Posts Tagged ‘winning’

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?

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Dylan Rieder Reveals Bleak Worldview That Includes A Futile Struggle Against Robots, Sort Of Like In “Terminator 2”

April 17, 2012

Here at Boil the Ocean Affiliated Blogging and Alloy Solutions plc we care deeply for the welfare of the pros and assorted bros who are the heartbeat of the industry and indeed, the very culture itself. That professionals represent the fleshy bedrock of the whole shebang was highlighted in recent years by the industry-backed “A World Without Pros” hearts n’ minds campaign that successfully vanquished blank decks forevermore from our storefronts and ushered in a new period of peace and prosperity for hardgoods and softgoods manufacturers alike.

Which is why this Dylan Rieder interview is troubling, in the ‘extreme’ even. Rieder, once characterized as skateboarding’s “golden boy” by the second-best dude on Element* and maintainer of a face that has launched one thousand message-board posts, talks in stark terms of how he struggles to compete in The Street League and seems to have lost his zest for colorful clothing that could earn valuable photo incentive revenues. To wit:

You should be rich; you’re in Street League.
Yeah… after taxes and all it’s not that exciting. You can’t win any money out of there anyways competing against fucking robots. It’s the same top 3 people all the time taking all the money. They need to have a cash limit, like if you win 500 grand you get kicked out to help the rest of us who can’t land everything first try; maybe give us a shot at the money.

Dylan Rieder reveals that increased automation on the contest circuit has made it more difficult for him to pay his bills, similar to the plight of former auto factory workers in Detroit.

How did you end up in Street League? You’re the oddball. You’re not doing push ups, you’re not plugged into the wall. How did it happen and do you enjoy yourself?
Yeah, it’s alright. Dyrdek is my boy, Workshop and all. Maybe he just wanted another Workshop rider. He called me and asked me if I wanted to do it. Why not? It’s extra dough in my pocket. I’m normally not too fond of the whole contest circuit thing but I got a mortgage now. You got to think about the extra pennies that can help pay the gas bill. I don’t mind it. It is what it is. You show up, you bail a couple times and then you go home. I’m not in it to win it. Under the circumstances it’s not even physically possible because everybody can do everything every try and I’m not that technical of a person.

The malaise and hopelessness of not winning key Street League contest stops seems to be afflicting other areas of Dylan Rieder’s life. He describes a waning interest in branded apparel, embarking on a slippery slope toward the sort of drab and featureless government-issued garb that clothed generations of people living under strict communist regimes.

How come you’re not riding for some fantastic energy drink company?
Fuck. You couldn’t pay me a million dollars to wear one of those logos on my forehead. Their shit is fucked. It’s cool for those guys; they make a lot of money. I despise logos and I think it’s contractual if you sign up for one of those things that every time you’re on your board you have to have one of their logos near or on your body; it’s kind of retarded. They make little stickers that look like your shirt tags and you’re supposed to put them on you. It’s retarded. I don’t understand the Nascar outfit. The whole racecar uniform shit just blows my mind. But all those dudes are rich now so kudos to them.

You’re the polar opposite; you wear no logos at all. Just blank tees. There has to be a happy medium, no?
If it was something cool, I’d wear it. It would be cool to ride for Voss, that fancy water that comes in the glass bottle. Maybe 5-Hour Energy drink, that thing works.

The bleak tone in Dylan Rieder’s latest interview suggests that he has resigned himself to a lower socio-economic tier, destined to be outperformed by machines programmed with contest-point maximizing algorithms and sneered at by former coworkers. The potential loss is even greater when you consider that Dylan Rieder is, similar to Matt Hensley, Jim Greco and the Muska, among the few fashion innovators of consequence in recent years. As new owner of DNA Distribution and Dylan Rieder’s employer boss, does Rob Dyrdek have a legal obligation to try and lift him out of the dumps, possibly by leading a sing-a-long? If life sucks for Dylan Rieder, is there any hope for the rest of us? Do NASCAR fans really “do it better”?

*When “Time To Shine” came out, anyway