Suffer an egg, become an egg | Simply Ranked

Plus: Mike & Daewon, Dakota Servold on the road, perfect SponCon, tipping back that worm juice, and more.

Suffer an egg, become an egg | 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.

This advert

Rank: 1
Mood: 🧑‍🤝‍🧑

Just a couple of guys who skate a little different, skating a little different together. This is the fun stuff, when the cold dominating power of an international athletic shoe conglomerate can bring two singular talents in concert under the vision of a similarly unique filmmaker like one Jacob Harris. That's DaeTrip by adidas.

Because this is what we should be doing, no? Keeping things interesting, trying things out. We've seen, at least for now, most of the shapes and styles skateboarding can take. Getting a bit weird and having a little fun remains our best entryway into the unknown. Fakie flipping through a bicycle frame. Weaving a 180-fakie-manual through a series of bright yellow posts, rigid in attention, perhaps in the realization of their proximity to legend — all ways to view this thing from a slightly different angle.

It does, however, remind you that nearly everything we consume in skateboarding is a branded effort. Careful, careless, or curious swings of marketing. adidas approved two of its under-contract representatives, Mike Arnold and Daewon Song, to be featured together in a commercial. A mildly zany arrangement of people as pieces in a system of promotion that likely wouldn't happen under any other circumstance. This probably required approvals from up the chain at adidas HQ. Perhaps there was a Zoom meeting or two or three to discuss the relevance and feasibility of the project. Song, a former SOTY and legitimate icon paired with an established yet somewhat peripheral core favourite in Arnold — it's just crazy enough to work.

And it does! It's wonderfully put together and particularly enjoyable. Yes, it's a commercial, but that's just the way things work here — it's still a fun watch, this advert.

Speaking of adverts, did you know that Simple Magic now has paid subscription tiers? Sign up monthly/annually for $2.5/$25 or $5/$50. What do you get? Everything you already get for free but also some stickers and a thing of my choosing from my apartment! If you want. You're under no obligation.

Let the road dog feel his feelings

Rank: 1
Mood: 🫶

Skateboarding as an act is subjective. There will always be proponents and detractors of every piece of skateboarding-related media that comes out and that's fine. However, I was admittedly a bit surprised to see as much negativity as I did around Dakato Servold's There's so much more video part for Emerica that came out last week. That doesn't mean it's widespread and could just be the prominent thoughts in my personal online bubble — and skateboarders generally love to hate — but I thought the video was great. Ruled, even.

Sure, Servold's voice-over soliloquies about life on the road that cut through the feature are a bit corny and meandering, but not to any detrimental or distracting degree — he's just a road dog! A road dog feeling his well-earned feelings after being a fixture in that Tum Yeto van snaking across the United States, through each and every town and city with a handrail, for what seems to be years now.

It's also beautifully produced, from its cinematography, use of b-roll, to a compelling overall edit. And, of course, there's the skating itself. This is the best we've ever seen of Servold. There is a plethora of handrail skating, as he's known to do, but the rails are strange, awkward things. Kinked, layered, rolling. And when the notable spots come into view, like Arto Saari's triple-kinked backside-lipslide rail from Alien Workshop's Mindfield, Servold takes his staple to shocking new lengths.

To see the continued evolution of a professional skateboarder presented in such a careful, caring way is a pleasure. Maybe even a blessing in an era where we are trained to watch and forget. For those like Servold, who sacrifice their personal health and safety to such an extreme degree, skateboarding is more than a job. It's a compulsion. An animating force. Maybe even a last resort. We should celebrate these freaks, the skateboarders who give so much so we can be entertained for 9-10 minutes as we drink our morning coffee. Plus, if this were a real job, it would pay better. Here's hoping his new shoe does well.

Tipping back that worm juice

Rank: 1
Mood: 🪱🍷

On Wednesday, my partner and I watched Dune: Part Two, otherwise known as Dune 2, the star of such tweet trends as "Yeah, I'm going to Dune 2: Dune 2 others as you would have them Dune 2 you." It was great. Big, fun, loud, thrilling, visually stunning — everything you want from a blockbuster movie.

The only thing wrong with Dune: Part Two, in my opinion, wasn't anything on the part of the movie. There are no overtly insufferable acting or offputting directorial choices. The only bad choice on display was my own, as before we got to our seats, we ordered food from the half-assed restaurant inside of the theatre, where a disinterested high school student assembled for me a "Poutine Supreme."

This horrid mess includes fries... salsa... sour cream... and thin, lukewarm nacho cheese. Why? We'll never know. The ingredients weren't mentioned on the menu and I naively assumed it would be your standard poutine — fries, gravy, cheese curds — and perhaps some veggies or a random hunk of animal flesh. Instead, I ordered diarrhea in a small paper box.

This is on me, of course. I was the one who ordered without asking for more information. Despite it all, I must admit, I'm proud of myself for making it through the entire two-hour and forty-six-minute movie without shitting my pants, as there was definitely some significant internal turmoil taking place. It was a poison that made me feel like I'd also imbibed The Water of Life and survived. Which, perhaps I have, given that I can now see. See that I will never order that again.

Perfect SponCon

Rank: 1
Mood: 👓

Via @beagleoneism

What else is there to say, really? If there must be SponCon, then at the very least, it should make some contextual sense. Happy Hour paying(?) Beagle to promote their blue light filtering glasses is the exact right thing. What is one of the main requirements of Beagle's profession? Staring long and deep into a computer screen as he edits some of the most beloved skateboarding videos our culture knows.

SponCon for junk like sports drinks and any sundry beverage or snack always feels like a copout — we all need fluids and food! Show me something personally and professionally specific, like Brian Anderson and Sharpie. Or what about a lactose-intolerant ripper and a vegan cheese? Austyn Gillette and a Hohner harmonic holder? If we're going to do this, let's at least make it good.

Speaking of, my pal and maddeningly talented writer José Vadi, who tipped me off to the Beagle SponCon, has a new book coming out on April 16. You can preorder CHIPPED: Writing from a skateboarder's lens now. It rules. I'll also be in Berkeley for José's book launch on April 15. Come through if you're in the area :)

Suffer an egg, become an egg

Rank: 1
Mood: 🥚=🥚

Speaking of adverts and fun watches, Donovan Strain continues to leverage the wit and cultural awareness we were first introduced to via his OG Berrics web series "Butteryass Mondays" (I'm not sure how it's aged, I refuse to go back and watch) into the marketing for Session, the skate simulator that I personally find annoyingly difficult to play (the purpose of a simulator, I guess) but have respect for those who can.

In a recent El Toro-specific ad spot, Strain recreates a trio of infamous almosts. There's the digital make of Ryan Sheckler's (and Nyjah Huston's) backside flip attempts, Chris Joslin's so-close-but-not-quite 360 flip, and Dan Pageau's horrific, spine-numbing bail on a switch-frontside-boardslide down the El Toro's low and long centre handrail.

That bail would become Pageau's unfortunate career highlight. Hailing from Quebec and now living in Vancouver's Lower Mainland, he remains mostly forgotten in the world of professional skateboarding, despite a relatively successful career riding for companies like World Industries and Lib Tech, and being a technical savant who wasn't afraid to jump off of and onto gigantic obstacles, a rare combination for his era in the late '90s and early aughts. If unfamiliar, it's a professional history you can scroll through via the "portfolio" page of his website.

It's an aesthetically dubious canon, to be sure, full of tricks like triple-kink switch noseslides and nollie-laser-heelflip-bluntslides, but it's innovative nonetheless. However, if you ask the internet, Pageau's sticking and falling backward down a twenty-stair handrail onto his head and neck while clad in a Montreal Canadiens jersey takes precedence over his decade-long catalogue of clips.

FYI, he's still alive, as far as I know.

It doesn't help that his video parts that live online are tainted with clumsily SEO-optimized titles like "Giant Fall at El Toro Dan Pageau - Dan Pageau's Full Part" (that one uploaded by the owner of Monké Skateboards, his longtime sponsor) or that even in Pageau's own "Best of Dan Pageau" edit, the one place he has control of and could choose not to include the bail, he does! Maybe he felt he couldn't escape the enormity of that slam, which had come to consume the public's awareness of him, so he just leaned into it and let it take over.

Now, for that infamous goose egg at El Toro, his fate is that of an easter egg — an inside joke to be simulated. But you know what? That fate is better than most professional skateboarders because, if anything, at least he's remembered.

Something to consider:

Pankaj Mishra · The Shoah after Gaza
Memories of Jewish suffering at the hands of Nazis are the foundation on which most descriptions of extreme ideology and…

Good thing:

Approaching perfection
The best of David Berman

Another good thing: This truly fantastic Kate Wagner piece was taken down for "reasons" which have only made it that much more popular. Be warned: there is a Jagger Eaton jumpscare.

Behind F1’s Velvet Curtain
If you wanted to turn someone into a socialist you could do it in about an hour by taking them for a spin around the paddock of a Formula 1 race. The kind of money I saw will haunt me forever.

Want another good thing? You've got it:

Palestinian skateboarder represents his people with pride at Dubai Olympic qualifier
‘In this sport you pick yourself up each time you fall,’ says Aram Sabbah. ‘In Palestine, we do this day-to-day’

YEP! One more good thing: Ted Barrow's "This Old Ledge" is back.

You thought there wouldn't be another good thing? Bask in your hubris: And this fun chat Josh Sabini over at Monster Children had with Pete Glover about 4PLY Magazine.

4Ply’s Peter Glover Is Crunching The Numbers On Your Favorite Skater — Monster Children
Skate nerds, bow down.

A good reading thing: If you're in the Vancouver area tonight, I'll be reading at the launch of my friend Carleigh Baker's new book, The Last Woman. Should be a nice time!

Until next week… if the sun is shining where you are, go stand in its warmth. Close your eyes. Let it hold you. Allow your mind to wander. At some point, you'll have to move on, but not yet.

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