Posts Tagged ‘wallrides’

Pontus Alv’s Frenetic Lament for a Scattering Tribe

April 10, 2016

strandbeest

From disused plastic piping, zip ties and empty two-litres, Dutch sculptor Theo Jansen has over recent decades bestowed life upon a new and fearsome form of creature he has dubbed ‘Strandbeests,’ nomadic and dinosauric automatons that draw their power from wind and moisture to restlessly roam frozen Scandinavian shores and, through unwitting human enamourment, sprinkle their genetics globally via our computerized internet. Theirs is a lonesome lot on barren stripes of the earth, but their ramshackle ploddings are not without a certain joy and wonder.

A few Lego bricks and Ikea couches away, by accepted U.S. cowpoke measuring standards, Pontus Alv tinkers among his DIY embankments and bowls and at long last takes his third full-length off simmer, a Nordic dream smearing several decades’ worth of lovingly recollected skate touchstones that uncork themselves as the most ‘now’ vid since Supreme’s ‘Cherry’ and 2016’s pulsating frontrunner so far. Buffeted by larger forces both natural and otherwise, the non-complying bros and their half-seen stand-ins populating ‘I Like It Here Inside My Mind, Please Don’t Wake Me This Time’ place faith in leaps both figurative and actual that send them soaring atop buildings, crunching through shrubs, high diving off delivery trucks and rolling away from frontside noseslides to fakie with arm dropped just so. Beyond the Alien Workshop and Blueprint camps of yore, there’s not a lot who handle their imagery and mix their media as well as is done here.

Dane Brady’s bucolic opener presents most of the elements, simply — here’s his dog, his curbs, his parking garages, his deceptively intense control, skidding from parking bumper to parking bumper or manualing through the grass or jumping a damn swing. Michael Juras and Jerome Campbell wind their way through bricked out European back streets, speed hopping bump-to-bumps and backside tailsliding way out on rugged ledges, seldom any one dude holding the frame too long without somebody else on the team hopping onto the same spot, maybe the opposite way. Hjalte Halberg crushes big blocks in possibly the vid’s best played-straight part, Pontus Alv is in there with his backward hat and his arcing wallrides, luring his followers into snaking doubles lines at Swedish DIYs and Oskar Rosenberg-Hallberg, seemingly growing up before the fisheye here, buoyed beyond the switch pole jam and ride-on smith grind by the best little-kid stylings since Yaje Popson or maybe Kevin Bradley. Aaron Herrington cashes in what look like a couple years’ worth of chips like the double wallie and later on Kevin Rodrigues, who comes with tricks that have no names.

Pontus Alv has talked about a kind of wonderful weirdess and isolation that go with doing his particular take on skating from one of the unlikeliest spots on the map, while also wearily eyeing the constraints and pressures that come with developing a beloved and increasingly successful company.

It’s always the same. It starts like, “Hey, there’s this cool new brand. It’s small. It’s underground. It’s run by these cool guys and we love it because we can’t get a hold of it.” Like when World (Industries) first started it was exactly like that. And then all of a sudden there’s all this demand and then that brings hype and then slowly the companies get their shit together. They get their business model together, the production, the distribution, and everything. And then, of course, when a companies growing, the company’s costs are also growing so it’s like, “Oh shit, now we have to widen our distribution channels to make enough money to supply the riders, team, video production, ads, and all of those things that you have to do. And then all of a sudden people look at it and are like, “Well, it’s kind of big now. I don’t know. It’s not cool anymore.” And then all of the sudden they lose some of that support and all of a sudden it’s like, “Well, we don’t have the core support anymore but we have this massive company with all these bills.” So you widen the channels more and more and more.

Henry Sanchez, who also came up in the Bay area only to part ways with the CA-based industry, questions the cultural cost of broader-based success in an interview discussing his latest return to skating: I see a bigger corporate presence in skating, and it has a stronger foothold in the market. To me, those are indications that skating is a lot bigger now. It seems like they’ve spent enough money campaigning for your heart. We had a stronger defense with a much smaller army.

It is maybe too easy to see the rising and receding industry tides gently lifting the wallriding Mary Poppins of ‘Don’t Wake Me’ across grassy hilltops, blowing him into spiky trees, or at other points holding the magical umbrella just out of reach in various times of need. But with ever-larger commercial interests alternately supporting Polar’s trans-Atlantic bonelessing and bank-building, while harbouring threats of spiky contractual strictures and molding future generations from Olympic bully pulpits, how much longer does Pontus Alv’s idyllic Polar dream go on? Could a ‘Really Sorry’ type quick follow up serve as a sort of cosmic snooze button? Was the vid’s lengthy gestation period at all related to scheduling difficulties in securing the Rover cameo? What was going through Kevin Rodrigues’ head when he seen that rail? Are all the H-Street references actually subliminal signals from Pontus Alv to the Polar team that they should abscond together for some upstart board company in a few years, thus easing the crushing pressure on Pontus Alv to follow up this video and allowing him to pursue an Evol-like reboot at far lower stakes for all involved?

Diced Pineapples II

September 3, 2012

Taking another run at this as the prior attempt to lay out this idea didn’t get all the way there and, lord knows Maybach Music Group isn’t afraid to go back to the well.

The thinking was, has somebody done a wallride (90-degree wall, off a flat surface/sidewalk/etc) and then grinded (say a 50-50 or 5-0) the top of the wall, with wheels remaining generally in the wallride position? The Jordan Sanchez, Stefan Janoski and Silas ones referenced in the previous episode of ‘Diced Pineapples’ all involve a bank up to the wall, gnarly though they all be. The Forest Kirby one is pretty close, and very gnarly indeed, but had been visualizing more like a grind that locks in briefly on a square ledge. Danny Sargent’s in 1281 and the bro in the ‘Welcome to Hell’ friends section both kind of end up transitioning to the top of the ledge, I’m thinking more sitting sideways.

This dude is on my wavelength: “… a normal bs crooked grind could be an unnormal fs nosegrind. daewon could probably do it …”

Thinking like the Jake Johnson pic above, except if his trucks were about eight inches higher, scratching at the top of the wall. Thanks for bearing with me yall

Diced Pineapples

August 14, 2012

Looking at the Skateboard Mag the other day, this little Donovan Piscopo interview, and got to fantasizing about tricks. As you do. Folks like Jake Johnson and Wes Kremer recently have been out there taking the wallride to strange new places — what if you were to take Donovan’s grind here, lose the bank underlying the ledge, and a dude just did a wallride into this trick*? Sort of like a pool coping scratcher maybe, but you’d think a body could put their mind to it and lock both 58’s atop the corner for a little bit anyway. Thinking it over a while I started to wonder if I’d actually seen somebody do a trick like this at some point, in a photo or video. Unfortunately due to severely limited capacity and general neglect, my brain is never going to have the cataloging capabilities of a Police Informer or a Chrome Ball or a Vert-Is-Dead. Instead I cast myself upon the mercy of yall. Can anybody recall somebody wallriding up into a ‘vert’ scratcher grind like this, without a bank to start from?

*with or without the grab

The Year Of The Lion

January 3, 2011

Looking back on that “top ten” list I’m seeing now a lot of rap songs, not a lot of transition and almost everybody did some kind of crooked grind pop-over. So be it…

Some other really good ones:
Matt Bennett – “Brainwash”
-I’ve been a fan of his pretty well-established range of tricks so it was nice to see him stretch for this (switch f/s hurricane for instance)

Bryan Herman – “Stay Gold”
-predictable, but would’ve won this site’s heart if his part stopped after the schoolyard

Tyler Bledsoe – “Hallelujiah”
-eight, nine months on and the backside tail flip-out clip still isn’t old

Rory Milanes – “This Time Tomorrow”
-partly for the song

Chewy Cannon – “Make Friends With The Colour Blue”
-felt almost like it would be unfair to stick him toward the top half of this year’s list after last year and the Adidas part, but this dude is a machine. The switch backside smith grind

Greg Myers – “Skateboarding Is Forever”
-I see some of the critiques of this dude’s style but he’s got a lot of super hard tricks and I think is probably overlooked for how vicious some of his flip tricks are

Chad Timtim – “Trio”
-The most aggressive sidewalk-cruising part of this year with a guest appearance by one of the most urban tricks, the switch pop-shove it nosegrind revert. Honorable mention to Levi Brown’s very major b/s 180 over the two poles in this same vid.

Steve Durante/Fred Gall – Seasons/Orchard web clip
-NJ’s bash brothers in what would be my vote for the best shared part

Wes Kremer – “Skateboarding Is Forever”
-As mind-melting as the Torey Pudwill part, but with more wall-rides

Brandon Westgate – “Stay Gold”
-I still have difficulty getting into his styles* but it’s hard to deny all the San Francisco hill-blazing

Feel like Leo Romero returned the SOTY race to where it ought to be, that is, a genuinely hardworking dude that most folks can get behind as elevating the trick and/or gnarliness bar while being fairly representative of skating current and/or enduring themes — in Leo’s case you get a sometimes subtlely dazzling angle on handrail skating, a satisfactory anti-social demeanor and often a cowboy hat or a moustache, which you know, Chris Cole won it twice these past few years, and I don’t remember him getting behind cowboy hats like that. These are the weighty issues I feel are at stake when Thrasher/Phelps appear to be edging dangerously toward giving the one award that matters to some pampered television personality, and in the process totally fucking up my fragile worldview.

Wouldn’t even pretend that I’ve seen enough photos to pick out a “best of the year” or anything, but this Yaje Popson SSBSTS had all the elements.

Special mention to all rocket scientist video surgeons at Krooked who managed to not only make the first 3D skate dvd, but to execute it with a minimum of heavy-handed editing and sanctimoniousness that probably would’ve sapped the silly fun out of such a project with a lot of slow-mo if it had fallen to somebody like Ty Evans. On a related note, this blog (also predictably) fell into the camp viewing the annual TWS video project contest as a terrific hose-job for the Etnies effort, so here’s a link to that if you missed it.

*it’s a personal problem, I realize

Night Fever

December 21, 2009


We know how to do it

Despite the continental-sized chip on its shoulder, one of the things that made the 2004 Lordz wheels video “They Don’t Give A Fuck About Us” great was the exotic nature of these amazing spots the dudes were skating… wide-open and untouched plazas, old timey-looking buildings in the background, enough grime caked into the cracks on the sidewalks to make it interesting, cops who didn’t seem ready to draw down on four-wheeled miscreants, et cetera. The new “Night Prowler” video out of Japan has a similar thing going on but in a way that’s a lot more claustrophobic, like these walls and buildings are pressing in on the camera’s field of vision or something.

Flannel shirts, Vans and ski caps have fully taken over in Japan and Hiroki Muraoka is pretty exemplary of what’s going on for the next half hour: tall 50-50s, fast ollies, speedy lines and urban transition, all that. The mini-backside tailslide he does is great. Traffic’s Rich Adler makes an extended guest appearance, and there’s tricks from Soy Panday, Emanuel Guzman as well as the never-seen-enough Mike Manzoori of all people. Akira Imamura does a zany backside flip wallride thing and Deshi performs some Natas spin moves amid some sketchy 50-50s.

It might have something to do with the type of skating that’s going on, with a lot less gap-sailing and more of jamming the boards up, onto and over various obstacles and things that creates almost a constant clattering of urethane on stone, cement, steel and whatnot. I don’t know if there’s some kind of superior Japanese technology at work here but beyond the collage of streetlights, wallrides and transfer grinds what I took away from this vid was the sound of wheels rattling and skidding from surface to surface. It sounds interesting here, different from other videos it seems like, and you could picture ripping this to an mp3 and laying on your newly acquired rug, eyes half-closed with headphones on, listening to the sounds until yet another interloper cracks you across the jaw.

Blast Em

August 17, 2009

saints-sinners0002

Some great street skating photos from the Brockman issue of Thrasher, chronicling the Santa Cruz/Creature “Saints & Sinners” tour, great to the point I had a hard time choosing which one to poorly scan and post up. I’ve been a Sid Melvin fan, but docked him some points when he started wearing fedoras and went all-in on the urban creative movement. However he’s soldiered through a knee injury and this multi-material wallride is too lifted to ignore. Meanwhile the below Mikey Curtis ollie evoked a serious “holy shit” upon turning the page. Some Indianapolis local may well bring it to our attention that this bar is only three feet high or something (in turn revealing Mikey Curtis as a next-gen Pancho Moler) but whatever the case, it’s a pretty big boost. This issue of Thrasher has a lot of other great pics actually – a massive switch b/s tail from Flipper Rodrigo Teixeira, a really awesome Spitfire ad that features a powerful Peter Hewitt gap to backside lipslide, and even a shot of Mike McGill in what appear to be, yes, brown cords.

Oh and in the text department, Windsor James offers some pause-worthy advice for travel comfort:
Man Lean
That’s the buds. Tave, Reyes, or Sierra usually. It’s only on planes or on a long van ride. We steal a pillow from the hotel and get the fucking snugs going. You fold the pillow in half and put it in the middle of the seats on the plane. The pillow expands into a little triangle, and then we’re all fitted up and can go to sleep. Then you do the man lean. It’s like if we were at war or something and you had to stand up and sleep at the same time, that’s how you’d be sleeping. Fucking get the fader lean on. If you had a pillow at the bar, you’d do the same thing. If your homie was fucked up too, you’d be like “just chill–lean real quick with this pillow.”

Anyway, yeah, the Curtis photo:

saints-sinners0001

Institutionalized

July 30, 2009

cuckoosnest
You don’t have to be crazy to write a skateboard blog but it sure helps! =)

Interesting bookend to yesterday’s posting comes to us today from Rupert Murdoch’s wood-pushing beat reporter Conor Dougherty, who has a rundown on the state of play in Portland Oregon where skateboarding has corrupted “the system,” as opposed to the other way around:

As skateboarding exploded, Portland’s skaters began lobbying for more parks, and for a say in how they were built. One was Tom Miller, who had moved from Seattle to attend law school and later started a non-profit organization called Skaters for Portland Skateparks. The city later set up a skatepark committee that included Mr. Miller, Mr. Dahlgren and Dean Dickinson, a BMX bike rider. The panel pushed for concrete parks designed by skaters, rather than the plastic obstacles many cities were buying from playground equipment companies more familiar with swingsets than skateparks.

But the group also suggested something so bold Mr. Miller says he was almost embarrassed to propose it: a citywide skatepark system. Mr. Miller’s skatepark lobbying led to a volunteer position with the campaign of Sam Adams, who was running for city commissioner. Mr. Adams won the election, and Mr. Miller became an insider: He was offered a job as chief of staff. A few months later Portland’s city council approved a plan to create the skatepark system.

The “skatepark system” is intriguing to me; I’ve always thought personally that far more practical for cities of size, rather than building destination-type parks on the outskirts of town or in some bizarre, hard-to-reach location, would be to make legal spots scattered throughout various neighborhoods. Like a couple flatbars alongside a basketball court somewhere, a wallride spot in the alley behind some city building, legal ledges in schoolyards, a miniramp in the park, etc. But then again I have lots of other stupid ideas like taking spots people are already skating and stop wasting cop wages chasing people around all day. Or getting reincarnated as a grackle in order to shit on haters of various types and descriptions.

Anyway, the WSJ article correctly points out that skateboarding’s subversion/infiltration/sliding in thru the side door of Portland city government was aided by the widely believed fact that the place is run by a load of hippies, or so is my understanding. It’s also interesting to note that this has all taken place in the backyard of Nike Inc., whose interest in skateboarding has probably risen steadily alongside the number of parks in town; somebody more energetic and talented than your BTO staffer could probably make an interesting graph or perhaps a cheerily coloured pie chart to demonstrate this, but if wishes were ponies, well, there you are.

Another interesting sidebar to the Portland story is that as skateboarders have gained civic clout, the BMXers are starting to feel disenfranchised, since none of the power-broker skateboard types want to see their tax dollar-funded ledges all chunked up from pegs:

“It’s almost like skaters are the cops now,” says Mr. Dickinson, the BMXer.

Youch. The irony, she burns. On one hand, the BMXers have a fair point, but on the other hand, now that skateboarders have paved the way* they could go ahead and find their own city government to fill with various moles and rogue agents in fingerless gloves and Fox hats. You know, the Cuyahoga River is just begging for one of those big dirt jumps.

*delicious punnery sort of intended

Bros in Time

July 22, 2009

guy_rudy

For whatever reason this week we’re seeing a lot of themes around the glory of bro-ness popping up here and there, so I’m going to avoid retreading tha Plat’s recent odes to the season in favor of more other shit that warms the darkened cockles of aging skateboard hearts*. Such as this time warp Guy/Rudy pic, featured in the new and generally entertaining Wallride catalog. (Check for the Skate Mental dolphin deck and Carroll’s up-rail innovation.) We can sweat the Crailtap crew’s growing pains as they try and chart their course with the ’90s steadily shrinking in the rear-view mirror, but then they’ll parcel out photos like this, or empty the footage vaults for the box set, and future generations of face-tattooed Christian fundamentalist rappers can be forgiven. Too bad they’re not driving a Civic.

Tenuously related is this Lakai commercial for the nold Rick Howards, which I’ve unfortunately yet to sample, in which our pal gets some help from a couple IATSE Local 33 friends. But not Mike Carroll. If 411s were still coming out and I was still watching them I would for sure be waiting on new Lakai spots.

*inevitably bumming out the anti-bro-feeling Carbonite