Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mike Cao #2.

Leaping tall fire hydrants in a single bound.

"Wing Ding's a powerful skater, hella solid." - Mike York

"He's hilarious and likes T-dogs." - Jake Vogel

"Gifted unlimited" - Justin Girard

"He owes me twenty bones." - Mike Carroll

"Dinger skates like an Alabaman cybernetic organism." - James Kelch

For the quotes: Transworld - November 1992 Volume 10 Number 11

Transworld - March 1994 Volume 12 Number 3

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tony Ferguson #2.

Old Girl ads were so basic.

It's probably photos by Spike Jonze and handwriting by Rick Howard.

Thrasher - March 1994 Volume 14 Number 3

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mark Gonzales #12.

Pay no mind.

The photo is by Chris Ortiz.

Transworld - October 1994 Volume 12 Number 10

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sal Barbier #2.

You gotta love the vintage helmet.

This photo is from the fifth Back To The City contest in San Francisco. It happened over Labor Day weekend in 1993. Matt Beach won, Wade Speyer took second and Phil Shao was third.

Does Sal's board seem a little odd? It's completely black without any scratches beyond some very minor roughness around the nose. (Sal is goofy footed for the record.)

Rick Kosick took the photo.

Thrasher - December 1993 Volume 13 Number 12

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bo Ikeda #2.

Bo rips.

I was going to write up a little something on board sizes, but work has gotten too busy today so here's three paragraphs on wheels.

I did a little research on small wheels last night by digging through a bunch of old CCS and other assorted catalogs. The comments yesterday suggested that there were 38 mm wheels from Santa Cruz and New School. There certainly were so Heavy Metal Chuck and Lucas can trust their sense of recall about the existence of Bullet 38 Specials and New School Little Ceasars.

What I surprisingly discovered was that pretty much everybody had a 38 or 39 mm wheel in the late 1992 to mid 1993 time frame. I thought wheels bottomed out in the low 40s with only a few daring to go lower. A1 Meats, Alien Workshop, Birdhouse, Blockhead, Planet Earth, Powell, Race, Real, Santa Cruz, Spitfire and Stereo all cracked the 40 mm barrier. It went from one catalog having a couple in the 30s to the next catalog with a 30 mm overload. Now these were primarily CCS catalogs so I don't have an accurate sampling of World Industries related products because either Steve Rocco wasn't peddling his smut to them at the time or CCS didn't want it. There might have been a 36 mm Kareem Campbell wheel and a 101 wheel of the same size, but I didn't find anything yesterday. Feel free to send along a link if anybody out there does find something.

After all that set up, I found the magic number to be 37 mm. Stereo had a wheel called the Quarter Note at that size. Spitfire also had a 37 mm Fireball. An honorable mention goes to World Industries for making a 37.5 mm Daewon Song wheel. These would all have been from about the middle of 1993. Wheel sizes started to rebound after that and by 1994 things were getting bigger.

Transworld - March 1993 Volume 11 Number 3

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

John Cardiel #8.

I've been casually following a few comment threads on what the smallest wheels made in the big pants/small wheel days were. Toxic had some 39 mm ones that I figured were the smallest until I found this ad. It looks like Spitfire has taken the lead with a 38.6 mm wheel.

Another somewhat interesting discovery about Spitfire is that they didn't use the Flame Head logo very often in ads during the 1992 - 1994 years. It was first used in May 1992. They really liked the firefly logo thing and the Evel Knievel inspired number one.

Thanks to Black Label for the link.

Thrasher - April 1993 Volume 13 Number 4

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Thomas Morgan #4.

Film instead of video grabs.

I deem a lot of the Alien Workshop ads from this time period unusable because they used video grab sequences that are too grainy to be worth scanning. It's kind of too bad because they had some good layouts and art in the ads that are tempting to scan.

I had the wood version of this board in the summer of 1993 before I went back to college for my sophomore year. It was orange. I think it had a blue top ply, but I could be wrong. I was also riding some tiny Spitfires and Ventures. I want to say my next board was a Consolidated Frankie Hill with the barbarian lady graphic. Yeah, that seems about right.

Dave Swift took the pictures. The sculpture is by Mike Hill.

Transworld - June 1993 Volume 11 Number 6

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mike Cao.

OG EMB head.

Mike was an amateur for the New Deal and then one of the first three pros on Justin Girard's Mad Circle. Chris Fissell was the third and Scott Johnston soon was the fourth.

This was a request from Desmond from about a year ago. I'm sorry it took so long to get around to it. Apparently there is a lack of Cao on the internet. I figured Chrome Ball would have had a post on him, but not as yet. I'll have one more next week.

Thanks to Roger for stopping by. Also thanks to Justin Ortiz for sharing some cool Black Label stories in the comments.

By the way, it's 1993 all week long.

Transworld - June 1993 Volume 11 Number 6

Friday, February 17, 2012

Black Label Winter 1992 Catalog.

This is a Black Label catalog from late 1992 or early 1993. It has boards for all your obscure favorites like Randy Colvin, Max Evans, Shawn Martin and Skip Pronier. The envelope I had this in was postmarked February 1993, but a Black Label ad elsewhere on this website for the John Cardiel candy deck is from 1992 so I'm saying it's from that year.

Of note is Jason Dill's debut pro model with the Cypress Hill rip off graphic. We learned in a Raiders Of The Lost Archives episode with John Lucero that Dill bailed on the Label as the boards were at the screen printers. Also worth noting is the Cardiel deck with the graphics by Mark Gonzales. I had the Cards deck with the Mexican woman on it.

It's going to be 1993 for a week starting on Monday.

Happy 8th anniversary to Skate Daily.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Jeff Pang #2.

It's not the underworld any more.

Occasional Vert Is Dead visitor Jeff Pang puts the hammer down on a late shove-it back in 1992.

Bill Thomas took the photos.

Transworld - July 1992 Volume 10 Number 7

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Jovontae Turner #3.

Everybody's favorite disappearer.

The photos are by Bryce Kanights.

Thrasher - October 1992 Volume 12 Number 10

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dan Peterka.

Dan rode for H-Street and was a professional snowboarder. He possibly invented the crooked grind.

I'm zipping through the early 1990s (92-94) for the next three weeks to fill in a couple of random requests I've had and because those years were a lot of fun. After that I'm going to spend a month on 2001 and probably 2002, mainly because I want to have some classic enjoi ads on here.

Niko Achtipes shot the sequence photos.

Transworld - September 1992 Volume 10 Number 9

Monday, February 13, 2012

Thrasher Media Blitz.

"Another video for the disposable heap - watch it once and go on."

It's going to be 1992 for the week.

The video reviews are by Ted Benjamin, Lane Chadwick, Kevin Day, Mark Hendry, Chad Swayze and Garth Wilkins.

Thrasher - March 1992 Volume 12 Number 3

Friday, February 10, 2012

TV Guide #1.

This is the first 'zine that Ed Templeton and Mike Vallely did for TV. TV was started after they both left the New Deal. It was backed by Brad Dorfman at Vision. TV did not last long, as Ed and Mike joined with Dean Christal of Zero Two and changed the name to Television. Television was around for even less time than TV. After the broadcasting was all over, Ed started Toy Machine and Mike went back to Powell. The rest is history.

TV Guide #1 is from April 1992.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

One More 1992 Catalog.

After Vision fell apart and a short stint on Planet Earth, Ken Park started One More Skateboard Company. He also created the Phat Klown Clothing Company. The team for One More included Ken, Jason Carney, Brian Tucci, June Cate and Jeff Davis. The riders for Phat Klown were Matt Hensley and Alan Petersen.

Judging by the ads that ran in Transworld, One More lasted about six to eight months. I feel sorry for Ken. He went from a reasonably respected vert pro of the 1980s to having a failed attempt at a skateboard start up in the early 1990s. One More's name comes up every so often and I figure this sheds a little light on the company.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Black Label Spring 1992 Catalog.

Classic Black Label.

You've got John Lucero's art with copies of photos and text from ads, all laid out on a photocopier to be printed on an 11" x 17" piece of paper.

I've always been a fan of Lucero. I didn't know all that much about him until the last eight years or so once skateboarding started documenting its past more. I knew that he did graphics for people and I really liked the early Lucero/Black Label art, but I never realized the extent to which he was involved in things. Skateboarder's current Raiders Of The Lost Archives episodes with John are a lot of fun to watch. He comes off as a very likable guy that loves skateboarding, similar to Lance Mountain. I know this comparison has been made before, but Lucero is skateboarding's fun loving uncle.

The team represented in the collage includes John Cardiel, Max Evans, Jeff Grosso, Shawn Martin, Skip Pronier and Ben Schroeder. I'm pretty sure Gino Iannucci would have been on the team at this point, but he might not have had any ads just yet. Jason Dill might still have been on Blockhead. Keep in mind that this is from early 1992 and all the photos would have probably been from 1991.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Acme 1991 Catalog.

Jim Grey started Acme in 1991 after riding professionally for Blockhead. He brought Ron Cameron along to do the art and got Mark Oblow to manage the team. This would be their first catalog.

Acme's initial claim to fame was that they didn't have any pro models, a concept that was novel at the time and in retrospect rather unusual. They eventually did have pro boards later on. This topic has been discussed to death in the comment section here and elsewhere over the last couple of years.

I think what appeals to me about the company was the graphic design. It has a retro feel, back when retro was not just another meaningless buzzword. The black and white ads, the fonts and the layouts were well done and different from what a lot of the other companies were doing.

Team riders have included Bo Ikeda, Omar Hassan, Remy Stratton, Mike Santarossa, Clyde Singleton, Jason Rothmeyer, Chet Childress, Brad Hayes, Kevin Rucks, Matt Contresas and Robbie Gaskell.

In addition to doing the graphics, Cameron had a little subdivision of Acme called Strike. For whatever reason, I really want one of those boards, but I'm not going to hunt one down on the internet or anything.

Eric Murphy is on the cover in a photo by Eric Matthies. Tom West took the product pictures.

Monday, February 6, 2012

H - Street Newsletter.

Welcome to I Check The Mail Only When Certain It Has Arrived week. I've got a bunch of things scanned in that were mailed to me from five different skateboard companies a long time ago now.

Back before Crailtap and 411 if you wanted to find out about your favorite company and/or skateboarder, you had to write something on a piece of paper and mail it to said company. Usually there was an address in an ad that also promised stickers if you sent a buck. Depending on the company, either the owner, the secretary, a team rider or a minimum wage hired helper would stuff a newsletter or catalog in an envelope with a couple of stickers and mail it back to you. The response time was somewhat variable and contingent upon how successful a particular brand was versus how much they liked to party in their spare time. Of course being fourteen or fifteen, you had no real awareness of this sort of thing and just wanted some stickers in the mail with maybe a quick note from your favorite pro.

This here would be the H - Street team letter from 1990. All the typing errors, and possibly the spelling mistakes, are a result of a now nearly extinct machine called a typewriter. You've got updates on the team, some hype about the products and the rundown on the staff.

In a completely unrelated note, I went skateboarding again this weekend at the local outdoor park. (Thank you, global warming.) I noticed that I need some new shoes and I'd like to get something with a cupsole. I'm slightly intrigued by the waffle/cup combo from Vans if the new sole material wasn't attached to what appears to be the flimsiest upper ever. Does anybody have suggestions for good kicks currently on the market with a cupsole?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Rob "Sluggo" Boyce #2.

Good vibrations.

Sluggo was pro for Real and World Industries. He currently is part owner of Centre Distribution and RDS Skate Supply. He also works as a stuntman for TV and movies in Vancouver.

This basically concludes Vert Is Dead's trip through the 1988 - 1991 era. That time period was a ton of fun to grow up in and looking at the old magazines and videos brings back lots of good memories.

Tune in next week for I Check The Mail Only When Certain It Has Arrived week. It's not exactly what you are expecting, but it will be close.

Thrasher - November 1990 Volume 10 Number 11

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Kevin Staab #3.

He sells sanctuary.

After riding for Sims up until the early 1990s, Kevin currently has a board out on Birdhouse. He rode for Shine, Hollywood and a bad version of Vision during the in-between time.

There was an interview with Kevin in a recent issue of the Skateboard Mag that talked mostly about the tricks that he had come up with over the years, which included the blunt and the fakie ollie. There was a full version of the interview that appeared on the Mag's website that included a whole lot more on what he has been up to since the Sims days. The conversation on tricks was good, yet it would have been nice to have a longer interview in print that actually covered Kevin's history to provide a little context as to who he is. I know space is limited and editorial decisions have to be made based on what will sell magazines, which means twenty pages on a forty year old vert skater is probably out of the question. However, it wouldn't hurt to run longer interviews with people that actually have stuff to say versus a sixteen year old talking about how fast his car goes. I fully acknowledge that not everybody is going to have interesting things to say or give the best interview or even connect with the interviewer and that's how things are. Staab would certainly fall into the category of having more to say as he has been in and out of the skateboarding spotlight since the vert glory days of the 80s. And I bet crusty old dudes who see a Kevin Staab interview would like to know what he's been up to.

Even though I'm basically singling out the Skateboard Mag with this particular example, I'm not doing it out of malice, but rather as constructive criticism. For the most part, their interviews are good stuff, although I wish they had more developed stories like when they first started. Two paragraphs by a photographer about how awesome a trip was does not constitute anything that resembles an article. That goes for anybody in skateboarding journalism.

Has anybody noticed how unusual the Birdhouse pro team is? I'm not saying that as a putdown either, but as an observation about the four guys they make models for. You've got two forty something vert skaters with Tony Hawk and Staab, a street legend in his mid 30s with Willy Santos and the new kid, Aaron "Jaws" Homoki.

Grant Brittain was the camera operator.

Transworld - September 1989 Volume 7 Number 5

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Neil Blender #7.

Did Neil land this? It's one of those photos that you aren't exactly sure what is going on in it. I like the fist pumping guy to the right side.

Transworld - October 1988 Volume 6 Number 5