Saturday, January 11, 2014

Video of the Week: Eric Thomas - Paradise in the Plains

This might be the first week in a while without some huge name video part release, but it was still full of really solid skating. Last Sunday, Paradise Wheels welcomed Eric Thomas to their team with this super fun video above. Probably flying under the radar for most people, this video really stuck out to me for the spot selection. From some of the coolest looking ditches to literally middle of nowhere spots to some pretty tall rooftop drops, Eric covers a wide variety of aesthetically pleasing and unique locations. The other thing that stuck out was that for the most part, the skating was rather slow. Now usually slow skating is a big turnoff and boring to watch, but Eric used it cleverly with the spots and creative tricks to keep me wanting more. It's definitely not your typical video part by these days' standards in any way, but it was thoroughly entertaining.

In other news:
-European legend Florentin Marfaing had a quick interview over at Red Bull and reminded us that he's still super sick.
-Brandon Taylor mixes really gnarly tricks with creativity for one of the better Mag Minutes in recent memory. The huge caveman is nuts!
-The Ollie Crew rolls deep and is featured skating some rad street spots in Vancouver and San Francisco (2/3 of San Vanelona...)
-Nate Lacoste came out with a new video part, shared with a few friends, for Roger Skateboards and it's definitely worth the watch.
-The Tilt Mode crew is stacked and this Archives video is full of sweet footage from the likes of Daryl Angel, Jon Nguyen, Zack Wallin, and Peter Raffin.
-Manolos Tapes is probably the best source for remixed videos in skateboarding. Once again it doesn't disappoint on remixing Parental Advisory with less acting and more street shredding.
-I've been a fan of James Espinoza and his buttery style, surprising amount of pop, crazy manual tricks, and fakie inward heelflips for a while, so it was great to see a short VX part from him.
-The latest Tum Yeto recruit, Tre Williams, silently destroys a bunch of California spots as if he was sleeping.
-Though it came out a little more than a week ago, I cannot neglect the latest part from Italo Romano. It's not only inspiring but it's full of really crazy tricks too!
-After Shane O'Neill's part in Chronicles 2 was released last week, more parts from the ripping video were released this week: Donovan Piscopo, Theotis Beasley, Luan Oliveira, and Ishod Wair.

Along with this, I have to give credit to the Berrics for coming out with the Populist. It's cool to get another source of major recognition in the skate industry on top of the big mags, such as Thrasher's SOTY or the TWS Awards. And my favorite part is that they basically compiled the best skaters' video parts from 2013 all on one page for a good day's worth of awesome skate video watching.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Pro Too Soon #1: Tom Remillard

Though Tom used to be flow or something for Antihero back in the day, I really had not heard anything about him until the Shuffl Video (Tom's part above) via Walker Ryan and the crew. That was back in 2010 and since that one part, the only part I'd seen of Tom at that time, I don't think I've seen more than a few small features through Converse maybe up until his latest part this summer in Perpetual Motion. Now he definitely rips very hard in the TWS video - defying all sense of logic and physics by literally ollieing on a vertical wall at one point. It's certain that Tom's last video part has some incredible clips and really awesome tranny lines, even some street tricks in there too. Great part without a doubt. But the fact that he had just been welcomed to Expedition two months before the video after basically being in sponsorship limbo for a good few years really stands out with the news of Tom going pro this past week.
This piece of news was the kickstarter for the theme of the posts this week, so I found it fitting to save Tom for the final day. Again, much like the other guys mentioned this past week, the time spent actually on Expedition is way too small to warrant a pro model. In terms of coverage and being recognized in the skate world, I doubt that many people actually know much about Tom other than from his PM part. There needs to be way more coverage of Tom killing it for Expedition, and even Converse for that matter, as well as more time spent with the crew to cement that loyalty a professional needs to have.
On top of that...Kelly Hart is still am for Expedition! Almost 8 years ago is when Kelly's It's Official part was released, and Tom has been on the team for maybe 10 months. A very good video part cannot outweigh sponsor loyalty and experience by that much to justify this situation. Nothing against Tom, but I definitely feel like Expedition turned him pro too soon not only because of his coverage and experience, but particularly because of Mr. Hart's.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Pro Too Soon #2: Trunk Boyz

This one might be a bit more personal than the other posts this week. And for the record, the Trunk Boyz I'm referring to here are the three that went pro together most recently in May 2013, not including Vincent and Cory. Most people know these dudes from Pretty Sweet, which is really the only place I know of these three putting out full video parts. Backtracking from Chocolate's introduction of these three as ams to the team, Raven was with the Creature fiends for a while, Elijah with Foundation, and I honestly hadn't heard of Stevie before the introduction. Again, I could have been totally slipping before these guys went to Chocolate, but I also don't think they were very heavily covered before that. Anyway, no major parts from any of these dudes were brought to my attention, meaning between their skating and their sponsors, there wasn't enough of a stir in the skate world to learn much about them. Pretty Sweet dropped and all three guys came through with sick parts for sure. I'm sure being a part of such an epic video aided in overshadowing their ripping parts and even though there were some very memorable and crazy clips, I didn't get that standout feeling like I do with some other ams' parts before (Luan in Extremely Sorry comes to mind). And ever since then, all I've really seen from any of these three were "internet-filler" clips, aka tour footage (like the Pretty Sweet Tour above), skatepark clips, or throwaway street footage. (Minus Stevie's Lakai mini-part that was pretty awesome, released right after going pro.) I value the full-length video part with one's board sponsor pretty highly, and I feel that with only Pretty Sweet up these dudes' sleeves, there's really not enough reason to go pro just 5 months after that video release. Even today, despite all the tour and park footage coming out from these guys (as their recognition coverage grows), I don't feel a sense of professionalism when I watch them skate. Watching the Trunk Boyz together gives the vibe that they shred a lot for sure but also that "I don't care, I'm too cool for everything" kind of feeling. Again, that could be just me, but disregarding that still leaves the rather shallow resume of video parts from these guys. In the end, I would definitely like to have seen more ripping from these three before they got their first pro models. When they were given the surprise in Puerto Rico, I basically felt like Chocolate was trying to make sure they didn't have any ams on their team, making sure they were exclusively professional. Getting that feeling is definitely not what should happen when some dudes turn pro.

Pro Too Soon #3: Forrest Edwards

Forrest Edwards seems to have come up somewhat out of the blue, similar to Pat Pasquale. The only major difference I'd say would be that Forrest actually had SLAP Mag's OIAM to use as a platform into the industry. With that platform, he still couldn't get a full sponsorship! Dropping two heavy parts is one thing, and nowadays a reasonable argument for turning pro, but neither of them had any sponsorship affiliation. Maybe it's just me, but I feel it's justifiable to expect a flow dude or an am especially to drop a part for their board sponsor in order to step it up to the next level. Unhinged was through Thrasher and Wild Power (above) was independent. As far as skating goes, Forrest is definitely at a high level that I can definitely understand is pro-worthy: 360 flip 50-50 grinds down super gnarly and legendary spots, a really tight assortment of rail/gap tricks, and switch flipping Wallenberg after many years of attempts cannot be taken lightly. However, just because Forrest and Garrett Hill are bros and want to start their own company, doesn't mean that Forrest should immediately go pro after never even being am prior. He needs to establish more loyalty with a board sponsor and put in more experience before turning pro, especially when he's been known to have certain questionable personality traits.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Pro Too Soon #4: Pat "Sinner" Pasquale

I really don't know too much about Sinner to be honest. But I also think it's reasonably safe to say that most of the general skateboarding-internet-viewing public that consider themselves skate nerds also don't know too much about Sinner. As far as I know, I've only ever really seen him skate in his Chicken Bone Nowison part (above at 47:00). To be fair, the skating is beyond sick. He's got fliptricks, sick switch choices, jumps down gaps, skates rails, gets tech, and does a bunch of fun/uncommon creative tricks too for a super noteworthy part. The fakie ollie through the double tree gap (at 49:15 and in a line?!) is awesome on so many levels. This part is definitely not talked about enough in the skate world or referenced enough in conversations. Sinner's sick skating deserves a blow up for sure, yet turning pro for a brand new company he starts with Nick Trapasso is too large a jump for just one great part. For someone to essentially come out of nowhere and drop this part is one thing, but to turn pro afterwards is way too big of a leap. On top of that, I haven't seen much footage at all from him since then, asides from a couple nice clips in the LE Promo. Basically, I think that this guy, no matter how hard he shreds and how sick his footage is, needs to put in more time with a company and maybe come out with another video part or two before turning pro.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Pro Too Soon #5: Neen Williams

I first remember hearing the name "Neen Williams" from his Mag Minute. This alone to me was just another very solid part but with a better-than-normal smooth style. Nothing outstanding or exceptional to really go crazy over. Since then (possibly back in 2008?), I don't think I really heard much about Neen at all, up until Chicken Bone Nowison was approaching its release. Maybe some park footage or random clips on the internet, likely a commercial for the Shake Junt vid too, but nothing really to affirmatively place Neen on the radar. Now in 2011, Neen is welcomed to Deathwish in February and I'm thinking, "Ok, this guy's got a pretty tight style and should be able to put out some good skating." Again, a satisfactory feeling but nothing truly noteworthy yet. He gets on Supra in August later that year, the awaited Shake Junt video drops in November (Neen's part above), and then almost immediately goes pro after the video in December of 2011. Now his SJ part was definitely really good, churning out loads of ridiculously smooth tricks and one of the best heelflips in skateboarding (when Neen's heelflip at full flick is rightfully compared to the iconic Michael Jordan slam dunk silhouette, it's one for the ages for sure). However, I don't think the part was THAT good to warrant turning pro after being on the Deathwish squad for maybe 10 months at the time, especially when Moose had been shredding with the crew for much longer! And it wasn't even like Neen was generating tons of footage with all the Supra tours at this point because he also just got on that team. It really felt like a rushed time to give him the pro nod. Despite Neen's definitely special personality (I mean that with no sarcasm at all because it really is special in every good sense of the word), the time put in with Deathwish and the actual skating that he put out by that time is not enough in my opinion for turning pro.
However, ever since then, Neen has been on a tear with the Supra team stacking clips and banging out tricks with every tour. And his latest video part in the Deathwish Video was definitely his best yet. Getting 3 tricks at that last tall staircase blew me away! It's a showing as good as this one that make me think how turning pro after the Chicken Bone Nowison part was even less worthy, because of how good a part Neen is capable of coming out with. Anyway, long story short, turning Neen pro after the work put in since the Shake Junt video and culminating with the Deathwish Video would have been ideal.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Next Week: Pro Too Soon

Turning pro is quite possibly one of the biggest accomplishments in skating and definitely the biggest sign to tell someone "you made it" in skateboarding. It can be a very touchy subject because there are multiple viewpoints: the skater's, the board sponsor (forget anything shoe-related, board companies are where the real act of turning someone pro belongs), the board sponsor's marketing management, and the general public like us. Then you have to take into account the experience or years a skater's put into a company, his loyalty to that company, his actual level of skating and progression, his ability to produce footage at a professional level, and of course his marketability to help the company profit. The list intertwines and extends on for a while, but the basic idea is there: it's not so simple anymore to turn someone pro.
I've already gone over my top 5 skaters that have been putting in plenty of work but have been slept on in terms of going pro, not including Felipe of course now that he has finally been given the nod from Plan B. (That really is quite the hard-working-skater story if there ever was one.)
But there are some companies that have turned some guys pro WAY too soon. Whether it's just because they have some extreme marketability or the company just needs a new pro model on the shop shelves, there are a few guys in the industry that could/should arguably still be am. This week I'll give my Top 5 guys that went pro too soon.
Before that, I feel like I should mention two dudes: Riley Hawk and Dakota Servold. Both are super sick and shred extremely hard, don't get me wrong, but there's still a feeling that they haven't been around too long. It could just be my personal perspective and how I've uncovered their skating, but they both still feel a tad young in the industry. Riley, I've been hyped on since his Shep Dawgs parts and he is one of skateboarding's best footage machines right now, but he really hasn't seemed to be on Baker very long. It could also be a bit overwhelming after he won Year's Best Am on his birthday and turned pro that very same day, but I'd say it's still worth bringing up. Dakota, I never saw before WTF, which was a little over a year and a half ago. Even though he's been on an absolute tear since then, it still feels somewhat early in the scheme of things for Foundation to step him up, especially with other dudes like Ryan Spencer also killing it. Anyway, I wouldn't necessarily mind if those two were still am. But thinking of the Top 5 I have in mind for this week, I would gladly turn Riley and Dakota pro today over those 5.