8.22.2008

chrome ball incident #113: paradigm shift







I know, I know... another girl post. But this idea came up on the comments section yesterday and kinda got me geeked. I like to do a pretty big post for Fridays and this one fits the bill so sorry for the repetition, guys. Look for ronnie creager to start off an entire week of non-girl related posts next week.

I remember the first time that I heard about girl, I laughed. It was so unbelievable that you almost had to. The sheer magnitude of girl's establishment changed the entire skate world virtually overnight. I can honestly say that I've never seen anything like it and actually can't think of a single thing to compare it to. It was that big. Its hard to put into perspective just how powerful rocco was in the early 90s. Simply put, he was the shit... it was almost as if he had some sort of monopoly on "cool". He had the best riders on the best companies with the best graphics and ads... granted the quality of the boards were shit, but nobody cared. Rocco companies were the best companies. It was as if his teams had finally caught up with all his talk and clever marketing and he could now rule the industry. The pros that anybody really gave a shit about that weren't on a rocco affiliate were few and far between... and even most of those dudes were guys that used to ride for steve and left. It was insane. He had everything... and most of what he didn't have evidently wasn't seen as worth the effort of his taking it.

So when those dudes decided to leave their companies (who at the time were rumored to have a combined 80% of the market share, all of which were headed by a man who loved talking shit almost as much as he loved revenge) in order to go out in the marketplace on their own and compete independently... serious balls. But it went down just like that, one day... POOF! They were gone. Nobody saw it coming, not even Rocco. Some benefited from this industry shift (Kareem's stock skyrocketed) while others at the same time found themselves lost in the turbulent waters (Henry Sanchez comes to mind). Granted this move didn't have anything to do with tricks (of the skateboard variety anyway), but it's easily one of the biggest singular events (at least from an "industry" standpoint) to happen to skateboarding since I've been around (and is doubtful anything of its magnitude could ever happen again, post-internet). Politics of the game.

15 years ago... jesus. congrats to girl though. for real.

And for those of you who haven't seen this, what exactly are you waiting for?

12 comments:

chops said...

for the life of me, i can't find the henry "real gun" blind ad. i think it fell victim to my wall but if i find it... it'll be up.

j-dubs said...

Awsome post, your totally on point about rocco. He really was that powerful. Not much more I can add to your original post u said it all.

Especially loved the world and bitch ads. Thanks

smorales said...

Goldfish is such a good video.

Keith said...

I think the jumping ship of the Bones Brigade from Powell was pretty huge as well, although they didn't all go to a single new company. Another exodus that is somewhat similar, although way geekier, is when Todd Mcfarlane took a crap load of the best artists from Marvel and started Image.

I disagree about Prime wood sucking. They were the first to have two colour veneers on the top, which made your board look less shitty from landing dark side repeatedly on flatground flip tricks. Their boards felt crisper than the other wood factories at the time IMO. Their boards were also thinner, which did something special to them. I'm not sure what... more pressure from the presses made them more dense = more solid? No idea.

Those first girl boards that came out were brutal. The shapes seemed so wrong, the wood was thick, they got soft fast and they were weak. Out of that series, I picked up a Jovontae, and proceeded to snap it in a few weeks.

Girl and Chocolate are definitely two of my favourite board companies but I rarely ride either of their boards. I personally like Alien and Habitat boards.

chops said...

yeah, i think goldfish is kinda underrated these days... especially in the shadow of the later ones. all the parts had a real represent-or-die kinda feel to it. and the skits are pretty amazing as well.

powell's fall was huge (largely due to rocco) but their fall was more gradual over a much longer span of time. essentially after stacy started to vanish, so did their riders slowly over the course of well over a year... it wasn't just BOOM! 3/4 of the squad is gone. know what i mean?... think about it, blind was fucked, most of plan b's street dudes were gone, 101 lost koston and world lost tae (not even counting chocolate sweeping in and picking off some more a little bit later). evidently those dudes just called up world one day after touring for the last month wearing girl shirts and told world the news. mass exodus. that's brutal (but understandable considering rocco's power).

I feel you on the positives of the old world boards (that's all I bought for a long time) but my 130 pound, 15 year old ass broke entirely too many boards doing mostly flatground tricks to stand by that product unconditionally. haha

Brad Jackson said...

Yeah, they did a demo in Memphis the summer they "started" girl, but hadn't left World yet. Rick, Koston, Carrol were all there. They were wearing DIY Girl shirts (white with light blue logo) and at first I was like, the hell? I thought maybe they found some women's restroom stencils or something, but I worked at the skateshop (Cheapskates, still running since '85!) and they all traded their decks in for stuff we had on the wall. I'll never forget what they picked, Carroll got a Stereo Matt Rodriguez, Rick picked a John Montessi "G.I. John" New Deal deck and Koston grabbed a Mad Circle logo board. They were trying to trade any and all of their World gear for just about ANYthing they could, I found that to be pretty weird, so I asked what were the shirts all about (to Koston, my fave at the time) and all he said was, "What do you think, do you like it?"

The demo was held in a water park (as in waterslides), the setup was cool, but hardly anything was actually landed. Not sure if it was because the guys had new boards with probably new concaves to get used to or what, but seriously, about 5 tricks were landed. Only those guys could get away with that...

Keith said...

hey brad,

Thanks for that story!

chops said...

yeah, brad. that's history right there. interesting board choices, too.

rob e beats said...

Girl is my favorite team too, chops, always will be, but those Bitch decks were great.

Brad,
that's one for the grandchildren.

Brad Jackson said...

Glad you liked it, I still have the video from that demo, I'll post it as soon as someone posts some Bobcat stuff from the 60/40 video. :)

Keith said...

I think in that Henry gun ad, his sequence was a switch bs 270 ollie to nose slide on the little down ledge all those dudes skated in 93.

Did I say that trick right? switch bs 270 ollie to normal stance nose slide down? Or would it be a switch bs 270 ollie to tail slide down?

shiftace said...

I remember dying to pick up a new mag, just to see the rocco ads. that dude was a genius of the deadpan humor. his bio-pic that runs on Fuel tv every so often is pretty good, he still is salty over the exodus, but wipes his tears with $100 dollar bills, so I guess money can buy happiness...for a little while.