Gorgeous is never a crime! (Part one in a two-part analysis.)
AMAAAAZING! Brian Anderson just came out to the skate world.
And the Grit does gay only in the celebratory, never in the pejorative. And never ever ever in the homophobic (hello STAB commenters!). Oh no, the Grit has broken story after story, from the first ever Gay Power Rankings to the provocative Fred Pawle long read “Best Gay Surfer Ever!” and the industry forecast that surf companies could make bank selling “gay” , if only anyone over in Costa Mesa would heed our informed industry prognostications…
But even if the Grit didn’t do skate and didn’t do gay, there is something very, very relevant about this clip of longtime pro Brian Anderson coming out to the world and announcing a new pro model with Anti Hero. For those of you who don’t do skate (but maybe do gay?), Brian Anderson is a very tall Queens-based (as in New York, not as in the foil to the bear in gay typology) shredder who once had a shaved head that made him look like a very violent, very angry white supremacist. Turns out he was not violent, nor angry, nor a white supremacist, but rather a rags-to-riches line cook who was named Thrasher’s Skater of the Year within a few years of going pro, backing it up with a 1999 Münster World Cup of Skateboarding victory. Video parts abounded, and he rode for LA’s Girl Skateboards for fifteen years before departing to focus on his own projects in 2013. As a Nike SB team rider, he’s also basically John John’s teammate.
A surfing equivalent, in terms of style, is hard to come by…apples and oranges, just not an easy comparison due to mechanical differences…but BA became renowned for floating skyward gracefully and smashing landings at full speed, not an ounce of tall-guy style (this, we use in the pejorative: bend your fucking knees, tall guys!) to be found. For this, I refer you to the video. And it turns out that after two decades of pro parts and creative ventures, BA figured it was finally time to come out to the whole wide world with the loving help of Thrasher and Vice Sports.
Some of the highlights: BA talking about how his love for Baloo the bear and facial hair tipped him off as a child, checking out cops when getting kicked out of spots, holding in his sexuality to save a career, and derelict park-rat Brandon Biebel being glad that BA’s sexual preferences meant more pussy for him. There’s also lots and lots of speculation about what would have happened if he’d have come out at the peak of his career fifteen years ago.
Makes ya think about who’s who and who’s where in the surf game and where surfing lies in comparison to skate, which is infinitely more friendly to diversity than surf, although not quite ideal environs for being an openly gay sponsored athlete.
All I know is that I had to keep this secret for most of 2016. While I stumble across the odd surf rumor, skate brand art departments worldwide literally dump rumor and anecdote into my lap at brunch, at the bar, on the train, at the bar, etc.
But alas, there is no SkateGrit. Which leads me to another question: how much room is there to break founded and unfounded skate rumors here on the Grit? Or too much, too soon?