QS Book Club: Head of the Lion, by Claudio Majorana

All product photos courtesy of The Palomino

To an outsider, Sicily feels like a skateboard fairy tale. It is where Mauro Caruso filmed a part in a ghost city once intended to be an eminent destination for art lovers. It is where Jacopo Carozzi et al. found an abandoned post-WWII era seaside resort that seemingly shares ancestral DNA with a skatepark. Almost every spot in Danny Brady’s “Welcome to Palace” part that isn’t British crust is in Sicily. A seasoned Euro T.M. once told me that it’s the best spots/cost/wow-factor combo for a not-obvious skate trip in all of Europe. The Dime guys echoed that sentiment, saying Sicily was maybe the best trip they had ever been on — oh, and, a volcano erupted while they were there.

Except what do any of us know about Sicily’s skate scene? Outside of that Mauro Caruso coverage, practically nothing. The aforementioned T.M. said that you need to pay a guide to drive you around to spots and handle things, because otherwise, you’re pretty much helpless.

Claudio Majorana is an Italian doctor, photographer and skateboarder. Head of the Lion chronicles six years (2011-2017) that he spent photographing a group of young locals in the suburbs of Catania, Sicily. (Catania is Italy’s 10th largest city.) It is the exact opposite of his first skate book, 2015’s The Recent History of Sicilian Skate Tours, which is about just that: foreigners skating Sicily.

The title refers to a cliff from where the crew would jump into the ocean, a rite of passage that signified they were no longer kids. Between a prologue and epilogue of blown-out video grabs, are photos of play-fighting, teenage make-outs, and religious ephemera — staples of any photo book about youth.

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Five Favorite Parts With Paul Rodriguez

Circa 2010 photo via the first-ever QS party ♥

If you cite the era surrounding Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater as when you first started skating (we all know nobody started skating in 2000 because they miraculously saw Photosynthesis in their dreams, stop pretending), P-Rod was likely one of your first favorite skaters. He was one of the main dudes in his mid-teens ripping as hard as established pros then, so it’s funny to see that a lot of what he looked for in his favorites back then was …people in roughly the same age group as him, ripping as hard as established pros.

Some of these turned anecdotal, which is obvs what you’d expect from someone who spent the majority of his life in the skate industry e.g. apparently he talked about the Baker thing in his Nine Club, which I missed, but had no idea that was ever in the cards.

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Halo Effect — The Oral History of the First Hundred Dollar Skate Shoe

Collages by Requiem For A Screen

There’s no shortage of talk about a deck’s notorious resistance to inflation. But what about shoes? While something like a Lebron in 2019 is substantially more expensive than a Jordan in 1999, skate shoes have hovered around the same average $70-80 price tag for the better part of two decades, even as skateboarding itself has grown and adapted to new trends, technologies, and customers. Meanwhile, every fashion house in Europe has been raking in the money these past few years, pushing puffy sneakers reminiscent of old skate shoes.

We tracked down the principal figures behind the first three-figure skate shoe, released in 1997, and got their story on what was as much of an anomaly as it was a watershed moment for skateboarding as a cultural phenomenon, and style of footwear design. (Keep in mind that, adjusted for inflation, $100 in 1997 is the equivalent of $156 in 2019.)

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What was the skate shoe landscape like at the start of the nineties?

Don Brown, Chief Brand Strategist at Sole Tech: Airwalk, Vans and Simple were the only other shoe brands. They had become so mainstream and rigid — and there was a dip in the economy, so they scrambled to get sales wherever they could. Pierre [Andre Senizegues, founder of Sole Technology] was doing the distribution for Etnies at the time, bringing it over from France. When skateboarding crashed, vert and freestyle were pretty much eliminated. There was a whole generation of upstarts, like Rocco and them, and everyone in skateboarding rode for Etnies at some point.

Chad Muska: There were a hundred riders on Etnies, or something crazy like that. Even that High Five video had so many people in it. The shoe industry then was like, “Oh, this company is going to give you free shoes. Maybe there’s a chance you get paid.” It was so secondary to boards. There were early pro shoes, like the Half Cab, the Natas, and the SLB, but I think the real start of the skateboard shoe industry being serious was when they began making videos.

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The 2018 Quartersnacks Year in Review: 5-1

It’s a wrap. Thanks everyone. See you in 2019 ♥

Previously: 25-16, 15-6

Past Editions: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010

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The 2018 Quartersnacks Year in Review: 15-6

Sorry 4 da wait. Let’s keep her going. Final part will be up New Year’s Eve.

Previously: 25-16

Past Editions: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010

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