Right now, I am compiling research for an eight page paper on how corporations are harmful to skateboarding. The research is going well, considering I am learning new things that I did not know before. When completed, I plan on posting the entire research paper, along with the sources used, on here for you all to read. I’ve found out odd things, such as Rodney Mullen’s website not being run by Rodney Mullen or no way affiliated with him. Something else puzzling came up while I was researching companies that have no background in skateboarding, other than the fact skateboarders use their products, who have tried to piece together some sort of a team. I found out that Bob Burnquist is sponsored by the mexican restaurant Chipotle. I emailed their customer service department. Below is the email, word for word, I sent to Chipotle.
I noticed on Bob Burnquist’s website that he was sponsored by your company. I was wondering, how did this come to be and what are your intentions regarding the skateboarding market?
See, simple. I noticed that a big company like Chipotle has sponsored a skateboarder, which probably means Bob gets free burritos. I just wanted to know if they planned on creating a “Team Chipotle” , like Toyota did (Bob is sponsored by them too, which is another story).
No less than an hour later, I received and email back from Nathan Zackroff who works at P.R. for Chipotle. Again, here is the reply from Chipotle word-for-word.
Thanks for your interest in possibly partnering with us (you have a great last name for a skateboarder). I am going to send this along to our Sports Marketing guru for you so that if they are interested, they can reach out to you directly.
Thanks again for your interest and all the best!
Customer Service Consultant
Chipotle Mexican Grill
It appears Chipotle only skims emails for buzzwords and formulates responses based on them. In no way, shape, or form did I contact Chipotle about a partnership or a sponsorship. I wanted an answer about their intentions. I am also surprised that Chipotle has a “sports marketing guru” as well. The only silver lining and personality in this is that Nathan thinks I have “a great name for a skateboarder”. So thank you for that, and thank you for giving me the run-around, Chipotle.
Until Next Time…
Jerry Hsu left his long-time Sponsor, Enjoi, back in September. Prior to his long and illustrious career at Enjoi, Hsu was on the original Maple Skateboards team, along with Marc Johnson, Louie Barletta, Chad Bartie and Chad Knight.
He had a part in Maple’s 2000 video, Black Cat. Shortly, after this video dropped, Maple was disbanded. Marc Johnson enlisted Jerry, along with Rodney Mullen and Dave Mayhew (of the D3 Fame) to launch Enjoi Skateboards. Featuring many skateboarders from the Tiltmode Army, Enjoi was launched with great success. In 2000, Jerry joined the ranks at Osiris Footwear, and, in 2002, Jerry released his first signature shoe from Osiris Footwear, dubbed the Hsu.
In 2006, Enjoi dropped it’s highly anticipated video, Bag of Suck, featuring video parts from Jerry, Marc Johnson, Caswell Berry, Jason Adams, Clark Hassler, Jose Rojo and Louie Barletta. Jerry had the ender and the video won Transworld’s 2007 Video of the Year award, with Jerry taking the Readers Choice award as well.
Around the time of the video, Jerry released his second pro shoe from Osiris, named the Chino. It was also made into a low-top, dubbed the Chino Low.
After releasing the Chino, Jerry left Osiris in 2007 for the waters of Emerica, releasing a pro shoe with the company as well. The Mid-top, called the Hsu, is still one of the most popular shoes Emerica has released and continues to release new colorways every season. Jerry began filming for the widely acclaimed Emerica video, Stay Gold. Featuring parts from pro’s such as Brandon Westgate, Bryan Herman, Kevin Long, Aaron Suski, Braydon Szafranksi and the Boss, Andrew Reynolds, as well as AM’s such as Marquise Preston, Jamie Tancowny and Colin Provost. Jerry’s part was sandwiched between Figgy’s and Leo Romero. Stay Gold won best video at the 2011 Transworld Awards. Jerry recently released his second Emerica pro shoe, the HSU 2. For a review, check out RippedLaces.
On September 26, 2013; Thrasher posted this photo with the caption, Jerry Hsu off Enjoi.
Many speculated where Jerry would end up. With the launch of numerous new board companies, some assumed he would end up on Brian Anderson’s 3D Skateboards or AVE/Dill’s company, Fucking Awesome. However, Jerry would do no such thing. Instead, Jerry linked up with his long-time friend Marc Johnson and joined Chocolate Skateboards. The video, put out by Crailtap, shows current Chocolate riders Stevie Perez, Chris Roberts, Marc, Elijah Berle and Mike Carroll discussing who to add to the team, citing all things that Jerry has done/is doing. Jerry then appears at the table as a waiter, followed by a welcome screen.
I am beyond stoked that Jerry is now a member of the Girl/Chocolate family. Jerry is a great addition to the team. Hopefully Jerry will have a part in the rumored Chocolate video that is coming out sometime next year. We will have to wait and see.
I hope you enjoyed this brief chronicle of Jerry.
side note: if you ever want to learn the history of brands through ads or video parts, check out skately.com. Some pictures were taken from there and I wanted to give respect to a bonafide skateboarding encyclopedia.
If you like no-nonsense product review mixed together with in-depth interviews with skateboarders past and present, as well as articles about the puzzling nature that is skateboarding, I highly recommend you check out the homies over at RippedLaces.
If you got questions about some of the latest shoes, have no fear. From the new runner-inspired Westgates by Emerica, to the Spitfire Formula Four Wheels, to the Jim Greco Hammer from Supra, RL has got you covered. Each product reviewed is put to the test: twenty hours of skateboarding trying to find the strengths and weaknesses the product possess. All of this is help guide you in your quest for the ultimate skate product that will suite your needs.
On top of shoe and product reviews: RL also has some pretty choice lists going. I reccommend the series on “25 Skateboarders in 2013 Without a Shoe Sponsor“, as well as the video segment “Here and Now” with Kerry Getz. A big inspiration to the Ship, I highly recommend checking out RippedLaces.
Poler Stuff said it best, “Skate shoes are a privilege, not a right”. Nowadays, the words “skate shoes” get tossed around more than a football on Sunday. Are “skate shoes” footwear specifically designed for the abuse of skateboarding? Or are “skate shoes” footwear inspired by skateboarding? The term “skate shoes” is so vaguely used. It appears that if a company such as Vans or Emerica or Fallen releases a shoe, it is automatically deemed a skate shoe. Shoes that a decade plus long skater such as myself would not wear. Non-skateboarding companies are the worst. How can a brand such as Nike justify making a “Skate Shoe”, such as the Janoski, out of canvas and expecting people to pay upwards of $80 for a shoe that will rip to shreds in less than a session? It’s extortion at it’s finest. Maybe fraudulent advertising. Nike isn’t even the only brand doing it. Vans sells it’s popular Chukka Low shoe in several canvas colorways, as well as it’s Chukka Mid. On a side note, how dumb does Vans think we are? I can understand taking the original Chukka boot and making it a more functional low-top, but to create yet ANOTHER shoe and call it a Chukka Mid is redundant. Why not just update the original Chukka boot? Why take something from a different generation and market it to a younger generation? Brands are just chasing the dollar and making a product detrimental to it’s consumer instead of making a product that is going to last for more than a month at best. Or at least market them differently than your actual shoes for skateboarding.
What set off this lunchtime rant was what I referred to in my previous post on the Nike SB x Air Max shoes. Welp, the Nike P-Rod 7 Hyperfuse Max (lost the SB name a while back) dropped the other day for a cool $125.00. I really hope you can detect my sarcasm. Jesus fucking Christ. Nike has sunk to a new low. Shoes not for skateboarding marketed towards a skateboarder for a price that is nearly 3/4 of an off-season paycheck. I cannot comprehend how or why this is happening. Does P-Rod have a say in this? Judging by his other corporate sponsors at Target and Mountain Dew, I am going to say, unfortunately yes.
The skateboard industry is tumultuous and confusing and I can only begin to understand how it works.
Until next time…
First post in, what, four months? I am sort of the middle of an existential crisis and going through some turmoil. Unfortunately, getting my life in order has lead me to neglecting the Ship. I was checking one of the several blogs I follow today and the latest post from the homies at RippedLaces inspired me to write this. Consider this a Welcome Back, kind of post.
Skate companies making runner inspired Chillers is nothing new. Etnies does it, Osiris does it and DC is notorious for it. I never quite understood why a company that supposedly has their roots so deep in the history of skateboarding would market shoes to “outsiders”. Skateboarding used to be all-inclusive. Now, brands are trying to appeal to all genre’s of people. I see more people wearing skate shoes without scuffed toes or ripped laces (bad pun). It does not even stop at running shoes, brands like Vans, DC and DVS manufacture snowboarding boots and shoes specifically for winter.
But I am not here to talk about snowboarding, I am here for this:
Nike recently put two and two together and realized that they could make double profit by creating the bastard child of both skateboarding and the jocksport world and marketing them to both markets. Why do skateboarders need special shoes to chill in? Skate shoes are designed with space-age technology and “Higher Quality” materials, yet they seemingly do not possess the ability to keep your feet comfortable. What Nike has essentially done is taken the most popular skateboarding shoes it has (Koston, Janoski, and Project BA) and created a hybrid that’s part Air Max and Nike Free but retains the overall look of a skate shoe. Skate shoes have had airbags in the heel. Hell, the K1 from invented the trend.
We now come full circle. Don’t chase the dollar, chase the passion.
In the era of energy drink sponsorships, big corporate chain stores and general douchebaggery; there are still skater owned companies out there that send a message that skateboarding is still for skaters. If you want a good read on the current state of skateboarding, I highly reccomend this Marc Johnson interview on Jenkem. Marc paints a very clear and vivid picture about how corporate companies are out muscling skate shops into financial debt. Marc is quoted as saying that,
Big Company has a policy where if a skateshop wants to carry that ONE shoe that everyone wants, the skateshop is forced to carry ALL of their shoes. FORCED to carry all of their shoes. When those shoes don’t sell, the skateshop goes into debt and that debt gets bigger and bigger until the skateshop goes out of business. Your local shop owes Big Company a lot of money and must continue to sell the popular shoe just to pay their bills, and then they go even deeper into debt because the other Big Company shoes don’t sell at all.
The Nike Janoski is one of the hottest selling shoes in the skateboard industry right now. With a new colorway released almost every few weeks, it is one of the must have shoes. However, if you decide to open up your own skate shop and want to sell the Janoski because it is selling so well, you need to carry a majority of Nike’s other shoes. Even ones with $110 price tag that wear away after less than 15 hours of skating. After RippedLaces dropped their review, the price of the shoe was slashed by $44. Now, the skate shops that ordered these Hybred boots are sitting on piles of shoes that won’t sell because they are way overpriced and terrible for skating. Because the shoes do not sell, the skate shops lose money. When a shop cannot pay its bills, and because it owes big corporate companies money, they are forced to close. It’s a viscous cycle. My local shop has almost an entire wall dedicated to Nike SB, Converse (which is owned by Nike ICYMI) and Adidas. The only other brands I see there are Vans, a few Supra’s, DC and some Emerica’s. Is disheartening to learn that the reason there is all the corporate shoes is because of the stipulation in the contract. Skateboarding is hot, skateboarding makes you money. Big corporations like money and they are capitalizing on their sportwear technology to siphon millions of dollars out of your pockets for a pair of $81 Busenitz ADV’s and the newest Nike Dunk colorway. Skateboarders have the power to decide what succeeds and what fails. Skateboarders have been caught up in corporate bullshit that it clogs our vision. eS Footwear is gone, I hardly see anyone wearing Globe and most of the DC’s I see are the ones you can buy at discount mall footwear shops. It’s disheartening to say the least. Hopefully our eyes will be opened and soon we will see that corporations that have no business in skateboarding should have no business in skateboarding.
I’d personally like to thank Mr. Marc Johnson and RippedLaces.com for inspiration for this post.