Saturday, December 28, 2013

Video of the Week: Habitat's Search the Horizon

Christmas was definitely a good day for gifts in skateboarding this past week. Habitat's latest video offering dropped along with Santa Claus down our chimneys and most certainly kept the fire blazing. Anything Habitat puts out is good quality skateboarding and this semi-full-length / promo / welcome-to-the-pro-ranks-Suciu-and-Delatorre video is no different. The artistic direction, song selection, spot selection via travel destinations, and skating in general is all meticulously thought out and the end result is a wonderful 20+ minute experience.
In the opening montage of Silas, Danny Garcia, Guru, and Marius, I was pretty happily stunned with Guru's switch flip up a long 5 stair and Marius's switch crooked grind hill bomb was nothing short of epic. Managing to maintain composure with speed wobbles as bad as that, all the while going switch, deserves a trophy. (Or possibly even a pro model soon...?)
Brian Delatorre comes through next with an all around ripping part. Spanning spots throughout Europe and some sweet NYC footage as well, it's really easy to get engulfed by the feel of the part and want to go skating. Dela shows that he is one of the best dudes at going over rails into banks, and with that, that he has one heck of a nollie (nollie into bank over rail frontside, same thing on the other side for his exhilarating ender, and a tight nollie back 180 over the black hubba in NYC)
In the next team montage featuring Al Davis, Stefan, Fred Gall, and Daryl Angel, we're reminded that Al Davis shreds with a sweet, unique style and has a mean switch ollie. His mini part was extremely refreshing, I must say. Too bad there was no new Kerry Getz footage though...
And then, as I'm sure everyone guessed already, Mark Suciu closes out the video. But what was potentially unexpected was the amount of footage that Mark has stacked this past year. 3 songs and about 8 minutes long, Mark somehow managed to pull of a marathon of a part, even after basically putting out 4 parts earlier this year! (And as far as I remember Thrasher, 2013 continues all the way through December. Nothing against Ishod whatsoever cause he totally rips, but after this last part from Mark...come on!) Anyway, I think Walker Ryan said it best on his facebook page when he called out the two best lines: a 4-trick no-push line at the Warschauer Strasse benches in Germany including an unbelievable last second swerve while setting up his feet for a frontside pop shove it back nosegrind backside 180 out, and also a back nosegrind backside 180 pop out followed by a fakie 5-0 half cab flip pop out on the fountain ledge at LOVE park. Extremely well-conceived and executed, not to mention very tasteful and aesthetically pleasing to watch. I'd also like to add one of Mark's first clips, which was a very quick-footed line across about 4 slightly banked manny pads with gaps in between, as well as his very lengthy line in a Philly plaza between songs that Mark cruises through perfectly. With these impressive and clever lines, Mark skates tons of rad spots with a very classy and varied trick selection, coming together in an all-around very enjoyable part.

In other news:
-This is a ridiculous acrobatic stunt involving a couple of skateboards.
-Kingpin comes through with a worthy-of-watching Top 10 list of best European video parts of 2013
-The technical insanity that is Shane O'Neill had his part from Chronicles 2 released
-Dave Abair's part in Rock N Roll was released and is super rad. Some sweet downhill, driveway skating.
-John Rattray still has it and it shows in his Cold War part (soon to be taken down)
-Chris Colbourn's part in Cut & Dry was released via TWS and it is quite good, worth of a few viewings.
-Adidas always comes correct with their traveling full-team edits, this time in the Pacific Northwest.
-Justin Hughs hits some big handrails and shreds all around in his latest part.
-Not a huge fan of demo edits but the BLVD team reminds everyone that they are extremely sick and underrated with this team edit through Brazil including some pretty incredible tricks.
-Georgie Tsushima is a filmer/editer but also skates really well, showcasing his talents in a fun, creative, and even pretty gnarly way in this part.

Speed Demons #1: Dennis Busenitz

Dennis Busenitz's name is fairly synonymous with speed in skateboarding. If you look at him just skating flatground or a ledge even a simple curb, it only makes sense that he employs that speed for good use in his video parts. Just look at this firing line too: he starts off with plenty of speed for no pushing through the first few tricks and then uses his signature short and powerful pushing pulses to quickly gather speed for one last great backside flip. No wonder why he's come out with so many sick video parts where just about every clip he gets involves some pretty crazy speed.
I'd go more into Dennis's part in The Cinematographer Project since I actually have the DVD but I just don't have access at the moment. So I will mention his crazy back noseblunt TWS cover at 3rd and Army, which involved coming in super fast to get all the way around the curve. Managing that significant decrease in speed through the curved noseblunt is also pretty wild to think of, but Dennis would be the guy to handle it.
Taking a look at his shared part with Zered Bassett in Skate More, Dennis's first and last lines gain speed by going downhill (at 1:04 and 3:16 respectively) and both stand out as a "speed demon's" kind of line, especially with his ability to keep his composure long enough on the last line for that final 50-50.
In his Pushing San Francisco feature for Real Skateboards above, just about every single clip is fast. Now the camera work and effects certainly help build that feeling of traveling at some high speeds, but only so much can come from videography to achieve that vibe of flying by on every trick. The two lines starting at 1:19 in particular showcase some awesome flatground tricks and just messing around in the streets all while zooming along.
For Dennis's shoe, he was basically given a new part in Adidas Euro Lines, which was a very welcome surprise. Again, he's skating super fast. Just like at 1:08 when Dennis plows through one 50-50 only to grind some more and gap out into the street. Watching him sprint and push at 2:03 is a pleasure in itself, even if it's just to get on top of the huge bank. Most people will climb to the top of the bank to start or just ask for a convenient tow-in, but Dennis does it the old-fashioned way through some heavy leg work for a more rewarding experience for us viewers.
In Since Day One (remixed), he uses his speed rather well in DC at 0:35 to tre flip up onto the ledge and then nollie frontside flip the gap. The double ollies at 1:04 must take a lot to just hold onto the speed to jump out to the street, and what's even cooler is that the clip is followed up by the 3-up-3-down spot where Dennis frontside 360's WAY OUT beyond the 3 stair just because of how fast he's going. And then at 2:35, Dennis claims the throne of 3rd and Army with 3 more sick lines to add onto his already impressive resume at the spot; the last line of 3 tight tricks and no pushes makes me smile every time.
And finally, in my personal favorite part from Dennis, Diagonal, the first downhill SF kickflip still in black and white sets the tone of the rest of the part to display some great speed. Dennis comes in hot for the two lines at 0:41 at some pretty well known spots. At 1:07, after pushing a bit, he quickly ollies down to set up for the back tail on the ledge and somehow seems to gain speed on that little jump down! Only Dennis... Seeing the ground fly by with the two lines at 2:06 and 2:39 is visually stunning, and I still wonder how Dennis manages to carve around after the back 180 in that second line because it looks like he always rolls out almost too far to come back up the stairs. Again, seeing Dennis physically run up at 3:26 for a huge frontside ollie is very gratifying, and his final ollie in Barcelona over the bench and down the stairs at 3:33 is one of my favorite ollies of all time. (Which makes Gilbert's AWS ad that much crazier.)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Speed Demons #2: Zack Wallin

Zack Wallin is still on a strong come up. He's been gathering sponsors and getting good coverage this year. But as of late, I've been noticing him as one of the fastest skaters out there. Take his Welcome to DVS video above for instance. He manages to skate a foundation spot exclusively for this solid welcome clip, and skate it super fast. No-push lines for days and just raw speed and power, Zack Wallin can certainly attack any spot. The fakie ollie at 1:25 also jumps out at me because of just how much speed you'd actually need to get that trick high enough and over a bench.
What makes Zack stand out to me more, apart from his fast and powerful style, is that his back-story of his blood clotting condition is both intriguing and makes what he does more appreciable. It makes skateboarding for everyone more appreciable for that matter, realizing what luck most of us have health-wise. This story is best covered in his Brick Harbor Interview, which also contains a super fast line at 4:00 including a downhill push and a very, very long boardslide. Another take on the story is through Matix's "Who Is Zack Wallin?". The first two lines here are very good representations of Zack's high skating speed with some sweet pushing, and then Zack shows how speed can be used creatively at 3:29 by gapping out past the first tier of a manny pad to manual the second - in both directions!
Zack's Welcome to Matix Clothing clip has a quick bump to bump ollie along some sidewalk at 0:30 and his Tweak the Beef leftovers shows a fast gap to crooks on a metal bench at 0:35. In Tweak the Beef itself, he comes through with an awesome no push line at 1:43: nollie up, nollie backside flip, then switch big heel down some stairs. At 3:41 he flies through a smooth front noseblunt and then pushes a bunch at 6:11 to get speed for a massive ollie, which I feel wasn't justified fully by the angle but nevertheless looks pretty big.
But the footage that made me a permanent fan of Zack was his Welcome to Enjoi part. I could mention the sand gap ollie over the bench at 0:26, the ollie from the little bump at 1:04 covering distance to get over the sign, the two downramp rail tricks at 1:35, the zooming by on the 180 up a long 6 set at 3:02, or the well-shown literal run up and pushing for the long kickflip at 3:18. But what I really want to point out from this great overall part is the ender at 3:37. Just look at the picture below to get an idea of just how wide the street is and how much distance Zack had to cover. In video format the ender street ollie is mind-blowing without a doubt and clearly demonstrates how well Zack handles flying downhill at mach 10. But with the picture from The Skateboard Mag to cement that still frame in your head for that split second Zack flies by on video, the gnarliness of the trick becomes oh so real. This ollie alone makes Zack memorable for his speed and power, and it is definitely supported in all the footage he has been putting out this year.

Speed Demons #3: Brandon Westgate

Everyone knows Brandon Westgate skates fast. Just look at this inhuman ollie from Emerica's Made and realize that there's no way he could make it up onto this loading dock without flying in from the car tow-in (besides the pop). Throughout all of his videos parts he comes through with that East Coast Powerhouse style of attacking spots with speed and pop. It's pretty rare to find a clip in his parts that doesn't involve some good speed to the trick.
Starting with Stay Gold, you can feel the speed with the pushing lead up at 0:47 as he gets ready to gap ollie between two banks spaced pretty far apart, banks that are typically only used for some manny tricks. Then at 2:12, Brandon begins the line by lofting a tre flip as the ground flies by and then pops a couple ollies in preparation for a huge gap to lipslide, finishing the line with soaring a front 180 much further past the stairs than necessary, all because of his speed. (This line is cleverly mimicked in Made with a fast gap to smith grind and a backside 360 down the stairs, once again sailing well beyond the last stair.) And at 2:35 you get the start of some high velocity SF footage, from sweet downhill driveway lines to the gigantic house-length ollie at 3:10.
In Brandon's Emerica Shoe Part, the downhill line at 0:46 starts off with nothing special in particular but quickly picks up so that his last ollie across the driveway is another flying moment. I haven't seen many people actually "push" going downhill, but Brandon does it in the line at 1:05 to prepare for a distance-covering frontside big spin, because there is never a thing as too much speed. And then at 3:06, to match his lines from Stay Gold, Brandon delivers two new and improved variations of some downhill lines from SF, of course zooming by at full speed.
One of the craziest clips I can remember from Brandon was the first one in his Real Street part, involving a tall ollie up onto a ledge from a small curb cut and then somehow managing to clear the length of an alleyway afterwards. It may not appear super fast at first but maintaining speed is mandatory to accomplish something like this.
And finally onto Westgate's latest epic video part in Made. The pushing in the title sequence alone is rather stunning because you know of just how fast he skates. The first 35 seconds of skating is all uncommonly fast, including some more sweet downhill SF lines, a couple gap to ledges, and an enormous street ollie. The 3 bleached-hair tricks are all super quick, including my personal favorite drop down ollie to prepare for the huge front 180 over the planter. Westgate's downhill frontside flip at the same sketchy looking spot as Trevor Colden's hardflip and Ishod's backside flip involves a serious switch hill bomb after he picks up a lot of speed from the run up. And then there's the double rail ollie into the bank at the school near the end of the part that again requires a bunch of speed.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Speed Demons #4: Austyn Gillette

Austyn Gillette definitely has one of the smoothest styles in skateboarding. But what makes it so much steezier is the fact that he skates super fast and still manages to make everything looks so debonair. I feel like the speed at which he skates is often overlooked simply because everyone is in awe about his style or pop or terrific flick. But there's a reason why he was the feature of a video part called "Quik" (above), where you can see some of Austyn's greatest pushes - regular and switch - and some great tricks at full speed. The cruising line on the sidewalk/bridge at the end is just a treat for the eyes.
One of my favorite parts of all time is Austyn in Habitat's Origin. He definitely exhibits his smooth speed in this video, particularly with the very first line. Without the need to push at all, he flies on by with an alley-oop back 180 up some stairs right into a fakie big flip over and across a long manny pad, at Embarcadero I believe. Then at 2:09 he hits back to back bump to bars that show his ability to maintain speed more than anything, still a huge speed demon factor. Haven't seen much back to back action like this other than maybe Boo Johnson with his ollie, front 360 but on mellower bump to bars or Brandon Westgate with his ollie, boardslide up and across. Those were both really sick clips, but Austyn was the first to my recollection of skating two bump to bars back to back. And closing off his Origin part was that enormous ollie at the Brooklyn Banks over the handrail.
In Austyn Unlimited, there are tons of clips with super fast rollaways and some downhill action that look super quick but also very easy for Austyn. To pick out a few tricks, the landing on the long front board at 1:55 really shows that he's going a lot faster than you'd think. At 2:34 he stretches out a really long ollie between two curb-like platforms and then follows that clip up with a speedy switch ollie over a wide patch of grass. Then at 3:16, Austyn puts down a very solid (and underrated) mark in the streets of San Fran with a sweet back 360 over a bank to bank walkway by some houses.
For more fast skating from Mr. Gillette, you can check out his part in Cosmic Vomit 2, where the first two lines in particular are rather rapid. Then, without exaggeration, I'd say every clip from Austyn in the Huf Stoops Euro Tour, conveniently compiled by some dedicated fan for watching Austyn exclusively here, involves a good deal of speed that you don't typically see with your average skater. But the super long ollies at 0:24 over the Southbank up-ledge and at 1:08 across a banked set of stairs are prime examples of the flowy speed that Austyn so effortlessly skates with.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Speed Demons #5: Omar Salazar

Omar Salazar is a ball of energy. His wild eagerness to straight out go for anything is portrayed in as much as in his lifestyle and as it is in his skating. It's this energy that keeps Omar skating super fast and attacking anything that stands in his way, making most of his footage very memorable simply for the pushing or flying along at full speed towards obstacles.
In his Nothing But The Truth part above, the line at 0:15 looks like he should lose control with just about every movement, but Omar handles the speed and flies on by with a couple of fun, fast tricks, following them with a beautifully stomped switch heel without slowing. Seeing his shirt flying around at 0:55 gives you a reasonable idea of just how fast he is going, uphill nonetheless. Really, this whole part is filled with some very fast skating, and Omar's controlled-chaotic style is what makes him stand out as a super fast skater.
In Mind Field, Omar snakes around a sweet channel at about 1:08 to show off his control at such high speeds. Obviously there are tons of speedy clips throughout the whole part but this one in particular sticks out.
Looking at Omar's part in First Love, there's not much need to go further than the introductory hill bomb at 0:36. The way he shows no problems at all with the speed and even has enough confident control to woosh around with his scraping ollies just for fun is remarkable. Also, in the line at 3:08, he hits a ledge with a back tail at probably the highest speed I've seen someone somewhat swerve into the ledge. Then the last 4 clips are all just full-on fast assaults of the spots, including some sweet downhill action.
In this Spitfire commercial at 0:43 Omar hits the top ledge on a bank fast enough that he doesn't even need to get on top of the smith grind to cover more than half of the ledge, all before gliding through a few more pushes (exaggerating how slow the crowd is skating) towards a huge ollie. And the clip right after that with the gap to 50-50 all the way through is a true testament to how fast he skates.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Next Week: Speed Demons

After the delay this past week, next week will officially look at the speed demons in skateboarding. So since the topic was already previewed last Sunday, please look at that post for a proper introduction to the speed demons: