Thrash metal legends Megadeth, condiment staple Kikkoman soy sauce, children’s television powerhouse Mr. Rogers, action movie blockbuster Terminator 2, cult cartoon Rick & Morty… these disparate cultural items come together as a sampling of the official collaborations of Primitive Skateboards. And they are just the tip of the iceberg.
Sailor Moon, Tupac Shakur, Dragon Ball Z, Corona Beer, Marvel Comics, Anna Nicole, Biggie Smalls, Naruto Shippuden, Sri Racha, Transformers… it appears no intellectual property is off limits for P-Rod and Co.
The picture opens on faded graffiti on a rough, dilapidated wall.
The tight shot sketchily pans upward as a board appears to be handed from below to someone on the wall. It’s Ben Kadow in a beige Supreme sweater with sunglasses around his neck. The focus accidentally pulls to the leaves on the tree behind Ben as he looks forward. The image is never stationary.
An out-of-focus Kevin Rodriguez appears on Ben’s right, holding Ben’s shoulder for balance. We still aren’t sure exactly where we are. What is this obstacle? Is this going to be a trick from Ben or Kevin, or someone else entirely? Perhaps this is some sequence of them chilling at a spot while someone else is skating? So far, we know there are two skaters standing on or against some kind of old wall and there seems to be a breeze in the foliage behind them. The information is slow to come and of indeterminate importance.
The shot zooms out to reveal Ben and Kevin are balancing on some type of old pillar, the ornamental top of which Ben is holding onto. Is he supporting it or is it supporting him? Kevin, using Ben for balance, sets the board’s tail on some mantle on this structure and positions himself for a drop in. We’re still not sure how high up we are or what K-Rod is dropping into, but before we can really get any bearings, it is already happening.
Kevin drops in. The camera starts to pull out and pan down while the pacing switches to that chunked duplicated-frame type of slow-motion. The pan and zoom reveals Kevin is dropping in off this pillar into a banked iron rail of a support structure. Even in slow-mo we only see the entire obstacle for a fraction of a second, and even then Ben’s head is out of frame before we see the ground.
As Kevin gets four wheels on the ground the shot is already zooming in tight towards his feet. By the time he starts a frontside power slide, about 14 inches from the spot he landed, his torso it already out of frame. The ground is maybe stickier than he anticipated as his momentum carries him over his nose and he steps off. But we don’t see his feet hit the ground. The shot, which is still zooming tighter, has now started to tilt upward towards his face. His expression and body language is of frustration. He is out of focus a bit as he looks off camera to his right and covers his eyes with the back of balled fists. The camera continues its zoomed scanning past Kevin. The trees and sky become a blur of motion as the clip ends.
This one shot, a shot of a sort-of make of a gnarly gnarly drop-in (although it is hard to know exactly how gnarly since we really didn’t get to see who who obstacle for more than a moment), lasts 43 seconds (and I forgive you if you skipped my 5 paragraph description of it). It is just a possible throw-away trick from a tour edit, yet because of the extreme amateur ‘Strobeck’ filming, it contains more mystery, tension, suspense, and drama than would be inherit in the action alone. The clip moves slow and the action moves fast. It denies us so much information, yet is richer for it. Under the normal expectations of skate video viewing circumstances, this clip is infuriating.
And, more or less, the whole of Supreme’s Mind Goblin Berlin tour video is made from clips like these.
Team bloat is a real thing. Even once small, independent brands, should they be fortunate enough to taste real success and grow into global legitimacy, quickly face rosters that can expand unruly in size. Positive trends towards diverse teams that appeal to diverse demographics, not to mention international riders, can swell professional and paid amateur head counts to impractical levels.