Posts Tagged ‘Vans’

Pride Parade

February 27, 2015

TravisProblem

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.”

Summertime Mixtape Vol. 2 #4 – Willy Santos ‘The End’

June 28, 2014

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

avedilljcasanova

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_IVI

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.”

Slap’s “One In A Million” Web TV Show Dishes Out Tough Love, Bro Hugs With An Ominous Message Dudes

February 25, 2012

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

Five Reasons Why Nike Snatched Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory On This Year’s KOTR

September 20, 2011

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

And Then We Came To The End!

June 11, 2009


Eric Koston scouts his last-minute trick for “Debacle.” Interesting fact: The truck, made of crepe paper, was designed by Swedish architect Johan Fredrik Åbom and cost $850,000.

Nike’s final, successful attempt to crack the shoe-chewing skateboard market is probably the story of our lil pasttime in the ’00 decade, even if it’s sort of a bass-ackwards version of what the rest of the industry has undergone. Skate shoe companies took center stage as the big-money game beyond boards and wheels, muddling through the thankless game of trying to maintain credibility with the dirty, scabbed kids that brung em to the dance, while signing pro wakeboarders and serving up juicy discounts to big-box retailers that will happily put your trucks on backwards as you shop for carabiners. Meanwhile, the suits at Nike were cherry-picking independent skate shops and aging East-coast pros that together would ride the wave of sneakerhead largesse and make it hard for even the die-hard purists to argue that Nike was the bloodthirsty corporate monster we’d all been led to believe.

It was an interesting story that died a boring death today, as Nike SB signed Eric Koston and can no longer be seen in any shape or form as an underdog in skateboarding. The Birdos were half-right in that Nike eventually decided to be Nike and throw its wallet around, buying up top talent as they see fit, flowing everybody in the industry who isn’t skating for another shoe company, reigning supreme over Tampa, flooding the mall shops with SB’s and pushing “Jocks Suck” 6.0s elsewhere. Meanwhile the current generation doesn’t remember a time when people didn’t skate Nike shoes, pre-fab skateparks are awash with swooshes, and the SB branch has more or less figured out how to act like a skateboard company as far as putting out videos, doing demos, getting tour articles into the magazines; eventually they can be expected to start blowing video deadlines I guess.

Getting Koston has seemed so much like the predestined move for Nike from the beginning that you wonder what’s next, except it appears Nike’s already provided the answer in the form of Sacto-birthed pro models for Stefan Janoski and Omar Salazar, both Vans knock-offs that make it pretty clear Nike’s given up on trying to be any kind of leader, the way they were when they came in with the Dunk a few years ago and helped the Es Accel usher in the wave of low-tech simple shoes. Beyond the staple Blazers and Dunks Nike SB is/was the one company making teched-out shoes that A. had serious space technology behind them and B. actually sold despite said low-tech shoe trend, so seeing their operation fall into line with the parade of Vans imitators (belatedly) communicates complacency at best, surrender at worst, or perhaps an Antarctic sabbatical with Marty Stouffer for the shoe design squad.

There have been and will be long and usually boring debates on Nike’s role in this big teddy bear picnic, but at this point the threads feel like they’ve been played out — Nike came on the scene and boosted some half-forgotten pros* like Danny Supa, Reese Forbes, Gino, etc.; they proceeded to make the expected power moves via P-Rod, Janoski, Salazar, and now Koston. For a few years there SB sales, restricted to actual real skateboard stores, translated to serious loot for the operators that they weren’t seeing selling other shoes, for various reasons; now you can order “CCS Exclusive” colors of Nike Dunks off the internet or get them at Zumiez. Nike takes good care of its people, pros to reps, and they do joint ventures with Blueprint and Slam City and the SPOT and Slap and Skate Mental; they should do all this stuff because they can and it keeps cranks like me from complaining too much.

But now that Nike’s at last acting like the 800-pound gorilla it is, it’s hard not to feel wary about what comes next. Best case scenario is they generallhy follow the rest of the shoe pack, make good videos and do right by the proper people. Or, perhaps they scoop up Ryan Sheckler, appoint him president of the 6.0 division, and sponsor nationwide skate camps hooked up to Rob Dyrdek’s proposed “skateboard league”… clearing the way for a generation of talent scouts and parent-managers hanging off the skatepark chain-link fence, calling the cops on the oldsters and scaring away all the precious weirdos that came up with the screaming hand and the idea to jump a skateboard on a handrail.

*By the other shoe companies, anyway