Tag Archives: skateboarding

Jon Dickson and the embarrassment of riches – Deathwish Part 2

Damn, what a run of high-quality online skate videos it has been in the past two weeks, although mostly released through Thrasher’s website. We had Zion Wright going rail-crazy for Real, Christian Maalouf fakie flipping tables over here for WKND, Erick Winkowski taking the Christ Air to the streets with a board that can only be describes as impractically 80s, Taylor Nawrocki soars up the rankings of my favorite skaters with an ambidextrous single-spot Beastmon part filmed entirely at the Williamsburg Monument (plus, anything Colin Read is involved with is usually gold), and speaking of Nawrocki, Theories of Atlantis gives of four minutes over at Transworld with the Patsy cut.

Did I mention Primitive skateboards released Never the day after Shane O’Neil announced he had quit the team? They did, and its more or less full video with questionable slow-motion and gratuitous drone interstitials to compliment a fantastic non-arena part from Mr. Paul Rodriguez Jr and some very, very heavy footage from Nick Tucker. Then Trent McClung leapfrogs way ahead of both siblings and teammates with a tornado bluntslide.

Plus, even as I write this, new groundbreaking edits of Pedro Barros (oh my god, that’s sick) and Breana Geering are just begging for multiple viewings. Plus probably another dozen or so more decent things were released in that I just didn’t absorb.

So it is easy to feel bad for the Baker Boys. A video like Deathwish Part 2 has every right to stand head and shoulders above the rest and could be the best video of 2018 to date. That such a good video might get buried in the heaps of gold that were released this week is a shame. Even if you remove Lizard King‘s psychedelic interpretation of what’s an acceptable place to land your large drops (apparently right in the middle of a stair set), take away Ellington‘s inward heelflip, ignore Jamie Foy‘s convincing argument for back-to-back SOTYs, disregard Jake Hayes executing another perfect kicklfip, and pretend Neen‘s varial heelflip never happened (also Kirby and Slash’s tricks) and we would still have a part to blog about. Jon Dickson.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olDxibvWjRo?rel=0&start=565]
Jon Dickson skates like a speeding bulldozer with machines guns mounted on its sides, destroying gaps and tearing pants with the unstoppable force of an Incredible Hulk with sideburns and a man bun. Sure he kickflips into handrail tricks of both the slide and grind variety, and hell yes there’s cabellarials over the bar and into the bank, and of course he casually pops out of that smith grind before the knobbed end (although I’m convinced he would just plow right through that thing), and obviously he can turn a flatground frontside flip over a picnic table into a set-up trick… but the real joy of Jon Dickson in Deathwish Part 2 is the roll aways.

A man of Dickson’s power and density has no business gliding away with such poise. Check the right arm crossing gracefully in front of him. Scope the left arm swinging behind his back like a lazy boat rudder cutting the calm waters of a still lake. His knees are bent like the bank carving surf style skaters of the 1970s. His eyes glancing over his shoulder from the ground to the road ahead with no sign of surprise or shock. Take away the death defiance of the tricks and brawniness of approach and, dare I say it, Jon Dickson is an elegant skateboarder.

Also, look at his legs on that 11-stair switch frontside flip at around 11:30 in the video! Good lord that is insane. Of all the tricks to not get a second slow-motion angle of, why that one?

the correct way to make a quick Vincent Alvarez part – Static V

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Glbd51sC59g?rel=0]

Theories of Atlantis recently posted this Vincent Alvarez quickie from Static V, and it is infinitely watchable. The strength of Alvarez’s skating lies in the style and flow. It’s those set-up tricks up the curb and the arm dangling roll aways that make him my favorite line skater (maybe a tie with Bobby Worrest).

There’s also some good content featuring Theories kingpin Josh Stewart talking about the unwritten rules of skate video editing and music selection over at Village Psychic. An interesting read, particularly after watching this Vincent Alvarez part with what I would consider questionable music selection.

TJ Rogers – the most underrated skater of the recent past of the future

In the not so distant future, when we all continue our never ending critique/celebration of skateboarding on whatever media formats will have replaced Instagram and the Slap Message Boards (some virtual reality gathering where holograms all just yell at each other, I imagine), I have no doubt I will contribute mightily to the ‘most underrated skater of the 20-teens’ argument with a quick mention of TJ Rogers.

While he might get a little moment of sunshine for a massive switch frontside 360 here or there (Wallenberg here, Hollywood High 16 there), nobody seems to notice that he just finished top 5 at Tampa Pro, or released easily one of the greatest skate parts of 2016.

Ladies and gentlemen, TJ Rogers in Enter the Red Dragon:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xp4KMFuw84k?rel=0]

This one checks nearly all the boxes for a legendary skate part:

Four minutes of footage with minimal 2nd angles and slow motion congratulatory hugging. Even the end zone dancing and bird flipping clips are rapid enough to keep the flow going rather than interrupting.

Boatloads of illmatic tech skating with nary a park ledge in sight. Front foot late flips, manuals out of ledges, and of course with all the spins and shoves.

Big gaps and stair sets: Fakie, nollie, regular, and obviously switch… TJ even drops a varial flip with style. He loves skating!

Street gaps, flat rail to drops, no push bump-to-bar lines, blind-side rotations into crusty banks, famous Philly ledges… and he even manages to keep the omnipresent Red Bull logo somewhat incognito.

And all this is held together with the perfect wrapping of a Masta Ace song that has been begging for skate video usage for 20 years. So, c’mon, you brainiac dumb dumbs, add Enter the Red Dragon to your playlist and let’s promote TJ from underrated to properly rated.

Fuck you and have a nice day.

Caleb Barnett in Hockey III

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYjh7P4cXXY?rel=0]

The first 2 minutes of the Hockey III promo are monstrous. The cinematic doom soundtrack (a mix of 2001 monolith and Jóhann Jóhannsson) and slow-motion wind-up makes Caleb Barnett seem ten feet tall, tossing pop-shoveits over city blocks and making the earth shake when he casually bails an after-hammer flat ground heelflip. Melting ledges with a sideways stare down we haven’t seen since a bald Brian Anderson in 1996.

Marisa Dal Santo – Strange World

A recent interview with Marisa Dal Santo over at Jenkem got me back in the loop of watching this part over and over again. It’s interesting to read her story of refilming tricks, broken wrists, and turning down professional status while collecting $40,000 contest purses.

Although skateboarding is embarrassingly several decades behind where it should be in the realm of gender inclusivity (with a lot of work to go), it is good to see a lot of deserving women are getting signature models of their own this year. Regular skate parts, as well as filler park content and bearing sponsor promos, from women is finally becoming more routine and less novel.

Still, I consider Marisa’s 2009 part in Zero’s Strange World the reigning champion of skate parts from a women thus far. The opening slam on the backside flip roll away, the surprise no-comply heelflip one footer, smith grind tail grab, the Stranglers song, the Chicago Bears jersey… this part may have been the been what broke Marisa’s enthusiasm for hammers, but what a part!

Evan Smith – Time Trap – 2016

With all respect to long quintuple-kinked handrail 50-50 grinds, Evan Smith was robbed in 2016.

While not quite on the scale of the handing of Guy Mariano’s trophy to David Gonzalez back in 2012, Evan Smith handed the world a basket of amazing skateboard parts in 2016 (plus lots more) and should’ve been crowned. More footage than many pros will log in a career. On Thrasher’s website alone he dished out three full parts that year.

While Evan might not seem to care about the missing trophy for his mantle, we are blessed to witness the psychedelic innovation, baggie shirts, street 540s, and Kenny G hairstyles over and over again. Even better, the carnage continued into 2017, and Evan finally seems willing to drop parts he didn’t score himself. [Note: that linked Spitfire part came out on the second day of 2017, and can practically be grouped with the rest of his dominance of the previous year.]

For your consideration, the opening volley of Evan Smith’s assault on 2016 AD, from January: Time Trap.

the (brief) return of Henry Sanchez

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60C5eK8Sm2Y?rel=0]
For my money, Sight Unseen is at the top of the Transworld video pile. Not a bad part in the bunch, only a few dull moments, pretty much the only non-Anti Hero bro-cam part from Cardiel, and sweet Heath skates entirely in slow motion to the Moody Blues.

But don’t sleep on Henry Sanchez’s part. Emerging from a half decade in non-Blind promo obscurity, Henry drops a surprise resurrection in 2001 to show he still has the moves to hold his own at all the turn of the century SF spots… 3rd and Army in particular.

Throwing in 3/4 Cab BS Tailslides (a trick I would love to see more often) and chunky ledge 360 flip 5-0s into lines was ahead to the game. And don’t forget Marcus McBride’s sheer decimation of Pier 7 in there. Perhaps do forget Marcus’ mumbled introduction, though. Those Transworld video intros were just brutal, and this part has one of the worst.

In conjunction with this part, Henry was tagged to be the flagship rider for the Lucky board brand that mercifully didn’t last very long. Other than sharing another part with Marcus in Chomp On This, the Sight Unseen part was basically the extent of the comeback for him. He really should’ve been taking under the protective embrace of the Girl/Chocolate wing at some point in the nineties, but alas, such is the tale of Henry.


Bobby Worrest’s Hometown Turf Killer

Tom Remillard’s recent Thrasher video filmed entirely at the Los Angeles Court House brick transitions got me thinking about the time back in early 2014 that Bobby Worrest filmed a full legit online part for Krooked entirely at Washington D.C.’s Freedom Plaza.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N9mjjDY4_0?rel=0]

Known mostly for Pepe Martinez, Reese Forbes, Eastern Exposure 2, and a few tricks here and there since, I was pretty confident Pulaski Park had been remodeled or skatestopped or somehow rendered completely useless for skateboarding long ago, but not a damn thing changed.

Hometown Turf Killer is a unique concept for a full part and stands up as a strong part and not just a novel gimmick.  It was the #1 video part of the year according to Boil the Ocean and, I thought, combined with the Quartersnacks and Luxury & Loudness parts from that year, he had a legit shot at SOTY in 2014.

What other parts feature more or less one skater at one spot?

Tom Knox’s part in the Eleventh Hour video

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Y_v5m85goI?rel=0]

Dreary overcast skies, crusty brink banks, quick footed half cabs, and other unexpected tight fitting drop-ins. Let’s enjoy Tom Knox (mk II) from Jacob Harris’ Eleventh Hour video from back in 2013.

Parts like this make me think my city is probably just cram-jam of interesting street spots, if only I had the eye to spot them, big wheels to roll up to them, creativity to find the lines, pop to reach them, and talent to not kill myself trying. Alas…

Mike Rusczyk – Foundation Art Bars

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grDnTLFk0H8?rel=0]

Mike Rusczyk stomped a memorable part in Foundation Skateboard’s 11th (!) video… Art Bars, Subtitles and Seagulls from 2001. The title of the video suggests all the abstract art film nonsense is sarcastic, but I get the feeling all that interstitial editing hoopla is a genuine attempt to get in on the Manzoori / Memory Screen stylistic party.

However, the  skating proves forward thinking for the time with non-comply heelflip step-hops, tweaked nollies over the rail,  and an overall well balanced trick selection that feel straight-up street. It could’ve used a few less animated Lego men, though.

I liked the post-Daniel Haney  pre-Duffman-dominant era line-up for Foundation with Rusczyk, Strubing, Ethan Fowler, and even a little Markovich thrown in there before Tum Yeto gave him his own board brand.