Tuesday, December 31, 2013
"More skaters tried ollies before they could turn left or right."
Christian rode for German based company Titus and Vans. He was a freestyler, but also rode street and ramps, as far as I can tell.
The photo is by Jörg Ludewig.
Thrasher - May 1990 Volume 10 Number 5
Monday, December 30, 2013
Friday, December 27, 2013
All the nation's airports.
I got the Zero and Fallen DVDs for Christmas. There's something depressing about watching dudes skateboard in the tropics when it is 25˚ outside with six inches of snow on everything.
Anyway, the Fallen video is nice. It's not the type of thing you are probably going to watch more than once or twice, yet it is enjoyable. Rather than have normal parts from each rider, the Road Less Traveled has parts made from each trip the team went on. There is a lot of location footage and stories from the various team riders. It can be a little hard keeping track of who is who at times, but that is a trivial problem.
I had seen some of the Zero video when it was on Thrasher's website. It's a different viewing experience watching from the couch on a TV. I don't think I'd seen the first half of Cold War and I was pleasantly surprised. It's classic no frills Zero editing set to vintage punk rock for the most part. When you've got a formula that works, there is no sense in deviating from it. James Brockman, Ben Hatchell, Nick Boserio, Tony Cervantes, and Tom Karangelov deliver quality parts. I'm stoked on what Cervantes is doing and Karangelov went all Heath by wearing all white. It was great to see a full part from John Rattray, too. I wasn't feeling the music for some of the parts that I saw online, but it seemed a little better in the living room. Jamie Thomas went all out and everybody knows how raw Tommy Sandoval and Dane Burman are.
Thrasher - November 1988 Volume 8 Number 11
Thursday, December 26, 2013
"I'm not no poet or nothing."
Reese was pro for Schmitt Stix. When a good chunk of the team split to start the New Deal, he rode for BBC, the Life's A Beach board company. He also rode for Thunder, Bullet, and Airwalk. I'm pretty sure he still skates.
The photo is by Luke Ogden.
Thrasher - April 1989 Volume 9 Number 4
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Life's A Beach expanded from being a clothing company to a board company in 1988. The first two pros were Jeff Phillips and Monty Nolder. I always liked that black board Jeff is riding. Nice and minimal. It's also got a huge nose for the time.
The photos are by Grant Brittain.
Transworld - February 1989 Volume 7 Number 1
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Monday, December 23, 2013
Friday, December 20, 2013
The unusual world of G & S Trucks.
Monty is from Ft. Pierce, Florida. An interesting fact about Monty is that he lost his hearing at a young age due to a serious ear infection and is deaf. He invented the backside Smith grind, one of the best looking tricks there is. He was sponsored by Variflex as an am and turned pro for Schmitt Stix. After Schmitt, Monty was pro for BBC, the Life's A Beach Board effort.
Thanks to Skately for the assist.
The photo is by Jamie Mosberg.
Transworld - October 1989 Volume 7 Number 6
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
The end of silence.
So if the economy is in the toilet, companies are cutting riders, there's no money for travel or ads, where's all the profit going from thirty dollar designer t-shirts and eighty dollar hoodies? Are these things even selling? OK, I'm done complaining about things for a while. Nothing but positivity from here on out. Or at least a couple weeks.
Enjoy your retirement, Austin Stephens.
Transworld - July 1990 Volume 8 Number 7
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
The Jersey Devil.
I got the latest CCS catalog yesterday and I saw something that shouldn't be for sale in it:
Vision is making Gator reissue boards.
This is glorifying a murderer. Including Gator in a team section of legends on your website is tasteless. Yes, he was good at skateboarding and an important figure in the 1980s, but he failed as person by killing his girlfriend. There is no reason to be making or selling this product.
The photo is by O.
(Sorry, Tom and O.)
Transworld - May 1990 Volume 8 Number 5
Monday, December 16, 2013
The Mess flies out of the fountains at Back To The City contest in SF.
Jesse is the ultimate local in Venice Beach and was instrumental in getting the Venice Skate Park built. He has ridden for Powell Peralta and World Industries. Powell recently gave him a tribute model with graphics by Vance Court Johnson. He ripped up a ramp in World Industries' Rubbish Heap video.
Thrasher - April 1989 Volume 9 Number 4
Friday, December 13, 2013
Thursday, December 12, 2013
I checked out the Nike video yesterday since it was slow at work due to snow. I think you've got today left to see it for free at Thrasher's website. I would say it is worth a watch, but not a buy. The filming is fairly straight forward without much in the way of fancy gimmicks beyond some Neckface illustrations so the video doesn't induce headaches or boredom. It is nearly all street skating. Donovon Piscopo did boardslides for miles and knocked the wall down. I like Daryl Angel's style and trick selection. Justin Brock is a freakin' beast. I'm a little surprised Nike gave it a go with Minor Threat again. Ishod Wair can do a lot of tricks and it doesn't look boring when he does it. His trucks turn, too.
This is one of those things that gives me conflicted feelings about Nike. The company does put in the effort by supporting pros that aren't just big names and making a quality video, but at the same time it is still the same old Nike that is full of itself. I don't think there is a resolution to any of this and I don't blame anybody for riding or wanting to ride for them. Meh.
Thrasher - March 1989 Volume 9 Number 3
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Vision invented street wear.
Grigley was pro for Vision. He's originally from St. Petersburg, Florida and relocated to California for skateboarding. He retired at the end of the 1980s. Grigely started to do more with his Old Ghosts clothing and design company. At one point he was even partnered with Rikki Rockett, the drummer from Poison.
For the punk rock girl or boy on your holiday shopping list, 1031 has a couple of limited edition Dead Milkmen decks available for purchase. One is punk point cruiser type of board and the other is kind of like Mike Vallely's barnyard double tail. The graphics are by Dead Milkmen drummer Dean "Clean" Sabatino.
Thrasher - February 1989 Volume 9 Number 2
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
"There was always a board around the house when we were growing up, so it is hard to say when Tony started skating. He started skating avidly in 1982 on a ramp that Joe Arabia built in his backyard and learned surprisingly quick.
Now, as he always did, Tony skates smoother than Marty and Cindy Jimenez's baby's bottom. He gets more impressive every time I watch him skate.
During the day Tony kicks back and watches CHiPS and Emergency-51 with his pal Ricky Barnes, an avid D.P. fan. Then he'll street skate at night when it's cool. It's amazing how he cab go weeks without skating then step on a board and win a contest.
Tony currently lives in Huntington Beach with his girlfriend Angela. Although I hardly ever see him, he's my friend and my brother." - John Chiala
Tony rode for Lucero and the Black Label back in the early days. He was also on Billabong and Thunder.
Hats off to Ishod Wair for winning SOTY. Also props to Riley Hawk on turning pro. We can start having father/son skate contests now.
Chris Ortiz took the photo.
For the Check Out: Transworld - October 1988 Volume 6 Number 5
Thrasher - November 1990 Volume 10 Number 11
Monday, December 9, 2013
Friday, December 6, 2013
What really needs to be said about Rodney? He invented most of the tricks everybody does today, won nearly every contest he entered, improved board technology, and is still doing things nobody else can do.
We gotta vote again in the SOTY poll? My choice didn't make the first cut and I went with Brandon Westgate for round two. I need to watch Jim Greco's part in the Deathwish video again. I know a few other pros have been playing around with darkslides, but that trick doesn't look right unless Mullen is doing it.
Thrasher - February 1989 Volume 9 Number 2
Thursday, December 5, 2013
The Primo Slide.
Primo was pro for Vision. Along with his wife Diane, he did numerous demos at all sorts of random places in the 1980s. Primo did fairly well on the contest circuit, too. It appears that the Desiderios run a DJ business for weddings, dances, and other social functions that require music. How awesome would it be to have Primo get out from behind the turntables to spin some 360s and do a few pogos at your wedding?
Transworld - February 1989 Volume 7 Number 1
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Is skateboarding an art form or just a break from too much Nintendo?
Cameron is from Seattle, Washington and rode for Powell Peralta. He might have been the last person to legitimately turn pro for freestyle. It's interesting how Powell kept freestyle going by having a couple of pros on the roster at all times and by making sure they had cool graphics. I'm sure those guys weren't getting the same royalties off board sales as the rest of the team. It is also interesting to note Venture dabbled with making a freestyle truck, although everybody would be riding skinny boards in two years time.
The photo is by Bill Thomas.
Thrasher - April 1990 Volume 10 Number 4
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Pierre-André is another French freestyler. He was pro for Sims in the 1980s and battled Rodney Mullen often in the contests of the day. He started working as a shoe designer at Etnies and helped the brand grow in the states. Pierre-André is currently the CEO of Sole Technology, which includes Etnies, Emerica, and Altamont Clothing.
Grant Brittian took the photos.
Transworld - February 1989 Volume 7 Number 1
Monday, December 2, 2013
Freestylers of the world unite and take over.
This week Vert Is Dead takes a quick look back at freestyle. Freestyle was a specialized branch of skateboarding, done on smaller boards that were the forerunner to the modern popsicle shape that has been popular for the last twenty years. The tricks ranged from balancing on the rails or trucks in one place to assorted manuals and flips done while rolling. There were also handstands, 360s, tic tacs, shove-its, and more. A lot of the modern day street tricks were adapted from freestyle moves, which were often invented by trying vert tricks on flatground. Most companies in the 1980s and very early 1990s had at least one or two freestyle pros on the team. The discipline more or less vanished by 1992 when Rodney Mullen made the permanent switch to a regular street board, which was oddly similar to his old freestyle deck. I am positive there are still guys out there who skateboard this way and I hope they continue to do so. It is also interesting to note that many of the former freestyle pros moved behind the scenes to become owners of some of the more successful brands in the industry.
Jean-Marc is French. He was sponsored by Tracker and had a pro model from them, in addition to riding the trucks.
Transworld - August 1989 Volume 7 Number 6
Friday, November 22, 2013
Chickens can fly.
Tommy was one of the first to turn pro for street skating way back in the 1980s. He rode for Powell Peralta and then started Real with Jim Thiebaud. He eventually retired from the pro ranks to move behind the scenes, but still pops up in the mags every so often. Tommy ran the classic clothing company Forties. He has put together a successful musical career over years, in addition to managing things at Deluxe.
Real has a new clip where they recreated the famous sequence of Mark Gonzales ollieing over Max Schaaf on a motorcycle. This time around they tapped Jake Donnelly and Ishod Wair for the stunt duty. Jake pulled off the ollie and then landed a kickflip over a speeding Ishod. Good times.
I voted for Colin Provost for SOTY.
I did a little organizing of the Vert Is Dead video archives last night. I wanted to watch Brent Atchley's pro debut video from Element for some reason. I discovered the DVD has a 15 minute Element team video called Elementality Vol. 1 Black and White. It's all in BW and has no music, just the sounds of skateboarding. I wonder where they got that idea from? The vid has mostly shared parts with skateboarding from Jacob Rupp, Tosh Townend, Colt Cannon, and Jeremy Wray. Bam Margera and a young Nyjah Houston have solo parts. Tosh goes beast mode on a few spots and any Jeremy Wray footage is worthwhile.
Vert Is Dead will be back on Monday, December 2. It will be the traditional throw back December to the 1988-1990 era of skateboarding starting with a week of freestyle. I'm going to lurk around the comments on the Chrome Ball Incident to see if I can take care of any random requests that might be floating around there, too. Think Monty Nolder. Have a good Thanksgiving and Hanukkah.
Slap - January 1999 Volume 8 Number 1
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
I've always liked Lieu's approach to skateboarding. He just cruises down the street and ollies or grinds everything that gets in the way. Maybe it isn't always the hardest tricks, but it is how the tricks are done that makes all the difference. Everything is landed perfectly. You can draw a line from him to modern day street blasters like Brandon Westgate, Colin Provost, Alex Olson, and maybe Dennis Busenitz a little.
Lieu rode for Dynasty, Maple, Planet Earth, Life, and H-Street over the years. He also had a pro shoe from Puma in the late 90s as part of their skateboard footwear effort with Alan Petersen. He might have a board out on the modern day Assault Skates. That company seems to be making decks for all sorts of early 1990s obscure legends.
I gave skateboarding a try last night at the local park. I had my suspicions that the lights were still on and it turned out they were. It was cold, but there was no wind so it wasn't too bad. My shoes are getting old so my toes got a little numb. The only catch was the lights shut off an hour earlier because the timer never was adjusted after the DST switch.
Slap - August 1998 Volume 7 Number 8
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
The eagle is eighteen.
Eric was an am for Anti-Hero. He vanished sometime in the early 2000s. Thrasher recently had an article about Anti-Hero with quotes from everybody who was on the team, except for Eric.
It looks like Enrique Lorenzo has joined the growing number of pros who have started their own board companies. His deck brand is called Louw and is based out of Barcelona, Spain. The team includes Enrique, Octavio Barrera, Pol Catena, and Felipe Bartolome.
Slap - April 1998 Volume 7 Number 4
Monday, November 18, 2013
I figure after a week of Tracker, you have to do a week of Independent.
Upson rode for Black Label and Anti-Hero. He started Hardtimes a few years ago. Tim was also on Dan Drehobl's Freedumb Clothing, which is now back in business.
Slap - March 1998 Volume 7 Number 3
Friday, November 15, 2013
Thursday, November 14, 2013
When it's cold I'd like to die.
Steve rode for Blockhead and Tracker before riding for Birdhouse. There were stops at 101 and Television in there as well prior to a long stint on the Foundation, a second tour of duty at Birdhouse and then the Alien Workshop. He transitioned from being a vert guy to a street guy and filmed a bunch of solid parts over the years. Steve also made the in house truck switch from Tracker to Orion in the mid 1990s. Reoccurring ankle injuries have reduced his board time in the last few years.
What's up with the music in the new Zero video? Is that what the kids are listening to on their headphones? Granted I'm watching Cold War in pieces as it gets posted on Thrasher's website so it might not fully make sense, but whatever Jamie Thomas skated to was horrid. I only made it through half his part and shut it off. Sorry.
Spike Jonze took the photos.
Transworld - September 1992 Volume 10 Number 9
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Omar was the hot am who was better than the pros back in the very late 1980s and early 1990s. He earned a board with his name on it from Blockhead at the age of 16 and then spent several years without a pro model at the Acme/Formula One camp. Omar switched to the Black Label in the late 1990s and is still on the team. He has been riding for Independent Trucks since the mid 1990s.
Jerry Hsu is on Chocolate. Didn't see that coming. They even got Gino for a cameo in the welcome to the team clip. Sorry, nobody is riding a skateboard in any of it.
I watched my tape of Birdhouse's Untitled on Monday night. The video is from later in 1993 and not 1992 as is listed on some websites. It was the third Birdhouse video. Feasters came out in April of 1992 and Ravers was released at the end of the year. By today's standards that's a pretty impressive three videos that still have relevant parts in a year and a half. Anyway, there was mention of Tony Hawk's street skills earlier in the week. The Birdman was throwing done some quality street moves. He wasn't messing around with the more tech stuff and stuck mainly to classic tricks, sometimes in full pads on janky plywood ramps.
The Matix mini ramp session looks like loads of fun. It's cool seeing the pros in a more casual setting.
Transworld - February 1992 Volume 10 Number 2
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Straight outta Dayton.
Rob was one of the original pros when the Alien Workshop started late in 1990. He's been with them ever since and he liked it so much he bought the company. I'm making a safe guess that Rob dabbled with Venture in the early 1990s like everybody else before winding up on Tracker offshoot Orion. He is currently riding for Silver Trucks. The guy might be kind of famous these days, but I don't have MTV so I can't vouch for that.
Transworld - January 1992 Volume 10 Number 1
Monday, November 11, 2013
It's a random week of Tracker. I wanted to use stuff from the mid 1990s, but while I was flipping through the Transworlds, I wound up picking ads from 1991 and 1992.
Tony rode for Tracker for a good portion of his career and earned the first pro model truck. When Fury was started in the late 90s out of the Birdhouse camp, he switched. He was recently on Theeve and now is on Indy.
Tracker always gets ripped on in, but their team back in the day was respectable. Neil Blender, Jeff Phillips, Mike Vallely, Kevin Staab, Omar Hassan, Mike McGill, GSD, and a whole bunch more rode the trucks.
Transworld - December 1991 Volume 9 Number 12
Sunday, November 10, 2013
My parents had the carpets cleaned at their house and in the process of cleaning out old drawers full of stuff, my dad found this. It came with Birdhouse's Untitled video from late 1992/early 1993. You've got some of the classic riders from the early days of Birdhouse with Jeremy Klein, Willy Santos, and Ocean Howell along with new ams Andrew Reynolds and rookie pro Matt Beach. There are also two obscure ams with Brent Marks and Sami Harithi. These were days.
Tracker on Monday.
Saturday, November 9, 2013
East Coast vert legend.
I went to Erie, PA to get a new winter jacket at the mall. On the way home I stopped at the city's skatepark. It's a nice little pit with some tight transitions and mellow banks to do ollies out of.
A weird one tomorrow.
Slap - August 1998 Volume 7 Number 8
Friday, November 8, 2013
Stacy went to Santa Cruz after Transit ended. He then started Bueno with Michael Sieben doing the art and backing from Element/Giant. Bueno evolved into Roger in 2008 and the world is now a much better place.
How about that new Nike clip of Alex Olson skateboarding and camping?
There will be rare weekend posts on Vert Is Dead. You can't leave out the Rock and then I found something so random that it needs to go on the internet.
Jeff Taylor took the 50-50 photo.
Top: Slap - July 1998 Volume 7 Number 7
Bottom: Transworld - May 1998 Volume 16 Number 5
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Charlie is from Boston. He has ridden for Powell, Maple, and 5boro. He has also been on Etnies and Sheep for footwear. Charlie rips darn near everything. You can scour the YouTube for proof.
The feeble grind photo is by Giovanni Reda. I'm wondering if it could be a Smith since the pavement is looking rough on the approach for a feeble.
Note: Transit ran two page ads in Slap with a lifestyle type picture in one and a skateboard sequence in the other. I didn't realize this until I started putting the week together. The skate photos of Charlie and Stacy Lowery from those ads have already been on Vert Is Dead.
Top: Slap - June 1998 Volume 7 Number 6
Bottom: Transworld - June 1998 Volume 16 Number 6
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Taking care of business.
I generally like most of what Mike has going on with Elephant Brand Skateboards these days. The graphics have a certain World Industries quality to them in a good way. Nowhere near as controversial, but the bright colors and bold cartoonish style remind me of what Steve Rocco was making in 1990. Hopefully he has finally found a degree of stability in the shady world of skateboard business. The recent Jason Adams curb session video was cool and Kris Markovich was just added to the team.
Slap - May 1998 Volume 7 Number 5
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
New Day Rising.
A few months into 1998 was when the Transit team took shape. Charlie and Stacy left Powell with Mike and Tom had been riding for Arsenal. They released a three minute promo video set to Hüsker Dü's "New Day Rising" that featured a lot of raw street skating mixed in with Tom destroying some vert.
Top: Slap - March 1998 Volume 7 Number 3
Bottom: Slap - April 1998 Volume 7 Number 4
Monday, November 4, 2013
It is going to be Transit week. I found enough good stuff to use.
Transit started out as a wheel company that quickly switched over to boards in 1998. Mike Vallely was unhappy at Powell and was looking to do something else. The allure of working out of his home state of New Jersey was too much to pass up and thus Transit was started. The team included Stacy Lowery, Charlie Wilkins, and Tom Boyle. J.R. Neves and Rocky Norton were on as amateurs. The brand didn't last very long and was gone by late 1998.
Welcome back, Chops.
For the photos, Kramer is by Adam Wallcavage, Dove is by Ryan Gee, and Vogt is by Dave Malenfant.
Top: Slap - January 1998 Volume 7 Number 1
Bottom: Slap - February 1998 Volume 7 Number 2
Friday, November 1, 2013
Anarchy in the UK.
Barry and Mark are brothers from England and were pro for Zorlac. I suppose giving brothers a shared pro model eliminates the inevitable bout of sibling rivalry over who has sold more decks.
I should have just done a week of Zorlac, but I got hung up on the quote from Animal Chin.
It was maybe going to be Transit on Monday, but I'm not thrilled with the choices available. Nothing against anybody who was on the team, but too many ads with just a lifestyle shot and text. I might scan a couple and then get random. There's also a good possibility of another Indy week.
Top: Transworld - April 1990 Volume 8 Number 4
Bottom: Transworld - January 1991 Volume 9 Number 1
Thursday, October 31, 2013
This shape was designed by Mark Lake. The first version was one of his pro models on Walker. It was necessitated by the hot and humid weather in Florida causing problems gripping the board on airs. The weird cutouts by the front allowed a place for your hand to grab without slipping. Mark still rides a shape similar to this today, as was recently documented in a Gullwing ad. If you are way under 35 and all of this seems confusing, think about how boards evolved longer noses so you could do nollie kickflips. It's about having a functional shape for how you are trying to ride your skateboard.
Transworld - February 1989 Volume 7 Number 1
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
It's got Skull in the name so of course it gets included in Halloween week.
Skull Skates was started up in Canada back in 1978 by brothers Rick and Peter Ducommun. The team has included a number of legends over the years, such as the OG Steve Olson, David Hackett, Duane Peters, and Tod Swank. Christian Hosoi also partnered with Skull in the mid 1980s. There were several more obscure pros like Phil Esbenshade, Ray Hoover and the Godoys. They made decks for Gang Green, The Vandals, Social Distortion, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, too.
Their ads were a lot gnarlier just before the time I started to skateboard.
The photo is by Geoff Graham.
Transworld - January 1990 Volume 8 Number 1
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Spooky Hall of Famer.
Mark's been skateboarding since 1967, turned pro in 1978 for Flite Skateboards, started Lake in 1987, and is still riding today. Lake Skateboards is also still in business. He's from Florida and was somewhat recently inducted into the Florida Skateboarder Hall of Fame.
Although these resemble Pushead's frantic scratchings, he did not draw the graphics.
Thrasher - August 1989 Volume 9 Number 8