Summer is a vibe | Simply Ranked

Plus: Spoilers, simulations, other expensive things to ollie over, and more.

Summer is a vibe | Simply Ranked
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.

Summer is a vibe

Rank: 1
Mood: 🌞 🌊 ⛱

Summer sun, waves, and sand between toes.
X Games Summer rocks to a soundtrack.
Skateboard trucks grinding rails.
BMX wheels whirring.
Motorcycles soaring into the clear blue sky.
Athletes, fans, together. Cheering.
Summer is sweat, work, and pushing boundaries.
It’s never-been-dones and dreaming of gold.
Summer is a vibe.
Like X Games, it’s over too soon.
Get some while you can.
X Games is better when

If you close your eyes and let the words take you, the broadcast intro for last weekend’s X Games California 2023 events reads like a poem. A poem written in the style of “action sports” culture circa the late ‘90s and early aughts. A culture, or vibe, that was manufactured by entertainment industry executives to sell an alternative sports option to the youth that Nielsen told them were becoming disengaged with traditional ball and stick sports.

Now, just a year shy of their 30th anniversary, the X Games is still tapping into that vibe, and you know what? Good for them. They know what they are and aren’t trying to be anything they’re not. And what the X Games has always excelled at as a more mainstream entity latching onto what was once a counter-cultural entity like skateboarding is setting the groundwork for big, memorable moments. Whether through event structure, course design, or the talent invited — they generally deliver in the ways they want to, which they did again over the weekend.

As far as those big, memorable moments go, there were plenty. Like 13-year-old Chloe Covell winning her first gold medal in a high-level competition in Women’s Skateboard Street (even though I thought Liz Akama should’ve taken it) and capping it off by telling sideline reporter Corbin Harris afterwards that she was going to celebrate her victory with “heaps of lollies.” Yuto Horigome won Skateboard Street Best Trick on his final attempt of the contest after blanking on every previous try and then topped the podium in Men’s Skateboard Street with a score of 95.66 the next day. Canada’s 37-year-old ageless wonder Ryan Decenzo took third in the same event, while barely aged 10-year-old Reese Nelson snagged silver in Women’s Skateboard Vert with a stupefyingly technical run. If this is the kind of skateboarding you’re interested in, that’s a lot of highlight-reel-worthy stuff, and it’s just a sampling.

Of course, the corniness of the X Games was also on full display. From the Hot Topic-inspired graphic treatments, poem-scrawled-in-a-high-school-diary intro VO, the constant promos throughout the broadcast for the X Games online shop that began with whoever was doing the ad read shouting “Swagging rights,” to the commentator’s obligation to shoutout the event’s broadcasts sponsors, even when that meant Brandon Graham saying that newly teenaged Covell “is the perfect skater for the Pacifico skate follow-cam.” There was a lot to cringe at. But that’s just the X Games. They’re trying to appeal to a target audience that is young, varied, and for all we know, may not even exist anymore.

So keep throwing that shit at the wall to see what sticks, X Games. Because as we’ve seen, what does stay up there has more often than not been worth it.

A spoiler-free Mano A Mano finals recap

Rank: 1, again
Mood: 🏆

It was fun!

Congrats to the winners.1

An official “Simple Magic: Simply Ranked” listicle

Rank: 5,000,000
Mood: 💸 💵 💴 💶 💷 🪙 💰 💳 💎

Photo via Ben Colen.

Over the weekend, two-time Thrasher Magazine Skater of The Year and small business owner, Tyshawn Jones, ollied over the Ferrari of noted record executive and artist manager Steven Victor. The car, touted as being worth five million dollars, is undoubtedly one of the more risky and expensive obstacles a person could choose to jump over with their skateboard. This leads us to the obvious question: what’s some even more expensive shit to ollie over?

115.8-carat pear-shaped, F colour, VVS1 diamond suspended as a pendant on a necklace

Via Forbes and Christie’s

Estimated cost: $5 million - $7 million
I like the idea of ollieing over this horribly expensive and aesthetically repulsive diamond necklace and pendant because I could do it. Hell, I’d even consider going over it with its aesthetically repulsive equal: a fakie-360-shove-it.

Eileen Gray’s “Dragons” chair

Image: Jean-Luc LUYSSEN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Cost: $28 million
Sure, this armchair created by pioneering Irish architect and furniture designer Eileen Gray is pretty whatever, but it’s also pretty fucking expensive, having sold at an estate auction of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge for nearly $30 million in 2009. It would also be an easy leap for someone like Tyshawn, who could likely float a few tricks over it while also playing to the Modernism heads out there.

Joan Miró, Femme au chapeau rouge (1927)

Image via Sotheby’s.

Cost: $28.7 million
According to ARTnews, Miró’s Femme au chapeau rouge was “Once owned by Alexander Calder and [in 2020 came] to auction for the first time since 1966, … [and] sold for $28.7 million after an 11-minute bidding war, hammering between its estimate of $20 million–$30 million.” That’s nearly the cost of six of those Ferraris — something to consider for next time.

1 gigawatt nuclear reactor

Image via World Nuclear Association.

Estimated cost: $5.4 billion
If you’re looking to maximize the price and danger factor of your obstacle, you can’t go wrong with a nuclear reactor. While it’s more of a flat gap than a high jump, leaping over the core of the most potent and volatile energy source ever created is sure to go extra viral online and might be just what a person needs to make the push for a SOTY three-peat.

The future can’t come fast enough

Rank: 92,780
Mood: 🤖

TS2 SPACE is a Polish “telecommunications services” company that says their products — which range from providing internet, satellite phones, radio, and more to private and military clients  — “are particularly useful in conditions where traditional communication is difficult or impossible, for example… participation in armed conflicts and peacekeeping missions… Rescue services… [and for] extreme sports enthusiasts… [who travel to] wild places, where there are no human settlements for hundreds of square kilometers.” Cool.

TS2 SPACE’s website has also had a blog since at least March 2019, but over the first four years of its existence (as far as it’s available to the public), it only published eleven posts. Some of which, curiously, appear to be old press releases from as far back as the George W. Bush presidential era, with titles like “New satellite network for the US Troops in Afghanistan.”

Then, in February 2023, the blog exploded in activity. Posts about AI, satellite communications, general tech and business stories, climate science, and more flooded the website. From February 7 to July 25, there have been nearly 92,780 posts, which is a lot of blogging, even for us seasoned bloggers out there.

Coincidentally, this mad rush of posting happened just a few months after the launch of ChatGPT, and if you read any of these blog posts, it’s clear the proprietary tech wrote them. The posts’ hero images are also clearly created by one of the now ubiquitous text-to-image generators. All of this is a clear play at boosting their website SEO in a pretty devious fashion, but it’s not in the least bit surprising. This is essentially just a rough version of what media companies like Buzzfeed and G/O Media have been doing as of late — pushing AI-generated keyword spam to get clicks.

It’s not an elegant strategy by any means. It’s not even clear if it’s effective. The premise is that if you dump enough AI shits into the searchable internet, eventually, someone will find a nugget of interest in them. And to TS2 SPACE’s credit, that’s how we wound up here today. It was only a matter of time, really. After cranking out tens of thousands of posts, their automated blog finally touched on a subject of interest.

Via @/AndrewDLuecke on Twitter… er, X.

“How AI is Revolutionizing the World of Professional Skateboarding” is definitely a prompt you plug into your large language model if you’ve run out of ideas. But, out of curiosity, how is AI revolutionizing the world of professional skateboarding?

In addition to analyzing individual performance, AI can also be used to gain insights into the wider world of professional skateboarding. By analyzing data from competitions and social media, AI can identify trends and patterns in the sport, such as the popularity of certain tricks or the success of particular training methods. This information can be invaluable for skateboarders looking to stay ahead of the competition and for coaches seeking to develop new training programs.

Huh, I’d never considered that! Anything else?

AI can also be used to create personalized skateboards that are tailored to the specific needs and preferences of individual skateboarders. By analyzing data on a skateboarder’s performance and technique, AI can determine the optimal shape, size, and materials for their skateboard, ensuring that it provides the perfect balance of speed, stability, and control.

Wow! The future2 can’t come fast enough.

Objective trouser simulation

Rank: 1
Mood: 👖👽

I was going to write something about Quasi Skateboards’ latest video Simulation, which features excellent sections from debutant Jason Nam, Dane Barker, Dick Rizzo, Josh Wilson, and an enlivening double-song curtains part from new PRO Jon Rowe, but I have to acknowledge that I am not an unbiased critic here. In fact, I am not just in the pocket of big Quasi; I am wearing their pockets.

As I’ve written about before, for years I had been mired in our shared cultural struggle to find a good pair of pants until I discovered the Quasi Warren Trouser. Then, just last week, I found myself back on one of my favourite places on the internet,, and saw that there was a new Warren Trouser colourway, Dune, which I promptly ordered and Canada Posts’ package tracking service tells me is arriving by end of day today.

With that in mind, is it even possible for me to share any objective words on Simulation when I find myself clothed in the products of the source of the subject at hand? Especially since I am clearly indebted to those products, which saved me from the torturous void of not having any pants I liked. That all said, I do owe it to you, dear readers, to at least try. It’ll be a difficult feat, and maybe it can’t be done, but here it goes:

The video is very good!

Something to consider: Leticia Bufoni’s forearm tattoo of herself doing a tuck knee over the Olympic rings is on the arm that does the grabbing of the tuck knee, which means that when she does a tuck knee, she’s already been doing a tuck knee, creating a sort of infinite loop of tuck knees that could very well cause a rift in our human idea of time and reality — pretty cool!

Good thing: Friend of the ‘sletter José Vadi’s new book Chipped is available for pre-order now!

Good things, Anthony Pappalardo edition: Pappalardo has been cranking out the good stuff over at Artless Industria® this week. From two editions of a thoroughly entertaining eBay skateboarding paraphernalia deep-dive to an interview with Jessica Edwards, the Peabody Award-winning director behind Skate Dreams.

Another good thing: Village Psychic visited Brendan, the archivist, skate-genius, and all-around ripper behind @thesecrettape.

One last good thing: Beverly Glenn-Copeland’s new album, The Ones Ahead, their first in twenty years, is out today and there’s also a nice profile about him by Simon Lewsen in The Walrus.

Until next week… the birds will sing their songs whether you’re listening or not, but if you can, it’s much more enjoyable to turn your ear in their direction.

I wrote a book about the history and cultural impact of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, and I will keep posting about it at the end of the newsletter for the foreseeable future. Apologies. It’ll be in stores on September 26 and you can pre-order Right, Down + Circle now from your favourite local bookshop, my publisher ECW Press, or all of the usual devils (Amazon, Barnes & Noble). I think you might like it.

  1. This year’s Mano A Mano was great, but I have a petty gripe: how’re we going to let Heimana Reynolds feel out the finger-flip-lien-to-tail in the finals before he actually “attempts” it? That’s like giving him two tries on defence when the rules state you only get one (unless you’re on your last letter). I’m personally in favour of giving defending skaters two tries and three on the “E,” as I suggested a few weeks back, and I think host Tim O’Connor correctly surmises in this match that “It would be a totally different game if they had two tries” — but they don’t have two tries.

    Am I paying too much mind to something that really has no bearing on anything beyond being a quirk in an otherwise enjoyable web series? Perhaps. Or is this a symptom of something greater? Does a growing disregard for the rules and norms we set for ourselves tear at our already thin and fraying societal fabric? If we cannot even feign order, does chaos reign? What if here in this newsletter, where I promised you that the Mano A Mano recap would be spoiler free, I told you the winners were Julia Brueckler and Jake Yanko? That loss of trust in a purportedly functional system means something, no? Have I had too much coffee this morning? Yes.

  2. The heat death of the universe.