‘Never Put So Much Time And Effort Into Any Single Goal In My Life’ — Runners N Riders For 2021’s SOTY Season

“Anyone who knows me knows how much I put into this!” exclamated David Gravette last week on Insta-Gramm; “Without a doubt I have never put so much time and effort into any single goal in my life.” The noted Creature fiend was gushing not over bagging a trophy handrail or handling some monstrous gap, but rather hooking a salmon on a fly road, hooked with an October caddis nymph, of all things. While David Gravette cradled his mauve-and-sewer-green triumph in the PNW streamwaters before letting it loose again, reality TV game show host Andy Roy’s chance encounter with a sackful of aluminum cans sent him down his own fogged memory lane to recycling hammers during his years on the struggle, balling for position against other refuse collectors at Potrero Park.

Both social media posts earned several flame emojis, but also provided a glimpse of achievements to be claimed beyond the skateboard realm. For several worthies, however, the biggest prize in ‘tha game,’ Thrasher MagaZine’s yearly Skater Of The Year, remains tantalizingly within reach; which of this year’s early contenders has more gas left in the tank for an awards-season push, and which others have yet to reveal their true powers? Let’s read on.

Jack O’Grady: for an aged web blog’s money, the most ‘Thrasher’ of the lot and squarely of the Milton Martinez mold, freshly minted pro-fessional Jack O’Grady provides Australian crust and concrete in spades via his springtime ‘Pass~Port Part,’ with plenty of caterwauling ride-aways and slams and generally questionable judgment, like that gap kickflip into the bank, for instance. Tristan Funkhauser’s eye-popping China Banks FSA didn’t quite dethrone Jack O’Grady’s technicolour rail-to-rail leap for Thrasher’s best cover of 2021, but does he got more coming to ‘seal the deal’ before the early-December drop-dead date?

Yuto Horigome: skater of the next three years in the hearts and minds of the billions of new heads worldwide now tuned to backside kickflip nosegrinds and 360s into shit, Mike Sinclair’s Olympic meal ticket has a credible bid for the also-significant Thrasher award, having nollie backside spun his self onto the cover of the mag in the process of videotaping his ‘Yuto Show’ part for April Skateboards earlier this year. He brought some fairly intense handrail stuff, like the nollie backside noseblunt and the switch pupecki grind and the backside sugarcane, though it remains to be determined how much weight an Olympic gold doubloon holds with the Thrasher brain trust, if any.

Chima Ferguson: Knowed as ‘the Thunder From Down in Australia,’ Chima Ferguson broke out Andrew Reynolds’ ‘Stay Gold’ manual for purposes of shutting down Vans’ recent ‘Appreciate U Bro’, interspersing big flip tricks down gaps with clean-cut ledge and flatground lines, while also manualing off the side of a building and nosegrinding what effectively seemed to be a type of shed. Chima Ferguson went the two the hard way over handrails, sailed over sidewalk warning bumps, and made Jack O’Grady’s kinker grind down the St Martin’s Place double set somehow seem a lil bit smaller after blasting an ollie all the way down. Does he now got enough cutting-room floor materials and the intestinal fortitude to record a few more heaters for a late-November follow-up?

Felipe Nunes: If Danny Way’s invention of a new way of skating via the MegaRampTM was enough to merit the only really justified SOTY repeat, Felipe Nunes’ feats in his ‘Limitless’ vid this year should earn similar consideration. On the theoretical pro skater character sheet Felipe Nunes’ ability ratings for power, confidence and creativity all would be maxed out — he hits famed street gaps and rails, throws an above-the-coping 540, spins a backside 360 onto a rail and finds approaches spots that traditionally legged pros wouldn’t be able to manage, like on the moistened film-roll QP. The shot of this dude climbing a fence is impressive all by itself.

Evan Smith: Getting yourself arrested in the process of securing a Thrasher cover photo hopefully provides an obligatory pass to at least the semi-final rounds of Skater O The Year consideration, even if being passed over for several years running may not. At this point in Evan Smith’s wide-eyed, grime-caked and bandy-legged career it’s easy to forget that in the early going with Element.com he could’ve gone the energy drink and contest circuit route, versus the somewhat less well-trod path involving dog shit eating and kickflip wallriding on glass walls. This year of the Ox hasn’t been Evan Smith’s heaviest in terms of output, but his ‘Uma Landsleds’ section had one of the longest noseslide to backside tailslide combos in recent history, a nollie inward heelflip steered calmly into GX territory and one of just a few Clipper lines to involve a kickflip down the first set. Evan Smith doesn’t come off like a campaigner but does have the talent and seemingly boundless energy to release some other vid before the month is out.

Mark Suciu: After the torrid pace of 2019 and the mental torture involved in completing his landmark ‘Verso’ project, the comparatively lower stakes of a sub-5 minute vid for some custom-colored Gazelles look good on perennial most-talented-skateboarder-on-planet-earth candidate Mark Suciu. A little bit more of an upbeat song helps too, making him look a little looser flipping his way across those Bay Area and New York waterfronts, exuding PJ Ladd flatground energy til he runs out of cobblestones. With Mark Suciu nearly every project has some trick it seems like you haven’t seen before, like the backside tailslide to 5-0 to pivot around at Pier 7 and the backside tailslide to backside tailslide in this one, and there are some flashes of ‘hammer Suciu,’ like the switch 5-0 and the big switch frontside 360. As far as Skater of the Year, he sounded fairly over it as per his ‘Nine Club’ appearance, but he also mentioned having a couple other videos more or less in the can.

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4 Responses to “‘Never Put So Much Time And Effort Into Any Single Goal In My Life’ — Runners N Riders For 2021’s SOTY Season”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Not that he has the right sponsors/name recognition to win it, but I’m surprised to not see a dark horse Joey O’Brien on here, especially with a pro part for AWS coming out soon, allegedly.

  2. art hellman Says:

    ^dang. Joey OBrien would be a great choice. Im in camp OGrady based on gnarl-o-meter alone. Altho, I’d respect the Chima choice as well.

  3. Noslo Xela Says:

    Max.

  4. Rocuronium Says:

    My vote’s going to the gal that 50/50’d Hollywood 16 because that is a Thrasher of a trick that symbolizes 2021 as a breakthrough for women skateboarders – who managed to make their olympic street contest somewhat compelling.

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