3. Jordan Trahan – ‘Enron’

December 29, 2014


The ancients believed the frontside pop-shove it possessed various herbal and medicinal qualities that buoyed healing and promoted weight gain. Jordan Trahan, only tangentially related to the earlier-mentioned Jordan Sanchez and famed Alaskan ‘puzzleboss’ Jordan Kiwitroop, knows the names of the forgotten gods and how properly to revere them. As the afterglow gathers toward the close of Bronze’s understandably powerful ‘Enron’ Film this year, Jordan Trahan in two short minutes fulfills many prophecies of old that longer, more expensively made video parts failed to consummate this year. Really, this section harboured all relevant affairs, including a fully cracked backside bigspin and lightly floated hardflip, but to it we endeavor to staple Jordan Trahan’s internet-famous JKwon 360 flip, anointed as an ageless heater by none other than Josh Kalis himself and widely recognized as 2014’s most impactful trick in which a board spins 360 degrees and flips at the same time. As earlier mentioned in the Book of Revelation, ‘I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a 360 flipping board, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war.’ And yet as the fella says, certain individuals don’t want war.

4. Dylan Rieder – ‘Cherry’

December 28, 2014


Is this the year Dylan Rieder decided to stop worrying and enjoy being Dylan Rieder? Probably not, but it’s sort of entertaining to theorize the how and why as to this paring-back of his skating in recent years — this is not such a one with 10 tricks to his name, and whereas it would be nice to see those switch backside bigspin flips and backside bigspin outs taken out for a walk now and then, Dylan Rieder appears content to zero in on a few tricks — 360 flips, kickflips switch and regular and frontside, the impossible still — lovingly handcrafted and polished for max oomph and richness in the instant document that was Bill Strobeck’s ‘Cherry.’ Whether a natural sequence of progressions from the course charted within the Gravis section or an outcropping of the fuck-you money he gets from DKNY and whoever else, it’s heartening all by itself to see a dude who would be an alternate-universe candidate for the reality show/energy drink/corporate contest axis not just migrate away from multinational sponsor lordshippery, but continue to hone his tricks in the bargain.

5. Jordan Sanchez – ‘Some Things’

December 27, 2014


Year by year it seems steadily more difficult to figure out ways to push out the boundaries of what is possible on a skateboard, particularly after x-ing out the incremental stair count addition as innovation. Jordan Sanchez blew minds last summer and since by seeming to tap some sort of collective glaze-eyed consciousness gurgling away when so-called spots like the corner railings or taut steel cables or invitingly low loading dock bannisters are passed by amid the drudgery of daily life, and proceeds to crooked grind rather than boardslide, stall rather than tap, no-comply onto the handrail rather than kickflip. Lots of flip tricks have been tossed down lots of gaps in the past couple decades but not so many people have elevated the Natas hydrant spin, or thought to try.

6. Jake Johnson – ‘Static 4′

December 26, 2014


While making Jake Johnson the marquee no-complier, wallrider and shove-it man on Polar may have been a concept terminal in its redundancy, it is enduringly awesome to see the dude apply his raw and wiry talent to the genre, birthed as much by Josh Stewart’s ‘Static’ series as anything else, and stretch it to gobsmacking distances. Jake Johnson’s line down the black bank etched itself into Alien Workshop’s apparent eulogy and in profile recalls those dudes surfing Portugal’s freak waves, while the now-famed frontside slappy down Clipper pops up with as little warning as the idea that anybody would try such a thing at that spot in the first place. The squalling guitars here are a serviceable Dinosaur Jr approximation and if there’s any knock at all on this footage it might be that there’s plenty more room for Jake Johnson to unbottle some of deep-web technical ability, like the fakie ollie to front blunt, but it is fabulous to watch him in this zone.

7. Boo Johnson – ‘Blood Money’

December 25, 2014


Habitat last winter may have synthesized the premium combo of YouTube-era runtime and full-part gravitas in ‘Search the Horizon,’ comprised of 2.5 real-deal video parts and some team montageness; DGK ran the same format this year to similarly potent results, unveiling their own newly minted pro duo and a smattering of tricks from the rest of the Kidz, including this bloggosite’s vote for most accomplished use of skuzz in an original production, Dane Vaughn. ‘Blood Money’ ends with Boo Johnson, boasting the most impeccablest arms in the game, espousing various casual comforts to be had olleing up ledges or hopping over the back of massive handrails, hardflipping over bars, and also a boss backside heelflip. Frontside 360 shove-its suggest he paid attention during Devine Calloway’s second career arc and you can tell he thinks about his tricks with how he jumps out to regular from a lot of his frontside tailslides, like the one across the long flatbar.

8. Joey Guevara – ‘Atlas’

December 24, 2014


Joey Guevara is a hill-mining San Jose footsoldier in the Mark Suciu mold who presses somewhat faster and looser than many and spices lines with some tricks you don’t see too often, ranging from a switch frontside noseslide to a kickflilp backside lipslide to a fakie backside nosegrind revert (frontside) and an Ellington frontside noseslide. The song they used here clicks with the skating going on, in a Satva Leung sense — as in nothing overly bombastic (there’s a 50-50 danger dismount though) other than the sorts of tricks and runs you may wish you could do on the way to work or the store, in particular if you worked at the bottom of a hill with a vertical pole wallie and some treacherous whoop-de-whoops.

9. Louie Barletta – ‘Oververt’

December 23, 2014


Between the grown-out bowl cut, chin duster and mid-40s over-the-hillness Louie Barletta’s shameless appeals toward the Street League/Mtn Dew set nearly are fit to exorcise him from this list. Nevertheless, 15 years on from ‘Tilt Mode’ Louie Barletta is confirmed on some Daewon Song level progression-through-longevity (or vice versa) and his good humor-man sheen probably too often glosses over the real ridiculous nature of the tricks he continues to brew up: casper wallride, handrail wallride, that volcano pogo thing, and other unholy combos that might just as easily have been derived from some inebriated rendition of skate Mad Libs. The dude now does time in industry trenches, and with any luck this will not be his last ‘full-length’ effort, but if so, there’s far more gruesome and horrific methods of exiting an illustrious pro career, and one that amid the ascent of the late 1990s handrail age probably had fair odds stacked against occurring at all.

10. Luan Oliveira – ‘Strike and Destroy’

December 22, 2014


Around, good lord, thirteen years ago some magazine succinctly summed up the primal appeal of PJ Ladd’s genre-shifting ‘Wonderful, Horrible Life’ video part as “a kid skating down the street, flipping his board;” that is basically what occurs in Luan Oliveira’s Thrasher section out earlier this year, except down some crumbly Brazilian hills and in between the odd pedestrian. After getting a good deal of spazzy tech out of his system in Flip’s claymation movie ‘Xtremely Sorry’ Luan Oliveira has migrated into a Brandon Westgate mode in recent years, and with not a lot to most of the spots in this part the focus winds up being heavily on the tricks, which are fast and textbook-sharp without being lifeless — there is a mean switch frontside heelflip here, which Luan Oliveira has had around for a while, a monstrous hardflip, et cetera. For whatever reason the soundtrack to this one doesn’t grate as much as it probably should.

Did the Plan B Video Really Come Out?

December 17, 2014

lawnmowerman

What happened at the end of November 2014? It is a question that may vex intelligent physicists and lyrical masterminds for years to come. The easy answer is, Plan B released their re-debut video movie “B Tru” after a heady 9 years of anticipatory anxiousness. Like many video releases, it raises questions about the basic nature of reality and human perception. Did it really come out? This is a more difficult question*.

Befitting the Snapchat age, much of the substance, happenstance and Stance socks-related materials surrounding the video are not what they appear, leading the viewer by his or her trembling and possibly tatted hand into an advanced unit of smoke and mirrors that requires at least a leveled Staff of Clarifying to navigate. And even then your Staff may be heisted from your Bag of Holding by any number of untrustworthy NPCs. As OPEC crashed global crude oil markets and millions of turkeys fell under American knives, what had long been billed as the triumphal reconnoitering of the Plan B destiny revealed itself as something else: none of the original reboot lineup had sections, including currently serving vets PJ Ladd, Colin McKay and Danny Way. Opening the video was the spracking Chris Joslin, a gap-fixated bazooka dealer little understood just six months ago and who would seem to singlehandedly obviate many of Plan B’s earlier-acquired hot shoes. The young bro, it would seem, was built for 360 flipping off buildings and publicly endorsing Plan B skateboards; the messageboards have him married at 18 and blowing off post-premiere champagne rooms to skate a park. Let the bidding commence.

Heady days that followed included a mysterious message from Danny Way pushing off his own, years-in-the-making video part and Hawaiian infrastructure reveal as much as another year to conform with scheduling of an unknown DC project. Colin McKay gave a rambling interview in which he seemed to promise Ryan Sheckler would again attempt to make good on his hot-check El Toro backside kickflip, possibly with Chris Joslin in tow for an entirely separate 20-stair flip trick to record. The video interview abruptly vanished shortly thereafter.

Simultaneously rumors began to swirl around Trevor McClung’s part-opening burn of an unnamed pizza delivery driver, who borrows a board to skate a dumpster with the Plan B bros and lands his trick, only to try it again and slam, earning laughter and derision from Trevor McClung, a superior skater. “Don’t quit your day job,” Trevor McClung counseled, in a blistering takedown said to have earned a potential late-arriving invitation to the 2014 Hater’s Ball, and particularly searing as the day job in question already is less than glamorous.

The latest warping of our current reality** arrived last weekend, when Plan B video-closer Torey Pudwill did not win Skater of the Year. It would be a relatively short astral projection to reach several alternate realities where he did earn the shiny trophy, or others similar to it except with added useful tentacles in place of arms or other hallmarks of shadow earths that we cannot fathom. (One also can endorse multiple versions of this “Tru Earth” in which Sk8Mafia’s Wes Kremer, who won, also again earned the award but with minor variations, such as a $50 billion cash purse or a science experiment gone awry in a nearby laboratory that by sheer chance afflicted Peter Smolik with radioactive powers that expanded his mass by 300 times, to a scale such that he wreaks havoc upon downtown San Diego before receding back into the ocean to sleep beneath the waves near a warm lava vent.)

The purpose and responsibility of semi-readable blog web pages is to parse only the reality that is readily glimpsable, and truly Torey Pudwill’s video-closing part is difficult to comprehend on these grounds. His backside-approaching ledge and handrail tricks are increasingly otherworldly, from his five-times-kinked backside lipslide to the mile-long backside noseblunt pop-out to his fearsomely hiked backside smith grinds, shoulder high or up a railing. Whereas previously-claimed tricks failed to materialize elsewhere Torey Pudwill hoists aboard the fleshy, shark-bitten carcass of his own white whale, a backside lipslide kickflip to backside noseblunt, one of several such moves that in some other dimension might set Cory Kennedy to perspiring beneath his white linen and Panama straw hat ensemble. The backside noseblunt hubba transfer and blizzardy bigger-spin flip are others.

There is a natural but perhaps fading aversion in skateboarding, in years past a haven for slackers and outcasts either self-styled or actual, to the capital-S sports concept of playing to win, and through this prism Wes Kremer’s seeming obliviousness to the world in general is at the least endearing and at most worth celebrating alongside his own uncanny skills and envelope pushing, up the side of the Clipper ledge or wherever. But maybe coming through and delivering the sort of conversation-changing footage that this Plan B movie for years promised, while longer-serving colleagues opted not to, and burnishing the company’s now 20-year video legacy is a different type of accolade for Torey Pudwill, sort of like the ones referred to by Quartersnacks deity and Project Pat’s bosom Canadian chum Aubrey Taylor in his song ‘Trophies, B.’

*Don’t forget how that one Plan B video was called ‘Virtual Reality, B’
**Dictionary.com describes reality as ‘property or real estate.’

Ryan Sheckler’s Saturday Night Workout

December 1, 2014

sheckl

Earlier this fall, one of Dr. Dre’s many proteges/studio heavy-lifters divulged that the good doctor’s 13-years-in-the-making ‘Detox’ album isn’t coming out. After numerous blown release dates going back to 2005, around the time the US wound up its search for Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, this understandably sent out some shockwaves. The yeti-like album has been called rap’s ‘Chinese Democracy,’ but since that one only took about 14 years to make, the comparison pretty soon might seem kind of unfair. After all, it’s been 8 years since Game threatened to put out his own version, and it seems like he’s moved on. And we all know how hard that is for Game.

Lord knows, it’s tough to take rappers at their word anymore. Dr. Dre hyped ‘Detox’ on XXL’s cover back in 2010, but that was before he went and got a job at Apple, shortly after getting drunk and enjoying his alleged billionaire status upon the sale of his Beats headphone company.

But Dr. Dre’s not the only one. Lil Wayne and Juelz Santana haven’t delivered their long-promised ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ album, alternately blaming Weezy’s jail bid and a badly timed raid on Juelz’s studio. Which happens. And we don’t need to get into Rick Ross’ shifting stories on his past run-in with the law, as in, when he worked as an officer of the law in a Florida jailhouse.

This week, internet ruffians are up in arms again over Ryan Sheckler, that oft-shirtless reality TV heartthrob who’s been moonlighting in recent years as the resurrected Plan B’s answer to Jeremy Wray, or depending on your view of the world, Andy Mac. It all has to do with the new Plan B video ‘B Tru,’ which has been on its own Captain Ahab type of quest to a release date over the past nine-plus years. While Ryan Sheckler and the Plan B team can gather more footage in one trip to China than the entire Girl team can in years’ worth of visits, they maintain exacting standards.

Anyway, peoples’ boxer shorts, or boxer briefs, or whatever you call it for those like Justin Figueroa who probably can’t be expected to indulge in any underwear whatsoever, are all in a bunch because all that Ryan Sheckler footage didn’t include one clip in particular, a successful backside kickflip down the El Toro stairs. You may remember it as home to the monster handrail that Carlos Ruiz backside lipslid(ed?) in Bill Weiss’ directorial debut for Blind. You might say that people had their hopes set unrealistically high, since those are some pretty big stairs and all. Then again, Ryan Sheckler told Thrasher boss Jake Phelps that he did it about five years ago.

Jake Phelps: This is what I heard, that you backside flipped el toro. Yes or no?
Ryan Sheckler: Yes.
JP: You did. How come we don’t see it? How come no flashes of the Plan B video, no nothing?
RS: I’ve been hurt, man.
JP: So what, they don’t want to keep it going? Stoke me out?
RS: Yeah, we’re keeping it going.
JP: Three flip?
RS: No.
JP: Hardflip?
RS: El Toro? Nah.
JP: Just backside flip? Say it.
RS: Just backside flip.

Flash forward several years — in an interview with Thrasher prior to the Plan B video premiere, Ryan Sheckler says that as the video deadline loomed, he had consulted doctors on the health implications of jumping down the famed 20-stair and still hoped to land the buzzworthy trick, which he apparently didn’t land in the prior years:

Thrasher: You know, I got to go with you when you tried El Toro a couple of years ago, and it was super amazing even though you got smoked. Are you trying to go back before this deadline?

Ryan Sheckler: If I’m gonna speak honestly, yeah, that’s the goal. I’m going so diehard on getting my ankle 100 percent. That’s why we brought in these doctors to make sure everything’s put in place so that if it does come down to the time to go, I’m ready to do it. So I’m just taking it day by day and really, really focusing on getting things strong and being able to take that impact. So that’s the goal. We’ll see, dude. I’m trying.

T: I know last time we were there, you tried the backside flip, it looked perfect and then you hit your nose on the last stair. Does that go through your head at all when you think about going back?

RS: Nah, dude, not really. I just need an extra push, thinking about it now. I watched that slam last night and it’s frustrating to watch it, but I don’t know. That was just a random day. I wasn’t warmed up. I was just amped, running off pure adrenaline and pure emotion that day and that’s how it’s gonna have to be this time around. I’m psyched, man. We’ll see what happens, dude.

Last week the Plan B video premiered at the Ricardo Montalban theater, named for the actor who achieved fame over seven decades that included being loudly shouted at by Captain Kirk of the starship Enterprise. After the premiere version of the video apparently did not include Ryan Sheckler landing the much-ballyhooed El Toro backside 180 kickflip, some of that residual intergalatic Hollywood anger appears to have spilled over into internet realms, where Ryan Sheckler has taken e-lashings for appearing to have lied about making the trick.

sk8intreesquidzero24 If you didn’t land that backside flip ur dead to me@shecks

keetnn Do they make plan b grip that sais liar?

mijo_gavino I thought the video was called True?

torysbonergarage Dude why

Meanwhile, Ryan Sheckler is absent from a laundry list of SOTY contenders published by Thrasher the other day, though some amateurs with no big video parts out this year made it.

Ryan Sheckler’s fans over the past week proffered various excuses: Perhaps he did land the trick and the footage was withheld from the premiere version so as to drive mp4 sales higher when word spread that the for-sale version includes an El Toro conquest. Or that an as-yet unnamed Plan B video, to arrive next year and feature Colin McKay, Danny Way and PJ Ladd, who at some point inexplicably vanished from the final ‘B Tru’ cut, also will include the elusive backside flip. Others, resigned to the idea that Ryan Sheckler did not and will not land the trick he seems to have said he did, credit him for claiming it for self-motivation purposes and offer points for trying it at all, and question whether it is even humanly possible.

If Ryan Sheckler turns out to have lied about landing what many would consider an ‘ender ender’-worthy blockbuster, what then? In the past, it would seem the industry shunned dudes for less. Witness former Plan B revolutionary Brian Emmers, shadowed by the urban legend of a self-aggrandizing letter he apparently never even wrote. Has Ryan Sheckler logged too many caffeine-drink advertisements and emotional reality television hours to be so easily heaved overboard? Or will the internet’s 24-minute news cycle rapidly bury critics’ threads and replies, effectively glossing over the whole episode like so many filmers and light poles photoshopped out of the way? Skateboarding differs from major-league alternatives partly because bars are raised and legends are written not inside stadiums and on some game clock but in K-Mart parking lots on the weekend, or in some ditch in the middle of the night. If proof does not reveal itself in the HD video pudding, what happens next?


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