February 29, 2012

Kill Fee: Randy Ploesser

Photo by Sam McGuire

This was supposed to be posted by the Worldwide Sports Leader late last year, but a change of editors, a lag-time in resubmission and some confusion over The High Five has it ending up here. That said, Randy rules.

Some years ago, Randy Ploesser was unsponsored, living in St. Louis, Mo., nicknamed after an intelligent marine mammal and making waves in SLAP’s “One In A Million” contest. The video part he submitted was such a heavy hitter that Birdhouse snatched him up and started sending him boards before the contest had ended, and soon he moved to California. But what happened so quickly ended up being a waiting game for Ploesser. He returned to St. Louis, sitting on Birdhouse as an honest to goodness man am for far too long, before landing on The High 5, which finally turned him pro this year. He topped off a heavy 2011 by also getting married. Ploesser may still be waiting to actually ride one of his pro models, but we’ll gladly wait with him.

What’s a bigger deal, turning pro or getting married?

Probably getting married, to be honest. You know though, they’re both pretty equal in the gravity of it, you know (laughs)? The pro model hasn’t come out yet; it’s kind of on pause for the moment. But it’s coming along, so I’m definitely super hyped on it. I’m glad someone gave me a board in my old age.

How old are you?


Was turning pro ever a real big deal for you?

It kind of was, but I really wasn’t thinking about it for a while there as something that was going to happen. I was just going to ride this thing out until I wasn’t skating as a sponsored skater. But I think it’s more important to turn pro for a company like The High 5 because I actually care that I’m pro for them. It re-motivates me in a way, creatively and skating-wise.

What’s the story behind your “first board” graphic? Was that your idea and how did you hang onto that board for so long?

I’ve just always had it. I got it signed in ’96 by Tony Hawk, Willy Santos and Paul Zitzer; they did a Birdhouse a demo in St. Louis. They signed it so I kept it. It’d been in my basement for years.

I told Todd [Bratrud] the idea [for the graphic] and he found the board sitting around at my house and took a photo of it. I didn’t know he’d done that and a couple of months down the line he sent me the finished graphic. I’m pretty stoked.

I saw those Birdhouse guys on the same tour, they did a demo in a hockey rink.

That was right after I started skating; I started in ’95. I skated the same board for a year or something. It’s funny, you look at it and it’s seriously a foot and a half long. The nose and tail are shaved down and it’s chipped to hell. The graphic is pretty hilarious. You see the size of the old board and how crappy it was.

Is having more of a normal life in St. Louis what keeps you there?

Yeah, I think it’s just being able to relax and do things at my own pace. I have to go to California and travel regardless, but it’s just nice to come back and unwind. There’s stuff to film here and I can do it at my own pace with my friends. It’s just a different atmosphere.

For someone that’s never been there, what’s St. Louis like?

Ah man, it’s pretty trife. It’s a run-down Midwestern city that’s sort of on the upswing. But it’s not as bad as you think, there’s a lot of good stuff going on.

You’ve written some tour stories for magazines about trips you’ve gone on. Is that something you’d want to do after skating or just a perk of the job?

I think it’s a perk. It’s something I could see myself doing, but I don’t know how much you can sustain yourself off skateboard writing. I enjoy it a lot and if people ask me to write something I’m always willing to do it.

Why are you so harsh on yourself when you write captions about yourself?

(Laughs) It’s kind of awkward to write about yourself in general, so it’s just funny to be self-deprecating. I would never hate on someone else in a caption. It’s kind of fun to think about, it’s in the back of your head, but you’d never want to put it out there, so I’d rather use myself as the subject of all the abuse.

Everything that can’t be said you just pile on yourself.

Yeah, exactly. It’s already what everyone is thinking so I just beat them to the punch.

How are things going with The High 5 after a year?

It’s going awesome, man. It’s pretty nice to actually be creatively engaged with the company instead of just doing a job or filling a roll as just a skateboarder. There’s a lot more power to change things and have things done.

Is it sort of a culture shock going from a big company to a smaller start up?

Yeah man, the trips are way different. The Birdhouse trips were insane, we went on some pretty big trips. There’d be 25 to 30 people, 10 that are skaters and the rest are people managing Tony’s stuff. You’d do a demo everyday then still try to shoot a street article with a crew of 30 people to deal with. It was pretty crazy.

Finally, you were really one of the first guys to get sponsored just off a video part on a website. Do you have any advice for kids, seeing as how they’re all trying to do the same thing nowadays?

Yeah, I’d say don’t do that (laughs). Don’t use the Internet as your only forum of exposure. It’s good for kids to ride for companies that they’re stoked on and come up through the ranks on a flow thing, where they’re potentially going to get the big video part that will put them out there. Get something going that’s not as ephemeral as just throwing your own content on the web.

I don’t know though, it’s a changing game, I guess.

February 24, 2012

Nash Skateboards

Platinum Field Correspondant, David Fink, is in Orlando doing some All-Star game-type-stuff and had a chance to follow up on this Quartersnacks post regarding Steve Nash and skateboarding with the dude himself. Fink adds,
"And in regards to your post about Rubio's skate vibes, he's never tried skateboarding, but reps the Vans Era, so you're right on."

Down By The River

I had no idea Burnsville had a skatepark until I went to cover a city council meeting (it was me, J-school student, the Patch.com reporter and two Boy Scouts at the meeting). They've got what looks like a pretty legit spine ramp and you're standard Trueride stuff for the rest. Evidently there's money to improve it (might just be a ground update for now). Check out the fundraiser at the Lair.

February 21, 2012

North Coast

Chris Burt is putting out a video three Saturdays down the line and you should go see it. The lack of theater premieres of videos as of late is both unfortunate and a sign of the times, so take this as an opportunity to go see a local skateboard movie, that looks like it's going to be quite awesome, on the big screen. A hat tip to Devolve, which posted pretty much this same exact thing, about an hour and a half earlier.

Just noticed I also bit my previous post from Devolve, without even knowing it!

Read this Boil The Ocean post and chime in. Extend it!

Rust Belt

Via Quarter Snacks, a day late to the party, Austin Kanfoush and Co., with assistance from One Up Skateshop, show up with the most entertaining short of recent memory. Kanfoush barrels along with a strong showing from the supporting cast, but it's hard not to want to see that dude and only that dude the whole way through. Lost hats, slams at the end of lines, slams as tricks, Kanfoush captures excitement on video and kudos to the editor of this thing, because he translated it to 640x480.

Via Kyle Beachy, here're a good number of photos of New York City skateboarding from the 1960's. Whoever shot those photos seems to have caught the essence well, of something mostly undeveloped. I need to catamaran more. Maybe not with girls sitting on my old knees. Highwaters. We and Ed Templeton were late.

I'll continue to shill for the Done Trip 2.0 simply because I think it's a very cool idea. They're two thirds of the way there and there's time to spare. All you dudes that just made the flurry of local skate vids: give them $5 bucks and you have the chance to get a clip in their finished video product. Their continued success also solidifies a demo in Minneapolis from a pretty exceptional crew and if it's a motivation, if they make their goal, I'm out the $60 I pledged. Make it happen.

Edit: In light of last night's Timberwolves game, we have this.

February 14, 2012


That Done 2.0 tour from Kickstarter that I've been talking about? Looks like someone bought a demo for MPLS, or is just trying to monopolise their time. I put $60 down last week for the book and DVD. Grab 20 of your homies and buy a digital download of the video and help these fools out, and we all get a chance to run into them, or a demo.

February 9, 2012


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Davis is big on the internet this week. One must say "first try!" about both of these, though the intermagazine move is well played. What do we read into this media blitz? ORANGE FAMILIA BEANIES FOR EVERYONE (Oprah voice)!!!

There's progress.

Edit: This is really good. REMIX!

February 6, 2012

Kickstarter My Heart

Sam McGuire, jerboiz Davis and Todd and a bevy of other dudes are trying to alternatively fund a skate trip of dreams in a way we all wished we'd have thought of first. They're trying to raise $15,000 (or more) in a month, starting today. All the info you need is right here on their Kickstarter page.

Will Kevin Love get suspended for this, which happened over the weekend? Let's find out today!

Edit: Two game suspension!

Also, Steve has (another?) Bangin' going on.

February 3, 2012

Lions and Lambs

We've made it so far that skateboarding is writing its mythology from within for without. The trailers above feature plenty of recognizably amazing skateboarding with soundbites from recognizable skateboard faces speaking a language for mass consumption. Writing about Harold Ramis and his early comedic success in a 2004 New Yorker piece, Tad Friend said, accurately,
"The secret of American commercial success is to hijack a subculture and ransom it to the mainstream."
"Hijack" may not be precisely the correct term for what Stacy Peralta and Jacob Rosenberg are up to, because there probably wasn't or isn't anyone at the controls in the first place. The two filmmakers do seem, however, to have vested interests in how the subject matter and the people in the films are portrayed. They are, inextricably, parts of the stories they're trying to tell (Peralta to such an extent that he's directing something about something he directed).

Are the two films going to be compelling and entertaining? With a doubt. Would For Whom The Bell Tolls be more apropos for the D. Way biopic? Yeah (it might even be in there even. Another question, did Trent Reznor score Waiting for Lightening?). Will there be some entertaining montages set to "The Faction," and, well, more "Metallica?" Sure thing. We, skate nerds, might even learn a thing or two from watching.

I'll have to reserve judgement until I've seen both movies, but the likelihood that either will do more than gloss over any real controversy in either story seems low, unless the controversial figure is seriously on the outs. Looking at you, Swindell. Of course, both films are histories written by the victors and any concerns about their accuracy should be filed away while I tune in, to tune out. Entertain me.

Elsewhere, Butttown's newest and finest, Alec Majerus is doing some seriously heavy lifting.

Chromeball interviews Tim O'Connor just in time for the weekend.

I'm late to posting this Rob Brink interview, which is a good read.

Finally, to a dude who seems like he could be 28 because he's been doing it for so damn long, but he's only 23; happy birthday to David Jaimes. This is six years old; let it play out the credits.

February 1, 2012

No Limit Soldier

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Thrasher has what is essentially a Nike SB edit that's quite pleasing, though the caption for it has me trying to determine if I'm being a bit too PC when it comes to the lack of "art-faggery" mentioned. Should I care? Does the hyphen score points? Is it just a matter of Thrasher's "coreness?" Nah, that's pretty tacky*.

That said, the highlight of the clip is BA's none-seen-that-often-or-ever flatground impossible bigspin. I'd wanted someone to do that trick forever (lacking the skills to do it myself) and the wait was well worth it due to BA's impecable "slow motion for me" style and the meandering that lead to that boneless lipper.

For sheer audacity (that probably hasn't been matched since) this is one of the best covers ever, 13 years on.

*I agree with the commenter. The final sentence was changed from a milquetoast rejection of caring for what is now there.

On Dunks and Video Parts

While the commentariat over at Boil The Ocean struggles over concerns of Mark Suciu and authenticity (yes, I added my two cents as well), my mind wanders to matters like the Herculean dunk above (violence!) and this piece by Bethlehem Shoals about quantifying, or qualifying the best dunk. As it happens, my mind wandered back to rankings in skateboarding, how frivolous a pursuit they really are (but how fun are they?) and then Shoals laid it all out so succinctly and with an analogy I can take to heart, I decided to post. Shoals says (apply this as you will to skateboarding):
"Dunks are a subjective shudder, felt by spectators, but mostly an exchange among players. Each dunk is singular, and yet very much the same: someone got totally fucked and all the world saw it. Ranking them is like comparing other people's genital size when we fans will all die virgins."
Virgins, man.

Edit: Jordan Sanchez!