News Tagged ‘Japan’

Vans Skate X Magenta Shogo Zama skate shoes

Friday, October 1st, 2021

Vans Skate X Magenta Shogo Zama skate shoes

Strong collaboration power here via two of our favourite brands and this Vans Skate X Magenta Shogo Zama skate shoe collection. What’s not to like here honestly? First up, Magenta is one of founding skater-owned-brands of the modern era (alongside Palace etc). It’s owned by legit French legends Viven Feil and Soy Panday. Its focus is style and aesthetics over number-crunching bellendery and, perhaps most significantly, they have championed Japanese skate culture through their brand since the very earliest days.
In line with this focus on glorious Nippon, this Vans Skate X Magenta shoe collection combines Magenta’s flair for aesthetics with direct Japanese influences as Magenta team rider Shogo Zama gets his name on these two bangers.
Secondly, it terms of things that ‘can’t be fucked with’ (as the Wu Tang would put it) is the use of two of Vans’ most beloved silhouettes in this Vans Skate X Magenta collab. If you’re not a fan of the Vans Era or the Vans Chukka then, you’re dead to us basically.
Anyhow – if Shogo Zama is new to you, you can update your brains via the clip above that welcomed him to Magenta skateboards last year. As you’d expect with all things Magenta – it’s steez heavy and about as far removed from the ‘let’s jump off a building’ approach as possible.

Vans Skate x Magenta Shogo Zama skate shoes

As we’re on the topic of the mighty Magenta skateboards and by extension their home town of Bordeaux, France, this seems like a reasonable excuse to champion the work undertaken by Magenta pro Leo Valls.
Following an attempt to criminalise skating in Bordeaux, Leo approached the local authority and created a working relationship that completely flipped the script and has ended up with the city embracing skateboarding. Similar to Malmo, this embrace has gone way beyond decriminalisation and has instead seen the city fixing up existing spots, building new skate-specific spaces and recognising the cultural value of their homegrown skateboard community. If you’re listening Manchester City Council/ Andy ‘king of the North’ Burnham – maybe that’s a slightly more forward thinking approach than this bullshit? You with us, yeah?
Anyway, enough with that – to see the fruits of this, watch the recently released Bordeaux Exposure 3 video featuring Leo Valls, Vivien Feil, Aymeric Nocus, Gauthier Rouger, Tom Penny and numerous other heads.
It’s sick, it’ll make you want to visit Bordeaux and it’s got Tom Penny footage. What more do you need?

Bordeaux Exposure 3 from Julien_Januszkiewicz on Vimeo.


Rayssa Leal and Sky Brown – Welcome to the future

Monday, August 2nd, 2021

With the second of the skateboarding events of the Tokyo Olympics just around the corner, we figured it was a good opportunity to shine some light on Rayssa Leal and Sky Brown. This pair, along with the likes of Momiji Nishiya (Japan’s 13 year old gold medalist in women’s street), are about to reset skateboarding completely.
You’d have to have absolute no interest in skateboarding to have not heard the names Rayssa Leal and Sky Brown before. They, along with a swelling group of mini rippers, represent probably the biggest paradigm-shift that skateboard culture has ever experienced.
Obviously, it is a clear and evident fact that skateboard’s embarrassing gender imbalance is finally over. Skateboard participation numbers are up full stop, with female skateboard participation exploding globally.
The boy’s club is finished…

The reasons for this explosion in female skaters in manifold: from the current visibility of pioneers like Alexis Sablone, Lizzie Armanto and Elissa Steamer, through to the obvious power of Social Media at connecting once disparate communities and inspiring people to get involved. Our own UK-based Girl Skate UK network is one such example. What began as a one-woman project to try and create spaces for the (then) tiny UK female/non-binary skate scene to connect, has since mushroomed in a massive network of skaters across the country running everything from skate schools to skate comps. You could do a lot worse than to check out their website at girlskateuk.com

Anyhow, we’ve wandered away from the specific topic of this blog post, namely Rayssa Leal and Sky Brown. These two (for us at least) represent the direction that the future of skateboarding is headed in.
Both are technically children at 13 years of age. Both are in the Olympics, (Rayssa has already won a silver medal and Sky is highly likely to win a medal too) and most importantly, they both absolutely fucking rip. Not ‘good for a girl’, or ‘good for a child’ – just good, full stop.
We’re kind of assuming that you all knew this already but, just in case, (and because it’s the Olympic Park skating event this week) it seemed timely. Unlike the footage of Rayssa at the top of this blog which is all super recent and was only uploaded this week, we’ve struggled to find much recent footage of Sky in YouTube format since most of her stuff ends up on her parent-run Instagram page.
With that said, it’s still worth posting the Almost x Skateistan clip of her from 2019 (see below) just because it’s dope and the project was a sick one. I’m not entirely sure she still rides for Almost skateboards though as there were a couple of vague ads for a sinister sounding board brand called the ‘Monarch Project’ claiming Sky Brown as a pro, (along with Leticia Bufoni) recently. Either way, she’s 13, she spins head high mute grabbed McTwists and if she’s not a millionaire already, she will be soon.

Also – this: Rayssa Leal was 11 here. Jesus wept.

(P.S. The Men’s Park Olympic contest is on Thursday August 5th from 1am – 4.30 am.
Women’s park in on Wednesday August 4th from 1am – 4.30am Uk time)

Rayssa Leal and Sky Brown

If you, or your kids have just started out skateboarding, then check out our extensive range of smaller-sized complete set ups here or by clicking the Almost complete below.

Rayssa Leal and Sky Brown


Yuto Horigome is skateboarding’s first ever Olympic gold medalist

Monday, July 26th, 2021

Finally, after 12 months of delay, the Tokyo Games are here and Yuto Horigome is skateboarding’s first ever Olympic gold medalist.
It was always going to happen. I’m surprised it took this long to be honest given how boring a lot of other Olympic sports are. I mean, do you want to watch a 13 year old girl gap out to front crook on a 12 stair handrail, or do you want to watch some Allegra dance around on a horse? Simple equation really.
The arguments for and against skating being in the Olympics are myriad. Depending on your side of the fence it either represents the ultimate coming-of-age of a culture, or it represents the neutering of what was once an anti-establishment sub culture. I kind of agree with both sides if I’m honest. Uniforms, IOC officials in blazers (not the Swoosh kind) pretending to give a shit and all the other sports bullshit is, very obviously, anathema to the traditions of skateboard culture. I agree with all I’ve just typed but that didn’t stop me sitting up till 4am two nights in a row to watch it and talk real-time shit on the UK Skate forum with other portly dads.

Honestly, it was entertaining to watch. I get that a lot of people feel as though it’s somehow soiled the spiritual pants of skateboarding but, in a world where people happily cover themselves in logos for Monster, knife companies and Christ knows what else – does it really matter?
As I write this we’ve only had the street section of Olympic skateboarding with Park to follow next week.
The format was basically Street League and, as with SLS, it devolved in a handrail fest pretty quickly.
Nonetheless, it was bloody exciting to watch despite the inherent tedium of the SLS format, well unless you’re the Mayor of Greater Manchester that is – Andy Burnham you made yourself look like a out of touch bellend mate.

If you missed it, you can peep highlights of Men’s street below in YouTube format, plus a link to the full BBC broadcast of the entire Men’s Street here (complete with Marc Churchill on the mic)

Along with the fact that Yuto Horigome is skateboarding’s first ever Olympic gold medalist, is another moment of glory for the host nation with a gold medal for Japan in Women’s street too. A double whammy for glorious Nippon made even crazier by the fact that the winner, Momiji Nishiya at 13 years old is one of the youngest Olympic gold medalists of all time. Pretty fucking cool eh?

Below there’s a video with a bit of back story on Momiji Nishiya and to watch the whole thing – hit up the BBC iPlayer here to peep the entire contest.

It’s highly likely that a lot of you won’t give a toss about the Olympics and that’s fine but believe me when I say this – a 13 year old girl just repeatedly back smithed a twelve stair handrail in front of millions of people. I’m struggling to think of many ways in which that is not a good thing.

Yuto Horigome is skateboarding’s first ever Olympic gold medalist


Jeff Grosso’s final Loveletter to Japanese skateboarding

Sunday, July 4th, 2021

Here’s a bittersweet delivery of gold courtesy of Jeff Grosso’s final Loveletter to Japanese skateboarding. When the great man tragically passed on March 31st 2020, SixStair (the company behind Loveletters) let it be known that Jeff Grosso had filmed a number of as-yet unreleased episodes prior to his death. In true Mothra fashion, both of these turned out to be highly poignant and focused, as always, on the lesser-known creative cultures beneath the previously-monolithic rockface of ‘mainstream skateboarding’. The first of these, (also pitched as ‘Jeff Grosso’s final Loveletter’) paid homage to currently unstoppable force that is skateboarding’s LGBTQ+ community. If, for whatever reason, you missed that one – click here for a masterclass in non-patronising inclusion and community love.

Fast forward a year and with skateboarding’s inaugural Olympic inclusion only a month away and Vans have seen fit to deliver what I hope isn’t but probably is, Jeff Grosso’s final Loveletter to Japanese skateboarding. Shrouded in mystery (partly self-imposed and partly down to the US-centric world view of much of the legacy media) until fairly recently, this here is a 30 minute tour of Japan’s skate history. With the land of the rising sun set to host the first Olympics to include skating, the timing couldn’t be more perfect. For those of you who know nothing about the Japanese scene, get ready for a shock because Grosso doesn’t hold back. From Japan’s first ever pro skater to a strong focus on Japan’s female scene; it’s all here. I can guarantee you that Japan will blow minds next month but it’s very likely that the biggest shock will come from their female contingent so get ready – there is a hell of a lot more to Japanese skating than Yuto Horigome, believe me.

Jeff Grosso's final Loveletter to Japanese skateboarding

With the above in mind, if you fancy a bit more insight into the creative forces that are touched upon in Jeff Grosso’s final Loveletter to Japanese skateboarding, then worry not. Scroll down and peep a glimpse of the end section of Yuri Murai‘s all female Japanese skate video ‘Joy & Sorrow 2’ as discussed in the Loveletters episode. Also, bear in mind that this footage is 5 years old now so get your expectations in line with what’s clearly going to happen in Tokyo next month.

Rest in peace Grosso. We love you.


Shin Sanbongi for adidas Skateboarding ‘Matchbreak Super’ skate shoe

Saturday, February 8th, 2020

For reasons that have never quite been that clear, until fairly recently the Japanese skate scene has existed in an almost separate dimension to that of the American and European ones. However, with the recent Shin Sanbongi for adidas Skateboarding global ‘Matchbreak Super’ release, the tide finally appears to be turning, with this Japanese ripper seeing his name emblazoned on a globally-available adidas skate shoe. I’d like to say that this is the first ever global shoe release featuring a Japanese skater but, as I’m unable to verify that claim, let’s just assume that it’s true.
The banging kicks related to this Shin Sanbongi for adidas Skateboarding news, (which you can see/buy below) seems a decent enough reason to regale you with a little bit of Japanese skate culture simply because, if you’re not already aware of how amazing Shin Sanbongi is, you’re missing out.

Shin Sanbongi for adidas Skateboarding

 

 

Shin Sanbongi joining Pontus Alv’s Polar Skate Co crew was a big deal for the Japanese skate scene, with this Chigasaki-City native joining the likes of April Skateboards’ Yuto Horigome representing a new generation of Japanese rippers finally breaking into the global skate industry.

Shin Sanbongi’s heritage is one that mixes surfing and skateboarding, with his father a well-known surfer in the Kanagawa scene, and once you know that – his unique flowing style starts to make a lot more sense.
You can find out more about Mr. Sanbongi in this excellent Solo Mag interview here.
Once you’ve done that, check out his amazing section in Polar Skate Co‘s masterpiece ‘We blew it at some point’ linked below.

 

 

 

 

Anyone with a passing interest in global skate culture will already be aware that Japanese skateboarding is huge and, despite lacking a global industry spotlight until the last 5 or so years, has left an indelible mark on global skate culture via the Internet. Brands such as Magenta skateboards have openly acknowledged the inspiration provided by the land of the rising sun and videos such as the Lenz series by Shinpei Ueno, along with European based film-makers such as Yoan Taillandier owing a great aesthetic debt to the releases of Tightbooth Productions over in Japan. (If you’re interested – have a look at the Lenz clip linked earlier in this text, then peep Yoan Taillandier’s epic ‘Minuit’ video – you’ll see the connection almost instantly. That isn’t to say that the Japanese invented the extreme fisheye/weird street spots aesthetic, but they most definitely refined it into its own genre.

 

 

That should work as a decent intro to a whole other world of incredible skating, insane futuristic architecture and a bunch of skaters whose names you might not have encountered before. Now, as a final connected note, check out the Quartersnacks Insta remix of Shin footy below too, then head over to our site and drop some coin on his new adidas Skateboarding kicks and/or some Polar Skate Co gear.


Pizza Skateboards – Asphalt Romance

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

 

Asphalt Romance is the latest visual offering from Pizza Skateboards, it’s a new video that was filmed on a team trip to Japan and South Korea. This lot do not disappoint when it comes to skate trip videos, the edits of their missions to Barcelona and Puerto Rico really stood out and were filled with some real gnarly tricks so the thought of them hitting up those sick looking east Asian obstacles is a must watch. Expect some heavy skateboarding on some unaccustomed streets and incredible spots with power moves from Chase Webb, Michael Pulizzi, Jesse Vieira and Adam Taylor.

 

 

Shop for Pizza Skateboards here > http://www.blacksheepstore.co.uk/skateboard/brand/pizza-skateboards.html

 


Evisen Skateboards

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

 

Evisen Skateboards now available from us here at the Black Sheep!

 

Evisen Skateboards was established in Tokyo by Japanese skateboarder Katsumi Minami, who wanted to create a brand that would represent his passion for supporting team riders and local skate communities in typically overlooked areas of Japan such as Osaka and Sendai. In an interview he said ” We keep on finding and expressing the originality of our thoughts, often against the world.” The depth of history in Japan lends itself perfectly perfectly to Evisen’s creative direction and provides an endless source of cultural inspiration that informs the unique aesthetics of the brand.  The distinctive logo is a mixture of English and ancient Japanese decoration, signifying the sense of brotherhood that exists within skateboarding no matter of your location. Members of the team include Seimi Miyahara, Shinpei Ueno, MARU, Akira Imamura, Koichiro Uehara and Katsumi Minami. Check out some of the  edits below, expect to see more from the guys at Evisen in the near future.

 

 

 

 

Shop for Evisen Skateboards here > http://www.blacksheepstore.co.uk/skateboard/brand/evisen.html