It was Saturday, May 12, deep in the Hollywood Hills, where some very famous people got together to celebrate the launch of skateboard mogul and television star Rob Dyrdek's newest endeavor-- a line of premium sunglasses and accessories. The party lasted well into the early hours, where a mixture of skateboarders, actors, musicians, and media rocked out to the music of L.A. based band "Bleached" and DJ Ana Calderon.
Dyrdek is partnered with CEO of Fox Head, Pete Fox, and acclaimed designer Jerome Mage to create a line that promises "to represent an elevation in street and skate inspired fashion and lifestyle."
The sunglasses also incorporate the work of Carl Zeiss of Zeiss Optics, which will provide every lens in IVI sunglasses for optimum, optical excellence.
Is this just another star using his name to create a line of products that lack quality and substance? Or are these just some high-quality shades? For now you can check out the collection online here and product will available at local retailers in June. In the meantime, we'll just have to take Rob's word for it.
Check out photos of the launch party here.
Professional skateboarder and MTV reality star Rob Dyrdek barrel rolled a Chevrolet Sonic 360-degrees
duplicating the look of one of skateboarding's staple tricks, the kick flip.
Dyrdek has performed millions of kick flips in his life, but needless to say this was his first not on a skateboard. He performed the stunt at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California while filming for the season premiere of his reality program on MTV, "Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory".
Above anything else the stunt was a remarkable engineering feet. Dyrdek drove the sonic precisely 43 mph launching from a wave-shaped takeoff ramp that pitched the car into a barrel roll allowing the vehicle to go into a spiraling motion essentially duplicating the kick-flip. The 50ft gap between the take off ramp and landing ramp was occupied by Dyrdek's now famous World's largest skateboard.
The Chevy Sonic was converted into a stunt vehicle fitted with a roll cage and racing seat, equipped with 10 air bags in the case something was to go wrong. The 37-year-old reality TV star and pro skateboarder said of the stunt, "I did a bunch of random stunt training, like jumping out of windows and jumping off a roof. And I did jump the car and flipped it into [a landing pit of] boxes to get the feel of it. That in itself was scary."
Dyrdek was not the first to do the stunt, at the Houston Astrodome on Jan. 12, 1972, during the American Thrill Show, Jay Milligan performed a similar stunt. The stunt's most recognized moment came during a James Bond feature film "The Man With the Golden Gun."
The Maloof Money Cup released the first set of 24 skaters invited to compete at the New York and DC stops with some skateboarding legends headlining, but also some very notable names left off the list. Since Rob Dyrdek announced last month they were having skaters sign an exclusive compete contract to only skate in Street League and X Games, the questioned remained which skaters were going to choose which contest.
The first invite list from MMC includes legends like Geoff Rowley, Andrew Reynolds, Dennis Busenitz accompanied by a rich pool of young talent. No shortage of talented skaters will be on display in New York and DC.
But what will be missing from the Maloof Money Cup are mainstream names like Ryan Sheckler, Paul Rodriquez, Chas Ortiz, Sean Malto, and Eric Koston who all appear to be competing in Street League.
The biggest surprise to this list has to be the absence of Chris Cole, a defending three-time winner of the MMC 100,000 prize purse. One would assume his loyalties would be with the Maloofs, after all, the contest has definitely been good to him.
Last year as the rumors about the exclusive contract began to make news; Joe Maloof offered a $1 million bonus to any skater who won four straight Maloof Money Cup contests. That was an obvious statement toward Cole who has won the past three contests.
Dyrdek the founder of Street League as since come out and said, Cole will be the exception, he'll be allowed to compete in NYC at the Maloof Money cup for a shot at four in a row and the million dollar bonus. "We're not going to stop Chris Cole from getting a million dollars, and then he's right back in Street League, and all the other skaters are for it," Dyrdek said.
After glancing over the initial list of riders for both contests, the real winners are the fans. The sport continues to grow and we are all benefiting from it. We now have the chance to watch two different contests with different skaters with different formats all push their skateboarding for huge prize purses.
Sounds like a step in the right direction.
Here's a list of the first 24 invited skaters:
Anthony Van Engelen
Now that the final Street league contest has come and gone, and already been aired on ESPN 2 so more people have potentially seen this competitive experiment in action. What can we take in from it? How will Rob Dyrdek's effort to change the way skateboarders compete against each other rank in the future annals of skateboarding recordation? How do the competitors feel about the new format? How do the non-competing pros feel about the new format? How do the soccer/skate moms and dads feel about this new outlet of organized skateboarding? And how does your everyday skateboarder feel about this new addition to the modern day explosion of skateboarding?
Street skateboarding is a difficult beast to tame as far as competition goes. It's very, very technical. In this, the day of mega ramps and superpipes it's hard to really convince a novice skate fan that the two worlds are equally as challenging. On one hand you have guys dropping into drop-ins as tall as the apartment complexes many of us live in, clearing 50-foot gaps, and then launching 30 feet out of 30-foot quarterpipes. There has been the crowd silencing spills of Jake Brown and Danny Way, falls that look impossible to walk away from, and yet these guys are still competing on these behemoth ramps today. And then on the other hand, you have a switch kickflip backside talislide on a two foot ledge. It's like a Great Dane fighting a Chihuahua as far as the eye pleasing factor to an ignorant skate fan goes.
But that's the thing, street skateboarding is incredibly hard, period. I was exaggerating a little bit in the above paragraph. It is obvious to see that a frontside flip over a handrail and down 14 stairs takes a lot of skill and guts. It's just people in America want every thing to be MEGA! "The Land of the Free" is also "The Land of the Big." We supersize our fries, drive hummers and make big-fat kids that need big offerings of french fries to fill their big stomachs, and need the big bucket seats of hummers to fit their big-fat asses. So, it's only natural we want our skateboarding Supersized, it's the American way.
In direct contrast, street skateboarding is considered more of an art by it's industry than a sport, which is another factor Drydek is having to battle. Most "artist types" are either naturally non-competitive, or just use it as an excuse not to try. "I'm scared I might not do good, so I'll make it obvious I don't care," or "I'm simply too cool for this." Now, I tend to hang out more on the art side of things, so I know their are guys in street skateboarding that simply are eccentric artists and really just aren't competitive. But there are A LOT of guys who use it as a copout. "I'm marketed as this 'guy,' I don't want to ruin my image."
In other words Dyrdek is giving street skateboarders an opportunity to display what they do, and how difficult it really is. And a lot of them simply don't want it. He's trying to change things up and give guys who don't normally skate these things a chance to prove they're on the same level as Chris Cole. Some are giving it a shot, but a lot of the video guys are skating Street League like they film a section. Trying more difficult tricks than they need to, and in the process throwing the contest away. I think Sean Malto put it best after his win at the second stop, "I flipped my board twice the whole final." He played it safe, and was rewarded with $150,000.
So who's the better skateboarder, the guy who can consistently land a program of tricks, or a guy, who if given a year, can put together a killer section. If the true test of being the best is being able to come through when you have to, than what is better? Being able to land a move in a contest when the pressure is on, or getting every trick you need for your video section in the amount of time allowed.
A competitor in Street League said to me after the Las Vegas contest, "he says it's so different and ground breaking (the format), but it's the same guys winning this that win Maloof and Dew Tour." That is true, but it's because they are skating with a plan. Street League is very different than the other contests, it's one trick at a time that is instantly scored. It's skateboarding meets chess. It may not totally reward a risk taker, but it puts an end to a blizzard of unlanded tricks with a few makes here and there.
The format makes street skateboarding more of a spectator sport. The legitimate "skate rat" can sit down and watch his heroes next to his mom and dad, who will be able to understand what is going on a bit more. They may not know what a switch kickflip is, but they'll get that the competitor needs a 4.2, and it's exciting because...DID HE GET THE SCORE. AND THE JUDGES SAY...
Street League skateboarding has one really good thing going for it as far as making skateboarding a league. Street skateboarding is the most popular form of skating by a landslide. All you need is a skateboard and some pavement. They're aren't that many halfpipes around anymore, and who the hell knows where the nearest mega-ramp is. It's been like the same five guys winning the mega-ramp contests for as long as they've been around. But the faces of street skateboarding are constantly changing; it's just so damn popular. And so is Rob, the combination of the two is a legitimate threat.
Street League skateboarding appears to have been a success, and it is going to be interesting to see what happens next year. Enough of the core pros and industry people have given it support, and the crowds have really seemed to be into it. There are tons of possibilities. Will it go international? How many stops will there be next year? Is it going to be all of the same skaters? Will there be a best trick contest? There are just so many things to expect. We'll see.
Top photo: Arizona course at the Jobing.com Arena. Photo: Courtesy of California Skateparks.
Bottom photo: Street League Founder, Rob Dyrdek. Photo: Polk via Getty Images
There was a time, not that long ago, when skateboarders and school officials were hostile warring parties.
Administrators, school boards, and city officials fearing the long arm of litigation declared war on skaters years ago, making them outlaws for riding anywhere near a schools' coveted features like high curbs, manicured concrete roll-ins, and flat handrails, all of which make campuses a target rich environment for skaters.
In several instances the bans became city wide. To this day, the cat-and-mouse game skaters play with most security detail, be they hallway monitors, mall cops or fully deputized police officers, is not just a past time, but a source of pride.
But times are changing.
More and more schools, desperate to do anything to encourage kids into some physical activity, are warming up to the idea of bringing some "controlled chaos" into the P.E. class by not only encouraging them to take up the sport, but instructing them in the fundamentals.
Dave MacDonald, a P.E. Teacher at California's Fillmore High, was the first in his state to adopt the innovative new program. He told NBC news reporters that after visiting a skate park with his kids, where he saw the same skilled kids and the apprehensive ones that are in his class, a light went on. "I thought...wow, this is the activity for our kids. If we can incorporate this into P.E., what an awesome thing that would be."
And with skaters like Tony Hawk, Shaun White, Rob Dyrdek and Ryan Sheckler being household names to most teens, it's a pretty easy sell to the kids -- even the ones who dread physical education.
While pro skaters like Hawk and Dyrdek are actively involved in getting more municipalities to build skate parks, Eric Klassen, a longtime skater and former pro snowboarder, launched Skate Pass to incorporate skating programs into schools. According to ESPN's Matt Higgins, Klassen's Skate Pass curriculum is now being put to use by more than 500 schools in 31 states, as well as other countries, including Canada, Germany, Singapore and the Dominican Republic.
The program is designed to fit what's called the New P.E., which caters to those who aren't necessarily athletic by giving them individual, non-competitive activities that get the blood pumping. In essence, they're actually fooling kids into exercising by making P.E. more fun.
The Skate Pass program, which costs schools about $3000 to implement, has been getting rave reviews. And the positive effects go well beyond just the physical. According to Brandan Aldridge, who runs both before and after school programs at Will Rodgers Middle School in Fair Oaks, Calif., the real measure of the program's success can be seen in his school's attendance records. "We're drawing 25 students every morning faithfully," he testifies on the Skate Pass site. "Since we started our AM club, the tardies and absences of the students in the club have dropped dramatically!"
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