Nutritional slime | Simply Ranked

Plus: Ryan Sheckler is bromaxxing, Zero's fourth wind, Tony Hawk retired in 2003, and more.

Nutritional slime | Simply Ranked

The definitive weekly ranking and analysis of all the skateboarding and other things online that I cannot stop consuming and how it makes me feel, personally.


Rank: 1
Mood: 💪💪💪💪

It shouldn't be unexpected; in fact, it's only natural that a decent percentage of professional skateboarders, old and new, would at some point vigorously pursue a personal transformation into a Bro. This shouldn't be a surprise because most of us, in ways large and small, are Bros. It's a state of being we can slip into and out of that isn't always easy to describe, but immediate is one's ability to recognize it. The Bro just carries an unmistakable energy.

The Bro isn't inherently good or bad, although the Bro is historically a vector for some of society's worst tendencies. There are levels to the Bro. Most are harmless, like your loveable golden retriever-esque cousin, similar to the Travis Kelce model. Many are just regular dudes who happen to be Bros. Others are Barstool insufferable. Then a concerning percentage exists in or around the Manosphere and aligns themselves along a spectrum from Joe Rogan to Jordan Peterson, Andrew Tate, or Bronze Age Pervert. These are the disaffected and gullible who would rather believe and spew hate in order to explain our crumbling societies and deteriorating planet ("woke" as a catch-all bogeyman) than accept that capitalism and its attendant political cronyism and purposeful crushing of labour power have worked to create a deeply inequitable culture where money and influence are concentrated with very few who have no desire to help those in need, so we fight amongst ourselves and not the systems that buttress our collective suffering. They may also love the New England Patriots and kettlebells.

As for Ryan Scheckler's recent embrace of Brodom, I think he just wants to be himself — fully, finally. On March 14, Etnies Footwear, his long-time shoe sponsor, posted to Instagram a thanks and farewell to Shecks after 27 years of service to their brand. He had been on the team longer than the majority of the current Etnies skateboarding team has been alive.

Now, Sheckler is endorsed by Municipal, a "sport utility gear" company co-founded by Mark Wahlberg. While Municipal doesn't have skate shoes, according to an Instagram comment from Sheckler, they will at some point in future (fingers crossed).

Via @shecks on Instagram

It's not hard to imagine the appeal of riding for a brand like this for Sheckler. He is one of skateboarding's earliest and most prominent Bros, and this is a company created by and for the Bro. Wahlberg is excruciatingly Bro-y. From bringing us Entourage, saying he would've stopped 9/11 if he had the chance, to going to jail for committing a hate crime. Now, like most contemporary Bros, Wahlberg has fully engaged his Grindset. So much so that he's taken the hustle-culture-minded approach of his aesthetic-averse clothing brand Municipal (whose tagline is Dream, Plan, Hustle, Repeat) and applied it to an app called Hallow that you use to keep track of how often you pray, like Strava for Christians.


Because of course there are religious Bros. Wahlberg must also consider them the easiest marks of his Broalition — you're going to pay to pray? The famously free thing that anyone can do from anywhere? Anyhow, Sheckler, a recent convert, attributes his finding god to the complete frontside 180 (positive) his life took after extended issues with substance abuse. That is genuinely good for him and one of the more fascinating parts of his adult life that his puff-piece documentary from last year didn't touch on at any length, and has to be one of the reasons Sheckler is associating with Wahlberg, of Hallow fame. However, one has to imagine the clincher is that Shecks loves golf — he has his own long-running golf tournament for Christ's sake — and Municipal makes golf shit. It's a match made in heaven.

Question: In skateboarding, has there been anything more Bro'd than riding for Mark Wahlberg's "sport utility gear" company? What about Danny Way recording Nickleback-esque butt rock?

I poke fun, but as long as it makes you happy and you aren't also allegedly getting involved in hate crimes, grifting others, or allowing yourself to be grifted by a dangerous idealogue-cum-influencer, there's nothing wrong with being a Bro or even just trying it out. Who knows, maybe you'll like throwing those kettlebells around.

Nutritional slime

Rank: 20
Mood: 🚱

Personally, I think it's great that the Youtubing Dern Bros. are now hawking a disgusting and, in all likelihood, functionally useless product like AG1 in their videos. First, it's awesome that they're finally getting sponsorship money from the constant stream of generally enjoyable content they produce week after week. That incessant grind has helped them grow their YouTube channel to over 109k subscribers in a relatively short period of time.

It also illustrates how unserious a product like AG1 (formerly known as Athletic Greens), a supposed nutritional drink, is that they'd get the Dern Bros. to promote it. That's no slight on the Bros. as people; they all seem very nice and do good work. I just would not put anything in my body that they suggested I should, which is unfortunate because they do such an excellent job of promoting it.

If you've listened to any sports podcasts, or any podcast in general, over the last few years, you've likely been subjected to a torrent of AG1 ads. During the spot, the host will read the provided ad script as if under duress, promise you they drink AG1 every morning even though they almost certainly don't, and then move on as quickly as possible. The Dern Bros. also do that, to be sure, but they're also measuring the height and length of the Skyline 20 Stair while doing so, presumably with Tommy Sandoval in attendance, and to me, that rules.

That said, hopefully, it doesn't convince anyone to actually purchase and ingest AG1. In Kerry Howley's wild Andrew Huberman feature for NY Mag this week, there is a cutting aside about the product Huberman has pitched with a fervour on his podcast.

It is one thing to hear Athletic Greens promoted by Joe Rogan; it is perhaps another to hear someone who sells himself as a Stanford University scientist just back from the lab proclaim that this $79-a-month powder “covers all of your foundational nutritional needs.” In an industry not noted for its integrity, AG1 is, according to writer and professional debunker Derek Beres, “one of the most egregious players in the space.” Here we have a powder that contains, according to its own marketing, 75 active ingredients, far more than the typical supplement, which would seem a selling point but for the inconveniences of mass. As performance nutritionist Adam McDonald points out, the vast number of ingredients indicates that each ingredient, which may or may not promote good health in a certain dose, is likely included in minuscule amounts, though consumers are left to do the math themselves; the company keeps many of the numbers proprietary. “We can be almost guaranteed that literally every supplement or ingredient within this proprietary blend is underdosed,” explains McDonald; the numbers, he says, don’t appear to add up to anything research has shown to be meaningful in terms of human health outcomes. And indeed, “the problem with most of the probiotics is they’re typically not concentrated enough to actually colonize,” one learns from Dr. Layne Norton in a November 2022 episode of Huberman Lab. (AG1 argues that probiotics are effective and that the 75 ingredients are “included not only for their individual benefit, but for the synergy between them — how ingredients interact in complex ways, and how combinations can lead to additive effects.”) “That’s the good news about podcasts,” Huberman said when Wendy Zukerman of Science Vs pointed out that her podcast would never make recommendations based on such tenuous research. “People can choose which podcast they want to listen to.”

It's doubtful that the Dern Bros. know or care about the efficacy of AG1 or the tenuous research it touts, a dynamic that makes it strangely endearing to see them struggle to fully commit to the facade of knowledge and expertise that the ad read demands of them. At one point in the Skyline 20 Stair video, they cut to Kanaan Dern, who is at home mixing himself a bottle of pseudo-nutritional slime and gives it a ringing endorsement.

"Yeah, I was surprised that actually tasted really good cuz usually stuff like that doesn't." Sold.

Zero 2 Hero

Rank: 0
Mood: 💀😄

You're telling me Brazilian tech powerhouse Wilton Souza rides for — let me make sure I have this right — Zero Skateboards? Next you'll tell me that 20-year-old Japanese wünderkind and legitimate Olympic hopeful Kairi Netsuke, who recently won a World Skate qualifier event in Dubai, is also on the team.

Skull on podium via @kairi.netsuke on Instagram.

Huh, okay. But the company wouldn't also do something cool like give Leo Romero a guest board and have him lean into the nostalgia that made many of us love Zero as young skateboarders, right? "If you weren't at that level of Zero at that time, to me, you just weren't it... I've always wanted to ride for [them]. To be pro for Zero for a little bit — why the fuck not?" Romero says in a promotional video for the very real and cool guest board.

What's going on here? Is Zero having a moment? After nearly 30 years of existence, does Jamie Thomas and the gang have another wind in them? And are they even, perhaps, evolving? It seems they might be. And that's for the best, because if I were going to jump back on the bandwagon, given how my own evolution has gone, there is absolutely no way I'd fit into my old skinny jeans and tattered black band tees.

Dave! Dave. Over here.

Rank: 1
Mood: ✍️

One thing I appreciate about mainstream media's perception of skateboarding is its consistent inability to grasp it on a most basic level. Like, say, what a skateboard even is. That lack of understanding is likely why outlets like The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal will ask talented writers and skateboarders (and, most importantly, my pals) like Michael Christie and José Vadi to review skateboarding-adjacent products like hoverboards or electric skateboards. These are things that resemble the skateboard or, at the very least, do a hyperbolic reinterpretation of their base ability: rolling around.

In the end, the editors at these prestigious outlets who assigned these pieces made the right call, because Vadi wrote the shit out of his review of some new-to-market electric skateboards, as did Christie for the hoverboard back in 2016. So maybe what they were always after was this deeper, more compelling angle, an anthropological bent where the skateboarder seeks to understand some alien version of themself.

David Remnick, if you're reading this (and why wouldn't you be), I will happily review a hardboard, Heelies, or whatever for your esteemed publication.

Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na Skatebirds

Rank: 1982-2003
Mood: 🦤🦃🦉🦆

Tony Hawk Kickflips Into Animated TV With ‘Skatebirds’ Children’s Series
Skateboard legend Tony Hawk is developing ‘Skatebirds’, an animated series from Laughing Dragon Studios.

Speaking of mainstream media not understanding skateboarding, Deadline recently touched on the announced development of Skatebirds, a new Tony Hawk-backed animated kid's series. The author does the thing that most do when tasked with writing about skateboarding or any other specific cultural corner they are not familiar with: awkwardly and incorrectly shoehorning jargon into the piece wherever they can.

The article title is, "Tony Hawk Flips Into Animated TV With ‘Skatebirds’ Children’s Series,'" which reads as "Tony Hawk Kickflips Into Animated TV With ‘Skatebirds’ Children’s Series'" on the link preview above. Neither makes sense. The lede then states that "Tony Hawk long ago conquered the skateboarding world and next up on his list of tricks is animation." Is animation a trick? A trick to be conquered?

Then there is the obligatory Tony Hawk bio blurb that gives context to our central character's importance, all of which appears to be ripped from Wikipedia. The piece says that "Hawk was a professional skater between 1982 and 2003," which is wrong. That appears to be in reference to Hawk retiring from competition in 2003, which his Wikipedia page frames as the end of his professional career.

Via Tony's Wiki.

But even then, he competed in the X Games as recently as last year. And there's the obvious fact that he has never stopped being a professional skateboarder, given there is an endless catalogue of products with his name on them, up to and including skateboards, the defining feature of being a professional skateboarder. Perhaps that's too subtle of a cultural nuance for the uninitiated to understand or care to put effort into fact-checking — but shouldn't one at least try to have standards? Perhaps Deadline doesn't employ editors, or maybe they incorporate AI-generated slop in their work. That would explain the soulless, grammatically fractured passages like "Hawk was a professional skater between 1982 and 2003, known for the first documented successful ‘900’ trick. He and later licensed his name to Activision, which build a video game franchise named after him, and branched out into numerous fields." Yeesh. The author also, at one point, refers to Skatebirds, the subject of their article, as Skateboards.

Not quite.

Does any of this really matter? This lazy misunderstanding of basic facts in the life of skateboarding's biggest name in an article that is essentially a regurgitated press release isn't going to hurt anyone. But what is concerning is the lack of effort presented and that this appears to have not even been written by a human. And if it has, man, I hope they're okay.

Something to consider:

The Brutal Conditions Facing Palestinian Prisoners
Since the attacks of October 7th, Israel has held thousands of people from Gaza and the West Bank in detention camps and prisons.

Good thing:

Bonus Ted B. in conversation with Ben Dietz of the excellent [SIC] newsletter:

Another good thing: Farran Golding has a great feature on Paul Young's Down By Law in the latest issue of Closer. (And what a cover!)

That's right, more good thing:

Cellar Doors: Pretty Words, Grimy Living, and Skateboarding — VILLAGE PSYCHIC
“You might interpret the nails in the door as a precursor to skatestoppers.”

Good podcast things:

Episode 75 - Gustav Edén | Ausha
Episode 75 with Gustav Edén, skateboarder and project manager for the city of Malmö, Sweden. Together we discussed his life and career, from growing up between Gothenburg and Lund in the 80’s, riding for Unabomber Skateboards and Octagon Wheels while living in London and Australia in the late 90’s and 2000’s before moving back to Sweden and eventually becoming the skateboarding coordinator for the city of Malmö in 2014 among many other things through surprise questions from long-time friends of his: James Woodley and Ali Cairns, Will Harmon, Martin Stahlman, Wig Worland, David Gough, Morgan Campbell, Paul Silvester, Dan Magee, Ted Barrow, John Dahlquist, Leo Sharp, Kyle Beachy, Léo Valls, Chris Lawton, Peter Hellicar, Rich Holland, Mia Erlandsson, Toby Alexander, Sigurd Tvete aka Siggy, Viet N’Guyen, Martin Ottosson and Danijel Stankovic aka Jugga.(00:13) – Intro(01:25) – Gustav life recap(09:52) – James Woodley and Ali Cairns(23:22) – Will Harmon(30:40) – Martin Stahlman (35:16) – Wig Worland(41:48) – David Gough (45:45) – Morgan Campbell(48:25) – Paul Silvester (50:12) – Dan Magee(55:30) – Ted Barrow(01:08:33) – John Dahlquist (01:14:42) – Leo Sharp(01:18:50) – Kyle Beachy(01:22:20) – Léo Valls(01:30:52) – Chris Lawton(01:38:44) – Peter Hellicar(01:45:45) – Rich Holland(01:50:04) – Mia Erlandsson (02:10:12) – Toby Alexander(02:13:49) – Sigurd Tvete aka Siggy (02:19:16) – Viet N’Guyen(02:21:01) – Martin Ottosson(02:29:50) – Danijel Stankovic aka Jugga(02:35:00) – ConclusionFor more information and resources:

Me thing: I'm launching my new book this coming Wednesday. Come through if you like. No pressure. I'll then be in the Bay Area for the launch of José Vadi's excellent new book, Chipped, on April 15. Come through to that one, too. Follow my two-stop book tour like a Deadhead.

I also talked to the CBC about my book and they dubbed it "quirky yet insightful." I'll take it.

There is ‘a lot of beauty’ in the Western Canadian communities that inspired writer Cole Nowicki | CBC Radio
The Vancouver writer spoke with The Next Chapter’s Ryan B. Patrick about his essay collection Laser Quit Smoking Massage — and the real-life home business that inspired its quirky title.

Until next week… if you find yourself with a mysterious abdominal pain and the doctor is unsure whether it's an appendix on the verge of bursting or a big fart that's been backed up for days, take a deep breath. This could be something or nothing. Everything or air. Try to rip one. Try not to worry about ripping an internal organ. It might just go away. Or you might. Wait, what did I say about not worrying?

Laser Quit Smoking Massage

NEWEST PRESS, available April 1, 2024


I have a new collection of essays coming out this spring that you can preorder now. I think you might like it. The Edmonton Journal thinks it's a "local book set to make a mark in 2024." Please do not tell them that I no longer live in Alberta.

Book cover by the wonderful Hiller Goodspeed.

Preorder the thing

Right, Down + Circle



I wrote a book about the history and cultural impact of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater that you can find at your local bookshop or order online now. I think you might like this one, too.

Here’s what Michael Christie, Giller Prize-nominated author of the novels Greenwood and If I Fall, If I Die, had to say about the thing.

“With incisive and heartfelt writing, Cole Nowicki unlocks the source code of the massively influential cultural phenomenon that is Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, and finds wonderful Easter-eggs of meaning within. Even non-skaters will be wowed by this examination of youth, community, risk, and authenticity and gain a new appreciation of skateboarding’s massive influence upon our larger culture. This is my new favorite book about skateboarding, which isn’t really about skateboarding — it’s about everything.”

Photo via The Palomino.

Order the thing