Posts Tagged ‘Sk8Mafia’

2. Wes Kremer – ‘Crusty By Nature’

December 30, 2014


‘Skater of the Year is the people’s award, but it is not of the people,’ a sly armadillo was heard to mutter at a recent Hurley exhibition. While the armadillo was on point in a muddled way, a case can be made that in the years when the Thrasher brain trust gets it right — as they did this year with Wes Kremer — it serves as a nod not only to heavily ripping skating but to a dude who captures some type of moment. In a year marred by the Ebola virus, lost planefuls of people, civil unrest and terror, Wes Kremer’s multiple, amazing video parts are the well-worn ’80s buddy cop comedy airing on the next channel up from the 24-hour strife cycle. Here is a Skater of the Year running lines in the wet and rolling in the dirt, getting over without instagramming hashtags or campaigning in still-creased SAD tees, name-checking Rick, Donny, Eric and Brian on his trick list*; even security guards and bike cops are compelled to give pounds. Wes Kremer at times this year seemed on a one-man mission to elevate respectively the slappy, late-shove it and spinout, and heaven help us if next year he puts the no-comply wallride onto Clipper’s summer-jam screen.

*ODS too of course

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Too Many Cooks

November 19, 2014

slayersal

Roots-rocking revivalist Yasiin Bey famously claimed in space that the knack to flying is learning to throw yourself at the ground and miss. So shall it be for SOTY, and the yearlong subliminal toilings or lack thereof that may or may not place a 24th precious metaled and pantsed man atop some lucky pro’s professionally burbling toilet tank. Whereas recent bald-faced attempts to remake personal brands in the Thrasher mode, just happening to drop video projects near year’s end whilst wearing around S-A-D tees, generally have fallen flat, low-key schralping one’s fanny off in front of the proper HD lenses may yet prove to be the reliable path. Consider:

Cory Kennedy: A cheeseburger in paradise on a seven-day weekend, Cory Kennedy this year has spent much of his permanent vacation garbing himself in gift-shop merchandise on Thrasher-affiliated tours. His love affair with crust continues and ‘what-me-worry’ Oakley blading approach to life has taken him into the deep end sans pads, another plus in the Thrasher galaxy. Certain stony adventures truly put him on the road alongside various Bru-Rayers, Fourstars and the current SOTY clique, but has he been hittin hard enough between all the good times to shut the door on would-be campaigners?

Bobby Worrest: In recent years Bobby Worrest’s inclusion on such a list may have served merely as Facebook Timeline-ready clickbait for aging e-commercers reminiscing on early Brick Harbor clips, but consider: Ten years into his career, the DC-area’s kid beard has sidestepped career distractions as varied and alluring as shoe-sponsor travails and a potential second life as a right-wing pundit, only to switch backside noseblunt a handrail in one of his three video parts this year, each certified urban grade with no artificial flavors and seasonings. A hard-earned corporate sponsor paycheck may be a consolation prize if Thrasher fails to be won over by days of Pulaski clip-logging.

Wes Kremer: Similar to now-teammate Jake Brown giggling his way around the loop at Tampa that one year, Wes Kremer wobblingly cruised through to late-summer bomb the galaxy via an unassuming video that contained a wallie late-shove it over a chunky hubba, a slappy b/s 5-0 down some other hubba and one of the larger switch backside bigspin flips on offer recently. (It also copped a TWS cover for the curtain call, which you could look like as a plus or a minus in Thrasherland.) Then this week he did it again, running yet another slappy variation down the Clipper ledge, hucking massive shifty kickflips and resurrecting hallowed Peter Smolik career touchstones. Wes Kremer approaches Jake Johnson level wallrides, keeps his bushings slack and meanwhile seems like he’d be doing much the same shit whether they were handing awards out for it or not, so the Phelps brain-trust could easily do worse.

Torey Pudwill: With the mane of a virile walrus and a love interest that could’ve come off the arm of a freshly IPO’d internet mogul, Torey Pudwill hardly requires Thrasher’s most-exclusive title to achieve fulfillment, but there he was last summer, bringing back the so-called suski grind, pushing his ever-longer backside tailslides and exhibiting that generally ludicrous pop en route to what’s billed as a blockbuster entry in the Plan B video, which for real really is seriously coming out. Torey Pudwill gifted unto High Speed Productions two Thrasher covers this year, but does his wiggly armed comet orbit close enough to the magazine’s star to get him over?

Dylan Rieder: Our black leather pant-clad dark horse candidate, Dylan Rieder’s muscular pop and eye for Soviet-era public art as background flair got him onto the front of Thrasher earlier this year, sporting sunglasses to boot. For all those years of brutality when Heath Kirchart prowled under the radar, could Dylan Rieder’s zeitgeist-capturing turn in Bill Strobeck’s “Cherry” and Berlin residency — including that pop out of the noseblunt — in support of his latest pro-model wing tip be too much for the Thrasher camp to resist? No other name on this list brought nudity to the table the way Dylan Rieder has this year; levels yall.

Separately, if Danny Way repeated off the strength of his Mega-RampingTM “DC Video” part last decade, should Tony Hawk merit a mention for recording two parts this year with time left over to tame the Nessie-like hoverboard? Where does Mark Suciu’s MJ-sized “Search the Horizon” opus fall for Thrasher’s fiscal-year purposes? How many Wasserman Clients this year will garner a coveted nomination?

5. Tyler Surrey – “Sk8Mafia Video”

December 26, 2011

Look how much can happen in 20 years — Bill Clinton, the Backstreet Boys and the Atkins diet all rose to power and faded, as did Peter Smolik and Tom Petty in their own respective ways. If you woulda told me about 20 years back that “Last Dance With Mary Jane” one day would be used in what I’m assuming is only a semi-ironic nature to soundtrack a skate part, my 1993 self would’ve sneered and spat, but here we are, Smolik cast as a Southern Californian kingpin of some description whose board company has managed to nurture some of the heaviest hitting kids to come up. Tyler Surrey’s been marinating away for a few years but officially blows doors at the end of this “Sk8Mafia Video” a few months back, putting to work a switch flip that looks of the same bloodline as Arto’s and Nick Jensen’s and Mike Mo’s. My favorite tricks in this part (which kinda looks like one long careless summer in Europe) are the switch flip nose manual on the slanty block, the nollie heelflip over the bench, that nollie backside noseblunt of course and the last trick which really is worthy of Smolik in all the best ways. Still sort of hate the Tom Petty but watching Tyler Surrey cruise is worth it.

8. Wes Kremer – “Not Another Transworld Video”

December 23, 2011

TWS ran something billing Wes Kremer as a sorta Tom Penny heir, maybe down to the giant switch frontside flip and transition flippin and general sort of loopiness, but his first line here suggests he’s a little bit too hyper to fit the mold, what with running off the curb all cockeyed and whipping his board around and beelining for the red curb. What keeps this part really re-watchable I think is the range of different tricks he does on different shit — to roll the TWS idea further you could say he goes Muska on the hubba ledges, Reynolds on the gaps, Duffy on the moistened rail, maybe Jimmy Lannon on the hydrant? Between this section and his stuff in the Sk8Mafia video (watch the line at 3:01) Wes Kremer had a big year for sure and that pop shove-it noseslide out of the bowl in the TWS part still looks magical to me.

Prodigal Spaniard

December 5, 2011

If anybody needed proof of the youtube-era truism that every kid these days can do every trick, the Sk8Mafia video does the job, where you’ll find a kids in freely rippling tee shirts mapping flip tricks out of nosegrinds and other once-unspeakable combos now rendered ABD in and around San Diego. All that puts a bigger premium on the curveball pickup of Javier Sarmiento, a dude who for this site’s phantom adbucks stood at the pinnacle of streetstyle about a decade back, probably peaking near the time of the still-quality Can’t Stop part and even today you don’t see that many folks nollie flipping out of f/s noseblunt slides (present company excluded).

Sarmiento’s hiring by Peter Smolik to endorse Sk8Mafia brand goods serves the planet by plucking the dude from the type of obscurity only achieved by a European pro whose link to the US hardgood media markets goes out in classic whimper fashion. But it’s a little bit topsy turvy also, like Howard Roark going to work for Peter Keating or lending your dad money to secure a boat loan. Perhaps Smolik’s greatest attribute is that he has never apologized for his role as the nucleus of “The Storm.” Sarmiento back then was working in refinements but in the years since “YeS” it seems like he’s clicked on maybe too few Pappalardo links and too many posted by, er, Sk8Mafia. Like nollie bigspin flipping or nollie kickflip 360’ing (?) out of crooked grinds, tricks that don’t seem worth the effort when you look at the way he can still crack a frontside flip over a bench, switch b/s tailslide backside flip out, edge off a frontside crooked grind in the middle of a ledge, or (have the vision to include a clip of Rodrigo TX blasting) a switch hardflip off a whoop-de-whoop in camouflage pants. It’s all mostly quibbling though with the main point that Javier Sarmiento’s still skating and still getting support after Es went into the can — Sk8Mafia’s posted the whole vid for free on their website.

8. Kellen James, “Jus Liv’n”

December 23, 2008

Time was, actual skating – the “putting in work” popularized by labor movement mavens Rob & Big – won you absolutely no career points in the pro skateboarding game, and keeping a low profile was an art best cultivated in darkened Los Angeles clubs or the occasional “rave party” (as the kids called them back then). The advent of the video age, coinciding with cash money once again pouring into skating, changed that, with the likes of Brad Staba (who’s successfully kept work-putting-in at bay for most of the last decade) bemoaning the unending pursuit of footage back in “Modus.” The distressing humanity of a Super 8 tour in the “Final Flare” documentary is enough to make me feel for the Carrolls and Howards and maybe even Marianos (who more or less perfected profiling-as-career) who are old enough to remember a time when every day wasn’t spent feverishly filming, and YouTube hadn’t yet reduced the shelf life of video parts to a matter of weeks.

But here we are. Kellen James is one of these young Turks with the energy and know-how to film a six minute part of retardedly hard tricks (switch f/s bluntslide, switch f/s smith grind, cabellerial b/s tailslide bigspin etc etc), and also confident enough the skating will hold people’s interest that he sets it all to a kind of tuneless Jay-Z mash-up. With everybody from Stefan Janoski to Jimmy Cao turning in multi-song parts maybe this is what you need to do to get peoples’ attention, but it helps that James has the firepower of a Sean Malto and a powerful beard to boot. To seal the deal, why not pump out another few minutes of tricks. Hardest working dude this year for sure, if you count skating for Peter Smolik as working and not some sort of bizarre daily pleasure cruise.

Get it how you live

April 24, 2008

While MJ kind of pushed it to and past the outer limits last year, there’s something to be said for video parts that you can kind of get lost in, where by the time they’re over you’re remembering tricks here and lines there and for a while each re-watch is a process of discovery (or something). Mike Carroll has made a few of these parts, Lavar in Trilogy of course, and a lot of lesser skaters.

Time will judge this new part from freshly minted Sk8Mafia pro Kellen James, who pushes the six-minute mark and strings together enough crazy tricks that I’m not going to name them off. The mash-up music selection is kind of questionable but it’s a banger of a part for sure. Some may whine about paid dues and such, but this dude has been around longer than a while and if logging footage week in and week out on the TWS website doesn’t count as doing your time, I mean, jesus.

Personally I had no idea he was even half this good, and if I wanted to get bitter here I could harp on about any number of tricks that would make better TSM covers than a Sheckler air-ball kickflip, but let’s give Kellen James his moment in the sun here and hold up a toast to more video parts like this to freak out and rewind for a few months.