The aurora borealis can nose manual | Simply Ranked

Plus: Great Big Vans video, Chris Roberts... c'mon, a meteorite strikes SF, 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.

Great Big Video

Rank: 1
Mood: ↩️

Nice To See You, what Vans calls their “first-ever globally collaborative skateboarding film,” premiered on Wednesday. The trailer was released just a week in advance on Vans’ social channels. Seven days is not much time for hype to percolate, especially compared to previous eras of Crailtap videos being teased years in advance, but admittedly I still felt it. Marked it in my calendar even. There were telltale hints along the way that gave it Big Video feel.

Tip-offs like Nick Michel turning pro for Frog a few weeks back and Breana Geering getting the cover of Thrasher, all signs that historically portend to great incoming video parts. There were also rumblings of Chima Ferguson switch 360 flipping the hard way over Sydney, Australia’s Martin Place handrail—a Big Video stunt if there ever was one. That type of speculation leads to a special kind of anticipation, especially when those hints are scattered close to home.

I knew Dustin Henry had done something on this curved ledge down the street from my apartment. I’d seen a photo of him taking a casual 50-50 through the bend on Instagram months ago. But, there needed to be more. And there was. It’s a unique satisfaction to see someone skate your city in a high-profile release, especially when they take it on and so thoroughly reinterpret and dismantle what you thought possible within its confines—the markings of a Great Big Video.

Wellllllllll, Chris Roberts doesn’t think your labour deserves compensation

Rank: Not great
Mood: 💸

If you host a podcast for long enough, especially a podcast whose format relies on free-flowing conversation, you’re eventually going to say some stupid shit. You’ll lose focus for just a moment, and the little demon that lives in the studio apartment atop your medulla oblongata will open its window and shout. The echo will carry through your brain, out of your mouth, and into the microphone. You can blame the demon all you want, but the demon is you.

“Realistically, you probably shouldn’t get paid ‘til your pro, right?” Roberts said to a room of professional skateboards last week. A room that usually includes Kelly Hart, who suffered in the purgatory of amateur skateboarding longer than most—and also Roberts himself. Having got on Chocolate Skateboards around 1999, he didn’t turn pro until 2007. Was he getting money from his sponsors in that period? He certainly wasn’t getting much coverage, so maybe not, and perhaps that’s the only experience he has to compare the state of “amateur” skateboarding to.

But the am’s of today stay busy. They throw their bodies off of and onto things considered impossible by ‘99’s standards for Instagram clips. If a skater collects footage and photos for a brand and promotes that brand in any official capacity, they should be paid. Simple as that. Have a talk with your little demon, Chris.

The Painted World

Rank: Also not great
Mood: 🕷🕷🕷🕷🕷🕷🕷

In the video game The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, when the mercenary monster hunter, Geralt of Rivia, looks to lift a curse, he usually does so by first asking questions. Did the man suffering as a werewolf happen to cross an archpriestess? Is there a specific personal trauma that’s the source of the wraith’s incorporeal arrest? Understanding the source of a curse is the key to besting it.

Unfortunately, for my friend group and me, it seems like we’ve been cursed. Well, more accurately, a skate spot is cursed for us.

We’ve been to the recently revamped Brewers Park in Vancouver, BC, and its beautiful basketball-court-cum-ledge-paradise on three separate occasions. On the first, I hit a rock while filming. To save the camera, I put my arm out to brace myself. The impact bent my elbow in the opposite of its preferred direction, turning my limb a purple hue reminiscent of the park’s paint job.

The second trip saw multiple of my friend’s bearings blow out within the first few minutes of skating, stopping the session. And the third visit, just this past weekend, was fun. We skated for hours, each getting the tricks we wanted, celebrating with crisp ambrosia apples in the green of the park’s new grass. Grass, it would turn out, that contained hoards of clover mites which crawled into all of our belongings and came home with us.

Two instances of bad luck are a coincidence; a third is a curse. What had we done to deserve it? Did we upset some wayward spirit? Was the spectre of the park’s settler-colonial namesake, W.J. Brewer, mad that we skated the spot before the city deemed the park’s remodelling officially open to the public?

This fucking guy (W.J. Brewer, left)

He does look like he’d make life miserable for the living. But what can we do? After putting all of my belongings through the wash on the evening of the mite infestation, I sat down to play The Witcher 3. Geralt asked questions, lifted curses—it looked so easy. Maybe we needed to raise old bastard Brewer from the dead, ask him to cool it. I’d had some wine.

In bed afterwards, the room slightly spinning, I thought of the spot. Maybe it just wasn’t for us? We tried and faced a supernatural rebuff. As my eyelids grew heavy, I hoped the curse and whatever I felt crawling up my leg lived solely in my head.

That skateboarding robot

Rank: 1a5t
Mood: 🤖

Caltech’s latest robotic charge, Leonardo (a name which the AV Club notes is “apparently a tortured acronym for ‘LEgs ONboARD drOne’“), is not great at skateboarding. In fact, it might not even be skateboarding at all, as it appears attached to the board and uses its fan arms for propulsion instead of pushing with its spindly metal legs. However, it’s not my place to tell anyone or anything what skateboarding should or shouldn’t be, but I will say one thing.

It does have a pretty good style. Very Paul McCartney.

See it to believe it

Rank: 5
Mood: ☄️

On the evening of October 3rd, a fireball streaked across the sky near Golden, BC. It came from some indeterminate place in the solar system but landed with precision in Ruth Hamilton’s bed, mere inches from her face after crashing through the roof of her house.

On October 12th, the cover of the latest Thrasher crashed through my Twitter feed. On it, Tristan Funkhouser launches from a familiar space to a destination unknown. Did he? Could it be? Had he actually cleared the long bench at San Francisco’s China Banks? His trajectory in the photo doesn’t make it seem feasible. A second angle doesn’t assuage those doubts.

We’ll have to wait for the footage to see where this hunk of carbon landed.

Pizza part(y)

Rank: 1!
Mood: 🍕!

Spencer Semien released a new video part brought to you by Salman Agah’s popular pizzeria, Pizzanista! Does the restaurant sponsor Semien? It’s unclear, but I hope so. Skaters already have hardgoods and softgoods sponsors; why not a soft-and-gooey sponsor?

I want to be sponsored by the new roti spot down the street from me, Baby Dhal. They're out of roti every time I go in, but if I rode for them, they’d have to keep some on reserve for me.

Something to consider: the aurora borealis doing a nose manual.

Photo: Elvis Mason / Garden Hill First Nation, MB

Good things: Alana Smith talks to ESPN.

Until next week… start a savings account if you don’t have one.