Saturday, February 22, 2014

Video of the Week: Taylor Smith - Shep Dawgs Tape Deck

Some dudes are just natural at skateboarding. Taylor Smith aka T-Spliff is definitely one of them. Now I always love some raw, uncut, behind the scenes footage, so 16 minutes of Taylor getting gnarly without even showing it is just priceless. His make-everything-look-easy style is too enjoyable and the fact that he hits up some of the scariest rails is the reason why he needs to be looked out for this year and years to come. I first learned about him through his WTF part, which was a sick first big part for him, and his Shep Dawgs 3 part (where most of these BTS clips are from) solidified my liking for him. Just look at the 14 minute mark in the uncut clips: Taylor boardslides a super sketchy high rail like it's nothing, and throws in a downhill kickflip because he's got it like that. Then, in prime Shep Dawg fashion, he figures the sketchy boardslide isn't enough, so he kickflips into it and rolls away without flinching once again. Seeing raw skate talent like this never gets old.

Also from this week, in keeping with the "Random Teams" theme, sml Wheels released an awesome 13 minute compilation of their whole team from the past year, including some footage I haven't seen before. sml is another one of those pretty stacked teams so this half-length video is something to get psyched on.

Now I already expressed how Luan's part in Chronicles was a bit disappointing and I think I finally know why. The hype for the video was so big that I was expecting some totally stunning NBDs from Luan (kind of like Shane pulled out), but in actuality he shredded in his usual precise fashion, but without anything completely mindblowing. Luan's new Strike and Destroy part, on the other hand, was described to be a short trip to Brazil to film in the area and came out without crazy anticipation. Couple that with the fact that Luan didn't skate lightly at all and this part is in my opinion much more exciting and entertaining than his Chronicles part. From the not-seen-too-frequently Brazilian streets to Luan's flawless style to his well-picked tricks, and especially to his downhill lines, this part has all the right ingredients to be very tasteful.

In other skate news from the past week:
-John Gardner and Nik Stain both released heavy East Coast video parts for Skate Jawn. Thrasher was totally right in seeing the similarities between John and Zered Bassett...
-One of my new favorite contests in skateboarding, The Berrics and Matix's 2UP contest is amazing so far.
-Brandon Nguyen kills it in his Video Check Out.
-Andrew Norris skates with a solid style and makes some difficult spots look easy in his Mag Minute.
-The lineup alone for Outliers is enough to be stoked on, but the trailer made it all official with Marius Syvanen unexpectedly filling in the last spot.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Random Teams #1: Silver Trucks

Silver Trucks has always had a pretty diverse team. From back in the day to now, there have been plenty of team rider switchups, most notably P-Rod, Nick Tucker, and Felipe Gustavo to Venture, but there are still some original team riders on Silver to this day. Plus, with a few very recent additions to the team like Chad Tim Tim, Matt Bennett, and Ryan Gallant, the crew is shaping up to not only include a bunch of different guys from the industry's standpoint, but to include a really stylish and technical team as well. Silver Trucks sticks out to me as having a "random" team of skaters because there are truck companies like Independent and Venture and Thunder that have way too many riders to count. Then there are the tight-knit distribution companies like Crailtap's Royal and Dwindle's Tensor. Granted there are always exceptions but for the most part those companies make sense as far as the team riders go. Silver has spread its grasp over many distributions' riders and put them together for one of the more precision, technical-oriented teams out there.
Check out the most recent team montage (above) I could find from Silver with a good portion of the dudes that are currently on the team. Just imagine what a full length video from this crew would be like...

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Random Teams #2: Official Headwear

Official Headwear is in a similar position as AYC, as far as coming out recently and having a random mix of team riders. Official has already sent its team to Brazil (above) to kick things off and make sure its first steps in skateboarding are strong and remembered. Of course you can get an eclectic group of guys under a headwear label, and this group is just that as they each contribute their own special style. You might see the trio of Kayo skaters in there, but there's no denying the shock value in seeing these three linked up with the likes of Stefan Janoski, Austyn Gillette, Jose Rojo, and legend John Cardiel himself. Putting together a team like this for one of the better collections of stylish, fast or tech skating is always welcome to broaden the boundaries in skateboarding. Check the team and brand out here.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Random Teams #3: Asphalt Yacht Club

When AYC was first introduced by Stevie Williams, the man behind the whole brand, it made a big impact on the internet. And for good reason too. A lineup as "stacked" as AYC's is deserving of some head turns not only because of the diversity within the team, but because of how many gnarly parts they've collectively put out. While John Rattray may have been looking for a common thread within his seemingly random NB recruits, you could almost say Stevie was building Noah's Ark with AYC. There's the Baker pair, the two DGKs, a couple of handsome ams, and Nyjah and Janoski as the industry heavies. And then Jaws is the potential wild card, but even so, he adds so much to the general gnarliness of the team and its diversity. With the way the team's set up now, anyone ripping in skateboarding would fit in just fine with this myriad of guys.
I have to give props to Stevie and AYC too for actually being proactive and taking the whole team on two tours already (minus one guy both times, but still...), more than some teams do in two years. To come out with clips in Miami and in the Southwest (above) are exactly what everyone would want from such a stacked team. A full length video is always the most appreciated way of showcasing an amazing team, but for a brand new brand with two solid tour videos under its belt, things are looking pretty good for AYC.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Random Teams #4: New Balance Numeric

New Balance's entry into skateboarding may have been frowned upon by the core supporters, but you can't argue the intrigue that their one-of-a-kind team creates. Giving PJ Ladd a shoe sponsor after his monumental time at DC and eS was some of the biggest news in a while for this legend. Then getting Levi Brown, Arto Saari, and Tom Karangelov next, all under the management of John Rattray himself settled NB in skateboarding for the team alone. (The shoes do look stylish and functional as well, but that's another story.) All 4 of these main riders each carry their own mystique around them, mixing their soft-spoken but extremely elegant styles with tasteful skating. Then seeing Tyler Surrey added to the team and skating with dudes outside of the 'Mafia was another bonus. Throw in guys like Jordan Taylor, Jordan Trahan, and Marquise Henry and you really have a pretty consistent team aesthetic. Every guy carries that subtle, quiet, nonchalant grace when they skate, yet they all have put out some pretty gnarly footage. From guys that you'd never quite think of putting on the same team, the end result worked out extremely well. Just look at the Second Narrows hyperlink video from the team above. The skating's awesome and nothing's blown out of proportion. The edit moves quickly as every guy skates pretty fast. The black and white effects work well with the music and constant jumping around between skaters, emphasizing the team vibe more than individual video parts. That same feeling works with the quiet modesty that every NB skater possesses. In the end, New Balance pretty much took a bunch of guys from around the industry and threw them on a team together. But the result was more cohesive than you'd imagine.

Random Teams #5: Nike SB

Sure, Nike's one of the largest companies in skateboarding right now (which is a whole new topic in itself). But would you guess that some of its riders would ever come together if it weren't for the swoosh? Looking at just the American team that is. Because of how prominent Nike is, and how diverse it's already become, a new addition to the team won't leave anyone saying, "Oh that new guy doesn't fit right". It's built itself up in skateboarding by spreading through to just about every kind of skater: the Street Leaguers (P-Rod, Shane, Malto, Luan, Ishod), the seasoned vets (Koston, Lance, Gino, even BA), and then about 20 other guys that you really can't categorize. From Cory Kennedy to Chet Childress to Wieger Van Wageningen to Justin Brock to Theotis Beasley and to Daniel Shimizu, just to name a few, you already have a bunch of styles and personalities you'd never really think of putting together. Even the ams cover a good range of the "types" of skaters you can find: Donovan Piscopo, Clark Hassler, Kevin Bradley, Youness Amrani, and Trevor Colden. From style to uniqueness to precision to consistency, Nike's really covered it all.
Apart from their full length videos and the trips surrounding those, most of these guys I never really see hang out together. So it's really cool to see clips like the day at the park above where guys on the team come together for some pretty eclectic sessions.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Next Week: Random Teams

Skateboarding has its cliques for sure. Pretty much all deck companies define a group of close friends that will be skating together regardless of contracts. Look at DGK, Sk8mafia, or Plan B. Those are some tight knit crews and the brand image stands out because of that. On the other hand, especially with tons of new brands popping up in the industry these days, there are some teams that gather a bunch of skaters you would never expect to skate together. I always look at what Transworld's done over the years with their videos: they bring together 5/6 guys that may have only met once or twice before and have them session for a full year with each other. In no way is this a bad thing, getting skaters "out of their comfort zone". So the new brands coming out lately are blending the lines of teams within the skateboarding community, allowing us video-viewers to enjoy quite a variety of crew vibes. This week, I'll be going through my Top 5 Random Teams that are mixing together skaters from everywhere in the industry.