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We are honored to be sponsoring this skate-rock music festival at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach, CA. We will be at the event selling boards, T-Shirts and other apparel! See you there!

July 19
At Alex’s Bar
Long Beach, CA

Featuring:

The Duane Peters Gunfight
Featuring Duane Peters

McRad
Featuring Chuck Treece

Revolution Mother
Featuring Mike Vallely

The Pushers
Featuring Riky Barnes

Powerflex 5
Featuring Salba and Corey Miller

Skatanic Rednecks
Featuring Dave Ruel

Tickets available here!!!!

Switchblades New

Our first ad as seen in Issue 11 of Confusion Magazine.

Confusion Issue 11 Ad

By: Kyle DuVall

Although the Woolly Mammoth graphic that adorned Mike Vallely’s first New Deal pro model in 1991 started out as an homage to his past and a joke about his future, over the years it has come to represent much more.

New Deal Mammoth. 1991.
New Deal Mammoth. 1991.

New Deal Mammoth. 1991.

“New Deal was very apprehensive about signing me. They only signed me because I was such good friends with Ed Templeton,” Vallely explains. “The thinking at the time was: ‘this is the New Deal. You’re the old deal, but they wanted Ed to be happy so I guess they thought: to make Ed happy, we’ll put this dinosaur on the team. So Andy Howell’s idea for the graphic was like this: ‘Dude, you’re extinct, and this is probably your last pro model, we should poke some fun at you…’”

New Deal Ad. September, 1991.

New Deal Ad. September, 1991.

For a skater who was always intensely involved in advocating his own graphic ideas, it might seem odd that Vallely would accede to the concept. Then again, the sentiment portrayed was not completely out of line with Vallely’s own feelings in ’91.

“I was sort of given the Mammoth graphic, but at the same time there was no rejection on my part. Inside I knew better about my skating, but, in another way, I couldn’t really argue with anybody. At the time skating really was changing. The idea for the board didn’t come from me, which was rare at the time, but when I saw it I embraced it.”

If extinction was the intended theme, Vallely’s skating during his short stint at the Deal combined with the image that actually wound up on the board, ultimately put the graphic in quite a different context. Sure, the mammoth was an extinct creature, but in it’s world, a world of saber-toothed cats and cave bears, the mammoth was the ultimate survivor. With its scroungy fur, imposing tusks and swinging trunk, artist Greg Higgins rendering of the mammoth conveys strength, not surrender. It’s half-lidded eyes are focused directly to the front. It looks ready to charge ahead, not lay down and die.

Vallely’s segment in New Deal’s “1281” video would definitively turn the tables on that graphic’s original theme. Positioned at the end of the video as a sort of swan song for an outmoded 80’s hero, Vallely’s powerhouse edit didn’t come off as a retirement party, but as a statement on a new era, an era of old and new, technical and aggressive all coming together under New Deal’s sun.

“Every era I was involved in, every video I was involved in, I continued to press and plead my case and try to prove every time that a broader style was going to have a place,” says Vallely. “As much as people would write me off on paper, when the videos came out it would always be ‘oh shit!’ I think the 1281 part turned out to be a pretty damn good part. It was distinctly different from everything that was happening at that time, and I think that’s what made it work.”

The skating Vallely was actually doing might have been better represented in the Mammoth’s top graphic, a design which combined a native american symbol Vallely interpreted as meaning “burning forward” with the New Deal sun logo.

Burning ahead or not, Vallely’s tenure at the Deal was doomed to be brief. The 1281 segment was his only video part, the Mammoth the only board from his time at New Deal that anyone remembers. Still, both the skating and the deck had real significance.

“1281 may be the real departure point for me,” says Vallely, “The point where I went from being on the front lines of the cutting edge to just pushing my own skating without it being bookended by the times”.

After ’91 professional skateboarding was increasingly being funneled into a very distinct direction, a direction with clear stylistic benchmarks for “legitimacy”. Progression only “counted” if it was progression down one particular path. How high you could ollie didn’t matter if you couldn’t flip off both ends of your board as well. By ’91, for many skaters, doing what came naturally, especially what came naturally for Mike Vallely, was either a statement of dissent or signifier of obsolescence.

“It’s not that I wasn’t progressing. My skating was just going in its own direction,” Vallely recalls. “I’ve never been “anti” anybody’s skating. I really vibed off of what people like Armando Barajas and Ed Templeton were doing and I always sampled what was interesting to me at the time. I did get into some nollie flips, flipping in and out of tricks, but I’ve always found my way back to my own skating. Some of that stuff stuck, but most of it didn’t.”

Ollie on a Mammoth Prototype Shape. From the pages of Transworld Skateboarding Magazine. 1991.

Ollie on a Mammoth Prototype Shape. From the pages of Transworld Skateboarding Magazine. 1991.

If Vallely was taking an alternate path, the board he took it on was both a callback to 80’s concepts and a glimpse of things to come. The Mammoth graphic was one that would have looked equally at home spray painted on a subway car or inked on the pages of a comic book. Greg Higgins art, with its cartoon and graffiti influences was undeniably at peace with the graphic concepts Andy Howell was pioneering at New Deal, but with its connection to Vallely’s past history of board graphics, it didn’t seem forced, like many of the street-art inspired graphics imposed on other veteran pros at the time. Even though it was Howell’s concept, Higgins’ execution made It look like something Vallely might have come up with himself.

“It’s real telling how people react to it today,” says Vallely. “It’s a real meaningful graphic to people who were skating at the time. I get great feedback on it, that and the shape is a real great shape.”

At a hefty 9.5” wide, with a blunt shovel contour in the nose, the Mammoth embodied aspects of the 80’s boards that skaters like Vallely used to pioneer street skating, while still embracing contemporary functionality. The generous length of that shovel nose made it ideal for slapping into noseslides and popping off nollie tricks, and it’s round-edged tail was pure early 90‘s. The board is wide in the front pocket, but its taper to a skinner tail and rear truck area was a precursor to the contours of the “popsicle” and “football” designs on the horizon.

Street Plant Mammoth. 2015.

Street Plant Mammoth. 2015.

“That shape is real telling of how I was still engaged with what was happening with board shapes at that time,” says Vallely. “I could have continued to skate that ’91 shape for the rest of my career. That is the shape I ride right now.”

Past, present. Today, yesterday. It all came together in the Mammoth back in ’91 when old and new were fighting it out for dominance on the streets. Now, in 2015, with old school and new school embracing each other in a big ol’ bro hug of bonelesses and no-complies, the Street Plant Brand Mammoth may be more relevant than ever. Either way, one thing is certain: extinction is not on the agenda.

Kyle DuVall had been writing about skateboarding almost as long as he has been skateboarding.

Have A Skate Day!

Wishing the Street Plant Battalion and skaters everywhere a fun and safe Go Skateboarding Day!

Have A Skate Day!

06/14

While filming for Mike’s X-Games “Real Street” video part, Mike and videographer Ted Newsome stopped in for a quick session at Long Beach, California’s “Scum Hole.”

Lance Mountain, 1981. Photo: Quique

Lance Mountain, 1981. Photo: Quique

I’ve got my black Chuck Taylors
And I’ve got my bleached out jeans
I’ve got my Black Flag T-shirt
And I’ve got my head shaved clean
I’ve got my lyric notebook
And I’ve got a Dr Pepper from the soda fountain
I’ve got my own ideals
And I’ve got my Lance Mountain

I’ve got my Thrasher Magazine
And I’ve got my Maximum Rock ’n’ Roll
I’ve got my Minor Threat records
And I’m out of step with the world
I’ve got my Bones Brigade videos
And I’ve got a Dr Pepper from the soda fountain
I’ve got my own dreams
And I’ve got my Lance Mountain

I’ve got my Lance Mountain
And I live by my own rules
I’ve got my Lance Mountain
And I ain’t got time for these fools
I’ve got my Lance Mountain
And there’s an open country in front of me
I’ve got my Lance Mountain
It’s the only thing I need

I’ve got my black Chuck Taylors
And I’ve got my bleached out jeans
I’ve got my Black Flag T-shirt
And I’ve got my head shaved clean
I’ve got my lyric notebook
And I’ve got a Dr Pepper from the soda fountain
I’ve got my own ideals
And I’ve got my Lance Mountain

By: Kyle DuVall

In an era where hours and hours of skate footage is available at the push of a button, there’s a thousand different voices trying to explain what a skateboarder should be. Amid this abundance of definitions, Street Plant Battalion Member Jade Ryan has achieved something as impressive as any handrail stunt or intricate tech trick. In a world of explanations and examples, Ryan has maintained her own singular identity as a skater and shared that identity with no fear and no apologies.

Jade Portrait

Shredding the streets and parks of Sydney, Australia, Ryan’s philosophy is simple. “If I try a trick and I’m not having fun I walk away from it. If it’s not fun I won’t do it.” And Ryan has no hesitation when what is fun doesn’t coincide with what is conventional. Planting her feet, picking up the board, bouncing off architecture, switching boards, Ryan’s skating isn’t so much about breaking the “rules” as it is about never bothering to learn them. “When I first started skating I had only seen like 2 videos, so I came at it not knowing much about skateboarding… I got one of my friend’s thrashed boards and I just took it from there. The way I started skating came out of being spontaneous… It’s only recently that I’ve started looking on the internet and seeing other skaters… I haven’t bought a magazine in probably 2 years.”

The haters might say: “it shows”, but those who get it say “Hell yeah!” Ryan’s video edits, which she shares on her YouTube Channel and via Facebook, bear no resemblance to the lavishly produced hammer-swinging video assaults that have turned elite level skating into a bone crunching arms race. Instead, her videos actually look like… Fun. And although the bonelesses and drop tricks hearken to the past, what they may actually be showing is the new now. In a world where every kid with a smartphone is posting up untrimmed footage of their star-struck skate escapades, what Ryan is doing is like the control group in the ongoing experiment that is over-endorsed, over athleticized modern skating. The edits are snippets of a skater in a completely natural context, one operating in a partially self-imposed exile, uncontaminated by imposed definitions of the “right way” to skate in 2015.

“Skating is just skating to me,” Ryan says. “In the end I never tried to have an old school or new school thing. Skating is freedom to me.” That sense of liberty includes the freedom to share an exuberant image of skating that doesn’t require skate coaches and private training facilities, one that is less about conquering a spot than being a part of it.

“There’s nothing better than to find a new spot on the streets. I scour the streets for weird looking spots that may have never been skated before and jam out and see what happens. A lot of tricks I don’t even know the names of… It just comes at the spot. Sometimes I’ll see a spot and think ‘I just want to do something at that spot’ and I won’t even be sure what it is yet… It’s more an accomplishment of the spot rather than some trick at the spot.”

Going out, getting weird, having fun, thousands of skateboarders do this everyday. More cynical minds might say there is nothing special about what Jade Ryan is doing, but that’s kind of like looking at the splatters on a Jackson Pollock painting and saying: “I could do that”. In skating, as in art, this is missing the point. Whether other skaters could do the same is irrelevant. The fact is, they didn’t, and, even if they did, their paint splashes wouldn’t be the same anyway.

But there’s no conscious agenda, no political statement in Ryan’s motivations for documenting her own, often quirky, vision of skating. “The endgame to making video is to see the end result myself. It’s a little notebook for myself, a record of what I’ve done,” says Ryan. “It’s all about fun to me, even things that look weird are just fun clips to have. I’ll probably look goofy every time I skate one way or another.”

Whether she consciously intends to or not, what Jade Ryan is doing in her edits is throwing away the basic “rules” of modern street skating and swapping them for stripped-down deconstructed fun. In her vision of skating, even the sacred ollie is just another trick in the bag, not a mandatory starting point for every move and variation “Some people find busting an ollie heaps of fun. Some sessions I’ll do ollies, other days I just wont be a fan of it” says Ryan. “I’ve done an ollie, I want to do something new… Pick up the board in a way I haven’t before, or attack a spot in a whole new way… Plant my feet, get my hands dirty, feel the ground.”

Jade Handplant

Making these sorts of decisions in your own personal skate bubble is one thing, but putting them out in the digital world, where critics hide behind screen names, and orthodoxies are enforced by trolling adolescents with axes to grind, is something else. That takes a sort of fearlessness that has nothing to do with bodily harm. “Sometimes I see people criticize, but I take it with a grain of salt…” Ryan says, not even showing enough concern to be called dismissive. “If that’s what you’re going to do fine, it really hasn’t affected me one bit in my skating. I do what I do and I have fun, and I’ve met some really awesome people skating. When I go to the skatepark, mainly I have people come up and go, ‘Hey, how did you do that?’ or ‘I haven’t seen that before.’ There’s not much hate when I go out to a skatepark, most skaters who are out there doing it for fun don’t have to hate on anybody. It’s more of a group mentality of encouragement I’ve encountered in skating.”

It’s a group mentality Ryan feeds with every video edit. Doing something different, skating for herself, skating for fun, Jade Ryan is a part of a quiet revolution that’s infiltrating skating from the inside out. Fun, creativity, personality. That’s not the future of skateboarding, or a throwback to the past, it’s the eternal present that keeps skating alive.

Kyle DuVall had been writing about skateboarding almost as long as he has been skateboarding.

We are honored to be involved in and supporting the Jeff Phillips Tribute at 4DWN in Dallas, TX on May 23 benefiting the Suicide and Crisis Center Of North Texas. Mike Vallely (who’s first skateboard ever was a Jeff Phillips board) will be on hand to pay respect and to say hello to everyone who comes out to the event.

Phillips Flyer

05/08

I had bad skin
Bad teeth
I’d pull my baseball cap down
over my face
And I would skate

I had no chance
No place
I found life
in the dead space
And I would skate

I shaved my head
I said I don’t eat meat
I’d leave it all out there
in the streets
And I would skate

I put my combat fatigues on
And I had the word Alien
scrawled onto my arm
That’s where I was coming from
And I would skate

The bankers, politicians and lawyers
they had property to protect
But I showed the landscape
real respect
And I would skate

I’d slide across the bus bench
As the bus went by
It was such a little thing
but it made all the difference in my life
And I would skate

0252223-R1-E015

The Servant Footwear X Street Plant Barnyard Loiters are now available from the Servant Footwear US/Canada and EU/Worldwide online shops.

Order here!

Barnyard Loiters

Features:

4-SKIN Microfiber / Canvas Upper, VEGAN
Triple-stitch onepiece toe
Tongue centering elastic
Collapsible Heelcounter
Slipon convertible
EVA Strobel construction
Molded dual density footbed
ServantStick dual density cupsole
HeelHeaven impact protection
Full-length EVA wedge
Sidewall stitch