4. Gustav Tønnesen — ‘Reverb’

December 28, 2019

The easygoing freedom radiating off Gustav Tønnesen’s otherworldly tricks arises partly from his and Sour’s congenial, blissful separate-ness from the California pro-circuit rat race. He generally seems unconcerned, and it’s probably a contributor to rather than detractor from Sour’s assorted successes and achievements since the Sweet split. The askew ‘spot’ choosings and bottomless skill reservoir regularly exhibited in the ‘Sour Solution’ entires can leave one wondering what a Gustav Tønnesen part could look like given the ‘big-budget’ treatment and an indulgence toward more-standard video part trick choices, and Adidas’ late-arriving ‘Reverb’ vid offers one version — there’s a nollie 270 fronside noseslide into a bank, a switch crooked grind in a line, a switch hardflip over a gap, all typically feather-light and unhurried, but it’s not long before he’s wallriding out of a backside noseblunt slide and finding all types of things to do with a corrugated metal vent thing. Inevitably, he is drawn to Max Palmer’s angle-ironed cage-bank and the Rector Street bench’s final hours before boosting a switch kickflip off a few angled bricks and up a four-foot euro gap, as it was foretold. An actual magician.

5. Nik Stain — ‘Skate Clip’

December 27, 2019

Whether or not the planet will receive a ‘definitive’ Nik Stain video part maybe is not the right question; there are those who would pound their fists and tear their hair and pronounce that it was already in ‘Bruns’ while others may suggest that there shouldn’t be one, requiring questers to sift 917, Supreme and assorted Jersey video files for a fleeting and piecemeal picture of the truth. Johnny Wilson’s springtime Vimeo freshener hit closer than anything else for a while, the elbows-out backside smith grinds and backside tailslides seared further into the permanent record as critical reference points for a moorless age. Nik Stain gives himself to the purpose, scorpioning across water and asphalt, barreling over rails and double sets and painting urethane swipes across the Manhattan marble, until the next one.

6. Tristan Funkhouser — ‘Baker 4’

December 26, 2019

Baker’s generational handoff over the course of its seven-year weekend since ‘Bake and Destroy’ has gone better than a lot of its old-guard board brand contemporaries, aided by the company’s more malleable and freewheeling character and recent, forceful returns of formerly wandering veterans like Kevin Long and Sammy Baca, who really came out of the wilderness to put a calf-socked Chuck onto 2019. As far as distilling Baker’s ethos for the Ross-shopping set, covering the late-’10s trick spectrum and general get-in-the-vanness, Tristan Funkhouser’s ‘Baker 4’ rave-up fired on all cylinders, combining a speedball crouch and the type of wild lower-body contortions that Baker spirit animal Ali Boulala shimmied across an alcohol-drenched floor in an earlier installment (see: pyramid ledge, backside smith frontside shove-it out). This is for sure the yung T-Funk’s best and most-developed skating to date, between shit like the wallride shove-its, the overpass 5-0 rollercoaser and the stomach-churning float after the last 50-50, but the screaming ollie out to frontside wallride — teed up by his friends hollering at gapers, a GX bomb while the crew loses their minds, and needle-thread through what looks like a TV film unit on lunch break — is basically a Baker video all by itself.

7. Ronnie Sandoval — ‘Take It Back’

December 25, 2019

The grievous-injury-as-part-opener has held fast through another decade, mayhap serving some drama-injector function, or at least stating a particular skater’s price of admission for the clips to come, even if in the more-general sense of skate video function it rarely contributes to the basic chore of firing up the viewer. Ronnie Sandoval’s life after kneecap shattering, as presented in the ensuing five minutos of Vans’ slow-burning ‘Take it Back’ and uploaded in an August heatwave’s sweaty grip, does pitch in. Between screaming pumps through transitions he’s generally either out to test his recently refurbished patella or keep it as far away from the coping as possible, heavily tweaking inverts and placing his hands and feet in all types of rarely recommended places, ranging from over-vert bowl sections to a dinosaur face. For an imperatively tilted video, Ronnie Sandoval’s part makes its own arguments, such as not writing off future American involvement with Oski’s monstrous vert wall, and for beautifully executed filming, in an era when hyper stylization steadily gnaws at visual comprehension of the actual trick.

8. Bobby Worrest – ‘Welcome to Venture’

December 24, 2019

After the late-00s ATV movement helped push AntiHero, Spitfire, Indy and Thrasher to the top of the stack, it probably was inevitable that the merciless and ever-turning ‘wheel of skate trends’ would revolve from ‘fight’ to ‘switch,’ and Venture’s 2019 rebirth maybe was foretold by the same stylistic lodestar that guided swishy pants’ replacement of stretch denim. Nabbing East Coast ledge journeyman Bobby Worrest marked Venture’s re-arrival this year, as well as a recent peak among a string of video part gems he’s continued pumping out while traversing certain hemispheres and defying age’s vagaries. There is a certain torch long carried by Dennis Busenitz on which Bobby Worrest seems to have his own grip and feel, holding court first in southeast Asian public spaces where he cracks over artisanal bridges and slaloms past mopeds, and eventually/inevitably back in his beloved Pulaski park, working all corners and exhorting his filmers to keep up — honk if you turn up the volume for ‘up the three’ on repeat watches. His hat stays backwards, the beard stays on, the noseslide 270 line is all-time and he still is putting notches on the big white wall.

9. Heitor Da Silva – ‘Adidas Skateboarding Presents’

December 23, 2019

Olympic handlers this year plotted 2020 precious-metaling strategies, Mark Suciu translated ledge combos into matching syllables, and trophy-hunting hillbombers gritted their teeth and hung on; others gathered valuable items or built up experience points. Palace it kid Heitor Da Silva seemed to spend his year swerving in good jeans and savoring an achingly ’90s switch frontside flip. His skating’s an easy breeze on a hot afternoon, even hucking out of a backside tailslide, he never seems to be sweating stuff much, including a standalone intro vid for big-two sneaker supplier Adidas. It’s in the push before the bank-to-bank ollie and the consolation-prize kick-out wallride, the powerslide down the bank almost as good as the gap switch heelflip preceding it, daring even the most grimly stair-counting contest-run programmer not to grin.

10. Dane Barker – ‘Welcome to Converse CONS’

December 22, 2019

Among the many and varied appeals of Quasi’s newly signed crust-grating contraption Dane Barker is the rough alchemy mingling his spindly and focused poise with the brutal lacerations he womps upon various spots, in the case of this Cons vid certain So Cal cuts, elsewhere Virginia’s wilds and an awfully good heater in downtown Chicago. The ollie up and then out to binride in this vid and the staircase noseblunt slide are exacto-precise, the bannister transfer and years-in-the-waiting bar hop to pipe smacker at the New Spot are twofisted machete swipes; his ride-on 50-50 to legitimately popped ollie out maybe the most vertigo-inducing clip since Clint Walker’s stories-up bailed nollie heelflip.

Red Bull GmbH Made The New Transworld Video So American Media Inc. Didn’t Have To

December 7, 2019

Here he is, teeth beared on the cover, Mark Wahlberg, née Marky of the Funky Bunch, sliding now into your brick-n-mortar mailbox with offers. Those biceps, and how to get them. He knows the names of 101 lust-worthy gifts and where they can be bought. LSD, and how it can cure depression. Strong and rich, yet Mark Wahlberg soon will disappear to make way for next month’s displacer, usurper of children’s dreams, as the Transworld subscription that once was runs its course beneath these dominant males’ steely, practiced gaze. So it goes.

Elsewhere, the TWS spirit remains carried forward, if under different corporate stewardship and alternate projects. While www.skateboarding.com continues to redirect toward the remaining staff’s video efforts and daily aggregations, Austrian beverage conglomerate Red Bull GmbH this week effectively released the new Transworld video. Recognizing a gaping hole once filled on an annual basis with slickly produced full-lengths staffed by pro-level grab bags, Red Bull’s ‘You Good?’ release proffers a 2019-friendly runtime while rejecting most current video conventions to throw back toward Transworld’s ’00s video heyday: A trip hop-powered opening montage, copious amounts of slow-mo, ‘retro film effects,’ a title you may well find yourself hollering to your own bros.

With ‘You Good?,’ Red Bull’s dark men seem comfortable flexing in ways accessible to soda manufacturers but not many others in the enthusiastic yet money-poor realm that is skateboarding in 2019. Pristine spots are ripped across multiple hemispheres by power pros, at all times uniformed in Red Bull-logoed headwears, at times leisurely guzzling from the famed skinny cans — as you do. Husky Rick-flipper Jamie Foy hauls a 5-0 grind over the back and down a kinked rail, and gaps out to a ferocious frontside bluntslide, before tagging in Zion Wright for a long-spun cab over a Barcelona bannister and an immaculate frontside 180 to backside nosegrind down a different one — in this video, he is the lone Red Buller to (briefly) go hatless via a boosted McTwist. ‘Bust or Bail’ loud-armer Alex Midler exhibits his uncanny ability to take awful slams and go up against Jamie Foy for pointer grind distance, and his nailbiting ender builds on Silas Baxter Neal’s own TWS-closer from six years back.

Powered by caffeine and the courage of a cartoon ox with nothing left to lose, Red Bull wraps its carbonated hooves around a moment that would seem to favor the TWS video-making model of old. Adulting and wellness trends, the thrill of the SOTY chase and battery-powered massage pistols now make it possible and even obligatory for yung’n’hungry pros to record multiple video parts in the course of a calendar year. This has helped to fuel the full-length video resurgence as one-off parts quickly pile up and tumble down the timeline, while all the good one- or two-word names get used up. Look no further than the criminal burying of Chris Colbourn’s inexplicably severed ‘Peace’ part earlier this year, shoveled off into the ether last January, which one could imagine closing a Transworld-style vid in years past.

Should Red Bull go ahead and expand their print media empire beyond its Red Bulletin title by acquiring Transworld from American Media Inc.? By requiring teamriders to wear branded hats — an optional fashion accessory — in every clip, is Red Bull subliminally flexing on makers of shoes — which pretty much always must be worn unless you’re Jamie Thomas or Bob Burnquist? Could headwear-compulsory Red Bull sponsorships simultaneously preserve both the finances and vanity of prematurely balding pros?

Tiago Lemos Responds To ‘Verso’ With 17-Minute Canadian Part

November 10, 2019

In a time of ceaseless flux, resourcefulness and ingenuity are the watchwords that launch names onto marquees and plump cartoon moneybags. Similar to Beyonce’s smash hit revenge album ‘Lemonade’ but with visa problems instead of Jay-Z cheating on you, Brazilian pop sensation Tiago Lemos found Montreal’s spots and poutineries wide open to his throwback DCs after an alcohol-infused airline excursion got his US papers yanked. In what has become a hallowed annual event, the Tiago Lemos footage dump, Canada’s premiere Canadians ‘Dime’ blessed various masses this week with their latest ‘Knowing’ mixtape release, compensating for a shortfall in bowling ball hammers with generous helpings of forced international nomad Tiago Lemos, his bionic ledgework and multicoloured DC sweaters gracing the ‘City of Saints.’

‘Knowing Mixtape Vol. 1’ was rightly regarded as one of the most shocking and introspective vids of the time. Still, it is used to calm jittery racehorses and inspire young businesspersons clicking shut their briefcases before heading out to close their first big deal. Lacking the same level of bowling ender-enders, Dime unites now with Tiago Lemos as the world’s preeminent switch backside tailslider faces a career crossroads. With a Primitive video release looming — presumably to unload his DC-clad footage prior to taking his talents to a major international sportswear conglomerate — and after that, putting all of Brazil on his back for the 2020 Olympic gold hunt, Tiago Lemos in the coming years may well have less time to toss white rappers over picnic tables among friends on Quebecios hillsides, or engage in lengthy dap sessions in container-shipping yards.

Draped in XL cotton, here Tiago Lemos unloads an all-time switch shove-it rewind over a bench, a switch heelflip tailslide on a gap to ledge, a switch heelflip nosegrind during some only-in-Montreal session for the ages that also featured Jake Johnson jumping on a switch Pupecki grind. Elsewhere skateboarding’s collective kid brother Etienne Gagne twirls a nollie backside bigspin noseblunt, Leon Chapdelaine hops from a backside smith grind out and down some stairs, and Tristan Funkhouser bluntslides out to a base jump. There is Alexis Lacroix’s weirdly impressive duckfooted backside tailslide and the always worthwhile Antoine Asselin, cultivating a Jimmy Carlin look.

Does ‘Knowing Mixtape Vol 2’ represent one last carefree nollie frontside crooked-grinding summer vacation for Tiago Lemos before having to ‘get serious’ for career and country in the 2K2oh? Did the Dime people get the boot from that one bowling alley or merely shut it down eternally? Is the cat riding Alexis Lacroix’s shoulders through the China Banks part of a new generation of ‘skate pets’ including recent pro Murdy The Dog, ready to carry the sub-subculture forward from famous and moneyed skate pets of yesteryear including Meaty, Liam and the well-traveled Girl goldfish?

Are You People Paying Attention To The Things Jackson Curtin Is Doing Right Now?

November 2, 2019

This photo should be enough. Great skater, super hard trick, exactly the right angle, tweaked to the maximum, pants right. Time was, you’d painstakingly tear out a page like this one in the Milton Martinez Thrasher and tape it onto the wall. That still happens, but the time for wall-staring slowly is passing into shadow. Soon enough, our walls will stare at themselves.

The photo’s primal waves lead to another, more fundamental question, which is whether the swipe-happy, dead-eyed and flesh-consuming populace is giving Jack Curtin his proper due. In a world that criminally overlooked Ryan Gallant’s late-period surge, only now seems to be appreciating the treasure that is Javier Sarmiento, and failed to elevate Steve Durante to household name status, it is not an idle question.

A seminal technician with international flair and an allergy to basic-ass T-shirts, Jackson Curtin approaches the 2020s a seasoned veteran, but from ‘Pack a Lunch’ onward he seems never to have blown up relative to the skill and stylistic levels implied. Last year, he switch kickflip wallrode and switch backside noseblunted a chunky hubba for the ever-inscrutable Skate Mental label. This year he slid through New York for the Gridlock series, ripped Pier 7 and the SF Library amid the broader SF reinvigoration GX1000 set off in the hills and Supreme carried to EMB, and last week he slapped up trickblockers and put a noseblunt onto the Carroll/Chico block-to-block list for his most recent New Balance shoe design, centered on the increasingly on-burn black and clear colour scheme.

Is everybody properly savouring the current Jackson Curtin moment? Can the collective powers of Jack Curtin, Tyler Surrey, Tom Knox and recent DC Shoe Co USA defector Tiago Lemos unite to somehow make it cool to wear grandpa shoes with with a big letter N on the side? What are the odds Jack Curtin could get back to Pulaski for a joint part with Bobby Worrest? Should Paul Rodriguez, dealing with Primitive’s steadily expanding roster, spend some of his Naruto duckets on the apparently still existing Deca and put on Jack Curtain, JB Gillet, Daewon Song and fuck it, Carlos Iqui?