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.

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.

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 :)

The Varial Flip, Revisited

It’s no secret that the varial flip, like the no-comply, has found a new acceptance in the #current world of skateboarding today. Even when QS decided it was worth appreciating two years ago, there was still a hesitation in accepting it with such open arms. How did we get where we are today? Was it Sebo Walker? He’s varial flipped high and low, and even with griptape that looks closer to Joseph’s Technicolor Dreamcoat, it’s rare to hear even the corest of #core skaters gripe about his gear/trick selection. Hmm, I don't know, varial flip acceptance is a little bit older than young Sebo.

Well maybe it was the members of New York’s Most Productive Crew™ ?

An affinity for trick selection and style, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that their refined varial flip implementation has eased up judgement of the trick, especially given the high amount of coverage we’ve seen from those dudes lately (always open to more, btw)

Or could it have been the Fancy Lads, who paid homage to the once shamed trick in their "avant-gnar" style?

Perhaps Sir Stevie Williams inspired the Dirty Ghetto generation to varial flip with their heads held high? They already heart the haters, certainly they could withstand a few jabs about a little varial flip, couldn't they? I don’t know, man.

Despite these potential leads, it’s still totally unclear to me when it became cool again...but I’ll say this much: I’m really glad it’s back.

You see, it wasn’t so long ago that a young Kevin Romar was trying to make a name for himself at Thrasher’s Battle at the ‘Berg. A spry young fellow, Kevin began hucking himself into the mix by lofting varial flips down the infamous San Francisco behemoth. Upon doing so, he was vehemently booed, and even publicly shamed by the Phelper himself. Funny that this was such a dark time for the varial flip, it doesn’t seem like it was all that long ago, but seven years in skateboard time can feel like an eternity. A lot can change in seven years...people can change.

Now I don’t necessarily feel bad for Kevin Romar, I’ve never thought much of his skating (sorry Kevin, nothing personal) but I’d be lying if I didn’t think the man had a good varial flip. For him to have been booed at the Wallenberg contest isn’t because he was doing it gross: it’s because the varial flip paradigm hadn’t yet shifted. That was 2009. What happened to us? When did our groupthink go from boos to cheers? Where is this article going?

Well, it’s going back. Back to a time when the varial flip still caused a sour comment in a game of SKATE, or an "ah, yuck" when watching so-and-so’s new part...I'm talking about 2003. We were over a decade away from varial flip acceptance and despite a wealth of anti-varial flip sentiment, there was one v-flip that seemed to sneak right under our hateful noses. A varial flip executed so well, that the seemingly impossible plight of skateboarders who regularly seek flip trick perfection was, for but a moment, achieved. While everybody talks about the hardflip, the frontside flip, the backside smith grind...I’d like to talk about Mike Carroll’s varial flip in Yeah Right!. Yes, I know. Another skate blog talking about Mike Carroll, AGAIN. Please stop rolling your eyes, and listen as I set the scene.

He switch flips up, he turns around, and then it happens. He unleashes the most out of this world varial flip skateboarding had ever seen. When this part came out, I was too young and ignorant to think that what I was watching wasn’t as significant as I clearly see now. The speed, the back foot, the flick...guys, it’s actually perfect. I’m not undermining what happens after the varial flip either - he backside smith grinds the fucking shit out of that rail - only the way that Carroll can, of course. I just feel like watching his part again, I saw something I hadn’t seen before. I felt like Seinfeld, entranced by the power of the black and white cookie.

If people could have just looked to that varial flip, would we have ever been so critical of its place in skateboarding? We would have still been critical, as we should always be, of this thing that we keep so near and dear to our hearts...but that varial flip could have solved wars, man, that thing was beautiful.

What am I saying here? What does this all mean? Why have I spent so much of my life thinking about a dude looking really cool in cargo pants? Why am I asking so many questions in this article? Maybe because anyone that’s been skateboarding for a long time, and specifically those who have accepted that this will not be a career of any sort, live for the little things that make this hobby of ours so great. It’s not how about big the handrail is, or if the trick is ABD at that spot, but about how cool Reynolds throws down his board, Cardiel's hands after the noseblunt, Julien's backside powerslide, or how insanely good Mike Carroll can varial flip. He took something that would make people cringe and turned it into fucking art. You think it’s a coincidence that every skateboarder names like the same three people in their all time top fives? (Cardiel, Heath, Carroll, etc.) No, skate blogs will never get over Carroll so long as skateboarding still takes place on four wheels. Who gives a shit about anything else, style matters and that's the only constant skateboarding will ever know.

And next time you think a trick looks stupid, see if Carroll did it...trust me, he did.

DISCLAIMER: After explaining to my roommate what I was writing about, he very casually said "Oh, you must have saw that new Skateline." Confused, I went over to the Thrasher site and low and behold the latest Skateline is partly dedicated to the topic discussed above. Now I really like Gary's show a lot, in no way do I mean disrespect, but this piece has nothing to do with Skateline...HOWEVER, I did re-watch Carroll's part the other day because Thrasher posted it to the "Classics" section, so yes, in a way Thrasher is part of the reason why this got written, just please don't think I was piggybacking Gary's segment on varial flips...great minds just think alike ok? :