Saturday, June 20, 2015
Every year when Go Skateboarding Day rolls around, I get to thinking about other holidays skaters might think up to celebrate their culture. Usually these musings are just an excuse to crack jokes and troll for cheap laughs, but this year I’ve been thinking about something more functional, more sincere. I’ve come up with an annual event that will both pay homage to some neglected elements of skateboarding while opening the minds and trick repertoires of all the skaters who choose to participate. A holiday skating, especially street skating needs.
Friday, June 19, 2015
In the mid 90’s Matt Field and his Real Skateboards teammates like Keith Hufnagel, Mark Gonzales, and Greg Hunt did just as much to bring flow back to skating as any of the Sub Zero or Zoo York crew. Although he may be more renowned for wallrides and one of the best nollie front 180’s ever popped, Field’s east coast roots and soulful style means he’s also deeply connected to the dao of slap. Subjecting Field to the slapchat grind revealed that this smooth operator had a lot to say about slapping curbs. No doubt, he’s one of us.
Thursday, June 18, 2015
Branding And The Birdman: To Advertisers Tony Hawk Is More Celebrity Than Stuntman Now, But What Does That Mean For Skateboarding?
I’ve written quite a bit regarding how essential, yet ultimately ineffectual, the pop culture bites of skateboarding I saw in ads were for me in the days before I stumbled upon my first issue of Thrasher Magazine. In those years, seeing the odd skater flying off a launch ramp or doing an invert in some soft drink commercial would whet my appetite for something I didn’t have while simultaneously giving me no real hint of the true flavor of the culture I yearned for. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that the latest Mini Cooper commercial, featuring The Birdman himself, Tony hawk, got me thinking about the strange looking-glass skateboarding has jumped through in the last 15 years.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
|All photos: Jason Bash|
When Ohio Skater Donny Humes started Smelly Curb Zine in 1987, skating curbs wasn’t a nostalgic trend or a time-filling gimmick, it was the status quo for anyone who didn't have access to a pool or half pipe. (i.e., almost everyone not near a coastline). As decades passed and skating changed, Humes became more than just another guy making a zine about skating. Producing Smelly Curb by hand with X-acto knives and Xerox machines even after the advent of digital publishing, Humes became a sort Keeper Of The Curb, using his zine to help keeping skating rooted to the crete thorough all its ups and downs. Humes efforts as an artist, publisher and skater have earned him the respect of skaters around the world and secured him a place in the prestigious Grand Order Of Curb Crushers. When it comes to slappy authorities, you can’t do much better than Humes. We ran Humes through the Slapchat gauntlet, and here’s what we got. Read and learn.
First Off, what counts as a slappy? Do you have to get your trucks involved? Some folks consider a noseslide on a curb where you don’t lift your tail a “slappy noseslide” or a slapped in blunt slide a “Slappy blunt”?
The first slappy involved grinding your trucks, literally carving or slashing the curb. there are variations now because that’s what skateboarding does, it evolves and expands. Slappies are all about the grind, and feeling the concrete
and trucks rippling under your feet.
Friday, June 5, 2015
This is the second part of series of posts about one of the most important days in my skateboarding life. Read the first part here.
In the 80's anyone who took a journey on a skateboard began it at a crossroads. On one side was a slight detour off the conventional teenage track: a scenic exit that lead, ever so briefly, down the “skater dude” stretch of an otherwise conventional segment of the highway of adolescence.The other direction was the wrong turn; An exit that might put you into the social badlands for years, and out of the orbit of the right clothes, the right music, and the right friends forever.
Regardless of which direction that little piece of plywood was going to take you, the journey really couldn’t begin until you had a skateboard that cost about a hundred bucks and was endorsed by some feverishly marketed pro superstar. Lifer or poseur, to be a skater You had to have the right board, and there were magazines, videos and, for a while, even peer pressure to let you know what the right board was. It’s not very punk rock, its not egalitarian, but it’s true. The mid 1980s boom that helped define skateboarding, was subsidized by trendiness, conspicuous consumption and the acquisitiveness of skateboard manufacturers.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
|The ever popular, Truck-Grab Butt Stall|
When I hit up Kristian Svitak to do a Slapchat, I figured it would be the the journalistic equivalent of a slappy on a red painted roundy. Svitak’s from the midwest, he came up at the end of the 80’s, hell, he was a teammate of John Lucero and Jason Adams for years. I just sort of assumed that this Ohio-reared shredder would have a deep devotion to the sacred slappy.
Never take anything for granted kids, especially in skateboarding. When I called him up on the road with my standard list of questions, I got a minor shock.
“I’ve never really had a slappy phase,” Svitak explained. “I enjoy doing them...but this whole slappy thing, my buddies are always trying to get me to do slappies. ‘Hey let’s go do slappies!’ Yeah, that sounds fun, but, nothing against the slappy, but when I think about the limited time I have to skate, I want to do all sorts of things. I’ve got skateboarding ADD, I only have so many slappies, and then it’s like: ‘Is there a set of stairs around here?’”
Saturday, May 16, 2015
Depending on your point of view, skaters like Ace Pelka are either saving curb skating, or ruining it forever. On one hand, watching this 18 year old shredder rip a curb is a lesson in stoke. On the other, seeing him pop a variation like a slappy to ollie impossible out is enough to make any veteran curb skater question whether a good, solid, frontside slappy is enough anymore.
“I totally don’t mean to turn slappies into a tech thing,” Pelka says, defending himself. “I just like impossibles, they’re my favorite flat ground trick. I was super-pumped to do a slappy and impossible out. I tried it and it worked out.”
Of course, this does nothing to excuse him for the slappy kickflips, or all the other variations he has completely dialed. Pelka is a monster. But if he’s a monster, then he’s a monster of our own creation.