Friday, September 28, 2012

Mike Carroll #13.

Mike sheds a little insight on the motivation to start Girl.

The interview and photo are by Tobin Yelland.

Transworld - June 1994 Volume 12 Number 6

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Girl Team.

This was the second Girl ad. It ran in Transworld. The original team was Mike Carroll, Jovantae Turner, Rick Howard, Rudy Johnson, Tim Gavin, Guy Mariano, Sean Sheffey, Eric Koston, Tony Ferguson, and Jeron Wilson. Of those ten, five still are pro for Girl today. Most of the others have retired from being professional and moved behind the scenes in the industry.

If I remember it correctly, Wallride was one of the names that they were floating around for Girl in the planning stages. It makes sense to have the first ad photos at a spot like this if that's what the company might be called. I'm wondering if it might have been kind of a jab at the idea of progression that was being pushed at Plan B and what caused Mike and Rick to want to make a change. Rather than have the latest tricks, take it back a step with some more basic tricks that people weren't doing as much at the time. They use Wallride as the name of their catalog these days.

Transworld - January 1994 Volume 12 Number 1

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Kareem Campbell #3.

Steve Rocco is the type of guy who isn't going to let a number of team riders and a few employees leave his companies without saying anything about it in an advertisement. This was his response to the start of Girl.

Thrasher - December 1993 Volume 13 Number 12

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Rick Howard & Guy Mariano.

This was the first Girl ad.

This was the description in Thrasher's On Board gossip column of what went down:

In our favorite daytime drama, team Blind has defected to Plan B. Megan Baltimore and Rick Howard plan to wed. Megan left World Industries to work at a swimming pool company, but first will help Rick and Mike Carroll start Girl which features Sean Sheffey, Eric Koston, Jovontae Turner, Guy Mariano, Tim Gavin, Jeron Wilson, and Rudy Johnson. Other peg Spike Jonze, Tony Fergusson and Lumpy in on it as well.

Thrasher - December 1993 Volume 13 Number 12

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mike Carroll & Rick Howard.

The next two weeks are going to be a look back at the early days of Girl. There will be a little taste of Chocolate, too.

Rick and Mike were riding for Plan B until the fall of 1993. During their tenure with the company, they developed some ideas for what they wanted skateboarding to be that were different from how things were at the B. The two figured that they could do their own company and partnered with Spike Jonze and Megan Baltimore to launch Girl. This was their last ad for Plan B.

Has there ever been an article on the history of Girl? I figured that there would have been a 15 Things page in Skateboarder, but there wasn't one that I could find. I think I can get this mostly from memory, but I wouldn't mind having something in print to look at. I'm also a little curious about some of the people who worked at Girl over the years, particularly in who was a real person and who was an alias used by Spike or Rick. It's hard to tell sometimes when they are joking around and when they are being serious. That's part of the appeal of Girl, but at the same time it leaves you wondering.

The photos are by Carl Hyndman. Carl did a lot of the artwork for Plan B.

Thrasher - November 1993 Volume 13 Number 11

Friday, September 21, 2012

Danny Way.

"I had ridden for H-Street for a long time, and I wasn't happy with a lot of the stuff going on. It got to a point where they were just putting random people on the team. I remember looking at the team list at one point and just being like, 'Who are all these dudes?' It just got blown out of proportion. It was definitely rolling the dice on our part. Mike Ternasky and I had to take the first step. Plan B was basically an idea we had settled on. We had to get it to a point where other people would be motivated to take the step with us. I really didn't know how the other riders would react. Once we started looking at the Questionable footage, I mean just seeing Pat Duffy's shit, we knew that we had the heaviest, progressive, modern skateboarding video that anyone had ever seen. It became pretty apparent early on."

Big Drill Car.

Danny closed out Questionable with a three song part of complete vert and street destruction. The guy does not mess around and continues to push the boundaries of what is possible on a skateboard to this day.

That wraps up a two week look back at Questionable and the early days of Plan B. I finally watched the video again the last couple of nights and I'm surprised that I got nearly all the parts in order from memory. My switch of Pat Duffy and Matt Hensley was an editor's choice. The only place where things went out of order was Mike Carroll's part came before Rick Howard's. I guess all those repeated viewings paid off.

Tune in next week for the beginnings of Girl.

For the quote: Skateboarder - November 2003 Volume 13 Number 3

Thrasher - May 1992 Volume 12 Number 5

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mike Carroll #12.

"I was sick of filming, being told that I had to step it up. There were all kinds of little things that I didn't want to deal with anymore. I felt like pretty soon I was going to get a retirement part. I would talk to Rick Howard about it. We came up with this idea that we could actually do something, which became Girl."

Even though things were going well for Plan B, a few of the riders weren't happy with how some things were being done. Mike and Rick started talking and coming up with ideas for Girl, which would start in late 1993.

This photo is from the 1992 Back To The City Contest in San Francisco. It was the fourth time the contest happened. Tommy Guerrero won and Mike was second.

Bryce Kanights was the photographer.

For the quote: Skateboarder - November 2003 Volume 13 Number 3

Thrasher - December 1992 Volume 12 Number 12

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Rick Howard #8.

"It was filming all day and all night. That's all we did, skate and think about the video. You'd really take any tricks you had and bring it to the furthest extent you could take it. Mike Ternasky would bring it to the table, but you would put the pressure on yourself."

Grey Cell Green.

Rick had been riding for Blockhead before Plan B. For as on top of skateboarding as Plan B was, there were starting to be some differences of opinion as to how things were done between a couple of the riders and the management. This helped foster the ideas for a new company that Rick and Mike Carroll would soon start called Girl.

It's a Spike Jonze photo effort.

For the quote: Skateboarder - November 2003 Volume 13 Number 3

Transworld - May 1993 Volume 11 Number 5

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rodney Mullen #3.

Probably couldn't get away with this one today.

The surprise of Questionable was that Rodney gave up on the freestyle board and took his tricks to the raw streets. This included doing crazy flip tricks off ledges and sliding on the bottom of his board. He even skated a handrail. It was in a way an evolution of his freestyle tricks to match the times with lots of late flips and under flips. Of course since it was Rodney, he was doing them in lines, which implied a degree of consistency that nearly everyone else lacked. After being pro for a number of years, it's also interesting that Rodney opted to reinvent himself rather than just fade away as a company owner.

In a move fitting of the times, Rodney cut down his Etnies.

Spike Jonze was behind the camera.

Transworld - June 1992 Volume 10 Number 6

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sean Sheffey #3.

"Filming with Mike Ternasky was pretty serious. It was really demanding as far as getting your discipline down and stuff, but it helped. He would suggest certain stuff we should do or tricks to try down certain spots. Mostly, he knew what was possible."

The look back at Plan B's Questionable video continues on in week two. I always liked Sheffey's part. He had a good blend of raw power and mixed it up with some technical stuff.

For the quote: Skateboarder - November 2003 Volume 13 Number 3

The photo is by Daniel Sturt.

Transworld - March 1992 Volume 10 Number 3

Friday, September 14, 2012

Sal Barbier #3.

"I had like two and a half to three weeks to film for that fucking thing (Questionable). All of a sudden all the pressure flips and all that shit had come in. I never really wanted to skate like that. It got to a point where there was like two and a half weeks left and I was just like, 'All right, just tell me what you want me to do, bring me there, and I'll do it.'"

I was a fan of Sal from when he was on H-Street and something always seemed a little bit different from how he skated for them versus what he did for Plan B. It was how his part was mostly difficult flatground lines instead of the variety of stuff he had done in the past. There was an aspect to Plan B with Mike Ternasky pushing the riders for the sake of progression that did not always go over well with guys in their late teens or early twenties. Mike was looking to improve and advance skateboarding for the better, along with challenge his riders to be the best that they could be. Truthfully, it is a fine line between doing a trick because it is possible over doing a trick that actually looks good with a little thought behind it.

Mike "Sleeper" Anderson was the photographer.

For the quote: Skateboarder - November 2003 Volume 13 Number 3

Thrasher - July 1992 Volume 12 Number 7

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ryan Fabry.

Ryan was one of the amateurs on the original version of Plan B. He had a very solid part in the A-1 Meats Dancing In The Dirt video and followed that up with his part in Questionable. He seemed poised for greatness, but things didn't pan out for him. He rode for Birdhouse and Toy Machine in the years after. I believe there was a recent interview with him in Skateboarder that I'm kicking myself for not rereading prior to posting this.

Transworld - December 1991 Volume 9 Number 12

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Colin McKay #5.

Colin had been an amateur for Powell Peralta prior to the start of Plan B. There were a few rumors that he was going to ride for the Firm, which Lance Mountain was starting up in 1992, but when Questionable came out, he was on the team. Along with Danny Way, Colin had a part full of street and vert skateboarding. He was taking the flip tricks from the streets and doing them on ramps to blur the lines between the two.

In looking back at Plan B, sometimes their ads were a little funky in terms of layout and content. I guess it made sense at the time.

Thrasher - December 1992 Volume 12 Number 12

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Matt Hensley #5.

News of the world.

One big shocker that came with Questionable was that Matt Hensley was retiring. It was kind of surprising to see somebody leave skateboarding so abruptly. Now that I'm older, Matt's decision made sense. Things were changing and he had been pro for a while by the current standards. He moved to Chicago and studied to become a paramedic. I believe that he also started playing more music around this time. Matt eventually returned to Plan B after the untimely passing of Mike Ternasky in 1994.

The sequence is by Daniel Harold Sturt.

Transworld - December 1991 Volume 9 Number 12

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pat Duffy #2.

"It'll last about a couple weeks and then fall apart due to lack of good management. It doesn't really have a chance. The team's not that hot either." - Steve Rocco.

I had my twenty year high school reunion in August and that got me thinking about a few things in skateboarding that would be turning twenty this year. The first one that came to mind was Plan B's Questionable video. There are ten riders in the video and there are ten days in the next two weeks so everything matches up perfectly.

Plan B started at the end of 1991 with a mysterious ad announcing that five of these ten pros would be leaving their current sponsors to start a new company. The list of pros included Tony Hawk, Matt Hensley, Mike Carroll, Jason Lee, Ed Templeton, Ray Barbee, Frankie Hill, Danny Way, Sean Sheffey, and Jeremy Klein. We then had to wait a whole month to find out what this was all about. When the next issue of Transworld made its way to the mailbox, we found out the new company was called Plan B and the team was Matt Hensley, Mike Carroll, Danny Way, Sean Sheffey, and Rick Howard. All of these guys had been riding for H-Street or Life, except for Rick, who had been on Blockhead. The idea for the company was that Mike Ternasky wanted to do something different from H-Street. He partnered with Steve Rocco at World Industries and things took off from there. The team expanded to include Sal Barbier and Rodney Mullen. Pat Duffy, Colin McKay, and Ryan Fabry were the amateurs.

Questionable came out in the spring of 1992 and blew minds in terms of skateboard progression. Since the team consisted of some of the best pros and rising amateurs the calibre of tricks was very high. Overall the format of the video would become somewhat of an industry standard as to how videos would be put together. It still influences video productions to this day.

The first part in the video belonged to Pat Duffy. He was completely unknown prior to Questionable and totally unforgettable afterward. Pat was one of the first to raise the bar dramatically for handrail skating. He took on some monster rails and won, with his last trick being a backside lipslide in the rain.

Thrasher - July 1992 Volume 12 Number 7

Friday, September 7, 2012

Phil Shao #9.

Phil rode for Think, Emerica, Venture and Dan Drehobl's Freedumb clothing company. He was the best and could skateboard on damn near everything with a style and grace that not many people have. We lost him in a car accident fourteen years ago. Never forget.

Next week starts two weeks of Plan B.

Slap - December 1996 Volume 5 Number 12

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Keenan Milton #6.

We lost Keenan eleven years ago this summer. He was from New York City and grew up skating with Keith Hufnagel, Gino Iannucci, and Steven Cales before moving out to LA. He was sponsored by Blind and then switched over to Chocolate when Girl started their sister company. He rode for DVS and Fourstar, too. Usually photos of Keenan would involve him doing a trick switch, but this time around it's a frontside noseslide.

Transworld - October 1995 Volume 13 Number 10

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Blaize Blouin #4.

Raw power.

Blaize rode for G & S and Thunder. He was from Charleston, South Carolina. He was the 1988 NSA Amateur Champion for vert and turned pro after that. Unfortunately, Blaize was killed in a car accident in 1999. Check out the YouTube clips for just how stylish and smoothly he skated.

Miki Vuckovich took the photo

Thrasher - August 1989 Volume 9 Number 8

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Jaya Bonderov #3.

This week Vert Is Dead takes a look back at a few skateboarders who sadly are no longer with us.

Jaya rode Santa Cruz as an amateur and turned pro for them. In the mid 1990s, he started Adrenalin with Chris Senn. He also rode for Volcom. Jaya was a capable photographer who made the transition from being in front of the lens to being behind it. He was killed in an automobile accident this past June.

Thrasher - January 1992 Volume 12 Number 1

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Neil Blender #11.

It's time to wrap up a look at skateboard comics from the last twenty years with one last post. Before the name became associated with a great website chronicling skateboard history, the Chrome Ball Incident was a series of comics drawn by Neil Blender where these floating balls would smash into people. There is even an animated version of it in Alien Workshop's Memory Screen video.

Back in 2008 when I started to discover some of the skateboard websites that people were doing, I found the Chrome Ball Incident and was instantly stoked on the name of it for referencing a somewhat obscure Blender creation. Keep up the good work Chops and hope the move out west goes well. I'll do what I can to hold down the fort until you get the operation going again.

Vert Is Dead will be back on Tuesday.

Transworld - June 1991 Volume 9 Number 6