Like Kronk through an hourglass | Simply Ranked

Plus: Petty tres, Atlantic Sink Juice, federal forfeiture flip, and more.

Like Kronk through an hourglass | 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: 👀

Via @stoneyhawkstar on Twitter.

Is Austyn Gillette’s switch 360 flip over the same hydrant that Elijah Berle regular 360 flipped a purposeful one-upping of a former rival; a move meant to reignite the dormant beef that for a few brief but electric days in 2022 enraptured the skateboarding community the world over; causing the loose tendrils that bind us to tighten, pulling us into one cohesive being as we waited for each new shot across the bow to land; this social media skirmish feeding our collective appetite for mess that has gone mostly, and somewhat surprisingly, unsatiated in the era of our constant onlineness; our DMs gloriously alight in the speculation and awe that can only arise when two figures of renown talk shit to each other in public; and we, on the outside, assume that there are stakes to the feud besides the dissolution of a personal relationship between people who are but strangers to us; and perhaps, in a twisted way, even feel disappointed when their differences are settled amicably as they were here, the fun we had at their expense extinguished—but! Amid the ash, an ember burns if we dig deep enough. All it needs is the oxygen our breath provides, and before long, we can once again glow.

Atlantic Sink Juice

Rank: 1, again
Mood: 😌

Please, stick with me here. I’m going to suggest something that may not make much sense at first (or ever): Atlantic Drift edits and Matt Tomasello video parts are built on the same emotional foundation. By that, I mean what makes them both such compelling watches is that they share the same key ingredients, but they’re just distributed differently. There’s an undergirding of surreality and humour that anchors each. In Jacob Harris’ Atlantic Drift, that comes through in everything from the haunting jellyfish, the artful cuts of 16mm b-roll, discordant audio transitions, to the dialogue of a burning Big Mouth Billy Bass, and quick caption quips that make us privy to inside jokes that we can make our own if we want them bad enough. All of this is generally subtle with the occasional car-horn blast of strange.

The skateboarding itself is always thrilling, high-level, and in some way surprising. It could be an unexpected manual out of a thing by Casper Brooker, a Tom Knox line that never ends, or Mike Arnold scooping a switch backside 360 with such force and grace that he may very well have been guided by the cyclonic hand of god herself. Once you reach the end of an Atlantic Drift episode, you are simultaneously satisfied and hungry for more.

By the end of a Matt Tomasello video part, however, especially with his recent opus from Fancy Lad titled “Sink Juice,” the viewer is left wondering how much longer it could realistically go. The outright absurdity of the skateboarding, stunts, and gimmicks rush by at such a pace that it takes multiple watches to understand what Tomasello has done on and to his skateboard.

That base of surreality and humour is ever-present, but it’s cranked, pedal to the floor. The frantic VX fisheye does its best to capture whatever curious piece of trash Tomasello has willed skateable. It is chaotic, silly, startling, and demands your attention—a riding lawnmower driven down the autobahn. No one else does it quite like him. Just as no one else does it quite like Harris and the Atlantic Drift crew. While there may appear to be an ocean between them, a taught red thread binds the two below the surface: a willingness to have a lil (or a lot) of fun.

#OlympicQualifiers #RoadToParis2024 #Skateboarding #Recap

Rank: TBD
Mood: 🥇 🥈 🥉

Joseph Garbaccio during the Skateboarding Street World Championship semifinals.

Due to an unexplained delay, 2022’s Olympic Qualifier and Skateboarding Street World Championships wrapped up last weekend in Sharjah, UAE—in the first few days of 2023. While the #RoadToParis2024 continues this week with the 2022 Olympic Qualifiers and Skateboarding Park World Championships, back on the “street” side of things, it was a pretty entertaining affair.

The Women’s finals were another showcase of how quickly the skaters in that division advance skill-wise from event to event. From 12-year-old Chloe Covell’s flawless frontside flips down the three-block centrepiece to her and Momiji Nishiya flipping out of crooked grinds in regulation, it was an impressive back-and-forth contest. But of course, those efforts would all be for naught, as the queen of clutch, Rayssa Leal, would storm back from some early shakiness in the run section to claim the title with her signature speed, precision, and ability to kickflip into hard-as-hell tricks. Covell and Nishiya would earn second and third, respectively.

The Men’s finals lacked big names like Nyjah Huston (who’s out via injury) and defending Olympic champion Yuto Horigome (who stumbled and didn’t make it to the quarterfinals), leaving an opportunity for less established names. Slovakia’s Richard Tury would heelflip combo his way into fifth, Brazil’s Kelvin Hoefler would will himself to fourth place despite what appeared to be a potentially broken wrist, 12-year-old phenom Ginwoo Onadera did a number of flips into and out of front bluntslides to claim third for Japan, Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro was probably shorted a few points on a wild 360 flip nosebluntslide bigspin out to take second, and France’s Aurelien Giraud would hardflip revert his way to gold.

So, if we must in the year of our lord 2023: congrats to the 2022 World Street Skateboarding champions.

Spare thoughts

  • Canada’s Ryan Decenzo would land a nollie kickflip frontside lipslide on the gap-to-rail in the semifinals. This is a rare move that I think one could fairly categorize as “Canadian,” with Rick McCrank being the first(?) to pull one down a handrail in Menikmati and Paul Machnau backing him up seven years later in Globe’s United By Fate.
  • For an Olympic broadcast, the production quality was surprisingly “mid.” There were constant cuts to angles that didn’t capture skaters’ tricks fully; numerous instances where the camera didn’t cut away to an attempt at all, leaving the viewer to wait for the replay to see what went down; long delays with the judges’ deliberations that led producers to skip ahead to the next skater before we knew what the previous’ score was; and a lot of misnomering of tricks by the broadcast team (which I imagine is a hard gig, so not the end of the world).
  • That said, Chris Gregson’s follow-cam angles were fantastic and showed just how fast the skaters charge around the course, which isn’t always captured from above.
  • France’s Joseph Garbaccio, who is apparently a massively popular YouTuber with nearly 300k subscribers, wore a rainbow Thrasher t-shirt during the semifinals. It’s unclear if this was an act of protest against the UAE’s repressive laws that criminalize the LGBTQ+ community or if Garbaccio just wanted to rep The Bible.

Federal forfeiture flip

Rank: $21 CAD
Mood: 🛹🐼

Is there any connection between the recent turmoil at Dwindle Distribution and Dwindle brand Enjoi’s “forfeited” products being auctioned by the Government of Canada? No. According to the GCSurplus, what they usually sell are:

  • Surplus federal government assets such as furniture, cars, trucks, boats, farm equipment, and more
  • Forfeited goods from federal and provincial law enforcement agencies such as jewelry, collectors’ items, appliances, and more
  • Large-volume materials, such as metal, wood, or textiles

That means the board was probably confiscated at the border or seized by police for some totally legit reason they’d prefer us not to inquire about so the government can then turn around and make money off of it. However, is the tepid bidding on the board an unfortunate reflection of what looks to be Enjoi’s fate? Probably.

Like Kronk through an hourglass

Rank: 1, once more
Mood: 🐿

When we each look back on the shared history of skateboarding, most of it told through magazines and videos (and now social media), our individual timelines can often feel skewed. Subjective. A bit bunched up. What do you mean it’s been almost 15 years since Billy Marks’ last major video part? (Fallen Footwear’s Ride The Sky, 2008). With the speed skateboarding progresses now and how addled we’ve become by our constant consumption of new content, this effect seems magnified. Do younger generations even know who Billy Marks is or understand the outsized impact his beanie and mustache once had on skateboarding in the mid-late 2000s? Are the cultural touchstones of my youth now relics waiting to be unearthed?

This isn’t a new phenomenon, of course. It’s a regular part of our futile struggle against the passing of time. It’s why the old head at the skatepark brings up Skypager two minutes into every conversation. But has it always happened so quickly and with such force? The peripherals of our collective cultural vision feel like they’ve become a cliff as we speed ever faster into the future, the names we once knew flying off the edge of memory, floating in a sort of limbo, waiting for us to reach out and Remember Some Guys—Toan Nguyen, Pat Rakestraw, Bryan London, Anthony Mosley.

It’d be comforting to think that’s the case. However, what’s most likely happened is that I’ve simply become outmatched in the way we all eventually do. Time not moving any faster; it’s just me that’s slowed.

Something to consider: “Black skateboarders on the life and death of Tyre Nichols: ‘He was one of us. That could have been me’” By Niloufar Haidari for The Guardian.

Good things: Al Brown of Al’s Skate House on his dad, dunks, and giving it one more try.

Analytical thing: 4PLY is back with another breakdown of the Quartersnacks “Top 10,” and it’s full of all the fun data and charts you could ever hope for.

Podcast thing: I had a very nice time chatting with the Mostly Skateboarding gang about my “Bobby, Bolang, and those bootleg boards” story, Am Scramble, and more.

An Arizona thing: I’ll be at Slow Impact in Tempe next week. If you’re there and for some reason, know what I look like, say hello! I’ll also be reading some stuff at Kyle Beachy’s “Anything at All” event, which I’m very excited about. (Lookit that lineup!)

Poster by Worful

The everyday reality of being a skateboarder thing 😔:

Until next week… If you have the time, start your morning with a series of stretches. Loosen those muscles, flex those joints, and move the blood around your body at a considered, even pace. Maybe watch a pilates instructional on YouTube. Be careful, these are usually soundtracked by grating pop muzak, but you can always mute them and turn the closed captioning on.