For the record. Cole v. P-rod was pretty stellar, but as ever, the runner-up match with Cory Kennedy and Torey Pudwill took the cake…
Archive for November, 2009
Internet entrepreneur Steve Berra is in the news again. This week in dramatic fashion he took to the web with a heartfelt diatribe centered on the plight of the American small businessman. In keeping with the militaristic theme of the Berrics he describes nothing less than “a war being waged upon small businesses” in the United States, where plucky entrepreneurs are “taxed to death on both the state and federal level,” and also they are “over-regulated” and unable to compete with larger corporate rivals. An uphill battle in the best of times that has proven the undoing of ventures like SkaterAde, IceLounge and Chris Gentry’s rap career, and Berra assures the viewer that “in the current economic climate, [skate shops] don’t stand a chance without your support.”
Now it might be too easy to caricature Steve Berra as Ron Paul with a five o’clock shadow and military jacket. Even if they do share similar views on gun control and pork flu and look alike. This post will not try and explore whether or not Ron Paul is Berra’s true father, even though it may even be actually true, but instead focuses on Steve Berra’s core issue which is undue economic burdens upon citizens and their little stores. Here he also is in line with RonPaul. Take this recent screed for example.
Ron Paul talks about Tax Freedom Day, a hypothetical holiday which is “celebrated” today, April 13, and symbolizes the fact that Americans are slaving away 3.5 months, or 28.2% of this year to fulfill the government’s voracious appetite for confiscatory taxes, corrupt bailouts and wasteful stimulus efforts.
What was going on at the Berrics on 4-13? The site archives are too hard to search to know for sure. But what is true is that the famed skatepark is launching its own mail-order website, as described in a recent message to shops regarding the “unified” program, which allows shops to harness the Berrics web traffic to promote their own brands in a localized fashion using the power of Google maps or something.
Many of you have also asked about our Canteen and if we are going to expand it into a fully stocked mail order. The answer is yes and no. Yes we are expanding it, but no we are not going to be fully stocked with everything. We are primarily going to focus on pro endorsed product and most of that pro product will be our team riders. On every page of the Canteen we will encourage that everyone check their local Berrics Unified shop first before purchasing anything online.
All this, even despite the fact that many shops now operate an online component. We know what the business-minded among you are thinking – would this not put Joe’s Board Store in direct competition with Berrics.com? Perhaps or perhaps not, but Berra has thought of this, and harkens back to another conservative touchstone, namely Ronald Reagan’s concept of trickle-down economics.
We do not find it a threat because both Eric and I firmly believe in the old saying, “a rising tide lifts all boats”, in other words, general prosperity is good for all. The Berrics is flourishing and prospering and it wants you to as well.
In his video soliloquy Steve Berra refers at one point to the Unified effort as “one of three initiatives” that Berrics is launching; with the mail-order business being a possible second, one can only assume that the third will be Berra’s candidacy for the US Senate. As the Republican party is in the midst of an identity crisis, battling between itself over a move to the center or further to the right, it might not be surprising to see Berra to sail under the banner of a third party in his crusade against government waste and overzealous regulation of the small business man. With a flair for rhetoric and an internet grass roots network already firmly in place – again, taking a page from the RonPaul – expect Berra to launch a full-scale assault against the perverted Washington plutocrats who insist on perpetuating a two-tiered economic system, after he wraps his “Battle Commander” section.
Famous Birdman Tony Hawk is in the news again. He has helped to invent a a robot skateboard that you may manipulate with your feet and body, simulating certain acts. It’s for a video game but as with all things robotic the device opens a moral Pandora’s box that taps into man’s darkest urges and wants. Because he is backing it as a product Tony Hawk describes the device in fairly sterile terms, like so:
“This is a whole new direction. I don’t even like to compare because this is a full-body experience that you are controlling through standing on a board, and we made the gameplay completely different.”
At Boil the Ocean, defender of Human values, we cast a jaundiced eye upon robot pleasure machines of all shapes, even if it is in the comely form of promoting boardsport. The truth is that these devices wreck homes. Read if you will from this account of how one such so-called “exercise board” poisoned an American couple against each other.
Mrs. Levy lay prone on the motorized exercising board, its several sections prodding her ample body gently, nudging and kneading her soft, white flesh like a loving baker. Winding her arms under the table, she held it tightly.
“Oh,” she moaned softly and happily, nibbling on the section beneath her face.
“Turn that thing off,” her husband’s voice said somewhere behind her.
“What?” Mrs. Levy raised her head and looked dreamily around. “What are you doing here? I thought you were staying in town for the races.”
“I changed my mind, if it’s okay with you.”
“Sure, it’s okay with me. Do whatever you want. Don’t let me tell you what to do. Have yourself a ball. See if I care.”
“Pardon me. I’m sorry I tore you away from the board.”
“Let’s leave the board out of this, if you don’t mind.”
“Oh, I’m sorry I insulted it.”
“Just leave my board out of it. That’s all I said. I’m trying to be nice. I don’t start the arguments around here.”
“Turn the damn thing on again and shut up. I’m going to take a shower.”
Tony Hawk has sold literally hundreds of video games to the youth, and now he has teamed with robots to corrupt values in a way that could also dent the skateboard industry. If people favor robot board simulations there will be no market for real skateboards, and the culture will collapse in on itself similar to what happened with kayaking down mountainsides. It’s only a warning but this could become real for everyone.
10. “PJ Ladd’s Wonderful Horrible Life,” 2002
A stacked shop video that marked Jereme Rogers’ debut, Ryan Gallant’s elevation to journeyman status, a girl, and also happened to feature one dude who would realign street skateboarding for the still-new decade. Not sure what the ’00s analog to Guy Mariano’s part in “Mouse” would be (if there could indeed be one) but it might be possible to suggest PJ Ladd’s breakout section as this decade’s Mike Carroll/”Questionable.” The tricks – the last run – are so crazy and so well done, and the whole part is shot through with the type of energy that makes you want to push two more times and flip the board again, a feeling of actual fun being had in the process of blowing all those minds. It’s still hard to imagine how PJ Ladd could properly surpass this part, so in some respects it’s alright that he hasn’t really tried, because it still stands up fine by itself.
9. “Bag of Suck,” 2007
Tilt-moders put on their serious face for a more straightforward release with relatively few bells and whistles, if you don’t count a kinda all-star friends section, the most fantastic synchronized section next to “Hot Chocolate” and various Bones Brigade efforts, and some fairly awesome intros. Caswell Berry, completing the transition from ponytail to mental issues, makes a seven-year-old rap tune sound fresh, Big Joe Red pursues his continuing education in the BA school of outsized grace, and Jerry Hsu goes for broke with the type of understated slaying and style progression that transforms a careerist into a legend. Favorites from this part: the frontside 180 into the bank, the switch f/s shove-it over the rail, and that switch 360 flip he does on the Prince board.
Full-lengths from Girl look to be a once-per-decade event nowadays, and given the inevitable team shuffles as well as the preordained hype/release euphoria/internet backlash/acceptance cycle that accompanies every video of this caliber these days, maybe that type of timeline is necessary. There’s some grousing to be done and fat that could be trimmed (Skatrix) but in spite of the still-evolving teens and the preoccupation with hammers and the Evans brand of overproduction this has all the well-loved hallmarks of a Girl vid, from the pink/invisible boards to Jeron Wilson’s switch 360 flip over the channel and Carroll’s last maneuver. The growing pains ensure that “Yeah Right” won’t compare favorably to the mid-90s golden age, but in the realm of skateboard companies, it’s something that the Crailtap empire is still around, much less making good videos, and Brandon Biebel footage ages like fine wine.
Josh Stewart struck aesthetic paydirt with the second helping of the ongoing “Static” series, searching for an alternative to perceived overwrought handrail epics, and helping birth the cellar-door subgenre while elevating Bob Puleo to internet diety. “Static 2″ cemented Josh Stewart’s place among the bailgun wielders, offering well-deserved props for John Igei and Paul Shier, guest shots from the Habitat and Traffic squadrons, and the long-awaited answer to the question of what exactly Kenny Reed had been doing in between shopping for vintage camo pants and region-specific headwear. Josh Stewarts’ videos may not make him rich with gold, but he’s secured his status as a booster of the underground, which probably counts for something in Slap board rep points.
Flip’s blaring, cussing’ teeth-gritting apology for whatever wasn’t real far removed from the “Baker2Gs” and the “Menikmatis” of the early part of the decade, as far as the skating, but editing-wise it came off way more immediate and unvarnished, a far better vehicle for the sort of skating brought to the table by the unwashed roustabout Ali Boulala, the slacker droop of Mark Appleyard’s drawers, the business side of Arto Saari’s flowing mane and the utterly without fear Geoff Rowley. Who’d have guessed that Bastien Salabanzi, primed for superstardom, would fade while Tom Penny’s shaky but expertly played return here would see him through the rest of the decade.
Hands down the best video made east of the Atlantic in the last ten years and maybe ever, Blueprint’s “Lost and Found” saw the venerable U.K. company coming of age alongside its poster boy Nick Jensen in one of those rare 60-minute jobs that’s very possible to watch all the way through and not skip a part. The quality and sheer amount of footage is matched with sharp editing and generally good music (even, dare we say, the British rap music), and I can think of only a couple examples where dudes’ parts in this video were not the best shit they’ve put out so far (Danny Brady, Jensen, Neil Smith, Colin Kennedy, Chewy Cannon). What was on display in “Lost and Found” was beautiful spots and more than trick firepower a viewpoint and vision – things that few others really had going at the time, plus, Chewy Cannon’s nollie 360s.
Although I dislike Band of Horses to the extent required by law, musical complaints toward the Lakai video now must be fairly viewed through the glorious kaleidoscope of Mannie Fresh, Jeezy and the best song Public Enemy made in about 15 years. Yes, the ledge combos are sometimes a bit much; no, this doesn’t a boring video make, and I think we can be glad that everybody else latched onto this idea instead of the tiresome pole jam-to-manual-to-wallie stuff being peddled in “Let’s Do This!” Here we have a resurgent Anthony Pappalardo, a world-conquering Lucas Puig, Mike Carroll’s best part in 9 years, Eric Koston at long last throwing the last-part weight from his shoulders, Brandon Biebel again, the triumphant resurrection of Jesus Fernandez and his fakie 360 flips, and the almost comic overkill of Marc Johnson’s 15-minute tour de force, all of which met our super lofty expectations. Also Guy Mariano came back and a bunch of shit blew up.
You maybe could say that the prototype for ’00s videos was first set with “Feedback,” which was in turn improved and expanded upon with “The Reason,” after which both were to be taken off the shelf and calmly stuffed into the toilet to make way for the “Modus” juggernaut. Nah, but this was one of those videos that, even though pretty self-indulgent some of the time, got a lot of people rethinking the way these little projects needed to be put together, and what they should try and “say.” Back before voiceovers earned the fast-forward button you had Marc Johnson reminiscing about misjudging a jock, and doing two separate ledge tricks on the same block in the same line; Chany Jeanguinin declaring his love for vert and ushering in the raw denim manual antics of Biebel; Mike Carroll, his neuroses and a shot at the perfect line; and Brian Anderson vouching for the power of visualizing your goals, wearing Axions and crushing hubbas to the tune of Muskabeatz. What a time to be alive..
The “Empire Strikes Back” of TWS vids, maybe, owing to the classic status and generally dark atmosphere clouding the Henry Sanchez, Dustin Dollin and particularly Heath Kirchart sections. First, though, there’s the blaring gnar of John Cardiel, the mile-long handrail and burly hubba moves ensuring a spot in the hearts of kids who don’t have the time to wade through Thrasher vids or access to “Fucktards.” Mostly inoffensive Tosh Townend plays this video’s Jordan Richter, bookended on one side by the unrepentant Henry Sanchez, Pupecki-grinding rails and at that point still better than so many other dudes, and the salivating assault of Dustin Dollin, lurching from kinked handrail to kickflip frontside blunt. Then lights out for Heath Kirchart’s symphony of destruction, the gap-to-blunt, and the best backside noseblunt committed to a rail at that point.
The platinum standard of modern (?) videos, in this random blog-site’s opinion. Variety and editing make this video a cohesive classic for the ages instead of some kinda “Time Code 2,” as long as you aren’t into vert skating and you can tolerate interludes concerned with hamburgers and javelin tossing. Van Engelen’s grease-fire ledge attack, Pappalardo’s clockwork precision, Fred Gall with one pants leg up, Danny Garcia demonstrating how to pop out of a backside tailslide, Wenning’s backside nosegrinds and switch heelflips, Josh Kalis doing “the” 360 flip and the walk down into Jason Dill’s bent world, back when he was doing all those 180s the hard way into ledge tricks and settling into New York. With most parts clocking in under 3 minutes and a runtime around 35:00 “Photosynthesis” rivals any video in the quantity/quality department and nearly all that have come since in terms of achievement in this medium – making something that’s cool to watch, gets you off the couch and has you thinking about watching it again when you get home with your socks still sweaty in your shoes.
20. “Ryde or Die Vol. 1,” 2001
One of the last videos with that 1990s feel, Rob Welsh came storming through with a section that observers and supporters had been waiting on since he popped up in the Mad Circle video. Kind of like the Pier 7 opener, there maybe are flaws to this section, but they’re awful hard to make out amid the crooked grinds and Wu-affiliated musics. Aside from the fade-to-whites, “ROD” also features rare full-length appearances from Kevin Taylor and Clyde Singleton, who floats that monstrous bar ollie, and Joey Pepper comes off all forward-thinking nowadays with his Stooges song and backside nosegrind pop-out 180s; this video also featured a pretty good John Igei part and a Mannie Fresh instrumental, ensuring it a top-20 position.
19. “In Bloom,” 2002
TWS’s first am-boosting video featured two of the most visceral parts committed to DV tape this decade from Trainwreck and TNT, more than balancing out the comparatively humdrum footage from the young Evan Hernandez and Mikey Taylor. Tony Trujillo was at the height of his powers, clinging onto tricks he should’ve bailed and ending with a sort of literal smash. People who don’t skate have watched this part on my TV and termed it poetry in motion, and also tight jeans. Whereas P-Rod stood on the cusp of cashing in his little-kid chips for a spot on Girl and probably should’ve had the last part with all the switch gap stuff, it becomes difficult to logically argue against Slayer and 100-mile-an-hour handrail jumping by the rapidly sleeved and unfairly maligned Alex Gall, practitioner of a truly brutal form of gnar skateboarding. I wish he’d stuck around. Finally, this entry would be remiss not to mention the inclusion of Chris Cole when he started getting more interesting, indulging in the Misfits and the Love Park gap.
18. “Man Down,” 2001
Everything that “Tilt Mode” was and more, except a little less, since there was no Juvenile and Steve Cab didn’t take another run that one crazy handrail, perhaps on sound advice from his lawyers. Saying that the Tilt Moders re-injected “fun” into things misses the point and can make the sayer sound embittered for his or her own bizarre and unfortunate reasons, but videos such as “Man Down” did seem to make a point to encourage drinking, indulging in peculiar fantasies, and generally taking things less serious than the pros who stare at handrails, or wap themselves over the head with their boards for instance. Marc Johnson’s last trick in this video was a switch hardflip backside tailslide, which Rodrigo TX did for his last trick in the Flip video last month. Marc Johnson also skated to the disco Rolling Stones and if you slow-mo certain tricks you can see him bludgeoning seal pups for fun and profit.
17. “This Is Skateboarding,” 2003
Retroactively the Emerica video with the kinda-silly title gets lumped in with the leather-jacket-and-basic-handrail-trick movement from the early part of the decade, which it was part of sure, but “TIS” had a lot more depth than that thanks in part to the crack production squad of Miner and Manzoori. Opening on a dismal/dour note with a subdued Heath Kirchart section, they meander through the noisome world of Ed Templeton and his ollie impossibles, the most legitimately urban Tosh Townend part, and the last major effort from Chris Senn who did that crazy f/s pivot. Kevin Long roared onto the scene here, spinning both switch and frontside, and the Reynolds closer has that opening line for the books and some serious left-field tricks like the switch backside shifty.
16. “The DC Video,” 2003
DC’s vaunted debut video was notable for a few reasons, including Rob Dyrdek seeming to make a sincere effort, Josh Kalis making some of the first miscalculations when it came to choosing tricks, and Colin McKay skating to Jimmy Buffet while foreshadowing the rise of the Geico insurance lizard. The video as a whole though gets over on three parts: Anthony Van Engelen’s blistering crooked-grind melee, Brian Wenning doing less than five tricks regular-footed throughout his other great video part, and yea, the Danny Way. A generation in skateboard-years later the mega-ramp is a known commodity, with its own X-Games designation and related baggage, but seeing the iron man jump and twirl and soar over that thing for the first time was a very, very nutty thing to see, and the victory lap with the rainbow rail sealed the deal.
15. “Mind Field,” 2009
Reminding us what a video can do aside from whomping you over the head with unending ledge combos, “Mind Field” returned Alien to form in time for the decade to close out after a few years of soul-searching brought the company to Burton’s doorstep. Purists will quibble about putting on Arto and distribution strategies but in the end-results department “Mind Field” was a triumph, dragging AVE back out of the gutter, putting a match to the incendiary Omar Salazar, letting Jason Dill do as he must and anointing Jake Johnson as a new standard-bearer for New York City – before Heath Kirchart blows through and wipes out everything. Maybe if we were doing this list five years from now, this video would be higher.
14. “Vicious Cycle,” 2004
For an outsider this Zoo-backed production signaled a sort of generational torch-passing as far as high-profile New York types – you had Vinny Ponte yelling at people and Robbie Gangemi doing those frontside blunts and Danny Supa, sans Supa-suit, with a bigspin-flip higher than a regular person’s head. It’s hard to ignore Zered Bassett though, seeings how he comes through and switch heelflips over a house or something in basically every section, and all the then-young guns have pretty amazing shit: Charles Lamb, Eli Reed, Brian Brown and most especially Lurker Lou, whose low-key opener features many colorful varieties of the Etnies Rap, and Aquil Brathwaite, who was on some serious Lavar McBride in “Trilogy” and who I would’ve bet the farm was gonna be huge. Live and learn..
13. “Mosaic,” 2003
People bemoan Habitat’s westward shift in terms of personnel, but the squad might have been at its strongest when it struck a balance between coasts. Featuring the dirtbag debut of Danny Renaud, with Brian Wenning and Anthony Pappalardo at the height of their relevance and Jason Dill’s planned/unplanned all-line section, all differentiated the first Habitat vid and realigned things for everybody else to a certain extent over the years to come. One of the few videos where either of the last two sections could’ve closed it, but it’s hard to think of any other moment in time when poised Peruvian Danny Garcia could’ve dropped the curtains, and nollieing a gap to k-grind remains a pretty crazy thing to do even years later.
12. “Baker2G,” 2000
The video that launched a thousand apparel companies centered on black stretch denim. This video shocked upon arrival, first and foremost with the foul-mouthed Knox Godoy, second with the skating, and to a lesser extent the assorted antics and guest appearances from Brad Hayes, Hoops and Chad Fernandez. Greco’s backside noseblunt and Reynolds’ nollie noseblunting ascension to Koston heights aside, the influence of “Baker2G” was felt just as heavily off the board, and it’s to their credit that the bros have stuck to their niche in and out of 12-step programs while finding new ways to heft a middle finger toward, for instance, the Olympics.
11. “Real to Reel,” 2001
A Bay Area classic in the spirit of “A Visual Sound,” “Sick Boys,” and “In A Major Way,” Real’s early ’00s entry is still the best case for Nate Jones’ elevation to flower-child style icon, and watching this video again is kind of disappointing when you wonder how much further he could’ve taken things, what else could’ve been, etc. But “Real to Reel” also launched Hensley revivalist JT Aultz and the barnstorming Dennis Busenitz, with Mark Gonzales refocused on street lines and Cairo Foster at or approaching some sort of peak. Max Schaaf on the money board and shit, even this video’s credits section approaches classic status.
30. “Beez 3: Unusual Protocol,” 2007
The shadowy Midwestern Beez collective deconstructs the skateboard video, as well as the concept of skateboarding itself, and puts it back together in grotesque shapes of their own choosing via a technocolour-soaked nightmare that challenges (or occasionally outright assaults) the viewer. There were two Beez productions before this one, but the third installment takes things to fresh levels of depravity and ecstasy, often with a skateboard somewhere within the frame. Seeing this video for the first time can be a perspective-altering experience that people might not welcome or enjoy, at all, but the level of originality and sheer weirdness going on here are denied at one’s own peril. In ten years Beez will still have an unsettling and exhilarating effect on people.
29. “Inhabitants,” 2007
Serving more as a stylistic guidepost than the forward indicator that was “Mosaic,” Joe Castrucci’s second time around the Habitat mulberry bush was in some ways a little too straightforward and on-the-nose when it came to all the forestry footage and part-part-part-part sequencing. Skating- and presentation-wise it’s all pretty awesome though, and ages well in the way of DNA productions, with Steve Durante expanding upon ground earlier tilled by one Brian Wenning, Danny Garcia on the frontside shove nod, Fred Gall smashing buildings and Raymond Molinar spitting out tricks a little bit like a granola’d-out Henry Sanchez. Marc Johnson had SOTY in the bag for 2007, but if Thrasher was accepting of “Inhabitants” footage as a late-arriving 2008 entry, it’s sort of shocking Janoski wasn’t a heavier contender with this long time coming two-song ender section that highlights pretty much all the stuff he does good.
28. “Art Bars: Subtitles and Seagulls,” 2001
Would we refer to this period as third-generation Foundation? Far removed from its Rocco-roots, the gold-plated glory of the “Rolling Thunder” era and emerging from the non-starter “Duty Now For the Future” realignment, by 2001 Beagle and Swank had put together a pretty classic lineup that included Kris Markovich at the height of his second wind (third, if you count Prime?), a gap-minded Ethan Fowler, Daniel Shimizu at the pinnacle of his giving a shit about shit, Mike Ruscyzk no-comply flipping up stair-sets and the Magic F debut of back-tail champ Justin Strubing all mixed up in washed-out colors and grainy film footage. For Foundation the decade would approach but never really top the “Art Bars” period, eventually ceding most of this team to attitudes and lethargy before settling for the cookie-cutter glam of Corey Duffel.
27. “Naughty/Gnar Gnar,” 2007/2008
Mushing these two videos together is kind of cheating for the purposes of this type of nerdy list, but we’re gonna justify it because the originality at play re: production value, format, music, lineups and ah, yea, skating more than offsets the ham-handed attempt at a “big video” that was “Krooked Khronicles”… not a bad video by any means, but nothing close to what the KRK can scheme up. Blurring hazy nights and overcast days in New York, London, DC and parts unknown, Mark Gonzales and Sam Salganik cobble together the sort of unhinged collages that the Krooked camp is capable of, with a revolving cast of characters that fade in and out at the edges; these vids won’t go down as any kind of “Questionable”/”Virtual Reality” one-two punch but were a seriously soothing antidote after years of over-ramped slow-motion and the rising wave of HD productions.
26. “The Good Life,” 2006
Jimmy Lannon ought to be rich and pro by now, and probably if this video part had come out in 1996, he would be, but then again if wishes were ponys I’d be running a profitable dog food factory and Danny Renaud would still be embarrassing other pro skaters right now. Building upon the foundation of the Dango, Joe Perrin’s Killa crew drips sweat and liquor across the Florida police’s favorite locales, with hulkster Jon Newport, flippiter Nick Matlin and Renaud the dirt dog fresh off vacation from Habitat. Ryan Nix’s closer part is pretty heavy and bad-ass enough to ensure his name will pop up in “where is ___?” threads for years to come but maybe the best section is John Buchanan, eating the brown acid and switch laser flipping when Torey Puds was still getting flowed from Shortys – there is a switch 360 flip in this section that’s nearly worth the price of admission by itself.
25. “Menikmati,” 2000
Kinda easy to mock now for the indulgent intros and goony music and general dramatics, but it was a shiny new decade and the kid Arto Saari was frontside boardsliding 20-stair handrails, switch backside lipsliding and blazing super hard lines all over the place in Koston 1′s. Despite the archive-raiding Tom Penny retrospecticus, which was itself a pretty crafty move, the feature length and obvious hard work that dudes put into “Menikmati” raised the bar for the video age to follow and helped bring to an end the era of the profile pro, for better or worse. Ronnie Creager’s sore-thumb appearance wears a little bit better than some of the others but there’s still some interesting stuff to be seen all these years later, like Bob Burnquist switch frontside nosesliding a hubba, the concept of a contest/demo section, and the dork-trick rodeo at the end that now seems weirdly ahead of its time. The last trick in this video is Eric Koston’s backside noseblunt on the Bricktown rail, now sorta quaint, at the time pretty much unheard of.
24. “North,” 2002
Bearing far more weight than any production prominently featuring a giant beaver ought to, Jeremy Petit’s landmark “North” played a big part in revitalizing the Canadian scene for international purposes and pointed the camera toward lesser-knowns that weren’t hooking their fingers and polishing icey Chinese mahjong symbols. This video was also one of the early beneficiaries of message-board buzz, if I remember right, with a blitzkreig part that put Keegan Sauder back on the map and the first of many Russ Milligan sections to feature a serious-business switch bigspin flip. Tony Ferguson rolled gracefully toward retirement too but the gem was Ted Degros’s magical opener part, with precision flip tricks like the second coming of Toy-era Kerry Getz and that exquisite lightness of foot that still makes you wonder why he is not somewhere blowing up right now. If we were going to tackle the thankless task of assembling some “100 best parts” list of the past decade this one would probably rank in the top 20.
23. “Roll Forever,” 2005
This video stands in the long shadow of Real vids past, but holds up better than some others on the strength of a varied line-up and some future hall-o-famers getting comfortable with their own shit. Peter Ramdonetta for instance always left me sorta cold before hitting his stride around this period and pouring on the power-beast sauce with those kickflips. Darrell Stanton bic’ed his head and went absolutely bananas with the Clipper, and it was around this time that Dennis Busenitz and his mile-long powerslide skidmarks began amassing disciples for his current reign as underground king. Keith Hufnagel and Max Schaaf too. As a free full-length video with a generally good soundtrack, “Roll Forever” was for sure the high water mark of that year’s wave of promo DVDs, and unfortunately (or not) it was pretty much downhill from there…
22. “And Now,” 2008
By 2008 TWS had through a process of slow elimination mostly removed the aspects of their videos that weighed them down (lengthy intros, sometimes painful voiceovers, multiple montages) in favor of a more focused formula that was still the standard in production-value gloss and heavy rosters. This one will probably remain as the best of the second half of the ’00s, along with “Time to Shine” maybe – Holland and Ray lucked out with a grab bag of hot-shoes-of-the-moment in Malto, Nick Trapasso and David Gravette, with Matt Miller doing some more tech stuff and Kenny Hoyle nollie backside 180ing off buildings, while Richie Jackson offers enchanted boat tours on rivers of chocolate and pole-jams all the bad little boys and girls.
21. “Manik Promo,” 2007
When watching a video like “Fully Flared” or “Menikmati” it’s sometimes tempting around the 40-minute mark to concoct in your head super draconian rules for skateboard videos – must run no longer than 15 minutes, zero filler footage, minimal interludes and dead airtime, enough “artsiness” to keep it interesting, non-shitty music and surprises, that type of thing. The 2007 promo from the Pacific Northwest’s Manik checks off a lot of these boxes with a very tight four-part video that packs the tricks into its 11-minute runtime; of note are Mikey Burton’s warehouse run, Josh Anderson (now said to be fucking with Kayo Corp.) invoking the power of the Muska, and Jordan Sanchez’s light-speed kickflip catastrophe. While we’re on the topic, more videos maybe should consider incorporating classical music.
A general disclaimer about the list to follow ought to start with noting that most lists of this sort are pretty much bullshit anyway, designed to ignite pointless debate and sell women’s health magazines or ad spots on VH1, and this one may not be much different really. However, given that this is an internet blog site, and the end of a decade is approaching, fate holds that a list must be made. I thought about whether it should be billed as the 40 “best” videos of the past decade, or the 40 “most significant,” or the 40 “most favoritest of BTO” but in the end we’re opting to call it something altogether different and stupid and just get on with things. Special shout to Skim the Fat, where from I got most of these images, is that site still going? Anyhow, numbers 40 through 30:
40. “It’s Official,” 2005
An overall pretty awesome video marred by a Kanye-heavy soundtrack and a few too many Lenny Rivas quotables, Kayo Corp’s stab at a “Trilogy” featured the national debut of gap-gliding Kenny Hoyle and SF sweatpants fan Robbie Holmes, alongside solid turns from all-stars Jackson Curtain, Karl Watson and a damn Marcus McBride part. I don’t know if Marcus McBride is the Z-Ro of skateboarding, exactly, but he’s something. “Official” probably could’ve done with more Richard Angelides and some editing where Quim Cardona was concerned but this video is one that probably doesn’t get rewatched as often as it should. Chany Jeanguenin skates vert in it.
39. “Skate More,” 2005
Daewon Song’s self-reinvention for a post-picnic table world helped vault him to SOTY status off the back of DVS’s debut full-length, but the Python-flavored “Skate More” also boasted the feel-good part of the year straight from the happy feet of Jeron Wilson who floats the slickest heelflip that Jason Dill had ever seen. 2005 was a banner year for Keith Hufnagel as well, putting out two ollie-riffic sections, and this DVS video also offers a glimpse of the ever-shifting Dill in his New York denizen phase and the mixed bag that is Jereme Rogers’ best part to date; also Busenitz/Zered Basset and a more-interesting-than-usual Mikey Taylor contribution.
38. “Get Familiar,” 2006
Chris Hall’s sneakerhead-financed East-by-West coast document should’ve maybe leaned a bit heavier on the retro elements, like I always thought the electro songs used for the intro clips would’ve made an interesting soundtrack for the whole thing. “Get Familiar” though was a worthy addition to a long line of self-produced East Coast videos with a pretty stacked lineup in a still-skinny Bobby Worrest, a skinnier yet Zach Lyons, EE vets Barley and Forbes and the resurgent duo of Joey Pepper and James Craig (the backside bigspin flip is a career highlight). Curveball parts come from Daewon and Mark Gonzales before gun-slinging Darren Harper controversially closes the video with some baggy denim stylings, crazy pop and that silly floater of a switch frontside shove-it.
37. “Waiting For the World,” 2000
It’s kind of fucked up how John Rattray’s section in this video was this devil’s bargain that earned him the glitz and glamour associated with Zero, Elwood and Osiris sponsorships, while at the same time siphoning away Blueprint’s heaviest dude, but these things happen. Nowadays WFTW looks kind of dated, especially Paul Carter’s Osiris pants and the Souls of Mischief song, but in 2000 the video itself was a serious stylistic push forward (the intro in particular) and generally served as a statement of purpose for the British skateboard scene, especially for those of us outside it, putting everybody onto the likes of Paul Shier, Colin Kennedy, a pint-sized Nick Jensen and the loopy genius of Mark Baines, leading up to John Rattray’s Britpop-powered star turn.
36. “Cash Money Vagrant,” 2003
There was really no reasonable or feasible way for Anti Hero to try and follow up “Fucktards” but their stab at a semi-conventional video in the midst of restocking the team for the concrete park decade is laudable enough and a fun one to throw in now and again. Young(er) and dirty Frank Gerwer does half his frontside k-grinds on Firm boards and Tony Trujillo rejects the Transworld gloss that helped mold his SOTY bid, alongside contributions from Cardiel, Hewitt and most of the other Anti-Heros that matter. It’s short, there is a little lo-fi themed skit that ties the whole thing together and they make it safely to Benecia at the end (spoiler alert). Interestingly, this site is selling a copy for $1300.
35. “Dying To Live,” 2002
In some ways it’s easy to bag on this vid, what with Jamie Thomas’s very dramatic intro, the beginning of Adrian Lopez’s career slide and Jon Allie’s sort of boring opener part. But as with most Zero productions the editing is sharp, the music fantastic and there is enough good here that “Dying to Live” probably can be considered fairly underrated at this point – Ryan Smith in his young and hungry days, paired with Nirvana, Matt Mumford to Queen, bespectacled Lindsay Robertson’s crushing slow-mo intro, and Chris Cole kickflip backside noseblunting a damn handrail amid a characteristically ridiculous part that capped his fresh-to-hesh migration. And, it had a sweet friends section, something that’s kind of fallen by the way-side in recent years.
34. “7 Year Glitch,” 2002
It seems like forever ago that New Deal even was a company and most of these dudes have been scattered to the four winds at this point, and where Fabrizio Santos is concerned, this all may be for the best. But this video, which preceded New Deal’s folding pretty quickly, contains one of the better Ricky Oyola lines captured on video, a lot of good Europe footage before all the spots were played, and the type of diverse lineup that’s generally been tossed in favor of appealing to this or that sub-sub-demographic. There is vert skating and Rob G has a nice run that’s filmed via a stationary long-lens, also, Chad Tim Tim at the early stages of being underappreciated for more or less ten years. Probably you could trace Kenny Reed’s nearly decade-long wandering in the international wilderness to the filming of this project, and maybe the marathon backside 5-0 to backside tail in particular. The one with the kid on the bike.
33. “Baker 3,” 2005
The Baker Bootleg video formula refined and distilled, taking the sometimes-interminable 90-minute slogs through the chopped-n-screwed Baker world and squishing it into something resembling a more straightforward format. Baker 3 also introduced the world to polar opposite ams Antwuan Dixon and Theotis Beasley, and helped Bryan Herman transition from a browless Reynolds fan to a grown up hardflipper with a world-class 360 flip. Somewhere in there Spanky skates to Morrissey (I know!) and Reynolds stretches his editing legs with some weird effects. Thinking back on this vid now I remember being vaguely shocked that Erik Ellington was capable of backside noseblunting a handrail, and after reading the recent Greco interview, I’m reminded that it was a bummer he didn’t end up using the Queen song for his comeback section.
32. “Bon Appetit,” 2003
This video rightfully put Cliche on the global map, even though it retreaded that tiresome Yeah Yeah Yeahs song for the nth time and wasted so much top-drawer footage on endless region-specific montages – where is the rationale, I ask you, in sprinkling JJ Rousseu nosegrinds here and there in some Japan part when he could’ve had a full-length section to himself. French Fred’s editing choices aside, “Bon Appetit” dodges classic status but still boasts Lucas Puig’s best part to date (the nollie backside noseblunt), Jan Kleiwer getting his Hufnagel on, Rousseau in top form and a part from when Cale Nuske’s knees still worked that contains exactly one line, which is sick. Also, you should know that Ricardo Fonseca’s ponytail is meant to symbolize the virility of the European skate scene as a whole.
31. “Cheese & Crackers,” 2007
Chris Haslam and Daewon Song conspire to build a better mini-ramp mousetrap. Kind of like if the Tilt Moders got locked in a garage for a weekend with a miniramp and a sheet of high-powered blotter acid. When street skateboarding moves beyond its current love for manageable transitions this video could possibly become the current era’s “1281″ but there’s a general retardedness that helps smooth out the troublesome physics problems associated with doing blunts behind a curtain, and all manner of other nonsense these dudes get into. Friends section features Carroll and Alex Olson and the human dynamo that is Giovanni Reda, remember, and Lewis Marnell’s bonus part is nice also.
So here we have three recent stabs at the elusive single-photo capture of a backside 360. Years back I was flipping through a California Cheap Skates catalog and came upon a pic of Josh Beagle backside 360ing some smallish gap, and right now I can’t for the life of me remember if there was a caption or not, but I do recall being super confused as to how the trick pictured was a 360 of any shape. Probably this isn’t an issue now, with plentiful footage of backside 360s available around the clock on the internet, but it’s still a hard concept to get across in a still photo. I think the Chris Cole one might be the best. You need some extra lank in the leg to fully communicate the contortion involved.