Lee Yankou Dime 2017

Most Likely To Yank Out: Lee Yankou in Business As Usual

My opinions about post-Drehobl Think Skateboards have been discussed here on the Warm Up Zone before. I believe I called them a ‘minor league team’ where future talent got some swings in before moving on to The Show and others toiled for years in obscurity. By the time the second decade of the present century came around, Think was pretty far from the mind of most skate deck consumers. Their final contribution to their skate video legacy didn’t hit with a lot of impact.

Good Times and Bad Photoshop – Think 2011.

For 2012’s Business As Usual, the team is a veritable who’s who of “I didn’t know they rode for Think”. Josh Matthew’s opened it solid enough, perpetually overlooked Adrian Williams delivered what could be considered an SF classic part, and pre-toothpicked Cody Mac and Russ Milligan and Bachinsky were all there. And then, of course, Danny Fuenzalida, who had been pro for Think for at least 13 years by this point if you can believe that. Unfortunately, young Joey Guevara and Kevin Coakley had yet to join the team. And Brian De La Torre had departed for greener pastures a few months prior.
Interesting footnote, though not relevant to this video, Manny Santiago was also on Think as late as 2011.

But if you only see one part from Business As Usual, make sure it’s that of Canadian closer Lee Yankou.

Lee is a grungy skater in style, in form, in clothing, and in spots skated – so the lo-fi Ty Segall music track supports him well. His bag of tricks isn’t particularly deep and he manages to make tech moves like a kickflip onto a handrail feel somehow simple and raw. I mean all this as a compliment. Anyways, his obstacle selection displays a wide enough variety of recognizable street terrain to prevent things from getting stale.

Most importantly, Lee has got loft. Flatground 360s that fully rotate, smiths in formidable places, and he hits some challenging walls, including the always noteworthy four-wheels-on-the-ceiling ride with a street quarterpipe.
Also, Lee crouches a lot on the landings which, in his case, looks really stylish.

Lee Yankou stood out from the pack and was well suited to murky San Francisco winter footage here. The part is memorable. But by standing out he didn’t help make the Think team cohesive, and Business As Usual didn’t really do much curb the brand’s 15-year march towards irrelevance. Basically, nobody benefitted from being on that team since Phil Shao died, and the best one could hope for was to stand out in a video.

Josh Matthews turned pro for Think in spring of 2013 and promptly bailed as did Cody Catfish. Lee was all set to go professional himself in early 2014 when Think folded up. Yankou would subsequently channel his efforts into a Transworld part. By spring of 2015 he was on the Heroin team, who turned him pro less than a year later. Since then he been anchored to Toronto but still dropping killer parts regularly. He is also presently the co-owner of a streetwear brand called Onemeth.

The cover photo Lee got for the August 2014 issue of Transworld was a serious banger (the frontside version of his ender from the Think video):

photo by Wes Tonascia

Lee won “$15,000” Canadian dollars for sacking the worst at the 2016 Dime Glory Challenge as well as a cool quarter million as MVP. The next year he made his Challenge entrance by doing blind fingerflips while repelling down from the ceiling.

Lee won “Most Likely To Yank Out” in the 2011 Thrasher T-Eddy awards, which I think is pretty clever.

2 thoughts on “Most Likely To Yank Out: Lee Yankou in Business As Usual

  1. Funnily enough, this video made me pay a whole lot more attention to Think, and I was bummed when they went under shortly later. Before this, Cody Mac was the guy who bigspinned Wallenberg, but that was about it. Josh Mathews, Adrian Williams, and Lee Yankou were all names I had only heard of but never seen any skating from, and all 3 had incredible parts. I still watch this video to this day.

  2. I remember when think started. Late 80s if I recall correctly. Their logo and shirts were cool as to where even the normies in my middle school were intrigued by them. The business as usual vid is sick with great parts some good songs. I heard the company went under due to mismanagement but whatever. Quintessential SF company. Could definitely see a reboot working some years from now.

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