Saturday, June 28, 2014

Video of the Week: Davis Torgerson's Ticket to Ride - Going Pro Part

I'd been saying for a while that Davis REALly needed to go pro and this week it was finally commemorated! This pro part is exactly what was needed to showcase Davis's awesome style, his comfort when going fast in every clip, his impressive pop (that switch heel!), and his spot creativity. What I mean by that is that Davis utilizes his skills to make spots his own. Examples include that front blunt pop up to front nose at 1:41, the switch pole jam lipslide at 2:03 (who actually hits that spot switch?), the ride-on pole jam 50-50 over the kinks at 2:37 when he even bones an ollie out over the end, and the insane couple of mid-bank ollies - both regs and switch - at 2:50. I was probably more thrilled at display of control for those two dangerous ollies than the actual flip tricks over the hips. Anyway, Davis rips and always comes through with fun-to-watch, quality parts like this. Congrats!

In other skate news:
-Brodie Penrod is extremely talented and makes every session look like a blast.
-The Subway Skating section from Tengu: God of Mischief is an instant classic, especially with the historic subway track ollie.
-Daryl Dominguez's Excursion part through various parts of England is an absolute pleasure to watch.
-Callum Paul is PassPort's first pro and celebrates the occasion with some fun shredding down under.
-Nyjah Huston is really really good. He never stops getting bangers, as seen through his Subject part, his First Tryday is hard not to smile through, and the OG Edit to his last epic part was even dropped for a good reminder.
-Bryan Schaefer is On the Radar with a new part that adds to the UNM spot posts from last week. Check out the sweet line at UNM at 1:25!
-5Boro went to Paris. They have one of the sickest teams and their own entertaining take on skating through Paris. Plus, Jordan Trahan is a boss.
-Sam Beckett, Jake Brown, Pierre-Luc Gagnon, and Alex Perelson skate the Monster Vert Ramp and remind us that vert skating is alive and kicking ferociously.
-The Organika Trail Tour is a jovial take on how Josh Matthews put together his part from last week. I really like how the Organika team is looking so this welcoming trip was nice to see.
-Skate House by Chris Whitaker started off a little questionable for me but once Chris Colbourn, Cody Hale, and Jordan Maxham came on with some great skating, it really becomes a great video overall.
-Fourstar releases an Anthology that shows why it's one of the greatest companies in skateboarding, not just for its unreal team lineup, but because of how much fun they have on every tour.

Friday, June 27, 2014

UNM Spot #1: Center of the Universe Gap

Center of the Universe Gap, exit pathway

The Center of the Universe is a decently traversed area by most UNM campus travelers. It's a simple design that's aesthetically pleasing and a nice little tunnel for anyone walking or riding bikes on through. Now if you're riding a skateboard, there's a giant grate right in the intersection of the structure that I'm pretty sure only longboard wheels can roll over. The chimney-like part of this structure allows light to shine right on down to this grate, highlighting the exact gap for skaters to fly over. One day while cruising around the campus, I was lucky enough to run into not only Clive Dixon and Clint Walker (and homies) from the Fully Torqued RV Tour but also some of the Emerica crew: Jon Miner, Spanky, Jerry, and The Boss himself. I was fortunate enough to witness Reynolds skate this gap and realized on the spot exactly why he got his nickname. Without spoiling the trick (just wait for Made Chapter 2!), he took 2 or 3 tries to land one and after checking the footage with Miner, landed another one just for perfection in another easy 2 tries. Handled only like The Boss could. Let's just say I was too stoked for words.

Now apart from Andrew's trick here, and some of that day's crew just ollieing over the gap for fun, I've only really seen one other trick at this spot while randomly browsing Instagram. Major props to the dude for the sick last-minute-before-darkness hardflip!

The spot itself has plenty of room to run-up, at least in one direction. (It was really awesome watching Reynolds start running with his board in his right hand and then throw down regular and take a few pushes. But no more details!) You can start by the scenic Duck Pond on campus, get a running start, and still have time for a few more solid pushes before entering the structure. You can also see the brick tiles that line the exit pathway; this is not worth trying to push on because you need as much speed and leg energy as you can get for this lengthy gap. And going in the other direction does not offer much of a runway either, though it may be feasible.

The run-up surface itself is quite perfect really. Nothing at all to worry about there.

Now to the gap.  The next two photos should hopefully show the length of the grate, compared to the length of my board (32"). It's always bigger in person too but this one's still quite a doozy in pictures. Like I said earlier, you need a lot of speed to clear this.

Another cool thing about this gap is that it's visible on Google Maps pretty clearly! The plus-shape of the structure isn't too hard to find, though just in case I pinned it here on the map. And what's even better is that it's right next to two other sick UNM spots too!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

UNM Spot #2: Nuclear Engineering Hubba

Rowan Zorilla, Barley grind 
The latest Baker ad I found in The Skateboard Mag issue 123 came with pretty awesome timing for this blog post, along with the release of Shep Dawgs Vol 4.  Most recently at the Nuclear Engineering Hubba, we have Rowan Zorilla, Baker's newest am, nicely adding to the spot's trick list with this sick Barley grind. The trick also happens to be his Shep Dawgs ender.  A Barley grind doesn't seem like the craziest of tricks to end a part with, but when you take it to a tall hubba like this, the ante is upped considerably.  Not too long ago there was also Leo Romero's kickflip front board at this hubba as seen in Made Chapter 1. (I didn't see the trick in his B-Sides so here's the clip straight from the epic Emerica video itself. Sorry Emerica, had to.) 
For what I believe is the only fliptrick onto this spot, Leo knee bending when both getting on the ledge and riding away helps show the height to this hubba, and the gnarliness of the trick in general. Then there's Albuquerque's finest, Daniel Lutheran, nailing two tricks at this spot in his Brainwash part below. With only a gnarly 5-0 grind in between the clips, Daniel effortlessly pulls a 180 nosegrind at 1:19 and then follows up with a sweet back overcrook at 1:27 (in a mini-line nonetheless!)

Again, please comment if I've missed any important tricks at this Nuclear Engineering Hubba. And refer to the picture below for my reasoning behind this spot's name.

The 10-stair itself is a pretty long gap. I'm not too surprised I haven't seen any fliptricks down the stairs, not only because of the limited run-up and long set, but because you don't go to the Bahamas to go skiing, if you're picking up what I'm throwing down.

 Now you can kind of see how far the run-up actually is in the picture above, as it extends just about to the doors to the building. But what's also noteworthy is the brief rough patch on your way to the ledge. There's easily enough space after the patch to get ready to pop, so as long as it's not a mental roadblock then it's really no big deal. The rest of the run up is as smooth as can be. And of course there's the classic sign trying to deter us from the spot. I give UNM credit for its placement though.

 Like I mentioned before, this hubba is tall. The handrail that runs down its side is probably close to the ideal height you'd wanna ride for most grinds. But that extra foot up makes quite the difference. You can really tell how the skaters need to pop up and out to ride this thing from watching the 4 aforementioned tricks. Even just the drop off at the end of the ledge seems daunting.

The ledge itself has definitely been waxed and grinded down pretty well before, so there shouldn't be too much forcing going on here. Though, as I'm not one to really grind hubbas like this, I really can't say as an expert.  

And just a couple more pictures to get a feel for the spot. 

And of course for the spot-searchers! This spot is in the SouthWest corner of the Central UNM campus within the group of engineering buildings. There's even a basketball hoop nearby randomly if you and the homies need to let off some steam from the session or something.

UPDATE: Upon rewatching A Happy Medium 2, it turns out Tyler Franz does in fact skate the stairs themselves and not the hubba. His half cab flip goes to show that once you see a spot in person it becomes instantly recognizable in almost every video you watch thereafter. 
UPDATE 2: Just as Taylor Smith goes pro for Foundation, coming off of two sick parts with Shep Dawgs Vol 4 and Tee-Hee, he was interviewed by Thrasher to show us this gnarly and super tall back tail down this very special spot. 
UPDATE 3: As Blake Carpenter goes pro for Toy Machine, he unleashes another crazy trick on this spot that looks way too easy when he does it: heelflip noseslide.
UPDATE 4: Nike released some unseen footage from filming during Chronicles 2, and Justin Brock gets a smooth front noseslide down the hubba.
UPDATE 5: Never noticed in my earlier days that Caswell Berry back smithed this hubba back in 2007 in his Feed the Need part.
UPDATE 6: Jordan Maxham gets weird and creative while keeping the gnar level high with whatever you would call this combo grind of a willy and a 5-0 seen in The Skateboard Mag 147. So psyched that he's finally pro and for his Sun Machine part!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

UNM Spot #3: Angled 8-Stair Rail

Daniel Lutheran, switch heelflip. Ph: Anthony Acosta
Now this 8-stair angled rail was the only spot from Albuquerque that I actually knew about. (I had no idea about UNM until this summer though.) I remember seeing Daniel Lutheran's New Jack interview in The Skateboard Mag a while back which included a photo of a 360 flip over this very rail. There was something about going over a rail for me at that time that was extremely appealing, so the trick stuck in my memory. The trick later appeared in Daniel's Mag Minute, again instantly sticking out to me as the Albuquerque spot. Since the Lutheran family is from Albuquerque, it makes sense that Daniel can consider this a local spot. And at local spot, you can get multiple tricks. So a bit later, Daniel comes through with a buttery switch heelflip (photo from The Skateboard Mag's Contenders Interview) that appears in his Brainwash part.

With Daniel and the Lutherans as the Albuquerque tour guides, there've been some solid posses coming through the city over the years. On one such visit, Jamie Tancowny came through and landed a pair of tricks himself as he was filming for Stay Gold. First a frontside pop shove it and then an upgrade to the varial heelflip (photo below by Anthony Acosta).

Jamie Tancowny, varial heelflip. Ph: Anthony Acosta

These are the only 4 tricks I know that have gone down at this spot, but please comment below if there are any I missed!

The spot itself is pretty awesome for someone craving some jumping. The set itself is a pretty sizeable 8-stair with decent height and probably slightly longer than a standard 8-stair.

The rail is knobbed obtrusively enough so there's no real chance at an angled grind, except maybe for the adventurous and clinically insane.

 But it is placed at a pretty ideal angle for popping tricks over.

There's enough room for run-up, but a little turning to get the right launching angle is needed. It's beneficial in this case to approach with the proper carve to go over the angled rail. And there's the standard crack at the very top stair, so a trick would probably have to be popped about 6 inches before the top stair.

Overall, with really nice ground to ride up with and land on, the spot is a must visit for anyone in the UNM area. If you have the testicular fortitude to chase a trick or two at this spot, there are definitely a few opportunities here!

And the guide for the spot-hunters: (If you go up the stairs at this spot and skate along to the right, you'll end up right at Johnny Layton's Wallride Spot. How sick is that?!)

UPDATE: Looks like Josh Hawkins also wanted some of that varial heelflip action over the rail, as seen in his latest Happy Medium 3 part.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

UNM Spot #4: Johnny Layton's Wallride Spot

Johnny Layton is the only guy I know of with a trick at this wallride spot. Based on the scuff marks, I'm sure there are plenty of others who have tried to boost themselves up this barrier. I've even heard rumor of someone completely wallieing over the top of this spot to the other side. Now Johnny's wallie boardslide is already quite the chore just to get your body up on top of this wall, hold the slide out to the end, and avoid the pillar in the landing as well. But a straight wallie over the top would be utterly insane! Check out Johnny's trick at 0:23 in his Brainwash part here:

The run-up is pretty solid. For most tricks at this spot you'd want to carve in from the left anyway, so you'll be avoiding the rougher ground taking up the space in front. 

Now what's hard for me to believe is how anyone can use the very minimal transition at the bottom of the wall to actually ride up about 4 feet to the top. It's very steep to work with so I give tons of respect to guys like J-Lay who can push their board and body on up to the top. 

For all the UNM spot-searchers out there, here's its location. The run-up for this spot also leads to another probably-more-recognized spot that will be featured tomorrow!

Monday, June 23, 2014

UNM Spot #5: E&S Computer Pod Out-Sign

Andrew Lutheran, frontside feeble. Ph: Ben Karpinski

First of all, I honestly have no clue if this spot already has a name or if anything else noteworthy has been done on it. That being said, I'm sure some locals have gotten tricks here before; I've certainly been looking to man up and boardslide the thing soon. But this photo of one of Albuquerque's hometown heroes, Andrew Lutheran, certainly solidifies this spot for skateboarding documentation. Perfect front feeble execution at a not-so-perfect spot.

Now the run-up, pictured below, is definitely rideable but also a potential challenge. I'd highly recommend to use bigger wheels here. You can kind of see the roughness in the picture. It's the kind of surface that will rattle the board nicely, and possibly even your feet. Again, definitely manageable if you get off to a strong couple of pushes, but nowhere near ideal.

The landing is pretty similar, even slightly worse than the run-up. The same rough ground is present at the bottom of the sign, but the cracks between the tiles aren't filled like above. Again, definitely manageable but be prepared to power through the rollaway and take some time to get used to the surfaces.

The sign itself is roughly 2 feet high, which is a very solid height for any ledge or rail. It begins far back enough that you don't have to worry about the edge of the stairs at all, assuming you begin your grind/slide at the start of the sign. And it extends right to the edge of the last stair, so sliding/grinding off the end of a relatively casual drop isn't too bad either. Though personally, getting to commit to a drop even like this will be the hard part. Oh, and the last time I checked it out, there may have been some very slight sticking potential on the sign itself, but nothing a smidge of wax can't help. And I say that loosely because the smooth metal is really quite alright to work with as is.

The photo of Andrew Lutheran captures pretty much all of the spots glory, so I'm not bothering to include any redundant pictures. But for the sake of the spot-searchers in the area, feel free to checkout the spot pinned below. It's right in the engineering building area of the SouthWest part of the UNM campus, near Central and University.  For an out-rail as clean as this one at such a solid drop-off height for almost any skater, working through the run-up and landing is definitely worth it for a trick on this gem. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Next Week: University of New Mexico Spots

Living on the UNM campus for the summer, I'm starting to realize that Albuquerque has a really good deal of skate spots to offer. Now I'm nowhere remotely close to being an expert, but I've already looked at some well skated ditches and stair sets in the city where I can name a trick from someone's video part. But this week, I want to dedicate to the skate spots strictly on campus at UNM. For a campus that has undergone some discussion about skateboarding policies and one that actually has loads of skatestoppers all around (luckily some guys got theirs before the stoppers were implemented), there are still a bunch of spots to skate. And that doesn't even account for a great environment just to cruise around or even a buttery parking deck to bomb in the evenings. I'm still finding new spots just about every day, like the pretty fun Horseshoe spot for example, while other guys are hucking themselves down the many stairs and drops on campus. I've probably seen many more UNM spots in videos throughout the years that I never realized, simply because I had never been to New Mexico before. But seeing these spots in person now allows me to make some connections to the pros that have skated these spots in their video parts. Stay tuned throughout the week for my High Five in UNM skate spots that have been skated by the industry's best!

UPDATE: After watching Squints Mag Minute assault, I noticed two more spots right on campus that looked completely unskateable...until now. The gap out past the rail to 50-50 (1:33) on the enormous out ledge by the UNM Student Union is ridiculous. Then the taildrop 50-50 at about 2:01 is insane out-of-the-box thinking for a spot right by the Center of the Universe gap. Great work Squints!

Video of Last Week: Phil Zwijsen - Tokyo Days

It seems like Thrasher comes out with at least one pretty memorable video every week, and last week was no different. Phil Zwijsen's "Tokyo Days" is a fairly short, concise feature that was tricky to weigh in against the much appreciated pair of full lengths that also dropped this week (mentioned below). Mixing in the gritty, old-school black and white feel with only the rough sounds of the street to listen to, Phil shows raw skating at its finest and really makes you want to go fly around on any terrain. Skating fast always helps, and when you're hippy jumping or no complying or launching out of some oververt at full speed, the gnarliness is simply too appealing to look away. Keep ripping Phil!

Also special shoutouts to Active Army's Where Is It?! and Darien Brown's "InTransit" full lengths that also were somewhat released online this week. The whole Active Army seriously shreds, and the annoying company they found on the streets discouraging their tricks made for some humorous moments outside of the comradery and ripping skating. I was thoroughly pleased and surprised to see a full part from Vincent Luevanos, whom I hadn't really seen much since a part for Element back in the day with. But that part has always stuck out to me for his sick bag of gap fliptricks and ridiculous spread eagle / one-foot catches. It's nice to see he's still skating that huge rooftop gap as well. Along with the Active video were 4 parts from InTransit released by Transworld: opener Steven BanDemarquis McDanielsAustin Flood, and ender Billy Davenport. After seeing these parts, I'm definitely copping the DVD to support such sweet skating, editing, and a great crew. I can't believe Billy one-upped himself at the bench-before-stairs spot, and Transworld's description of his "folkloric" ender is spot on.

In other skate news:
-Thrasher released parts by Lert Saeri and Geng Jakkarin from "Sawatdee", which showcases the talent and spots in Thailand in a pretty refreshing way.
-Josh Matthews is welcomed to Organika with a sick part full of pretty impressive and super smooth skating, and TWS coincides by releasing his Perpetual Motion part as well.
-Mathias Torres skates Santiago, Chile for a casually gnarly video part. Seeing him gradually set up, eyes on the barrier ahead, after the hill bomb around 2:05 to launch a mach-10 ollie over it is so exhilarating to watch.
-Tom Day is welcomed to Huf UK. Huf has been gathering a really tight team and watching anyone skate in England is pretty entertaining, so this is quite the match.
-I don't usually post contest stuff, but Tom Knox's Nike SB London run is utterly insane. Missing only 3 tricks in 5 mins?! Jeeeeez...
-The Am Transmission by TWS is quite the amalgamation of most of the top ams out today. A tight lineup like that with the expected great skating makes for a solid video.
-Alien Workshop's portion from The Cinematographer Project by the humble Benny Maglinao was my absolute favorite from the video (it was the ender after all) and works as a well-timed tribute to the iconic company.
-I also don't usually post trailers, but the one for Fun While It Lasted out of Portland comes with super rad vibes and pretty awesome skating already, featuring Dane Brady, Sebo Walker, Brian Baca, Mark Gutterman, and Willis Kimbel. So psyched on Dane lately.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Best of BATB

After finally getting through all of the battles from the past 7 years of BATB, here are my top 5 favorite battles:
(Coming so late in the week, it felt more appropriate to consolidate the High Five into one post.)

5. BATB 6 Round 2 - Morgan Smith vs. Eric Koston

Koston's T-to-nothing comeback is amazing. Everyone knows that Eric is always pretty light-hearted when it comes to his skating, never taking things too seriously, while still being one of the best skaters alive. So messing up 4 tricks that you know he has is not the most uplifting for the viewers. But for the same reason he missed those, you can never count him out just because he's always got surprises. After Morgan also misses a couple of unlucky ones, Koston pulls out the half cab late shove and switch laser to change the game to sudden death. Soon after that there's a string of tricks by Morgan (starting with a nollie big heel) that could get anyone out. But Koston matches every single one of them, all while the game is at T-T. Along with The Chief's reactions, this is the portion of the game that builds the excitement to make the game so great. When Koston messes up the first fakie big heel and says, "Hold on, I can finish that," you know he's found his groove at this point. A missed frontside cab heel by Morgan and a fakie laser by Koston later, and the crazy game comes to a finish.

4. BATB 1 Semifinals - Mike Mo Capaldi vs. Billy Marks

I first started checking out the Berrics sometime either in Round 2 or 3 of BATB1. By the time Finals night rolled around, I was already checking the site daily and keeping up with everything to do with BATB. At the time, this battle was absolutely unreal to watch, and it's still pretty nutty today. Seeing Billy match the fakie bigger flip, the cab big flip, and the nollie laser (flawlessly) was not expected 7 years ago. And also watching Billy find out Mo's multiple flip weakness (though Mo was so close on that triple flip!) and pulling out the old school half heel late back foot flip was pretty bonkers. At the end when it was T-T, seeing the nollie back heel 360 as a finisher was certainly crazy, but seeing Billy come so close and just slip out on the trick was even harder to believe. Needless to say, this game holds a beloved place in the top battles of BATB history. 

The concept of Pros vs. Joes alone was pretty intriguing, especially to see how these Joes could handle the pressure of a broadcasted and heavily watched game of skate. It's pretty clear that there are tons of "Joes" out there with the tricks to take down any pro, but to bring them to a stage like The Berrics is a whole different story. Enter Cody Cepeda. From the moment he opened up the whole contest for the interweb playing Trent McClung, it was pretty easy to tell that he had nerves of steel and a determination like no other. Of course he has all the "basic" tricks too, which he brought out later in defeating Shane and Tom, but he has double/triple flip variations for days along with some other flatground bangers as well. So when he led the underdog story to the Championship at BATB7, it was truly a sight to behold. Whether it was the live webcast and stoked crowd, the touching dedication to the Romano family, having his Recruit premiere just before the final match, or the fact that he shutout Luan Oliveira, everything contributed to the breathtaking vibes of that special Championship battle. And it's not just Cody's whole story that made this such a memorable battle, the skating was sick too! I doubt anyone expected Luan to match all those double flip variations that Cody threw at him. It's hard not to explode in joy just like the crowd when Luan somehow pulled out the pressure heelflip and the nollie back double heel to keep the game going. Even Cody was super stoked to see that! But in the end, there can only be one winner...

2. BATB 6 Championship -  PJ Ladd vs. Paul Rodriguez 

What can I say about this game? It's super long, always good. It covers almost all the "basic" tricks you can think of, always good. It has some pretty epic matched tricks, always good. It's just straight up one of the most solid games in every which way. Being handled by two teammates to decide the winner between Regular vs. Goofy also helps make the occasion precious. Then throw in the fact that these two met in the BATB3 Championship as well, where P-Rod got PJ on tricks like the big spin heelflip, the laser flip, and the nollie late front foot flip to win the game. What makes this game so epic is that PJ matches those with no problem here, along with some of P-Rod's new ones like a frontside nollie double kickflip. But P-Rod's varial double heelflip? Now that's a sure letter and a pretty insane trick when you think about it. (Props to Chris Chann for knocking out Chris Cole with the switch version of the trick!) On the other side, P-Rod matches some of PJ's crazy tricks like the 540 flip, the frontside cab heelflip (with pop!), and especially the the fakie 540 flip on the second try to keep the game alive. That moment is a pretty definitive feeling of elation for watching a spectacular match. After P-Rod tries to make history and finish the game with a backside nollie late front foot flip, PJ seals the deal with fakie big spin inward heelflip. All in all, just an incredible battle.

1. BATB 6 Round 3 - Moose vs. PJ Ladd

Just like the BATB 6 Championship, this is a long game filled with all the basic tricks and even some miraculous ones as well. Now there are a few reasons why this game is my favorite one ever. First of all, it's pretty comical how Moose got letters on the 4 inward heelflips and a fakie big spin inward heel. Moose landed just about every other trick possible in the game, so it's very interesting to see his very concise weakness. But it's nearly impossible to be mad at that because of how the rest of the game plays out. Secondly, the frontside heelflip 360. The trick alone is worth so much to the BATB. Not only am I pretty sure that it was the only one ever done in BATB, but it was done against PJ Ladd himself. That's like trying to get The Boss a letter on a frontside flip or Jason Lee on a 360 flip. And lastly, what I'd like to call the caballerial section starting around 3:42 in the above video. While the front heel 360 is included in here, here are the tricks Moose sets: cab double flip, cab big spin, fakie bigger flip, cab big flip, nollie big flip, nollie bigger flip, nollie double heelflip, frontside cab kickflip, nollie back heel 360, and a little bit later a triple kickflip. PJ LANDS THEM ALL. And even after that, Moose matches PJ on a cab heelflip while on the brink of elimination. These are the gnarliest tricks in a game of skate, done back to back to back by both dudes. If that doesn't warrant this game getting praise for decades to come, I don't know what would. 

Best of BATB: Honorable Mention

It's so hard to create a High Five for all of the BATB games, so I had no choice but to create a list of battles worthy of Honorable Mention.

For starters, here are just some of my favorite moments from all the battles:
-Chris Roberts vs. Steve Berra in BATB1: Mikey and Eric as the siamese refs with some priceless opening theatrics
-Peter Ramondetta vs. Cory Kennedy in BATB2: Peter nailing two of Cory's absurd tricks to stay alive
-Cory Kennedy vs. Torey Pudwill in BATB2 for 3rd place: Cory easily had the most cutting edge group of 5 circus tricks to sweep Torey (fs nollie late flip, nollie heel spinout, switch backside double flip, triple flip, nollie big flip 360), but Torey came ridiculously close to them all and even landed the other super hard ones in between
-Felipe Gustavo vs. Jimmy Carlin in BATB4: Felipe's insane steeze will always be remembered
-Dennis Busenitz vs. Eric Koston in BATB4: Dennis's reaction to fakie inward heel is great, then proceeds to do it like it's nothing
-Torey Pudwill vs. Luan Oliveira in BATB4: without a doubt the most POPular game ever. Geoff says it at the start, "...must pop his trick. I don't think these guys are gonna have that problem."
-Davis Torgerson's surprise come up in BATB 4 against SewaShane, and Ronnie won't be forgotten anytime soon.
-Jimmy Carlin's T-to-nothing comeback against Sebo Walker in BATB5, fakie big heels in both directions included, was pretty epic.

Now for just some lengthy, solid overall games of skate, with some haymaker tricks as well:
-Ishod Wair vs. Shane O'Neill in BATB4: seeing Shane nail the switch frontside bigger spin, the switch big heel, and the laser flip (and half cab heel) to stay alive were terrific.
-Tom Asta vs. Alex Mizurov in BATB4: the switch laser match was awesome.
-Morgan Smith vs. Alex Mizurov in BATB: Morgan staying alive (before winning the whole thing) on that backside double flip and nollie back heel 360 after two tries each was pretty awesome
-PJ Ladd vs. Trent McClung  in BATB 5: super long game with Trent somehow staying alive on the nollie bigger flip
-Chris Cole vs. Billy Marks in BATB 5: the triple flip, half heelflip late back foot kickflip, and the 360 underflip were all matched between these two
-Chris Cole vs. Dennis Busenitz in BATB2: Dennis landing the cab big flip, the blizzard flip (with Reda's priceless reaction), and nollie bs flip 360 were sweet, not to mention Cole's nice comeback as well.

And while the Rematch between Koston and Donovan Strain along with the very original pre-BATB game between Koston and Mike Mo are both unsanctioned, they're both legendary games at this point.

Just about every single game from a BATB Finals night has the crowd's bustling energy and some crazy tricks to make it fun to watch, but there are just too many to list. However, I need to give a special recognition to the BATB 2 Finals, Chris Cole vs. Paul Rodriguez. The moment when Chris Cole has his second try on the fakie inward heel and then proceeds to comeback with 3 straight tricks to win just helps to depict his relentlessness and legendary status. And P-Rod's smile after barely missing the back 360 kickflip is a perfect representation of his pure excitement of almost landing a hard trick and his gracious acceptance of defeat in a well-skated championship.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Next Week: Best of BATB

With BATB 7 Finals night just going down on Friday, and the Berrics including a nostalgic and well-placed Top 10 moments in BATB history during the live event, I felt that a High Five of the best battles is due. As of right now, there are certain battles in mind that will definitely make the cut, but I am going through every battle I can (from all 7 BATB) before posting the High Five. So even though I probably won't be posting tomorrow, all I can say is that before the end of the week, there will be 5 posts for the greatest battles from BATB history - and probably some honorable mentions as well.

In the meantime, with a pretty epic Pros vs. Joes concept behind BATB 7, it doesn't hurt to go back through some of this year's battles, especially the recent activity from finals night: Koston vs. Luan, Sewa vs. Cody Cepeda, and the Third Place Battle. Hopefully the final will be permanently posted tomorrow...
UPDATE: ...and it was! Along with some other fun moments from Finals night.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Video of the Week: Ryan Decenzo - Double Down

Friday was a wonderful day in the world of skateboarding. The Battle at the Berrics Finals night went down, live, and boy was it an experience. Seeing everything happen with no editing, just live action, conveys the crowd's energy and skaters' nervous excitement so much more clearly than the usual individual videos of the battles. And it's because of this modified medium of watching the Finals that the whole event was simply spectacular. I legitimately laughed out loud in stoked surprise when Sewa landed Koston's pressure flip, or when Luan miraculously pulled out his pressure heelflip along with some double flip variations to match Cody. The whole night was filled with great moments like these, intertwined with the equally touching and inspiring story of Johnny Romano, along with the unexpected technical insanity that was Cody Cepeda's Recruit part. While you can check The Berrics over the next few days to rewatch most of these features, it's hard to recreate that feeling of watching it all live.

Now to psych everyone up for that wonderful Friday evening was the Video of the Week - Ryan Decenzo's Double Down part - that came out just after noon on Friday. We already know Ryan is a killer on a skateboard from his Hallelujah and Forward Slash parts, so it needs to be recognized and appreciated just how quickly Ryan can churn out these lengthy, extremely gnarly parts. Charging the biggest rails, huge gaps, getting tech-gnar on some famous rails, and redefining how to skate rails with huge drop offs, Ryan impresses in every single clip, without exaggeration. If his trick on a rail seems even on the brink of being relatively simple, he'll be nollie-ing into it to provide that extra challenge. (Cause he really has one of the most insane nollies in the game.) I personally loved the enormous front 360 at 0:56, the big 360 flip lipslide at 3:06 followed by a super sketchy nollie back bluntslide (made to look easy), and then the pair of hammers at 4:23 down and over the steep rail. The whole part is really just an onslaught of gnarly tricks at gnarly spots, and deserves to stay on top of the internet waves for a quite a while before getting swept away in its growing tides.

In other skate news from the week:
Justin Figueroa kinked crooked grind ender from Bake and Destroy, the gnarliest crooked grind ever, is shown uncut with all of the attempts leading up to the epic make. I love raw, uncut footage.
Denzel White's part in Active Ride Shop's "Where Is It?" is super sick! Never heard of him but he is definitely here to stay after a part like this. The one-footed switch front 3 after the craziest roll-in 5-0 are so awesome, and he even has a similar downhill tre flip to Ryan's...doubling down indeed.
Nick Jensen's part in Jacob Harris' Eleventh Hour (highly recommended viewing) is filled with those one of a kind London vibes and the quick-footed precision that Nick is known to provide. The ender's pretty insane too.
Raymond Molinar's Metro Lines part is pretty fun to watch. Always happy with another Raymond part and this night-skating, spot-searching experience is quite enjoyable.
Body of Water is a feature organized by Dave Chami taking Walker Ryan, Dennis Busenitz, Josh Matthews, Joey Pepper, and Nestor Judkins to New Zealand. With a crew like this, good skating is guaranteed.
Shota Kikuchi has a new deck coming out for Consolidated and released this part to go with it. The rough Japanese spots really bring out Shota's raw skating as the part keeps picking up throughout.
Heroin Skateboards worked with The Skateboard Mag last week and introduced both Zack Krull, with a wild and ripping part, along with Joe O'Donnell, who has some quick feet, crazy ideas, loads of board control, and one heck of a nose manual. They also put out a pleasing montage, Egomaniacs Diss, that properly covers a few different skate styles.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Switch 360 Flip Lipslide #1: Zered Bassett

Now the 4 other Switch 360 Flip Lipslides from this week all have one thing very much in common: the trick is done down roughly a 7-stair handrail. For a trick as technically frightening as this, landing it down a handrail similar to the standard skatepark rail isn't too shocking. Quite frankly, if we see the stair count or rail size go up for the switch tre lip, then we'll be experiencing some crazy stuff. It makes sense, we don't see the most technical of ledge tricks done on waist high ledges, much like we don't see the most tech handrail tricks done down 10 or 12 stair rails. But what makes Zered Bassett stand out in this category is that he's the only one I've ever seen take the already-super-tech switch tre lip down a hubba, the famous Black Hubba in NYC nonetheless. We all know Zered's got a beastly switch tre, along with other impressively diverse switch skills, but the visual excitement of watching him cap off his already amazing State of Mind part back in '09 with this trick is hard to describe. NYC spots already bring a certain level of stoke to a trick. Heavily skated and famous NYC spots add a whole new level to that stoke. Zered Bassett and his mastery of the city with a style fit for anywhere add even more to that stoke. And then throw in the fact that maybe only two other guys have ever landed this trick before (with proof) and the levels of excitement for this trick are off the charts! Watching Zered power through the switch lip and shift around through the Black Hubba's kink to come out clean is also a thing of beauty. Before I channel my excitement into rambling nonsense, enjoy the most unique Switch 360 Flip Lipslide at 6:23 in Zered's banging part above.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Switch 360 Flip Lipslide #2: Guy Mariano

Guy Mariano is a legend. You all know his story, so there's no reason in trying to explain it (and probably not do it justice) when it's already cemented in this iconic character's skating. Guy's progressed unbelievably through his short but impactful list of video parts, and has been at the forefront of progression in skateboarding in general. His epic part in Pretty Sweet was groundbreaking without a doubt, but not the focus for this week's topic. Although, before getting there, I do need to shoutout two pretty sweet tricks that are definitely related to this week's subject: the switch 360 shove it lipslide and the spectacular ender, both of which I genuinely don't think anyone else has done to this extent before. But anyways, if Guy can manage these miraculous tricks, then it's fitting that he is also part of the Switch 360 Flip Lipslide club...which he joined 7 years ago! After about an 11 year hiatus, Guy made the comeback of the century with his part in Fully Flared. And at 6:47 in the part above, you can see exactly just how Guy executed what is likely the first documented switch tre lip in history. It never hurts to back up some of your finest moments later on either, so that the world can watch a master at work, again and again and again.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Switch 360 Flip Lipslide #3: Blake Carpenter

Blake Carpenter is on one of the most prominent come ups in skating. From being one of the Floridian Daylando homies to now getting hooked up by Tum Yeto, it's safe to say he's here to stay. And with as good of style as he has, mixed with above-par switch skills, it's no wonder why every part he's come out with is highly coveted. Blake's switch 360 flip is also a key component in making his video parts both memorable and stunningly awesome. Being able to switch tre into 50-50s and 5-0s (0:27 in his bangin) and even willy grinds on accident (1:40 in his gram yo selfie), of course Blake can switch tre lip with no problem. I first saw him nail this crazy trick down a thin handrail in his Daylando part (4:33 above), so it only makes sense that when he returned to his home-state with the AYC squad that he did it again down a thicker, rougher handrail just to show his versatility with the trick. At this point, Blake's got this one-of-a-kind banger down to it being just another demo trick. To have such an exclusive trick on lock is pretty incredible.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Switch 360 Flip Lipslide #4: Billy Marks

Even though Billy Marks was not the first one to switch 360 flip lipslide, his make of the trick should be remembered because of the story behind it. And that is why I needed to include the full page from the January 2011 issue of The Skateboard Mag. Not only was the Brainwash deadline approaching (a very compact video chock full of underrecognized, exceptional skating), but Billy's efforts to nail this banger were pushing the daylight deadline as well. Coming in clutch at dusk just before the video dawned with a trick like this is nothing short of sensational. Plus, just two clips before this switch tre lip was its regular counterpart done down a rather large 11 stair rail. Billy's part may be short in quantity of tricks, but with the switch 360 flip lipslide thrown right in the middle, it's super high in quality. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Switch 360 Flip Lipslide #5: Walker Ryan

Walker Ryan is definitely on another level when it comes to the switch game. All the switch backside tricks most people are proud of landing bolts every now and then, Walker has on lock. Switch 360 flips are no different. He's landed some heavy ones before so why should there be any problem to flick one into a switch lip? Heck, he's even been known to fling some switch tre 5-0s anyway. But the obvious answer comes with beautiful execution in his awesome Perpetual Motion part (seen at 3:44 in the remix above, but it's really worth watching the whole part). What's great about Walker's entry to the switch tre lip club is that because his switch game is so on point, he casually brings this trick back to switch. Now that you definitely don't see too often.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Next Week: Switch 360 Flip Lipslide

I've slowly been putting the skaters together for a High Five on the best switch 360 flips. But as that was coming along, I noticed that the switch 360 flip lipslide club was a bit more exclusive and concise, perfect for grouping together here. The regular 360 flip lipslide has been done countless times and is even an on-lock kind of trick for a lot of skaters. Some can even take it to smith, to nosegrind, or front noseblunt with no problem, not to mention the number of 360 flip 50-50s I've seen. Now switch things up a bit and the numbers dwindle. There have been some random guys and one time publications (like Mike Crook above) documenting the evasive switch tre lip, but these aren't the ones that you'll remember forever. This week I'm going to go through 5 guys whose versions of the switch 360 flip lipslide have gone down in the books.

Just to give proper props, Jim Greco is also part of the club through his version of the trick thrown in the middle of one of the most epic (I'd say the word epic is appropriate here) parts from the past couple years. Also, Matt Miller and Wade Desarmo both have immaculate switch 360 flips in their own regard and have taken it to noseblunt and 5-0 respectively, but I don't recall either ever taking it to lipslide. If you have proof otherwise, or even of some other noteworthy switch tre lips, do leave a comment.

UPDATE (6/23/2014): Add the exciting Cliche am Max Geronzi to the club with his casual version of the trick on Instagram.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Video of the Week: Bobby Worrest - Luxury and Loudness

Bobby Worrest comes out with a new part that is full of the expected smoothness and grace. Always dropping quality footage, Bobby mesmerizes us with his fluid switch tricks and clever lines. So far, Bobby's been killing it this year and I'd say is in good contention for SOTY at this rate. There's something about his switch back noseblunt that never gets old...

In other skate news:
Tiago Lemos is introduced to Silver Trucks with a technical trip of ripping footage. I've been a fan since he got on BLVD and he's been improving since. The first line and the half cab heel around 1:35 are absolutely wonderful.
Nate Greenwood has an exclusive part for The Skateboard Mag and kills it, as I've come to expect
Civic Affair, the video by Jake Kuzyk, is full of Canadian shredding. Just overall awesome skating.
Boo Johnson is given a compilation part from Supra that if I'm not mistaken is "his first full part" since Future Nature. I call it that because if Supra hadn't put out the numerous tour videos over the past 2-3 years, they could've created a full length video with their stacked team, including buttery awesome parts like Boo's. Just saying.
Strange Notes asks: Who The F*** Is Jeremy Tuffli? He answers with an assault on many transitions including an instant classic new move at Burnside.
Yuri Facchini is featured in Blind's Damn Sundays with some pretty heavy clips. Not sure if whether they're all new or not but the couple of minutes are worth anyone's time.
Addie Fridy's new part on the Berrics: What time, When? is a gentle reminder that he is one smooth dude. Plus having nollie shove feebles on lock doesn't hurt.
Chris Colbourn skates North Hollywood Park for Bones Bearings and is soooooooo good.
Lee Dupont's part from The Cinematographer Project was released by Transworld, shedding new light on Washington Street Park in an edit that really builds the energy of a good session.

Recent No Complys #1: Wes Kremer

Closing off the week and the look at Recent No Complys is Wes Kremer with a trio of clips (but 5 trick variations) from his Real Street part. Traditionally the no comply is a play-around trick that keeps the flow going, so who better to utilize it than the man who's always having fun and flowing around on his board. Never passing up a moment to flash the 'Mafia sign, Wes starts things off with what I'd like to call a nose comply impossible. Just for the heck of it and because it looks so cool. Then, at a legit Chinese street spot, Wes scoops a non-compliant front shove down some stairs (how hard must it be to actually catch that trick?), keeps flowing with the David Gravette signature done as smoothly as ever, and then no comply frontside flips up the long 4 stair. Hold up. No comply frontside flip up? Has that ever been done? I don't even get how you can controllably flip the board when no complying up stairs, much less frontside flip as if it was a kicker. Even if it has been done, it certainly hasn't been caught a good 2 or 3 steps higher than it needed to be. Only Wes. And if that wasn't enough, Wes shows PJ and Moose that he's got the frontside heelflip 360 too by no complying with it down some stairs. Now Louie Barletta's non-flipping version from Bonus Round is still demonstrative of the fun you can have not only with some no complys but with a full part as well, and Albert Nyberg's version to lipslide is still one of the craziest tricks ever, but there's something different when Wes does the trick. Regardless of the technicality or the loads of fun with these tricks, Wes's skating is always pretty special.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Recent No Complys #2: Kevin Tierney

No complys have been done in quite a few ways: spinning 180, big heelflipping, and a decent amount of shove-it variations have also gone down. But leave it to the non-spinning, non-flipping variation of the no comply to completely blow you away. I'm talking about Kevin Tierney's fakie no comply at 0:35 in the Zoo York Australia tour vid that came out just about a month ago. That's right. Fakie no comply. The thought alone feels beyond awkward, so I can't even imagine what it must've felt like to do it over the popular wooden wedge gap in Australia. I could be wrong, but after some brief research I don't know of any other instance where the no comply has been done straight fakie like this. Leave it to Kevin Tierney to dazzle us.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Recent No Complys #3: Vince Duran

I've been becoming a fan of Surprise Skateboards lately and it's because of guys like Vince Duran. When he released this Spring Cleaning only a few weeks ago, I knew it was "throwaway" footage, but for some wild reason, I've watched this quite a few times since then. His last pair of clips are two big reasons why I keep coming back for more (starting at . Vince takes the no comply to new heights with a barrier step hop (sidenote props to Dane Brady for also working his magic with this realm of trickery). Not only does that push help get him up there, but he powers the board up and over a fence! If that's not enough, doing it switch better be. Sure he throws a grab in there but that just adds some flair, the cherry on top to an already astonishing treat. (After already forcing the board up switch, being able to control it on the way down with no grab would be a pretty remarkable feat. Challenge anyone?) The dedication to the passersby is also priceless. Between the finger point and the cascading golden hair, the Austyn Gillette resemblance is undeniable.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Recent No Complys #4: Clint Walker

Clint Walker is one of the gnarliest dudes, bar none. His Modern Art part, that I will forever reference, proves just that.  So it's no surprise that he filled up the whole minute of his recent Real Street part with nothing but bangers, among which he had 3 killer no comply moves. The first at 0:16 is taken frontside off a significant drop into a bank, showing how Clint manages to keep his feet on the grip even though that's probably the weirdest-feeling trick to take down a drop. The second at 0:41 is also taken frontside, but this time to fakie 50-50 down a handrail, something I don't remember ever seeing like that (though Albert Nyberg cannot be forgotten). And finally, at 0:54, Clint demonstrates his ability to pop a no comply straight up and over a wall, perfectly guiding the board with his feet as he glides down.  It's rare to see the no comply taken to such gnarly levels, but who else than Clint to do it.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Recent No Complys #5: Lem Villemin

Starting things off for the Recent No Complys is a clip from the beginning of May with the man of steeze himself: Lem Villemin. Torsten Frank shot a wonderful cruising piece called "Owl Eyes on Lem Villemin", showcasing Lem and his homies taking a casual (I use that somewhat loosely) stroll through the streets of Stuttgart. While some pretty solid tricks and street gaps go down in this awesome night session, the one trick that caught my eye is Lem's no comply backside 360 at 1:44. Now David Gravette still wears the crown for this trick, but Lem's version is noteworthy for two main reasons: the pop, and the nonchalance. It may be Cliche to say it, but the deck certainly may have helped with the pop. The nonchalance on the other hand, you can only attribute that to Lem.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Next Week: Recent No Complys

After a while of silence, I'm happy to say that the time has come to add a new High Five to the blog! I've noticed a lot of videos lately included different variations of the no comply. Now it's definitely one of those fun tricks to have and throw in a line, and honestly it's not really the most uncommon. Even the Video of Last Week had some rad no complies thrown out there. But a few eye-catching instances have popped up (pun intended) in videos released within the last 4 weeks, sticking in my head as a strong trend. These no comply variations are worth mentioning now as a group before they're forgotten. Besides the gnarly-as-usual skating that's gone down, May 2014 should be remembered as the month of the no comply.

Now there are some individuals that do not comply on a regular and outstanding basis, whom I will eventually dedicate a High Five to down the line, but right now is meant for just that: those working their magic with the trick right now. With that said, I'll give some early shoutouts to Cory Kennedy for a couple fun and impressive variations (at 1:09 and 2:20) in his Rat Poison part and to Victor Garibay for a really sick switch one at 0:39 in his Mag Minute. Stay tuned throughout the week for 5 of the most recent memorable no comply variations!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Video of the Week: From the Borders - Steve and Dave Mull

From the Borders is a relatively new take on the skate video. Two brothers, Steve and Dave Mull, rip apart what appears to be a bunch of hometown, woodsy-area spots with a gnarliness and skill set you don't usually see from your typical local backwoods brothers. Besides that, the assortment of spots are a fresh breath among the many online videos with standard downtown or park footage. Mix that with some great editing that also breaks the mold of most videos and the fast-paced excitement makes you feel like a kid again learning about your own town's spots. There are some pretty scary (in an impressive, ballsy way) spots out there, like Steve nosegrinding a rushing waterfall's bridge at 1:56 or Dave literally grinding a roof at the end, but the aesthetics of the whole video are what make it memorable.

In other skate news from last week:
It's great to see another all-terrain part from the underground Frecks, one that most definitely is not Wasting your Time.
Billy Roper is introduced to Surprise Skateboards with a quick-paced hopping around of many SF spots, maintaining those GX1000 vibes and keeping the really tight team at Surprise going strong.
Two parts (sort of) from It's a Secret were released via The Skateboard Mag: Will Blaty, coming through with awesomely trippy vibes and crazy body varials and footplant variations (2:51 is nuts!), and then Chris "Mango" Milic, with a bonus footage part full of fun creativity.
Joey Digital has a stacked montage featuring Brian Anderson, Shane O'Neill, Nick Boserio, Mark Suciu, Daryl Angel, and many more.
Alec Majerus is recruited at the Berrics with some heavy bangers. I loved the fakie tre back lip!
Kyle Camarillo presents his REDirect project Gold and Grey, featuring Miles Silvas and Jack Curtin, and puts out one of my favorite mixes of easy-on-the-eyes shots and proper skating from the contest so far.
Christopher Middlebrook's part from The Cinematographer Project was released on Transworld, reminding everyone at the freakish abilities and fearlessness of the Aussies.