Great balloon of expectation | Simply Ranked

Plus: "Timothy James, it's Friday," truck sounds, chaos reigns 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.

Great balloon of expectation

Rank: 1
Mood: 🎈

It’s not always wise to anticipate with glee. That balloon of expectation is quick to turn into a puss-filled blister, its pop of surprise and excitement becoming a slow, painful excretion of misplaced hope. In the months that led up to the release of THE SOUR SOLUTION III, we had all placed ourselves in that dangerous position, one of yearning and hazardous confidence. This video will fucking rule, we all knew. There was reason to be so cocksure; every Sour Solution video to date has been an event. Another tally on the chalkboard for the believers that skateboarding’s best and most interesting happenings were no longer tied to its industry strongholds in California.

And once again, we were right. THE SOUR SOLUTION III does fucking rule. Despite a glaring deficit of Oscar Candon footage, it delivers. Ramping up in intensity and absurdity as the minutes pass. From Josef Scott Jatta sliding 25 metres and across a speed bump on his shoulder after a severe bout of speed wobbles, Gustav and Simon extending their powers to incredible new heights, to whatever Albert Nyberg decided the new constraints of our reality might be—that great balloon of expectation popped and swelled and popped again in pure raucous, well-edited joy.

Albert Nyberg, popping.

Timothy James, it’s Friday

Rank: 1
Mood: 🙏🗓

For professional skateboarders who can maintain long careers, it’s always interesting to go back and trace the subtle (and sometimes drastic) shifts in their styles across years and video parts. With TJ Rogers, each subsequent offering has shown a steady refinement of his tricks and overall aesthetic. Last week’s T.J.I.F was the most recent evolution of form. The skateboarder who once switch frontside 180’d El Toro still throws himself from vertigo-inducing heights, but the spots he chooses now are less worn by the wheels of others. Rogers still maintains that remarkable technical ability, but it’s exercised more sparingly, never reaching too far into the spinning and flipping excesses of youth. A development first honed in last year’s underrated Welcome to éS, TJ, a video part shot and edited by Christopher Thiessen.

This successful evolution has happened while Rogers stayed loyal to most of the same companies that have supported him for close to a decade. Ones that don’t fit our contemporary definitions of “cool.” The Blind reaper still shimmers on the bottom of his board, but the brand’s ghastly triple XL splatter-font tees have been left behind for a simple tank-top and chain. The once ever-present Red Bull logo affixed to his hat now makes an occasional, less visually distracting trip to his thigh as a patch on his pants. And now, a once-again revived éS Footwear has put out two of his best video parts to date. Rogers has made this smattering of logos work, despite our preconceptions about how it shouldn’t and how much a thing like that matters.

Good for him. It’s not hard to root for Rogers, a seemingly solid person who does nothing but produce equally solid skateboarding for his fans and onlookers. And it’s been heartening to see the skateboarding community get behind him even further as he deals with much more important things than our half-baked opinions on fits and tricks.

Plan B, Sprig 2022

Rank: N/A
Mood: 🤡

Selling your muddled, imagined grievances to kids for a 64.95 USD price tag is simply gross in the face of a historically tragic loss of life. Thankfully, the amount of time Plan B spends thinking about spellcheck is the same amount of time that most people spend thinking about Plan B.

A rip-roaring idea

Rank: 1.5
Mood: 🛻💨

As readers of this newsletter may know, I’m a big proponent of a good product gimmick. So imagine with me, if you will, a Device affixed to your skateboard, perhaps placed in the underside of your truck axles. This Device detects when you’re grinding through some sort of Advanced Sensor System that I’ve yet to invent but will when I have some time. Once the ASS picks up the crooked grind you’re putting down, it activates its Grind Library; a repository of 50-75 different recordings of skateboard trucks doing real big grinds. That Real World Grind Cue then prompts the Device to select one of the Grind Tracks at random, blaring it at 7-10x that of your Real World Grind Volume. And perhaps for paying subscribers to the Device, you can upload your own Custom Tracks. Picture a sad trumpet or the din of a busy restaurant playing when you Suski. That’d be fun, I think.

Chaos reigns

Rank: 1.25
Mood: 🌻🛷🦩🪚🫂🫀

Axel Berggren in The Sour Solution III

In what is fair to attribute to a change in skateboarding’s once rigid standards of acceptability these last number of years—of what tricks and quality of their execution can pass muster—we’ve since been witness to a now flourishing corner of skateboarding. One defined by chaotic and hard to parse maneuvers that leave the viewer equally agape, agog and perhaps even aghast—AAA tricks, we might call them.

Whether it’s Axel Berggren’s Kris Markovich-esque silhouette cutting through European streets with a speed and vulnerability that keeps one’s body clenched and waiting for disaster; or Teddy Seeley’s indiscriminate ramming of his skateboard into objects and obstacles of all sorts, compelling it to flip in ways that are only possible thanks to a precise and tender force; this brand of AAA skating appears here to stay, and we’re better for it.

Teddy Seeley in Grimple Stix’s Go Fly a Kite

Something to consider: If skateboarding videos have taught us anything, it’s that a tight edit with audio cues that sync up to visuals can make almost any song work.

Good things: “…the love functions as a kind of obvious and unspeakable gratitude.” Kyle Beachy on determination, Tony Hawk and Until The Wheels Fall Off for Southwest Review.

Until next week… depending on where you live, it might now be shorts weather. If so, let your legs have their season premiere.