Posts Tagged ‘Vans’

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

FUBU or BUFU? A Podcast Indictment of Skate Shoe Companies and the Dark Age Few Speak of

March 6, 2017

duffsdog

History is written by the winners, each new generation a fresh lump of clay for the victorious potter’s hands to mold into his own graven image, funny animal shapes or mixed metaphors of one’s own choosing. In skateboarding in 2017 the winners are clear and have been for some time — the heavyweight sporting goods manufacturers, whose near-mindless devotion to quality, largess showered upon long-suffering professional athletes and resolute stewardship of investor dollars grows with each telling. Around ritual bonfires, their names and the names of their boardroom directors are exalted unto the spirit world.

Sometimes, people forget. Truth bombs are deployed — Nine Club Ipod-cast co-host Roger Bagley lit one such fuse during last week’s newsmaking Marc Johnson interview, which turned, as it must, toward the claustrophobic pachyderm that had eluded the rest of the skate media world for the preceding nine months, Marc Johnson’s messy break-up with the Crailtap camp amid his move from Lakai to Adidas. “You didn’t do anything wrong,” Roger Bagley said. “Skateboard shoe companies make shitty shoes. Nike, Adidas, Converse make really great shoes. People got tired of buying shitty shoes and decided to start buying really good shoes. Their business started hurting.”

He elaborated on Instagram: the_breadcrumb_trail@thattomcox I never called them out…and they know what I meant by the comment. They make good shoes and they try their best to make the best possible shoes they can for a good price, but the majority of brands out there make garbage. Everyone wants to stay “core” …but, when it comes to spending $75 on a pair of shoes that aren’t comfortable on your feet versus spending that money on something that feels amazing…I know where I’m spending my money. Don’t get me wrong, I’m wearing @esskateboarding right now…but, the fact is “core” brands can’t produce a shoe at the same quality as these corporations….and the sad fact is people aren’t buying “core” skate shoes at the shops like they used to…and people can blame it on the corporations ability to market the shit out their products to the masses…but, when it comes down to it they just make a better product and “core” brands can’t compete

Skateboarders for many years nursed a guilt complex over purchasing shoes and other products from international shoe merchandisers, which had spent decades of years and millions of dollars building up the athletes, major-league sport organizations and associated fanbases that many picked up a skateboard to avoid in the first place. Whereas various tennis shoes and basketball sneakers got put to griptape out of necessity in the early days, most of these eventually were cast aside in favor of skateboard industry-birthed footwear concerns that promised flatness of sole, adherence to rapidly shifting fashions and a pureness of heart that could never be matched by corporate mega-cobblers’ social responsibility covenants.

But was it all FUBU or BUFU? Duffs shoes, out of the World Industries empire that was, did little to hide the human, environmental and moral toll exacted by Cobnobblers and Strombolis. The cultural crimes of the D3 often are mentioned, but less discussed are funny-sounding enablers such as the Oarb. As skateboarding collectively rejoiced in Tony Hawk’s 900 spin achievement, the validation that only can come from a blockbuster video game franchise, and all of the ensuing merchandise sales, did the irrational exuberance only serve to throw a garish, overpriced and low-quality shoe-shaped blanket over a truly horrific era, before the global shoe makers deigned to begin supplying skateboarding in earnest starting around 2003?

One marvels to think about what could have been possible had bulge bracket footwear companies been wholeheartedly embraced instead of rejected. Properly shod, Jamie Thomas, for instance, perhaps could have landed the Leap of Faith. Or, Bob Burnquist might have landed those couple Transworld covers. If Marc Johnson hadn’t waited until 2016 to move to Adidas, could his ‘Fully Flared’ part have been 26 minutes long? Backed by corporate shoe money, could ‘The End’ have offered more realistic pyrotechnics? If DGK had clung to the Reebok deal, could ‘Parental Advisory’ have offered a Jay-Z cameo instead of Beanie Siegel?

Should skate shoe companies just give up already and thank Nike and Adidas for letting them do business as long as they have? Will the late 1980s through the early 2000s in future decades be regarded as a dark age, or will technology eventually provide a way to retroactively apply VX-quality swooshes and stripes and circular stars to lesser shoes, as a form of atonement? Does VF Corp.’s Vans count as a skate shoe company or the other kind?

5. Daan Van Der Linden – ‘Holy Stokes’

December 27, 2016

Every few years some new kid arrives and inspires comparisons to Tom Penny — Andrew Reynolds, Ali Boulala, Eric Fletcher, Wes Kremer — now comes Daan Van Der Linden, racking up unbelievable tricks and co-signs galore since emerging from his Dutch incubator that presumably also gestates ideas like the rarely glimpsed Madonna noseblunt or the handrail hippie jump. Daan Van Der Linden’s own feather-light ease extends as much to his preternatural ability to survive rough spills as it does to jaw-droppers such as the frontside crooked grind pop-over, the early-grab rail ride, the pop-shove it off the vert wall and the cliffhanging frontside wallride. His skating doesn’t seem weighted with much self-awareness when it comes to the heaviness of some of these tricks, perhaps insulated by some Penny-type fog.

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.