Skate Gnus is Good Gnus


Hello, I’m Max. I’m a skateboarder and a writer and a dad and I used to make clothes. Maybe I should start making clothes again. 

I just moved back to Wellington, New Zealand with my family after a strange stint in NYC. It’s pretty bizarre being in a place that doesn’t feel forever changed by Covid, where all the shops are open, people openly sneeze in the street and the country’s leader is awesome. It’s like, did that just happen? 

So, now because my kid Fred is back at school, I have some time on my hands, and I’m going to write about skateboarding for Monster Children. Hopefully, I’ll talk to some interesting people and tell you about some wild shit next week, but for now, here are a few of the things I’ve been watching to distract me from the looming horror of the US election. 

BakeRVCA clip

As a 44-year-old I get a lot of ads for knee braces and anxiety meds, so I’m probably not the target demographic for a collaborative capsule collection between Baker Skateboards and RVCA clothing. But maybe I am, because I find nothing more heartwarming than footage of new dad Spanky and evergreen Andrew Reynolds tooling around LA, with Neckface performing nanny duties. Maybe they should’ve called the vid ‘This is Skateboarding’ – hang on, they did that already. ‘This is 40’? Ah, man. Zach Allen has pulled his (BAKERVCA?) socks up after his disappointing turn in Baker 4 and supplies the knee-aching enders.

Frankie Villani’s One Big Mess part

I spend most of the time on Instagram in my group chats sticking up for people like Aidan Mackey and Frankie Villani. You know, the cool young dudes who would’ve probably been made fun of in the 90s because they’re a bit wacky. Well, it’s 2020 and although everything else is completely fucked, skateboarding is in a way better place. It’s a pleasure to see Villani lazily, happily floating around, doing all kinds of weird shit, and getting paid good money. He even hits a couple of spots with someone who I’m assuming is his girlfriend, which is cool. I hope they don’t break up soon, because this is the kind of thing he might want to show to his kids one day.

Tom K’s Enter the Museum part

Tom Karangelov (I won’t condescend to referring to him as ‘Tom K’. That kind of casual racism is just one of the parts of skateboarding culture the media contributes to and what we can do without. Sidenote: my name is pronounced ollie-nick) chilled out on the colour matched outfits a bit for his new Enter the Museum part playing on Thrasher. By ‘Enter the Museum’ I suppose he means ‘Check Out my Crazy Spots’, and on that level he doesn’t disappoint. The whole thing is… good. It all feels a bit careful and serious to me, particularly as from what I can tell from interviews, Karangelov is a really funny guy. There are a couple of gaspy moments, in particular the crazy bluntslide rail bonk out at the end, from which he rolls away grimly. Perhaps the rough cut will be more entertaining?

April Skateboards REPLAY video

As far as I know, the whole deal with April was that Shane O’Neill wanted to work with some of the people that had always been there for him since he was a little Nugget on the streets of Melbourne, so he started his own company. Seems pretty cool to me – and while Shane’s clinically clean video game character approach to skateboarding isn’t exactly my cup of tea, I kind of love it. I also love that Janet Jackson tune, though it did make me vague out at some point. The rest of the team are fine, and it seems like they actually enjoy spending time with each other. Nice to see some smiles, though congratulatory hugs in 2020 make me feel uncomfortable. Yuto is obviously incredible, Noah Nayef’s bs 360 over the road gap is crazy, and the absence of Diego Najera footage suggests he is either a) off the team, b) about to release a solo part, or c) sick with Covid. All passable excuses.

Cher Strauberry Vans shoe

I met Cher Strauberry one day at one of the sidewalk sales at McGolrick Park and got very tongue-tied because she’s so cool. It only ever happens with skaters – I could meet Robert de Niro and be like, ‘Hey man,’ but a trans woman who skates curbs with Barker Barrett? I’m jelly. It seems the rest of the skate world thinks Cher’s cool, too – which is why she’s under the wing of Supreme, and is a part of the new board brand Glue along with Leo Baker and Stephen Ostrowski. Plus, of course, Cher skates for Vans, and is the face and feet of their ‘Customade’ service, in which you can design your own shoes on your phone. I got a bit lost trying to make a pair for myself, then gave up after realising I just wanted plain blue ones with ‘MAX’S SHOES’ embroidered across the back. 

It’s good to see that Vans put their money where their mouth is by donating $20,000 USD to the Lyon-Martin Health Services in San Francisco. ‘Lyon-Martin Health Services and Women’s Community Clinic provides primary medical care, sexual and reproductive health care, and mental health services for women, gender non-conforming people, and transgender people of all gender identities and sexual orientation.’ More of this sort of stuff, please.

 @maxolijnyk

Sign up for the Monster Children Newsletter