Enjoying the vegetables of their labour | Simply Ranked

Plus: Ronnie Sandoval doesn't have to quit skating, VAG capped, Hiroki Muraoka's dish 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.

Simply Capped: The VAG

Rank: awe shit
Mood: 😞

Ah, the irony of the handrail used as a skate-stopper.

On the south side of the Vancouver Art Gallery sits its iconic 5-up, 5-down, a skate spot that has been in use in some form for decades. But alas, the VAG has had enough.

Eric Koston in Mouse, obvs.

Years ago, I used to work deep in the VAG’s basement, hidden away in the graphics department. One summer, I noticed on Instagram that Ed Templeton was in town, I believe with the Emerica team. Alight by my eternal Templeton devotion, I sent him a DM, inviting them to come to visit the gallery, claiming that I could get them all in for free (I couldn’t). Ed responded, kindly turning down my offer at free entry, saying they’d prefer to support the gallery instead.

Once they’d arrived, I made my way up to the exhibition he and Deanna were visiting and struggled to initiate conversation. “Just, yeah, wanted to say hi!” I mumbled nervously. Ed seemed uncomfortable. Deanna was very kind, likely noticing the quickly assembling rivulets of sweat on my brow. “How’s Vancouver been treatin’ you?” I managed to get out. They’d just seen a pod of orcas off the coast or something like that; I was having a hard time focusing. Templeton was a lot taller than expected.

Anyhow, it’s now a lot harder to kickflip there than it was back in those halcyon days.

Breana Geering via her Instagram.

The omission of Tom Knox

Rank: 1b
Mood: 👺

via Saint Tom Knox

One of the best parts of belonging to any fandom, from sports to reality television, is the speculation. Watching the thing happen is nice, of course. The thrill or agony of seeing your team win or lose, the satisfaction or disgust felt upon following a narrative arc across a season to its completion. But those things aren’t decided by you; you simply follow along.

The world of possibility and probability; that’s yours. It’s why “SOTY season,” or the build-up to Thrasher magazine announcing their Skater of The Year award, can be so enjoyable. We get to endlessly debate a skater’s claim to the title. Sort through the solids and intangibles, look back at past winners to try and deconstruct the rubric used to declare the year’s best—will four video parts do it [editor’s note: yes]? What about two video parts and an Olympic gold medal? Did a skater do enough handrails, bomb enough hills or even touch transition? Are they a kook? Would Phelper approve?

In the end, it’s all meaningless. A group of people in High Speed Production’s office will make the call, our opinions but gnats on the elephant’s eyes. That’s what makes it fun. In the lead up to and after the call is made, we get to inhabit so many states and emotions; surety, elation, righteous indignation.

There’s not often a clear answer of who SOTY is, subjectivity being what it is, but there is one thing this year that seemed apparent but still slipped past: why the hell didn’t Tom Knox at least make the long list? What the fuck, everybody? Are you goddamn kidding us here?

Enjoying the vegetables of their labour

Rank: 1a
Mood: 🍆 🥦 🥬 🥒 🌶 🌽 🥕

SOTY season. Wow. What a ride. It’s almost over now. Heck, it might even be finished by the time you’re reading this [editor’s note: it is]. The winner likely announced via a video on Thrasher’s Instagram. Look into your phone to see a group of notable pro skateboarders tiptoeing with beers and trophy in hand on their way to surprise Suciu—err, the winner. Because they think they’re just meeting at the spot to film. Maybe get a photo for a Jessup ad or something.

That’s when the winner hears the screams of friends, the explosion of uncorked and shaken champagne. A sticky, celebratory rain falls, and you see a weariness in the winner’s eyes turn to relief. In their mind, they knew this had to be it. No one shoots ads for Jessup.

And here we all are, looking into our palms at history, in a year so full of great skateboarding that it was almost too much for our little hands to carry. Overwhelmed at times, we dropped some things, forgot about others, but we kept moving and made it home, now with so much to snack on and so little time before it starts all over again.

Ronnie Sandoval doesn’t have to quit skateboarding

Rank: 2
Mood: 🤘😈🤘

“If I didn’t do this roll-in, I would’ve quit skating.” Ronnie Sandoval realized as he worked through the mounting fear and anxiety leading up to the attempt of his last trick in Vans’ most recent video, Nice To See You. This ultimatum he’d given himself was inspired by an old quote from Thrasher’s late editor Jake Phelps.

If it gets too scary for you, you were never meant to skate in the first place.

While Sandoval may have stretched the meaning of Phelps’ words, they did seem to have an effect on him. What a funny thing motivation is. You can find it in almost anything. A clear sunny day, the love and support of your peers or even the idea that the very reasonable fear of jumping off a roof into freeway traffic should preclude you from continuing your career.

Perhaps a contentious statement, but it’s okay to be scared of skateboarding. One could even say it’s integral. That fear gives you a boundary to recognize and something to overcome. If it wasn’t there, would the more daring of us, like Sandoval, feel anything at all?

We’ll think about it, Hiroki

Rank: 3
Mood: 🥣

“I want someone else to skate this.” Hiroki Muraoka says of his Tokyo dish spot that looks nearly impossible to skate. In VHS Mag’s excellent “Spot Porn” video, Muraoka takes us through his history with the dish and all of the tricks he’s been able to conjure there over the years. It’s a surprisingly deep catalogue for an obstacle that does not look welcoming in the slightest. Even the Google Maps street view is intimidating.

So while the invitation is appreciated, don’t be surprised if no one takes you up on the offer. Really, you should probably just consider this one yours.

Something else to consider: A long read about the art world, grifts and trying to make sense of a feeling. Rothko at the Inauguration, by Richard Warnica for Hazlitt.

Good things: Spotted a new bird friend on my balcony (left), the Dark-eyed Junco. They had a big appetite and were very jumpy.

Pretty sure that’s them.

Until next week… write your lover’s name into a snowbank, steamy bus window or loose pile of soil.