At the end of the half-pipe | Simply Ranked

Plus: Giving a care, intro vids, being a demon made of glass and pain and more.

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.

What lies at the end of the half-pipe?

Mood: 🔚

via @gropeforluna on Twitter

By only reading the headline, one gathers that reaching the “end of the half-pipe” is a death of some sort. Because, you’d imagine, once a person finds themselves at that precipice, there is no more room to carve, to fly. The fun is done. But maybe that’s shortsighted. It could also represent an endless air, a nosebone off the ramp’s edge poked out for eternity—an afterlife where the spirit can soar without ever having to kneeslide its way to safety again.

When someone reaches the end of the road (or ramp), it tends to mean there’s no longer a path forward, but what was there before the road? The same thing that now lies at its end. The unknown, a space yet to be explored that simply requires the definition of a first few steps. If that’s the case, the end of something shouldn’t be feared; its potential should be celebrated. Although, for HBO’s Betty, unfortunately, it means they’ve been cancelled after two seasons.

Trojan horse of positive engagement

Rank: 2
Mood: 🐴

Following Luan Oliveira and Dashawn Jordan’s match at Battle At The Berrics - Presented By Cariuma over the weekend—which was contested via FaceTime with Jordan at The Berrics and Oliveira at the Matriz Skate Spot in Porto Alegre, Brazil—a promo bumper ran. For ten lucky patrons of The Berric’s online shop, The Canteen, who happen to purchase a “BATBox” and find a “golden ticket board” inside, they’ll win free trips to the finals of BATB 12 on June 21.

Inside of those BATBoxes are hardgoods, softgoods, and printed on the underside of their lid is the line “It’s cool to give a fuck.” What that message means in this context is unclear. Is it “cool to give a fuck” about BATB? The limping, last vestige of relevancy that The Berrics has left? Perhaps it’s a nod to the oft-promoted environmentally-conscious efforts of presenting sponsor Cariuma? Or maybe it’s about becoming invested in the world around us and organizing to push back against the malignant listlessness of our governments and their indifference to enacting any positive, meaningful change in the lives of the people they govern? This box of swag not just a box of swag but a call to arms. A battle cry urging us to be better, to strive for a world where caring will one day be cool. A place where we no longer engage with vapid online content and campaigns and instead focus our attention on things that truly matter.

And yet you must skate

Rank: 3
Mood: 👹

Despite being a “demon made of glass and pain” confined to the underworld (which appears to be a beautifully rendered cityscape shrouded in perpetual night, full of other glassy demons, monsters, and very skateable spots) in developer Sam Eng’s forthcoming video game Skate Story, you’re still subjected to some of the same woes that afflict us in the overworld, like the rat bastards who demand to see a kickflip as proof of your worth.

Or having to debug your wallie kickflips.

But that relatable struggle is a part of the appeal for Eng, as he’d tell PC Gamer last year, "It feels like discovering fire… Yes, fire is dangerous. But pushing through the fire, hardening yourself from the flames, learning to cultivate that fire. That’s my favorite part of skateboarding."

This idea also appears to be central to the game's plot, as you’re encouraged to “Skate fast to destroy demons and save other tortured souls on your journey from fragile beginner to hardened skater.” And that journey? “The Devil has given you a skateboard with a simple deal: Skate to the Moon and swallow it—and you shall be freed.” An NBD if there ever was one.

Oh, hello

Rank: 4
Mood: 👋

There remains in my heart—that curious, fragile thing—a soft spot. Nothing an MRI would pick up, mind you, but a personal cache of endearment for a good “welcome to the team” intro video. Because even still, after all of these years, the changes to a skateboarding company’s team roster can still get me excited. The thrill of seeing gossip spew forth like a burst pipe when a skater announces they’re moving on to a new chapter. Thanks for everything. A hint of where they might be going captured in a zoomed-in screen grab from an Instagram Story, rumblings of that next destination dropped in a tweet or on a message board—it’s all part of the game. The way that build of anticipation pays off in the form of a “welcome to” clip or part; I’m still a sucker for it.

Even when I’m not terribly familiar with the new riders being debuted, like with Zac Coyne and Sean Evans getting the official call up to the Habitat team webpage, it’s compelling. These moments are a glimpse into where the brand is headed, a bellwether for where they want to be. It’s watching the wheels of the machine move, seeing its parts roll into place.

Found an old weed gummy in a drawer, watched some viral videos, started thinking

Rank: 5
Mood: 💡

From the outside, learning from your mistakes seems easy: just don’t do the thing you did previously. A one-step lesson in growth. But in some cases, like when learning a new trick on a skateboard, every try is a mistake until it’s not. This means it isn’t so much learning how not to make the mistake, but learning how to make the mistake better until it becomes a success. And can an attempt at a new trick even be a mistake if you’ve never done the trick before? If you’ve never known the blue chair’s legs to work, isn’t tipping over ass-backwards just the way it should be? Only when you figure out how to position yourself oh-so-gently at the seat’s edge do you finally feel some semblance of what might be competency—a precarious balance between knowing how to do a thing and understanding nothing at all.

Something to consider:

Good things: Appreciating the world around you in the moments that allow it.

Until next week… Try one new thing, whether that’s a skateboard trick, recipe or email signoff.