VPA #8: Weed, Food and Festivities

Welcome back to Vandals, Posers, Athletes, a true blue skate column for my favourite gronks and skate mates.

I want you to imagine, just for a second, when a bunch of the world’s best pro skaters rocked up to London for the Street League comp back in 2018. Without prior warning, they were informed that they couldn’t skate the park until they took an anti-doping education course. They filed into a room and a bunch of people from The Olympics were waiting with a PowerPoint slideshow, ready to school them about the new rules concerning performance-enhancing drugs.

As Chase Webb explained, ‘I was like, “What the fuck is going on? Are we going to get drug tested?” Because I was definitely smoking weed that day!’ But Chase goes on to explain that the Olympics people were just preparing everyone for how the rules would work when these events became official Olympic qualifying events. They were ushering in a new era of regulation in the top tier of competitive skateboarding. ‘It was pretty funny being in that anti-doping class,’ Chase says. ‘All these questions are getting asked, like, “Are you allowed to take mushrooms?”

Chase’s story came from an interview in a new three-part series called Weed, Skateboarding and The Olympics, which I thought was pretty interesting. Check out the first one here.

DC’s Gotta Eat!

You might remember that DC came through Australia and NZ on their ‘Supertour’ reunion trip back in February, putting on some gnarly demos in Auckland, Melbourne and Sydney. (I think Tiago Lemos’ nollie inward heel back lip down the Waterloo handrail will be burned into my brain until Alzheimer’s takes me.) Anyway, the footage of those fellas hitting the Aus and NZ streets has arrived on the internet and it’s all very impressive. Tiago, Wes Kremer, Evan Smith, T-Funk, Jaakko Ojanen, and John Shanahan are all showcased, as well as Aussie/Kiwi team dudes, Tommy Fynn, Alex Lawton and Shaun Paul. Wes Kremer’s switch tre flip over the handrail at Martin Place—the one that earned him the Thrasher cover—was smooth as fuck. I also really enjoyed watching him shoot his board with precision out into one of those rental electric scooters, knocking it down like a bowling pin. But I think you’d have to agree that Jaakko is the star of the show. Go watch it and decide for yourself.

Polar Rico

Here’s a new Nike x Polar video filmed in Puerto Rico, replete with rough-as-guts street spots, Super 8 interludes, Oskar Rozenberg ripping tranny and a whole bunch of other good stuff. It features a pretty massive crew for a tour video, including Hjalte Halberg, Nick Boserio, Ville Wester, Andrew Wilson, Emile Laurent, Jessie Alba, Paul Grund, Roman Gonzalez, Dane Brader, Jonas Skroder, Javier Guiterrez and John Gardner. The 8-minute production is just as good as you’d expect it to be, showcasing what looks like a really fun trip with a bunch of mates. Nick Boserio’s full speed, full power approach is great to watch but for me, the highlight was the post-credits footy of Oski flowing a skate park. The Swede just has so much style.

Throat Pasta’s Have A Nice Day

I like that skateboarding has all these strange, dark corners that you can randomly stumble upon. Have A Nice Day is a new video from Sydney’s Throat Pasta crew and it’s a strange, dark corner indeed. The ten-minute edit is rough, lo-fi and analogue-looking, with an eerie soundtrack and a bunch of horror movie scenes cut between the skateboarding. It features Jae Overton, Karl Dorman, Adam Jackson, Jake Molinia and a few other Sydney fellas. While there are some tidy street lines in here, it also contains a bunch of muck-around tricks and some park footage, put together in an experimental way. This makes it feel more like a piece of outsider art than a serious skate production. One of the songs is a spoken-word sort of number, in which I caught the lyric, ‘Never acid again, because I had such a horrible time.’ I feel like that sums up the aesthetic of this video pretty well.

Go Skateboarding Day

Lately we’ve been getting so festive that we don’t even care about what we’re celebrating. Last week in Australia, we celebrated some old posh British lady’s birthday, even though it wasn’t actually her birthday. Never mind that the Queen’s birthday is in April, we celebrated that shit in June. It makes no sense but, let’s face it, no one’s going to question a long weekend.

This weekend, Go Skateboarding Day is coming up on June 21 and 22. I have no memory or understanding of how skateboarding got itself an international day of celebration and it still seems very weird to me. Who invented it and why? Wikipedia tells me that a dude named Don Brown created Go Skateboarding Day back in 2004. Apparently it was the brainchild of an organisation called the International Association of Skateboard Companies, who would like to make skateboarding more accessible to the world. Marketing at its finest. Anyway, Vans are holding a bunch of events on the 21st and 22nd in Sydney, Melbourne and Brissy. Go check one of them out.

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