Monday, September 29, 2014

Warning: this is an essay about skateboarding. It's kind of philosophical

Skateboarding is a struggle. And I don't mean that only in the literal sense, the sense of trying a trick repeatedly until you make it or the strain you put on your body during hours of skating, I also mean it in a broader sense. Because if skateboarding is something you've identified with for a formidable portion of your life, it tends to stay with you and relate to almost every aspect of it. Hence, skateboarding is a struggle because it puts you at odds with yourself, with your surroundings, with economy, with politics, with typical everyday interactions.

In a recent interview, Jake Johnson said that "It’s hard to remain a child in a culture of adults. You start to judge yourself for it." He was referring to how skateboarding is a sort of childish "disease" and once you're infected with it, it affects every way that you think and act. I think we are referring to similar things by labeling skateboarding with negative connotations. It's not that skateboarding is inherently bad, it's just that it sits in this complete grey-area of life, never quite fitting into one realm or the other.

Take, for example, the constant debate about skateboarding in business. Skateboarding, as a romantic ideal, is a huge hook used in advertising and media, and is being hotly pursued by the largest athletics companies. Look at the new Palace x Adidas line, or the Polar x Converse shoes, or the fact that Nike has quite successfully made the most popular skate shoe ever, the Janoski pro model. As skaters, we often sit on two sides of the fence on this issue, the skater-owned vs. big business fight, but I don't think we realize how so much of our behaviour as skaters exists between these two worlds. We don't really belong in one or the other, but we don't really belong in both. We sit between worlds. Skateboarding is a sub-cultural purgatory.

The new "Manhattan Days" video by Polar, which was produced and created as a promotional tool for the new Converse collaboration shoes, is a perfect example. Perhaps it's biased of me to say, but I think this is a video that can be enjoyed by skaters and non-skaters, alike. I mean, this is perhaps the first skate clip I've watched in recent memory where I gave it my full attention, did not skip or stop watching before it finished, and had a smile on my face the entire time. It was great. Because I know that feeling. The feeling of doing things on your own agenda with a group of like-minded people, moving through a city and making an event out of a situations and environments which most of the time were meant to accommodate transportation or commerce, not creative, collaborative acts of self-expression. And this is why skateboarding is a struggle, because as a video clip, that's what you perceive. You perceive the spontaneity and the fun and all the good vibes and freeness that skateboarding brings -- and that makes you want to buy their shit. But to most onlookers or passer-bys on the street, at that moment in time, skateboarding is an inconvenience and is bothersome. It is a group of young men disobeying laws, tarnishing private property, and acting outside the expected norm. For most people, it's a nuisance.

I think that, this divide that splits skateboarding on so many levels, is, for example, what keeps it attractive as a marketing tool, but never allows the benefits of that marketing to really "trickle-down" to the core community who deserves it. Because of that grey-area. Because as a skateboarder, you learn to value those experiences in life that skateboarding brings you, or the experiences that by having the mindset of a skater pushes you to find. As a skater, I think we also value work differently, even our sense of time and our personal relationships are valued differently (just look at the wide range of personalities that exist and are accepted within your group of friends and within the world of skateboarding). We know that creative endeavours are meaningful, but don't expect to profit much from them. That's probably why some of skateboarding's most important people have accepted and actively embrace the entrance of big business. To put it plainly, skaters are the people with the ideas, risks, and ingenuity, which are all qualities that make good entrepreneurs. But at the same time, we are not businessmen, we are not secretaries. We can learn to be, but then we turn into Bam Margeras, Steve Berras, and Rob Dyrdeks, and we become shunned by the community we love and used to be apart of.

It's for these reasons that I feel that skateboarding is a struggle. We realize it too. We know we are at odds with ourselves, and we constantly try to identify more with one camp or group within skateboarding than the other. But I also think this behaviour is futile. We should know by now that as skaters, we're occupying this grey-area of life and we're existing in these "in-betweens," and that the bullshit that floats within and around it, doesn't really make a difference. We should learn to embrace it because it is a huge contributor of uniqueness to the skateboarding community. And it's what makes us "skateboarders" even when we are not on our boards.


(Read the full interview with Jake Johnson here http://skateboardmsm.mpora.de/news/jake-johnson-interview.html)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Phonetage 12

Been a while. Mostly footage from this past summer, enjoy.

Phonetage 12 from Jacob on Vimeo.

Monday, June 16, 2014

HOT TOWN x MANDIBLE CLAW -- FISH IN THE STREETS -- TOKYO 2014

I want to start off by saying ARIGATO GOSAIMAS to all the people I met, skated, and hung out with in Tokyo. 

So, here's a little background information for you: I was talking one day with Colin when he brought up the possibility of going to Tokyo for a couple weeks and asked if I wanted to meet him there. I seriously considered it but wasn't sure I could pull it off with work and money but I found some cheap tickets and the next day I got a call from my boss saying I still had vacation time I needed to take. BOOM. I book my ticket and two days later I'm on a Russian Airlines flight from Berlin, through Moscow, to Tokyo.

I could talk a lot about what I did and how felt while I was there but this is a pretty overdone post  as it is so I'll try to sum it up with this: Tokyo, in my opinion, has one of the best skate scenes in the world. What I witnessed was an extremely supportive community who are careful about what they craft and how they present it. And it isn't stifling in any way, rather the opposite. It's all about maintaining spontaneity, creativity, and good times, which is exactly why most of us skateboard in the first place. I haven't been this inspired since I first started ollieing off of loading docks in the suburbs of my home town of Melbourne, Florida. The skaters in Tokyo are rad and they're cultivating one of the most genuine subcultural scenes I've ever witnessed. It's inspiring on many levels and extends beyond the act of skateboarding and into life in general. I'm pretty thankful I had the chance to go to Tokyo and meet with new and old friends, skate all day and night, drink lots of beers and release crazy amounts of energy. I had some good laughs.

What's to follow is just a bunch of pictures from the trip, mostly in chronological order. Originally I had some stories accompanying most of them but in the end I felt it kind of distracted from the pictures so I'll just provide you with one really cool story from the trip that kind of sums it up quite nicely: 

I had just arrived in Tokyo and we had been skating with a huge crew of dudes. Later that night, the crew splits into two squads after grabbing some beers and we go our separate ways and start pushing through town on a crowded Friday night, hitting spots as we go. At some point in the night, we're pushing through some tunnel and as we exit out onto the street, the other half of the crew we had parted ways with about an hour or two before comes barreling down the hill adjacent to us and we spontaneously merge together in a 20 dude hill bomb. We make it to the bottom of the street and everybody is laughing and freaking out about what had just happened. As we meet some of the other guys again at the top of the street, we see that they have taken 4 white girls hostage. Then the show begins.

Now the 4 girls from Switzerland who were just passing by are apart of the crew and everyone's morale is SUPER HIGH. Someone sees a skinny, deadly drop-in above a doorway behind some building and starts going for it. There were some close calls as 2 guys from the squad make attempts and we all spectate. I thought someone was definitely getting hurt but, out of nowhere, both dudes land it back-to-back. Everyone loses their shit. One of the locals gets a Swiss girl's number and as we part ways he yells back at her from across the street that she's got nice legs and a nice ass. It's my first day in Tokyo and it's blowing my mind.

Enjoy.





























 #dirtnapallstars

 FISH IN THE STREETS





 "WHAT'S THE MATTER, THE C.I.A GOT YOU PUSHIN TOO MANY PENCILS?"








SWAG

Special thanks and BIG UPS to Fat Bros Worldwide, Evisen Skateboard Co, The Sleeping Horse, that dude Jeremy whose apartment we were able to crash in, the dudes from that Thai restaurant in Machida for hooking us up big time with amazing food, Nore, Liu Puli a.k.a. the Time Hopper, Yagisan, and Hiroki Muraoka aka the Mzungu or THE BEER MACHINE!
 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tengu wins Year's Best Independent Video in The Skateboard Mag!

thanks for your support everybody!  and thanks to templeton elliott at the mag for getting behind the video.  bet you never thought you'd have a photo in a big mag, huh, connor?  (photo is of course by the illustrious and all-white-wearing allen ying.)

VHS Mag has a few words by me--in english and japanese--on their "voices of freedom" section, accompanied by this incredible edit by morita and shigeta of footage i filmed last fall.



what else is up?  spring is here--although the weather keeps forgetting and falling back into winter--and we've been skating.  static 4 is premiering may 1 at sunshine cinema.  so new york city is a great place to be....and here i am, figuring out the next trips so go on.  japan, panama, SF, puerto rico, cincinnati... too much to do and too little time.  maybe i should be like eby and never sleep.

speaking of eby, his kickstarter for stoops mag is nearing the end of its run for the second time, so help make sure he gets some money to help get the zine off the ground!

peace, meow.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

something to be proud of.


the magenta homies gave the god of mischief his very own board.  i'm honored and hyped.  check it and the rest of the new line (including the carlos young guest board!) at the theories of atlantis store.

a rad little review of the SF section up on Mass Appeal.

i'm back in new york.  it's bittersweet.  i'm missing the hills already.  to remember the vibe, check out this new promo from northern co, a new skate company which is looking to be pretty sick.  jesse narvaez and bryan botelho are the first riders, and the promo was shot and cut by the bizarre and wonderful zach chamberlin.

Northern Co. Promo/ Jesse Narvaez & Bryan Botelho from THE NORTHERN COMPANY on Vimeo.

maybe you should expect some mandible claw-related stuff from them in the future....


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

tengu's magenta SF connection



tengu's SF day section in online via the frenchies.  hugest thanks to zach chamberlin for helping out with the metro section!  additional clips filmed by alex rose and ryan g.  hope you enjoy it!

Friday, February 28, 2014

i got them hill street blues

hey gods.

i'm in san francisco, watching rain fall.  i dipped out from NY to the west coast a week ago--because i found a little bit of work out here, and because the itch to skate was too much to handle, and the snow and ice weren't letting up.  i arrived, feeling finally healed from a long foot injury, and met up with the boys.

cut to my second day, when i did a sleeping-horse-inspired TV wallie and tweaked my back again.  i ended up in a walk-in clinic.  i got prescribed some things to keep me on my feet, connor flew in for a day to bring me a back brace and bomb some hills, and in a few days tried rolling around again... i fell on a rock and broke one of my lights and hurt my foot again.  and then the rain began.

but i'm hopeful. we're making some fashion innovations:


in other news, UK site "caught in the crossfire" did a review of Tengu.  thanks for the kind words.

there'll be a new update coming on monday, i think. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tengu: God of Mischief - Roof Skating

it's cold.  i've got a sinus infection and am hiding from the snow.

live skateboard mag out of france did a short interview with me recently.  you can read it here: Meeting Colin Read.  there are some nice photos of roofs and such by allen and carlos, check it out.  i weigh in on the vx vs. hd issue, talk about tengu, and various other ramblings.


to go along with that, we released the roof skating introduction online.  one SLAP posted likened it to "a deodorant ad with parkour dudes trying to skate."  maybe now i can get some ad work with old spice?