Kneeling at the altar of Skate God | Simply Ranked

Plus: Glory Challenge, new Lizzie, Baader-Meinhof to backlip, and more.

Kneeling at the altar of Skate God | 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.

Kneeling at the altar of Skate God

Rank: …1
Mood: 🙏🙏🙏

Generally, when a movie tries to fictionalize and adapt skateboarding and skateboarding culture to the big screen, it feels off. Like a deepfake, it presents itself like something you know, but you can tell things aren’t quite right. It looks stiff, its speech stilted, and a gnawing feeling—an instinct informed by a lifetime spent on a board—tells you that what you’re watching on screen is wack.

This is why I’m excited about Skate God, a forthcoming movie from writer and director Alexander Garcia. That excitement might be surprising, given Garcia’s previous work includes writing and directing the film Crushed It! (whose plot IMBD describes as “A skateboarder from Florida makes his way out to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of becoming a professional skater and gets sidetracked by trying to win over, at all costs, the girl who is dating the hometown hero.”) and uncredited acting roles in Lords of Dogtown and Grind (as “Judge” and “Skateboarder,” respectively). He’s a veteran of lousy skateboarding movies and was in the trenches with Chad Fernandez during their heyday.

But with Skate God, Garcia is going down a different route. This isn’t a well-worn story of a skateboarder trying to “make it” and get the girl. This will be decidedly… weirder.

OREN a skateboarder in a Dystopia [sic] future, comes into self discovery that he is the descendant of a Greek God and is plunged into a battle with a Gothicized Fallen society that wants to turn the outside world into hell on earth.

That’s precisely what this wan, sickly genre needs—an injection of new life. A protagonist who’s not just trying to go Pro AF, but attempting to save humanity itself. The cast also features some notable names, including Tony Alva, Leticia Bufoni, Corey Duffel, Diego Najera, Moose, William Spencer, Carlos Vega, and David Gonzalez III—who’s probably not the David Gonzalez we’re thinking of.

Will Skate God be a good movie? Absolutely not. But that’s okay. It doesn’t have to be. Consider the small pleasures we already have to look forward to, like the Duffman playing a “Decapitator,” the first footage we’ll have seen from Moose in a while, and getting to see whatever a “Gothicized Fallen society” is.

Unfortunately, there’s another pertinent question to ask: will Skate God ever get made?

It doesn’t look promising. So perhaps now is the time for us all to direct some prayers to our preferred gods, skate or otherwise, to help get this thing across the finish line.

Glorious, instantaneous

Rank: 1-1
Mood: 📹 👉 📱

The connective tissue of skateboarding culture was once made from the pages of magazines and magnetic tape. Pockets of skateboarding from around the world would discover one another through them, slowly, in monthly installments on the magazine rack or every few years when a brand released a new video. This meant the impact of the content within them was delayed; a hammer dropping in their pages or on-screen wouldn’t give us that knee-jerk reaction until months or years after they had already gone down.

But now, our connective tissue is wrapped in fast-twitch muscle fibre. Our reaction time: instant. While street skating over the weekend, I opened my phone and watched Nicole Hause grind the amazingly sketchy rainbow rail at the Dime Glory Challenge, on the other side of the continent, mere moments after it happened. The crowd’s eruption rang through my phone’s speakers and into me, an instantaneous transference of stoke. While this constant access to and flood of skateboarding “content” from social media has undoubtedly sullied our attention spans and shortened the shelf-life of videos we’d have once returned to again and again, there are still good moments like this. Where the newly pro Hause can light the internet on fire, Dime can nearly light Pedro Barros on fire, and we can all be there, no matter where we are.

Baader-Meinhof to backlip

Rank: 2 here, 2 there… 2s everywhere?
Mood: 👀👀

Frequency illusions are a relatively common occurrence. One should not worry if the word “titivate” starts to show itself across your timeline, in news articles, as Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day, or as the crux of a sassy retort from a sitcom character you offhandedly catch in the closed-captioning on the television at the bar and grill where you’re meeting your friends for wings.


What’s happened is that you’ve simply become aware of the word, not that “titivate” is being used more or is a clue in a cosmic conspiracy that only you can decode and help reach its full, violent, and necessary conclusion. This feeling you’re experiencing is known as the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, a mash of selective attention and confirmation biases. Most of us have felt this heightened awareness at some time or another.

Of course, there’s always the off chance that “titivate” could be having a moment. Perhaps it’s started to trend, and your awareness is merely a function of existing in a world emboldened with the word, its use now as commonplace as “Aperol Spritz.” But, there's no reason to worry if you think that’s the case. It’s just a word. This might even be a good time to incorporate it into your own vocabulary.

The case for contextual statistics

Rank: 3
Mood: 🧮

Looking at your skate session on its face doesn’t always tell the whole story. Sure, you might have only gone 2 for 23 on flatground switch flips, but does that take into account the weather? How your bushings were soggy from the heat, your trucks forever loose, each attempt a struggle just to stay centred on the board? What about the front blunt you did on that out ledge on a trip to Salt Lake City in 2015? It needs to have the elevation taken into consideration. You were over 1,288 metres above sea level and still rode away—bolts. And if you learned two new tricks during your Sunday morning skate, even after downing a house omelette with homestyle potatoes, four slices of sourdough, a side of bacon, and four cups of coffee at breakfast, that should be a trick in itself.

Simply reviewed: Lizzie Armanto’s “Onward”

Rank: 1.1
Mood: ➡️➡️➡️

In what Vans bills as “the first full-length edit from Lizzie [Armanto] in nearly five years,” Onward begins with a flash of her hellacious MegaRamp bail in 2020 that Tony Hawk would tweet was “one of the heaviest slams in skateboarding history.” It would require surgery and months of recovery.

The viewer could be forgiven for wondering while watching the first few moments of Onward’s cruisy, somewhat lackadaisical lines, that maybe the slam, the pins in her hip, and that long period of recuperation had taken something from Armanto. That perhaps the body still needed more time. But as the part progresses and the songs change, the intensity of the skating rises with them. Armanto soars higher in bigger transition. Navigates and punctuates the towering hips and corners of the Vans Combi Bowl with grinds, airs, and inverts. She clears channels with the effortlessness we’ve come to know her for.

Expertly captured by Chris Gregson, TJ Gaskill, and put together by Greg Hunt, it’s a great showing for Armanto, who’s battled back—and as the part’s title makes clear—continues to push forward.

Something to consider: If you find yourself in a video that goes viral within a small subcultural niche, be prepared to be immortalized forever in messageboard lore, media, and perhaps even some soft goods.

Good thing: In Defector, an interesting look at country music legend Garth Brooks, who recently sold out the 80,000-seat Croke Park stadium in Dublin, Ireland—five nights in a row.

Another good thing: Getting outside.

Until next week… if you see a squirrel, stop. Crouch down. Beckon for it with a clicking of the tongue and a  rubbing of the thumb and forefinger. Watch as it approaches, but stay still. Once close enough, try to find yourself in its deep, black eyes. Ask how it’s doing, if it has plans for the weekend, and where all of the good nuts are at. Consider it a new friend.