Posts Tagged ‘Blueprint’

The Sun Rises on a New British Empire, Which Also Includes Francis Showerface As Well As Chewy Cannon Nosegrinds

November 6, 2017

When did the sun set on the first British skate empire? Views differ, but the rubbery, tearing sound of overreach could be heard in the intro to Blueprint’s generally great ‘Make Friends with the Colour Blue’, when the squad that built a movement on overcast skies, soot-stained streets and ‘Wandering Star’ opened with sun-sloshed Los Angeles art installations and the jaunty notes of ‘Birdhouse in Your Soul.’ Like tea-thirsty monarchs of old, the British Isles grew to become a realm too small for Blueprint, and waiting for the world took too long; Europeans and Americans were signed and it was off to the New World to compete with Southern Californian palm tree tenders on their own turf and terms. An effort noble in its aim, perhaps, but doomed.

An amusing exercise a month or so back, when Grey published the instant-classic Rich West shot of Mike Arnold’s phone booth hippy jump, was inventing metaphors to read into it. Like, might this board and body barreling through a derelict telephone compartment represent a magazine transcending the digital wave pounders painfully remaking the media sphere? Do the stomped-off nose and tail demonstrate the bloodthirsty courage of the forest mammal, caught in a trap, chewing off its own leg to escape, the sort of frantic bravery required to persist as an under-the-radar talent pushing U.K. skating through a global industry slump? Something to do with the fractious Brexit vote and Michael Gove’s perplexing applause technique?

It feels like another British wave is cresting. Around seven years back the initial Palace clips began to surface. Blueprint foundered five years ago. In 2015 the venerable Sidewalk mag wound down its print edition, later that year Free emerged. Blueprint fragment picker-uppers Isle’s ‘Vase’ debut vid at the end of that year polished Paul Shier and Nick Jensen’s already-secure legacies, but more notably launched Tom Knox and Chris Jones onto the global stage in one of that year’s most cohesive videos. The vibrant and jellyfish-scented ‘Atlantic Drift’ series since then has elevated them further and granted an international platform to dad-bodded Mike Arnold, who put his own dizzying spin onto the one-spot part at Bristol’s Lloyds Amphitheater.

Now comes ‘Palasonic’, a long-in-the-waiting ‘official’ full-length from those skate-cum-fashion standard bearers of the British Islands. It lands as much of Palace’s squadron seems at the height of their powers — Lucien Clarke is ripping Carroll spots, Danny Brady still is going in 15 years after ‘First Broadcast,’ Rory Milanes appears still well in his window, Chewy Cannon has had several years to hone and hopefully rebroaden his spastic wallie/360 repertoire, Shaun Powers has established his international artistic bona fides, Jamal Smith filmed 1995’s best 411 commercial. In recent months Palace rebuilt Radlands and got Lucas Puig.

Can Blondey McCoy’s much-reposted collision-turned-cartwheel off a purple hack be infused with some similarly labored metaphor for the Palace full-length finally dropping? Has the GX1000 crew’s recent focus on hill bombing left an opening for the Haight Street-originated hippy jump to be colonized by the British? Can human achievement in general surpass Chewy Cannon’s bank-to-ledge nosegrind or can we only hope to match it?

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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?

3. Danny Brady – ‘Definitely Brady’

December 28, 2013

Danny Brady to Palace was one of those soundly logical, hand-in-glove industry happenings that helped maintain some sense of normalcy and balance in a year otherwise characterized by seismic team-jumps and resignations, and this part, which is probably Danny Brady’s best in several years, did double-duty washing away the awkward weirdness which is Blueprint’s current Canada-by-way-of-Arizona iteration. Brady’s fakie game, now cemented firmly cemented among the pantheon of veteran devotees such as Clyde Singleton and Terry Kennedy, is in top form here, like on the bank-to-ledge tailslide kickflip, and the relative frequency of clips without a hat implies a new level of comfort and trust in his Palace bros and bosses. The line with the backside tailslide to fakie needed only the cub scout cap to a ‘Lost & Found’ clip.

6. Tom Knox – ‘Eleventh Hour’

December 25, 2013


Blueprint’s legacy looms large, so it is a mark in favor of presumptive torch picker-uppers Isle that Tom Knox’s engrossing section in Jacob Harris’ ‘Eleventh Hour’ could have been plucked from anywhere in between Danny Brady and Nick Jensen in ‘Lost and Found.’ No cobblestone seems too rough or bank too bumpy for Tom Knox, switch heelflipping into long steps and lazily nudging a shove-it out of a tall backside tailslide here, pushing envelopes with a backside bigspin fakie manual and the jump out to backside lipslide and the cascading last line. The spots obviously look awesome and the more off-the-wall tricks sprinkled here and there, like the switch backside 50-50 frontside 180 out, set the skating here apart from your urban tourist Street Leaguer types.

Hollywood Divorce

March 28, 2013

YOUNG_JEEZY_GUCCI_MANE_Jeezy_Hatfield_Vs_Gucci_Mc-front-large

It has been observed that the skateboarding industry is like high school, replete with jocks, nerds, overachievers, fashion victims, would-be authority figures, substance enthusiasts and vengeful, scheming captains of the water polo team who drive tricked-out jeeps and are partial to ripped jeans. Sticking with the analogy, last week we saw a long-running couple, recently broken up, each show up to the prom with new dates. Here was Blueprint, determined to pick up the shards of its spray-heart logo and shake off an ignominious dumping last fall, escorted by a half-dozen unknowns from the Southwest, and Mike York, who I like to imagine wearing a seersucker suit and white corsage. And then the former Blueprint squad, trotting out a sleek new name and logo spotlighting their Old World roots, ready to move on.

Look at Blueprint, chin out in an ill-fitting getup, dudes with blond dreads and Canadian management, trying at some kind of statement setting its team makeover clip to “Coming to America” (presumably by way of Quebec). As the would-be masterminds behind Ice Cream Shoes will attest it’s not easy to pull a Kareem Campbell when it comes to plucking unknown ams from the skatepark ether, and the pressure may be giving their filmer a case of tremors. Yet the former Blueprinters, offering pedigreed graphics and a trimmer team, may have the harder path. The stakes may be lower without this company having carried the UK on its back through the late-90s universe expansion, but it still arrives from some of the dudes who made all those legendary videos, and with no Canadian owners in the wings it’s all on them this go-round.

Both companies have an obvious fixation on America, economic or otherwise, and it is not difficult to see opportunities for them to jointly tap into American’s long-running love affair with familial turmoil and fractured relationships. Could a grudge match demo-tour produce 411 “Road Trip”-worthy highlights as each squad looks to one-up the other? Is there a potential sequel to last season’s “One in a Million” pressure-cooker meltdown to be had by confining the two teams to a “Big Brother” style condo to chew one another’s limbs off over British skate lore and whoever drank the last beer?

The respective team pages are telling. Are seeds of internal strife already germinating within Isle? A solid two-thirds of the team lists some variation of “green” as their favorite color, while boss figure Paul Shier stakes out the other side of the color wheel with “orange” and Nick Jensen boldly declares “not green.” Can they stand against the newly united Blueprint group, which have no history but seem to be on the same page when it comes to cuisine, roundly backing Mexican and BBQ variations? And will Isle continue to stick with the British spelling of words like “colour”? For that matter, will Blueprint?

Elginerpeton, Girl, Blueprint And The Delicate Art Of The 401(k) Rollover

November 26, 2012

offshore

The billions of bloated and rotting carcasses of lungless, would-be amphibians gently fertilizing the beaches of history attest that evolution can be a messy, strenuous enterprise. Witness, in more modern times, the still-ongoing struggles for democracy around the world or also the pre-Oscar trevails of Three Six Mafia.

Like a semi-legged fish cast upon a tidal shore and seeking its footing with the help of expensive high def videography equipment, so too do a couple deck companies now entertain their potential futures removed from the warm and brinesome pools of their hatching, shedding founding-father pros and piling chips upon next-gen hot shoers that may or may not have the conjones to earn the throne and scepter and potential amphibious harem that belong rightfully to the king of the beach. Girl last week unveiled this decade’s full-length video presentation, in conjunction with Chocolate, while Blueprint has bid goodbye to more top talent dating back to the UK outfit’s establishment.

The diminished profitability of board manufacturers has been somewhat offset by the way they carry greater clout in defining what pro bros are about and providing a platform for various creative visions, to the extent these still exist in an era of limitless full-bleed series graphics and customized multi-logo baseball hats. The prior decade’s mercifully brief flirtation with pattern-graphic footwear was not enough to knock boards out of the box in this respect, despite the best efforts of several shoe teams sponsoring motocross bikers.

But even the best and brightest contributors to the ‘culture,’ of which Girl and Blueprint both long ago cemented their status, need active and relevant ambassadors out there preaching and switch backside smith grinding ledges or else you run the risk of losing touch with a permanently youthful and tempermental clientele, or running low on able-bodied independent contractors willing to slide down handrails, or both. Sad as it is, those schoolyard lords of the mid-1990s have been steadily confronting their shelf lives on video and in the streets and same as then not every dude is a Mariano or Koston.

It seems like you need one or more ‘Vision dudes’ (no Brad Dorfman) with a steady hand on the rudder to navigate such generational shoals, and I think here of bros such as John Lucero, Ed Templeton, Todd Swank, Jim Thiebaud, Mike Hill/Chris Carter and even the corporate paymasters who press boards at Element — all having weathered for the most part a total exodus of the names that launched the companies (in some cases several near-total personnel rollovers) and were able to keep drawing new and vigorous blood. Stereo, Plan B, Menace and several Gonz-helmed ventures petered out or folded once the main brains departed or shifted focus.

Similar to “Yeah Right” the new “Pretty Sweet” is being described as a torch-passing moment for the Crailtap crew, probably more true this time around given spotlights generally dimming on the OGs since “Fully Flared” (though multiple Jeron Wilson photos in a single recent mag did not go unnoticed around here). The prospect of Girl Films or Chocolate Cinemas sans Carroll, Howard, Brenes etc seems more and more realistic but ups the ante as far as the capabilities and sensibilities of those anointed ones who would pick up the gauntlet, given the long shadows cast by the dudes that made all those old videos, ads, boards. That track record being the critical mass magnet to Hoover up the needed new talent, but does ‘UnbeLeafAble’ hit the same way Sean Sheffey and the fishbowl did back when?

The outlook for Blueprint seems more up in the air in recent months as honchos Dan Magee, who masterminded the look and video output, and now Paul Shier have turned in their respective papers, leaving assorted rumors as to an unspecified new UK-centric venture, whether some recently picked US dudes will get a bump up and if Palace will sign Danny Brady. Blueprint’s efforts to broaden their platform and pitch a bigger tent made some sense but the steps they took toward that end, like moving the company to California and putting on several Americans and inexplicably relying on “Birdhouse In Your Soul” to kick off a video threw me for several loops, while old- and young-timers like Mark Baines and Chewy Cannon and Jerome Campbell bounced. How Blueprint persists/perpetuates/prevails from this point appears down in part to what roles the other UK vets take, like Nick Jensen, Neil Smith and Colin Kennedy.

Up With Smoke

September 9, 2012

Can a shop video to succeed without doubling as a love letter to the city in which its backing store is based? The enduring ones, like by Coliseum, FTC, Orchard, Uprise, MIA and Fobia, have been as much a ‘where’s where’ of the meanest spots as they are a ‘who’s who’ of the dudeliest dudes on the scene and while it’s gotta be a blast wallowing in all those marble ledges under the Spanish sun, you’d think most DVD purchasaurs really are not trying to see the local bros going Mr. Me Too at the spots the top-rung pros scraped clean five years prior.

For those of you who, like me, furrowed a brow at the outsized representation of AZ ditches and Boston loading docks in the last Blueprint video, Henry Edwards-Wood invites you to spend a solid hour submerged into the claustrophobic, bustling, brick-lined canyons of London, where streets drip with smoke stains, spray paint and wrought iron. Slam City Skates’ “City of Rats” has been out for a while but has rarely left the player this summer, as all these Palace, Blueprint, Landscape and other dudes shiver and sweat through what looks like one long, generally overcast season here, all the hovels and tight alleyways and weathered stone served up like red meat to “Static” faithfuls. South-Bank gets a loving soliloquy and two of the best-loved spots in this video include a sidewalk ledge set up for lines to close out with flatground tricks over a red rumble-strip and a thread-the-needle street gap into a corridor that’s probably far gnarlier than it already looks. It is jarring when, early in the video, you can see a Texaco sign.

Nick Jensen’s first run communicates the basic idea through a sidewalk bump to noseslide on a windowsill ledge, and isn’t long before he is back at that one sidewalk gap (switch 360 flip this time) and South Bank, where for weeks I have struggled to recall whether anyone else has kickflipped that high bar in the past. For a while it’s a parade of all the dudes you want to see skating these spots, like Joey Crack coming with the movie’s best nosegrind, a line from Snowy starting with an ollie snapped into a bank that celebrates all that is fantastic about that dude and the galaxy that we live in, Danny Brady pushing lines that confidently extend his career to the decade mark and Neil Smith steadily going hard, manualing into some big launch over a gate.

Palace’s Karim Bakhtaoui has garnered fame as a sort of London edition of Darren Harper but for my money I’m backing the light-footed Pluhowski styling of Jin Shimizu, looking relaxed in this sometimes oppressive environment. He’s flipping his board around and not too fussed, the chain ollie to no-comply submitting a general lesson in quick work under pressure. Lucien Clarke and Steph Morgan combine for the best kind of shared part, one where you can always tell which dude is up, and Lucien Clarke looks to be spending some time to craft one of the best nollie inward heelflips on the market. Ender-ending Rory Milanes helps the Palace dudes more or less corner this vid, going around the horn with a backside smith grind, completing the circle on a nosebluntslide 180 back in, switch jumping a block and capturing a Chewy Cannon cameo that in general sees these dudes at the peak of their power right now.

Palace this week opened a temporary store that enables the company to directly tap Supremesque demand levels for their triangular optical illusion logo that already has sold not-so-gently-used softgoods for hundreds of pounds sterling in transactions, moderately rattling international currency segments. Celebrity-spiced embrace of the company as its thematic output has tilted closer to All City and further away from Silverstar has driven some internet backlash, and if the rule holds that the best retort to such critiques is to let tricks do the talking you wonder whether hefty proceeds from the pop-up boutique will finance some China trips to seal the deal on their own VHS sooner rather than later, but coming off the strength of this Slam production I’d sort of rather they stay home.

Made To Measure

May 31, 2012

Who profited most from the great fashion wars of the 1990s? Was it the denim tycoons, thumbing thick wads of dollar bills earned by selling reams of earth-toned fabric stitched together to make World-branded pants? Was it the hedge fund moguls who sold short the stock of Vision Street Wear just as berets and tank tops fell under the scrutiny of parking-lot fashion police? Perhaps the midpriced mall retailers such as Gap and Ralph Lauren who somehow managed to briefly appeal to otherwise streetwise and snobbish LA ledgelords? Maybe the Dickies executive who refused to give up on a market that at first viciously rejected Ed Templeton’s gentle embrace of highwater-styled “butthuggers?” Or the venture capitalist soothsayers who backed those textile alchemists that fused spandex with denim just as Jim Greco and Ali Boulala began to raise the wrist?

Over a decade later the landscape has flattened. A sort of fashion equilibrium has settled over the industry, matching the anything-goes mindset now prevailing across teamrider recruitment, video part chemistry and skatepark layouts. The peaks and valleys offered by yesteryear’s goofy boys and Hot Topic bracelet shoppers was superceded by the more sober-minded white tee/brown cord/Half-Cab set, sensibly fitting flannel shirts and the more recent revival of the raglan sleeve. At the same time the critical fawning over “Dog Town and Z-Boys,” combined with a solid 25 years’ worth of material to chew over, gave licence to a decade of mythmaking and nostalgic navel-gazing that at its nadir gave rise to a ponderous web blog site on the internet futilely attempting to ‘make sense of it all’ through wordy postings.

Assessing the current state of affairs in succinct, 1000-word equivalent snack-sized servings is the recently introduced Skartorialist site done by Kingpin/Blueprint affiliate Sam Ashley, which puts a pockmarked urethane spin on the moment-to-moment fashion photo blogs that have given rise to a bustling Ebay trade in pocket squares and Sears catalogues from the 1950s. It probably helps that Sam Ashley operates in close proximity to Londoners who have generally proven themselves to possess a more refined level of taste when it comes to fashion choices, Paul Carter’s striped Osiris swishy pants notwithstanding. The site’s frank presentation and skateboard-as-staple theme may have crossed the radar of the OG Sartorialist, who featured not one but two skate pics this week.

This is a concept well suited to an audience as prone to pick nits over personal dress to the point that a passing comment about one’s preference for plain-black t-shirts (versus the more typical plain white t) can prompt a freewheeling and at times soul-searching discourse on the psychological and moral divide between the black- and white-T camps, and how this may or may not reflect a similar but much-older debate revolving around corresponding color choices in women’s underwear. The site also provides for the sort of self-benchmarking popularized by Hotornot.com, and in this spirit I was encouraged to see Angus Morrison sporting a throwback Powell Peralta shirt similar to a ‘winged ripper’ number I got the other day, on some youthful dream fulfilled by disposable income that’s probably a sure sign of some middle-age doomsday ahead.

The role of outfit choices was cemented several years ago by a scientific poll conducted on the Slap message board, which found a majority of respondents agreeing that a bizarro outfit can detract from an otherwise legit photo, or video clip. The Skartorialist blog seems to keep time as folks in one corner of the world decide where the envelope needs pushing and where it is already folded nicely. For better or worse most of the dudes in the pics so far wouldn’t draw a second look at your typical mall or football stadium or Dave Matthews Band concert, which raises some interesting questions. Has the appetite for risk-taking on big handrails gone up at the same time dudes have become more wary of looking like a fool on the street? Does this conservatism mean sacrificing any role as early adopters of long-running themes? Who will start and fund the next JNCO? Are tall, stripey socks this year’s 59fifty hat? Do the duotoned pants backed by Garrett Hill and more recently Neil Smith represent the final frontier?

The Year Of The Lion

January 3, 2011

Looking back on that “top ten” list I’m seeing now a lot of rap songs, not a lot of transition and almost everybody did some kind of crooked grind pop-over. So be it…

Some other really good ones:
Matt Bennett – “Brainwash”
-I’ve been a fan of his pretty well-established range of tricks so it was nice to see him stretch for this (switch f/s hurricane for instance)

Bryan Herman – “Stay Gold”
-predictable, but would’ve won this site’s heart if his part stopped after the schoolyard

Tyler Bledsoe – “Hallelujiah”
-eight, nine months on and the backside tail flip-out clip still isn’t old

Rory Milanes – “This Time Tomorrow”
-partly for the song

Chewy Cannon – “Make Friends With The Colour Blue”
-felt almost like it would be unfair to stick him toward the top half of this year’s list after last year and the Adidas part, but this dude is a machine. The switch backside smith grind

Greg Myers – “Skateboarding Is Forever”
-I see some of the critiques of this dude’s style but he’s got a lot of super hard tricks and I think is probably overlooked for how vicious some of his flip tricks are

Chad Timtim – “Trio”
-The most aggressive sidewalk-cruising part of this year with a guest appearance by one of the most urban tricks, the switch pop-shove it nosegrind revert. Honorable mention to Levi Brown’s very major b/s 180 over the two poles in this same vid.

Steve Durante/Fred Gall – Seasons/Orchard web clip
-NJ’s bash brothers in what would be my vote for the best shared part

Wes Kremer – “Skateboarding Is Forever”
-As mind-melting as the Torey Pudwill part, but with more wall-rides

Brandon Westgate – “Stay Gold”
-I still have difficulty getting into his styles* but it’s hard to deny all the San Francisco hill-blazing

Feel like Leo Romero returned the SOTY race to where it ought to be, that is, a genuinely hardworking dude that most folks can get behind as elevating the trick and/or gnarliness bar while being fairly representative of skating current and/or enduring themes — in Leo’s case you get a sometimes subtlely dazzling angle on handrail skating, a satisfactory anti-social demeanor and often a cowboy hat or a moustache, which you know, Chris Cole won it twice these past few years, and I don’t remember him getting behind cowboy hats like that. These are the weighty issues I feel are at stake when Thrasher/Phelps appear to be edging dangerously toward giving the one award that matters to some pampered television personality, and in the process totally fucking up my fragile worldview.

Wouldn’t even pretend that I’ve seen enough photos to pick out a “best of the year” or anything, but this Yaje Popson SSBSTS had all the elements.

Special mention to all rocket scientist video surgeons at Krooked who managed to not only make the first 3D skate dvd, but to execute it with a minimum of heavy-handed editing and sanctimoniousness that probably would’ve sapped the silly fun out of such a project with a lot of slow-mo if it had fallen to somebody like Ty Evans. On a related note, this blog (also predictably) fell into the camp viewing the annual TWS video project contest as a terrific hose-job for the Etnies effort, so here’s a link to that if you missed it.

*it’s a personal problem, I realize

7. Danny Brady – “Make Friends With The Colour Blue”

December 25, 2010


(14:20)

The Blueprint video never got a proper rundown in this space when it came out last summer — briefly, seemed a gutsy project in a number of ways and not just because Shier/Magee brought the whole taco back from the brink. Starting and closing your first project in five or so years with the longest-serving members of the squad instead of any overt torch-passing was interesting, if only because the Blueprinters have made an effort to broaden beyond the British Isles in various ways these past few years. Jerome Campbell brought a young-Huf sort of street intensity to a lot of those overcast spots, the US dudes for various reasons aren’t my cup of tea, and after many a watch I still have trouble discerning between the two Nordic-named kids; Nick Jensen doing his thing to Portishead was a “why didn’t somebody think of this 5/10 years ago” moment and the whole “120 Minutes”-themed soundtrack I thought worked good even in spite of the TMBG opener, which continues to strike me as a bizarre choice.

While Vaughn Baker and Mikey Wright were missed Danny Brady rebounded fully from his sorta lukewarm Lakai appearance and recaptured a lot of the same type of nonchalant tech skating that made the “Lost & Found” opener so sweet. The Beach Boys reinterpretation bubbles up as Brady gets his Golden State on, deeper into the Pupecki grinds (are we cool with a frontside version) and going full Carroll on that frontside hurricane grind on the block — there is the Reynolds callback in the lovely framing of that fakie frontside flip. What really gets this section over though is when he breaks out all the stalls on the bank-to-high wall toward the end, maybe not fully shutting it down, but making sure his name comes up in italics and bold print if and when so-and-so has an ad doing such-and-such there a few years down the line and this all gets discussed on messageboards. Wish the big 180 over the South-Bank steps was in here, but what are you gonna do.