A select crew of éS Footwear riders were in Austin, Texas recently for a catalog shoot with Atiba Jefferson. Naturally, we’re dealing with the likes of John Rattray, Bobby Worrest, Justin Eldridge and Mike Anderson, so of course they left with a banging edit too.
Have a look below for some visual goods and if you haven’t noticed already, this is the second news story this week that involves John Rattray. This week is awesome.
The Holiday Season is always packed full of great products to chose from so here’s our second round up of what we’re stoked on arriving in skater-owned-shops right now, including a few last minute gift ideas at the bottom (because we can’t be the only ones shopping for them on Christmas Eve). Click here to see part one of the Holiday 2010 Line Check.
Vincent Alvarez name came up quite frequently when asking others who their favourite skater of 2010 was. His pro model for Chocolate was approved by the masses, and the watercolour line is classic Chocolate aesthetics.
Unbelievable right? It’s true, Alien Workshop turned twenty years old this year and to celebrate, all their riders got some classic AWS iconography attached to their name on these rad decks.
It was a good year for rippers getting the deserved bump to pro status as Boots’ first pro model for Death came out this month. Cliché close up for the holidays leaving us with this little team model to get bamboozled over.
Theeve have reportedly the lightest, strongest, straight up best truck on the market. If you have a little extra Christmas pocket money this year maybe you should try a pair out. Thunder continue to bring the goods with Marc Johnson’s ‘special blend’.
Momentum keep rolling out amazing looking wheels for the stocking filler hill bomber market this Holiday season, this time employing the capable hands of Andrew Pommier to decorate their urethane.
OJ Wheels made a welcome return to the urethane spotlight this year. Click here for a review of the the Street Razors.
It’s definitely the time of year to stock up on these badboys. So be sure to keep your head warm this winter, but also rep skateboarding while you do it, and who better to rep than the good folk at Girl, Chocolate and Fourstar?
Lots of good stuff from the Soletech camps are entering UK skateshops right now. éS may be renowned for keeping your feet secure above the good wood you ride but they’re pretty rad at keeping you warm and not a flu-stricken wreck too while you’re off it.
Etnies take the tried, tested and massively approved classic approach with these awesomely plain and simple hoods.
Emerica unsurprisingly go a little leftfield with their winter warmers, fully repping the kind of grandpa festive sweater steeze that some of us here at Crossfire love a little more than the others. Make your own mind up on that one but we’re all down for Heath Kirchart being rad.
Only one pair of trousers are on our Christmas wish list: these perfectly crafted cords from Altamont.
Nick Dompierre’s pro model for DC is hitting UK stores this month, alongside more boot throwback goodness from Supra’s Tom Penny.
Simple, effective and guaranteed to have perfect board feel; standard practice for Emerica.
Hsu’s are such a great shoe to skate and this camel colourway is an excellent move. It would be rude not to give the pro shoe to come from this year’s SOTY a mention too, Leo Romero’s purple model is dope.
Perhaps it was the little interview éS ran this week with team rider Kellen James, but we’re definitely super stoked on this SK8MAFIA collab on the Square Two.
John Rattray is simply the best around. Rep Scotland with these in 2011. It doesn’t matter if you’re not Scottish, John Rattray is and therefore you should start wishing you were.
Need some last minute gift ideas? You can trust the Crailtap camp to deliver the raddest stocking fillers this year.
And there’s no way we couldn’t include these… amazing holiday merch from the ever rad DEVO. Watch our interview with frontman Mark Mothersbaugh here…
éS have posted an interview with the very rad Kellen James, complete with fresh pictures and footage on their website.
In the interview he talks about the new éS X SK8MAFIA collab, why burgundy colourways makes you hyped to look at your feet and his time in Barcelona. The pictures are dopalicious and the footage is super swish too.
Read the full piece here and enjoy the footage below.
Across the UK, skater owned shops are currently getting fresh packages from distributors dishing out the new products for the Holiday Season. Understandably, there’s lots of quality goods included in these packages and condensing our favourites into one Line Check didn’t seem as appealing to us as running two of them. So before you head out with the intention of blowing your Xmas savings, have a look at our selection of some top shelf products that are arriving in your local skate shop now.
Antiz have never been afraid to tell it like it is, so with the help of Ben The and Ludovic Gabriel they have produced the ‘Ass‘ Series. Just like everyone has an opinion, everyone has an ass; and the Antiz pro team are no exception to that rule.
Skate Mental have a huge range of decks available right now but those are our chosen six above, including O’Neill’s of-the-moment ‘Call Of Duty‘ deck and Matt Beach’s super rad Tre Flip model that provides Ewoks with the publicity they have always deserved.
Kill City are keeping things street in South Wales with their ‘Spray Paint‘ and ‘Marker‘ models. Note how good those sizes are; for those of you out there with pixie feet who haven’t made the jump up from 7.5″ here’s a good excuse to man up.
Tyler Bledsoe’s debut pro model for Alien Workshop is in shops now with a suitably trippy graphic to cause your own Mindfield to relapse. Crayon hooked up with the CSC mascot, ‘Boxman‘ and his model designed by the wonderful Philip Morgan is now available fresh from the press. Hype! are making a name for themselves with some superb web edits and quality decks to match and Karma hooks up with the insomniac Alex Maw who knocked up a couple of rad designs for their latest decks. We’re stoked on these.
Ace Trucks are starting to become a common name in UK stores so if you’re looking for something new to get your grind on with then try these out. They are selling fast having already made an impact on a competitive truck market in the US and are set to do the same here.
OJ Wheels have made a welcome comeback into the urethane spotlight this year and are our selected wheels alongside Andrew Pommier’s Tin Toy series for Momentum.
The winter warmers are in stock! Now, unless your skin is made of thinsulate material then you’ve probably noticed it’s absolutely bloody freezing outside; have a look at cozy jackets and shirts from Matix, Fourstar, Addict, Independent and Etnies right there above.
Ok, so we were so stoked on Beach’s 360 flipping Ewok that we had no choice but to include the matching tee in our t-shirt round up alongside other graphic gems from Girl and Hype! Uzi does it now…
Soletech may be reknowed for their innovative progress in shoe technology, but you shouldn’t think that less effort is put into their threads. éS and Emerica make some of the best clothes going and the cords and chinos you see above are nice, simple and ridiculously comfortable.
But if it is shoes you’re after because the ones your wearing are soaked through with melted snow then be sure to check out Habitat’s Footwear range. Like Soletech, they’ve got the talent and experience to dabble in more than just one area. We have a Habitat package to give away this month that includes a pair of their awesome shoes; click here to enter. And as per, DVS bring the goods with simple and effective designs in dope colourways. Port should be really considered more often.
Check back for more recommended products in the following weeks.
Back in July when we re-launched this mag we had the pleasure of trying out a limited edition version of the First Blood signature shoe from éS rider and Beast from the East, Bobby Worrest and we were not disappointed. Well actually that’s a lie, we were actually gutted that éS had not released the leather version of these in plain black once their collab with graf artist Cycle had passed as they are one hell of a skate shoe and in leather they are as slick looking as Ice-T and his mates on the front of the Power sleeve.
After searching the web for simple black versions I found these black, red and gum sole versions in suede and they were that good that I ordered two pairs. Sometimes if you love a shoe that much and think that it suits your needs it’s always worth investing for the future as they do become harder to find as time ticks on.
Worrest’s kicks come in various other colours and are full of the usual goodness like the System G2 malarkey in the heel and that griptape sucking, vulcanized sole that was just made for skateboarding. It’s the most simple skate shoe ever made and on par with the Etnies Faction- no fancy shit, comfortable as hell with a thin padded tongue with a beer inspired logo fitted with those elastic tongue-centering straps that hold your entire life together. What more do you want from a skate shoe? Everyone has their own styles but for me I need look no further.
Rambo was the last surviving member of his unit in First Blood, the movie that I guess inspired the name of these kicks and with that in mind I believe it’s worth fighting everyone in your path to get a pair of these before they become ‘last year’s collection’.
Irish heads planning to attend the éS Game of Skate should make a note that the event is no longer going ahead at the previously reported date of August 15th but has been put back one week later to August 22nd instead. More time to skate outside your house practising late flips then obviously!
When we visited Soletech’s labs in LA last summer, Bobby Worrest’s collection was being prepped and looked like one of the highlights of 2010. A year later and Bobby’s signature éS shoe the First Blood is being voted by most skaters as one of the best shoes on the market.
This month Bobby has collab’d his successful shoe with Cycle– a graffiti artist famous for his artwork spanning over 20 years in Washington DC. The 2 guys met in a local bar, shot the shit and got their heads down to design this end product.
The shoes are strong, comfortable and lightweight and made from a wonderful shiny leather that makes you feel as though you have more than just a skate shoe on your feet. The tongue is not too fat that it gets in the way, the System G2™ heel cushioning gel insert provides cushioning only found in a Soletech shoe which feels perfect and skate straight out of the box.
The suede versions of course tend to get battered a little harder where your feet scrape the griptape when you ollie so these leather versions should last you a little longer which is worth thinking about if you go through skate shoes like Chunk does Baby Ruth’s.
I find myself three hours into a cross-Atlantic flight, mindlessly eating vacuum-packed sludge while I watch Drew’s section from This Is Skateboarding for the nine thousandth time and doing everything I can to avoid eye-contact with the strangely terrifying person I have had the misfortune of being sat next to.
It is at this moment I realise that the flight attendant is in fact Gok Wan, had he lived on Californian breakfast burritos throughout his entire life and actually didn’t know how to look good naked, at all. He even had that horrible accent. ‘Coffee Sir?’ I shudder to recall, even now. In terror, I mistakenly look at the person sitting next to me and discover what can only be Dibble’s long-lost twin brother. Shit the bed and sleep in it, no wonder I was scared (I kid, I kid). None the less, I named him Dobble. I couldn’t help but wonder though: Is this flight filled with doppelgangers a cryptic omen of what is to come? Well, kind of.
Wait, what? So here’s what this account is about. Our skateboarding brothers at Sole Tech (Etnies, éS, Emerica, Altamont) kindly invited us skateboarding media-types from around the globe to stop lurking in our respective countries and come and hang out at their labs in Orange County, CA to get an insight into the ever-progressing System G2 heel cushion and E-Suede, have a skate in the super Etnies Training Facility and get a sneak preview of some of the shoes dropping later this year. Sounds too good to be true, right?
For a while, as I looked over to Dobble to check if he was asleep so I could have a piss without talking to him, I thought it was. But after twenty-six hours of battling through snow, customs (are you SERIOUS, America?), terrible in-flight movies and vicious lookalikes I ended up in Pierre’s Marina Lofts ready for three days of non-stop skateboarding. Here’s how this epic sausage-fest went down.
The Euros arrive first, before things really kick off (in more ways than one). Our wonderful host, James Appleby from Sole Tech Europe greets us with one of the countless cans of Blue Ribbon (imagine Coors Light, but lighter) and shows us around our home for the weekend. Pierre knows how to fucking LIVE. Yet despite these fairly spectacular distractions, it’s only a short amount of time before we all nerd out and start showing each other our magazines, scene videos and exchange some stories from where we’re all from. We are skateboarders after all; contrary to mainstream belief, we’re the friendliest neeks out there. Give us a beer and a laptop and there’s no stopping us.
The Euro-pad (unsurprisingly the smaller of the lofts, and even more unsurprisingly the cleaner of the two at the end of the trip) was shared by Fred Demard from France’s Soma Magazine, Angel Sanz from Uno reppin’ Barcelona, Holger Von Krosigk from Germany’s Place Magazine, the Italian Davide Biondani and the Dutch Love-Machine, Jeroen Smeets on behalf of Reload Magazine. Straight-up the raddest roommates an awkward Essex lad from Wales could ask for; and all as passionate about this ridiculous wooden thing on wheels that has dictated our entire lives, and brought us all together for this trip. Planes, delicious Blue Beet cuisine and early blogging don’t half take it out of you mind. Get the sleep in while you bloody well can.
The day begins with James having fun pretending to be a photography tutor guiding us around Newport Beach while we all have fun pretending (badly) not to be tourists. Those cameras permanently attached to our faces weren’t fooling anyone, and there I was wearing nothing but a flimsy t-shirt during California’s ‘terrible weather’ period. James looks at me and grumbles, ‘you’re so obviously British‘. Outed!
Back at the lofts, it’s time for the arrival of the American press dudes. Without so much as a ‘Hey, what’s up?’, Etnies Marketing Head Honcho and part-time lunatic, Ashton Maxfield barges into Euro-Pad sporting nothing more than shades and a killer tache, picks up a chair and throws it out the window as if it had dissed said killer tache and spat in his face. The broken chair is then assembled into a pile and set alight; less than ten minutes later Holger runs outside and throws a mean frontside flip over the small inferno. The weekend has landed.
After geeking out over the staggering awesomeness of Mindfield for the rest of the afternoon, Pierre André and Don Brown, the masterminds behind Sole Tech and freestyle legends, introduce themselves and take us on a cruise in Newport Harbour. Meeting people of such status is often unnerving, but can of Blue Ribbon in hand and a ridiculous leather chair made of skateboards to laugh at, talking to the two is just like standing on a mini-ramp platform, chatting about nothing and happily sharing the unmatched atmosphere that is generated by skateboarding. If you want people to look after your feet when shralping, these are the guys are who you go for. Additionally, if you want people to throw a BBQ with an impromptu food-fight, these are also the dudes to see. Check out the footage courtesy of the Skateboard Mag’s three-trick extraordinaire and generally super-rad broseph, Paul ‘Animal’ Chan. Messy…
There are two perfect remedies for a monster Blue Ribbon hangover. Coffee, and -apparently- Bloody Marys. At least, this was what was on offer after shaking hands with The Boss and The Other Boss at the Sole Tech Institute. I’m not even kidding. Bloody Marys work a treat too! They go down damn fine with some tasty new shoes too, which is after all what we were all here to see this morning, after Don arrives fresh from the slammer that is. Pro tip: if you find yourself being accosted by the police who are yelling “What are you doing?! Do you want to be arrested?!” while drunkenly trying to drive some unknown dude’s boat down Newport Blvd at three in the morning, do not, whatever you do, reply with “HELL YEAH!”
All in the name – Don Brown is a Don.
First up are Etnies, and a cheeky look into the gorgeous Black Label collaboration that serves as Kyle Leeper’s new pro model. The Perro is a great shoe in itself, boasting the new Kevlar fabric addition to the System G2 Cushioning Gel. Kevlar is the same material used in bullet-proof vests, and protect your heels as if they were guarding the President through the not-so-blue states. On top of that, you have some gnarly Black Label graphic that keeps style looking tight, whilst obviously not slacking on substance. Be hyped because the shoe has dropped alongside the new Black Label video. Oh, there’s also a Thunder Collab to get hyped on – did I mention in the photoblog that the tag is a riser pad? Well, it is, and come on, how cool is that?
éS are next, and Bobby Worrest is summoned to the stage to speak a little about his debut shoe. The hangover may have got the better of him and Bobby’s conclusion on these bad boys is “yeah, they’re good. I like them.” Similar to Cardiff’s loveable Pirate Man, Bobby is an all-round nice guy, and has a soft-spot for Rambo. ‘First Blood‘ is the name of his shoe and you know what? They’re pretty damn good, and I bloody like them. A lot. I’m wearing them right now as I type this very sentence. Aesthetically simple, technologically awesome. The Sole Tech lab geeks are skaters too remember. They know what we want.
The Boss, coffee in hand, is up next and delivers a cool, calm and straight-to-the-point speech on why his new Cruiser shoes are boss, why Altamont’s Fall line-up is boss and why working for Soletech is boss. After a short video of Drew being Drew, he takes a sip of coffee and poignantly remarks how he ‘just wants to work with skaters’, with a nod towards Pierre and everyone in the room feeling some wonderful bromance. If it wasn’t for the upcoming visit to the TF, I’d have whacked my laptop out and posted in the Stoked thread on Sidewalk before BDF could say edit my post and imply that I am a gaylord. We all love the bromance.
Just before invading the mind-blowing awesomeness of the Etnies Training Facility (or Etnies TF if you want to abbreviate things and therefore resemble someone who is cool and abbreviates things) we had some more traditional Californian cuisine, courtesy of Mexico, that tastes delicious but does unspeakable things to a European stomach. In this interim, a couple of us now dicky-tummied Euros had the pleasure of speaking with Rob Carlos, a designer from Etnies Plus. Etnies Plus are already known for making some bad ass collabs with killer artists, and we were happy to hear of a future collaboration with So-Me of Ed Banger Records. I don’t know about you, but I’m hyped.
I won’t go into too much detail about the incredible TF, as any footage of the place speaks for itself. But let me just tell you that journalist types can shred too! Holger tore the place apart with style and the other French Fred got buck-wild on the mini. Animal Chan and I rinsed our three tricks for four hours and then sat back and happily watched as Malto, Bledsoe, Worrest and Mikey Taylor showed us all up. Check the brief interview I had with Mikey to hear his recollection on the GNARLIEST slam / collision I have ever seen. Ridiculous. Click here for an interview with him from this trip.
Before we hit the bars, we had an in-depth tour into the STI Lab (imagine what The Berrics might have looked like if it were designed by Steve Berra and Dexter; as in the loveable, animated, four-eyed, ginger genius, not the serial killer played by Michael Hall). Inside the labs were a lot of things, that a lot of us honestly had no understanding of whatsoever. Apart from ESPN’s Josh Brooks, who came out of his shell and revealed himself to be a secret physics nerd: so big ups to him, his knowledge of forces and his awesome RUN DMC style Obama tee. The tour itself was a fantastic insight into how these things we throw on our feet and slowly ruin are put together; just check out the pictures and peep the relentless testing each shoe is subjected to before it is deemed safe and worthy of making your feet look and feel a lot nicer.
And it was in that lab that I came to realise the significance of those doppelgangers that plagued my journey out here. It’s all to do with repetition and difference, something that Sole Tech has nailed. Steve Neale is a known bunty man (as anyone who has studied film will back me up on), but he did spearhead this particular theory on how things are constantly improved by repeating elements that work, and playing with them ever so slightly to make something new and great. Sole Tech are doing just that. System G2 was great, but adding the Kevlar and creating G2 Platinum is perfect evidence of making something great, well, greater. The same can be applied to E-Suede. Look at the comparison of suede and e-suede after 2500 rotations in the KICKFLIP MACHINE (!) to see what I’m getting at.
Unfortunately the same praise cannot be said about American Airlines, as I sit back in my chair on my flight back to London and continue to get offered disgusting coffee by an even shittier Gok Wan variation… all the while trying not to make eye-contact with what appears to be someone I will later name ‘Dubble’.
Did you know that when throwing yourself down the London Bridge ten, more often than not you exert around 18-times body weight straight onto your heel or toes?
Eternal props to all the dudes at Sole Tech for bringing us media-heads together and showing us all how these things on our feet and body we often take for granted is so generously made for us without asking for anything in return other than your support. Extra thanks to James for being a rad host, and all the safe-as-fuck dudes I had the pleasure of meeting out there. And big up skateboarding, for being the greatest fucking thing in the world.
If you enjoyed this feature, click here with an interview from back in February 2006 with Pierre André Senizergues.