Posts Tagged ‘Santa Cruz’

Big Shoes Small Boards

June 19, 2016

carroll-focus

There are some queries that must be considered as the ultimate questions of the time. Is it really what it is? Do gentlemen really prefer brunettes? What is the sound of one hand clapping? Do Gs get to go to heaven? If you couldn’t see the sun rising off the shore of Thailand would you ride then if I wasn’t driving? Has We The Best Season returned? Are you new around here or something man?

In our current big-footwear era of skateboarding, one question goes like this: Do international shoe manufacturers prefer small board companies? You sort of wonder. As Palace and Adidas and Skate Mental and Nike respectively grow cuddlier in the process of producing product lines, fewer such efforts appear to invite the creative hive-minds powering the likes of Element, Flip, Plan B and Zoo York to apply their MS Paint sorcery to established shoe-wall sellers. Meanwhile, the fingerprints of publicly traded footwear conglomerates increasingly seem to smudge the smartphone screens of board-company team managers:

Jamie Thomas: we bent over backwards for trevor for years. all was good, but as we were working with him on his boards, we started hearing that Nike was encouraging him to ride for skate mental because supposedly it would help his situation at Nike; Even though his graphics were done and his pro board was scheduled to be released in 2 months, he hit me up and said thanks for everything, but I’m gonna ride for Skate Mental.

Mike Carroll: Remember with Karsten [Kleppan], when we put out the intro to Lakai video part and then a week later Karsten got on Nike? It’s just like, what the fuck. And then that (Nike) dude Kaspar hit up Sam [Lakai’s Team Manager] and was like, “I know that Karsten’s off of Lakai now, but we want to get him off of Element. We want to get him on a cool company, would you guys be down to sponsor him for Girl?” It’s like, are you that retarded?

Jenkem’s text-messaging theorist: Nike backing riders to ride for small board co’s or start up their own small start up’s to dilute the market with heaps of small brands so the main camps like crailtap, black box (now dwindle) can’t focus on their own shoe programs and have to put their time and resources into keeping their board co’s alive in an over saturated market. Leaving it to them, Cons and adidas which works perfectly because they all co-exist this way in every other sport.

Is ‘small board company’ the proper terminology tho? Of the current Nike skateboard team, about half (16/34) skate for what could be construed as a ‘small/startup’ board company. But it may be more instructive to examine multinational sporting gear manufacturers’ history when it comes to sponsoring dudes who skate for a board company that is affiliated with a ‘legacy’ skate shoe company. In 2007, Nike’s inaugural and unfairly maligned full-length ‘Nothing But the Truth’ included parts from six dudes (out of 22) whose deck sponsors also ran a competing shoe outfit. By the time 2011’s ‘SB Chronicles 1’ arrived, the number had declined to two out of eight; it was 2/7 for ‘Chronicles 2’ and Cory Kennedy was the only one in last year’s ‘Chronicles 3’. Of the 24 bros in ‘Away Days,’ one skates for a board company that also peddles shoes, and on the Converse skate team, it’s one of 13.

Why might a big giant shoe company like its skaters to promote smaller/newer/upstart board companies? The idea of Jenkem’s texting thinker has some logic to it, though the deck sponsor’s ‘marquee’ position as it relates to pros’ pocketbooks has long been on the wane relative to shoes, as former DNA Distribution ‘business guy’ Chris Carter pointed out five years ago. As far as resource drains go, at a time when Brian Wenning and Jereme Rogers are able to formulate heat-press ready artwork and online storefronts, while micro-brands such as Jim Greco’s Hammers and Jeremy Klein’s revived Hook-Ups are able to secure premium pricing on limited runs, the actual overhead of doing a board company could or should be relatively low, assuming that a generation of even top-drawer pros have become accustomed to slimmer signature-board paycheques.

Would encouraging pros away from board companies/distributorships that also run shoe companies make sense for the majors? The post-getting-on-Nike moves of Trevor Colden (Mystery –> Skate Mental) and Karsten Kleppan (Element –> Skate Mental) make you wonder, and of the current SB team, about one-third, from Paul Rodriguez to Koston/Guy to Gino Iannucci, have departed such board companies for startups with no affiliation over the years, for various reasons. A widening gap between the board sponsor and shoe sponsor as far as pay, travel capability and general influence would cement the shoe merchants’ first right of refusal when it comes to Instagram clips, tour edits and coveted under-deck sticker placement real estate, and enhance capabilities to promote uniform-like outfits readymade for sweeping up spilled popcorn after matinee showings of ‘Zootopia 2: Zoological Boogaloo.’

Or does all our convoluted and conspiracy-minded nail-gnawing overlook the razory principle of Occam, which in this case might be that upstart board companies are cooler now and, given board sponsors’ functional functions as image-drivers, asa shoe purveyour you’d want the dudes you sponsor to skate under a small company’s cooler halo? Would this suggest that international shoe enterprises are chipping away at some image-management role traditionally performed by agents, increasingly beloved of pro skaters thirsting for soda sponsorship dollaridoos, but a timeworn rival of sporting giants when contract negotiation time rolls around? Should sponsor-juggling skateboarders seek the council of Jay-Z, a wheelings-and-dealings man who has had a pro-model shoe for rapping, helped manage a team and wrangled deals for pro athletes, by signing up for his exclusive Tidal internet music streaming business? Could board companies take a page from shoe companies and start encouraging teamriders toward Tumblr- and BigCartel-empowered wheel groups? Does all this silly noise obscure the shadowy role of the premium-fit cotton t-shirt as the true and honest currency of the realm?

*Note: DC is considered affiliated with Plan B for our simple-minded purposes here

Straight Out The Dungeons Of Rap, Travis Erickson Submits An Entry For Most ‘Street’ Video Part Of The Year

September 23, 2011

Watch Wisco kid Travis Erickson mine the San Francisco bay to concoct one of the more “urban” skate parts to be seen this year: Hanging onto moving vehicles, getting yelled at by passersby, skating a curb, switch frontside flips and 360 flips off natural bumps, a switch k-grind to regular, skating in a goddam backpack, sidestepping traffic, water on the lens, skating a truck bumper and truck trailer on nonconsecutive occasions, and a wallie. If you had a street skating bingo card this dude could win the George Webb gift certificate even without the free space and cellar door square.

Kibbles ‘n Bits

January 27, 2010

If wishes were ponies this site might instead be a highly productive dog-food factory, but one dream did take flight last year when the yearning for Grant Taylor to film a more transition-focused video part came true in living color via the Nike am video. But even before that, another longstanding hope was for Santa Cruz man-am Sid Melvin to swing his personal pendulum the other way – out of the concrete parks and back to the streets that made his Arcade Fire-stoked section in SC’s “Out There” a quasi-guilty pleasure for those of us who patiently await the paroling of Lil Boosie.

Ambiguously-named clothing company Ambiguous Clothing comes through in more ways than one with this brief Sid Melvin clip they posted up a little while back, which would suggest that a bounce back from knee issues has rekindled a belly-fire in the light-footed bro with the looks of a young Sam Smyth – the frontside 180 line has serious street mojo and the kickflip to mini-bank carries the right amount of lightning tweak. Still pulling for the beanie over the brim though.

Blast Em

August 17, 2009

saints-sinners0002

Some great street skating photos from the Brockman issue of Thrasher, chronicling the Santa Cruz/Creature “Saints & Sinners” tour, great to the point I had a hard time choosing which one to poorly scan and post up. I’ve been a Sid Melvin fan, but docked him some points when he started wearing fedoras and went all-in on the urban creative movement. However he’s soldiered through a knee injury and this multi-material wallride is too lifted to ignore. Meanwhile the below Mikey Curtis ollie evoked a serious “holy shit” upon turning the page. Some Indianapolis local may well bring it to our attention that this bar is only three feet high or something (in turn revealing Mikey Curtis as a next-gen Pancho Moler) but whatever the case, it’s a pretty big boost. This issue of Thrasher has a lot of other great pics actually – a massive switch b/s tail from Flipper Rodrigo Teixeira, a really awesome Spitfire ad that features a powerful Peter Hewitt gap to backside lipslide, and even a shot of Mike McGill in what appear to be, yes, brown cords.

Oh and in the text department, Windsor James offers some pause-worthy advice for travel comfort:
Man Lean
That’s the buds. Tave, Reyes, or Sierra usually. It’s only on planes or on a long van ride. We steal a pillow from the hotel and get the fucking snugs going. You fold the pillow in half and put it in the middle of the seats on the plane. The pillow expands into a little triangle, and then we’re all fitted up and can go to sleep. Then you do the man lean. It’s like if we were at war or something and you had to stand up and sleep at the same time, that’s how you’d be sleeping. Fucking get the fader lean on. If you had a pillow at the bar, you’d do the same thing. If your homie was fucked up too, you’d be like “just chill–lean real quick with this pillow.”

Anyway, yeah, the Curtis photo:

saints-sinners0001

Emmanuel Guzman: King Cobra

September 9, 2008


Just one Pepsi

There’s certain skateboarders who definitely are of the moment and sort of a product of everything happening in skating right this minute, like, I don’t know, Torey Pudwill for instance, Jim Greco around the time of Baker2G, maybe Donny Barley in the mid-90s. Then you have other skateboarders who seem like they would have been great skaters at any point over the last 35 or so years–Alex Olson would be a good example I think, and Emmanuel Guzman. He’s got his kickflip backside smith grinds on rails, yeah, but especially with his transition stuff he strikes me as deeply steeped in skateboard lore. Born in Santa Cruz, skates for Santa Cruz; rides Independent trucks and boards with hand-drawn skeleton graphics; knows who Suicidal Tendencies are, etc.

Despite a career-making curtains part in TWS’s unfortunately named “Let’s Do This!”, I have this hunch that, like Rick McCrank, it’s tough to put together a video part that really does justice to the way Emmanuel Guzman skates. He hasn’t stopped trying though, God bless him, and has a sweet new part in the new installment of Vox shoes’ “Black and Blue”, which seems intent on challenging NHS’s “Strange Notes” series for the title of pumping out imminently disposable DVDs. Hey, when you’re cribbing out of the Vans playbook for shoe designs, you can afford niceties like a video production department. (Jokes, people.)

Here’s the part–the mega backside 180 into the ditch, the kickflip to fakie off the wall and the final backside tailslide are all mind bogglers.

Vile

May 14, 2008

Beastly Sidewalk cover shot of the boy from Birmingham, Kris Vile, who used to skate for Blind UK and was picked up earlier this year by Santa Cruz as part of their ongoing program to issue US work visas to half the skateboarders in Europe. Memo to Santa Cruz: Why haven’t you issued Sid Melvin a pro model yet? Anyway. Kris Vile pretty much rips. Check the kickflip nosegrind (1:31).