The soft animal of your body requires physio | Simply Ranked

Plus: Matt Gottwig sees clearly, shoe shrine, Rayssa Leal secures the (smaller) bag 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.

Lasik flips

Rank: 4
Mood: 🤓

As a glasses wearer, I tend to develop a one-sided personal kinship with other bespectacled folks. Consider it an acknowledgment and appreciation of our shared visual aids. This fellowship is especially true when it comes to skateboarders. Pâmela Rosa? Hell yah. Lindsey Robertson? A heelflipping hero. Alana Smith? They rule and are my favourite crypto-endorsed Olympian by far.

This is why I was consumed by a stifling mixture of excitement, admiration and dread while watching Matt Gottwig’s recent debut pro part. One of my favourite four-eyes, I’d been waiting for this offering for what seemed like years—and it delivered. Technical yet tasteful, controlled, and at times completely hairball, this was Gottwig at his absolute best. Yet, nearly half of his clips were done bare-faced.

On the first watch, I panicked. Had Gottwig got Lasik? If so, I’d be happy for him—please, do you—but what a hit to our glasses-wearing ranks that would be. A quick check of his Instagram showed that he’d been wearing his frames as recently as October 19. A sigh of relief.

That must mean Gottwig uses contacts. Afraid of anything touching the precious, placid surface of my eyeballs, I cannot endorse or decry their use. But given that Gottwig seems to switch between the two, is there a greater strategy at work here? Like contacts being reserved for the summer months when sweat makes frames slide off a skull with little prompting? After multiple rewatches, it appeared that he did most of his technical maneuvers with glasses on, hucking his body generally reserved for contacts. That would make sense. There’s nothing quite as demoralizing as splatting against the pavement and watching your glasses skitter away into a blurry horizon.

Adrien Bulard loses his lenses via King of Macba 4

Whatever the case, whatever you’re wearing, we can see that you’re having a good time, Matt. That’s all that matters.


Rank: Sample size 9
Mood: 👞 👟 🥾 🥿 👠 👡 🩰 👢

“This is really special for me and my colleagues.” Manny Santiago says in front of an elaborate display of shoes at Sneakertopia in Los Angeles. Those colleagues are fellow skateboarders Mariah Duran, Jenn Soto and Paul Rodriguez, all of which have had their shoes “enshrined” at the defacto museum-cum-gallery space alongside the sneakers of a whole whack of famous athletes, musicians, and artists.

Santiago is right; it is a special thing to be recognized for all of the love and hard work you’ve put into something, which doesn’t always happen in the world of skateboarding. The group even got their own exhibit space, its dingy walls full of tags, because of course. Sneakertopia’s display a well-meaning attempt to capture “skate culture,” an effort that makes such awkward pains to be authentic that the skateboard mural on the wall is adorned with… Bro Style grip tape.

Rayssa Leal does it again, for less

Rank: 🥇
Mood: 🏆

Rayssa Leal won her second Street League event in a row last weekend; this was her third first-place finish in six appearances in the series. She’s also earned second and third place nods. That’s, well, completely absurd for a 13-year-old.

One of Street League’s leading narratives in the early 2010s, when Nyjah Huston was scooping up all those gold trophies with the trucks on backwards, was that they offered the biggest prize purse in all of skateboarding. Huston has reportedly raked in millions from his victories.

The only info I could find regarding Leal’s Street League prize winnings was from The Boardr’s website, stating that she’d won $20,000 USD for her Lake Havasu win. If accurate, is that equal to what the men’s competitors earn for first these days? According to The Boardr, no. Their site claims Huston took home $25,000 USD for his victory last weekend. That right there’s a pay gap. This isn’t surprising given Street League’s galling history, as this mid-2010s Forbes piece illustrates.

The 2015 Nike SB Super Crown winners were Brazilians Leticia Bufoni and Kelvin Hoefler. Bufoni won the first-ever women's division and took home the $30,000 prize, plus an $11,000 custom Nixon watch. Hoefler was the first rookie to win the men's championship and earned the $200,000 prize.

I reached out to Street League for confirmation on what their current prize amounts are for both men’s and women’s contest placings but hadn’t heard back by the time of publishing this very serious journalistic newsletter.

The soft animal of your body requires physio

Rank: 4
Mood: 🐥

Justin Henry strengthening hinge joints from Vans’ GAMETIME

It’s usually the regular nothings that end up being the big somethings. Aborting from a backside tailslide in the shallow end of a skatepark pool replica, as I’d done many times before, I landed on my feet in the flat bottom—this time accompanied by an unfamiliar sound, like a stuck zipper being forced open. The pool replica’s shallow end stairs a godsend as I hobbled out, my knee in a state I hadn’t experienced before: loose.

I’d been skating with a friend who came to visit Vancouver. Not to be a damper on his trip, I casually stretched out on a flat ledge, assessing the damage and convincing myself all was well as he continued to roll around. Afterwards, he suggested we go to Wreck. Relatively new to the city at the time, I hadn’t yet been to the popular nude beach, so I agreed to tag along. An ocean dip perhaps the salve I needed.

What I didn’t anticipate were the 473 stairs we’d have to descend to reach the water. I then struggled to move through the sand. That cathartic moment I imagined awaited me in the ocean never came, pitiful waves knocking me over into the surf and naked bodies. A year later, doctors would reconstruct my ACL with pieces of my hamstring tendon.

All of this to say, it’s nice to see that today’s skaters seem to take their injuries and subsequent physiotherapy seriously. My own inconsistent and unserious attempts at physio only prolonged my recovery, and I’m sure is the only reason why I no longer skate handrails. Besides fear.

Simply (un)capped

Rank: -4, +9

CBC Vancouver’s municipal affairs reporter observing the City employing the ol’ defining-who-gets-to-use-a-public-space trick.

Emerica’s Tim Cisilino running the ol’ one-hit crowbar trick at a privately owned publicly-accessible space (POPS).

Rest in Peace, Max

Mood: ❤️

Something to consider: the power of objective confidence.

Good things: Norma Ibarra’s photobook Para Ti (For You).

Until next week… put on a scarf, get yourself a hot chocolate and take a brisk autumnal walk around the neighbourhood.