Geoff Rowley quits Flip Skateboards

Ph: Vans

geoff_rowley_propeller_vans_video

Here’s a statement nobody was expecting. Geoff Rowley announced last night on his social networks that he has quit Flip as a team rider:

“I am proud to have been riding for Flip Skateboards for over 20 years, enjoying many years of success and good times. But, as a rider the time has come for me to part ways with the brand. I have nothing but love for the team, past and present, and wish all continued success for Flip. Exciting new opportunities will allow me to be utilized to my fullest potential, and I’ll be divulging more in the coming months on the positive change for the future.”

Geoff is still an owner of Flip but will no longer have a board as a team rider. We wish him and all at Flip our very best.

geoff_rowley

Vans Propeller review

vans_propeller-video_skate_download_full_filmI don’t know about you, but one of the most recognizable aspects of skateboarding for me are Vans skate shoes. The patent waffle-gripped rubber soles have been supporting skateboarders for almost fifty years. Say that again: supporting skateboarders for almost FIFTY years!

Vans is a skateboard culture heavyweight with riders spanning several generations, commandeering all sorts of terrain and actively sponsoring events across the Globe. You’d think that the day Vans decided to release their first ever feature length film, Propeller, video dedicated to the skateboard team, they would be shifting the gears on the hype machine for at least a few years prior to it’s screening. Apparently not. They don’t have to. Everyone knows their team is a legit band of brothers that go to war at every spot they skate and the filmer they hired for the job, Greg Hunt, is about as dedicated and craftful as it gets.

Propeller clocks in at about one hour of just skateboarding. Albeit the short introduction featuring the older gods (Tony Alva, Steve Caballero, Omar Hassan, Jeff Grosso, Christian Hosoi, Ray Barbee, and John Cardiel etc…), the rest of the video features a full part from each of the riders – except for Jason Dill who moonlights a couple of tricks in Anthony van Engelen’s amazing ender. To quote a fellow skateboard enthusiast, Ben Powell of Sidewalk, speaking about the last part: “Best over –Thirties part ever. Basically do some good skateboarding or fuck off!”

I think everyone knew Anthony would get the curtains seeing how much time and effort he put into his section, but Propeller still has 45 minutes of bangers from the likes of Chris Pfanner, Elijah Berle, Tony Trujillo, Pedro Barros and others to gawk at. I have to give Elijah and Chris double thumbs up for the raw power they exercise on their boards; Tony has matured a lot over the years but he’s still just as reckless as he was when he was young – more so even, especially in this incredible section; and Pedro bears the ugly stigmata of being the ramp dude, but when you see the lines he threads together on cold concrete mountains, you’ll respect him nonetheless.

As a British native, I can’t forget my fellow countryman Geoff Rowley who has been a figurehead for Vans since the early Nineties. Geoff has a reputation as a notoriously gnarly skateboarder with little regard for personal safety and most of his tricks support that point. I can’t help but get the feeling that after watching Geoff roll down the last of many hellish ditch spots, this section may be an honest farewell and passing of the guard to the next generation of gnarlers. If that is the case following the multiple injuries sustained filming for this then our hats are doffed to a British legend.

vans_propeller-gilbert

Gilbert Crockett and Andrew Allen take care of business in the streets and will probably increase their popularity among the skateboarders who feel they need someone to relate to when watching skate videos. That is by no means an understatement to both of these guys incredible talent, nor is it meant to undermine the likes of Curren Caples, Chima Ferguson, Rowan Zorilla, Kyle Walker or Daniel Lutheran who embody the modern skateboarder, born and bred to rip every kind of spot be it a quirky transition, a kinked rail or a curved ledge. All of these players put down seriously solid parts.

Propeller is a pretty good name for product with a sole purpose to push things forward. Vans kept everyone pushing hard when they introduced their skate shoes to the world, and several decennia later the skate team are leaving their mark on the future generations of skateboarders. Cliché as it sounds in the free internet era, this really is a skateboard video worth purchasing. Vans have supported you for so long, it’s only right that you should show some gratitude.

Download it from today on iTunes. It will be tough call to find a better full length skateboard video this year.

Ralph Lloyd-Davis

Enjoy this drunk phone cam footage of Caballero and Hosoi after the Propeller video premiere in London’s House of Vans.

Throwing Rocks at the Villagers Below

pennysw

Yesterday it was announced that Sidewalk Magazine will cease as a print entity. In exactly twenty years, several generations of British skaters have contributed to global Blu-tack shortages re-decorating walls with adolescent stoke.

90s hip hop gave way to 2000s gnar, then to 2010s indie brands and mega-corps, whilst Sidewalk remained the go-to title for information, paper cuts and borderline libellous in-jokes hidden in plain sight, outlasting several titles at home and abroad. The market forces at work are so much bigger than skateboarding, with a global shift in the preferences of young people away from print to the instant gratification of social media-linked online platforms – forces that finished titles beloved to our little world, Slap and Sidewalk’s neighbour Document to name a few, as well as enormous titles that mostly deserve our derision, including the almost total death of the 90s crop of ‘lad mags’ Nuts, Zoo, Loaded, Front.

The Sidewalk brand, and the skateboarders behind it, will hopefully live long and well online – as is the strategy (whilst Kingpin, also hosted by the suits at Factory Media, became a free print title over Christmas). But it’s hard not to feel that something has been lost – that skateboarding is at once suddenly less personal and less iconoclastic. Fans of early-to-mid 90s Rocco hijinks, mixed with a particularly British sense of fun and love of shit-talking, Horse and Powell imbued Sidewalk with a unique voice that took the piss out of puff-chested American big names and made the home town heroes feel appreciated. It would be hard to imagine dudes that ‘made it’ whilst staying in the UK most of their careers – Shier, Kennedy, Baines, Vaughn, Chewy to name just a few – getting quite that degree of shine without the reliable patronage of a title with Sidewalk’s level of clout, built up from hard graft and present in every skateshop and on every British skater’s floor (or chronologically ordered on the designated shelf, if you suffer from my obsessive personality traits).

The Berrics obviously believe print still has a role to play, that there is a particular power in a skater having a photo in a physical format, as they only recently chose to buy out and continue the respected-but-struggling Skateboarder magazine.

But predicting the future for print.…especially if you’ve got fidgety shareholders to keep happy….is anyone’s guess. Somehow chasing the same customer base of ‘thinking-man’s skate geek.’ We have the free titles, many of them heavily supported in exchange for advertising by Adidas, Nike and Converse, such as Grey and Fluff. We have the one-man-labour-of-love titles like North, Varial and Florecast, and the more expensive, high-concept or limited run titles like Dank and 43. If you were to claim it’s the cover price alone that puts print in such a tricky place, how do you explain Dank? A quality Scandinavian coffee-table mag, heavily influenced by fashion, art and design magazines, that retails for the equivalent of £10 a pop and is sufficiently successful to make the jump to English-language from its original Norwegian.

As the teen market has jumped to phone-app based media, Sidewalk’s challenge has been to keep hold of enough of the 25+ expendable income market for print, whilst maintaining enough reach across the younger demographic with their online content. As long as the online content plays second fiddle to print deadlines, that’s tough to do. And when you look at the Factory Media website, under ‘who we are’, you see exactly the market Sidewalk’s holding company expects its skate titles to aim for: aged 10 to 28 – the youngest and (one of) the smallest demographic targeted.

Illustration by Jon Horner

jonhorner

So although we’re not now, and hopefully will never be, mourning the loss of Sidewalk as an entity and group of humans, it’s probably much more than generational angst affecting me and many others with a sense of sadness (as older skaters bitterly note the change in cultural weather towards something chillier and less permanent than those comforting spare-room archives of ink and paper). Two things are lost to be precise: skateboarding is inherently tactile – the feel of grip tape, the smooth graphic of a new board, the physical act of turning a page and pouring over a photograph – an experience lessened through a screen; and that iconoclasm again. If your online content needs to hoover up likes, tweets, follows and shares from Factory’s target 10 to 28 age group – what about the swearing and piss taking?

Skateboarding becomes somehow more ‘public’, less of a cluster of secret, sometimes warring societies – if you say something cheeky about a snotty top-tier pro, they can immediately see, share, sue or lobby sponsors to remove those all important ads. Everything gets safer – and only the indie websites, with little to lose by way of advertising (or at least advertisers who know what they’re getting themselves in for – take Quartersnacks: Supreme may be many things, but afraid of a little controversy it ain’t).

So that’s where I’d like to leave – on what Sidewalk in my early days of skating meant. I desperately wanted to feel part of skateboarding – that unknowable, mysterious thing owned by the cooler, older dudes in my hometown, that I could never be part of (at least before moving to somewhere more tolerant of over-earnest, socially awkward groms). Reading Sidewalk – particularly the tour articles penned by Horse or Powell, made me feel part of that secret society. And introduced me to some excellent wonky, booze-fuelled writing. The photographers of Sidewalk have been rightly praised as some of the best in the game: Wig, Bartok, Leo, CJ, Horse himself, etc. – but the writing, especially early on (Uncle Someone’s Wold of Something; Vincent Carducci’s record reviews), was/is fucking excellent – up there with the lauded Big Brother alumni Carnie and Nieratko.

At 17/18, with the exception of stuff, a cool English teacher got us to read (Orwell, Aldous Huxley) the written world was dull – something you had to study, on pain of a Monday morning bollocking, not something that brought on the stoke. Before Kerouac, HST, Burroughs and Bukowski opened my eyes to how weird, wrong and punk the written word could be, I read, and re-read the Sidewalk tour articles. Two clearly remembered anecdotes stick, both from Dope clothing tours: Frank Stephens and Colin Pope standing high on a hill, drunk out of their minds, throwing small stones at a village below – transformed by elevation and perspective to mean-spirited giants throwing boulders at tiny peasants; and the trip to Japan, where jet-lagged travellers were jolted awake by Harry Bastard with his head out of the window, squawking back at the early morning crows – fully inhabiting his title of ‘the Bastard’. It may lose something in the leaden re-telling, but, alone in my room, I laughed my ass off several times over both mental pictures. And that was British skating, underdogs fucking around – not athletes giving lifestyle advice.

Now go find Buck Rogers after, or whilst perusing this site of course…you’re a child of modernity, you can do both.

Words: Chris Lawton

Thanks to all of the skateboarders that have grafted daily for two decades to bring us humour and the best skating out there in print under intense deadlines for Sidewalk Surfer and Sidewalk Mag. There are no words to describe the dedication involved and the joy that your team brought to so many skateboarders over those 20 years, and long may it live online. Sidewalk Mag RIP. – Zac

Reminisce Andrew Horsley and Ben Powell’s finest moments in our 200th Issue feature. Facebook is indeed wank.

childrensentertainer

Vans announce PROPELLER skate video

vans_propeller-video_skate

With all the talk of the new Vans video now over and done with, it’s time for it to be unleashed to the public. So here’s the first official teaser and unveiling of it’s name: PROPELLER. Yep, you heard it here first.

Greg Hunt is behind the making of it that will have full parts from Rowley, Crockett, Dollin and so many more. Look out for the full film this May that you will be able to download or pick up in stores.

Flip x Jon Contino Collab

flip_joncontino1

Flip Skateboards rolled out a sick new deck series this morning featuring the artwork of New York graphic artist/illustrator Jon Contino. Watch this video and have a closer look at how his sterling work has graced the decks of their pro team with art direction from Jeremy Fox.

Flip x Jon Contino Collab from FLIP SKATEBOARDS on Vimeo.

flip_joncontinodecks1

flip_joncontinodecks2

Snow session with Geoff Rowley and Jimmy Boyes

The winter video edit comp deadline is approaching in 2 weeks time. Have you started editing your footage yet?

French Fred has released some old footage of Geoff Rowley, Jimmy Boyes and Gabriel Friedman skating an icy mini ramp in Arizona overnight, so get hyped on the fact that others out there are tackling the elements head on.

Geoff Rowley on FOS FM tomorrow morning

Geoff Rowley is this week’s guest on Mark Foster’s Fos FM show in California tonight at 9pm in the US, 5am tomorrow morning in the UK. The Brits abroad will be spinning what will probably involve a healthy dose of rock and roll and much more on kchungradio.org. All of these shows are archived so if you don’t run a farm or live like Dracula (or Zorlac) then you can find the full session on www.fosfm.com where you can find other shows with the pro’s and the ho’s.

Grab a bunch of Rowley’s moments in the meantime.

Geoff Rowley remix from Manolo on Vimeo.

Watch Geoff Rowley on 411VM from 1995

geoff_rowleyThis video gem featuring a very young, then Airwalk shoe sponsored Geoff Rowley in 1995 is just one of the many videos shot for 411 Video Magazine.

At the time, 411VM was our main source for keeping in touch with skate footage worldwide alongside full-length VHS releases, and were available at the best skate shops monthly. It’s strange to think that the internet even back then didn’t cater for video like it does now as broadband/high speed connections was not available like it is now.

The good news is that Skateboarder Magazine in the US have started rolling out all of the 411VM back catalogue bringing you stacks of skate history from various profiles, team features, event clips, individual sections and much more. Keep an eye on it as it rolls out but for now, watch Rowley’s Rookies section that we stumbled across last night.