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.
Continue reading Transworld’s Sight Unseen Montage
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.
To be fair, if we are indeed going to account for All the Gall, we should consider the bright but brief blowtorch of a career from Alex ‘Trainwreck’ Gall (no relation to Fred). It won’t take long, for his legacy was built on the weight of just 2 full parts. With such a strong impact made so quickly, only to disappear so completely, Trainwreck’s career path has become the archetype of the explode then vanish what-ever-happened-to skater.
As awesome of a nickname as he posses, Alex Gall didn’t earn it from his aggressive skateboarding or monumental slams. He got literally hit by a train as a child.
Continue reading Trainwreck
His skating wasn’t on any radars at all as he grew up and he emerged fully formed as a ball of destruction in his Jamie Thomas produced Wheels of Fortune part in 411 #39 from 2000. He went pro for Zero not too long after, but quit the team while on a trip to New York, thusly never having that Zero part you swore he did.
We don’t really have all that much footage of the incredible pop of Paul Sharpe. Back in the mid-90s if your looking for someone to straight nollie that obstacle, he was the guy to call (maybe Paulo Diaz if Sharpe was unavailable). Digging in the online video crates, there are really only a handful of parts from his career.
Let’s take a moment to visit this buried gem from Transworld’s first non-Dreams of Children video, Uno. Paul Sharpe switch ollies a fence, locks into a tall smith, and I really love the backside flip up a curb to start a line.
And then we get a couple tricks from a babyfaced Heath Kirchart. I see that final kickflip as the death of young barbarian at the gate Heath the birth of the HK that continues, still, many years after his retirement, to own skateboarding with mystery, dignity, and a slow motion death defying grace.
And with nobody paying attention, Theotis Beasley drops the best part of his career on Transworld’s website back in May.
That Nollie kickflip 360 banked manual to 180 out was just crammed in the middle there. Damn.
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.
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?