Monthly Archives: September 2013

Arm Chair 540s?

There has been and will always will be the great debate, “IS SKATEBOARDING A SPORT?” and you are on one side or the other. The purest attest to the “fuck no” approach as the average person points out the obvious and agrees that it is. ¬†I’ve jumped the fence a few times in regard to the matter.

Skateboarding can’t be a sport. There are no rules. You can butt board and push with your face if you so desire. There is no written guideline to tell you otherwise. There is no practice, no regiment, and no uniforms. It is such an individual activity that is closer to art than sport. There isn’t a coach (minus Nyjah’s Dad) and you are not punished for a bad performance. You normally won’t see a team tryout in skating, and if you do it’s real kooky. You aren’t drug tested. Most athletes are not kicked out of their practice area by police and rent-a-cops.

Skateboarding has always been a sport. They make protective gear for it. There are teams and people get real upset when someone quits their favorite team. You become an amateur on a team and then go Pro as in professional. You follow your favorite Am’s career and get hyped when he gets the nod into the Pro Ranks. Once a professional you get paid to do so and that makes you a professional athlete. You also get endorsements and good ones at that, big money. Not only all of that but, you are performing on television and in arenas. Bob Burnquist fakes/milks injuries to win just like NBA players flop to get that free throw. Thousands of fans with signs rooting for you to win, to pull that big trick crushing the other team’s rider. Shoe deals with your own signature line are abundant. Nike, Adidas, New Balance, and more and more large sport shoe companies have a vested interest in skating. Just like Jordan, people are wearing your brand so unless your that jaded 80s punker dude still talking shit on Hawk, it’s obvious skateboarding has always been a sport.

What makes the sport of skateboarding special is it’s ours. Skating is our fucking sport. We weed out the kooks and protect it individually. It remains special in the heart of men pushing 60 and the youthfulness will always separate us from any other sport. How many high school football players still pad up and go hit the field in their 30s and 40s? None of them because they played football to fit in. They did it to get to the next level and maybe they did. That next level eventually led to a kind of unfulfilled feeling that made them lose that drive or what they thought was love. I’ve seen many a friend realize they didn’t have what it took to be a Pro Skater and slowly they “grew up” and skated less and less. They may have ran in a touchdown on the High School level and heard those cheers but, they couldn’t make the cut in the big leagues. If that is why they were still skating then that is why they also stepped away.

From the kid who just started getting his balance, to the kid ripping up the park, to the old guy slashing the bowl, that is what makes our “sport” different for anything else. We don’t practice, we skate. We don’t take one for the team, we skate. We don’t get a scholarship, we skate. Even when it’s all over and done and you retire from your team, you still skate. -ERL

Next up, representing sunny California, THE ALVA TEAM!

Next up, representing sunny California, THE ALVA TEAM!

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Winds of Change Are Always Changin’.

Dill, AVE, BA, Olson, Gillette, P Rod, and Mikey Taylor? My God man, the entire skate industry is in a whirl! Everybody’s quitting! Is there nothing sacred anymore? All of these companies taking the time to bring up skaters from Ams or from other teams and investing in them and now they leave? 2013 will be the most memorable year in skateboarding history for team changes. Or will it?

Since the age of the sponsored skater arrived there have been team changes. Usually someone kooks it and gets the boot or they finally milk that last drop and it’s the end of the line. Most of the time a skater feels disattached¬†from the company owner/owners. If it is a true skateboard company the actual owner is a former pro, still is pro, or in some cases a “used to skate rock star” type that is always out looking for the latest and greatest. There is always the new kid right around the corner and the company owner needs that fresh blood to keep the company relevant. If you’re lucky you’ll end up with a true pioneer as opposed to a here today gone tomorrow. 9 times out of ten, that pioneer gets his fare share of offers from competitors. A raise here and there might secure him and pay for that loyalty.

Pro skaters reach a point where no matter how legendary the company owner was back in the day, they feel disenchanted. The thought process of after years of their ideas getting shut down is, why can’t I do this myself? Johnny Pressure Flip did it, why can’t I? The irony is how the owner somehow feels betrayed after all he’s done for his rider. We paid him well, sent him around the world a million times, kept him on the team through all of his injuries, and promoted him as the next big thing. How dare he do the same thing I did? Then they play the hurt ex boyfriend card saying they are better off without him. Do as I say not as I do, or did.

2013 has been a weird one. Why did Dill and Van Engelen quit? BA is starting a new company in a pretty rough economy and Austyn is along for the ride. Alex Olson is all over the damn place. Who knows why P Rod quit, he still hasn’t said what’s going on. Now, just today Mikey Taylor announces he left the Workshop. As crazy as everything is now, nothing compares to the ultimate jump ship of all the World/Blind/101/Plan B guys to start up Girl Skateboards. It was unforeseen and totally rocked the industry. Rocco was the owner who started losing touch with his riders and they split. 1993 will always be the year that changed a lot of things in skateboarding. 20 years later Girl is feeling a bit of the same sting. Dyrdek as well with all the guys leaving Alien.

Skateboarding has always been about youth and change. It is the two constants. Skating is so insanely giant now that maybe there is room for all of this. There are more companies now then ever. The one thing that will always be is the consistency of Professional Skateboarders wanting more control, creativity, and in the end money. We still have a little over three more months in 2013 and there will be more “Thanks but, I’m quitting.” announcements to come. It’s nothing new and nothing’s changed except how people change. -ERL

Quit1 Quit2 quit3

DCIM101GOPRO quit4

Plan B in Barcelona aka The Mighty Calvitus Tour.

Shortly after the Street League contest wrapped up in Barcelona I tagged along with the Plan B Team (Pat Duffy, Felipe Gustavo, Torey Pudwill) during a filming mission for the new video. Rain was our nemesis along with angry security guards. We had a slight communication problem with our guide right up until we ran into Enrique Lorenzo. Enrique knows Barcelona and in no time we were going from spot to spot. Between Roger Ferrero and Enrique the mission was back on track.

Everyday was the same. Wake up, skate to Starbucks, skate to the other hotel to meet with the rest of the team, warm up at the marble bench square, and jump on the Metro to our first spot. Baguettes and fries were in full effect. Barcelona is huge so we logged in some time on the trains but, it beat renting a van and dealing with traffic. Day one was a bit of a bust. Our first spot had several men playing something similar to racquetball and they wanted us gone from the second we rolled up. Puffed out chests, hand gestures, and multilingual cursing took place as soon as either Jagger or Jett Eaton slammed and shot their board into the game. Matt Rodriguez reminded me we weren’t in the US and I could get my head kicked in by the Policia if I got into to it with these locals. It was good advice as I was not used to being a stranger in a strange land. We made tracks and avoided the rain from spot to spot.

Seeing how we were on a filming mission I’m not really able to say too much about what I saw. A couple of things were evident though. Pat Duffy is still on top of his game. He is still doing what he’s always done and that’s killing it. Torey skated things only he could and is putting his heart into his part. He always had something funny to say and is such a positive dude. Felipe rules! He is funny all the time. Great one liners that are even better accentuated by his thick accent. He also is insanely smooth and consistent for how tech he is. His brother Paulo Macedo was with us and is a great photographer and cool person to hang out with. Ryan Denman is their Team Manager and ran a tight ship, everyone got their job done and had a good time doing it. As insane as the tricks that were going down, everyone stayed in good spirits and avoided meltdowns. I personally can’t wait to see it all in the video. Thank you to Torey, Duffy, Felipe, Jagger, Jett, Paulo, MRod, and Denman for a great trip. -ERL

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Morning rituals.

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Once more into the Metro.

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Bad vibes and the Policia are on the way.

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Drugs…

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are….

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trippy.

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No rain meant it got hot quick.

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Not that it stopped the mission.

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Felipe warming up.

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Torey getting his.

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Every angle covered.

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Felipe was putting in work.

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Love the local Perros.

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Brothers cup.

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When it rained, it poured.

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Then hailed.

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No wax required.

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Strictly a political move.

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Weather is a hurdle you can’t jump.
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Sanctuary and the unplanned theme of the trip.

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Another long one.

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We did a head count and gear check at every train.

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Matt MRod Rodriguez was my road dog all Summer.

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Electronica.

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Head count complete.

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Gotta run to the next spot before it rains.

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Barce fashion siting.

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The next stop was a doozy.

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Felipe.

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Duffy.

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Just when it was all coming together…

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She showed up.

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She was pissed!

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Felipe dropping Brazilian Jedi Mind Tricks.

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Every dog needs a bone.

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Hippies everywhere.

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Too many trains brings on the madness.

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Religion is weird or the laziest bum ever.

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Everyone was getting train weary.

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We needed a new spot to recharge the crew.

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Then this happened.

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Recharged and in the zone.

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It’s rad to see these guys are like family.

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Pat and Felipe got theirs.

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Such a crazy thing to skate.

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Stay sharp!

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Right into hell.

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Enrique showing us the spots.

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We also got a sneak peak of his new video, mind blower.

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Now everyone is hyped.

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Axion reunion.

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Torey grind o rama.

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More perro sitings after someone tried to drop a water bomb on us from 5 stories.

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We skated by these a lot so Felipe had a quick sesh.

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A random spot by where we ate ended up a good sesh.

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Slappy time.

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Torey’s got it like that. FS pop shove.

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Damn.

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Duffy telling it like it is.

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Work.

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Pop.

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Another head count.

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Thanks Calvitus Crew!

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Denman got his for the Barce buzzer beater.