Thumper's Inferno | Simply Ranked

Plus: DGK conspiracy, Shredline 360, there's no 'I' in CHIP, and more.

Thumper's Inferno | 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.

A conspiratorial aesthetic

Rank: -10
Mood: 🌎🦹‍♂️

At 17 years old, and so perpetually fried from the daily smoking of a brick-sized block of hash I’d bought from a school friend weeks earlier that I’d started to believe I could commune with a network of spirits—like the internet, but where all of our souls hang out, you know?—that it’s not surprising when between watching Limewire torrents of A Time To Shine and Get Tricks or Die Tryin’, I’d sit through a shoddily-produced conspiracy theory film called Zeitgeist on Google Video and suddenly think that, hey, maybe jet fuel can’t melt steel beams.

Thankfully, once I realized I needed to stop smoking so much weed if I had any hope of graduating high school, the focus that studying and homework required distracted me from the brief grip those half-baked conspiracies had on a previously full-baked me. Eventually, I’d completely forget about them until nearly a decade later, when someone would jokingly bring up the film in conversation. I was immediately hit with a raw dose of shame and embarrassment at remembering how I’d fallen for that schlock—and how easy I had—considering that, in retrospect, how terribly stupid the movie is.

In the following months and years, I’d start to notice friends and family begin to fall for a similar conspiracy-addled flood of mis- and disinformation that came streaking across their timelines. From an old elementary school companion preaching about flat earth on Facebook to watching a cousin post themselves deeper into the mind-warping murk of QAnon in real-time. If you’re a person who exists on the internet today, you’ve likely seen this happen to people you know too, and it’s probably clear that things aren’t getting any better. These mass denials of reality have become a real threat to families, communities, and in some places, democracy itself.

Anyways, all of that to say, it was a bit surprising to see that DGK appears to have found inspiration in that old conspiracy film. Seemingly modelling the visual aesthetic of their latest full-length after it and even (perhaps coincidentally—hey, you never know) naming their video Zeitgeist. Subtle. Strangely though, given the extreme state of things now, the reference almost feels quaint. Like playing Bloc Party or quoting Anchorman. The expression of a gullible teenager.

Looks and name aside, the new DGK video is just a skate video. It doesn’t contain any warnings of a new world order, just a lot of really tech ledge tricks. Even if it does still deny reality in its own way:

About to become an Adriel Parmisano truther.

Did the X Games… sell out?

Rank: 1
Mood: 💸

A headline from an outlet called InsideHook would lead you to believe that, with the title of their piece about ESPN selling a majority interest in the X Games being “Extreme Sports Go Corporate as ESPN Sells X Games to Private-Equity Firm.” But I’d contend that it’s hard to sell out when you were never fully bought in. Semantics aside, as ESPN reported on itself last week, the worldwide leader in sports has cashed in on its nearly three-decade-old action sports franchise, with buyer MSP Sports Capital taking over the business operations and event production of all future X Games events and shows. Part of that multi-year agreement includes ESPN broadcasting all X Games events on TV in the United States.

So who’s MSP Sports Capital and what exactly do they do?

We invest in sports teams, leagues, and businesses in the sports ecosystem that are pursuing ambitious, challenging tasks. We focus on opportunities where our deep expertise and elite network of principals add value.

Our principals have over 65 years’ experience building companies, forging partnerships, and evolving the operations within global sports industry. The strength of our network and experience is unmatched, with our partners generating over $2 billion of value over 20+ years. At MSP Sports Capital, we use our past success and a hands-on approach to uncover the most unique and valuable opportunities.

Cool. The firm also has investments in McLaren Racing and four European soccer clubs. But what evidence is there that the group can run a storied “action sports” franchise? Will the X Games change at all? Will the ramps get bigger? Smaller? If one of their shadowy billionaire partners says they’re tired of seeing everyone do Caballerial backside lipslides, will MSP Sports Capital be forced to ban them from competition or risk financial harm? Hopefully.

It’s too early to know what will happen. For all we know, they could break it down and sell it for parts in a year. But for now, they’re pushing forward with their first event scheduled for January, and they recently announced that X Games luminary Tony Hawk has joined the MSP Sports Capital team as a “brand steward.” Or, as Hawk referred to his role in a statement, “Skateboarding is part of my DNA and I support a community where change and advances in action sports is happening on a daily basis. Being part of the advisory board for X Games is an extension of my decades of competing and much more forgiving to the body.”

Change. Advances. Not necessarily words associated with a franchise that’s now on the wrong side of its twenties, but who knows? They have adapted relatively well to the digital age, with a strong presence across social media platforms while still maintaining decent ratings on traditional broadcasts. But, of course, it’s only ever getting more challenging to feel fresh and draw eyeballs in a chaotic and crowded media market. A free suggestion to help set yourselves apart, MSP Sports Capital? End the scourge of the Caballerial backside lipslide. Seriously. You’re welcome.

There’s no ‘I’ in CH🏆P [sic]

Rank: 2
Mood: 🥈

I imagine the branding shown in the video above actually involved the same limited level of reasoning that went into naming brands like Life Extention [sic]. But, instead of the Lakers just stating that they wanted to put the Larry O’Brien trophy in their marketing material along with the colloquial twist on the word “championship” to get their team motivated to start the season (2-5), in front of the cameras, they added a bit of pseudo-inspirational gobbledygook about not including the letter ‘I' in words because teams are built on we, us, our, etc.

At least with Life Extention [sic], there never seemed to be any pretension when they coloured outside the lines of language. Its founders, Nick Trapasso and Pat “Sinner” Pasquale, likely wanted “Life Extension,” did a quick google, discovered that it was already the name of a decades-old vitamin and supplement company, and swapped the ‘S’ for a ‘T.’ And hey, eschewing spelling and grammar norms is a tried and true marketing gimmick. Dekline. Krux. Krew. If anything, it increases your brand’s unique SEO. Right? Sure.

So, if you want to play with the rules of language for marketing purposes, go ahead. But be honest with your audience. You put the trophy in there because you thought it was cool. You don’t need to pretend there’s any greater meaning. Enjoi is spelled like that because Marc Johnson apparently had a dream about it. And man, the O’Brien clearly looks like an ‘i’ anyways, so what the hell are you even talking about.

Shredline 360

Rank: 1!!!
Mood: 🤘😎🤘

As most avid fingerboarders are aware, and as this ad for Tech Deck’s Shredline 360 knowingly points out, eventually, you will “[run] out of things to shred.” The sink basin and stack of books with a red Swingline stapler positioned down them like a hubba ledge will only keep one occupied for so long. So Tech Deck decided to revolutionize the gimmicky-hard-plastic-toy game by creating a Lazy Susan skatepark that you can use your fingerboard on while staying completely stationary. It has adjustable speeds so you can take your fingerboard line from casual to hellride with the push of a button.

It’s not a stretch to imagine that the idea for this toy probably came from a familiar place. Inspired by a man whose fingerprints are all over nearly every strand of skateboarding’s DNA if you look closely enough.

Rodney Mullen’s proto Shredline 360 in Almost Round Three.

Thumper’s Inferno

Rank: -1
Mood: 🔥🐇🔥

It’s fitting that this video was posted on Halloween, as the thought of rolling into a bowl and, unless rescued, having no choice but to carve its walls for eternity does seem pretty hellish. First-circle-of-hell-ish, to be apt. A place of limbo where your thighs ring with pain and weigh heavy as stones from being forced to pump those transitions for an interminable amount of time. Mouth dry, bearings squeaking, the other damned skaters waiting at the bowl’s lip forever frustrated as your infinite run is also an infinite snake. The shape you trace along the walls an ouroboros. No matter how high your airs get or how long your grinds over the deathbox extend, those around you won’t care. Hell is the home of the sickest tricks and no stoke. Where a dap, that no matter how hard you strain, can never be completed.

Something to consider: The mayor of Edmonton as a streetwear icon. (Also, kind of looks like Pontus, no?)

Good thing: New Yom Tong part up on Mess Skate Mag.

Another good thing: Mike Munzenrider has the details on a new skateshop in St. Paul, MN.

A surprising thing:

Until next week… the weather is such that if you wear glasses, they will now most certainly fog when you enter a cafe from the cold, wear a mask, or breathe too hard. In these moments of limited vision, stand still and savour the uncertainty.