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.