Wednesday, December 31, 2008
The big standouts for me this year fell into two categories; softgoods and luggage. Having owned multiple Dakine bags I can safely say I lived out of my Dakine team pack while on the road this year. Seeing as how I was on the road at least 70 days out of 365 travelling with skateboard was never easier than with the team bag. Same can be said for their snowboard travel bags and rolling bags for carry on. The thing is the features, the placement the function it makes sense. Finally, and this gets my product of 2008 vote, is the Dakine Dispatch bag in vinyl. I commute to a desk job via bicycle frequently this new commuter back is hands down one of the slimmest, most efficient designed commuter bags I have ever used. Their placement for your bike like and aero back fro breathe ability capped it in overall efficiency. I've been stopped by more cyclist wondering where they can get this bag and in a realm of trendy messenger bags a simple all black bag that gets it done is heaven. So short story on Dakine bags: if efficiency and trusting your gear are key commodities Dakine is what you should be pursuing.
Lets move on to product category number two: snow gloves. Oh how I have longed for a pair of gloves that dispatches frost bite but isn't a big flummoxing nightmare. Sure enough the Dakine cobra GT provided the right amount of insulation and waterproofing. A good set of gloves is a strange commodity and while most people gravitate toward pipe gloves in spring I made the transition to the Cobra GT's little brother -- the Bronco GT. Again Dakine came through with the right glove. Looking across their range it was a pleasant site to see such a wide range of product offerings in the glove line up.
This is a key reason Dakine made the list. They stick to doing what they know and they do it exceptionally well. By not losing focus of this core business they've been able to refine their products to fit their audience exact need. Focus, good design and efficiency. I'm looking forward to what Dakine will be knocking down in 2009.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Rolling on through the best gear of the year and stuff that made me smile I'm going to slip into the big boy brands. These are the heavyweights who have been around for quite some time and I don't foresee them going anywhere anytime soon. Why? Because they are true to their audience. This is a very simple need that so many companies end up ignoring but these two really jumped on it in a big way. Now, this doesn't mean you can't meet the needs of a growing consumer base but you never turn your back on those who helped build you. You grow with them and meet their needs. Nobody did this better this year than DC Shoes, Dakine and several others that I'll be posting up. Lets jump in with DC, shall we?
DC Shoes was out of my mind by about 90% at the beginning of the year but with their "King of" contest series they brought back a local fovus over the past few years that had been swept away by the X Games. Speaking of which DC straight up renting out the Standard downtown and making the X Games an enjoyable experience ... top notch. Seeing the early edit of Wes Kremer's Welcome to DC video had me stoked non-stop and you have to love that they are thinking this through long term. Speaking of Wes's video check out the line at 1:45 and minute 2:31. The video is below just click to watch if you haven't already. I promise you stop and say "wha happen?" at least twice. Finally I gotta give my last positive shoe review of the year to DC. This was a legitimate shock as to nice their shoes end up being.
The final one goes to the Smith 2.0. All the looks of the half cab but none of the pain. I don't care if everybody has a shoe that looks great I can skate in this thing all day, wear it out at night, run errands in it. I haven't skated another shoe all month and god damn if I'm not lining up to buy a pair online. DC did a solid job with keeping the silhouette and vibe of a vulcanized shoe but keeping their tech shoe true to form. For me and my amazing lack of skate ability it's perfect. I see more and more skaters starting to have these as the new shoe of choice. Hopefully they keep it in the line. Well done in 2008 DC. Looking forward to 2009.
Monday, December 29, 2008
A few weeks back I realized that somehow through DC, Gnu brands and Quik I had inadvertently given the Quiksilver stable of brands about 5 out of seven days of coverage. Not cool. I'm not saying those brands don't deserve the coverage and respect they had doled out but really it was an editorial oversight. However there was a positive result. I sat down and ran through all of the brands that had reached out to me over the last year. Over the holiday I've managed to sift it down to two little upstart brands that I thought did a good job of jumping into the lifestyle mix.
So by now you are asking what makes me Mr. Smarty Pants and the keeper of all things cool. Well this is easy. It's my blog. I can do whatever I want but if you are looking for specific criteria here it is: having some and at least a single message. Not o get all misty eyed but there was a time when stuff like skating was a sign of not fitting the norm and making your own way in the world. Pretty simple stuff if you could quantify rebellion or counter culture into an activity skating, snowboarding etc may fit that model. Certainly skating for its basic ease of entry and lower cost barriers. Getting back on track, these brands represent having fun and saying something instead of doing nothing. So lets get into the two who were picked from the messy mass: I Am Designs and Banta.
With so many companies dropping into the lifestyle arena these days it's hard to sort the good from the weak. I Am stuck out right away for Deep Ties to the Bluebird wax snow tea,. Knowing how amazing the Bluebird crew is it was pretty funny to see them back thins. But, with designs like their Rosa Parks number and the more honest if not juvenile "Drop Panties Not Bombs" shirts it's easy to see that the message hasn't changed much in 40 years just the way we are saying it. While I'm sure a pair of mothers in Vermont would think "Drop Panties Not Bombs is sexist, sets a bad example for kids, is potentially un-American for not supporting the bombing of random countries and more importantly only recommended by 1 out of 6 dentists (the reverse Crest Model) the truth is it's just another way of saying an age old phrase: make love not war. But nobody in Vermont is a hippy and can remember that are they? OK, getting off my soap box for a Moment I Am Does an amazing job of blending quirky little jabs at the establishment and keeping a slightly underground feel. A tightrope act but one they walk very well.
Banta, oh where do we start with Banta? Simply Put it's clean but a subversive kind of cleanliness. Have you ever been pushed into doing something but you're not quite sure how you got there? That's Banta. It's the above the board looking shirt that your mom will look at and love. But for you there's a deeper meaning, if one of their shirts says I Heart Waves, t's because you god damn heart waves. The most elegant and slightly off kilter is the simple script. The black Banta shirt with red script immediately conjured images of the Vespa logo. Fun, easy and something I hadn't seen pulled off well. Coupled with Stay Gold shirt you get a distinct 'Outsider kind of vibe. I only hope they can stay Innocent and keep it going.
So there you have it my vote for two companies that sprouted in 2008 and I hope they grow to bigger and better things in 2008. More best of 08 rolling out today and through the rest of the week. Stay tuned.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
These boards are available all over but as I stated a few days ago I am going to start pointing to where you can buy products. This is open to anybody so if you have certain products you see me review and you feel comfortable with traffic coming your way shoot me an e-mail.
For now check out alpineskishop.com or alpine drops if you want to pick up a park pickle 156. The guys and gals at Alpine are all riders and skiers. So if you want to buy I encourage you to check them out.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Well, no amount of controversy could possibly derail this deck. Seriously, Burton learned their lesson. No hidden boobies this go around. Although all things taken into context there was absolutely no need to market that board for the next five years. I doubt they could keep it in stock. Next up is the Love for 2010. This Love comes in wide also (write your own jokes) for the big footed. Pics have already started to surface of these boards on and off the snow. Yep Burton snowboards 2010 are coming fast SIA is only a handful of days away. Then the onslaught begins.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
A better way of putting this is that action sports continues to be headed down a path where the online/digital audience is not developed. Instead it's serve the the same tried and true formula of tricks. Having been at the helm of this type of operation over at AOL I know firsthand how difficult or easy it can be to cultivate an audience. I think it's important to note right now that ESPN and ALLI (Or Dew tour, whatever they are calling themselves) are both heading down the wrong path. Why am I a little fired up? Simply put: this should be easy but they are making it hard. Plus, having been at the turd end of the world wide interweb stick regarding action sports maybe I just would like to see a good execution for once.
I was pretty excited when EXPN announced at Summer X Games they would be relaunching with a new strategy and site. But, reading through their press release at the time it felt like I was reading a best practices memo. If you are touting "RSS syndication, widgets, podcasts, embeddable video players and more." Then you might not be ready for prime time. The and more being blogs and user blogs. Yeah, a bit behind the trend on that one guys. All sarcasm aside, if you look closely at the new beta site it's simply nothing more than a digital magazine with video and a few blogs. Sure having partner content is great but there are a few major issues including:
- No engagement point for the audience. What no open integration with Facebook connect or Myspace development? Really? Seriously? Get on that.
- Saturation of professional video. I know you are ESPN and Video/TV is what you do. But you are the corpo-monster in an already crowded space. Shake it up a bit. Why not get a seeding and cross promotional strategy going with Break.com?
- Standstill content. I can't just shoot this out to my other platforms? Cutting and pasting kinda blows. Another easy fix.
- The gallery from hell. Holy crap, number one fix. I'll even draw it out for you. Make this portable. Make it easy to navigate and make it digestible. Right now your zoom gallery makes me throw up a little bit in my mouth.
Alli, Where do we begin? This might be even worse. I foresee this becoming the home of press releases that get reformatted into content. This wasn't always the case. When it was revealed to those of us who sit in this particular bro-bra niche audience that VBS (the digital arm of Vice) was to be doing the content I had high hopes. These are guys who let O'dell do his thing with Epicly Later'd and he in turn released some really interesting digestible web pieces. Granted he might have blow his creative wad with the Cardiel piece last year but that possibly was a combo of an amazing skater and amazing story being told for the first time. I digress...
In looking at the Alli site today for the second time I'm left with the same impression in the first thirty seconds: why? As in "Why would you create a site that functions like this?" In case you are wondering "this" refers to the word static, as in standstill, motionless, pointless and boring. Yep, subtle like a sledgehammer, moving on... Again, the same set of concerns echos: Why isn't your site open? Why aren't you looking beyond pro video to cultivate audience? Why are the articles text galore and how come they don't intersect with a stronger gallery tool that has better placement in the navigation? It took me 3-4 clicks to get to one photo in the gallery. That was after enough hunting and scrolling to either spend a weekend at deer camp or be really good at World of Warcraft. At any rate,say goodbye to your audience in that time frame. The unintentionally funny portion of this was the basic lack of content across the site for the first 24-36 hours of the Dew Tour. I know things got snowed out but come on put down the PBR can and show some initiative for crying out loud.
I'm not predicting disaster because both of these operations run on a broadcast revenue model. The web is like sloppy seconds for them which is a sad sad thing. Both these companies could be killing it and growing their broadcast audience through the web as a marketing tool. I'm sure the web teams are doing the best they can with what they got. The real moral to the story here is the timeless tale of "can and should". Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. Just because you can have a big graphic splash page doesn't mean you should. You get the drift?
Monday, December 22, 2008
I didn't search through to see what was on peoples feet down at the Tampa Am but you figure SB would have put a few pairs out there seeing as how they were sponsoring a chunk of that event. I have high hopes for Nike in 209. They continue to pour money back into events ala' comps, tours and interesting web content. So yes I am looking forward to what happens next. The shoes below are now available at Flatspot.com
From Kicks on Fire One of Nike SBs newest Nike Dunks takes on a design inspired by an early 1990s TV drama series known as Twin Peaks. The sneakers include a mixture of black suede on the lace panel, frontal and heel, premium leather on the toebox, and crackled leather on the side panels, green stitching throughout the entire upper. The liner of the Twin Peaks Nike SB Dunks is finished in red and includes a pair of insoles that have a black and white zig-zag design which is taken from the floor in the “Red Room” at the Black Lodge in the show Twin Peaks. Furthermore there is a design of a blue owl placed near the ankle which is another reference to Twin Peaks, in the series the owl was one of the three murder mystery clues. If you watched Twin Peaks then you know what im talking about, if not just Google the show name. No official release date has been mentioned but we are told they should hit Nike SB retailers around the Spring of 2009.
The latest colorway addition to the P-Rod 2 line up reminds me a bit of an old Zoom team (Metallic gold/Dark Cypress)
New to the SB line up is what appears to be a mashup of an Airmax 90 and the Zoom Tre AD. Until Nike actual drops some info I'll be holding to that theory. Which was pretty much formed by Watson first. Maybe SB will send him a pair to smash some burgers.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
This is a topic that generally creates plenty of spirited debate (pun intended) and with a movie forthcoming I thought it would be interesting to bring up. The idea of being passionate about religion, to be very honest, scares me not from the "I trust blindly in my faith" but more from an "I'm a little too passionate" perspective. Now one guy I know who has been a longtime Christian is the skater Lance Mountain and I'm very curious as to how he became involved in the church. The main reason being he was in it before it was the movement of the moment. What draws an icon from the 80's hey day of skating into the church?
One Year Trailer Snowboarding & Christianity
The theory I have about this movement from a global level (whether it's artist, celebrity, skater or snowboarder) is very simple: if you lived out of a suitcase for 3/4's of the year your life would be pretty empty. Skating, snowboarding, music or whatever only get you so far. With this emptiness comes a big void and more than likely a lack in normalcy, whatever that means anymore. But think about this: how do these riders relate to people in the world when your job is flying out of half pipe and more importantly how do you cope when you are no longer on the top of your game? When youa re number 1 suddenly not making top 3 is big blow to the ego but it happens to everybody over time. It's not that big of a stretch for them to say 'I'm going to devote all my passion for skating and riding into believing in the lord." Because of this new found passion a rider or skater no longer has to believe in himself. Now they have a larger belief system to latch onto. Possibly because they never had the social interactions to build a system of ideals and beleifs of their own. It's important to stress: this isn't a bad thing. Some people need a helping hand in finding their personal true north.
The larger factor to take into consideration is that if they are happy, healthy, riding and skating then Christianity is a welcome addition into the world of action sports. If they provide places to skate or do good works through outreach then hey...even better. I can deal with a little god if it does some good things. Eventually though I do come back to the words of John Lennon
"I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It's just that the translations have gone wrong."
Then again he also said the Beatles were bigger than Christianity so that was probably a bad example. Oh well, we're supposed to forgive and forget right?
Saturday, December 20, 2008
And in case you missed it check out the Red Bull Battleship comp SPoTlight prodcutions put on.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thanks to Style Whisperer I had the distinct pleasure of throwing up in my own mouth this morning. I'm sure, or at least hoping this was a promo item int he same way Hollister had surfboards cut. But, you never know when somebodys bad marketing idea gets legs and hits the ground running.
So yeah here's your 153 cm Ed hardy board now available on Ebay. Apparently it's great for backcountry riding. I knew you could run some tapered boards shorter but that might not cut it for a guy my size. Maybe Joey-bag-a-donuts at Hunta! is tipping the chats at 5' 2" and is ready to shred the gnar at the wilds of Mont Tremblant. there's something even better here though. Now I really think you should red through the description....
- All mountain freeride cruiser
- Carbon V2- Beam- Ultra -Light carbon backbone gives the board added pop and longitudinal snap
- Infinite Ride - No more break in period. No more limp noodle.
- Flex and pop that stays true, no matter how hard you ride.
- Twinshape with a directional flex
- Correct sandwhich construction
- A laminate packed with carbon stringers and has a lighter bottom glass
- Mens layup
- Very responsive
- High Performance
- Great for all mountain use, backcountry, directional
Infinite Ride© - The Industry's first and only process of its kind, Infinite Ride© allows Burton to manufacture a snowboard that maintains a consistent feel season after season with enhanced durability their competitors can't touch. During this process they put each board through conditions similar to those found during a hard-charging season on snow. Think of it this way: Just as some car manufacturers run the engines on their cars for 1,000 miles before you even drive it off the floor, Burton overbuilds a board and puts it through a performance-enhancing torture test that allows the board to retain its shape and ride characteristics throughout its life. It means Burton boards set the industry standard for safety, quality and durability. Straight from the shop to snow, and every season, your board will perform on another level.
We all know Burton has down the Playboy Bunny graphic collab deck (not the Love) and the Ducati collab deck. Would they go as far to do an Ed Hardy deck? I doubt it I'll give Burton the benefit of the doubt but man is it kinda funny to think of somebody in VT coming back from a weekend raging in the meat packing district (write your own joke) and thinking "Man everybody is wearing Ed Hardy! They're the shit. We gotta do a board with them." Six months later it rolls off the line, everybody takes one look, everybody blinks and realizes that their target audience isn't shopping for $50 Ed Hardy t-shirts at Nordstroms. Reality can be such a bitch. OK, stop laughing it's not out the realm of possibility. What might be the best is the Obama deck being sold through the same store. I highly doubt the office of the president elect gave this a green light. Now Lib's SKATE OBAMA, that was bad ass.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
So I have a few strong opinions but I like to think I'm fairly diplomatic. That being said I don't throw people or brands under the bus. However everybody ahs their point where they say "fuck that". In all honesty seeing the above teaser graphic made me throw up in my mouth a little bit. Ed Hardy as a brand has always struck me as a poor repackaging of flash tattoo art and I typically see three types of people wearing it:
1. The 40+ girls night out "Moms Gone Wild" crowd
2. The bad New Jersey crowd who obsessively apply fake tan, use hair care products and make that kind of weird sucker fish face when they have their pictures taken.
3. Anybody who appears in a picture on the website HotChicksWithDouchebags.com (as pictured)
So , yeah, I have nothing good to say. Although I do think this will be the official uniform of a certain crowd going to "Huntah!" mountain every weekend or suckers who rush Killington to do drink more than shred. Ah well what can I say some people are born to be shitty. Thanks for passing this along you-know -who.
First up is the PR & brand side of SOTN life. Last week Tiffany Montgomery from Shop-Eat.Surf-com reached out and contacted me to see if I would mind sharing some thoughts on the future of brands and success of action sports brands online. I was more than happy to touch base with Tiffany and SES primarily because I think she provides a valuable service and it's great to be associated with somebody who is doing interesting work. The interview is in the executive edition so it's behind the paid wall. Friends, family, call me up if you really want to know what it says. If you work at a brands shell out the $89 for her annual subscription you'll get some interesting data.
Update: Include promo code "South" in your order and receive 15% off. Next up is a little experiment in partnerships that I'm going to be conducting moving forward. After all this is a blog and on the internet, well, you can do whatever you damn well please. As long as it doesn't involve creepy sexual stuff that is illegal or copyrighted NFL footage (same sandwich different bread) used without the explicit clearance of the No Fun League. On the left rail you'll see a link to C-3 Shop. Kind of exciting for a few reasons. I want to see if we can move the needle for them. Why? Because they sell interesting products that are hard to find for some of the population. It's a little off the radar and that's an interesting strategy. So we are going to see what happens. If I'm smart enough I'll pester Johan until he tills me to "piss off" but in doing so gives me a discount code for an added audience value. Like I said, it's the web we can move quickly here. That's the idea right?
Next up, you might have noticed I'm dipping into more product reviews. After all it is the holiday season. That being said you'll start seeing links for local shops where you can purchase products. I firmly believe in supporting local retailers. I'm not quite sure how I'll structure this yet. But, if you are a local shop and would like to be involved let me know. This to remains an experiment to see if I can find a happy medium between content and commerce. I think this mythical happy medium exists and can be achieved with a page ripped out of the "plan ahead dumb ass" handbook.
Last, it appears to be about that time for snow to start falling the Rockies are getting hit and the Sierras are getting a taste as well. Out here on the East Coast it's rain and ice per the norm. But, that's life and what we gotta suffer through. So also coming are some resort review but with all the product destination kinda-sorta travel reviews I'm changing the format of the blog a little to keep you more engaged. What does that mean? You guessed it redesign. The back end is allegedly finished and now I need to shift into content transfer-slash-design mode. So the curtain will go up for short period of time soon enough and will fall away when we are good to go. In short, keep your eyes peeled.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
So, as I detailed in parts 1, 2 and 3, yes you can get exclusive products or insane discounts by shopping online. But, with 20+ years of skating and 17 years of snowboarding under my belt I firmly believe that local shops remain key to skating, snowboarding or whatever is your vice of choice. Despite recent economic fluctuations a good shop will persevere and take care of its customers. However to answer the big questions "why are core shops useful if I can find it cheaper elsewhere?" To fully answer that I'll speak from a combination of anecdotal experience and economic theory.
In full disclosure I used to be an employee of the shop I am about to talk about. I still remain friends with the owners. They support my endeavors from time to time with discounts, etc. But, in my opinion, they remain the model of a good shop and one that continues to put customer service at the front of all their efforts. This shop is Alpine Ski Shop in Sterling VA. Pretty much Alpine is a Mom and Pop operation now run by the two sons of the Mom and Pop. Chris and Tyler Bunch are the second generation of the Bunch family to operate Alpine. When I began working with them in 1996 it was during their transition from the parents to Chris and Tyler.
Then and now Alpine employees focused on the customers need vs. the strong sale. Working on the sales floor there was a sense of comfort that we could put a snowboarder or a skier in what was right versus what would have generated the most money. This built a loyalty between sales associates and customers. Occasionally I would end up riding a local chairlift with a customer who was happy to be out snowboarding in gear that suited their needs. OK, maybe it was the fresh snow but regardless it made us smile every time a regular would come back in. This built a bond and served the very simple theory that it's easier to keep a customer than generate a new one. But, Alpine's customer service model allowed us to generate and retain at once.
In short the shop to rider-consumer relationship is a bond of trust. You have to figure our sports, activities, passions whatever you want to call them aren't cheap. You rely on that shop to treat you well and with respect. The return for them is often word of mouth advertising for a brief window and the hope you return next year to see them even if you don't buy anything. Back to 1996, I visited six shops in the DC area before heading to Alpine at their original location. On that afternoon Chris was hyped about snowboarding and 12 years later he and Tyler still have that passion. You won't find that online, you won't find it discounted. What you find is a shop where they will amplify your desire to skate and ride. They are the reminders of how much fun it all is. There are lots of great shops around and I'm sure there's a Chris and Tyler Bunch in your town. Go down, support your shop and become part of the scene. Support local shops, skate parks, ski & snowboard hills. They are the foundation of which much of what we do rests upon. You support them because you're not just getting a product or exchanging cash. You are investing in skating, snowboarding or whatever, and it's worth every penny.
Friday, December 12, 2008
I remember the first time I stumbled across Backcountry.com. It was a strange assortment of outdoors gear and snowboard, skate and kinda surf lifestyle gear. Saying it was a mish-mash several years back would be doing a disservice to mish-mashes everywhere. The thing is, it struck a chord with gear junkies. Now Backcountry.com appears to be the flagship brand for a host of business models. Lets be very clear those Utah folks aren't dummies they've managed to corner an interesting section of e-commerce by injecting deals and levity into the marketplace. Of course, that may be their ultimate undoing. Before I get into the rumored weirdness lets talk about how they can save you life this holiday season
The easiest way to look at this is through segmentation There appears to be three main sites:
- Backcountry.com: Ski, camp, snowboard, skate, surf, cycle, outdoors gear. Think of Backcountry.com as an REI that doesn't suck. I know that's hard to do but just try. Backcountry.com has an outlet tab that leads to Backcountryoutlet.com. Discounts, closeouts and older gear await you on the outlet.
- DogFunk.com: OK, this is a younger site focused on the skater & snowboarder. Skinny wearin' your sisters jeans skaters to baggy yo'd out MFM clones can line up over here.
- Tramdock.com: Skiers and ski stuff. Yeah, nothing funny to say it is what it is.
Btw, Have you all seen their leaderboard tab which is a top Gear Guru ranking. This is a unique audience signifier/benefit that no other site does to my knowledge. Let me sum it up for you: they are building community around shopping and gear. This presents an added benefit for users which equals more time on site. That of course equals more conversions to to sale. Yeah ... kinda smart. Like wicked smart.
If you aren't familiar with ODAT it stands for One Deal at A Time. That is to say like Woot.com they sell through products and inventory one item at a time. We can go even farther back and say that QVC was doing this before everybody. Keep that nugget in your brain becasue the QVC name drop wasn't a non-sequitor. Back to ODAT, oddly enough this commerce model is big in the halls of Backcountry.com and you can find the following ODAT sites slinging your favorite gear. They would be:
- WhiskeyMilitia.com - ODAT for Dogfunk style skate, surf, snow, BMX products
- SteepandCheap.com - More camping, hiking and general outdoors this ODAT site appears to sling for Backcountry.com
Chainlove.com - Knowing the cycling segment tends to have a higher price point and spend I'm sure Chainlove was direct result of Backcountry.com getting into cycling.
So I was the big winner here. However, I will tell you this there's a storm brewing in the e-commerce world bigger than the tsunami which occurs after my buddy Chris has five cups of coffee and a bowl of chili. This blowout can be exemplified by what is happening at Backcounty.com. Now it's bad form and usually against agreement to have big markdowns in December on outerwear but BC appears to be running some snow brands at 20% off. In this case I assume most shops will let their prebookings at SIA speak as to how they feel: they will just order less. The thing is, and this economic climate is driving this to a head, Backcountry are really only a very small example. Burton has gear at 30% off direct. Quiksilver recently had snowboard gear at 40% off direct. The list goes on and on. Right now it's survival of the fittest and if anybody is the big winner, it's the consumer. So get out and buy because if the economy take a turn up you can be guaranteed these prices are gone. Then again you might be focused on keeping food in your fridge and not getting a new snowboard jacket.
Now, all of this comes out from purchasing on the sites and listening to what occurs around me. I'm not saying the above notes detail the business plans of Liberty Media. I could be 100% off base but I do see how these sites sell with shocking efficiency. So, if you are an agoraphobic, hate lines or just want a comprehensive selection you have the Backcountry.com empire are your fingertips. Especially if you want that exclusive $500 Mark XIII Burton Jacket for $170.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
OK, enough ass kissing of the BMB. Actually, one more thing, even better is to check out the Unoffocial 2010 Gear Blog which is a summary of the 2010 gear thread on the BMB. OK, now I'm really done blargin about the BMB. Lets try to focus. Gone is Uninc. Hello Easy Livin. Now we can proceed with the hate, bloggers suck, and quit stealing from BMB commentary. As for Burton lawyers I'm not too worried since they are busy fighting Croc wearing activist moms for the right to sell non nude boards. Plus a cease and desist would be kind of nice.
Hard to believe after getting psyched to ride this board I blanked on it. This weekend I rolled through a Barnes and Noble and saw the same blonde Lib Tech deck starring back at me. Like a little electric jolt it stuck me"hey I rode that!" So sit back pour a cold adult pepsi and I'll go into some details of the how, the where and of course...the why.
Greek Peak is actually a cool place to ride if you find yourself in Upstate NY. I find it's the perfect place to test boards. Not because conditions are always amazing (although if you catch it on the right day it's great) but because after learning how to ride there in the 80's I learned the hills like the back of my hand. I have a pretty good idea how each slope will ride. The Lib tech really didn't disappoint. This was the second rocker board I checked out over the weekend and in comparison to the Burton Hero it's a different animal.
The Hero was looser but in a fun surfy sorta way. The Phoenix has always been the type of deck you can't half ass it on. That much I knew buckling in. I've been riding Lib's Phoenix boards since 2001 and I really believe it's hard to find a better all mountain freestyle deck. Maybe it's the fact the deck hasn't changed all that much while other board get tweaked over and over. But, Lib takes a big step forward with banana traction in the phoenix.
If I had to describe it, simply put, it was like have a big old pool deck underneath my feet but with super loose trucks. The rocker releases the board from any of the high speed edge pitfalls that can hook up but at the same time there was a pretty aggressive shape to it. Mellow cruising made the board a bit twitchy but when I pointed it and let it go good things happened. Stability was noticeable key difference. No doubt in my mind the classic core and original specs translate to the BTX version.
I'm not a real jib guy so unfortunately I can't help you out but even with my tired old legs the deck translated big in the ollie department. A set back stance works best with the Phoenix and allow you to leverage the tail for big pop and it's nice to see the same thing was happening with this board. A few runs of cranking out a method here and there but me right back where I started from at the end of last season.
A important piece to keep in mind is that the Phoenix was designed for Jamie Lynn, a rider whose style is timeless. Now, odds are you won't ride like Jamie but with the Phoenix you might just get a bit closer. Well that and a few hundred days on the snow. OK, maybe you won't get closer but at least you can own some of his artwork.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Over the weekend ShredorDie.com and Quik hosted an 80's vert jam. No doubt inspired by the 80's street jam. The latter of course had Alex Olson, Reese Forbes, Sal and a host of other skaters out and about. My guess is that when your name is Tony Hawk you can pull some strings to do the same. The point of of it was pretty much the best part: it was pointless. That is a good thing. You know, things kinda suck right now in a similar way that they did back in the 80's.
You see I can remember firsthand the ominous sense of foreboding that the cold war, shitty economic climate and bizarre pall that Reaganomics cast over us. Skating, art, music in the form of punk and hip hop all a direct response to the climate that we all lived with at that point in time. That shitty vibe forced us to be heard and look at the world in a different light, a way in which we forced ourselves to get things done because nobody would do it for us.
Maybe we can get Quik and Tony to help bring back that vibe next instead of the neon glow and wide boards. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Shoot as long as we are talking Tony Hawk and the 80's Tony sat down with Christian Slater to talk Gleaming the Cube. Since Slater's show is being cancelled maybe he should consider a sequel.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
Rarely do i post up flyers unless it's actually worthwhile but I really digs the Vans Iconoclast project. If you are in the greater Los Angeles area you should check out this exhibit mostly because they legitimately chose interesting people to highlight.
Rollins to Cardiel to Joel Tudor to Stacy Peralta to Wes Humpston to Robert Williams and especially Lemmy. A unique set of individuals was chose for this visual study. What's interesting is how unique vans was at one point in time as an Iconoclast. Now some of their pioneering and innovative thinking through design has become the norm. Perhaps this is Vans trying to be associative with their roots through music, art and sport celebrity of the modern counter-culture set. Maybe I'm over thinking it but it's still interesting.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
What stuck me from his photos was the use of light as a known element or almost takes the role of a character. The instant connection for me was similar to reading a Ray Carver story and light is one of the characters you feel you know. OK, maybe it was deja vu but his techniques and ideas really had a nice vibe. Check out IanRuhter.com or Ianruhter.blogspot.com.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Pete Saari, VP of Marketing at Mervin had this to say. “The Park Pickle achieves perfect balance through asymmetry, a deeper sidecut and asymmetric core on the heel edge balances your foots asymmetry and the different turn mechanics between heel and toe turns. Twin Asymmetric Banana Magnetraction design is the future of all terrain freestyle performance snowboards. Pickle Power!”
So, while riding on the power of the Skate Banana, Gnu is dipping into the Santa Cruz bag of tricks and creating a true twin with a deeper heelside sidecut. Now Asym boards aren't new as I just mention Santa Cruz messed around with this a little bit and all you have to do is lookback at carving boards to see the evolution of asym. BomberOnline does a good job of recounting Asym tech and the evolution. Anybody my age will remember the Burton Asym Air and the Mighty B's attempt to capitalize on race board construction into a more freeride freestyle experience. The Bomber online crew actually has this nugget on that evolution: "Alpine riding even influenced some of the freeride market as Burton and a few other companies including Nitro and G&S also made asymmetrical freeride boards. These promised freestyle ability and improved carving. Burton's single 1992 "Asym-Air" became a two-board line called the X-series in 1993 which lived through 1996."
Will this provide an added experience to the park board? Hell if I know but should be interesting to demo.
Monday, December 1, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE- NHS Announces Distribution of Flip Skateboards
Dec 1, 2008- Santa Cruz, Calif.
NHS, one of skateboarding’s largest and most successful manufacturer/distributors, is
proud to welcome Flip Skateboards to its brand roster. NHS will utilize its global sales
and distribution reach to realize Flip’s full potential as a dominant skateboard brand.
Bob Denike, President and CEO of NHS had this to say, "The addition
of Flip strengthens our position to be the #1 skateboard supplier in
the industry. The NHS strategy is simple; strong brands across all
categories, innovative product development and working with the best
pro skaters; past, present and future. The Flip brand together with
the global Flip team are a powerful and welcome addition to the NHS
group. And frankly, it’s about f*#king time!"
“With Flip's move to NHS and the upcoming “Extremely Sorry” video release, all the
the puzzle are now in place to put Flip right at the top!”- Kelly Jablonski, CEO- Ultimate
“Flip and NHS, 2 of the biggest and best skateboard companies in the
world, have now joined together making NHS a 1-stop shop!” -Chris
Allen, President- Shiner, UK
"We are really excited to welcome Flip Skateboards to the NHS family," says Holly
Anderson, NHS Senior Sales Manager. "The Flip addition diversifies our brand selection
even more. We truly satisfy all our customer needs with the industry's leading deck,
wheel, and truck brands."
“The timing of the NHS-Flip agreement is actually really good- our sales team is stronger
than it’s ever been and our ability to deliver product globally is running smoother than
ever. Flip heavily strengthens NHS without cannibalizing sales of our existing brands
and product.” Jeff Kendall, VP- NHS
"I am proud and honored that the rich histories of both NHS and Flip Skateboards have
come together. With the support of NHS and the strength of the Flip brand and team it's a
win-win situation. The timing could not have been more perfect!" Geoff Rowley, Pro
Skater, co-owner - Flip Skateboards
Jeremy Fox, Flip founder, says” This move makes perfect sense for the Flip brand as well
as for NHS as our new distribution partner, and we feel that there is great
synergy between the two companies both in terms of business direction and commitment
About NHS Inc.
NHS Inc. was founded in 1973 by Richard Novak, Doug Haut and Jay
Shuirman. NHS Inc. is Independent Truck Company & Apparel, Krux Trucks,
Ricta Wheel Dynamics, Mob Grip, Nor Cal Clothing, Creature Skateboards
and sh#t, Santa Cruz Skateboards, Surfboards, Snowboards & Apparel,
Bullet Skateboards & Safety Gear, Skateboarding Is Not A Crime, designarium and
Strangenotes.com. For more information about NHS Inc. and our brands,
visit www.nhs-inc.com. "
So when I got this message in the old inbox it made me happy. where he called out everybody involved with Baker
"Flip is now going to be distributed by NHS. Announcement to be made later this
Maybe Flip will stop sucking and get back to being fun.
Despite Calling BS on this read his "My Turn" from the Burlington Free Press. Jake's a hell of a guy and his been quiet on the protest way too long. The only thing I disagree with is his passive aggressive threat to leave Vermont but the reality is Burton can make snowboards anywhere. I just find it hard to beleive he would be chased out of anywhere. That doesn't seem to be his style.