Posts Tagged ‘Ponce De Leon’

The Incomparable Rodrigo TX

June 26, 2016

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The annals of skate history are littered with x-rays, unpaid medical bills, jail sentences and as-yet undiagnosed cases of chronic traumatic encephalopathy that would argue against the timeworn slogan that skateboarding is a youthful fountain worthy of Juan Ponce de Leon’s most brutal fantasies. And then, there are those who seem to truly defy age’s gravitational yankings, such as Daewon Song, Louie Barletta and, in the dirtier, ghettoier and kidlike column, Rodrigo Teixeira.

Renowned under his AP Stylebook-friendly acronymical abbreviator, Rodrigo TX is that unlikely child prodigy whose career has achieved not just a second act but a third and now perhaps fourth, as his immaculately curated flippery augurs for the pinnacle, or one of them, in Adidas’ overstuffed tongue of a full-length ‘Away Days.’ Some of these dudes in a few years’ time will rightly be regarded as swishy pant bandwagoners and then there are others, such as TX and Great Yarmouth whirlwind Chewy Cannon, who look born into them, and rarer still is the type of finesse that allows TX to crib ‘Menikmati’-era moves like the nollie flip noseslide and make them look not just crazy good but a welcome alternative to a tenement city’s worth of wallies.

While former roommate Mark Appleyard opted to take years off before repositioning himself in skating’s orbit like he never floated away, Rodrigo TX seems to have redoubled efforts year to year, cranking out video parts while honing his tricks to finely shaped points, such that his fakie flip for Adidas not long ago merited hushed discussion among the alltime greats. Draped in monochromatic stripeyness Rodrigo TX’s ‘Away Days’ clips like the fakie frontside boardslide, the frontside tailslide kickflip out and the one where he does Mikey Taylor’s DVS ender switch bedazzle the watcher in a video chockablock with hyper-clean ledge skating, and then comes with rubbernecker-friendly fare like the nollie inward heelflip backside 180 to make sure everybody’s paying attention. TX’s Muni frontside heelflip rivals Lucas Puig’s for best in the vid and that last backside flip needs to go into a time capsule.

Does Rodrigo TX’s Adidas sponsorship, similar to Bobby Worrest’s Nike deal, rank as one of those rare cases that makes perfect sense for all involved given dues paid, legacy ‘skate’ industry bridges apparently left standing and peak on-board performance capacity still somehow yet ahead? Is it possible to say that somebody else did that backside kickflip or is such a statement impossibly untrue? Are Carlos Iqui and Tiago Lemos together the new Rodrigo TX or is Rodrigo TX the new Rodrigo TX (and also the Rodrigo TX of the Flip years)? What if somebody told you there was a video with Rodrigo TX, Silas Baxter Neal, Nyjah Huston, Bobby Worrest, Rick McCrank and PJ Ladd?

Shouts To Werner Heisenberg, Dejuan Rice, The (Extinct) Protoceratops And Everybody Who BBQ’d This Weekend

July 22, 2012

Quantum theory teaches us that the act of observing a process can affect the result. A recent interview with Josh Kalis reminded readers that in the 1990s Scott Conklin was not to be trifled with. Now, another reconnoitering looms, as we determine what to make of a sober-minded treatise on our cultural forebears from the New Yorker of all places.

The early to mid-nineties are mostly recalled by skaters as a time of funny tricks and super-baggy pants, of random mockery by the public. Gone were the days when everybody knew about Powell, when Cab won high-air contests and pretty girls mewled around Hosoi. Many skaters now did hard, often ugly-looking moves; ridiculously, transition skating was even derided, for a time making it impossible for such pros to make a living. And yet, at the same time, the innovation begun in the eighties marched on. Gradually, people could land flip tricks (where the board flips in different ways under your feet while you remain in the air) cleaner, faster, and more consistently. And in a stroke, the full realization of the concept of switch-stance—doing tricks going the other way, like someone deliberately pitching with their non-preferred arm—effectively doubled what could be done. To top it all off, the best ramp skaters learned what nobody would have dreamed of, which was to make the new, ultra-precise street tricks compatible with twelve-foot-tall half-pipes. These skaters were indeed obscure and comically dressed. But most skaters in 1992, viewing Plan B’s “Questionable Video”—in which Pat Duffy faced terrifying handrails with a matador’s nerve and in the rain, and Mike Carroll reminded us that San Francisco’s Embarcadero Plaza was a brilliant laboratory, a sort of Silicon Valley of skating—understood that they were witnessing something extraordinary. There was no telling what each new video would prove possible.

True, true. Web places like this one, constructed around the practice of picking nits, could give it a shot here but it’s not easy sledding in that regard since the bro James Guida has a grip* on history, isn’t much contesting a generous number of consensus-backed pro picks, and obviously shares a soft spot for the 1990s and in particular the outsidery attitude fermented in that rich, bubbly stew of small wheels, big pants and occasional rave music. This is where the whole pursuit veers into paradox territory though. Looka here:

The popular notion of skaters tends to be as adolescent (often true, speaking purely demographically), male (ditto), unruly and anti-social (there are shades to that). So, yes, there’s some fact there. “Skateboarding is not a crime,” a famous sticker from the eighties, was so popular in part because skaters knew and liked that it was a crime. Skaters do grind and mark things and take chances in people’s empty pools; the constant dodge and chase of security guards has always been an occupational hazard. (A regular feature in skateboard videos, much like skits in rap records, is clips of encounters with authority or otherwise humorous pedestrians.) But skaters are a far more diverse and accepting bunch than most people tend to recognize. It makes sense: their obsession has tricks, not rules, and nobody’s there to tell you which ones to do. Style is valued above all, and both tricks and terrain expand with people’s imaginings. With reason, some like to say that skating is an art.

Guida rightly credits the anti-social aspects of skating as a defining trait. But what’s it say re: general positioning in the societal food chain if you’re getting a well-reasoned thumbs-up from the New Yorker?

*Rip Grip? Lawl