If Grant Taylor Or Brandon Westgate Win Skater Of The Year, Will Leo Romero Evolve To Become Skateboarding’s Albert Gore?

If I learned anything watching the mildly psychedelic new Toy Machine production, it is that Leo Romero plays fast and loose with the laws that govern speed physics and US tax code, to such a degree that he must be branded a rebel. It is proven true by his moustache and cowboy hats. His taste for going fast and an eye for scale re: obstacle selection have turned him into one of the era’s most recognizable and bloggable pros, solidifying market share.

Yet the Leo era still harbours a gap not easily crossed by the four urethane wheels of a man. Can he capture the heart of skating’s loudest (and more or less historically accurate) Nor-cal critics, alongside the symbolic trophy and free beer a SOTY title promises? Will he reign in glory forevermore alongside Tony Hawk, Danny Way and Danny Way, or trod into his bank-skating autumn years an overlooked icon such as the Muska, pressedganged into conquering the LA record-playing business or New York spray paint art in lieu of the Phelper’s undying embrace.

Much like the Muska of yesteryear, Leo Romero currently is “in the groove” and securing trick-footage the likes of which will not be easily replicated. And they are dangerous tricks. You wish for a second angle on the final crooked grind of “Brainwash” to better judge how the rail kinks just so, but are left wondering. He forgoes the certainty of a motorcycle tow-in and instead just pushes as hard/many times as possible, maybe making the jump or maybe not. He throws himself onto deeply committed frontside feeble grinds that might wrap a lesser ‘boarder’s hardgoods around the metal pole. There is an ease of movement even when trying the otherwise nonsensical, like the up-rail tricks in the Emerica vid, that surfaces also in the mildly technical items he throws out now and then (nollie b/s heelflip off the curb and hydrant switch heelflip, “Brainwash,” b/s nosegrind nollie bigspin heelflip out, “Stay Gold” (even tho the sequence contained that one hilarious spread-eagle frame)).

Like Al Gore, Leo Romero has toiled in ditches to get where he is, flopping over handrails and spilling onto the sidewalk part of the job, but with the biggest popularity contest of the season now before him all chips are on the table. Speculation arises whether a shocking 2010 SOTY loss could drive him into a wilderness period, farming a beard and rethinking the whole reason God made him Senator of Tennessee, known to some as the “Volunteer” state. Perhaps he would try his hand at carpentry, or become a welterweight prize-fighter seeking redemption among a colorful cast of ne’er-do-wells, or feed the poor or create a book filled with detailed drawings of anatomy.

Two of Jake Phelps’ other musings for the title have been mentioned but a more plausible GWB-figure could maybe be found in team-mate Nick Trapasso, a renowned mumbler and word-mangler that has glided to a lofty position atop the skate heap with seeming ease and not a lot of stressing. Not breaking a sweat really this year, but Trapasso did rate the closer section in Thrasher’s still-fantastic “Prevent This Tragedy” and has impressed with what appears like an endless Santa-Claus sack of tricks (in “Brainwash” there’s a switch inward heelflip outta nowhere, and a nice nollie noseslide which has become one of those you suddenly don’t see often enough). A smoker/joker/mid-night toker who would be my pick for this year’s dark horse, if that counts for anything after the Chris Cole twopeat caught me completely off guard.

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16 Responses to “If Grant Taylor Or Brandon Westgate Win Skater Of The Year, Will Leo Romero Evolve To Become Skateboarding’s Albert Gore?”

  1. dedleg Says:

    Is Vincent Alvarez out of the question?

  2. ngrplz Says:

    the leo/al gore comparison is one of the best i’ve ever seen

  3. Old School Sammy Says:

    Leo will win–bet your house on that one…Phelper’s been plugging it almost all year, for Pete’s sake!

    • Random Matt Says:

      I don’t think the Muska comparison is apt, Muska was very one-dimensional (big fuckin’ rails). SOTY is not a democratic election, even if every pre-Kasperholic voted for The Muska, Phelper wouldn’t let happen. Leo has a little a variety, though that up-rail shit seems either gimmicky on the big rails or a Paul Sharpe/ Jeremy Wray re-hash (not a bad thing, but not revolutionary either). Romero this year, Grant next year especially if he gets a different board sponsor like Anti-Hero.

  4. reality check Says:

    theres nothing rehashy about leos shit at all. there are rails leo hits that were previously unthinkable, ripple rails, bent rails, skating fences like rails, tall as fuck rails, wide kinks, weird curves. nobody is doing that. the travesty is that bad angles and poor editing really didn’t showcase any of that and I have no idea why so much of that stayed in ad form but missed the video. miner also picked the worst song, it should’ve been something epic, corny piano solos are not epic, why was a corny piano solo in the middle of an amazing part? lot of decisions that were made in general makes me wonder what kind of acid miner was taking whilst editing the thing. just a lot of bad decisions mired what should’ve been way better than what was put out. Also, the angles in the toy video? not to use a michael plumb-ism but “Kill Yo Self”. I don’t know what made them think shaky cam and shitty angles were good ideas.

  5. Akoi Says:

    Leo winning wouldn’t be a surprise…..I just don’t think he cares though..

  6. Rasputin Says:

    Hopefully Phelps takes into consideration the fact that Leo hasn’t learned how to push yet when he’s laboring over his decision.

  7. mike Says:

    I can’t remember what web video it was, but there was one where Jim Greco said that if you didn’t vote for Leo you were fucking retarded. It kind of felt like Leo won SOTY at that moment.

  8. theProgram Says:

    phelps has always said SOTY is about what you do for “the mag.” leo’s badass interview a few issues ago didn’t hurt his chances. trapasso feels like a really-long-shot, thought the PTT ender part probably helps. but what do i know, i’m still pissed that rune didn’t win it last year.

    and honestly? lance mountain for SOTY.

  9. ATM Says:

    I know Jake is really stoked on Grant after everything he did on the Skate Rock tour and KOTR, not to mention he put out two really good video parts last year.

  10. Sean Says:

    I think this has to be Leo’s year. Grant is a definite SOTY to be and is an awesome skater but I don’t think he has released a video part at all this year. Someone correct me if I’m wrong on that. Leo on the other hand has had 3 video parts this year and an onslaught of Thrasher coverage, not to mention he seems to have been kissing a lot of Phelper and Burnett ass in the online media realm. Westgate would be a really great contender because he has, in my opinion, the best video part of the year and upped the bar for San Fransisco driveway bombing in said video part, but if you read Phelps’ interview with him you can tell that the Phelper hasn’t fully invested in him yet, at least not enough to give him SOTY status, and we all know you can’t get the SOTY without the Phelpsy. Dylan Rieder’s part was stellar but he’s severely lacking in the Thrasher coverage department. Busenitz should be SOTY by now but the Real video probably won’t drop before the votes get tallied. I think the Skate Rock and KOTR videos need to come out to get Grant over the SOTY threshold, otherwise Leo’s got it in the bag this year.

  11. ATM Says:

    But Jake’s already seen all the KOTR footage and he was there for the Skate Rock tour, which is probably as good (or better than) putting out those videos in his eyes.

  12. art hellman Says:

    Mining for a sacred lode
    Drilling into untouched stone
    The world has done enough to me
    The horror now I’ll never see

    Got to fight off grizzly bears
    Got to eat, so I grab a few hares
    Got to struggle to survive
    That’s the reason I’m alive

    I know I left you hurting
    Disappeared with no goodbyes
    But I heard the snowcats calling
    I’m alright, baby please don’t cry
    If the guy is right for you
    he doesn’t live on bear cat stew
    I’ll live without you alright
    I figured you were not sleeping at night

    Got to fight off grizzly bears
    Got to eat, so I grab a few hares
    Got to struggle to survive
    That’s the reason I’m alive

    The animals were my first real friends
    They’ll protect me ’til the end
    Where the people lived was filled of lies
    And the truth has no disguise

    I know I left you hurting
    Disappeared with no goodbyes
    But I heard the snowcats calling
    I’m alright, baby please don’t cry
    If the guy is right for you
    he doesn’t live on bear cat stew
    I’ll live without you alright
    I figured you were not sleeping at night

    I’m a mountain man
    Rip that fucker right off, I feel fine
    This is a mountain man

    ‘Cause I’m a mountain man

  13. Old School Sammy Says:

    the Program–Lance for SOTY—we would probably be good friends–LOL

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