Hit the streets of Encinitas | Simply Ranked

Plus: Authentic concrete, Spears screams, Wilshire has risen, and more.

Hit the streets of Encinitas | 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.

Hit the streets of Encinitas

Rank: 711
Mood: 🥤

After a long day of street skating a @rockstarenergy from @7eleven will keep the 🔥 burning.. Follow along with @chrisjoslin_ and I as we hit the streets of Encinitas.

Professional skateboarder Braden Hoban says to his followers in the description of a recent collaborative sponsored Instagram post for his energy drink benefactor Rockstar and ubiquitous convenience store chain 7-Eleven. In tandem, fellow PRO Chris Joslin gave his side of the story.

Quick pit stop @7eleven for some food and @rockstarenergy to finish up the session. Join me and @bradenhoban in the streets of Encinitas!

I’m glad the duo was able to find refuge and the strength to keep moving on with their day because, as you can see in the clip above, there were certainly more tricks to be had.

Yes, this ad spot is incredibly corny. Wack, even. But it would be somewhat unfair to criticize Hoban and Joslin for meeting their contractual obligations by posting this drivel, as this is what one generally has to do to make a liveable income as a professional skateboarder as the purse strings of brands large and small continue to tighten. From what we know, energy drink sponsorships offer good pay in exchange for a small piece of your credibility — a reasonable bargain for those who dream of making skateboarding a career.

What I think is fair to shit on is the low-grade ad copy that Hoban and Joslin were provided to accompany their posts. While it can be difficult to write something to suit the voice of someone you aren’t familiar with — which I’ve also struggled to do in various copy/script writing gigs over the years — whoever Rockstar tasked with these social posts appears to have not even tried. Each blurb is that brand of corporate clunky which actively defies humanity. A jagged simulacrum of how a “skateboarder” might speak, any sense of natural rhythm interrupted by social handles and repetitive key phrases like “the streets of Encinitas.”

Rockstar and 7-Eleven, if you want to edge a little closer to the authentic, please feel free to use this next time around:

aha, shoutout to @7eleven for letting me use the bathroom, i almost pissed my self after drinking so much @rockstarenergy with @chrisjoslin_ while out on the session in Encinitas today 🚽

Authentic concrete

Rank: $140
Mood: 🔨

While my Battle at The Berrics 13 “Finals Night” dream scenario didn’t pan out, it still turned out to be a… decent overall event. The Berrics does give one a lot to criticize, as readers of this newsletter know, but they should also be given their flowers when deserved. So here are a couple of wilting begonias.

It’s not like things changed much from previous “Finals Night” iterations, either. It was essentially the same production as always, but this year it felt a little more tightly run. Sure, Steve Berra’s strange, off-kilter cadence and dead-end attempts at humour were pervasive and tough to stomach (as were Eric Koston’s, if we’re being fair), but that’s nothing new.

The games themselves were fine [spoilers ahead]. Jamie Griffin and Tyler Peterson’s semi-final match was full of visually repulsive but stunningly complex tricks, with Griffin mounting a genuinely sensational comeback to secure a finals berth. Chris Cole lost both a semi-final and a third-place matchup by nollie-inward-heelflip-bigspin. Griffin would easily skunk Nick Holt to win his second BATB title in a row.

It's a bit of a ho-um result, but I still think it’s great that something as silly as a game of S.K.A.T.E. gets celebrated in such a big, stupid way. And in the end, as a viewer, I mostly enjoyed myself, which is all you can ask. As for The Berrics, on the event’s livestream, they announced that they’re moving to a new location. What that says about the future and financial state of the longtime content production house is unclear, but as content mills are wont to do, they’re making content out of it.

A piece of history

With the current skatepark getting demolished ahead of the move, Mike Mo’s ABD Collectibles will be selling pieces of “authentic concrete from The Berricsfor $140 a pop. What could possibly be the appeal of spending that kind of money to own a chunk of literal skatepark debris? “Some of the most iconic moments in skateboarding have happened here,” claims the ABD promotional video. If you say so.

If anything, it’s a fitting metaphor. While The Berrics has undoubtedly been a staple of skateboarding media for many years, they’ve (well, Berra has) long put themselves on a pedestal and sold their memory for much more than it should be.

A great, terrible triumph

Rank: 1
Mood: 😱

This week, Frankie Spears caught some criticism online for his impassioned reaction to riding away from his ender in Union, his solo video part for adidas that Thrasher uploaded on Monday. For those who may think it strange to celebrate your personal success by letting out a truly harrowing primal scream while bombing a hill (switch), I ask: have you never experienced a joy so pure, so pointed, that it feels like a hot iron being jabbed through your chest? A triumph so big, so terrible that your soul gets dipped crotch-first in acid?

Spears’ response to his backside flip is of a person transcended. Those screams are his struggle to leave his corporeal form, whose limits he’s just surpassed. Cries for a future earned. A beyond the belongs to him. He will demand it with frightening fervour until it arrives. Godspeed.


Pro shoe? No, not you.

Rank: !?
Mood: 🚫👟

Lakai has a new shoe and it’s called The Villa. According to Lakai, it’s designed by professional skateboarder Cody Chapman, who is incredibly good at skateboarding, as the video above shows us. So that would lead one to believe that The Villa is Chapman’s pro model, yes? Well, no.

The Villa, designed by Cody Chapman, takes a “less is more” approach that draws classic styling and modern sensibilities.
Crafted in subtlety1, this timeless high-top silhouette provides needed ankle support2 , while an asymmetrical toe cap enhances ollie protection. Utilizing our flexible XLK cupsole with pod-tread, allows for maximum board feel and a minimal break-in right out of the box.Custom artwork by Cody along with his “Cold Dawg” branding top off this new style worthy of the Lakai archive.

The Villa makes its debut to our footwear line in Slate/Navy, and Black Suede.

Saying it’s “designed” by Chapman would indicate this is more than a colourway, but nowhere in Lakai’s product copy does it say it’s a Chapman pro model. It’s not until you scroll across the photo below on its product page that you see stitching on the shoe’s tongue that reads:

Cody Chapman

So Chapman “designed” a shoe… for the team? So when the rest of the team gets their respective “Team Edition” of The Villa, do they get to redesign them in totality or just pick the colours? Because there’s a difference between designing a shoe and choosing a colourway for a shoe. Sure, you could say this is just semantics on my part or poor phrasing on Lakai’s, but if Chapman literally designed it, why not just make it his pro-model shoe? He absolutely deserves one. And, from what I can tell, only Riley Hawk and Stevie Perez have active pro-model shows on the Lakai website — so there’s room for another!

But that’s just me. I’m no business person. I’m just a guy on the internet confused by what the brands are doing.3


Rank: 15
Mood: 🧟‍♀️

Street League Skateboarding held its second “Resurrection” event earlier this week on a recreation of the Wilshire 15, a spot that long served as a benchmark for progression in professional skateboarding, with many a legacy solidified down its stairs and handrail. If you remember SLS’s first “Resurrection” event, it was a similar jam-format style contest held last year over Easter weekend at a replica of San Francisco’s long-defunct Hubba Hideout.

A lot has changed between that first event and the second. For SLS, in July 2022, their parent company, Thrill One Sports & Entertainment, was purchased by an investor group that includes former UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta and current UFC CEO and President Dana White. That would subsequently lead SLS to sign an exclusive broadcast partnership with Rumble, the explicitly right-wing video platform that hosts and pays creators like racist conspiracy-mongers Alex Jones, Steve Bannon, a raft of high-profile QAnon figures, and also Power Slap, White and Fertitta’s next “sport” venture that is on a slow road to nowhere.

There have also been some more subtle changes, too. Paul Rodriguez’s A SHOC Energy Drink, the presenting sponsor of last year’s “Resurrection,” has now, from what I can tell, clumsily rebranded to Accelerator Active Energy — the energy drink company having a resurrection (or reevaluation) of its own. But the most recent and glaring change, to me, came in the form of one Alec Majerus. In last week’s newsletter, I somewhat selfishly suggested he change up his fit a bit, as it’s become — in the politest terms — stale.

All this to say, just loosen up the pants a little bit, Alec. Or slim down the tops. You could even have them meet somewhere in the middle. This sail and mast thing you’ve got going on is very 2012.

And then what did Majerus show us at the “Resurrection” this week? A clean, proportional all-black fit, buzzcut, and a scorcher of a backside noseblunt down the 15. While he didn’t get the love on the broadcast that he deserved for all the hammers he put down, I want Majerus to know that I saw him, I appreciate him, I think he looks good as hell, and thanks for reading the newsletter.4

Something to consider: ‘sletter friends Mike Munzenrider and Pete Glover of 4PLY Mag talked to filmmakers and dived into the data of SkateVideoSite to answer the question: “What’s the perfect length for a skate video?” for Quartersnacks.

Good thing: “Tony Hawk + ethnic strife.” Gita Jackson at Aftermath spoke to the project lead for Palestine Skating Game, which you can play an early prototype of here.

A good Anne thing: “I can’t write about poetry amidst the ‘reasonable’ tones of those who aim to acclimatize us to this unreasonable suffering. No more ghoulish euphemisms. No more verbally sanitized hellscapes. No more warmongering lies.” Anne Boyer resigns from The New York Times Magazine.

A frustrating thing: A dependence on ad-supported media models, the lazy cowardice of brands, and private equity is killing media and journalism as a whole. Fun! “Advertisers Don’t Want Sites Like Jezebel to Exist,” by Jason Koebler and Emanuel Maiberg in 404.

The last good thing on Twitter: “Venezuela.”

Until next week… if you’re woken by the chatter of birds on your balcony, close your eyes and take a moment to listen. Is it small talk? A passionate debate? Perhaps one of these delicate, feathered creatures is talking some shit. Eavesdrop until you can no longer hold in your morning pee.

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. Right, Down + Circle is in stores now and you can also order it from your favourite local bookshop, my publisher ECW Press, or all of the usual devils (Amazon, Barnes & Noble). I think you might like it.

Also, if you like book clubs, you can join the inimitable Ted Barrow in reading Right, Down + Circle on his Berate The Birds Patreon, which you should also subscribe to because it rules. He’s almost through the thing now, so you’ve got some nice stuff to listen to while puttering around the house.

Also, also, the Birdman himself has finally read the book (or at least took a photo of it). So if that doesn’t convince you to buy it, that’s okay. There’s no pressure. I just appreciate you reading this newsletter.

  1. Wut?

  2. The “needed” part of “…needed ankle support” implies that Lakai’s other shoes offer none. C’mon, copywriter!

  3. An alternate tagline for Simple Magic.

  4. Also, a shoutout to SLS for uploading this “Resurrection” to YouTube so quickly, so people don’t have to watch the replay on fucking Rumble. This is a cool (and absolutely bonkers) event, and there are good folks who work at SLS who are rightfully bummed at their employer’s broadcast partnership, which is out of their control, so at the very least, it’s nice that their work can still be viewed outside of that noxious platform.