Bring Hither the Fatted Calf and Kill It

February 13, 2016

how_now_apocalypse_now_cow

As the blind oracles foretold, Lennie Kirk is proving to be the guiding touchstone for skateboarding in 2016, with his devotion to hammer-handy fish multiplier Jesus Christ’s ’33 resuscitation and Lennie Kirk’s own unlikely rise from beneath that Pac-Bell van foreshadowing the timely return of top-shelf talents to the turbulent and beery pool that is skating in 2016.

Paul Rodriguez, he of the multi-sponsor fitted and long-distance switch 360 flips, already rolled away the stone and commanded the grave-cloths removed from the pro career of French double-flip enthusiast Bastien Salabanzi. With the Christian season of Lent upon us, Paul Rodriguez would play at the Lazarus legend again, this time bringing out onetime fellow City Star Devine Calloway for what by some poorly considered blog webpages’ count would be his third go-round with the skate biz, after his initial City Star twinkle, his Chocolate grown-up resurfacing some years later and post-‘Pretty Sweet’ bonus footage low profile. Nothing’s changed, it would seem, and besides his apparently mostly successful kicking of a costly New Era habit, he could’ve popped out the fakie flip 5-0 and that Crisco-smooth bigspin immediately following his still-impressive TWS part nearly a decade back.

Days later on the other coast, long-lost Tompkins wunderkind Yaje Popson officially moved his 64-Crayola wardrobe into Alien Workshop’s radiation-proof geodesic dome, itself recently restored to life via Rob Dyrdek’s Street League and television show dollarydoos. Despite what sounded like dual knee injuries, a somewhat dispiriting parting of ways with the Crailtap camp amid the heightened and heated ‘Pretty Sweet’ filming campaign, and the bucolic pleasures of small-city life in Brazil, Yaje Popson’s tricks remain super on point (switch backside smith grind, that pyramid ledge trick) and as suited as any to the worthwhile project that is refurbishing the Sovereign Sect, though maybe a little bit less surprising than Devine Calloway’s rebound given last year’s Sk8Rats turn and how he plainly spoke of missing it all. A TWS interview promises heavier hitting yet to come.

The limited economic prospects, increasingly crowded competition for unique eyeballs and impressions, and ever-present risk cocktail of age and injury raises questions around the logic of gone-once pros and bros returning for further bites of the industry cherry. Yet return they do, from Tom Penny’s bleary trip back in ‘Sorry’ to Guy Mariano’s wristguarded tech triumph in ‘Fully Flared’, the Muska’s single-gloved victory lap with Element, Christian Hosoi’s post-prison bid adventures, Supreme’s Paulo Diaz exhumation, and the extended post-Shorty’s go-rounds enabled by Sk8Mafia. More curiouser may be how such prodigal sons typically not just are welcomed but cheered back — witness last year’s outpouring of support after Kevin Spanky Long’s return journey to Baker put him again astride a pro board and back in the proverbial van.

Is the skate sphere unique in its tolerance for such wilderness years, spent consuming substances, recovering from blown-out joints, pursuing alternate careers or raising families? In the parlance of major-league team sports, comebacks usually are intra-game affairs, with some allowance for those rare talents drawing sufficient investment to bide a season or more in physical therapy, but clawing one’s way back into the professional universe after years away seems a rarer feat still, whether fueled by Kenny Powers-level moxie or some other chemical reaction. But even with a decade or more off magazine pages, digital video discs and relevant social media mobile networks, it’s difficult to imagine an increasingly fragmented and nostalgia-shaped boarding industry turning its collective nose up if long-faded lords like Sean Sheffey, Alex Gall, Scott Kane, Mike Maldonado, Billy Valdes, Pat Channita, Tim O’Connor, Jon West, Ted de Gros, or Gideon Choi turned up with a video part approaching their respective primes and the gumption to keep at it.

Does skating’s willingness and seeming zeal to re-embrace its wandering prodigals flow from the same spiritual mountain spring that nurtures tendencies to stockpile decks skated beyond any reasonable use, pack grocery-store boxes full of even lean-year Transworlds, and scour Ebay auctions to expensively recapture some spark first kindled in a long-lost CCS catalogue? As skating is lassoed, saddled, broken and eventually led head-down and besequined into that great Olympic rodeo, replete with floodlights and sad clowns, will lapsed pros resurface more often or must all spare dollarydoos shower down upon the podium-bound few? Has the YouTube age made it harder or easier for pros to recatapult dormant careers? Is Brian Wenning at Love Park right now? Yall saw Jeremy Klein’s kickflip bench stall in the Greco movie right?

The Ball or the Sword

February 7, 2016

zorro

Was there a time when persons skated without bubblegoosed lenses trained upon them and atmospheric detail duly noted for later transcription or verbal tapestry-weaving when the mood lighting strikes? If you answered “hrm the 70s?” you may legally change your name to Burl Ives and open a blimp repair business in the tax-free domicile of your choice; all others must submit to pondering how the 00s’ era of history-unearthing and nostalgia-shampooing, from ‘On’ to ‘Epicly Later’d’, may now have given way to real-time mythmaking and neatly boxing up the memories and labeling them with straight and Sharpied capital letters.

Thrasher, which in 2016 enjoys the singular luxury of having probably not just every sphere-jolting trick pass their desks prior to public consumption, but also being looped into advance plotting, wisely made an event of Aaron Homoki’s jousts with and eventual slaying of the Lyon wyrm that Ali Boulala, Europe’s switch-kickflipping PD rogue, had fenced to a draw in the ‘Sorry’ days. Recognizing both the additional weight any Boulala-linked adventure would derive from his rather crushing ‘Later’d’ entry and chessboxing various message-board-borne critiques of spot ownership, Michael Burnett & co brought Ali Boulala aboard to lend technical ‘expertise’ alongside a phalanx of documenteers dripping with cameras, presumptive champagne bottles for popping and at least one dad*.

Ali Boulala’s in-person blessing, the attendant media scrum and days of stomach-knotting uncertainty made Jaws’ wrestle with the Lyon 25, which by now has been imbued with way too much weight to just close off some future video part, perhaps the fullest and frothiest example of real-time mythmaking in action, notwithstanding corporate-bannered Evel Knievel event tricks that may or may not require the approval stamps of Communist Party officials or purpose-built structures. As Love Park again circles the tubes, likely sparking plans for further, hour-plus documentaries**, here was the supernaturally ligamented Aaron Homoki jumping this big bunch of stairs, his couple seconds of hangtime stretched across magazine pages and digital video files via security-guard entanglements, celebrity pro cameos, body armour, familial love and a whiff of history and tragedy to spice the triumph and Jaws’ tears of joy.

The well-planned battle in Lyon comes at a time when skating seems increasingly fixated on capturing and preserving its wild old days as the quest to recapture lost market share and sock away retirement funds requires adopting a more scrubbed, professional and/or mercenary stance. Books drawing upon the misadventures of Scott Bourne, Lennie Kirk and now the hallowed Big Brother magazine in various ways strive to capture in permanent print those halcyon days of molotov cocktails, ill-advised trysts and penis pump reviews before they collapse into the great internet memory hole and premium priced Ebay collector packs.

As multinational beverage and sportswear suppliers up the number of racks available to coming generations and social media empire-building draws the wandering eye of TMZ, it is fair to wonder whether collective laces inevitably and regretably must become straighter, for all involved. Jenkem, who has taken up the Big Brother interview format mantle as convincingly as any current media, got in a good one with still-reliable quote mine Corey Duffel, a living and leather-clad link to Big Brother’s no kids-gloved past, who reminds that for the time being some moat remains between skating and major-league sports as long as pros are willing and able to hold forth on their dealings with grave-robbing furniture dealers:

So I buy the Craigslist bathtub and bring it inside the house, and my old lady is like, I don’t know how I feel about this tub, I’m getting weird vibes from it, that place it came from was so fucked up. Well that night, the first night with the tub in the house, a big mirror in the back of the house just came crashing down, no earthquake or wind or anything. Something else happened, like the TV flickered, something strange, and Rachel was like, “It’s the fucking tub.” So she suggested going to the hippie store to get sage – sage is suppose to get rid of evil spirits and we’re kind of hippies like that – so we’re saging around and I shrug it off like whatever.

Then a couple of months later Bobby Worrest comes over and goes like, “Oh, that’s the tub! I met that guy Tom, Tom is fucking insane!” I was like, yeah, he’s a fucking crazy but a really cool guy. Then he goes, “What a trip, someone committed suicide in that tub.” I’m like, what?! And Bobby tells me Tom told him someone offed themselves in that tub. It was funny to find out 6 months later. Now the bathtub sits outside next to the flowers.

Elsewhere, would-be Olympian Chris Cole sits for an interview with Rolling Stone, which appears in one of its sporadic periods of interest in extreme pro lifestyles, offering a glimpse of potential Q&As to come in some future age where contest politicking and milestone trick trophies must be rattled through on behalf of those greenhorn readers who need guidance through the subject-matter minefields of ‘who’s this person’ and ‘why do I care.’ It’s a relatively staid account til the end, when in a possible fit of cultural catharsis things veer abruptly toward a liquor-soaked Russian bar fight:

The next time we saw Ian, he was up on a stage, dumping his beer over some guy’s head, and in an instant, dudes were fighting all over the bar ­– tackles, punches, chokeholds. I was on the ground smashing this dude’s face in, and I look up and saw Ian getting choked by one dude while he was punching two separate dudes and being punched in the face by a chick.

If future pros fistfight Russian bouncers but never speak of it publicly out of an abundance of professional caution, do the busted teeth and cracked eye sockets make any sound? Wasn’t Chris Cole straightedge at one point or is this another phantom memory like Henry Sanchez’s Aesthetics pro model? Has Jaws scouted out the Leap of Faith elevator structure for a future wallie cover? In states where suicide was historically considered a crime would Bobby Worrest be considered to have snitched on the ghost that lives in Corey Duffel’s secondhand bathtub? And if he did, would the fact that the bathtub now is used as a planter by definition make it dry snitching?

*Unclear whether dad pants were obligatory or only assumed
**Any of which may possibly be instantly obsolete beside the Sabotage series

Callin All the Girls, Do You Hear Me? All Around the World, City to City. Cheers to the Girls, More Juice to the Guys, Now I Got a Chicken and a Goose in the Ride

January 23, 2016

WampaDood

The alleged, unnamed and unknowable ice world lurking beyond the confines of the generally regarded universe this week became the latest cosmic force to challenge skating’s long-held but fading belief in the Spicolian maxim that, tasty ledges/gaps/bowls and a cool buzz in hand, all will be fine. This supposed “massive perturber” of some description seemed to taunt skateboarders globally in a general and taunting way. ‘See me, my powerful magnetic fields and my girth,’ it seemed to intone from beyond this solar system. ‘I spread my galactic influence among dwarf planets and, literally, chill.’ And yet on earth, vigils are held online and amongst the square-block granite pocket of Love Park, which the powers that be have determined must be gathered up and remade in a fashion devoid of crack rocks, fistfights, switch heelflips and backside noseblunts.

Philadelphia’s scene is to be cut loose from its best-beloved anchor, one it has exhumed before, at a time when that exalted god technology has enabled companies of varying stripe to cleave themselves from any particular municipality or even geography in a sort of freewheeling rootlessness. Companies design boards from Sweden, Cals Nor and So, Ohio, London and elsewhere, order them pressed in China and Mexico, warehousing them here and there before shipping them to kickflipping endorsers on any number of coasts and wherever Jake Johnson may roam. The photo and video spoils are beamed onto Instagram for consumption via mobile phone between classes, at work or in the john, with decks and premiumly priced t-shirts or sockwear readily hawked to admirers from internet web stores.

Yet much like the sun-hugging planets that owe their atmospheric colorations and ore riches to the gravitational gravity of the one true sun, there is a human case to be made that skate empires’ staying power rests in large part upon some local and geographical cornerstone. Deluxe is synonymous with the Bay, Sk8Mafia with San Diego, even the Osiris parts. Palace is filming their video all in London. Dime and Quartersnacks have fashioned clout from their towns and gained the ability to develop proprietary shirts and sweaters. Pitfalls threaten those who may wander: Alien Workshop, emboldened after adopting Philadelphia and New York as its “Photosynthesis” touchstones, floundered in its effort to launch the borderless and meandering Seek. Blueprint and Cliche surrendered a certain cache when they traded their across-the-pond concentrations to sign up the same US pros courted by California companies, skating the same palm-shaded hubbas. Plan B’s widely known ‘Tru, B’ vid was rumored to have been filmed at exclusive marble plazas on eight continents which includes the secret one.

5Boro is named for New York and so is its new ‘5BNY’ video, which boasts the capacity to open with a black-and-white cityscape motif soundtracked to jazz music that doesn’t come off all contrived, and next by showing tricks from Sylvester Eduardo, a crusher in the ‘Welcome to Hell’ mold who can muscle through some burly 50-50s and wallies and also do floaty frontside pop shove-its and frontside 360s. (Sometimes in Raps, always nice to see on the East Coast.) He’s the first among the ‘5BNY’ lineup to crisscross streets choked with pedestrians, street vendors, autos, commentary-spewing passersby and the rest of the bros, up to and including Quim Cardona*. Karim Callender glides through some of the more lackadasical nosegrinds in a while and Rob Gonyon exhibits power camo and a notable noseblunt shove-it before the scene is cleared for Jordan Trahan, this era’s 360 flip king, tossing off little-seen noseslide 50-50 combinations and no-push lines with impeccable arms, a boss over-the-can carver and probably never enough 360 flips. There could be a whole part of the 360 flips.

Similarly debuting in this blogging site’s fiscal 2016, Isle’s long-awaited ‘Vase’ comes soaked in London brick and feels sort of like a prodigal son type of homecoming after Blueprint’s unfortunate last years and ill-advised dabbles in Americana, such as the still difficult to understand decision to open a video with ‘Birdhouse In Ur Soul.’ This streamlined and gallery-damaged lot rebuild via mixed media and the same type of dollar-store intro inventiveness that helped ‘Bag of Suck’ endure as well as the editing-bay hokum of ‘Fully Flared’, but it is Tom Knox, Chris Jones, Nick Jensen and Casper Brooker who thrust their hands into London’s cracked and smoke-stained guts — Tom Knox’s vision seems not to stop at tricks that could be done at spots but to see spots around corners, overhead or behind parked vehicles, most ridiculously on tricks like the loading dock drop-down to street-gap 360 flip, or the gables-scraping tailslides. Sixteen or so years removed from ‘WFTW’s pint-size gap switch kickflipper Nick Jensen still has vicious South Bank lines and a switch backside nosegrind worthy of Steve Durante while Casper Brooker has the video’s best frontside shove-it and a wild South Bank kickflip transfer. The best section is Chris Jones, with his avant garde switch heelflip and switch manual hops across the sidewalks, which peaks with the careening tunnel runs (the ride out on the backside kickflip).

If the Isle bros can successfully reclaim London via the vital and eminently rewatchable ‘Vase,’ is it similarly possible to cultivate new roots for one’s ‘personal brand’? Surely Jereme Rogers’ years in the wilderness and before had already taken him through Las Vegas, but his recent King of the Strip video part positioned Jereme Rogers’ current formulation of hedonism, fashion mishaps and face-tatted self-aggrandizement** as a persona ready-made for Las Vegas’ rentable, plasticine and transient sin. Whereas Lennie Kirk fused spirituality with a certain on- and off-board brutality, Jereme Rogers proffers an elixir of wealth-seeking Christianity and shameless excess that seems suited to Las Vegas’ neon-heated Gamblor lairs, all-u-can-consume buffets and drive-thru wedding chapels.

Could Las Vegas provide a blinging launchpad for Jereme Rogers’ long-awaited skateboard comeback? Could an as-yet unknown icy giant hold a gap or obstacle that Jordan Trahan could not 360 flip or would its slackened gravitational pull enable even greater 360 flip feats? Why must Pluto keep getting dissed? Has any skate concern successfully transplanted itself? How come it’s been so long since somebody used Big Pun?

*Who has come to occupy an East Coast station that approximates the gonzo exuberance of Chad Muska, or maybe Smolik
**which his jail bid seems to have dulled right?

Ams Behaving Badly and The Struggle For Our Immortal Souls Dudes

January 9, 2016

lobstrosity

As the sleek and plush (if leased [and somehow less flavourful than the Honda Civics and cliff-bound Cadillacs of decades past]) Porsche that is skating’s motorvehicular avatar purrs into 2016, the dashbound is fruitlessly thumped again and again in a hapless bid to steady the jittery moral compass mounted somewhere south of the cracked rear view and fuzzy dice. Turmoil abounds. Tweenage inward heelflip lothario Baby Scumbag and self-styled switchstance deity Keelan Dadd stand accused of sexually exploiting a 12-year-old, drawing revulsion from all but their most loyal Instagram subscribers. Knox Godoy, that onetime Baker bidder for Billy Waldman status, assures Jenkem that a hybrid lifestyle of drug selling, professional chefing and knocking over the odd Wal-Greens is preferred over the comparatively stressful elements of pro-level boardsmanship. Elsewhere there is an uneasy peace to be made with contractually obligated energy-drink hoisting, ‘name’ pros openly endorsing Drake material and Thrasher ringing in this uncertain new year by dabbling in emoticons.

Polarization and its closely related national pasttime, the culture war, seem bound to lay hooks into the skating sphere as it embarks upon a bold age in which a pro can be sacked for too-loose poo talk, while Andy Roy, noted degenerate, holds forth as a wizened confidant and adviser. Mythmaking and condemnation continue their two-decade waltz* around a film meditation on trading HIV status and various assaults while Lenny Kirk admonishes snitches and trafficks in Biblical morality from behind bars:

“A lot of Americans don’t know these things. They’re too caught up with fake tits and butts, plastic surgery, gay sex, drugs, and how to get God out of America. Obsessed with themselves. The flesh. Perverted, influenced by bimbo hoes with twisted minds and famous because of pornos. America is heading to Hell yet they don’t think so. Some try to make it as if homosexuals are normal people but it’s a lie, a deception. You’re not born that way! Men move from viewing pornography to homosexuality, to rape, to incest and to pedophilia… from one glass of wine to abusive alcoholism and from smoking marijuana to crack cocaine.”

As skating’s graying corporate checkhandlers steer it toward an Olympic status and the balance sheet replenishing endorsement largesse to follow, skaters must determine whether they continue cheering bad guys. The general public already had split over Palace’s prodigal ‘old New York’er Shawn Powers’ art career, jacket game and skating generally, but the gulf widened this week upon digital unearthing of a clip in which Shawn Powers forcefully liberated several lobsters before sending several toward an untimely and preemptive broiling via wall.

Shawn Powers’ shock-and-awe campaign upon these semi-suspecting lobsters drew widespread shrugs and condemnation in turn within the skating sphere and without, amid calls for Palace to cease his sponsorship, police to jail him and aquatic beings across the region to rise up in moistened vengeance.

Skating of course already has had a long and fraught relationship with lobsters, mainly manifested through footwear color schemes. Lobsters, despite their cuddly appearance and gregarious ways, are among the most enigmatic and threatening invertebrates of the time. Long rumoured to possess the secrets of immortality, they will feast upon the flesh and carapaces of their own kind, spreading dangerous bacteria wherever they scuttle and threatening the toes and, indeed, the very souls of the unwary:

These you may eat of all that are in the water: whatever in the water has fins and scales, whether in the seas or in the rivers—that you may eat…. Whatever in the water does not have fins or scales—that shall be an abomination to you. Leviticus 11:9, 12

Did Shawn Powers, possibly fresh off Chrome Ball Incident’s landmark Lennie Kirk post and a recent poll that voted God most likely to destroy humanity, simply seek to look out for immortal souls generally and avoid potential abominations by the best means possible? Would lobsters rather die briefly free on the pavement than live doomed behind glass? Dad-a-cham? Dum-a-chum? How does this clip not go in the next Bronze vid? What would Andy Roy do?

Oblivion Access

January 1, 2016

Some others

Gilbert Crockett – ‘Salt Life’
Hard-cut edit on the post-Workshop frontier from Gilbert Crockett’s perpetually spring-loaded feet

Jack Kirk – ‘Krew Killers’
Spyro gyro tailslide

Andrew Allen – ‘Boys of Summer’
Between this, ‘Propeller’ and the Vans offcuts, there is some type of unholy Skater of the Year bid

Kevin Bradley – ‘Chronicles 3’
Neck and neck with ‘Sickness’ in turn up terms, last 30 seconds particularly

Tyler Surrey – ‘Spanish VX’
Lines that go forever, and a case for nollie flip noseslides in 2016

Tom Asta – ‘1947’
Nollie heelflip backside noseblunt on a handrail

Jerry Hsu – ‘Boys of Summer’
The heartwarming results possible – feeble grind, smith grind – when beloved pros oblige requests to ‘just see you skate’

Nick Boserio – ‘No Cash Value’
2015’s reigning lord of hairball, where you wouldn’t be surprised if he loosened his trucks before the penultimate escalator plunge

Dylan Sourbeer – ‘Sabotage4 Promo’
Love park ledgelord with Wenning slump status

Tony Trujillo – ‘Propeller’
His best one since the Transworld vid

Donovan Piscopo – ‘Hockey promo’
The planter backside tailslide line

Josh Kalis – ‘Sabotage4’
*shrug*

Yaje Popson – ‘SK8RATS’
Back in living color, but for good?

Mark Suciu – ‘Civil Liberty’ sans voiceovers
Also including Dennis Busenitz at Pulaski, and ending with one of the most Mark Suciu tricks doable there

Hats off to Chrome Ball Incident for its exhaustive (yet apparently truncated) interview-by-mail with jailed switchstance barbarian, stunt cycler and street preacher Lennie Kirk, which nearly met 2015’s quotables quota on its own and expands upon all the old stories, nearly all of which seem to be true and then some:

“Many times with Jesus’ guidance, Him, I and my girl, Ez, took the bike to 177mph at night on the 101 freeway. All out throttle to the max. Alone, I topped the bike out at 184mph, wide open for more than 10 miles. Just me and God. It’s a surreal spiritual experience. God’s glory in it all. Other drivers seeing a bike fly by them at 184mph in the night! It’s deeply personal, eternal and unique. A oneness with God, my girl and my bike… flowing and free, not worried about cops.”

nike-sb-the-sb-chronicles-vol-3

The print media struggle in 2015 means taking risks to stand out. Transworld, its revival already well underway, rolled further dice by essentially re-running The Skateboard Mag’s most-recent cover on page 56-57 of its Jan. 2016 issue.

Also flexing on print media this year was Quartersnacks, one of the few (if only) internet web pages with not only the balls to make a book but the well of stories, hoarded text messagement, pic of folks skating castoff TVs and depth of collective character to pull it off in spades – buy it here.

1. Max Geronzi – ‘Gypsy Life’

December 31, 2015

Tenured psychology professors in 1985 formulated the ‘Francis Buxton’ principle to warn of spendthrift excess, dangerous gorging and aquatic Godzilla delusions that may arise from privileged upbringing, a cautionary stance that should be paid mind by the ‘everyone can do every trick’ generation, particularly given an ongoing fixation on 1980s artifacts including but not limited to bonelesses and sport vests. Cliché’s contrast pocketeer Max Geronzi, one of those seemingly capable of doing every trick, also appears imbued with the good sense to know what ones are worth trying as he runs the streetstyle gamut from Photosynthesis tech lines to flip-in-flip-outs to tall rails to bump-to-bar crust spots, griptape hanging off the nose and a Jake Johnson arm on the switch ollie into the bank. In spite of dated lifestyle-shot jumbling, the mysterious and swirly grab bag of seldom-seen-elsewhere maneuvers Max Geronzi pulls from – switch late shove-it, fakie frontside bluntslide, nollie backside 180 to switch 5-0, on a rail – and razory execution on more straightforward gnar like the full-tilt switch nose manual and the towering switch 360 flip off the Barcelona wave make his ‘Gypsy Life’ section more rewatchable than nearly any other video part this year.

2. Miles Silvas – ‘1947’

December 30, 2015

It is an interesting and engaging investment of time to consider Miles Silvas’ skating as a cipher for the youth of today, in all of their seeming contradictions and thirst for rapid gratification: Here is a young man, alternately clad in slimly tailored, above-the-knee shorts and a Guwop-for-Prez tee, not bothering to sweet talk or buy the hubba flowers first with a switch crooked grind or backside 5-0 before unleashing the switch backside smith grind. Miles Silvas is a budding beast capable of switch backside heelflipping off a damn house but psyched to twirl a vanilla 360 flip down a smallish stair set for kicks and free-of-charge LRG shirts and apparel, slathering plenty of mustard onto his roll-aways but never writing uncashable tickets. The boy right now seems to embody Jason Dill and AVE’s “in the window” theory and his daring and measured matching of tricks to spots, as well as potential free-world leaders, is as sharp as his judgment in pattern combos is awesomely lacking, and one assumes he’s got more heaviness on offer in the Adidas vid to come.

3. Anthony Van Engelen – ‘Propeller’

December 29, 2015

In a just and honourably logical world there are two sorts of Skaters of the Year: Those undeniable destroyers whose up-and-comingness has already established them as power forces and for whom the Thrasher nod bestows gravitas and permanence of place that the honoree bears out through photos, video footage and survivability over the ensuing years; or, a recognition of plants aligning and a moment arriving for those understood to have achieved all of that except the award itself already.* Anthony Van Engelen, that early embracer of body art, hard living and Jason Dill’s fractured and improbably profitable take on popular culture, falls squarely into the latter compartment with a blistering burn of a closing-section in Vans’ ‘Propeller’ video that refurbished some already-patented AVE tricks, such as the backside nosegrind and the switch frontside crooked grind, broke out new ones, like the switch backside smith grind and switch frontside 180 nosegrind 180 out, and drew recommendations to wipe the blood from his teeth upon floating that ollie off the volcano and barely hanging onto the fence frontside 5-0. On the strength of always-quality production and wack trick avoidance AVE a long time ago registered as a consummate pro but between the Vans part, which also placed him alongside Bobby Worrest in a class of aging dudes who still fuck with handrails, and the equivalent of three video parts (across the Vans vid, the associated raw footage (above) and tricks strewn across various Bill Strobeck and Jeff Kutter productions) cement his status as forevermore.

*Danny Way’s mega reinvention aside, maybe, repeats suggest lack of imagination

4. Tiago Lemos – De La Calle/Da Rua

December 28, 2015

A frightening shadow passed over the skating sphere in late August when the Tiago Lemos ‘We Are Blood’ remix part, an important public service to vertebrates, for a time vanished from Facebook and immediately assumed a new and mercifully brief existence as internet lore, telling of a unique realm where a switch backside tailslide kickflip out down a rail and a massively tall switch bigspin backside tailslide can be viewed without skipping past any number of joyously shaken boards and the frolicking RV that transports them in four-stacks HD. Not that it would have mattered though. In some surely quantifiable sense Tiago Lemos has done and filmed the most hardest craziest tricks all year and another video part spilling over with jaw-slackening feats invariably was due within months, and so it was that DC unleashed this section that included at last the planter-top switch frontside crooked grind, various crazy-big switch backside smith and noseblunt varietals, and continued his endearing devotion to the switch mongo push, baggy denim and DC shoes that have kept Tiago Lemos in good standing among aging “LA County” fans. The most-impressive Tiago Lemos related move of the year may have been BLVD hanging onto him.

5. Joey O’Brien – ‘Sabotage 4’

December 27, 2015

joeyob

Nuff respect due to Alex Olson’s ringing Republique line, Greyson Fletcher’s concrete slopestyle, Josh Kalis’ backside noseblunt face-off and Gino Iannucci’s 40 shove-its to freedom, but Joey O’Brien’s run in, out and under Love Park’s granite skeleton ranks not just as the year’s best run of tricks but among the craziest period at a spot that’s yielded some of the most memorable for all of earth’s eternity. In the fourth ‘Sabotage’ volume Joey O’Brien proved willing to and capable of digging his fingernails deeper into Philadelphia’s hallowed and hectic crust than even many of his mouthwash guzzling compatriots, chiseling through handrails and gaps to keep pro-level fans from usurping any curtains as wrecking balls again threaten to end this latest Love era. If wink out it must, there are worse ways to go than under the twinkling neutron star that is Joey O’Brien’s tightly spun 360 flip closer.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 118 other followers