Posts Tagged ‘Tim O’Connor’

John Shanahan, Chopped and Sewed on the Final Frontier

May 28, 2017

Some weeks back a video Youtube link circulated advertising an attempted backside 360 down the famed El Toro stair set, the sort of heart-testing maneuver around which you’d either anticipate a fire-legged professional like Chris Joslin’s name attached, or else some risk-friendly unknown ready to offer up his effort to the world as some type of return on a foolhardy willingness to get uniquely pitched and presumably walk away. It was surprisingly convincing try — they say the last quarter spin is the moneymaker when hurling one’s self down twenty steps or more — and it rolls above a disclaimer revealing that the bros involved “might not go back for this” and various other pink-panted jumps and things.

But is it so easy? Many of skating’s seemingly most harebrained ideas have proven shockingly hard to let go. Duane Peters’ tangles with the fibreglass loop captivated a world-conquering Tony Hawk in his video game-designing prime, and assorted others after its bullring subduing. Jamie Thomas’ “leap of faith” drew Richard King to test his luck before the Point Loma school board took matters into their own hands and constructed a solid platinum elevator in one of this young century’s most stunning acts of baller-blockingism. In test fittings for the MegaRampTM crown, Bob Burnquist discovered that he, like propellerheaded originator Danny Way, could no longer resist the uniquely arousing allure of skating helicopters. Aaron Homoki’s taming of Lyon’s most notorious 25 stairs, 13 years after Ali Boulala charted its glide path en route to part-ending slams, became fodder for a Thrasher mini-doc.

Steeped in early ‘ESTs’, Flexfitted hats and the colour yellow, John Shanahan seems more concerned with resuscitating a specific vibe and era than etching his multisyllabic rhyming surname into history’s annals via big-spot trophy hunting. Bubbling under the DGK umbrella for a minute, John Shanahan this week officially arrives on the DC Shoes payroll via a cracking intro clip that pointedly trots out the bold/less bold/standard font DCSHOECOUSA logo of old along with eastern seaboard spots rinsed and fresh. Between the DC one and a separate LurkNYC VX footage dump, John Shanahan flexes backside nosegrind pop-outs, a slicing 360 flip out of the Kalis school, some tricks outta the modern school’s playbook (driveway wallride, ride-on tailslide kickflip), some flamboyantly retro Droors gear and hubba noseslides. Toeing some blurry line between ‘Photosynthesis’ and ‘The Storm,’ he wields a serious switch k-grind and a judicious use of camouflage, which is rare to see these days.

Like Philly neighbors Kevin Bilyeu and Brian Panebianco, it’s easy and erroneous to pigeonhole John Shanahan’s shared enthusiasm for the numbers 07 and 43 and all their sportsweary accoutrements as retroactivism rooted in personal branding. Just as the Sabotage dudes unearthed, resurfaced and restored an entire scene that had been municipally buried and professionally abandoned, John Shanahan seems to harbour deeper ambitions. Sharpening cut and sew skills, where else, on Instagram, John Shanahan demonstrates enough technical proficiency and stylistic nerve to construct cargo and swishy pants that command triple-digit price tags and earn “levels” hash tags when positioned alongside skaters’ current affection for graphical sweatpants and other sub-waistline achievements. But as he tests his growing powers, is John Shanahan consciously or not flying too close to that blazing sun of skate pants fashiondom, the two-toned pant?

It is a stylistic Leap of Faith that has shadowed previous practitioner Garrett Hill throughout his sponsored career, and one not lightly rolled up to. A year after Garrett Hill’s pants debuted in video footage, Tim O’Connor gleefully went in. Eight years on, the pants’ impression lingered enough that former teammates would bring them up as a cautionary tale of judgment, hubris and star-crossed romance:

Tom Karangelov: But when there’s someone that’s so original and out there, he gets so much shit. It’s crazy. Like with Garrett [Hill], half red half black pants. People are still talking to him about that. But dude, was it really that big of a deal? They are just fucking pants. Aren’t you encouraged to be creative when you skateboard? The dude who tries to go out of the box gets like, so much shit for it.

Jenkem: Have you ever considered wearing “crazy pants” like that?
Ah, no.

Has an Adidas-supported revolution in swishy pants and increasingly garish sweats provided enough air cover for John Shanahan to push pants envelope in ever-more colourful envelopes? Which trick ranks higher in terms of ’90s/east-coastness, the backside 5-0 backside 180 out or the fakie backside nosegrind shove-it? Yall caught that one switch backside heelflip over and down the blocks right? How is the resurrected Alien Workshop not sponsoring at least one of these ‘Photosynthesis’ acolytes? You been keeping an eye on Brian Wenning’s Instagram right?

In Which Rakim Is Ignored and Various Techniques Sweated

February 5, 2017

benetton

One effect of the seldom-challenged objective to get more kids into skating, backed broadly by companies and other entities whose welfare entwines with selling skate-related goods and services, has been the homogenization of tricks. Whether a factor of once-platinum selling trick tip DVDs or YouTube channellers, mathematical norms seem to support the theorum that with more people skating and learning tricks via common and standardized sources, form and approach seem bound to gravitate toward some common center. The coveted Penny/Reynolds flick is no longer a technique possessed of some dudes and not others, rather it is the norm, increasingly rare to deviate from.

The thrillingly unorthodox cover of his month’s Thrasher features Jim Greco, who put the flick debate on front street with his Feedback dissertation on ‘mob’ vs ‘flick’. The Thrasher feature for Jim Greco’s most recent late ’80s video revival piece, after last year’s enjoyably indulgent/indulgently enjoyable “The Way Out” vid, includes a photo showcasing classical mob styling on a schoolyard bank, suggesting that Jim Greco, who once strove to curb his mob, now may be embracing it in some throwback move consistent with his recent nostalgia tripping among first-generation Birdhouse videos, the H-Street era and other childhood recollections of one who grew up on the opposite side of the continent.

Whether or not ‘mob’ kickflips look good, as a retro affectation or not, is a matter for the courts to decide and above the pay grade of poorly managed blogging web pages. However, the recently proffered notion that Chad Muska’s ‘illusion’ frontside flips looked good, wrongheaded as it is, speaks to a similar, latent yearning for diversity in trick form that seems to have been squeezed out in the online video age*. Setting aside the singular proclivities of ‘mob’ godfather Mark Gonzales, the comparative spread between a Kareem Campbell kickflip, a Tim O’Connor one and a range of others throws into relief the relatively few outliers from the norm today, such as Brandon Westgate.

Beyond throwback questionings, could skating’s politics-bucking globalization push offer a cure? In the far corner of this hemisphere, Magnus Bordewick and his Torey Pudwill arms suggest it may be so. Following his thumping ‘Firetre’ part from a year or so back the tricks in his ‘Tigerstaden’ section erupt as much as they flip; the 360 flip and bigspin kickflip slow-mo’ed on his Instagram have the board nearly going vertical as his feet kick at the camera frame’s edges.

Could any budding diversity in trick form collide with a wave of anti-politically correct sentiment now sweeping the Western world? Have body varials opened peoples’ minds to alternative trick-doing lifestyles? Could biological differences between males and females, both mental and physical, influence trick-doing styles as a wave of fairer-sexed video parts greet the new year?

*A more preferable alternative to the current technique might be Ryan Hickey’s

Lazy Sunday Redux: Saturday Edition f. Tim O’Connor and Pancho Moler

May 16, 2009


Do da stanky leg

It could be nostalgia, the comforting graininess of pre-Panasonic era or the generally low-impact tricks, but in recent years I’ve found that watching mid-to-early-90s footage relaxes me more so than getting me psyched to skate, et cetera. (As long as you steer clear of the spastic multi-pressure flip stuff of course.) So it goes with this 93-94 Tim O’Connor sponsor-me tape that Thrasher posted the other day — he ups the E-Z-Boy factor with the natural floatiness of certain tricks like the kickflip over the pyramid or the nollie over the curb, and the sequence of flippery down the three-stair with the persistent snowbank lurking nearby. And skating curbs. Perhaps some of those lines at the bank wouldn’t make the cut today, but I challenge you to find a better-cut pair of khakis on the current market.