Posts Tagged ‘Thrasher’

Castiatic Tackle

July 12, 2014

TWSs

Big Punisher the rap singer famously weighed 700 pounds at the time of his untimely passing several centuries ago. This achievement, unequaled by rappers of his time or since then, made true the statement that this onetime government-named Christopher Rios had more heart than would-be rivals in the game because it later was revealed that his heart was three times the size of a normal human’s, a Grinch-like feat that alongside his body of work enshrined eternally Big Punisher’s non-player status.

Would Transworld Skateboarding have enjoyed similar canonization had the Tracker-birthed publication evaporated at the height of its Sears-catalogue engorgement? The future of the past unoccurred is but a shadow out of time and a colour out of space. However, a confluence of worldwide economic tightenings, growths within internet page browsing, and the collective lines of ethernet speed snorted by Youtube uploaders, hard/softgood manufacturers and Pro Spotlight-eligible pros themselves seems over the past decade to have exacted a fleshy toll upon the World’s Number One Skateboard Magazine*.

TWS has hovered slightly above the 100-page mark in recent months, roughly same for The Skateboard Mag. Days when colourful and pro-endorsed hair gels and the dairy industry trade group balled for position alongside Baker boards and decades-old urethane concerns seem to have faded, with some choosing instead to pursue unique clicks and views on Quartersnacks.com and the Slap message-boards, while a new vanguard of more-virtual board outfits slings merchandise straight off white-labeled web blog platforms. It is a departure from the heady days of 2003, when TWS’ 20th anniversary issue boasted four different covers enveloping 408 pages; ads for Seek, Artafact, Germ and Fuze; two separate spreads featuring Toan Nguyen and one with Anthony Pappalardo backside tailsliding a hubba.

In recent weeks, Palace made several ripples for having an ad in TWS at all — which when you think about it is an uneasy look, re: one of the better-selling (and better-conceived) board companies of the day sort of deigning to show up at the party. Elsewhere, magazine ads taken out by Supreme and Fucking Awesome similarly have been seen as a novelty. While the remaining big three mags experiment with placing print content online in various forms, recent jumps from print to digital for Skateboarder and Slap ominously withered on the vine.

Worse, print publications increasingly appear locked in a slow-burning battle against a posse of nimbler websites able to post clickbaitable content willy-nilly without regard for print deadlines, touring schedules and the lassoing of press-ready adverts. In a broadening competition for the thumb-scrolling consumer of skate-related text blocs, this corner of the pasture has earned some coups: Jamie Thomas last month confirmed to Jenkem Mag recent rumors that Zero and Fallen would move to Dwindle, about a week after the site put up a thoughtful interview with recently-out photog Sam Maguire and a few months after they got Paul Rodriguez to run down the model for his board company. EXPN.com some months back interviewed Ty Evans on his post-Crailtap plans and earlier this month got Chris Cole on the record about quitting Zero (though without bothering to call him on press-release linguistic exercises or his statements to the contrary a few months ago).

Transworld the other day did land Habitat treehugger-in-chief Joe Castrucci on the company’s future with a heartwarming video to boot, though Jenkem the same day posted an interview with rider-wrangler Brennan Conroy that featured a shade more industry laundry aired.

The websites do not offer products for sale to coax revenue from lucrative zones such as airport bookstores and the remaining Barnes & Nobles. But they seemingly hold an advantage in being able to regularly crank out buzz/worthy list items. They’re also able to occasionally capitalize on the print mags’ own content, such as Nyjah Huston’s comments regarding girls and skating, which subsequently were walked back. They can freely post up more-lengthy items that don’t readily lend themselves to photo-powered features, like Muckmouth’s endlessly entertaining and entertainingly endless ‘Back in the Spotlight’ series and Jenkem’s Big Brother-worthy interview with ‘Tyler’ the skated-in sock enthusiast, or the more meditative feature on Tony DaSilva’s post-Foundation pursuits.

TWS and TSM and Thrasher could move similarly and sometimes do; witness Transworld’s own recent scoop, catching up with a fresh-out messageboard darling Jereme Rogers. You’d imagine though that they’re more constrained with the machinations of producing an actual physical product every four weeks, the expenses that go alongside supporting staff photographers, designers, writers and ad-sales officials. It has rightly been said that print magazines’ role these days includes some gatekeeping, and that a photo or interview in a magazine means more and lingers longer in the collective consciousness, and they have maintained as the de-facto locales for hosting and posting serious ‘internet’ video parts. But one worries how long this persists when the every-four-years generational shift skews more and more toward informing itself via mobile phones and whatever vaporous, cloud-infused technology may lurk just over these brave and binary horizons, for instance a floating monocle that allows the wearer to surf a web and look at his or her phone through the other/opposite eye.

Thrasher remains relatively fat and seems kind of insulated to all of this, having harnessed its SOTY award as a magnet for exclusive campaigner video parts, shifting KOTR toward a WWW serial and generally tethering its fortunes to the same winds of extreme whimsy that have lifted the boats and market shares of Anti-Hero, Independent, Spitfire and Vans over the past half-decade. For better or worse, how many TWS or TSM logo shirts do you see on dudes outside the page that bears the subscriber postcards?

What does the ‘culture’ if it can still so be called lose without mags of record, available to impressionable groms as they wander their junior-high libraries and kill time while their moms peruse supermarkets? As the multinational footwear vacuums of Nike, Adidas and Converse briskly hoover up teamriders, should we similarly consider the vision of a future centered upon one or two print mags and a host of bootstrap-pulling, internet-based contenders? How have the dwindling number of skate magazine pages affected the photographer ranks, and will an honest living be makeable should the pendulum of publication shift squarely to the internet? How much do the board/shoe/etc companies themselves, nudging their teamriders toward cultivating flighty Instagram followings, bear responsibility for shifting eyeballs away from the printed page?

*Billed more recently as ‘Skateboarding’s Finest’

Certain Presumptive Skaters Of The Year Could Benefit From Additional Pain, Frustration And Aging, Top Pros Say

December 6, 2013

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Assorted musings and murmurings on the SOTY race, as Thrasher ratchets the tension and unique page-views ever higher by announcing a short list.

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.”

Some Kind of Monster

November 30, 2013

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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…

‘You Know What? I Think I’m A Tortured Person’

November 15, 2013

JT

Did Forrest Edwards teach Jamie Thomas to enjoy life again, as Punxsutawney Phil did for Bill Murray in the famous movie ‘Groundhog Wild’? The answer is yes, but this is simply a trick question, because Forrest Edwards really did so for all citizens. Yet the Reynolds fad diet-endorser may have at least tangentially sparked Jamie Thomas with regard to Zero’s ‘Cold War,’ which features the best Jamie Thomas part in perhaps a decade — the kinked hubba kickflip 5-0, the ‘Misled Youth’ cast cameos, a fresh assault on Rincon, and the cheese-eating ender ending pictured above.

But how do we get there from here? (Via the Zero ‘Thrasher’):
I don’t know that carefree fun has ever been my style. A lot of people judge me for that. That was the beef that Muska and I had back in the day. He wanted to cruise around, get gnarly, have fun and not really take it that serious but still get stuff done. I didn’t feel like I was talented enough to just cruise around and hope stuff happened. My fund is more of an enjoyment of the mission. It’s just setting out on a path and accomplishing it. That’s what drives me. There’s obviously lots of smiles along the way, but I’m not just carefree floating around.

One did not have to see ‘One in a Million’ to conceptualize the unpredictable effect Forrest Edwards has upon any nearby bros. In the case of his new boss, Forrest Edwards’s board-twirling antics at the Clipper ledge seem to have inspired Jamie Thomas, on the doorstep of 40 years old, to follow suit and/or attempt the impossible. Is Forrest Edwards’ speedy flow-to-pro journey that much more impressive considering he did not have to toil for years in the Black Box warehouse as he sought his spot? Do Jamie Thomas’ floral button-ups suggest a more relaxed attitude toward work and play now that Dane Burman’s 50-50 grind has secured the distribution’s financial security for years to come? Is Erik Ellington’s cap-over-the-hood a throwback to San Diego superhero Peter Smolik’s glory days or a stab at Axl Rose-influenced ‘outsider’ fashion?

‘Word Up’ or, Boil the Ocean’s Generally Uninformed Views Regarding Runners and Riders for 2013 SOTY

November 3, 2013

sheriff

As contest grow, amass greater cash purses and consolidate power, Thrasher’s ‘Skater of the Year’ has come to command a late-year rush of award-season bait generally angled toward capturing the short-pantsed golden bro with the Lego-man cap on. The phenomenon has birthed horrific mutations and eddies in the space-time continuum, such as making the front half of the year sleepier than it might otherwise have been video-wise and flummoxing innocent blog websites that generally speaking might boast somewhat better SOTY oddsmaking without having to account for an early-December crush of Phelps-baiting footage arising out of nowhere. Nevertheless:

David Gravette A scrappy journeyman working in the medium of hairy 50-50s, Creature’s golden child is the onliest 2013 candidate whose resume totes a Thrasher-themed facial tattoo. Amongst all the ditches, bars and his not-quite-a-flyout backflip, Gravette demanded a cover photo and received it, though similar to the initial landing on his round-the-horn rail ride in this year’s CSFU part, Gravette’s bid is solid but may suffer from bad timing, its arrival earlier in the year having been obscured by any number of team-jumps, jailings, gay-rights ruminations and related chatterboxing.

Nyjah Huston: His contest-circuit profile and ability to consistently stretch handrail tricks down an additional few stairs each year have made Nyjah Huston a perennial candidate lately, and similar to Ryan Sheckler, he seems to have preemptively cleared a spot in his trophy room for the Thrasher award, so far to no avail. He has offered up to the mag some kinked-bar prowess and a politically incorrect comment that may otherwise have played well to a wizard-staffed campfire, but the ensuing press-release apology and tearful track record when a gold medal eludes him may make SOTY a long shot.

Bob Burnquist’s helicopter: Never has a helicopter so boldly staked a claim to an award that otherwise has purely been the affectation of human beings, yet as digital technology advances and extreme athletes continue to achieve on stronger and deeper stages, machinery has played an ever-larger role, be it lasering substandard eyeballs, defending against rogue-state missile launches or ferrying Danny Way back to his next MegaRampTM run. It’s difficult to argue against Bob Burnquist’s helicopter as the most-extreme propeller-driven aircraft of modern times, though Thrasher underbosses may look askance at an all-park part.

Clint Walker: Like a bearded young demon conjured by blaspheming worshippers of Heath Kirchart’s career, the long-simmering Clint Walker boiled over last spring in Ambig’s ‘Modern Art’ video. Clint Walker did a truly gnarly crooked grind revert and in addition to all those damn-the-wobbles ending tricks managed that rare feat of the YouTube age, forcing rewinds after a vertigo-inducing miss on an otherwise unassuming nollie heelflip. The knock against Clint Walker would be that he’s too new, but few have chomped as hard as he this year.

Brandon Westgate: New England’s famed cranberry boggart recorded some of the year’s heaviest tricks, some flung down San Francisco hills, others up from handicap ramps, and one across a massive loading dock that looked roughly on par with the size of Brandon Westgate’s quiet and domesticated family home. Should Brandon Westgate, an accomplished tiler and this world wide web log’s odds-on favorite for the award, somehow dodge it this year, he seems assured that little-loved consolation prize which is to be attached to perpetual message-board grumblings also concerning Dennis Busenitz and Guy Mariano in the could’ve/should’ve SOTY sphere.

Bronze Hardware: With impeccable taste since the start, Bronze’s mastery of its particular/singular domain and subject matter have become harder to ignore with each passing year, braiding together a thick and lustrous twine of classic tricks, foreboding soundscapes and ‘found recordings’ into this year’s ‘Solo Jazz’ offering. Bronze Hardware’s prowess and promiscuity have engendered anger and half-mumbled threats from adversaries, which may for Thrasher staffers pose questions of peacekeeping and insurance liabilities for any SOTY event in which Bronze Hardware is named the ultimate winner.

Ben Rayborne: a grimy, bespectacled veteran of patchy backyard ramps and full pipes, who introduced the industry to the phrase “horse pool” and as much as anybody else in the running this year is of the Thrasher mold. Ben Raybourne skates giant sewers in the dark, threatens weak amphibians, rides ceilings where others may settle for the wall and fence-jams at Burnside, pumping out an array of footage this year that did include the obligatory Thrasher part. He also boasts the distinction of having some of his tricks translated into Lego formats.

Ishod Wair VX’ed footage of nighttime Love Park lines soundtracked to Raekwon in 2013 qualifies as certified blog fodder and must be treated as such. Nevertheless, it’s difficult not to rate Ishod’s real-streetness after two parts worth of “Photosynthesis”-mining grit over the last year that also did include some Juicy J and multiple trips down the fountain gap. It’s a good look for Ishod Wair, whose skills never have been in doubt but whose “Since Day One” section spoke more toward the type of SoCal one-hitters that many a Street League jockey could have formulated. A lengthy interview in Thrasher, Deluxe affiliation and the promise of another possible part by year’s end further bolster his candidacy.

Jim Greco: Worse than a gruesome death or a quiet fade from the scene for Jim Greco would be damnation by being decreed ‘boring,’ and so in 2013 Greco challenges conventional norms and mores by embracing concepts like darkslides and Wrangler pants. Tangling with cars, dumpsters, hydrants and fearsome embankments, Greco pulled out a Slayer tape and most all the stops for his “Deathwish” video appearance and, seeming to grasp the spell Rodney Mullen commands over U.S. tweens, potentially extended his career another five years easy as he dares to navigate the turbulent waters of pants and sunglasses sponsorships.

Stream-Of-Consciousness Rant Touching On Wet Willy’s Contributions To Small-Town American Culture, Emerging Markets Wealth Distribution And The Innate Hypocrisy Of Tree-Hugging Graphical Concepts? Jason Dill’s Got U

June 24, 2013

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In case you missed it.

Thrasher: What’s skateboarding look like from where you’re sitting?

Jason Dill: It seems like skateboarding is like India. You’re either insanely rich or you’re fucked! There’s no middle class in skateboarding. We’re selling these skateboards to little kids. They like lame shit. Kids like some bullshit. I’ve been around a long time. I’ve done a lot of fuckin’ demos. I refuse to do them anymore because I don’t need to come to your town for 20 fuckin’ people who show up and no one cares. I’ve been to every small town at least twice. I remember a time when kids would come up to me to sign their boards and I’d tell them, “Hey, neither Wet Willy or Flame Boy is going to come and do a demo for you. Go get a different board and I’ll sign that.” I refused to sign a Flame Boy or Wet Willy. It just pissed me off. Talk about getting mad about something that is so far out of your control!

After that I pretty much refused to sign Element boards. Are you fucking kidding me? You know what I had the most in the world? It’s when people are like, “Oh, go green!” and it’s bullshit. I hate that fake eco green marketing shit. Power to the planet? You cut down a tree and glued it together with fuckin’ toxic glue and then paint your little save-the-world message on it? Oh my God, you’re a fuckin’ asshole! Wow! I hope they made a whole lot of fuckin’ money.

That’s the point where I can’t believe people still want me around. Wow. I’m still here? And they still want me to perform tricks on film? I still get to create? I still get to make my shit? I still get to lose my mind trying tricks and feel super insecure about my age and freak out? But the checks keep following me. The checks have followed me my whole life. The checks have followed me since my mother and me’s shitty little apartment that we had to move out of because she couldn’t afford to pay for it without me pitching in. I moved out onto my own and these checks have followed me ever since.

I’ve never lived a real life. Dyrdek’s got a Fantasy Factory? Great. I’ve got a whole fuckin’ fantasy existence. I got to spend 14 years being a drunk, drug addict alcoholic. I come back for one year and work and everybody’s high fiving me and you put me on the fuckin’ cover like I never did anything wrong? Are you kidding me? I want to stay in this forever! Go to jail, come out sponsored! That’s why skateboarding still fuckin’ rules!

Insight On Current Priorities In Pro-Model Promotion From A Dude With Multiple Face Tattoos

April 7, 2013

gravette

Under the eyebrows, but:
“…[T]he amount of innocent things that are translated wrong through Instagram or Facebook… It’s annoying. There are people who know where you are when you don’t want them to know where you are. Add to that the fact that I’m being told by people that I’m blowing it and losing out on board royalties and shoe royalties because of not being on the stuff? That makes me sick. That, in skateboarding, you’re hurting yourself by choosing not to spend more time stuck behind a computer. That just doesn’t make sense. Just talk to a kid when you’re out skating, and they buy your board, you know? I’ll talk to anyone who comes up to me at a park, but I don’t want to get sucked into Facebook.”

-Technophobiac David Gravette, the May/Creature issue of Thrasher

Pyrex Wrist Vol. 2

April 3, 2013

Birdman_02

It is either fate or some higher-level commentary on the state of the culture that a supernatural-themed company that was itself brought back from the dead has been going around re-animating tricks and concepts forgotten to the annals of time, but here we are. Creature rider and reputed EDM aficionado Ryan Reyes gained gnar levels last year for innovating what is now known as a “railie,” including tickling the muse of Guy Mariano, whose career enjoyed its own second coming. Elsewhere Creature breathed blasphemous new life into that “Storm” era Smolik accessory, the Osiris G-Bag, reimagined as a giant beer koozie.

Now, after rumors of so-called “coping dancing” have percolated among musty corners of the internet for several years, Creature’s re-animator in chief Darren Navarrette in this month’s new “CSFU” project whips the white sheet off a potentially new creation, a combo handplant. As a strict adherent to the straight-and-narrow, meaning generally sidewalks and schoolyards, I’m hard-pressed to brandish the NBD acronym in the transition neighborhood, but the last vert wristwork I recall on this level was perhaps Tony Hawk’s double board spin in “The End.” Does anybody know what Navarrette’s trick is called, and if it already existed before this?

1. Mark Suciu – “Cross Continental”

December 31, 2012

Mark Suciu seemed to lurk around every corner in 2012, roaming the map and riddling spots with very hard tricks before resurfacing every few weeks with yet another video clip, earning him favorable comparisons to Gucci Mane in his prime. In recent months Suciu has ripped downtown San Jose, Spain, the southern U.S., Philadelphia and most recently New York, finding a new way over the courthouse cliff en route to an Adidas paycheck. And this all came after setting off 2012 with a skateshop part that digs deep into a trove of well-worn spots to unearth some bar-lifting lines and certain yet-to-be-dones. Views can and will differ as to the tastefulness of frontside reverts out of backside noseblunts or frontside crooks, but Suciu proponents were handed piles of ammunition this year in favor of a rare talent that gets over without slavish retreads of coast-specific tricks on coast-specific spots, hands-off editing and (aside from a little wavy animation) no punchlines and no gimmicks when it comes to execution. Mark Suciu in the “Cross Continental” part shakes out a seemingly bottomless bag of tricks, including the little-seen switch frontside smith grind and an immaculate hardflip, and rolls below nighttime lights of skate capitals on both coasts as he composes a love letter to turn-of-the-century urban classics like “Photosynthesis” and “Ryde or Die Vol. 2” and possibly the first “EST.” It is rare that he passes up the chance to add a flip trick up a curb or a 180-out at the bottom of a bank, and he packs multiple variations on 360 flips and 360s into the same line, but it still doesn’t come off all egregious. I for sure watched this part more than any other one this year and maybe more than any other part in the last couple years, up there with Dylan Reider and Jake Donnelly.

4. Justin Figueroa – “Bake and Destroy”

December 28, 2012

No morning-after phone call lamenting any fiscal “gifts” that a David Gonzalez SOTY administration would ensure for High-Speed Productions and no signs of bitterness that the golden statue skated out of his grasp, Justin Figueroa nevertheless brought heat and a prematurely grizzled countenance to some rather crazy tricks in this Thrasher-backed Baker offering, including but not limited to an elongated version of Jamie Thomas’ crooked-grind barge down multiple kinks 10 years ago. Prowling streets and sidewalks and seeming to be only half-thinking of the next move, Justin Figueroa gets over a lot thanks to his switch backside prowess, displayed down a triple set and the Wilshire rails during their final days, alongside his sometimes ill-advised commitment to scary tricks like the frontside feeble revert and the switchstance hill bomb following the frontside kickflip. Jousting with the big rails and gaps suits a guy like this, looking like some barbarian warrior launching himself onto the back of a charging wooly mammoth and not always expecting to stay on.


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