1. The Best Battles Between Professional Skateboarders
There was a time before the Internet reigned king when someone who had a problem with someone else would call that person out to his face. Sometimes, if neither man was willing to mince words or back down, the two might get into what’s known as a fight. It’s a lot like Twitter Beef only instead of 140 characters of cleverly mocking the other person, you would just try to shove your fist through the other person’s head so you could pull out his brainstem. These were dark, brutish times where things were handled by men and the stronger man usually won. Some of the battles are pretty infamous, having been chronicled on video or in a magazine, but some managed to get covered up or otherwise forgotten when the two parties let their tempers cool and talked out their discrepancies like adults. No one’s going to write this article because despite the subject matter being endlessly entertaining, it can also be sort of embarrassing for the parties involved.
2. Pros Who Are Nightmares to Work With
Don’t meet your heroes. Ever heard that one? For the most part, it’s true. You grow up idolizing certain people and then the day comes when you meet them, or worse you have to work with them, and guess what? You find out that your hero is a flawed person just like you and everyone else on planet earth. He might even be kind of a dick. After years of riding a toy for a living and getting a lot of shit given to him for free, his grasp on reality might be a little tenuous. Go fucking figure. Not everyone is like this, mind you. There are certain guys you meet and they’ll surprise you at what solid, normal human beings they are. But yeah, you’re going to find some turds baking in the sand. I heard a story about a very popular pro who—when he was designing his pro shoe—sent the sample back to the company and it was covered in his jizz. That was his comment on the design. Jizz. Dried cum all over the shoe that was going to have his name on it. It might be a bullshit rumor, but I know skaters some photographers refuse to shoot because they’re such pains in the ass to deal with. Skateboarding has a process of weeding a lot of these guys out in the early stages, in tour vans or through the flow tryout process, but some guys slip through the cracks or kind of grow into their own brand of nightmare after making a name for themselves and letting the hype get to their head.
3. “Dear Skateboarding, I’m gay.”
The topic of homosexuals and gender identity in skateboarding has become somewhat of a hot button issue in the past year or so. King Shit interviewed Hillary Thompson, a transgender skateboarder, and Sam Mcguire has a great article about her as well, but so far no established professional or amateur has come forward to champion their same sex preferences. The simple fact is that there have been and are currently gay professional skateboarders, it’s just not something anyone really cares to have as his or her banner descriptor. People want to be known for their talent and hard work and who they happen to be attracted to shouldn’t factor into that. It would also open them up to a lot of stupid jokes because like it or not, skateboarders can, and tend to be pretty immature. It’s what keeps us young. And celibate.
4. Inside the Sweatshop of Your Favorite Shoe Company
In all reality your shoes–whatever the brand–are probably made by a little brown or yellow person in some shitty factory for pennies a day. It’s how capitalism is set up. The company makes as good of a product it can for the least cost to them so they can sell it to the consumer for an inflated, yet affordable price and make the most profit. Considering your phone is made in a complex where they have nets inside the building to prevent suicides, don’t even think about your shoes. No one wants to be reminded of this, and the shoe companies are seemingly the only ones with any money allotted to advertise, so this one will stay on the back burner for pretty much forever.
5. How the Fuck Did You Turn Pro?
Some people will always make some noise when an Am they haven’t been following all that closely turns Pro. “It’s too soon! They haven’t earned it yet!” they say. But companies know what they’re doing. They’ve been doing it a long time and know to strike when the iron’s hot in terms of putting out a new board. But lately there’s been some head scratchers. Like, Forrest Edwards is pro now, you know what I mean? It’s not a question of talent, because he has that in spades, it’s just kind of odd when you go from being that guy who gets some shit for free from the sales rep from time to time to having your name on a board that’s hanging in skate shops around the world.
6. “We Did This Article For the Money”
Like it or not, ad dollars are what keep the magazines in business. While you’re writing a lengthy tirade against the new energy drink or hair dye ad in the latest issue of your favorite magazine for your pals, the guys working at those magazines are just happy that someone still wants to pay good money for a print ad. Most of the “cool” companies don’t have a lot of money to spend for print, so they pretty much only go with one magazine a month, which is why mags are as thin as they are. If brand X is advertising 12 months out of the year, chances are they want you to feature their riders fairly often. While this happens a lot, pretty much no one is going to admit that in the article. “Yeah, we know we got some bo-bo riders in this article, but they paid cash and we needed the money, so just bear with us, okay!” If you don’t like it, start your own company and advertise so magazines can have more leeway to be more discerning about what goes in each issue.
7. “The Most Boring Man in Skateboarding”
One thing I worry about with skateboarding continually trying to appeal to this broader outside market is that we’re watering ourselves down and aren’t really attracting the kind of hairball wildmen that used to fill our ranks. Sure, we’re getting more and more talented people going bigger and more technical all the time, but what a lot of them have in skill they lack in personality. Case in point, we have a lot of interviews where people are described as being really “nice” guys. Nice is often a keyword for boring. You literally have nothing else to say about the guy other than he’s basically not that bad of a person. It’s like your friends band who you routinely go see live despite them not being all that great, because the members are just such nice guys. I’m not talking about genuinely kind or positive people either. Like Theotis Beasley grew up in a fucked up neighborhood and could have easily gotten caught up and lost to the streets and instead ended up literally one of the nicest people on the planet. That’s interesting. That’s unique. I’m talking about the guys who just have nothing fucking going on in their heads or lives worth talking about. Oh you drive a Nissan? That’s really neat. You are really into text messaging? Awesome. You pay your taxes on time and have pot roast on Thursdays? I want to hold your family hostage just so you have a story to tell next time you’re interviewed, you boring son of a bitch.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that skateboarding appeals to the well adjusted teens who aren’t growing up with meth labs in their basements, but we used to be a place where those kids with fucked up parents flocked and sought haven and you know what? They kept shit interesting and fun, and they kept skateboarding a little on the fringe where it belongs. But yeah, no one wants to dog on the nice guys because they’re just that, really nice. They are good dads, they skate well, they own property. They play the game and show the logos when they’re on TV doing their interviews, reciting the “I fought hard, he fought hard, in the end there had to be a winner and I lucked out,” sports journalism stock response that makes me die a little inside every time I realize that it’s a skateboarder talking and not a football player. So yeah, no one’s going to name names and say, that dude is one boring motherfucker, because you’re going to run into him again and you’re going to say, “Why did I do that, that guy is SO nice!”
8. The Worst Things Ever Said in Interviews
There have been some gems over the years, and a lot of them are hard to live down. Just this year, for instance, Nyjah said skateboarding isn’t for girls, then quickly took to Twitter and elsewhere to recant and rephrase the statement, even though those were his words. People say some dumb shit from time to time and most interviews are pretty lighthearted so you’re probably not considering that anything all too serious is going to be said until it’s already said and it’s in print and then you remember, oh yeah, that was a stupid thing to say. Corey Duffel almost got his ass kicked and blacklisted from skateboarding for some poorly chosen words. So while an article featuring some particularly terrible soundbites or quotes from interviews past might be great to get the web world aflutter, it might be in poor taste to reopen old wounds. Let sleeping dogs lie, or you know, don’t. Web hits, man. Web hits.
9. Five Pros Who Should Have Already Retired
This one’s obvious. It’s just mean and there’s no reason to give any of the older guys a complex about what they may or may not have already considered many many times during their career. I for one am in favor of certain people “milking” it. If you were a pro in the 90s who got paid shit and you’ve stuck with skateboarding this long and somehow managed to keep your name on a board, I say you deserve today’s checks. Unless you don’t skate anymore, then, you know, fuck off. But yeah, people will groan that so and so hasn’t put out a video part in however many years, or that younger kids are killing it harder, but I don’t really care. There’s plenty of time for the new class to “get theres,” let’s allow the guys who paved the way to actually make a decent living by skateboarding enjoy their golden years and keep their boards in stock.
10. The New Plan B Video is Out
Just kidding, but seriously. Your favorite pro will come out of the closet sooner than this video.
PLOTTING THE LIFECYCLE OF A TRENDY TRICK
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INSIDE THE 20 YEAR ANNIVERSARY PARTY OF EMERICA’S “THIS IS SKATEBOARDING”
We stopped by to pay our respects and see if we could squeeze a few stories out of the crew.