Category Archives: Friends Section

A montage of skate tricks, usually part of a full length featuring skaters whom don’t have parts elsewhere in the video.

The Colleagues Section

Team bloat is a real thing. Even once small, independent brands, should they be fortunate enough to taste real success and grow into global legitimacy, quickly face rosters that can expand unruly in size. Positive trends towards diverse teams that appeal to diverse demographics, not to mention international riders, can swell professional and paid amateur head counts to impractical levels.

This is to say: Teams be getting big.

As I unscientifically research this in Spring of 2021, I see that FA/Hockey has about 22 combined professionals. The Creature team, counting Ams and Legends as they are listed, is holding 27 people. Those are some wheel team numbers!

What is the ideal number for a board team to seem cohesive?
Eight? ($lave)
Nine? (Frog)
Twelve? (Zero)
Fourteen? (Girl)
Fifteen? (Santa Cruz)

The roll-call of ‘corporate’ shoe teams gets even more insane.
Adidas has a team of at least 37 skaters. Nike is sitting on about 50 pros. Same with Vans. This isn’t even including the ever fluctuating Euro teams, Aussie teams, and assorted flow riders.

So what’s a mega-brand to do when it comes to video production choices?
And how does our current preference for free quick-shot video content play into this?

We’re basically looking at a couple of possible scenarios.
First is the Going Big option: A fully funded, trips-to-China, multi year full-length production where nearly all the big riders who are healthy enough will have parts, or at least shared parts, and up-and-comers and brand legends get a trick or cameo in there as well. Think Vans’ Propeller video or maybe Element’s Peace.

These videos can hit run times of nearly an hour and need to recoup some costs so are typically released with a price tag via iTunes. There might even be a DVD. They are the types of videos we have been claiming are on their death bed for nearly a decade but they seem to keep coming.
While not quite as sprawling, we’ll lump in basically any team video, presented as a whole, that attempts to get parts from all their professionals into this category. Sure some riders were hurt or phoned it in or had to give the footy to their shoe sponsor, but basically the whole gang is there. Deathwish’s recent Uncrossed video is a good example.

Next we have the Serialized option: Basically just slice the squad up and drop a new full-length-but-not-full-team video every couple of years featuring whomever is presently delivering the goods. These videos typically have a “Chapter” or “Volume” number in the title, such as the Nike Chronicles or the Emerica Made series. Santa Cruz recently released the 5th volume in under 3 years of their Til The End series and is kinda back at the top of the line-up with Maurio McCoy having a full part again.

Side note: Ryde or Die Vol. 1 is an exception and we love Aesthetics for it. Was it even meant to have a Vol. 2?

We won’t delve into the idea of taking a full-length and exclusively releasing it in sections on the internet for free over a week or two, like Zero’s No Cash Value video from 2014, but that is happening as well.

I suppose we should also mention the Etnies High Five concept, where about 25 people each get about 30 seconds to do their thing in what is pretty much a 15 minute montage. I’m actual surprised we don’t get more of this type of video from the larger-rostered companies. Of course, modern music clearance realities ensure this type of project would likely lack those good old DJ mixtape vibes.

Finally, we have what call (and I encourage you to add to your skate lexicon as well) the Colleagues Section. Quite simply, it is the an extended montage of clips from non-featured team members that usually precedes a single riders online part, or gets sandwiched between a pair of full rider parts. A friends section for the rest of the team.
And thus, a little extra something gets added to the mix and perhaps the video isn’t forgotten before the sun sets that same day. We get a reminder of who else is in the brand clan and an extensive inventory of riders is perhaps made a bit more cohesive under one banner. God forbid they put the names in there during the skating.

The single part is still the main course, but the meal is that much better when a little sampling of all the side dishes. Case in point: Tanner Van Vark’s T.V.V. part for Real from February of 2021.

According to their web page right now, the Real team consists of 28 dudes (14 pros, 8 ams, and 6 ‘forevers’) with about 17 of them making an appearance in T.V.V.. The four minute ‘opening’ segment is the aforementioned Colleague Section, with about 27 tricks from the team in addition to Tanner’s 8 or 9. Then the main part drops for another 4 minutes, and then we have a couple of minutes of closing credits and such.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, his how an online 4 minute Professional debut part becomes a 10 minutes medium length video worthy of a (socially distanced) premiere party.
And I’m all for it. Especially if Ishod is one of the colleagues.

And, I would feel remiss to not speak at least a few words about Van Vark’s skating here. He proves his fast-track towards Pro-ness was well deserved, made all the more impressive that Real is already so stacked. Lots of wallies and wallrides into ledge tricks (including the rarefied wallie-barley), along with spins in unexpected directions. His hair is kinda silly, especially when he wears a baseball cap, which is often. It makes his whole air deceptively carefree.

Bonus Section:
I swear it is a coincidence; Boil the Ocean posted another mini-masterpiece of skateboarding journalism just a few hours after this post. It’s about the rise of fall and revenge of the Credits Section.

Alternate Premiere Edits – Habitat in Photosynthesis

Many young skaters learning the craft in the early 1990s, like myself, had a ‘crew’ consisting of every skater in every high school in not only my town but all the neighboring towns.
For me and the baggy-pantsed brethren this meant there were maybe 8 or so of us, not including the random dabblers and sit-boys. We would take turns purchasing the latest skate video on VHS and then, connecting two VCRs, record personal copies (usually in EP mode so you could fit a whole bunch onto one blank tape).

Some of the crew would make friends with some kids from New Haven or Hartford or New York and the extended network of spot access and skate gossip would steadily grow. As luck would have it, eventually the network included someone who was getting pretty ensconced in the national skate scene as a filmer, thus gaining for himself entry to insider events like video premieres and even invitations to California. From this connection we procured, sometime in the summer of 1996, a bootleg copy of Welcome to Hell.

Continue reading Alternate Premiere Edits – Habitat in Photosynthesis

Transworld’s Sight Unseen Montage

As discussed previously and will surely be brought up again, Transworld Skateboarding was on quite tear there in the years surrounding the turn of the century. Releasing at least a video every year, often two, sometimes even three, and all of purchase-worthy quality. John Holland, Ty Evans, Greg Hunt, and Ewan Bowman were locked in pretty tight through this time and a lot of future legends had a chance to build their legacies in the new digitally recorded video format. While these videos may have started as simply the video documentation of the tricks being photographed for interviews and contents pages, their importance in the preservation of skate heritage has, in most cases, surpassed the (now scanned) printed page.

These videos aren’t perfect. The mumbling intros are lucky to be forgotten. The insistence on using Atiba’s puttering attempts at electronic music for the closing credits is a continually wasted opportunity. The overenthusiastic editing and slow-motion can be a bit dated.
But there is so much right about these videos it is easy to not concern oneself with these trifles. And take a look the VHS releases the competition was trying to sell around this time: Do you remember who skated in the Thrasher’s Go For Broke video? Neither do I.

Continue reading Transworld’s Sight Unseen Montage

“Yo, we gotta go to Colombia and skate” – Fred Gall in Pasado Presente Futuro

It is just so easy to lose hours or even days going down the internet rabbit hole in the name of research. Looking for that long lost skate graphic or trying to confirm who filmed that clip. And with the bottomless skate video machine that is the internet, you can believe that for every word I’ve typed here at least ten minutes was wasted consuming ephemeral content in the name of skate history.

But occasionally our meandering minds stumble upon pure fucking gold and one wonders how such a shiny piece of treasure has been hidden all these years. Such is the case with Fred Gall‘s part in the 2009 Frontside Skate Shop video Pasado Presente Futuro.

also Tim O’Connor and Brian Wenning, if that’s your thing.

As far as I can tell, Frontside uploaded this video to Vimeo within a year of its release over a decade ago and (as of this writing) it has only been viewed 2085 times. And at least 20 of those are me! For a comparison, the Nine Club Experience episode where Freddy facetimes in for a few minutes has been viewed over 36 thousand times in just 2 years.

Now, this part isn’t just throwaway excess from some trip to South America. In addition to what I assume are clips of Fred skating spots that are local to the shop and some demos, this part is chock full of never before seen US of A footage, some dating from all the way back in 2003. There’s Pyramid Ledges footage here and wallride variations from that Mosaic opener spot. So how did a skateshop in Medellin, Colombia get all this gold?

Fred recalls: “My boy Hector from Colombia started a skate shop there. And my boy Don La from Jersey is Colombian, so that’s where that connection came. And then Hector came and stayed with us, and then me an Tim O’ where like ‘yo we gotta go to Colombia and skate.’ So we went to Colombia. We paid for ourselves. And we were like, holy shit, this place it rad. And we went back a little while later to do a Slap article. So that’s how that came about. We had Brennan [Conroy, Habitat videographer] with us. So that shit should have made it somewhere but I guess it didn’t.” 

Freddy, Hector Cataño of Frontside, and some rando who probably didn’t amount to anything

Snooping around on Instagram, it became clear that Frontside is a force in South American skateboarding and has been a regular stop for Freddy, the Habitat team, and lots of other professionals for a while now.
A side note that Frontside, despite being from his hometown, does not seem to have any association with David Gonzales.

Pasado Presente Futuro video gives us a lot of the Freddy you didn’t know you needed until just now. Freddy ollies from the wall into the Brooklyn Banks again, but now that fence is there and it is filmed long lens. Freddy bombs into traffic switch. Freddy with the stalefish grab at a demo. Freddy switch frontside 180ing into a wallride down steps. The only filmed Fred Gall nollie 360flip in existence.
Freddy skating to Kool Keith and Ultramagnetic MCs.
And then this:

Pasado Presente Futuro is a gift for us Freddy fanatics. I hope you enjoy it as much as I continue to. If you find yourself in Colombia, tell Hector “Gracias” from us here in the Warm Up Zone.

Bonus Fred:
You can watch the Freddy and Friends Frontside part in higher quality on Instagram here. Interesting to note that with the help of Google translate it seems while the release of the Frontside video was 2009, most of this footage was filmed in 2004. Here is a picture of when Fred Gall, practicante de skate, was in a Colombian newspaper in 2004:

Bonus Bonus Fred:
I was going to delve into the whole moving-bus-wallride thing here, as that also went down in 2009, but let’s save that for next time. In the meanwhile, here is a picture (again from the Frontside IG) of Freddy holding a jar of Juan Valdez coffee wearing a Rodeo Time hat and a Hewlett-Packard parody shirt that says “Son of a Bitch”.

NYC Montage from Transworld’s Greatest Hits – 1997

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtbJPHYOVdk?rel=0]

A standard feature of the skate video full length since the early 1990s is the montage or “Friends” section. Usually a song in length, we get treated to an assortment of tricks from skaters not featured elsewhere in the video and rarely even on the team in a pro/am sense. It is a highlight reel of geographic pals, sister-company associates, flow  international team riders, and otherwise unclaimed ‘other’ tricks that went down during the filming sessions.

While occasionally refreshing and at random times containing a surprise banger, these parts are easy to forget. There are, however, exceptions.

For your consideration, the NYC montage from Transworld Skateboarding‘s 1997 Greatest Hits video (itself basically a 35 minute montage of montages). Note: Greatest Hits was the title of TWS’s 3rd video (4th is you count Dreams of Children) featuring all new footage and not a greatest hits video in the typical use of the word.

Filmed mostly by Ryan Gee (I assume), I’m looking back at these clips through a lens 20 years thick and thinking this part does a surprisingly satisfying job of encapsulating NYC skating in the mid 1990s. All the more unusual being produced by a magazine that is staunchly SoCal.

The spots, the skaters, the sounds, the grit, and the crowded, cavernous feel of skating in a pre-skate stopped (and pre-9/11) Manhattan… Huf is popping, Keenan is alive and well, Puleo is doing a variation of the cellar door thing, the Banks are covered end-to-end, and Quim is at his most Quiminess. Some tricks from obscure-only-if-you-weren’t-there legends like Chris Keefe, Ryan Hickey, and Peter Bici give the part a little more authenticity. Now, if only Transworld had sprung for a Mobb Deep track.

I also miss back when it was ok to put the skaters name on screen. Why did everyone stop doing that?