Cardiel skates to Rock Lobster | Simply Ranked

Plus: Dearest Deer Man of Dark Woods, brands become us, there is still good in the world, 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.

Goodness abounds

Rank: 1
Mood: 😊

An important perspective can sometimes get lost in the deluge of—for lack of a better term—content that’s fed to us day after day: there’s a lot of awesome skateboarding happening right now. Just this week, Marbie Miller put out a kickass part full of wonderfully creative moves; Tom Knox returned to bless us with his gasp-inducing footwork; Kristin Ebeling had an awesome pro debut offering; I watched Carlos Ribeiro, Luan Oliveira and JP Souza showcase a level on top-tier technical skateboarding that’s truly hard to comprehend; and Andrew Allen guided us through a twenty-minute history of his tumultuous relationship with LA High.

That’s just from the last five days. Mark Suciu will have dropped a new part by the time you’re reading this. We’re spoiled to such a degree that my greatest issue is being unable to retain everything I watch—over saturation a legitimate concern in its own right. But in a season marked by days where all I want to do is close the blinds on a wet and weary world and watch someone from anywhere ride their skateboard, it’s appreciated.

Just a man and his will to survive

Rank: 2
Mood: 🥊🥊

The scene opens and a 1993 model Jamie Thomas runs up several flights of stairs to Survivor’s Eye of The Tiger. After twenty-three seconds he arrives at the top and pumps his board in the air in celebration as the thumping guitar riff picks up steam. This Rocky homage an omen and a testament.

While the corny intro is likely a gag, knowing the man Thomas would become and become notorious for—a driven taskmaster who pushed himself and his teamriders to their limits in pursuit of an ever rising ceiling of what was possible on a skateboard—him approaching skating with the mindset of a prizefighter does not seem terribly unrealistic.

Just last week, for his birthday, Thomas ventured down to The Berrics to commemorate his forty-seven revolutions with forty-seven tricks. It appeared to be a struggle. For hours he took his lumps and got back up until he finally reached the last maneuver, the wiley vet that he is. Twenty eight years after running up those stairs Thomas continues to push himself, even if it’s just for a web clip. Are the Rocky sequels as good as the original? They don’t have to be. We keep watching because we’re invested in the character.

Sentient brands also susceptible to brainworms

Rank: Top ten worst of all time
Mood: 🤢

For years now, we’ve been living in a world where brands large and small have wandered our online ecosystems with shallow yet functioning personalities. We regularly observe Arby’s and Burger King engage in skirmishes on Twitter over whose fries are best. Twitter will “dunk” on its competitors with help from the golden arches. These attempts to humanize brands by having them mimic our online parlance are a clear signal that we’ve let marketing strategies penetrate too far into our lives. It’s especially upsetting when a trolling brand tweet successfully elicits a chuckle.

That’s not bad. It speaks to an audience of skateboarders knowledgeable enough to get what “mongo” is, while eschewing punctuation to give the air of a casual throwaway tweet sent with the sole purpose of entertaining their online pals. But if the brands want to become us to sell to us, they will inevitably take on our same fallible, gullible and toxic qualities.

Dearest Deer Man of Dark Woods

Rank: 4
Mood: 🗡️

Deer Mans from the Baghead Crew video Funeral.

Deer Man of Dark Woods recently announced that he’s stepping away from his longtime sponsors. While a surprise, if you’re familiar with the Barrier Kult’s ethos, this does track. A few years back, while I was working on the documentary series Post Radical, Deer Man explained to us that “…[the Barrier Kult is] anti-notoriety. We believe that skateboarding should be less about individual personalities and the worship of anybody—or any pro.”

Egolessness being the central tenant of BA.KU’s belief system, if you can’t adhere to that, it seems actions need to be taken. Is that what prompted his decision to go sponsorless? Had we loved Deer Man of Dark Woods a little too much? Given him a level of adoration that had become too difficult to ignore? I type from my apartment at a desk that sits under a DMODW wallboard. It could be.

Whatever the case, I hope he’s able to appreciate and be proud of the weird little corner of skateboarding he and BA.KU have cultivated over the years. And if those feelings of pride ever become too much, he can always pay penance at the altar—just be sure to film it, please.

Cardiel skates to Rock Lobster

Rank: 5
Mood: 🗿🦞

Last week, on the eve before Vans premiered their latest offering Nice To See You, Dustin Dollin released his own, VANS PROMO UNSURE WHAT YEAR. He describes it as a failed rallying cry to get Vans Corp., as well as the team, excited about the prospect of putting out what would’ve been their first full-length video.

so a lot of years ago i was trying to hype vans on making a video so i edited in a couple days ENJOY vans,van wastell, andrew allen,ethan fowler,ave had just got on and i was super syked but when i made it i only had access to a few tricks skateboarding and so on

By doing a rough visual carbon dating and identifying where some of the tricks contained within the promo ended up (Johnny Layton in Toy Machine’s Good & Evil, Van Wastell and Andrew Allen in that one really good Krooked-themed 411), most of the footage was likely filmed around 2000-2004. The video closes with scrolling block letters pleading “WE NEED MORE FOOTY!”

Dollin’s ambitions wouldn’t be realized until 2015 when Vans’ Propeller was released. Is this delay because his promo was ineffective? Did having John Cardiel skate to Rock Lobster forestall a full-length by a decade? Or was it just the arbitrary, uncaring machinations of business? It was probably Rock Lobster.

‘Nother forgettable trend

Rank: Ugh
Mood: 🖼️

Nifty’s claims to make “eco-friendly NFTs from your favorite brands and creators.” A statement awash in unearned confidence. How’re they eco-friendly? Their website doesn’t say. Who’re these favourite brands and creators of ours? Well, Damien Hirst and the Warner Bro.’s property Space Jam of course.

All of this appears to be a bizarre, electricity guzzling grift. One that’s even roped in a selection of the skateboarding community, including Kevin “Spanky” Long, Alex Olson, and Nora Vasconcellos. Will NFTs ever mercifully go the way of POGS and Crazy Bones? One can only hope.

Also, does this mean Mark Cuban is their team manager?

Something to consider: “Internal and external stakeholders” may one day decide your fate, too. RIP The Believer.

Good things: Barney Page skated 900 miles in 24 days and raised £17K for The Ben Raemers Foundation.

Until next week… get something from the grocery store you’ve never tried before.