Saturday, September 28, 2013

Video of the Week: Josh Swyers in Venue Skateboards' Old Dominion

Just like Thrasher said, I had never heard of this guy before but I definitely will know his name now. This new part displays equal amounts gnarliness, sketchiness, crazy speed, awesome tricks, and just a great vibe of messing around and having fun on the board.  The very first downhill line encompasses these qualities really well and all of the clips after that have something really cool about them.  His sketchy steep banked launch ramp to double yank in at 1:14 is just beyond nuts but looks just as fun as it does sketchy too; I've never felt that combination of vibes from a trick like that. The clip at 1:57 is full of surprises, the tre flip at 3:01 is unnecessarily high and good-looking, the front shove at 3:21 to finish the already mach 10 line is worth about three cherries on top of the icing on the cake, and the ability to pop the pop shove it at 3:42 seems very rare these days and that would be the last trick I'd think of doing over that bump to bar. 3:51 shows just how fast Josh skates, because when you make it look extremely fast on camera, you know he's actually going even faster in person.  And just about every single clip after that one could easily be a video part ender, which just makes his return to the super sketchy steep bank unbelievably terrific in every way. Major props to Josh!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Manny Maniacs #1: Joey Brezinski

When I think of manuals, I think of Joey Brezinski. His abilities are one of a kind and it takes his creativity (and goofiness) to come up with the video parts he does.  And even though they are filled with manual tricks, they all are interesting because Joey knows how to keep his tricks varied enough. I mean he even started a whole contest for manuals! Pretty much everyone would agree that Joey is the king (or at least one of the kings) of manuals so I will just post the three parts from him that really cemented my astonishment with his manuals tricks.
Above, in Hello Jojo, he keeps it fun at 0:53 with a mini nosepick 270 manual (NBD for sure!), and personal favorites at 1:12 and 3:01 with a front 180 fakie manual fakie frontside 360 shove out and a manual double heelflip out respectively. (The setup on the switch flip out of the 180 switch manny just before the double heel clip is also pretty awesome.) And the manual up and down line at 3:44 strikes the perfect balance in fun, quick action and skilled control of spinning, flipping, and balancing.
In his Right Foot Forward part for Transworld, he comes out swinging right from the start with a lot of cool combinations (manuals and ledges), throwing in tricks midway through his manuals or just continuing the lines when one good manny trick isn't enough apparently.  The inward heel nose manual at 1:22 looks quite nice and the ledge is rather high too, and then the manual wallride nose manual at 1:39 is also pretty awesome.  It takes a lot of control for that front blunt fakie manual fs half cab out at 2:40.  3:18 - 3:29 has a series of technically impressive and fun to watch manual combos, just like the body varials in the line at 3:52. And the last trick is also really crazy with how he manages to smoothly put together three tricks in one.
In his latest video part in Cliche's Bon Voyage, there are so many great manual tricks, as expected.  So I will let the clever lines and crazy combos speak for themselves. There's nothing quite like watching Joey skate.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Manny Maniacs #2: Daewon Song

A writeup about manuals in skateboarding would not be complete without mentioning Daewon Song. I don't need to mention what kind of manuals or tricks he does because he does them all.  Daewon's creativity surpasses any need of spot searching, making a single curb or a warehouse suitable for an infinite amount of manual trick combinations. If I went into any specifics about his video game like manual combos on the crustiest of spots, I wouldn't finish this post. So I'll highlight some of my favorite video parts from Daewon with his best, and a good portion of skateboarding's best, manual moments.
In one of his earlier parts (without neglecting to acknowledge his Round 1 or 2 parts with Rodney and his Love Child part) for Deca, Daewon skates a bench on a rooftop with a manual nonetheless at 1:12, strings a few awesome manuals combo tricks with just a concrete bench and a curb from 0:13 to 0:37, and undoubtedly destroys a warehouse with combinations of tricks upon tricks where the video-game-like manual combos can be seen from 3:51 - 4:36.
In his Almost Round 3 part (above), he has really too many great manual tricks to list, but he works in a wide array of fliptricks into and out of his manuals (as well as in the middle of them) while balancing across a diverse mix of banks and pads and curbs. In particular, his triple fakie manual at 3:02 shows just how controlled and entertaining Daewon is with his board and from 4:40 to the end of the part, he comes through with unbelievable manual tricks that are bound to stay ingrained in your memory.
In DVS Skate More, Daewon continues his extremely impressive and creative use of manuals to coincide with his other really great footage at appealing spots.  A couple tricks that stick out to me: at 3:36, he kickflips into a manual and then basically manuals into a two-wheeled powerslide for a moment, turns it all the way around to a fakie manual and then flips out. Godly control once again. And for his last trick at 5:52, he holds a super long switch nose manual going very fast and along a reasonably steep bank as well. The following speedy fakie big heel and Colin Kennedy's laugh as the picture fades is the perfect reaction to watching Daewon's skating: you just can't help but laugh at how ridiculously good at skateboarding he is.
New Year's Dae, a promo part of sorts, is a very refreshing take on the warehouse/back alley curb kind of skating that was in Daewon's Deca part. Obviously new and improved, Daewon still has all of the skills and style that he had back then.  New Year's Dae comes out with plenty more NBDs and innovative tricks as well as a few newfound bank tricks where he spins 720/900 or so in manuals.  I still can't believe that at 2:57 he actually films two separate clips of his nollie backside flip fakie manual fakie big flip out.
Finally, with Daewon's latest part in Almost's 5-Incher, you really can't explain the feeling you get when watching someone use rocks and tree stumps with his tricks, especially when manuals are involved. A whole new realm has been opened and Daewon's masterful creativity is to thank for that.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Manny Maniacs #3: Youness Amrani

Youness Amrani has the balance and control for manuals on a completely different level than most manual skaters. He has the ability to hold out tricks for very long distances, pop out quite high from a manual when needed, and even come to a full stop and reverse directions mid-manual, and that's not mentioning all of the body control and fliptricks he also has to throw into his combos.
Despite the high quality footage Youness has put out in his video parts, I still like his introduction to Almost (above) the best.  Looking at just his manual tricks (because he also skates gaps and ledges super well too), there are two specific ones from this video part that make me praise Youness's manual skills: At 1:35 he starts a manual up a mellow banked ledge, kickflips at the very peak when he's completely stopped his forward progress, lands back into a fakie manual and slowly rolls down the ledge only to fakie hardflip out. To back that up, he follows it with the same exact trick but with a fakie 360 flip out instead of the fakie hardflip.  The fact that he slows down so gradually and is able to hold the manual both ways for so long is absolutely stunning to me, regardless of the fact that he kickflips in the middle of each and does two really cool tricks out.  Plus, the foot positioning and setup for the next trick is always fun to watch, especially when done slowly like this because you can see the pure control of his balance.  Same goes for the control of the slowly reversing nose manual/switch manual at 3:06 (switch flip out too?! come on!).  Adding to that control, the pop out over the trash can of the kickflip manual at 2:14 is the highest I've seen from any manual.  The half cab nose manual at 2:29 appears as if Youness is just waiting for the right moment to nollie shove out into the bank; he could probably have kept going if the ledge was longer.  The manual line at 3:35 is also really worth mentioning.
That part by itself made me a huge Youness fan, especially for his special talents with manuals.  This is before he comes out with what can only be described as video game manual skills that you see in his ender for his Nike SB Chronicles Vol. 1 part.  Seriously unreal.
On top of those great parts with mind-blowing manual skills, he continues his display of amazing skating in his Almost 5-Incher part and his latest part through Transworld: Marrakesh Express.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Manny Maniacs #4: Ben Fisher

Ben Fisher has a wonderful style and his manual tricks down solid.  I'd say he's got the best reverts mid-manual out of anyone (backside and frontside) as well as the ability to stylishly flick fakie flips, fakie 360 flips, and especially a one-of-a-kind backside flip out of his manuals. He's probably got the best frontside 180 to fakie manny in the game as well.  His precision board control is unreal in many instances and to possess a smooth style like he does is just an added compliment to his skating. The first part I ever saw of Ben was his Recruit at the Berrics where he shows his skills at 0:32 with a beautiful frontside 180 fakie manny fakie tre out with a monster flick. Also he demonstrates his unique backside flip (almost like a kickflip with a really late back 180) out of a 50-50 and into a switch manual nonetheless at 0:52. It takes a serious amount of control to be able to speedily 180 fakie manny with a 180 out up a ramp like at 1:00 as well as fakie ollie up a euro to fakie manny then pop down some stairs like at 1:09.  On top of all that he does a nose manual body varial to fakie manual at 0:17 that I really don't think I've seen from anyone else.  Though this is just his skatepark footage from the Berrics, I feel like his style and trick selection from here are ever-present through his following video parts.
In Ta-Ha, he also shows his control over his fakie manuals at 0:23 when he drops down mid fakie manual a considerable distance and then still fakie 360 flips out of the trick.  Also, at 0:29, he starts a simple manual, reverts frontside to fakie manual, and then somehow spins back the other way with a half cab flip out, not flinching or flailing his arms one bit with any of the rewinding motions.  Talk about control.
In his Transworld Transmission part (above), Ben continues with that rewindable control at 1:36 where he is doing a switch nose manual, fakie big spins to manual and then frontside 180s out. Along with that, he upgrades a trick you see at 0:34 in Ta-Ha with a newer one at 2:46 where along the popular small circular manny pads he ollies to manual, backside reverts, and then frontside half cabs out with good pop to demonstrate his progression in his control of his balance.  At 2:19, Ben comes up with a crafty NBD by fakie frontside boardsliding and then doing a switch shove it out to fakie manual. Plus his last two tricks from 3:03 are extremely precisely done.
Most recently, in his Stereophonic Sound part, Ben shows at 1:32 strings together a front 180 fakie manual with a nose manual by a well-popped frontside half cab, showing how "simple" tricks can be so refreshing and fun to watch.  He makes good use of the bank at 2:24 as well with a switch nose manual half cab flip to nose manual.  And the ender at 2:46 is just a beautiful display of quick-footed precision skating.
What's great about Ben is that every manual trick you see from him either has some very stylish flip trick thrown into it, some difficult reverting or spinning, some innovative combination of tricks, or just a very controlled pop in/out to it.  His manual skills are definitely special and he is always intriguing to watch skate and balance.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Manny Maniacs #5: Rodney Mullen

Rodney Mullen is an enigma wrapped in legendary status with skills that are incomprehensible. Including him with the manual masters is a must when you can combine casper slides (2:43 above) and primo slides (4:38 and 4:43) into your manual combos, not to mention darkslides (2:10) and even handstand finger flips into manuals as well (0:28). Before I was even born, Rodney came out with manual tricks in his timeless part in Virtual Reality that you still see guys doing today (starting around 2:24). I still don't even know if I've someone even front heel fakie manny even today, which goes to show you that Rodney's on an entire different level. Any round with Daewon is mindbendingly insane, but I think his part in Almost's Round 3 (shown above), being one of the first bits of skateboarding I'd ever witnessed, acts as the skateboarding Bible for me today.  Some tricks from this part are untouchable to this day. For manuals specifically, besides the ridiculousness mentioned above, his stationary one wheel manual spinning at 0:33 demonstrates Rodney's freestyle background and explains why he's able to do so much on a skateboard, and right before demolishing the banked manual spot with tricks on tricks on tricks he comes out with an impossible nose manual nose impossible out at 3:46 that to me is still one of the best "straightforward" manual tricks done to this day.
Since then, I have felt an everlasting craving of more Rodney footage (Almost, please tell me you weren't kidding when you said on 5-Incher that he has a part in the works) and was partially satisfied by a few clips in Globe's United By Fate.  After hearing from interviews that Rodney went through some tough physical issues and through his own willpower is legitimately attempting to get rid of any stance that he has, I was intrigued to say the least.  His tricks in the short segment from United By Fate exemplify his goal in that he does a nose manual nollie 360 shove to manual in both "stances"...and makes it look just like a mirrored image! Most skaters show some signs of their stance in their shoulder and foot positioning but Rodney genuinely does not with these two tricks, making me think that once again he is breaking boundaries in skateboarding that no one else would think of breaking.  And just for good measure, he throws in a *switch* kickflip one footed nose manual as well.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Next Week: Manny Maniacs

Everyone can basically do a manual, but leave it to the pros to come up with combinations with manuals that just seem to defy how well someone should be able to balance. A lot of tech skaters these days can do manual tricks and variations that are pretty skilled.  However, there are only a select few guys that can do it well enough to fill up their video part with manuals and make each and every one interesting in some way. Before going into this week's Top 5 Manny Maniacs (from my perspective anyway) I have to shout out some skaters that obviously kill it with manuals.
Brandon Biebel has that proper style where he sets up for and lands every trick with authority, and it's no different in how he manuals. In Fully Flared, from 2:27 for almost a straight minute, Biebel stomps manual trick after trick and ultimately closes it off with the scary ender at 4:17 of a nose manny nollie flip out down a hefty set.
Jason Dill definitely has some sick manny skills (to accompany his all around creative skating style) and even though he kills it in Trilogy and Skate More, I always remember the two consecutive manual clips (and last two tricks) from his Mind Field part at 2:23, the nose manual revert, and the switch 180 manual backside 360 out, which just feels impossible thinking of the torque on the body.
Chris Roberts possesses a control over his manual tricks that I don't think I've seen in many others, where he can pull off any sort of shove it or 180 into or out of the manual (nose, switch, fakie, regular, it doesn't matter), showcased in his Time to Shine part. Also, in Pretty Sweet, he does a nollie big heel out of a half cab nose manny (I think he half-cabbed into it anyway...) that he flicks in the weirdest way possible where you need to rewatch it a few times before you see the trick for what it is. So cool!
Daniel Castillo, despite his lack of clips in Pretty Sweet (clips is plural there), has had some great parts in the past, and what sticks out to me was his manual tricks in Skate More where he throws shove its and big spins right in the middle of his manuals. Spinning frontside into manuals as well, he's got some unique manuals.
Sewa Kroetkov is easily one of the most skilled tech skaters alive. He has without a doubt some of the most ridiculous manny tricks (and ledge tricks too for that matter) that I've ever seen, with proof being right in a trailer for the latest offering from Blind: Damn  at 0:57. Being able to balance like he can and mixing in his serious bag of crazy tricks allows Sewa to pull off some wild NBDs in the manny game. I'm only not including him in this week's Top 5 because I feel like his style is too robotic and unfortunately takes away from some of his tricks.
Marc Johnson is a legend. And he pulls off manual tricks like few others with an unmatchable style. I'd reference one of his video parts but with the number he's released and the multitudes of manny tricks to mention, I'll leave this one open.  The only reason I won't be highlighting him this week is because I've never had him pegged down as much of a manual skater but more of an all around skater, possibly with a higher focus on ledges/benches.
Ronnie Creager is also a legend.  He can do whatever he wants on a skateboard, especially with tech tricks including a wild variety of fun manual tricks that he's pulled off over the years.  I will use the words of Marc Johnson from his latest Instagram post which say, "In a very progressive time for skateboarding, most skaters did ridiculously technical tricks very sloppy and nasty, taking any rollaway they could get because honestly, we were just grateful to have landed stuff. Ronnie was one of maybe 4 guys who were flawless while doing the most amazing tricks in the world." This sums up his skating perfectly.
Marty Murawski is up there for me with manuals because of how impromptu he makes some of his manny tricks and combos look.  Along with that, his frontside 180 fakie manuals are a thing of beauty, and I will always remember his promo part from Blueprint because of tricks like from 3:19 to 3:33 where he somehow throws in a really enjoyable style even while popping or dropping down in between manuals.  And at 5:13, he frontside big spins to fakie manny on a downwards slope at some parking deck; it just seems so difficult!
Now Walker Ryan and Lucas Puig are probably my two top favorite skaters in general, and they both kill it at manuals. (Just look at any of their parts but to be specific, Walker's NYC court house ender in Perpetual Motion is just insane and Lucas Puig's Twelve Pack Mission for Helas just shows how even after injury he makes hard manny tricks look like a walk in the park.) But similar to the reasons I'm not highlighting MJ this week, I feel like they have too many all around attributes to include them this week, even though they are without a doubt awesome at manuals.