Posts Tagged ‘Vans’

A War Outside Your Window

March 12, 2022

Nike Inc. at last grants Ishod Wait a pro shoe, VF Corp.’s Vans same with Lizzie Armanto, Kader Sylla provides more of his pinnacle flick and laughs off Bill Strobeck’s filming foibles, but there’s no comfort. Too much fear and darkness, a planet casting for its footing grabbed and wrenched backward into what seems like a harsher and more brutal age, somewhere that seemed relegated to stale movie plots and militarized video game series. In an age that seemed sometimes to drown itself in shades of blurry and bleeding grays, the rapid reveal of a deep jet-black streak is a cold reminder of an old order that hasn’t gone away.

A year ago spring neared and a path out of a strange, lost year seemed close. Optimistic vibes emanated from Kyle Wilson’s fuzzy-hooded switch backside tailslide, and these mostly held through the variants and waves that obscured and fatigued the winding way back. The most bracing vid for this unsteady new year, though, comes out of embattled Kyiv, ‘Revolutions on Granite,’ a deeply felt documentary on the Ukrainian skate scene via Brendan Gilliam and Peter Dayton Conopask, which screened disorientingly prescient when Thrasher posted it this week.

The vid opens with talk of stone blocks embedded with hunger, blood and tears, and after the past few weeks of neighborhood bombardments, destroyed homes and fleeing families, certain phrases from the interviews seem to hang in the air an extra second or so: “We fought for our territory,” “on the world scene, we were no one,” “we always have troubles with our neighbor.” Some of this relates to the nascent Ukrainian skate scene, as isolated a backwater as there was amid skating’s worldwide nadir in the early 1990s. But the documentary’s power lies in the way it threads together the building — literally in some cases — of a scene centered on Kyiv’s Maidan plaza with the newly freed country’s furtive path out of the Soviet era and toward a freer state of being.

It’s easy for a western-world skater to see his or herself in the beanies, bleached hair and baggy denim that follows as the Kyiv skaters push the potential of their granite playground, and visiting pros like Fred Gall and (of course) Kenny Reed briefly suggest a future for the city as a vibrant satellite of the burgeoning Europe sphere — until 2014, when the plaza devolves into a literal battleground as pro-democracy protesters clash with corruption-tinged figures hailing from the country’s Russia-aligned east. The plaza falls into disrepair, stone tiles broken with hammers to make projectiles for throwing, the memories of dead bodies strewn across the blocks too heavy for at least some of the locals to think of it as anything beyond hallowed ground.

There is a line late in the vid — “Whenever it feels like finally it’s starting, we’re gonna live great lives… there’s always something that gets in the way” — that now can be heard freighted with the awful calm of a hurricane’s eye, or reading yet again a throwaway text exchange with a friend just before they suddenly were gone. You hear the way some of these people talk and feel fairly certain that they are today themselves in a very real fight that perhaps the rest of the world thought was a thing of the past, but they very clearly knew as a present threat. The open question is whether the documentary will prove to be an epitaph or a prequel, and it’s hard not to now come away with the feeling that question weighed on the minds of those who made it.

Thrasher posted a link to donate to Ukrainian refugees; it would be something if gift certificates were available to purchase from Ukrainian skate shops/parks/companies similar to how people have booked Airbnbs to funnel funds to displaced and besieged locals.

Metaverse Metachorus Metaverse

January 1, 2022

Ten more
Javi De Pedro, ‘Heritage’ — wallie backside tailslide with no bump and some of the year’s most heavily boned landings
Dick Rizzo, ‘The Reuben’ — It was a wrap when Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz came in.
Ronnie Sandoval, ‘Appreciate U Bro’ — Heavy drama, but among our best in the bowls and embankments
Josh Arnott, ‘Impressions’ — Kind of off-putting to see DC retros pushing across U.K. cobblestone but maybe all you need is a killer backside tailslide and 360 flip?
Jordan Trahan, ‘Bunny Hop’ — The kickflip over the garbage bin immediately gets noticed to the all-time listmakers, along with Danny Garcia’s ‘Mosaic’ one and Tom Penny’s in ‘Welcome to Hell’
Mark Humenik, ‘Bert’s Vid 2’ — This dude sometimes seems like he is dealing with some form of lower-body ADHD where his feet get agitated if they aren’t doing a trick every few seconds
Grant Taylor, ‘Constant’ — Over the next few years, a handful of residents will have GT and Thrasher to blame for crowding up their downhill alleyway
John Shanahan, ‘SabotageXDC’ — Jimmy Gorecki deemed the nollie backside flip over the can the trick of the year and was he maybe right?
Tyler Surrey, ‘Vagando’ — Top-shelf filming and out-of-the-way spots combine for one of the more enjoyably disorienting and surprising vids from the always-reliable Tyler Surrey
Jacopo Carozzi, ‘Baker Video With Jacopo’ — The master of Milan’s Love Park with the endlessly bubbling pot of ledge tricks

6. Tom Schaar – Airborne

December 26, 2021


There comes a time in every energy drink-endorsing, contest circuit-reared young person’s life when they feel compelled to cast aside the pads and broadcast sporting network camera crews and test his or her mettle in the drainage ditches and barn ramps, where reputations are made and paltry sums are earned in the company of the good homies. And so Tom Schaar, he of the prepubescent 1080, takes that symbolic step over the barbed wire, barging abandoned waterslides and soaring his stalefish high above graffito-tagged pools, getting the full Chris Gregson treatment while adhering to recent Vans regulations requiring transition skaters to soundtrack footage to old-timey music. As the video goes along the tricks get seriously wild, back to back noseblunt screechers, channeling Colin McKay on a hardflip to backside lipslide and Bob Burnquist on a fakie ollie way up into the sky in MegaRampTM land. Is wearing a Monster Beverages sticker on one’s helmet while blasting off a Rockstar Energy Drinks-branded lip the X-Games equivalent of wearing a Nike shirt with Adidas shoes?

9. Simon Zuzic – ‘Heavy Mayo’

December 23, 2021


There’s a lotta tricks in this part from the Hoddle vid that are more impressive than the switch backside 180 that sets up a nollie frontside heelflip to switch crooked grind, but something about the way yung Simon Zuzic turns and sets it down makes it look at the same time super precise, slightly off and very switchstance. This part is a good couple minutes of this kid picking and popping through the guts of Australian cities in olive Half Cabs, putting out some Dime comp-worthy ride-aways on his switch backside tailslide and nollie 270 to frontside noseslide, the lightness in his landings not seeming to stop him from looking like his upper body’s about to keel over. This dude had some great stuff too in the Vans ‘Appreciate U Bro’ vid from the fall, like a very nice backside bigspin lipslide to fakie after dark.

A Kinder, Gentler Nation: Brush-Stroke Bluntslides And Skatespot Compassion

October 17, 2021

Humankind’s deepest yearning is to prove its dominion over the earth. For centuries man has cleaved rock and mountain to make way for our cars, mine its riches and festoon our teeth with rare jewels. Our efficient canals link the planet’s most profitable oceans, our chemically enhanced farms dividing the land’s flat spaces into squares and circles to feed our teeming masses. The power of our machines burns holes in the atmosphere and melts ice. From space, our cities and giant walls can be seen by any alien species still questioning who may be in charge down there.

Skateboarding, among several noteworthy human-race developments of recent decades, is hardly different. Mastery of one’s environment has been a central directive since banana boards were pointed into drained swimming pools in the era of Gerald Ford, and even more so once broadening decks and bouncier wheels were turned loose on ‘the streets.’ Santa Cruz rallied followers beneath its ‘Pave Tha World’ banner; in the 1990s, Concrete Powder was the magazine title that captured prevailing attitudes toward the expanding urban blanket. In the 00s, certain skaters including Wade Speyer and Fred Gall came to be synonymous with demolition, while the intro to ‘Fully Flared’ showcased in hi-def the literal destruction of spots as they were being ripped. Today, one of the culture’s long-serving creeds, ‘skate and destroy,’ is emblazoned for all eternity upon graphical sweatpants. At its core, skateboarding represented a primal human reaction against an increasingly artificial world, one to be discovered, used, discarded and left behind.

Ledge-repainting gestures of figureheads such as Jeremy Wray and Mark Gonzales notwithstanding, this energy of late has seeped sometimes troublingly into the human realm, with security guards in recent years shoved to one side to get the clip, and heated debates with house spots’ owners or renters. But the quiet expansion of the ‘adulting’ trend and a handful of recent clips suggest a kinder, gentler approach to spots as skateboarding collectively pauses to take a hard look at the origins and effects of its decades of antisocialisms, real or postured.

Carlisle Aikens, the reinvigorated Chocolate engine’s most-productive piston whose skating occupies an extreme corner of the smooth/powerful X-Y axes, provided a glimpse last week in the Parisian-flavoured Bye Jeremy clip, softly brushing a stonework out-ledge with a switch frontside bluntslide that whispered where others, like Jake Johnson, previously have thundered. It called to mind a similarly soft-shoed frontside blunt from Josh Wilson in Quasi’s ‘Grand Prairie’ vid from earlier this year, eased down a hubba shortly before a wholesome mother-and-son voiceover on bondo-ing injured spots. The fakie frontside noseslide ticklers in Jacopo Carozzi’s ‘Samurai Safari’ Sardinia vacation a couple weeks ago were reminiscent of Brandon Biebel’s heavyweight dancing from the nollie side a few years back. And the other day, in between slamming down ditches and banks, Ronnie Sandoval in Vans’ vibrant ‘Nice 2 See U,’ lightly tapping a rail on a backside 5-0 transfer where a more harshly inclined individual may have stomped.

Could a more tender approach to spots represent skateboarding’s typical contrarianism rearing up against the hard-pressed pinch and crossed-up ’90-10′-style 50-50s? Are people going easier on spots as year by year, more succumb to the wrecking ball? Does all this have something to do with why so many dudes were wearing gloves in the Vans vid? Could now be the time to roll cryptocurrency gains into downtrodden equity in manufacturers of lappers and Z-rollers?

7. Ronnie Sandoval — ‘Take It Back’

December 25, 2019

The grievous-injury-as-part-opener has held fast through another decade, mayhap serving some drama-injector function, or at least stating a particular skater’s price of admission for the clips to come, even if in the more-general sense of skate video function it rarely contributes to the basic chore of firing up the viewer. Ronnie Sandoval’s life after kneecap shattering, as presented in the ensuing five minutos of Vans’ slow-burning ‘Take it Back’ and uploaded in an August heatwave’s sweaty grip, does pitch in. Between screaming pumps through transitions he’s generally either out to test his recently refurbished patella or keep it as far away from the coping as possible, heavily tweaking inverts and placing his hands and feet in all types of rarely recommended places, ranging from over-vert bowl sections to a dinosaur face. For an imperatively tilted video, Ronnie Sandoval’s part makes its own arguments, such as not writing off future American involvement with Oski’s monstrous vert wall, and for beautifully executed filming, in an era when hyper stylization steadily gnaws at visual comprehension of the actual trick.

Breakups 2 Makeups

September 22, 2019

This week’s most entertaining spectator sport took place inside Manhattan’s Thurgood Marshall Courthouse, where Tekashi 6ix9ine snitched with wild abandon upon his former Nine Trey Blood gang affiliates, other rappers, and also himself. In the ‘Goodfellas’ narrative of 6ix9ine’s unlikely rise from restaurant employee to rainbow-haired viral shouter, it was a faster-than-expected arrival at the penultimate, pointy-fingered courtroom scene, but probably well suited to 6ix9ine’s speed-of-social media career arc, not to mention the attention spans of ‘kids these days.’

Are there takeaways or extrapolations toward skateboarding beyond the pop shove-it reference in 6ix9ine’s 2018 barker ‘Gummo’? Well, as 6ix9ine bid goodbye to his former gang pals with several days of heavyweight tattling and lawyers pontificated upon ‘stanzas’ of his songs, the longer-running and more wholesome partnership between Andrew Reynolds and Emerica concurrently drew to an end — a different yet no less seismic breakup that even a year ago seemed at once inevitable and unthinkable, unless you were up on all those earlier Adidas rumors.

For those keeping score at home, Kader Sylla was born, learned to walk, was spotted by Reynolds, turned pro and backside noseblunted the Muni bench within the span of Andrew Reynolds’ 20-year Emerica sponsorship. This was multiples longer than the couple years 6ix9ine and Nine Trey spent mutually exploiting one another, and likely more lucrative in both monetary and cultural senses: Andrew Reynolds headlined ‘This is Skateboarding’ and ‘Stay Gold,’ helped define multiple eras and Emerica itself, immortalizing stretch denim and green filters along with handrails and big jumps, and selling boatloads of footwear. Few pros have been more closely entwined with a shoe supplier. Three of Google’s top ten suggested Emerica searches involve Reynolds, both share the letters ‘E’ and ‘R’ and ‘A’ in their names*, the company continues to have dozens of his products for sale, and didn’t they cut him an equity stake after denying Eric Koston’s similar demand before losing him to Lakai?

For these reasons and others, Andrew Reynolds’ Emerica departure has birthed much moisty-eyed reminiscing and a vague sense of sadness for days past, viewed through emerald-coloured glasses. And perhaps rightfully so, but what’s being mourned? Wistful feels for Andrew Reynolds’ decades on the Sole Tech payroll remind how, as the years get reeled in and healthy livin helps careers sprawl across multiple decades, skateboarding maybe ain’t so much different than the industry’s rivals-turned-idols, major league sports, where legacies are lionized, jerseys retired, and extensive commemorative marketing campaigns marshaled. It’s also worth pondering, as the dissolution of Andrew Reynolds’ and Emerica’s long-running economic relationship stirs the loins and emotions of various devotees, how ‘the culture’ remains heavily tethered to the mutualized interests of both hard- and softgood manufacturers and their independent contractors.

While busily telling on his illegal gang affiliates in court last week, 6ix9ine described his own deal with Nine Trey:

Q. As a member of Nine Trey what responsibilities, if any, did you have?
A. Just keep making hits and be the financial support for the gang.

Q. And what, if anything, did you get from Nine Trey?
A. I would say my career.

In the final analysis, was Andrew Reynold’s 20-year run with Emerica substantially different? In this blog web site’s belaboured metaphor, is Andrew Reynolds 6ix9ine, or really Nine Trey? Could Emerica’s classy IG goodbye to Reynolds be a lesson for Plan B, which offered a hamhanded sendoff to Brazilian dynamo Leticia Bufoni by way of a photo of a second-place win with some chatbot-level pleasantries? Could all the 6ix9ine/Nine Trey hurt feelings, federal charges and personal stress for Jim Jones have been avoided if 6ix9ine and his friends could have gazed into some digitally social** crystal ball to witness, in advance, how Andrew Reynolds and Emerica handled their parting, while also peeping a Vans-clad Reynolds ripping in the Lotties vid? If 6ix9ine got an early look at Nick Michel’s Lotties footage would he have spilled the beans on the Slap board?

*Spelling out ‘Era,’ a well knowed Vans pro model shoe, possibly foreshadowing his eventual footwear landing pad?
**Or socially digital

Giant Hubbas Again Detect Geoff Rowley’s Scent As Multidecade Pursuit Heats Up

August 17, 2019

A long-sought trophy slipped through hunters’ fingers this week. Vans Shoe, among the relatively few companies to successfully thread the space between full-length and one-off part, provided via its strong ‘Take It Back’ video evidence that un-sorry scouser Geoff Rowley continues to get down, to the hilt, peppering his fairly earned post-40 ditch tricks with legitimately fearsome hubbas and jumps, the type of spots that for decades have stalked Geoff Rowley in hopes of finally bagging him and posing for a golden-hour tinted IG pic* before field-dressing him and packing out his meat and antlers.

A chronic thrill dependent, Geoff Rowley in the year 2019 seems yet unable or unwilling to fully embrace a likely lucrative career sharpening knives or guiding rifle-equipped C-suiters and other big game fanatics — one of the few off-ramps from the pro ranks that holds a generous runway toward one’s autumn years and does not involve the words ‘brand’ or ‘manager.’ At least, not while he still has the chance to flirt with and occasionally bed that unpredictable mistress, streetstyle skateboarding, and her oft-wielded riding crop, gross bodily harm.

For certains that found perfect pitch in 1999’s ‘Feedback’ combo of Geoff Rowley with a young Arto Saari and some old Fugazi, the volatile mixture remains intoxicating. Geoff Rowley’s slowed down some, but familiar tingles arise watching him boardslide a bridge railing, screech a noseslide down a hefty hubba ledge, stomp on a lofted kickflip disaster in the deep end, or take the requisite push away into traffic after floating a pop-shove it over the wall and into the street.

Whereas in the past Geoff Rowley’s footage evenly matched a measure of skill and fearlessness against ever-gnarlier terrain, the equation now contains a psychological question around what position he occupies in the greater food chain. For much of his career Geoff Rowley played a scumstached Bugs Bunny to the bumbling Elmer Fudds of the Hollywood High 16, the Staples Center hubba, that one Lyon hubba. The question now is whether these spots, having again picked up Geoff Rowley’s scent after 2015’s ‘Propeller,’ have lulled Geoff Rowley into believing that he remains an apex predator, rather than potentially being separated from the pack, taken down, stuffed and placed on display wherever it is that the world’s most fearsome spots gather in their smoking jackets to sip scotch and stroke their meticulously trimmed whiskers.

Are skater-hunting spots purposefully going after older targets as kids like Kevin Bradley regularly make them look silly? Did Vans fund the bronze Rowley statue as a decoy to aid in his escapes? What happened to the sign from the ender wall-bash in the cover photo? When his day comes, will tears cloud Geoff Rowley’s vision as he knowingly pushes up to his final, fatal hubba or gap, similar to Mickey Rourke’s glory-doomed ‘The Wrassler’?

*Such pics often are submitted in return for ‘likes’ which can be exchanged for goods and services in an open forum.

Summertime Mixtape Vol. 5 – Dustin Dollin and Lewis Marnell ‘Chichagof’

June 20, 2017

Beyond your typical personal chemistry and blood oaths, one key to great skate duos of any era is a certain peanut butter-meets-chocolate stylistic matchup. It was true for Jason Dill and AVE, for Louie Barletta and Jerry Hsu, for Mike Carroll and Rick Howard, and it was true for Dustin Dollin as he introduced his preternaturally gifted ‘filmer’ in Volcom’s 2004 pronunciation challenge to tongue-tied shop employees worldwide. Dustin Dollin by this point had established himself as one of the highest-functioning soaks among the Baker squad, solidified via Transworld’s ‘Sight Unseen’ and ‘Baker2G’. By this point his rapid flick, penchant for hairy crooked grinds, and frontside heelflip were known across the hills and dales, but Dustin Dollin’s tricks had a little different flavor when sandwiched around those of relative newcomer Lewis Marnell, who was toward the beginning of his too-short run. The Dunks still were fresh and the hair had yet to dread but other pivotal pieces in the Lewis Marnell repertoire — the heelflip, 360 flips both ways, the switch varial heelflip — already were fully formed.

In Lieu of Some Longwinded and Semi-Coherent Blog Post Here’s a Bunch of Justin Henry Tricks

June 11, 2017