Nike releases your inner boarder

Ryan, Darryl and skate freaks in the Plaid Flex, this clip’s for you. There’s a new hi-def digital short film called Debacle that Nike is letting you download for about a week more. It does a lot of cool things. Nice angles and shots, good flow to the skating and some impossible-looking tricks, worth checking out.

While some of those stunts are sick and well beyond my short-lived skate career of two weeks after a nice faceplant, I couldn’t help but think Spike Jonez nailed some of this stuff in more stunning fashion for Lakai. Or that Jackass is the danger these riders want to be.

There are only a few brief moments throughout where spills happen. In some cases, fake confrontations with people seem forced. When Jackass takes someone on, it feels real.

The other thing that undermined it for me was the standard disclaimer at the end: “Don’t try this at home” and “No property was harmed, skate responsibily.” It feels so disingenous. Nike’s about pushing yourself, no matter the sport, right? One thing I never felt they were about was being subversive.

No matter how much some of this felt “not” dangerous, I got this vibe from the riders that they could care less about where they were skating and if they trashed something. At the risk of sounding like Patrick Swayze in Point Break, living for the moment is one thing, but this seemed to go against any skate responsible ethics.

I don’t think you can depict some of the damage shown in this clip and then imply “We didn’t mean it—oh by the way, skate safe.” Maybe it’s the expectation of having seen so many skate vids where faceplants are the norm and not the exception that I kept waiting for some of these incredible stunts to end that way. Few did, but I imagine they really did—they were just edited out.

Why? I get that you’re after the perfect ride, unattainable is it may be. This is where it felt like a commercial because every ride seemed perfect, and only a few spills added in later to “keep it real.”

So I’m not sure how I feel about it because i think they opened the door to another issue with regard to the negative side of sport. Great footage and amazing skillz on display here, no doubt, but it’s hard to ignore that other issue. Nike though usually does, except when they flip the negative around and become apologists for controversial athletes like Bode Miller or Kobe Bryant.

The issue becomes simply: Do you embrace the negative side in some of your messaging and do you do it for all sports? Maybe they’re testing the waters here by aligning with a sport that while mainstream, is still on the outs with church elders.

Still, I can see Nike Hooligans—a series on futbol fanatics who go too far. Nike Hoops—The real story about recruiting practices in college and high school.

Where do you draw the line?

(Via Cool Hunting.)

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