launch ramp antics that Girl got into along with some rap CDs and crew cuts and sometimes a rave event. But if one or the other retires effectively upon publication of the “Pretty Sweet” video project, which would deal the heavier blow to an industry already disenchanted with slowing board sales, widespread (alleged) doping and the twin career flame-outs of Pappalardo and Wenning?

Has Mike Carroll ever made a bad video part, over what is almost a quarter of a century now? Recently he issues the same sort of weary commentary as Gino Iannucci around any further footage being largely given over to recycling old tricks at new spots, but when it comes to those frontside flips and backside tailslides, should that matter? Eric Koston’s Epicly Later’d series suggested that his pro career represents a rare bird that continues to peak, but what of Mike Carroll’s — across the Plan B and Girl catalogues, is there any easily identifiable high point?

Off Parole/As The Three-Striped Tentacle Turns

September 27, 2011

Around this particular corner of the internet a virtual candle remains lit for the skate career of Danny Renaud, filthy Floridian, and any signal that he is back aboard in whatever capacity is welcome. In recent decades Fred Gall has helped bring many great things into the world, including top-tier sponsorship deals for Steve Durante and the mid-90s catchphrase “skuhhh!,” and his Domestics clothes blog this month offers up a web clip that mostly features Paul DeOliveira but surprises with a Renaud cameo at the end that finds the dude not looking too much worse for some pretty serious wear. Any waft of this dude’s brand of swaggering grime is welcome, however fleeting.

Elsewhere in Florida, you could say fleeting to talk about PJ Ladd’s footage output these past eight or nine years, a minute or two here and there and a lot of it in pretty antiseptic park environments devoid of the kid-flipping-his-board-down-the-street soul that jazzed his Coliseum arrival. But there’s a gem now and then and if you look past the is-he-or-ain’t-he footwear choice in this Orlando demo clip that went up a couple weeks ago there are some. The kickflip noseslide shove-it rewound in my head for a day or two after first seeing this clip, partly because it’s the type of unassuming tech move that made his old footage so fun to watch, and maybe too because it’s a trick that tons of other people would make look like shit. Cool to see the bluntslide too.

Above The Fruited Plain With Torey Pudwill, High On Freak Pills

July 4, 2011

Cue the kickflip lipslide to switch k-grind and out the door goes any notion that Torey Pudwill might put some kind of lid on the video game tricks in favor of putting his oodles of raw talent toward something like a concept-part, and that’s okay — Pudwill gets it in wearing mustard yellow sneakers and anything less than his usual all-the-way-turnt-up tech probably would be uncivilized. The line through those La Brea* ledges sparks the idea life again, until he goes supervillain with the backside noseblunt and starts kickflipping sidewalks and twirling over pic-a-nic tables, but when this dude applies himself to tricks like that bump-to-bar nosegrind and the backside smith grind through the blue kinker rail, if I was a cellar door searcher, I’d be glad Torey Pudwill’s not out there looking to eat my lunch the way it seems like he could really do on the energy-drink contest circuit if he had a good day.

When he did that looong backside noseblunt I sort of moaned and it came back louder after that launch-ramp b/s tailslide. Dario Rezk gets points for subtlety on an off-the-flat ender, even with pop being one of Pudwill’s stocks in trade. When it came out that Thrasher was going to be the exclusive home to this latest marquee web-part, and the ensuing hype cycle on the website in the last couple weeks, I got to thinking this was Plan B’s way of trying to slot Pudwill in for SOTY. It would be hard to argue with. No doubt these are precision moves, nollie flip backside tailslide bigspin flip out, but those arms work in his favor because if we’re putting a technician on the pedestal I’m going for the sweaty, hairy unhinged one versus the switch-flip-switch-b/s-tail-coloring inside the lines of Shane O’Neill, in some paint-by-numbers Janoski/flannel/backward snap-back ensemble. If Pudwill comes back with a part filmed in the second half of 2011 featuring a load of frontside tailslide and frontside smith grind tricks then it’ll be game over.

*Or wherever — you know, Danny Garcia localizes them