Thousand Oaks values | Simply Ranked

Plus: Kevin Long love, the X Games happened, WKND calculations, 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.

Thousand Oaks values

Rank: 1000
Mood: 🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳

Mikey Taylor, former professional skateboarder, craft beer company co-founder,  current co-president of a private equity real estate firm, husband, and father of four, is running for city council in Thousand Oaks, California. In a highly polished campaign video released Monday, Taylor details his history growing up in Thousand Oaks, getting into skateboarding, and, eventually, entrepreneurship. Skateboarding taught him about “delayed gratification” and what it meant to “stick with something” and see it through to completion. While it’s a tad strange to slap psychological terms onto learning kickflips, the intent is clear: Mikey Taylor is in it for the long haul and doesn’t stop until he gets things done, whether it’s on a board, in business, or local governance.

The rest of the video is essentially a live read of his LinkedIn page with vague gestures towards the issues he’s running on. Taylor says his motivator to pursue a city council seat is his children. “They are the main reason I’m running… because my wife and I are choosing to raise our kids in the community we grew up in.” And he wants to instill in them those same “Thousand Oaks values” he had as a youth. What those “Thousand Oaks values” are is not entirely clear.

Taylor’s campaign website doesn’t add many more details to the “issues” his video references. The platform he’s running on is public safety (“Thousand Oaks is known as being one of the safest communities in the country and we must continue to be vigilant”), quality of life (“Many of us live in Thousand Oaks because of its beauty, peace and quiet, clean air, safety, and cleanliness. As a city council member, I will work hard to safeguard these qualities”), the fuzzy protection of open space (“Thousand Oaks has always been a peaceful community with beautiful open space. We must never lose track of what makes us special”), small business revitalization (“As a businessman, I am the perfect person to help our small businesses thrive as well as attract the next generation of entrepreneurs to create their companies in Thousand Oaks”), and water management.

The City of Thousand Oaks currently has Level 4 (out of 6 on a rising scale) water conservation measures in effect in response to the state’s extreme drought. Taylor thinks his experience as a businessman will help here, too.

“As someone who manages assets for a living, you always have to consider unforeseen challenges in the future. CA will always have dry years to come. As a city council member, I will work diligently to push Thousand Oaks to be less water dependent on the LA County Metropolitan Water District. The last thing I ever want is to fine our residents because of poor planning.”

Another vague statement tying business bona fides to the future success of municipal policy is not terribly encouraging on an issue with such high stakes. Then there’s Taylor’s troubling association with Godspeak Cavalry pastor and former Thousand Oaks city council member Rob McCoy. McCoy, putting it charitably, is a far-right Christian nationalist who resigned from his council seat in 2020 over his opposition to COVID-19 health measures. He planned to run again before dropping out of the race on Monday, leading some online to speculate he was leaving the door open for a more palatable public face who had just so happened to announce their own campaign for the seat that same day.

Taylor has appeared on McCoy’s “Fireside Chat” interview series multiple times and the two are close enough that he and his wife even went on a trip with McCoy’s family to Israel. While Taylor’s campaign video and website are free from overt mentions of Godspeak or the extremist coalition that some have linked him to, given his relationship with McCoy, the concern online is not unwarranted.

Ultimately, you hope Taylor is running for city council with the community in mind and not to, say, boost his public profile in an effort to burnish his personal brand and the prospects for his private equity real estate firm in one of the country’s most affluent cities or progress the agenda of an encroaching Christo-fascist state.

Like increasingly handsome sands through the hourglass

Rank: 1

Aging as a skateboarder is tricky. The body doesn’t move the way it once did. Its recovery after a regular session can take days or weeks as opposed to the hours of its youth. Skateboarding’s inherent physical risk enters the calculation of a trick in new ways. There usually comes a moment where you have to recognize some limit, a line to stop at, peer over, and never cross because you have work and a family, which both need your full attention and bodily function. So you might decide to pare back certain tricks and obstacles you’ll skate, choosing to refine what moves you know and what spots you’re comfortable skating. For us civilians, a clear de-escalation of danger is fine and might only affect the ego.

For the career of a professional skateboarder, however, aging is not often a graceful thing. It’s difficult to transition a career made from jumping down stairs to jumping down fewer stairs or no stairs at all while remaining relevant. Andrew Reynolds has done it, but he has the cultural cache to make it work—and he can still varial heel a triple set if the urge strikes, even as he creeps closer to the wrong side of 40. One pro who has turned the latest stage of their over two-decade-long career into its best is perhaps, not coincidentally, Reynold’s longtime teammate and mentee, Kevin ‘Spanky’ Long.

Last week’s release of the “rough cut” of Long’s excellent Horses video part from earlier in the year showcases that evolution. At 37, he still skates hard as hell, returning to spots multiple times to ensure a line is executed to his liking. His trick selection doesn’t stray too far from the maneuvers we’ve come to know, but there are always some new wrinkles or variations thrown in. And while big stairs and rails have slowly been weened out of his oeuvre over the years, Long’s approach to spots new and old is fresh, exciting, and more enjoyable than the lengthy drops and slides of yore. He’s also got a great haircut—that shouldn’t be discounted here, either.

It’s an impressive and exceedingly rare feat to accomplish what Long has. His career arcs have peaks and valleys that most other careers wouldn’t survive. But he has, and it seems, improbably, like the best is still yet to come.

According to our calculations, the WKND video is good

Rank: 1
Mood: ⛵️

WKND Skateboards, as they do, released another great video this week. Bottle Neck Sewage features full parts from Alex Schmidt and Jordan Taylor, a chunk of Christian Maalouf, clips from the rest of the team, and a healthy serving of skits. With a runtime of 17:18, approximately 6:58 of the video is comprised of those skits and credits. It’s not often that a skateboarding company can get away with 40% of their skateboarding video not being actual skateboarding, but WKND has fine-tuned and harnessed the lost art of the skit, and we’re all the better for it.

The X Games happened again

Rank: 2
Mood: 🥇 🥈 🥉

And it turns out they’ve been happening for years. This would be corroborated by the one storyline that kept being repeated on the Men’s Skateboard Street broadcast: Nyjah Huston has 13 X Games gold medals, just two shy of tying the all-time record of 15 held by Shaun White; and if he won both the Men’s Skateboard Street and Best Trick events last weekend, he’d find himself in rarified air shared only with the Flying Tomato. Huston would win neither, despite the promo packages.

Instead, in a surprising, somewhat dubious pair of scores, France’s Vincent Milou would jump into first above Yuto Horigome before ultimately being usurped by eventual winner Shane Oneill. While having the gold medal draped around his neck, Oneill appeared to say that it should’ve gone to the Frenchman. Commentator Gary Rogers would also note, “He won? For real?”

Then in Skateboard Street Best Trick, Jamie Foy would remind us that he is very, very good by fakie kickflip 5-0ing down a rail for first place.

Huston would take second and Dashawn Jordan would land a laserflip… backside… willy grind for third.

While Huston wouldn’t be able to fulfill the broadcast’s narrative, the Men’s event did start with an interesting record-setting-themed ceremony of sorts, with Leticia Bufoni being awarded two Guinness World Records. One for “Most Medals Won in X Games summer disciplines by a female (12)” and “Most Skateboard Street gold medals won at the X Games by a female (5).”

It does get a bit lost in the excitement around the new generation of competitive women’s skateboarders—some who had yet to exist when Bufoni started competing—just how much of a force she was on the contest circuit throughout the mid-to-late aughts and into the 2010s. The Guinness World Records adjudicator would tell Bufoni as much after handing her a pair of framed certificates.

“Congratulations, you are officially amazing.”

The ol’ jump out and drop-in

Rank: 3
Mood: 🏃‍♀️ 🏃 🏃‍♂️

There is something a little freaky, a tad off-putting, but ultimately fascinating about street contest skaters not using quarter pipes.

Something to consider: Is this a bussup or bolts?

Good things: Pranking your friends.

Until next week… if you can find your way to a beach, bury your feet in the sand and let the sun wash over you. If you stay long enough, you’ll get a funny tan line on your legs, but that’s okay.