VPA 5: Corporate Cash, Loveletters and Kerb Madness

G’day skate mates and welcome back to Vandals, Posers, Athletes number five.

I want to kick off this week’s column by saying that I think the X Games is awful corporate trash. I utterly loathe the stadium atmosphere, the sporty commentary and the stench of filthy money.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I’ll admit that I’ve been watching a bunch of clips from the 2019 X Games’ Real Street competition. While I’m generally spiteful and suspicious of anything X Games related, the concept for this comp is hard to fault. The deal is each skater works with a filmer to create a one-minute edit of their best clips from the streets. The top three get a medal for their troubles, courtesy of X Games and a band-aid company called Nexcare (clearly the collab everyone’s been waiting for). The 2019 gold medal winner was Chase Webb, followed by Chris Joslin and Jamie Foy. All three put together mind-blowing parts, which are included in this recap. Great skateboarding. X Games still sucks though.

Jeff Grosso’s Loveletters to Skateboarding Season 10

And onto something infinitely more integral to the grassroots of skateboarding: Jeff Grosso’s new season of The Letters is away and racing. In my last column, I touched on the joys of vandalism with a few sentences about the construction Lower Bob’s, the now-iconic DIY park in Oakland, California. Turns out I probably shouldn’t have bothered, because in Grosso’s most recent episode of The Letters, he explains the culture of DIY better than I ever could. It’s a half-hour doco that provides some insight into four of the US’s most cherished DIY parks: Burnside in Portland, FDR in Philedelphia, Lower Bob’s in Oakland, Washington Street in San Diego, and Channel Street in San Pedro. It’s a super interesting and informative little insight into a invaluable aspect of skateboarding’s history, straight from the horse’s mouth. Bless The Letters.

Birdhouse’s Beautiful Mutants

It’s not exactly new but the most recent Birdhouse video, Beautiful Mutants, just got released on the internet in its entirety for free. While Birdhouse’s last full-length video, Saturdays, had a bunch of celebrity cameos, skits and jokes that were kinda lame, Beautiful Mutants couldn’t be more different. Filmed and edited by Adam Mills, it has the look and feel of a horror movie, with spattered blood, TV static, and a dark and brooding soundtrack. Featuring skateboarding from Ed Duff, Reese Salken, Shawn Hale, Jaws, Ben Raybourn, Clint Walker, David Loy, Lizzie Armanto, Mike Davis, Tony Hawk and Clive Dixon, it’s much more raw and core than what you might expect. As you no doubt already know, Clive Dixon is an animal. Not many could do justice to a classic like The Pixies’ ‘Hey’, and that water tower boardslide was straight up psychopathic.

Fitzy Plaza

Back in Melbourne, Callum Paul and Jack Kirk spent a couple of afternoons fucking up some kerbs in Fitzroy in the name of this Pass~Port X Vans collab shoe. The video is less than three minutes long but it’s full of fast and cutty kerb lines. The filming and editing are tight as fuck and, to top it all off, the song is called ‘Erotic Delight’. It’s altogether a very tidy little package–almost as good as the collab between X Games and Nexcare.

Daewon Doco Trailer

A new full-length documentary called DAEWON, about the legendary Daewon Song, is being premiered in LA on May 12 and then dropping online via Transworld and adidas on May 17. Directed by Joe Pease and featuring interviews with the likes of Gonz, Marc Johnson, The Birdman, and Rodney Mullen, it looks like a top-notch production that’s certainly worthy of your precious time. Since Daewon was such a pioneer of picnic-table tech-ery in the ‘90s, adidas are also throwing a picnic table comp at Lockwood Elementary school in LA on May 12 to celebrate the film. Keep your eyes peeled for that footy.

VPS Video

I know I told you in the last column that Keegan Palmer and Poppy Olsen won the Oceania qualifiers for the VPS at Sydney’s Fivedock skate park, but now the footage has emerged, so you might as well watch it for yourself. And you can thank Neihana Tonkin for this tidy edit.

RIP Keegan Walker and Pablo Ramirez

And finally, condolences to two skateboarders who were cherished in their respective scenes and have sadly passed away in recent times. Pablo ‘P-Spliff’ Ramirez was part of the GX1000 crew in San Francisco, and Keegan Walker ran Hoddle Skateboards in Melbourne. Love and respect to their friends and families.

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