An unprecedented triple pro | Simply Ranked

Plus: Pro AD, gimme that gorp, Silicon Valley secrets, and more.

An unprecedented triple pro | Simply Ranked
The definitive weekly ranking and analysis of all the skateboarding and other online things that I cannot stop consuming and how they make me feel, personally.

Pro AD (Another Day)

Rank: 3
Mood: 💐💐💐

In the current era of the skateboarding industry and the media ecosystem that buttresses it, when an amateur skateboarder is featured in a hyper-focused video project that has their name on the marquee, we’ve become accustomed to that amateur skateboarder subsequently getting showered in booze and handed a stack of champagne-slick boards with their name on it. It’s become so commonplace that it caught some people off guard when Una Farrar did a multi-city premiere for “Don’t Stop” and didn’t get the PRO AF’d.

There was a similar sentiment following the premiere of REAL Skateboard’s “Three Seasons,” featuring AMs Gage Boyle and Patrick Praman, and PRO Tanner Van Vark. Neither Boyle nor Praman received the nod, but each did get a lovely bouquet of flowers.

For these three, not getting the bump up is by no means an indictment on their abilities or their recent video parts. In fact, this was likely the strongest showing from the trio to date. So what gives? Have brands become too quick to pull the PRO trigger, and now we expect it whenever video projects like this come down the pike? Is this a sign of the pendulum slowly swinging back to the days of the forever-AM? Maybe and probably not.

What this does mean, however, is that Farrar, Boyle, and Praman got high-profile showcases—in-person premieres and all—which is not something that all AMs get. And they all showed out1, meaning anticipation should be high for their next video parts, and demand will likely increase for those well-deserved but currently-elusive pro boards.

As I finish this segment, I realize the closing sentiment is essentially "keep grindin’," which is sort of bleak, but I guess also literal in this line of work.

Gimme the gorp

Rank: 1
Mood: 📏

It’s been a while since we’ve had a new trend. Real big pants, crop tops, and grinds and slides to manual feel like they’ve peaked (a heartbreaker to me, a fervent crop-topper). As of right now, earnestness and skating weird spots are still popular, which is nice but not new. It would be great if the next dominant trend in skateboarding weren’t another rehash of what we’ve already done several times over, as I fear we’re dangerously close to skinny jeans and big-gap-hucking making a return.

What we need is something fresh and unprecedented. Considering that everyone is so good now, maybe body mods that make skating harder? A voluntary shortening of the hamstrings to keep everyone’s pop in check? Perhaps too Cronenbergian. How about scratch-and-sniff shoes? Each flicked foot that scrapes across your griptape releases a dynamic olfactory experience. Those Nike SB Chicken and Waffles Dunks might be a little more appealing if you also get a whiff of them. Or maybe taking spot manipulation—like Nyjah Huston’s concrete kicker and Tyshawn Jones’ Bondo smear over the 145th Street subway station’s rumble strips—to an extreme next level.

Picture someone lowering the Hollywood High 16 handrail to ankle height with a Sawzall and welding torch, using dynamite to blow a channel gap into Mt. Baldy’s full pipe, or putting a motion sensor on a bump-to-bar that recognizes whether or not you’ll clear it and adjusts the crossbar’s height appropriately. That would be straight gorped.

An unprecedented triple pro

Rank: 3.33
Mood: 🪆

Writer and ace bowler Zach Harris would point out on Twitter that Bumbu, the rum brand that has a sponsorship deal with Lil Wayne, released a signature pro model skateboard to celebrate Weezy getting a celebratory pro model skateboard on Thank You Skateboards. This is not something I think has ever been done before, and as Harris notes, it “is just like the movie Inception.”

But the Inceptionizing goes even deeper than that. It turns out that Lil Wayne not only has a pro-model skateboard on Thank You and one from Bumbu celebrating it, but he also has a pro-model rum with Bumbu, which he appears to be holding in the Bumbu pro-model skateboard graphic that celebrates Thank You’s Lil Wayne pro-model skateboard.

This is a bizarre and somewhat confusing interpretation and reinterpretation of what we’ve generally understood being “pro” to be. But, to be fair, what does it even mean to be “pro” anyway? Technically, anyone can turn themselves pro if they slap their name on board. And “pro skater” is often a title that outlives actually having a skateboard with your name on it available for purchase. I don’t think any of that is necessarily good or bad; it just feels like the concept is no longer as concrete as I once thought it to be, almost as if someone snuck into my mind and tweaked my memory of it.

Hammer that “heat” button

Rank: NO
Mood: 🔥💀🔥

As this article from Forbes touches on, it’s not unusual for social media companies to amplify certain content.

“Google, Meta, and TikTok itself, for example, have partnered with public health and elections groups to distribute accurate information about COVID-19 and help users find their polling place, making clear disclosures about how and why they chose to promote these messages.”

But transparency as to why that content is being boosted is what makes the use of tools like TikTok’s “heating” button understandable and less problematic to the public. If its purpose is hidden and then, like in TikTok’s case, later revealed to be taken advantage of by individual employees looking to inflate their own view counts or by marketing teams when courting a business or influencer to misrepresent how much impact their content could have on their platform as opposed to others, user trust is going to be impacted. And you might get (even more) government regulators sniffing around your door.

All of that to say, Meta needs to come clean about Burberry Erry. Some twisted fuck has to have been hammering on their version of the “heat” button to help him blow up on Instagram in the way he has. Subterfuge is the only possible explanation I can think of.

Creative ad spend

Rank: 2?
Mood: 👟👟

It would be fair to call the projection of an Ultimate Fighting Championship title belt onto the Christ The Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, morally depraved. It’s also pretty funny. And clearly, a great marketing opportunity for the thoroughly unscrupulous.

On Twitter, I suggested projecting a pair of Tiago’s onto Big J. But that’s an easy one. There are countless landmarks and cultural touchstones with valuable ad space just sitting there, untouched and not making anyone any money. And with most of the skateboarding industry’s advertising spending funnelled into digital and limited print ads, this would be a new and exciting territory for brands to explore.

What about a custom-tailored pair of Big Boys slipped onto the Charging Bull sculpture in Manhattan? Or replacing the tablet in the Statue of Liberty’s left hand with a Limosine deck? Imagine a Frog beanie pulled down over the eyes of Michelangelo’s David for their next spring/summer lookbook—the possibilities are endless.

Something to consider: In The San Francisco Standard, David Sjostedt reports on the continued stigma of fentanyl overdose deaths in the skateboarding community, including the long silence around the passing of Thrasher editor-in-chief Jake Phelps.

Good thing: Ayahiro Uratsuka in Tightbooth’s "LENZ III."

Top-tier marketing thing:

A where’s your PPE thing:

Until next week… if you wind up casting a YouTube video from your computer to your television, ask yourself (or your local representative) why Google’s algorithm keeps suggesting Mr. Bean compilations afterwards. Is Big Tech in bed with Big Bean? This has been happening to friends and loved ones for years now and needs to be stopped.

  1. Also, how good is Simon Jensen in the new Krooked vid?! Jesus Christ.