Saturday, December 7, 2013

Video of the Week: Chronicles Vol. 2

Lots of great stuff from this past week, but what clearly takes the cake is the latest Nike video: Chronicles Vol. 2. Awesome to see new parts from all the dudes and there was definitely some top notch skating. Donovan Piscopo comes out swinging with the first part I've ever seen from him with speed, style, and power. Theotis Beasley seems to pack in loads of fliptricks and those good vibes you feel watching him skate, only to have you realize just how skilled he really is when you think of what he's doing. Daryl Angel also comes through with smooth, powerful skating and a really fresh approach; no one's coming close to his ender no matter how relatively basic it may seem. Luan Oliveira shows his ninja flick with some great moves, though I must say I felt a tad disappointed with his part, I was expecting something more... Justin Brock skates the roughest spots and shows his all-terrain destruction. Shane O'Neill unveils some shocking ledge NBD's while reminding everyone of his near perfect style. And Ishod Wair somehow pulls out another huge load of footage, topping  his other footage this year in a laid-back yet super gnarly part. Congrats to all these dudes on a sick video!
You can see Ishod's part here, with the 4 other remaining SOTY contenders. At this point, with the amount of quality footage Ishod has produced this year, he better win SOTY. I'm a big proponent of awarding SOTY to someone with more than just a single outstanding part; nothing against Westgate or Nyjah whatsoever as I'd be perfectly satisfied with either of them winning too, but Ishod has been simply relentless. Which is why I wish Thrasher didn't cut down the SOTY contenders to 5 so soon, when Mark Suciu has his first pro part coming out in just a couple weeks or so, still in 2013 too! Anyway, my vote is now with Ishod!
Now Nike, why can't you just create a physical DVD of this video? You definitely have the money to satisfy the appreciative skate nerds out there and at least hold on to some sense of skateboarding's documented history. I'd say to everyone to go buy the video but when Nike's feeding the insatiable appetite of the internet mongers by forcing them to buy it online, I'd suggest just finding some way around it for now.

And with that, my ranting is over.

In other news from this past week's videos:
-Riley Hawk is now pro for Baker! No video for now but there's no doubt a footage machine like him will have something gnarly out in no time.
-Nick Matthews came out with a Mag Minute filled with a sweet trick selection and stylish skating.
-Daniel Lebron shows that he's got one of the best heelflips in the game with this feel-good part.
-Powell-Peralta welcomes Brendon Villanueva with some gnarly clips in his intro part.
-This clip of Antoine Asselin shows two things: that skateboarding is fun and that he is very very good.
-Jurgen Horrwarth released a part combining some serious skill with vert and on the streets.
-Vagrant Skateboards definitely seals their name on the map with this raw promo.
-Nick Boserio's part from Cold War was released via Thrasher.
-Congrats to Peter Raffin for joining the Creature fiends and still skating super well.
-It may be just a single [totally awesome] trick, but any Tyler Bledsoe footage is great.
-Unreleased Dane Vaughn footage is always great; I've been enjoying his skating a lot since Parental Advisory.
-Gou Miyagi redefines creative skateboarding with this part from Heroin's Video Nasty.
-Can't overlook totally naked girls skating and pumping through the corners of a bowl. Well done Playboy, well done.
-And finally, the prequel to the destruction in Chronicles 2 from Ishod Wair. The quality of this part alone says something about just how good Ishod really is.

Mid-Line Trick #1: Fakie Big Flip 360 - PJ Ladd

PJ Ladd's part in Wonderful Horrible Life has been called one of the greatest parts in skateboarding history, and for good reason. PJ's tricks still stand the test of time today as some of the most flawlessly executed technical tricks ever. And one of the major reasons this parts stands out so strongly for me (besides the frontside heelflip 360 down the stairs) is PJ's crazy lines. PJ is definitely amongst the top line skaters (I'd also include guys like Morgan Smith and Mark Suciu) and this part in particular is a big explanation for that. As seen in Battle at the Berrics the last two years, PJ's flatground game is probably THE BEST in skateboarding and he fills his lines with loads of tricks, "stock" tricks sometimes, in Wonderful Horrible Life. But there are definitely a few good unique mid-line tricks that make PJ's lines extremely memorable, the reason why this part is always discussed and doesn't fade away into the internet.

PJ has a couple just mess around lines like at 0:14 (with his ghetto-bird-like tricks including the switch varial heel back 180 in the middle - granted he messed up the kickflip after but it's definitely worth mentioning) and at 1:16 with his 3 rolling pressure flips that I will not try to name any further. Then, PJ throws in a nollie frontside flip 360 in the middle of two other marathon lines, one at 0:46 and one at 2:11 (that also has a shifty nollie heel which is also uncommon). Usually you see the nollie cab flip at the very end of someone's line as if they were to say, "I finished the main part of my line so let me see if I can whip out this random crazy trick at the end for a couple laughs." Instead of the sketchy, mess-around rollaway of the pull-this-out-of-nowhere fashion, PJ whips out this trick with cleanliness to spare for more tricks afterwards in the line.

Now the main reason why I chose this part from PJ is for his ender. (How often do you see a line as an ender anymore?) One of the sickest lines to ever go down, PJ starts at 4:28 with a fakie ollie up the curb and then winds up for the caballerial big flip (or fakie big flip 360, however you want to call it) done in absolute perfect form. The trick alone involves a lot of spinning and some flipping, enough to get people letters in games of skate fairly consistently. But to see it in the middle of a line is quite remarkable. And just adding to that, PJ half cab noseslides with a nollie 270 heel out after that...and still isn't finished!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Mid-Line Trick #2: Pushing Shove-it - Levi Brown

Everyone knows Levi Brown has a wonderful style, a style that you'd enjoy watching even when he's just pushing. It's funny because in his Trio part above (at 3:42) he front shoves onto a curb and at first appears to just be pushing towards his lengthy front crooks fakie. That's how I first saw this line from Levi when I watched the part. I must've blinked or something because it turns out his first push is actually a shove-it! When you don't see him set up for a trick like this, it catches you completely off guard. In retrospect it's a very small aspect of the line that some might overlook as just messing around, needing to get the nose of the board back in the front, but to me it's the subtleness of the trick that make it extremely memorable. Not only have I not seen this before (NBD for a pushing shove-it sounds a bit dramatic though) but the fact that it is very easily missable if you look away for a split second makes it much more precious. It's definitely not some wild flipping trick that comes up on your radar simply because there's a lot of movement on screen, but more of a blip on the radar that is equally if not more enjoyable. It's great how Levi doesn't even flinch and literally pushes through the shove it, kind of kicking it around a little, as if it were nothing else but a push.

Mid-Line Trick #3: Fakie Heelflip - Austyn Gillette

The fakie heelflip used to be very scarcely seen in video parts, especially in the middle of a line because it was just a bit too awkward (at least from my experience) for what theoretically should be a basic trick. This past year or so though I've seen the fakie heel come up really well along with the overall trick versatility of skaters, such as Jordan Maxham, Neen, Flo Mirtain, and I remember a nice one from T-Funk's welcome part too. So to use it as one of the most memorable mid-line tricks might seem a bit cheap; then again, when Austyn Gillette does it like in his opening line for Cosmic Vomit 2 (above) it certainly changes things. From the song that makes you want to turn up right away to the smooth 180 down a large set to start the line, and especially when Austyn points at someone ahead right before the fakie heel with an enviable confidence, the build up for the fakie heel gives the same feeling like your favorite basketball player driving through the lane about to posterize the measly defender in the paint. Oh and it sure helps that Austyn has one of the sweetest styles, mixing high pop and a sick flick. The loose trucks swerving away as he lands the fakie heel and the couple powerful switch pushes afterwards just keeps adding goodness to this line all around, so by the time he switch tres down the second set the levels of stoke are already pretty high.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Mid-Line Trick #4: Laser Flip - Theotis Beasley

The 360 flip is likely the most used trick for the middle of a line. Everybody loves a smooth tre because we're all used to its rotation by now and it's a convenient trick to keep your flow going in a line. However, how many times have you seen its heelflip counterpart, the laser flip, in the middle of a line? Heelflip variations (regular, not necessarily nollie) in general are less frequently used than kickflip variations, but even the regular heelflip or varial heelflip for that matter have been tossed around here and there in the middle of a line. When it comes to laser flips, they're typically used as the banger of the line, thrown down a set of stairs to impressively finish the clip. But I can't remember any instance other than Theotis Beasley above in his shared Bake and Destroy part at 2:34 casually put down a flatground laser in the very middle of his line. We all know Theo's got some sick fliptricks, heelflip variations included, but seeing a laser not down some stairs or across a gap is actually quite startling, in the good way. Props to Theotis for a sweet and very memorable line in Bake and Destroy!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Mid-Line Trick #5: Nollie/Fakie Ollie - Kevin Romar/Chad Tim Tim

Tricks in the middle of a line are usually expected to be moderately challenging and involve some board rotation whether via spinning or flipping. But that's exactly what makes Kevin Romar and Chad Tim Tim stand out when they come along with two of the most basic tricks imaginable. Kevin Romar pops a quick, comfortable nollie just over a minute crack in one of his lines from Damn, and Chad Tim Tim smoothly elevates a high speed fakie ollie into a curb cut to set up for his next trick at 2:11 in his Trio part above. They both set up with what would be their flicking foot in a position that you can't quite tell what they're about to pull off, but just watching their boards lift off into the air with no spinning is a visual relief that's oh-so refreshing. Sometimes keeping it simple is the best way to go, and these two lines in particular are made much more memorable because of that welcomed simplicity.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Next Week: Most Memorable Mid-Line Trick

Just about every street video part has at least one or two lines in there to help coincide with the mellower verses of the song or to fill up time in the part. Or maybe some guys are just really good at stringing together awesome tricks back to back like that. Regardless, skaters need to fill in the flatground space between obstacles so you end up with your very common mid-line tricks. (By mid-line tricks I'm keeping it contained to flatground fliptricks to fill the space in between stairs, ledges, rails, etc. Basically a flip trick that doesn't involve grinds/slides or a significant drop.) Common tricks are obviously the comfortable and easy-on-the-eyes 360 flip, the nollie heelflip, nollie kickflip, fakie kickflip, and even a lot of backside/frontside heelflip/kickflip variations to switch stances without simply changing the pushing foot. Those ones are seen a bit too much these days with just about any street skater to the point where they're so common they almost feel like time-occupying filler tricks. Of course there are dudes that can make these tricks look beautiful through pop or just a stylish flick, but nonetheless, a surprising out of the norm trick in the middle of a line really sticks out. Just as your mind is about to zone out in preparation for another tre flip before or after some flatground pushing, there are those unique mid-line tricks that jump out and startle you, making the line much more memorable.
This is exactly what will be looked at this week. I may be missing some lines as I go, but the next five days will cover the ones that stick out the most to me now.

And here are a few extras that deserve some mentioning:
Kevin Phelps recently dropped a new part via Thrasher that was filled with some crazy clips and awesome East Coast skating. Click on the link and you'll see one line that clearly stuck out to me when I first watched the part. After starting the line with a stylish fakie 360 flip, Kevin comes through with a half cab late back foot flip that I totally did not see coming. I thought a half cab flip was surely on its way, but the late flip worked very well with Kevin's nonchalance.
Sewa Kroetkov does something similar in This Is Not A Test. At the pretty well known playground benches, he hits one bench and then sets up as if he were to pop a super high switch heelflip. Nope. Instead he does what I'd say is now his signature trick (or at least a variation of it): switch ollie late kickflip. Considering that you usually see the nollie version, this is definitely a trick you wouldn't expect. If the trick itself isn't shocking enough, the height and cleanliness with which he does it should remedy that. (He also does the nollie version at the same benches at 1:16.)
Similar to Sewa getting two lines at that bench spot, Mike Mo Capaldi hits up a schoolyard in Fully Flared with a rad line - ollie late back foot varial flip, nollie back heel, then a switch kickflip down a set of stairs - and then revisits the same schoolyard in Pretty Sweet with a very memorable line. Starting off with a fakie big heel (always a sweet trick), Mike Mo sets up for what looks like a tre flip at first but I can only imagine will be something wizardly, and effortlessly flicks his impossible late flip. Then he closes with a frontside flip down the set. But the impossible late flip is something I doubt will be seen mid-line from anyone else, or even in a part at all to be fair. Seeing Mike Mo implement his signature flatground trick into a line for his part was quite satisfying. And even though the trick from Mo himself isn't that surprising to see, actually seeing it mid-line is not something you'd expect.