I think we can all agree that 2018 was a pretty great year for skate videos. With nearly every day birthing a new release with at least a few mind benders and nearly every part begetting what would’ve been considered the greatest skateboarding trick ever conceived if this were just a decade ago. I expected to find myself burdened to pick just one part that stood out forward from the rest.
In a world where quintuple kinked rails are common, skateboarders openly defy security in nearly ever full length, and kids are doing tricks on moving construction vehicles for instagram, it would take something different to burn into the brain and bring me back. Perhaps something slower, something more meditative.
I didn’t expect to find it in an Element video. I really didn’t expect to find it in the middle of an Element video. And I certainly didn’t expect to find it from the lesser known amateur sibling of a more well known pro skater in the middle of an Element video.
Ethan Loy‘s part in Element’s Peace video breathes deep and give us a chance to contemplate. A lot of this feeling is provided by an unlikely pairing with the exotically global tinged stoner rock of Om. Much like Heath Kirchart’s Sight Unseen masterpiece set to the improbable but perfect soundtrack of the Moody Blues, we are given space to experience the skating rather than being battered with an onslaught of heavy tricks in rapid fire. And much like Heath in Sight Unseen, slow motion is used to marvelous effect.
One loses all sense of physics as the opening up-rail boardslide seems to illogically keep its momentum. One feels the claustrophobic constriction of a sweaty underground skate spot, nosegrinding between a metal ledge and a glaring florescent light. One feels a genuine sense of surprise when Loy opts to wallie or jam into rail and ledge tricks.
The pacing is restorative. The tricks are well selected (although how many parts are gonna end with that old motorcycle tow-in chestnut). The filming is crisp and clear. Ethan’s look is clean and austere, yet novel for lacking energy drink logos, forearm tattoos, and/or hair dye. The music is driving, yet soothing, emotional and uncluttered. The whole thing has a relaxed atmosphere, without any of the skating being relaxed at all. The part effectively resets what should have been an unbearably long full length video.
The strength of Ethan Loy’s part is definitely in the sum of all the elements, not just the tricks. So if he was to have one of those “War & Peace” rough cuts on Thrasher, it definitely won’t convey what worked so well. In the meanwhile, maybe it’ll get released in free sharable format once Element has squeezed all the revenue from online purchases. I’ll post it here if and when. Until then, Peace is available for purchase through iTunes and what have you, and totally worth the 13 bucks.
post photo by Jake Darwin