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.
Posts Tagged ‘Vans’
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
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.
The true glory in growing old and finding one’s self with little or nothing left to prove is that it carries wealth in options. Bill Murray, that graybeard vanquisher of ghosts and pro jock to the Dalai Lama, honored fellow oldster David Letterman last month by leaping out of a secretive cake chamber and proceeding to take shots to the dome. Jack Palance, that silver fox of the US prairies, saw fit to parlay his time at the Oscar podium into boasts about the size of his bowel movements and several one-armed push ups. Betty White this week joined Instagram.
So too in the skate biz, where pro careers now offer second and third acts, there are elder statemenships to be carved out, with Jeff Grosso lovingly hollering at the collective industry to get off his lawn, French Fred Mortagne pulling back the veil on the early years of Barcelona paradise, and Tony Alva donning a puff-ball stocking cap to level-set the Vans video.
Andrew Reynolds and Mike Carroll still have a few miles in them but the heavy retrospecticus vibes and general grown-manning going on when the frontside flip impresarios deposited themselves upon the Crail Couch the other day suggested some pondering toward whatever roles await them as full-time company-runners, number-crunchers and talent-pickers. At this point Andrew Reynolds has been on the sober straight-and-narrow longer than his service under the Pissdrunx, and in interviews he’s been steering kids clear of drugs and drinking for a while now, but it is nevertheless a bit jarring to hear him take shots at Migos:
Advice for the youth?
AR: Don’t smoke weed. Don’t listen to whatever they’re saying in all this trap music, whatever that shit’s called.
AR: That music, I listen to it in the skatepark and people play it, nonstop, the same song over and over. And I like hip hop. But that new shit though is like brainwash, Migos and all that, like fuck. That’s like, and I see on Instagram, the kids, their little statement about them, is like ‘skateboarding and weed.’ It’s like, alright. And the music is just like ‘disrespect women, money, drugs.’ That’s pretty much it. And if they’re not listening to anything else besides that then that’s just pounded in, all day long.
Andrew Reynolds never has attempted to whitewash his past or foist his teetotaling on his riders, and one must assume that for now his official stance toward Migos music is the same.* It’s not clear whether Dustin Dollin owns ‘Rich Ni**a Timeline’ but the sometime devil’s spawn in the ‘Propeller’ divulges that he holds down the other end of the Baker spectrum, apparently the last bleary-eyed pro standing from the Warner Ave 7-day weekend after his assorted bendermates fell out over the years:
Thrasher: [A]re you the last Pissdrunk?
Dustin Dollin: I cannot confirm that rumor. Pearcy still drinks. Dancer still drinks, I’m sure. But yeah, out of the celebrity skateboarders in the public eye, I may be the last. I may be the last of the OG Pissdrunks, but there are thousands of them out there now. Thousands and thousands. And growing! But yeah, Jim doesn’t drink. Ali doesn’t drink, Elissa doesn’t drink, Andrew doesn’t drink, Erik doesn’t drink.
T: Can you still get tricks hammered?
I mean, every day that I go out skating I’m usually drinking and I try to get a trick if my body’s able. So I guess it’s every time I go skating.
Part of Andrew Reynolds’ legend status no doubt flows from about two decades’ worth of steady output that’s managed to consistently raise the bar, whatever his personal circumstances. But there’s a statistical argument to be made in favour of Dustin Dollin’s boozy functionality, previously revealed through his self-appointed role as KOTR footage logger/point tallier/stunt motivator and the staying power of the dudes he’s helped put on, but mainly via his own skate tricks themselves. A review of assorted Youtube clippings and Digital Versatile Discs from Baker2G’s Y2K release to the present indicates that among the named Pissdrunx, Dustin Dollin is the second-most productive in terms of minutes’ worth of video parts released, coming in ahead of now-dry peers Erik Ellington, Jim Greco, Ali Boulala and Elissa Steamer:
Does Dustin Dollin’s statistical outlier status reflect genetic advantages possessed by Australians in the barroom? What of New Jersey, and might Fred Gall similarly skew averages when stacked against peers less beloved of Sambuca, Ozzy concerts and plunging headlong into burning buildings? Would Andrew Reynolds take genuine offense to the ‘Better than the Beatles’ meme? Will legitimate musicals finally earn Migos the respect they deserve?
*Until the Slap boards divulge otherwise
Boil the Ocean Site Calls Special Stakeholder Meeting With Regards to Greg Hunt’s Compensation Package DudesMay 8, 2015
The excellent Vans vid, raucous and reverent, feels like the benchmark so far this year and maybe for the surrounding couple when it comes to big-budget video releases*, and like any such worthy it comes bearing some revelations in between the assorted handrail batterings and gently sloping concrete: John Cardiel with a soul-lifting schralp and Ray Barbee hucking a real-deal no comply, Gilbert Crockett’s hot-rolled steel coil pop, TNT’s best part in a decade, Pedro Barros’ vertigo-inducing deep-end dives, all AVE everything. One could go on.**
With the embers cooled one of the more interesting points comes via boss ‘Propeller’ technician Greg Hunt, who last week skimmed some of the sludge from the ‘music supervision’ murk to reveal the sway musicians hold over modern videomaking processes:
“So I had a rough edit because people [the musicians] want to see it, which is actually a solid week of work to do. So you put together a really solid rough edit, send it off, and then you never hear back. So you figure all right, maybe they don’t like it, so we need to find a plan b. Which means finding two or three other songs as alternates, and then doing a rough edit to those songs as well, just to see if they work, and pick the best option. So that’s another week of work. And then you find out that you got the first song you submitted. So it really sucks up a lot of time trying to clear music.
So that’s what we were looking at with Pedro’s part. We talked to the publishing company, and they said they were willing to let us use it, but we needed to get these four songwriters to sign off on it. Which is kind of impossible. It was 48 hours, but really it was 24 hours, because we only had a day to find out if it was possible or not, because if not I would need at least 12 hours to re-edit something, which would have probably been impossible because I still had other things to finish for the overall video. I decided just to make calls. I know a guy at Warner Brothers, and through making the video we got to know one of the main people at Beats by Dre, and he used to skate. They are both people that are deep in the music industry.
So I basically sent them both an SOS email saying, “I have to get a hold of these four guys, immediately, can you help me?” Both those guys basically got a team of people to help track these songwriters down. Literally it was like, one of these guys knew someone who knew a guy who knew the son of someone that was in the band, but he wasn’t even in the band when they wrote the song. It was someone who was in the band later. But I got in touch with the son, and then his dad, who told me he wasn’t in the band then, but to talk to this other guy, and eventually we got all four guys in the band on the phone within 24 hours and had them stoked to give us verbal okay to go ahead and use the song. But dude, that happens every time. The stress levels are out of control.
The highly reliable and widely cited Celebrity Net Worth web site estimates Rick Howard’s net worth at $45 million. Fandangle innovator Eric Koston is seen worth $15 million; Tony Hawk, who named a trick after Madonna, $140 million; Stefan Janoski and Andrew Reynolds, $20 million and $10 million apiece. Meanwhile the amassed riches of Greg Hunt, along with pro pastor Brian Sumner, remain under review.
Like the TWS vid disclaimers of old, it is acknowledged that there is only one Anthony Van Engelen, Geoff Rowley, Steve Caballero, Christian Hosoi, for better or worse Dustin Dollin, et cetera. But there’s probably a hundred pros. The list of seasoned video makers with multiple big-release videos snugged under their shoelace belts is comparatively short. Besides Greg Hunt, names that come to mind include Ty Evans, Fred Mortagne, Jon Miner, Mike Manzoori, John Holland, Ewan Bowman. These are the box office-level safe hands; there are separate echelons of indie directors like Josh Stewart, Dan Wolfe, Bill Strobeck, Benny Maglinao, Lev Tanju, Pontus Alv, the sorely missed Dan Magee, and the Bronze 56K dudes with the duffel bag in the alley.
As the mp3 failed to subdue the full-length album, so far YouTube, Vimeo and their hyperactive younger sibling Vine have yet to torpedo the full-length video despite several steamy and Thrasher cover-ready death notices penned over recent years. Rob Dyrdek, that sunglasses-at-night visionary of the skate biz, has projected that there may be room for no more than 10 pros in the future — how many veteran filmer/editors will remain to compile blockbuster-level releases such as ‘SB Chronicles 17’ and ‘Still Tru, B’ and ‘Lakai Limited Footwear Presents Flarey Tales’ that despite years-long production processes, crushing hype-cycles and telephones increasingly swelled to cracking with web-ready video parts, still need making, as evidenced by VF Corp.’s five-year investment outlay behind ‘Propeller’?
Greg Hunt, whose near-matchless CV at this point includes ‘Sight Unseen,’ ‘The DC Video,’ ‘Mind Field,’ and ‘Propeller,’ in the Concrete interview says at one point that “I don’t know if I could have done this video 10 years ago. I think the only reason I was able to pull it off was experience I’ve had from doing videos in the past.” Should Greg Hunt’s breadth of talents — steering and organizing five years’ worth of skating and filming across multiple continents, steadily capturing tricks while pushing full-speed down drainage ditches, imploring Beats By Dre employees to his cause, managing filmers and colourists and Dustin Dollin, correctly identifying the need to continue incorporating Slayer into video parts as a service to the youth, consistently waking up before noon on road trips, sidestepping multi-year deadline blowings, projecting Brian Wenning’s future through a ‘DC Video’ skit over a decade ago — and subsequent scarcity as an asset qualify him as the highest-paid dude on the Vans team? Should one of the magazines feeling its way toward a more-digital world sponsor a Sundance-type festival for rising videographeurs?*** Will the bro-cam one day earn the respect it desires and become anointed the ‘brother-cam’? Is Andrew Reynolds, as a professional skater, video editor and experienced mammal handler an original Hollywood ‘triple threat’?
It’s 2015 and despite some generational turnover-style moulting, skateboarding has a lot to feel good about. Tony Hawk’s a millionaire several times over. Rodney Mullen is a snaggle-toothed guru of non-linear thought to Silicon Valley. We got Andy Roy gainfully employed and Fred Gall hitched. Even in the beleaguered independent board-and-shoe biz, growth prospects are good enough for capital formation to have graduated from loan sharks to the gaudily moneyed arena of private equity, placing the Flare and OG logo in good company with assorted interior design firms and taco retailers. The fat tail distribution of the skate-doc curve suggests that within several years’ time everyone who was pro in the 1980s will have had a movie made about them, prioritized somewhat by property-damage totals and conspiracy theorizing. There is a new Bronze vid.
Like a satisfied father, hoarse of voice after lustily screaming through the chain-link fence, watching his sponsorship-bound progeny trudge back up the park steps for another try at the kickflip frontside boardslide, skating seems to be feeling its oats and raring to tell the world — in press release form, as has become the industry’s customary form of communication besides Instagram. Graphical sock firm Stance and their shoe collaborators Vans seemed barely able to contain themselves recently, declaring themselves ‘honored’ to begin selling a group of socks colored to look like famous skateboards. “[A]s much as these legends have redefined skating, they have also reminded us to be true to ourselves,” Vans and Stance socks counseled shoppers.
Medieval theologian Pat Pasquale has been quoted warning that ‘inordinate self-love is the cause of every sin,’ but leave it to the skating biz to thumb nose and/or tail at even the highest of authorities, never mind those Mother Mary sleeves. With the Plan B video looming, Etnies last autumn proudly welcomed Chris Joslin, not long after those Sole Tech tourmates to be at Lakai proudly introduced Jon Sciano and the Fura shoe. Lakai also proudly launched the Spring 2014 Echelon collection, having earlier proudly announced Daniel Espinoza to the team and proudly introduced Vincent Alvarez’s shoe.
Just last month Paul Rodriguez’s Primitive skateboards proudly welcomed double Flip king Bastien Salabanzi, the same month Transworld was proud to grant a posthumous ‘legend’ award to Jay Adams, while Vox shoes proudly hired Victor Garibay and RVCA was proud to offer clothes designed by Elementeer Juian Davidson.
Things slowed down somewhat this month with Street League and SPOT contest supervisors proudly joining forces, and the water company Fred Water proud to sponsor Jamie Thomas and Tony Hawk, among others.
Who retains humility in these heady times? As ever it requires an injection of that fabled 1990s rawness, in this instance, taking the form of JNCO denim pants, those heavily stitched movables with the reliably ballooning seats. Emboldened by its own capital infusion, JNCO pants have reannounced themselves to the world while communicating its investors’ zest for selling unconstrained denim garments without using the word ‘proudly,’ setting an example of understated modesty and grace that other action sport concerns might well emulate.
“JNCO defined a way of life that pushed the limits, encouraged creativity and championed individuality creating the original lifestyle brand that became the foundation of the 90’s youth generation. Presently, the Journey of the Chosen Ones (JNCO) is guided by its main principle: “Challenge conventionalism. Explore the unfamiliar. Honor individuality.” Through this platform, JNCO aspires to bring together the chosen ones – a multitude of like-minded individuals with a shared passion for culture, sports and the arts, on a collective journey that will strengthen their position as the leaders of today’s society.”
Hair-salon proprietor Willy Santos in his hot-shoe am days was regarded as the prototypical new-school tech kid, and his opening part in Birdhouse’s $1 million 16/35MM extravaganza ‘The End’ kept him in good standing as it pertained to the miniature picnic table set, cracking nollie pop-shove its and switch heelflips over that small can with some finesse, plus the rarely seen half-cab noseblunt back to fakie. Looking again at some of the tricks here though like the switch boardslide pop out, which may obligate the ‘could stand up today’ trope, as well as the kinked lipslides and boardslides, conjures flashes of clips to come from card-carrying gnar dogs such as Vincent Alvarez, Geoff Rowley and Dustin Dollin. The gently sun-faded footage here can be weirdly relaxing, probably because like the rest of ‘The End’ it’s backed by those clumsily dubbed-in sound effects that lull in a fashion similar to elevator music or a distant helicopter.
Who Among Us Has Earned The Right To Post ‘TURN UP’ In All Caps On Their Instagram Account For The Next Three Months?May 27, 2013
July 4 boasts more explosions and the month of August is typically reserved for the country of France to go on holiday, but Memorial Day weekend with its water-ski exhibitions and blazing barbecues is regarded as the true starting line for summertime and in some respects the peak, with its promise of near-limitless potential and hot grilling action. What follows below is one ill-conceived blog’s ready reckoner for who is going in this season.
Tom Remillard: In this era of all-terrain bros traversing hemispheres to gather footage Tom Taxpayer is a youthful voice for bootstraps restraint, filming the best section in this year’s Transworld vid mostly within the Washington St. skatebowls and including only a token sprinkling of handrailings and ledges. The specialist approach wrings new mileage out of ditch wallrides (ollie out, backside flare-slide) and the launch up to backside tailslide on the high wall advocates for gnarliest trick of 2012’s first half.
Jon Dickson: The day-glo orange cargo van of skating, Jon Dixon’s Deathwish video part delivered payment in full on a couple years’ worth of photos and sequences like the nollie backside flip the hard way over the rail, which looked like a textbook case for how somebody could ever hope to do such a trick. This section is the product of mutton chops, jangling keys and stretch denim and is saturated with clips to the extent that it’s hard to pull out the same stuff every time. Most recently it was the power b/s flip over the picnic table, the switch kickflip frontside noseslide and the half-cab heelflip hurdle-jump into the bank.
Moms: Manners and clean living have drawn few defenders since the bitter and all-too-public dissolution of the SMP clique some years back, but in recent months corporate leadership has emboldened the often ignored angel on the X-industry’s collective shoulder. Though his leopard-spotted leotards might conjure visions of TVs flung out of high-rise hotels with enough extra cord to keep the adult feature rolling until impact a la Diamond Dave, Shaun White recently told his fans he wished he’d never pulled a hotel fire alarm in jest, while a sternly-worded memo from ESPN last month urged X-gamemasters not to filch freebies or poke fun at “backward”-seeming Braziliers. Messageboards meanwhile tell the tale of how Peter Hewitt was allegedly booted from Nike after publicly professing his enthusiasm for marijuana, whereas Zoo York professional boardriders were allowed to skate Yankee stadium after asking nicely and saying please.
Kyle Walker: I remember Kyle Walker coming up as one of the scuzzy looking kids in the newer Real video who had some nice backside tailslide and smith grind pics go into the magazines, and this part he made for Volcom is as good a dump as any for his steaming garbage trucks full of towering fakie flips and tall-can backside 50-50s. Occasionally it looks like he puts a little too much ooph behind some kickflip or hardflip and they almost get away from him, upping the suspense, and there’s a real monster of a b/s tailslide down a rail and some good tricks on a spot I believe was formerly romanced by onetime TWS am issue cover-bro Neal Mims.
Austyn Gillette: Footloose, fancy free and sporting a newly gilded Ryan Gosling look, Austyn Gillette is jumping hubba ledges and capturing X-Game audiences’ hearts this summer apparently without the nettlesome strings of board or shoe sponsorship to cramp his style. The cocksure young man who skated to Juicy J and affronted several internet commentors by Babe-Ruth pointing in his “Cosmic Vomit 2” part, as is the custom, will take the summer months to play the field before settling down with new sponsors and filling his store-room full of canned goods, gunpowder and treated burlap so as to survive the long winter ahead.
Bonnier Corp: While skating is a lifestyle for some, drug overdose repellent for others and the key to unlocking the halls of eternal fame via Guinness World Records for a chosen few, for certain others it has served merely as a stopping-off point en route to bigger and better things, such as Hollywood acting careers or rap music moguldom. Count amongst the latter group now-former Transworld stewards Bonnier Corp., who ceremoniously announced last week that the firm had struck an arrangement to dump its action sporting titles in favor of no fewer than nine motorcycling magazines that will help fulfill Bonnier’s long-held thirst for “revenue growth and sustained profitability.” To the newly reborn Bonnier Motorcycling Group and its affiliated Boss Baggers, it has been fabulous doing business with you.
Forrest Edwards: Like the bad kid kicked out of school, Forrest Edwards is the creation of an industry that generally now seems not to know what to do with him, and for the time being has left him to his own devices, including but not limited to smoking, curse words and general antisocial attitudes. Quartersnacks and Chief Keef put him/his worldview in better perspective than any of his post-OIAM spots have so far and the vulgar display of tech-gnar power here comes off like a double-dare to any would-be Jamie Thomases looking to try a ’10s version of the Chris Cole career reboot. Is there a photo out there of the double-rail ollie?
Free Agency: Like nosesliding a handrail without a nollie or a kickflip attached, simply hopping to another company doesn’t cut it in 2013 when top-bench talent is breaking out for parts unknown with their best bros along for the ride. Though Deluxe is rumored to be one possible aviary for some of these newly free birds, other established manufacturers are on their heels and weighing responses. One rumored strategy has several top companies chipping in to buy the back covers of the Skateboard Mag, Thrasher and Transworld to run an all-text ad listing the names of heavy hitters under a banner that reads “five of these ten pros will be staying with their current sponsors rather than start a new company.”
When the U.S. economy crashed in the 1970s it was time for Americans everywhere to look in the mirror and face up to some home truths about the way folks were living at the time. Giant, luxurious ghetto sleds guzzled up gas by the boatload. Reams of cloth were being squandered to create extravagant disco pants and cocaine residue encrusted every tattered scrap of U.S. currency plunked down to see expensively produced Hollywood blockbusters including “Airport,” “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Hugo the Hippo.”* Now too, following a decade of excess that saw Rob Dyrdek perversely create the world’s largest skateboard, Danny Way construct the “Mega Ramp” and rumours of a mega picnic table from the Axion team, onetime City skateboards star Alex Klein holds up a reality TV-shaped mirror to depict the harsh state of the modern day industry.
Whereas last year’s OIAM focused mostly on fun-but-competitive-but-still-fun seshes at famed Bay spots, when it wasn’t focused on the Forrest situation, this year’s edition uproots the premise and casts it into warts-and-all New York City where urban grime is dressing for producer Klein’s mixed-greens salad of rotting values and wrongheaded challenges that function as a take-out version of the movable feast for corporate interests that Klein believes the activity has become in ’12. In one man’s tormented vision of this business, which sort of resembles the storyline to one of the Tony Hawk Pro Skater Playstation games, hungry up-comers literally live in a company-sponsored skatepark draped up with product placement, giving thanks when showered with a meager offering of sponsor-branded woodgoods and denim. In this OIAM, prefabricated and local government-approved sk8 facilities are the destination of choice just as often as your cellar doors and organic stair sets, and survival depends on split-second acts of self-promotion and stepping up to trade show-style physical challenges.
“You should know that a big part of skateboarding is learning to market yourself,” declares 5boro’s Steve Rodriguez, the words crashing down with all the condemnation of a convicting judge’s gavel. Contestants born into a seasonal rotation of series graphics sheepishly offer sharpie scrawls and Sears catalogue castoff collages, daring the viewer to recall an era when the likes of Jeremy Wray and Neil Blender arted up their own boards. A more faint of heart storyboarder may have dreamed up a Hollywood hogwash ending that sees the youth rise up and rebel, robbing the warehouse of decks and shoes to sell for dirt-weed funding and rave entry fees. But Alex Klein has seen the industry eat up and spit out too many eager ams to fool anyone with false hopes for a better future yet to come. The winner of this contest will immediately shift into filming/demoing/promoting mode for his new clutch of sponsors, resolutely sporting multiple logos on his New Era as he places respectably upon Dew Tour podiums and, in time, thanking his country for the honor of donning a red-white-and-blue uniform for the Olympics after testing free of some illicit substances.
*Spoiler alert, the hippo did it
We believe sport is a lifestyle. It’s where we leverage that brand identity, that credibility. And it’s the biggest access point of all from a consumer standpoint. And you can see Allyson Felix, Kobe Bryant, referenced here in the visuals. These athletes are connected with the brand in every aspect of their life. We can supply that connection. We can also innovate in every single one of these dimensions. I’m happy to report it’s working. We saw every single one of our categories in fiscal year ’11 deliver growth. We have strong momentum across the category portfolio for fiscal year ’12. Trevor is going to spend a little bit more time going a little deeper about what goes on in our category offense in a few minutes.
–Charlie Denson, Nike brand president, fiscal fourth quarter earnings call, 6-30-11
Alas, Charlie Denson will be forced to stammer and cough his way through any analyst questions pertaining to the credibility of Nike’s King of the Road squad this Thursday when Nike Inc. delivers their next batch of quarterly results to shareholders. Vegas odds had the Koston/Oneill/Kennedy/Wair/Taylor fivesome as heavy favorites to handily lick the Vans/Dekline/Lakai teams, in a fancy van to boot. But as we learned last night, that wasn’t the way it went down. Below the blog website “Boil the ocean” looks at five reasons why.
1. Video game eyes
Video games taught a generation of children how to coordinate their hand motions with what’s happening on the screen in front of them, and the revolutionary PowerPad did the same for feet. Horribly for Nike’s points-gathering efforts it seems like the company refused to spring for a van large enough to fit a PowerPad, leaving Cory Kennedy to suffer a normal Xbox.
2. Social media domination
At some point along the way Eric Koston appointed himself KOTR11’s all-points shit talker, weighing in on rival teams’ struggles to produce usable footage or have a backpack that does not look like a van, or randomly putting folks on blast as he saw fit. Several of his online quips are collected here.
“Sounds like that pussy Dan Z hit the wall. KOTR ain’t for the weak.” -@erickoston
“@carmelcreeper all those pussies you’re rolling with sleep?? Fuck dat!” -@erickoston
“Why would you cover up this beauty with a shitty-ass dreamcatcher @jaredlucas” —@erickoston
“Boring as fuck” -@erickoston
“I’ll take all 3 of you guys in the octagon right now!!!” -@erickoston
“When I say “weak ass!”, you say “bitch!”….weak ass, bitch!!! ” —@erickoston
“@ham_n_cheese maybe if you got the fuck off instagram and shot a goddamn skate photo, your phone wouldn’t be dead” -@erickoston
“Awe that’s cute!! You guys have a van shaped just like the dakine backpacks you make” -@erickoston
3. Ghostly spirits
Whereas the other vans were assigned relatively benign starting points such as Seattle and El Paso, Nike began in Albuquerque, N.M., one of the most haunted cities in the U.S.A. The white paper “Haunted New Mexico: Ghosts of the Southwest” tells the legend of a hacienda that is haunted by spirits, and other bone-chilling stories. Is it possible, that Nike’s black van fell under the spell of a wayward phantasm, or they erroneously bought some haunted gas?
4. Internal group strife
All the pics of the Nike folks partying it up in the van are a classic cover for the stress of a group that is tearing itself apart in silence, or sometimes with sound. Shane Oneill quietly stepped off the merry-go-round as the competition heated up, despite (because of?) his team-manager egging him on to consume fast food and soda like his teammates Cory Kennedy and Grant Taylor. Tension was further ratcheted up by Phelps’ naming longtime Koston internet nemesis Leo Romero as Nike’s surprise guest, prompting a silent war fought with middle fingers and profane t-shirt designs.
5. Blaze of glory