We slidin' | Simply Ranked

Plus: Avery Johnson, getting into The Zone, J. Crew invents big pants, 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.

Credit where credit is not due

Rank: 34-30
Mood: 👖

If this is what gets more brands to start making wider-fit pants, and god-willing, convinces Dickies to bring my beloved FLEX Relaxed Fit Straight Leg Twill Comfort Waist Pants back from their premature grave, then sure, give J. Crew credit for popularizing Big Fits. It’s a wrongheaded assumption, but sometimes even a wayward breeze can fill your sail and carry you home.

Shoe stopper

Rank: 1
Mood: 👟          🧍‍♂️        👟

Street League Skateboarding found its way to Everett, Washington, last weekend, and there were some interesting storylines coming out of the event if you’re into that sort of thing. Rayssa Leal and Yuto Horigome won their respective events, continuing their impressive runs of dominance. The oldest competitor of the finals, 36-year-old Ryan Decenzo—who’s more than double the age of Leal—was just a single decimal point away from making it onto the podium. France’s Vincent Milou landed in second place, extending a surprising run of silver medal finishes. But amongst all of the incredibly high-level skateboarding on display, the most memorable moment to me, as I lay hungover on the couch watching the prelims replay and dipping saltines into a tub of hummus, was Alec Majerus bailing and somehow losing both of his shoes.

It raised a cheer from the centre of my chest and filled the painful hollow of my skull with questions. How does that happen? Were his laces not tied tight enough? Do his ankles have hinge joints instead of ball-and-socket? Flip is still making that Cheech and Chong graphic?

Apple, tree, falling not far from

Rank: 1
Mood: 🍎

I tried my best, I really did, but how could I not look for it? A similar stiffness in the hips, that familiar swinging of the arms, a ride away that looks so good it must be posed. And I’m sure I saw it all. Or it could be that I was projecting onto Avery Johnson, son of Marc Johnson. This is the curse of being the progeny of former prodigies; you might end up existing in a shadow that’s decades long.

But, Avery is his own Johnson. His Enter The Museum part is a testament to that. He skates fast, goes big, and gets equal parts tech and creative, all of that anchored by interesting spot selection that one imagines has been influenced by hanging out with notorious spot hounds Tom Karangelov and Jordan Taylor. It’s a distinct and damn good video part. However, it’s hard to argue that the particular shape his body makes while riding away from his penultimate trick doesn’t remind you of a certain someone.

We slidin’

Rank: 93A
Mood: 🤔

As readers of Simple Magic know, I love a good skateboarding product gimmick. So last week, when I started seeing contextless tweets about a new wheel that was either poised to change the act of skateboarding forever or the result of a marketing campaign boldly overpromising what a set of urethan lumps can realistically deliver, I was intrigued.

Powell-Peralta’s “Dragon Formula” has apparently been in development for about a decade and has just recently been deemed ready for a mass-market debut. The first tease of these “experimental wheels” I could find was in a pair of promo videos released in early July that feature Andy Anderson and are peppered with shots of George Powell in his lab, apparently tinkering with different urethane compositions.

George, tinkering.

Anderson explains the hook of the new product succinctly and as such: it’s “… a soft and slippery wheel.” One that allows a person to skate over rough terrain as soft wheels do, but with the functional ability to powerslide and bluntslide of hard wheels. He’d make an appearance on Nine Club EXPERIENCE a few weeks later to gift the podcasters a few sets of Dragons and go into greater detail.

“With softer wheels, they tend to vibrate at lower frequencies. Harder [wheels] make a higher frequency vibration [allowing for slides]. A soft wheel grabs, throws, grabs, throws… [Dragons are] ten years of George trying to make a high-frequency soft wheel… It’s kind of berserk.”

Anderson rides for Powell-Peralta, so his endorsement should be expected. But even folks outside of Powell’s camp are stumping for the Dragons.

From Darude of Sandstorm fame shouting out the wheels in the YouTube comment section of Anderson’s interview to Roger Bagley of The Nine Club doing a testimonial video (titled “Did George Powell Just Reinvent The Wheel”) where he and the videographer claim that the wheels not only changed their way of skating and allowed them to skate longer, but for the videographer, they’ve even eased his back pain.

Admittedly, the pitch and hype all feel a bit snake-oily, like a crypto-bro trying to pitch you on Web3, but perhaps I’m just jaded. I’d love for a set of wheels to cause a dramatic and positive shift in my skateboarding and quality of life, but the only way to know for sure is if George sends me a box. I ride 56mm, George. Please. Thank you.

Getting into The Zone

Rank: 7th
Mood: 💪🧽 🪣🛁

Sometimes before I go skate, I’ll, unsurprisingly, watch some skateboarding to get myself into a sufficiently stoked mind space. Usually, I’ll put on some Andrew Allen or Daniel Dent’s with the apple. But sometimes, I’ll simply turn on music at a particularly high volume and dance around a bit. Finishing up house chores can also provide an ample infusion of stoke. Is there anything more rewarding than returning to your home in the pristine state you left it? A clean tub, watered plants, an empty recycling bin—are those not like landing tricks in themselves?

Getting into The Zone can mean anything to anyone. Taking the dog for a walk, putting a roast in the slow cooker, watching a bit of Bergman. It’s a universal and unique practice, this building and maintaining of energy and confidence. Does it actually help me land or learn new tricks? Tough to say. But, at the very least, my apartment is clean.

Something to consider:

Good things: Sleepy bats.

Until next week… remember to refill your bird feeder. If you forget, you’ll ultimately be reminded by the slow, creeping quiet.