Saturday, September 21, 2013

Video of the Week: Manolo Robles - Forward Slash Remix

I've only ever really seen Manolo Robles in his Darkstar Forward Slash clips and through his DC Spain Introduction Video, but he is without a doubt one of the most technical skaters out there. Though the distance across the Atlantic may limit his exposure, the clips that have come through to most of our computers are ridiculously technical and impressive.  When he starts spewing out tricks that were other skaters' video part enders, and then backs those up with NBDs on NBDs, he deserves the spotlight for a while.  Every little variation makes you appreciate each individual trick that he somehow combines all into one fluid trick. So to highlight this week's output of skate videos, Manolo Robles will demonstrate the potential of technical ledge tricks.
(See this link for higher quality video.)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Return to the Radar #1: Tyler Bledsoe

Tyler Bledsoe is probably one of the most overlooked skaters today.  His quiet persona matches his smooth and stealthy spot destruction.  A dizzying array of fliptricks and a spot selection that naturally flows together with any edit also help make Bledsoe footage that much more valuable.  As far as my knowledge goes, he's put out two pivotal full length video parts with TWS's Hallelujah (above) and his part in Mind Field, as well as an artsy piece by Benny Maglinao and a couple of commercials all for Etnies. Not to mention awesome clips in the Gang of Fourstar tour video (front hurricane to switch crooks at 2:29 is amazing in so many ways). Through Etnies, Bledsoe has thoroughly put out stylish footage at unique spots that demonstrates his ability to get tech with ledges without going overboard, come up with tasteful manual tricks, skate different kinds of inclines, and especially throw some tricks down gaps. Watching Tyler skate provides some kind of impalpable sensation that may come close to admiration but mixes in a soothing vibe to it; basically it's just pleasing to watch him shred.  His frontside and backside kickflips both switch and regular look wonderful and I'd say he's got one of the best big spin flips and quite possibly THE best frontside hurricane grind in the game (just take a look at his Hallelujah ender at 3:43 for proof, along with the many other sweet variations.) His gap tricks are done with a flawless style, exemplified in Mind Field with his tweaked hardflip at 1:18 and his big flip ender down Carlsbad at 2:31 (one of my favorite tricks for sure down Carlsbad).  And he keeps ledge skating interesting and fun with creative combos that stray away from the overkill of some ledge dancers.  Just look at the back lip to blunt in Mind Field at 1:39, the nosegrind shove to 5-0 at 0:50 in Hallelujah where he actually sits on the ledge and grinds for quite a bit (you see way to many short grind taps these days, holding the trick out looks much better) as well as the front board over to noseblunt at 2:07 and the back tail pop over to noseblunt at 3:38.
With very little sighting of Tyler over the past 2/3 years, I am getting very anxious as to when new footage will arise out of him.  A beautiful style like his cannot sit around for too long without appeasing the needs of the skateboarding world.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Return to the Radar #2: Kenny Hoyle

You can never get too much Kenny Hoyle.  As much as I've probably praised styles beforehand, Kenny's style is undeniably fun to watch and really never gets old.  I could watch him switch heel or kickflip all day, but what's great is that he has such a large bag of tricks that there is no chance of getting bored of his skating. Kenny's put out some great video parts the past 5 years or so, all starting back to his standout part in It's Official.  The Jesus Walks instrumental in the background works perfectly with every trick he stomps.  The switch backside flip along the sidewalk grass gap early in the part at 0:34 is just so buttery, and the tini dirt-hop rollaway and strobe effects really get me psyched up every time I watch the part.  From the varial heel at 0:57 to the nollie inward heel at 1:06, and then 7 back to back flip tricks down some gaps starting at 1:16, his gap-tricks are utter perfection.  To top it off, he's got great pop, a tight ledge game, and even hits some handrails too.  Also, from 2:00 to the end of the part, Kenny goes back to an all-out stairset and gap flip trick frenzy with tricks popped and caught like they were done on flat.
Definitely one of my favorite all around full length videos, And Now couples great music selection to great skating and Kenny's part (above) is an instant standout.  Just like the strobe effect at the start of his It's Official part, the little nollie taps at 0:09 after the nollie crook and tre flip add to the anticipation and excitement for the skating to come.  I always remember the varial heelflip at 1:37 from an Expedition ad and because it once again cannot look any better like most of Kenny's stair tricks.  The nollie big flip to finish the downhill line at 2:01 seems like the trickiest (for lack of a better word) idea to try there but he pulls it off with impressive ease.  And again, he ends the part with a beauty of a hardflip at 3:40.
While I could pick apart more and more of Kenny's part and his skating, I will leave it to these two parts because they are what made me an everlasting fan and what still stick out in my head today.  But I do have to mention a seriously ripping series of clips from DVS's Dudes Dudes Dudes, once again another terrific part for turning pro in Madness by Expedition, followed up by more superior quality Bonus Madness (Mike Mo's Pretty Sweet song!), and most recently his Detention at Da Playground (end trick is pure awesomeness!).  
Now Kenny's been pro for a good 2/3 years and has had a few small clips here and there, such as the Detention clip.  But with a natural talent like that and the ability to make all of his tricks look easy and appealing, I would really like to see some new footage from Kenny.  Like I said before, you can never get too much Kenny Hoyle.  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Return to the Radar #3: Tom Knox

This was the first time I had ever heard of Tom Knox.  Seeing that he rides for Emerica and Blueprint (at the time), there had to be something special about him.  So when the two brands collaborated for this introductory part, I was very impressed at this Londoner's extremely quick feet and spontaneous street style. The edit is fast paced and every clip matches that pace because Tom somehow manages to throw tricks on obstacles immediately after landing a previous trick.  The first line at 0:15 is a good example of how he doesn't stop in between tricks but seems to start setting his feet up as he lands the trick before.  It takes this precision skill set to pull off a line like at 0:41, navigating through the narrow alley without losing any control of his position.  (Just look at this fun clip of Tom skating on a moving train, weaving in and out of the support poles, recovering from veering off to the sides with an alertness I can only relate to Mark Suciu's.)  Quick feet allows Tom to pull of his body varial at 0:57, which looks like he waited for the last possible instant to actually twist.  The fact that Tom has a great deal of tricks and can skate just about anything (adapting perfect to his London environment) makes him that much more enjoyable to watch, not to mention the London aesthetic that never fails to please either.  Other notable tricks from this part include the tightly spaced gap to back lip at 1:47 that requires the utmost concentration in positioning to avoid the brick wall, the perfect finish to the line at 2:14 with the quick no comply off the last step, and a huge fakie ollie at 3:01 that is terrifying but the conceptual simplicity of the trick makes it that much cooler too.
There is also his older Square One part that includes more of that quick-footedness, the precision placement and control, and an even wider array of flip tricks to show for.  The 180 up to switch backside 360 ollie at 1:38 gets me every time.  Skateboarding could definitely use some spontaneous quick footed skating like Tom's to be in the spotlight, especially when he has the beautiful and much less than perfect spots that London offers at his disposal.
Now that Isle Skateboards has officially started up after the termination of Blueprint, I really hope they are working on something as a team so that Tom Knox can again put out his great skating.

UPDATE: It slipped my mind, but I am extremely pumped for his Eleventh Hour part coming out soon!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Return to the Radar #4: Sascha Daley

When I first heard of Sascha Daley through a couple of Mystery ads in the magazine a few years ago, I was already intrigued because of the size of the obstacles he'd skate.  Then his Color Theory / Mystery Introduction part (above) came out and my jaw hit the floor.  Big gaps, big rails, and even some stylish lower impact skating really solidified this guy in the industry's spotlight for some good time when the part dropped.  I was really hoping for big things for this guy, especially being part of Black Box. Now that the Mystery squad seems to be somewhat falling apart, I sincerely hope Sascha is able to still make it further in the skate world. Even though his all-around skating abilities are without a doubt present, I am questioning whether or not he's been working on getting clips for the public to see, especially since I haven't seen anything from him since that part aside for a few tricks in the Mystery Team Montage (for David Reyes' Intro and Windsor James turning pro). Granted, Sascha continues his smooth skating on huge handrails (one in particular with a sketchy end kink) and over tall gaps and stomps quite possibly one of the biggest and best backside flips done the hard way over a popular CA schoolyard handrail at 4:37.  Despite the solid clips, it's just not enough to satiate my skate palate knowing his potential.
Looking back on his Color Theory part, it's impressive how casually Sascha held his nosegrind through the kinks at 1:12, which probably coincides with how controlled he is when attacking big gaps to handrails and such.  And the simultaneously sketchy and gnarly 50-50 at 1:45 will always be nuts (Sorry David, but dedicating a full 40 seconds to landing the same trick backside with a questionable landing is just visual overkill, especially considering what Sascha has already done 3 years ago.)  Even the crazy rail at 2:00 that he boardslides just looks impossible, and the little balancing waver makes it that much more exciting to watch (mad props to Brandon Westgate in MADE for being the next guy to conquer that rail). And once again, the ender backside flip down the triple 5 set at 2:46 was the first trick I remember down that set, and to this day still stands as a pretty awesome trick at that spot.  When a guy like Sascha is destroying spots that still are challenging guys today, that definitely says something.  And I cannot forget to mention the QUINTUPLE SET OLLIE at 2:30.  No words can describe the magnitude of a trick like that.
So to sum up, please come back Sascha!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Return to the Radar #5: Richard Angelides

The first time I saw Richard Angelides was in the Transworld video First Love (above).  I didn't quite know who he was at the time, but I was definitely enjoyed watching him skate.  His ability to skate switch caught me off guard with this part. Since I was not fully developed in my skate video watching capabilities yet, I legitimately couldn't tell which stance he was at the time.  A switch backside 360 did not make any sense to me when I saw this so I was convinced that his trick at 2:13 forced him to be regular. But then I felt more contradictions with his next trick, the cab flip switch manny 180 down the bank he actually has a bunch of tricks on too.  Later looking back on his older parts (as I learned how to tell a guy's stance), I finally grasped that Richard was just a king at skating switch.  His part in Hiatus contains a nice mix of switch and regular skating and that OG mongo push the worked so well with that era of skateboarding as everyone was just having fun with their newfound variety of fliptricks. His part in Expedition One - Alone continued Richard's switch mastery and big bag of tricks.  Without a doubt, Richard Angelides has one of the best switch varial heels in the game; see 0:37 for proof.  I thought that this part was a well thought-out improvement with new clever lines and a mixture of fliptricks and grinds off of his last part. Upgrading from a switch heel at the schoolyard block set to a nollie back heel between the two parts for his respective enders was a nice touch. Not to mention a switch backside flip in First Love that is quite beautiful.  But what officially sold me on this guy was his short but effective few clips in Expedition's Madness.  The first trick alone, nollie front heel fakie manny fakie FS 360 shove out, got me incredibly stoked because I somehow learned fakie frontside 360 shove its and had never seen one (or at least noticed one) in a video before this.  I was sold from this already, especially considering that that is a really sweet manny trick when you think about it, but then he continues with his appealing lanky style.  The nollie bigger flip switch manny at the brick manny pad (that he could probably claim his own by now) was great because that trick is still nuts and I don't think I've seen it outside a game of skate other than here.  And his last trick, the nollie fs big spin 360 over the hip, will always stick out for me because shove-itting and spinning in that direction with a trick like that just seems so awkward. Definitely one of my top under 30 second parts out there.
Even though Richard Angelides skates switch quite a lot, I don't seem to get tired of it.  There's something about his style and trick selection that keeps me wanting more.  So for not coming out with anything since that mini Madness part, I would really like to see another solid collection of clips (if not a full part) from this guy.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Next Week: Return to the Radar

Some guys consistently come out with new video parts, new commercials, or new coverage these days. But on the other hand, there are guys that put out a video part every 2,3, 4, or more years with only a select few ads for their sponsors here and there.  These guys are still some of the most pleasing to watch and everyone would love to see more of them. It's a give and take situation: while we would love to see a new video part or just some coverage, the fact that they're off the skateboarding industry's radar makes them that much more desirable (kind of like girls in high school, you want what you can't have).  This week I'll go through my top 5 guys I would love to see return to the spotlight soon, but for now I would also like to mention a few guys relating to this same topic.
Nick Dompierre went off the radar for a while after his shared part with Ernie Torres in Since Day One, which was honestly one of my favorite parts of the whole video.  After some family issues, a broken neck, and some drug-related issues occurred, Nick was basically kicked off of DC and Real and started frighteningly falling away from the industry (which is better explained with Nick's "comeback interview" that also features some of his gnarly skating made smooth). So I can't really include him in this week's features because he has actually been looking really solid lately hanging out with Joey Brezinksi and the Puma crew as well as getting a bunch of park clips such as his Bangin. All the best to Nick though, keep up the good work!
I would like to include Scott Decenzo in this list, but I already mentioned his vAmdalism part last week. I also am trying to sustain my hope that he is holding back on footage and coverage to absolutely blow our minds when the Plan B video eventually drops (I swear it's like Dre's Detox album...)
Bobby Worrest is another guy I would love to see more coverage from.  I loved his Right Foot Forward part and his es Edgar part (RIP eS shoes).  He's got a great switch 360 flip and coming from DC lets him utilize his many tricks and spontaneously fluid style to skate a great selection of spots, which makes his video parts so awesome.  These parts were both relatively recent so I can't quite put him in the spotlight for being off of it for too long, if that makes sense.
And I can't forget to include Antwuan Dixon. His notorious Baker 3 part still is used as a reason why he has one of the best styles in the game.  I would absolutely love to have seen him in the Deathwish video, but to be honest, after very little there or even in Chicken Bone Nowison or Bake and Destroy, I hate to say it but I doubt we'll see a full video part from him in the future.  That may be a pessimistic claim, and I really hope it's untrue, but I'm not expecting anything from him.
Now the 5 guys I am presenting to you next week, I am definitely expecting some parts in the future from them and very eager to see what they have in store.