Posts Tagged ‘Garrett Hill’

John Shanahan, Chopped and Sewed on the Final Frontier

May 28, 2017

Some weeks back a video Youtube link circulated advertising an attempted backside 360 down the famed El Toro stair set, the sort of heart-testing maneuver around which you’d either anticipate a fire-legged professional like Chris Joslin’s name attached, or else some risk-friendly unknown ready to offer up his effort to the world as some type of return on a foolhardy willingness to get uniquely pitched and presumably walk away. It was surprisingly convincing try — they say the last quarter spin is the moneymaker when hurling one’s self down twenty steps or more — and it rolls above a disclaimer revealing that the bros involved “might not go back for this” and various other pink-panted jumps and things.

But is it so easy? Many of skating’s seemingly most harebrained ideas have proven shockingly hard to let go. Duane Peters’ tangles with the fibreglass loop captivated a world-conquering Tony Hawk in his video game-designing prime, and assorted others after its bullring subduing. Jamie Thomas’ “leap of faith” drew Richard King to test his luck before the Point Loma school board took matters into their own hands and constructed a solid platinum elevator in one of this young century’s most stunning acts of baller-blockingism. In test fittings for the MegaRampTM crown, Bob Burnquist discovered that he, like propellerheaded originator Danny Way, could no longer resist the uniquely arousing allure of skating helicopters. Aaron Homoki’s taming of Lyon’s most notorious 25 stairs, 13 years after Ali Boulala charted its glide path en route to part-ending slams, became fodder for a Thrasher mini-doc.

Steeped in early ‘ESTs’, Flexfitted hats and the colour yellow, John Shanahan seems more concerned with resuscitating a specific vibe and era than etching his multisyllabic rhyming surname into history’s annals via big-spot trophy hunting. Bubbling under the DGK umbrella for a minute, John Shanahan this week officially arrives on the DC Shoes payroll via a cracking intro clip that pointedly trots out the bold/less bold/standard font DCSHOECOUSA logo of old along with eastern seaboard spots rinsed and fresh. Between the DC one and a separate LurkNYC VX footage dump, John Shanahan flexes backside nosegrind pop-outs, a slicing 360 flip out of the Kalis school, some tricks outta the modern school’s playbook (driveway wallride, ride-on tailslide kickflip), some flamboyantly retro Droors gear and hubba noseslides. Toeing some blurry line between ‘Photosynthesis’ and ‘The Storm,’ he wields a serious switch k-grind and a judicious use of camouflage, which is rare to see these days.

Like Philly neighbors Kevin Bilyeu and Brian Panebianco, it’s easy and erroneous to pigeonhole John Shanahan’s shared enthusiasm for the numbers 07 and 43 and all their sportsweary accoutrements as retroactivism rooted in personal branding. Just as the Sabotage dudes unearthed, resurfaced and restored an entire scene that had been municipally buried and professionally abandoned, John Shanahan seems to harbour deeper ambitions. Sharpening cut and sew skills, where else, on Instagram, John Shanahan demonstrates enough technical proficiency and stylistic nerve to construct cargo and swishy pants that command triple-digit price tags and earn “levels” hash tags when positioned alongside skaters’ current affection for graphical sweatpants and other sub-waistline achievements. But as he tests his growing powers, is John Shanahan consciously or not flying too close to that blazing sun of skate pants fashiondom, the two-toned pant?

It is a stylistic Leap of Faith that has shadowed previous practitioner Garrett Hill throughout his sponsored career, and one not lightly rolled up to. A year after Garrett Hill’s pants debuted in video footage, Tim O’Connor gleefully went in. Eight years on, the pants’ impression lingered enough that former teammates would bring them up as a cautionary tale of judgment, hubris and star-crossed romance:

Tom Karangelov: But when there’s someone that’s so original and out there, he gets so much shit. It’s crazy. Like with Garrett [Hill], half red half black pants. People are still talking to him about that. But dude, was it really that big of a deal? They are just fucking pants. Aren’t you encouraged to be creative when you skateboard? The dude who tries to go out of the box gets like, so much shit for it.

Jenkem: Have you ever considered wearing “crazy pants” like that?
Ah, no.

Has an Adidas-supported revolution in swishy pants and increasingly garish sweats provided enough air cover for John Shanahan to push pants envelope in ever-more colourful envelopes? Which trick ranks higher in terms of ’90s/east-coastness, the backside 5-0 backside 180 out or the fakie backside nosegrind shove-it? Yall caught that one switch backside heelflip over and down the blocks right? How is the resurrected Alien Workshop not sponsoring at least one of these ‘Photosynthesis’ acolytes? You been keeping an eye on Brian Wenning’s Instagram right?

Will the New Transworld Cover Slake Skating’s Quenchless Thirst for Pants Progression?

March 23, 2015

dontyouhatepants

Like a fire that, once lit, cannot help but to consume an entire bulldozer-built pile of disco records, or a shark that must ceaselessly advance through a sea of Pace Picante Style salsa or face its untimely Picante Style demise, skating since the beginning has been possessed of a need to progress. Alan Gelfand’s ollie wasn’t enough, it had to be did backwards; what’s the point doing a loop when you can turn it switch with a section chopped out of the top? Josh Kalis’ straight kickflip in a Love Park ‘Time Code’ line, immaculate as it is, looks quaint through the Mark Suciu lens.

Through it all the shoe has come to be regarded as the most immediate extension of the seven-ply-trucks-and-urethane configuration, but the past decade’s footwear fetishization mainly serves to obscure a decades-long struggle with pants. After clamoring out of pools and associated surf trunks the story of skating and pants has reflected that of mankind’s tortured grappling against his very own nature, occasionally overreaching, failing, burning piles of disco records, and starting anew. In the 1980s Limpies and Vision offered chaotic and unpredictable* print varieties for those zestful spirits unsatisfied by blue jeans or more-pedestrian sweatpants with skeletal rats ascending outseams; vert soon gave way to street these fell back while multicoloured and flapping denim advanced, several years passing before the East rejuvenated woodland camo and more adventurous spirits embraced snow and urban variations.

While the aughts saw style magnets such as Dylan Rieder and Nick Trapasso alternately fuck with pinestripes and pajama pants, this period of war and economic turmoil mainly reflected itself in darkened indigo denim and brown cords, the re-embrace of printed patterned pants not arriving until well into the 2010s when all-over print shirts primed a newly emboldened consumer base to throw wide the camo floodgates for increasingly esoteric prints. Thanks partly to relentless boosterism within DGK vids, the movement eventually demanding notice by the mass-market media: “It’s the one pattern that pretty much every guy is down with. What other pattern has a macho angle to it?”

Masculinities aside, the door now lies kicked down for pants makers — Thrasher offers a SAD sweatpant among several options, and now comes Fucking Awesome heavyweight Na’kel Smith on the cover of Transworld, gapping out in Tokyo within a pair of florid leggings that seem to also have crossed the Atlantic in recent months. In his numbers-taking, asses-kicking process over the last two years, Na’kel Smith seems to have taken it upon himself to push back the pants pendulum to a level of intricate and flowery detail not seen in probably about 25 years, no small undertaking when considering the intense internet flames stoked beneath noted 360 flip 50-50er** Garrett Hill, daring to step out in a still-notorious red-and-black combo.

Has Na’kel Smith doomed himself to a Sisyphusian task, destined to be squashed by a heavy and oblong fashion boulder that will waver under the weight of resurgent dad jeans, or is his pants choice more conservative than it may first appear when laid alongside a freely purchasable array of similarly floral hats, shirts, shoes, and obviously weed socks? Are authorities overlooking an emerging form of camo that now clothes newly militarized toughs hired to defend a booming US marijuana industry? Are scarfs next? As it thins has Transworld on the low had the best covers of the last year?

*particularly for Cali4nia Cheap Sk8 clientele
**And backer of 360 flip 50-50ers

The Great Shark Hunt

December 15, 2009


James Brockman, Elissa Steamer, Chris Cole/Tom Asta, Tommy Sandoval and Sheldon Meleshinski on the set of Zero’s “Strange World.” Not pictured: Young Jeezy, Richard Nixon and the interns from “Mythbusters”

Bringing it all the way around, we shall now contemplate whether the Snowman-powered Chris Cole/Tom Asta section is meant to characterize Zero’s “Strange World” in the same way that Ally McBeal’s torrid affair with Jon Bon Jovi came to characterize the final years of FOX’s “Single Female Lawyer.” There is the combination of old and new in Cole and Asta themselfs, Young Jeezy on a Soulja Boy instrumental indicating the continued dominance of the South and Atlanta in particular, and this time around, nobody gets smacked in the face when Chris Cole does his cab frontside blunt on the handrail. It is a section of contrasts that also features a manly nollie heelflip backside lipslide from young Asta, who has morphed from a rail-centered pipsqueak in his OIAM days to a pipsqueak who has time to kickflip into and out of the same backside tailslide if the desire so moves him.

There are other pipsqueaks at work here, suggesting that Jamie Thomas may actually have been bummed that Zero already burned through the “New Blood” title a ways back: Donovan Piscopo brings kind of an Austyn Gillette update to the Bobier part in “Misled Youth” and stocky Canadian Jamie Tancowny* runs roughshod over a good deal of different terrains in the curtain-bringer-downer, karate kicking his varial heelflips and f/s reverting out of a stock k-grind which is a more interesting take than I’ve seen for a while on a handrail. The awesome clipper backside flip is there, with perhaps a brief view of the disappearing sequence-ruiner, as well as a giant switch backside 180 and frontside heelflip, and the Thrasher bigspin cover that came out super good. At 20 or whatever he is who knows whether he’ll get any taller, but aside from shit like the kickflip noseslide Tancowny’s generally safe from the trappings of lil-kid style.

Elsewise the likes of Garrett Hill and James Brockman come off better in this video than in some past appearances, with Hill looking kinda more polished and Brockman executing some pretty major moves that are hard to cast aside, though we have not been huge fans in the past. It would’ve been cool to see more footage of Rattray, whose street stuff seemed more invigorated than in recent years, and the same with Ben Gilley’s southern caveman act, which has somehow become more entertaining and bracing as years go by. It’s like he’s got more to lose by throwing what looks like a sizable frame onto those railings, maybe. One-eyed Sheldon Meleshinski has one of the best tricks in the whole video with a bigspin backside tailslide that’s spun straight into the camera and looks all ridiculous. This posting would also be remiss if it didn’t mention Dane Berman’s ollie into the channel bank as one of the scarier-looking feats in recent memory.

This video was actually more anticipated around the BTO play-yard than the past few Zero vids in part because of the hallucinatory stylistic change-up. It kind of reminded me of the mid-90s, when Nine Inch Nails kept heading further down the spiral and you wondered eventually whether he’d have to just off himself to keep things headed to their natural thematic conclusion. Zero had taken the skulls/death motif to a pretty minimal end in “New Blood” so the fresh bad-trip approach was welcome, but it’s interesting too how closely some of the editing and whatnot stayed to the “Thrill of it All”/”Misled Youth” era – thinking here of Gilley’s 50-50 attempts/accomplishment, Garrett Hill’s fumbling 50-50 transfer at the beginning of his section, the overall pretty enjoyable soundtrack and the tight 30-minute runtime. Zero makes these videos cheap nowadays and both this and the Slave one are worthwhile.

*whose “Lil Fucky” nickname is I think one of the best ones out in a while

We do this in broad daylight

June 24, 2008


Wha happen?

Jamie Thomas is given credit for a lot of things, such as the Zero quick-cut editing technique, reintroducing the world to Chris Cole and ruining skateboarding forevermore. But often people end up overlooking other things about the Zero warlord, like his deep flatground skills, his vertically integrated business approach and his eye for great tech skaters. While he’s generally associated with greaseball hessians of the Ellington and Garrett Hill variety, Jamie Thomas also put on the likes of Josh Kalis and Adrian Lopez, whose first line in Thrill of It All is still hot a decade-plus later.

(Did Jamie Thomas recruit Satva Leung to Toy Machine? Been a while…)

It’s a close thing, but at this point I guess I can pretty safely say that Gilbert Crockett had my favorite part in the generally underrated Mystery video last summer–snappy flip tricks, fast pushing and quick set-ups. As is the way of the skateboard world, he got a spot on the Fallen shoes team a couple months ago ahead of their video this summer, and the powers that be posted up this video last week of Crockett skating the Black-Box warehouse. Pretty much all these tricks are boss material in one way or another but the smooth-sailing switch b/s lipslide and the way he pops out of the frontside k-grind are particularly thrilling to me. Note to HD filmers: it is indeed possible to toggle the slo-mo off on HD footage, and it still looks amazing.

So while we all wait for the Fallen video, which supposedly is going to premier online at some point, here’s an older Gilbert Crockett part from the “Whathadhappenwaz” video, made by the Endless Grind people in North Carolina. Watch for the flared-out nosebonk at 2:05. And the sweet Arby’s product placement about 10 seconds earlier.