Archive for December, 2021

1. Joey O’Brien – ‘[untitled] 005’

December 31, 2021

Marathon man Joey O’Brien has been the torch-bearer for long-distance Oyola lines through downtown Philadelphia since he linked the Love Park ledges with the underground parking ramp in ‘Sabotage4,’ and deep thinkers could probably draw some similarities to what has seemed like years of toil through flow arrangements that up to this year hadn’t elevated him the same as Love/Muni alumni like Kevin Bilyeu, Jahmir Brown and the incomparable Jamal Smith. Joey O’Brien came into 2021 with a presumed Adidas hookup and no discernible/official deck deal, served notice with an Alien 2.0 vid and then proceeded to blow the doors off last summer with a nearly 10-minute footage barrage supervised by the impeccable Chris Mulhern. It was pretty much relentless — whereas other dudes may get a clip on a given rail or ledge, Joey O’Brien does three or four, skating construction sides and dodging snow piles, seeming able to backside flip out of anything. At Philadelphia’s Municipal Services Building, one of the single most heavily mined spots over the past five years or so, he finds eye-popping new stuff to do, bigspinning on the angled bannister and popping a tile to jump over the back of the big handrail, with nigh-incomprehensible twists on the benches, like the backside 180 to frontside nosegrind. Beyond the Muni orbit he covers all bases — on the bumps to bars, flying a backside 180 onto a black-diamond cellar door; he’s got shove-it nosegrinds both ways on the rails, a frontside version of the ‘Suciu grind’ and a leap of faith gap to nosegrind. The year’s work for Joey O’Brien winds down with a richly deserved pro board and a Skater of the Year ‘contender’ nod from Thrasher, and he seems on the cusp of putting out another video.

2. Carlisle Aikens – ‘Bunny Hop’

December 30, 2021

There’s maybe other people who can make tricks look as smooth and powerful as Carl Aikens, but not so many whose skating can communicate the freedom and infectious fun the way that this dude and his XXL jeans can, melon grabbing down big sets, surfing through the plazas, switch bigspin kickflipping a double set and snapping nollies straight over poles. In Chocolate’s ‘Bunny Hop’ he rolls in all the elements from his prodigious output the past few years via N. Rollings, Melodi and Huf, and then some, unflappable in his roomy pants and rippling flannels, at ease floating kickflips on the sidewalk or hucking nollie backside 180s from roof to roof. He’s got a solid look-back landing on stuff like the switch backside tailslide and switch frontside bluntslide, and seeing his name in the chunk font this month gives that rare assurance of everything being in its right place.

3. Kaue Cossa – ‘Concourse’

December 29, 2021

After ye these many years, 2021 demonstrated that it still is possible to shock at the famed NY courthouse, between Mark Suciu’s crosswalk link to the Blubba and here, Kaue Cossa hitting the ledge, flipping out and taking the drop all switchstance, which seems like it’s gotta be some type of milestone. One of the best-sounding parts this year, this vid was packaged as a transmission from the ‘Photosynthesis’ era, complete with a Mr. Dibbs soundtrack and Appleyard/Wenning type ledges — here, Kaue Cossa slices through Brazilian spots’ day-glo grime with a razory flick (the line with the half-cab kickflip, you know the one) and glides over New York crust, like the wallie frontside 180 5-0 revert in the Bronx. Pop shove-it backside nosegrind revert at Staten Island’s ABC ledges must be in the running for 2021’s craziest ledge trick.

4. Erik Herrera – ‘Introducing’ (Chocolate)

December 28, 2021

This year’s laureate for best hair in skating, Erik Herrera last winter got the official bump up to the rejuvenated Chocolate team, a move that seemed overdue the minute he stepped on one of those boards. This dude has a feathery grace and a way with the tank tops that has been primed to push past all those SoCal spots he has been ripping these past few years. As per Choco’s fantastic ‘Bunny Hop’ vid that’s all in progress, but this one from earlier in the year laid out all the components — the backside 180 nosegrind revert out past the steps, the fakie 360 flip up and over and down the brickpile, heelflips landed way up on the nose, the dive-bomb catch on the massive backside flip past the sidewalk and up the steps. As a bonus, Erik Herrera, like putative future Chocolate teammate Hosea Peeters and a few other dudes, also shops at the same underground outlet still hawking HORTY apparel.

5. Kyle Wilson – ‘Portions’

December 27, 2021

Despite the United Nations confirming the warmest Arctic temperature on record, 2021 was a big year for cold-weather garb, between Ronnie Sandoval’s protective workman’s coat, Brian Panebianco’s vintage Dub jacket and Wade Desarmeaux’s vest/toque layering tour-de-force in ‘Testing 4.’ And still none managed to surpass the bar set by Kyle Wilson early in the year, crashing down some darkened U.K. sidewalk in a fuzzy-hooded camo parka lined with safety orange, one of several key moves that this year cemented his stature elsewhere as an international asset. He moves like water and it’s glorious to watch him skate; Palace’s ‘3rd Wave’ brought the painfully obvious pro board nod but Austin Bristow’s still-heated ‘Portions’ from last spring had that switch backside tailslide up the bricks, the switch frontside blunt, and the superior soundtrack. There should be a ‘Raw Files’ featuring all of Kyle Wilson’s various conversations with passersby.

6. Tom Schaar – Airborne

December 26, 2021

There comes a time in every energy drink-endorsing, contest circuit-reared young person’s life when they feel compelled to cast aside the pads and broadcast sporting network camera crews and test his or her mettle in the drainage ditches and barn ramps, where reputations are made and paltry sums are earned in the company of the good homies. And so Tom Schaar, he of the prepubescent 1080, takes that symbolic step over the barbed wire, barging abandoned waterslides and soaring his stalefish high above graffito-tagged pools, getting the full Chris Gregson treatment while adhering to recent Vans regulations requiring transition skaters to soundtrack footage to old-timey music. As the video goes along the tricks get seriously wild, back to back noseblunt screechers, channeling Colin McKay on a hardflip to backside lipslide and Bob Burnquist on a fakie ollie way up into the sky in MegaRampTM land. Is wearing a Monster Beverages sticker on one’s helmet while blasting off a Rockstar Energy Drinks-branded lip the X-Games equivalent of wearing a Nike shirt with Adidas shoes?

7. Magnus Bordewick – ‘Corona Files’

December 25, 2021

Part travelogue, part skate vid and part slice of pandemic life, Magnus Bordewick at some point in the past year packed up his dog, his tripod and his collection of bucket hats and set out a-roaming across Norway’s lush wildernesses, interspersing his usual pyrotechnic flip tricks with parking ramp manual pallets and lonely miniramp sessions as the sun sets on the subarctic countryside. There’s snippets of ferry rides and ski trails and deserted plazas and fjordside campsites as he moves from place to place, and highlights including a coping fakie five-o back in switch, a nollie frontside noseslide pop over to regs, and assorted owl footage. Magnus Bordewick’s vid captures the weird isolation that sometimes blurred into a welcome solitude in a year of distancing, and it seems like a project that never could’ve happened any other time.

8. Patrick Praman – ‘REAL Skateboards Presents’

December 24, 2021

Fresh out the factory that seems to steadily produce fully formed Deluxe ams, Thailand-by-way-of-Virginia handrail threat Patrick Praman applies some feline-type landings, a mean pointer grind and the audacity to put a backside noseblunt down Miami’s fearsome Challenger memorial triangle in the middle of this arrival-announcing vid for Real earlier this year. This kid likes his handrail tricks super hard — the fakie ollie to switch frontside feeble grind, the nollie frontside crooked grind up against the wall, backside over-crook backside 180 out — and his nollie heelflips hopped really high, whilst continuing the recent string of potential ‘Blue Velvet’ soundtrack outtakes also run by Elijah Berle and Ronnie Sandoval.

9. Simon Zuzic – ‘Heavy Mayo’

December 23, 2021

There’s a lotta tricks in this part from the Hoddle vid that are more impressive than the switch backside 180 that sets up a nollie frontside heelflip to switch crooked grind, but something about the way yung Simon Zuzic turns and sets it down makes it look at the same time super precise, slightly off and very switchstance. This part is a good couple minutes of this kid picking and popping through the guts of Australian cities in olive Half Cabs, putting out some Dime comp-worthy ride-aways on his switch backside tailslide and nollie 270 to frontside noseslide, the lightness in his landings not seeming to stop him from looking like his upper body’s about to keel over. This dude had some great stuff too in the Vans ‘Appreciate U Bro’ vid from the fall, like a very nice backside bigspin lipslide to fakie after dark.

10. Caleb McNeely – ‘CALEB’

December 22, 2021

The Huf vids have the past few years tended to be among the most consistent as far as output and craftsmanship and consistency, and marinating some type of local vibe into their rider-focused clips, such as this slightly melancholy, Rust Belt-tinged one of Caleb McNeely, a blue jeans and dirty t-shirt type gifted with a flickering backside kickflip and a love of big jumps to 5-0 grinds. There’s plenty Richmond spots in this which always look good, peppered with stuff like that frontside noseslide on the top rope of the reclaimed monument and the stately pair of brick pillar ollies at the end. DC’s welfare banks get hit up again, and Caleb McNeely adds another block-to-block gap to backside lipslide to the Huf archives after Nick Matthews’ beauty last year and more recent tribute in Thrasher.