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Switch Mongo

Without rolling, let’s face it, skateboarding would be incredibly boring.  Imagine being content without it, being a stationary dud left only to explore the cobwebs of a concrete garage.  Movement is one thing that all skateboarders have in common and without an incline the only way to get it is by pushing.  That is why, after all these wonderful years, we still are enamored by the simple act of pushing.

It’s easy to see why pushing can cause a ceaseless debate on so-called “best practices.”  What’s right, what’s wrong, what’s most effective, and/or what’s the most aesthetically pleasing way to push?  Most would agree that it is faux pas to push mongo; but give a pass on switch mongo.  I like to think that it comes down to whoever is running it.  So whatever your preference is on the matter, we’d like to bring to light a collection of some of the best ever to push switch mongo.  This might make you change your mind.

JB Gillet is hands down one of our favorite French skateboarders of all time.  A true OG, he has a career that spans nearly two decades and he has ridden for some real heavyweights; New Deal, World Industries, Deca, and his long time home of Cliche.  JB’s skating is definitely tech heavy, lots of ledge and switch stance skateboarding.  JB has been running switch mongo for forever and it doesn’t seem like he’ll ever adapt.

Most notably here is JB from etnies’ “High 5″ Video (1995) and Cliche’s “Freedom Fries” (2004):

jb_etnieshigh5bjb_cliche2

 

Like Gillet, Gino Ianucci has had a very long career and he has ridden for some of the most iconic brands ever, think; Black Label, 101, and most recently left his long time home at Chocolate for greener pastures at Fucking Awesome.

What I like most about this switch mongo push is the fact that just prior to this he pushed regular switch in the SAME line. Definitely a move that is unique to few.
Gino in 101’s  “Snuff“(1993):

ianucci_101

Here’s Gino still running it 20 years later:

ianucci

Hate him or love him, Bobby Puleo, is incredibly opinionated on skateboarding and his views can often times leave you scratching your head.  Either you completely agree with him or not at all. One thing we can agree with him on is it’s okay to push switch mongo.
Bobby Puleo from the Infamous video (late ‘90s):

bobbypuelo_infamous2 bobbypuelo_infamous

Like James Kelch at EMB, Ricky Oyola was often regarded as the mayor of Love park in Philly. He is also very outspoken about doggin’ on people who push switch mongo.  We love Ricky, but this makes us immediately put Stevie’s push on the list:

Stevie Williams in the Chocolate Tour video (1999):

steviewilliams_chocolatetour2

Bonus is Stevie’s line from the Chocolate commercial as seen in 411 issue #36 (1999):

steviewilliams_chocolatecommercial

Stevie and Kalis go hand in hand and Kalis is arguably has the illest switch mongo push ever. Kalis can also be quoted about why he pushes switch this way, “If you are goofy footed… Push goofy. At all times. If I’m rolling switch or fakie.. I push my natural stance. I prefer seeing a switch trick after a fakie push. Too much ambidextrous looks bland to me.”  Kalis also goes onto compliment Koston’s switch mongo push saying, “Koston has a dope fakie push.”
Josh Kalis from Alien Workshop’s “Photosynthesis” (2000):

kalis_photosynthesis

Eric Koston from Girl’s “Mouse” (1996) and “Yeah Right” (2003):

koston_mouse2 koston_yeahright2

One of our favorite contemporary switch mongo pusher hails from Black Pool, England; Danny Brady.

Check out Danny’s stride from the now defunct Blueprint’s “Lost and Found” (2005) and more recent “Making Friends with the Colour Blue” (2010):

dannybrady_lostandfound dannybrady_mfwtcb2

Style master Scott Johnston also pushes this controversial way. If Scott does it, we back it.

Scott Johnston from FTC’s “Penal Code 100A” (1996):

scott_johnston_FTC2

Still the same old push in 2013:

scottjohnston_NHS

This list couldn’t be complete without Mike Carroll, no words are needed here.
Mike Carroll from Plan B’s “Questionable” (1991):

mikecarroll_questionable2 mikecarroll_questionable

Skateboarding is partially governed by a set of unwritten rules, however, I think it’s time we lay this rule to rest.

Bonus: Pushing mongo immediately after a nollie backside flip is ALWAYS a good look.  Shout out to Koston from Girl’s “Mouse” (1996) and Gillet from etnies’ “High 5” (1995):

koston_mousejb_etnieshigh5c

 

 

 

 

Return of the Rubberized Toe Cap

Rubber Toe Cap Skate Shoes

Without a doubt, lately, you’d be hard pressed to look into a footwear catalog and not see at least one model featuring a rubberized toe cap. The majority of footwear brands are adapting to this trend. “Why?”, you may ask? Well for starters, besides offering a slight vintage look (Think PF Flyers and The Sandlot) the rubber toe cap significantly adds more life to your standard skate shoe.

In no particular order. Here are some of our favorite upcoming releases and a model we hope to see in the near future:

 

Huf Classic Lo

 

HUF Classic Lo 

What you see is what you get with this no thrills low top; vulcanized construction + minimal padding. Definitely a good look for anyone looking for superior board feel but can sacrifice a little support.

Find Them Here

 

Vans Happy Daze

 

Vans Happy Daze

Aesthetically, the Vans Happy Daze and Huf Classic Lo look a lot alike. However, the Happy Daze is not necessarily a cut and dried skate shoe. It caters more to day to day casual wear. With it’s removable, washable UltraCush Eco footbed, go ahead and pop them socks off because you will want to go sockless on your next night out on the town.

Find Them Here

 

Did Nyjah Huston bring the Illuminati to skateboarding?

 

Adidas Superstar

 

Adidas Superstar Re-Release

 

When I think of rubberized toe caps, personally, two shoes pop into my head: Converse Chuck Taylor All Star & the Adidas Superstar. The latter has recently been reissued in several limited color-ways to honor the skateboarders who wore them best (Kareem Campbell, Richard Angelides, Drake Jones, and Joey Bast).

Find Them Here

With that being said, I’d like to call attention to the fact that Elissa Steamer should be noted in this conversation. Just watch her part in Toy Machine’s “Welcome to Hell (1996)”. We would love to see “Steamer” written in gold foil by the three stripes! Elissa truly is a Superstar.

 

 

Check out some classic video parts that earned these guys pro model Adidas shoes…

Now let’s take a look into the future to see what’s coming down the line.

 

Nike SB Zoom All Court CK

For what seems like an eternity a lot of us have been wondering what shoe has the whimsical Cory Kennedy been running. Well, it’s the All Court and it’s about to drop this fall and here is a sneak peak for the ones dropping in November and December:

 

806306-061-PV 806306-181-PV 806306-211-PV

Converse

It doesn’t take a sneaker expert to tell you that Converse is no stranger to rubberized toe caps. From the Jack Purcell to the Chuck Taylor the rubber toe cap is part and parcel to Converse’s image. This summer they will introduce a new style that mimics the more petite toe cap of the Huf Classic or Happy Daze. So if you were ever on the fence and need a shoe to test the rubber toe cap waters you are in luck. The Converse Sumner will be available in June!

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 3.06.50 PM

 

Use these 3 tips to make your skate shoes last longer…

 

DC Evan Smith Pro?

This last style is pure speculation but everyone here is hoping this model comes to fruition.

Evan Smith has been spotted wearing a sample of a low top vulcanized DC shoe that features, you guessed it….a RUBBER TOE CAP.

evan-smithevan smith 2

So with DC potentially creating a pro model with this rubberized toe cap, I think it’s safe to say that this re-emerging style is here to stay. It will be incredibly interesting to see what other brands adapt.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Use Colored Griptape

Ever since I can remember, I have always been fascinated by skateboarding; it always seemed completely unique and lawless.  However, growing up in Canton, Georgia in the mid 90s my environment was hardly conducive to the act itself.  I grew up on a poultry farm and the majority of my childhood my driveway was completely gravel (no bueno).  For my buddy, Clay, and me, the odds were not in our favor as we tried to figure out how to make the board “jump.”

Skateboards with colored grip tape

Some of my more recent grip tape jobs.

Eventually, the more accessible childhood activities completely took over and most weekends and afternoons were spent practicing baseball or playing basketball.  All the while, skateboarding never left my mind, but none of my “teammates” had any interest in skateboarding whatsoever.  Years later, luckily, my friend Clay hadn’t stopped skateboarding and without him, I’d never have been reintroduced to skateboarding.

Ben Mercer skateboarding c. 1993

Me shredding c. 1993

In the wake of Zero Skateboards‘ video “Misled Youth,” my second impression of skateboarding was a more eye-opening experience.  This half hour video still has my knees trembling, just thinking about every rail, every gap, and stair annihilation witnessed.  Knowing I could never skate on any level that remotely resembles the video’s standard, I spent years trying to take video of others trying their hand at it.  A lot of good times were had, but I always found myself wanting to skateboard in my own right.  Why film someone else having all the fun? Still, at the time it felt utterly faux pas to enjoy the little things in skateboarding; curbs, shaped boards, and colored grip…because everyone was so busy keeping up with the Jones’ (myself included).  As a whole, the community tried to quantify ones value by amount of stairs they kickflipped or how big the rail they grinded was.  The lawless feeling had passed and skateboarding started to feel like a sport.

 Throughout this time it seemed like the majority of skateboarders’ setups were absolutely uniform.  Every board was just straight black grip, white wheels (graphics in).  It was all popsicle boards, and completely soulless.  I, honestly, couldn’t pick out my own board from a lineup!  The boards themselves were just temporary vessels that would ultimately meet their premature demise after a few sessions of jumping downs some stairs.  With skateboards being so temporary it was hard to get attached, so I didn’t care about the shape or going beyond straight black griptape because it seemed so pointless to car

Basic skateboard complete

Boring

My boards last longer now, part and parcel to getting older and not having the free time to skate as much.  Now if I’m going to skate a board, I have no excuse not to take the time to make my ride unique.  After spending a couple years skating shaped boards, I realized the “cruiser” board stigma is completely false and most shaped boards are completely functional.  Please do not call these cruiser boards or filmer boards.  They are built to be shredded just like any other board.  Also, don’t be afraid to grip your board however you want and know that color griptape skates just as well as any other mainstays; Black Magic, Jessup, Mob, etc.

    It seems like skating is in a great place nowadays and people are starting to come around and think “outside the box” again, which is why I’d like to challenge everyone to try something new and defy the norm.  Skateboarding should never be neatly categorized and there is always room for new ideas or old ones to revisit.  When you adhere to the unwritten rules that govern skateboarding, you’ll miss out on a lot.  It wasn’t until I learned to stop worrying and enjoy the little things that I learned just how much I missed out on.

It’s hard to believe that my reintroduction was over fifteen years ago and since then, for better or for worse, skateboarding has pretty much been all-consuming.  I have seen friends go, trends evaporate, and witnessed my personal skating evolve several times.  Even though life is moving faster and my skateboarding slowing down, it’s safe to say that right now is the most exciting skateboarding has ever been.  Period.

Below are some of the current griptape designs on the counter at Ambush Board Co

The biggest selection of griptape Ambush Board Co. has ever had.Bright and flashy...Thrasher Griptape at Ambush Board Co.

More from Ben Mercer.