With dark, earnest features reminiscent of a young John Cusack and a fringe the size of the Oahu pipeline, AWS wonder-kid Jake Johnson puts his limitations as a skateboarder right up front in the newish Chapman promo “Short Ends,” starting off his part by bumbling the landing on a nollie 360 flip backside 5-0 grind. I know, I know… no pole jam involved anywhere? I was thinking the same exact thing. But, he’s still new so maybe we’ll cut him a break.
This is Jake Johnson’s big debut part, sort of, in that he is now a somebody in this wild and woolly skateboard industry. And though he never gets around to landing the… ah… n/360f/bs/5-0, he brings the bazooka for several minutes of pure, uncut Colombian destruction at notable New York skate spots. Such as, that one ledge by the water. Or that yellow bar over the driveway bump. Or that one other ledge by all the buildings.
It’s an amazing part, not just because it’s one insane feat after another (fire hydrant varial heelflip, thread-the-needle k-grind transfer, the frontside flip into the hubba, etc etc) but because he’s one of those preternaturally gifted kids with supreme confidence as far as timing and putting down tricks, the kind of kid you have to assume will be reincarnated as a legless lizard or a disabled wombat in the next life since he’s obviously cashed in all his good karma for his current life. He skates sort of like Janoski but without the soft-shoe landings and a different menu of maneuvers. The switch flip backside tailslide on the Philly rail is in there.
The rest of the video’s pretty good too, like the Traffic promo it’s nice and short. Three parts and a montage. Brendan Leddy, who you may remember as Sam Weir in “Freaks and Geeks,” bags a beaut of a backside smith grind across a long ledge, and notables such has Luis Tolentino, Billy Rohan and a backside grabbin’ Vinny Ponte appear in the montage, ahead of some really sick shit from some little shit by the name of Mike Marks. Luke Malaney, who has the other part, bangs a big switch pop shove-it over a block and into a bank, along with a pop shove-it nosegrind down a handrail which was particularly awesome.
What’s the deal with Chapman though? Their website has transformed into an ad for the new video but it used to detail their woodshop operation, supplying decks to Zoo and so on. Now, anyone who remembers the heyday of Xenu-fearing circus trick ringmaster Danny Gonzales remembers that Chapman once was a branded hardgoods outfit with its own team, graphics, etc–check TWS if you don’t believe me. (Up-and-coming ams like Scott Pazelt and Anthony Furlong!) So what’s the deal with these guys now–is this an all-woodshop team? Does Chapman also make blanks? And if they do… are they driving themselves out of business by doing so?!
If only I had the answers. This video is really good though, and I’m not just saying that out of my slavish devotion to Jake Johnson. Order it from Quartersnacks along with their new video, which is probably way better than that gimmicky Nas album that came out last month.