Posts Tagged ‘Rob Dyrdek’

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

The DC Blog Post or, Finding Yourself and Redefining Success After Your Parent Seeks Protection from Creditors

September 16, 2017

Like a healthily scuffed Lynx arcing across a sunny SoCal sky following an AVE post-bail heaving, the erstwhile DC Shoe Co USA is in transition. Gone are Street Leaguers Nyjah Huston, Mikey Taylor, Felipe Ortiz and Chris Cole, on whose backs DC once sought to build a contest-circuit machine to rival the likes of Nike and Adidas. The flag logo that once represented the action-sporting nation DC once aimed to forge — a more perfect union of skateboarders, BMX bicylclists, motorcross motorcyclers, surf-riders and assorted well-wishers. It’s a smaller tent now, refocused on that seven-pointed star and the normal/extra-boldface/bold typeface pattern that crowded an older generation’s heads with highly motivational and semi-coherent calls to action.

It’s been a long time for DC in skateboarding’s lonely wilderness of what is not so cool, a foggy landscape of mall stores, mail-order warehouses and board shorts with flames on the side. Few find their way to the other side. Like Es shoes, DC remained in thrall to the tech shoe’s hoary bulk as Nike found its simpler, streamlined toehold in the Dunk and set about directing the conversation in the post-9/11 years. DC gained its own corporate firepower following its roll-up by surf log manufacturer Quiksilver, and outfitting Rob Dyrdek and other lords of MTV reality provided cushion enough for DC to maintain its industry position through the vulc-sole wars of attrition, if not necessarily retaining space on shop walls. A succession of designers proceeded to bastardize the Lynx into steadily less-recognizable forms, Euro SuperTour jerseys mouldered away somewhere, and Danny Way and Colin McKay didn’t show for the Plan B vid. But, DC shoes still was there.

For skateboarders of a certain age it’s odd to think of DC, which did so much to shift skate shoes from relatively simplistic Vans and Jims toward sportier stylings and techish accoutrements in the late 1990s, as a legacy act. But here we are: The seeds of DC’s attempted return to its late 90s/early 00s vitality were sown by the retro-minded Pennsylvanians behind the Sabotage vids and #skateshoewars, copping online vintage Lynxes, Kalises and various others as they simultaneously reclaimed Love Park from the authorities. Unlike Alien Workshop, DC recognized a new generation preparing to don swishy pants and opened its East Coast flow spigots, and now spot-searching Droors-endorser John Shanahan helps DC find a path after long years of wandering.

Against this backdrop arrives the winkingly named ‘The DC Promo’, feeling more vital than any DC video project in years. DC seems focused on capturing the world-conquering prowess that drove its inaugural full-length, a quest made easier by the fact that after the LA schoolyard groundwork laid by the Girl and Plan B camps, DC convincingly placed longhaired sweathogs like AVE and Ryan Smith alongside ledge grimers such as Brian Wenning and Stevie Williams, also with some vert ramps and Mega RampsTM. ‘The DC Promo’ is not so different, proffering perpetually adolescent Tristan Funkhauser as an olive branch toward the flood-panted deities of wallies and body varials — his incredible wallie frontside 360 is well-served by Chris Ray’s incorporation of the after-black hammer. Carlos Iqui and the too-long overlooked Tommy Fynn spin some wild handrail tricks, noted clotheshorse John Shanahan cracks an immense fakie shove-it over a bar and be still our hearts, for about 30 seconds, Colin McKay and Danny Way get busy on ramp coping. Wes Kremer and Evan Smith, who made a convincing enough odd couple in Thrasher’s recent interview issue, turn in a fairly blistering tag-teamer with Evan Smith inventing a new approach to an aged Philly spot and Wes Kremer further proving out 2014’s SOTY nod with a mindbender of a last trick. But the moment really is Tiago Lemos’, a time when switch backside tailsliding the Mission District 3-up-3-down can be goofed as a warm-up clip, irksome physics get brushed aside by waist-high kickflip smith grinds (both ways), and Marcus McBride’s block hops get Xeroxed for one of the more memorable lines down the SF pier in a while. This dude is operating on a whole different wavelength right now, and it’s a privilege to watch it unfold.

How much of DC’s turn away from prime time action sporting and podium-climbing pros, and refocus on skater-run events, pumping out videos and re-outfitting team riders in glossy jerseys, was forced by Quiksilver’s bankruptcy and resulting belt-tightening? Does the existence of new Danny Way and Colin McKay footage render the question moot? Yall saw these right? How much of the recently departed riders’ salaries have been redirected toward Tiago Lemos’ bank account as a preemptive hedge against the inevitable swoop by Nike or Adidas? How frantically are DC’s marketing overlords looking for ways to get him booked on a Thrasher trip before this year’s SOTY race winds down?

Odd Couple Therapy

November 14, 2015

tango-and-cash-grenade

Sun Tzu, the famous tactician for whom our shiny star and exotic animal exhibits now are named, defined total victory not as the end of any battle or campaign or war but rather when one’s opponent is paying hefty and recurring fees to operate a pancake franchise in his former territory, and comping the victor all premium toppings. This battleground truism rings as accurately now as it ever did in the comparatively topping-poor days of Mr Tzu, and in particular regarding the security guard, that grimacing, oft-charred coyote to skateboarding’s trim and turnt up roadrunner.

As skating’s profile has expanded and been deemed more lucrative by television channels, beverage conglomerates and concerned parents, the by-definition fraught and frosty security guard/skater dynamic has mutated its way through several forms and appendage assortments. Once squarely classified as paid haters indulging jock-minded power trips, the security guard has been alternately corrupted, co-opted and caricatured as the relationship’s balance of power has skidded and slid toward skateboarders, who today wield an an increasingly outsized cultural cudgel and cheap video recording equipments.

Travel back, if you would, to 2003, when skaterboarders in the employ of Emerica shoes took some of the early, halting steps toward sidelining security guards’ stature and dignity by filming the bribery of one in pursuit of jubble-set glory, the stairs’ blurry-faced would-be defender capitulating with the dangling of a $100 bill and a warbly ‘okay.’ That same year Rob Dyrdek did the concept one better, hiring his own security guard and cementing the dollar’s supremacy over the once hallowed security guard code. For a generation of stretch denim-purchasing yungsters the precedent was set; in subsequent Baker productions, Jim Greco would go on to good naturedly tussle with security guards and play at parlor-trick hypnosis for laughs, while elsewhere security went cheerfully ignored, or worse, reduced to asking politely.

Where does all this leave the rent-a-cop as 2015 staggers out? No longer threats and by now passe to debate, they seem to have been relegated to moving obstacles for those confident and daring enough to put a trick in their face, such as LRG nollie inward heelflip blaster Miles Silvas, or several, as the GX1000 consortium recently demonstrated in Japan. Ty Evans’ slo-mo drone ballet ‘We Are Blood’ positioned security as worthy if ineffectual water-fight opponents, while the prospect of fleeting Vine fame inspires some in the profession to abandon their fraternal code and defect.

Yet as security guards’ total defeat appears close at hand, one may ponder a certain pocket of emptiness in skating’s collective soul*, upon which a phantom finger may be hard to place. Bart Simpson, that 1990s skate standard-bearer and this decade a regular feature upon Justin Figuoera’s Ebay vintage apparel purchases, once complained of a similarly eerie malaise upon triumphing over his own authority dispenser, Principle Skinner:

BS: It’s weird, Lise. I miss having Skinner as a friend, but I miss him even more as an enemy.

LS: I think you need Skinner, Bart. Everybody needs a nemesis. Sherlock Holmes had his Dr. Moriarty, Mountain Dew has its Mellow Yellow, even Maggie has that baby with the one eyebrow.

Has skating, imbued with greater cultural clout and youthful impunity, at this point effectively shaved the one eyebrow of the world’s rent-a-cops? If Mello Yello were pulled from the marketplace, would Paul Rodriguez’s tricks bubble with the same sweet zest? Will skating and security guarding only truly set aside their differences and come to understand and respect one another after they are both framed in a drug deal gone bad and jailed among the many bloodthirsty criminals they helped put away, forced to rely upon their wits, brawn and one other to break free, clear their names and reclaim their badges?

*could also refer to gaps in peoples’ Collective Soul album collections

The Incredible Shrinking Alien Workshop

February 23, 2014

thanks_ohio

Singular as it was to see the Dill/AVE ‘Dear John’ letter pop up on AWS’s site last spring, it is wild to look upon the ‘Team’ page in recent weeks and count just four working professionals and two amateurs, half the year-ago number, and relegating 30-years-young 2006 Sect inductee Omar Salazar to de-facto elder statesman status. Setting aside Heath Kirchart’s retired jersey and the mercurial standing of Rob Dyrdek the absentee landlord, if you were to trim now-departed ridership from the ‘Cinematographer’ section (and keep the between-clip clips) you’d get about a three-minute vignette; just three parts from ‘Mind Field’ would survive.

The narrative seems to go like this: aging bones and the lack of any equity stake in the company that employed them for some 15 years, Van Engelen and Dill dipped after seeing the title to DNA’s corporate UFO change hands multiple times in recent years, in the most recent case supposedly finding out only after the fact that Dyrdek had abruptly flipped the company to sunglass investor and Street League licensor Pacific Vector Holdings. (‘Despicable Me’ teaches us that a vector possesses direction and magnitude, while Pacific refers to the ocean that abuts California.) Sans these sometime-roomies and industry spirit-guides, Ohio-rooted bean-planter Kevin Terpening quietly exited, followed by the long-anticipated departure of Mikey Taylor, Grant Taylor’s seemingly preordained leap to Anti-Hero and most recently that of onetime franchise fakie 360-flipper and recent DKNY booster Dylan Rieder*.

The slow ebb of branded professional talent from the AWS roster over the past three quarters probably does not rise to the level of the World Industries ship-jumping of the mid-1990s or the nearly absolute Toy Machine team abscondiment that left Ed Templeton and Austin Stephens to rebuild by themselves the house of the Transmissionator. The steady grabbing of coats leaves open the question though as to whether the exodus has yet run its course. The curb-carving hair-greaser known to fans as Donovon Piscopo is seen to remain close with the DAVE contingent; hardly a fortnight can pass without wallride impresario Jake Johnson being instagrammed in close proximity to Polar hardgoods and he has really started to do a lot of no-complies these past 18 months.

Are the quartet of Jake Johnson, Omar Salazar, a recently reinvigorated and spectacleless Tyler Bledsoe, and Gilbert Crockett — who for one has voiced on the record his commitment to remaining aboard the grand Alien trip — strong enough to sustain and refresh this hallowed and murky well of Midwestern weirdness? Did recent “collaborations” with the estates of Warhol and Haring* signal a grasping at creative straws for a company with one of the strongest track records of art still going? To what extent are DNA’s new owners vexed by the exits, versus what their financial models may have divined prior to agreeing the purchase? Will the excellently disjointed TOUROHIO clip from late last year come to be seen as bridge or a bookend? Are the personnel moves to be interpreted as some right-sizing of DNA’s pro-level staffing, given Josh Kalis’ recent comments to the effect that even the MTV-moneyed boardroom chessboxer Dyrdek struggled to keep the company financially viable?

*Noting the Dill and Ave note, as the industry becomes increasingly press-release driven it seems more and more strange when companies keep silent on the departure of marquee names, especially those of years-long riders, instead quietly deleting them from their websites and re-screening their boards.
**does the world need a Radiohead album of Beatles covers?

As We Consider The Potential For International Interest-Rate Watchdogs To Turn Their Gaze Upon Street League Scoring, Here Are Several Charts

August 14, 2012

In recent days the undersea volcanic trench that is Rob Dyrdek’s business empire sent up another frothy cascade of bubbles that made ‘internet waves,’ as his Street League subsidiary jockeyed for position and unique eyeballs among an increasingly crowded and soda residue-sticky field of contest franchises. Rob Dyrdek, who skate lore says steered his investments away from P-Jays Undapendent just ahead of the great backpack rap bubble’s bursting in the early part of the last decade, is revered among newly pro’d auto-shoppers pondering the lease vs. own question for his business acumen and counter-intuitive moves, which oftentimes leave lesser investors in the dust and gazing up toward what appears to be an increasingly lofty ivory-tower perch.

Rob Dyrdek has proven that he cannot be bound by common rules and statutes of business 101, just as he cannot be constricted by typical contest guidelines, going on to design his own rules and then breaking those just the same. Rob Dyrdek has revamped various business lines altogether, for instance reviving the noble tradition of metallurgy and advanced alloying in the Serbian basin and more recently buying his pet small horse a pager. For his next move, Rob Dyrdek seems set upon reconfiguring the social stratum. A while ago we explored the concept of a top-1% designation for pros flexing to the tune of private skating facilities and other perks. Due to the power of Street League, pro skateboarders now clean the clocks of NFL union members in terms of earnings growth, perhaps delivering a cosmic blow against the jocks of the universe, right where it counts.

According to cited figures, social media friends of Street League man to man could take on the country of Australia in a brawl and stand a good chance of winning, depending on what time of day the fight started and whether Australia had just eaten a big meal beforehand. The popularity of the Street League has enabled each league cycle to hold sway over TV and internet streaming services for more than 315 hours, or roughly four months.

Yet has Rob Dyrdek’s appetite for risk led him to chance losing it all? A closer look at this section of the PDF reveals that the Street League’s method of calculating constestants’ scores vaguely resembles the British Bankers Association’s approach to formulating the London interbank offered rate, a worldwide benchmark for floating rate lending that has now come under fire as trading desks allegedly leaned on rate-setters to quote artificially high or low rates, part of a plan to skew the Libor’s fixing and reap rewards in the markets. Untold sums lean against these rates in the form of mortgages, auto loans and futures market bets, all of which have come into question following regulators’ allegations.

Could Rob Dyrdek be setting Street League up for a similar crisis of confidence, threatening the newly fattened purses of SLS’s exclusive boys? Should smelting be added as the long-rumored “fifth element” of Street League? Do you remember when Rob Dyrdek mastered the 20-stair rail in that old DC commercial and AVE turned in an uncredited cameo as a construction worker? Is AVE in the 99% or the 1%? Same question for Rob Dyrdek’s small horse but in terms of horse earnings?

Bastien Salabanzi Does Not See Eye To Eye With Elderly Lotto Winners But As Far As We Can Tell Has Not Yet Taken Any Wild Animals Captive For Celebration Purposes

April 26, 2012

On the evening of March 30, Merle and Pat Butler of Red Bud, IL embarked upon the dropping of a certain brand of lifestyle hammer that in certain ways has never before been seen. After hitting a record lotto jackpot, they kept their heads down and stayed on the proverbial grind for nearly three weeks before stepping forward to acknowledge their lifestyle hammer of $110 million that has made them “rich forever,” in the parlance of Maybach Music Group. In purely lotto terms, this was the equivalent of Geoff Rowley segueing into a modest flatground line after completing his Clipper assault and briefly praising the Lord.

The behaviour exhibited by the lucky retirees stands in sharp contrast to other rapidly enriched persons including footballer Chad Johnson, whose urge to share his exuberance upon scoring points has occasionally included unique collabs with other species.

“On the highway, I hit a deer,” Johnson said Tuesday, insisting he was serious and that the animal wasn’t hurt. “I kept him. He’s at home in the garage. I’m going to use him for the celebration this weekend. He’s a prop. They might suspend me for the last game, but I think this one is worth it.”

France’s Bastien Salabanzi has not divulged capturing live animals for the purposes of hyping supporters, but he has staked out ground as among skateboarding’s biggest believers in one’s self and in the past has openly expressed himself in front of a live arena audience. Like Greg Lutzka’s happily snapping fingers and Bob Burnquist’s tears of joy, Bastien Salabanzi’s penthouse quarters on cloud nine have left a bad taste in the mouths of some and occasionally drawn fire from others.

ESPN: Why do you get so much grief for doing that?
BS: It’s skateboarding. The cool attitude is to do the gnarliest thing and make it look like you do it every morning on the way to go get the bread at the store, like the trick is completely normal.

I don’t really care. I don’t want to be someone else. It makes me happy when I land something. But I can understand from an outside point of view, maybe from someone who liked to watch skateboarding but never really did it hard they cannot relate to that kind of behavior. For example, a lot of people talk about John McEnroe, that the guy is insane and he goes mental on the court but at the same time people agree that he was one of the best that has ever played. I’m sure he doesn’t care his reputation is to be completely crazy. What he cares about is the number of tournaments he’s won.

Skateboarding’s rejection of big upping one’s self is rooted in a historic aversion to the sort of chest-beating that characterized the mainstream sports kids were supposed to be pursuing in the 80s and 90s when the sheen of televised vert contests began to recede. The country wasn’t trying to care about Jovontae Turner doing 360 flips and nollie nose manuals and generally dudes weren’t fooling themselves. All this stuff was going on in parking lots and around back of some department stores, and if you knew you knew, etc.

Is this mode of thinking outdated when our $15 million man Rob Dyrdek is finally getting around to starring in some tossed-off show he pitched to MTV five years ago and decks regularly outsell Louisville Sluggers? Have we become so coldhearted as to begrudge Billy Marks a moment of euphoria at the big Wilshire handrail? Did Forrest Edwards transcend the self-cheering debate when he cooly explained that his go-to tricks are “not gay”? Do yall realize this posting has incorporated so far three ESPN web-links?

It used to be humbler times, when a trick-namer such as Tony Hawk was gluing plies together by hand in the back of his Lexus as he stayed one step ahead of repo men and sought to put food on the table, or when bros were hopping fences to get at wealthier folks’ lightly used pools. Bastien Salabanzi recently skated a private park to try and qualify for a contest series where he could pocket some $1 million, and the idea of hiding his double-cabellarial flipping light under a bushel seems to strike him as outlandish.

What do you put the importance on?
At the end of the day I don’t want to be remembered as a cocky lunatic. I started skating in 1994. Today I watched the 12 minutes of footage from when I was a little kid and that’s when I was having so much fun and not caring about no industry or sponsors. I was just having fun and loving skating. That’s how I want to skate, to have fun and skating the way I want to skate like when I was 13.

I’m happy with the road I took and the way things happened; I don’t regret anything. But I do understand the people that find my behavior too much, at the same time I don’t care. I’m 26, I learned and I’ve evolved and think different. When I see my behavior at a contest from years ago I laugh so hard and think, “Wow, I was a little bit crazy.”

Rob Dyrdek Bids Against Self In AWS Pursuit, Vexes Merger Arbs

January 14, 2012

As skateboarding’s most-recognized dealmaker, Rob Dyrdek has built his career on the risk of embracing different kinds of risk. A Jackass for the CNBC set, Dyrdek is as comfortable negotiating his homeboys’ contract terms from beneath a Motel 6 hangover as he is nollie frontside nosesliding to fakie or cooly inhaling intoxicants from colorful balloons at a European rave event. Among those who invest their business expense money in gas station trinkets and accept automobiles as payment, Dyrdek’s business sense is high lore, which only added to the shock following his premature exaltation this week that he would take ownership of the hardgoods concern that has employed him since he was a tyke.

Dyrdek surely knows that dealmaking of any kind is a gamble, yet chose to break a cardinal rule of M&A and show his hand to his opponent — the snurfer lord Jake Burton — by announcing not only the advanced stages of their deal talks but vowing to keep the beloved Ohio memory-screener under his financial protection forevermore, implying that profits and losses are but a passing fancy on the wind that take a back seat to his emotional connection to the Alien Workshop. Which is understandable and even worthy of praise from fans such as this weblogging site that bore with some of the at-times questionable decisions re: team and otherwise over the past 10 years, but Dyrdek’s business sense oughtta be reptilian enough at this point not to let something like love enter the picture when you’re trying to bend your trading counterparty over the table.

The deal confuses me. Few details are out there, because maybe they have yet to all be determined. Let’s assume Dyrdek buys DNA Distribution in full from Burton. He gets AWS, Habitat, Reflex bearings, Habitat shoes. I would think Burton keeps Gravis’ IVSK8 effort. For one thing I wonder why Burton would sell after acquiring the AWS business just four years ago. Maybe Burton is looking to trim its balance sheet, as they’re rumored to also be trying to unload a surfboard company also. Decks and wheels are known not to be tremendous moneymakers and the t-shirts/hats/etc business seems as flooded as ever. What I don’t get is how Dyrdek would be able to run it more profitably as a standalone company, since you would assume that under the Burton umbrella AWS could get better deals on materials like shirts and pants and whatnot since Burton already buys a lot of that stuff for its own purposes. Maybe he has plans to integrate his Rogue Status thing there, or realign AWS with DC, by way of Habitat shoes. DC’s new advertising person would be interested in such a move no doubt.

The most likely scenario to me seems like Dyrdek becoming majority-owner with Burton keeping a stake, since that way maybe the two companies could maintain their ties in terms of volume discounts on raw goods, stocking DNA and perhaps other Dyrdek products in Burton stores, some skateboard-world cred for Burton, etc. Long-term I’m not sure whether such a deal’s a positive in terms of DNA, or at least Alien, maintaining the weird and “separate” vibe that made it seem to cut deeper and matter more than your typical deck and urethane purveyour. You’d like to think that Dyrdek the actual dude stands somewhat apart from the MTV and Street League character, and that he knows when to leave shit well enough alone. I think he trusts Carter/Hill/Castrucci.

Could Rob Dyrdek’s Don King Fantasy Render All Of Chaz Ortiz’s Hard Work Meaningless?

September 25, 2010

Rob Dyrdek’s constantly mutating career has traced a twisty, turny path over the past two-plus decades, from Gordon & Smith prodigy to backpack rap mogul to one-half of an ambiguously extreme duo to a designer of profitable action figurines in a convoluted route similar to that of the Tony Hawk branded rollercoaster. His various “boardroom bangers” have earned him comparisons to hairmonger Donald Trump and the Birdman himself, as well as the titular character in the successful sci-fi romance “The Time Traveler’s Wife’s Husband.”

Like an 80s shark-skin suit, Rob Dyrdek is compelled to continue moving forward and look snappy doing so, yet his most recent venture poses risks of destabilizing the already shaky underpinnings of the competitive contest circuit as we know and understand it today. The “Street League,” alluring to pros for its lucrative prize potential and relative credibility when placed beside the likes of a Mountain Dew-soaked prefab circuses stuffed with Slim Jims and the musings of a Sal Masakela. It’s the tradeoff — an agreed-upon exclusivity of pro participation that involves forswearing other major contest tours — that raises the danger of plunging the
immaculate and hallowed institution of contest skating into the same cesspool of confusion, corruption and chest-beating that has snared pro boxing.

Here, a woeful five organizations with even more woefully similar-sounding names — the World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation, World Boxing Organization, and International Boxing Organization– vie for the hearts and minds of fans as each purports to lord over the true world title for each weight class, requiring would-be contenders to overextend their personal credit in an effort to acquire houses with enough closet space for multiple gilded belts. Truly it is enough to make a dunce of anyone seeking to master the sweet science.

Even without a gunmetal-gray fright wig and track record of alleged athlete exploitation, Rob Dyrdek’s outsized ambitions may serve to unravel the innocent hopes and dreams of youngsters whose only goal is to be crowned the undisputed world champion over all other boarders, along with all the women and energy drinks and free pickup trucks that such an achievement brings. Between the Gravitron Games, the Dew Tour, World Cup Skateboarding, the California Awesome Skateboarding League and those guys who successfully defended the industry against the blank-deck scourge a few years back, it’s hard to be sure this has not already happened. Is it too late — do we live in a world where the title of “world champion,” even when slurred by John Lydon, carries a qualifier? Will kids need complex flow-charts to properly position photos of their heroes in the proper hierarchy on bedroom walls? Will magazines double their IT expenses replacing keyboards with worn-out shift and 8 keys? Might stage-dads rethink valuable lawn-mowing hours spent coaxing feeble grinds down the park rail?

Universal Language

April 25, 2010

AWS graphics have had their ups and downs over the past decade as the reins passed from the hand of Don Pendelton back to Hill* and a cast of occasional others, but this Dyrdek board is one of the best in a while to me. It works in an elephontine character with a quasi-“Photosynthesis” font throwback, backed with the current CMYK/OG logo focus that’s been going on for a little while prior to the current 20-year (which itself is kind of a trip). Background almost looks like one of those “Magic Eye” deals, did anybody ever stick one of those on a deck? Regardless it was also nice to see the exalted “Exalt” board back with a pretty appropriate bare-bones/90s presentation.

*A transition I think really was in the best interests of everyone, jarring though it was at the time

Do Not Attempt

December 1, 2009


Pure fantasy

There are days, my dudes, when the weather stays shitty, work blows, the devilish Steve Berra is advancing his evil silver thimble to erect a monopoly over the entire game board that is the skateboard industry, Danny Renaud remains injured and the drudgeries of daily life keep you from your beloved skateboard blog-space, well, these are dark times that try the hearts of men (or in this case, blog authors). Facing the winter months ahead, there is little solace to be had, whether in the arms of a snaggle-toothed lover or at the bottom of a bottle, but then you can stumble upon something like the above advertisement that convinces you life may be living for another day… if nothing else to see if the 2011 Mustang chases Bob Burnquist into the Mariana Trench, being towed by submarines and chased by giant squid haters.

We at Boil the ocean are trained economists who predict that this ad will see 2010 Mustangs flip outta car lots faster than you can say “Buick Lesabre parts auction” and single-handedly revive the ailing U.S. auto industry. But no ad exists in a vacuum, and the rest of this space will be devoted to three ads that no doubt influenced filmer/skateboarder/genius auteur Jeff Richter in his creation of the above masterpiece: