April 25, 2016

All seven

#purifyyourselfinthewatersoflakeminnetonka #prince #ripprince #mpls

A video posted by Benji Meyer (@benji_meyer) on

I don't have a strong grasp on exactly how long the clip above runs but I've got a feeling Meyer just might make good use of the extra IG running time.

The Burnsville skatepark will be expanded. Per Dean Mulso on FB:

The Burnsville City Council approved the Phase II construction for the Burnsville Lions Skate Park.
So the good news is: we have a construction project that will set Burnsville in the skating scene for years to come.
The other news that comes with construction is: the entire skate park and surrounding area will be closed during the construction period. Anticipated construction schedule is May 16 - August 16.
We are asking for your help in spreading the word to keep skaters out of the area so you have the best possible quality of workmanship and the park holds up for years to come.
We will be having a Grand Re-opening celebration once the park is completed.
A bit more: The Burnsville council essentially gave the go ahead in January and finalized the bidding process at its April 19 meeting, awarding the work contract to Custom Builders, Inc., on their nearly $234,000 bid. Much of the funding for the expansion comes from the city -- just more than $155,000 comes from its park fund -- while $50,000 was contributed by the Lions Club, hence the name.

As far as I can tell, a longboard shop opened near Roosevelt High School near 42nd Street and Hiawatha in South Minneapolis. City Pages wrote about it:

Max’s father, John Kuker, was a recording legend who owned Seedy Underbelly in Minneapolis and Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, paving the way for local musicians like Semisonic and Jonny Lang to launch their stars. He was also an avid skateboarder, placing Max on his own baby penny cruiser when he was just six years old.

Last February, John died unexpectedly of a heart attack. He was 40 years old.

“That store, I was always just being like, ‘I could never do that, I could never swing that,’” Max says. “Then after he died, I just kinda realized, I need to do it. He recorded a lot of new Minneapolis bands that were just broke and looking for some way to get their music on CDs. His studio kind of became a haven for creatives. I’m want to make that for skaters.”

Per a text convo with Davis about the news last week, he said that after his two Purple One-themed pro models, "[I] kinda had to tell them no more Prince graphics." The one I held onto is definitely bound for the wall, now.

April 11, 2016

Help get better lighting at the St. Cloud plaza

The St. Cloud skate plaza is 69.4 miles from Minneapolis, meaning it's definitely the best park within 70 miles of where Google maps locates the center of the city (likely the landing of the Undercover 5). The plaza was a good story of organizing and funding and all the work that actually makes these things happen; the dudes up I-94 are once again trying to make something happen, though on a smaller level -- they want better lights. You should too. There's a gofundme site set up for the cause. You can donate some cash there, if you're so compelled; they've got $1,300 of a $4,000 goal, 25 days in. Here's the argument for lights, from the site previously linked:
The St. Cloud Skate Plaza needs brighter lights! We have one of the best outdoor skateparks in Minnesota but skating at night can be a bit hard on the eyes and hard on the body making it a bit of a safety concern to some. The current lights are a dull yellow color and we are looking to upgrade to a brighter much more clear LED system. It will cost $4,000 to upgrade the 3 light poles and fixtures already installed at the park. Spring is already here and Summer is on the way, we hope to have this money raised as soon as possible for the warm nights ahead.

Any additional money raised that is above our needed goal will be donated to the St. Cloud Skate Plaza for some much needed maintenance.

Any and all money raised will be greatly appreciated by not only the locals of the St. Cloud Skate Plaza but by all the people who come from all over the state to ride at this outdoor skateboard park.

March 28, 2016

The Purple One

000P0S0L0Y000 from Paisley Skates on Vimeo.

Spring skating in the garage -- where else? -- tied in with Bratrud's Chemtrail deck from Paisley. Saturday night was the release; it was good. More concerted updates happening?

March 9, 2016

Bang -- bang

UPDATE: The above reminded me of what's below:

February 10, 2016

R.I.P. Switch Crooks Kitty

You can't always remember the way important questions are asked. The way Steve Nesser remembered it, he and Clint Peterson were hanging out and, pretty much out of nowhere, Clint asked Steve a good one. "How much of Chad's life," talking about Chad Benson, who knows if Clint phrased it like this, "has been spent in crooked grind position?" Steve relayed this story one Saturday noon session at Familia HQ, as Benson zoomed in circles doing crooked grind fakies on the bank to ledge, as he's often wont to do.

Wont to do for the last decade or two. Benson's been crooksing for a while under various guises -- he was a flow guy for Planet Earth Skateboards in the very middle-90s, complete with shelltoes, and has had his name on a board for three different local board brands. He strictly wore white shoes even after he gave up on Superstars, lots of Kalis' first DC pro model. Benson would probably admit to bumming out his share of kids at the skatepark over the years, but it's mostly just because he's hyper. As of late, he's taken to wearing a lot of black, and was even seen in the past couple of weeks wearing a Thrasher tee.

Clint didn't remember the question coming up the way Steve did. Maybe it was the way the question was phrased. "He," Clint said, meaning Steve, "was probably watching him in the crooks position for the 3,000th time that week when it occurred." No matter, how much of Benson's life do those guys think he's spent in crooks position?

Said Clint, "Ha, that's good, how old are we now? I'd have to say a good year of his life, three-quarters of it being switch, of course." Of course.

A year, for reference, is 8,760 hours long. Steve guessed lower. "12 hours," he said, before adding, quickly, "24? I would have to dig into that."

Chad turned 40 in December last year, so depending on who you ask, Clint or Steve, he's either spent 1/40th of his life in crooks position or, at minimum, 1/29,2000th of it.

Unruly fractions like 1/29,2000, when it comes to lifetimes, seem to be reserved for fleeting experiences like laughing or riding jet skis. However, for real enthusiasts -- Benson loves his crooked grinds -- it seems too minute, too little for a true fanatic. How much and how long are/were crooked grinds in Chad Benson? It was worth an interview in the back room of the skatepark:

PS: When did your cat die?

CB: Let me think. March 2011.

And when did you get the cat?

That would be 1998.

And what did you name your cat in 1998?

Switch Crooks Kitty.

What kind of cat was it?

Himalayan.

How did you explain that name to people?

We just called it Crooks and nobody really asked. Except for the skateboarders, then I told them it was Switch Crooks Kitty and they really liked it.

So was it actually named Crooks or was it Switch Crooks Kitty?

On the certificate that she was registered under it was Switch Crooks Kitty.

How long did you agonize over that name?

Never, it was instant.

Crooked grinds came into vogue about '91, did you learn them that year?

Yes – I might have learned them before '91 because my friend Dave Flannigan learned them before I'd ever seen them and he called them “toaster grinds.” I went and learned them from him and we did them in the old Government Center garage and did them on the bottom step at The Fed.

So was it before Dan Paterka started doing them?

It's before I saw [Paterka do it]. It could have been right around the same time. I learned them because of Dave.

Dave Flannigan, what's he known for around here?

He is now a professor at the University of Minnesota.

Oh! I got him mixed up with Cardwell.

Flannigan! Different Dave. Dave Flannigan was my brother's best friend growing up in high school, with Nate Reiman, and they're the three that taught me how to skateboard.

And when was that?

Uh, 80s, late 80s?

Can you put a date on it?

'87, probably. We had a miniramp in our backyard before we moved to Rochester.

You lived in Benson, Minnesota?

I lived in De Graff, outside Benson. We went to school in Benson, all of us, and Dave and Nate would always come down to my house to skate the miniramp in the backyard. It was like a ditch, but then they re-did it and made it into a little 3-foot miniramp after seeing Shackle Me Not.

Do you know who did the first switch krooked grind? Did Koston do the first switch K?

I would guess it's Koston, I don't know.

When'd you do yours?

Ah, switch crooked grinds – probably '93? Probably, and I learned to pop out of them in the middle of a ledge, I remember learning that at Flushing in New York City.

In like, '98?

In like '98 – I'd always have to come off the end until then. I could always fall out 180 in the middle, but I could never pop out to fakie until I learned them at Flushing.

What's your favorite...shit, it's gotta be a switch crooked grind. What's your favorite switch crooked grind that you've ever done?

That switch crook fakie tre was a battle – that was like a two year battle.

That took your ankle out, right?

Yeah, that was at that loading dock spot in Eden Prairie.

It's in the intro to Weekend Warriors where you roll the shit out of it wearing a KG jersey.

Yeah! I could do it on fake-boxes then but never do it outside until the Familia video.

And that was on what ledge?

It was on the one over...behind International Market Square. So yeah. And Nate [Compher] almost fucked it up.

Was Nate filming it?

No, Nate was skating too – he did the nollie crook nollie heel that day – and he was walking back to try again when I made it and his legs were over the top of the camera. So if you watch it, you'll see his pants on the side of the camera when I make it.

Can Nate switch crook better than you?

No.

The Familia Video from Familia Skateshop on Vimeo.

The switch crook fakie 360 flip happens at 0:59 into the video above. Internet records say the video was posted about six years ago, which means one of the first dudes to really do that trick was a preschool teacher from the Midwest. Benson was in a fantasy football league with Davis Torgerson this past season. They're both fans of the Minnesota Vikings. Davis had some food for thought when asked how long Benson's crooked grinded.

"About half the time he spent waxing the ledge," Davis fired back. Touché.

Benji Meyer has filmed at least four of Benson's video parts, including for Apocalypse, Midopoly, Anonymous and Weekend Warriors, over the span of nearly a decade. Asked about how much time Benson has spent crooked grinding, Benji said, "Too much! I met him in '91 and he was switchstance pointer grinding," an archaic term for crooks, "then." That timeline on the switch variant doesn't line up with Benson's, but either way, it's a couple decades of crooks both ways. Benji was kind enough to go through the archives for the clip below. He sent along the following program note: "He tapered off the switchstance pointer grinds around the Anonymous days. Couldn't find anything after this Shitheads Vol. 8 time." Still, it's a chronicle of switch crooks 1995-2001.

In that same timeframe, the late-90s, Benson and Neal Erickson skated together a bunch. Neal's got a mean crooked grind of his own and way back when, rode for Gullwing Trucks. Benson gave him a ton of shit for that before they were friends. When Neal got the question, he was the first person to try to crunch some numbers. "You figure he’s been crooking for 20 years, four days a week, 20 crooks per session, two seconds each," Neal said. "What’s the math?"

The math is 46.2 hours -- just shy of 1/7,300th of Benson's life. He really hasn't noticeably slowed down skate-wise, even as middle age approaches, so it's imaginable he could push things through age 50 and get up towards that 60 hour mark.

Benson and Dan Jackson have skated together since well before they were both Planet Earth flow trash. It's possible Dan has witnessed more Chad Benson crooked and switch crooked grinds than even Benji; it's also worth mentioning Dan has switch crooked his share of rails and sketchy ledges. When asked the big question, Dan was kind enough to show his work:

"His typical time range for a crooked grind is .5 to four seconds. I will guess the daily average of all crooked grinds in a session to be one second all told. Obviously some days are more crook-intensive than others, but a good, typical session average would contain 30 total crooked grinds. This gets us to an average total of 30 seconds per session. He has been averaging 4 days a week skating since the crook was popularized around 1991. 208 sessions/year x 25 years = 5,200 total crookable days. By my math, that equals 156,000 seconds, or 2,600 minutes, or approximately 43.3 hours spent in an active crooked grind position."
Benson's probably crooked grinded for about two days.

February 9, 2016

#MN_classics

The concept that a magazine would either send a dude to a random American city to shoot an article about it or, even better, that the photog would enterprise that thing and do it himself (happy birthday, ZED, by the way), is no longer with us and yet is a reminder of how far we've come.

Per the photo above, in the heady summer of 1998 on a Saturday night downtown, we came upon Ted Newsome attempting to shoot Ryan Hanson doing a switch hardflip into the Reliastar/ING/Whatever-it-is-now fountain the long way. We lurked across the street in the Fed parking lot. ZED's jumped into that bank and grabbed doing so at least two different ways.

As stated, the article came out in March 1999. Come the summer of 2001, another photog that'd shot for TWS, one Brayden Knell from Atlanta, showed up during the hottest week and put another article together, that ended up in a Transworld the next year with Bastien flip backtailing a handrail on the cover.