Skateboarding for Dummies, by Daewon | Simply Ranked

Plus: Heitor's X Factor, Supreme's price tag, Metallica x... USA Skateboarding? and more.

Skateboarding for Dummies, by Daewon | 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.

Looking cool as hell

Rank: 1
Mood: 😎

The "X factor" is a murky concept. Most dictionaries would define an X factor as an indescribable quality that sets a person or thing apart from its peers. Maybe it's stage presence, sleek design, or vocal pitch. What it looks for is a way to label a person or thing appealing without having to get granular, to gesture toward our desires instead of poking them like the festering boils they are.

But we should use our words and free ourselves of these sweeping nothings that only do a disservice to the thing about our interests that interest us. Case in point, if anyone in the current crop of professional skateboarders could be described as having that opaque, bordering on mystical X factor, it would be Heitor Silva. His cavalier style — both in dress and on-board ability — has made every bit of skateboarding media he's involved in appointment viewing.

Yes, he is technically gifted. Yes, he has otherworldly control. Yes, his trick selection is tastefully refined — but plenty of skateboarders out there fit that bill. So what is this X factor that has him amongst the coveted ranks of Palace Skateboards and receiving his own adidas shell toe colourway, as celebrated in his latest video part HEJTOR?

If we are to use our words, it's that thing he does with his arms.


You know what I mean.


The way they react to each movement with the awkward yet conditioned grace of a sauced-up ballet dancer doing a sobriety test.


Often mimicking the arc of a scythe or the path of the rising sun.


Those arms, completely flailing yet preternaturally precise, keep him so stable and comfortable despite everything signalling to the contrary that he doesn't even need to look at the road ahead. All these bodily reactions make his skateboarding incredibly rewarding to watch. That's his X factor: looking cool as hell.

Skateboarding for Dummies, by Daewon

Rank: 19.99
Mood: 🤔

Out of morbid and duty-bound curiosity, I purchased the e-book version of Daewon Song's Skateboarding For Dummies, which will be available in paperback from Wiley Publishing on June 5.

I spent a good chunk of my Sunday afternoon skimming through it, highlighting the bits I thought were funny, strange, or surprisingly illuminating. While it would be easy to be blanketly critical of a book called Skateboarding for Dummies — and there is a lot to be critical of within, to be sure — overall, this is a fascinating document: One of skateboarding's greats has lent his voice (or, at the very least, his name) to a once ubiquitous self-help brand.

It's unclear if Song worked with a ghostwriter when putting together this 320-page tome. He credits "'the wizard,' Joe Kraynak for polishing my prose and making it more presentable," and there are a series of Song-centric anecdotes that appear to be in his voice, along with some astute insights about skateboarding's culture and industry that feel authentic to a veteran like himself. But there's also a number of sections full of awkward phrasing and misleading or incorrect observations that ring of someone else's hand or perhaps someone doing their best to massage the copy-pasted vomit of a large language model.


Maybe that awkwardness in the screenshot above results from how punishingly difficult it can be to explain minute nuances in skateboarding culture to the uninitiated. However, in the chapter "Get a Job: Making a Living in The World of Professional Skateboarding," there is an aside from Song where he writes that as the industry has evolved, there are now more money-making avenues for PRO and AM skateboarders.

These days, seeing all the potential opportunities with sponsorships, modeling gigs, and cameos in big productions on top of huge endorsements can help any parent sleep better at night knowing their kid is heading down the “I wanna be a professional skateboarder” path.

Given the state of the industry, where most board brands struggle to stay afloat and sponsored athletes can only commit to skateboarding full-time if they have the backing of a major shoe, energy drink, and sundry other paying sponsors, that's unexpected and potentially irresponsible framing as only a select few ever secure those perks. Song does note that professional skateboarding is a difficult path to pursue, but the overly optimistic framing of its rewards still feels surprisingly out of touch.

For the most part, though, he remains grounded. There's a whole section on the importance of supporting local skateshops and their unheralded role in the broader culture (while later on comically plugging the webshop of his brand: " can go to brand websites such as to check out an assortment of beautiful boards and graphics.") He even pushes back against cultural gatekeeping.

...some people in the skateboarding community became very upset to see non-skating celebrities wearing a sweater with a Thrasher magazine logo on it. They didn’t consider those people worthy of representing the culture wearing such an iconic brand. But who was it bad for? Not Thrasher. It sent those sweaters flying off the shelves!

I don’t see that kind of behavior as disrespectful. I’ve worn a Harley Davidson shirt even though I don’t have a deep and authentic connection with the biker culture. I think people need to realize that you can like something without being a culture vulture.

Skateboarding For Dummies is likely the most painfully detailed account we have on "what" skateboarding "is." In densely packed bullet-point form, it describes skateboarding's history, provides general instructions on how to ride one, and attempts to demystify its cultural milieu. It might not get everything right, is painfully geared toward a "Dummies" audience and, yes, chapter 3 is called "Choosing your steeze," but it could honestly be a lot worse. I'm not sure I'd suggest purchasing it, but I wouldn't go as far as to tell someone not to, which I think is as good as it gets.

Market rumours or speculation

Rank: 2.1 billy
Mood: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Supreme for Sale? VF Said to Be Shopping the Streetwear Brand
VF is also said to have hired Goldman Sachs as it reviews its portfolio.

That's what a spokesperson for VF Corp, the current owner of Supreme, called Women's Wear Daily's inquiry into whether the conglomerate was looking to sell the luxury streetwear brand.

“As a matter of policy, we don’t comment on market rumors or speculation.”

These rumblings come at an uncertain moment for Supreme. Once a darling in the fashion and skateboarding world, massive investment by war-profiteering private equity firm the Carlyle Group in 2017 would lead to Supreme's $1 billion valuation and eventual $2.1 billion sale to VF Corp in 2020. The former resulted in significant public criticism, and the latter only made things worse, turning a brand whose ethos and business model could be described as "detached scarcity" into one that needed to keep investors happy by only ever making more money. A business typically satiates that hunger for endless growth by selling more goods or services. Scarcity helped build Supreme's mystique, which helped make Supreme not just "cool" but a financially viable company at a manageable scale. These were fates immediately at odds.

On top of that, being owned by the same (currently flagging) conglomerate that has Vans, Timberland, and Jansport under its umbrella doesn't scream "authentic streetwear." Or as one anonymous “investment banker who works in the fashion space" told WWD, “The brand got too big to continue to be cool.” Which, yeah, exactly.

Purchasing an overpriced Supreme t-shirt used to be a capital-bound signifier of your awareness or belonging to "street" or skateboarding culture. Now, all purchasing an overpriced Supreme t-shirt relays to the public is that you're probably a particular brand of douchey-bro (no offence). That's the effect capitalism has on everything you know and love that can be bought and sold. As a company can be bought and sold, so can its meaning.

A new barbershop recently opened in my neighbourhood. It took over the space from a longstanding business and community hub that recently had to call it quits. Now, the new owner has attempted a minimalist interior design that involves a nauseating amount of hazard orange; each chair has a Supreme-branded apron and, at least according to its social media presence, is run by and has a clientele of mostly gangly teenagers, also clad in Supreme, who style themselves on that particular brand of douchey-bro.

That's not a knock on the youngster's entrepreneurial spirit; it's just the reality of what Supreme has become: another logo signifying nothing but the money spent on it. The attachment that red rectangle and italic Futura font had to the culture it stole from and inspired has long been severed, leaving them in this existential lurch, which is probably fitting since they stole that, too.

More logos, more money (hopefully)

Rank: 4
Mood: 👨‍🎤

Noted rock-and-roll band and murderers of Napster, Metallica, are engaged in an ongoing partnership of sorts with USA Skateboarding and Adaptive Action Sports. Last December, they announced the #toofargonechallenge Instagram giveaway, which prompted skateboarders to upload a video of themselves skating to their song "Too Far Gone" for the chance to win a signed album and additional branded merch.

Now, the gang is back together for another contest. If one donates $100+ to USA Skateboarding or Adaptive Action Sports by end-of-day on May 18, they'll be entered in a draw to win a trip to see Metallica for two nights in Seattle, as well as a signed Metallica x USA Skateboarding deck.

The contest's promotional copy implores its reader to "Help provide athletes with the resources they need!" While it is genuinely pretty cool that Metallica is supporting the organization's efforts in this way, it's sad that the athletes aren't already getting the support they need from their government since they are representing it on the world stage. Perhaps that's due to USA Skateboarding's very public issues with financial and organizational impropriety that led them to being threatened with decertification by the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, or it could just be par for the course. Canada Skateboard also runs on a shoestring budget, with many of its internal roles being unpaid.

Whatever the case, funds need to be raised, which has resulted in one of the more eye-catching logo mashups in recent memory, as first pointed out by Twitter user @Quesly2:

Drink it in.

Curiously, there's no mention of the Berrics in the contest press release, so it's unclear why their logo is smushed in there. Are they a press partner? Berrics co-owner Steven Berra was at the World Street Skateboarding Championships in December, so perhaps he and the Berrics are involved in USA Skateboarding somehow? They have done promotional pieces for the Olympic org and broadcast their qualifying events. However, I couldn't find any mention of Berra or the Berrics explaining the connection on their website. Is it because Berrics co-owner Eric Koston is the USA Skateboarding team captain and they've done him a solid by throwing the logo of his content production house in the mix beside Metallica's?

Unless I've missed an ephemeral Instagram Story, the Berrics haven't posted about the giveaway on the app, and their site has been inactive for months. Even Metallica hard-posted about the contest, tagging the Berrics. So what, exactly, are the Berrics doing here then? Which I guess is an evergreen question at this point.

Toward the light

Rank: 1
Mood: ❇️

One of my earliest childhood memories is standing on the deck of my father's home in rural Alberta. Some 25 kilometres outside of town, surrounded by trees, any other night would have swallowed us. But I could see. The adults around me looked up into where the ever-returning void should be as a shimmering green ribbon stretched across it.

Last Friday, my social media feeds were filled with that same green, as well as purples, reds, and whatever other colours the solar winds figured they could conjure. We knew we needed to see them too, but where? In the middle of a city like Vancouver, riddled with artificial glow, and our group a few drinks deep with only two bicycles for the three of us, our options to escape the light to see the lights seemed slim.

Then a friend sent a photo from a hotel room downtown. Somehow, improbably, there they were — celestial colours waving in the night sky like god's own kite. We started pedalling, my partner sitting awkwardly on the outer edge of my bicycle seat as I strained to take us across the Cambie Street bridge. As we neared the hotel, the sky remained black with the occasional sparkling dimple of an airplane in flight.

Had the northern lights already moved on? Perhaps the lights themselves were crashing in the hotel room? Once out of the elevator, into the suite, and on the balcony, we finally saw them. This smear of hues that we'd travelled across the city for were washed out and only visible through the screen of a smartphone camera. We'd been tricked. We'd tricked ourselves. The desire to behold a beauty beyond reach had compelled us to try.

Sweaty and defeated, we pointed our phones into the night to scrape up what was left.

Something to consider:

Consumed by Fire
The recent fire at the Old Stock Exchange, Børsen, in Copenhagen, was a spectacle to behold. As the flames greedily gobbled up the old 17th-century bourse, the news of the fire—in which no human was hurt—ripped through transatlantic fiber optic cables: London, New York, Paris, and beyond. Major newspapers such as the G

Good thing: Esther Sayers on Beyond Boards.

Episode 79 - Esther Sayers | Ausha
Episode 79 with Esther Sayers, artist, researcher, gallery educator, lecturer and skateboarder from London, England.Together we discussed her life and career from studying art in the early 90’s to her current role at the Goldsmiths University of London, picking up her first board in 2017 at the age of 47 and how it’s affected her life from then on, connecting with the local and broader skate community, her involvement with the Hackney Bumps Regeneration project and the City Mill Skate Research project at UCL East, her upcoming projects…(00:13) – Intro(01:25) – Getting started(02:00) – Artist Educator(06:56) – PhD in Philosophy(16:04) – Starting skateboarding with her son(24:23) – First time stepping on a board(27:11) – Skating in skateparks for the first time (30:47) – Dealing with injuries (38:02) – Connecting with people in the skateboarding industry/community (42:53) – Consuming skate media(47:10) – Free Skatemag interview: “We’re always learning”(51:21) – Skateboarding as an obsession(54:49) – Hackney Bumps(01:03:20) – City Mill Skate(01:12:39) – Panel discussion in May and Chelsea Gardens (01:18:09) – What could be your “next” skateboarding? (01:25:00) – Friends questions(01:25:03) – Aga from Everyone on boards(01:31:05) – Josh Sutton (01:33:46) – Sander Hölsgens(01:35:06) – David Gough (01:51:40) – Iain Borden(02:00:45) – Gustav Edén(02:08:00) – Åsa Bäckström (02:09:33) – Paul O’Connor(02:15:59) – Indigo Willing(02:19:07) – John Dahlquist and George Nicholls(02:36:10) – ConclusionFor more information and resources: Hosted by Ausha. See for more information.

Another good thing: Quartersnacks uploaded Pete Spooner's latest full-length STURDY, and it rips. FYI, Mathias Rotstein goes off.

Farewell to a literary titan thing: RIP Alice Munro (and Norm Macdonald).

Via Twitter.

A "largest research study of 'stance' in skateboarding" thing:

Professor Brian Glenney is doing some research on "stance" in skating and various other board sports if you've got six minutes to answer a few questions.

Until next week… do not "track your package." If given the option to watch a small DHL truck icon move slowly across a map of your city, inching closer, then further away, and suddenly across town from your house, DON'T DO IT. Let the driver work at their pace, even if you received a notification to be home between 11:30am and 1:30pm to sign for your package and they don't arrive until 7:10pm. All watching the truck start and stop will do is make you angry. It will harden that anger into spite. Do not do it. Go on with your day. Let your life be filled with love and healthy anticipation. Your package will arrive. Eventually.

Laser Quit Smoking Massage

NEWEST PRESS, available April 1, 2024


My new collection of essays is available now. I think you might like it. The Edmonton Journal thinks it's a "local book set to make a mark in 2024." The CBC called it "quirky yet insightful." lol.

Book cover by Hiller Goodspeed.

Order 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