Saturday, February 1, 2014

Video of the Week: Phil Zwijsen's Time Chase

The European skate scene has so much incredible talent and style that often times us Americans overlook some of the gnarliest parts that come out. Luckily I saw Phil Zwijsen's latest part because it really is one of the more exhilarating parts so far this year. Super fast skating at some pretty wild spots combine for one enjoyable ride of a video part. Definitely get ready to go skate after this one.

Now I missed it last week but Nate Greenwood dropped one heck of an East Coast banger with his part in Theory's Chump Change. I never realized he was a Bang Yo Self finalist when his Stereophonic Sound part came out because the name didn't jump out at me right away. But that part certainly sealed the deal. I was a fan since then and his latest part doesn't disappoint one bit. He brings some gnarly West Coast tricks to the East and has a huge bag of tricks to do so. Adding on a fun style with the East Coast aesthetics and this part is a very big standout from the past couple weeks. 

Continuing to back the onslaught of East Coasters this year, Tony Durao had a really sick Video Check Out for Transworld and the Mountain Dew squad shredded the Big Apple with some famous skaters and spots. 

Vince Duran SURPRISED us all with his great fakie skills in his introductory part.
Sebo Walker is indeed a Turf Killer and is finally given the official Krooked welcome.
Chaz Ortiz has loads of tricks to display in his Battle Commander, including some steezy tech ones.
A unique crew goes Trippin through Europe and gathers some sick tricks in the process.
This Miami edit from Transworld captures the great spots at night that really can't be replicated anywhere else.
I'm normally not a fan of huge montages of skaters I don't know, but Vox nailed it with their Backin Texas video because the tricks and spots are simply awesome. 
Neal Wood, Danny Leon, and Max Taylor all came through as well with solid parts this week that were likely overlooked. 

Friday, January 31, 2014

NYC Courthouse Ledge #1: Kevin Phelps

Kevin Phelps came out with an epic blow up part not too long ago that really established him for good in the East Coast scene. (Tony Durao and Josh Swyers also did the same.) Hitting up loads of legendary spots, even some hefty California ones, he covers plenty of the famous NYC spots including the Courthouse. Now like I said before, I could easily be wrong about the tricks that have been done down the drop at the Courthouse, but to my knowledge there really aren't that many recorded. You would think the next tricks on somebody's list at the Courthouse would involve something like a heelflip or a hardflip or even a straight 360 flip. Enter Kevin Phelps. While first leaving his mark with a pretty tech front tail big spin flip out on the main ledge at 3:50 in his part, he follows that up with a nollie hardflip down the drop. A nollie hardflip on flat is usually entertaining to watch in a line, so doing it down one of the gnarliest drops in the East is astounding. Definitely not in the list of tricks you'd expect to see at the spot soon. And to top it all off, he closes his part out with an even crazier banger: cab flip into the bank. Again, super gnarly, a trick that stands tall alone on flatground, and not something you'd expect to see until the final days of the spot before it's [un]officially been killed. Getting 3 tricks at this iconic spot is pretty awesome in itself. Getting 3 ender-quality bangers at the NYC Courthouse is something to go down in the skateboarding history books. Thank you Kevin Phelps for coming out of nowhere and destroying these spots.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

NYC Courthouse Ledge #2: Adidas Team

After covering basically all of the facets of skating the NYC Courthouse, I've left the last two posts for this week for two specific videos. One of them is the Adidas team skating in NYC. Now even though Adidas is a mainstream company that you can say doesn't belong in skateboarding, what they've done in skateboarding is without a doubt pretty awesome. The primary ("American" maybe, though it's really made up of a good amount of internationals too) team alone is so stacked, but not stacked like DC or Nike with guys that are going to be in every contest. Not that contest skating is necessarily a bad thing, but the collection of guys on Adidas is supremely more tasteful to me than many other shoe brands. I think "tasteful" is an accurate word for what Adidas has been doing: the crew mixes up an eclectic group of styles, the shoes are classy and distinctive, and the videos they've consistently been putting out (including every single one of their tour videos) is exactly how I think tour videos should be. It may be the German roots or something but whatever it is the editors, filmers, and skaters at Adidas produce some of my favorite web clips.

Now that I'm done ranting on the tastefulness (last time I use that here, I swear) of Adidas as a whole, let's see exactly what the crew accomplished at the NYC Courthouse. Starting slightly after the 5 minute mark in the video, Lucas Puig surprises by coming in hot with a smooth-as-always switch flip back tail. I'd probably say that this is my favorite trick done on that main ledge at the courthouse, and I am fully embracing my biased support of the Frenchman. Dennis Busenitz of course comes through with speed - though it probably felt slow for him - and shrugs his shoulders on a back feeble, only to step it up with a sick back noseblunt pop out.
Some other rad skating ensues at different spots from Vince De Valle (gnarly boardslide!) to Nestor Judkins to Benny Fairfax (see what I mean about the team?) and then the official introduction of Mark Suciu pops up (SEE WHAT I MEAN?!?!). Just when you think all the ways of skating the NYC Courthouse have been explored, from the two ledges to the drop to manuals in between, Mark somehow thinks of a 3 trick line to perform. A narrow ollie over the edge of the column and a wallie 180 provide the set up for the perfect fakie flip into the bank. Sure it's ABD by Josh Clark, as mentioned a couple days ago, but that doesn't take away the gnarliness of the trick, much less the fact that it was the ender of a line too. And if that's not enough already, which I don't see why it wouldn't be, Mark seals the deal with a backside bluntslide 270 out on the ledge and twists back around with a bs 180 while dropping off the kinked bank (mimicking every viewer's smile of elation with the rollaway). Is he good or what?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

NYC Courthouse Ledge #3: Across the Edge and Manuals

I'm sort of pooling together a few different ways of skating the NYC Courthouse spot today. From what I know, only Brandon Westgate and Zered Bassett (above) have managed to get tricks along the entire edge of the end of the bank. And it's not like they just got 50-50s or something. Westgate nosegrinds the whole ledge and even manages to twist a 180 off the end and down the 6 foot drop, while Zered hits it switch for the whole length! Not only is the ledge long and the drop huge at the end, but it's a pretty good height to get onto as well. Skating this iconic spot in this new way will definitely spark some guys to add to the full-length ledge tricks, but for now, give major props to these two guys.

Now on top of skating across the edge, there have been some dudes that incorporate manuals into this monstrous setup, utilizing both the main ledge and the drop into the bank. I first saw Kenny Hoyle throw a manual down the bank after a popped out nosegrind in his Madness part. At that time, that was pretty mind-blowing because the spot was definitely familiar enough, but only with single tricks on the ledge or the drop. Carrying the manual through the kink at the end of the bank and maintaining composure while falling to the ground is super impressive. Then Joe Tookmanian came along with a back tail nose manual through the bank. It takes a NY skater to be able to manage something as crazy as that, especially nose manualing through the kink.
Guys like Zered and Walker Ryan decided to take the top drop path via manual and added yet another way of skating this spot. Both tricks stoke me out so much: seeing Zered cover almost all surfaces of the spot switch and Walker popping into the tight bank out of a nose manual.

NYC Courthouse Ledge #4: The Drop into the Bank

Residing above the main ledge is a good drop right into the bank. Great for doing tricks into the bank, but the hard part is not just that drop, but surviving the drop to the ground as well. Again, there have probably been a good amount of tricks done down the drop at the NYC Courthouse that haven't been given coverage. So here are the ones I could find and a few that I just can't forget about.

A straight nollie is a good way to start things off with the basics, but popping off the nose into that bank does not seem easy at all.  Then again, neither does the no-pop cannonball.

Stepping it up to some fliptricks, we start with the kickflip and its four species: done regular by Chris Peterson in the photo above (I'm assuming the make), done switch by Eli Reed way too nonchalantly, done nollie by Tyshawn Jones, and done fakie by Josh Clark.

Moving on to some crazier tricks, we have the pretty absurd 360 flip Benihana by Shane McGrane. Regardless if it's a tailgrab or a benihana, a 360 flip alone would be gnarly, so throwing a [one-footed] grab in there is just nuts.

Now my personal favorite trick down the NYC Courthouse drop would be Yoshi Tanenbaum's frontside half cab flip. Popping off of the front of your board at the edge of a big drop alone can be pretty scary, but spinning with your back to the drop basically the whole descent must've been frightening. But Yoshi's just got it like that.

And to close things out with quite a bang, here's a very noteworthy 360 shove it from Jereme Knibbs. Click here for the full size sequence.

Now I may just have missed a good portion of the tricks, but after a bit of research, these are really the only main tricks that have been done down this drop. Considering that there have been no heelflip tricks (to my knowledge) is already pretty indicative of the gnarliness of the spot. Not to mention so many other tricks that can still be done here from your now-standard 360 flips or hardflips or even something like a frontside flip. An iconic gem of the East Coast hasn't even had its training wheels taken off yet.

Monday, January 27, 2014

NYC Courthouse Ledge #5: The Main Ledge

When I think of the NYC Courthouse spot, I think of the main ledge first and foremost. There have been numerous tricks done on the ledge, followed up by the infamous rollaway into the bank leading up to the large drop off. To me, landing a ledge trick with the spot's added difficulty captures the essence of New York's "big" spot. I definitely don't have all of the tricks done on this main ledge at the NYC Courthouse but here are a few that I found and a few that are personally memorable.

Above you can see Josh Kalis displayed his proper form on a frontside noseblunt on what I'd say is the lesser-used side of the Courthouse ledges, probably because the landing is much trickier with the poles at the bottom.
Matching that backside is Danny Fuenzalida for an older Think ad:

I'll be honest. I have no idea who back smithed the ledge in the picture below (almost looks like Wieger?), but it is super stylish! (I may be missing some blatant skate-nerd knowledge right here so please let me know who this back smither is.)
P-Rod's Favorite Skate Spots In NYC

Now for a couple of personal favorites:
Brad Cromer nailed a front tail heelflip out, as seen in his Quartersnacks Pro-Fi Remix. The trick itself is definitely not one of the most common ones out there, so to see it done on an iconic spot like this and to be carried through the bank and drop by one of the smoothest styles in skateboarding was quite awesome.
Then there was Matt Militano. Underrated and undercovered by far, this dude rips too hard to not be recognized in the industry yet. He's got plenty of sweet NYC footage with great style, including a couple bangers at the Black Hubba, and his trick at the Courthouse Ledge is nothing short of stunning. Nose manual to back lip to back tail. Creativity, quick feet, and an oh-so-smooth style. Can't go wrong there.

(Now there are definitely some other gems done on this main ledge at the courthouse, but they will be visited later this week under a specific category.)

UPDATE: I forgot about Billy Roper's bs nosegrind pop shove it out with the original post. Definitely worth mentioning so here it is, better late than never.
UPDATE #2: I knew I wasn't going to remember all of the tricks done at this spot's ledge, but here's another one I just came across (not too much later thankfully): Zered Bassett gets to grinding and rotating with a solid front crooks to fakie and then a switch 180 off the end of the bank down to flat.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Next Week: NYC Courthouse Ledge

Similar to the week dedicated to SF's Clipper hubba, this week will be all about the famous NYC Courthouse Ledge. What's awesome about this spot is that there are numerous ways to skate it, which will be explored more this week. But one thing's consistent no matter how you skate it: you're going to be taking a big drop. Quartersnacks has a nice quick rundown of the spot itself, and I plan on exploring the tricks done at this one-of-a-kind ledge. Now categorizing each post this week will not be done too specifically. It's hard to take care of Top 5 best tricks at the spot, same for top 5 skaters, so I have my own method of picking a Top 5 for this iconic spot. Stay tuned and be ready for some gnarly and memorable moments from this spot!