Logging onto SLAP is like entering another world, and I’m sure for a skateboarding outsider, it feels even more ridiculous. For those who aren’t familiar with SLAP, it is a skate message board to endless shit talking, trolls, and skate lingo. It’s an online community of skaters and friends that are all equally over-excited—for better or worse—with skateboarding and its culture. It showcases the darker side of skate, where rumors are born and brewed, and footage and full videos are leaked and critiqued with no filter.
The boards would be nothing if not a true madhouse if it wasn’t for the admins keeping the peace, putting shitposters in their places and dealing with people’s hurt feelings over any harshness experienced on the boards. We were able to get in touch with some of the nerds and find out who is behind the madness of the message boards.
How long have you been on SLAP and where does your username come from?
Neal Grimcity: I joined SLAP on Christmas Eve in 2005. I think I may have become an admin around 2009 or 2010. The name is from college. I self-published a hyper-violent / comedic comic book. The backdrop of the comic took place in “Grim City”, and there was also a character based on an exaggerated version of me named “Grim”.
Luke HATE!: I think I first started around 2001-2002 and became an admin in 2013. My first screen name was Amnesiac Alibi. I was really into Radiohead and At The Drive-In. I was very 21. I sorta fell off for a year and then got back on in 2006 and went with the name HATE! It came from Peter Bagge’s 90s comic “HATE” sometimes seen with an “!” in the title, and thought the word “hate” also meshed well with what everyone likes/dislikes about SLAP—hating everything.
Alex Bobby Peru: I started posting the summer of 2002. I was 13 years old. I just realized I’ve been posting on SLAP for more of my life than I haven’t. I became an admin when I worked at High Speed in 2012. The name is Willem Dafoe’s character in the David Lynch movie Wild at Heart. My names prior to that were Chodey McChodeface and sk8npunk (I was 13).
Issac Randozzi: I joined in 2001 and became an admin maybe a year or two later. It’s part of my last name, McKay-Randozzi.
”I just realized I’ve been posting on SLAP for more of my life than I haven’t.”
What responsibilities do you hold? What’s the best part of having the admin power?
HATE!: I can edit the boards, remove or consolidate threads, change your screen name, ban people etc. That’s pretty much it. The best part is I can see which members have multiple screen names. Some people really make a concerted effort in having several names, and sometimes they’ll use one screen name to support their other. Also, if someone is banned, I can see how many times they try to log on. One guy who was banned simply because he was spamming his own company but not interacting with any other conversation would try and log back on 30-40 times in a day.
Bobby Peru: The short answer is that we’re there to make sure the conversation is running actively and smoothly and that nothing illegal is happening. We’ll help out if people have technical difficulties as well. As far as admin power tripping goes, the ability to change names and avatars of annoying posters is probably the most gratifying.
How many dicks have been posted on SLAP throughout the years?
Grimcity: Probably more than you’d find in a stack of Playgirl magazines, but less than the archeological remains of the ancient Romans.
HATE!: It’s got to be well into the thousands. One poster “cigarettebeer” was pretty well known for posting photos of his own wiener into threads and, if memory serves, he got a lot of compliments. Another old troll of the past “camocan” posted mainly about Batman and Peyronie’s Disease. I actually learned what that disease is because of him. It’s a disease that is related to scar tissue in the penis that causes painful erections. He also posted photos of “little camocan” and this, in turn, brought on the nickname “wookie dick” due to the amount of hair he had going on.
Do you guys consider yourself “core”?
Bobby Peru: If I ever refer to myself as a “core skater,” I implore you to Photoshop a dick on my forehead.
Randozzi: “No, not never… you should too.”
What makes a brand core? Is it just being skater owned, or are there other qualifications?
Grimcity: Being skater-owned is a part of it, but I think giving back to the skate community is the deal breaker. Just look at Deluxe… from showing people how to make spots to raising money to fight cancer and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), that’s the real shit. Jim Thiebaud’s a great friend of mine, and he’s a straight up skate rat, as are most of the people that work there. The core-brand thing is entirely dependent on the ethos of the company. Does the company strictly want to make bank, or do they also want to truly perpetuate skateboarding? It all comes down to the company’s philosophy.
Randozzi: Abs, and the knowledge that if your mind is set on money, nothing good will happen for you.
How often do you get requests or messages to take down a post?
Grimcity: Maybe once or twice a month. If it’s because someone’s offended over an image or shit talking, I either ignore it or make fun of them in the very thread they’re complaining about.
Bobby Peru: It depends on the nature of the post. The posts that will guarantee deletion are sexual references toward a minor, sharing personal info such as addresses or phone numbers without permission, spam, or leaked video links. It’s not out of the question that we’ll delete posts that are, say, racist/sexist/homophobic, disrespectful of the recently deceased in a tribute thread, or just gross, but it’s up to the discretion of the mod.
Our general philosophy is that SLAP does a good job of policing itself. You act like a kook, you get vibed out. If a poster says something offensive, other posters will gang up on them with a mixture of articulate rebuttals and photoshops of dicks on their foreheads. It’s a more effective deterrent to let the community converse than to delete the post, which often just riles them up more.
Has a brand ever contacted any of the admins to take something down, either for leaks or footage or for the posts being too harsh about their brand?
Grimcity: Yes. When it comes to video leaks, that’s perfectly legit. We don’t want SLAP to become The Pirate Bay, nor do we want a thousand threads made by little kids begging for links to shit. That ruins the flow of the forums. There have been cases where individual pros have asked that harsh threads be taken down, but I’d never remove a topic just because one person hates another person’s opinion. It’ll only make the situation worse. If they can’t create an account and defend themselves, don’t bother making an account to ask us to remove something because you don’t like it. Man up.
HATE!: I think it’s happened in the past. Some of the other mods have more of a connection to the industry than I do so they might be asked offline, but I haven’t. If a brand were to ever report a leaked video, the post would be taken down. The only industry person to ever contact me directly was Mike Sinclair. He sent me a lengthy message in regards to a comment I made about him saying he’d rather see Ben Gore stay on Stereo over going to Magenta and also getting dropped from Dekline. I totally appreciated him coming to me directly and saying what’s up and explaining his end.
What is your all-time favorite thread?
Bobby Peru: I can’t pick one. Way too many. Photoshop threads are always great. Pro Q&As are always enlightening. I’m addicted to the “sloth in a box, chimpanzee getting buck” thread. I think my favorite gags come around video premieres. Way back when Fully Flared came out and people were begging for a link, some posters got together and made a fake file to spread around. They offered to post it if one poster would step up and write “SLAP” on their balls and post a picture. Someone stepped up. He got the fake file. We got balls. But he was a good sport about it. The photo has since disappeared.
HATE!: There have been a ton. The ones with the pros involved are pretty wild. Jamie Thomas meeting some kid who talked trash and driving him to a premier and the kid awkwardly didn’t speak the whole way… Recently we had a thread trashing Berra for complaining on an Instagram Live thing about DC Shoes, and Kalis piped up and threw out his personal cell phone number for anyone to text him with questions about it. Kalis is great on there.
What about some of the worst posts you’ve ever seen?
Grimcity: Pretty much every post from the owner of Paradox Griptape, as they were always an insult to everyone’s intelligence. The owner (Ari Gold) is a painfully stupid human. Gross stuff in and of itself doesn’t bother me, but videos of people getting hurt make me cringe… and I don’t just mean gore stuff, but things like people visibly rolling their ankles and whatnot. I don’t mind slam videos, I just hate seeing limbs getting bent in ways they’re not supposed to.
Randozzi: Prolapsing anal cavities are never fun. One time I think I spent two hours deleting Meatspin links to Fully Flared, or some big video like that. The person that spammed that went for it in a big way. They hit a couple different sections of the board.
HATE!: It’s probably telling at how jaded I am now that I scroll right past photos of people pooping without anything more than a simple, “Huh, well there you go. She’s pooping on the floor while watching a soccer match. How about that.”
How much influence do you think SLAP has on the prosperity of a skate brand?
Grimcity: I don’t know about our influence on a brand’s prosperity, but I think our skepticism is important. If we see bullshit, we call it out. If we perceive something to be bullshit, we talk about it. I think cynicism is great, especially in a time where skateboarding is becoming gentrified and mainstreamed. Thrasher had a bit, but Big Brother was a beacon of light. They showed us that taking on certain aspects of the industry was a great way to separate the wheat from the chaff. That’s why so many of us at SLAP like Jenkem.
On a somewhat related note, I’m pretty sure that SLAP is why New Balance got into the skate shoe game.
HATE!: That probably depends on the definition of prosperity. Element, World, Darkstar etc. are all clowned pretty hard on there, but they’re so widely available and appealing to little kids who don’t care about SLAP and do just fine. SLAP might have a solid effect on smaller brands though, especially when it comes to videos. I learned of Bronze and Dime because of SLAP. There’s no other way I would have learned about them as fast as I did without SLAP. Something gets posted on SLAP and then the users go repost it on their own social media and that’s what it takes these days. I definitely like that there are no sacred clowns on SLAP, though. I’ve seen the Crail camp get trashed for sleeping on dudes, Real get knocked for overuse of the oval graphic, anyone not from NYC or SF jocking those respective cities’ style too hard etc. I like it. Nothing is too holy.
Bobby Peru: To start, I’d say that SLAP’s general approval helps. If you’ve got SLAP Pals interested, you’ve got a cult of skaters spreading your content around and making your product seem exciting.
Has anyone got any ass or found a girlfriend / boyfriend because of SLAP?
Bobby Peru: There are and always have been women on the forum, as well as eligible gay, and transgender singles if you’re looking for a spouse on SLAP for some reason. There aren’t many, and they fade in and out like any poster, but they’re there, and we’d be happy to see more too. But no ass for me, but I am aware of ass having been exchanged. I won’t blow the posters up. AND there have been instances where younger members have posted asking for tips on dating or overcoming shyness, with SLAP’s advice leading to them getting laid. It takes a village.
Randozzi: I have no personal knowledge of that, but I do know that people have buried their face in bush due to the forum.
What has made SLAP so popular? Is there really any other forum skaters can gather online and talk?
Grimcity: There are tons of other forums, but like Skate Perception [RIP], they tend to be geared around a theme. There are forums for skate-gear collectors, longboarders, and so on, but a lot of the anything-goes type forums are for kids or they tend to be heavily moderated. I think social media platforms have taken on a lot of the functions that forums used to monopolize. Facebook groups, Reddit, Instagram, and other platforms are more convenient in some ways, but I don’t think they’re able to capture a singular essence like SLAP does.
In reality, it’s a huge group of people that have been talking to each other for years. We all come in with our own vibes, and we all skate. We do appreciate the mentions we get by people that hate us though. Every time someone in the industry says, ‘I don’t pay attention to message boards,’ we know damn well they’re talking about us, and we know they’re staying up all night reading every single thread. We eat that shit up.
Randozzi: SLAP’s popularity came from the amazing talents of Lance Dawes, Mark Whiteley, Joe Brook, Tim Butler, Brandy (forgot her last name), John Trippe (creator of the forum) and all of staff and contributors to the magazine. The original thought to create a digital place for people to come together came from the spirit of community that SLAP created in print. I think it shows how much self-regulation skaters have as a community. Racism, homophobia and any sort of exclusionary talk based on race, social status, sex, sexual identity have been shot down by posters. It’s inspiring to see when it happens. Despite the popularity of skating and maybe because of it, the forum is a place where people can be the freaks they are. I’m not sure why the forum has become what it has become for the skate community but there is nothing like it.
“Every time someone in the industry says ‘I don’t pay attention to message boards,’ we know damn well they’re talking about us…”
Who is the biggest known troll of the SLAP community?
Grimcity: Right now I think “Tracer” is holding it down, but “Dr. Newton” was pretty next level back in the day. The thing is, some trolls are like performance artists, others are just really insane people that should never leave the confines of their parents’ basements.
Bobby Peru: It’s hard to call “ChildOfTheGhetto” a troll because he was always genuine, but he set the standard for untethered hate. “Tracer” is probably holding that throne right now. But he might be cracking. A lot of his posts as of late have been positive. It’s a little disconcerting like he’s plotting something.
Randozzi: As far as making the biggest pain in the ass on the boards, there are too many to mention. Nor would I give them the satisfaction of mentioning their names. But the biggest troll moment that spilled over to the SLAP forum was when someone posted Danny Way’s home address on another forum. Someone copied it to the SLAP forum and we had to take it down multiple times. I believe that forum ended up being shut down due to that incident.
For doing this interview can I bumped up to Slap Pal, at least?
Bobby Peru: Sure. Just write SLAP on your balls and post a pic. I’ll send you the file that makes you a pal.
Randozzi: No. Unless you write SLAP on your balls on post it on the forum.
Is there some kind of cult ritual to get accepted into the admin ranks? Maybe a giant paddle or getting SLAP branded on your chest?
Bobby Peru: You know the film-screening scene in A Clockwork Orange? It’s like that, but we screen the Revive Skateboards YouTube channel.
Randozzi: If I told you, it would be too late. Your fate would be sealed into a moral quagmire of looking out for people’s interests you’ve never met nor ever will.
Lastly, what can the skateboarding community learn from the SLAP message boards?
Grimcity: Don’t be a kook, or at least be the best kook you can be. Also, scootering isn’t the new rollerblading, it’s just a different form of stupid.