Approx. 70 ft² of Big Boys | Simply Ranked

Plus: Isle and Axion, what're you doing? Children dominate Street League, and more.

Approx. 70 ft² of Big Boys | 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.

Lost at seed

Rank: -1
Mood: 🥀

Isle skateboards, a beloved brand once home to some of the UK’s premier skateboarding talent, has taken some lumps in recent years. What started as a standout new venture from Nick Jensen and Paul Shier in 2013—who coordinated a mass exodus of team riders from a rudderless Blueprint skateboards to their fledgling company—would, at least in terms of video output, peak in 2015 with their first and only full-length video Vase, by filmmaker Jacob Harris.

Following Vase, most of the Isle team would be introduced to a broader audience through Harris’ ongoing web series Atlantic Drift, which would eventually find a regular home on Thrasher. As a result, skaters like Tom Knox, Casper Brooker, Mike Arnold, Chris Jones, and Sylvain Tognelli were soon not just recognizable names in the wider skate world but fan favourites.

Then in 2020-2021, Isle would get hit with the 1-2 punch of a global pandemic, the supply chain issues that came with it, and an exodus of team riders of their own. Harris would attempt to get Atlantic Drift skateboards off the ground, bringing most of the Isle team with him. The project would ultimately falter before launching. Suddenly without a team besides founders Jensen and Shier, Isle has appeared somewhat adrift ever since. And now, in a not-so-promising sign, they’re collaborating on an NFT.

The imagery in this video ➡️ has been created using an #AI machine learning model developed by Damien Roach to produce unique artworks based on 17th and 18th century Dutch flower paintings. Each SEED NFT features its own unique, digitally-composed soundtrack, carefully made to mimic the freeform melodic chaos of an orchestra tuning up. The works showcase the artificial intelligence’s rendition of the iconic painting style: dreamy, eerie, and familiar all at once.

Dipping your toe into a collapsing NFT market doesn’t seem like a sound strategy fiscally or image-wise. However, it’s difficult not to want the best for Jensen and Shier, two legends in their own right and, from all accounts, great people who created a brand with a unique aesthetic that was once home to a top-tier team. So hopefully, as they say, it’s always darkest before the dawn.

… getting a little Axion

Rank: -100
Mood: 💸💸💸

In other brand news, the eternal night would seem to be on the horizon for Axion Footwear. Since their relaunch in 2020, they’ve dropped new shoes and apparel, built a team, and even brought Kareem Campbell back as the face of the company. If you were to believe Steve Harden (AKA @axion_steve), Axion’s “Global Brand President,” things are going swimmingly. On his LinkedIn, he says that after a successful launch, the company was “nearing $10M valuation, [has] grown social footprint 50X's since launch, driving 4-10X ROAS with minimal investment.” Not bad?

Of course, LinkedIn is a place designed to funnel smoke straight up your own ass, as Harden also says that “Axion has become the darling of the skate community and the future is hot for Axion,” which is a bold claim, to say the least. Especially since things do not seem to be going “hot” at all. After a public rift with the company back in August, Campbell and the rest of the riders were all erased from Axion’s Instagram and website team page.

Watson of You Will Soon has been intrepidly following these developments, noticing that former Axion rider Micky Papa is now wearing Footprint shoes and how the Axion Instagram account has recently taken a strange, decidedly off-brand turn.

The above doesn’t seem like the sound, coherent digital marketing strategy of a company whose goal, according to Harden, is to “[Seek] HNW or PE funding to secure our growth to exceed $100M by '25.” Could the Instagram posts and comments be a troll job by a disgruntled social media intern? Or has Harden lost his grip as the company appears to flounder—if he ever had one at all?

Viva Street League Las Vegas recap

Rank: 1-ish
Mood: 🥇 🥈 🥉

Held in Las Vegas at the UFC Apex—a relatively small private facility that hosts closed or limited-seating events for the Ultimate Fighting Championship—this past weekend’s Street League course was clearly restricted for space. Shrunken, awkward obstacles funnelled skaters directly into the edges of others. Pamela Rosa’s somewhat reckless, high-speed approach saw her routinely splat against whatever ledge or rail sat across from the thing she had just flown down.

It’s difficult to say whether the course limited the types of tricks the skaters could consistently wrangle or if it was a points-related strategy, but watching Kelvin Hoefler, Braden Hoban, and Tommy Fynn each do kickflip crooked grinds on the across-and-down centrepiece hubba in succession during the Men’s finals best trick section makes one wonder.


But, overall, it was a fine event. In a refreshing turn, the absence of Yuto Horigome and Nyjah Huston seemed to clear a path for skaters who usually sit outside of the podium positions, with Gustavo Ribeiro, Chris Joslin, and Hoban nabbing first, second, and third in the Men’s section.

But the highlight of the weekend was 12-year-old Australian Chloe Covell and, specifically, this switch flip. Seriously, lookit that goddamn flick.

Covell would eventually take second behind 14-year-old Rayssa Leal, who has now won all three Women’s Street League events this year and looks to be the favourite heading into the Super Crown event in Rio De Janeiro in November. It’s not often you see preteen and early-teen athletes competing and dominating at the highest levels of any sport. The combined age of Covell and Leal (26) is still younger than half of the competitors in the Men’s finals (Tommy Fynn [34], Micky Papa [32], Felipe Gustavo [31], Kelvin Hoefler [29]. So, if we want to continue this Friday Post-wide trend of bludgeoning the reader with cliches: it seems the kids are alright.

Approx. 70 ft² of Big Boys

Rank: 1
Mood: 👖👖👖👖👖👖👖👖👖👖👖👖👖👖

How much denim does it take to completely cover the body of a Pontiac Sunbird? Can it be measured in units of Cee Blues or Big Boys? Gilbert Crockett knows the answer. I would also like to know the answer. So please, Gilbert, let us know1. (Fantastic video part, btw.)

Proverbial cucumber

Rank: 2
Mood: 😎

It takes a particular constitution, one made from granite-tough confidence with any cracks sealed with a foolhardy polymer, to watch a disaster unfold, for calamity to beeline in your direction, and accept it unblinkingly. To catch a baseball bat as it flies into the dugout after a swing gone awry like Luis Guillorme, or to step gracefully, foot over foot, down a kinked handrail to safety after a skateboard decides not to follow its rider, as the Jamie Foy’s and Pedro Delfino’s of the world are wont to do. It’s not sustainable and certainly not advisable to court catastrophe like this, but when successful, it is a sight to behold.

Something to consider:

Good thing: Jenkem’s “Interview With The Kid Who Films Skating On His Laptop.

Another good thing: The Future Feels Like LIV Golf” by David Roth in Defector.

This thing is really good, too:Unlocking Memories and Uncovering Mysteries Because These Guys Crushed It” from Al’s Skate House.

Wait, another good thing?: Waxing The Curb on the Dime Glory Challenge for Village Psychic.

Okay, one last good thing:

Until next week… there is a small, precise moment when dawn begins to worm itself into day, where if you stand outside to feel the cool morning breeze and listen to the world creak and rise, you can speak any desire into being if you time it just right.

  1. I reached out to Crockett via Instagram DM to see how much denim was required to cover the car but didn’t hear back by the time of publication.