Just throw it in the bag
This year seems like last year, kind of, as far as there not being any type of clear front-runner for the most hallowed of skateboard awards that is not distributed in buckets by the Maloof brothers. There’s no Daewon or Danny Way or Arto Saari no-brainer, and while there are several semi-brainers (useful for commentors such as myself), the politics and squishy qualifications and completely opaque voting process makes it all the more interesting and fun to pointlessly speculate. And so we jump in.
Leo Romero: I kind of feel like if that Skateboarder cover had been a Thrasher we wouldn’t even be bloviating on this, but the uphill path of the inscrutable Leonard is part of his appeal – jumping ship from Baker to Toy Machine years after several former bloodsuckers headed headed the owner way and left Ed & co. with their hands in their pockets, alongside a general negative attitude that many have compared to Emerican elder Heath Kirchart. Leo has a potentially ground-shifting video part in store with “Stay Gold,” and while it will not drop this year, Phelps and his buddies have been known to move pre-emptively, and who doesn’t like to look smart?
Heath Kirchart: The buzz is that the Thrasher camp may not have enough love for the brooding bro with the red-carpet disses and vending machine business, but I don’t know. It’s not like the dude goes around handing out cookie bouquets to the other mags, and to a certain degree you could imagine the Thrasher powers that be digging a devil-may-care mode of operation. It would sorta be a safer pick too, since Heath K brought a show-stopper video part in 09 and potentially another one next year. Cons, he hasn’t done much for Thrasher and he skated to Morrissey.
Sean Malto: The teen heartthrob who lives his own reality show, baffling security guards with nollie frontside feeble grinds and shredding the Pacific Northwest with Julien Stranger. Green but his Thrasher cover was among the year’s gnarliest and the non-stop skateboard mission seems to always have room for a stop or shoutout to his beloved Kansas City; a pro model shoe is not far off and he’s had enough footage drizzled out here and there to mold a passable follow-up to “And Now,” but Malto’s 09 slow burn has yet to fully flare, and I’m not sure the cover, rowdy as it is, would get him over.
Dennis Busenitz: The current Slap Board messiah would seem to have SOTY at long last sewn up, with an internet-smashing video part, talked-about contest runs, many good photos and a pro shoe to boot.* He’s a Nor-Cal gnarler who can schralp transition and/or spit out switch 360 flips, he’s with the right companies. If there’s a downside I guess it’s the lack of any super-handrail heroism or mega-ramp fireworks or some type of singularly groundbreaking trick, but then again, maybe that plays to his advantage. In ten years a Busenitz SOTY win would probably come to be seen along the same lines as Chris Senn, which is to say those who know would know, the rest would be wondering “why not P-Rod” and there’d be a certain amount of “you had to be there”
Lizard King Mike Plumb: Let’s put him on the list. The zaniest Wallenberger with a stupider tattoo/carving every month, and he’s a decent interview. Kind of a long shot maybe but one could argue he’s fairly representative of where skating is these days, which is to say, both trick- and movement-wise.
Anthony Van Engelen: The odds might be stacked against him but to my mind the case has never been stronger for an AVESOTY and the brow-furrowing AWS decks it would probably produce. He has a couple magazine covers, a blazing video part, a harrowing comeback story, a bunch of tattoos and he wears Vans. As one who birthed the current fascination with speed and successfully fused hesh grime with precision tech skating he’s for sure a contender from the career standpoint and probably a SOTY everybody could agree with on some level.
Torey Pudwill: Just throwing it out there, Jake Phelps knows who he is and he’s given it to fresh-faced pros before. But, the lack of follow-through on the Wallenberg nollie flip might cost him precious support in the Yay area.
Zered Basset: the King of Zoo York coulda won it the year he made the “Vicious Cycle” part as far as we’re concerned but he nearly hit that mark again in the “State of Mind” video (still thinking the MOP was totally brilliant) and he has been on the Thrasher radar for some time. The drawback might be that he’s been kind of below the radar compared to some of the charge-happy spotlight grabbers like teammate Brandon Westgate, but an elder statesman might be the one to usher the tradition into the next decade.
It seems like there should be some kinda transition dude in here so, I don’t know, Lance Mountain. Insane as Bob’s mega-ramping has been, our view is that he’s a little bit too TWS/Fuel TV these days for Thrasher’s taste. While on the topic it seems like Justin Brock has whatever “rookie of the year” awards wrapped, unless Grant Taylor gets em.