Archive for December, 2008

Loose Ends

December 31, 2008

Looking at my little list the past few days, I guess my New Year’s resolution oughtta be to check out more Euros and transition skating. Other notables:

Honorable mentions
Kurt Winter, “Smoke & Mirrors”
Josh Dowd, “Last of the Mohicans”
Bryan Herman, “Baker Deathwish”
Brian “Slash” Hansen, “Ride the Sky”
Purple drank section, “It’s Fern”
Seb Labbe, “Lo Def”
Pat Gallaher, “Boondoggle”
Pete Eldridge, Mystery promo
Bay Kempthorne, “Alumnation”

“Last of the Mohicans”
Overall Joe Perrin’s greasy combo of Florida haze, decrepit spots and a lineup of underground all-stars was probably the most-watched video by me personally this year: a frothy bucketful of Alex Davis kickflips, Jimmy Lannon nose manuals, Josh Dowd’s freaky wallrides, Ross Norman’s 90’sness and a cameo part by king dirt Danny Renaud, who slides one of the meanest backside noseblunts to fakie across one of those alphabet blocks in New York. I heard a rumor that he’s got fakie pop shove-its back already.
-You could order a copy of this video right now if you wanted.

Black Box productions
Jamie Thomas and the video guys over there in the San Diego hair metal palace deserve a thumbs-up for their no-bullshit approach to video editing, especially with Fallen shoes’ “Ride the Sky” – in a year with relatively few blockbuster skateboard videos they could have easily turned the drama up to 11, but kept it pretty mellow all things considered. Same for the slab of messageboard red meat that was the Pete Eldridge Mystery debut part. Refreshing.

in no particular order…
-Davis Torgerson, nollie frontside hurricane in “Boondoggle”
-Nick Trapasso, switch frontside heelflip in “And Now”
-Julien Stranger, nollie noseblunt in “Beauty & the Beast”
-Russ Milligan, switch kickflip backside 360 on flat (this might have been last year…)
-JR Blastoff
-Kellen James, cab backside tailslide bigspin
-Beagle, Maloof Money Cup
-Mike Carroll, Japan air in “Beauty n the Beast”
-Chris Cole, razorblade octopus in “Ride the Sky”
-Dylan Reider, backside nosegrind revert on AWS Filmworks
-One of the 1800 backside heelflips Theotis Beasley did this year
-Also, his Cam’ron sing-a-long

Beauty & the Beast
Easily one of the best tour videos of all time, which isn’t saying a whole lot, but stands well among the likes of Foundation’s “Barbarians at the Gate”, Big Brother’s “Shit” and the “Beware of the Flare”/”Harsh Euro Barge” Ty Evans tour pack. Brian Anderson and Andrew Allen, Cardiel, Sean Malto’s switch backside lipslide

Darrell Stanton
Didn’t do a whole lot this year, but is generally slept on, and so I’m mentioning him for no particular reason.

1. Antwuan Dixon, “Baker Deathwish”

December 30, 2008

Much has been said about Antwuan Dixon keeping skating “dangerous,” being the new Sean Sheffey, his poor luck with the law and so on. These are all good points, especially as we gird ourselves for a generation of freshly scrubbed Zac Efron-styled park-bred trophy hunters. Without engaging in too much vicarious skatepark brawling or face tat exploitation (though they are amazing) it’s a relief to know there are top-flight working professionals who aggressively don’t give a shit, whereas peers call their sponsors to yank magazine interviews or complain that they aren’t getting their due adoration from the skateboarding public. Antwuan Dixon is out there laughing and erupting, wearing taco hats and skating like pretty much nobody else at all, flicking fakie flips like Kalis, catching half-cab flips the way he does, doing a massive switch frontside flip that looks like a switch frontside flip but not shitty. If that makes sense. Of course it’s part of the Baker genius that he’s able to parlay 2.5 minutes of footage into a five-minute closer section, complete with ice cream sandwich interlude and Red Lobster-ready theme song, but to me this was hands-down my favorite video part all year.

2. Torey Pudwill, “Dudes Dudes Dudes”

December 29, 2008

If you would have told me a year or two back that Torey Jamison Pudwill, Valley boy of the flappy arms and unlikely name, would manage one of the better video parts of this year… well I’m not sure what I would have said. Probably I would have made a guttural/gurgling sound expressing general disbelief and disdain for the self-styled future teller. But as it turns out I would have been better off directing said gurgling sounds toward my own self in anger and shame, as this Pudwill section from the DVS promo last summer still possesses a certain wow factor* months later, packed as it is with unguessable trick combos and those off-kilter landings. Damned if they haven’t grown on me, somehow. Pudwill cracks tricks high, sits on feeble grinds and bounds out of nosegrinds, nollies over rails into manuals down banks. He skates fast. He executes crane style on the humongous backside kickflip photo in the new Skateboard Mag. And have you seen this new Venture ad? Insert gurgling sound of your choosing.

*Closely related to the Now factor, as in “Now that’s what I call music Vol. 29”

3. Nick Trapasso, “And Now”

December 28, 2008

I’m not sure if Arizona Nick Spicoli fully delivered on the promise of his amazing “Suffer the Joy” part with last summer’s entry to the TWS canon, but even if time decides not, he’ll have a nice long career to work on it. Provided the word “work” enters into dude’s vocabulary. Either way he remains the reigning king of “what, me worry” wooze, twirling switch 360s and b/s tailslide shove-iting handrails as the mood strikes him, yucking it up in between with passersby in whichever hemisphere he’s currently drifting through. Holland and Ray could easily have gone overboard with the tie-dyes, weed and Lennon, but they seem to have realized that watching Trapasso flick and giggle his way through a four minute part doesn’t require much embellishment. Sort of like how you don’t necessarily need an HD TV to enjoy a bag of hot Cheetos, a Seinfeld rerun and a fully loaded bowl of Wheaties.

If the link above stops working there is also this Mag Minute clip that includes one bad mammajamma of a hardflip.

4. Jake Johnson, “Short Ends”

December 27, 2008

This part from the lanky, fringe-haired toast of New York came out late last year but the powers that be at Chapman boards only got around to putting it out on DVD about halfway through this year, so I’m gonna go ahead and count it for this little list. I’ve nattered on about Jake Johnson’s East Coast superhero potential ad nauseum already, so I’ll spare you, except to say that lately what’s got me psyched on this part is the way he flips the skateboard – crisp and solid, not all ginger-footed like some of these kids out there today. You know what I’m talking about, right. In a PJ Ladd sort of move Jake Johnson logged nearly another part’s worth of footage in the post-credits, which Slap board maven “Gest” has uploaded for your perusal here. And, Quartersnacks still has copies of the actual DVD for those of you with six dollars to your name, as well as the “New Thirsty” video which you really should be watching in this holiday season.

5. Steve Durante, “Last of the Mohicans”

December 26, 2008

Even though they don’t really make money anymore the blockbuster skate video model continues to hold, at least until somebody thinks up a better idea, and with every major pro skateboarder (or at least the 100 or so with signature model shoes) stockpiling footage for a coming-soon-in-2010 release you don’t often see the quick little parts that were popular in the 1990s, which was due to weed smoking, the shitty slow-mo available at the time, general laziness, Barcelona having yet to be discovered, and the quick-cut lifestyle shot still a few TWS videos away. So you got stuff like Jason Dill’s “Trilogy” section, Sheffey’s part in “Mouse,” or RB Umali’s “Peep This” which you could say was a whole video based on this idea.

Steve Durante, who made probably my favorite video part last year between the Habitat video and Static 3, kept the ball rolling this year with a brief entry in Joe Perrin’s “Last of the Mohicans”… I don’t know if this is throwaway stuff from some upcoming Adidas production or just his daily grind but it’s as good as any of the other shit he’s done in the last couple of years: all the sick two-hitter lines, the flat-ground kickflip at 1:19, and even though he deploys it in every part, the switch backside tailslide heelflip out, except this time on a thigh-high ledge. On a semi-related note, Kyle Nicholson needs to come up in 2009.

6. Chris Cole, “Ride the Sky”

December 25, 2008

Chris Cole catches Flare fever for his teched-out ledge closer in Fallen shoes’ “Ride the Sky”, trotting the globe in search of the crispest curbs upon which to execute switch frontside nosegrind fakie bigspin kickflips outs and that fakie switch backside noseblunt 360 flip out mess that is crying out for a wit like Jake Phelps to brand it with a nickname like “razorblade octopus” or “switch hosebeast.” My Chris Cole appreciation has come a long way from a Weissian guilty pleasure pushing snowplow nosegrinds to leery approval at the TWS/DTL double-up to anticipating his next move post-Wallenberg.

7. Kenny Hoyle, “And Now”

December 24, 2008

I remember reading some nonsense back in the 1990s about how Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain possessed this quality of voice (termed “yaaarraagh” or something equally un-googleable in the Celtic tongue) that was magnetic to the human ear, captivating people and selling untold reams of flannel and cassette tapes and whatnot. Perhaps Kenny Hoyle has some kind of skateboarding equivalent, since he’s not especially flashy in terms of technical ability or hairball gap-jumping and from what I’ve seen doesn’t really mess with ramps whatsoever, but he can make that kickflip over the can at the beginning of the part as sweet as pretty much everything that follows (similar to Mark Appleyard in the “Sorry” video). His four minutes of fairly straightforward skating in the Transworld video, minus some sort of unnecessary 360 shove-its out of stuff, ended up being sort of a soothing eye-balm to the facemeltingness of the Sean Malto part or Richie Jackson’s moustache-twirling wallride antics, set to the smooth sounds of the other BTO. Rewound multiple times: the switch bigspin heelflip, the frontside shove-it nose manual backside revert, the nollie backside 5-0 shove-it.

8. Kellen James, “Jus Liv’n”

December 23, 2008

Time was, actual skating – the “putting in work” popularized by labor movement mavens Rob & Big – won you absolutely no career points in the pro skateboarding game, and keeping a low profile was an art best cultivated in darkened Los Angeles clubs or the occasional “rave party” (as the kids called them back then). The advent of the video age, coinciding with cash money once again pouring into skating, changed that, with the likes of Brad Staba (who’s successfully kept work-putting-in at bay for most of the last decade) bemoaning the unending pursuit of footage back in “Modus.” The distressing humanity of a Super 8 tour in the “Final Flare” documentary is enough to make me feel for the Carrolls and Howards and maybe even Marianos (who more or less perfected profiling-as-career) who are old enough to remember a time when every day wasn’t spent feverishly filming, and YouTube hadn’t yet reduced the shelf life of video parts to a matter of weeks.

But here we are. Kellen James is one of these young Turks with the energy and know-how to film a six minute part of ridiculously hard tricks (switch f/s bluntslide, switch f/s smith grind, cabellerial b/s tailslide bigspin etc etc), and also confident enough the skating will hold people’s interest that he sets it all to a kind of tuneless Jay-Z mash-up. With everybody from Stefan Janoski to Jimmy Cao turning in multi-song parts maybe this is what you need to do to get peoples’ attention, but it helps that James has the firepower of a Sean Malto and a powerful beard to boot. To seal the deal, why not pump out another few minutes of tricks. Hardest working dude this year for sure, if you count skating for Peter Smolik as working and not some sort of bizarre daily pleasure cruise.

9. Andrew Brophy, “Déjà Vu”

December 23, 2008

Big-bounding Ozzian Andrew Brophy may be Cliche’s Reese Forbes in the making, mostly because of how everybody focuses on his gargantuan ollies (going up the stairs at South Bank probably relegated the set to lines only forevermore) while less attention is paid to his clean semi-tech skating, at least before he goes on to lose most of his non-ollie tricks and wear pajama-bottom shorts as he skates to 50 Cent around Europe. Including the Dan Magee-helmed “Déjà Vu” remix part here might be cheating, constructed as it is of rehashed footage and a ringer Prince beat, if it weren’t my list, page, life, Bon Jovi CD, et cetera. I like the 360 flip over the bench.