Creative expression is costing you money | Simply Ranked

Plus: Schrödinger’s trick, hard truths, the quest for a good collab, and more.

Creative expression is costing you money | 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.

Fight and flight

Rank: 1
Mood: 🙈

Towards the end of last week’s Thrasher Vacation tour video, Mariah Duran back 50-50s an exceptionally large German hubba. After riding away, swept up in the arms of her tourmates in celebration, adrenaline coursing through her person, she says, “I fucking blacked out.” This, we have to assume, is in reference to the phenomenon of being at the beginning of an obstacle and suddenly finding yourself at its end, rolling off towards the horizon in victory.

I’d posit that this is a relatively common occurrence. I’ve experienced it myself. After an extended period of time trying a trick, or while attempting something particularly frightening, you involuntarily choose both fight and flight—your body remains in the thick of it while your consciousness pops out for a second to not distract what the meat of you is trying to accomplish. A defence mechanism used to the benefit of offence.

The only downside to this is that you don’t remember doing the maneuver itself. This empty space in your memory bookended by fear and elation. A sort of Schrödinger’s trick whose existence is only proven by footage or friends bearing witness. But you know what, if that’s the bargain I have to accept to finally learn switch tres, I’ll take it.

monkey_terd learns a hard truth

Rank: not good
Mood: 💸

It’s not often that we get insight into the financials of professional skateboarders. We’re usually left to ballpark it. Even Mikey Taylor, a former pro, current TikTok financial advisor and city council candidate, doesn’t have a good read on what the average pro skater makes, guessing somewhere in the $60,000 per year range.

In a recent TikTok video, while answering a question asked by user @monkey_terd, Aaron “Jaws” Homoki revealed that he brings in a paltry $800 a month from his sponsors, which include Birdhouse, Independent, Bronson, Bones, FP Footwear, and FP Insoles. If that’s an accurate figure, that gives Homoki a yearly income from skateboarding of $9,600, well below the federal poverty line for a single-person household of $13,590 in the United States. While it would seem that Homoki is on the downside of an athletic career that, at its peak, saw him throw his person from once-unimaginable heights, it’s undoubtedly tough to see someone who sacrificed so much of himself for our entertainment not be taken care of by the companies who’ve potentially made much more from sponsoring him.

Professional skateboarding has always been a ruthless career to navigate. It requires an exit plan for those who aren’t the scant few making big bucks at the top. Still, it’s startling to think of how fast the level of skating has advanced over the last few years and how the compensation for those increasingly difficult and dangerous tricks appears to have not only stagnated but declined.

Creative expression is costing you money

Rank: -10
Mood: 🧑‍🎨

Isn’t this nice? A little creative flair to the everyday skatestopper. Lookit that cute lil frog on a lilypad. It doesn’t know what its true purpose is, floating along unawares as it curtails the potential fun of skateboarders around San Francisco.

If you were feeling ill or insincere, you could give the manufacturer credit for offering a selection of these good-time-inhibiting products that aren’t simply brutalist right angles and clips—those easily removable and wholly unattractive. Now, the granddaddy, the source, the oozing pustule of these godforsaken things, Skatestoppers, offers a wide selection of “Architectural” options. From multi-piece series of maple, white oak, chestnut, and gum tree leaves, to trolleys and starfish; your options to beautify and protect your property from the indiscriminate mayhem and destruction caused by the scourge of roving, delinquent skateboarders have never been more robust.


On their website, Skatestoppers makes their pitch to the persecuted and disillusioned property owner.

Each year millions of skateboarders, roller bladers, and bikers take to the streets in search of the best places to skate and ride. Even with the rapid groth [sic] of skate park facilities nationally, your property has become a practice ground for disruptive and destructive activity.    

What is deemed by skaters and bikers as "creative expression" is costing you money.

I’d never considered my creative expression “creative expression” before. Some food for thought. That naturally begs the question, would these awful hostile architectural mods be considered more creative expression or, you know, “creative expression?”

This one speaks to me.

If one must collab

Rank: 1+1
Mood: 🫂

In skateboarding, the brand collab can often be a tedious thing. 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. These collabs often feel slapdash, hollow, and like transparent, yet probably ineffective, cash grabs. How many boxes of Emerica x Psockadelic gear are collecting dust in some back corner of the Sole Tech warehouse?

It’s gotten to the point that it’s surprising when brands put a little extra effort into promoting their cross-promotions. Take the latest Primitive and Independent Trucks collaboration, for example. Primitive, a company known for some of the most egregious brand partnerships in the industry, has to their credit, put out a quality edit featuring their team riders that share a roster with Indy. Sure, the trucks themselves are garish, but at least that’s consistent with Primitive’s M.O.

Free Skateboard Mag’s recent collaboration with Vans is one of the best rollouts in recent memory. Product-wise, it features a pair of shoe models devoid of clumsy logo pairings, instead incorporating Free’s red dot branding in simple, subtle ways that aren’t visually offensive. Along with the shoes, Vans and Free released “Full Circle,” a fantastic and nearly ten-minute video featuring Vans Europe riders in Switzerland.

On top of all that, according to Vans’ website, “To celebrate the collaboration, Vans and Free Skate Mag donated €30,000 to City Mill Skate for their Skate Dots, located on Pool Street in East London.”

So, if brands must, there are ways to execute an appealing collab. It might take a bit more time and resources, but it's worth considering if you want to do it right and not come off as disrespectful to the taste and intellect of your consumer base.

Stirring, inspiring, electrifying

Rank: 1!
Mood: 🍅

At any moment, no matter who I’m with or what the situation is, I can and will deliver a rousing monologue about our need as not just individuals but as a community, a society, to do more than muster the courage for a flashing instant, but instead build it into our foundation, to make sure that strength of spirit runs through our very bones, serves as the marrow of every effort, that those efforts continue, bring light to, and help grow a movement until it towers, blooms, and the fruit of our fight hangs plump and red on the vine as we get Joe Pera Talks With You back on television.

Something to consider: Leo rides Dragon wheels.

Good thing:

Another good thing: McCrank gets Chromeball’d

Until next week… was that a crisp autumnal breeze you just felt? Perhaps. This can be a confusing transitional moment for places that experience four seasons. So bring a sweater with you next time you go out, but one that you can comfortably tie around your waste if the sun decides to show itself.