Posts Tagged ‘SOTY’

A New Gilded Age For Skate Videos

December 2, 2018

There is more hugging in the new Supreme vid than you might think. A heartfelt Tyshawn Jones embrace features in promotional posters tucked into Thrasher and plastered across New York City in the run-up to the billion-dollar streetwear barony’s new full-length, emphasis on the full. Bloby pickup Kevin Rodrigues collects three after one clip, Sean Pablo rolls straight into a businesslike squeeze after successfully stepping to a backside lipslide on the Jake Johnson rail, and Sage Elsesser appears to willingly accept the outstretched arms of Andy Roy. Dudes sitting and watching tricks hug. ‘Blessed,’ which surpasses President Trump’s most-recent State of the Union address in length, freely ladles out the love: These young men bound by the red box-logo are older, better and seemingly tighter than ever, drawn close by their good fortune, high-value boxes, and a tinge of tragedy. Each heavy clip, many slathered in slow-mo, culminates in relief in the trick conquered, exaltation in the accomplishment, and joy in bro-dom. Bill Strobeck’s title, obligatory quotation marks included, says it all.*

This universe is a far cry from headbutts dealt to uppity sneakerheads, but going strictly off the skating, ‘Blessed’ justifies its celebratory vibes. Ben Kadow, he of the thousand-yard stare and latent disgruntlement, hurls himself onto rails and electrical boxes out the gate, but even he eventually succumbs to a satisfied grin by the time he chews through a couple boards on a jagged crescent-shaped lipslide. Rowan Zorilla, who still looks odd decked out in Supreme gear, delivers off-kilter jaw-slackeners including a China Banks nollie flip, another wallie noseblunt for the 2018 tally, and a how-the-fuck nose manual wallride. Sage Elsesser steps to Pulaski’s dishes from another, lower level; Kevin Bradley presses pause on his piling-out campaign to throw a beautiful over-bin heelflip and huck at the Brooklyn Banks. Splindly Blue Steel-worker Sean Pablo flicks a rather mean backside flip to fakie 5-0 at the bank-to-hubba spot while a new generation of tween onlookers man the fence, and elsewhere gets unexpectedly gnarly, backside lipsliding the Jake Johnson rail and taking a picture-perfect line down a three stack under security duress. For goodness’ sake, Na’kel Smith makes slamming look fun.

It is Tyshawn Jones, however, whose curtain-dropper asserts a measure of severity and awe, turning in what must be the heaviest east coast video part since Jake Johnson tore down walls in ‘Mindfield.’ It’s just a handful of clips here that wouldn’t stand as enders for other, lesser pros, and some whose like hasn’t much been seen before — the switch backside 360 over the can, say, or the enormously lofted fakie float over the bar. Bill Strobeck’s lingering and oft-zoomy lens soaks in the pain, struggle and eventual euphoria permeating the last few tricks, and it’s hard to turn ‘Blessed’ off without the feeling that Tyshawn Jones has changed the conversation at some level. (And then there’s the nollie flip.)

The onetime Fat Bill evolved out of the primordial VX-toting ooze to become one of the relatively few videomaking iconoclasts out there, with a fairly set group of muses, a much-derided/much-copied style, and legit classics to his resume. Surely ‘Blessed’ applies to its editor/director as much as any of his leading dudes, and he is savoring their shared moment — but at 84 minutes, he overextends himself, and there are points where ‘Blessed’ drags despite its adherence to a more classical part-part-part structure. Despite all its montages and occasional interludes, ‘Cherry’ kept things moving for a fairly brisk 40 minutes. Here, you’re watching screwed footage of Ben Kadow on a light-up wheeled cruiser for 40 seconds, or waiting as la smoke curls for the duration of Jason Dill’s ‘Trilogy’ part. There’s a lengthy EMB session capturing the crew’s chemistry, but it gets you wondering whether Bill Strobeck’s real aim is to memorialize and immortalize two years of these Supreme kids collectively ‘in the window,’ traveling the world, wearing expensive clothing pieces, and living their best lifes before the vagaries of adulthood encroach — versus constructing a more functional, digestable skate video. His filming, reliably aped here and there by Johnny Wilson, in some cases only obscures any perspective of the trick or spot at hand. There are Madinna and Motley Crue singles, incongruously.

Wave aside for a moment though what ‘Blessed’ is, or is not, and instead slow-mo pan across what it says — at a time when Instagram, Youtube and other FAANG-funded suspects are meant to have brutalized attention spans and left the full-length skate video for dead, we arrive at the end of 2018 with a bushelful of projects, some ranking among the decade’s most vital. Quasi, Polar, Bronze, GX1000, Element, Foundation, Primitive, Alltimers, Cons, Vans, Girl and Transworld all put out meaty and worthwhile video releases this year; even Etnies saw fit to offer its first in 23 years. The bloat of ‘Blessed’ itself can be celebrated, in that its frenetically collabing, billion-dollar benefactors believe in not just the concept of an hour-plus vid but will support the dude with the vision. Years after ‘Pretty Sweet,’ ‘Stay Gold,’ ‘Fully Flared’ and other big-ticket productions were declared in sotto vice to variously be ‘tha last video ever,’ a bumper crop of great videos, worth revisiting as a whole or in parts — the opening Portland tear in ‘We Blew It,’ Jake Johnson’s uphill roof flip for Converse, Buggy Talls’ switch 180 manual impossible out on the big block in ‘Its Time,’ Jeff Carlyle’s vein-pumping arms-down descents in ‘Roll Up,’ etc — suggest a new gilded age of skate videos at hand.

With internet users reportedly cutting back on Facebook pokes and youngsters formulating fewer Tweets, is it too early to declare the World Wide Web ‘totally over’ and with it, mouldering and half-sensical blogging outlets? Would there have been more hugging in the GX video if dudes weren’t moving so fast? Does Sean Pablo’s extended middle finger segment suggest he’s embraced Richard D. James as his next stylistic touchstone? Will Bill Strobeck’s use of ‘Birthday Boy’ boost Ween sufficiently in the skate video music supervision power rankings such that kids next year will soundtrack IG clips to ‘Touch My Tooter’ and ‘Poop Ship Destroyer’?

*Also, weed

The Great American SOTY Chase of 2018

November 10, 2018

First it was a blue wave, then a red wall, smashing out a purple rain (or golden shower) over a green revolution and sporadic outbreaks of orange justice. This year, the campaign for Thrasher’s Skater of the Year appears colourful and relatively wide open amid tentpole video releases, a revitalized underground contest circuit, and Viceland continuing to provide a televised venue for which ascendant bros can make sacrifices unto the skate-goat, to the extreme. Who in the skateboarding business has the power and position to contend for Thrasher’s ultimate prize?

Corey Glick: Moustachioed Midwesterner Corey Glick’s punch-through in 2018’s back half may provide some balm to that sore question — whether it’s possible these days to capture the Rusty trophy without the backing of deep-pocketed footwear marketers, corn-syrup/caffeine mixologists and other moneyed interests. The current Foundation squad seems as painfully working class as they come, which seemed no impediment to Corey Glick’s KOTR heroics on the Super Co’s behalf, or maybe, it helped. The TV turn and last year’s ‘Am Scramble’ attendance places him in the conversation, and his scorching section in Foundation’s ‘Souvenir’ promo is a persuasive argument, wherein Corey Glick took the lead among an unlikely crop of wallie-to-noseblunt slide clips this year, and sailed an unbelievable, barely-on-his-soles ollie to wrap the vid and secure the professional bag. The backside noseblunt shove-it heavily contends for trick of the year.

Zion Wright: There is a whiff of inevitability around the yung bro, possibly wafting by association from Floridian colleague and 2017 FLOTY to SOTY Jamie Foy, who Zion Wright seems to match in handrail fearlessness and maybe surpasses in terms of transition 540s. The newly incorporated Vice component may have shrunk the number of years dudes need to suffer and burn on the national scene to qualify for a SOTY nod, though by the time of its airing Zion Wright had already half-cab backside smith grinded Hollywood High’s long pole, along with that 50-50 to backside tailslide in Philly and the no-hander QP backside 360. Last month he captured December’s cover and odds seem better than even that he releases some other type of part before the year’s out.

Austyn Gillette: His tricks settling into a nicely grizzled groove as the days of gangly switch feeble grind shove-its fade, modern man Austyn Gillette maybe is a long shot for this magazine award, stacked clip-for-clip versus various uber-achieving peers. Within the realm of the qualitative, where tricks are the products of hand-labour and all moustaches neatly trimmed, Austyn Gillette’s ringing ‘Radiant Cure’ part crunched hubbas and rewound shove-its, flexing one of the industry’s most reliable switch 360 flips. He poured his heart out to Thrasher in one of the year’s more penetrating interviews, later tucked in for the nigh-unpronounceable EPØKHE clip and put on a late-summer clinic at LES. His weightiest contribution may have been to inspire one of the decade’s most impassioned trick-nomenclature debates.

Evan Smith: The Thrasher clan has celebrated Evan Smith’s spastic precision for years, and between his MVP KOTR acronym-hoarding and the follow-up interview feature in his cover-photo issue, the High Speed powers that be seem to have fully embraced his wide-eyed, chronically curious personal brand. Finally receiving a Skater of the Year honour would be a long time coming for Evan Smith, who’s been a credible candidate for the last several years, offering both blockbuster-level tricks and a tall measure of sweat-lodge creativity, which tends to put some distance between the visionaries and dudes who can just do every trick. In 2016 he brought mirror-image, gap-incorporating kickflip wallrides; this year it’s a frontside kickflip water-whip and street 540s. He is the heaviest favorite.

Mason Silva: A no-frills ripper who put in ‘King of the Road’ miles on this year’s winning Element assemblage, Mason Silva’s also dispersed video parts for ‘Peace’ and the leather-and-wetsuits handstitcher set at Former. You can tell Mason Silva is a workhorse by the way he takes frontside bigspin tricks over rails and gaps the hard way, or the early pop commitments required to travel fakie over bump-to-bars and handrails. He arguably could come with still more footage before the year’s out, but then again on the other hand, his crewcut and love for the frontside 360 seem reminiscent of Jeremy Wray, a perennial Skater of the Year runner-up.

Tyshawn Jones: This generation’s undisputed king of New York romps through the city with the Gonz and promises a landmark part in Bill Strobeck’s soon-to-debut ‘Blessed’ opus for Supreme, and given that most of the yung restauratuer’s moves this year have been made in and around NY, odds favor a Jake Johnson ‘Mindfield’ tilt at the gnarliest and hardest-to-tackle spots on offer across the five borroughs. One of those — a train station ollie that Quartersnacks placed a bounty on months back — just landed the first Thrasher cover of the New Year, and earned the AVE endorsement.

SOTYs Yet to Come, Seen Through the Truth-Telling Prism of Freshly Spilled Guts

October 1, 2017

In ancient Rome, soothsayers would seek prophecy, divine guidance and betting tips in the entrails of sacred animals, surveying plumpness of spleen and colouration of liver to help foresee military conquests and innovate the hot dog. Just as Jupiter, Mars and various other heavenly bros guided the blessed knives of bloody-fingered oracles, so does Boil Ocean Web Page probe the still-steamy innards of skating in 2017 to predict contenders, near-missers and hangers-on that define our reality today as the 2017 Skater of the Year campaign, still looking wide open, careens into this year’s final quarter:

Louie Lopez: Of all the Flip ‘Xtremely Sorry’-era tween pickups, it has been among the windingest roads for once-Lil Louie Lopez, who took his time choosing a path betwixt the contest-circuit hittingness of Luan Oliveira, David Gonzales’ Hot Topic handrailing and the towheaded glamour often associated with Curren Caples and Ben Nordberg. For yung LL, there is a middle way flavoured with GX1000 hills and wallies; it already would have been a noteworthy year for him, what with a pop-shove powered part for Spitfire, a Thrasher interview heavy on shitting-related questions and a slot on the Thrasher/Spitfire trip, but he also delivered among the year’s most memorable Instagram clips — possessing all the elements, a banging trick, legendary spot, beer, freaking out squares. And he’s probably got another video part in him by early December.

Tiago Lemos: Could it an unacceptable breach of protocol to award Skater of the Year to an individual increasingly suspected of being a Greek demigod of yore? Seeming to operate in near-perpetual bio-mode, Tiago Lemos still has yet to report confirmed kills of multiheaded and mythical beasties. He has, however, spent much of 2017 pushing switch mongo from one of the world’s most gargantuan switch backside tailslides to sliding a similarly sized one into a fakie manual to fakie flip out, alongside hucking humongous backside flips, surviving the fiery judgement of Fort Miley’s tall bar, and rebounding from his Dime Glory Challenge game of skate drubbing with another waist-high switch k-grind, apparently the minimum height at which this dude operates.

Shane O’Neill: Continuing his explorations of technical skating as abstract art, Shane O’Neill’s mind-numbing ‘Levels’ part in late summer posited skating as a video game in which the buttoned-up Ozzian advanced by defeating gradually more difficult ‘boss tricks,’ including a nollie backside flip late-shove-it down a solid assortment of stairs, a switch heelflip switch feeble grind on a fun-sized rail, and a fireball-heaving tribute to business partner Paul Rodriguez’s climactic Tampa-house-bringer-downer from ‘Street Dreams’. Whereas questions remain as to whether Shane O’Neill actually pushed up to his road-clearing switch kickflip opener/cover, he makes another compelling case for vanquishing the skate careerist’s Bowser, given a lesser-noticed VX part earlier in the year, services rendered in years past and likely gas in the tank for continued video achievement before the year is out.

Evan Smith: The stringy haired, starry-eyed savant seemed to have just missed Thrasher’s brass ring last year, his eye-popping kickflip wallrides ultimately falling to Kyle Walker’s kink deluge. But Evan Smith shambled on, going bananas off pillars and somehow deciding to disaster out of a switchstance manual in a 2017-opening Spitfire part. He’s since matched feats with Wes Kremer in the DC vid, shaved with puddle water, and delighted Jake Phelps with a relaxed attitude toward fearsome handrails on the Thrasher/Spitfire trip, while earning redemption points for voyaging beyond Starheadbody songs for his parts. You could choose worse.

Riley Hawk: Just as Bucky Lasek found his own lane as a domestic manservant for Tony Hawk in ‘The End,’ Riley Hawk, once a pint-sized counter-pounder, has emerged from the family breakfast nook to carve his own cavern from the sheer rock face that is the skate industry, winding down the first Lakai full-length in a decade with a knack for kinks, a willingness to fingerflip out of nosegrinds and an ironclad grip on grinds of both the Barley and Bennett persuasions. Whether he has offered enough to Thrasher’s goatheaded gods or suffered suitably to become the first second-generation SOTY is a question strictly for the hooded priests who tend HSP’s sacrificial pyres, but you could sort of see it.

Oskar Rozenberg Hallberg: Polar’s diminutive and demonic secret weapon from ‘I Like It Here Inside My Mind…’ over the past year sprouted into an all-points threatener in the mold of Grant Taylor or Tony Trujillo, flowing and blasting through transitioned concrete on several non-contiguous continents in the service of rarified endorsees Spitfire, Thrasher and Nike en route to an on-the-money professional induction. The young Swede has put in the requisite miles for Thrasher — at one point supervising a fishhook-and-thread stitch job on the sadly departed P-Stone’s lacerated ass — and remains a footage machine, whipping out lipslides to smith grinds and towering kickflips in between pocketing contest purses. Of note, maybe: It has been sixteen years since the Thrasher nod went to a Euro.

Jamie Foy: Young but a handrail workhorse, Jamie Foy’s burly physique, Floridian mane and can-do mindset have enamoured him to the Thrasher bosses, who cheered his addition to Deathwish and Shake Junt Griptape Co USA before recruiting him to Thrasher’s kickoff ‘Am Scramble’ trip. Jamie Foy’s contempt for fear and double-barreled approach occasionally recall a Revolution Mother-era Mike Vallely, except with 360 flips, though it remains unclear whether this may work for or against him in the modern SOTY stakes.

Ain’t No Goddamn Son of a Bitch

September 3, 2016

daan

Is there anything sadder than a paint-caked curb lashed down with skatestoppers? If you answered ‘the state of the skate biz in 2016’ you may award yourself 40 weblogging points and accept this Internet page’s personal thumbs-up. Fear and sorrow ride high in the saddle as the year grows bristly hairs upon its chin and makes layaway payments on an adjustable bed. DC Shoes, owned by decreasingly bankrupt surfboard concern Quiksilver, has parted ways with time-travel machine owner Rob Dyrdek. Famous cocaine salesman Rick Ross not only has become the latest tattoo parlour client to fly the Kayo coop, but he is suing his former Dirty Ghetto business partners to the tune of 80 large. The Selfish Skateboards web page has gone a year without updating.

If there are islands of stability to be charted amid these stormish seas of action sporting commerce, and are not already amongst the eternally sunlit empires of the swoosh and the triple-stripe, they lie somewhere near those ungently gentrifying environs of the Yay Area, emblazoned with eagles and explosively shitting pigeons. Anti-Hero’s devotion to the ATV discipline, affinity for picking SOTYs and uncanny ability to ride trending waves from trucker hats to windbreakers and custom totables not only has sold boatloads of boards and clothing items, it’s inspired a sister tribe of sock-making disciples and inspired fawning collabs from SoCal schoolyardsters Crailtap and the logo t-shirt millionaires at Supreme who, a dozen years back, may have furrowed their brows at the one eight’s scuffed shoes and beer-dampened sleeping bags sooner than toast them with a wizard staff.

How to wield such ultimate power? Amateur ankles and knees represent a money pit forever fillable with t-shirt and deck revenues. Anti-Hero admirably has steered clear of any power-drunk signing spree similar to those that vaulted Es shoes and Plan B to dizzying heights from which their teams could only wobble and/or slam, alternating hires of top-drawer properties such as Grant Taylor and Chris Pfanner with heartwarming acquisitions of aged criminals such as Jeff Grosso and Andy Roy. But the resident alien-steered eagle this year made its most bald-faced power move to date by not only scooping Dutch M-80 Daan Van Der Linden, whose 0-to-100 tear this year has slingshot him from a Euro-scene ‘Say My Name, Say My Name’ T-Eddy candidate to presumptive Skater of the Year nominee with a professional board. The debate isn’t so much whether the nod is deserved but what else he could possibly have done to justify the advanced timeline, which seems even to have surpassed Chris Joslin’s rapid flow-to-pro launch.

Blinkered victims of too many misspent hours mired in idle skateshop-counter arguments may also ask what it means that in 2016 Anti-Hero is the de-facto landing pad for a Van Der Linden. Whereas his mindbending pointer grind revert on that curvy over-vert thing in the Volcom vid and steady hand on the coping would hang in any Anti-Hero video, his handrail frontside feebles and noseslide nollie heelflips out suggest that 15 or even 10 years ago he’d more likely have been nabbed by Flip or Girl or Zero or Cliche as some late entrant capable of filling out a surprise intro for a yearslong video project.

As style battery Brian Anderson seems on the verge of signing up and unattached, button-up personas as seemingly distant from the beers-and-bowls universe as Walker Ryan ride the boards, is Anti-Hero in danger of flying too close to the proverbial sun? In retrospect was ‘Beauty and the Beast’ less a meeting of So-to-NorCal minds and more the passing of some cosmic baton? Between the Volcom parts, the Bru-Ray clips, the Thrasher cover and the wallride, is SOTY 2016 Daan Van Der Linden’s to lose? Did Rick Ross launch the most successful music career from a prison since Johnny Cash?

3. Anthony Van Engelen – ‘Propeller’

December 29, 2015

In a just and honourably logical world there are two sorts of Skaters of the Year: Those undeniable destroyers whose up-and-comingness has already established them as power forces and for whom the Thrasher nod bestows gravitas and permanence of place that the honoree bears out through photos, video footage and survivability over the ensuing years; or, a recognition of plants aligning and a moment arriving for those understood to have achieved all of that except the award itself already.* Anthony Van Engelen, that early embracer of body art, hard living and Jason Dill’s fractured and improbably profitable take on popular culture, falls squarely into the latter compartment with a blistering burn of a closing-section in Vans’ ‘Propeller’ video that refurbished some already-patented AVE tricks, such as the backside nosegrind and the switch frontside crooked grind, broke out new ones, like the switch backside smith grind and switch frontside 180 nosegrind 180 out, and drew recommendations to wipe the blood from his teeth upon floating that ollie off the volcano and barely hanging onto the fence frontside 5-0. On the strength of always-quality production and wack trick avoidance AVE a long time ago registered as a consummate pro but between the Vans part, which also placed him alongside Bobby Worrest in a class of aging dudes who still fuck with handrails, and the equivalent of three video parts (across the Vans vid, the associated raw footage (above) and tricks strewn across various Bill Strobeck and Jeff Kutter productions) cement his status as forevermore.

*Danny Way’s mega reinvention aside, maybe, repeats suggest lack of imagination

Musings And Mutterings On These, The 2015 SOTY Sweepstakes

September 30, 2015

waynebus

The frothsome tumult that has gripped the fertile field of would-be ’16 American prexy seizers o’er the summertime would seem to have spilled over into pro skatingdom, with no clear American Pharaoh pulling away from plodding SOTY glue-factory fodder nine months into the year and with celebratory keg orders and lofty venue security deposits presumably coming due in short order. Perhaps by design, ThrasherMagazine.com’s steady gravitational pull toward video parts amid a continued dearth in Graumann’s Chinese Theater-ready releases has at once broadened the field and made any stab at front-runnerness almost by default a multi-part affair — with just a couple months to go and only a few bulge-bracket videos yet on deck, these hoary ranks are assessed:

AVE: Fucking Awesome pot-stirrer Jimi Britches in recent weeks has invoked a hashtag declaration of Van Engelen’s SOTY campaign, at one point nodding to the criminally overlooked onboard actions of Bay Area innovator Henry Sanchez, which may or may not bring good luck when you consider the brevity and general unluckiness of Henry Sanchez’s years-ago endorsement relationship with Lucky Skateboards. Still, Van Engelen did yeoman’s work closing out this year’s most anticipated full-length with a part that extended a remarkable 15-year body of footage that all holds up in spades, Thrasher’s web copywriters liberally splashed superlatives over AVE’s ‘Propeller’ raw footage, and it’s hard to argue against AVE embodying the Thrasher ethos in all of its growling, sweaty hurly-burly, all of which possibly makes the short-pantsed trophyman AVE’s to lose. Then there was that switch 50-50.

Cory Kennedy: ‘Our guy,’ as Thrasher’s eminently readable ‘Trash’ column described Girl’s permanent weekender Cory Kennedy, can safely be presumed to have been on a post-‘Pretty Sweet’ tear the past couple of years on the strength of his appearances in projects as high-brow as Crailtap’s ‘Wet Dream’ and close to the vest as the Thrasher-aimed ‘Cory Goes BellingHAM’ and ‘Rat Poison’. Trukfit aficionado Cory Kennedy is due for an ‘official’ ‘serious’ part in the pending Nike production due out around the SOTY-optimized timeframe of December, raising the promise of offcuts to bolster his cause via a second video part somewhere in there, and six years on from his internet-enabled crash onto the scene he has gathered sufficient gravitas and beercan profiling lifestyle shots so as to make him a convincing Skater of the Year for any and all salacious stakeholders.

Chris Joslin: Chris Joslin last year kicked down the skate industry’s door and shortly thereafter proceeded to activate his seemingly indefatigable ligaments to kick out all of the windows and most of the walls in his relentless quest to seize his moment, wrestle it to the ground and press his thumbs to its gasping throat. Each successive video part, and there have been at least three or four in the past 12 months, drips with an embarrassment of gap-crushing riches, culminating in this month’s three-minute run through dozens of Chinese stairs and related architecture and recorded in less than two weeks. A frightening thought is the domestic bullets that remain in Chris Joslin’s proverbial clip, like all those rumored (and some documented) trips down Wallenberg, raising the prospect of further ammunition for his SOTY bid.

Tiago Lemos: Hyperbole is cheap and easy to come by as the skate sphere has collapsed almost entirely into the internet and its assorted wyrmholes, but Ride Channel’s recent submission that Tiago Lemos is the best skater on Earth carried a softly lilting twinge of reality to it, to which can attest any verified viewer of Ty Evans’ soda-sponsored symphony to technology and extreme ties that bind, ‘We Are Blood,’ or previously his shared section with Carlos Iqui in ‘Gold Goons.’ The tireless mining of tricks from gaps and handrails pursued by Chris Joslin can be ported with minimal formatting to Tiago Lemos and ledges, though Brazil’s SOTY drought is on the verge of entering its third decade and Tiago Lemos has turned in relatively little Thrasher-specific output.

Rowan Zorilla: At a certain point in the early ’00s Forrest Kirby held a position that sort of was akin to being the industry’s little brother, beloved and rooted-for by hesh and fresh peers alike, a rarified spot that Rowan Zorilla seems to have man-bunned his way into over the last couple of years. Rowan Zorilla’s equity is such that he may have been the sole talent to turn down an approach from Dill and AVE’s Fucking Awesome, rather than the other way around, and Thrasher declared his SOTY contenderness following Vans’ ‘Propeller,’ probably the most comprehensive showcase so far of his off-kilter sneak attacks such as the switch kickflip noseslide, the corner-hopping kickflip into the ramp and his Thrasher-covering frontside wallride.

Gilbert Crockett: The Vans vid held two songs’ worth of Gilbert Crockett’s increasingly distilled brand of felid scrap and spring, and VC Corp staff saw fit to unload another part’s worth of footage onto Thrasher’s website for the mop-up round, placing Gilbert Crockett firmly within his loose-fitting and seldom changed khaki pants and, one assumes, well onto the High Speed radar. Gilbert Crockett bears the tattoos, grizzled countenance and staying power Thrasher’s power brokers may prize in a Skater of the Year, and the Quasi collective has intimated he may have more footage on the way ere 2015 is up.

Shane O’Neill: The simultaneously hyper-technical and technically flawless form of tricks rifled out by perennially backwards-capped Shane O’Neill probably could’ve put him in Thrasher’s awards orbit for several years now, but this year the maneuvers in his ‘Shane Goes’ video part seemed to bake in an extra push and occasionally some further degree of gnarliness, like heading down a triple set in the rain, switch, or the rarely seen switch frontside shove-it to boardslide, back to switch. Shane O’Neill’s year so far is further distinguished with one of the better tricks knocked out at Thrasher’s Clipper contest and a potential jump from Skate Mental to solo entrepreneurship, though the rumor mill has him in Paul Rodriguez’ Primitive camp.

Some Kind of Monster

November 30, 2013

torben-ulrich

Nyjah Huston is in the news again, this time seeking to reel in among the biggest and slipperiest, if not necessarily the most lucrative, fish of the skate-award realm: Thrasher’s often-legendary Skater of the Year award, which if nothing else remains a monument to the grand intangibles in a world increasingly dominated by quantitative benchmarks such as Street-League scoring points, unique page-views and ‘likes.’ Before running out the remainder of the year swilling macrobrews and lighting cars on fire before giggling and bearded photographers, Nyjah Huston in his just-released ‘Fade to Black’ part cranks the Old Metallica, dons several colors of Thrasher branded t-shirt apparels and deploys any number of massive backside lipslides, kinked 50-50s and blizzard flips onto handrails in his bid for the SOTY prize.

Like many Nyjah Huston video parts before it, this year’s comes packaged as an ‘event’ chock full of feats that go several stairs further than others have dared, and inevitably has ignited frothy debates over the ‘jock’ nature of Nyjah Huston’s skating. A gently probing analysis of the topic reveals a more fundamental question, however: Are skateboarders, who draw their identities from an athletic activity, by definition ‘jocks’?

When weighing such weighty questions, it’s helpful to begin with the basics. Webster’s dictionary defines ‘jock’ as an ‘athlete, especially: a school or college athlete,’ derived from the noun ‘jock strap.’ The stretchy but supportive apparatus that embraces sportsmen worldwide today originally was invented around 4,500 B.C. by Tunisian animal husbandrists, casting about for methods to speed spice-laden camels across North Africa’s arid plains.

Modern-day skateboarding has had little use for what we now understand to be the commoditized jock strap, eschewing more-formalized undergarment support in favor of short-shorts in the early days of taming backyard transitions, to the no-safety-net stance of the early 1990s’ goofy-boy scene. But as contest purses grew more lucrative, skateboarders began to gravitate toward more form-fitting garments previously regarded as the exclusive realm of Ed Templeton and Mario Rubalcaba. The advent of stretch denim largely obviated the need for classical support regimes and some skateboarders now even have adopted tighty-whities, a mindset unthinkable just a decade ago.

Gleaming trophies and contest hauls go only so far in rationalizing such an attitudinal shift, however, and so to better understand the gravitational forces and wearable whims at play, Boil the Ocean sought out H. Stoss ‘Boss’ Perot, professor of chemical and metallurgical anthropology at the highly regarded East Wangle University. Boil the Ocean Web Site was particularly intent on engaging Professor Perot’s viewpoints given his long-running research into the fibrous content of modern-day jockstraps and designer sweatpants, a marketplace now cornered by just three multinational gargantuates — ancient trade-houses of vast means.

“There’s far more afoot than people understand,” Prof. Perot claimed while on the phone from his research facility where he looks at elastic bands. “And far more at stake. I believe this shift reflects a systemic risk that has gone unaddressed, if not willfully ignored, for far too long.”

We departed immediately for Prof. Perot’s facilities, as per coded instructions faxed over so as to elude what the academic referred to cryptically as ‘overeager aficionados’ of his singular research. Yet upon arrival we discovered the once-immaculate lab, typically festooned with stretchy materials of all types, ransacked and smoldering with no sign of the professor. A breathy croak emanating from beneath a pile of debris in one corner offered sign that the destruction was not total, and we rushed to dismantle the wreckage.

A toothy, bearded maw presented itself; that of an orangutan, a specimen out of the northeastern hills that was known to me as Mike. “They’ve got him,” Mike rasped, before lapsing into a pitiable swoon of the sort only a highly intelligent primate can truly manage.

Our mission revealed to us, we sped directly to the local ammunition dump before taking a back-room table at a friendly ale-house to plan. Pots of coffee, roasted meat and strong drink emboldened us to our cause, which became increasingly clear to be a suicide mission. The orangutan kept silent counsel at the table’s far end, slowly twirling a Bowie knife amongst his spidery fingers as his cigar burned to a stump. “So it must be,” the creature muttered, to no one in particular. “The hard way, as it ever was.”

Bizzell Hutchinson, that tavern’s deeply whiskered proprietor, had time only to throw wide the door and bark “we’ve got company” before the mortar fire began. Rockets screeched down, peeling back the roof and walls in great fiery curtains as we scrambled across the floorboards and broken mugs. Half a chair careened by and through the haze Mike, machine-gun braced against his shoulder and clattering, still gnawing his cigar and faintly, grinning. The elastics cartel had located us.

TO BE CONCLUDED…

‘Word Up’ or, Boil the Ocean’s Generally Uninformed Views Regarding Runners and Riders for 2013 SOTY

November 3, 2013

sheriff

As contest grow, amass greater cash purses and consolidate power, Thrasher’s ‘Skater of the Year’ has come to command a late-year rush of award-season bait generally angled toward capturing the short-pantsed golden bro with the Lego-man cap on. The phenomenon has birthed horrific mutations and eddies in the space-time continuum, such as making the front half of the year sleepier than it might otherwise have been video-wise and flummoxing innocent blog websites that generally speaking might boast somewhat better SOTY oddsmaking without having to account for an early-December crush of Phelps-baiting footage arising out of nowhere. Nevertheless:

David Gravette A scrappy journeyman working in the medium of hairy 50-50s, Creature’s golden child is the onliest 2013 candidate whose resume totes a Thrasher-themed facial tattoo. Amongst all the ditches, bars and his not-quite-a-flyout backflip, Gravette demanded a cover photo and received it, though similar to the initial landing on his round-the-horn rail ride in this year’s CSFU part, Gravette’s bid is solid but may suffer from bad timing, its arrival earlier in the year having been obscured by any number of team-jumps, jailings, gay-rights ruminations and related chatterboxing.

Nyjah Huston: His contest-circuit profile and ability to consistently stretch handrail tricks down an additional few stairs each year have made Nyjah Huston a perennial candidate lately, and similar to Ryan Sheckler, he seems to have preemptively cleared a spot in his trophy room for the Thrasher award, so far to no avail. He has offered up to the mag some kinked-bar prowess and a politically incorrect comment that may otherwise have played well to a wizard-staffed campfire, but the ensuing press-release apology and tearful track record when a gold medal eludes him may make SOTY a long shot.

Bob Burnquist’s helicopter: Never has a helicopter so boldly staked a claim to an award that otherwise has purely been the affectation of human beings, yet as digital technology advances and extreme athletes continue to achieve on stronger and deeper stages, machinery has played an ever-larger role, be it lasering substandard eyeballs, defending against rogue-state missile launches or ferrying Danny Way back to his next MegaRampTM run. It’s difficult to argue against Bob Burnquist’s helicopter as the most-extreme propeller-driven aircraft of modern times, though Thrasher underbosses may look askance at an all-park part.

Clint Walker: Like a bearded young demon conjured by blaspheming worshippers of Heath Kirchart’s career, the long-simmering Clint Walker boiled over last spring in Ambig’s ‘Modern Art’ video. Clint Walker did a truly gnarly crooked grind revert and in addition to all those damn-the-wobbles ending tricks managed that rare feat of the YouTube age, forcing rewinds after a vertigo-inducing miss on an otherwise unassuming nollie heelflip. The knock against Clint Walker would be that he’s too new, but few have chomped as hard as he this year.

Brandon Westgate: New England’s famed cranberry boggart recorded some of the year’s heaviest tricks, some flung down San Francisco hills, others up from handicap ramps, and one across a massive loading dock that looked roughly on par with the size of Brandon Westgate’s quiet and domesticated family home. Should Brandon Westgate, an accomplished tiler and this world wide web log’s odds-on favorite for the award, somehow dodge it this year, he seems assured that little-loved consolation prize which is to be attached to perpetual message-board grumblings also concerning Dennis Busenitz and Guy Mariano in the could’ve/should’ve SOTY sphere.

Bronze Hardware: With impeccable taste since the start, Bronze’s mastery of its particular/singular domain and subject matter have become harder to ignore with each passing year, braiding together a thick and lustrous twine of classic tricks, foreboding soundscapes and ‘found recordings’ into this year’s ‘Solo Jazz’ offering. Bronze Hardware’s prowess and promiscuity have engendered anger and half-mumbled threats from adversaries, which may for Thrasher staffers pose questions of peacekeeping and insurance liabilities for any SOTY event in which Bronze Hardware is named the ultimate winner.

Ben Rayborne: a grimy, bespectacled veteran of patchy backyard ramps and full pipes, who introduced the industry to the phrase “horse pool” and as much as anybody else in the running this year is of the Thrasher mold. Ben Raybourne skates giant sewers in the dark, threatens weak amphibians, rides ceilings where others may settle for the wall and fence-jams at Burnside, pumping out an array of footage this year that did include the obligatory Thrasher part. He also boasts the distinction of having some of his tricks translated into Lego formats.

Ishod Wair VX’ed footage of nighttime Love Park lines soundtracked to Raekwon in 2013 qualifies as certified blog fodder and must be treated as such. Nevertheless, it’s difficult not to rate Ishod’s real-streetness after two parts worth of “Photosynthesis”-mining grit over the last year that also did include some Juicy J and multiple trips down the fountain gap. It’s a good look for Ishod Wair, whose skills never have been in doubt but whose “Since Day One” section spoke more toward the type of SoCal one-hitters that many a Street League jockey could have formulated. A lengthy interview in Thrasher, Deluxe affiliation and the promise of another possible part by year’s end further bolster his candidacy.

Jim Greco: Worse than a gruesome death or a quiet fade from the scene for Jim Greco would be damnation by being decreed ‘boring,’ and so in 2013 Greco challenges conventional norms and mores by embracing concepts like darkslides and Wrangler pants. Tangling with cars, dumpsters, hydrants and fearsome embankments, Greco pulled out a Slayer tape and most all the stops for his “Deathwish” video appearance and, seeming to grasp the spell Rodney Mullen commands over U.S. tweens, potentially extended his career another five years easy as he dares to navigate the turbulent waters of pants and sunglasses sponsorships.

Rise Of The Machines

August 1, 2013

terminators

Several were astonished this week when Bob Burnquist’s helicopter burst onto the scene with a ‘high-octane’ MegaRampTM video part soundtracked to Creed. Performing a frontside boardslide on its heli-skis, a 720 over the gap and an ‘air’ on the MegaQuarterPipeTM, the chopper cruised the MegaStructureTM like a seasoned pro, albeit one prone to blowing the hats off any rival competitors unlucky enough to be caught on the deck without a chin-strap.

“The race for SOTY is suddenly wide open,” commented one of the few passersby whose mouth was not thrown slack in utter amazement. Nearby a dogeared Thrasher mag flapped ominously in the breeze.

The revelation of a ramp-ravaging helicopter was only beginning to sink in when troublesome questions began to emerge. Machines have yet to attain the needed sophistication to formulate long-winded, rambling and nonsensical blog posts. Yet in other ways their abilities seem boundless. Robots can drive cars, calculate gratuities and vacuum our rumpus rooms. Can it be long before an algorithm is designed that can achieve a perfect Nike Street League score*?

Truthfully skateboarding has not faced such a crisis of identity since Louie the Chimp bested pros and ams alike to capture the cover of Big Brother, only about a year after a Barcelonan dog gazumped Eric Koston out of last-part status in ‘Menikmati.’ While the dog inspired a score of Youtube imitators and some blame Louie’s brief celebrity for Ryan Sheckler’s ill-advised ‘chimp period’, the specter of skating’s takeover by unfeeling robotic overlords is considered by some to be a major league bummer.

Has this helicopter been machine-learning from Bob Burnquist, whose hands-free blizzard flipping, step-up tricks onto the MegaDeckTM and beauty of a backside tailslide are rumored to have pushed back the Plan B video another five years? Watching the two move in perfect sync when setting up for the midair MegaRailTM caveman and their above-coping doubles routine recalls the malicious internet rumors of Bob Burnquist’s alleged dabbling in cybernetics, surgically incorporating microscopic magnets into his feet to better grip his board on the MegaTM.

Is skating ready for a man-machine hybrid? Have Wade Speyer and his giant dump truck already blazed this particular trail in a more classically ’90s’ way? Are lucrative skate collabos with Daft Punk, Svedka vodka and Detroit’s crowd funded Robocop statue now inevitable?

*Note how an easy Nyjah Huston or Paul Rodriguez joke was avoided here.

Who Will Win The Great 2012 SOTY Race, Potentially The Final SOTY Determination For All Eternity, If The Ancient Mayans Are To Be Believed?

October 3, 2012

Fall officially is upon us and the crispening air is thick with rumor and innuendo as professional bros vie to acquire SOTY status in what could be humankind’s final trip around our sun, depending on whether or not you subscribe to certain apocalyptic theories. This site, which previously floated a bunk theory regarding Freddy Gall potentially being awarded a small golden figurine wearing a backward golden hat and short pants, is not so cocksure as to entirely rule out a galactic realignment racking our beloved magnetic poles on Dec. 21, upending convention and fermenting a cataclysm alongside several shortages of encased meats. There are some who say the recent projections of a 2013 bacon shortage may represent an early warning sign.

In keeping with this internet page’s longstanding tradition of a stiffened upper lip we nevertheless brush off certain galactic problems and consider probable front-runners for this year’s SOTY.

Justin Figueroa, alleged front-runner, has all of the stringy hair, yellowy teeth and poor hygiene choices that represent hallowed wishstones of the Thrasher lifestyle, and he has given generously of his volatile handrail riding unto Jake Phelps & co this year and those past — his 50-50 to ollie out over the steps in that Lizard King roadtrip series was some straight video game nonsense and expectations for his section in the (Thrasher exclusive, natch) upcoming Baker Boys production are riding high, particularly after he clear-cut much of the stockpile from his recent ad photo archive for the Shake Junt vid late last year.

Nyjah Huston has on offer a largish contest win in his Street League championship and a reality TV show-worthy redemption song narrative to sell, if Thrasher is buying, though you may prefer to believe their executives in the market for more unrated fare such as the XYZ video or the Menace “Epicly Later’d.” Cutting the dreads and ties to his dad-manager may have helped and Nyjah Huston no doubt pushes the big tricks, but his major video part moment was late 2011, and does Thrasher care about big-money contests as opposed to their own small-stakes, spot-specific ventures?

Vincent Alvarez seems in certain ways like he should be a readymade Thrasher success story, multidisciplined, not too beholden to fussy technical skating and traditionally clad in work pants. “Pretty Sweet” and the Skate Sauce vid represent a tall-pour rail drink elixir that ought to put him at least in the conversation. He’s not flown too far beneath the Thrasher radar, running the year’s first cover for Lakai’s KOTR win. One downside, he may not have enough tattoos.

David Gonzales is a young aggressor with boss moves, a Thrasher cover photo and the near-requisite web-exclusive video part complete with Judas Priest, copious black denim and various throw-up-the-horns poses. There’s no point denying the high-test handrails he gets on, even if he does some of the time wind up basically steering backside onto a previously frontsided obstacle with not a lot of other imagination at work. If I had a vote I’d have a hard time casting it for him, though his video part last month is real good and for sure the best thing yet he’s documented, but then again, I don’t.

Mark Suciu can be the sleeper submission, spending the past year-plus roving the countryside, oozing tricks and video footage as he ascends the sponsorship ranks. For those counting High Speed Productions-specific scoring he put his landmark Atlas shop section on Thrasher’s website, put his “Cityscape” part on Slap and as a Bay Area representative has toiled away not just at SF spots but also in and around lesser-seen urban San Jose. Since he’s legally still an amateur he may not have the needed gravitas to command the hot SOTY spotlight, but if this dude does not have a pro board in the works by year’s end something wrong and you can reasonably assume the galactic realignment is affecting the workflow on earth.

Ryan Decenzo comes off a little like a knuckle-dragging rail fighter in the Nyjah mode but with generally more thoughtful trick offerings, and this year has made some nominal Thrasher waves via his KOTR MVP turn and some choice photos here and there. Maybe not enough to win the big nod, but Jake Phelps has a well-publicized soft spot for Canadian burlies, and regardless it’s interesting to someone somewhere how the one on Darkstar at this point seems to have eclipsed the one on Plan B.

Cory Kennedy is our dark-horse pick, harboring a formidable head of steam in the way of sequences and the odd clip here and there over the last couple years, plus time logged in a King of the Road van and a prime year-end stage for deploying all his egregious footage bombs in the Girl/Choco video next month. The b/s tail kickflip b/s tail still haunts the mind. At this juncture Cory Kennedy’s a young pro with little but mind-boggling output on his resume, placing him in around the same chronological marker as Andrew Reynolds, Grant Taylor, Silas Baxter Neal or Brian Anderson when they won it, so he’s not too green.