There’s a certain amount of revivalism going on in Daniel Kim’s repertoire, as the nollie crooked grinds, 360 flips, switch backside tailslides, switch heelflips sort of read like a Josh Kalis-curated trick list, buoyed by a certain number of jeans, hooded sweatshirts and cocked base ball hats. That’s not to dilute the power and massive pop baked into his skating – if you razor-bladed off some of the logos on display here (or not) you conceivably could hop into Rob Dyrdek’s time machine and dub this video part into an Eastern Exposure, an early EST, or Chris Hall’s ‘Get Familiar’ and not get too tripped up by fanciful flip-outs so as to wind up with something less than timeless. Middle-aged professional street skaters with achy knees and semi-retirement weighing their minds should study this part (and/or whole video) and reevaluate whether they really need those handrails and tickets to China to concoct something resonant.
Blueprint’s legacy looms large, so it is a mark in favor of presumptive torch picker-uppers Isle that Tom Knox’s engrossing section in Jacob Harris’ ‘Eleventh Hour’ could have been plucked from anywhere in between Danny Brady and Nick Jensen in ‘Lost and Found.’ No cobblestone seems too rough or bank too bumpy for Tom Knox, switch heelflipping into long steps and lazily nudging a shove-it out of a tall backside tailslide here, pushing envelopes with a backside bigspin fakie manual and the jump out to backside lipslide and the cascading last line. The spots obviously look awesome and the more off-the-wall tricks sprinkled here and there, like the switch backside 50-50 frontside 180 out, set the skating here apart from your urban tourist Street Leaguer types.
This technically wasn’t a one-spot video section in the sense of Chet Childress’ ‘God Save the Label’ or Haslam and Daewon’s ‘Cheese & Crackers,’ but Tom Remillard wrung enough mileage out of the curvacious Washington Street that the whole section could’ve been there and still been good. Give Tom Remillard points for his stabs at some rails but in a time when everybody skates everything it’s cool to see a dude make his style of skating work for him as much a possible, like on the wallride ollie-out or the vertical b/s powerslide wall-wiper thing. All the over-vert slashing and ditch pillaging here skews closer to the Thrasher brand but Transworld’s production values arguably do a better job maximizing this type of skating, up to and including the slo-mos.
If you were to try and map out a species-tree of East Coasters, a task possibly suited to such dudes as who made all the Wu-Tang Venn diagrams, there might be a slot for Billy McFeely somewhere in between Reese Forbes’ heavy-hoist ollies and the gangly switchstance of Jake Johnson. Bolstered by Peter Sidlauskas, probably the best video-maker working today, and one of the hottest government names this side of Jackson Hennessey, Billy McFeely (16:18 here if the Youtube coding fails) demonstrates a preference for the tall ledge, the switch 50-50 or backside noseblunt, pushing his tailslide a country mile or scootching lipslides across rugged steps. This dude seems like he gets better in every vid and can handle lobbing trickopedia knuckleballs like that hop up to the table out of the 50-50 grind. Last trick in his entry for ‘Solo Jazz,’ another internet platinum hit for Bronze, flashed me back to a classic from the early Lucas Puig playbook.
Jason Hernandez is one of those rare filmers whose steady hand has the power to make good skating look better, versus the other way around like a lot of dudes, and Donovon Piscopo’s greasefired debut via the Nike vid is a good example, keeping the Dill/AVE progeny careening safely in-frame as he tornadoes over a handrail, hurls himself around a curvy bar, carves curbs and generally chews scenery all over the place. I didn’t have much of a position on Donovon Piscopo’s slicked hair and general T&C Surf Designs approach prior to his proper arrival here, but the way he glides that shove-it along the ditch and his feet clamp the board onto the garage door on that wallride sold me, with a TNT-approved property/casualty ender thrown in. Not sure I need to see another frontside bluntslide impossible out, but I didn’t hate it.
One of the risks in assembling an uber-team and producing an uber-video is that once these projects run their course, the group tends to splinter (see Plan B/’Questionable’-'Virtual Reality,’ Es/’Menikmati’, Flip/’Sorry’-'Really Sorry’)*. You could argue that some test of staying power lies in trading off the strength of the great project for the next set of dudes, so it’s been interesting watching Lakai make new acquisitions as they’ve ceded several Fully Flarees to international shoe purveyours. This Miles Silvas reminds me of the five-panel era Mark Suciu and his slate of moves is solid: arms on the backside noseblunt transfer, the rarely-seen backside ‘over-crook’ to backside 180 out, a pleasantly weird-looking flatground hardflip. Even saddled with an ass shot his switch heelflip is burly and the ride-away from the kickflip backside tailslide at the end (still a rail trick with mustard in 2013) rivals Jake Donnelly’s from the Real vid a couple years ago.
*Among the possible rationales for Plan B declining to release a video since its reformation.
If you were to glance at any of the above frames on its own, possibly in a moment of quiet repose, what trick might you guess Nick Tucker is whipping down those well-trod Hollywood steps on behalf of Supra shoes — fakie 360 flip? Half-cab kickflip? Tweaked switch backside heelflip? Backside 360, or something far more ominous? If you guessed “switch inward heelflip” you may legally change your name to Pat Canale. While John Igei continues to hold the title for the best switch inward heelflip ever performed, over the Pier 7 block just a bit up the road in SF, a persuasive case maybe could be built for Nick Tucker to hold a spot somewhere in the top 10 off the strength of this outlandish sequence alone.
Certain Presumptive Skaters Of The Year Could Benefit From Additional Pain, Frustration And Aging, Top Pros SayDecember 6, 2013
Salman Agah: “I’m going with Greco. It’s my opinion that you shouldn’t even be eligible until you’re at least 30.”
Peter Hewitt: “So I’m looking at the contenders & here’s my opinion: Greco- if that was going to happen Guy would’ve won last year. Burman- Burly, but needs to suffer more. Ishod- again, he has much more to prove. Sandoval- I feel this guy has earned it the Thrasher way. Nyjah- so talented it could be a video game. Does he say Thrasher to me? Not really. Westgate- One of my favorites, bionic-man stuff. Raybourn- Also one of my faves but he must suffer more. Suciu- must suffer more. Burnquist- dimension X of skateboarding… Only one percent of skateboarders can comprehend. Provost, Walker, & Gravette must all suffer more. My picks are Tommy Sandoval & Brandon Westgate!”
Leo Romero: “First I would say Westgate, but he doesn’t care much for these shenanigans. So second would be Nyjah because he came out with multiple video parts for you guys that are fucking crazy. He seems like he really wants it. Also DC has spent quite a bit on advertising in the mag.”
Jeff Grosso: “Westgate is rad, but I vote for Mark Suciu. I like his East coast style and vibe. I’m a big fan of the varial heel flip and he’s got a pretty one! I like his simple, effortless, style. Also, one of his video parts I watched he skated to “junk bond trader” by Elliott Smith which is a beautiful song about art as commodity and the selling of ones soul. As an Elliott fan, I found his choice of music… Interesting? So, when I saw an interview with him in the mag, I was curious. I like what I read about the dude. He seems like a thoughtful, talented, bad ass, young skateboarder. No frills. Just style and shred! But, with a nod to the people he grew up influenced by. I don’t know. I just dig his style.”
Silas Baxter-Neal: “Ishod – skate rat ripping for himself not for a trophy. Skates EVERYTHING, and looks sick doing it. Still puts out video parts for the homies while filming for corpo vids. If Thrasher stands for real skateboarding then Ishod should be the SOTY. If you guys like handrails and gold medals and a shitty push then give it to Nyjah Bingy.”
Josh Kalis: “I have two answers. Two very different dudes for two very different reasons. One is based off a points system – Nyjah, and the other is based off being a pure skater who came through with video parts, coverage, etc. without stepping outside of the skate world – core mentality. For skateboarding – Suciu. Both deserve it, in my opinion, but if it was solely up to me I’d pick Suciu.”
Andrew Reynolds: “I think Ishod should get it because the amount of skateboarding he does – he has three video parts: Sabotage 3, Wair and Tear, and the Chronicles video. I think he won a contest,too. And he did it all without trying to get Skater of the Year.”
Peter Smolik: “It should be me! But on some real shit, Nyjah.”
Bigspinning Pacific Northwesterner Tyler Bledsoe is back on the scene after keeping sort of a lower profile in recent years, possibly seeking professional treatment for his previously documented infatuation with the color teal. The ledges in this remarkable Etnies clip exhibit a more verdant shade of green, suggesting some progress in his personal journey, and it’s comforting to realize that even having shed his spectacles his command of the backside bigspin remains uncannily intact on what has to be one of the tougher ledge tricks to lock into, much less spin anything out of it, much less in the middle of the ledge.
Board control’s one thing, but do Tyler Bledsoe’s recent feats suggest a genetic mutation that gives his feet greater mastery over gravity, similar to folks who from birth are unable to feel pain, or rapidly develop massive muscles? Could Tyler Bledsoe’s apparent gifts enable him to defy physics in other ways such as sprinting through waist-high water or executing hairpin turns on frozen lakes? Did ancient Mayans develop a two- or three-year calendar based around the frequency with which footwear companies try to launch camouflage shoes?
Nyjah Huston is in the news again, this time seeking to reel in among the biggest and slipperiest, if not necessarily the most lucrative, fish of the skate-award realm: Thrasher’s often-legendary Skater of the Year award, which if nothing else remains a monument to the grand intangibles in a world increasingly dominated by quantitative benchmarks such as Street-League scoring points, unique page-views and ‘likes.’ Before running out the remainder of the year swilling macrobrews and lighting cars on fire before giggling and bearded photographers, Nyjah Huston in his just-released ‘Fade to Black’ part cranks the Old Metallica, dons several colors of Thrasher branded t-shirt apparels and deploys any number of massive backside lipslides, kinked 50-50s and blizzard flips onto handrails in his bid for the SOTY prize.
Like many Nyjah Huston video parts before it, this year’s comes packaged as an ‘event’ chock full of feats that go several stairs further than others have dared, and inevitably has ignited frothy debates over the ‘jock’ nature of Nyjah Huston’s skating. A gently probing analysis of the topic reveals a more fundamental question, however: Are skateboarders, who draw their identities from an athletic activity, by definition ‘jocks’?
When weighing such weighty questions, it’s helpful to begin with the basics. Webster’s dictionary defines ‘jock’ as an ‘athlete, especially: a school or college athlete,’ derived from the noun ‘jock strap.’ The stretchy but supportive apparatus that embraces sportsmen worldwide today originally was invented around 4,500 B.C. by Tunisian animal husbandrists, casting about for methods to speed spice-laden camels across North Africa’s arid plains.
Modern-day skateboarding has had little use for what we now understand to be the commoditized jock strap, eschewing more-formalized undergarment support in favor of short-shorts in the early days of taming backyard transitions, to the no-safety-net stance of the early 1990s’ goofy-boy scene. But as contest purses grew more lucrative, skateboarders began to gravitate toward more form-fitting garments previously regarded as the exclusive realm of Ed Templeton and Mario Rubalcaba. The advent of stretch denim largely obviated the need for classical support regimes and some skateboarders now even have adopted tighty-whities, a mindset unthinkable just a decade ago.
Gleaming trophies and contest hauls go only so far in rationalizing such an attitudinal shift, however, and so to better understand the gravitational forces and wearable whims at play, Boil the Ocean sought out H. Stoss ‘Boss’ Perot, professor of chemical and metallurgical anthropology at the highly regarded East Wangle University. Boil the Ocean Web Site was particularly intent on engaging Professor Perot’s viewpoints given his long-running research into the fibrous content of modern-day jockstraps and designer sweatpants, a marketplace now cornered by just three multinational gargantuates — ancient trade-houses of vast means.
“There’s far more afoot than people understand,” Prof. Perot claimed while on the phone from his research facility where he looks at elastic bands. “And far more at stake. I believe this shift reflects a systemic risk that has gone unaddressed, if not willfully ignored, for far too long.”
We departed immediately for Prof. Perot’s facilities, as per coded instructions faxed over so as to elude what the academic referred to cryptically as ‘overeager aficionados’ of his singular research. Yet upon arrival we discovered the once-immaculate lab, typically festooned with stretchy materials of all types, ransacked and smoldering with no sign of the professor. A breathy croak emanating from beneath a pile of debris in one corner offered sign that the destruction was not total, and we rushed to dismantle the wreckage.
A toothy, bearded maw presented itself; that of an orangutan, a specimen out of the northeastern hills that was known to me as Mike. “They’ve got him,” Mike rasped, before lapsing into a pitiable swoon of the sort only a highly intelligent primate can truly manage.
Our mission revealed to us, we sped directly to the local ammunition dump before taking a back-room table at a friendly ale-house to plan. Pots of coffee, roasted meat and strong drink emboldened us to our cause, which became increasingly clear to be a suicide mission. The orangutan kept silent counsel at the table’s far end, slowly twirling a Bowie knife amongst his spidery fingers as his cigar burned to a stump. “So it must be,” the creature muttered, to no one in particular. “The hard way, as it ever was.”
Bizzell Hutchinson, that tavern’s deeply whiskered proprietor, had time only to throw wide the door and bark “we’ve got company” before the mortar fire began. Rockets screeched down, peeling back the roof and walls in great fiery curtains as we scrambled across the floorboards and broken mugs. Half a chair careened by and through the haze Mike, machine-gun braced against his shoulder and clattering, still gnawing his cigar and faintly, grinning. The elastics cartel had located us.
TO BE CONCLUDED…