Steve Berra shames a teen | Simply Ranked

Plus: Paris 2024, Olympic brain freeze, King of Fedoras, and more.

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.

Adult Steve Berra calls teenage Dylan Jaeb scared for dropping out of BATB 12

Rank: 1
Mood: 🤨

48-year-old Steve Berra had a great backside flip. Hell, he did one over an airplane. He even had a surprisingly robust overall flatground arsenal in his day. He also runs his own skateboarding content mill known as The Berrics. They produce compilation videos of Berra’s backside flips and host contests like Battle at The Berrics, which pits professional and amateur skateboarders against each other in games of S.K.A.T.E.

I personally enjoy watching BATB. It’s a contest, sure, but for the most part, it still feels chummy, like watching your own pals try to dust each other in a Safeway Parking lot. Sometimes you get to witness the awe-inspiring precision of a Luan Oliveira or see games with dramatic, near thrilling swings in momentum.

This year’s BATB features a 64-person bracket. Logistically, organizing that many skaters and keeping a competition schedule like that intact is a serious feat. Now add that we’re in the midst of a global pandemic and it gets even hairier. People are bound to drop out due to illness, travel restrictions, or just not being into it. Or as Berra put it in his “BRACKET UPDATE!” video in which he speaks directly to us, the viewer.

“…there’s a lot of pressure that goes into these games, [skateboarders] all know that hundreds of thousands of you are going to be watching… to destroy them in the comments and on social media later.

Sometimes if you play [BATB game footage] in like a quarter motion, you’ll see as someone bends down to do a nollie flip their legs will shake. So people get nervous, and people drop out.”

Berra goes on to say that this is normal and is totally fine. “No harm, no foul.”

17-year-old Dylan Jaeb also has a great backside flip. And every trick, really. But Jaeb decided to turn down the opportunity to be in the contest, which Berra addresses in the video.

“He says he’s not feeling good. When I see him skate he looks pretty good, but I understand that he’s not feeling good, especially because he’s the guy who I think could take it all, and that’s a lot of pressure and he’s not feeling 100%, so he’s dropping out.”

No harm, no foul, Steven.

King of Fedoras drops their CV in violence

Rank: 2
Mood: 🦟

ESPN+, DAZN, Hulu, YouTube TV, Fender Play — you can’t have them all, not in this economy. That is why I’ve decided to commit to learning how to play the guitar and being hyper-vigilant about having my adblocker up-to-date when watching sports online.

If you also subscribe to this model of sports viewing, then you’re familiar with the “live chat” boxes that sit beside the video window on whatever completely legal URL you’ve landed on. You’d assume that this is where lively discussions about the sporting event at hand live, but you’ve been on the internet before, so you know that these small, pixellated portals lead straight to hell. Each anonymous poster sitting in a roiling pool of pure bile, splashing around in the muck, crafting hateful, fragmented sentences that flash on your screen in quick procession if you’re not fast enough to hit the ‘X’ in the small corner of the chat window once the screen loads.

Sometimes, however, you can catch a small piece of contextless conversation that is an island among the vitriol. A glorious non-sequitur like a bug trapped in amber — it only stays in that glorious condition if it remains trapped.

What did @Bobaloobi say to tease this not-so-veiled threat out of the King of Fedoras? I don’t care to ever find out.

Paris 2024

Rank: 3
Mood: 😤😤😤

Some of us have been wondering how skateboarding being in the Olympics will affect skateboarding as a culture and an industry. I’d say it’s too early to tell, but if Team Canada’s Shay Sandiford is any indication, it’s going to make skaters very confident, inspired, stylish, and a pleasure to be stuck in an elevator with.

Olympic-level brain freeze

Rank: 4
Mood: 🥤 🤕

Speaking of Team Canada, this country’s Olympic skaters were given a surprising honour in the leadup to the summer games: they turned pro for 7-11.

Getting your own pro-model Slurpee cup? That rules. I mean that sincerely. Do the skaters get royalties? Doubtful, but I’d say this is at least cooler than pro-model bearings.

Ben Simmons, look to David Reyes

Rank: 5
Mood: 😔🏀

Ben, we know you’re in a tough spot. Your team doesn’t want you, you don’t want them. You feel lost. Unappreciated. The Instagram videos of you draining threes in the offseason aren’t convincing people the way they had in seasons past after your playoff runs imploded.

Don’t give up, though. Remember the parable of David Reyes. He was on Foundation Skateboards for years, went overlooked and was eventually cut. But he kept at it. He refined his skills as he sat in stasis on Plan B flow for a weirdly long period of time. Then once he was ready, he jumped ship and unleashed a phenomenal pro part that includes a 360-flip noseblunt slide down Clipper…

…for Thank You Skateboards. Is this a perfect analogy? No. Which is fine. Just keep working on it. And Ben, if you wind up on the Raptors, we’ll be rooting for you.

Skaters eating horse paste?

Rank: Ugh
Mood: 🚫🐴

This week, a pallid, drawn-out, COVID-skeptic yet now COVID-positive Joe Rogan repeatedly popped up in my Twitter timeline. In a recent self-filmed video, he admitted to taking the FDA not-approved horse deworming medication Ivermectin as treatment. Each time the video appears in my feed it’s accompanied by a quote tweet that rightfully dunks on him for his continued and unadulterated dumbassery.

Unfortunately, the man advocating for the ingestion of horse goo has a very large audience, one that Spotify paid him $100 million for. As I notice the occasional pro skater share clips from Rogan’s podcast on Instagram, it makes me wonder; will we see any slap an Ivermectin sticker on their board? Scrawl its name across their grip? Get a box?

In Vancouver on Wednesday, a depressingly large crowd of over 5,000 anti-vaxxers gathered near city hall and Vancouver General Hospital. They jeered healthcare workers and bellowed chants of “lock her up” at British Columbia’s Chief Public Health Officer after the province announced it would require proof of vaccination for people entering some non-essential events, services, and businesses.

In one video from the protest, the crowd reluctantly shuffles aside for an ambulance, the clip ending with the reveal of a lone skateboarder in the street. We don’t know if they’re a supporter or unwitting bystander, but they’re now trapped in this inglorious context. In landscape, in amber. Perhaps tipsy off a pint of dewormer.

Something to consider: Surveillance state second angles

Good things: Jokamundo, Ace trucks

Until next week… just post your clip.