VPA #3: Cougars, Wet Brains and Weird Ceremonies


Welcome back to Vandals, Posers, Athletes (VPA), my new-ish fortnightly column about skateboarding.

I’m wondering if you’ve ever heard of a place called Palma de Mallorca? It’s a Spanish island in the Mediterranean Sea, pretty close to Ibiza. There’s a beach there called Magaluf, which is sort of like Kuta Beach in Bali, except instead of gym-fit Aussies swallowing handfuls of pseudoephedrine and doing shoeys, the streets are filled with holidaying Brits doing something similar. Think cheap pints, foam parties, hen’s nights, soccer games on the big screen, drunk sex on the beach and fistfights in the streets. I spent a summer in Magaluf when I was about 18, which is where I came to know and love the very British pastimes of severe sunburn, bad-tattoos and alcoholism.

Cougar Island

I only tell the story because some of the Vans guys went to Mallorca and made a video called Cougar Island. The video doesn’t contain any footage of Magaluf’s debauched party scene, but maybe the title is a lowkey hint? Either way, Magaluf is disgustingly great, and this video is even better.

So Jackson Pilz, Dan Lutheran, Axel Cruysberghs, Albie Nyberg, Nassim Guammaz and Chris Pfanner went to Mallorca with photographer Joe Brook and filmers Max Pack and Paul Labadie. The resulting web clip is about seven minutes of footage compiled at the dreamiest of spots. Really good-looking spots. I particularly enjoyed the form on Nassim’s kickflip over a big Hubba and Axel Cruysburghs’ wallride-over-fountain ender. Not to mention the soundtrack, Nick Cave’s ‘I Let Love In’, which is objectively a fucking great song. As far as tour clips go, Cougar Island is worth a watch for sure.

Wet Brain

For those of us who enjoy watching a bit of personal frustration, masochism and straight-up violence interspersed with our skateboarding, this video is a winner. Wet Brain was filmed and edited by a guy named Stone Hendrikx, who simply describes it as, ‘a skate video I made with my friends.’ Turns out Stone’s friends include Leo Romero, Chris Cole, Aidan Campbell, Dakota Servold and a bunch young, hungry rippers named Mateo Real, Evan Dineen, Matthew Pierre, Trenton Schwartz, Brandon Burleigh, and Tasso Daoussis.

Brandon Burleigh does the most mind-blowing shit of the bunch, with a boardslide ender that is truly unforgettable.

Wet Brain is all shot in HD, but there’s a distinct rawness to it, probably aided by the Pink Floyd and Sonic Youth soundtrack. It reminded me of that famous quote by Hunter S Thompson: ‘I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.’ To be fair, the video doesn’t contain any overt drug use, but it does a good job of showing the violence and insanity of skateboarding. I thought it was great.

Meanwhile in New Zealand…

For a refreshing refresher on the NZ scene, check out Ideal Living, a short clip from a couple of weeks back that was put out by a Kiwi skate company called Arcade. It’s a pretty raw and relatable depiction of how much fun it can be to skate in the streets with your friends. Admittedly, the footage is not the most mind-blowing in history, but Ideal Living provides some tidy street lines and fun times. I definitely enjoyed this five-minute clip from our neighbourinos across the Tasman.

Nixen Osbourne in 2018. Photo: Andrew Mapstone/Vans

The Vans Park Series Qualifier in Sydney

For all the comp dogs and tranny lords, the VPS Oceania Continental Championships will be happening at Sydney’s Five Dock Skatepark from April 10 to 14. Basically, the event is a qualifier for the Aussie and Kiwi men and women who want to score a spot at the international Park Series events later in the year. The pro tour starts in Shanghai, China, on May 18 before heading to Brazil, Canada, France and finally The US for the World Championships in Utah in September.

Photo by Andrew Peters

US Olympic Skate Team Announced At A ‘Weird 20-Minute Ceremony’

Hate it or love it, the US Olympic skate team just got announced. There are two categories—street and park—and divisions for both men and women. They held a special ‘weird 20-minute ceremony‘ to announce the team, which is:

Men’s Street: Nyjah Huston, Jagger Eaton, Louie Lopez and Chris Joslin

Women’s Street: Lacey Baker, Alexis Sablone, Jenn Soto and Mariah Duran

Men’s Park: Zion Wright, Alex Sorgente, Tom Schaar and Tristan Rennie

Women’s Park: Jordyn Barratt, Nicole Hause, Bryce Wettstein and Brighton Zeuner

But actually, this doesn’t necessarily mean that those people will be heading to the Olympics. This is just the USA Olympic team for 2019 and each skater will have to maintain their position until the next weird ceremony in 2020.

Scabs For Slabs

And finally, Scabs For Slabs. A heavy crew of Indy riders came to Sydney and Canberra to spill blood, break bottles in the streets, neck beers and redefine what was previously thought possible at local spots. Apparently, the idea was that if you ate someone else’s scab then you earned yourself a slab of beer. It was also Phelper’s last trip while he was alive. It’s really worth watching.

And I’ll see you again for the weird ceremony that is VPA in two weeks.

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