Saturday, August 13, 2016

30 Year Retrospective

Summer, 1986. My parents reluctantly allowed me to order a skateboard from California Cheap Skates. I procured a popular board for the time, the hot selling Vision Mark "Gator" Rogowski model. The board was a pristine white dip with the signature geometric Gator graphic in a brilliant pink to purple fade. To complete this trainwreck, I chose pink Gullwing trucks, pink Vision Shredder wheels, and all pink plastics, yes, rails, nose guard, and tail plate. I. Just. Didn't. Know. Of all of the boards I would pore over in the magazine ads, the Zorlac decks, the Santa Cruz boards, and just about every Powell-Peralta deck, all emblazoned with horned demons, slashing skating monsters, and skulls, skulls on everything, I chose a hot pink geometric pattern, oddly, one of skateboarding's most popular graphics at the time.

The day my new board arrived I hit the streets with a friend who had a board with another snoozer of a graphic, the Sure-Grip International Eric Grisham pro model. We through some duct tape on the sides of our shoes, not because they had holes in them, but because we saw that all of the other skaters in town had duct tape on their shoes (because their shoes had holes in them from actually skateboarding), and headed to the plaza where all of the local heavies could be found most days. It would be our first of many, many skates to the plaza to session over the next few years. We had arrived, desperate to be cool.

But how cool? Even in skateboarding, which at the time was a non-elitist anti-sport if you will, there was a weird jock like pecking order composed of the older, more experienced (i.e. "better") riders at the top and the new jack posers (us, at the time) on the bottom. But it wasn't long before we were accepted into the fold. Despite our soft bellies, twangy dialect, and very new unscathed skateboards (very not cool), we became part of the crew and were soon sweeping drainage ditches and building jump ramps with the other guys.

With our new found street cred, we were desperate for female attention. We needed some skate Betties in our lives so we could be cool like the no bullshit Godoy brothers. Look at them up there. Sleeveless tees, leopard print, posing with a skateboard but not even wearing skate sneakers. These guys were punk rock, unconventional. And they probably had girls, Betties, I bet they had all of the Betties! So we did what we had to do to get the phone numbers of some girls, ones that of course didn't go to our school and lived ten minutes from town, which back then might as well have been China because we didn't drive. Our chances were slim to none when it came to actually meeting these girls, with the above factors combining with the fact that we were nobodies (at least we thought we were nobodies) we had no game. So we did what any other low-on-the-totum-pole fourteen year old kids would do. We told them we were Jeff Grosso and John Lucero. And it worked. For about a week.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Return of Simple Shoes

They're BACK! Well, they've been back since October of 2014 but I can be a little slow on the draw. Simple appeared on the scene in early 1992, and their casual and stylish skate sneakers were an instant classic with skaters and non-skaters alike.

The gummy red rubber playground ball soles, sturdy construction, low profile silhouettes, unparalleled comfort, and even the occasional toe-caps (think Salman Agah) were MADE for skateboarding, but the stylish sneakers and 4 eye chukka boots (the Barney, their first shoe) were wildly popular with kids in the grilled cheese line as well as those looking to embrace the "I love the outdoors" denim and flannel look of the Pacific Northwest in the early 1990s. I personally remember rocking the navy blue OS Sneakers both on board and to shows back in the day!

Started by Eric Meyer in 1991, the brand held strong in skateboarding through the early and mid to late 1990s. The roster of professional skateboarders appearing in their sneakers and in the advertisements included Mark Gonzales, Frank Hirata, Mike Crabtree, Julian Stranger, and more. The return of the brand features a full line of sneakers as well as casual and dress inspired shoes.

We have a pair of the 4 eye chukka boots (the Barney) on the way and are excited skate in Simple Shoes again! Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Prototype Ready to Roll

Set up and ready to rip with brand new Independent 159s. Hope to take it out for its first ride this weekend!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Sidewalk Surfin'

1964. 52 years ago this year, Jan and Dean appeared on American Bandstand to introduce a new song and a new pastime to the youth. Sidewalk surfing. Early roots here with "tricks" including "grab the rail" and a "one-hundred eighty," which is, in this video, a standing backside powerslide. Now, go grab you bun buster and shoot the curve!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Modern Alva Dagger Tail

Double-kick modern concave Alva dagger tails are coming. 9.5 x 33 with a 15" wheelbase. Photo boosted from StrangeHouse.