Skaters on Instagram just asking questions | Simply Ranked

Plus, P-Rod has flat spots, triple flips, Mami Tezuka rips, 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.

Kareem Campbell goes fishing

Rank: Not good
Mood: 🎣

The “just asking questions” guy is one of our most uninspired online characters. Much like the “devil’s advocate” and the “change my mind” guy, each serves as their own repellent Jeff Dunham puppet — all parts of the same woefully ignorant person.

Sometimes there’s an earnestness to it. Yes, please, come state your opinions in the public square. Let’s foster lively, healthy debate! But, unfortunately, it’s always done in bad faith. No one is looking to budge from the mound of shit they’ve decided to die on. They’re likely just trying to boost their own biases or follower count.

These characters were annoying in normal times, but in these godforsaken unprecedented ones, the misinformation they peddle with a sly-faced emoji is dangerous — especially if they have a substantial following. And man, is it ever a bummer when your favourites fall into the role.

It’s not exactly clear what Kareem is trying to say in this Instagram post — does he believe that random screenshot? Is this all a ruse? It is, however, evident what the other pros in the comments are saying.

While to dunk on these folks is satisfying (and understandable), the satisfaction isn’t lasting. Quickly it sputters, leaving only a dark malaise and frustration behind. Sure, there are many complicated and stupid reasons why these characters and their mistrust of science and other institutions exist, but Jesus Christ, the solution to our current mess is pretty straightforward.

P-Rod has flat spots

Rank: 2
Mood: 🟩 🟩 🟩 🟩

We see Paul Rodriguez, star of Netflix’s Selena and longtime Nike pro, smoking Cuban cigars in his heated backyard pool. We watch as a barber comes to his home to cut his hair. We witness as he reverses his Jaguar out of the garage and drives to his private skatepark.

Then we listen as Rodriguez rumbles across the smooth glassy ocean of that private skatepark like he’s riding a two-stroke. His flat spots are unignorable — the sound of those dented conicals swallowing everything around them. So incongruous to the idea of Paul Rodriguez is this moment that I’d pushed it from my mind until it became clear that I wasn’t the only one disturbed.

Get some new wheels, Paul. Just do it. For all of us.

Possibilities, probabilities, fear

Rank: 1
Mood: 🙏🙏🙏

Where is Mami Tezuka going? At first glance, it’s hard to pinpoint the direction this photo is taking. It looks like a straightforward transfer from the right full pipe to the left, but the angle’s off. Her person too close to the lip to reenter safely. It’s a beautiful image, and its possibilities terrify me. The myriad ways that whatever is happening could go wrong are clearer to me than how they could go right.

The footage confirms my fear. Tezuka crosses the channel to hang up, daring the full pipe to hold on to that back truck. A great distance spanned to become a smudge on the unforgiving steel cylinder.

Spoiler: it’s a make. Exhale.

The place beyond the Pine

Rank: 3?
Mood: 🎭

It’s admirable to skate in the way Jeff Dechesares does. Doing tricks that are purposefully over complicated. Heedlessly unintelligible. Divisive in a way that must be confusing for Deschesares himself. All he’s done is double laser heelflip some nondescript stack of stairs and switch double 360 kickflip body varialed another.

Not that he doesn’t get it. He’s sure to see the visceral, violent reactions people have to his skateboarding. It might even be intentional. Maybe he wants us to spit our venom. Because that would mean we’ve watched his video part or at least some isolated segment of it shared with potential virality in mind. Those tricks are just strong personal branding, a niche crafted in the tradition of a Nate Sherwood or Todd Falcon.

Whatever the case, good for him. He’s very talented. Nollie 540 flipping down something is probably really goddamn hard. It’s not something I’d try personally (or could ever do physically ), but I’ll click play to watch it happen. To know how far people are willing to go.

“Just time for the holidays!”

Rank: 5
Mood: 🌃

What a curiosity it is, how some skateboarding brands sustain and others fail. It’s a fickle industry, and its afterlife has many entry points. Sometimes it’s simply a failed business strategy, a team’s interpersonal collapse, or even a fatal lack of relevancy that spells the end. Then some brands keep breathing despite, from an outsider’s perspective, no signs of life.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a Darkstar board in person, and I live in the land of Decenzos and Machnaus. Still, the brand remains. Its art direction is much like its namesake — a black hole. Vacuuming up any graphic style or limited edition collaboration it can pull into its orbit.

Perhaps sheer will is what keeps them moving forward. The knowledge that if they’ve existed this long already, what can stop them now? And if their team riders keep getting a paycheck, good on ‘em. They’ll continue to gather, brainstorming for whatever future/product comes next.

Inspired by you

Rank: -2
Mood: 💸

My bank sent me an email to let me know that it has a new logo. It explained its efforts as such:

Whether your ambitions are for to‍day or down the road, personal or professional, helping to make them real is the purpose behind everything we do. And it’s what inspired the new look you’ll see everywhere you bank with us, starting to‍day.

The email even came with its own FAQ section, which answered the most pertinent of questions:

Why does CIBC have a new logo?

Our new look represents our commitment to you and your goals. We created a new look, inspired by you, that shows we’re here to help make your ambitions a reality.

This sort of hollow messaging is not surprising. It comes from a bank that just months ago increased its fees during a global pandemic in a craven cash grab. What makes it worse, though, is that they’ve pinned this redesign on us. Making sure we know that we’re the inspiration behind whatever this uninspired dreck is:

Fairplay, I guess. For a company that already shows open contempt for its clients, this is another pretty solid diss.

Something to consider:

…skating for fun definitely feels like its own form of self-imposed torture.

- Alexis Sablone

Good things:

I tore my hip muscle

went to town limping,
and noticed many other people
also limping. I had not
noticed them before.

- from Matsuki Masutani’s I Will Be More Myself In The Next World.

Until next week… spark up a conversation with one of your neighbourhood cats.