Friday, December 30, 2016

Tony Hawk #8.

The Birdman.

Tony tests out his new deck. The shape is a larger version of the skull board that everybody is familiar with and features somewhat re-imagined graphics. Around this time decks started to shift with an emphasis on longer noses. I find it interesting how wide the board is and how the tail is somewhat on the short side. It's almost too wide at 10.375".

A friend had this board. His was white with neon green griptape. I remember the board as being large with a deeper concave than what we were used to. It was somehow comfortable to ride, if I recall correctly. For how and what Tony was skating, this new design probably made a lot of sense. For a bunch of kids skating small launch ramps and slider bars, it probably wasn't the optimal board for our needs.

Powell had a similar ad with Lance Mountain that was shot from overhead from March of 1989.

Vert Is Dead is going on a winter break and will be back on Monday, January 16th.

Topics on the agenda for the new year include Planet Earth, Rhythm, and Cliché. Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments. And if you need a daily fix of nostalgia, you can always browse the older content since this thing has been around for eight years with over 2,000 posts. Have a safe and happy holiday.

Transworld - June 1989 Volume 7 Number 3

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Lance Mountain #9.

Keep on rockin' in the free world.

Thrasher - September 1989 Volume 9 Number 9

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Tommy Guerrero #7.

Junk Collector.

Tommy's from San Francisco, California. He started skateboarding in 1975 with his brother. He also skated with Bryce Kanights and Ray Meyer, who both happened to live in the neighborhood. Tommy was one of of the first to be sponsored and subsequently turn pro for street skateboarding, although he was pretty good on ramps, too. He helped start Real in the early 1990s and still is involved with the company to this day. TG plays music as well and has released several albums over the years.

I got skateboarding twice over the holiday break. I hit up the indoor park after taking care of the last of the shopping on Friday. Things had dried up enough on Christmas that I was able to roll at the local park for a bit in the afternoon. The weather has been alternating between rain and high winds as of late. The snow is supposed to be back real soon so that might be the end of skateboarding for the year.

There was a minor crisis at Vert Is Dead HQ with a little leakage in the basement due to melting snow. Fortunately the stacks all stayed dry and my dad adjusted the drainage from the gutters so things should be good.

Thrasher - May 1989 Volume 9 Number 5

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Allen Midgett #2.

Fear of Trains.

Allen was pro for Schmitt Stix. He was also sponsored by Thunder Trucks.

RIP Carrie Fisher.

The photo is by Charles Harmon.

Transworld - September 1989 Volume 7 Number 5

Monday, December 26, 2016

Ron Chatman #7.

"A long time ago I used to like Jeff Grosso a lot. I saw this one video where he was an amateur skating in a contest at Upland in the Combi Pool. I remember that made me totally stoked - he just hauled. He did sadplants and was just jamming. I skated there, and I knew how burly it was - I just tripped out."

For the quote: Transworld - March 1993 Volume 11 Number 3

Thrasher - August 1990 Volume 10 Number 8

Friday, December 23, 2016

Ozone 1990 Catalog.

Ozone was a mail order company based in Pomona, California. I somehow wound up with a couple of their catalogs in the early 1990s. They were heavy on H-Street gear and I know I ordered stuff from them. You get a sampling of World Industries/Blind, later period Powell Peralta, early New Deal, Vision/Sims/Lucero/Tuff Skates, and SMA/Santa Cruz for decks. There's plenty of Airwalk, but I find it odd they didn't carry Vans. Vision's soft goods are well represented, too. I can't believe that Hokus Pokus cost almost forty bucks. No wonder we only bought two videos a year back then. Of course, there were only two video being released a year so it all evened out.

Hope everybody has a good holiday.

H-Street pro Brennand Schoffel is on the cover.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Paul De Jesus & Trent Gaines.

Polar Propaganda.

When I watched "I like it here inside my mind. Don't wake me this time." for the first time, I recognized the music from the last part with Roman Gonzalez, Paul Grund, and Kevin Rodrigues. I couldn't figure out exactly where I knew the song from, but I was thinking it was from a Powell Peralta video. I watched the video again and checked the credits. Pontus Alv wrote that he really liked the part in Propaganda with Ruben Dominguez, Paul De Jesus, and Trent Gaines so he used the same song. You can see the influence by how the part has three skaters mixed together (which is common throughout the Polar video), the similarity of the filming and editing, and the use of text on the screen. It's cool to see when people pick up on a somewhat lesser known item as an influence and apply it to something new. Sure beats recycling the same well known tropes.

Ruben, Paul, and Trent all rode for Powell. Trent was sponsored by H-Street and Planet Earth later on. Paul rode for Dogtown, too. I think he might have had a pro model from them. His name comes up occasionally in interviews. I don't really know much about Ruben.

Sorry Ruben, I couldn't find anything in print for you.

Both photos are by Chris Ortiz.

Paul: Thrasher - June 1991 Volume 11 Number 6

Trent: Thrasher - April 1991 Volume 11 Number 4

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Hans Lindgren #2.


Hans was pro for Schmitt Stix. He also rode for Vision Street Wear and Tracker. When the New Deal started, Hans was included on the team. He was one of the freestylers that Ed Templeton would skate with back in the day, which inspired Ed to try impossibles and half flips on his regular street board.

Transworld - April 1989 Volume 7 Number 2

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Scott Oster #3.

Style for miles.

Scott is from Inglewood, California. He was pro for Dogtown. His skateboarding was heavily influenced by surfing, but he also mixed in technical tricks like backside 360 ollies and noseslides on handrails.

The photo is by Carlos Reynosa.

Thrasher - April 1989 Volume 9 Number 4

Monday, December 19, 2016

Tom Boyle #4.

"Gnarly memories were like when Neil Blender stayed at Houston with Ken Fillion for a month one time. He was skating this ramp that I always skated, and told me I did good Elguerials and we talked a little bit. I was so stoked."

The Rock.

Skateboarding lost another good one.

Tom was born in Pennsylvania and moved around a real lot with his parents. He switched from BMX to skateboarding while living in Texas. Later, he wound up in Toronto after befriending Bill Wiess and Thomas Morgan. The Rock would bounce back and forth between Canada and the Philadelphia area.

Over the years he was sponsored by Alan Losi's LSD, World Industries, H-Street, and New School. Steve Rocco didn't want any vert guys on the team, but Rodney Mullen secretly sent him checks. He turned pro for H-Street. Things worked out better at New School and they branched out to give him his own company called Arsenal. At the end of the 1990s, Tom would end up riding for Transit, Mike Vallely's short lived company. He rode for Airwalk and Vans, earning a pro shoe from the company with the waffle soles. His parts in the two New School videos are great examples of strong vert skating in a time of small wheels and big pants.

The photo is by Geoff Graham.

For the quote: Transworld - October 1996 Volume 14 Number 10

Transworld - October 1991 Volume 9 Number 10

Friday, December 16, 2016

Darren Menditto.

Dr. Moose.

Darren is from Ocean Township, New Jersey. He was pro for Toxic. He also rode for Airwalk and Vans. Darren had a solid run of contest skateboarding in the 1990s and even got to participate in the closing ceremonies of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. While attending college, he decided to focus on medicine and went onto medical school. He was successful in becoming a doctor and is currently working in an emergency room in New Jersey.

Toxic Wheels always comes up in the site statistics for searches, so for those people looking for 'em, here ya go.

RIP Craig Sager and Tom Boyle.

Grant Brittain took the photo.

Poweredge - October 1991 Issue Number 36

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Ben Schroeder #4.

Clock Tower.

Big Ben was pro for Dogtown and Black Label. He crushed all sizes of ramps with reckless high speed lip trickery. Gullwing for life.

Thrasher - July 1989 Volume 9 Number 7

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Steve Caballero #2.


A ghostly Cab slides through a kinked handrail.

You have to respect the loyalty to Powell Peralta from Steve. He's been riding professionally for them since 1980. The company has been through some ups and downs over the decades and I'm sure there might have even been an offer or two to leave that was rather tempting, but he stuck with the team. He's also been with Vans for ages and designed an all time classic of a shoe with the Half Cab, a lowered version of his first signature model.

It's awesome that he's still skateboarding at 52. The recent Animal Chin reunion video showed that the old guys have got something left in the tank. Although I did share in Tommy's concern that they had been out there skating all day and maybe it was time to warp it up before anybody got hurt.

Transworld - December 1988 Volume 6 Number 6

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Sam Cunningham #4.

Egg Hunt.

Sam is from Sacramento, California. He was pro for Blockhead and was an all around shredder on vert, pools, and streets. Airwalk gave him shoes and Tracker provided his trucks. He was boardsliding big handrails in Blockhead's Splendid Eye Torture video from 1989. Sam was fascinated by reptiles and I believe he works as a herpetologist currently.

Tyler Bledsoe's All Clear OK video clip is awesome. I like how Quasi has updated the Memory Screen vibe without just repeating what had already been done.

The photo is by Spike Jonze.

Transworld - September 1989 Volume 7 Number 5

Monday, December 12, 2016

Duane Pitre #3.

Microtonal Guitar.

Duane is from New Orleans, Louisianna and rode for G & S. He was abducted by Chris Carter and Mike Hill when they started the Alien Workshop in 1990. He turned pro soon after. Duane gradually faded from the pro ranks as his interest in music grew. He currently has built an impressive resume in the avant-garde music world, with numerous albums, performances, and sound installations to his credit.

The Willy grind was invented on vert by Santa Cruz am Derek Williams. This is the second time this month the trick has been shown on Vert Is Dead.

Thrasher - August 1990 Volume 10 Number 8

Friday, December 9, 2016

Remy Stratton #12.

Chrome Dome.

Remy ollies to truck. The photo is probably from just before he left G & S for Acme.

There's a great interview with Sal Barbier up at the Chrome Ball Incident now. Sal talks about the Eppic and H-Street days, along with Aesthetics and the move to Zoo York.

How about the Numbers video? I'm neutral on it. The music was odd. It reminded me of the intro to Steve Berra's part in The End with how it was filmed, kind of like a surveillance video that happened to capture skateboarding. Antonio Durao rips.

It appears the snow is here and there isn't a warm up in sight for at least the next week or so. I got in one last solo session on Wednesday night at the park. I'm claiming I've got backside 50-50s back for as good as they are going to be for me now. I just can't do them like I used to be able to, but at least I can do them without spending a long time to land one. I also think I need to replace the bushings in my back truck and get some new skate shoes. Getting old stinks.

Rick Kosick took the photo.

Thrasher - June 1991 Volume 11 Number 6

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Ocean Howell #5.

Trip out.

Poweredge - October 1991 Issue Number 36

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Mike McGill #3.

Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star.

Mr. 540 tests out a new deck. Whenever guys were getting a new shape, Powell Peralta would make prototypes with the experimental sticker on them. This fits with some of the military style imagery the company used, as if it's a test pilot flying an unproven high tech airplane. You could tell from who was riding the experimental decks that a new board was coming out soon or that an am would be turning pro in the near future. I believe Ray Underhill came up with the idea. As far as I know, Powell never sold any of the experimental boards to the public, which made them even cooler. I'm sure you could probably pick one up on the internet these days, but that wouldn't be the same. If there was a reissue, I would probably grab one.

The best little thing about the recent Animal Chin Ramp reunion video was that Mike was wearing a t-shirt for his own shop.

The photos are by Sin Egelja.

Transworld - December 1988 Volume 6 Number 6

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Jesse Neuhaus #3.

Down for Life.

After riding for Alva, New School, Life, and Fun, Jesse went back to his hometown of Chicago. He has been running Bluetown Skateboards since 1996. He was also sponsored by G & S for trucks and has a bunch of tricks in the truck team section of their Footage video from 1990.

The lights are still on at the park here. I managed about 35 minutes of chilly skateboarding in a moderate breeze last night. It was somehow worth it.

The picture is by Tobin Yelland.

Poweredge - October 1991 Issue Number 36

Monday, December 5, 2016

Eric Dressen #3.

"Even though you're a top pro you can still really enjoy skateboarding. I still love skateboarding as much, even more now than I did when I was a little kid, just for the pure joy of skateboarding. I appreciate things a lot more now because I realize I'm getting older and I'm not going to be young forever."

It's time to flash back to the days when both our heroes and ourselves had less gray hair. I picked out a quick sampling of stuff from 1989 and 1991 to fill up the month of December. I figured I needed to include the Bones Brigade after the Animal Chin 30th anniversary video was released. There's also a few of the more obscure things I post each year, which means the people who wind up here searching for Toxic Wheels will be happy. I got a nice batch of board porn from a mail order catalog, too.

Congrats to Kyle Walker on winning SOTY.

Stay strong, Oakland.

The photos are by Aaron Sedway.

For the quote: Transworld - June 1989 Volume 7 Number 3

Transworld - April 1989 Volume 7 Number 2

Friday, December 2, 2016

Paul Sharpe #4.

Little Respect.

Big ollies & nollies.

I got everything ready for Old School December to start on Monday. It's going to be a mix of stuff from 1989 and 1991 with a bit of an emphasis on Powell Peralta.

Slap - August 2000 Volume 9 Number 8

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Jerry Hsu #5.

Outer Accelerator.

Jerry's first full video part was in Montage, the NC Board Shop video from 1996. He's had a good couple decades since and recently had a part for Emerica's Made 2. Is there a DVD of that yet? I feel that would be a good one for the collection.

I voted for Dennis Busenitz in the SOTY poll. I don't think he'll win, but whatever.

Slap - July 2000 Volume 9 Number 7

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Gideon Choi #3.

Invisible Pedestrian.

The new Vans video. Kyle Walker for SOTY?

Slap - March 2000 Volume 9 Number 3

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Gershon Mosley #4.

Crazy Maze.

I watched a bunch of old video parts from G-Mos this morning. The guy was a machine back in the 1990s. It was cool to see the progression from one part to the next with the tricks getting bigger and more consistent. Gershon's switch game was on point, too. I forgot he was also a mini ramp champ capable of blasting some big flip tricks, with or without a grab, on transitions.

Bon voyage, Cliché. I'll put together a look back on the company in the new year.

Slap - February 2000 Volume 9 Number 2

Monday, November 28, 2016

James Craig.


James is from Fullerton, California. He rode for Society Skateboards before riding and turning pro for Blind. He is currently running SML Wheels with Austyn Gillette.

NC Boardshop is a skateshop in Los Gatos, California. They have been around for about thirty years. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, they were advertising a bit and had a very respectable pro team.

It rained from Wednesday night until possibly early Sunday morning so my Thanksgiving holiday was a damp one. Work shut down early on Wednesday so I got to skateboard for about an hour. I was watching a clunker of a Jaguars/Bills game on Sunday and decided to check out the park at half time. It was a good idea since it was warm and the wind mysteriously died out rather quickly after I got there.

Slap - December 1999 Volume 8 Number 12

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Quim Cardona #5.

Blues Explosion.

Quim blasts an ollie on orange wheels. I always like how orange wheels look. Lately I've been riding nothing but white wheels as the stack of used Spitfires by my door will attest. I did have some colored ones in the 1980s and 90s. Orange and light blue are about the best colors. Light green and yellow are OK. I've never been a fan of red or black wheels. I've noticed that some of the kids are riding four different color wheels these days, which seems like it would be a little distracting, but whatever works for ya.

Vert Is Dead will be back on Monday, November 28 with a look at the NC Clothing team. Have a good Thanksgiving and weekend.

Thrasher - November 1996 Volume 16 Number 11

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Justin Bokma.


Justin was from Toronto, Canada. Over the years he was sponsored by G & S, Change, Premier, and Platinum. He had the cover of Transworld with a backside lipslide at Hubba Hideout in March of 1996. Justin was killed by a gunshot in July while attempting to diffuse a fight that had broken out at the club he was a doorman for. Rest in peace.

The photo is by Pete Thompson.

Transworld - April 1996 Volume 14 Number 4

Monday, November 21, 2016

Hondo Soto #2.

Hondo, not Honda.

Mr. Soto was pro for New School back in the mid 1990s. He also rode for Simple Shoes. Hondo had a part in Slash Dogs, the New School video from 1994. He played a little foosball to open the section up, which featured a lot of street tech.

Transworld - July 1995 Volume 13 Number 7

Friday, November 18, 2016

Peter Hewitt #11.

Peter flying around back in the Goodtimes days.

Vans has reissued the Salman Agah Camel Toe pro model.

Dave Swift took the picture.

Transworld - October 1995 Volume 13 Number 10

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Chad Muska #8.

A room with a view.

The photos are by Mickey Reyes.

Transworld - August 1995 Volume 13 Number 8

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

John Reeves #2.

Vanishing Point.

John has been in the skateboarding spotlight since the H-Street and Life days. Along with his friend Kien Lieu, he was pushing ollies higher and doing tricks on taller obstacles.

How are éS round two? I need some new kicks and was thinking about a pair of Accels.

The weather folks are calling for some snow on Sunday. The next couple days will be warmer than usual. It's been nice here during the days so I've been going skateboarding at the park on my lunch break. The lights are still on at night, but the temperatures cool down fast. Yesterday evening was a tad on the chilly side.

The photos are by Paul "Skin" Phillips.

Transworld - May 1995 Volume 13 Number 5

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Kelly Bird #3.

Magic Carpet Ride.

It's another photo by Paul "Skin" Phillips.

Transworld - April 1995 Volume 13 Number 4

Monday, November 14, 2016

Kien "Donger" Lieu #3.

Big air in front of the crew.

Pacific Drive is a skateboard shop in San Diego. They are still in business today. I picked them for the week because I like the design of their ads. They always had good photos that were balanced with just enough retail information to keep it interesting without resorting to a list of products.

The jump ramp sadly didn't make the photo.

The photo is by Paul "Skin" Phillips.

Transworld - March 1995 Volume 13 Number 3

Friday, November 11, 2016

Guy Mariano #4.

All Star.

Mouse featured Guy's first full part since Blind's Video Days in 1991. He got the ender and delivered a magnum opus of street skateboarding to the tune of Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man". There are a lot of crooked grinds, tricks on picnic tables, and board flips in both stances. He takes the switch tricks to handrails as well. An interesting note is that Guy is wearing a variety of shoes from Vans, Converse, and Sheep.

This has to be one of the stranger ads in skateboard history. You've got Guy doing a crooked grind on a rail, which should be strong enough to stand on its own, but the folks at Converse didn't see it that way. They added in a display of fine glassware and china. I guess this makes the statement that Guy is smooth enough on his skateboard so as to not damage the breakables in a tight situation. Probably true, but there's no need to get carried away with the Photoshop to sell your shoes. Adding to the weirdness is that this ad ran for months in all the mags of the time so the image becomes stuck in your mind through the repetition.

How about that new Spitfire part from Dennis Busenitz?

This wraps up the look back at Mouse. It will be a week of Pacific Drive ads starting on Monday.

Slap - August 1995 Volume 4 Number 8

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Eric Koston #7.

After Girl funk.

Eric's part in Mouse is a showcase of modern street skateboarding. It's chock full of lines and handrails. Eric takes nollie tricks to the rails. He adds in a number of switch ledge tricks, too. There are also a surprising number of 50-50s, including a sizeable double kink rail. The dude is good.

Is not having a board sponsor the new way of being pro?

How's everybody doing out there?

Transworld - August 1995 Volume 13 Number 8

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Mike Carroll #17.

In-N-Out Burger.

Transworld - March 1996 Volume 14 Number 3

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Rick Howard #12.

Slipping Into Darkness.

Rick shared a part with Mike Carroll in Mouse. Mike was recovering from some injuries that limited his on board time. Rick does a bunch of fakie 5-0 and noseslide variations to go with a number of frontside pop shove-its. He even hits up a couple of handrails. Also of note in Mouse is Rick's skateboarding in the woods skit. He rides through the leaves and fallen trees in the forest with a little help from some well placed plywood.

I hit my goal of skateboarding at least 200 times on the year today during my lunch break. I went to the park for fifteen windy and kinda crappy minutes. It was cheap, but it counts. I knew I'd get to 200, but I think I was stressing out a little the last couple of days since the weather is looking variable.

The photo is by Lance Mountain.

Transworld - May 1995 Volume 13 Number 5

Monday, November 7, 2016

Tony Ferguson #4.

Smooth soul stylings.

Tony is from Vancouver, British Columbia. He was an amateur for Plan B and was part of the crew that defected to form Girl. His part in Mouse features well done tech tricks, like backside tailslides, nose grinds, and fakie 5-0 grinds. There are a few nollie flips thrown in for good measure.

Thrasher - February 1997 Volume 17 Number 2

Friday, November 4, 2016

Keenan Milton #10.

The name of this poem is called best of the nineties.

Thrasher - March 1997 Volume 17 Number 3

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Gino Iannucci #5.

New York Islander.

Gino is from Long Island, New York. He was pro for Black Label and 101 before being added to Chocolate. He had shared a part in Mouse with the late Keenan Milton. He had about two tricks in the minute long section. I think he would have just gotten on Chocolate around this time after putting out a part in World Industries' Trilogy video that was a better showcase of his talents. Again this speaks to the brevity of videos back in the 1990s, free from slow motion, second angles, and lifestyle shots.

Thrasher - May 1997 Volume 17 Number 5

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Richard Mulder.


Richard is from Rialto, California. He rode for Foundation and World Industries before being asked to join Chocolate. His part in Mouse featured a lot of long lines done at ledge spots with a good balance of switch and regular tricks.

Transworld - February 1996 Volume 14 Number 2

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Ben Sanchez #2.

Burger Time.

Transworld - November 1995 Volume 13 Number 11