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 :)

"One More": A Deep Dive Into Persistence & Insanity

"One more". Perhaps the most common phrase in skateboarding. We've all heard it, and perhaps you yourself have even claimed it. But what does it mean? Does it mean that you will truly try the trick one final time before giving up? Absolutely not. 

After months of extensive research, SMLTalk has concluded that there has never been a recorded case of "one more" actually meaning that the person will be trying one more. In fact, as the number of "one more" claims, increases, the number of tries subsequently increases. 

Yeah I made a fuckin graph.

Note: This study does not include any "one mores" from professional skate videos. This is geared towards regular guys, trying to do/film regular tricks, that most likely have already been done before, just for the sake of personal satisfaction. 

Not to say that we don't enjoy watching Ragdoll completely disregard security guards for one more. 

But to get back on track -  clearly there is something that happens in the skateboarder's psyche that shifts. At we say this phrase as a sort of "I got this, man" kind of thing. Asking your friends to bear with you, because you're too deep in this shit now. 

The confidence is still high, and perhaps at this point, you actually do believe you can do the trick, and more audaciously, maybe you truly think you can do it the next try. 

But then you don't. Three more tries later you still haven't made it. Perhaps you're getting closer, or, and I would never wish this on my worst enemy, maybe you're getting further away. 

Regardless - there's no chance in hell you're stopping now because if you don't land it you've not only wasted everybody's time, but you've let yourself, and the skategods down. If you don't make this trick you will focus your board and quit. 

Maybe it's time to start concentrating more on work anyway.  

 

BUT NO. 10 tries go by. 15. 25.  At this point the boys start shouting out reckless claims like "I got you a beer on this one". Which we all know is just code for "please of the love of God land this so that we can get the FUCK out of here." 

"Alright man right here." 

Still no luck. 

"No seriously guys...this is the last one"

......

This is when it all hits the fan. You start acting like some sort of psychopathic maniac, claiming that every try is last try. You could have broken both of your ankles, but you'd still be trying the trick. 

As we know this story ends one of two ways. But this tale, my friends, isn't about the end. Much like the road of life it's not about the destination, it's about the journey. And our particular journey as skateboarders, is one of struggle, insanity, and perhaps in some cases perseverance. 

This is how we define ourselves. It's a characteristic that sets ourselves apart from the rest of the community. 

WE EVEN NAME OUR CREWS AND VIDEOS AFTER THIS CONCEPT. 

Still trying to take this in ^^^

So next time you're out there, asking yourself if you can do it, asking yourself if the filmer is even hitting the record button or if he's completely lost hope, I say...

...just give it one more. 

 

Cheers, and shout out to Tom Kruper for the inspiration. 

Van Wastell & The Greatest Body Varial Ever Done

151.jpg

“Does it get much better than this?”, a warm, content, and caffeinated Mark Gonzales asks Van Wastell during a mid-session pit stop amid the madness that was 2006’s Krooked Kronichles. If you were Van in that particular situation, the answer to that question was presumably and most definitely, “No, it can’t get much better than this.” The same can be said of Van’s style.

You see, I remember watching Van’s part at the Kronichles Boston premiere 9 years ago, which actually took place in a middle school auditorium in Wakefield, Massachusetts. The world was a different place back then. Dave Bachinsky had just kickflipped El Toro weeks prior, George Bush was still president of the United States, and Myspace was still cooler than Facebook. Things were all sorts of crazy back then…back in 2006.

What struck me about Van’s part is how cool he looked on a skateboard, which was only made cooler by his use of Cheech & Chong’s ‘Earache My Eye’. As for the skating, his tech wizardry, transition knowledge, and demonstrated ability to frontside flip like a motherfucker all carved out a special place for him in my heart.

Fast-forward two years, and the entire skateboarding community is reminded of life’s brevity – Van Wastell had passed. In the wake of this tragedy, footage of Van began to surface – footage being saved for larger projects, works in progress. And it was all really fucking good. Among this footage was something that though privy to Van’s seemingly endless bag of tricks, basically melted my brain upon viewing. Luckily, once capable of thinking some five minutes later, I was able to rewind and review multiple times to confirm what I had seen.

The piece, which I’ve just now decided to refer to as such since it is unarguably a work of art, was a frontside body varial. Made possible with the assistance of some propped up wood and a picnic table, Van reinvented the game and changed lives quite literally in one swift motion.

At SMLtalk HQ, we are huge fans of ‘taking a step back’ and ‘really letting this one sink in’. It is with complete sincerity that I urge each and every one of you to do the same thing with the below video:

Exhibit A:

In case you have no idea what’s going on, I’ll break it down for you. Van hit that kicker, and literally the moment, the MILISECOND all four of his wheels became airborne, his feet retracted themselves, like two magnets, away from the skateboard until the last possible moment before landing.

Let’s give it the Gif treatment, for infinite replay purposes:

Make no mistake here – what you have just witnessed was pure magic. This was no bullshit, no rehearsal, or planning whatsoever, complete and utter creative genius. The fact that this moment was caught on film was a miracle in itself. And the reaction? Lets talk about that reaction. Van was just as surprised. What the hell just happened?

Van Wastell. Truly in a league of his own.

A few years ago, skateboarding began to see a huge resurgence of this magical maneuver. Like a less popular no comply, people began finding ways of incorporating body varials everywhere. Large scale, Clint Walker’s unprecedented triple set body varial comes to mind. AO also carries the torch in 2015, shifting stance to dismount from smith grinds. Brad Cromer, however, has come closest to recreating a body varial of Wastell proportions, as seen in 2014’s Outliers.

Exhibit B:

A part of me wants to believe that given his Krooked veteran status, the body varial was passed on, in spirit, thru Van to Brad. Still though, we realize that Van’s body varial is unattainable. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do, or try this trick. If anything, having a benchmark for perfection is a great thing, because there’s always something to strive towards.

‘You see ______’s body varial over that bump to ______?’

‘Yeah, it was ok. Nothing like Van’s though :-/’

‘True’

All of this brings us back to Gonzo’s initial question, over a decade old at this point: Does it get much better than this?

Well, if we’re talking about a Van Wastell body varial, I think we all know the answer to that one by now.

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? :

Public Service Announcement: The Worst Release-to-Thrasher Video Part Titles

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Somewhere between snapchats of your drunk friend ollieing the Kenny Hughes gap and $12.99 iTunes downloads of Dwindle distribution full lengths rests the ‘Release-to-Thrasher’ video part. In terms of visibility and reach, the Thrasher part gives the skater the prime-time spot, and to have one of these nowadays is almost like being a contestant on America’s Got Talent that made it to the next round. Everyone gets to see your part for that day, but next week there’s a whole other round of contestants to replace you. I think the first straight to Thrasher part I remember seeing was Torey Pudwill’s Big Bang, released in 2011. Back then, four insanely long years ago, this was a much more distinct, elite honor. Not everyone was getting one...until actually everyone was getting one. There was a short-lived level of excitement that came with these weekly releases. Micro-hype, you could call it. Naturally however, it all became a bit overwhelming, oversaturated, and down right discouraging.

Allow us to elaborate.

First of all, these parts regularly have intros and credits sections. INTROS, and CREDITS for a 3 minute video part. And don’t worry, you better believe this includes a thank-you’s section, too...Sort of like those things we used to call skate videos. Anyhow, I’d like to make it perfectly clear that under no circumstances should a 3-minute video part warrant it’s own thank you’s, as well as language leading you to believe that the filmer did anything besides just that, i.e. directing or ‘producing’. Unless you’re trying to lie on a resume by claiming you’ve done directing work, there’s no point in putting that out there.

None of the above mentioned atrocities soiling skate media’s current state of affairs can even hold a candle to this article’s major pain-point, however. I’m talking, of course, about the actual titles given to these god damn video parts. This essential ingredient is by far the most appalling, cringeworthy, and shameful piece of the recipe.

After much internal dialogue and many sleepless nights spent pondering all that has become of our beloved pastime, we here at SMLtalk have decided there was only one necessary course of action to try and prevent this from ever happening again: publicly shaming these bastards.

Sean Conover’s “Thin Lips and Ginger Snaps” part

thin lips and ginger snaps

This was the inspiration for all that you see before you today. The straw that broke the camel’s back. The acid tab that ruined GG Allin’s life. You'll notice a recurring theme for these parts is that they all seem to reference some sort of inside joke between the subject at hand and their five or so cronies. Guess what though? Not a single other person in the country got the memo.

Kyle Frederick’s “12 O Clock Karl” part

What’s going on here? Are we on lunch break? Is this Thrasher trying to say high noon is the perfect viewing time for this piece of media on their site? I hope I receive answers to none of these questions because I don’t want the type of closure that comes with knowing how Thrasher part titles are devised.

Denny Pham’s “It’s a Phamtastic World” part

phamtastic world

I really do feel bad for him on this one. I suppose it could have been worse - the overlords at Thrasher could have suggested a Denny’s themed title. Though come to think of it, that would have been a much better option. Okay, I take it back, they did in fact pick the worst possible option for his video title...

Here's how I pictured it going down:

“Phamtastic??? You really gonna do me like that, Thrasher???” - Denny Pham

“Lmao you betcha!” - Thrasher Magazine

“:’-(“ - DP

“:-)” - TM

Fin.

Ben Raybourn, “The Raybourn Identity” Part

Get it?  It’s like the Matt Damon movies where he’s a spy but he forgets a bunch of stuff? He kills a dude with a piece of paper? See the connection now? No? Oh, it has absolutely NOTHING to do with the movie besides the sort of similar names in the title (RayBOURN, BOURNE)? I wonder how many people this title ran through before being approved and posted on the site. “OH MY GOD, DID YOU SEE TODD’S TITLE FOR RAYBOURN’S NEW PART? SHIT IS FUEGO, BRO! NAH, NAH IT DOESN’T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE MOVIE, IT’S JUST LIKE THE NAMES ARE SIMILAR. YA, HE’S GETTING PROMOTED, FOR SURE!”

Jaws, “Criddler on the Roof” Part

jaws cirddler

It took me a while to write anything for this because I was way too busy chuckling at how fricken clever this title is. Have you guys ever heard of this book? It’s called the Fiddler on the Roof. Well, it’s actually a play. At least I think it is, I’ve never read it (books are for virgins, duh). Anyway, Thrasher did this super crazy thing: they took all of Jaw’s roof footage, and they made it into like one video, and then they named it after the play/book/thing I’ve never read, but they changed the word “Fiddler” to “Criddler” because Jaws is like a small animal or a “critter”. Funny, right? No? Guys? Hello?? :(

Rob/Bert Wooten, “Name Changer” Part

bert yary

Up there with athletes like Chad Johnson and Ron Artest, we have the skateboarder formerly known as Bert Wooton. From what I understand, this dude got fed up with being called Bert and decided a video part was the only way to finally set the record straight that he preferred the simpler, less Sesame-Street-esque iteration of his given name, Robert. To be perfectly honest though, Bert Yary is the only name change that could have ever justified its own video part title.

Eli Williams “MALLGRABTOMONGO” Part

Please don’t make me explain this any further. Do you see the point here? The fact of the matter is that they're all awful titles. Just take a look at the link below and see for yourself. We could have just as easily farted out an entirely different list with 100+ other video part titles pulled from this YouTube channel. But we didn't, because no one should have to experience pain like that at any point in their lifetime.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7V-xVyJYY3c8bgxXzWisdJrHfclEoorr

Besides a good laugh, what can we take away from all this? Honestly, being jaded about modern/online-only video parts is a very tired subject. For the mid twenty somethings and up it is a non-stop bitch, cry, and moan festival about the way things used to be. That being said, (sorry Larry David) videos like Tincan Folklore, Photosynthesis, Second Hand Smoke, and even Mouse may seem like silly titles for a 30 minute video of “skateboarding stunts set to music”, but those who have been invested in our culture for a long time know better than that. Even for something as abstract as Barbarians at the Gate, the meaning seems to reveal itself only after the whole piece has been explored...something that would be impossible to achieve in only 2-4 minutes.

It’s hard to look at skate videos with an artistic lens when they’ve been condensed to short, single parts, only to appear on the Thrasher site for a few days (which is literally minutes in skateboard industry time). Somehow the abstract content in a skate video means less when the video is sponsored by Monster Energy Drink and Whey Protein, while also forcing you to watch a terribly produced commercial about a new product gimmick. Thrasher’s not stupid, they need to make money and skateboard companies benefit from this flash advertising too. Your basic Thrasher video part promotion trajectory is thus: Man of the Week gets a Hall of Meat, Firing Line, you get “The Part”, (if you can afford it, you can pay for a banner on the side of the site for a couple days) and then you are immediately pushed to the “Older” page. But maybe, just maybe, if you name your part something lame enough, you’ll be forever immortalized here, with us. :)

Sean Pablo and the One-Down™: A Case Study

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We live in a world of one-ups. One-upped at work when Chad got there earlier than you, one-upped at the bar when Sylvester orders a more expensive drink than you, and one-upped in skating when someone half your age makes it look like you've never stepped on a board in your life. Let's just say that if you kickflip a gap, you can rest assured that by the time you wake up somebody has already posted their switch, 'third try warm up fun one' on Instagram. But don’t let this get you down. SMLTalk has discovered that we no longer have to worry about any of these issues, and are free to go on as we please without regard. You may be saying, “but how? How could this be true?” or, “What does this even mean?” or, “You’re an idiot, get me back to The Berrics”.

Well, hold on, let’s take a moment and review some recent events that lead us to believe that one-upping is a thing of the past, and thanks to Sean Pablo, we are now able to simply One-Down™.


Exhibit A:

Danny Renaud, ‘Mosaic’, (Castrucci/Strobeck, 2003)

In 2003, Habitat released ‘Mosaic’. A classic video with some of skateboarding’s biggest names for the time. From Pluhowski to Janoski to Getz to Garcia, the video covered a good amount of skateboarding with a certain style-focused aesthetic. Castrucci was the perfect person to direct it, and having Strobeck on board filming a good amount of the video certainly didn’t hurt. Danny Renaud was somewhat a new jack around this time, and when he dropped this part (partly thanks to Cymande's 'Crawshay' IMO) people knew his name. Renaud’s style was on point, great trick selection, and the hand drag on that nollie flip. You know what I’m talking about. But the trick I want to bring up is this backside 50-50.

Danny Renaud 50

LOOK AT THOSE IPATHS. *tear of joy*


Exhibit B:

Sean Pablo, ‘SICKNESS’, (Strobeck, 2015)

Cut to 12 years later. Wait, I’ve seen this spot somewhere before. It can’t be. Yes, it is, it’s the same rail that Danny Renaud back 50’d. I wonder what Sean Pablo’s got.

Sean Pablo boardslide

Boardslide.


Okay. So we have a few things to question:

A) Was this actually the same rail?

Yes

B) Is backside 50-50 definitely more difficult than backside boardslide?

Yes. Justification: Boardslides are the first trick that you learn on any flatbar; backside 50-50s will more likely than not smoke you on any rail.

C) Is there anything stylistically that we are missing, or any particular reason to believe that Sean Pablo's style is overwhelmingly better than Danny Renaud's?

Perhaps some may argue that Sean Pablo's style is better than Danny Renaud's, but it would be a difficult argument to make and is not so much better that it could be a clear, objective truth.


So, with all of these things reviewed, we are left to assume that Sean Pablo intentionally performed a One-Down. But what does this mean for the rest of us?

Well, it's actually really great news. It means that next time you go to a spot and want to film a trick, you no longer have to stress out. Everything is fair game. Local homeboy switch tre flipped that gap? Fuck it, do it regular. In fact, you probably don't even need to skate switch anymore. IN FACT, you probably don't even need to skate anymore at all. It doesn't fucking matter.

So next time you're at the bar and Sylvester rolls up on your girl trying to spit game, just remember that for everything he does, you just have to do slightly less and she'll be crawling right back into your arms/bed.

Thank you Sean Pablo.

Did Ronnie Creager Sell My Mom Rodney Mullen vs. Daewon Song Round 2?

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Ok so it was Christmas, 2001, and my parents were presumably looking for a gift to get me. I have to hand it to them in that they usually nailed it with gifts. Nothing ever too crazy, but always thoughtful and something that would get me psyched (if you’re reading this, love you Mom). So - I imagine that my mom walked into the local skate shop and told them that I skate, and asked what she should get me. Here is the insane part.

Whoever happened to be the clerk handed my mom a copy of Rodney Mullen vs. Daewon Song Round 2, Menikmati, and some Tensor trucks. WHO WAS THIS PERSON?

Anyhow - before I get too far into this tangent, needless to say I fell in love with both of these videos. I watched them both incessantly. I made my non-skate friends watch them. I made my parents watch them. I loved every single skater in both videos (even Chet Thomas). BUT there was one person in Rodney vs. Daewon who really stood out. Like, in a profound fashion did not fit. I didn’t have a real grasp on style yet, but I knew there was something about this guy that felt better than the others (except maybe Enrique Lorenzo, but that’s a story for another time). Yes, I’m talking about Ronnie Creager.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=585qZGEhq4U]

(Ronnie's part starts at 3:40)

Man, it still gives me chills. Now don’t get me wrong here, there were tons of great skaters in this video, even in this section. Gideon’s clips are timeless. But when the song changes from a real beat to a sample of a piano line, and Ronnie’s name comes up, something magical happens. I think what really did it was the shove right after the switch noseblunt bigspin. It’s perfect. But it’s also that gray shirt with the blue striped sleeves and shoulders (#kitreport). After watching a few times, something in my stupid, prepubescent brain clicked, Ronnie is also in Menikmati.

So if you haven’t cracked the code on my theory yet, let me break it down for you. Who was the person who sold my mom Rodney Mullen vs. Daewon Song Round 2, Menikmati, and Tensor trucks? Yes, you guessed it. It had to have been Ronnie Creager himself.

Well, maybe it wasn't. Maybe it was some super-fan. Regardless, at the end of the day I discovered one of the greatest skaters on the planet, so I was psyched.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BindlDsqqw]

People love to hate on this part, and I honestly think it’s all context. Ronnie’s part, especially to a kid, can be underwhelming when placed amongst guys like McCrank, Arto and Koston. To be honest, though, I loved the part. The half-cab tre flip and full cab flips tripped me up. He was smooth, and skated a lot of low-impact stuff. My kinda guy. Plus I didn’t have to sit through a 5 minute intro. Bonus. Plus I mean LOOK AT THOSE SWEATPANTS. (#kitreport, again)

full cab flip

I guess I’ll just try and continue this autobiographically. About a year or two later I had become the local annoying kid who hangs out at the skateshop all the time. Pretty much everyday after school I’d go hang and watch skate videos. One day I was asking the old, wise sage that worked at the shop what I should buy and he hands me Man Down. He says to me “this is the greatest skate video that has ever been made”. To which I scoffed, of course, having seen Flip’s Sorry. How could anything be better than that?

I get to my house, pop that sucker in the VCR and giver a go.

*tears of joy*

He was right. It was the greatest skate video ever made. And guess what. I was reunited with my boy Ronnie Creager, as he had clips in the friends section. Something I do want to say, though. And Ronnie, if you’re reading this listen up. In Man Down Ronnie does a fakie flip tailslide to bigger spin out. Look Ronnie, you’ve got a bunch of really impressionable kids out there you can’t be doing reckless spins like that without expecting a terrible reaction.

man down

Wait a second are those the same sweatpants??? (#kitreport, again)

So a couple years pass and around 2004/2005 I get wind that Blind is coming out with a new video. Alright, you’ve got my attention. Wait - what’s that you say? Video Days is a hidden easter egg in the DVD? Sold. Fun fact about this: I actually tore out the cover of what if from the DVD and replaced it with my own that said “Video Days”. No idea why I took the time or effort to do that, but I was an idiot, so who knows.

As we know, this ended up being a pretty legendary video. Takeaway parts being Evan Schiefelbine, Jake Duncombe, A̶a̶r̶o̶n̶ ̶A̶r̶t̶i̶s̶, C̶a̶r̶l̶o̶s̶ ̶R̶u̶i̶z̶, Grant Patterson, Corey Sheppard, Jake Brown, and of course, our boy, Ronnie Creager.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHGQ1sMeQq0]

This part really plays out almost like a retirement part, even though it’s only 2005 and Ronnie is still crushing it ten years later. First trick in this part, insane ollie body varial off a bump to fence. The thing about Ronnie that I perhaps didn’t realize until later on, is that he’s always been insanely good. You watch his What If? part, and you’re just like “fuck, this is insane”. But then you go back to his Trilogy part, equally insane. Not even at a “insane for the time” level. If you put either Trilogy or even his 20 Shot Sequence part in slightly higher definition, you got yourself a classic part today. I mean, lord knows all the kids are for whatever reason loving the 90s fashion today anyway. #kitreport. But let’s take a moment and reflect on his 20 Shot Sequence part.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyKayVNirmc]

Notable occurrences:

  1. Giant fakie frontside flips
  2. Switch flip and frontside flip double set
  3. One of the most insane late flips ever
  4. How to: Switch/Nollie inward heel
  5. Not gonna lie, just the way he rides when he ollies or flips up something switch. woof.
  6. Ermmm that ender?
  7. But the best thing about Ronnie is that he dorks it. You can tell he doesn’t care too much.

Well - I guess that’s all I really wanted to say. Just wanted to spread some awareness and make sure that everybody is keeping Ronnie in mind every day of their precious little lives.

SMLTalk Trivia Night

Alright, so last night we held the first SMLTalk Trivia Night. Thanks again to Orchard, Vans and PBR for hooking it up with the prizes, and to Erik Pickard (@edogpicky) for MCing and also for providing us with an incredible rendition of TK's quote from Baker 3. With that said, let's recap a few of the highlights. 1) Best name went to gratefuldad420@hotmail.com. Some runners up included: Chad Fernandez, SSBSTS, and Laid & Paid Bosses.

2) In case you wanted to listen to the song from Ryan Sublette's part again ;^)

3) Here's the visual round card, let's go over a few things.

SMLTalk-TriviaCard

    a) This is Tony Silva. This is Tony DaSilva.

    b) Pat Channita and Gideon Choi don't look anything alike. Come on people.

    c) VX Lee explaining that he recognized JB Gillet by the arm and the watch was incredible.

4) The forgotten Jamie Thomas part.

5) Shout out to 93 Til Infinity, the winning team, for pretty much smoking everybody, having multiple perfect rounds, and also being a team of 3, aka less than the maximum allowed. Really impressive/terrifying how much people know about skateboarding.

6) Jonjoe had one complaint, and that was that there wasn't enough Biebel. We didn't really have a response, so here's an insanely weird Biebel photo compilation to try and help make up for it.

Thanks again to everybody who was there, and to Rob Collins for taking photos, see you next time!