Posts Tagged ‘Sean Malto’

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?

Boil the Ocean SOTY Short List 2009

October 11, 2009

busenitz_thunder
Just throw it in the bag

This year seems like last year, kind of, as far as there not being any type of clear front-runner for the most hallowed of skateboard awards that is not distributed in buckets by the Maloof brothers. There’s no Daewon or Danny Way or Arto Saari no-brainer, and while there are several semi-brainers (useful for commentors such as myself), the politics and squishy qualifications and completely opaque voting process makes it all the more interesting and fun to pointlessly speculate. And so we jump in.

Leo Romero: I kind of feel like if that Skateboarder cover had been a Thrasher we wouldn’t even be bloviating on this, but the uphill path of the inscrutable Leonard is part of his appeal – jumping ship from Baker to Toy Machine years after several former bloodsuckers headed headed the owner way and left Ed & co. with their hands in their pockets, alongside a general negative attitude that many have compared to Emerican elder Heath Kirchart. Leo has a potentially ground-shifting video part in store with “Stay Gold,” and while it will not drop this year, Phelps and his buddies have been known to move pre-emptively, and who doesn’t like to look smart?

Heath Kirchart: The buzz is that the Thrasher camp may not have enough love for the brooding bro with the red-carpet disses and vending machine business, but I don’t know. It’s not like the dude goes around handing out cookie bouquets to the other mags, and to a certain degree you could imagine the Thrasher powers that be digging a devil-may-care mode of operation. It would sorta be a safer pick too, since Heath K brought a show-stopper video part in 09 and potentially another one next year. Cons, he hasn’t done much for Thrasher and he skated to Morrissey.

Sean Malto: The teen heartthrob who lives his own reality show, baffling security guards with nollie frontside feeble grinds and shredding the Pacific Northwest with Julien Stranger. Green but his Thrasher cover was among the year’s gnarliest and the non-stop skateboard mission seems to always have room for a stop or shoutout to his beloved Kansas City; a pro model shoe is not far off and he’s had enough footage drizzled out here and there to mold a passable follow-up to “And Now,” but Malto’s 09 slow burn has yet to fully flare, and I’m not sure the cover, rowdy as it is, would get him over.

Dennis Busenitz: The current Slap Board messiah would seem to have SOTY at long last sewn up, with an internet-smashing video part, talked-about contest runs, many good photos and a pro shoe to boot.* He’s a Nor-Cal gnarler who can schralp transition and/or spit out switch 360 flips, he’s with the right companies. If there’s a downside I guess it’s the lack of any super-handrail heroism or mega-ramp fireworks or some type of singularly groundbreaking trick, but then again, maybe that plays to his advantage. In ten years a Busenitz SOTY win would probably come to be seen along the same lines as Chris Senn, which is to say those who know would know, the rest would be wondering “why not P-Rod” and there’d be a certain amount of “you had to be there”

Lizard King Mike Plumb: Let’s put him on the list. The zaniest Wallenberger with a stupider tattoo/carving every month, and he’s a decent interview. Kind of a long shot maybe but one could argue he’s fairly representative of where skating is these days, which is to say, both trick- and movement-wise.

Anthony Van Engelen: The odds might be stacked against him but to my mind the case has never been stronger for an AVESOTY and the brow-furrowing AWS decks it would probably produce. He has a couple magazine covers, a blazing video part, a harrowing comeback story, a bunch of tattoos and he wears Vans. As one who birthed the current fascination with speed and successfully fused hesh grime with precision tech skating he’s for sure a contender from the career standpoint and probably a SOTY everybody could agree with on some level.

Torey Pudwill: Just throwing it out there, Jake Phelps knows who he is and he’s given it to fresh-faced pros before. But, the lack of follow-through on the Wallenberg nollie flip might cost him precious support in the Yay area.

Zered Basset: the King of Zoo York coulda won it the year he made the “Vicious Cycle” part as far as we’re concerned but he nearly hit that mark again in the “State of Mind” video (still thinking the MOP was totally brilliant) and he has been on the Thrasher radar for some time. The drawback might be that he’s been kind of below the radar compared to some of the charge-happy spotlight grabbers like teammate Brandon Westgate, but an elder statesman might be the one to usher the tradition into the next decade.

It seems like there should be some kinda transition dude in here so, I don’t know, Lance Mountain. Insane as Bob’s mega-ramping has been, our view is that he’s a little bit too TWS/Fuel TV these days for Thrasher’s taste. While on the topic it seems like Justin Brock has whatever “rookie of the year” awards wrapped, unless Grant Taylor gets em.

*get it

Beast of Both Worlds

October 21, 2008


The Which Beer Project

Like Guns’n’Roses and Metallica, peanut butter and chocolate, Hall & Oates, some combos seem predestined somehow – bear witness to Girl and Anti-Hero’s “Beauty and the Beast” tour, already inked into the annals of legendary road trips, and the video the best tour documentary to come along since probably “Harsh Euro Barge.” It’s no “Barbarians At the Gate” or “Shit” but I’d definitely rate it above the bloated “Super Champion Fun Zone,” and let’s be honest, in the late 00’s, making a tour video that’s worth watching more than once is no mean feat. Even O’Dell and his all-seeing VX1000 didn’t clear that bar with last year’s “Wild Ride” doc.

The 10 Beast Moments:
10. McCrank’s Miller flip subtitle – he skates for Girl, remember?
9. Gerwer no-handed climbing the ladder / Koston crapping out on the boat
8. Jack Rebney Beast edit cameo
7. Trujillo’s hardflip – Scarface sidewalk gap soundtrack
6. Wizard staffs – on track to become as ubiquitous as Half-Cabs, or played out like Leo Romero’s black eye game?
5. BA’s pants sag – Gerwer’s AH sombrero
4. Malto’s nosegrind pop-out – Peabody gap to b/s smith grind
3. Julien Stranger nollie noseblunt – Alex Olson brick nosegrind
2. John Cardiel – backside 50/50
1. Mike Carroll, Japan air – very possibly the best trick caught on film this year:

In the mood

September 12, 2008

Like they did with their Pink Motel trip a while back, Fourstar put up a video of their New York catalog shoot the other day, which suspiciously resembles your usual workaday skate photo hunt, except, you know, with Guy Mariano and Mike Carroll and whatnot. And check it out: an HD video without a trace of slow-mo, no symphonic music, not even one shot of somebody wiping sweaty hair from their face and ice-grilling the camera like “one more try, man.” Just saying…

Addendum: Hey, where the fuck was the Gonz? It’s New York City right? Also just saying.

Midsummer Video Roundup: And Now

August 21, 2008


“Fuckin, I don’t know”

Okay, can I just tell you my favorite thing about this new Transworld video, even more so than Kenny Hoyle’s opening kickflip, or Richie Jackson’s paisley pirate outfits, or Nick Trapasso: no fucking voiceovers. This closely approximates my personal reaction, except on a couch. I was wearing basically the same amount of body armor.

Pretty much every time a TWS video has come out in the last few years I’m inclined to think “hmm, this is the best TWS video in years” which may or may not actually be the case after a few weeks of viewing. But this time, guys… this time for sure (no Bullwinkle) I think “And Now” really is the best TWS vids in quite some time. There’s been some hoopla in the magazine about how this is like the new “In Bloom,” which I can see, sort of. But that begs the question: who’s gonna plump up and fizzle out Alex Gall style? My money’s on Sean Malto personally. Mostly because he seems like such a volatile, angry drunk.

Transworld videos at this point are basically an institution, like Madonna for instance, and if you took the 20 or so videos they’ve put out over the last 15 years (TWS that is) you’d have a fairly accurate roadmap of trick trends, skateboard fashion, and evolving film/edit techniques that generally represent the best in skate videos at any particular point. A lot of the credit goes to Ty Evans, who presided over the TWS golden age of “Feedback”/”The Reason”/”Modus Operandi,” but the revolving cast of filmer/editors that has passed through those hallowed AOL/Time Warner doors since has taken up his blueprint and soldiered on, with mostly positive results. Filming innovations and high production value aside though, there’s Ty tropes that maintained long past their expiration date, like the intolerable voiceovers (some sounded like they were reading off a fucking teleprompter) and the vaguely hilarious inanity of the titles.

So it’s cool that “And Now,” humorously inane title aside, tones down the starry-eyed “wow, skating, man” aspect and keeps things moving. No overblown intro montage (not too overblown anyhow), no goddamn voiceovers, no skits unless you count Richie Jackson’s whole part. Reckless dumbass David Gravette comes out blasting with his charbroiled rail moves and winds things up with a trick that’s sure to get some novices sacked before the snow flies. Matt Miller I was really looking forward to and he came through with a solid part of fairly straightforward skating, fakie flip body varial noseblunt aside. (That’s what it was right? I had to rewind many times.) But generally he had a minimum of the polejam/wallie/manual combos that TWS videos have showcased heavily the last couple years.

That of course is handled with psychedelic aplomb by Richie Jackson, dark hippie avenger from Oz, who twirls and skids and somehow powerslides down stairs. Some of the tricks are pretty inspired and I was relieved to see him work in some more standard-issue shit, like the b/s 5-0 revert and the switch 360 flip, because sometimes I get the sinking feeling that these guys known for doing nutty/dork/novelty tricks all day long may not be able to actually skate any other way.

Kenny Hoyle is just great. The angle on that switch bigspin heelflip he does over the hump is so good. A prime example of a skater who on paper might not sound that sound exciting but the way he lands tricks does it all. I love watching this kid skate. Nick Trapasso is sort of the same (see the way he rides away from the double-set switch frontside heelflip) but freakishly talented enough to inspire head-scratching and rewinding. There’s some stuff I’m not into at all, like the nollie tuck-knee, but it’s hard to complain much. It’s like he can do anything. Both the song choice and the electric blue socks are kind of untouchable.

Then there’s Sean Malto, who seems to be the living, hardflipping nightmare of every skatepark old guy who narrows his eyes and mutters “damn kids” as some 9th-grader glides down the rail. Switch kickflip frontside k-grinds, cab feebles, et cetera. It goes on for some time. I can imagine people complaining that the marquee tricks have already been in ads, but for me, the full gnarliness of those tricks didn’t quite translate through the 2-D photo format, although that could just be my brain problem at work again. Malto, though: So much command and confidence, and he’s so young. At least he looks young. Trainwreck used to look young too. If my calculations above are correct Malto will soon be sleeved up and bloated from alcohol misuse, so as long as the legions of skatepark old guys can keep their guts in check til then, the last laugh may yet be theirs for the laughing.

In summary, best TWS video in years. I think. No voiceovers!

And to everything, turn turn turn

June 6, 2008




Seems weird that there’s this big pro-board shuffle right smack between the ASR’s, but what the fuck right? Summer’s here. Time for the young bucks to live it up while they’re young, time for old dudes like Klein to have their “Summer of Klein” complete with cheese block and fridge chair before… well I guess before going back to the same shit he’s been doing for these past 10 years that hasn’t really involved much skating.

The big news of course was at Girl, where every day’s a party in this post “Fully Flared” era. They throw you a surprise shindig for getting on the team, Guy Mariano skates with you all the time, and you get to go on vacation with Frank Gerwer. I mean, Jesus Christ. So what to do, what to do, with three super-ams that are no doubt getting offers left and right, two of them already opting for bigger shoe paychecks, all fresh off video parts… bite the bullet and turn em all pro at once I suppose. Kareem, in his infinite wisdom, pulled the same shit with P-rod and Mikey Taylor, if you’ll recall, and they were kind enough to sell a few City Stars boards before jumping ship. So hopefully everybody over at the Crailtap camp enjoys the hugs and rainbows while they last.

Turning in his pro board is Jeremy Klein, and let me tell you, this news shocked me to the core. For a few years there I was mad that Klein still had a board out. “He’s milking it!” I would seethe to myself late at night, fingers clutched tight around some issue of TWS. And it was true! How many years did he ride that terrible “Destroying America” video, which stretched his and Heath’s brilliant “The End” part to an interminable length? And he barely skated in that. Now, I understand he’s got a part in the Birdhouse video that came out last fall, which I haven’t seen because nobody saw it. (Quote from Tony Hawk at the premiere: “We’re still here.”) Which is partly why it’s such a surprise, this retirement. You’d think with a new video part, he’d have justification to keep his board on shelves for another five years, at least. And shit, he didn’t even need justification. If Jeremy Klein, your favorite asshole pro’s favorite asshole pro, can’t milk a video part for 10-plus years, who can? In a way, I gained far more respect for Klein in the last few years than I ever had for him when he was ripping in the early 90s, simply because he was pushing the envelope so much further than anyone else in terms of keeping his career running on fumes.

Anyway. At DLX there’s rumblings of Van Wastell getting a board this fall, which is kind of overdue in a Pappalardo-Wenning sort of way, when you look at Bobby Worrest. I mean, I’m a big Worrest fan, but I can see why a Van Wastell fan would be bummed that it’s taken so long for the dude to get the pro nod. In sadder news it appears Flip may retire Ali’s board next fall. I won’t moralize on that one, other than to point out that Flip had Penny’s back through all those years in the wilderness, but nothing’s certain yet I suppose. Flip site says Boulala’s up for parole in two years, at which point he’ll hopefully be back in some kind of skating form. In the meantime, here’s what I imagine Australian prison is like.

Addendum: Here’s Alex Olson’s part in “Gnar Gnar” which to me is still the best shit he’s put out.