FRIDAY. APRIL 7TH, 2017WORDS & VIDEO BY JOSHUA MICHAEL PAULIN PHOTOGRAPHY BY ELIJAH RODRIGUEZ
For April’s first Friday Vans launch we find inspiration incredibly close to home, collaborating with our tight-knit back of house team to design a Vans x Opening Ceremony Half Cab. For the fourth Backstock Moves video, Terrill, Galen, Anthony, Tyler, James, and Josh introduce The Move 1… And land a few tricks while they’re at it.
In our latest edition of Backstock Moves—a video series that celebrates the spirit of skateboarding and its culture at Opening Ceremony—former and current Back of House Boyz reunited to show off our latest endorsement (yeah, right). Focusing on tricks and shoes, we whipped out the big guns—or rather, a SonyCam Hi 8 (don’t worry there’s still some phone clips too) to show off our latest Vans collaboration: The Move 1, a Half Cab born in the stockroom of our 35 Howard Street location representing the colorways of OC’s signature tote.
For the fourth installment we feature OC’s very own Terrill Simecki, Galen DeKemper, Anthony Picarelli, Tyler Kawaguchi, James Begin, and Joshua Michael Paulin … And even pulled in alums Michael Elijah Rodriguez and Jer Robert Paulin for photography and editing.
Ten months ago Hypebeast user CLASS OF 1984 asked a question regarding Backstock Moves: The Lunch Break. “What history does Opening Ceremony have in Skateboarding? They ain't fucking OGs cause they sell Vans sneakers.” Well, the answer to that question is pretty easy, let me explain.
One night at a mildly fancy company dinner, Terrill rolled up apologizing “sorry I’m sweaty, I was skating with a friend from back home.” He kept it real at the dinner, wearing what used to be a white shirt—he was the stock manager at the time. In that instant, it was pretty apparent skate culture was accepted by our California-born co-founders. I’d like to coin this moment as the birth of the Back Of House Boyz, in a skateboard sense.
Skip ahead three years, I’m out front of the store talking to an OC-alum. He never struck me as a skateboarder, but he was holding one under his arm. Never even asking for an explanation, he turns to me and says, “I’m carrying it because I got caught in a group of longboarders and didn’t want people to think we were friends.” I reflect on this moment a lot. First off, it’s hilarious. Second, it sounds judgemental and elitist, yet not. It was more of a harsh partition, a reflection of skate culture taking a leisurely route—in an a aggravating/annoyingly way, and he simply didn’t want to be apart of it.
It’s important to talk about the partitions in skateboarding (not longboarding) but the actual elephant in the room: the skate fashion wave. It’s pretty obvious, so I’m not going to waste our time combing over the specifics or pointing fingers. As long as Thrasher Magazine stays in print forever, pros get money, kids still give each other hand-me-down boards, I’m fine with it.
Over the years our Back of House team has seen a wide variety of characters, but really whether you were in the front or the back of our Soho store, from OC’s early days we’ve consistently and unintentionally staffed a solid crew of skateboarders. There’s a certain mentality that comes with working Back of House at OC and skating. The repetition for starters, which leads the brain to figuring out how to slice open the mundane. With an enclosed box, there’s a box cutter. When walking feels slow, you skate, puzzle complete. Sounds easy? It’s not. Try skating with no training, I dare you. Case in point, skateboarding is fucking hard, working this job is fucking hard. Both are never ending, constantly moving Rubik's Cubes.
The Back of House Boyz chose The Half Cab for our Opening Ceremony x Vans collaboration, because the love of the history surrounding the shoe. Mid tops didn’t exist from the Jurassic Period—the late ‘80s, people were hacking off high tops to make their own. Steve Caballero’s Half Cab took the reigns in 1992 and delivered something new for skateboarding. The colors we chose represent OC’s signature swatches of our tote bag, known for your latest shopping trip, groceries, or the colors of … uh … America. Which basically sums us up.. So we dedicate the Move 1 to our team of “boyz” who kept the stairs always walked and business always running and not for just the current roster, but any Back of House staff that ever spent the night. Ok, maybe not everyone, you know who you are Mr. Long Breaks.
Jerry Seinfeld said it the best "I'll tell you one of the great activities is skateboarding. To learn to do a skateboard trick, how many times do you have to get something wrong til you get it right? And if you learn to do that trick, now you've got a life lesson. Whenever I see those skateboard kids, I think those kids are going to be alright."
Hopefully this explains it, and if not, you can email Terrill. He solves everything.
“How did I start skating? The older kid in my neighborhood skated and gave me his old board.”