2016 SMLTALK AWARDS: THE RECAP

Another year gone, another awards show done. Did we do anything out of the oridnary? No, not really. Were there some really sick videos that played and did we get to embarass/honor some of the scene? Yes.

We want to first and foremost, we want to thank everyone that came out. Yep, all you guys. Remember, this whole thing wouldn't exist without everyone that showed up, had a beer and a laugh. Pat yourselves on the back for being awesome and for creating the scene we all know and love. We want to also thank everyone that assisted with the event including:

  • Orchard Skateshop and Converse for sponsoring the event
  • Wonderbar for putting up with our shit
  • Rob Collins for hooking us up with product
  • Tommy Wisdom for creating the trophies
  • Jimmy Lake for the t-shirts
  • Frankie Nash/Ray Trotta for the design stuff
  • James DeRocher for shooting photos. Follow him on the 'gram, his photos are insane (@jamesderocher)
  • Erik Pickard and Humar Miranda for M.C'ing

Seriously, thanks a bunch guys. Now let's take a look and see how it all went down:

THE VIDEOS

Definitely some of the most enjoyable content we've ever had. Here's what went down before the awards:

"ICE"

The Budweiser Attack boys were in full effect with this one. Orchard buddy and fast-shade aficionado Kenny Ramos brings the heat with "ICE" (Most Thrasher Mag description of that title). This all long-lens edit (which is an impressive feat) features some eclectic skating, good tunes, and a surprise Mike Chew part. Crack a cold one and give it a watch.

"....searching.... Introducing Brian Reid to Orchard"

This one was a real show-stopper. Orchard starts this one off with some heavy clips from Nick, with the casual ripping we're so used to by now (That trick on Blubba was fucked). We get some of the ever evolving footage from local legend and ex-King of the Model, Frankie Nash, before we welcome Brian Reid to the Orchard team. Brian rips. Congratulations, well deserved.

"Sweeter Than Juice" Teaser

There is a reason why the "iPhone Edit" series had come to an abrupt end last year. Stiffler has been filming for his first and most likely last full length video. Maybe coming out later this year? Who knows. The teaser is only 35 seconds long, give it a watch.

"TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES" 

We're sure you're already aware of the hype this one has been getting on your social media stream. David Milliken creates a certifiable banger with his first full-length offering. Featuring parts from Eric Dasaro, Jacob Folsom-Fraser, Andrew Whittier, and the man himself, we get a good look at some of the best in the city. Thanks for playing it at the awards David!

Get a copy immediately: http://technicaldifficultiesvideo.bigcartel.com/

THE AWARDS

The rest of the night was spent celebrating the scene with the awards. To be honest, these categories keep getting harder and harder to come up with. Seriously, maybe next year we open it up and take suggestions? Who knows. Let's go through the categories and see what we came up with:

BEST TRICK - David Milliken, noseslide the C-Ledge at eggs. Very chill and easy thing to do. Rumor mill saying something else got done on that as well? We'll have to wait and see...

D. Milli may actually have the best style. debate in the comments plz.

D. Milli may actually have the best style. debate in the comments plz.

BEST YOUNG DUDE - Jared Blake took this one. Kid has a crazy good hardflip. Unfortunatley he was sick and wasn't able to make it, so the award was accepted on his behalf by Begonis? Fine. Works for us.

100% Not Jared blake. Fuck it, lets take his picture anyway. 

100% Not Jared blake. Fuck it, lets take his picture anyway. 

SKATEPARK HERO - First year of having the Lynch Family Skate Park. Why not include some sort of award for it? We had to give this to Sam Mayo. You know you've seen him at the park and you know the boy kills it. Most likely dude to give you a high five? You bet.  

humar looks more stoked than sam. 

humar looks more stoked than sam. 

THE FASHIONISTA AWARD - Myles Underwood claimed this one. Why? Because the kid wears Gucci belts and all-over print Polo pants. Un-fuck-with-able.

"Look out there. no one dresses as fly as you papi" - Probably what humar said

"Look out there. no one dresses as fly as you papi" - Probably what humar said

LADIES CHOICE - Full disclosure, this award was created and it's winner was chosen by a group of ladies we know. And they chose Mike Chew. Much respect Chew, the ladies have spoken.

"It's not easy being so handsome" - Chew

"It's not easy being so handsome" - Chew

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT - Sargent Skate was honored this time around, and why wouldn't he be? He builds skateparks for fucks sake. Doug has been around since the days at ZT Maximus, owns Colonial Ramp Technologies, was a major part of POP Allston's creation, built and maintains the bowl at the shop, and continually makes the scene better. Thanks for everything Dougie!

"Everyone in the scene gets along, unlike a lot of other places in the world."

SKATER OF THE YEAR - Matt Tomasello was crowned SOTY this year. From his part in Fancy Lad's "Is This Skateboarding?", the footage in the Fancy Lad x Cons "Tour Video Tour", to all of his ridiculous content on his newly formed Instagram account, the kid has been a force this past year. Definitely not the most conventional style, and he most certainly cannot do the most basic flat ground or ledge tricks, but if you've seen him skate in person, you'd agree with the choice. Congrats Matt! 

We've heard reports of people actually thinking we had a million dollars to give away. confirming those reports right here.

We've heard reports of people actually thinking we had a million dollars to give away. confirming those reports right here.

Your 2016 Smltalk awards winners

Your 2016 Smltalk awards winners

Well, that's all she wrote for this year's awards. We really hope you coming out to this event year after year. Again, a huge thank you to Orchard, Converse, anyone who donated a video, helped out in any way, and definitely everyone that was there. It's a labor of love, but fuck it, y'all are worth it.

Here are the nominee videos (which we didn't cut up, too tired of editing shit) and more photos from the rest of the night. Hope to see you all again there next year.

Humar brings a certain level of fun to anything he does. Bowie pin? Good call.

Humar brings a certain level of fun to anything he does. Bowie pin? Good call.

No one can pull off a suit quite like Mr. pickard

No one can pull off a suit quite like Mr. pickard

a banger video part and the ladies choice award!? i guess you really can have it all. 

a banger video part and the ladies choice award!? i guess you really can have it all. 

"Do you think they'd be bummed if we started singing billy joel karaoke?" 

"Do you think they'd be bummed if we started singing billy joel karaoke?" 

Crowd was enjoying' themselves we think.

Crowd was enjoying' themselves we think.

"damn,  this video is sickkkkk" 

"damn,  this video is sickkkkk" 

"ICE" was a laugh a minute with some good skating to go with it

"ICE" was a laugh a minute with some good skating to go with it

clearly sticky is very interested in the video. put your phone down once in a while, kids

clearly sticky is very interested in the video. put your phone down once in a while, kids

"HE SPEAKS!!!" jairo came up and tried to pull a fast one (he looks like humar)

"HE SPEAKS!!!" jairo came up and tried to pull a fast one (he looks like humar)

Humar had no clue that he was also in the running for "ladies choice". Erik did. 

Humar had no clue that he was also in the running for "ladies choice". Erik did. 

honoring the legend, doug moore

honoring the legend, doug moore

soty gets to pass the torch. squeaks' part in "Technical difficulties" is fucked. 

soty gets to pass the torch. squeaks' part in "Technical difficulties" is fucked. 

"don't spend it all in one place now, bud". sage wisdom from e-picky

"don't spend it all in one place now, bud". sage wisdom from e-picky

Couple of winners right here

Couple of winners right here

"Guys, one more picture, then you can go party. I promise" 

"Guys, one more picture, then you can go party. I promise" 

Celebrating the Modern Skate Video's 20th Anniversary Pt. 2

Continuing from Part 1..

World Industries / Blind / 101 - Trilogy
Clyde Singleton, Daewon Song, Enrique Lorenzo, Gideon Choi, Gino Iannucci
Jason Dill, Josh Kasper, Kareem Campbell, Lavar McBride, Marcus McBride, Maurice Key, Ronnie Creager, Sam Devlin, Shiloh Greathouse, Eric Pupecki, Fabian Alomar, Joey Suriel, Billy Valdez, Javier Nunez

Starting with the 101 section, it’s worth pointing out something that hasn’t been discussed about Gino’s footage here: this is barely a song, yet it completely works. It’s erratic, often grating, and slightly unnerving, yet it contrasts the part perfectly, giving way to a steady beat, before abruptly winding down, giving your brain a few seconds to process things, before segueing into the superbly acted Menace skit, which actual actor Fabian Alomar is noticeably absent.

As a bookend to the advancement of LA-Tech to Mouse, Trilogy fills out exactly what the elite side of California city skateboarding was in 1996. Sure, Transdiego was great and all, but this is what really translated to the globe at large, not only because there was a style of skater that would appeal to almost any youth, but in the sheer star quality all involved had. Menace was almost a bizarro Zoo York, and that’s a good thing, right?

Let’s not forget that even though they commingled, the World and Girl camp were pitted as enemies, mimicking the Lakers and Kings rivalry, or something. Most importantly, Trilogy and Mouse pretty much set the pace for Primitive and whatever ledge trickery is happening each Sunday at J-Kwon. Full disclosure though, I’ve never been able to watch all of Lever Bar’s part, that shit is way too long.

Now, an open plea to Socrates Leal to digitize all the unseen footage he’s sitting on. Please Soc?

F.T.C. Penal Code 100A
Bobby Puleo, Keith Hufnagel, Max Schaaf, Mike Carroll, Rick Howard, Scott Johnston, Mike York, Joey Alvarez, Markus Brown, Peter Bici, Mike “Hitman” Hernandez, Fabian Alomar, Chico Brenes, Karl Watson, Lee Smith, Shamil Randle, Jesse Macmillan, Spencer Fujimoto, Kenny Kirk, Jeff Pang, Jovantae Turner, Nick Tershay, Drake Jones, Ben Sanchez, Richard Mulder, Chris Keefe, Jones Keefe, Lever Bar McBride, Marcus McBride, Guy Mariano, Eric Pupecki, Jeron Wilson, Keenan Milton (RIP), Eric Koston, Rudy Johnson, Weston Correa, Matt Willigan, Greg Hunt, Quim Cardona, Lamont Macintosh, Pepe Martinez (RIP), Ben Liversedge, Robbie Gangemi, Rob Carylon, Phil Shao (RIP)

Credit Aaron Meza for having the balls to edit this one sans-skate sounds, allowing his expert soundtrack choices to shine through, making Penal Code 100A feel very warm and analog. Infact, even for the time, there was something cozy and retro feeling about the video, even though the actual skating was supremely advanced and current. I liken it to meeting someone for the first time and immediately hitting it off, as if you went to summer camp with them and had the same childhood crushes and taste in sneakers.

Let’s also note the most important thing about this F.T.C. San Francisco Skate Shop Video, which was pointed out to me by a friend in conversation recently. It’s the greatest East Coast video made on the West Coast. Supreme was already a shop, but there’s just this “family” section mostly filmed in NYC that appears, with all these very cool New Yorkers, it starts with Bobby Puleo, features Huf’s arguably greatest skateboarding footage, and yes, Scott Johnston is not from California either. Well, SF is the most East Coast feeling/looking cities out West, so there’s some synergy, but whatever was happening in this video is a real capsule of time that is so significant, that it has subconsciously and also consciously informed the future.

The song choices, the backdrops, the integration of bi-coastal talent into one concerted skateboarding effort, showing that we can all get along after all, and that Puleo part is an absolute monster of a first part.

Stereo Tincan Folklore
Carl Shipman, Chris Pastras, Ethan Fowler, Greg Hunt, Jason Lee, Matt Rodriguez, Mike Frazier
The lesser namechecked video of the brief Stereo franchise, but in dissecting it, perhaps the more low-key influential. Sprawling environmental, mundane yet purposeful montages, a relatively twee soundtrack, grounded by post-rock legends Tortoise, UK footage, and jarring edits, much akin to Memory Screen. Much of Tincan Folklore shares more DNA with the beloved, golden era Alien/Habitat films of the late-’90s and early 2000s than Time Code would a year later. It’s the right balance of slightly askew and rightly aligned, without dipping into “art for art’s skate” territory and employing enough noteworthy skateboarding.

In the wake of the jazzy A Visual Sound, Stereo found its roster a bit lighter, but still anchored by the youthful verve of Ethan Fowler, alongside the speed and style of Matt Rodriguez and Carl Shipman. Shipman in particular puts in a somewhat left field part in the wake of his Stereo debut, opting for a very lurky, murky, lo-fi part, showcasing more abstract, environmental skating, yet still finessed. I mean, he does a pole jam and skates a lot of transition—it’s a bit of a departure, but also, as the part bashes away to the fractured beat, there’s something quite Palace-ian about this section, kind of.

With the true ender in Fowler’s part—Jason Lee’s “part” was a bit of a cruel joke—the “new” Stereo vibe is fully revealed. Fowler stomp and slashes around to a punky, garage rendition of “If I Only Had a Brain.” It’s ramshackle and haphazard—the anthesis of the top shelf scotchy smoothness of A Visual Sound. Despite it being a rougher delivery, we can draw the conclusion that you need to learn how to draw, before you can color outside the lines, otherwise it’s going to just look like a pile of scribbles. Instead of some amature-Basquiat influenced sketches, Fowler muscles around SF like a jazzbo Sean Young, showing that power is as much a part of his repertoire as technique.

Lastly, I am a Greg Hunt skateboarding fan, and nothing puts me at ease mentally, more than watching him craft lines, popping in and out of tricks unconventionally, while Tortoise’s “Tin Cans and Twine,” throbs along during the mid-point of his part. I don’t know how this fits contextually in 2016, but you should probably just watch it again or for the first time if you’re so lucky. Hunt’s part is a beautiful paradox, with his smooth, speedy lines, soundtracked by Tortoise’s melancholy post-rock—a minimalist masterpiece, for those who appreciate the strength of the line, much like Franz Kline’s abstract paintings, and I say that in the least pretentious way possible.

Sheep A Life of Leisure
Brian Anderson, Charlie Wilkins, Ed Templeton, Frank Hirata, Matt Field, Mike Manzoori, Rick McCrank, Sergei Trudnowski

A truly vulcanized dream, set 20 years in the past. Sheep’s only video output felt like another East Coast production, with only two members of the roster being from California in The Tempster and Frank Hirata. OK, McCrank and Manzoori weren’t even from the US, but BA, Charlie Wilkins, and Sergei Trudnowski are all East Coast, so there. Regardless, this has no real impact on the weight of A Life of Leisure’s narrative, only that the inclusion of such a regionally diverse squad showed the shift in skating, away from California.

It should be noted that it featured both Templeton and Anderson’s second full parts in 1996, creating a Toy Machine Trifecta of two parters with teammate Donny Barley. Sheep was a bit too forward thinking in their simple shoe design, which look perfectly inline with the skate trends of the past decade now as does the hippie friendly, abstract skating, and actual filming of the video, at times visually mirroring many of the GX edits we all love so dearly. To be specific, fast-forward to the 1:30 mark during Trudnowski’s part and witness the only person to take this now famous gap on, recently filmed by Brian Delatorre and Yonnie Cruz. Please note that Sergei remains the only one to fully land and then bomb the hill without bailing… on 60MM wheels too.

In 1996, shoe videos were rare, with Etnies High Five coming out in 1995, Airwalk releasing a promo in 96, and Emerica’s Yellow to follow in 1997, once again proving that Sheep were ahead of the folk.

Honorable Mention:
Mad Circle - Let the Horns Blow
Think - Damage
Scarecrow - The Movie
New Deal - Promo 96
Planet Earth - Silver
Big Brother - Shit
And both Thrasher, 411VM, and Transworld’s video output in 1996.

To borrow a term from the corpo stiffs that run this planet, which doesn’t even make that much sense, what’s the “net-net” here? If you take the time the next time you’re home sick from school/work and digest all these videos (I’m not going to use the “C” word aka content), you’ll see how predictive 1996 was for the current state of skateboarding. For me, it simply means that skateboarding’s actual heart rarely does change, no matter what happens, in fact, it often is able to collectively prune the ripe ideas and discard the rest, which someone will eventually recycle into something more useful anyway, which explains why Simon Woodstock’s legacy suddenly seems more relevant. Seriously, if he skated the same way as he did 20 years ago now and had a YouTube channel, he’d be bigger than Revive.

Special thank you from SMLTalk to Anthony for taking the time to write this. All photos via Chromeball.

Celebrating the Modern Skate Video's 20th Anniversary Pt. 1

Words by Anthony Pappalardo

The progression from 1970 to 1990 in skateboarding could be paralleled to leaps made in the home video game industry. That’s straight up from bouncing a gray ball between two lines in Pong to Super NES. That twenty year chunk in skating is equally dramatic and if you don’t know your history, watch Dogtown & Z-Boys (the documentary not the motion picture) and then peep Ed Templeton’s part from New Deal’s Useless Wooden Toys, Frankie Hill’s stunt work in Powell Peralta’s Propaganda, or any street-centric section from Risk It, to grasp the level of progression that occurred over those two decades. We’re talking homemade banana boards and sidewalk surfing to Hill jumping over a grassy knoll and slick bottom boards with functional noses—real future shit.

Well, in thinking about Girl’s Mouse turning 20 this year, which is really one of the greatest/most cliched tropes in skate lore, a larger narrative unfolded: Has the skate video progressed since 1996? Is a drone shot of some technically flawless human, grinding across a glassy-black ledge in some city in Asia I cannot pronounce, progression? Is employing older cameras to emulate the grain and grit of ‘90s footage homage, nostalgia, or simply preference?

In skateboarding, there seems to be a synergy with the music industry. Those who are “going for it,”—the skaters, companies, and producers who aspire to be mainstream–see every advancement in production quality as a tool to communicate their craft to the mainstream. Those big-box videos are full of Protools, Autotune, guest stars, and high definition/fidelity, while the “indie” sect opts for VX—skateboarding’s equivalent of the 4-track or analog recording, even though it’s digital.

Running through the videos released in the year 1996, it’s apparent that there’s a massive amount of predictive output that was released on VHS cassette, much of it very indicative of what you’re watching on your computer / phone screen in 2016. So, rather than look back at this like some fallen High School sports stars, depressingly recalling their salad days over domestic beer and hot wings prepared by “the wife,” let’s recount a truly incredible year in skateboarding video history.

1996, the year of Mad Cow Disease, the Spice Girls, Independence Day, and the first Major League Soccer match, as well as a bunch of shit in skateboarding that is truly incredible… and they year Jerry Fowler moved to Boston.

*Please note that all of the bolded names indicate being currently active in the skateboarding industry in some capacity.

Toy Machine - Welcome to Hell
Brian Anderson, Donny Barley, Ed Templeton, Elissa Steamer, Jamie Thomas, Mike Maldonado, Satva Leung

Did you ever think that 20 years after its release, a cool NYC magazine would call upon Satva Leung to ollie something, in celebration of a collab Toy Machine capsule collection? Well, that happened. More importantly, this was the world’s introduction to Thomas Vision®, that signature style of filming really big shit, that set in motion an entire battalion of folks who may or may not even be able to nosegrind a ledge, but can front lip a 20 stair rail. Swear to God.

Anecdotally, few skate videos had premiers at all in the mid-’90s, let alone on the East Coast, but this one was shown in some theatre outside of Boston, I believe by Coliseum Skate Shop. I recall nothing about this event, other than being awestruck and that it was the first true non-contest skate event I attended.

Of course, Toy Machine has soldiered on, The Chief is still out their producing and leading, but what’s most noteworthy is Elissa Steamer’s breakthrough section—a landmark in skateboarding feminist history.

Girl - Mouse
Ben Sanchez, Chico Brenes, Daniel Castillo, Eric Koston, Gabriel Rodriguez, Gino Iannucci, Guy Mariano, Jeron Wilson, Jovontae Turner, Keenan Milton (RIP), Mike Carroll, Mike York, Richard Mulder, Rick Howard, Rudy Johnson, Sean Sheffey, Shamil Randle, Tim Gavin, Tony Ferguson

I mean, where do you start with this one? The skits, the footage, the music supervision, guest company section? Even though it wasn’t entirely filmed in Los Angeles, Mouse feels LA, establishing the Courthouse once again as the premier proving ground for the elite. Some of you may not be aware that the Courthouse laid dormant for years, before Nike SB helped return its functionality for the skateboarding community, so that Mike York could once again do crooked grinds and Jereme Rogers could also film a skateboarding clips after his respite in the rap game.

While Guy Mariano’s (first) comeback part in Mouse has become such a “Top Five Parts” staple that it, along with Gonz or J-Lee from Video Days should be automatics, like the R,S,T,N,L and E in Wheel of Fortune, it’s important to note why this part was so significant. There are several factors, but the two most salient points are as follows: relatability and unbelievability. Mariano was neither a rail skater or gap skater, but he was a pioneer of bringing technical prowess to both. He wore several styles and brands of shoes in his part, like any of us would do over the time period it took him to film this part. He skated so cleanly both ways, that it made his footage look seamless, until you realized later which tricks were infact switch, adding value to the viewing. Was the random switch slappy grind on the round bar a sneak diss to Philadelphia or just extension of his virtuosity and mastery?

We will never truly understand, nor does it matter, but Mouse stands as one of the most significant skateboarding videos of all time, so much so, that even bitter East Coasters, who often shun technicality for rawness agree. Also, it’s so fucking good that the Chocolate section could stand alone as its own video, if slightly re-edited. Fuck.

Eastern Exposure 3: Underachievers and Zero

Donny Barley, Jahmal Williams, Jerry Fisher, Fred Gall, **Keith Hufnagel, Matt Reason, Mike Maldonado, Reese Forbes, Ricky Oyola, Tim O'Connor, Quim Cardona, Sergei Trudnowski, a bunch of NY dudes and just too many to mention...**

What Dan Wolfe’s videos did for East Coast skateboarding i**s as important as Dischord’s contribution to music. Straight up. Dischord’s ethos has and always will be that they exclusively release music, independently, by Washington, D.C. artists, with a few minor exceptions. Wolfe’s videos also had some West Coast “artists,” but the core of Donny Barley, Jahmal Williams, and Ricky Oyola, and Resse Forbes are his Year in 7”s. Translation: influential, iconic, and legendary.

Oyola once wanted to release a Zoo York graphic featuring a US map, sans California and that sums up the spirit of Underachievers, but the skating itself, in the spots, execution, and ability equally embraced that attitude. It wasn’t as much of a “fuck you,” as it was a “fuck yeah,” and once you were absolutely pummelled by Oyola’s footage, set to Metallica’s Battery, it was obvious that something new was happening. Pole jams, bulkheads, lines weaving through traffic, Love Park, Pulaski, Copley Square, and skating’s most iconic non-spot, the Astor Cube, skating in the Northeast (and Florida to be fair, don’t think we’d forget Josh Stewart!) had arrived to the masses.

One thing to note, which often gets overlooked was that Mr. Barley put out two crushing parts that year, both high profile and indie, with Toy Machine and EE3, proving to be a great move in cross promotion, amplifying EE3 and adding validity to the movement. Back to Mr. Stewart, he’s effectively taken Wolfe’s lessons and learnings and created an entirely new franchise, with his unmistakable eye and taste, expanding it into Theories of Atlantis, as well as leaving us with the gorgeously gritty Static series. So, thank you to all involved.

All words by Anthony Pappalardo
All photos via Chromeball

Lindsey Robertson and the Media Bias Against Heelflippers: A Case Study

 

People will say we lost it. They’ll say our brains are fried, that we’re out of touch with the skateboarding world. They’ll say it’s a plot to steal the spotlight from the skateboarding media magnates...an unsubstantiated conspiracy. We see through your fucking bullshit...and enough is enough. We’re here to expose you...all of you, who continue the cycle of “Kickflip Privilege” that dominates the many feeds of the skateboard industry. Most people scroll through instagram without even noticing and yet they don’t even blink when Aaron “Body Armor” Homoki kickflip melons a 45 stair, or how they coo over Luan’s chest high kickflips, powered by his low crouch and brawny crossed arms.

It’s permeated the subconscious. Can’t figure out what I’m getting at? Feeling a little bit confused? I’m talking about the discriminatory practices of mainstream skateboarding media...I’m talking about the bias against those who heelflip. Sure, one could argue that skateboarding is more liberal and inclusive than ever before. That having fun is at the top of the priority list. That chucking your board into a wall, causing a racket, and jumping back onto it is a socially acceptable part ender nowadays. Yet a look at our not-so-distant past tells a much more troubling story.

Lindsey Robertson was at ground zero for this travesty and disposal of skate media ethics. He was right there, indy grabbing a perfectly executed heelflip over a grass gap and into the punchline of many a shit talker’s jokes for years to come. What was it about the heelflips that rubbed people the wrong way?

The most cut-and-dry, real life example of this is the Wallenburg Bust-or-Bail contest from 2009. Lindsey had heelflipped the legendary four-block at the original BOB in 2004, and he came back for another shot at glory this time around, in the form of a backside heelflip.

Exhibit A: Lindsey Robertson's knees upon impact from the backside heel down Wallenberg

Exhibit A: Lindsey Robertson's knees upon impact from the backside heel down Wallenberg

The result? He roasted that shit, and barely bent his knees upon impact (a direct fuck you to the struggle many face when hucking their carcasses over the 17 foot long stair set). While yes, a lot of other tricks were done that day, including a backside 360 and switch frontside flip from Chris Cole, Lindsey’s feat felt criminally undervalued in the recap videos that followed.

In addition to the full recap video of the event, Thrasher gradually released follow-up videos to accommodate individual tricks that were made, along with some close calls like Kevin Romar’s nollie backside 360 attempts. Of all the tricks that went down, can you guess which one was conveniently omitted in the interview-style, individual recap clips?

Surprise, sur-fuckin-prise, Lindsey got snubbed.

Maybe it would help if we put this into perspective. We’ve all seen Stay Gold, and if not the full video for whatever reason we’ve certainly all seen Reynolds’ part. Where am I going with this, you ask? Well folks, you might just remember the ramped slo-mo of Andrew Reynolds’ backside flip. Not coming to mind? Well maybe you remember the Thrasher cover.

 

This, folks, might be the clearest example of kickflip bias known to man. As we mentioned, Lindsey was unaffected when he did his backside heelflip. Just another day in the park. Whereas when Reynolds backside flipped the set everything stopped.

Here - we put together a short film to help better understand.

Lindsey received no cover. No love. Was not framed in eternity. Instead - he was disregarded, left to the wayside amongst other heelflippers. No respect. 

 

But why is this the case? It's not like they look that bad. I saw Gershon Mosely do a heelflip once - pretty cool. But for some reason there is an underlying belief that the heeflip is truly and unjustifiably worse than the kickflip. But yet I see things like this everyday:

Who does heelflips lmao #lynchfamilyskatepark #skateboarding #gullyshit

A video posted by Jae Tha Gully Kid (@jae.tgk) on

"Who does heelflips lmao"

This is the world we live in. Another example:

I am sure that 9 out of 10 of those of us born before 1997 can remember being heckled by jocks or assholes for skateboarding. But the strange part is that there's something built into the bloodstream of the heckler that forces them to say something along the lines of "do a kickflip ya fucking virgin!!"...

The point here is that you would never hear somebody say "do a HEELFLIP". Ha - no, no, no. There's something about doing that kickflip that would somehow prove to the jock that you are NOT a virgin, and have indeed slept with a woman (even though you haven't). If you had done a heelflip after he taunted you do you think it would go unnoticed? Absolutely not. Had you done that the whole car of jocks would stop what they were doing and beat your ass. 

What we had originally written for this was a based-on-a-true-story novelette following the life of our hero Lindsey Robertson through the hundreds of scenarios we've encountered regarding hatred and injustice towards heelflippers. But it was way too long so we cut it down to this. 

At the end of the day all we ask is that you do your part to resolve this injustice. So next time you see a heelflipper out there - shake their hand, and make a friend. 

- Staff 

 

WOLF: Q&A with Justin Villano

Photo: Liam Annis

Photo: Liam Annis

If you're in the area (or even close to being in the area) this Saturday (7/23) make sure to head to Grants Block - address above, for the premiere of WOLF, a video by Justin Villano and Ian Coughlan, featuring Vans flow riders from the New England area. We sat down with Justin and chatted about the video. See you Saturday!

Alright so what's the lineup?

The riders are Emmett Bleiler, Devin Colon, Corey Goonan, Brendan Manning, Connor Noll and Justin Healey.

 

Tell us a little bit about the video - how did that come to fruition? Was it your brain child or Ian's?

So like any other territory rep, I have a flow team of guys that I help out with shoes and clothing and I honestly think that these are some of the best (if not the best) guys in the zone that fit VANS as a brand.  The initial idea was to be able to showcase these guys on a larger platform and help expose their name and talent.  I just felt like it's partially my responsibility to help these guys out beyond the product flow, so I just asked everyone if they would be into filming for a video.  Ian was brought on a couple months ago to help edit the film. He's a good friend and we have similar tastes in style so it was really easy to work together.  

 

What's the name all about?

Oh man, well here is the big secret. WOLF is FLOW spelled backwards. Boom! mind blown. 

 

Ian and I both get stressed out very easily - we've talked about it and counseled one another. How did you guys handle the stresses of editing a full length video?

Ian was very easy going about it. I have OCD to the max when it comes to things like this so I already had a general idea of how everything was going to lay out. He is the one with all the editing talent so he pretty much took what I would articulate and execute it into video form. He knows a lot more than I do as far as what capabilities those programs have so he was constantly enhancing anything I brought to the table.  That Ian, hell of a guy.

 

Photo: Ricky Aponte

Photo: Ricky Aponte

Who chose the soundtrack?

I guess I did? I'd run it by Ian and the riders, but for the most part we were all on the same page. I gave all the riders opportunities to pick their own songs but then some songs wouldn't work with their skating. It's tough because you need the song to align with their skating and as much as someone may love a song, it may not work. In the end I think we nailed it in this department but hopefully I don't get in trouble with copyright and all that.

 

Do you have a guest trick in the video??

Unfortunately I do not have one. I tried to get a trick I had already done a while back but battled it and couldn't put it down again. We had a nice crew that day too so it would have been sweet. However, this video isn't about me, it's about my dudes.  Ian should have got one, he rips!

 

How long did you guys film for?

A little over a year. 

 

 

What was the hardest part about the process?
Having a full time job that takes up my entire life. I live my job. I travel all the time and am constantly doing something related to VANS. I don't go home and it's done for the day. It's 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Not that I am doing brain surgery or anything but it's still work. Ian also works full time and has been doing a ton of freelance on the side these days so aligning our schedule after hours is hard at times. Not being able to just go out every week with these guys and film on the same camera definitely complicated things.  Film format was a hurdle when editing. Emmett actually has a full VX part but everyone else is HD.  There was definitely some VX from the other guys that I liked but it just didn't work well mixing with the HD and I didn't want to make a Bronze rip off or anything like that. I had all these rad clips from movies I love that I planned to put in but then Boys of Summer came out and was amazing.  There were a few other videos that came out using that same format so those ideas got put to bed and we moved on.  It's also a project acquiring all the footy from different filmers but in the end they all came through and am super thankful for all the work they put in.  

 

Any plans for another full-length now that this one's done?

Not really, but I'd love to see all of these guys film another part.  I mean that's why I hook them up. They all shred and look good doing it. I'd like to put a little something together myself before I completely fall off but I think that may have already happened and I'm in denial. 

 

Maybe showcase other local flow dudes with mini videos or something like that?

Like I said, I don't have any plans but wouldn't mind working on some small things.  I love working on creative projects and seeing them come to fruition. It's really satisfying for me and helps balance out my role in sales.

I am always looking for new guys out there and do my best to keep my ear to the ground. I have certain criteria I stick to but encourage anyone that loves VANS and skates well to have their shop send in footy.  It takes some courage to put yourself out there because skating is so subjective but I always like to see new guys doing something different.

Photo: Karim Ghonem

Photo: Karim Ghonem

 

Whose part are you personally most excited for?

It's only 15 minutes long so I am eager to hear feedback from people that I actually value their opinion.  I can't really pick one rider, they all bring something to the table.  I just hope this helps them in some way. It feels good to complete this project but knowing myself, there's always another project around the corner. It just may not be in the shape of a video.

 

Tell us the plan for this weekend combined with the Roll for Rob event. 

- On Saturday July 23rd we have the Vans team coming into Boston for the #VansProSkateTour and we'll meet at Orchard for 11am and then skate over to the Vans Park....I mean Lynch Park to do a demo. We'll most likely do some best trick contests for all the skaters and then make our way to Providence, RI in the early evening. The premier is at 8pm at Grants Block on Westminster St. We'll probably open with another film and wait until it's fully dark to play WOLF since it's an outdoor premier(All ages!).  We will have a Roll for Rob booth set up at the premier for those who can't make it Sunday.  Roll for Rob event #3 starts at noon on Sunday July 24th and runs all day. It's a $10 donation to enter which all goes directly to Rob and his family.  We have tons of product and raffles from all the supporting brands that you can take advantage of. There will be signature contests all day like the Vans' Sk8-Hi Hubba and Element Barrel Challenge.  There are a ton of Pro's coming into town like Chima Ferguson, Daniel Lutheran, Gilbert Crockett, Mike V, Jim Thiebaud, Jake Donnelly, Peter Ramondetta and the list goes on. It's going to be so fun but I am currently very stressed about the whole weekend.

 

Shout outs?

Thanks to all the filmers that contributed to the video, without them it wouldn't exist. There's too many to name but don't worry guys you're all in the video.  The riders: Brendan, Emmet, Healey, Devin, Connor, Goonan. VANS for being the best brand to work for and allowing me to be in the position to do this project. All the photographers like Rob Collins, Ricky Aponte, Karim Ghonem and Liam Annis for hooking us up with their work to use as assets. All the shops in New England that keep supporting skateboarding. My Wife Stephanie for dealing with me day to day and just getting it and of course Ian Coughlan for being on point.

Thanks Dave, Evan and Rojo. You guys are the best and SMLTalk is a breath of fresh air.  Keep it going and come visit Lil' Rhodey!

A Dedication Piece to Shinners

There are few things that really bond us together as skateboarders. Like - all of us. We can pretend that we all get along, but let's be honest, if you see somebody with an insane kit, a Monster hat, or doing some ridiculous shit, you're most likely going to group up like you're straight out of Mean Girls and talk shit about them. 

But the glue that holds us together and unites us, is the shinner. In a world where we find enjoyment watching people suffer, there's something about laughing at a shinner that just doesn't feel right. Why is this?

Well folks - the reality is that the shinner represents something more than just an injury. The shinner is a rite of passage. It's the brand that you wear on your lower leg that shows that you've committed yourself to this life of misery. 

The first shinner that you get really sets the tone. It's the sink or swim. You gonna tough it out or are you gonna cry? 

But there's something more to this particular injury that I'm really having a hard time putting a finger on. There are snakebites, ankle rolls, sprained wrists, concussions, and this list goes on - but none of them are quite as remarkable as the shinner. Something so dull and simple about it - yet piercing and seemingly endless.

A shinner WILL make you sit down for a moment and question why you skateboard. 

And maybe that's what it is. Here's the dark reality - as you start to get older, it becomes harder to convince yourself to go skate everyday. You'll deny this in your youth, but I promise you - the passion that you have as a teenager slowly begins to wane into an effort to get some exercise, and maintain your basic tricks. The number of friends you have who skate dissipates year over year until you are left with a bare bones crew. Women become less attracted to you for being a skateboarder, and are really looking for stability (reasonably so). Your girlfriend that you've had for a few years now tolerates it in doses, but really only puts up with it because she's probably a really rad chick who understands that it's the one thing that you've ever really loved in your life.

And with all of these factors taken into consideration, coupled with the anxieties related to work, family, and other aspects of life, the release that skateboarding provides becomes essential, even if just to get away from it all for a minute.  

So when you go to the park after work, try a fucking big spin, and take a shinner, you're tossed into a state of emotional turmoil. You lay on the ground staring into the sky asking yourself what it all means. Why am I here. I don't need this. I don't need this. 

But for some reason, as a child comes up to ask you if you're okay, you put yourself back on your feet, and persevere.

THIS is the defining moment. 

-Staff

 

The #eggsreport Art Show Digital Recap

If you missed the #eggsreport art show that opened the other weekend at Orchard, we have the special privilege of hosting this digital recap for anyone unable to make it out to the gallery. Below is Delaney's #eggsreport instagram compilation as well as our good friend Ian Browning's write up for the #eggsreport zine. We have also sprinkled in some of the photos that were contributed by Liam Annis, Ray Echevers, among others. If you would like to purchase a zine, they're selling for ten dollars with all proceeds going to any and all future Eggs maintanence. We'd like to thank everyone involved in making the show and the zine happen and if you like what you read, which you would only dislike if you actually could not read, be sure to follow Ian on his twitter @ibrowning for more of his work.

Skateboarding in cities is often defined as much by the spaces where it takes place as the tricks being done. From historic spots like the Brooklyn Banks to recent upstarts like MACBA, iconic spots are often synonymous with our perception of what skateboarding is like in other places.

Boston has some famous spots—people far from new england know Jerry Fowler’s yellow barrier by the library, and the Windows ledges are burned into skateboarding’s collective consciousness because of PJ Ladd. It’s also a place where you can walk past a virgin ledge that people haven’t bothered to wax because they’re too busy skating better ones. Casual observers may not know this, but it has always been a plaza city. Locals cherished Copley and later Aquarium in their heydays—meet up spots where you could film tricks or end the day skating flat, possibly sneaking a beer without much trouble.

In 2004 the state bulldozed a parking lot on Nashua Street as part of a plan to clean up urban blight from the Big Dig. With Aquarium unskateable before five almost entirely because of a cop known by the locals as The Samurai, sessions gravitated over to the West End. The fences had come down at Nashua Street Park—a pocket of green space nestled in no man’s land, bordered by a jail, a hospital and a bridge. A few ribbons of asphalt cut through the grass, flanked by long, knobbed, granite ledges and joined by a small plaza in the center.

Jonathan Bonner, a Rhode Island—based sculptor and artist, was commissioned to provide art for the park. Looking to add something that would bring texture and provide seating, he added a golden spiral reimagined in Chelmsford granite, also using the stone to make orbs that mimicked falling drops of liquid. “I wanted something relative to the water,” he explained, but John Wisdom felt like they looked more like eggs.


It’s difficult to say who introduced Eggs into the scene in Boston. The Zakim bridge offered vantage point that showed under construction, drawing the eyes of countless skateboarders. Most of the people I talked to didn’t have any idea who was the first to skate the spot, but Lee Berman and Dana Ericson both had theories, both originating in the North End.

“I would say Matt Thompson is definitely the first one to skate Eggs,” Berman said. Thompson, a Connecticut transplant studying at Suffolk, was in the habit of looking for mellow spots to skate in lieu of sharing Aquarium with a heavy crew of locals. “When I moved to the North End I started exploring other areas,” he said. “I was actually out with Lee one day and we came across Eggs. I had skated flatground in the past and I told him that the ground here was really sweet.” He also addressed Berman’s assertion that he was the first to skate there, saying that it was impossible to prove. “I would never claim that,” he said. “I have no idea who else was there.”

Dana Ericson recounted Travis Reitano, also a resident of the North End, telling him about a new spot: “He actually told me that he had found a spot better than Aquarium and I fucking laughed in his face.” Reitano was living in a skate house where Ed Driscoll was crashing on the couch. Driscoll “never wanted to take the fucking bus or train anywhere,” he said, “so we’d skate everywhere.” They were introduced to the spot on trips to and from the Charles River Benches, but he couldn’t be sure if he was the first person to actually skate the spot: “I don’t know. I’d say one of my earliest memories of Eggs is rolling through and trying to get a little tailslide in between the skate stoppers,” he said. “I give most of the credit to the Wisdom brothers because they actually took the knobs off.”

In those days Zander Taketomo was working on City People 2 and keeping a watchful eye for new spots to film. He had gotten word of the spot from his dad—an architect—and went on a night mission with Gavin Nolan, John Wisdom and Tommy Wisdom check it out. “All the knobs were still on and we took a couple off to test it,” he said. “Originally we took the ones off at the curved ledges that were closer to the hospital but not the main spot that people skate... After that, I feel like we didn’t really skate there all that much.” He also offered the only definitive claim about the early days of the spot: “I’m not personally taking any credit for the spot, but we were definitely the first people there that night to take knobs off.” They came back periodically, but at that time, Aquarium was still that crew’s go to spot.

Between word of mouth and its location in the middle of a skate route between downtown and the Back Bay, the park was starting to see action in spite of the knobs. Dan Zaslavsky shot the first skate photo at the spot during that era for Kevin Coakley’s One In A Million interview in Slap. Coakley was trying full cab manuals on the low ledges closest to the water, the only skateable ledges at the time. He got the trick, but it came at the expense of his board shooting out into the river. Some DCR workers in a boat offshore rescued it for him, but it was only a matter of time before skaters started throwing something else in the river—skate stoppers.

“It looked like it would be the greatest spot in the world if it didn’t have the knobs on it,” Justin Yaitanes said, “so went to try and take them off.” Yaitanes, CN and Tom Garafalo headed out, equipped with a crowbar, hammer and screwdriver one day around dusk. They got to work on taking knobs off of one of the benches by the JV ledge. “We’re hitting it with a hammer and having a crowbar there and you can hear it— it’s super loud,” CN said. “All the sudden we hear ‘HEY’ and we look back and see a cop and he’s booking it. And it’s a state patrolman and we start booking it and everyone runs their separate ways.” Yaitanes got away from the cops pretty easily, saying that it was pretty similar to getting kicked out for skating. It was also probably easy because the cops were chasing CN across the drawbridge to the Museum of Science.

“I hucked my crowbar in the river because I was thinking that if I got caught with it, it would be way worse,” he said. He hid behind a bush on the museum grounds, but it wasn’t long before flashlights crept up on him. Playing dumb, he explained that he had only run because they were chasing after him. “They took my name down and nothing happened. We came back and started skating it the following week.”

That crew only got one knob off, but it was the beginning of open season on liberating the rest of the ledges. The Wisdoms and Gavin Nolan were responsible for clearing off the main ledge up top after a session on one of the side of the out ledge. “We had a long day waxing [the ledge up] and shredding the ledge that no one skates because all the other ledges were knobbed. We were like, shit, we gotta get all these knobs off—this is gonna be our new spot,” Tommy said. “We came back later and took the knobs off of the main ledge on the top.” As news of the spot spread, so did the knowledge that it was possible to make the ledges skateable with a few swings of a hammer or the hanger of a truck. It’s tough to write a list of people who risked a confrontation with the state police to clear the ledges, both because of the sheer number of knobs removed and because some people didn’t want to go on record about doing so, but Pete Mahoney, Romek Rasenas and Brian List all deserve a mention for their efforts in the spot’s infancy.

The main ledge, approachable from both sides from smooth plaza granite, was heavily sessioned in the early days. “It wasn’t that long before people took off the first knobs,” Ray Echevers explained “but it was like like that for a while. The other ones didn’t come off [right away]. People just started really slowly.”

John Wisdom’s ollie from block to egg in CP2, probably the first trick filmed at the spot, went down around that time. “The ledges weren’t broken in,” he said, “so it wasn’t really a good spot yet.”

Gavin Nolan said the City People crew skated there in the early days, remembering a time when the bike path was new. “It wasn't as rough or beat up yet,” he said, “people were skating up top more and the ledges on the bike path a lot.” All the while, the scene at the park kept growing—something he said was inevitable. “I think it was just really obvious to anybody that it was one of the best places to skate in the city.”


Nashua Street Park was designed by Halvorson Design, a firm responsible for a handful of plazas around Boston. Some of them are knobbed or are otherwise unskateable, but they’ve also drawn the plans for the plaza around the Federal Reserve and the ledges over planters in the seaport. “Our firm is really good at three dimensional landform resolution, so i’d like that what we came up is very pleasing on all levels,” Cynthia Smith, the principal landscape architect behind the park, explained. She said the park was designed with the idea of maintaining a view of the river from Nashua street, while providing different levels for that the paths the run along the Charles. The ledges act as retaining walls, continuing the pathways cut out of the banks of the river. The bike path runs parallel to the main ledges, insulating them from people leisurely strolling on the path closest to the water. The plaza in the center connects the two, but is also fittingly designed as a place for people to sit and chill.

The skating was initially focused on the ledges up top in part because the granite took a lot to break in. “It was kind of a frustrating spot to skate at first. That main ledge was all that people would skate,” Devin Woelfel, better known as Waffle, explained. “You had to wax the shit out of them in order to make them grind at all.” As it started to really get broken in, some locals stashed a crowbar in a bush, making it even easier to continue deknobbing the spot. That crowbar cleared, amongst other ledges, both the home and away team benches, the downhill curved ledge and the JV ledge. People started gravitating away from chilling on the wooden benches between the main and downhill ledges, Dana said, eventually cementing the home bench as the place to put your keys and skate flat: “it just evolved into skating down there more.” Slowly but steadily, other ledges got worked in.

As the skating was moving to different ledges, word of the spot spread organically, bringing new skaters and likeminded crews. “We were all hanging out at True East and my friend Andrew Cuoco told me about this sick new spot,” Andrew “Squeaks” Whittier said. “I was kinda confused about where it was and what spot they were talking about, but when I went I realized that I had been there a year beforehand. All the knobs on it and I thought ‘shit, this would be the best spot in the world if it was skateable’ and then it ended up being skateable.” With Aquarium locked down, Eggs became the go spot to meet up. Squeaks mentioned seeing a lot of Aquarium heads like TC Mulhern, Coakley and Danny Carvalho in the early days, with locals like Waffle, the Wisdoms, Dana, Brian Delaney and Gavin establishing residency at the spot as well. “I just remember seeing John Wisdom and pretty much everyone that was skating for RAW, with Ray filming,” David Milliken said of his first trip to the spot.

Local videos like City People 2 made an impact across the northeast, bringing crews in from out of state. “All we really wanted to do in the early 2000s was skate flatground and ledges,” Armin Bachman said of the scene in Albany. He organized a trip to Boston to film for B Block: Hood Rules Apply, explaining that “Eggs was the main spot we wanted to come out for.” Footage from B Block turned Andrew Petillo, a Jersey-based filmer for Habitat onto the spot. Petillo brought Steve Durante, Fred Gall, Kerry Getz, Guru Khalsa and Ed Selego to Boston to film in 2007, fixing a few cracks around the main ledge with bondo and getting handful of clips. Some ended up in Origin, but others went to webclip that came out around the same time as PJ’s part in Plan B’s Superfuture. It’s impossible to say which came out first, but whichever one did, it’s likely the first footage of pros in the park.

Despite humble contributions to international skate media, the Eggs proved a fixture in local movies beyond CP2. From Subterranean to Shape Deuce, skaters and filmers from across New England were coming to the west end to leave their mark. All the while the locals were still learning new tricks and filming there, with the younger generation was getting involved: David Milliken filmed and edited most of Dana Ericson and Friends, including new heads like James Nickerson, Curt Daley, Squeaks, Thompson Bond and Kevin Coughlin in the mix.


Despite the almost universal appeal of a spot like Eggs to similarly minded subcultures, it’s rare to see BMXers or scooter kids roll up to the spot. “The meet up spots are usually the same for everyone. Copley, AQ and Harvard Square are the first to come to mind,” said Kevin Botsch, a long time member of the city’s BMX community. “I tell all the BMXers that ask about Eggs to not even bother. There are a million other flat ledge spots in the city, why go fuck with the skaters and their spot?” Tommy agreed with the sentiment that pegs should probably stay out of the park, and definitely off the ledges: “bikes, obviously, are a huge no no,” he said, acknowledging that strength in numbers is a major factor in enforcing that. “As soon as there were more of us [than them,] it was kind of the lay of the land.”

Besides a hard “skaters only” policy, locals otherwise foster a culture of respect over an established set of rules. Waffle, a transplant from Cape Cod himself, explained that there wasn’t much truth to rumors about locals vibing newcomers “Anyone that has actually spent two weeks there and paid respect to people that were there before them,” he said, “they’ll probably tell you everyone was cool.” The scene at Eggs is a far cry from famous spots of the ‘90s, where fights broke out at Love Park and EMB locals focused weekend warriors’ boards.

Liam Annis, a recent addition to the cast of regulars at Eggs, didn’t get vibed when he started skating there, “but you had to skate there a bunch to become used to the squad.” Going there on a consistent basis, he explained, you meet everyone else who is doing the same. In Boston’s tight knit scene, hometown heros come through on the weekends, often without acknowledgment from the locals. Respect is earned through the filter of time. Spot seekers, technical plaza skaters and heads doing circus tricks all share a common bond, formed by running into each other on the streets year after year. Mark Wagner, better known as Iceman, had just started skating ledges when he moved back to Beacon Hill and started going to Eggs every day. “I could do maybe 50-50s and boardslides,” he said. “One of the first people who started to say what up to me was Dana Ericson,” who Iceman had seen skating the Underground ramp when it was open. He quickly got to know Brian Delaney and Waffle too. “One day I just came with a giant candle,” he said, explaining that he was fascinated with wax around this time. “Waffle gave me the name Iceman and somehow it stuck.”

Plenty of the older heads who skate Eggs will tell you about the influence of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s and the impact that watching Pier 7 footage and Photosynthesis had on them. Because generations in skateboarding come in five year increments, a new generation of kids whose first exposure to Love Park may very well have come up on YouTube are skating the spot as well. Gavin, using Myles Underwood and Benny Tenner as examples, explained how the culture established by the first generation was making an impact on the youth: “It’s funny, they used to dress differently,” he said. “I came back and they had baggier pants—you could totally see that the spot had had an effect on them.”

Myles, whose introduction to the spot was in Zoo York’s State of Mind, first skated there at ten years old after going to the Dew Tour at the Boston Garden. He didn’t start skating there until a few years later, showing up alongside Lee Berman and getting used to the scene. Being with Berman gave him a bit of a pass so he didn’t feel uneasy showing up at first—“I wouldn’t say [I was] vibed out, but I was not as comfortable as I am now.” It took about a year for him to feel like a part of things—getting to know people that were well over 10 years older than him, like Ariel Pearl, in the process. He said that he still skates there “probably every day,” branching out on weekends. “I mostly just stay there,” he said. “You don’t have to hit anyone up— you can kinda just go and know everybody is going to be there. I just like to skate flat. It’s a cool meet up spot where everyone is.”

Almost all the Eggs locals interviewed mentioned the spot’s cast of regular characters as one of the it’s best aspects. Dave Milliken pointed out that in addition to “the same five people there all the time,” different crews were constantly rotating through—“there’s just always good vibes with people.” The scene isn’t solely comprised of skateboarders though. Back in the day lurkers would creep over after getting out of jail, but lately a street dweller named Bones has shown up a lot. Milliken and Mike Williams met Bones skating Copley back in the day, saying that he was always drinking vodka and always hyped on their skating. “He was always a mystery,” he said. “We just started seeing him at Eggs, just walking through and saying what’s up. Recently he’s been coming and hanging out for the session, just being the hype man.”

Outside of people quickly passing through on a jog or riding a bike, nothing else really going on besides skateboarding (and skateboarders hanging out.) New skaters are rolling through and becoming regulars, and some, like Nickodem Rudzinski and Brian Reid, are figuring out new ways to skate the spot.

Still, it seems like the rest of the city doesn’t know that the park even exists. Pedestrian traffic trickles through, but hasn’t increased much. The police don’t even seem to care. I was skating Eggs in 2012 and a state trooper said that “people are still calling [about skaters,] so I guess we’ve got to keep coming over,” shrugging his shoulders as if to acknowledge the frivolity kicking us out. Skaters romanticize Love Park for its “run, skate, chill” ethos, but the Philadelphia Police Department’s anti-skate vendetta isn’t shared by the Massachusetts State Troopers who patrol Eggs.


I’ve been trying to figure out what it says about skateboarding in Boston when, across the river from a monumental 400,000 square foot skatepark, there are 20 heads skating a spot that’s well over 50 times smaller. Skateboarding is full of stories about repurposing underutilized space—Eggs is more relevant for the culture that grew up around the spot. How many public spaces have their own fiercely-loyal users, regardless of the season? Squeaks recounted being at Eggs one frozen evening with Jonah Miller, Dion Grant and Waffle: “It was the dead of winter—one of the coldest nights I’ve been out skating. Waffle was bundled up with a sweat suit over his clothes—none of us could skate because it was so cold. He was just hauling ass. I think he learned back 180 fakie 5-0 half cabs on the ledge that night.” Is there a hallowed tennis court somewhere in Cambridge where people shovel snow in the dead of winter to get their fix of backhand serves? It seems doubtful.

There are so many different factions beneath the blanket of skateboarding. The skatepark, designed to be a destination for New England and beyond, is built to appeal to all of those different styles. Eggs will never be that—it’s an altar where inner city skaters worship the gods of style. Sure, skate tourists may roll through, but the majority of the people at the park are locals carrying a torch that used to burn at Copley and Aquarium.

When I asked Waffle what he liked most about the spot, he had trouble putting it all into words. “I’ve met my closest friends there,” he said. “I’ve been through a lot of shit there—I’ve seen so much shit go down there, not skate-wise but just in general with life’s dramas and friends and shit. People getting in trouble, people doing good, and people falling out of the scene and coming back. People always come back to Eggs.” He’s right. Any day it isn’t raining or covered in snow, you’ll find people skating flat near the JV ledge. They may or may not be regulars you know, but the home team bench will be covered in half full water bottles, cell phones, coffee cups and lighters, and there’s a pretty good chance that the session will last until it’s too dark to skate.

Words By: Ian Browning (@ibrowning)

Photos By: Ray Echevers, Liam Annis, and Alex Gagne.

The Fall of Fallen Footwear, A Brief Analysis

It came to our attention today that Jamie Thomas has decided to terminate Fallen Footwear. This is a sad thing.

The end of any era in skateboarding is often romanticized, as we as a community (and ourselves at SMLTalk are fully guilty) love to reminisce on better times and submerge ourselves in nostalgia. So when companies that have been around for a long time go under (e.g. Savier, eS… 88??) – we feel like we’ve lost an important piece of our culture. We tend to blame ourselves and ask, “how could we let this happen?”.

We fall into deep, dark depressions. We don’t talk to our families.

But when we come to our sense we realize that as the Lion King taught us, there’s the mother fucking circle of life. Everything comes to an end – sometimes things live a long and prosperous life, and other times they’re trampled by a bunch of fucking wildebeest.

 

Am I saying that Scar could be a symbolic representation of companies like Nike / Adidas / New Balance? I don’t know. Honestly I didn’t even expect to be talking about this movie - it just kind of happened. But wait – can we just reflect on how fucking awesome that opening scene is?

 

Anyway – the point here is that Fallen had been around for 13 fucking years. I personally never owned a pair, but there were people that did. I can’t name anyone specifically (to avoid defamation litigation) but there were DEFINITELY tons of skatepark heroes that loved those shoes. Honestly I seriously couldn’t tell you why. BUT THEY DID. And that’s important.

You see folks – we’re in an era where everybody is cool. It’s pretty damn easy to fit in – you just have to figure out which typeset you want to follow, and go along with the few main rules that govern their particular clothing choice / trick choice pattern.

Companies like Fallen represented a time when we weren’t so in tune or maybe didn’t really care about fashion – and fashion CERTAINLY did not give a fuck about skateboarding. So to see a company like this go away, even though many of us may have been too cool for them, is actually pretty sad. Ya know – like losing a part of the culture.

But to be honest the actual purpose of this article was to talk about how Jamie Thomas signs his letters.  

 

It really begs the question - does Jamie Thomas sign everything ‘Skate or Die’?

Emails to co-workers?

Birthday cards?

Eulogies?

This is a mystery (pun intended) that we’re still trying to solve. Anyway - condolences to Jamie and cheers to him for seriously backing a lot of companies that had a significant impact on skateboarding throughout the years and have given us tons of insane memories.  

-Staff

2015 SMLTalk Awards Recap: A Whole Month Late

So as most of you are well aware by now, we were lucky enough to host the Second Annual SMLTalk Awards this past January at the Wonderbar, in Allston. Long story short, everything went off without a hitch. Short story longer, we premiered two local videos, handed out 7 awards, shook lots of hands, said what's up to a whole bunch of familiar faces, and somehow didn't burn the place down.

Of course, we had planned on recapping this event weeks ago, but as it goes, life happened and a whole bunch of stuff got in our way. We wanted to take the time now to personally thank everyone who came out to the event, have read our blog, or in any way back what we do - none of this would ever be possible without you, the scene here in Boston, or the overabundance of STUFF in Pat Duffy's pockets. This blog has and always will be something we do for fun, and we appreciate each and every one of you who have supported this little thing we got going on here.

Now, a month removed from the magic that was the SMLTalk SOTY Awards 2015 (even though it took place in 2016...whatever), lets recap all that unfolded that fateful night in Allston.

I. Video Premieres

0260 and Chinistix the Video go off without a hitch. A few notes:

0260:

-J. Cal might be the most reckless dude ever

-Music supervision was major-key

-Is Burke the gift that keeps on giving?

-Kruper curtains. Nothing like it

Chinistix the Video:

-Jesse Ciulla must have spent a lifetime editing this thing

-These dudes suffer just as much as they get completely ignorant

-Roasty? That boy VERY GOOD

-Dave and Donny skating to LCD pretty much made my life

A lovely showing from all.

II. Awards

MAJOR shoutout to Boston Skateboarder for snapping this pic of our hosts

MAJOR shoutout to Boston Skateboarder for snapping this pic of our hosts

We've waited all year for it. After months of heated debate, discovering Tommy Wisdom's craftsmanship is un-fuck-with-able, and internal dialogue, the winners were decided. Without further ado, we present to you this year's winners:

Legend crew right here.

Legend crew right here.

King of The Model: Steve House

Why? Dimepiece tatty-daddy

Spot Seeker: Tim Savage

Why? The Gem Video speaks for itself

Most Reckless Moment of the Year: Ariel Perl, overall instagram debauchery

Why? #apfamily takeover

Best Young Dude: Julien 'Roasty' Exantus

The kid just GETS IT

The kid just GETS IT

Why? Skates just as good as his attitude, and he skates real good.

Trick of the Year: Dillon Buss - Crooked grind in the Seaport

Why? How bout you crooked grind a waist-high semi-circle and ask me why.

Lifetime Achievement: Broderick Gumpright

Tears were shed.

SOTY: Andrew 'Squeeks' Whittier

Why? Most realest, best skating-est, nollie frontside heelflip nosegrind switch frontside heelflip out-est dude out

III. Regrettable Alcohol Consumption

After party at the Model? Of course. Things got wild, weird, and somehow didn't end in disaster...at least not until the following morning. I'll just leave a few photos here for reference.

Rojo busting out the ol' beerphone

Rojo busting out the ol' beerphone

Juice and Leland

Juice and Leland

And that's really all she wrote. Tommy Made the trophies, Humar and Pickard emcee'd the shit out of everything, Stiffler put the award videos together, and we tried not to die of brain aneurisms the entire time. All in all an incredible night, and psyched that from all I've heard, others seem to feel the same way.

We'd like to close with an ending, enormous thank you to Vans, Orchard, and Pabst Blue Ribbon (the holy trinity as far as we're concerned) for their immense, ongoing support which help us make these events so rad. Hope to see you all again next year!

A New Set of Motivational Posters for Your Office

So the other day for some reason I was just thinking about Jeremy Wray's ollie over the gap between the two water towers. You know the one. 

Then I realized that it's really not even that unusual that I'm thinking about this photo. I kind of think about it all the time. Is this a bad thing? I mean, would people judge me if I woke up every day and looked at this photo as some sort of inspiration to take on the day?

Then it dawned on me. No, I SHOULD be doing exactly that - and so should everybody else. 

Since the beginning of time, people have always looked to the dumbest shit for inspiration. I mean, look at every corporate office in America, what do you see? Some bullshit like this:

 

This makes me fucking sick. What does it mean, is this guy going to swim across the entire ocean? Go ahead bud, let me know how that goes. 

But you see this all the time - somebody in your office, whether it be your boss, your boss' boss, or some idiot HR person decided it would actually be worthwhile to buy one (or more) of these posters, and spend the extra $200 that could have easily gone straight into your paycheck, to get it framed and hung. 

Now I'm all fired up. Okay - back to the point. There's an easy solution to all of this. 

Boom. See, now this is something that actually makes sense. Jeremy Wray ACTUALLY ollied that gap. If this were hanging in front of me in my office you bet your ass I'd be coming in early and working overtime every day. 

After realizing that this could be a huge market to capitalize on, the SMLTalk team regrouped at HQ and put together a few more for you to bring to your next quarterly meeting. 

Grant done.jpg
 
 
 

And so on and so forth. To purchase any of these posters just right click 'save as' and buy us a beer next time you see us. 

Cheers - 

Staff

Trivia Night Recap

Here is the brief recap of our second Skate Trivia Night, courtesy of Vans, Orchard, and Biddy Early's Pub. We'd like to thank everyone that came out, whether you participated or not, we appreciate you all trekking through the rain to nerd out and drink a little bit with us. Apple Tom and Matt Gannon's "93 'Til Infinity" Team were yet again the victors, taking home the top prize, but only by a mere one point. "Darkslide of the Moon" finished a close and honorable second, taking home a smaller prize, with less bragging rights. DAD Clothing provided the last place prize to Michael Chew and company, a gift bag featuring a Stone Cold Steve Austin piggy bank, a scratched and very used CKY DVD, and two sheets of Penny griptape. Honestly would have thrown the game had I known the Stone Cold piggy bank was up for grabs. Again, we appreciate every person that came out, all of our sponsors for providing the prizes/beer and of course, Biddy Early's Pub for being so down to host something like this, you guys are rad and we cannot thank you enough. We hope to see all you nerds again very soon!

-Staff

P.S. - Special thank you to Chew for the photos.

Public Service Announcement: Stop Using ‘Quick’

Despite existing in a world of instant gratification, skateboarding at its core, is one painful waiting game. Speaking as someone with a full time job, the simple task of finding time to skateboard in the first place can take all week to figure out.

This takes us to Saturday, the one day a week where most of your friends can find it in themselves to meet up and push around for a bit. After miraculously recovering from the hangover you damned yourself with to forget about how shitty your week was, you get the boys together by, and I’m being generous here, noon.

For the overly ambitious, you may even have a filmer with you. This requires spots to be picked out and tricks to be tried. All of this takes hours. By the time you’ve figured out which spot to hit, four of your friends have already dipped to start drinking again.

This leaves you, the filmer, and two other buddies who swear they aren’t drinking until 6pm. By the time you’re sweating your ass off, getting insecure about how long it’s going to take you before your other friends want to go somewhere else, it could be 3 o’clock. The skate day is practically at its halfway point, and nothing has even been ‘accomplished’ yet by your standards. ‘Why do I claim to love this thing?’

You eventually give up, or ‘take a break’ to sip on some of that Smart Water you can’t believe you remembered to buy before getting to the spot. As you sit down, removing your phone from your pocket to catch up on what you’ve missed from the Instagram’s endless feed, it happens…

‘Relearned a quick fun one today’ camera emoji: @saddestdudeout

‘Got this quick warmup line before the sesh today with the boys’ camera emoji: @dudewhoenviesthedead #skateforfun

‘Filmed this quick crazy one earlier before the cameras came out’ camera emoji: @futuresuicidevictim #igotlucky

‘Quick practice run before today’s comp.’ camera emoji @myauntshandle

More likely than not, the clips accompanying the examples above are top notch, part-worthy pieces of footage. AKA, everything that what you were just trying was not. As tough as it is to admit, these are images of success, precision, and superior ability. The ones posting said clips are almost always at least 5 years younger than you, and will likely end up kind of getting paid to skateboard one day. Good for them.

It’s not necessarily the clip itself that is frustrating about this phenomena. I watch Brandon Biebel insta clips religiously, and that shit does the 1,000% opposite of bumming me out.

The issue here is the god damn caption.

What does it say about someone when they use words like ‘fun one’, ‘crazy one’, or ‘quick’ to describe the clip?

‘Idunno man, give these kids a break. Maybe they really just were having fun, doing crazy things on their skateboards quickly and didn’t have a whole agenda behind everything to craft an image for themselves on instagram.’

WRONG. Let me translate for you:

‘Quick’ = This shit was easy for me. A total afterthought, and not worth my time whatsoever. It was just the warm up, but luckily the good homie was conveniently there to get a perfect angle in slowmo.

‘Fun One’ = Oh, I beeeen had this one in my repertoire. Shit is all day, baby. And since skateboarding is founded on the basis of fun (the argument that will be used to shit talk this article), I had to share that fun one on the gram with all my followers. Remember, inspire others to inspire themselves - to have fun :-).

‘Crazy One’ = You bust this disclaimer out when you’re fully aware of how kooky that new trick you just learned was, but are incapable of denying the amount of points the trick is worth on paper. Therefore, seeing as how it was caught on camera, you’re left with no choice but to post the footy straight to the gram.

‘Practice’ = Wow, you have a completely different outlook on skating than my friends and I who were out hitting on your girlfriend and her friends all night. Practice? Where’s your coach?

So what exactly just unfolded on your touchscreen? Although this grief could be solved with a simple unfollow, the behavior you have observed is inexplicably fascinating. Alas, you keep following, digging deeper and investigating.

Then it clicks.

The problem with instagramming your skateboarding this way is that while you are desperate for people to see what you’ve just done, you are very obviously pretending that you don’t want these people/your ‘fans’ to be excited about it. Yes, you really did just do that NBD on that perfect skatepark ledge, but downplaying your historical feat as if the uncharted territory you claimed is just the warm up is not fooling anyone.

The fact of the matter is that you tried that trick for 3 hours, bummed out a shit ton of kids with helmets who just wanted to learn 50-50’s, and DEFINITELY b-lined it from the park to the bar after you landed that trick to celebrate the accomplishment.

Long story short, you tried it and it was hard to do. What’s the problem with just saying that? What’s the point in disguising the professional-level quality of your skateboarding with terms like ‘quick’ and ‘warm up’, to make it seem like you’ve got something even crazier in store for us when the full part drops?

All of this brings me back to an interview with Mike York I remember reading many years ago. I forget the full context of his response, but he basically explained that he has always aimed for his video parts to be the most accurate representation of his abilities. In other words, what you see is what you get. So basically, the Mike York you see in Yeah Right is going to be just as impressive as the Mike York you see in person, ripping Pier 7.

When your instagram is a highlight reel of insane ‘quick little montages’, people are obviously going to expect that type of presentation when they see you at any spot anywhere after any amount of alcohol consumed the previous night. What those people usually encounter is a dude battling that same insane ledge combo, but for the entirety of the 3 hour session. And that’s just downright depressing.

There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of self promo. I’ll watch literally any piece of skateboard footage that appears in my instagram feed, because I know that either way it’ll all be over in 15 seconds. Just be mindful that no bullshit, the caption is equally as important as the accompanying video. And when in doubt, look at Biebel’s formula for guidance: scientific name of trick + filming credit. That’s it.

The moral of the story - time and time again, is that it’s not about what you do, it’s how you do it. Your dumb ass Instagram captions are no exception.

A Case Study: The Frontside Heelflip, Why Is This Trick So Damn Hard?

Ok so yesterday I was looking at this stupid ad realizing once again, that Ishod is everything I ever wanted to be in a skateboarder and I'm just, well...Me :^\

BUT THIS IS NOT A SADBOY ARTICLE. 

I realized something. I realized that the frontside heelflip is actually a really, really fucking hard trick. Have you ever tried a frontside heel? (yes, you have) Have you ever landed a good frontside heel? (probably not)

Note: We are talking about regular frontside heelflips for all of you out there saying "well, I have em switch". Yeah, you and the rest of the world, champ. 

So I was pondering, and I noticed that there are actually only a handful of people that I've seen do a really good frontside heelflip. Let's go through some of those examples. We'll start with possibly the most important one of all time, Clyde Singleton. 

That little tack at the end. :'^)

Clyde changed the game right here. Just a classic catch and turn. I could go on about this one, but if you know you know, and if you don't know, well your ass better call somebody

Moving right along. You know - for the next one I initially thought about the one he does over the rail into the bank in Can't Stop - but then I remembered that Ray actually does an ODE TO CLYDE. Man this is really just tying itself together nicely. 

I love this one so much. I know you can't see his face in this pixelated gif, but I like to imagine that he has a huge smile on his face as he roasted this bad boy. Really, a beautiful example right here.

I actually like to think that all of my favorites are secretly best friends and go to the movies and stuff on Sundays. Is that weird?

Anyway - the next one is equally important, but for different reasons. Ladies and gents, Louie.

The insane thing about Louie's is that he doesn't do the catch and pivot, it's all one fucking motion. He lands on the tail, guys (and girls). It's not even scooped like a varial heel. It actually makes no damn sense at all, and shouldn't really work, to be honest. 

So you're probably saying "here goes Smltalk again, only talking about stuff from 10+ years ago, what's next a PJ reference?". 

You're damn right. PJ did a frontside 360 heelflip, and we can't not talk about it. I'm sorry, you're just going to have to deal with it. 

Take it in. 

This doesn't mean that there aren't any modern pros out there...Team Handsome seems to account for a large percentage of modern regular frontside heelflips.

Austyn and Dylan roast fs heels all day, and probably fs heel all night right into a pool of hot chicks. Good for them. 

This is where we at Smltalk took out the scalpel and really dissected the trick, and it's place in modern skateboarding. Dylan and Austyn are not ordinary skateboarders, they are two of the best. In fact - it seems that the only skateboarders doing frontside heels are ones that are very skilled, because this trick is, as stated earlier, incredibly difficult. 

People all over the world are doing insane tricks every day, grinding longer, going faster, and just doing generally more difficult, complicated things. In a recent Mini Top 5's, Carroll was asked what tricks should go back to being referred to by their original names. Observe number four on his list:

Hardflip—frontside varial flip. Shit ain’t hard anymore

Our point here is that everything has been mastered, so tricks that are secretly easy (e.g. varial flips) regain popularity because handsome individuals with cool clothes bring them back. But something has been left behind folks, and I think you know what it is by now. So let's do this:

CONCLUSION

IF: Hardflips are no longer hard, and Frontside Heelflips are actually INSANELY hard.

THEN: The name hardflip is incorrect.

SO: We are now renaming Frontside Heelpflips "Hardflips" going forward. You can call the trick formerly known as "hardflip" whatever you want. We don't care. 

The end.

Note: This is not a comprehensive list of all great fs heelflippers, we'd like to note Wu Welsh has an exquisite frontside heelflip @ Three Up Three Down in SF, and even Mr. Eric Koston will tell you this trick is hard as fuck (but he can still do them really, really well).

Guest Post: Anthony Pappalardo - An Existential Crisis and Gino Iannucci

"At age 20, we worry about what others think of us. At 40, we don't care what they think of us. At 60, we discover they haven't been thinking of us at all." - Ann Landers

There’s no parallel between Gino Iannucci and the Chicago Sun-Times advice columnist Ann Landers, but as I enter the advanced age of 40, the pen name’s quote gives me feelings. When you’re old and a bit hungover, anything can trigger a melancholy miasmic jab to your gut. A crushed milk carton, finding a phone number in a coat you haven’t worn in years, the lint and sand, wedged behind an old sticker you’ve never stuck anywhere, and of course Gino Iannucci: Male Model. Wait, what? Yes, back in February Iannucci surfaced in some dapper Eidos Napoli gear, designed by designer Antonio Ciongoli who confirmed to me via email that he pushes switch mongo. Strange, but worth an Insta follow.

In the passing months, Iannucci has appeared in my feed in various sweaters, coats, hats, and other age-appropriate things, eliciting a neurological reaction from my 40-year-old brain that reminds me of my mortality and the fact that there is life after youth, but it’s a very different existence. I do not get these emotions when I see a member of Team Handsome juxtaposed against a model with skin made of cream, wearing designer clothes, while making a pensive face. No. Eli Reed? Never. Nor does this bit of sadness enter my non-existent soul when I see Mango wearing this multi-brand, norm fit in Vogue. It’s just different, man.

These are young folks, being young. They make us hopeful and we envy their talents. These boys will continue to evolve, devolve, go sober, fall off the wagon, get married, divorced, injured, learn, be stubborn, and all kinds of other shit. They are not from Long Island. They are not 42-years-old. They have style, but they do not yet have the creases in their faces that read “life.” Gino has that lifestyle, a forever icon, constantly making you gaze into photographs, wondering where he got his footwear, what outlet mall he ravaged for his Nautica gear, just how long your braided leather belt should hang, and if you could possibly pull off a sweater vest. No, you can’t, BTW.

GINOS (1).jpeg

Yes, Gino Iannucci in a $325 wool cardigan will occasionally send me into an existential crisis. I don’t do epiphanies or succumb to depression, but the thought of the heroes of my youth—the Carrolls, Howards, Breneses (is that a thing?), Kalises, Marianos—will soon stiffen up, and roll slowly towards the latter half of their life. Memories will get dull, hair thin, as they begin to resemble a skit they once filmed in their primes. Of course, being close in age turns the lens towards myself. I was not blessed with the sprawling finesse of Gino Iannucci, the origami-like hand posture of Michael Carroll, or the fleet-footed, boundless ability of Guy Anthony Mariano. My transition might be to actual transition—the old guy at the park, a bit doughy, scratching out a pivot to fakie, making the youngsters cringe, hoping they won’t have to call 911 if I snap a bone. No matter how many Tired edits Thrasher posts, I would rather pursue the romantic route Iannucci’s navigating, instead of plomping around on a football shaped skateboard, sloppily stepping off my board, before lurching a foot back on, thinking my No Comply was as graceful as Ray Barbee… well, at least not on video.

Losing your physical ability as an older person is scary and that crushing fear is even more toxic in a skateboarder. The foam roller, that extra 18 minutes of stretching before a session, the additional two weeks every ankle roll needs to heal. Pro, flow, or regular joe/josie, we lose tricks, but never the feeling.

I often take a walk to clear my head, during these confusing moments, yet find myself even more introspective, as I pace the industrial streets of Greenpoint, that brush against East Williamsburg. I think of my neighbor, also named Anthony Pappalardo, still in his 30s, envious of how much life is left in his knees, jealous of all that he’s accomplished, and wishing could have logged just one minute of footage as good any of his full parts, knowing that even at my peak physical condition, it wasn’t a reality or possibility.

And the boys whizzing through the streets of Brooklyn, logging footage for a webclip called “Rind,” “Squelch,” or “Dollar Slice.” The glut of European decks, neatly stacked at the Theories of Atlantis warehouse, a few blocks away, that I’ll never skate. The brown marble ledge I slowly lose the ability to ollie up to, convincing myself a slappy noseslide is an acceptable replacement for a Welshian ollie up and pop out. Sad. I won’t lie, that shit is depressing.

Mariano, Iannucci, and myself are Italian Americans, and to paraphrase/butcher what Reda once said in an episode of Epicly Later’d, “Who do you think Brayden gets along with better on Baker? Terry Kennedy or Ellington? He gets along with both, but he relates to Ellington more.” The takeaway is that I have an affinity for all Italian American skaters of my era, and secretly wonder if Carroll is part Pisano himself, since we both share a striking, Roman nose.

Us Eyetalians are prone to heart disease and other health problems, due to our heritage and bloodline. As the space between Snuff and my next milestone grows further, I’m reminded that I’m running out of birthdays, and more tragically, running out of Iannuccian Pushes to fawn over.

I’ve always said that one of the highest plateaus a human being can reach, is doing something so poetic, so poignant, so magnanimous, that your achievement becomes a cliché. Hyperbole so commonly used in our diction, yet it doesn’t diminish the accomplishment, but rather it crystallizes it in the culture.

So, here stands this deity of New York Cool. The patron saint of quality over quantity, brimming with so much confidence, that he’d make a young Steve McQueen self conscious, now means something different to a fellow skater, just a few years younger, embarking on the next part of life.

But the flame has not dimmed. There’s a flicker, in both those little sparks of footage, sprinkled upon us from the heavens and his residence on a #smallbrand that’s both fucking awesome and Fucking Awesome. Stoic, solemn, he faces what we fear and leads in ways that will always make other jealous.

The Sean Connery of skateboarding, by way of Italy, kinda.

I’d rather watch Gino push than get old.

Malden Skatepark DIY Fundraiser Recap

So sorry for the delay with this. A few weeks back, we were asked to help with the Malden Skatepark DIY Fundraiser, a contest and fundraiser hosted by the Malden Skatepark Coalition, Melissa Clark, and yours truly. Comparitively, our job was pretty minimal. Dave Begonis, Melissa, and a handful locals put in a tremendous amount of work helping set up tents with food, raffle tickets, product for sale, and a DJ (sadly, he was not ollied, s/o to J. Kasper though). We have so many people to thank, first and foremost, we'd like to thank every person who came out for the event, whether it was to help, participate in the contest, or just sit around and shoot the shit, your presence was greatly appreciated. My goal was to get everyone who came something, so I'm very sorry if anyone left the park empty-handed, we were very grateful for every person who just showed up.

Again we'd like to thank Melissa and Dave for all of their incredible hard work in putting this thing together. A very special thank you to Vans, Patriot, Orchard, Cornerstore, RAW, and Pete's Pigs, who provided an incredible amount of product for us to give away. When the dust settled, we were able to raise almost $2,000 for maintenance and upgrades for the park, we could not be more humbled by your donations, big or small. We'll leave some of the photos (courtesy of Mike Tucker) below, with the rest on our Facebook page if you'd like to post them yourself and show your friends how hard you ripped (sat). The video recap (courtesy of Jesse Ciulla) is below as well, a special thank you to him for filming for us that day. Again, thank you all, we'll see you next year!

Baby Dave, holding down the registration tent.

Baby Dave, holding down the registration tent.

THE PEANUT GALLERY

THE PEANUT GALLERY

Called for the 360 flip, this dude had it done less than a minute later.

Called for the 360 flip, this dude had it done less than a minute later.

Chris Roberts would be proud, dude.

Chris Roberts would be proud, dude.

Fuck it, why not?

Fuck it, why not?

Donny didn't skate in the contest, just ollied the whole thing 'cause he was bored.

Donny didn't skate in the contest, just ollied the whole thing 'cause he was bored.

This dude fucked the picnic table up all day, frontside bluntslide

This dude fucked the picnic table up all day, frontside bluntslide

ALL IS FAIR IN LOVE AND PARK RACE

ALL IS FAIR IN LOVE AND PARK RACE

Product toss craze.

Product toss craze.

"Does She Know You Skate?": A Guide to Skating and Dating

Ok so I got home last night and was talking with my roommate, and he was asking about how a date was that I went on over the weekend. Told him it went well, probably gonna see her again, etc. He asked if we were texting, I told him we were, then it came out. 

"Does she know you skate?"

Everything stopped. 

This really got me thinking. Was skateboarding something I always had to hide from chicks? I brought the question back to SMLTalk Intel, and what was decided is that the weight skateboarding has on your dating life varies by age. There are no tried and true rules here - but we can give you some guidelines around how to proceed with girls, and when it's appropriate to whip out your deck. 


Phase 1: Middle School

We'll keep this brief. Middle school is usually when we start skateboarding. We're looking for some sort of group to fit into, because at this point in our lives we have absolutely no fucking clue what's going on, and are looking for some sort of direction. Usually everybody hates you, but no one hates you more than yourself. Skateboarding helps you forget how much you suck at this age which is great for your confidence level / directly translates into success with chicks. You'll probably get a little kissy, and maybe some weird stuff. Good luck out there. 


Phase 2: High School

High school is tough. If anybody tells you otherwise, well, then fuck them. In high school cliques are formed, identities are established, and all the girls who used to be interested in you in middle school are now looking to date a football player or some guy who would more likely than not kick your ass.  This will usually resort to us abandoning all hope and spending all of our time driving around, skating with the boys, and just being generally reckless. 

But don't worry friends - we at SMLTalk are here for you, and offer a solution to all of your problems. Pick up a sport. We recommend joining the golf team (least amount of exercise). Shows the girls that you're normal, fit in with the popular crowd, ipso facto - get laid. 

 


Phase 3: College

^ no this is real, click it, I swear I'm not making this shit up. 

Okay - wow. Well college is where everything takes a fucking turn. All of a sudden chicks are miraculously turned on by skateboarders, and for most of it, we're not ready for it. Out of nowhere the kids that talked shit to you in high school are buying longboards and pretending that you're "boys". 

We're not boys.

But these guys are smart - they've realized that chicks are losing interest in them and are instead looking to hook up with us. Perhaps it's because we're so fucking badass, or maybe that we don't shower, or maybe, JUST MAYBE, the fact that we will gladly bail on them at any moment to go skate. Whatever it is, they're drawn to it, and it's amazing. Honestly skate shops should give away condoms with each board sale to a college student. 


Phase 4: Adult life

Ahhh you're finally out of college and done with all that school bullshit. Smooth sailing from here, right?

WRONG. 

This is the most challenging chapter in the life of a skateboarder. Don't get me wrong, your boys will always be there for you, but there are general struggles that you will face once you pass age 25, and enter into your "late 20's". 

I'd say that up until 25, you're probably ok. Maybe. Actually I don't even know about that. What I do know is that you start realizing that the girls you are dating, (unless you're still dating college chicks, which I completely back) are going to start looking for some stability. If you skateboard, it's an immediate red flag. You might as well still be playing video games all day, ya fecken loosahh. 

So how do we approach this? How do we find sweet chicks that are okay with us spending the weekend trying to relive our youth, but really just slamming for a couple hours and then going to the bar? Are there even girls out there that are fine with us ignoring their conversation to watch the new Ishod footage, or disregard them to strike up a conversation about Grant's backside airs? 

Are we forced to pull the old 'bait and switch', deceptively leading girls into a relationship where they think we only skate "from time to time", or that "we used to really skate, but now just for fun". 

Well - I wish I could tell you, but the truth is I don't know for myself. Maybe honesty is the best policy. 

Or maybe it's best to just keep it to yourself, treating Quartersnacks and Dime like Pornhub (so tempted to hyperlink), deleting cookies after every visit. 

I guess at the end of the day it's up to you, and your judgement. Just be cautious, and if she asks what smltalk is just tell her it's some shit you're reading for work ;) 

Cheers

Skateboarding in the Olympics: A Call for Indifference

The many media outlets have been saying a lot about our little thing getting mixed up in the Olympics sometime soon. You see it on almost every major website, magazines usually run an op-ed article or two about it, big name professionals weigh in on it, both for and against, etc. I’ve noticed, particularly in the blogosphere, that any article written about this sensitive subject seems to cause quite a stir. There are some who fully support skateboarding’s inclusion in the World Games - it is, after all, a global activity and there are many who would love to see their native countries represented for not only their talents in track and field, but skateboarding as well. It’s also worth noting that the wealth of unrecognized talent outside of the United States is staggering; Canada and Brazil alone could sweep that shit in multiple categories (Pedros Barros for transition gold, easy). *

I think I’m already getting ahead of myself here. You, dear reader, are probably snickering at your computer screen right now. You’ve probably already stopped reading this and have begun commenting mean things about how core you are and how the Olympics can fuck off, etc. If you know me personally, you’ve probably started a text with a ton of angry emojis. Please, if you can, please hold out a little bit longer. We’re only just starting here.

Now I can understand some of the backlash that comes with a topic like this, major change in skateboarding is not without some harsh criticism, especially when it comes to categorizing skateboarding as a “sport”. But I ask, how long did it take before no one cared about Nike coming back? Despite all of Consolidated’s best efforts, the Swoosh prevailed, and that didn’t really seem to bother anyone. It’s like the human race’s relationship with Drake: we used to hate him, we used to cringe at every punch line he’d croon and yet, somewhere, sometime, we just decided that it was actually ok to like the dude. We certainly haven’t forgotten that we hated him, but accepting him hasn’t destroyed our street credibility (we had none to begin with, but we didn’t lose any). My point is that once something is normalized in skateboarding, anyone against it will either just accept it or reach a point of indifference. Regardless of where you stand, the vocalized hatred of that thing will cease. If we get to the Olympics, it will only be a matter of time before Thrasher has live streaming coverage of it, because despite all that Thrasher stands for, they gotta sell magazines, and sooner or later people are going to want them to weigh in. Sad, but true.

Personally, I don’t support skateboarding in the Olympics at all. But this little rant isn’t about whether we are for or against it. It’s about indifference. Instead of trying to stand on a soap box of right or wrong on this topic, I’m offering a shrug (¯_(ツ)_/¯, if you will.)

Here’s how I feel: what could the Olympics do to skateboarding, and subsequently, do to ruin skateboarding, that hasn’t already been done? I don’t see how the inclusion of skateboarding in the Olympics means anything to the state of “real” skateboarding. To me it seems like it’d just be another contest that would come up every four years...barely noticeable in comparison to how many times Street League blows up my fucking explore page on Instagram every few months or so. And honestly, dudes that are committed to Street League have a way gnarlier schedule than a pro skater looking to compete in the Olympics. You could have a full video part under your belt in a real video (real videos average timeline 4-6 years) and go off and do the Olympics worry free. I have no idea what the payout on winning a gold medal in the Olympics would be compared to SL, but I can imagine that endorsements from Subway post gold medal win would allow you to live quite comfortably.

To me, the “Skateboarding in Olympics” convo/blog articles could do without the doomsday sentiments, the idea that our thing being officially classified as sport would cause some type of core implosion. The people this actually affects are a tiny percentage of skateboarders across the globe, i.e. the ones that would be willing to participate in it. It is highly unlikely that skateboarding’s core values, if they still exist, would be jeopardized at all. Would Brad Cromer disappear off the face of the earth? Would Skate Jawn stop printing issues? Would Ishod stop putting out 15 parts a year? Probably not. I mean honestly, what’s the difference between the mega ramp and a huge ski jump? Yes, materials/danger/Danny Way, but other than that they’re pretty much on the same pedestal entertainment-wise. It’d just be another contest, with another batch of energy drink logos being worn all over so-and-so’s body, another slew of redundant and not funny contest commentary, topped with arbitrary scoring that I will never fully understand. Sounds like something that already exists, huh?

So the next time you see an opportunity to jump in the fray of ignorant comments about skateboarding belonging/not belonging in the Olympics, just remember that it probably is going to happen whether you like it or not, but how it could ever make itself unique to skateboarding’s current contest circus is unclear. You don’t want to see skateboarding in the Olympics? Shut the t.v. off and go skate outside. Problem solved.

*Images taken from Google and stuff :)