I’ve got $5 (CAD) on it: betting on the future of skateboarding in 2024

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I’ve got $5 (CAD) on it: betting on the future of skateboarding in 2024
Below, you’ll find the results from 2023’s “I’ve got $5 (CAD) on it” odds/predictions, followed by what will be considered by this time next year, the startling omniscience of my 2024 projections.

Betting on the future of skateboarding in 2023: RESULTS

Full disclosure: As with last year, you should know that I still don’t really understand how sports betting works. But after being forced to listen to the unceasing Fan Duel and DraftKings ad reads that have seeped into and tainted every sports broadcast and podcast available, I can at least make it sound like I get it. So, on that note, let’s effing go. Here are the fifteen predictions I made for 2023, how my hypothetical $5 (CAD) bets for each went, and what state my hypothetical $75 (CAD) bankroll was left in by the end.

(+500) Thrasher’s 2023 Skater of The Year doesn’t ride for Nike, Converse, Adidas, New Balance, or Vans.

BUST: Candidly, when I wrote this at the tail end of 2022, I thought Emerica rider Braden Hoban would be a surefire SOTY contender and it’s likely winner in 2023. That did not turn out to be the case, as he seems to have focused his attention on Olympic success. Go for gold, I guess. Hoban’s diverging path (is definitely what) opened the door to a Miles Silvas SOTY victory (I swear) and made it three Rustys in a row for the three stripes.


(+400) Someone leaks George Powell’s secret recipe for Powell’s Dragon Formula wheels.

WASHED: In 2022, the hype around Powell’s Dragon Formula wheels was at a fever pitch.

They were set to “change” “the game” and flip the skateboarding’s purchasing public on its head. They were soft and grippy but still allowed for powerslides — What in the? As we entered 2023, I predicted that this unprecedented product fervour would lead to George Powell’s much-ballyhooed urethane formula getting leaked, whether by corporate espionage or some other nefarious means. However, something else just as interesting happened: nothing.

Not long into the year of our lord, 2023, the Dragon Formula hype-cycle all but died and we haven’t heard much of anything about them since. Did people stop caring? Was some truth revealed about the product that made them less desirable? Or did it turn out that they’re simply another marketing gimmick, and the formula to their success wasn’t a curious mix of chemicals but just some guys talking shit to get people excited.

That’s probably it, which means, in a sense, the formula was leaked, but just long ago, as guys talking shit has been standard marketing practice since time immemorial.


(-300) Nick Matthews finally and deservedly turns pro after inexplicably spending years in board sponsor purgatory.

WASHED: Nick Matthews was the MVP of Thrasher’s 2022 “Am Scramble,” which premiered in early 2023. He finally, mercifully, got an official board sponsor in Antihero around the same time. He would then go on to have an exemplary video part in HUF’s Forever, which in turn led to his well-deserved and long-delayed PRO nod in…

Wait… Is Nick Matthews still not PRO? How could this be? Seriously. It’s criminal. This has to be some sort of labour rights violation. It’s an egregious enough affront to our understanding of truth and justice that I refuse to accept my favourable odds and prediction as a “bust.” The only thing that’s busted here is that Matthews isn’t PRO.


(-100) Nike continues to show a decreased interest in its skate program, axes a large portion of their team.

CASHED: Nike has played a sort of will-they-won’t-they with their skateboarding division over the last few years. We see routine roster cuts amid the production of genuinely great projects like Gassed Up and 7ball. It’s a bit confusing as a consumer, but as Nike has proven in the past, their commitment to skateboarding is only ever as deep as the pile of money they make from it. That’s just “business,” baby.

Unfortunately, that style of business rolls on, as just before the holidays, the footwear behemoth announced a planned $2 billion (USD) in proposed cost-cutting measures that include widespread layoffs. It’s hard to imagine Nike SB employees and riders not being affected. In retrospect, even if it’s a critique of a known world-devouring corporate monster in Nike, making bets on whether or not people lose their jobs is gross and regrettable — but I still consider this one cashed.

PAYOUT: $10 (CAD) (But not happy about it.)

(-250) Eric Koston gets on Cariuma

BUST: I thought any Nike SB cuts would arrive earlier in the year with some of their top-heavy roster contracts getting said axe. It didn’t happen (which is good!), so Koston didn’t wind up where I thought his next stop would be.


(+200) Cariuma goes under.

BUST: More aspirational than calculated, Cariuma going under was an underdog prediction and played out as one.


(+150) Thrasher invites more than one woman onto 2023’s “Am Scramble.”

WASHED: There wasn’t an Am Scramble in 2023. I lose no monies :)


(+300) Tony Hawk gets investigated by the FTC for his promotion of NFTs.

BUST: I mean, would we even know if it was happening yet? Usually, it takes a while for these sorts of cases to move along. Might have to wait until next year for this one…


(-100) Chloe Covell beats Rayssa Leal in at least one Street League event.

CASHED: Covell wound up beating Leal a number of times on the competitive circuit, including in SLS.


(-250) Mikey Taylor gets into (another) motor vehicle accident while driving his Tesla on autopilot.

CASHED: While I don’t have proof, I think it’s fair to assume that Taylor autopiloted his Tesla into Thousand Oaks City Hall at least a few times over the last year.


(-1000) Again, you find love or continue to love and be loved.


PAYOUT: $5.50 (CAD)

(-100) Gustavo Ribeiro does a 360 flip nosegrind nollie flip out on a handrail.

CASHED*: *Close enough, bro.

Via Ribeiro on Instagram.


(+1000) Rob Dyrdek’s Ridiculousness gets cancelled after 28 seasons on MTV.

BUST: This will never happen, but I figured it was important to at least put the thought out into the universe.


(+475) Someone buys a Skate Mental board.

BUST: No boards bought, no one on their team — Skate Mental is a consummate underdog (negative).


(-1,500) You and your friends go out skating on a beautiful summer day. There’s a light breeze that takes the edge off the heat. Everyone gets their tricks. Someone eats shit, but in a funny way, and they’re okay. The whole crew laughs. Someone tosses you a beer. A butterfly lands on your board and you get it to climb onto your finger before it flies away. The sun starts to set and your sweat begins to dry. You look around at all of your friends, and a wild and involuntary grin starts peeling across your face. This, you think to yourself, is the shimmering potential you always knew life held.

CASHED: Even easier.

PAYOUT: $5.33 (CAD)

Cashed: 6/15
Washed: 3/15
Bust: 6/15

PAYOUT TOTAL FOR 2023: Started with a hypothetical $75 (CAD) and ended the year with a hypothetical $47.83. Not good, but also not bad! (But really not great.)

Betting on the future of skateboarding in 2024: PREDICTIONS

Like an old man sitting on his porch, hayseed wedged between his teeth as he whispers to himself, “Rain’s a-comin’” after a familiar pang reverberates through his weary fibula, the following 15 predictions and their accompanying betting odds are the results of a deep, unconscious knowing. A knowledge that comes from a lifetime of existing in and around a culture. A marrow-deep familiarity that allows you to follow the rhythms and tides of that culture instinctually.

So why not profit, at least hypothetically, off of that earned sixth sense? Feel ‘em if you’ve got ‘em, amiright?

(+750) Skechers, looking to build off the momentum of their signing of reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid, reenter the skateboarding market and sign Alex Midler and Leticia Bufoni as their first athlete ambassadors.

(-100) A PRO or AM skateboarder releases an apology video on YouTube where they address accusations of ABDs in one of their video parts.

(+100) A once-notable skateboarder becomes a regular guest at Tim Pool and Richie Jackson’s Bigot Berrics, bumming out child you.

(-150) A Street League Skateboarding event has a broadcast intermission featuring a Dana White’s Power Slap League… bout? Slap-off? Whatever it’s called.

(+500) Cordano Russell makes it onto the podium for Canada in Skateboarding Street at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and does at least one nollie-270-shove-boardslide on his way there.

(+1500) Vincent Milou, finding inspiration in his home-country crowd, digs deep and wins gold in Skateboarding Street at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

(+100) Kairi Netsuke qualifies for the Japanese Olympic Skateboarding team (in Street) and lands a heelflip-backside-tailslide-bigspin in competition at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

(+200) Rayssa Leal wins gold in Skateboarding Street at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

(-500) You learn a new trick on your skateboard and it feels fucking great.

(+200) Tony Hawk finally gets investigated by the FTC for his promotion of NFTs and addresses the issue on an episode of Hawk vs. Wolf.

(-150) Late Night Stars’ video , which premiered after all the notable EOY list cutoffs in 2023, makes it to the top of most “best of” lists in 2024 — as it should.

(-250) 2 Riser Pads assembles the best team in modern skateboarding history.

(+300) A major footwear brand gives a pro model shoe (not just a colourway) to a female, non-binary, or trans skateboarder.

(+100) Tyler Surrey makes waves by finally leaving SK8MAFIA to join Sour Solution Skateboards — but jumps ship back to the ‘MAFIA before the end of 2024.

(-1000) Once more, you find love or continue to love and be loved.

A Simple Magic 2023 wrap-up, I guess

First off, thank you for reading the newsletter this year. And if you’re a subscriber, thank you for having the trust to allow me into your inbox each week. Writing this newsletter is generally quite fun, and it’s nice to know that others also enjoy or, at the very least, politely tolerate it. In the spirit of year-endness, here’s some info on what we got up to in your inbox in 2023.

Over the last year, I’ve published 66 total posts, which were comprised of:

  • 146,995 total words.
  • 51 weekly “Simply Ranked” posts.
  • 13 long-form essay, journalistic, or experimental pieces that I’ve taken to calling “Purple Posts” (most of which you can find here):
  • 2 “Annual Posts” (the SSOTYs and the Predictions post you’re reading right now).

To start the year, I had a couple of goals for Simple Magic that I more-or-less achieved. The big one was to write at least one Purple Post a month and the other was to grow my subscriber count from 300 to 1000. While I succeeded at the former, I was a bit off on the latter, as I have 853 subscribers as of writing this — which is still pretty good, I think. Who knows. I’m mostly just surprised (and grateful) that people read this thing.

Anyway, I’m not sure if any of the above is interesting, but I love compiling data, so I figured I might as well subject you to it.

Thanks again, I love you, and see you in 2024.

Something to consider: The Defector staff’s write-up of the best things they read in 2023 is a treat.

Great thing to listen to right now: The latest Vent City episode with Palestinian-American skateboarder, writer, photographer and human rights researcher Maen Hammad.

Syndicated thing: I talked to Darryl Greer from The Canadian Press about Vancouver’s surprising lack of an indoor skatepark (and even had to skate in the rain to take the accompanying photo, which only further emphasized the point, smdh).

Until next year… be kind to yourself. Make a sandwich. Take a nap.

Book cover by the wonderful Hiller Goodspeed.

I have a new collection of essays coming out on April 1 that you can preorder now. I think you might like it. This is how my publisher, NeWest Press, describes the book.

From prairie towns to sprawling cities, Laser Quit Smoking Massage revels in the peculiarities of the Canadian West. A unique and exciting new voice in Canadian literature, Cole Nowicki’s witty, insightful, and ever-curious reportage explores the evolving states of community, family, and belonging.

And here’s what my pal José Vadi, author of Inter State and the forthcoming Chipped, said about the thing.

“Cole Nowicki’s Laser Quit Smoking Massage examines the externalized oddities of late-stage capitalism to illuminate the tiered pathos of our everyday, autopay existence. In short, morse code bursts of measured madness, Nowicki transmits life from Canada’s rural west with acerbic, unflinching prose, upturning every aspect of labor and its impact on family, identity and humanity’s willingness to wait in line for the stench of a celebrity flower. A stunner of a collection, punching in equal parts laughter and profundity, Nowicki heals (laser patent pending).”

Is this self-promotion working?


Yes, I am still posting about Right, Down + Circle here. It 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. Ted goes on some fun, interesting detours while reading/talking about the book. It’s a nice time.