Where there’s fire, there’s smoke — and where there’s water, there are skate spots. Skateboarding crawled out of the Pacific Ocean on a day with no waves, and its progression has largely been the work of those residing in coastal cities. From Third & Army to Southbank, waterfront property has provided an idyllic atmosphere necessary to clear the head and innovate. In fact, many New York ledge skating skills have been honed along the Seaport, a tradition that continues northward to this very summer, with the new Upper East Side ledges / manny pads becoming an IG hot spot.
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On one of the days that we were in Vancouver earlier this month, we met up at that famous brick bank spot seen in countless Canadian videos. (It is one of the few recognizable downtown Van spots that is not knobbed.) Each straggler running from the fear of the night before would show up to the spot, and share the same observation:
“Wow, Leon’s trick was fucking crazy.”
At the top of the bank is a small fountain that separates it from a wall made out of a bagillion tiny rocks. In Vans’ Courtesy video from February, Leon Chapdelaine wallrid it in justifiable slow motion.
Eventually, one of latest arrivals to the sesh had to burst our bubble: “Riley Boland already did that years ago.” It was even on a Color magazine cover. He indy-grabbed while doing it, but yeah, that wall has been rid.
Nobody changed their opinion. Leon’s trick was fucking crazy.
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Sometime during those drunk final ten days of 2018 when no e-mails went answered, an associate mentioned the difficulty of isolating “trends” as we approach the final year of the decade. In this era of post-everything where the past exists at the same time as the future, what even qualifies as a #trend? Gone are the simple days of noticing a sudden spike in camo-panted legs at Tompkins, or bleached heads doing no complies and being able to declare: “trend!” No, in recent years, the #trendwatch has leaned towards psychological states of being, and on occasion, fully fallen short of fruition. Even something as under-a-microscope as “BLESSED” is a more refined version of what the same cast had already been molding since 2014.
And then, the associate says [name redacted for fear of “YOU’RE WHAT’S WRONG WITH SKATEBOARDING!” retribution], “What if the 2019 Trend™ is simply skating in really expensive shit?”
This goes beyond Dill or Dylan being inspired by Prada shoes, or Pappalardo waiting for a flight with his Louis luggage. Obviously skateboarders have been documented with nice shit before, but now, you open Instagram and see Lucien Clarke and P-Rod posting photos of them in Louis Vuitton outerwear within an hour of one another. Further out in the Instagram universe, in a galaxy most-closely observed by those who list their favorite skaters by handles rather than government names, there is a burgeoning sect of volunteer teamriders for Gucci, Versace, and Burberry. At a cultural crossroad where Playboi Carti is one of Jay-Z’s biggest influences, there seem to be two choices across all spectrums: reenact a skate version of the intro from John Shanahan’s It’s Time part, or take advice from the other Jonah Hill sports movie, which is, of course, “adapt or die.”
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