Blader Digest: The Real Truth About Valo 5

There comes a time when everyone should stop everything and take stock of what they’re doing with their lives. This includes accomplishments, failures, lessons learned, and knowledge lost.

Right now, the members of the Valo team should be really fucking happy with themselves.

This is not meant to be an objective review of Valo V because I’m incapable of such a thing. I’m fortunate to call many of the people involved in the making of this video a friend and I’m proud of what they accomplished.

However, I rate this video like I do all others: if I don’t have something nice to say, I won’t say anything. Scroll down and you’ll see I have plenty of words to say about it, so take that as an indication how this article will go.

I will say this—since viewing the video, I’ve eaten shit twice skating to work because I took the time to skate things in ways I wouldn’t have normally bothered. That’s important to note.

If something makes me want to skate, or better yet, skate better, then I consider it a good video/edit/photo/article.

With that said…

Valo V embraces the full spirit of what it means, to me, to be a rollerblader.

The Valo Kids Get It

Powered by Ivan Narez’s documentary style film making and the team’s outstanding talents, the video documents three years of travels, hijinks, camaraderie, and the brand’s powerful influence in the visual and fashionable style of our sport.

Much as the trailer demonstrated, Valo V broke away from his last Valo video, Valo 4Life, and brought in more rough stylistic use of physical film to juxtapose against his smooth and crisp digital filming. Of course, it goes to mention that the closing athlete Victor Arias (more on that later) is also one of the video’s primary filmers, a staple in the Narez-Arias brotherhood since they were using palm tree branches to play roller hockey in Brentwood.

(There’s one part in the video where a $2,000 lens bites the big one—Ivan’s second in his career—which is enough to make any filmmaker shed a tear.)

Valo V documents the last three years of Valo’s 10-year contribution to rollerblading, backed by all the years their team has been improving our sport, whether through their talents or simply the presence of their dynamic personalities, eclectic talents, and continued progression of a sport tied together with a communal passion to strap wheels to their feet and forget about the rest of life for a while.

In a Recession, Always Buy

This video should adorn the video shelves of every blader, right along Valo 4Life and every other video the Valo Brand has produced. Then again, if you’re smart, the photo book the DVD and Blu-Ray come packaged it should be proudly displayed on your coffee table alongside Shred ‘Til You’re Dead II so every dinner party guest you entertain is impressed with you collection of blade media.

If all else fails, when you bring a girl home, and should she adopt this philosophy, you’re at a better chance of getting laid.

The Goods on the Vid

Valo 4Life ended with a song whose refrain repeated “…it was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

If your relationship with blading hasn’t been the same hasn’t been long.

In my opinion, Ivan has been one of the few film makers who took the time to document the full spectrum of what it means to be a rollerblader.

Outside of that statement, here are other reasons you should purchase your own personal copy of Valo V:

  • The video comes packaged in a photography book on film by Ivan Narez and Brandon Smith, so the previous John Waters quote should be important.
  • Erick Garcia, who doesn’t wear Valos, has the trick of the video with a single image of being towed by fellow JSFer and Harley badass Brandon Smith through 6 a.m. Bay Bridge traffic and then cess sliding longer than most mortals can comprehend.
  • David Sizemore hung out with the Valo crew for too long that there’s any surprise he had clips in the video. As Ivan said, “He chose us.”
  • Soichiro Kanashima not only continues to impress you with his perfectionist technicality, but he has the best explanation for a gaping butthole
  • Jon Julio is a 36-year-old shop owner still holding it down and showing those idiot 24-year-olds who claim to know “bad knees” that end a career.
  • We finally get to see the video of Erik Bailey‘s gigantic sweaty around the curved ledge that’s twice as tall as him at one point.
  • Victor Arias — The guy has so many big clips his section could have ended half a dozen times before it did. Honestly, I didn’t expect him to put together such a big ending to such a large video—I mean, yeah, I knew the dude was good, but Jee-zus!—and as a fan and a brother, I’ll never make the mistake of mistaking it. It’s a section for the books, so file it under “Holy Shit.” His is the only Valo pro boot I want to wear besides Brandon Smith.

Besides certain parts of the video that I won’t even bother trying to explain with my limited education and even more limited vocabulary—and because it’s better you make up your mind for yourself—I’ll spend the remainder of this column discussing why the entire weekend in San Francisco was one of the best I’ve had since I moved here four years ago.

Shit You Don’t Care About Unless You Were There

Personally, it was great to see the rest of the Valo family like Mike, Tiff, Leah, Justin, Leon, Jayson, Miguel, the other Mike, the other other Mike, Cameron (via mail), and everyone else I’ll forget to mention because fuck you, I was hella drunk (you know, for a change). I am glad, however, the Intuition boys were able to stick around for a minute. Congrats, Matt.

Coupled them with the rest of the usual Bay Area characters, which includes those wholesome Shredweiser boys, and, of course, my JSF brethren I don’t get to see enough now that we’re all slowly and inevitably becoming grown men. The luckiest of us are traveling and delaying the inevitable.

God bless you all, you overly-glorious bastards.

Valo, which made it’s namesake with some of the most fashionable blades in the game, didn’t skimp anywhere in the opening night festivities. They filled the historic Victoria theater in San Francisco’s Mission District, which just so happens to be three blocks from my house.

The whole weekend, there were plenty of festivities to be had and all were accessible with a few stumbling steps from the theater to art gallery where the video was for sale, along with B. Smith-made prints from the book. It was something too classy to hold the likes of my ilk, so that’s why some of us closed down Friday and Saturday night chilling in the backyard and lighting shit on fire.

I can’t thank everyone for stopping by. It was great to have you all late into the morning hours, whether catching up on important things or talking too much about stupid stuff.

Then again, to me, that’s the best part of being a rollerblader.

Oh yeah, and in case you missed the outcome of the AMall bet, Paco Ass Dre lost. Hard.

(Irregardless of it, make sure to check out his blog posts for AMall. He put together one of the best poor-man diners’ guides for my neighborhood I’ve ever read, just to support fellow broke homies looking to have fun.)

While those who missed the SF premiere—but Aussie Blade or Die correspondent Zac Hutchings told me theirs was fucking sick!—may have felt you lost out, you still have two coast-or-coast options so far…

And, of course…

Even if you hate everything about Valo, you should at least attend the premiere to honor fallen blader Alex Nunez. Any reason to continue to gather in his memory, much like the yearly gathering for James Short, is a good one.

That, to me, is the real truth.

Blade or Die,

— Brian Krans


  • Zac Hutchings wrote:


  • Thanks for this Brian, I missed the event because of some bullshit. Stoked though you got me excited to see the vid this weekend without spoiling too much! haha cheers dude

  • Awesome!!! Valo4Life freakin changed my life and I can just imagine how Valo V will when I see it!! and Victor has a skate coming out?

  • Chris Wedman wrote:

    Shop Task hosted a premiere in Calgary last weekend, and it was incredible. The video was well received, silencing the crowd while ushering in applause and tons of hooting/hollering for all the hammers.

    I bought the book/DVD combo a few days later and it is beautiful. Much nicer presentation than STYD 2, it’s really nice to look at aesthetically.

    Props to everyone involved in making it, it’s a treasure in a time of blading where people have seemed to forget that projects like this are what blade culture needs the most.

  • […] all talked about this already, and I’ve already written about it enough, so let’s keep this short and sweet. The long-awaited next Valo team video after 4Life did not […]

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