Tag: "flip"

Vans | Rowley SPV skate shoe

Vans Rowley SPV - Geoff Rowley skate shoe

“It has no fucking gimmicks. It’s the lightest, lowest, grippiest shoe you could possibly make. That’s basically it really.”

I could just leave this review at Geoff Rowley’s quote above and be done with it, as what he’s saying is pretty much the truth. However, considering my homeboy Charlie at Vans was kind enough to send me a pair, that’s a bit lazy… and, to be honest, these are definitely worth a bit of investigation. This isn’t your basic plimsoll.

The SPV (Super Pro Vulc) is pretty much everything I thought it wouldn’t be. Firstly, it’s really comfortable for such a lightweight shoe: I’ve had issues with such thin shoes being flimsy and non-supportive, but the SPV has a really firm heel back. The uppers seem like they could take a pounding, as the one-piece suede front section has no real joins or seams to fall apart at all.

Vans Rowley SPV - Geoff Rowley skate shoe

The sole is, as you’d expect, flexible and allows a lot of feel for the board. Whether your feet can take the abuse of throwing yourself down sets of stairs in these like Mr. Rowley is another thing altogether, but for flip tricks and tight control, these are going to be perfect. There appears to be a high-abrasion section right where you need it and the nice waxed laces are able to take a lot more abuse than standard laces for sure.

Vans Rowley SPV - Geoff Rowley skate shoe

Vans are really good at breaking down a skate shoe into the most basic components and then ensuring that what’s left is up to the job. And the Rowley SPV is the perfect testament to this.

R.I.P. Jim Van Doren.

Vans Rowley SPV - Geoff Rowley skate shoe

Flip Skateboards ‘Extremely Sorry’ DVD

With every modern-day skate film release, the online community proves a harsh and difficult audience to please. Peppered amongst the continual requests for download links and torrent files are opinions and spoilers – and although it’s good that anyone can voice their thoughts to a huge number of readers, it must drive the people behind the films nuts. I like to read what people think, but I also try hard to remember that these are opinions and not rock-solid facts. Some kid in Nebraska might not appreciate a bunch of flip-in-flip-out ledge trickery as much as I would, so I can’t let his damnation influence my preconceptions.

With a six-year gap between this and their last effort, Flip had a lot to prove with this one. Would ‘Extremely Sorry’ carry on the tradition of next-level progression that the guys have shown time and time again? I tried to avoid reading too much about the premiere reports. I couldn’t attend the London one, due to work pressures, so aside from hearing that it was favourable, I didn’t need to know the intricacies of the individual sections.

When people talk about Flip, they usually mention the team changes and other surrounding events that have happened over the past few years. Bastien, Arto, PJ, Boulala and, of course, Shane Cross have all come up in conversation many times – could the new video be able to fill the gaps that these guys left? Well, in short, yes. One of the things I’ve loved most about Flip is their nurturing of talent. Every year you hear about a new team rider who’s apparently amazing and who you’ve never heard of before. Their talent scouting is second-to-none and reminds me of the early ’90s World Industries strategy: doesn’t matter what your name is, if you’re good, you’re good. After Flip scooped up what was remaining of The Firm, it appeared that all angles were covered. You’ve got unheard-of mini-rippers sat alongside skating legends – and it works.

So, I picked up my copy via Slam City and pressed ‘play’. And this is how it went down.

As an opening curtain, Shane Cross’s section is a fitting tribute to one of the best skaters to ride for the team. His section only reinforces the thought that he was taken from us way too soon. Huge rails (including an unbelievable nosegrind), that nollie flip down the Rincon set, massive 360 flips and a fast and solid style makes this section one of the best openers you could have asked for. I didn’t even object too much to the added graphics and bits either. Rest in peace, Shane.

After Shane’s section, the general intro kicks in, with a rapid-fire minute-long assault of what’s due to come. If the website trailer didn’t get you excited enough, then this certainly will. Who better than Geoff Rowley to follow on from there? Half of us expected Geoff to have the final section maybe, but seeing him this early on in the structure only increases expectations for the rest of the film. Mixing the ‘big stuff’ up with some more of the controlled trickery that some of us UK skaters will remember him for years ago, this is his perfect part. Carefully edited, well filmed, interesting and slightly more diverse than most would expect. Box ticked.

I’m not going to run through the entire video piece by piece – there’s already enough spoilers out there – but I will pick out a few choice snippets that I particularly enjoyed.

Rodrigo TX’s part was always going to be impressive. The smiling man with the flip tricks excels beyond your wildest expectations. Plenty of pop, ledge trickery and body-contortion makes for an amazingly-good section. I could hardly ollie a bench off a bump, let alone switch frontside flip one from flat – and his kickflip frontside bluntside fakie on the rail in China was perfect.

Bob Burnquist’s section belongs as much in a stunt show as it does a skate video. Whilst I’m not a huge fan of the flamboyant canyon-jumping stuff designed to appeal to the X-Games crowd, I can appreciate the incredible trickery that goes down on the Mega Ramp. Watch it carefully, as he’s an absolute switch monster. Some people have claimed this to be a genre-defining piece of history, which it probably is, but how you ever aspire to conquer vert in a similar manner is beyond me. Entertaining as opposed to inspiring. But that’s because I’m a pussy who can’t skate vert, I guess.

One of the best sections on here. Luan Oliveira’s part is professional standard from start to finish. An amazing line of bench tricks right near the start sets the level for the rest of his section – and things only get more impressive from there. In my opinion, Luan skates a little like Mike Mo Capaldi which is an indication as to how good he really is. Ali Boulala’s got enough to deal with without people breaking down his section piece-by-piece: it’s entertaining, diverse and the perfect continuation of his part in ‘Sorry’.

A little three-skater section in the middle features Curren Caples (tiny/good/amazing pop and catch), Ben Nordberg (amazing! How come I haven’t seen this guy skate before?) and Willow (who does the best hardflip down a set of 13 stairs and has an incredible part overall). Can’t help but want to see more of those guys. Then Rune Glifberg turns up with the grind on those massive curved walls in the desert (I can’t remember the name of them, but they’re some crazy film set leftovers and absolutely stacked with vert) and a full-on concrete onslaught without any pads. Fast as hell, with some great backyard pool lines to interrupt the skatepark footage. Tom Penny’s section is classic Tom. People have already said, ‘Oh man – it’s not as good as I hoped… blah blah blah’, but you’re missing the point. The fact that Tom could hibernate for a year in the countryside and then turn up at your spot wearing Timberlands and still make the local hero look like a sniveling baby says it all. Watch for the smoothest ever tre-to-manual on the picnic table: dude looks like he’s on his way to buy groceries.

Lance Mountain’s section is so good. A great ‘family photo album’ intro, some lovely filming and editing and a whole lot of stylish pool skating. Whether it was intended or not, watching this part reminded me of Stacy Peralta’s production style.

Appleyard’s section is as good as better than you hoped for. That’s all I’m going to say on that one.

So, onto the last section. Dav-veeeed Gonzales. You’ve seen this once-little dude shoot up through the ranks of skate media for a few years now, so expectations were high for his part in this film. They gave him the final section for a good reason. Whilst I’m not into the ‘recklessness of youth’ (call me too old to appreciate a kid biting into a dead pigeon), this is a monster of a video part. He might do a huge backside 50-50 down a Hubba, but he’ll also do a kickflip-manual-to-front-foot-impossible on a manual pad too. A well-deserved ending section.

So, what’s the verdict? This is a damn good video. Some people have ripped it apart – editing, music (both of which I actually thought were great and appropriate), whatever – but approach with a clear mind and I’ll be surprised if you weren’t blown away.
You could download it, but pick up the DVD box-set and experience it full resolution on your TV as it was intended.