Experimental Drugs, Dead Gods And Locust Swarms: Runners And Riders For 2020 SOTY

And this calamitous year shifts now into high gear for the final quarter. The USA president, administered experimental drugs to save his life from a bat-borne disease. Eddie Van Halen, guitar diety, claimed by the Grim Reaper. Brawny hurricanes pummel our valuable beaches and locust swarms afflict Africa’s farms.

Anti-Hero Skate Boards, that atoll of relative calm betwixt the news cycle’s fearsome winds that also employs Frank Gerwer, this past week took the unusual step of sponsoring and affixing its famous eagle logo to the vice USA presidential debates (seen above) to remind those seeking cranium-ready sand openings that Skater of The Year season is again in full swing. Must Chris Pfanner’s cool-headed and European approach to existentially risky handrails be considered in any such conversation? Will 2020 be the year that ‘at last’ delivers the coveted Rusty artifact to the doorstep of a perennial contender? Could a hazy concoction of absentee ballots, hanging chads and unknowable identities of persons most mysterious forever cast an asterisk-shaped shadow over this, the first SOTY of these new roaring ’20s? Let’s read on.

Alexis Ramirez: With a solid grip on curtain-closing activities in Sk8Mafia’s video productions and a pungent tailwind from 2014 SOTY Wes Kremer, Alexis Ramirez has impressed with various IG-ready full-circle planter grinds while covering nearly all bases in last summer’s ‘2020 Promo’, from rooftop bomb-drops to rainbow-ledged SD schoolyards to the big bars. He returned this week, with another six-minute segment that drafts off the life-affirming TikTok of the moment and includes a head-scratcher of a backside lipslide bounce-out.

Louie Lopez: The first line in that ‘Lola’ part from August pretty much says it, 360 flip up a curb, hop up onto a ledge, frontside shove out to backside nosegrind on a planter, precise and easygoing and velvet-soft. Louie Lopez is one of those skaters whose highly nonchalant execution can distract from the hairyness of the tricks and situations, like his backside lipslide shoves-out for instance, and stuff like the tailslide pop to tailslide in his concurrent ‘II’ vid for FuckingAwesome makes it all look like kind of a lark. He’s got a Thrasher cover and likely more on deck, but is he the ‘right’ SOTY for such a grim, tumultuous year?

Mason Silva: Owner of the year’s most beastly Thrasher cover so far, the whiff of inevitability follows yung Mason Silva, hopping from Element to NorCal’s storied Deluxe kingdom and dropping video parts with unsettling regularity. It’s a real shame about the filming on that gargantuan bank ollie, but the dude skates like he’s got plenty of gas in the tank and the sponsorship firepower to make a formidable fourth-quarter press. The remarkable clips in the Nike part, Mason Silva’s effort toward a ‘Dylan’ statement-of-purpose, are too many to fully list — the 180 fakie manual half-cab out at the bumpy NY banks, the halfcab wallride over the rail, the snowboard kicker 360, the #fakiehard — and at this point it seems much like his award to lose.

Evan Smith: The starry-eyed rambler’s seat among likely finalists seems de rigueur in these last few years, as does multiple crazy parts from him within the 12-month calendar. There was his blurred, kaleidoscopic part for Anti Hero’s Grimple imprint, where he at one point did a kickflip backside wallride backside 180 out on a roof, and then another 5 minutes for DC Shoe, including that long k-grind drop down to backside 50-50, kickflips over and down and through a bunch of stuff and the occasional, sort of incongruous Droors shirt. A rumored new board company could provide the platform for yet another Evan Smith vid by early December, but you wonder whether his moment to capture the SOTY trophy is passing, sort of like longrunning runners-up Dane Burman and Clive Dixon, both of whom registered powerful footage this year — Clive Dixon noseblunted the Staples Center ledge to one of our time’s illest-advised musical selections, remember — but seem again like long shots as the time draws nigh.

Tiago Lemos: There is a sort of confusing sequence toward the beginning of New Balance’s August ‘Trust Tiago’ vid where some dudes seem to be cutting/removing a bar after Tiago Lemos skates it, symbolizing the international discomfiture over his not having been awarded top prize, gilded crowns, chestsful of golden doubloons and other special honors corresponding to the skill level required for the fakie flip backside nosegrind shove-it out and other feats that Tiago Lemos has completed for several years now. Hopefully his moves toward deeper-pocketed sponsors over the last couple of years are supplying certain amounts of golden coins. As far as SOTY goes, Tiago Lemos must continue to be included on any contenders’ shortlist, and not for nothing he’s put out two more video parts this year, including the head-exploding emoji repeater hardflip frontside noseslide toward the end of his one for ‘Crupie Wheels.’

Elijah Berle: Flicka was the name of a mysterious mustang with a dangerously waving dark mane, and so we shall call Elijah Berle, who assumes a sort of ‘dark horse’ position with not a lot of footage or coverage to show as the seasons change, but now a bracing cover hinting at the long-deferred promise of video footage commemorating his migration to the lush but increasingly crowded FA stable a couple years ago. Elijah Berle’s teeth-chattering handrails and transition charges are Thrasher-approved, but it seems like he’d need a document of Tyshawn Jones proportions to command the nod after working away in the wings most of the year.

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One Response to “Experimental Drugs, Dead Gods And Locust Swarms: Runners And Riders For 2020 SOTY”

  1. thejunkpirate Says:

    My list also includes Chris Colburn. It takes a strong skater to compete while rocking a nickname like “Cookie”.

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