Saturday, June 29, 2013

Powell Team Fired

Yesterday's "Weekend Buzz" with Kyle Berard and Jordan Hoffart confirmed rumors that Powell-Peralta has fired pretty much their whole team.

I'm sorry to hear about this, and my gut reaction would be to get mad at Powell, but Jordan makes a pretty good case in the video for them just trying to survive. With that said, it's definitely a shame that guys like Jordan, Aldrin Garcia and Josh Hawkins all have to find a new sponsor now,  as I really liked all of those guys. I imagine it will be extra tricky for Josh, since it seems that he injured himself pretty recently and it will be a while before he's back in full force.

Some people have said Josh Hawkins would fit well on Toy Machine, and I tend to agree with them, I think that would be a really good fit. It also kind of makes sense, because Toy Machine's distribution, Tum Yeto, is also connected with Dekline, which is Josh's shoe sponsor. I like to think that Jordan Hoffart and Aldrin Garcia will end up on Birdhouse because of their relationship to various people on Bones (Jaws, Raybourn, etc.) but more than anything it would just make a sick team even sicker. I could also see Hoffart moving over to Darkstar.

In any case, a part of me hopes that the skateboarding industry, as it shrinks and goes through hard times, makes wise choices about where they trim the fat, but of course many of the guys on Powell probably won't ever have a proper sponsor again. I wish them luck though, and hopefully at least my two favorites, Hoffart and Hawkins, get hooked up, because I would be really bummed out if I never saw those guys again.

Friday, June 28, 2013

X Games 2013- Park+Vert

I know I said I would do a write up on the X Games Park and Vert yesterday, but life happens. At that, I didn't try that hard to get it done because I didn't think anyone would notice. I'm still at that stage where a lot of my page views are Russian spam bots. However, a real, human reader of mine did notice and called me out on it, so I guess I need to be more careful about promising things in the future. For now, I'm sorry for keeping you guys waiting, and with no further ado, I would like to start jib-jabbing and skatenerding like I always do.

First there was the park final, which I always love watching. It takes place in a concrete bowl, so it doesn't have the same sort of back-and-forth monotony that can sometimes happen when watching Vert or Big Air. For those of you who didn't know, Curren Caples managed to beat defending champ, Pedro Barros on his last run. Curren has apparently been skateboarding since age 4 and it really shows,  because although I usually like watching Pedro Barros or Ben  Hatchell (who got 2nd and 3rd,  respectively) Curren looks more comfortable on a board than just about any other 17 year old that I can think of. His run included lofty frontside flips which were totally on lock and airs over the channel that were absolutely textbook.
 Photo Courtesy of Mark Kohlman for ESPN

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Double Video Breakdown: X games Real Street

The finals for the X Games Real Street contest are upon us. The finalists are two extremely heavy hitters: Guy Mariano and David Gravette. Both great skaters, and in my mind, both were practically robbed of a SOTY trophy. So which one gets it? Let's take a look at the submissions. After you've checked them out, you can cast your vote here if you haven't already.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Weekly "Why Haven't I Seen This"-4

With the plethora of skate footage that's out there, it can be easy to overlook things. And yet, so often we stumble upon a video that we've never heard of and find ourselves asking why we hadn't seen it before. Each week, I plan to post another lesser-known video that deserves more recognition, for your viewing pleasure.

Ryan Lay has been killing it for years. After spending some time on Rasa Libre, quitting, then eventually winding up on Enjoi, it seems he's finally starting to get the recognition he deserves. Even still, I don't think that many people have seen his part in what would have been the Ipath video (before they dropped most of their team). His part in "The Other Ones", with it's haunting song and high speed lines full of properly popped tricks that you wouldn't see anywhere else, is a sight to behold. That switch backside hurricane near the end gets me every time.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Happy Go Skateboarding Day

Today is Go Skateboarding Day, rightfully chosen to be one of the longest days of the year (The longest being yesterday). I know I'm off to go skate, but just as I was about to leave, I thought of all the people who can't skate today- those who are injured, or people who live in an area with bad weather for today. Let us salute our brothers (and sisters... as few as there may be) who can not skate today and remind them that there's always tomorrow. It is with you guys in mind that I will not rub it in too much that you can't skate and instead just post one of my favorite videos, "It's Time". Sierra Fellers' part remains one of my all time favorites, and the whole video is really good. I hope you enjoy it and some other blog posts of mine in your time of need.

EDIT: I wanted to preserve the spirit of this post by leaving my words, but the video that I originally posted got taken down. To replace it, I have embedded Sierra Fellers' part only, since I cannot find the full video on Youtube any more.

Skate Jams Vol. 1

This post is a little bit different in that it doesn't strictly have to do with skateboarding. With that said, skateboarding has always had a very close relationship with music. Ever since skate videos came into existence during the 80's, people have been making the link between rhythm and board seem both obvious and beautiful.

This relationship has proven to be especially true for bands with a punk/alternative/indie sound. Both punk and skateboarding are subcultures. Both subcultures share a lot of similar values, including the will to challenge things that are in control for some people, whether they be social norms or the government or the police. Both have historically also had an emphasis on individuality and have valued the creation of art.

Few groups better exhibit this harmonious crossing of cultures as well as the British indie rock group, Bloc Party. Ever since the release of Silent Alarm (officially released in the US in 2005) it seems that skaters dug them immediately. There was of course the beloved Daewon Song part in Skate More which featured "This Modern Love". Skate More, by the way, is still often praised for having a good sound track on top of the legendary skating. Then there's the part from the now seldom-heard-from Corey Sheppard in the Blind video, "What If?"  which used the song "Banquet". I still love that part to this day.

Bloc Party had broken up and then reunited late last year, and now their new album, Four is frequently on my iPod when I skate (but only when I skate by myself- wearing headphones during a group session is both dangerous AND anti-social).

Check out "Kettling" from that album and tell me it doesn't perfectly represent the quitter-hating, anti-authoritative streak that so many skaters share.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tony Karr

Let the record show that I am backing Tony Karr. Great style, creative, and it definitely looks like he's having fun at all times on a skateboard. The photo of that 5-0 at 3:55 has been my desktop background for a while now, and the last minute or so of footage is seriously just stupid. It's stupid that he's that good at skating. Not in a bad way, I just mean it doesn't follow logic or wisdom. I've already said too much. Enjoy:

What's With "Soul Rebel"?

By now I imagine many of you have watched 'Soul Rebel', Mark Appleyard's new part from Element. If you haven't or you just want to rewatch, click here.

And to be honest, when I first watched it, I was a little bit disappointed, and I wasn't really sure why. At first I thought it was just because many of the tricks in there were on bank spots, and I tend to think that Mark shines on ledges and rails, but I don't think that is right, because when I thought about it I realized that I liked the tricks he did. Also, you don't generally watch Mark for difficult tricks, you watch Mark to see his effortless, unnaturally smooth style. Not to mention, I think the guy is in his 30's, so it would be foolish to expect his best work at this point. Not everyone can be Guy Mariano.

After watching the video a second time, I realized what I didn't like about it- the filming and editing appears to have been done by a 12 year old. I'm not usually picky about this sort of thing, but watching this part made me realize just how important editing is. Someone took footage of Mark Appleyard and somehow made it into something that I don't want to watch. It's like someone tried to serve me a pizza off of a man-hole cover. It's a terrible waste of pizza, although the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would probably eat it if I refused to.

There were a lot of details that I feel they just didn't get quite right. First of all, there was not one, not even two, but 3 montages of Mark falling down. And not a single fall was particularly gruesome, as most of them are just him slipping out on banks. It doesn't make Mark look tough and it's not interesting to watch, so it seems as though they are just there to fill up time.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Weekly "Why Haven't I Seen This?"-3

With the plethora of skate footage that's out there, it can be easy to overlook things. And yet, so often we stumble upon a video that we've never heard of and find ourselves asking why we hadn't seen it before. Each week, I plan to post another lesser-known video that deserves more recognition, for your viewing pleasure.

This week we have an oldie but a goodie. Frankie Hill was tackling giant gaps and handrails way back in the 80's. He was so far ahead of his time that Nate Sherwood made a documentary that was made seemingly entirely to stress how underrated he was and how much he changed skateboarding. I won't link it here because it's a pretty poorly made documentary, but it has some interesting stuff about Frankie if you want to go find it yourself. For now, enjoy Frankie Hill's part from "Propaganda" and prepare to be stunned.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

SB Chronicles: Vol. 2. Get psyched!

Nike just put out the trailer for Vol. 2 of the SB chronicles. See? It's right here.

And it's been a long time since I've been this excited for a skate video to come out. I think the last time I was this excited was when "Stay Gold" came out, and we all know how our giggling with excitement was not let down by that video (or maybe that was just me).

We've got Luan Oliveira, Daryl Angel, Shane O'Neill, Donovan Piscopo, Theotis Beasley, Justin Brock, and Ishod Wair. All of those guys have been sitting on footage for at least a couple years each with the exception of Theotis Beasley, so you can expect pretty much everyone to bring their A game on this one. The trailer by itself makes me want to skate, especially the most insane nollie frontside flip ever done and Ishod Wair pretty much getting owned by a plant.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Of All Things, Why Nyjah?

 I know, I know, I'm showing up extremely late to this party. Nyjah Huston's comments in his Thrasher interview have been talked about the world over. At first, I didn't think too much of it- Nyjah said something that I thought was ignorant. It wasn't the first time something like this had happened and it wasn't the last, and on top of that, I don't care much about Nyjah besides acknowledging that he's very skilled with a skateboard. I kept seeing the quote, "I personally believe that skateboarding is not for girls at all. Not one bit." And so all was right with the world, in that everyone had a reason to hate on Nyjah again. Hooray!

After a while I remembered that I write a skateboarding blog and figured that this is the kind of stuff that I should probably be talking about, so I looked into it a little and saw the full dialogue. The part that everyone is up in arms about is led into as follows:

"Phelps: The women do the downhill stuff because they think it's like sidewalk surfing. They don't realize how dangerous it really is.
Nyjah: You could get way more served up skating downhill than you could skating a ten-stair rail. Some girls can skate but I personally believe that skateboarding is not for girls at all. Not one bit."

Wait, did anyone else just see the thing that Jake Phelps prompted Nyjah with?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Future Sucks: Skateboard Retail

The very first blog post that I ever wrote was about an imaginary therapy session between a psychiatrist and the skateboard industry. The premise was probably a little weird and lofty for some people, but the point still stands that the skateboard industry is changing, and for better or worse, it is largely as a result of pressure from us, the consumers.

For those of you that haven't heard, one of the most beloved skate shops in the world, Metro Skateshop, is closing. This makes me contemplate what it will mean in the future to buy skateboarding goods. It seems that more and more, people are opting out of going to a local shop and instead choosing to order things online. This isn't a matter of large corporations crushing the little guys either, as CCS stores (A division of Footlocker) are also beginning to close. Instead, the issue seems to be that people just prefer to buy their skateboarding goods online. I've bought things online a few times in the past, and at the risk of sounding like a crotchety old man, I am going to discuss why this change is going to ruin everything if we let it. The reasons are as follows:

1. The reason everyone talks about- Supporting local shops supports your local skate scene.
This reason is stated most often when discussing the closing of skate shops. The fact of the matter is, small, skater-owned shops are more likely to do 2 things that companies run by other people will not do. They sponsor local skateboarders and they provide a place to organize.
What I mean by "a place to organize" is that skate shop owners can be in touch with local skateboarders and are more equipped to provide things for their local skateboarding community- whether that's by helping create skate spots and parks or scheduling demos, contests, and events, or even occasionally getting petitions together to fight whatever local bans on skateboarding or skate spots that there may be. Or maybe your local skateshop does none of those things, and it's just a safe haven where people sit around, watch skate videos, and complain about cops-that's still something that online stores don't offer. Also, sponsoring local skateboarders might not sound particularly important, but without it, I feel like a lot of young, talented skaters will have to work much harder to gain recognition, and having a team allows for local demos and shop videos, which help inspire other skaters. The relationship between local skaters and their local shop/team is mutually beneficial.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Weekly "Why Haven't I Seen This?"-2

With the plethora of skate footage that's out there, it can be easy to overlook things. And yet, so often we stumble upon a video that we've never heard of and find ourselves asking why we hadn't seen it before. Each week, I plan to post another lesser-known video that deserves more recognition, for your viewing pleasure.

This week I am on a bit of a Birdhouse stint, and since Shaun Gregoire rips super hard, he gets the feature this week. He unleashes a very special brand of east coast style in his "Belly of the Beast" part. The night line that starts at 1:22 could not be more perfect.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

When did Birdhouse's team get so good again?

I've been skating for about 7 years now (since 2006), which means that I was first getting into skateboarding at around the time everyone was eagerly expecting the release of Lakai's "Fully Flared", to be released about a year later in 2007.

Birdhouse wasn't exactly doing it's best work from a promotional or team standpoint. I didn't know too much about skateboarding at the time, but I remember thinking of Birdhouse simply as Tony Hawk's company with some other vert guys and a couple of street skaters I had never heard of. On top of that, the last video they had come out with was "The End" which was 8 years prior, and Mr. Hawk wasn't getting much respect for putting his name on an increasingly repetitive video game series.

With that said, I respected the historical significance of the company- Tony Hawk is an undisputed legend, and "The End" featured career-making parts from Rick McCrank and Andrew Reynolds. But I don't think I was alone in declaring the brand as past it's prime.
But while I was mistakenly not looking, they were making moves. Good ones. They released "The Beginning" in 2007, and just because most of us were more concerned with "Fully Flared" that year doesn't make that any less of a fantastic video.
Here's one of my favorite parts from the video, from the still-am Shaun Gregoire:

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

BATB 6=Amazing

Well, yet another Battle at the Berrics has taken place, and what a tournament it was. The final four included Shane O'Neill vs. P-Rod on the goofy section and PJ vs. Mike Mo on the regs. SPOILER: PJ Ladd won, so congrats to him.

So I'm just going to post the links to the finals night videos and point out some of my favorite parts.
Shane vs. Paul
PJ vs. Mike Mo
For third place:Shane vs. Mike Mo
FTW: PJ vs. Paul

Basically, I only have 4 things to point out that I think are awesome:

1. Donovan Strain is alive and well, and was present on finals night- If you haven't seen "Butteryass Mondays" I suggest you start looking right now. The man always had great ideas to keep that show interesting, and him being at the Berrics tells me that he and Berra have buried the hatchet and we might see more of him.
2. Gary Rogers apparently doesn't know how Ro Sham Bo works (or as the sane people on the east coast call it, 'Rock, Paper, Scissors"). He famously called Andrew Reynolds "Rick Reynolds" to his face not very long ago, so I have shifted from thinking that he's ignorant to just thinking he's constantly absent-minded. Which is me trying to find a nice way to say I suspect he's sort of dumb.
3. PJ Ladd deserves a better shoe sponsor than New Balance. I hope they at least treat him well over there.
4. When I was about to watch the finals video, I noticed that Jimmy Carlin was tagged, and I wondered why. It's because he's awesome, that's why, and he appears to be the only one in the room fully appreciating the sickness of what went down in that final battle by stripping down to his boxers and dancing around. If I had the balls too, I would absolutely do the same.

Thanks to the Berrics for all the entertainment they bring to skaters every day.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Weekly "Why haven't I seen this?"-1

With the plethora of skate footage that's out there, it can be easy to overlook things. And yet, so often we stumble upon a video that we've never heard of and find ourselves asking why we hadn't seen it before. Each week, I plan to post another lesser-known video that deserves more recognition, for your viewing pleasure.

So I proudly present the first  installment of "Why Haven't I Seen This?" by starting with Adam Simoni's part in "Products of the Desert". Some of you might remember Adam from his brief time on the season of "Slap's One in a Million"  that notoriously killed the contest. Others have no idea who I'm talking about, but he completely destroys everything for over 9 minutes, and I feel that more people should know about his unique style and impressive trick selection. Switch, regular, nollie, fakie- It doesn't matter, it's all buttery and he makes anything look easy.

Slap Forum Survival Guide

For those of you that don't already know, Slap Magazine has message boards that are notoriously unapologetic and rough. Case in point, this week, some  kid decided to start a thread to tell people about how awesome Revive skateboards is. The Slap community proceeded to tear him a new one. I don't spend too much time on Slap, but I lurk enough that I decided I could make this helpful guide for people new to Slap.

But first, let's see what we're working with. The original post was:

"Just came to say that you guys should really support Andy Schrock's new company Revive! He is a local skater around here and a real cool and zany guy. His new company has a really cool image and not to mention a damn good name. He is a role model to me and acts like a real skater should!. I feel he deserves all the support he can get so if you guys could pick up some Revive product that would be awesome!"

 And before the first cheesy sentence is over, our oblivious poster has broken two rules of Slap.
*Sigh* This might take a while. Better get started.

1. Don't tell Slap members what to do.
The most active members of Slap are also the most opinionated. Telling them that they should support someone comes across as a challenge- because if they should like something, then by the power of Zeus, they already like it. In fact, they've already got a tattoo for it.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Video Breakdown: Luan Oliveira Firing Line

Everyone knows that Luan Oliveira is good. But I still don't feel like he gets talked about enough, so let's break down the absurdity of how good he is by checking out his firing line, step by step.
So we start out with this perfectly caught tre flip down a small, but fairly long set of stairs:

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Skateboarding Industry: A Therapy Session

As skateboarding has become more and more popular over the last 10 years or so, many companies have thought about ways to cash in on it. The unhealthy sugar water industry sent in it's representatives from Mountain Dew, Red Bull, Monster, and Rockstar a few years ago. What's been getting talked about more lately, though, has been the success of large shoe companies. Nike paved the way, Adidas followed, and now it appears New Balance is trying to do the same with some help from Jamie Thomas over at Black Box.

The bottom line is that the skateboarding industry has been undergoing some changes, and some people aren't happy about it. Those people got concerned and decided to make an appointment with a psychiatrist,  so that the skateboarding industry could talk out some of these issues. The following is a transcription of that appointment (The Skateboarding Industry will be abbreviated 'TSI'):

Dr. Lamenski waits patiently, alone in his office. He checks his watch one last time- the session was supposed to start 7 minutes ago.
The door opens. The skateboarding industry walks in, wearing only the finest that the mall had to offer. His hat still has tags on it, his 200 dollar watch is made of plastic, and shoes look brand new.

TSI: Sorry I'm late Dr. Lamenski, did you get that call from my assistant?

Lamenski: That's ok, but no, I did not receive a call.

TSI: Yea, between you and me I think that guy's been smoking a little too much weed lately, he probably forgot. I think I'll fire him soon.