Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Jason Dill #3.

For my X-Games viewing, I watched a replay of the Mega Ramp on Friday night and the Real Street contest on Saturday. I'm naming names and places to provide a sense of context, even if you've never heard of the people or bars I'm talking about.

I caught the replay of the Mega Ramp at Ellicottville Brewing Company on Friday night. My friend Dan was bartending and they have multiple TVs. In all honesty, I was watching SportsCenter more for highlights of the Royals/Indians game than the Mega Ramp coverage. There were a couple of casual skateboard fans at the bar also watching and their commentary was cracking me up. I didn't feel like being "that guy" and correcting them so I sat there and listened.

Anyway, I'm not into the Mega Ramp. Yes, it takes a lot of guts and there's an understandable progression that some of the top skaters are willing to take, but it doesn't do much for me. I don't hold it against anybody who has the talent and opportunity to skate the thing. I'd like to make some sort of argument about how it reduces skateboarding to a spectator sport since a relatively small number of skaters can actually do it. This is different from how street and mini ramp skating were more inclusive back when I started, but street skating these days is nearly as much a spectator sport with guys and girls jumping down massive stairs and rails so that idea doesn't hold much water. The Mega Ramp is also more singular and specialized as you aren't exactly using a regular skateboard, plus you need the ramp itself and the land to host it. It's more on par with snowboarding in terms of gear and location requirements. This is in contrast to the simplicity of street skating, where you just need a board and a flat surface. Finally there was this Chris Miller quote in a Schmitt Stix ad from 1988 that said he liked to go from side to side and use the whole ramp, instead of just going back and forth. With the Mega Ramp you are basically going forth without substance between the tricks. I've always liked Miller's approach, but in street skating you are mostly just going in a straight line, so that point isn't very valid either. Whatever. Heath did it, so that makes it cool, right?

On to the Real Street portion of the X-Games. My friend Sean bartends at Coughlan's. We've been meeting up there to watch Street League and the X-Games on their big TV. I try to keep my opinions on these contests mostly positive and pick out the things I can support from the cheese rather than get bogged down by the negatives, Mega Ramp rant aside.

I caught most of the section where pros submitted their one minute videos before heading down to the bar. Silas Baxter-Neal had a great clip and won. I was hoping Eli Reed would have made the cut after reading his ringing endorsement from Boil The Ocean, but he didn't. In the fan voting, Brandon Westgate edged out Billy Marks. I'm fine with that. Both dudes rip.

For the Real Street contest, I thought they gave the skaters too many runs and the event seemed to drag on. I understand having more than just a best of two, but after watching five runs without much variation, it got repetitive. The skateboarding that went down was great in terms of tricks and mind boggling to think that these guys are doing some very hard tricks every time. I liked what Luan Oliveira was doing and thought he should have won over Nyjah Huston. Nyjah has got the moves, but it feels like he is simply doing them perfectly without much style. Of course he's also sixteen and still figuring a lot of stuff out. Did he try to one up Ryan Sheckler with a first try hardflip off the roof gap that Sheckler kickflipped with mixed results? Sean had the observation that Sheckler is now 21 and will be spending more time at the bars instead of skateboarding. We both liked Ryan Decenzo's every time tailslide followed by the rough gap frontside 360. I thought Chaz Ortiz had some good lines, too.

That's all the X-Games I watched and what I thought of them. It was basically fun. In the end I'd rather watch Dennis Busenitz, Raven Tershy or a Creature video, but that's just me.

Since I'm rambling on, there is one thing I would like to address about the Street League. They need to tone down the emphasis on the amount of money involved in the contest. Rob Dyrdek and company make it sound like the only reason the riders are in it is for the huge cash payments. While this might not be far from the truth with mortgages, car payments and the kid's college fund on the financial horizon, it's tacky to talk about how much money you make.

If I have to see that commercial for the Octane Zone car school one more time, I'm gouging my eyes out or throwing a chair at the TV. Probably the later.


Yeah, it had to be Dill to go with this. I'm stoked on his recent batch of coverage. Also the younger kids don't see the appeal of him, which is sign that you are getting old when you say that Dill is awesome and they say that so & so who hasn't had a skate photo in forever is better.

Dennis McGrath took the photo.

Transworld - May 1999 Volume 17 Number 5


Mr. SP said...

Nice post. I totally agree with you about how money is fueling Street League - and probably some other contests. And what you said about the Real Street contest is how I feel about SL, it just drags, it's repetitive, and frankly a bit boring. Not what skating is supposed to be.

I haven't had the chance to watch the Real Street part, I only watched the Vert Ramp. Considering that, what are your thoughts on Shaun White's continual presence in skateboarding. There's no doubt he can skate, but does anyone even consider him a skater? Respect him? I mean, the dude's just bogarting one tiny portion of skateboarding and it's starting to make me sick.

Keith said...

Sick Dill ad. sw fs pointer down Hubba is insane. I think Dill comes across as a bit of a kook the past few years. Particularly in that Dylan Epicly Laterd.

As for X-Games and Street League... I've only caught highlights here and there and a few broadcasts of SL finals. Not really into contests. It's pretty incredible though that some of these guys are so consistent. I did watch the vert contest at espn.com and Shaun White is a kook but I dig that fakie fs 540 to fakie. I don't watch a lot of vert but I don't think I've ever seen anyone do that.

Anonymous said...

I have always liked this photo of Dill. I dont remeber seeing the footage but sick nonetheless. X Games could be cool if....well It can't be. I dont care for any of the contest trash and its always the same 20 dudes usually doing the same shit. Cool they are getting paid but it just means more jerks will have more small talk at bars. But who cares. Dill rips, glad he's making a come back and those real street vids were all pretty sick!

Justin said...

Shaun White has a presence in skateboarding?

His website lists his sponsors as Burton, Target, Oakley, Ubisoft, Stride, BFGoodrich Tires and Park City Mountain Resort. What does he do for skateboarding? Buy his own boards? He certainly would have the money to do that. Does Burton flow him some Workshop decks in his snowboard packages? It doesn't even look like you can buy a Shaun White deck after a quick Google search.

He certainly would have appeal to the very casual fan that knows him from the Olympics, but past that I doubt many skateboarders care. I don't even know enough about him to have a solid opinion. I remember when he won all the medals and a few of my non-skating friends were all excited about him and how awesome he was. I had to be the bummer and say that he's a total kook. I'm curious about this now and want to look into it. He's good at skateboarding, but that isn't enough to make you likable.

I agree that the contests can get boring. Street League at least has a set number of runs and they cut competitors. You know when it is going to end. The Real Street felt like it wasn't going stop ever. I do get tired of seeing the same names each contest because none of them are necessarily my favorites, not that I have anything against any of them. The contests and the more mainstream stuff are such a small slice of what skateboarding is overall. It's too bad that the general public only picks up on that smaller sampling, but if it get more quality parks built and other positives, then I guess that is a good thing.

Dill is an eccentric. He recognizes this and I think he has enough self awareness to realize when's he said or done something stupid. Unlike (insert your choice of pro who has gone off the deep end here.) I think he's on Vans now and has been filming a lot with AVE out in LA.

Enough typing. I'm going to see about going skateboarding before it rains.

Anonymous said...

i'm sorry but dill is way kookier than shaun white. dill is like this pretentious, judgemental, STUPID, non-artistic 'artist' who, to top it off, is a total dick. plus, although he is talented on the board, he's nowhere near as talented as shaun white. have you ever spent time with dill? i have(which is why i type this anonymously... to avoid confrontation). shaun just seems like a pure snowboarding/vert skating nut. no pretentions or anything, just a shredder. dill just always seems 'too cool for school' and i hate that exclusionist attitude. thats my 2 cents

justin said...

No crap. You gotta be careful how you word things. I try to be mostly positive, but it doesn't always work out that way. I almost wrote a fairly accurate and somewhat negative description of a pro and decided to change it up a bit at the last minute. A couple days later I got an email from the guy saying how happy he was to see the old ad of himself.

I've never met Dill. I don't know if I even want to. I tend to subscribe to the notion that the cooler you think somebody is, the odds are better that they are lame in person. Also the lamer you think somebody is, the odds are good that they will end up being a nice person. Whatever. You're probably right. I could see him being all of those things, not that all of those things could necessarily be bad depending on how an individual presents themselves.

I'm basing my judgement of Jason Dill on two decades worth of video parts, interviews and photos. That's a pretty good body of work to evaluate somebody by and I've generally been a fan of what he has done. Sure, he has said and done some dumb shit from time to time, but I enjoy his skating and interviews. I don't consider him a roll model or put him on any sort of pedestal. I'm glad he's out there doing whatever it is he is doing.

Shaun White is probably a good guy and down for skateboarding. I don't know much about him beyond a shared part in the Adio video with Tony Hawk, his Olympics/X-Games winnings and that Rolling Stone cover. That's not much at all. None of the stuff he is into interests me, so I don't keep up with what he is doing. (I don't like snow, so I have no desire to snowboard or even watch it.) If Shaun reads this, gets in touch with me and comes off as a nice guy, I'll retract that I think he is a kook.

Let's face it, a lot of our favorite bands/actors/pros/artists, etc. have bad attitudes. But at the same time Dill has to have something good going for him since he's been on the Alien Workshop for 13 years, keeps getting coverage and being a pro. He hasn't kooked himself out of the industry... yet.