Is It #Racist to Insinuate a ‘Ray Barbee Vibe’ About Ishod’s New Thrasher Cover? – A Special Report


Mainstream news outlets have been making colossal “all black people look the same” blunders as of late, and it seems that oversensitivity to such mistakes has permeated into the skateboard media. #Racial controversy has made it to the pages of this website before, when those unacquainted with the mechanics of describing a spot as “white” were offended by the Bubble Banks being crowned “the whitest skate spot in New York.”

Upon commending Ishod Wair’s new Thrasher cover yesterday, we extended the compliment by drawing a comparison to likely the coolest skateboarder to ever live and greatest practitioner of the maneuver Ishod is doing. Of course, he is black, thus drawing the ire of those unwilling to spot similarities beyond color. But really, who else are we supposed to bring up when discussing great no complys? Some white dude in brown chinos and slip-ons who dates a girl in a band? That’s actually offensive. That hypothetical dude is white and lame (“It’s a fucking law of nature“), and cannot be utilized in complimenting a stylish black guy.



To illustrate that there are in fact similarities between these practitioners of the no comply beyond skin tone, we went into Frozen in Carbonite mode and constructed a venn diagram. Stop trying to squeeze controversy out of every sentence, guys!

Ishod venn diagram

On a lighter note, this is up there with Nate Jones’ Real to Reel section as one of the best “feel good” video parts ever. Watch it five times.

“I just wish I wore exactly what Ray Barbee wore in the Public Domain video every day. In fact, I should have just dressed like Ray full stop, he looked so sick. Ray should definitely have been on Transworld‘s most influential skaters of all time list, not me.” — Jason Dill

New Photos At Old Spots & Is There Such Thing as a Bad Photo of a Backside 180 Nosegrind?

This photo of Mike York at Pier 7 (circa 2003?) has been the wallpaper on the QS central command iMac for a long time. It is great for two reasons.

The era of The Great American Skate Spot is long gone, and we are entering a world where cities knob skateparks. Taking a photo like this will soon become close to impossible. A modern skate spot’s life span rarely affords it enough time to become so worn-in that a photo could showcase its every wrinkle.

To borrow a line from a great movie: “Politicians, ugly buildings and whores all get respectable if they last long enough.” The same could be said about skate spots. Johnny Layton might not have gotten a Skateboarder cover if he did an equal-sized ollie at a random spot in the Midwest, as opposed to one over a N.B.D. gap at the east coast’s sole remaining iconic plaza. Busenitz might’ve not had the same Transworld treatment if he backside noseblunted some curved ledge in Europe, instead of one that we have seen nearly every other trick go down on since the nineties, assuming that it was un-backside-nosebluntable. And it’d be tough to see a major magazine running a backside 180 nosegrind up a two-stair as a full-page photo if it was on a perfect marble ledge in China, and not on something that had over ten years of skateboard history eroded into its edges. Sure, older spots are convenient because they make it easier to qualify what has or has not been done, thus the larger frames of reference for the Layton and Busenitz photos, but a new photo at an old spot is treated with a certain reverence because it adds another page to the imaginary scrapbook skaters have for these places.

The other reason is based on a theory that there is no such thing as a bad photo of a backside 180 nosegrind. You can run a Google Image Search for the trick and almost all of the results, ranging from obscure European skaters to teenagers uploading raw DSL-R files of their friends to Flickr, will be good photos. Somewhere, there is probably even a great photo of Tyrone Olson doing one.

Until someone posts a bad photo of a backside 180 nosegrind in the comments and discredits this theory, a larger issue looms before us. The PWBC once famously resolved the question of whether white guys or black guys are better at fakie hardflips. We’re making a similar inquiry — Who is better at backside 180 nosegrinds, white guys or black guys? Consult the examples below.

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