Beyond upping the previous bro’s ante with another couple stairs or a kickflip onto the rail, or stringing out lines to Stevie Williams-level length, Brandon Westgate in Emerica’s ‘Made’ video stayed stretching the boundaries of what seems plausible on a board with one of the more open minds working today. The SF hills keep luring him back with risky promises of driveways and front walks over which to blast tricks and suffer spills, just some crew-cutted kid in a sweater and jeans who these days happens to be carrying the Zoo legacy on his back. Brandon Westgate steps to chest-high rails and conducts thruster ollies over poles using legs infused with magnesium cores to help him grasp ultimate power, and increasingly it seems like he’s perfected his flip tricks also. If you were going to sit down and draw up a list of the craziest clips all year and had to pick one from this section, the strongest case could be made for the family-friendly tow job to the nation’s stoutest loading dock, one of those feats that grows gnarlier still as he cruises away and the thing towers over him.
Archive for December, 2013
Danny Brady to Palace was one of those soundly logical, hand-in-glove industry happenings that helped maintain some sense of normalcy and balance in a year otherwise characterized by seismic team-jumps and resignations, and this part, which is probably Danny Brady’s best in several years, did double-duty washing away the awkward weirdness which is Blueprint’s current Canada-by-way-of-Arizona iteration. Brady’s fakie game, now cemented firmly cemented among the pantheon of veteran devotees such as Clyde Singleton and Terry Kennedy, is in top form here, like on the bank-to-ledge tailslide kickflip, and the relative frequency of clips without a hat implies a new level of comfort and trust in his Palace bros and bosses. The line with the backside tailslide to fakie needed only the cub scout cap to a ‘Lost & Found’ clip.
If the Gonz and Natas in the 1980s reconceptualized what was possible to with a skateboard on the streets, then sunglasses designer and organic organism grower Bob Burnquist did likewise for the Mega-RampTM in 2013 via his ‘Dreamland’ documentary about his back yard, blasting what is regarded by respected almanacers as ‘the most gnarly ollie to fakie evar’, a switch backside 360 up onto a deck that defies all chemical logic compounds found within the human brain, that one backside tailslide, and any number of other baffling ‘tricks’ that render the very word sorta frivolous in this context. Bob Burnquist’s daring and general other-levelness seemed actually to exclude him from the Skater of the Year race, which was otherwise focused on a more terrestrial collection of handrails and gaps and ledges, but unfortunately Bob Burnquist simultaneously was usurped by his own agile helicopter, ‘landing’ a 720 and a no-grab air as well as a railslide in feats never before known to be attempted by an expensive personal aircraft. While Bob Burnquist no doubt raised the bar within the MegaRampTM discipline, his helicopter conceived an entirely new use of the Mega structure, and therefore earns the coveted list placement on Boil the Ocean Web Page.
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.