Beware of the time trap | Simply Ranked

Plus: SOTY-POTY, Hollywood High relevant again(?), if one must collab, pt. 2, and more.

Beware of the time trap | 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.

REPORT: Hollywood High relevant again?

Rank: 12-16
Mood: 📶

I wasn’t sure it was possible. In fact, I was all but certain it couldn’t be done. It seemed that all of the import, impact, and attention a skateboarder could garner from doing a trick at Hollywood High had been strip-mined and rendered moot over the decades of enders and NBDs extracted there. This ever-presence and over-saturation of the spot as a destination for skateboarders to “make their marks” eventually turned in on itself. Hollywood High began to appear stale and sterile, no matter what was done down it. Dominick Walker kickflip frontside nosegrinded the 16 stair rail a few weeks back and it barely made a ripple across skateboarding’s collective consciousness.

But something interesting has been happening amongst that monotony, and I now find myself in a surprising and once-familiar place: caring about Hollywood High. What sparked this change could be viewed as a competition of sorts. It started with Roos Zwetsloot 50-50ing the 16 for the contents spread of Thrasher.

This looked like a clear next-level, setting-of-the-bar trick for the new generation of women skaters who have been finding success in the industry and progressing skill-wise at an incredible rate these last few years. And it seemed that the bar Zwetsloot set was incredibly high. However, just a few months later, Rayssa Leal would backlip the 16 rail and turn pro for April Skateboards in succession.

This exchange felt like the street skating days of old when it was uncertain what tricks could realistically be done on a skateboard. Each attempted NBD was a hand probing in the dark to see if the inky black above was a ceiling or the night sky. This perceived competition was part of the intrigue that sold skateboarding magazines and videos. Who was going to do what next? How far and how technical could someone get on increasingly bigger obstacles? That’s what made Hollywood High a landmark. Its 12 stair was a testing ground; its 16 was a place of anointment. Dallas Rockvam’s career was never the same (for better and worse) after he backtailed the 16 for a blurry cover of Transworld. That was the power of the spot. It was a place one could make history and change the trajectory of their life.

That’s what we’re seeing with this new legion of skaters like Zwetsloot and Leal now; they’re motivated to take those consequential leaps—making history in competition with themselves and each other. Funny what happens when sponsors and media commit to supporting women in skateboarding, huh? When the opportunity is there, people will take it. And most recently, that looks like Funa Nakayama frontside crooked grinding the Hollywood High 16-stair rail first try and landing on the cover of Thrasher.

It’s beyond exciting to witness these skaters push themselves, to watch as they jump further into the unknown, seeing just how high they can go.


Rank: 1
Mood: 📅

The good folks at 4PLY Magazine have predicted that Thrasher’s Skater of The Year will be announced just under a month from now, on December 7th. Readers of this newsletter will know that a few weeks back, Simple Magic predicted that SOTY would be crowned on December 9th. 4PLY responded in the comments of that week’s newsletter with their December 7th theory, and in the spirit of healthy competition and The Price Is Right; I changed my prediction to December 8th. So may the closest online skateboarding media venture be crowned SOTY-POTY (Skater of The Year’s Predictor of The Year).

Beware of the time trap

Rank: 1
Mood: ⏱ ⏲ ⏰ 🕰 ⌛️ ⏳

As time moves forward in its slippery, devious way, it often likes to take digs at those of us who’re slow to follow its serpentining dash into the future. For instance, did you know that Jonathan Lipnicki is 32 and practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu? Or that the McRib has been around for over four decades? How could it be possible that we’ve been subjected to that annual sandwichy gimmick for nearly a half-century or that the kid from Stuart Little has abs? These tricks of the mind can disorientate and make us feel out of step with our current reality.

And time is constantly creating new traps for us to fall into and marvel at, like Reese Nelson, Birdhouse’s latest team rider. At ten years old, she just put out her first full video part for the storied board brand, and frankly, it is nuts. From kickflip backside nosegrinding in the deep end of massive concrete bowls to flipping across the channel at Tony Hawk’s private vert ramp, Nelson’s skill exceeds far beyond her few years. If one is not careful, watching the part can make one feel old and inadequate with a quickness. But thankfully, unlike the McRib or Lipnicki’s recent acting roles, Nelson’s skateboarding is a pleasure to take in.

So while the uncanny ability of these new generations of skateboarders is a stark reminder for the aged of our steady march back into the earth, we should appreciate them as a reason to keep our heads above the dirt.

If one must collab, pt. 2

Rank: 1
Mood: 🤝

From my perspective as a consumer, the brand collab has become an increasingly difficult thing to pull off. A few months back, I wrote that my waning interest in them was due to a lack of effort. “Brand A slaps brand B’s logo on its product, puts out a few social media posts, and that’s the end of it. Our previous loyalties and the supposed synergy between these companies are expected to be enough to convince us to fork over a bit more money than we usually would for a product now burdened with double the branding.” For the most part, I think companies are starting to feel that, too.

Palace, the champion and most frequent offender of the brand collab, has since used the unreal success and status they’ve gained from them to create partnerships that revel in their absurdity. A Palace x Gucci motorbike? A $14,000 pair of leather pants? It’s asinine, but that’s what makes it so remarkable. And if you want people to pay attention, slam dancing on the precipice of reason and good taste is a time-tested strategy, especially at this scale.

WKND Skateboards would take a similar approach in promoting their latest collab, releasing what might be one of their best skits to date in Alan Gelfand High. And, in perhaps their boldest move yet, it brings everyone from Kirchart to Ishod, Nora, and P-Rod together, all in service of WKND’s collaboration with Them, a rollerblade company.

While skateboarding culture has certainly matured enough over the years where the tired “skater vs. blader” dynamic feels like a relic of a willfully ignorant youth, this collab is surprising. But in the best of ways. And if the feat of putting this video together wasn’t already commendable, on Wednesday, WKND dropped another, this one a fun seven-minute skateboard and rollerblade edit with a fantastic The Naked Gun homage that does an excellent job of encapsulating the absurdity of this team-up.

Now, has WKND convinced me to spend $400 on a pair of rollerblades? No. But I certainly appreciate the effort. And from a cursory google, so has the rollerblading community, whose YouTubers have been gushing about the collaboration. So if you’re not going to move units, at least build bridges.

Mikey Taylor, City Council Member…?

Rank: Ugh
Mood: 🤢 🤮

Former City Star and current City Council candidate, Mikey Taylor, looks close to claiming one of three open council seats that were up for grabs in local elections in Thousand Oaks, Californian, this week. Over the course of his campaign, Taylor was endorsed by the Ventura County Firefighters Association, made multiple TikTok/Instagram videos featuring himself distracted driving on the highway while on his phone, did his best to avoid mentioning any party affiliation even though his marketing materials were paid for by the Ventura County Republican Party (as seen above), and googled “fascism” on camera after being called out online about his close, concerning connection to far-right Christian nationalist pastor Rob McCoy, I guess in an effort to let everyone know that he can’t be fascist because he doesn’t know what it means?

All that aside, it’s still jarring to see Taylor assume this role of “not a career politician.” He continues to suggest that his business experience gives him the creativity and authority to solve complex social issues, up to and including homelessness, which should be noted, affects him personally as his brother is currently houseless. Taylor has mentioned this throughout the campaign. In a video posted to his official city council candidate Instagram account, and for whatever reason soundtracked by The xx, he spoke against the city’s housing-first approach to homelessness, saying that it’s a model that doesn’t work (it does, but apparently isn’t performing as expected in Thousand Oaks) and that the city should move to a treatment-first approach where “housing needs to be earned. We don’t just give housing to somebody who says they’re homeless.”

Despite that already being an ineffective strategy which he presents rather callously, he then brings things back to his business bona fides. “When we’re working with young entrepreneurs, something we tell them is the Einstein quote. We tell them insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result. That’s how you put a company out of business.” Of course, in perhaps the most accurate and depressing encapsulation of Taylor’s efforts and persona as a politician, Einstein never said that.

Something to consider: You might be someone’s “ick.”

Good thing:

A beautiful thing: Slag.

Until next week… Twitter is on the verge of destruction, Meta’s stock value is down 70%, and Crypto appears to (finally) be breathing its last furtive breaths. Amidst all this online uncertainty, remember to take solace in the one investment you can return to at any time and find value in—an afternoon nap on the couch.