I love power rankings. I love them no matter who does them from Lou-Sam to Derek Rielly from Nick Carroll to Nick Carroll from Matt Warshaw to Albert Einstein. I read and think, “Such observation! Such skill! I could never write a power ranking!”
There I was drinking sake and reading ESPN’s week two NFL power ranking and feeling bored, thinking that the writer could have summed up each team with just one word instead of a small paragraph. And then I thought, “I could do that! I could write one word!”
Vans releases "The Prison Issue." Tone-deaf or celebratory?
Did you know that the United States of America locks more people up than any other country on earth? More than North Korea, China, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Iran, even Australia. More than Russia, Mongolia, Ukraine, South Africa, France, even Syria.
So many people!
1 out of every 36 Americans is under some sort of correctional supervision according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, growing by 700% from 1970-2005 creating a multi-multi billion dollar industry.
Moreover, the whole proposition is wildly racist. The Center for American Progress reports that one out of every fifteen men in prison is black, one out of thirty-six Hispanic and one out of one hundred and six white. One out of every three black men will go to prison at some point in their lives generally for some low-level, petty drug crime. Black men get stopped more often by the police, searched more often, beat more often and then get carted off to the big house very much more often to spend at least 20% longer there.
A human rights disaster by any measure.
And are you reading this on a contraband cellphone behind bars right now?
Probably not (because if you are not Maurice Cole then you are white) but if you want to feel like you are try buying a pair of the new Vans Prison Issue. A shoe modeled on the very same sort black and Hispanic inmates wear in cages.
The release reads:
The return of the prison issue (AKA style #23) features an updated toecap and resized straps for the ultimate comfort and support.
Do you think actual prisoners get updated toecaps and resized straps? Do you think releasing a shoe celebrating hard time in an era of extra-hot racial tension is tone-deaf or do think Vans parent company VF Corp is honoring a truly American pastime?
Should some percentage of sales go to the non-profit The Sentencing Project aimed at fixing America’s criminal justice system?
The new Ian Walsh vehicle Distance Between Dreams is sure to thrill! Get a taste here!
What if we all lived in Medieval times? What if we were all born around 1057 and raised in a soggy English shire? Let’s assume that none of us die of any unfortunate disease but let’s also assume some of us are horribly disfigured with no teeth.
What, do you think, your position on that Middle-Age pecking order? Do you think your lineage would put you in line for the throne or some lordship? Would you be a religious man chanting in Latin by candlelight? A simple farmer with sheep, goats and pock-faced children?
Big wave surfers, I feel most certain, would be crusading knights. Men with guts and imagination lacking in fear and hungry for blood. Men who chase glory above all.
Ian Walsh would, without any doubt, be a crusading knight.
I met with him just over a month ago underneath a warm Cardiff sky to speak of this very project here. I was under strict orders to keep it quiet until the proper time, which was exceedingly difficult. My position on that Middle-Aged pecking order would be gossip-monger, my days alternating between the stocks and the booze houses and the stocks again.
And it was exceedingly difficult not to speak/write about because the story Distance Between Dreams positively sings! Ian describes as such:
I wanted to invest my time and energy into a project that would give people a very comprehensive look into everything that we put into surfing big waves. In Distance Between Dreams, we are able to share the good, the bad, the hard work, and resulting satisfaction that you feel when you push yourself further than you ever dreamt possible,” said Walsh. “Fortunately for us, the year we decided to film coincided with a record El Niño giving us an opportunity to time mark one of the best big wave seasons ever.
And if Red Bull’s Media House knows one thing it is how to capture the mania of true wildmen in the highest possible definition from the most angles.
Have you seen Travis Rice’s new film The Fourth Phase?
It is the benchmark of action sport film. Nothing even comes close.
Travis Rice, in person, is as warm as he is friendly. He doesn’t smack of crazy but watch his approach to riding mountains and it becomes quite clear that he is touched. No sane person would do what he does.
Ian Walsh is much the same. Unnecessarily kind. Thoughtful. Easy with a laugh. But just watch him ride ocean beasts. He ain’t normal.
I will chat with the man tomorrow, or the next day, depending on rumor/drink so I can ask him any questions you have (throw them in the comments!) but today revel in this.
His Venice show is called “Apolitical Process: a vision by Kelly Slater” and is, he says, “an artistic journey through the chaotic and sometimes inflammatory 2016 election cycle. It is our aim to explore and expose the underlying truth, hypocrisy, danger, motivations, misinformation and effects of this process. It is our hope that the artwork produces thoughtful discussion, transparency and an openness to question the powers that be..…”
Is surfing behind the best in the world something you should complain about?
You want a fast-track to good surf technique? Surf behind someone better than you.
It always amazed me, still does, how very good surfers seem to control the wave. They are rarely more than a metre away from the pocket and turn on parts of the wave that would have most hunch-backing for the tube. I hanker, therefore, for pro drop-ins. The cheapest coach money can’t buy. I watch their feet. I watch the motion of their torsos. I watch the swinging of the arms.
Which is why it perplexes me when average surfers hair-out in the lineup and, a, either hassle maybe the best surfer alive off a wave or, b, weep when they gotta share.
As Dane Reynolds once told the chocolate-nippled Morgan Maassenin an interview I commissioned , “Every single day I get dropped in on. It’s super backward compared to other sports. Tom Curren should be able to paddle out at Rincon and get any wave he wants. But he doesn’t get a break from anyone. He grovels around on the inside like a grom while guys that look like they’ve been surfing for four months catch bombs. It’s unbelievable.”
What do you think of the behaviour of the longboarding man in the clip below, who is angry when he splits a wave with Kelly Slater?
“Maybe I owe a wave to at Surf Ranch,” says Kelly. “I was on the wave about 5-10 seconds before he took off and I went past him. That’s where this edit begins. He didn’t have a leash and his board washed up next to my gf but he didn’t know she was my gf. He had a few choice words about me to the guy sitting next to her on the beach. So yeah, maybe we should just ride it out all the way together next time!”
Comments on the post, 881 at last count, are roughly two-to-one in favour of Kelly.
(Note: If you’re on a laptop, you might just get the top-thirds of the clip. Click on “kelly slater” and navigate to the clip.)