Tag Archives: Real

The Colleagues Section

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.

This is to say: Teams be getting big.

As I unscientifically research this in Spring of 2021, I see that FA/Hockey has about 22 combined professionals. The Creature team, counting Ams and Legends as they are listed, is holding 27 people. Those are some wheel team numbers!

What is the ideal number for a board team to seem cohesive?
Eight? ($lave)
Nine? (Frog)
Twelve? (Zero)
Fourteen? (Girl)
Fifteen? (Santa Cruz)

The roll-call of ‘corporate’ shoe teams gets even more insane.
Adidas has a team of at least 37 skaters. Nike is sitting on about 50 pros. Same with Vans. This isn’t even including the ever fluctuating Euro teams, Aussie teams, and assorted flow riders.

So what’s a mega-brand to do when it comes to video production choices?
And how does our current preference for free quick-shot video content play into this?

We’re basically looking at a couple of possible scenarios.
First is the Going Big option: A fully funded, trips-to-China, multi year full-length production where nearly all the big riders who are healthy enough will have parts, or at least shared parts, and up-and-comers and brand legends get a trick or cameo in there as well. Think Vans’ Propeller video or maybe Element’s Peace.

These videos can hit run times of nearly an hour and need to recoup some costs so are typically released with a price tag via iTunes. There might even be a DVD. They are the types of videos we have been claiming are on their death bed for nearly a decade but they seem to keep coming.
While not quite as sprawling, we’ll lump in basically any team video, presented as a whole, that attempts to get parts from all their professionals into this category. Sure some riders were hurt or phoned it in or had to give the footy to their shoe sponsor, but basically the whole gang is there. Deathwish’s recent Uncrossed video is a good example.

Next we have the Serialized option: Basically just slice the squad up and drop a new full-length-but-not-full-team video every couple of years featuring whomever is presently delivering the goods. These videos typically have a “Chapter” or “Volume” number in the title, such as the Nike Chronicles or the Emerica Made series. Santa Cruz recently released the 5th volume in under 3 years of their Til The End series and is kinda back at the top of the line-up with Maurio McCoy having a full part again.

Side note: Ryde or Die Vol. 1 is an exception and we love Aesthetics for it. Was it even meant to have a Vol. 2?

We won’t delve into the idea of taking a full-length and exclusively releasing it in sections on the internet for free over a week or two, like Zero’s No Cash Value video from 2014, but that is happening as well.

I suppose we should also mention the Etnies High Five concept, where about 25 people each get about 30 seconds to do their thing in what is pretty much a 15 minute montage. I’m actual surprised we don’t get more of this type of video from the larger-rostered companies. Of course, modern music clearance realities ensure this type of project would likely lack those good old DJ mixtape vibes.

Finally, we have what call (and I encourage you to add to your skate lexicon as well) the Colleagues Section. Quite simply, it is the an extended montage of clips from non-featured team members that usually precedes a single riders online part, or gets sandwiched between a pair of full rider parts. A friends section for the rest of the team.
And thus, a little extra something gets added to the mix and perhaps the video isn’t forgotten before the sun sets that same day. We get a reminder of who else is in the brand clan and an extensive inventory of riders is perhaps made a bit more cohesive under one banner. God forbid they put the names in there during the skating.

The single part is still the main course, but the meal is that much better when a little sampling of all the side dishes. Case in point: Tanner Van Vark’s T.V.V. part for Real from February of 2021.

According to their web page right now, the Real team consists of 28 dudes (14 pros, 8 ams, and 6 ‘forevers’) with about 17 of them making an appearance in T.V.V.. The four minute ‘opening’ segment is the aforementioned Colleague Section, with about 27 tricks from the team in addition to Tanner’s 8 or 9. Then the main part drops for another 4 minutes, and then we have a couple of minutes of closing credits and such.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, his how an online 4 minute Professional debut part becomes a 10 minutes medium length video worthy of a (socially distanced) premiere party.
And I’m all for it. Especially if Ishod is one of the colleagues.

And, I would feel remiss to not speak at least a few words about Van Vark’s skating here. He proves his fast-track towards Pro-ness was well deserved, made all the more impressive that Real is already so stacked. Lots of wallies and wallrides into ledge tricks (including the rarefied wallie-barley), along with spins in unexpected directions. His hair is kinda silly, especially when he wears a baseball cap, which is often. It makes his whole air deceptively carefree.

Bonus Section:
I swear it is a coincidence; Boil the Ocean posted another mini-masterpiece of skateboarding journalism just a few hours after this post. It’s about the rise of fall and revenge of the Credits Section.

“I wanted to do my best” – Huf in Non-Fiction

It’s easy, and usually totally appropriate, to celebrate the good in somebody once they are gone. In death, we remember their best qualities and finest moments. We can speculate on the great things that were to come but now won’t happen without having to face the reality that most of our heroes shine much less brightly through their second and third acts. It is safe to say that, while an early demise is always tragic, some legacies clearly benefit from ending before they can be diluted.

Keith Hufnagel‘s recent death after a private battle with brain cancer that lasted several years requires no selective retrospective. His life, his interactions, and his career(s) were simply all good.
Unlike others in the skate-sphere who have passed away, where we have to choose to ignore some of their less savory moments and celebrate their skills and contributions in skateboarding while looking away from their less admirable sides, or having to face the question that if they had somehow altered a couple of decisions they would still be with us. There is none of that. Huf ruled on and off the board.

Continue reading “I wanted to do my best” – Huf in Non-Fiction

Mason Silva. Mason.

I don’t typically feel the need to jump in to point out a video that is up presently. More often I want to spend my blog writing efforts on celebrating the parts of yore and those that might have slipped through the cracks in the internet age. But, holy hell, that recent Mason Silva part for Nike SB is just on another level of monstrousness.

Kids that come up through the Element camp are guaranteed talented from the get-go, but increasingly the top of the crop is quick to move elsewhere for fear that they’ll forever be high-fiving Chad Tim Tim in the shadow of Nyjah and reissued Bam boards. Peacing out since Peace is Tyson Peterson, Evan Smith, Nassim Guammaz, Greyson Fletcher apparently, and perhaps the skater with the most to gain, Mason Silva. After floating for a bit, he is now comfortably in the stable Real/Spitfire family, getting decent checks from Nike SB, and completely taking things up a significant notch with his video output in 2020.

Every trick in this part is huge. Just take a moment to analyze any trick in the video and it dawns on you just how incomprehensible nearly all these tricks at these spots are.
How about that 4 trick line around 1:00 which should serve as a breather after a just humongous and stylish bump to bar hardflip. A huge crooked grind on the top of a bench back, landed perfectly, frontside tailslide launched to fakie on the next bench back, a quickie switch 360flip, and then a straight-on fakie ollie to switch manual and let’s just 180 out of that for good measure. And that is one of the less memorable clips in this video.

Speed. Power. Style. Trick variety. Decent spot selection. This video requires multiple viewings, several rewinds, and maybe even a pause here and there to give a proper look at just how damn steep the bank is.

The only criticisms would be the camera angle on that last ollie, which just seemed so much more monumental on the Thrasher cover, the video being titled “Mason” (which utilizes a titling concept that should’ve been retired with Dylan), and the song selection. I could see where some folks might like the Roxy Music track, but I feel like Mason’s skating is strictly hardcore.

Zion Wright – Jupiter Rising & Real Part

It’s the day before Thanksgiving and Zion Wright just released his second full part of the year earlier today on Thrasher’s website. Real Skateboard‘s Skater of the Year intentions are loud and clear. So let’s not waste another moment and dive right into Jupiter Rising while revisiting his Real part from June and see how his candidacy stacks up.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkRLAwLGRY0]

First off, don’t be fooled by that 8:54 running time. There are 3 minutes of credits featuring a photographic retrospective of the part you just watched and what could easily be interpreted as an acceptance speech. Still, 5 minutes of skating is damn impressive and even with all the high fives and roll away footage, it’s pretty cram-jam with skateboarding stunts.

It is quite a compliment to Zion that such advanced handrail tricks as backside 360 ollie to frontside boardslide or kickflip frontside 50-50s or long tall overcrooks have been denigrated to “stock” status. But, alas, here we are and here are tricks we’ve seen in a part just five months ago (and also on King of the Road) and I find myself craving just one goddamn manual. Would it kill you to skate a ledge or do a wallie or something.

With that in mind, the bowl footage we get stands out as some of the strongest arguments in favor of Zion’s SOTY aspirations. Aired McTwists and kickflip Indy grabs gives some much needed depth to the part. The last two SOTYs were awarded to rail jockeys (one of which also rode for Real). So with just a few choice filming missions, Zion could easily recategorize himself into the ATV slot. It would give him a boost above the current crop of Tyson Petersons, Ducky Kovakses, and countless other round rail pinchers and carcass tossers numbing up the feed these days.

Half-cabbing into these things is still next level, though.

Jupiter Rising has to be digested in tandem with the bafflingly titled “Real” part from June. I actually prefer the “Real” (I’m already annoyed at having to put the title in quotes to distinguish it from other parts he may produce with his board sponsor, Real) part. But, really, the parts are just so similar.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssKDxKWRY-8]

Would one 12 minute part have been better? I would argue that it is wiser in this day and age for footage stacking skateboarders in their prime to break apart lengthy, multi-song parts into several digestible nuggets, and then release all but one of them at the end of the year.

Joey Bast – Real Non-Fiction – 1997

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Z7E-sr0lv8?rel=0]
Joey Bast‘s quick part in the middle of Real’s Non-Fiction video paints a sweet portrait of mid-90s San Francisco skateboarding. The EMB/Union Square days were essentially over but the city still had lots of classic terrain available.The mass produced ‘skatestopper’ had yet to be marketed, the routineness of security guard encounters coupled with the plethora downtown spots made easy pickings for a skater with the obvious natural talent and baked-in pop of amateur Joey Bast. Thus, about half the tricks being filmed on the same day.

From an older Bobshirt interview: “I was kind of a procrastinator. When it came to filming I would always put it off, so in total I filmed for maybe two weeks. Real did set a deadline and I realized that I didn’t have enough footage, so all the footage where I’m wearing that stripped shirt was the last day of filming.”

Sitting amongst a legendary roster featuring prime Huf, laidback style king Drake Jones, barrier breaker Jamie Reyes, the Cardona twins, and the fucking Gonz, it would be easy to glaze over Joey Bast’s 90 seconds. He was dropped from the team not long after (or perhaps even before) the video was released, and other than a Planet Earth part and some 411 clips, that was all he had to give. Which is a shame, because the kid had a lot of loft in his tricks and some serious ambidexterity combined with the willpower to not film all his tricks at the trendiest bust-free SF street locale of the era, Pier 7.

So take a quick moment and appreciate a forgotten part that is as refreshing as a misty breath of fresh air before an elevated pop shove it.