Posts Tagged ‘varial heelflips’

Would You Buy A Skateboard From This Boy-Child?

December 13, 2010

As the 24-hour twit cycle and its bottomless demand for web-ready footage continues to remake the skateboard pursuit before our eyes, one of the semi-entertaining developments has been the fulfillment of a prophecy made several years ago by now-Dirty Ghetto Kid Josh Kalis, who said something to the effect that there are now multiple stages of “going pro” — the first being the symbolically important signature deck, followed by the more lucrative pro shoe deal, and onward/upward into the lofty realms of reality TV contracts and energy drink sponsorships that run more than skin deep.* This blog-space would add to this list the message-board fodder of getting on various-status flow programs (rep, “direct”), the sounds-silly concept of “going am” and I guess the baseline local-shop deal, although you could have some flow chart fun tracking elevation to “name” shops like your FTCs or Westsides, and maybe a mailorder offshoot.

From a personal brand-building standpoint it seems like the deck, however commoditized the seven plies have become, is still the leading indicator in terms of how/when/why dudes get the pro nod, even if the blessings of whatever footwear concern is backing said dude are increasingly being sought. Kenny Hoyle, that long-laboring, Laker-hating West Coast kid with the hardflips and relaxed attitude toward life, got called up to the show last week in a promo-video arrangement centered on the kind of sorta-sensical skit that in the bro-age known as the 80s could’ve carried a decent chunk of a Bones Brigade vid, and done a good job of it too. Hailing back to what was said about Toy Machine’s Matt Bennett a few months back, this kid has earned it which helps to rebuild a little faith in the vague structure of the universe — the graphic will soon be buried under piles of team series boards and other one-offs, and maybe his next move is already in the frame at DVS, but dudes, the debut pro board maybe means something still.

Kenny Hoyle’s trick universe seems like it expanded for this part, with like that f/s bluntslide kickflip and the switch heelflip b/s tailslide shove-it helping with our little “earned it” thesis — watching his footage in the past he always looked confident but on some of these “Madness” clips he’s matured or gained more command (thinking here of the 360-flip noseslide near the end for instance), though his face still looks about 12 years old. Maybe varial heelflipping gaps off what looks like a gigantic building block turned sideways keeps you young.

Expedition plays the contrast to the hilt when Hoyle is confronted by an extra-grizzled Rob Welsh, here doing his best “Paco” and breaking out the payment-plan jacket for the first time in a while. For my money Welsh’s footage in this little vid outstrips what he had in “Fully Flared,” a lot more of the classic smoker Welsh with new spot footage, obligatory pants adjustments and transition stuff to justify the Lowcard hats. Refer also to the hand stylings on the fakie b/s 5-0 flip out, and Rob Welsh remains able to pop out of nose-centric tricks better than your favorite post-Lakai ledge am. Head-turners elsewhere from Joey Pepper (kickflip to surprise lipslide) and Enrique Lorenzo who has this one clip where it’s hard to tell what direction he’s skating and reminded me of that Cliche segment from “Freedom Fries.”

Happily returned Ryan Gallant’s got an eerie calm with one of the harder tricks going, his much-utilized b/s 180 switch f/s crooked grind, and also newly pro Matt Miller’s ungodly ledge powers and vaguely Colin Mckayish looks made me muse a little on why his DC affiliation didn’t land him at Plan B when Gallant’s spot opened up. But wife-beatin’ Spencer Hamilton’s mini-part maybe wins best supporting video part or whatever here: beefy board flipping from a rail-skinny bro who wears pants the right way and has mastered the fakie frontside bigspin out of switch backside nosegrinds. His manual tricks are super hard and the effect on that last stair set is key, the trick is bananas.

*For the record, my money remains on “not real”

Babes In Useless Wooden Toyland

December 13, 2009


Suffrage the joy

It hit me watching Zero’s mildly psychedelic new offering “Strange World” that a company concerned with some of the more macho aspects of skate endeavors has drawn into its orbit two bookends of female street skating, that is, mid-90s Toy story Elissa Steamer and new blood Marisa Dal Santo, who seem to share a similar sensibility if not on-board choice of terrain. The possible reasons are as varied as the public projection-fed interpretations of Jamie Thomas’ motivations. Those inclined to believe in the coldhearted capitalist caricature may see this as Black Box’s calculated maneuver to corner the burgeoning female skateboard market. Or perhaps it’s an outcropping of Christian charity, in this the Xmas season.

If the aim is dredging out double X chromosome-tinged photos and footage though, the notoriously slothlike and often laid-up Elissa Steamer may be a shallow reservoir. Her trick count comes up kinda short in what was pitched as her Zero board-earning debut and while it’s possible she’ll have more stuff in Nike productions still to come, you’re kinda left wondering what coulda been. The tailslide and frontside boardslide shove-its are cool tricks and incorporating hill bombs is a good way to up the gnar factor, maybe they need to send her back to SF and get her back on a program with Brian Anderson or something.

The new lady on the scene Marisa Dal Santo brings the heat however, cribbing well-advised moves from the likes of Fred Gall, Donny Binaco and Mike Ruscyzk in ways that put to rest concerns that the Chris Nieratko makeover might see her embrace a more polished and feminine persona. With Steamer’s Toy Machine rise as the benchmark for successive challengers to queen-bee status (Torres, Sablone, Caron) Dal Santo does her share of envelope-pushing and bar-raising via the kickflip f/s boardslide, a fairly major varial heelflip and the 14-stair frontside boardslide.

We are about to be a decade deeper, and the debate over girl skateboarders rages on. To wit:

I’m just saying skateboarding is based on skill. So if girls are not as skilled, I don’t think they should be getting magazine articles, pro boards, pro shoes, and the likes. What’s next? Someone getting a pro board because they’re fat and it’s way harder to skate when you’re fat instead of skinny?

But there may be broader implications here than just whether or not a video is entertaining. Photos, footage etc help establish what is possible and relevant, showcase progression and build the foundation for what’s next – in this respect we’ve traveled from tripping out over even seeing a girl in a video to the first womanly Mctwist. Are the ladies supposed to progress in secret, or some type of separate-but-equal feminine sphere, akin to “international” board/shoe teams? If women are to achieve the same parity with men they have found in basketball, NASCAR and international warfare they need at least the chance to act on the same stage. After all, look what the critically acclaimed documentary “Most Vertical Primate” did to break ape skating out of the underground, and indeed, Ryan Sheckler is now a well-known aerosol deodorant pitchman. It makes you think.

Serious As Cancer

June 27, 2009


Ask about our catch of the day

Depending on whom you ask, Powell (was it Powell Peralta again for a shot while there?) is either an enduring monument to the successes and excesses of ’80s skateboarding, a third- or fourth-tier farm team company that’s been home to high-ollie champions and future SOTYs, or a stalwart supplier of blank decks. It has yet to be seen whether the new “FUN!” video will reassert Powell’s seat at the table of board companies people care about or catapult its featured amateurs to, er, am status on bigger/better board companies, but it’s an impressive effort even beyond the skating (which is roundly pretty awesome) – a statement of purpose from a notoriously directionless company, with the only ones that seem to give a shit about the whole affair probably ranking fairly low on the pay scale. Pretty much your classic rag-tag team of misfits taking a shot at the little league title or whatever, in a video that could only begin with a Spongebob song.

Since it’s unlikely that one video is going to turn the Powell ship, which has been floating aimlessly art-direction and team-wise for over a decade now, a more constructive game might be to parse “FUN!” re: the likelihood of different dudes getting tossed lifelines to other teams. Opening dude Josh Hawkins would probably be one, despite some kind of weird body varials out of tricks. He does this immaculate bluntslide kickflip and lands a cartilage-crushing noseblunt toward the end of his part, which features some pretty sizable gap skating. Also the relentlessly rounded Ben Hatchell, spinning a feeble grind whirligig in the shallow end and back-to-back flipping in the full-pipes. He has the crucial Cab cameo and also offers some handrail heroics to and beyond a double-kink feeble grind, crazy tricks that could maybe land him on Real or something; maybe Almost could get some of these dudes when Lutzka’s contract finally, finally runs out.

Meantime former Element-For-Lifer Dallas Rockvam gets his AVE weight up on a fat wallie to backside 50-50, the gap-to-rail lovin’ Aldrin Garcia hops a fence to a puffer-fish landing and scores a sweet look-back after a big backside flip. John White, previously a paralegal and in close competition with Mike Anderson for most boringest name in skating right now, is working with a new light-footed technique that isn’t bad and skids a sick backside noseblunt at the Crailtap electro-box ledge. On the topic of names, Derek Elmendorf has thankfully dropped one of the lamer nicknames around, and winds down a hammer-ready section with a bizarro fakie ollie to switch feeble grind and that 50-50 that must be seen to be believed.

Flarey ledge combos in this video include a noseslide to back noseblunt, nose manual to b/s noseblunt and f/s boardslide spin-around to noseblunt, but all things considered it’s a pretty big guns-focused affair that sees Wallenberg varial heelflipper Jordan Hoffart emptying the clip to “Panama,” stepping right up to the Staples Center hubba as he generally gets his Muska on. Noseslide shove-it transfer on a beefy block, a double-set jump to 5-0, long cranked-out k-grinds and gapping out over some stairs that I’d been waiting the whole vid for somebody to do. He goes and gets his Billy Marks on a little later with that Slap “Curtains” curtains trick, and there’s a finishing move that surely resets some type of bar. It would be impressive if Hoffart and everybody else refused all offers in favor of mutinying the Powell ship, stuffing old George in the brig and pointing the prow toward glory and treasure, but there’s a time to fish and a time to cut bait, and you gotta think that with these kids’ buckets full of freshly heaving lunkheads it’s time to see what kind of price they’ll fetch on the open market. And so ends this extended deep-sea fishing metaphor.