The uncanny Vallely | Simply Ranked

Plus: Kyle Wilson for the kids, what's in a name (crypto, unfortunately), Jason Momoa goes through the Blender, 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.

Daniel Harold Stuart sets up his flashes at the iconic Arena hubba

Rank: 66/99
Mood: 💲💲💲

In a regular televised broadcast of any major sporting event, it’s impossible to witness the action unfold without being accosted by advertisements. They’re digitally plastered on the hardwood of the United Center as the Bull’s squeak across the court, Schnieder’s sausage ads leer over the umpire’s shoulder when the Blue Jays are at-bat, a “Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast Finish” sponsored replay rolls whenever an unfortunate fighter gets their consciousness stolen away on a UFC broadcast—if it’s on-screen, it can be monetized.

Not even the stadiums that host these events are safe. In the United States, naming rights deals for sports arenas have been around in some form for over a hundred years. In 1912, John Irving Taylor, co-owner of the Boston Red Sox and owner of Fenway Realty Company, succeeded in naming the Red Sox’s home Fenway Park. He would claim the stadium was named after the neighbourhood of Boston it resides in and not his company—take that as you will. The first pen-to-paper official corporate title sponsor for an arena was St. Louis’ [Anheuser-]Busch Stadium in 1953.

Los Angeles’ Staple’s Center has borne the name of an office supply chain store since it opened in 1999. That same year, Geoff Rowley would grind down the hubba ledge leading up to the arena’s entrance. Two decades later, Vans placed Rowley’s bronze likeness at the site of the historic trick, a spot few have stepped to since.

On Tuesday, AEG, the owner of the Staple’s Center, announced that the naming rights for the arena had changed hands in a reported $700 million deal over 20 years—with If you follow that company’s URL/name, they’ll let you know that “we believe it is your basic right to control your money, data and identity.” Great, thanks. But what does that even mean? Dan Gartland at Sports Illustrated tried to explain:

As a sportswriter who almost failed an economics class in college, I find’s website to be entirely inscrutable. It touts that you can trade more than 150 cryptocurrencies and load your blockchain money onto a debit card. (If you keep over $400,000 in your account for more than six months, the debit card gives you access to a private jet, but you’re still only allowed to withdraw a maximum of $1,000 from ATMs each month.) You can also “swap DeFi coins and earn Triple Yield” and “earn up to 14.5% p.a. rewards on your coins.”

So, it means nothing, which could also be said of this deal. All this new name tells us is that the crypto-bro grift continues while corporate greed marches forward. Will stay in business for the duration of its 20-year naming rights deal? Who’s to say. Do you know what has already lasted that long, though? The image of Rowley grinding that big honking ledge burned into our collective memories.

Monetizing every visible surface of the professional sports experience has become a shitty, time-honoured tradition. Still, even if a building’s exterior is pocked by goofy new signage, it can’t alter or influence the legacy of a space or what athletes have done or will do in (or around) it. If that were true, every team playing out of the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans would be reigning champions year after year after year.

917 (Alex’s version)

Rank: 2
Mood: 🤡

Much like when a pop-country singer writes a not-so-subtle song based on a relationship gone sour, it seemed something might be afoot when Alex Olson launched a recent run of 917 boards, which included one curiously titled “Clown Shoes.”

Cornering a lonely market

Rank: 1, 2, 3
Mood: 🤷

It was going to happen at some point; that much was clear. Their strategy telegraphed and a bit lazy. Just sponsor as many riders as you can until the odds have no choice but to be in your favour. 50% of the torsos competing in the men’s finals of last weekend’s Street League Super Crown World Championship were covered in Cariuma logos. Hell, they sponsored the event itself. The podium would end up being dominated by the bland, black t-shirts. Results achieved.

Future Cariuma skateboard legends.

But that’s just sports for you. Sponsors want to be associated with winners. DC and Nike have both taken turns running this flood-the-zone brand play at Street League; it’s Cariuma’s time now. With a glut of incredibly talented but perhaps not terribly marketable skateboarders out there on the contest circuit, it was easy for them to hand out their logo-tees like pinnies at a pick-up game.

It’s a strategy that might’ve had a bit of long-term viability, but Cariuma showed us their cards last weekend, and if this were blackjack, it’d be a pair of eights.

Servant Shoes, Tork Trux, Iron Fist Clothing, Vallely Skateboards, By The Sword, Elephant Skateboards. In the last decade or so, almost every brand Mike Vallely has touched folded shortly thereafter. Those failures don’t all rest on our valiant vanquisher of random ocks, but a pattern is a pattern, and if you’re trying to convince me otherwise, this doesn’t help.

Samarria Brevard had a nice week

Rank: 1
Mood: 🔥!

Thanks, “Visible Replay.”

Get’s the cover of Thrasher last Thursday, places fourth at Street League’s women’s Super Crown World Championship on Sunday and lands one of the best 360 flips you’ll ever see in the process. Not a bad few days.

Toss it in the blender

Rank: 5
Mood: 🎨

Most of the news items that come along at the intersection of skateboarding and pop culture usually aren’t deserving of much analysis, but they can create a disorienting image when pieces of the world you love get mixed up in another. That’s why it seemed fitting to throw a few of those recent headlines into the NeuralBlender to help visualize the tangles of disparate information my neurons have been trying to sort out lately.

Jason Momoa Quarantining With [Erik Ellington] ... After Catching COVID

HBO Acquires Tony Hawk Documentary, Executive Produced by Duplass Brothers

Excited to officially launch the SK8BYTES NFT project with @christianhosoi @tommyguerrero @kareemcampbelldotcom @elissasteamer. Check out @sk8bytes for all the latest information.

*BONUS* Headline at the intersection of skateboarding and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

Green Line trolley derails after apparently hitting skateboard

Excuse me, sorry

Rank: Also 1
Mood: 🚸

What I really meant, kids, was thank you. You see, Kyle Wilson is a very special skateboarder and his part in Palace’s Beyond The 3rd Wave is also that—special. There’s the ease with which he glides through various European streets and plazas, his upper body rarely moving. Those seemingly simple acts of levitation that see him rise onto and over obstacles of unreasonable size. Then there are the intangibles like the calm confidence Wilson exudes before he throws his board down to do a trick or the almost surreal beauty of his series of powerful pushes in front of a crystalline blue backdrop, an overexposed sun stretching across the water to meet him.

Those little moments, like you kids interrupting Wilson’s apparent 360 flip, create an atmosphere. They make a video part feel dynamic, full and help an already special skateboarder shine. So, really, thank you.

Something to consider: this cat getting onion eyes.

Good things: your favourite British bank skater and poet.

Until next week… you forgot to text your friend back earlier. You should do that now.