Friday, March 27, 2015

The G-Bag.

This thing is the main reason I decided to spend another week looking at the free thinking inventors of the skateboard world.

A flock of Sheep next week.

Rick Kosick took the photos.

Transworld - December 2000 Volume 18 Number 12

Product Review: Big Brother - January 2001 Number 68

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Misunderstood Trucks #2.

If you weren't feeling what Indy or Venture provided as a way to hold the wheels on your board, several other companies stepped to the plate to give you a number of options.

Jones came up with an unusual square design that changed the location of the kingpin. Future Birdhouse am Jon Goemann was down to give them a try. In looking at those trucks, I'm not sure which is the right way to put them on a board.

Titanium is a material that gets tinkered with from time to time. For as much theoretical promise as it offers since it is a lighter and stronger metal, nothing seems to pan out and skateboarding sticks to the same old aluminum. Titans were lighter than regular trucks and came in a variety of colors. They were good enough to earn the endorsement of former H-Streeter Dave Nelson.

Webb Trucks by Omega were basically a normal truck design with some space shaved out of the hanger to reduce weight, which gave them a web like appearance. Frankie Hill and Anthony Carney rode for them. A young Billy Marks also rode for them. This is the ad that caught Ed Templeton's eye and led to Billy eventually getting on Toy Machine.

Tensor is Rodney Mullen's project to create the perfect truck for technical street skating. His idea was to design a truck that was stable to give you more control for switch and flip tricks. They came with a replaceable plastic slider to help your nose and tail slide game. Tensor is still going today, but they have ditched the plastic sliders for a more traditional looking baseplate.

Finally, there is the Kre-Per by Grind King. They opted for a goth inspired design with skulls and a batwing like shape.

The Jones ad design is by Jeff Tarr and the photo by Christophe. (A typo maybe?) Mike Peralta snapped the photos for Titan Trucks. The Billy Marks sequence is by Joey Shigeo. Seu Trinh took the pictures of James Craig.

Jones Trucks: Transworld - November 1998 Volume 16 Number 11

Titan: Slap - March 1999 Volume 8 Number 3

Webb: Slap - August 2000 Volume 9 Number 8

Tensor: Transworld - March 2000 Volume 18 Number 3

Kre-per: Thrasher - December 2000 Volume 20 Number 12

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bolts #2.

The ongoing war on the screwdriver.

Here is a sampling of bolt options from the later half of the 1990s.

Shorty's came up with Silverados, which featured two silver bolts that you could put at the front of your board to help tell the difference between the nose and tail. Lucky also had hardware that came with a single green bolt to serve the same purpose.

The company that brought you Bridge Bolts created Nutlocks. The little device held the nut in place so you didn't need a wrench to tighten the bolt. This one is a decent idea in all honesty.

Expedition crafted decks with the mounting hardware built into the board. I remember seeing at least one of these boards back then. I thought the bolts were attached to the board, but the photo suggests the nut is what was imbedded in the plies.

Randoms kept the Thunderbolt idea alive with an assortment of cute characters to pound into the top of your board. Randoms upgraded to a more streamlined and punk rock looking design in the years ahead. They even put together a team with some guys who were ams for Black Label and Foundation.

Silverados: Thrasher - April 1996 Volume 16 Number 4

Nutlocks: Transworld - December 1997 Volume 15 Number 12

Inerlock: Slap - September 1999 Volume 8 Number 9

Randoms: Slap - October 1999 Volume 8 Number 10

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Fancy Griptape.

Put a little color on your ride.

Santa Cruz came up with a way to put graphics in griptape in the late 1990s. This seemed a little distracting to me and didn't seem like something that would catch on. However, companies such as Grizzly Grip, Mob, and Shake Junt are cranking out griptape with artwork and the pros are riding it so I'm thinking it is here to stay. Or at least until skateboarding decides that it isn't cool.

Colored griptape has been around a long time, but I always thought the different colors did not grip as well as the all black kind. I remember a friend had the new Tony Hawk Claw with lime green griptape and that was just an odd combination. Negative One stepped up the game and made a better gripping alternative. Kristian Svitak rides for them and kept the 80s spirit alive by riding boards with colorful tape art in Black Label's Black Out video from 2003.

My personal preference is black griptape in two pieces with a thin line in front of the back truck. A skateboard has to look fast and not be visually confusing. I always liked the drawings that Mark Gonzales and Sean Sheffey would do, but whenever I would try to draw something I would end up not liking it. I have long since given up on having any sort of art or design on the top of my skateboard. It's one thing if you are a pro and can change your board whenever, but most of us are stuck with the same board for at least a couple of months. There's no sense in being bummed out every time you go skating by a stupid drawing.

I swear somebody, possibly even Negative One, was making colored griptape in the late 1990s, but I could not find an ad. I spent most of Sunday afternoon rummaging around the stacks and eventually found the Mike V. ad once I expanded the time frame I was looking in.

Lance Dalgart took the photo of Aaron and Matt Mercaro took the photo of Mike.

Roofies: Big Brother - October 1998 Issue 41

Negative One: Thrasher - August 2004 Volume 24 Number 8

Monday, March 23, 2015

Metal Decks.

Metal Machine Music.

Vert Is Dead is going to spend another week looking at inventors and companies that pushed the design envelope in ways to improve the skateboard. I went mostly with things from the late 1990s since at that point skateboarding's popularity was increasing and attracting more people. And free thinkers.

The one minor flaw with the wooden skateboard is that the deck wears out. A possible way to fix this problem is to replace the wood with metal. This is a concept that has been kicked around over the years without a feasible solution. Aircraft opted for a shape that resembled a popsicle deck as well as an early 1980s deck with cutaways. I believe the black guard on the nose and tail are replaceable skid plates so you can change them once they are too worn down. I cannot recall if I ever saw an Aircraft deck in real life.

On the other hand, Lars Tetens took the basic skateboard shape and added speed holes to it. The idea of taking something that can be hard to ride and removing surface area does not seem like a good one. Lars does get a few bonus points for being fashion forward enough to create a kilt with cargo pockets. He also slips in a promotion for either his or his friends' band. Ah, the 1990s. Of all the years, these were ten of them.

The Aircraft photos are possibly by Steve Sherman.

Aircraft: Slap - January 1999 Volume 8 Number 1

Lars Tetens: Slap - December 1998 Volume 7 Number 12

Friday, March 20, 2015

Arto Saari #2.

Rock & Roll Suicide.

Arto survived major head trauma to deliver the closing two David Bowie song part in Sorry. He was rewarded with Thrasher's SOTY for his efforts. He rode for Platinum before Flip and left for a stint on Alien Workshop from 2008 to 2011. Arto battled out a part in the Workshop's Mindfield video in 2009. These days he is still pro for Flip as well as taking a lot of photos for the mags and ads.

The photo for the Active ad is by Pete Thompson.

Bubblegum Punk: Thrasher - January 2001 Volume 21 Number 1

Active: Thrasher - April 2002 Volume 22 Number 4

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Tom Penny #3.

Velvet Underground.

There was a whole lot of mystery concerning what footage Tom would have in Sorry. After a run in the mid to late 1990s tearing up all the spots around California, he vanished to parts unknown. It turns out he was living in France and skating a mini ramp in a barn. There would be stories of Tom sightings or rumors about things he did, which only added to his mystique. Skateboarding seems to love guys who shred and then disappear without a trace. If the internet existed back then as it does now, none of this would have happened. We wouldn't have the rumors of how when éS requested an idea for a pro shoe he sent them an old and smelly Timberland boot to work from or that he kept skating a mini ramp at party in total darkness after the lights were turned off.

Tom's part in Sorry opens up with him skating his mini ramp in France. He throws down the expected kickflips and whatnot. After that short segment, the video jumps to an intro for Arto Saari's part where Arto is lying at the bottom of a handrail after a harsh slam. This transitions from Arto in the hospital to a trippy full section of new footage of Tom on the streets. He is mostly skating in Europe and England with a line at Belmont in California. The line was the last thing filmed just before the premiere.

Tom is doing a nollie backside 180 in the TSA ad. The photo is by Julien Deniau.

Video grab: Thrasher - September 2002 Volume 22 Number 9

TSA: Transworld - January 2002 Volume 20 Number 1