Ali Boulala: The People's Champion

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This came to me while I was at Dunkin Donuts the other day. I had been thinking a lot about movies and in particular, romantic comedies. I'm not ashamed to say I enjoy a rom-com or two every so often, but the problem with these movies is that the endings tend to create a dissonance between the viewer and the characters in the movie. Throughout most of the movie you relate to the struggles and qualms of the main characters: you laugh with them, you cry with them, and you see some of your relationship in theirs. But then comes the ending, the big, stupid, cliche ending. The ending you kind of always knew was going to happen, but the ending nonetheless. He gets the girl. They make out (maybe bone if you're up on your R-rated shit). They ride off into the sunset. Hurray for them. Meanwhile, back in the REAL WORLD, you found out your girl cheated on you with a huge, sexy homie named Sylvester (I literally don't know a single person with that name) and they ride off into the sunset and, presumably, bone until they forgot that you even existed. You shared your deepest secrets with that girl, you met that chick's parents...dude, you went to Jared. Doesn't that mean anything to her?

Romantic comedies lack a true sense of reality...we love them, but we can only aspire to be them.

Enter the world of skate videos: our window into the lives of our talented idols. They inspire others to inspire themselves™, both on and off our boards, (if we're being real here, just on our boards) and especially around SMLTalk HQ, our favorite skateboarding is skateboarding we can relate to.

Hence, why many skate videos, and in particular many skate videos of today's internet era, are like romantic comedies to me: I'm connected for most of a dude's part but we all know how this is going to end. The ender's a make. His boys pop bottles on his ride away. There's hugs all around. Maybe the sexy homie Sylvester gives him a kiss (that dude seriously needs to chill). Yes, the trick we saw on last month's cover, the screen shot of the thumbnail that we clicked on, the trick we all knew he was going to land...he landed it.

I've never done my big trick. I've made many a claim, after many a beer, only to find myself pussing out the next day after arriving at said spot, to fulfill said claim. I never got to ride off into the sunset, never got to hug my boys...never got to kiss Sylvester (you're recognizing a pattern here, I'm sure.)

But you know what...neither has Ali Boulala.

Ali Boulala's Sorry part, literally ends with his destruction and failure. Now, a 25 stair ollie is a very tall order, but how amazing and refreshing is it to see a man not succeed as a way to close out his career's greatest achievement? You see, that's a skate video I can relate to. It doesn't make his part any worse, it makes it real. Us commoners don't normally get our big trick, most of us don't even try. For those that do, sometimes the slam is the clip. I can't relate to a guy rolling away from a 25 stair front feeble, but I can relate to a dude rolling around on the ground in agony probably wondering why he even still skates. Ryan Sheckler experienced a similar moment at the famed, El Toro, yet Plan B thought they would do him a solid and put that clip in the ending credits. Well how dare you, Plan B. In the spirit of Ali Boulala, make that his damn ender. Bail or make it's still gnarly. It's just that the make is what separates professionals from amateurs (but not like paid am's, I'm thinking more like dude's who write this blog and our friends. Guys who aren't good at skating.)

Ali Boulala's Sorry part is the realest account of skateboarding ever produced by a professional skateboarder. He gets drunk, he pukes, his dog humps his leg, he throws meat at a window, he does absolutely absurd things on a skateboard, and best of all? He bails. He gets hurt. He gets really hurt. And he doesn't win...he's just like us. He is our champion.

The people's champion.

 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7B1dDcugg3E&w=420&h=315]

 

 

-Rojo

 

 

 

An Abbreviated History: The Plus-Size Skateboarder

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There is nothing I hate more than looking at some new, young, asshole skinny skateboarder. You watch pretty much any video and all you see is these kids who could hardly break 140 lbs. Fuckk that. Yeah, sometimes you’ll see dudes who have gotten older, or discovered beer, and they look a little heavier. That’s not who we’re talkin’ about today boys and girls, so get that shit out of your head. Today we pay homage to those skateboarders who have lived out their careers with a little extra meat, and have been loved/revered/admired for it. Cheers boys, you've earned it.


Lance Mountain

Perhaps the first person to be seen as a little bit of a chubby dude, or perhaps not, either way it’s a good starting point. Lance Mountain. We love Lance. He is us. We are him. We are one. Maybe it was just me, but looking at Lance compared to the other dudes in the Bones Brigade he just seemed like the one who was drinking soda and eating candy bars while Hawk sipped some performance enhancing energy drink. Lance allowed us to look in the mirror, like a 15 year old high school cheerleader wondering why she got cut from the team, and say “Hey. It’s gonna be ok. Maybe I won’t die alone.” He's just a lovable, super creative dude with amazing style, who lets us believe that despite an extra couple pounds, we too can achieve greatness. Not true, but a nice thought anyway.

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From Lance there spawned a few other vert skaters who rocked a husky look. Guys like Dressen, Grosso, Schroeder and Jason Jessee weren’t small dudes. These guys were stocky, and the latter two were pretty tall as well. These beasts were not to be fucked with, but were also super nimble on the board. The magic of being a stocky guy is that you naturally have a powerful look to your skating. When you add finesse to that, you hit another level. With skaters like these holding down vert skating in the late 80s and early 90s, the stocky look lived on.

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Right now you’re probably thinking, “hey man, it’s just vert dudes, they’re usually fat anyway.” Well, if you’re actually thinking that you can go fuck yourself because that was the dumbest thing I’ve ever written. Let’s talk street, dipshit (yes I just said dipshit, great word, let’s bring it back).

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Obviously in the early 90s street skating was taking off, and who better to pioneer switch skating than a stocky guy? Salman Agah. It’s funny because growing up I was always like, damn, that guy is big and he still rips. Now I look back at him and am like, wow, he was much thinner than me and now I am sad. BUT THAT’S THE THING. Skateboarders have this fucked sense of what is actually an acceptable weight, and while everyone else in the world might call someone thin, a skateboarder would say, “hmm, well, compared to Curren Caples he looks like he's at risk of heart failure or type 2 diabetes.”

Before this time people just didn't expect bigger dudes to be able to skate. It’s like the first time you saw porn. Until that first time, you knew there was something you were supposed to do, but you didn’t quite know what. Then when you saw it explicitly laid out, spread eagle, 69, doggy-style, freestyle, etc, so you knew what you had to do. This is what happened for the husky guys out there. They saw the big boys before them make it happen, and knew that they too could flip their board or pull an invert.

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By the mid to late 90s guys like Shiloh Greathouse, Ben Sanchez, and Lee Smith weren't afraid any more. They showed us that big guys could have big pop. You put on 411, what do you see? Mike Frazier, front bluntin on vert, then going out to grab a burger. It was liberating.

Entering the 2000s you had a whole new generation of husky dudes. But now they were gnarly. No one was holding back. These guys could ollie higher, skate faster, and look better on the board than their feminine bodied counterparts. Rich Adler was one of the first "big-boned" guys I saw absolutely killing it. Here’s a guy who went his whole career far too under-the-radar, but if you know him, you love his skating. Speed and style, I mean, what else is there?

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And lets not forget Ben Gilley. Here's a guy who offers irrefutable proof that the big guy can give hell to a handrail if it ever comes down to it. A brief skim of his portfolio leaves you with this: He 5-0'd El Toro and might also be Matt Schlager's dad. It would make total sense if you think about it. Both dudes throw themselves onto rails, seflessly and for our entertainment, until the inevitable jaw-dropping make. Anyone who has seen his footage in Zero's Strange World knows that Ben pulls off miracles when his trucks lock into a 15+ stair handrail. And not in the ICP way.

Bringing us up to current day, you have a couple of the best skaters on the planet, and they are husky dudes. I think you know who I am talking about. Oh, this is so exciting, this is the point where if I DON’T mention the guys you’re thinking about, you get to comment and prove me wrong. Well guess what sucka, your opinion means nothing.

 

Andrew Allen.

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This dude. This dude. Undoubtedly one of the gnarliest dudes out there today. He’s been battling injury for a short period now, but his Prevent This Tragedy Part? Are you kidding me? The switch ollie *make* (yes I’m calling it a make) is one of the sickest clips ever filmed. Every clip in Beauty and the Beast, and everything else you can find. None of it is bad. Andrew Allen is a hero.

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Bobby Worrest.

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SOTY '14, baby (if there is any hope left). Bobby has pretty much always (but more so recently) had a couple more pounds than most. It means nothing though because he has the best switch tre in the game and relentlessly puts out parts that didn’t have planned timing for the SOTY award. Bobby gives us hope, and further, inspires others to insp… just kidding he inspires us to grab a beer.

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Yeah, don't worry, we are NOT going to end this article without discussing Jabari Pendleton. This guy should be given a fucking crown. There is not a chance in hell this guy weighs less than 220, and he is doing waist high switch crooks, and lines that look like they could keep up with Busenitz and 3rd and Army. A personal thank you, Jabari.

Jabari

Special shoutouts to Ryan Sublette, Big, and also to Stu Graham and Jake Duncombe for keepin' it real internationally.

Oh, Canada

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Canadian skateboarders have it rough. I mean - not only do you have to deal with cold weather and snow for 12 months out of the year, but even if you do break through, get some legitimate sponsors, and maybe even release a cool video part, you are forgotten immediately by the remainder of the skateboard community. We at SMLtalk have decided that there are some brothers from the north that deserve to be put on the forefront for once. You may already be trying to think of some guys we might mention, so let me help. Basically if you have to type "skate" after their name on Google, they're either Canadian, or you.

Here is our best attempt at understanding the nature of the Canadian skater, and why they have been placed behind the curtain of the skate world.

Antoine Asselin

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTorWMErlxg&w=560&h=315]

If I could just speak to the entire skate industry right now, I just wanna let ya'll know that ya'll have sincerely fucked up. Put this dude the fuck on. Ya'll serious with the "Vans Canada" shit? Why don't you just call 'em the "Lesser White Guy Team"? Think about it Vans, you don't even have to pay Antoine that much. If you do the conversion from US to Canadian doll—ohhhhh shit. I just found ya'll out mid-sentence. Our weak bullshit currency is what's stopping Canadian skateboarders from rising in the US industry. Mr. Corporation ain't gonna pay Antoine, worth a dollar in Canada, when boring am from Oklahoma only costs $0.89 here in the States. That's big business, 101. Antoine, if you're listening, it's not your fault, my man. You keep doing you, when we bounce outta this recession you're next up, swear to god.

 

Colin McKay

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Not even guest starring in Tony Hawk's Trick Tips could save Colin from being held prisoner to the fate of a Canadian skateboarder. Here's how the story goes: Little baby Colin starts skating and starts getting good. Real good. He gets so good, that he might even be, one of the best. He starts a cool team called Plan B, maybe even the best team of the time. He even puts out a killer, flawless part in Virtual Reality where he skates to KISS and Steve Miller Band, and his ender is a fucking fakie fs flip no grab on vert...perhaps the hardest trick done on vert, ever. So why then, why is nobody caring too much about him? Oh yeah, because in an Art Garfunkelesque twist of fate every major step of his career has been in the shadows of fucking Danny Way. He was the Scottie Pippen to Michael Jordan, the Solange to Beyonce, the fucking Jane Brady to Marsha Brady. Wow - cannot believe I just referenced the Brady Bunch, but c'mon Marsha was smokin'. Sure people know Colin, and he is still skating great today, but he is surely a victim of the curse of the Canadian skateboarder.

Keegan Sauder

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Keegan Sauder, the guy who was on Stereo, then left to pursue a career in Man Am status. Keegan's breakthrough was in Way Out East (a tour video), where he skated along side Clint Peterson and Benny Fairfax, so his destiny was really laid out for him right there. The team had great skaters with some of the best style, all of the appropriate tricks, a good mix of transition and street, but all three had something unique to bring to the table. So what happened? Why is it that Clint and Benny are prominent figures in the skate community but lil' Keegs got left behind?  You may be saying, yeah, but he went pro for Zero. Ok. Now ask yourself, WHOSE CAREER HAS THAT EVER HELPED. Exactly. Maybe the Chief knew. Maybe it was all a master plan to take down the straight-edge Canadian guy. All I know is that Keegan got fucked and should have been the next McCrank. Now he's 33, has what appears to be a pity pro model on Blood Wizard, and still lists Anti-Social Skateshop as one of his sponsors. It's like Matt Beach's story with less success. I'm fucking crying.

Mike Hastie

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This dude was like the original jock-skater. And I don't mean sports-jersey-ghetto-gown jock skater, I mean like backwards-hat-so-tight-on-my-head-I-want-to-kick-your-ass-for-no-reason jock skater. Mike Hastie was the type of bro that hated gay dudes in high school so much that he couldn't get good grades, he was literally too focused on the fact that gay dudes existed in the world ("It's fuckin' gross!!"). Along with smashing pussy, Mike had a good run of coverage in American magazines when people were fooled into caring about Moses Itoken and RDS. He even scored the opener in Darkstar's Battalion, which is kind of like "The Flavor of Love" of contests, even when you win, you sort of lose more. I assume his downfall just came from lack of oxygen to the brain due to extremely small hats coupled with an extreme bought of depression after losing his first game of beer pong.

The North Two: Port Moody Blues Crew - Might have to do a DVD review on this one, truly a classic with some of the most unforgettably forgettable dudes that have ever stepped on board. This video will leave you saying, "wow, that guy's part was so sick. what was his name? no, not that one but he was sick too. oh, man what was his name? oh well." Honestly you have a better chance at remembering every song in this video before you get all of the names, but the following guys need specific shout outs.

Tony Ferguson

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Tony is one of the original Plan B dudes, and he STILL GETS NO LOVE. Un-fucking-real. I mean, is nobody else confused as to why the kickflip frontside noseslide was never renamed the Ferguson slide? Well guess what boys and girls. We just renamed it. Boom. Still when you google search his name you come up with a fucking mma fighter. What has this world come to.

Sheldon Meleshinski

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Sheldon is super gnarly, has a great style, gives a good mix of tricks and skates to Bigmouth Strikes Again.  What more is there to say about him? Oh yeah - HE HAS ONE FUCKING EYE. If any consideration was put into skateboarding he would be the dude on the SOTY trophy. In fact, SMLtalk is going to have him on our trophy. Or maybe just have a framed picture of him in our office. Or maybe we already do.

Russ Milligan

russ_milligan_ss_flip_nicholas_ED_GREYThere's this crazy rumor that Russ Milligan warms up by switch flipping over innocent children. I personally haven't seen any video, but a friend of a friend saw him on some random street just switch flipping over crosswalks with children passing by. I know, it sounds insane, but it's true. Seriously.

Mike McDermott

2108_original_187ae5ff8eYou know it's bad when you have to search out specific video parts in order to find anything on a skater. McDermott was flow for Habitat (yes you read that correctly) and didn't really move much from there. This guy had one of the best backside 360s I have ever seen, specifically the one in his last line of North Two. If you're not a fan of the front foot off, well then. I just don't know. Mike should have been pro for Habitat, then moved on to Traffic or something. He looks like a nice guy though, and is probably living a nice normal life. I'm happy for him.

Moses Itoken

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A cross between a failed middle school hockey coach and an aspiring white rapper, Moses Itoken existed at some point in the early 2000's. I put him on this list for two reasons: This dude could frontside noseslide literally anything at considerable length and he could 540 on vert. You may notice that Moses is also one of two people in all of skateboarding that rocked a dad goatee, Kanten Russell being the other proud advocate of the rare paternal look. Moses' dad style obviously bolsters his failed middle school hockey coach side, while his clear problem with authority and frequent scuffles with security guards tend to add more to his aspiring white rapper side. I'm not sure what side finally took over, but Moses disappeared some time after RDS's FSU video, probably to pursue coaching aspiring white rappers still in middle school.

Rob "Sluggo" Boyce

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Damn, Sluggo. You've had it tough. You've been running the backflip SINCE DAY ONE, and ain't nobody paid proper respect. A backflip on vert, on any transition for that matter, is easily one of the craziest things you could do on a skateboard. Even if you just flew it out to the deck, it's still gnarly. Sluggo runs them to fakie...excuse me, has been running them to fakie, and you're telling me this dude's not famous? This leads me to believe that Sluggo is Canadian. This also leads me to believe that his nickname, being more of a step-dad's pathetic attempt at "scoring points" with an estranged step-son, has taken away from his marketability in the American skate industry. You want a cool nickname? Try Spiderman (Drehobl), Spawn (Dustin Dollin), even Lil' Fucky (Jamie Tancowny...also Canadian but hiding it well), is actually kinda cool. Well, good luck with everything, Sluggo...Tiger...Ranger...Bud...Sport...Squirt...

Honorable Mention: Chet Thomas

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First off, Chet's name is the Canadian form of Chad. There can only be one acceptable use of the name Chad (especially in skateboarding) and I'm pretty sure you already know who I'm talking about. Secondly, let's say it here: you do the illusion flip. Stop acting like what you do is considered a hardflip. You can call it a Canadian hardflip, but either way you do the illusion flip, so shut up. Thirdly, you've been cast as a Canadian skateboarder despite being from America. I'm not saying that this is any type of punishment or that it's wrong to be Canadian, but that's like crazy disrespectful that we know you're American but we made you Canadian. Like wow, we really did that to you Chet. Fourthly, are you running the music choices in all your videos? Even if you aren't, I blame you. You strike me as someone that listens to shitty music and all your videos have shitty music, ipso facto, you choose the fuckin' music and it sucks.

 

Have a good weekend, everybody.

 

Rojo/Dave

State of Emergency: Pat Duffy's Pockets

There was a time when Pat Duffy was grinding double-kinked rails and skating exclusively to Primus songs, and we love him for that. But now, long after the Primus days, we find ourselves looking at a new Pat Duffy. The change didn't happen overnight, and it is hard to pin-point the exactly when the moment came, but we can assume that it was around the same time he put on grey skinny jeans, looked at himself in the mirror, and decided to go out in public. The interesting thing is that even though the smltalk staff supports the return of the baggier pant, there are already plenty of lovable dudes out there rocking that look, right? So although we are letting that slide, there is still something that is equally, if not more concerning.

Pat, what is in your pockets?

At first I thought that you were just skating with your hands in your pockets, but of course that's not it. So what do you have in there??

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Blackberry and a burner?

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Extra socks and your sponsor me tape?

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Is there a fucking gun in your pocket? That would be kind of sick.

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Maybe it's just an apple or a light snack.

Well, whatever it is Pat, I think it's time that you started showing a little more responsibility and got in line with the empty pocket skate movement. If there is a good excuse, you're always welcome to hit up HQ, smltalkblog@gmail.com.

- Guest Post by Rob Hall

Toolbag 2.0: A Bromantic Comedy

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Close friend of SMLtalk, Leland Taylor, is a great skateboarder, digicam filmer, and has also been voted (unofficially) the Least Likely to Have a Bad Time Skating With, 2014. This edit serves as his ode to summer skate trips, camping, dance parties and send-offs. Also - quite possibly the first non-staged laugh track used in a video. Enjoy.


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[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjxbEdEydb8]

Leland can be found at www.toolbag.tumblr.com, or @bymarcjacobs on the IG

Photos by Rob Collins www.robcollinsphoto.com

Tough Toys For Tough Boys

[embed]http://vimeohttp://vimeo.com/106128433[/embed] It is with a heavy heart today that we say good-bye to a dear friend. Our good pal Tin Tran will be leaving us this week for greener pastures in Southern California. An impeccable filmer with an undying passion for chicken wings, his absence will be sorely missed. Here at SMLTalk we are confident our boy will find what he's looking for in California-world, and we wish him the best of luck in all of his endeavors. Being the generous guy that he is, he did leave us a special parting gift in the form of Tough Toys For Tough Boys. It is a mini-video and it features many of the regular cast of characters you've seen in his previous videos, such as Suede Peach and Put Out Or Get Out. Tin, remind me to send you some stickers and don't forget us when you're famous!

For more of Tin's work be sure to check out his website www.tin-tran.com

And for non-vimeo users the youtube link for TT4TB is here.

SMLtalk 2.0

If you've been following us from the beginning you may have noticed that navigating our little blog was becoming a bit of a burden. Endless scrolling accompanied by tons of words can be frustrating for our ADD riddled generation. Here at Smltalk, we listened to your calls for easier navigation while also aiming to turn our primordial blog into a sleeker, sexier website. Given our new found fame and fortune (shout out to QS) we wanted a look that would match our new status on the internet. We hope you enjoy the new site and by all means give us feedback (but really don't). Despite all these changes we will continue giving you the same content you know and love so you can continue to waste all your time at work. We thank you for your continued support, welcome back to Smltalkdotcom. -Rojo, Evan, and Dave

I WANT TO BELIEVE.

20140710-140459-50699636.jpg The Plan B promo is up. You've already seen it, so I won't bother linking to it. Remember when it was wicked cool to hate on Sheckler? Well I back the shit out of him and you will too once you watch him backside flip endlessly over El Toro.

If you are what you eat, Ryan Sheckler eats legend subs for lunch every day of his life.

-Evan