November 3, 2015: Future Hendrix drops “Helluva Night,” a somber unreleased tune chronicling late evening escapades of standing in the middle of orgies, putting smiles on the faces of women with loose morals, and being #influenced by Tootsie’s Cabaret in Dade County, Florida. MERE HOURS LATER, the skateboard media news cycle drops TWO night-themed video clips. Hell of a night, indeed.
If you had the slightest bit of a thought that Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn isn’t the gatekeeper of all forms of art and culture in 2015, you can lay that doubt to rest.
Skating at night was once a necessity, not an aesthetic. We waitedtil night to evade security, avoid the crowds, and bask in the shadows away from surveillance cameras. As the dominant mode of skateboarding in New York and other metropolises has shifted away from well-lit business districts into dimmer outer-borough crust, skating after the sun set has become a lost art. You can count the amount of night clips in your average Johnny Wilson video on your hands with a couple of fingers missing.
That doesn’t dull the fact that night footage, particularly in cities, looks cool as shit. Except that after asking your team to wallride off cobblestones in the Bronx for an entire afternoon, making them shy their sights away from the nearest bar with at least three girls in it ends up being a tall order. A “NIGHT CLIP” becomes an event, not a byproduct of zoning that placed the best marble in an area best visited after the people with real jobs had left.
Truth be told, nobody did the line with a towel-in-hand as good as S.A.D. twenty years ago. Connor Champion already elevated the bottle-in-hand line by having said bottle switch hands depending on which stance he was skating. The canon of tricks in the rain is too deep to bother breaking into. (Actually no, Matt Schlager is the only entry there — sorry Duffy.) Andre Page looked cooler than you ever will skating in the snow. Even with 95% of modern skateboarders suppressing regrets that they never applied to fashion school — how fresh or #weird of an outfit could you possibly have to leave an imprint in the jaded viewer’s mind c. 2015?
As we descend deeper towards PornHub levels of skateboard content, the spice rack of how to liven an everyday trick is getting slimmer. There aren’t many shortcuts to our memory bank because we’ve seen everything.
According to the EPA, the average American produces 4.4 pounds of garbage a day, which tallies to 1,600 pounds of garbage a year. That trash ends up in a landfill and is sadly not used for #creative purposes. We have skated over garbage for as long as the ollie has been around, and even on garbage for as long as conceptual web videos have existed. But what about with garbage? We’re constantly being called “garbage” by the women in our lives, so why not begin to embrace it?
In 2015, the easiest way to pierce into the short-term-memory-loss-laden brain of your average guy who watches skating on the internet is to skate with some trash stuck under your board. There are plenty of lloonngg back lips to go around, but it has been years since we’ve remembered one that didn’t have a piece of newspaper wedged under the wheels. And what other explanation is there for the fact that after 68 minutes of Love Park lines in Sabotage 4, two of the most memorable ones incorporated litter?
Once upon a time in the early 2000s, the noseslide nollie heel was the most touched cornerstone of technical skateboarding. Not sure why it was the noseslide nollie heel, but every Digital, Logic, E.S.T. et al. had a noseslide nollie heelflipper. Every packed session at an east ledge spot had a noseslide nollie heelflipper. He may not have been able to back tail, but he could noseslide nollie heel. He was the tech guy in the crew.
At that moment in time — at least out east — P.J. Ladd’s windowsill line with the half cab noseslide 270 heel was the coolest thing ever done on a skateboard. Maybe if you got good at noseslide nollie heels, you could learn to half cab into it, and then you were only 270 degrees away from being P.J?
Eventually, the Accels disappeared, as did the overlong jeans with hems that fit under their heels. The noseslide nollie heel went out too. It remains commonplace in New England, and in every kid at L.E.S. who warms up with a crooked grind nollie flip out — but tech has been out of fashion these past several years. Play a style-conscious 18-year-old in S.K.A.T.E and he’ll get you on an impossible and back 3 immediately, yet somehow lose the advantage on a switch and nollie heel. The average kid will take a serviceable ollie, kickflip, back 3 and maybe the ability to tailslide a high ledge than ever bother with a noseslide nollie heel and its pretzel-spin cousins. Less is more.
Eurotech™ (in it’s truest definition) is not prominent outside of the Helas team and Spain. You don’t see a ton of traditional tech footage coming from Republique (Paris’ successor to Bercy, noted EuroTech™ ledge skating landmark.) Instead, you see slappy tricks, sick fits, and maybe the occasional bluntslide. Even #ontrend Europeans have lost interest in tech, unless it’s ramping up Josh Freidberg’s slappy front nose pretzel spin to new heights.
Please Charge, the Cons Europe video, is a survey of Europeans who have been successful at repackaging American skateboarding from the nineties, and selling it back to us with a more prestigious foreign label. Not many of them care about combining two tricks unless there’s a wall involved, except apparently a 5050 and a backside 360.
Spring is here, the ladies r looking sexy and the footage is more fashionable than ever. Our Fashion Desk observes some of S/S 15’s most notable developments.
Sending a Photo of the Polo Hat Rack at Macy’s to Your Company’s Headwear Designer as a Reference Image
What’s going on in the embroidery industry? Is there any explanation for why the average embroidery size on a hat in 2015 cannot exceed 3/4ths of an inch in height? How much of a testament is it to the Lifshitz legacy that nearly fifty years later, skateboard companies are clawing over each other to outdo Ralph’s masterful simplicity? Why is Jadakiss as hard as it gets? Why is @dropolo themostunderrated? Why you gotta do me like that?
The Courthouse is a bust, it takes months of research to discover a Black Hubba N.B.D., and all the tricks on the Bronx bank-to-ledge are starting to look the same — how do you grasp the attention of the jaded skateboard-viewing public in 2015? How about risk a potential bath in what Jerry Seinfeld once described as “the most heavily trafficked, overly contaminated waterway on the eastern seaboard?”
Ever since its ascent to premier spot status, the main gripe about Chinese Seaport has been its resemblance to a skatepark. It’s not enough for a perfect ledge spot to exist in lower Manhattan, MFA-weilding skateboarders are still weary as to whether or not the spot is #legit. “I can’t film here man, I might as well put L.E.S. Park clips in my part. Let’s go up to 20th and C and skate some rocks.”
While staring into the deep abyss that is Brooklyn, someone found a hack to make Chinese Seaport #legit. You don’t skate the ledges at all (gross, that’s for skatepark kids!) You skate the railing, off the ledge, risking a fifteen-foot plummet into the brown bog water that separates Manhattan and Kings county.
Some research revealed that the East River is not nearly as polluted as it once was, rendering it perhaps a few notches below Valdez on the skateboard trick #legitimacy scale: “The East River has an unattractive, greenish tint, and a few floating Doritos bags, sure. But on most days, the levels of bacteria meet federal safety guidelines, according to state and local officials. Even when the bacteria levels in the water are high, it’s unlikely that swimmers will get sick. If they do get sick, the severity will probably be more along the lines of eating bad Chinese food.” …and everyone knows swimming exercises every bone in the body.
If things go wrong, there’s a chance you might, like, disappear, but that’s apparently not much of a risk when paired against the prospect of an A.B.D-free Manhattan skate spot ;)