His innards stayed in ‘em | Simply Ranked

Plus: Andy Anderson's "wet stop," an unrequited brand collab, permission to rejoice, and more.

His innards stayed in ‘em | 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.

Yes… ha ha ha… yes!

Rank: 1
Mood: 👀

This is one of those things that I didn’t know was possible until it presented itself. Born of our vast and arbitrary universe like the Big Bang or god pulling a fast one on Adam and yanking out one of his ribs to make Eve — it’s a flash of creation that is as much a surprise as it is immediately and wholly necessary. Andy Anderson doing a “wet stop” against Torey Pudwill in a game of S.K.A.T.E.? It’s beautiful. I need it. The potential of watching Pudwill, one of the most technical skateboarders to exist in the brief history of skateboarding, being compelled to attempt what looks to be a rather difficult freestyle trick at Battle At The Berrics is cruel, unusual, and utterly fascinating.

For his part, Pudwill seems excited to play Anderson and understands that if the Canadian is allowed to get going, he’ll be hard to beat. And Anderson knows the risk of employing a strategy of trying weird, hard-ass tricks, saying in the Berrics’ “Death Blow” video above, “The real [thing] I’m worried about is like, you go for something ridiculous and bail, and then you lose the whole game.” It’s an understandable fear. That’s essentially what happened to him in his Mano A Mano match against Chris Gregson. But if anything, that approach makes me want to watch him and Pudwill face off even more.

What a journey it’s been for Andy Anderson. In the span of a few short years, he’s carved out a nice little space for himself in the skateboarding industry and become a legitimate fixture, finding himself invited to events like BATB and even competing in the Olympics. It’s a truly unique career, one I was able to watch evolve from a relatively close distance.

Anderson was one of the first people I met when I moved to Vancouver nearly fourteen years ago. One of my earliest memories of him is skating together in the backyard mini-ramp of a fellow named Hippie Mike. A young Andy — who couldn’t have been older than fourteen or fifteen — had just learned his now patented front-foot-impossible and was doing them over and over again in the flat bottom of the ramp. It was a strange, impressive sight, which I think has remained an accurate way to describe how he’s mastered the skateboard and moved through the industry at large. This was no accident, to be sure. The level of success he’s attained has been earned through a lifetime of hard work and dedication.

But, unfortunately, none of that will help if he can’t land a backside 360 kickflip come Saturday.

Brand collab: telling a story

Rank: 3
Mood: 📚

Regular readers of Simple Magic are familiar with my whinging about the skateboarding industry’s lust for brand collaborations. More often than not, they feel like a low-effort promotional stunt. Two brands arrange their logos on a single product in hopes that the pooling of their audience bases will help the logo-leaden product sell and prop up each other’s Q-Rating in the process. This is maybe an overly cynical view, but it’s a tactic that is so readily employed that it no longer feels special and those products rarely receive more than a few social media posts as a push.

However, that isn’t to say it can’t be done well. Brands with big budgets (or who collaborate with brands with big budgets) who’re willing to put the effort in, like Palace or Dime, have produced some of the most engaging promotional pieces in memory, regardless of whether they’re for a collab or not. Even brands who don’t have a Scrooge McDuck-sized marketing war chest can make it work; it just takes that extra bit of effort. If you’re trying to convince me to buy something, at least spin a good yarn about why I should.

And that’s what Girl and Preduce Skateboards have done, even if it is a month or two late. This week, Pocket Skate Mag dropped a feature on the story behind the collaborative series of PRO boards (that were first released in May) and a shared video part to boot. It turns out Girl’s Griffin Gass is childhood friends with Preduce PRO Jasper Dohrs, and the stars aligned, leading to their respective sponsors teaming up.

It’s a nice story and one they tell well. Does it make me want to buy one of the boards? Not really. But it did inspire me to open a tab and go to the Crailstore — so close! I’d also like to think that this collab wasn’t one centred around making money, that building community was at the fore. Or, even better, that maybe this was all built around the opportunity to title Griffin Gass and Jasper Dohrs’ video part “GriffinDohrs?” I want to think so.

His innards stayed in ‘em

Rank: 1?
Mood: 🍝

They almost killed Fabrizio Santos. In Ryan Sheckler’s “My War!” episode released by Thrasher this week, we watch The Breeze and others pull back the industrial-size bungee cord Ryan Sheckler uses to hurtle himself toward a massive step-up gap in a non-descript schoolyard during a Californian heatwave. Attempt after attempt, Sheckler’s friends pull the bungee cord, its one end attached to the base of a basketball hoop and stretched the measurable width of three basketball courts.

In a harrowing moment captured on camera, just as Sheckler is about to grab the other end of the bungee cord and launch himself at the obstacle, the cord snaps, the sound echoing across the schoolyard. In the footage, we watch the broken cord slither through the air. Colin Kennedy tries to warn those in its path, but all that comes out is a worried jumble of noise.

Then Fabrizio Santos — Brazillian skateboarding legend and champion of the one-footed crooked grind — is on the ground writhing in agony. The cord he pulled so far and so hard had come back to strike him in the midsection. A high-velocity snakebite. Sheckler worries that his quest for a big trick may have just maimed his friend, as he imagines Santo’s guts spilling from his person and onto the asphalt.

Thankfully, his innards stayed in ‘em, and Sheck’s crew duct tapes the bungee cord back together and continues on. This small (yet quite painful) moment of drama is fleshed out well and Shecks speaks to the struggle of getting the trick so thoughtfully and candidly that it again made me wonder why they couldn’t accomplish this in Rolling Away, the “skateboard documentary” that accompanied the release of Sheckler’s latest video part Lifer.

I’ve already written far too many words about that thing this week, and the question is mostly rhetorical since we already know the answer and I’m really just trying to plug that essay again, but still, I ask no one in particular: why they do that?

Permission to rejoice

Rank: 1!!
Mood: 🙏

Take this announcement, this proclamation, as permission to rejoice. For it is an admission that the world has not been emptied of all that made it good — that still makes it good. Consider this proof that a cool breeze pressing through a field of tall grass still turns those leaves into a soothing carpet of sound, that its touch will relax as much as it relieves. Think of the laughter you’ve shared with friends and how much more is to come. Then place in your mind a picture of yourself as a child. Look at how much you’ve grown. The strides you’ve made. The steps you’ll keep taking. Long, joyful walks that carry you to places you’ve always wanted to be. Well, now, here you are. The destination you thought was fantasy is almost close enough to touch. Let the cool breeze calm you until it’s in reach. STATIC VI is coming soon.

Brand collab: unrequited and desperate

Rank: Sad
Mood: 🫣

Casper, a company I purchased a mattress from some years ago and whose email list I also unsubscribed from some years ago, still sends me promotional emails against my wishes. The other day, Casper sent me a Barbie movie-themed message even though the company has no official marketing connection with the uniquely popular film inspired by the generationally popular toy.

Is this just Casper’s email marketing team’s desperate attempt to get people to click on the gruel they slop into people’s inboxes each week (sometimes against their wishes)? Yes, but I think it’s also something more. After sitting with it for a few days, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is part of a new form of brand collaboration. It’s one we’ve seen glimpses of before, like when Wendy’s Twitter account riffs on the latest meme or when the Twitter account of the Duolingo owl tries to dunk on Twitter itself — the gross attempt of a corporation to humanize and connect itself to popular culture.

However, significant work was put into this brand’s one-sided promotion of another brand. Designers, copywriters, creative directors — they were all party to Casper debasing itself in an attempt to insert its DTC mattresses into a genuine cultural moment while mainly promoting a blockbuster film with no connection to their bottom line. Remember when Primitive Skateboarders did that Sriracha board with Huy Fong Foods, Inc?

That was also a self-inflicted wound to their brand, but at least there was some vaguely identifiable financial incentive. Casper is desperate for no certain gain. But they’re not the only ones. Our long-suffering age of “virality” has led to a crabs-in-a-bucket mentality in marketing, where if something is getting attention, you must then attach yourself to it and shave a little attention off for yourself, which often degrades the appeal of the original popular thing in the process. It’s just lazy and sad. Anyways, take me off your fucking email list, Casper.

Something to consider: TMI Authentification.

Good thing: Jacob Sawyer got the “Backstory” on Nick Jensen and Mike Arnold’s duelling spins and flips over the Westminster road gap for Slam City Skates.

Screengrab of screengrabs from “Backstory: Nick Jensen & Mike Arnold.”

Good, accurate thing: As a Hoka-wearer, I agree and also now want the truck.

Via @/sportmanteau on Twitter.

Good, reflective thing: “Iannucci Made Me Hardcore” by Ted Barrow in Free.

Good, expansive look at skateboarder and skate spot thing: Farran Golding is back with another excellent “Favorite Spot” piece featuring Lucien Clarke on the Victoria Benches for Quartersnacks.

Until next week… sometimes you might look in the mirror and get a quick, violent urge to shave your head. Don’t give in. At least not immediately. Allow yourself a day to think it over. Remember all the weeks, months, and even years it’s taken for your head to grow all that hair. Shearing is not a decision that should be made in haste or panic. Maybe it just needs a trim, a colour, or a little conditioner. That said, whatever you decide to do, you’ll look great.

I wrote a book about the history and cultural impact of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, and I will keep posting about it at the end of the newsletter for the foreseeable future. Apologies. It’ll be in stores on September 26 and you can pre-order Right, Down + Circle now from your favourite local bookshop, my publisher ECW Press, or all of the usual devils (Amazon, Barnes & Noble). I think you might like it.