Red is the Coldest Color: The Plight of the Redheaded Skateboarder

November 21st, 2014 | 5:00 am | Features & Interviews | 28 Comments

red is the coldest

Hair has been having quite a moment in skateboarding. Mid-line hair flips are now acceptable skate video etiquette, and even encouraged in some circles. Skaters show up to their barbers with magazine cut-outs of their favorite handsome pros. Some people have entirely supplanted the act of skateboarding with doing their hair. And when spring hits, at least one-third of your friends are getting their heads bleached.

Yup, we’re just comfortable being open about how our hair looks…but aren’t we avoiding the elephant in the room? Skateboarding remains a blonde and brown-haired activity. Redheads are shunned by our superficial skateboard society.

A 2010 viral video revealed that “gingers have souls.” It turns out that they have tricks, too. However, the closed-minded skateboard industry treats even the most talented redheads with with a degree of disinterest otherwise reserved for flow riders wearing Flex-Fits and skating handrails in former Soviet Bloc countries without adequate mail systems. It is time that we acknowledge how redheaded skateboarders are unforgivably underrated. The ignorance must end.

All Hail Jean-Baptiste

November 18th, 2014 | 11:24 am | Time Capsule | 3 Comments

jb french fred

Photo by French Fred via Live

Something that wasn’t shined on enough in yesterday’s post was that the Kingpin “Greatest Plazas” list also included a new “Best Of Hotel De Ville” edit from J.B. Gillet. Anyone who grew up burning holes through the Rodney v.s. Daewon videos has probably spent the past fifteen years dreaming of skating that endless two-level ledge plaza with a hip in the middle. Research reveals that it is far too run down today to resemble what it did in the nineties (more on that later), but it still has to rank as one of the coolest-looking spots ever to grow famous through skate videos.

J.B. was the original cool French skater before Lucas Puig became a fashion-foward adult. Always thought of him as a French Kalis — great hip-hop white guy style, chill switch mongo push, amazing flip tricks, all the right ledge tricks, and an ability to be associated with one particular plaza throughout the duration of his career (yeah, Kalis might be associated with two at this point.)

Any remnant of associating a sizable portion of one guy’s footage with a single spot is in Europe. Even then, a lot of the “A-list” guys just seem like they travel around a lot e.g. there’s no real “Lucas spot” to the extent that there is a “J.B. spot.” For us Americans, the “single spot part” in 2014 is a rarity and pretty much impossible unless you’re Bobby Worrest turning in the year’s best. (Sorta interesting to know if Europeans who have never visited the States / don’t routinely get chased by cops for skating a ledge *got* how wild the “Hometown Turf Killer” part was.)

“I spent about, uh, 15 million hours here.”

The above was from 2011. French Fred, via Live in 2013: “So, HDV, as the young generation calls it now, is a sad state… To a point where it just gets worst every over week. For the locals that are used to it, it’s usable, but for people visiting Lyon, it’s a great disillusion. They freak out, and find it just unskatable. From the beginning, you had those lateral grooves that are part of the design, and that already was never easy to adapt to, but add hundreds of cracks all over, and it’s a mine field! Then again, Mark Suciu came, observed, then skated, and according to Flo Mirtain, did the craziest line ever done there, so everything is still possible! For the latest Go Skateboarding Day, Jérémie Daclin put some metal angles on the ledges that were in Beirut mode, totally unusable, and that gave a little boost to the spot.”

Mark Suciu seems like a horrible barometer by which to judge the average person’s ability to skate the spot. It’s probably best to scratch skating H.D.V. off the bucket list. The Lyon scene still seems like it’s going well though, no matter how dilapidated the “dream spot” may have gotten.

Previously: The Quietly Incredible Year For Euro Skaters Over 30

Wishy Washy

November 17th, 2014 | 1:24 pm | Daily News | 5 Comments

yaje-jd

Smoking is lame, but this photo is cool. Via Jersey Dave. Dave is also selling photo tees over on his website, so give him some money if you’re feeling generous today.

If you need some skate spot pornography to cheer you up on this rainy day, Kingpin ran a listicle of the “Top 25″ skate plazas in the world. FWIW, Bercy is gone and Republiqué (see 1:33) took its place, and Para-lel is unfortunately on its way out soon. The #stalinplaza tag on IG is also a great way to kill a half-hour fantasizing.

Also, how could you forget about Eggs? The northeast’s last great ledge spot / plaza north of the Beltway.

Shorty’s Guilty is sorta the Caligula of skate videos.

This seems like an occasionally horrific endeavor: Two dudes snuck into an abandoned psych ward out in New York state…so they could skate inside it.

Here’s an an A.V.E. Gardner line and an A.V.E. interview.

It’s really cool to see Jerry Fowler still at it. His 411 Profile and tricks in the Rhythm industry section rank as some of the most frequent 411 revisitations, and even Strobeck admitted that he was the catalyst behind the backside nosegrind pop out’s development, which Pappalardo and Wenning later popularized among New Jerseyians in baggy jeans and DC Lynxes. Simply seeing the dude do a noseslide is sick. You can catch other parts from Orchard’s Stone Soup video here.

A wood pallet up to the never-functional water fountain at T.F. may be the most desperate Tompkins obstacle of 2014, but then, we are reminded of this.

Jerome Campbell likely locked up “360 Flip of the Year” honors earlier this fall, but Al Davis might’ve just snagged the switch title.

Slam City Skates has a cool feature about his five favorite photographs, which acts as a springboard for some stories behind the scenes of the past few Static videos.

Not a whole lot of subtlety going on in the Chocolate Epicly Later’d finale.

Five years later, still #relevant in this fashion game. Available for consulting, etc.

FYI: Mentioned this on Twitter, but all of you privy to riding the occasional “loose” Citi bike you may stumble upon — be careful. Got stopped for “running a red light,” only to have the cops run a serial number check to verify that it wasn’t stolen. Was completely random, and not in a sketchy zone at all. Be careful.

QS Sports Desk Play of the Week: J.R. Smith’s face after Trey Burke hit that game winner is priceless, especially since he hit the most J.R. Smith-esque game winner of the season, not by J.R. Smith, who hasn’t hit any game winners.

Quote of the Week: “I dead-ass saw him slap some dude dumb bigger than him.” — Andre Page

Friendly reminder that the best trick ever done down the Flushing six-stair manual pad wasn’t even a manual trick. New Jersey’s finest, 1999ish:

QS1 Behind the Boards: Chapman Skateboards

November 14th, 2014 | 4:40 am | Features & Interviews | 17 Comments

chapman-wall

Chapman has been producing skateboards for over two decades. This makes them the longest-standing northeastern skateboard company, in addition to one of the few remaining places where you can produce a deck that comes with a “Made in the U.S.A.” emblem. Their Deer Park, NY headquarters doubles as something of an east coast skateboard museum. Everything from the first Zoo decks, Supreme artist series boards that resell for thousands of dollars, to one-offs that were never mass-produced line their walls. If someone started a skate company on the east coast these past twenty years, they probably dealt with Chapman.

We asked Gregg Chapman, one of the company’s founders, to take us on a tour through the building, and share the stories behind a select few of his favorite boards.

Five Favorite Parts With Jim Greco

November 12th, 2014 | 8:19 am | Features & Interviews | 3 Comments

greco ollie

Photo by Seu Trinh

Watching Jim Greco go from what he was in Baker 2G to the darkslides and oddball trick selection in the Deathwish video has been really fun. The dude is one of the most interesting pros going today because he never fails to switch it up with each new part, in a completely unexpected way. You can tell he studies old videos for inspiration, and creates his own approach to tricks most stopped doing years ago. We figured he might be a good candidate for our favorites series. The commentary is quick, but he’s the first to choose a non-Video Days Gonz part, which is rad ;)

Keep up with what Greco has going on and grab some gear over at HammersUSA.com.