I want a Lamborghini | Simply Ranked

Plus: Kalis granite vlog, new pro and the algo, what's Transworld up to? and more.

I want a Lamborghini | 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.

Josh Kalis is vlogging now (positive)

Rank: 1
Mood: 🪨

However, unlike the recent spate of PRO skateboarders who have taken to YouTube to get their vlog on every week until the sun swallows itself or they run out of ideas, Kalis’ foray appears to have a definite end. The Build follows Kalis as he and his pals construct an indoor skatepark in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The twist? Its floors, the banks, the tabletop — all of it is covered in granite. (Except for the lone, lonely quarter pipe.)

In “Episode 01,” Philadelphia’s Brian Panebianco, who saved a not insignificant amount of granite from Love Park before its “renovation” destroyed the iconic skate spot in 2018, brought a number of those granite strips to Kalis’ warehouse. These chunks of skateboarding history will be refashioned into ledges by one of the people who helped imbue them with the import they carry to this day — that process to be featured in “Episode 02.” But, for now, what we can see from Kalis’ Instagram, is that the park looks… weird.

Which, to be honest, rules. Most of the TFs professional skateboarders build for themselves are derivative of lesser Street League courses. Primitive Skateboard’s private park: meh. April Skateboards’? Yawn. Rayssa Leal’s? It’s purposefully designed for her to practice for the Olympics, so its ho-humness makes sense. But Kalis’? Everything looks pretty small, crammed together, and slippery as hell. It’s bizarre. It’s beautiful. Kalis also has a rather endearing self-effacing charm as he talks us through the build process, which makes for a pleasant watch. Best of all? Like any good miniseries, it knows when to end. Because once the park is finished, presumably, the vlogging will be as well.

I want a Lamborgini

Rank: GOAT
Mood: 🏎

Humility can be a strange quality to maintain. How humble should a person be? Just enough to not be a boastful wanker? So much so that modesty gets deployed like a fire retardant blanket, tossed over any spark of positive self-reflection or intention? Is it not okay to celebrate your achievements or be confident about your goals? In professional skateboarding, it doesn’t seem like there’s ever been any clear consensus on what’s “acceptable.” For a long time, it seemed if you blew your trumpet too loud, you were simply a “kook.” In other sports, it’s often encouraged to gas yourself up, whether as a kayfabe smokescreen or to establish your worth or perception of it. It’s why the prizefighter declares their championship intent or Klay Thompson flashes four fingers — one for each of his championship victories with the Golden State Warriors — at players he feels need to be reminded of who they’re on the hardwood with (even if he was getting styled on).

It used to be rare for the PRO skateboarder to do anything of the sort. Josh Kasper had his “Kasperholics” fanclub-cum-marketing-schtick that saw him once arrive at a demo by helicopter to raucous cheers. That bombast ultimately contributed to his alienation from the industry. Bastien Salabanzi was roundly criticized for his self-props in the late ‘00s. When asked by ESPN in 2012 about the skateboarding communities reaction, he’d say:

It's skateboarding. The cool attitude is to do the gnarliest thing and make it look like you do it every morning on the way to go get the bread at the store, like the trick is completely normal.

I don't really care. I don't want to be someone else. It makes me happy when I land something. But I can understand from an outside point of view, maybe from someone who liked to watch skateboarding but never really did it hard they cannot relate to that kind of behavior.

For example, a lot of people talk about John McEnroe, that the guy is insane and he goes mental on the court but at the same time people agree that he was one of the best that has ever played. I'm sure he doesn't care his reputation is to be completely crazy. What he cares about is the number of tournaments he's won.

A pretty reasonable take and one that likely resonates more today as we see Salabanzi-esque celebrations in almost every major competitive skateboarding event. Only recently have high-level PROs declared their professional ambitions and not been labelled a “kook.” Two-time Thrasher Skater Of The Year, Tyshawn Jones, was upfront about his career intentions in the lead-up to his 2022 SOTY win.

“You want to be a core skater or whatever, but I want a Lamborghini, I want the house, I want it all… LeBron is vocal about wanting to win. I want to win.”

Which, again, is a reasonable outlook. The growing acceptance of this level of confidence and bravado would seem to be a sign of a generational shift. It’s something the old heads have even started to take to, albeit slowly and in their own way.

“I was pretty fucking good back then; I’m not going to lie. It’s okay to say now. I couldn’t say it then, but looking back… dude, I was pretty fucking good, and I was only 18.” Paul Rodriguez would tell The Nine Club while doing a watch along for his Yeah Right! video part.

Mark Appleyard would share a similar sentiment in his Chromeball interview from last week. “I was standout, man. I’m old enough to be able to say that now without sounding like a dick. The times were changing and I was bringing something new to the table.” You tell ‘em, Mark. It’s refreshing to hear a PRO speak candidly in this way and offer a sober, positive assessment of their place in skateboarding.

Does one need to wait for twenty-plus years before being publicly proud of their achievements? Do all skaters need to brand themselves as a future GOAT? Probably not. But it seems like we’re trending in a good direction on both.

New pro and the algo

Rank: 2
Mood: 🚫💻

São Paulo’s Gabriela Mazetto is now PRO for Jart Skateboards. Mazetto was sidelined for an extended period of time due to injury and subsequent surgery, but since her recovery, she’s returned to the competitive circuit and steadily climbed the ranks, even besting her Brazilian Skateboarding Confederation teammate and phenom, Rayssa Leal, at a recent event in Porto Alegre.

Jart celebrated Mazetto’s PRO turn at The Berrics, surprising her with a pair of pro model boards after she rode away from her “dream trick.” That was followed by the release of her “Pro Part,” also via The Berrics. Overall, it looked like a classic and thorough celebration of a new PRO rider, hitting all of the celebratory beats, which is nice as it’s not something you always see so much of anymore.

What is curious, however, is The Berrics issue with YouTube’s algorithm. Something they made oddly apparent in Mazetto’s video part, beginning the edit with a hokey “like and subscribe” animation and ending it with an even cornier call-to-arms against the platform.

Berrics, why would you taint this special moment with such a mewling cry for engagement? Don’t you see how this reflects on your brand and the skaters featured in it? Just play it cool, man. C’mon.

What’s Transworld up to?

Rank: N/A
Mood: 🪤

After TransWorld Skateboarding was purchased by American Media, Inc. (the publisher of National Enquirer) in February of 2019, subscribers were soon told that the magazine would cease printing and the rest of their subscription would be filled with issues of Men’s Journal, another American Media, Inc. publication. Transworld would go on to maintain a web presence of a sort, updating its site sparingly and uploading the occasional video to its YouTube page. Then back in December of 2022, The Arena Group, a media conglomerate best known for gutting and stringing along the corpse of Sports Illustrated like a marionette, acquired the digital assets of Men’s Journal, which includes Transworld.

That timeline lines up with the recent uptick in posts on Transworld’s website. Most of it appears to be an aggregation of the various content released across the web throughout the week with Buzzfeed-y headlines attached.

It appears to be a pretty clear play for Google Ad revenue, as there’s very little in the way of original content (however, their Wes Kremer “exclusive commentary” on his Not Another Transworld video part is quite entertaining). In a twisting-of-the-knife moment, they’ve also begun breaking down social media content, like the post “Unstoppable: Mark Suciu And Silas Baxter-Neal Take Over Adidas TF And Get To Work (Heavy session! What else would you expect from this unstoppable duo?).”

Which goes on to describe in detail the video uploaded to the platform that helped decimate their industry. “Seeing these two breeze through the adidas TF in Portland is the perfect example of what watching professional skaters being professional skaters looks like. Their casual park lines have us all a little envious, and their deep bags of tricks are priceless, but all the same, they have us so hyped.” Okay?

Besides retrofitting Transworld’s online husk into an SEO-driven content mill, it’s unclear what the long-term strategy is here. This is all rightly easy to criticize, as I have above, but ultimately, if it allows a few people to get paid to continue to work in an industry they love, then good for them. It’s not their fault digital media has become the bleak cannibalistic content-churning machine that it has. There’s been an unsuccessful, decades-long attempt by VCs, private equity groups, and tech bros to extract as much profit from traditional and digital publishing as possible, no matter the cost to the actual content provided to the audience or the people who’re making it.

Which is how we’ve ended up here.

The perfect internet video

Rank: 1!
Mood: 🎊 🎉🎊 🎉

“I’m with you!” The MAGA shaman shouts while riding a tall bike away from the circus that was the arraignment hearing of former president of the United States, Donald Trump, in New York City on Tuesday. “Nah, bitch. Nah. No, you’re not.” Someone responds before a skateboard enters the bottom frame of the video and rolls under the tires of the tall bike, sending the cyclist’s deluded Davy Crocket-ass to the asphalt.

It’s a perfect internet video with all the ingredients of virality in play: a big loud asshole, a calm rebuke that leads to a comeuppance, Looney Tunes-grade slapstick, and all of it tied to a political moment currently in overdrive. Deathwish Skateboards PRO Jamie Foy even got the second angle, a clip that’ll likely get him more coverage than whatever tricks they were trying to get at Blubba or the courthouse ledges.

Something to consider: At the very least, brand safety.

A good thing: Skaters supporting skaters (The Other Skaters and the Winnipeg Jets).

Another good thing: “I’m scared of stray hairs and rats. I’ve been hit in the leg by so many rats in New York trash piles.” The Cut asks Alexis Sablone five pressing questions.

A thing for Alexis Sablone to avoid: Ottawa, Ontario.

Until next week… somewhere in your closet is an old top you haven’t worn in months, potentially years. Sift through your garments, find it and try it on. Do you feel any differently about it now than when you consciously or unconsciously took it out of your regular rotation? Has the shirt found a new, second life? Maybe it just needs a seam sewn or a fun crop. Give it a shot.

Correction: I originally said it was Jart Skateboards who ended their video with a mewling cry for engagement, but it was, in fact, The Berrics. Sorry, Jart.