Friday, August 30, 2013

Things I Really Don't Like Seeing in Skate Videos

I generally don't spew too much hate on this blog, but this is a concept that I think all skaters can relate to. We love watching skate videos, but there are certain things that we just hate to see. Maybe it's distracting, or seems unnecessary, or it just baffles us in some unexplainable way, but regardless, we see it done and it just flips our rage switch. These are my skate video pet peeves.

-Excessive Fakie Turnarounds
One of the reasons I decided to write this article in the first place is because of something that Ricky Oyola mentions at the veeeeerry end of this section of his "Epicly Later'd" episode. I understand that sometimes you're just cruising around and then you want go get back to regular to finish off the line strong, but if I see a skater do it more than a couple of times in a video part, it's as if you're saying one or all of these four things to me:
1. "I can't bring myself to skate switch, even for a second, so I'm going to turn back into my comfort zone."
2. "I don't understand the concept of flow in a line, so here are the hardest-looking tricks that I can do in a line."
3. "I can't slide my noseslides well enough to not land fakie, but my next trick has to be regular."
4. "I am too lazy to think of another trick to turn me back around."
As an extreme example, CJ Tambornino does not one, but TWO of these things in a line that starts at about 1:03

It's worth noting that CJ does some stupid-hard tricks, but I really am just not a fan of his style and seeing that was especially obnoxious. I mean, why couldn't he just have done a switch frontside flip instead of a nollie backside flip, then he would have been set up for his last trick AND he wouldn't have had to turn around  twice. It just doesn't make sense.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

KOTR 2013

Just in case you fools haven't been paying attention, King of the Road 2013 is about to go down. This year will be Enjoi, Real, Chocolate and Birdhouse. Birdhouse, as I mentioned previously, has an awesome team right now. Between JAWS, Raybourn, and Clint, there's really not a challenge too scary for that team to complete, and if they just pick a guy who can take care of some of the more technical tricks, they'll be golden. Call me crazy, but I think Shawn Hale or Willy Santos could probably hold down that position just fine. As for the other teams, I can almost guarantee that Enjoi will have the most fun (as their name implies) although, there have been rumors about some of those guys wanting to leave, so I suppose there's also a possibility of some tension, or a team that lacks both Jerry and Louie, which would ALMOST render their team pointless. As for who's going to win, I'd say it's a toss up between Birdhouse and Chocolate. Chocolate will most likely nail some of the more technical challenges, while Birdhouse will probably corner the market on the really gnarly ones, so it just depends on how the list turns out and who decides to bring their A-game. Of course Real will bring some heavy-hitters as well and they have such a huge team that they could wind up putting together some magic combination of skaters, Billy Beane style. Plus, a lot of those dudes are young and stupid enough to try even the most ridiculous challenges. I'll be watching this close, and you should be too. Here's the video, which is also my source:

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Brief Look Back at Street League Predictions

Ok, so clearly, I wasn't 100% right on all of my predictions for Street League. If you haven't seen them yet, check them out here. So now I'm going to go through all of the predictions and state how true they were, just for kicks and giggles.

1. Terrible camera work.
This was my most accurate prediction. For at least one trick, the camera was focused on a vacant quarter pipe WHILE  PAUL RODRIGUEZ WAS ATTEMPTING A TRICK. Several other times, the camera cut away from the skaters at awkward times or didn't get the best angle. It was terrible.

2. Everyone is going to pull some especially difficult tricks.
Hell yea they did. Paul did a nollie 270 to switch back lip. Luan did a frontside flip disaster on that big 'ole quarter pipe. 'Twas sick.

Weekly "Why Haven't I Seen This?"-13

With the plethora of skate footage that's out there, it can be easy to overlook things. And yet, so often we stumble upon a video that we've never heard of and find ourselves asking why we hadn't seen it before. Each week, I plan to post another lesser-known video that deserves more recognition, for your viewing pleasure.

This week I stumbled upon a little independent video from the east coast titled, "In Crust We Trust". So you know this stuff is going to be sick. My favorite part was this gem from Sean Korney, who most definitely rips some crusty, chunky, true east coast spots. I don't know too much about the filmer or Sean Korney, but what I do know is the guy has a mean switch tre, and that nollie hard at the end makes me want to head out and get served on some spot. What I've also gathered is that these dudes are probably from somewhere in the greater Philadelphia area (possibly New Jersey) based on the spots- there's definitely some LOVE park footage in there. I suppose I can also conclude that these guys have some sweet taste in music. Anyway, I hope this makes you guys want to go skate as much as it made me want to.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Greyson Fletcher on Element

Dude came out of nowhere as far as I'm concerned. I first saw him skate at the Van Doren Invitational, doing easily some of the best pool skating that I've ever seen. He was airing WAY higher out of the pool than anyone else that day, including Curren Caples, who has been known to blast off rocket ship-style This video is just a taste:

Congrats Greyson. I look forward to losing my mind watching footage of you in the future. In case anyone needs proof, here's my source.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

8 Things to Expect at the Street League Championship

I understand that a lot of skateboarders hate Street League. Honestly, I have my own qualms with it as well, but at the end of the day, I have a hard time coming up with a reason not to watch guys like Luan Oliveira, Chris Cole, Ishod Wair,  and Paul Rodriguez skate. Not to mention in the prelims you get to see Bastien Salabanzi go HAM during the run section, and find out what new obstacle Austyn Gillette has decided to kick-push at and stretch a trick over, so all in all, it's pretty fun to watch. It's pretty hard to ruin good skating, in my eyes.

Tomorrow evening, those of us who care about Street League will get to see some really good skaters go for broke for the Championship in New Jersey. The course appears to offer more options than ever before, and a lot of these guys will be laying it all on the line. Chris Cole mentioned that this was his favorite course so far, and I agree that it has potential. Just look at it.


So with that said, here are my predictions of what to expect:

Monday, August 19, 2013

Weekly "Why Haven't I Seen This?"-12

With the plethora of skate footage that's out there, it can be easy to overlook things. And yet, so often we stumble upon a video that we've never heard of and find ourselves asking why we hadn't seen it before. Each week, I plan to post another lesser-known video that deserves more recognition, for your viewing pleasure.

Gustav T√łnnesen is one of those European skaters that comes in every now and then and just makes everything that American skaters are doing basically look like a joke. Nollie Bennett grinds in a line? Got 'em. Frontside half-cab flip down a 9 stair onto brick? Too easy. That frontside shuvit at 3:58 is one of the greatest things I've ever seen.

Gustav rides for Sweet Skateboards, a European company that is most definitely killing it right now. Seriously, the whole team is sick.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Weekly "Why Haven't I Seen This?"-11

With the plethora of skate footage that's out there, it can be easy to overlook things. And yet, so often we stumble upon a video that we've never heard of and find ourselves asking why we hadn't seen it before. Each week, I plan to post another lesser-known video that deserves more recognition, for your viewing pleasure.

The first I ever saw of Pat Dandy was just a couple of tricks in the Bones "New Ground" video. On the first view I didn't think too much of it, but after re-watching that video more recently, I realized that even those two tricks were really pretty sick, and I wanted to see what else Pat had to offer.

It turns out Pat Dandy is from New Zealand and sort of well known in Australia, although many of us in the United States haven't seen too much of him. Unfortunately, the  only decent quality footage of him that I could find ('decent' meaning not park footy or extremely low video quality footy) was a welcome video to Theeve Trucks. And yet it's still ABSOLUTELY worthy of being featured this week. The ollie at 18 seconds made me grab my head as to avoid allowing it to explode and get brain matter everywhere. The kickflip into the bank at the end could have sent ME to the hospital if he had bailed the wrong way. Pat's also sponsored by Zero and Fallen, so with any luck at all, he will have a couple of tricks in 'Cold War'. I wouldn't get my hopes to high though, given that he's probably on the Australian division, and those guys always seem to get shafted on coverage.

Friday, August 9, 2013

5 Most Crucial BATB Additions

I have to admit- I REALLY like watching Battle at the Berrics. I think it's something about the fact that it's competitive, but the skaters participating are kind of forced into a more fun, spontaneous environment, which is extremely like any other contest. It's also really cool to see guys who would normally be hucking themselves onto a handrail just messing around on some flatground.

Alright, now enough of the praise. Battle of the Berrics could be even awesomer with just a few key additions to the roster in the next tournament. Given that they generally run two BATB tournaments per year, we can expect that another one will be starting up some time in the next few months. I assume it will be a few weeks after this Run and Gun thing is over. So Steve, if you're reading this (you're not), you should totally take these suggestions seriously.

1. Issey Yumiba
Have you seen this guy skate? He can do anything he wants. In the Almost video ("5 Incher" AKA that video that was filled with awkward dick jokes) Issey demonstrates his ability to do all kinds of awkward flip tricks, some of which are in lines. He even does a fakie hardflip over a table. You don't try a hardflip over a picnic table unless you've pretty much gotten bored with all the other flip tricks that you've been able to get over a picnic table. Given that he rolls with the Almost camp, I'm sure he toys around with all sorts of crazy tricks too. And on that note...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Contest Round-Up

This summer has been an extremely busy contest season. Just in the last month, there have been two Street League stops, an X Games stop, the US Open, and CPH Pro. That's a lot of contests to happen in a month, and unfortunately I wasn't able to keep up with them well enough to be able to write about them. I think this is mostly due to the fact that X Games and Street League decided to team up this year and do a bunch of extra stops all over the world, which effectively tripled the amount of contest activity for the summer.

So the best I can do at this point is offer a quick recap of the last month of contests. Here we go!

First there was the Kansas City stop for Street league. We were introduced to a nice twist when Nyjah Huston got eliminated right after the flow section. The cool thing about that is he didn't totally blow his run- it's just that 7 other people did even better runs, which was awesome to see. I think the course was a little smaller than normal, which did a couple of things. First, it made Chris Cole look really out of place, since he's sort of a bigger guy who was forced to prance around on a bunch of small ledges and transition. Second, dudes got tech with it. Shane O'Neill pulled a ridiculous switch 360 double flip down the gap. P-Rod did an awesome switch flip back smith on the hubba. Chris Cole did a tre flip nosebluntslide. When all was said and done, Paul Rodriguez won this stop.Here's the full video if you're interested.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Weekly "Why Haven't I Seen This?"-10

With the plethora of skate footage that's out there, it can be easy to overlook things. And yet, so often we stumble upon a video that we've never heard of and find ourselves asking why we hadn't seen it before. Each week, I plan to post another lesser-known video that deserves more recognition, for your viewing pleasure. It looks like I've reached my first milestone- 10 weeks of introducing these great video parts. Party on!

This week we have Josh Barclay, who's a 23 year-old ripping out in Kansas City, Missouri, if I'm not mistaken. As far as I can tell, he is currently only sponsored by Untitled Skateboards, although I'm sure that has already begun to change since he was featured on Ride Channel's Shredit Cards.  If you haven't seen that yet, I highly recommend clicking the link- the only reason I didn't feature it is because that video has been viewed over 34,000 times in a little less than two months. I couldn't continue to title this section as "Why Haven't I Seen This?" in good conscious if I posted it, so here we are, watching an amazing stack of throwaway clips instead.

You read that right- this footage, laced with demonstrations of Gravettean rail balance, technical flip tricks, and palm flips off of big drops all seems to be throwaway for some other video. This truly is an interesting time in skateboarding.

Friday, August 2, 2013

An In-Depth Look at Naming Tricks- Part 1: Confusion

Could you imagine what it would be like if skateboarding tricks didn't have names? Attempting to talk about tricks would be nearly impossible. Speaking of impossible, allow me to use that in my example. The following dialogue seems pretty normal and is taken for granted among skaters.

Skater 1: "Hey, do you remember when Geoff Rowley did that impossible to 50-50 on that hubba in 'Extremely Sorry'? That was sick."

Skater 2: "Yea. That was sick. I just wish I could do impossibles."

If you know the lingo, it makes perfect sense. If we didn't name each trick, then the same dialogue would go like this:

Skater 1: "Hey, do you remember when Geoff Rowley popped his board up in such a way that it wrapped around his back foot and spun all the way around before landing with both trucks on the edge of a downward concrete ledge beside a staircase? It was in the Flip video."

Skater 2: "What? Are you ok? It looks like you're having a heart attack."

Skater 1: "No, I'm just exhausted from trying to describe tricks to you all day."

How awful would that be? So it makes sense that tricks would have names. We're not alone in this either. Figure skaters and gymnasts have names for all of their various maneuvers too, and that's only naming a couple of examples out of many.

Now, this discussion is going to get pretty in depth, but stick with me, because hopefully I will change your attitude towards naming tricks and we don't all have to argue as much. Before I get into that, though, we need to review some basics.

For those of you who haven't thought about these things in a while, consider the frontside/backside aspect of a trick. When you rotate so that you are facing the direction of travel after the first 90 degrees, the trick is frontside, like this frontside 180: