Saturday, October 12, 2013

Switch Backside Kickflips Honorary Mention: Lewis Marnell (RIP)

I would like to include an additional post for this week's content of switch backside kickflips. There's no doubt that Lewis Marnell was a master of all flip tricks, which allowed him to perfectly land them down stairs and then take them into ledges to get as tech as he wanted. Not only that, but his style is truly one-of-a-kind (I doubt anyone else could make SB Dunks looks that good) and also manages to display his uplifting personality through his tricks. In regards to the switch backside flip, Lewis did possibly the most memorable one ever in his firing line above with an unmatchable style. He's done plenty more throughout the years as well, but to keep it as respectful and tasteful as I can, I will just highlight Manolo's Tribute to Lewis Marnell, which is the best edit I can imagine to celebrate Lewis. In this edit, Lewis pops a terrific switch backside flip in the opening line and then lands another one down a large set at 1:28.

It is always difficult writing about those who have left us, so I will just keep it to a short story about meeting Lewis. The first time I ever met a pro skater was at a Zumiez Couch Tour event in NJ, about two hours away from my house nonetheless. My dad had driven me the whole way and let me go check out everything going on with the local skaters trying to get noticed in the contest. Some kid was trying to ollie off the top of some huge quarter pipe and after a few tries finally committed to it, but snapped his tail off in the process. The kid was totally bummed, but out of nowhere I suddenly see Lewis making his way onto the park area and moving towards the kid. At this point, the Volcom pros were still in the bus behind the park while the kids were skating, so seeing Lewis walk out amidst the locals was a really exciting surprise. I had always kind of felt that the skate pros were like Hollywood Red Carpet superstars with fame and glory, yet seeing Lewis walk right out into the crowd of locals felt very humbling in that he was really just your average good dude with incredible skate skills, nothing like your standard superstars. Anyway, Lewis walked right up to the kid trying the ollie and just handed him one of his Almost decks and told him to go right back up and keep trying. A few tries later, all thanks to Lewis's selflessness, the kid landed his ollie and the crowd went nuts.
Lewis Marnell, you were too great of a person in every respect to have gone this early. Ride in Paradise brotha!

Switch Backside Kickflips #1: Lucas Puig

Lucas Puig is my other top favorite skater with Walker Ryan, and even though there might be some first-name bias in there, just about every aspect about him is unquestionably a factor to being my favorite skater. Asides from the heavy bag of tricks, one of the best natural styles in skating, and the photogenic European backdrop for his skating, Lucas always exudes those good vibes in his videos combining just the right amount of motivation for landing tricks with equal amounts of just having fun and messing around.
Besides that, when I first started getting into skateboarding I looked up skaters names Lucas and obviously found this guy. It just so happened to be a little after the release of Fully Flared. Of course I found Lucas's part and I instantly remembered his switch backside flip over the rail at 1:38. Not only was the trick in itself a complete shocker to me at the time, but the perfect landing and unwinding of his arms with the roll away was permanently ingrained into my memory. At 2:51, Lucas starts off a real OG line to match the song change with a switch backside flip there down some stairs followed by precision tricks in a very flowy line. It's hard to explain why I could watch that trick from Lucas all day, but when something is aesthetically pleasing as that it usually doesn't have an explanation. One thing I do know is that I've seen a good amount of ever-so-slight variations in the style of Lucas's trick throughout his video parts and clips, which makes the unpredictability of how the trick will appear that much more appealing.
To show even more of Lucas's mastery of the trick, here are some random web clips that include it:
At 0:27 in the Unseen Fully Flared Clips from French Fred, Lucas switch backside flips from kicker to kicker with yet another gorgeous demonstration of the trick. With his Helas homies in the DALAVAS Throwaway footage, Lucas switch backside flips at 0:26 off a kicker and over a street sign twice, because perfection comes in twos of course. In the Adidas at LES NYC clip, he pops a real nice one at 1:50 over the big apple.
Now take a look at Lucas's solid history of video parts, mostly through Cliche:
In Bon Appetit, he nails one at 3:32 over a crusty looking street gap. In Cle, Lucas pops a really solid switch backside flip at 3:55 over picnic table, something I don't remember seeing at all in the latest picnic table trick craze. And then at 3:59 he tweaks the trick out with his own personal touch over the hip of a steep bank. For La Cliche Promo, Lucas shows that he can handle this trick down some pretty tall stairs (and over a rail even) at 1:24 with elegant stomping of the trick, and then take it to the tech side too at 8:08 out of a switch back tail at Venice Beach. In Lucas's Kurds Are My Heroes part (above) he beautifully executes a switch backside flip in the middle of the line at 4:57 over yellow trash can, and then getting even more tech than before by switch backside flipping into a 5-0 grind super close to the wall at 5:18 for his ender. In his TWS Pro Spotlight Video he does the trick over at 1:35 over a California rail and across a sick street gap at 2:39. And most recently in Bon Voyage, Lucas switch backside flips over a flatground block to start a line (which ends with a back smith backside flip!), all the while skating very smoothly and speedily. Later on he switch backside flips a gritty street gap in camo pants, further proving that he is the king of his own style.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Switch Backside Kickflips #1: coming tomorrow...

Because of time issues, the last post of the best switch backside kickflips will be coming tomorrow. But to occupy today's post, please refer to the switch backside kickflip Trickipedia at the Berrics as both a precursor for tomorrow and the best visual lesson for the trick possible.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Switch Backside Kickflips #2: Walker Ryan

For a guy that dominates the switch backside bigspin like no other and has tricks like switch big flips, nollie frontside flips, and switch back 360s down pat, it is no surprise that Walker Ryan's switch backside kickflip is one of his best tricks. Not only is Walker extremely skilled in a wide range of skating (mannys, tranny, gaps, ledges, you name it) but he has a special style. Personally, his style gets me every time in that I forget about what other skaters have done while I watch Walker skate and just lose myself in his one of a kind bag of tricks. It might sound weird but I'm distracted by his elegance on a skateboard so I always have to remind myself just how hard the tricks are that he does.
It's interesting because I think what also attracts me to Walker's skating style is that with a lot of his flip tricks (particularly gap tricks), as soon as he catches the usually slightly off axis flip (which adds cool points for uniqueness already) there isn't that robotically perfect board-glued-to-your-feet moment that every skater has (look at the nollie cab at 3:21 of his Graduation part above to see what I mean). The uncertainty of whether or not he can keep the board with him while watching him land his gap tricks is unexplainably exciting. Even though I've watched his parts hundreds of times and know the tricks and how he lands them, it isn't until Walker actually starts rolling away that my eyes relax from not knowing how the board will stay under his feet. And yet all of his landings are pretty much bolts too, which makes the paradox that much more intriguing.
With that being said, he is without a doubt one of my favorite skaters, so I will chronologically (as accurately as I can) go through his extremely solid resume of video parts that he's consistently put out throughout the past 5/6 years or so and visually remind you why his switch backside flip is one of the best in the game. (And while I could include variations like switch big flips or switch flip back noseblunts - because they are obviously awesome - I'm going to just highlight specifically switch backside flips.)
Welcome to Organika: switch backside flip at 2:04 out and down a pretty well-recognized NYC loading dock gap.
Focus Group: at 2:39 down a sizable stair set, while making it look like nothing
Concrete Jungle: at 2:18 down and across the "Walker-Ryan-made-famous" UCSD gap and in a line at 4:39 after a switch ollie up onto a bench and into a regular manual on another bench
Welcome to Circa: at 1:28 down the well-sized stage/bush gap and immediately followed at 1:37 over a large block to manual off the curb
Berrics Recruit: at 0:40 bump over 4 stair, at 0:57 to switch back disaster, and for his ender at 1:50 to regular backside 5-0 grind down the small hubba (like seriously, who else does tricks like these last two?!)
Shuffl Video: for his ender at 3:30 across the gap spanning two ledges at embarcadero and into a manual because just switch backside flipping that gap wasn't enough already
Graduation: at 2:40 out of a switch manual with a really cool looking off axis rotation (the thought of trying to hold a switch manual and then somehow turn switch backside scares me...), at 3:34 down the very large famous 6 block (definitely one of the top tricks done down that gap), at 3:53 to 5-0 (now upgraded from the Berrics to a street spot), and ultimately a switch backside 360 kickflip at 4:08 off a highway bridge kicker just to prove that this mythical trick is possible in the streets.
Double Rock: at 0:44 to switch back disaster, over the uneven hip in a line at 0:51, and to start a line at 2:09 very speedily down the stairs
Grow With Us: at 1:19 across a pretty well-recognized gap to manny and then front 180 out, down a really sick and pretty big set at 2:19 to finish off a line with proper tweakage, and quite possibly one of the best switch backside flips ever at 3:21 over a tall bump to bar with very little lift-off
Perpetual Motion (remix): at 2:09 into a decently long nose manual and with nice-to-see complete control at 3:21 down the pretty well-known water fountain gap

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Switch Backside Kickflips #3: Austyn Gillette

I shouldn't have to say how wonderful it is to watch Austyn Gillette skate.  His style is insanely fluid and graceful and his pop, flick, and overall trick flicking is just a thing of beauty. Ok, now that the obvious is out of the way...
Austyn has a very good switch backside flip, to say the least. With his ability to pop (just look at the trick done over the Maloof High Ollie bar with a casual little light footed hop after landing) and his ability to skate super fast so nonchalantly (like all throughout his Quik part but in particular at 4:17 when he speedily switch backside flips over a huge street hip while basically going downhill the whole time), Austyn comes out with a trick that looks way too comfortable for the level of difficulty that he executes it at.  Some notable switch backside flips that I've seen from Austyn: over a steep hip at 0:32 when a couple Habitat guys traveled with Austyn in OZ, down a clean set of skatepark stairs at 1:40 in his Street League Selection extended edit, and at 0:33 over a fire hydrant in his latest Real Street part.
But with a style like Austyn's, I have to place further emphasis on a few of the sweetest switch backside flips I've seen from him.  Austyn's part in Habitat's Origin, one of my favorite video parts of all time for sure, showcases his great use of speed and flick at 4:30 when he switch backside flips across a super long dirt patch, over a wall, and then down a small gap after all that. You can tell visually by the quickness that he moves away from the camera just how fast he was going and how long that gap must be. As referenced yesterday with Blake Carpenter, Austyn also participated in a very entertaining and impressive Battle Royale at the Berrics, where at 1:15 Austyn lands a beauty of a switch backside flip. The crazy thing about this is that not only was it down the Berrics' 7 stair, but he landed about 6 feet out past the last stair just for the heck of it! And to close it all off, I'd like to point to the extremely aesthetically pleasing video part above: Austyn Unlimited. The whole part is great, but it also shows Austyn's varied use of the switch backside flip. In a line starting at 3:38, Austyn's pulling out quite a few enjoyable tricks all while cruising down a nice hill. Mid-line he decides to switch backside flip (after a switch ollie and switch powerslide too) and still have enough cruising control to swerve behind a parked car and ollie back up the curb for his next trick. At 4:46 he shows the trick with a more technical control by doing it into a manual with a front 180 out on a nicely structured pad. To penultimately end his part at 5:35, Austyn drops one of my most memorable switch backside flips: in a crusty looking neighborhood, over a sketchy curving staircase's handrail, defining style with his flick and catch, and landing downhill once again so that he can roll away with that effortless posture.

UPDATE: I always remembered this particular switch backside flip over a couch from Austyn, just not where to find it. It is a thing of beauty.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Switch Backside Kickflips #4: Blake Carpenter

Blake's two welcome videos for his first primary sponsors of Toy Machine and Dekline both were relatively short and had a few clips each.  But with a switch backside flip as good as he has, of course Blake's going to include that trick in both his Welcome to Toy Machine part (at 0:19) and his Welcome to Dekline clip (at 0:14).  The Toy Machine version shows how Blake can handle this trick down pretty tall gaps and the Dekline version shows how how utterly perfect the trick can look when you think of pop (over a considerable bump to bar), flick, rotation, and landing. Blake takes the switch backside flip almost to video-game-looking levels, as also evidenced when he lands it during his Battle Royale at the Berrics at 1:08. He's got that spot on rotation so that he can land the trick without having to readjust his balance. Not only that, but he can seriously pop the trick too, as seen at 0:26 for his Bang Yo Self 3 submission. And with his video part in Daylando (above), Blake does this switch flip front board back to regular on the back of a park bench at 1:46 (which even though isn't the same trick for this week's content, is undoubtedly worth mentioning). It is one of the craziest freeze frame moments I've seen because of his ninja flick and ridiculous pop. Blake's so fluid with the trick that until you freeze the image it's hard to appreciate just how high he pops and flicks the switch [backside] kickflip. Besides that, his Daylando part also contains a well-popped flatground switch backside flip at 1:12 over a red block (since apparently he kept hitting the camera when he wasn't putting the flip in...) and a really long one at 3:52 over a small wall and a dirt gap with a fun little body rotation delay as he's bringing the board the full 180 before his body's all the way there.  And lastly, I'll leave the bump to bar at 2:47 in Cosmic Vomit 2 for the last switch backside flip. Perfection once again.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Switch Backside Kickflips #5: Shane O'Neill

Shane O'Neill is kind of like Moose in that they both have basically claimed the nollie frontside flip through their excellent use of the trick, yet Shane has also done wonders with the switch backside flip.  Everyone knows Shane is a wizard when it comes to skating: he can do basically any trick he really wants to and somehow make it look like he's had that trick down for years. I'd say there's a fine line between stylish and robotic, and Shane knows exactly where to walk on the stylish side without wavering too far over. This is evident with his switch backside kickflips. Just look at his Trickipedia for the trick at the Berrics. (You know when you get a Trickipedia for a trick that you've definitely mastered it.) Shane encompasses just the right amounts of flicking without going too ninja, the right amount of spinning board and body without overdoing the late backside rotation almost into a pivot, and the right amount of knee flexing so his posture while popping and landing is the most comfortably looking I've seen. A trick like this with Shane's style is the pinnacle of bringing jealousy to those that watch him skate as for how easy he makes the trick look.
Shane's put out some top notch parts over the past 4 years or so that are obviously worth watching for the diversity of tricks, yet the few switch backside flips thrown in them definitely stand out.
In Skate Mental's Am Chowder, Shane works a switch backside flip into a banked manual at 1:41 with enough ease to calmly 180 out at the end. He also nails a really nice one at 2:29 at this foundation gap.
In his going pro video part through Skate Mental and the Berrics (above), Shane continues to show his comfortability with the trick at 0:47 across a flat gap and especially in the combo trick at 2:48, the likes of which I had not even imagined possible before this video part. (Remember how monumental this part was when it came out back in 2010? Looking at it now is a trip because of how much crazier skateboarding has become in every respect. Woah...)
Recently, in Primitive's team video Pain is Beauty, Shane perfectly executes a switch backside flip over a picnic table at 7:52, which again demonstrates the right balance of everything good in a stylish fliptrick.
And lastly, in Not Another Transworld Video, Shane does the trick into a nose manual at 0:53 (holding it for quite some time) and just to be safe he nollie flips out. At 1:39 he utilizes the lily manual pads with a quick ollie up then a frontside 180 switch manny switch backside flip out, fully rotating the trick on its way out and sustaining his momentum too, just because that's how good he has the trick. He immediately follows that clip up at 1:45 by speedily switch backside flipping with a sick flick across a long gap. And then at 2:39 you can witness the culmination of all switch backside flippage with the ultimate ledge combo that I had been dreaming about seeing for years: switch kickflip back tail switch backside flip 270 out.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Next Week: Switch Backside Kickflips

Switch backside flips are probably my favorite trick to watch, mostly for the fact that I can't do them whatsoever. Some guys have them, and then some guys have them very very well with great flick and style. This week I'm going to highlight my top 5 favorite switch backside flippers.
But before that, I'd like to point out a few great skaters and moments with that trick.
Stefan Janoski is obviously one of the most fluid and skilled switch skaters out there with his graceful light footed style. Everyone knows his switch flip is unmatchable and he definitely has a great switch backside one as well.
Furby's got plenty of those 180 fliptricks, switch backside flips being one of them. His clean style makes any of his tricks look thugged out.
Moose definitely has a great switch backside flip, I just happen to see him throw down more nollie frontside flips, so I don't have him pegged as much for doing it switch. But I must shoutout his Santa Monica triple set nollie frontside flip: that was sick!
In the new Emerica Made video, Jeremy Leabres perfectly lands a switch backside flip down the second of two fairly large sets, following a nollie backside flip. That was easily one of my favorite lines from the video and I'm really eager to watch Jeremy blow up.
Figgys battle at the heavily guarded triple set (in LA I believe) for Bake and Destroy was one of the sweetest things about his skating. I knew he could skate switch on handrails like no one else but I had no clue he had a switch backside flip like that. Combine that surprising flip trick with Figgys desire to just attack spots makes the behind the scenes to that trick just wonderful to watch, pretty much what every skater dreams of doing at some point.
And lastly, for one of my favorite individual switch backside flips of all time, I give ultimate credit to DJ Gaudin (who I had never heard of but will always remember now) for doing this trick down the infamous Wallenberg. The switch roll in itself is super sketchy, but somehow DJ manages to get a proper flick on his switch backside flip and stylishly execute that tough trick down the huge 4 block. Again, the video shows how great the session must've been as him and Forrest tried their awesome tricks, so seeing the makes provides that feeling of excited relief and giddiness even (for me at least).