Saturday, November 16, 2013

Video of the Week: Zero's Cold War

Even though I know Zero has one of the gnarliest crews in skateboarding and has built upon their legacy over the years, I wasn't ready for Cold War. Based on the 5 parts shown on Thrasher, the video takes gnarly skating to whole new levels. I said earlier in the SOTY posts that Dane Burman and Tommy Sandoval had some crazy clips in Road Less Traveled but would need outstanding parts in Cold War to be considered for SOTY. That is exactly what happened here. I won't even begin to explain their parts because I would diminish their gnarliness, but they are most definitely at the top of the contenders for SOTY 2013 after this. And it's crazy because Brockman, Cole, and Jamie all had super sick parts too, but they were just overshadowed by Dane and Tommy's inhuman destruction. These 5 parts alone are enough for an epic video but what's even better is that there's still Tom Karangelov, Ben Hatchell, Nick Boserio, and Tony Cervantes in the full video!(and possibly parts from John Rattray and Josiah Gatlyn?) So as soon as Cold War comes out on DVD I will be getting it for quite possibly one of the gnarliest and rawest videos of the year.

Besides that, Chad Tim Tim's Transmission part at Transworld was also super steezy and fun to watch; the switch back smith 360 ender was pretty ridiculous. Eniz Fazliov came out with a sick part in a video called Rabies with his Finnish homies with some really cool, crusty spots. John Dilorenzo is on an absolute tear for what I'd call the hungriest flow dude of the year. After dropping two heavy parts in Florida Daze 2 and Against the Clock, he is now being introduced to Split Clothing with this third great part of the year. I've been feeling Rowan Zorilla ever since his part in Footage Party, and this 14-minute clip of raw footage is just so entertaining to watch. Seeing some pretty sick tricks go down after some work while having a blast with the homies is what every skater should live for. And lastly, Anton Myhrvold comes through with a sweet minute and a half of stylish, well-flicked tricks for his intro to Small Wheels.

UPDATE: This was also some major news. It just fits perfectly too.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Slams #1: Jerry Hsu

Jerry Hsu is my final selection for pros with slams primarily because of his part in Stay Gold (above). The opening minute and a half and more of just bails and freakouts from Jerry edited to the singing of "some days you just can't win" is pure gold for skateboarders. We all know Jerry has had some incredible parts like in Bonus Round and Bag of Suck so his part for Stay Gold was on the shorter side but oh so sweet. LITERALLY, without exaggeration, every single trick in the part was switch minus one nollie back tail (which is still using the nose though) so it simply works to have a part of half bailing and half tricks. As weird as it sounds, watching Jerry's bails and mental breakdowns in this part provide some sort of catharsis for skaters living vicariously through him: as he falls and screams we too feel the pain and frustration, but we also get a sense of relief for not actually having to deal with those situations. Or is just me? Anyway, amidst the first minute and a half of the part, Jerry has some seriously nasty falls. The first clip provides an instant migraine as Jerry finds out what happens when you lose balance before being able to swerve away from a wall. His head hits the wall harder than I've seen anyone else bash their head through whiplash when eating it down a set of stairs. Hitting the corner of the brick wall at 0:50 gives you that instant realization of just how bad that could've been when Jerry points to the corner with a painfully exhausted look. Also, Jerry bail off of the long out ledge at 1:24 just look rough when his legs twist very awkwardly. Not to mention the harsh butt shot at 1:34 on the gap to rail.
The Stay Gold B-Sides are also worth watching for all the raw footage and extra clips that didn't make it into Jerry's part. As for bails, they're not worth spoiling in a list so watching the B-Sides in full would do Jerry and Emerica the most justice. 
Also, for some bonus carnage, Jerry's extras from Bag of Suck show some really twisted bails, particularly from 1:14 - 1:43. The bump to dumpster tumble still shocks me.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Slams #2: Heath Kirchart

Heath Kirchart is very mysterious to me. I haven't heard many words from him but I've seen his video parts and they most certainly have some of the groundbreaking tricks and spots for a time. Heath has one of the best styles for skating large hubbas, handrails, gaps, etc. But because of its natural fluidity when he lands, his bails look just the opposite: impactful and awkwardly painful. Take this enormous kickflip above for example: full on commitment to a strong slam into the ground with a rough-looking whiplash.
One of the greatest parts of all time is Heath's part in Sight Unseen and one of the most memorable clips for me was his pair of back to back lipslides down two huge rails. The first one was perfect but the second one resulted in a full body force of a slam into the ground. Just look at 0:52 of the outtakes from the video part to see. Also in the outtakes is Heath's attempt at a huge 5-0 grind down a hubba that he 50-50'd in the part. At 0:10 he has a couple of solid slams trying this, one of which includes a hard head bash against the ground. Along with that is a bail for his ender tailslide gap out at 1:22 where he misses the rail and skips down the last set of stairs straight to his shoulder.
In This Is Skateboarding Heath sticks to the top of a large hubba at 0:53 and falls a long distance down to a bouncy slam. Any bail like this just hurts to watch when you can almost feel the impact of the ground.
In Mind Field at 1:24 Heath commits to one of the largest bump to bars known to skaters. The board leaves his feet with about a foot of distance in between and he still tries to stick it, only to be thrown into the ground when he couldn't roll away. (Huge props to Colin Provost for 180'ing over this beast!)
Looking at Heath's most recent footage (just before his "retirement") from Stay Gold in his B-Sides, we see Heath skidding down a street sidewalk at 0:34 for way too long as he tries his flying line downhill and kickflips over the fire hydrant. At 1:47 you'll see Heath take some hefty slams as he battle his brick rail back tail backside flip. And starting around 8:27 are a series of bails when Heath was conquering the Mega Ramp. While Heath's bails from his video parts may not have been as gruesome as some other dudes', they are extremely memorable for the spot, for Heath's painful reactions, and simply because of the energy that Heath and his filmers create when they're on a mission. Just adding to that, how many street guys can actually say they broke their collarbone skating the Mega and still got the trick afterwards?

Slams #3: David Gonzalez

David Gonzalez is a pure thrasher. He attacks tranny and rails like few others with an almost reckless, crazed mindset to put aside any pain as he battles for his tricks. Look at Possessed to Skate to see some of David's rough bails. Starting things off at 0:45, David battles the Muska rail to get a back 50. From getting caught in the rail for some serious shinners and gut shots to getting pitched down the second set of stairs straight to the shoulder, David gets heavily bashed around getting this trick. At 1:41 David sacks a kinked rail very straight on. What makes it worse, despite David already being short enough to not avoid sacking easily, is that the rail rides up against the wall and David can't even move away after sacking the rail because he's pinched up against it, sustaining that moment of pain. Also, he nails a gnarly kinked front board but only after a rough battle at 3:52, which is highlighted in the Hall of Meat above.
A couple other Hall of Meats for David include some serious bruising while slamming his knee into the ground trying to backside 360 down the Cherry Park stage gap, and also falling straight to the arm here while trying to kickflip front board a long wooden rail. For the latter bail, it's not human for someone to simply shake off the wrist after landing with all their weight directly on it, but David's definitely different.
Now this clip of David trying to ollie a 22-set is 6 years old but still shows how hungry he was to try the gnarliest tricks. The very first bail is scary because David's head smashes super hard into the ground, but then again every bail after that just hurts when you watching his body uncomfortably compressing into the ground and sliding/rolling out.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Slams #4: Figgy

Justin "Figgy" Figueroa without a doubt skates some gnarly rails. The fact that I've seen him in more torn up, shredded T-shirts than whole ones should demonstrate that. Not only that but his hands are always cut up from the battles he must go through for his difficult tricks. He's a pretty big dude so when he's tossing his carcass down some hefty rails and something goes wrong, the results are rather sketchy.
Though the clip is fairly old by now, the video above from a Skate Rock tour gives a nice view of the bone-jarring thud you hear when Figgy slams hard. Ankles, face, just a full body blow. Try not to grimace.
Figgy's stand-out part in Stay Gold was extremely rad because he skated so hard to get his gnarly tricks. All of Figgy's B-Sides from Stay Gold are great to watch for both the makes and the bails, but the main falls for me include the couple harsh and fast slams on the long tre flip at 1:51, the broken ankle and weird bending of his leg while trying to switch flip the ATL 5 block at 3:28, and the horrible sound of the bashed head on the front feeble bail at 4:19 where he just so happened to get a board to the head as well. Insult to injury. There's also a smith grind from the part where Figgy sacks the curved rail rather nicely that's fully explained here; the spot is also carried into the next part...
From Stay Gold to Bake and Destroy, Figgy didn't stop working and skating really hard. Right away you see the cut up arms and hands at the start of the part immediately followed by two gruesome bails involving some skidding on the ground and that impactful thump that never sounds good. The giant gash in his hand seals the deal. Getting totally flipped over the rail at 0:46 to the point where his legs just add to the weight crushing his head and neck into the ground adds to Figgy's list of rough bails.

Slams #5: Nyjah Huston

Nyjah Huston dominates the skate contests but when he's out skating in the streets, he heads for the steepest, longest, and gnarliest rails out there. It's only natural that he's experienced some hard falls with his territory. One of the craziest bails I've ever seen came from Nyjah's work for his Rise and Shine video part that cemented his status as one of the greats of the generation. Above is his crazy 18-stair back smith bail (primary angle at 5:29 in Rise and Shine) that still jolts me every time I watch it. Twisting body parts always hurt to watch, but there's something about watching Nyjah's body legitimately bounce off the ground after falling from the top of the rail that never leaves your head.
Some other noteworthy bails from Rise and Shine include that opening sack down the long rail at the start (at about 0:14) and his huge 24-stair smith grind bail at 5:16, which also has a behind the scenes look.
Now on the other hand, as Nyjah was getting tech-gnar for his welcome to DC clip, he misses the rail here while trying to lock in before the drop down and gets very twisted. From long falls straight to the ground to big rail sacks to almost scorpioning into the grass, none of these bails looked fun.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Next Week: Slams

Slamming is inevitable for skaters. From the random pebble that just jumps out in front of your wheel to the disorientation of balance that throws everything off, slamming comes in the most unexpected ways. It's the harsh reality of skateboarding and the pros know this particularly well. It's been said that pros (let's include am/flow skaters for argument's sake) slam more than other skaters, which I wouldn't argue with one bit. Going hard for tricks when you're as practiced as these guys are make the slightest change in their environment the biggest factor for slamming. Some skaters know how to come out of bails smoothly from experience, some just go straight rag doll and take the full impact. Some skaters play it relatively safe with their terrain, some skaters go balls out at the gnarliest spots. Regardless, this week I'll go over my top 5 skaters that come into my head when thinking about slamming.
Here are some other skaters that have had some pretty hefty slams too:
Jereme Rogers' opening two clips from Yeah Right are just painful to watch. Getting tangled up in the rail/hubba to flipping over looks rough on the entire body, but then the sack on the rail is quite possibly the worst one I've ever seen. And by worst, I mean the most direct sack possible. Jereme's cringing face explains it all.
Nate Akers' Hall of Meat for his ollie down a huge gap (in Washington state I believe?) is never going to be forgotten. I still trip out at the fact that you can hear 3 distinct snaps: the wheels landing on the pavement, the board breaking in half, and then that from his leg.
While I tend to pay attention to most things street-skating-related, there's no way I could not mention Danny Way's shin-shattering slam into the Big Air coping at the X Games or Jake Brown's frightening fall straight to flat off the Big Air quarter. It's a true testament to the sheer strength and willpower of these two guys to get right back up after slams like that.