Saturday, January 4, 2014

Video of the Week: Antihero welcomes Grant Taylor

There were a few videos this week I was considering for Video of the Week. Chewy Cannon released his Transmission part over at TWS, coming through once again with awesome London footage and skating fast with a fun, loose style. I've been a fan ever since his Diagonal part with those thrashing switch front boards, and he has plenty of his true switch stance skating in this new part. It's cool to see a full new Chewy part, even after the footage in the Cinematographer Project, which TWS also released through Torsten Frank's section this week as well. Along with that, Ewan Bowman uncovered a bunch of lost footage from Bastien Salabanzi, delivering a full part of unseen footage. Right from the time period when Bastien left Flip, this 6+ minute new/old part stands the test of time and is still pretty incredible today. Ordinarily, when a guy repeats a trick at multiple spots it gets a tad boring and mundane, but Bastien's caballerial kickflip is one of those tricks you can watch all day. It helps that he flicks and spins them out super fast and at some of the sickest spots too. And to think that Bastien came out with a legit cab flip front board down a handrail 10 years ago is phenomenal, especially when Nyjah's version was close to ending one of the heaviest video parts of all time.
But even with those two stand out video parts from this week, Grant Taylor's "cruising" welcome video for Antihero - a pretty big skate news announcement in itself as I'm still hoping AWS keeps it together - was my pick for this week. Normally I don't find tranny skating that entertaining (possibly because it always looks way too flowy and easy) but there's something about Grant Taylor that defies the laws of motion. He has a raw natural ability to boost higher, grind longer, and pump faster than just about every other skater I've seen. This intro video to Antihero looked as if he could pull it together with just some chill sessions with the squad, yet the footage is super gnarly. He glides around bowls like nothing and strings lines of tricks together because he has so many good ones down pat. Watching him skate and witnessing his ease and control with the board is certainly a pleasure.

In other news...
-Even though I'm skeptical about the legitimacy of everything being first try despite what my friend Pat says, Shane O'Neill's tricks at the Berrics for New Years are insane, park footage or not. Only Shane...and I cannot wait for his upcoming Thrasher part!!
-Though it'll be taken down soon, Tom Karangelov impresses everyone with his first full length legit part from Cold War. Great style, great eye for spots, and pulling off the Heath look certainly helps too.
-I don't normally post year-end montages but when I do, they are super gnarly and get you psyched to skate like no other montage. It's been a Hell of a Year over at Thrasher.
-Anton Myhrvold comes through with a really smooth part through Globe and Kingpin with some pretty incredible switch skating.
-A bunch of teams put out montages every month or so but they usually feel like filler, throwaway, or just more decent footage that adds to the entropy of the internet. But there's something about the crew at Stereo that stands out - editing, style, I'm not sure exactly - and they came through with a tight edit from some of their riders.
-The underratedly stacked team at DVS mixed with the beautiful East Coast spots in NYC? A combination worth a few view for sure with DVS's Trippin through The Big Apple.

UPDATE: Also forgot to point out that DGK's full length video Parental Advisory is now out online, for all those that weren't able to catch it around Christmas last year.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Flow Bros to Blow Up #1: Nick Tucker

It would be modest to say that it's surprising to see Nick Tucker not even be am for a board company after all these years. He was basically part of, if not at the forefront of, the same crew in Sk8mafia that went pro a couple years ago, and that announcement itself was long overdue for those dudes. Whatever happened between Sk8mafia and Nick is still not clear to me, but apparently it was enough to thoroughly cut out Nick from the crew and set him back a few years. It's cool to see that it seems to be water under the bridge though as Kellen and Nick can still chill. What's even weirder is that he seems like a totally rad person too, so I can't imagine what had transpired. Regardless, after already being on a solid track to professionalism, Nick's status in the industry took a wild turn and he's had to put in work ever since.
I first found out about Nick through his FKD Park Project feature, which was instantly my favorite of the series. Even about a half decade ago he had the illest style (look at that boosted nollie heel over the hip!) and some craziest tricks like his now signature naturally boned nollie inward heel. After seeing this I looked more into Nick's footage and came across his Sk8mafia Am Video part, which continued that steezy style with a sweet display of his tech manual and ledge combos along with a nice mix of fliptricks down some large stair sets. 
After those first two glimpses into Nick's skating, I knew enough to be psyched when he got Recruited at the Berrics. Expanding his bag of tricks, he comes through with some nice surprises like a nollie front foot late flip (when it was still a video-game-hard kind of trick and not something every kid can do at the skatepark like now), an inward heel manual impossible out (which will be eternally crazy), and one of the first nollie big spin inward heelflips I think I ever saw. These last three videos from Nick were all released some time around 2009 and already stirred up quite the conversation about him going pro.
At some point on the timeline there was the divergence with Sk8mafia, but Nick stayed relevant in the industry by being welcomed to Grizzly and coming out with this Diamond commercial. Now basically fully grown, every single clip in these two commercials without exaggeration has something remarkable about it. From super stylish fliptricks to really tech ledge combos made to look simple, from bigger flips and boned inward heels to a couple full 360 ollie flips, and then to the first late front foot flip out of a crooked grind that I think I ever saw. Nick was progressing skateboarding on his own at this point through "secondary" sponsor commercials. Not something your standard am can do too easily. 
Then just this past year, Primitive Apparel dropped their full video, Pain is Beauty, with Nick getting the curtains (above). When I watch skate videos, I will definitely remember the tricks that jump out of the norm to warrant multiple viewings. Late flips, double flips, etc. all do that job, and Nick includes plenty of those in this part to keep you on the edge of your seat. But it's more than that. He comes through with new tricks for his bag (gap to switch 5-0 and switch backside flip over the bump to bar were cool to see from Nick) to show personal progress, a quality everyone wants to see out of their favorite skaters. And then throw in a one-of-a-kind style, arguably one of the best in skateboarding, and you have yourself a super enjoyable and memorable part.
And then there's the fact that he still isn't officially am for any team yet that is a shocking jump back to reality. He's had plenty of sessions with the Expedition team to at least be considered "flow" for them, and this has been going on for a considerable time by now so that's grounded pretty well. But I've never seen an official welcome for Nick to Expedition and he isn't even listed on their roster on Facebook. (Wow, roster sounds way too much like a sport now...ugh.) It's a really weird situation.
Nick already skates with a sense of professionalism already, a mastery of his fliptricks and board control that truly represent his good number of years skateboarding and coming up. Plus, being able to switch inward heel jaw-droppingly beautifully second try down a pretty large set is way too worthy to be flow for much longer. From his Full-Clip Friday, we know he's been skating this year and even improving: better consistency, more pop, flawless trick execution, and still somehow coming up with new tricks. With that as just park footage, and coming off of a good 9 months or so since Pain is Beauty, Nick's bound to have some footage in store for 2014. And since he's been consistently skating with Expedition in 2013, it only makes sense that he will finally get his official blow up in 2014. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Flow Bros to Blow Up #2: Chris Joslin

Chris Joslin is undeniably good at skateboarding. You knew he had a sweet assortment of fliptricks down stairs already with his Bang Yo Self entry from a couple years back. And then early this year he had a very memorable section in the Bones team montage for New Ground that made its way around the web. Big spinning the well-known triple-5-set and backside 360 kickflipping down Rincon will definitely go down in the spot bibles for skating, but also should put Chris on everyone's radar with his ability to shut down famous spots with heavy tricks. Then this summer you saw Chris unleash his huge bag of tricks at the Berrics through the Distreeto/Ground Control shared United Nations and his own personal Recruit. A serious dosage of seemingly endless fliptricks provides some solid entertainment for the eyes and makes you wonder how good he probably is at flatground.
And then there is his footage-filled Ground Control part (above). Though the repetitive editing techniques can get somewhat annoying when it comes to the full experience of watching the part, Chris's skill and variety definitely stand out. The spot diversity from this part also helps enhance Chris's status as not solely a gap skater, but there are of course plenty of awesome gap fliptricks that really steal the show. Utilizing all stances (except fakie I guess, but that's nitpicking a bit), a healthy mix of heelflips, shove its, kickflips, and spinning tricks, and never ceasing to land cleanly, the many great clips are on par with the ams and pros of today.
After coming through with all this great footage the past year and a half or so, it only makes sense that Chris has been seen with the Plan B squad, who's known for breeding skate rats like this with bangin footage. These clips give me the feeling that he is another footage machine and can easily churn out some more heavy bangers for 2014. And my prediction is that with the release of the now-mythical, long-awaited Plan B video, Chris will start off the video with an unlisted "surprise" introductory part, similar to Jeremy Leabres in Emerica's Made. I hope I'm right because I think it would be the perfect time for Chris to step up from flow to the official team at Plan B.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Flow Bros to Blow Up #3: CJ Tambornino

I'm going to try to keep this post short because loads of time will needed to be dedicated to just wrapping your head around some, or actually most of the tricks that CJ Tambornino somehow pulls out. His fliptrickery level is quite possibly one of the most elaborate in all of skateboarding, so the fact that he is still flow is mindboggling. But to be fair, getting boards from Almost does seem pretty fitting because he is definitely setting his own standards for creativity and uniqueness in skateboarding. Some guys just have absolutely ridiculous, can't-even-be-done-in-video-games kind of tricks, but to be able to do those tricks with a really fun looking style (and still be able to NO COMPLY OVER A PICNIC TABLE - see Almost's 5-Incher video in full below) is just not fair. NBD's coming everywhere, it's much easier to list CJ's parts and some clips and let you explore the technical wizardry that ensues:
-Boondoggle, where a switch backside big spin inward heelflip (for lack of an easier name) may be the nuttiest trick. Compared to his later parts, this one is really quite subdued but still tops loads of tech video parts today and includes some pretty cool spots as well.
-Flow Trash (above), CJ's wildest full length part for sure
-Bangin, where it becomes super challenging to even name or decipher the tricks he does
-5-Incher, CJ's insanity starting at 18:06

I'd also like to point out that amidst all of his switch/nollie, double/triple flips, and inward big spinning craziness, CJ's standard tricks are also on point. He's really on a completely different level so I wouldn't be surprised if in 2014 he comes out with his full introductory part to Almost.

And for a nice visual shocker, there's this:

Flow Bros to Blow Up #4: Brandon Del Bianco

Brandon Del Bianco has been "associated" with Element for quite some time it seems. Maybe it's the whole Canadian thing, I don't know, but I know that he deserves some legit recognition by now. For one thing, Brandon's really good. His trick selection is super tight, as you can see by his Bangin at the Berrics alone: a good mix of kickflips, heelflips, different grinds, and all the stances. Brandon's segment from Minor Media's United Nations continues to show his varied and flavorful bag of tricks, with that switch inward heel and fakie ollie switch smith both jumping out of the norm and his ender nollie cab flip off the bump still blowing my mind. You can already see Brandon's super unique and rather clean style from these clips, but one of the first experiences I had was watching his Mag Minute (above). Again, tons of variety with his clips (from huge gaps to tech ledge tricks to handrails to fluid lines), a terrific usage of spots, and a fun style to go along with it. I want to emphasize this because his final switch backside flip, down a considerably big gap, is caught unlike anything I've seen before. His back foot is boned out a bit away from the board and then just swings around with the rest of his rotation to put down the board on the ground. And it's not like that swinging motion results in a heavy stomp on the landing, but Brandon does all this and still lands lighter than a feather. And this was all 3 years ago.
Then there's a few full length parts from Brandon. A straight up solid part in Oskar Material starting at 14:55. The Prodrone Promo continues the expansion of his bag of tricks. The nollie pop shove it nose manual near the end looks like one of the scariest things ever. And Brandon's Slub Bucks part, though somewhat lengthily shared, includes some more heavy bangers and really cool tricks, just like any of his parts really. And his ender nollie cab flip might just be one of the best ones of all time.
This dude is extremely versatile and has a style all to his own. I really don't know why he hasn't blown up yet. I know Element is a decently selective brand, but still, when a guy skates as well as Brandon he deserves some full on sponsorship. So I think, after his fairly consistent output of footage over the past years, 2014 will be a good one for Brandon, assuming he's been stacking more sick footage since his last couple parts. After roughly two years since his last big part (from what I've tracked anyway) it's about that time for his big blow up part with Element.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Flow Bros to Blow Up #5: Ryan Pearce

Ryan Pearce has been around for a good minute. I think I learned about him through Sean Malto and their ties with Escapist Skateshop out in KC. I've seen relatively well-recognized footage of Ryan stretch back to 2008, so it's still somewhat surprising that he hasn't broken out into the skate industry. I refuse to believe that he's fallen off the map entirely over the past 5 years, especially since the Berrics has shown faith and interest in him and because he went touring with Etnies as well to come out with some pretty sick tricks all last year. With Malto's recent gruesome injury, maybe the stars will align at Escapist (since one of their stars is momentarily gone) and will give rise to Ryan's breakthrough in the skate industry. Could just be based off a weird gut feeling and the fact that I want to see more of his skating in the future, but I'm still keeping my fingers crossed on this one. I've seen signs that he was flow for Enjoi and even Roger skateboards, but I'd say just about anything is possible for Ryan next year in terms of going am for a team.
Now why do I think Ryan Pearce should blow up next year? Well, looking at his older Video Check Out from Transworld alone, you can tell he's got some casual but sick manual tricks, a nice flip trick selection (from the opening blizzard flip and contorting the switch backside flip at 0:46), and a very easy-on-the-eyes style. But what is likely remembered by most people about Ryan is his 14 Deep part (above). It's hard to write up an analysis of the part because as I rewatched it a few times, Ryan's bag of tricks just kept growing and growing as the part got better and gnarlier. His skill is without a doubt apparent when you watch this part, but the energy that comes with the crescendoing heaviness from every clip is so much more thrilling than watching most parts these days. Even by today's standard, considering the part is a few years old, the tricks are still really sick and Ryan's style makes them so much better. And the final nollie backside flip with the cop ready to give out tickets is simply priceless. If he's been shredding these past years and just holding back on the public, I can only imagine what he's been able to do by now. I just hope 2014 will finally let everyone know.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Next Week: Flow Bros to Blow Up in 2014

As 2013 is coming to an end, I think it's fitting to bring out some names that I think will get, or at least should get, some major coverage next year. We saw a lot of dudes come out of nowhere and get sponsored this past year, engraving themselves in our skate radar. And I see no reason why there can be some big step ups in sponsorships this year. I'm looking to see these dudes merely associated with some brands actually get the full welcome video to officially become am, a sign that a "career" in skateboarding is assured. It can be somewhat of a weird category to place people in because of their skating level, their time in the industry's spotlight, and how their sponsors have worked out, but nonetheless I feel the need to mention the 5 guys this week.
High Fives all around for a good 2013 and some more shredding in 2014!