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.
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.
For Fred Gall, 2012 was a year of unrewarded efforts, times of trouble, but also some of the most selfless actions imaginable. It the year Uncle Freddy went from skater we love to folk hero skate legend. It all starts when Fred and NJ Scum, thinking some exotic spots might give Fred a fighting chance to take home some cash in ESPN X-Games Real Street challenge, head to Cambodia.
Freddy delivered a decent part for Real Street, indeed encompassing some colorful spots along with the crusty ditches, crumbling pools, and highway underpass wallride lines we have come to rely on him for. It even has that excellent roll-in at Ogden Bank to Ledge in NYC where Fred is rocking the cornrows.
The story up until now… Chris Joslin‘s amazing ability to flip his board down ungodly sized gaps is successfully kept under wraps by Plan B to then be unveiled in 2014’s True video. The part is amazing and distracts us completely from being ghosted by Danny Way, Colin McKay, and PJ Ladd (but good on Pat Duffy for actually riding a skateboard). However, with just a little digging in the crates, we discover that True wasn’t the first video part of Chris’ to be distributed via the world wide web. Witness entnies Welcome to the Team part from earlier and 2014, and then feast upon Chris’ section in the 2013 Bones Wheels’ New Ground video.
But did Plan B, Sheckler’s etnies, and Bones brand Wheels really discover this kid? Following this thread even further back in time, we unearth the young Joslin gem that is his big part in the independent 2012 Ground Control video. Here lies the Powell Peralta flow-years footage of a prodigy finding his footing and taking is park-honed skills into the streets.
Somewhere there may exist a miniDV tapes loaded up with a fearless child jumping transitions to flat at the El Dorado park, but the story gets interesting when a just barely teenage Chris Joslin begins to hit the streets with the older Cerritos Ground Control crew in 2010.
The crew had been gathering footage for over a year and a full length independent video was starting to form. The concept that would become Ground Control the video, along with a proficient line-up (featuring future names like Mike Piwowar and Jason Park), was getting locked in. But then Chris started filming tricks. Filmer/editor Ilja Maran recollects, “Chris was always so successful on every filming mission (usually landing HUGE tricks in 5 tries or less) so before long it was pretty obvious he would have last part. It wasn’t even a matter of who would end the video with the biggest trick. It was always just Chris with a heavy ender that he would keep out-doing.”
Ground Control sees Chris as a fuzzy-headed yet already well-rounded street skater with a penchant for shoving out of ledge tricks and all the standard rail tricks on lock. His potential is obvious and local shops like Gallery and Mad Wax provided the stepping stones of sponsorship, as is the natural order of things. And while Chris might have had eyes on bigger fish in the board sponsor ocean than Powell, he was appreciative of what they provided.
For the most part, this isn’t ‘little kid’ footage, especially as we approach some of the really big tricks in the final two minutes of the part. The familiar ‘bolts’ landing on the big sets that Chris would soon be famous for emerges.
Ilja talks about the final tricks: “One of my favorite clips with Chris is obviously the ender at House of Drops. We went to shoot the tre-flip late one day and he stuck every try for almost 30 minutes but it got too dark before he could get the rollaway… We went back the following weekend and he was NOT getting close at all. Then, magically, after 5 or 6 tries he rolls away from the first stick. It was unbelievably easy for him. He seemed so non-chalant about the massive tre so I thought, why not keep going? I think I said “I got you on lunch if you sw frontside flip it”. And again, of course… Flips a few not close at all.. Then BOOM perfect catch, perfect stomp. Rolls away after the first stick. That was honestly the most stoked I’ve ever been on filming a clip and probably ever will be. Not only was it the ender of the video it was a HUGE surprise to everyone who was at the premiere. Everyone assumed the tre-flip was the ender of the video because the whole crew knew he tried it but the sw frontside flip was our secret surprise. Me and Chris went on a small side mission for that ender.”
A tightened edit of the Ground Control would go on to win the Berric’s Younited Nations 3 contest, earning the entire cast (along with always fun Distreeto crew from Mexico) a weeklong trip to skate the Berrics, which perhaps gave Joslin the last little push he needed before he dropped the perfect stomp into the skateboard consciousness.
I had to do a little digging to find the edit of their session, and you will be shocked at who got the ender. A little side note: why would the Berrics not be preserving their old video edits? Besides some of the earliest Joslin footage, that Josiah Gatlyn Recruits was one of the few repeatable park edit parts and all we have is some low-res youtube upload. Get it together, Steve.
Thanks to Ilja Maran for giving me the insider’s view into the emergence of a unique talent. The whole Ground Control video is solid and has a unique aesthetic with a consistent long lens panning style to interconnect every trick. It’s an unconventional vision that takes a bit of habituation for a viewer to settle into the flow of this filming and editing style, but I find it eventually creates a sense of rhythm to the video that unites all the parts. I’m also a fan of the use of long-lenses for big tricks, and it delivers that in spades.
As with most independent videos, Ground Control was a passion project for the friends . A lot of independent filmers sacrifice their bank accounts and their bodies just to celebrate their local scene so don’t let their work get forgotten. You can follow Ilja on the ‘gram at @dead.pixels or check out his youtube channel to see the latest skate edits. His professional film work reel is over at fineprintfilms.com.