Posts Tagged ‘Shaun White’

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?

Extreme Athletes Represented By Sports Agents Continue To Be Entranced By Target Corp.

December 16, 2011

In many ways, skateboarding is about self-discovery and knocking down personal barriers to personal accomplishment. In other ways, especially to those of us whose flesh has begun to sag in unfortunate ways, it is about reclaiming lost youth. Other times it is really about sticking it to the Man and wearing flamboyant pants.

In the big-tent spirit that has enabled major retailer brands to access economies of scale and pass along righteous savings to you, several well known pros ask the question, why cannot it be all of these things, with a legit consumer experience delivered by trusted partners at Target Corp? Target is like the Real World cast member who wore ringer tees and a nose ring in comparison to Wal-Mart that fondly remembered some high school football wins and was old enough to frown on the younger stores’ binge drinking ways.

Shaun White is the latest extreme professional to back Target’s product range and appeal to some different demographics. Here is how he described a branded revelation that came upon him when he sought to equip his second house, as told to the New York Times Home N Garden section:

You go into Target and you realize that there’s that whole other half of the store. I had no idea! Man, it’s not just video games? Spatula set? Yes! I got crock pots, I had panini makers and all these things. I was losing my mind. It’s easy to get sucked in.

Just on a related note, Target today announced that “Target Introduces Huge Savings on Thousands of Items”

Last year, Paul Rodriguez Jr revealed his lifelong admiration for the Minneapolis-based retailer in remarks given exclusively in a press release that sealed his endorsement deal.

“I grew up right across the street from a Target and have many memories of skating over to the store as a kid,” Paul said in the official Target release. “I’ve always loved their brand and am excited about the relationship and potential of what we can do together.”

It seems like Target Corp attracts extreme sporting athletes like a powerful retailing magnet, but despite P-Rod’s switch bigspin heelflip capabilities Shaun White has way more bankable celebrity shine and thus was offered the opportunity to partner exclusively with Target to design lamps and bedspreads that ensure the Tiffany Dunk colorway continues to be variously soiled for years to come. According to the Sports Business Journal:

White is the most recognizable action sports athlete in the U.S. His Davie-Brown Index score (72.41) outranks fellow action stars Tony Hawk, Ryan Sheckler and Bam Margera. His awareness level, a 73.94, is comparable to New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez.

Remember, these are numbers that elevate you to bedding money, several lofty levels above signature sneaker paydays but on a different branch of the money tree than reality show loot. It is worth noting that Shaun White’s push into the bedding market puts him into direct competition with his former boss at Birdhouse, Tony Hawk, who already has laid claim to his own corner of the sector. Will a Steve Rocco/George Powell generational battle play out for the sheeting business? Is the market large enough to satisfy the competitive drive of two action sport stars? Will Pierre-Luc Gagnon be the next skater to endorse K-Mart? Is Fashion Bug the “heelies” of specialty retailing?

A Chilling Vision of Things to Come

July 29, 2009

hail-ants
Shouts to Ross Powers, Kenny Brocklestein and Hewlett-Packard

There are days when a dude can do two switch 360 flips in the same line and it comes off all inspired, like there’s still little chunks of zany magic to be scraped from the cracked maple veneers of this earthly life. And then you got days when the Olympics seem like a depressing inevitability that will transform each session into a practice and once-dirtbag kids into future competitors for the glory of succulent Olympic gold. Because, you can’t eat just one.

Anyway, for those of you that are like me and caught this NY Times article on Shaun White’s non-skating Olympic training regimen, today was of the second type. Behold, and imagine a future 10 years from now by swapping out the term snowboarding for skateboarding:

With a deep and talented field, qualifying for the four spots on the United States men’s halfpipe team will be highly competitive. To help riders prepare this summer, the United States Ski and Snowboard Association helped finance construction of a 22-foot-tall halfpipe that meets Olympic specifications at the High Cascade Snowboard Camp on Palmer glacier at Mount Hood in Oregon. White was among several top professionals who spent time training there this month.

This part brings to mind the dudes fortunate enough to have their own multi-hundred-thousand-dollar megaramps, and the golf carts with which to properly traverse their length:

Last winter, Red Bull, one of White’s sponsors, built a private halfpipe at Silverton Mountain, a spartan resort in Colorado known for its extreme terrain. Rumors and images circulated on the Internet of White’s secret spot, with a giant air bag at the bottom of the halfpipe for soft landings while practicing tricks. His fellow professionals Keir Dillon and Heikki Sorsa joined White, but little was known about their sessions. In a sport in which top riders were accustomed to training together, a private halfpipe marked a departure from past practice. White’s rivals took note.

In June, Nike built Pearce a private halfpipe at Mammoth Mountain in California, which he rode for two weeks with his fellow United States Olympic hopefuls Danny Davis and the brothers Luke and Jack Mitrani. When asked which tricks he was working on, Pearce was circumspect.

“That’s the whole idea behind a private halfpipe, kind of keep it a bit quiet, not let everybody else know,” he said. “So once the season’s under way, it’s pretty much a surprise.”

Also, this:

He did not directly address questions about whether he would return to skateboarding next summer.

“Snowboarding has always been my main sport from the beginning,” he said. “I was just lucky enough to have my snowboarding skills cross over to skateboarding.”

Will the skateboard industry survive this global recession without help from the Flying Tomato, the most recognizable personality in action sports? Spoiler alert, the answer is no. For those of you contemplating suicide on this news, me and a bunch of my friends are going to try and get reincarnated as grackles and shit on Shaun White’s Lambo as a form of avian vengeance from beyond the grave. Login “grackle”, password “gracklezrule2005”

Survival of the fittest

August 26, 2008


It’s not unusual

When people talk about how it’s good for skating to get as big as possible—and usually these are the people who have a vested interest in selling skateboard products to the sons of Joe Sixpack, of course—they talk about how it’s more money in pros’ pockets, more support for skateparks, and more recognition for skating in general. Never mind that this money probably finds its way into the pocket of a pro who’s already leasing a luxury SUV (as opposed to your Joey Peppers or John Igeis), or that the new skatepark is yet another modular three-foot-high tennis court conversion, and you’re still getting kicked off the local manual pad by a sweaty, moustachioed fellow in a fake cop car who angrily refers to your sweet ride as “them rollerboards.”

Separate from all of this are the little indignities suffered when this skateboarding way of life, if you can call it that, is squinted at, hmmm’ed over and sadly misinterpreted by any number of parties who wouldn’t bother if not for the prospect of a quick dollar. With that in mind, behold the Men’s Fitness guide to five of the best skateparks our nation has to offer. Wouldn’t you know it, they manage to name-check Tony Hawk and the X-Games in the first sentence.

Men’s Fitness on the Vans park in Orange: “Don’t worry, if you forget your board you can rent one for just five bucks a session.”

On the “Louisville Extreme Park”: “The park is also open to in-line skaters and bicycle enthusiasts.”

On the Vans park in, uh, Orlando this time: “If you need a break from all that skating, there is an arcade area with the latest games.”

On the Kona skatepark in Jacksonville: “15,000-square-foot X-game style course with metal surface.”

On the Encinitas YMCA: “It’s not unusual to see guys like Bucky Lasik, Pierre-Luc Gagnon, and Shaun White practicing their moves at this extreme sport Mecca. That’s because the Ecke features one of the greatest vertical ramps in the country. In fact, it’s the same one that was used at the 2004 X Games.”

Coming next month: Our “extreme 15” list of must-haves for an afternoon BBQ/session at Portland’s notorious “Burn Side” skatepark, including Lil’ SmokeyTM grill (don’t forget a couple packs of Ballpark FranksTM for the bros!), ErgoLoungerTM Aluminum Portable Chaise LoungeTM, syringes, and a “grip” of PowerBarsTM and PowerAdeTM!