Low-effort travel blog, episode 1 of 1 | Simply Ranked

Plus: Hawk bets, boardyceps, farewell enjoi, and more.

Low-effort travel blog, episode 1 of 1 | 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.

Hawk (positive), chop (negative), and prop (bet)

Rank: 2:1
Mood: 🦅💸

The American football team with the culturally insensitive name and wildly offensive fan-favourite hand gesture (that compounds in terribleness when translated to German) won the big match on Sunday and is now the absolute champion of the game they play, for this year, at least. As is my annual tradition, I did not watch the Super Bowl. Instead, I caught brief glimpses of it on social media, which is the correct way to absorb mass cultural events.

From what I gathered, the season finale of American football was a good back-and-forth affair with a dash of controversy, as the best sporting moments tend to be. At some point, it was also agreed upon that all viewers would attempt to make variations of the same joke about Rihanna existing in the Super Smash Bros. universe.

Then there was the time-honoured observance and exaltation of the commercials that aired during the game’s broadcast. A strange custom that speaks to how our collective culture has been willfully and gleefully poisoned by consumerism. It’s become especially strange in recent years as the quality of these multi-million dollar advertisements is virtually non-existent—just absolute dogshit viewing that we can’t get enough of. A segment of the Canadian audience has whined for years about not being able to see American commercials due to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's (CRTC) use of simultaneous substitution that allows Canadian broadcasters to sell commercial airtime to local marketers on U.S. network signals it purchases the rights to.

That means for those of us who live north of the 49th, we weren’t able to feast on garbage like this:

The best part of this DraftKings ad is, of course, Tony Hawk’s cameo. That’s my bias and that’s fine. His unfortunate foray into NFTs notwithstanding, Hawk is the rare public personality that seems to be able to avoid the scrutiny others face when they shill for brand after brand after brand. I’ve theorized before that his ability to be genuinely earnest and self-aware allows him to float by unscathed and has helped him adopt a sort of father figure role in popular culture. I’d assume that some of Hawk’s self-awareness is a calculated part of his public-facing persona, ready to be used as a marketing cudgel like when DraftKings appeared to reference Hawk breaking his femur when trying to “surpass his limits” in a recent online ad.

But, whatever. Do your thing, Tony. Sports betting is probably just as fruitless and personally damaging to one’s finances as investing in NFTs, but at least it’s more fun than paying cold hard for a JPG.


Rank: 2
Mood: 🍄

In a surprising but welcome development, HBO’s adaptation of the beloved survival horror videogame The Last Of Us is good. In fact, I’d contend that it’s great. The series, as the game does so well, explores how and what humanity sacrifices to survive in the wake of an apocalyptic fungal pandemic. Craig Mazin, the creator and writer of the television series (alongside the game’s writer and co-creator Neil Druckman), has said in interviews that the show is built around the idea of love. How love pushes some to continue on, drives others to the brink, and how some are able to find it in the seemingly infinite darkness of the world they inhabit.

It’s so well done that I struggle to find anything about it that rubs me the wrong way or is somehow “wrong” with it. Then I spotted something in last week’s episode (another particularly heart-rending affair following the uniquely gorgeous vignette that was episode three)—what I believed to be a minor flaw, a loose thread that one could pull on to find an error in continuity. In the show, the world ended in 2003, but during one scene in a rundown apartment, we see a flash of a Blind Skateboards complete. I was sure that this was a board out of time, that Blind’s “OG Logo” graphic didn’t come out until at least 2005 when Morgan Smith could be found with it plastered large and loud across one of his billowing t-shirts.

I was ready to tweet my findings to the world and “@” HBO with a good-natured but otherwise worthless gotcha. But a quick search of the internet would quickly deflate my fun, with Logopedia informing me that the “OG Logo” has been in use since 2003. Kudos, you talented bastards.


Rank: 3
Mood: 🪪

Wow, it’s official: Austyn Gillette has now made an appearance in the patented Simple Magic “Simply Ranked” Friday post for two weeks in a row. Could he make it to three, the vaunted “Simply Ranked” hat-trick? It’s a feat that’s never been done. Is it even possible? That remains to be seen. Given Gillette’s recent Thrasher cover, you’d imagine he has a video part of some sort up his sleeve. If I were his manager, I’d advise him to drop it on either Monday or Tuesday of next week so I have ample to write about it—if it’s worthy of the three-peat, that is.

For now, we have Former’s recent edit, “Composed Till Now,” to focus on. It’s good! Shit, I liked it a lot. Gillette looks so great on a skateboard. Jake Anderson makes an appearance, which is always appreciated. There are also a bunch of other guys in it—no idea who any of them are. Their names are listed in the YouTube video description but nowhere else. They all rip, though. I just don’t know how to address them. The youngster in there is particularly impressive; early Donovan Piscopo vibes. He skates like he’s ready to shoot a double-leg takedown on you.

I’d hoped we’d move out of the no-title-card era of skateboarding videos. Progress is never made in a straight line, however. I’d just like to know who it is I’m watching skateboard. A seemingly simple request that I can only imagine is refuted out of spite at this point.


Rank: Not good
Mood: 💔

Louie Barletta announced his departure from enjoi as brand manager and team rider on Tuesday, along with what appears to be the rest of the remaining team. This follows the dissolution of the team and management of another Dwindle Distribution brand, Madness, just a few weeks earlier. From all accounts, the end of enjoi as we know it came at the hand of Transom Capital Group, the private equity firm that owns Bravo Sports, the company that acquired Dwindle in 2019.

I previously reached out to Transom for comment on the cause of the restructuring at these Dwindle brands but never heard back. One can assume that they’re doing the thing that private equity firms are designed to do: buy ailing companies, strip them for parts, see if they can make some money from them, and if not, sell the bones to the next interested party.

With John Dilo recently announcing on Instagram that he’d left Almost Skateboards, it looks like other Dwindle brands might also be getting “streamlined.” What this means for the entire stable going forward is unclear. Will they become shells of themselves, whatever remaining name value they have used to sell cheap completes to Target and the like? It wouldn’t be surprising. Darkstar and Blind have been doing a version of that for years. However, they’ve (so far) been able to manage it while maintaining a full roster of skateboarders. Could that also mean that a few years down the line, once enjoi gets flush with department store money, we see Barletta and company return? Who knows. Anything at this point is speculation. The only thing for sure is that this is the end of an era.

Low-effort Slow Impact travel blog, episode 1 of 1

Rank: 1
Mood: 🌵⛱️

On Wednesday afternoon, I landed in Phoenix, Arizona, to attend Slow Impact, a self-described “skate vacation in the desert.” My Uber driver from the airport to my Airbnb kindly pointed out and identified each type of cactus we drove past. Unprompted, she also revealed that she has stomach issues that make air travel difficult, so she tries not to eat or drink before takeoff.

I had a Cornish pasty from Cornish Pasty Co immediately after dropping my belongings off. I chose the Roast Beef Sarnie pasty, which contains “house roasted beef, red and green peppers, portobello, onions, Cheddar-Swiss blend.” It came with a wonderful horseradish sour cream that I used liberally. I also had three cups of coffee.

Christian looking at Allan who’s wondering if anything can be done here.

On Thursday, instead of finishing this newsletter in a timely fashion, I met up with nice fellas Christian, Adam, and Allan. We went and explored a few of the many ledges and ditches that the greater Phoenix area has to offer. It was fun. It’s also why this section is phoned in.

This thing. #BossShit

As I write this, none of the Slow Impact events have started yet, so I can’t even give you a recap. Sorry. [Editor’s note: the meet-and-greet happened last night and it was a very good time] I just had a shower after getting dirty in the ditch above and am currently sitting in my underwear drinking Brita-filtered water and trying to finish this thing. Not sure how people manage to fly out over that tabletop, though. A riddle none of us tried to crack.

This sunset is actually from Wednesday night, but it felt like the best photo to end with because it is beautiful. Please enjoy it. Thank you for reading.

Something to consider: Getting into hats.

True things:

Until next week… If you find yourself with the opportunity to enjoy a Cornish pasty, don’t wait. Don’t hesitate. Just indulge.