Friday, September 13, 2013

Ams that Should be Pro #1: Felipe Gustavo

Right now, Felipe Gustavo is basically Schrödinger's professional skateboarder.  He is considered both am and pro at the same time.  After competing in a pro contest at SPOT, he's now listed as pro on their website, yet Plan B has not released any pro model decks for Felipe, which is the real turning point for professionalism.  Either way, just to alleviate everyone from the headaches they've been given for trying to label Felipe as a pro or am, Plan B most definitely needs to come out with a pro deck for him.  It's not worth even writing any supporting reasons for why he should be pro; everyone that is involved with skateboarding understands that he deserves it 100%.
So, to recap Felipe's progression in the skate world, here are most of his major video parts that he's put out over the years.  Knowing that he's Brazilian should be enough to mentally prepare for the technical wizardry that is about to follow:
Digital F.Y.I.: I absolutely love the full motion of the kickflip back noseblunt fakie to end a line at 2:27 and the hardflip front nose big spin out at 2:05 is still such a shocking trick today.
FKD Park Project: I always appreciate a good switch flip back tail (0:34) and to follow it up with a nollie frontside flip down the stairs was an enjoyable pairing of tricks.  Same goes for the pairing of the nollie frontside flip 360 over the hip with its backside counterpart at 1:07.
LRG United: I'm including this clip exclusively for the trick at 4:54. Never before had I seen a nollie 360 flip backside tailslide, and I still don't remember seeing many if any at all after this either.  Just leave it to Felipe to come up with a trick like this.
Plan B vAmdalism (above): Scott Decenzo has also been one of my favorites for a while, with this part cementing the fact that both he and Felipe are among the technical greats in skateboarding.  I feel like Scott should also deserve to be pro very soon, but needs a bit more consistent industry coverage first like Felipe has gotten (or it could be some Canadian curse...but more of that some other time). One of my favorite lines is at 3:40, where Felipe demonstrates his one of a kind, fast flicking, unnaturally elevating 360 flips into a nosegrind (revert out of course) followed by a proper frontside half cab flip and closed by a kickflip back noseblunt on the tabletop of a bench. The big spin out of the nollie front nose at 3:58 (ending a line nonetheless) totally shocked me as to how fast he's dropping off the handrail and still manage to big spin out. The fact that Felipe actually sits on the grind of a nollie flip crooks nollie frontside flip out at 4:48 shows me how professional he is already, and every clip after that has some very technically difficult trick that Felipe just throws down like a seasoned vet.
Switching it up for Plan B: I'm including this clip because there's another solid minute plus of quality tech clips, proving just how good he is at switch tricks.
DC's Rediscover Home (Part 3): One of the reasons that there are a ton of skaters out there that just can't seem to find their way into the industry, despite incredible talent, is the fact that their backgrounds or personalities are not unique enough to fund.  This three part series that DC did about how Felipe managed to work his way out of Brazil and fulfill his dream to skate with one shot at SPOT really shows a wonder story for one kid to make his way into skateboarding for everyone's benefit.  This is the kind of background that should get someone coverage and on the path to turning pro.  Not to mention Felipe displays his ninja precision on a skateboard once again at 6:30.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ams that Should be Pro #2: Kelly Hart

It feels like Kelly Hart has been around for quite a while.  And all through that time I always felt that he had a very grown up, professional steeze that would grant him his own deck at some point.  Kelly is easily one of the butteriest skaters out there with his easy-looking but dominantly high pop, flicking and catching tricks, and bending his knees for one of the best landings styles I could imagine.  Kelly can manual like he's in a video game with cheat codes, holding a single pose throughout entire long manuals like nothing.  He's got a mastery of nollie and fakie pop shove its and varial flips (and when I say POP shove it, I mean it), which no one else has as smooth as him. Another thing I doubt many people give him credit for is that with his skills to skate switch as smoothly as he does regular, he is able to film tricks that are mirror images of each other, which is a clever way of making his parts more interesting to watch (nollie pop shove nose manny followed by fakie pop shove fakie manny for example).  One of his first major parts was in It's Official, where I'd say all the tricks from 0:50 - 1:11 perfectly demonstrate his pop shove it abilities, his pop, his manual abilities, and his gorgeous tre flips.  His part in Give Me My Money Chico (above) is also really pleasing to watch, just to see exactly how tricks should be executed.  I love his varial heelflip at 2:18, he has a perfect switch heel over a bump to bar at 2:50, and he displays his craftiness with his last two tricks by mirroring a fs 5-0 kickflip out with a switch one afterwards that looks just as buttery as the first. His Berrics Recruit part once again comes through and shows Kelly's mastery of good-looking flip tricks and perfectly balanced manuals. He comes again with two nice mirrored lines starting at 1:02: a front tail then a beautiful fakie tre over a bench and a switch front tail and nollie tre.  His nollie inward heel over the fire hydrant at 1:57 is just another piece of eye candy. Kelly also has some great clips in the latest Expedition offering Madness with some very speedy and smooth cruising lines, in one of which he approaches a handrail and decides that with a tre flip as good-looking as his, he might as well just tre flip over it instead of worrying about any grind tricks, which I fully back.  Throwing a switch flip in the middle of a switch manny at 2:23 is not even fair because he almost doesn't flinch or waver at all! And the fakie POP shove it at 2:35 may possibly be the best one ever done.
So with a really solid collection of video parts, a proper style that is the perfect amount of butteriness without going overboard, and some of the most correct flip tricks in skateboarding (he has the most Berrics' Trickipedia entries for a reason), it's really a shock that he hasn't gone pro yet.  Even just some talk of turning him pro would be nice, but all I can hope for is that he's working on another attractive video part for his first pro board.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Ams that Should be Pro #3: Davis Torgerson

Davis Torgerson always comes through with really impressive, quality footage.  I am going to highlight his part in Boondoggle above because it is still my favorite part from Davis, despite its age and plenty of other great parts that he has put out. He's got an incredibly smooth and natural style, tons of fliptricks (did you see him in BATB 4?), quick and light feet that make for some buttery landings for almost all of his tricks, a wide array of ledge/rail tricks in any stance, skateboarding's best electrical box skating abilities I'd say, and a very underestimated pop (just look at the huge ollie at 4:20 for proof). Some of my favorite tricks from this part include the picture perfect tuck knee at 2:14, the nollie inward heel at 3:04 that crosses my eyes on the flick and catch, which is followed by a fluid front blunt 360 shove, and the switch flip wallride at 3:36 (doing it regular would be pleasing enough, but switch?! that's still hard to fathom).  Already, I think Davis is loaded with the best qualities for a good and entertaining skater, but I think his most useful asset yet would be a super solid nollie.  The line at 0:51 exemplifies this (he's got one of the best nollie back feebles too), along with many other sweet nollie flip and grind tricks.  And it's because of this skill that Davis was able to invent the nollie frontside hurricane as his Boondoggle ender so wonderfully demonstrates. (Props to Luan for probably being the first to document the backside version.)
This part alone I'd say should have definitely put Davis on the fast track to professionalism, but given that it was his first big part it's definitely understandable that he would have to wait some years.  So along the way Davis updates his Boondoggle part with Flow Trash to show how much fun he can have skating while still displaying his precision skill set, followed by another high caliber part in Since Day One (memorable authoritative stomp on a fakie flip in a line, a mentally twisting fakie ollie switch feeble down a handrail, and quite possibly the best bump to bar backside wallride ever), only to come out with more great footage with his Berrics Recruit part (nollie 540 and switch inward heel anyone?) and his Pushing Minnesota part for Real (switch back smith ender was sick!).  The fact that he has not turned pro along this road of destruction is baffling to me, especially since we know Real is still into turning people pro.  Nothing against Jake Donnelly, he deserves it too, but I'd say Davis deserves it more for his contributions to technical handrail skating and his consistently fun and admirable video parts.  He REALly needs to go pro soon.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Ams that Should be Pro #4: Marquise Henry

I first remember seeing coverage of Marquise Henry through Transworld’s Check Out and some ads and sequences in the mag.  This was back when he just got on Alien Workshop through Kalis as Mind Field was coming out.  I liked what I saw in the mags already of Marquise, but when his bonus features part in Mind Field came out (above) I was shocked. He’s got that wide array of tech tricks in any stance with that totally G style that is always a good watch.  Mixing his high pop with his back of switch tricks is the perfect combo for skating everything street really well.  Not only that, but did anyone else notice his inward heel 5-0 down Hubba Hideout?! (1:56) How does a trick like that not get someone into the primetime spotlight and go down as one of the historical benchmark tricks at that spot? After switching with Kalis over to DGK, I knew Marquise was still fairly new to the industry but definitely had the skills to turn pro soon. He also dropped a really awesome part with the DC Shoes: Skateboarding is Forever series. Again, Marquise dazzles the viewers with technical skating, impressive pop, and a smooth style. More recently, when Parental Advisory dropped, Marquise’s part was instantly my favorite of the video.  His last 6 or so tricks are total face-melters and two tricks that specifically stick out to me are his half cab fs nosegrind nollie flip out at JKWON and his inward heelflip bluntslide on a downwards bench and slope at that popular schoolyard somewhere in Cali.  Super hard, super tasteful, and super exciting.  This would be the best time as any to turn ‘Quise pro, but DGK chose Keelan instead (probably for his marketability, which is understandable from a business point of view, but not from most skaters’ I’d say).  And after still showing his fresh tricks and style in the DGK United Nations Berrics video, I’m really hoping Marquise gets his first pro model really soon.  He and his powerful tech style deserve it.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Ams that Should be Pro #5: Lem Villemin

This post may be coming late, but so would Lem Villemin's name on a deck.  This dude's been around for quite some time now and word of Lem going pro was started years ago back when he had something possibly going on with Chocolate.  His part in the Adidas Diagonal video (above) is an immaculate display of proper, stylish skateboarding, which has been out for 4 years now.  Lem was also one of the original recruits at the Berrics, even before his near perfect part with Adidas, and even back then I'm pretty sure I remember talks of "Lem should turn pro soon".  Despite some injuries which has taken Lem off the radar lately, he has been on Cliche for about two years now and has come out with a solid mini part for Cliche as well as some always graceful and much appreciated footage in their new video Bon Voyage.  Basically put: anything Lem comes out with, however rare these days, is pure gold and it's quality footage (definitely not quantity as of late) that should support his turning pro campaign.  (For the hip-hop/rap listeners, I'd compare Lem to Jay Electronica in that there is considerably very little coverage of either of them, but what is out there in the industry is just a beautiful display.)  I recently heard Lem is doing better from injuries so I'm hoping he's working on stacking some smooth and powerful clips for his turning pro video part soon.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Next Week: Ams that Should be Pro

This is always a very heavily discussed topic among skateboarders.  There are hundreds of skaters that are killing it right now, of which some are in the industry's spotlight and sponsored by some well recognized brands.  Some have been killing it for quite a while but for one reason or another have not finally passed that last industry barrier into professionalism.  A lot of my interest in this subject over the past year or so was because of one guy: Moose.  I became a Moose fan ever since he came out of nowhere in Thrasher's Bust or Bail contest with that gnarly back 360 at 3:36.  Since then, he's consistently put out quality footage over the past few years including his Berric's Recruit part, a solid minute of footage for his Omit Apparel introduction (2:58) (RIP Omit), footage in Shake Junt's Chicken Bone Nowison, his Mag Minute, a super sick part in the Bones video New Ground (25:54), some more darn good clips in Ambig's Modern Art (4:52), and of course his nutty display of gnarly and technical skating in the Deathwish Video. Somewhere along that path of destruction that Moose left behind him I would have expected him to go pro, especially considering Neen went pro within a year of getting on Deathwish I believe and Jon Dixon getting on after Neen and going pro right after the Deathwish Video dropped. No disrespect to either of those two, cause I must've rewatched their parts at least 5 times, but I felt like they hadn't put in the time with Deathwish like Moose has. (Same thing goes for the 3 Trunk Boyz that recently went pro, but I digress.)  So when Deathwish finally took some hints and turned Moose pro a week ago, I was elated! Though I wouldn't be able to complain about him being am anymore, I was still pumped that he finally has his name on the bottom of a board.  Along with that, shoutout to Julian Davidson who I'd say also deserved professionalism after dropping 3 absolutely stylishly banging parts with his Cons x Thrasher part, his Future Nature part, and most recently his Perpetual Motion part.

While I can no longer use these two guys in this week's postings, I would also like to go through a few names that could definitely be in the running for professionalism pretty soon that I won't be dedicating a day to this week.  Youness Amrani's has had 3 key video parts (Welcome to Almost, SB Chronicles Vol 1, and Marrakesh Express) that are so ridiculous it's like playing a video game; but I think being on a legendary team like Almost requires putting in a little more time to turn pro.  Trevor Colden has been on a serious tear over the past couple years with stuff like his Color Theory part, tons of web clips like his Spitfire Wheels Introduction, and most recently his Stone Colden part for Thrasher.  However, it may just be me but Mystery is not looking to be in the best of shape, especially after losing Jimmy Carlin, so I have my doubts for turning Trevor pro for them just yet.  I also need to mention Madars Apse from this part I still don't know the full origins of, his Future Nature part, and most recently his shared part in Hold it Down.  With his one of a kind style that is quite possibly the most fun to watch and his infectious positive attitude, I would love to see him go pro for Element but I feel like his roots in Europe unfortunately do hold him back in that respect.

Now that I have finished my ramblings about some key guys in the skateboarding world that are either just over or just behind the line of professionalism, this week I present to you 5 guys that I think should be over that line already.