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.
22 years after Pat Duffy done changed the game with his video-opening debut part in Plan B’s 1992 Questionable Video, the scepter was passed.
Once again, decades after Questionable, Pat was back on Plan B and back in a Plan B video. But he was present less to skate (although, unlike he fellow Plan B OGs Danny and Colin, he does skate), but more as a symbol of a legacy. Pat is the prototype of an unknown entity who emerges from out of nowhere to knock skating up several notches, making himself famous in the process and affirming that Plan B is, in fact, a skateboarding super team.
Plan B’s True video in 2014 very well might have been remembered for all the wrong reasons. The broken promise of yet another missing Danny Way part. The continued disenchantment with an absentee Colin MacKay. Pat Duffy’s brave effort that nevertheless puts forth undeniable evidence that he is, in fact, over the hill. Trevor McClung disrespecting a post-slamming on-the-clock pizza delivery boy who left it all on the field. Felipe Gustavo inducing yawns as he gets ill on the final 6 inches of a slippery low ledge. The wrong Decenzo brother. And, of course, the most famous skateboarding trick that never happened in skateboarding history, Sheckler’s claimed El Toro backside flip. One can see why filmmaker Eric Bragg and the Plan B board of directors went all-in by promoting the bombshell debut of their newest am. A reintroduction to the “Theory of Pat”.
And it worked.
Chris Joslin‘s hammerfest in True, indeed, set the bar unfathomably high. Now, over half a decade later, I say his two song part is still unmatched in the world of high-impact street skating. It is an achievement and should be celebrated. It was worth the iTunes admission price to an otherwise lackluster video. But was this the first the world had seen of Joslin? Not quite.
Curiously, etnies shoes (the lowercase is correct, apparently) jumped the gun with a welcome to the team part that came out a little over a month prior to True. It’s actually a really good part if you ignore the 2 minutes of ‘credits’ footage and probably the worst Goat song you could select. But for those of us taking notes, it greatly reduced the potential impact of the Plan B video. I’m not sure how or why etnies got out the gate first with Chris. Probably shoe money, even Sole Tech level shoe money, trumps board brand money.
Digging even deeper, Joslin gave the world an even earlier taste of his talent with 50 seconds of fury as part of a montage in Bones Wheels’ New Ground video in 2013. While the etnies thing was definitely filmed in conjunction with Plan B and is of the same timeframe, the Bones’ part is from Joslin’s prehistoric Powell days.
From ages 14-16 or so, Chris was sponsored by perpetually sinking ship that is 21st century Powell Peralta skateboards. He went on a Pacific Northwest summer tour with them in the summer of 2012, according to this amazingly still active Powell-Peralta blog. According to an interview with Nieratko in 2014 (for the X-Games), Joslin was aware of his coming ascension and what role Powell would play: “… everyone always knows that Powell-Peralta is a stepping stone in a way, so it was meant for me to leave, in a sense.”
Then-and-now Powell team manager Deville Nunes must have agreed, as he apparently brokered the deal that sent Joslin to Plan B. It is worth noting that Powell completely dropped all their team (except Cab) in 2013.
All Joslin’s tricks in New Ground are just completely ludicrous in size and cleanliness. The final backside 360 ollie kickflip was pretty much the exclusive property of Chris Cole at the time. And that little extra flavor is tossed in the mix with that out-of-character banked no-comply tailslide to quirky 360 shove it nose manual makes the whole thing that much more entertaining.
Who is this kid? Where did he come from? How the hell was the first ever footage from a talent this monumental just crammed into a montage in the middle of an online wheel video?
Or was it this not truly our first possible dose of Joslin? Tune in next episode and find out.