Close friend of SMLTalk, Dave Sullivan, brings to us a true gift. ‘Yum Yum Sauce’ features CT’s heaviest hitters - Dustin Walls, Chad Wade, Bobby Murphy, and Connor Belcourt. Great job Dave, as always - love you.
Close friend of SMLTalk, Dave Sullivan, brings to us a true gift. ‘Yum Yum Sauce’ features CT’s heaviest hitters - Dustin Walls, Chad Wade, Bobby Murphy, and Connor Belcourt. Great job Dave, as always - love you.
Filmed by: Matt Richards
The first (and last) annual King of the Spine contest was held on November 10th 2018, and it was mayhem - it was really fucking cold, too. Big shoutout to Ted Purtell for filming / editing, and to Derek Hanlon for all photos seen below.
Burke came in with zero warm up time and laid out an absolute assault on the spine, landing what analysts are estimating to be ~315 tricks in 10 minutes - easily taking the number 1 spot after the first round, with Meatball as a close second (switch tre to tail was nasty).
Second round had Nivsy and Zak Pap as strong contenders with some nice blunt work - and Nate Dugan showing a strong presence as well (highly notable backside flip off the hip).
What became clear, however, is that Waino had an eye on the trophy. He tossed a quick fs bigspin in, and followed it up with a switch tre. He was warm.
Finally - the Big Air. The final event drew an unexpected and equally eclectic crowd. People were ready to launch. Eric Abo made an appearance hucking a bs 180 melon that could have cleared the rail... (cough cough). Jason Berry came through and absolutely fucked up this obstacle. Cannot be understated. Dugan also launched one of the best front shoves we've ever seen and stayed strong with a few solid tricks, but ultimately was beat out by Waino.
(scroll for more photos) Eric Abo, Nate Dugan, Jason Berry, Matty Richards, Ted Purtell, Rob Hall
Waino inevitably did the unthinkable and stuck it - honestly pretty quickly all things considered (also shoutout Waino for doing that because it was getting really cold).
He took home the trophy and we all went to Biddy's for celebratory beers.
Film / Edit by Thomas Purtell
Photos: Derek Hanlon
Skaters (or at least most of them) in order of appearance (in video):
Close friend of SMLTALK, Andrew Milicia, comes in strong with Apache Relay - a full length video featuring “mediocre” skateboarding from friends up and down the east coast.
Filmed / Edited by Richie Woolbert, featuring Chris Jones, Jon Hadley & Cody Jones, Ben Butler, Andrew Milicia (and friends).
Please enjoy this beautiful video accompanied by one of the most enjoyable soundtracks of 2018.
When Filming, Editing, and Skating Come Together to Create The Perfect Moment
Why 17? No reason at all - just a bunch of monumental clips worth recognizing.
17) Ethan Fowler - That’s Life (ending sequence)
Ethan Fowler is nothing if not enigmatic - never really in the spotlight, yet always bringing something great to the table. Each one of his parts seems to have it’s own personality, but all fit perfectly to his style.
Ethan’s part in That’s Life is nothing short of classic (shoutout Josh Beagle) - skating to the Chambers Brothers (not expected but somehow fits), and really just a blend of some insane sketch, creative lines, and hammers.
His ending section in this part honestly couldn’t be better - everything culminates here and peaks at the back 360 in that fucking red leather jacket. Good lord it’s good.
16) Dana Ericson - The Raw Video (ending sequence)
Local pick here - have to pay some real respect to Lee Madden, low key genius. Obviously Dana provides some great material to work with here, but this Dana’s enders here are perfectly complemented by the piano -music choice is really spot on and makes for an impactful moment. Top notch stuff - rest of the video is A+ work as well, so go check that when you have a few (James Nickerson personal fav part).
15) Heath Kirchart - Sight Unseen (tailslide ender)
Did you think Heath wasn’t going to be on this list? This John Holland / Greg Hunt masterpiece might actually be the best Transworld video to date (will there ever be another good one? arguments welcome in the comments).
Anyhow - back to Heath. I mean it’s Heath skating to The Moody Blues. The fucking Moody Blues. Only Heath could pull it off. So rad - so gnarly, and this last clip is the dagger. I actually heard that they edited the end of the song so that the last piano chord hits when he lands. When you’re creating a moment, you do what you have to do. Beautiful.
14) Andrew Reynolds - Stay Gold (kickflip Davis gap)
There are plenty of moments with Reynolds, but I really think that this one is the best. Could be speaking for myself, but when Stay Gold came out I wasn’t really sure what to expect from him -was sort of a hope for the best / expect the worst sort of thing. I mean, he was 32 when it came out (think about that).
Obviously I was an idiot and it's possibly his best part. Probably could have included the last minute and a half of his part, but for brevity’s sake I wanted to keep it to the Davis gap because -wow. (but also considered the bs flip down Wallenberg as the song comes back in). Obvious shouts to Miner / Manzoori on this one - song is great and VERY 2010.
13) Danny Renaud - Mosaic (Delaware line)
This could probably be #1. Oh well - it is what it is. This line is so fucking good - Castrucci really nails it with the edit. This really is honestly my favorite moment in a skate video from a pure editing perspective, and the weird thing is that it’s not anything particular about it that makes it stand out (e.g. beats on all the tricks / etc), it just fits really well.
The drum fill as he turns past the bush is fucking wow though. Magical stuff.
12) Mike Carroll & Rick Howard - Mouse (intro)
Three is the magic number - Spike is the best to do it, ever.
11) Jason Lee - Way Out East! (tre flip ender)
Possibly an unpopular opinion here, but this one I really felt. This is also one of my favorite videos - Stereo’s Way Out East! came out in 2004 and all I wanted to do was skate like these guys.
This was also Jason Lee’s return to skateboarding after a close to 10 year hiatus. The tre flip and the way it lines up with the song switch is just really nice. Those jeans though- those are unforgivable.
10) Heath Kirchart - This Is Skateboarding (slam)
Did you think Heath wasn’t going to make this list twice?
My lord - watching this slam happen for the first time is just unsettling. Feels like he’s in the air for like 10 seconds. It is a perfect moment, though. The intro of the song builds up perfectly and basically asks for a slam - so you know Miner is gonna give it to you.
9) Tom Knox - Vase (ending sequence)
All the young people reading this (if there are any?) are probably thankful that there’s something on here from the past 5 years. So not only is the second half of Knox’s Vase part absolutely fucking insane - it’s really just perfectly crafted. I (obviously) love a part that’s edited to a slower, soulful song - but it’s because it’s typically pretty hard to pull off. The skating has to be good enough to do it justice.
This last section of the part just brings it all together, and you really have to love the exit into the tunnel. Jacob Harris proves himself with Vase, and obviously has built a reputation with Atlantic Drift since then.
8) Chris Milic - It’s a Secret (ending sequence)
The most fun dude to watch right now - I said it. Pretty much picked up where Louie left off.
Milic brings something new to skateboarding every time he drops footage. If you haven’t seen this part *please stop what you’re doing and go watch it*.
The kid skates to Prince, and we’re not talking dance-pop Prince, we’re talking make love with candle wax Prince. So tight. The second section of this part really comes in heavy, synthesizers climaxing straight to the end, and the fakie manny across the street is just long enough to build that suspense and break it. Turn around to tre flip as Immature kicks in - incredible, incredible ending sequence.
7) Marc Johnson - Fully Flared (nollie 540)
Arguably one of the best parts, and this last section is just straight hammers. Part of me always wishes that the ender was something else (had already been done by Daewon?), but that’s not the purpose of this article, and it’s an absolute classic either way.
This moment with the nollie 540 always just stands out, and just feels so good. Bring the old Ty back please.
6) PJ - Wonderful Horrible Life (ending line)
Nothing to say here that hasn’t been said before - Pulp.
5) Dylan Rieder - Gravis (segment)
Probably the heaviest of everything on this list - obviously with his passing. I will say that even before he passed, or when this part just came out even, this segment was absolutely pure. The powerslide pretty much straight into the bus is insane, and the impossible tailgrab really just stands out.
Something about the song, though, really makes this part touching when you rewatch it now - just feels like a tribute. Another Greg Hunt masterpiece here, RIP Dylan.
4) Heath Kirchart - Mind Field (intro 360s)
Ya I mean - fuck it, I could probably put more Heath on here, so sue me. This shit is straight up powerful, and he’s breaking all the rules. First 2 clips - filmed at a skatepark, and you know you love it. Damn this rules, that first back 3 nosegrab is absurd.
3) Daewon Song - Skate More (switch nose manual)
Love or hate Bloc Party as the song choice (personally love it) - the song ending with this switch nose manual coming in is awesome. Song wraps up about halfway through the nose manual, as Daewon inches further up the bank - really makes you feel every second that he’s keeping it going. Great moment when he brings it in, but the rick flip after just makes you laugh and wonder how he does it. Cherry on top. Shoutout Colin Kennedy on this one.
2) Rick Howard - Yeah Right! (ending sequence)
Let’s talk about how he lands the switch nose manny right as the bus crosses. Does anybody notice these things anymore? This is actually a perfect moment, you just see him through the bus. This whole section with the Death In Vegas / Mazzy Star song is just so good and really makes you feel something special. All of the older pros that you don’t typically see footage from, and most of them really came through (T Ferg especially).
This last section with Rick is definitely the standout, though, and the board break at the end is just perfectly edited. Bring the old Ty back (I’ll say it again).
1) Arto Saari - Sorry (ending sequence)
The ending of Sorry is an easy #1. Arto couldn’t have come through any stronger, and his last few tricks are absolute bangers (the bs flip over the river gap is one of the best clips all time). Fred Mortagne shoutout on this one - though correct me if somebody else filmed the river clip.
Many have used Bowie (and have had great parts skating to him), but this is the best fit. The way that the song wraps up, and the strings come in after the switch flip is art. One of those moments where this video is over and you’re absolutely satisfied. Not that you won’t go back and watch it again…
Bank is life. Rob Hall gives us the first installment of his new series. Stay tuned as we explore the potential of bank skating.
Ryan Stiffler: Are we on wax?
Dave Lewis: We’re live man, you excited?
RS: I’m actually terrified – in like a really cool way. It’s like I’m about to give a eulogy for the last three years of my life. Came up with that one earlier and thought it was kind of cool.
DL: Is it really 3 years, 2015?
RS: Yeah, the first clip that we filmed was on Halloween 2015. It was a line in Dorchester.
DL: Who was it?
RS: It was me (laughs). Wait actually – no, it was Jon, it was actually the day of the Vans premiere I think. It was a long fuckin’ time ago. So it’s been a long time coming, I’m excited to see how it all turns out.
DL: So why ‘Sweeter Than Juice’?
RS: Well it had a really shitty name beforehand, and it was also going to be 10 minutes long and we were going to play it before one of the awards I think 2 years ago? And then we decided it was going to be an actual full-length, and the name sucked – and House, for whatever reason at that time, that was his little catch phrase. I thought that was a really cool name and he was like yeah name the video that, and I was like ‘alright’. Then we made the promo, which kind of solidified the name – and hey, who doesn’t love a nice glass of orange juice?
DL: So how long did it take for everybody to come onboard and commit to filming a full video?
RS: Pretty much immediately as soon as I was like ‘yeah we’re not putting out this 8 minute edit, let’s go for it’. Once that happened everyone was pretty much down, except Brent and J Cal were the late additions because they started playing poker with us. And we started hanging out with them a little bit more, got to be good buddies, and so we added them in. Then we were all pretty gung ho about filming for about 2 years straight.
DL: Weren’t they filming something different at that time?
RS: They started filming something, and Cal’s still working on a video – but they started coming on all the sessions we were skating and getting clips. They have something coming out eventually.
DL: Who was the easiest to film with?
RS: Jon Harrington – hands down. He was always the one that would want to do the solo missions – like ‘I don’t want to ruin the session by going to my shitty spots’. And was just always down – so I’m going to say Jon. He also landed everything quickly, for the most part.
DL: Give me a good behind the scenes story
RS: Oh yeah – probably the night I had my bag stolen. We were skating that Post Office ledge in Downtown Crossing and I was filming Ridge – and everybody was really far away from the bag. It was just a fucking backpack I had at the time, I didn’t even have a camera bag. A car drives up – stops – somebody gets out of the car – steals my bag! And I’ve never seen Brent skate faster, he chased this dude through all of downtown, ended up like – well he got in front of the car first and the dude sped up and almost ran into him, and then a chase ensued. I realized that my bag was stolen and got really mad, so I went to punch what I thought was wood, but it was spraypainted black glass, and I destroyed a window with my hand. And I was bleeding and shit – it was crazy. Then the cops got called. So that’s probably the craziest thing.
DL: Worst slam?
RS: Well there’s two that are my favorites. The first is the first clip in the video where Joubert tries backside flipping that Malden bump and the wheel goes into his asshole – that’s probably the actual gnarliest one was Jon hitting his head and having to go to the hospital for a blown out elbow. And he was laughing about it – he took it like a champ, until he stopped making sense in the car.
DL: Biggest battle for a trick?
RS: Maybe Steve House’s nollie shove crook in Roxbury. We’d been there 3 times I think – and every time we’d been there for 2 and a half / three hours straight. The last time he was borderline delirious, that was definitely one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen and the way he did it was fucking perfect.
DL: Yeah it was really clean. Was this your first full length video?
RS: This was my first, and most likely last full length video. It’s a huge pain in the ass, kudos to anybody who’s ever done it – yourself included. I’ve always – like, I did the iPhone thing for 14 edits. So this is the first full length – I also did that tour video and looking back it is abysmal, because I didn’t know what I was doing. This time I had to learn how to really work a camera and actually edit a video.
DL: What’d you use to edit it?
RS: I used Final Cut Pro 7 that I bootlegged from Joubert’s computer
Eddie Allen: Don’t put that in! (laughs)
RS: (Laughs), and I used my shitty macbook that’s now maxed out and unusable.
DL: Favorite part about filming the video – and then we’ll talk about favorite part later.
RS: My favorite part, is being done. (laughs) I liked the sessions – and we’re all a little bit older, so it takes a little bit more for us to get a spark to go street skating as opposed to a park tour or something like that. The dudes really took it, serious to an extent where it was a real thing – but everyday was so much fucking fun. We’d end up buying beers and drinking them in the streets after somebody gets a clip. The overall experience was just hanging out with the buddies. Friendly video.
DL: Personal favorite part?
RS: Just kidding – I really like Ray, Erik, and Ridge’s part because I think it’s the most fun, the song is hilarious and just fits them really well. If I had to go sheer cohesive, perfect part, it’s gotta be Jon. Everybody else changed their song like 6 times – he picked that song the first day we started filming when I asked him what song he wants. Which made it a lot easier – I think it’s the most well-rounded and well put together.
DL: It’s so hard to edit a part when you have to switch the song a bunch of times.
RS: Definitely – and you said the music supervision was good, which is – that was the scariest part, because you’re not listening to the skating – it’s like, especially for a Boston video, there is ONE rap song in there.
DL: What did he skate to again?
RS: Freeway – and the reason that song came about was because Joubert said when they were filming a video called ‘Steve’s Computer Taste It’, that’s the song that he always wanted to skate to but never was able to. So it was really to pay homage to a video called ‘Steve’s Computer Taste It”
DL: So sick.
RS: It’s a really fuckin’ weird name.
DL: Tips for younger kids / the younger generation trying to film a full length video.
RS: Stop putting your shit on Instagram to bad music. I get it – but there’s no more fulfilling feeling than making a video. People don’t do it anymore, it seems like people are more into the quick one-off edits on the internet. It’s just something more like – those are the people you’re gonna skate with until your legs don’t work anymore, so get a camera – get some friends if you don’t have any, and go out and film a full length video. If you can’t edit, figure it out it’s really not hard – but make a full length at least once, if you have a crew of friends who you think it would cool to do it with.
DL: What’s next?
DL: Thank you’s?
RS: I want to thank – smltalk, for being the only reputable skate blog in Massachusetts. I want to thank Sean Brooks, because he sold me the camera, and it is his fault that this all happened. The camera came from – it filmed, I think it was the flip King of the Road, so that camera’s got some miles on it. I want to thank Steve House, Rob Ridge, Ray Trotta, Erik Pickard, Jon Harrington, Steve Joubert, Steve Hamblin, Brent Eastman, Justin Callahan, and uh…I gotta look at the flier, I don’t even remember anymore. I think that’s it. Because they’re they ones that made this happen – everybody got smoked. And everybody that came out to the premiere! Because I’m technically talking to the future about the past, which is kind of fucked – so anybody that came out and enjoyed it. We’re gonna have DVD’s eventually, if you wanna buy one of those THANK YOU. And yeah – that’s all I got.
Ethan Giorgetti has proven himself to be a staple in the CT / MA scene - with his 4th full length, and direct follow-up to 'Soft', which was released last year in 2017. Memo demonstrates Ethan's growth as a filmer and producer with refined filming, editing, and smart music supervision.
The video starts with Brett Desrosiers, a native of Webster, MA. Great opening part. The part is set to Duster, which works perfectly - raw, but polished. Brett's skating is solid - clearly authentic in an age of skaters who exaggerate style. Trick / spot selection is A+ as well - serving as a great accompaniment. At parts perhaps even 'Cromer-esque'. Really great part and works as an outstanding opener.
2nd part is Alex Nivison (Nivsy). What the hell are those pants man, come on. I love Alex and have known him a long time, so this is a bit biased, but I'll try and be objective. It's really awesome to see the youth progress - when somebody that you watched grow up becomes better than you, half of your heart sinks, but in turn is filled with pride. The qualm I have with this part is that (especially the first half) has some filler / clips that aren't up to full potential. 2nd half is sick, with expected creativity, trick selection, clean backside bigspins, and better outfits. Love you Niv.
Friends section has new Louis Amodio footage, that's pretty much all you need to know.
Justin Koziol is next. This dude has been on the scene for a while now and this is probably the best footage I've seen. Super clean with good trick selection. Notable line is the boardslide nollie out, fs board nollie out back to back. Super sick. Really enjoyed this part, again with great song accompaniment. This video does a really good job of flowing together both in terms of filming / editing, as well as the lineup & as I'd mentioned before - song selections. Solid.
Last part looks like it's going to Connor Noll. If you're not familiar with Connor - he's really fucking good. He's one of those kids you hate because they're really good. Incredibly trendy, but has undeniable talent and hucks down rails so you can't hate too much. For kids of the new generation - this will be the take-away part. For members of the 30+ club - you'll probably lean towards Brett Desrosiers. The thing I will say for Connor is that he consistently puts new twists on old spots (with actually hard tricks) - and even with an angry old man view on the world, you have to respect it. Plus he's a nice kid. Ender is pretty fucked.
All in all this is undoubtedly Ethan's best video - if you skate in MA / CT it's absolutely worth checking out, if nothing more than to see new spots & feel or to feel bad about your skating.
We can't get enough of it can we? No matter how embarrassing it is to be on the subway receiving confused looks as commuters search for a younger brother, cousin, or child who you're holding it for. I mean - that's definitely not YOUR skateboard is it? I mean dude, look at you - your hair is thinning / gray, you're about 10 (probably 20) lbs overweight, and man - you just look fucking terrible.
Even with all of the dread of coworkers finding out, explaining to family members why our wrists and knees are shit, why we're limping, or worse yet - what we did last weekend. Even with all of this, we continue to ostracize ourselves and live our pathetic, Peter Pan lifestyle - emulating the fashion of children and damaging ourselves physically all the while. Continuing to keep up with new skate videos if only for the sole purpose of talking trash on them with our friends and reflecting on how the internet has diminished the craft of real skate videos - how there's no personality left, and how everything just got 'easier'. I mean - these kids have these PERFECT skateparks, we didn't have that shit, ya know??
But we love it, don't we? The whole reason we got into skateboarding is because it was a subculture, so it only makes sense that we hate on anything that even has a hint of mainstream popularity. I was actually talking with Bobby the other day about that Tyshawn quote where he's talking about the olympics.
My immediate thought straight off the bat was - nah, fuck the olympics, this dude is just young and doesn't really know what he's saying. Then I was like - wait, maybe he's actually going against the grain and thinking how a true skateboarder should. Maybe he's being fully punk.
Then I thought about it a little bit more, and was like - nah, fuck the olympics - skateboarding isn't about winning some medal. It's about an undying attempt to win the acceptance of the generation that came before you - a generation of skaters who were meaner, and less appreciative than you could ever pretend to be.
So I guess this is sort of a stream of consciousness article - but I really do think it's amazing that even as our bodies begin to recess, our skill levels (rapidly) fade, and it becomes an achievement to retain tricks, and nothing more than a dream to actually progress...even with these circumstances (on top of aforementioned social issues), we do our best to maintain.
Was talking the other week with Dave about how we spend more time at the gym trying to get into 'skate shape' than we do actually skating. How we're "only at the gym because we have to be".
But how quickly can it spiral? How long before I'm "only at this yoga class because I have to be", or "only going vegan because I heard Kenny Anderson is, and I mean come on, look at his beautiful face..."
We even find ourselves spending more time wandering the streets of downtown looking for new spots, than we do actually skating the spots. But who knows - maybe this is our odd way of contributing to the community when we can't add any value physically. Perhaps this is the next stage in the lifecycle - doing our best to keep up appearances, keeping the younger generation in check, and giving them the intel on great spots to skate. I mean it's either that, or run a skate blog. Ha - but what 30 year old would run a skate blog, unpaid, for absolutely no reason. That would be humiliating, lol.
I do, however, think it's a lot simpler than all of this. All jokes aside I think what it really comes down to is that 99% of skateboarders who would read an article like this are incredibly fortunate (myself included). We're lucky to have been just good enough at skateboarding to continue doing it - usually good enough to go to any park and be able to skate it and have fun. Good enough to avoid falling most of the time. But we're also bad enough where there isn't a lot of pressure on us to do anything with skateboarding. We're not using skateboarding to pay the bills. We don't view it as a job or obligation. We continue to skate because it's ours - because we can laugh with our friends, drink some beers, and bullshit. We can win a game of skate, we can land a back tail, we can make an iPhone edit. We can have a clip in the friends section. We can go to an art show and know everybody there. We continue to do it because it's what we know, and what knows us. And no matter what kind of suffering we have to endure, it's all pretty much worthwhile to remain a part of it.
Here are the brackets for the 2nd tournament. Fill it out and submit it to us in the DM - if you get them all right, we'll send you a secret prize of our choosing. Good luck.
There you have it - first rounds will be on Saturday - true nerds can fill out the bracket to win absolutely nothing.
Glad to premier our CT extension's new video, -SOFT- by Ethan Giorgetti
Louis Amodio <333
Another year gone, another awards show done. Did we do anything out of the oridnary? No, not really. Were there some really sick videos that played and did we get to embarass/honor some of the scene? Yes.
We want to first and foremost, we want to thank everyone that came out. Yep, all you guys. Remember, this whole thing wouldn't exist without everyone that showed up, had a beer and a laugh. Pat yourselves on the back for being awesome and for creating the scene we all know and love. We want to also thank everyone that assisted with the event including:
Seriously, thanks a bunch guys. Now let's take a look and see how it all went down:
Definitely some of the most enjoyable content we've ever had. Here's what went down before the awards:
The Budweiser Attack boys were in full effect with this one. Orchard buddy and fast-shade aficionado Kenny Ramos brings the heat with "ICE" (Most Thrasher Mag description of that title). This all long-lens edit (which is an impressive feat) features some eclectic skating, good tunes, and a surprise Mike Chew part. Crack a cold one and give it a watch.
"....searching.... Introducing Brian Reid to Orchard"
This one was a real show-stopper. Orchard starts this one off with some heavy clips from Nick, with the casual ripping we're so used to by now (That trick on Blubba was fucked). We get some of the ever evolving footage from local legend and ex-King of the Model, Frankie Nash, before we welcome Brian Reid to the Orchard team. Brian rips. Congratulations, well deserved.
"Sweeter Than Juice" Teaser
There is a reason why the "iPhone Edit" series had come to an abrupt end last year. Stiffler has been filming for his first and most likely last full length video. Maybe coming out later this year? Who knows. The teaser is only 35 seconds long, give it a watch.
We're sure you're already aware of the hype this one has been getting on your social media stream. David Milliken creates a certifiable banger with his first full-length offering. Featuring parts from Eric Dasaro, Jacob Folsom-Fraser, Andrew Whittier, and the man himself, we get a good look at some of the best in the city. Thanks for playing it at the awards David!
Get a copy immediately: http://technicaldifficultiesvideo.bigcartel.com/
The rest of the night was spent celebrating the scene with the awards. To be honest, these categories keep getting harder and harder to come up with. Seriously, maybe next year we open it up and take suggestions? Who knows. Let's go through the categories and see what we came up with:
BEST TRICK - David Milliken, noseslide the C-Ledge at eggs. Very chill and easy thing to do. Rumor mill saying something else got done on that as well? We'll have to wait and see...
BEST YOUNG DUDE - Jared Blake took this one. Kid has a crazy good hardflip. Unfortunatley he was sick and wasn't able to make it, so the award was accepted on his behalf by Begonis? Fine. Works for us.
SKATEPARK HERO - First year of having the Lynch Family Skate Park. Why not include some sort of award for it? We had to give this to Sam Mayo. You know you've seen him at the park and you know the boy kills it. Most likely dude to give you a high five? You bet.
THE FASHIONISTA AWARD - Myles Underwood claimed this one. Why? Because the kid wears Gucci belts and all-over print Polo pants. Un-fuck-with-able.
LADIES CHOICE - Full disclosure, this award was created and it's winner was chosen by a group of ladies we know. And they chose Mike Chew. Much respect Chew, the ladies have spoken.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT - Sargent Skate was honored this time around, and why wouldn't he be? He builds skateparks for fucks sake. Doug has been around since the days at ZT Maximus, owns Colonial Ramp Technologies, was a major part of POP Allston's creation, built and maintains the bowl at the shop, and continually makes the scene better. Thanks for everything Dougie!
"Everyone in the scene gets along, unlike a lot of other places in the world."
SKATER OF THE YEAR - Matt Tomasello was crowned SOTY this year. From his part in Fancy Lad's "Is This Skateboarding?", the footage in the Fancy Lad x Cons "Tour Video Tour", to all of his ridiculous content on his newly formed Instagram account, the kid has been a force this past year. Definitely not the most conventional style, and he most certainly cannot do the most basic flat ground or ledge tricks, but if you've seen him skate in person, you'd agree with the choice. Congrats Matt!
Well, that's all she wrote for this year's awards. We really hope you coming out to this event year after year. Again, a huge thank you to Orchard, Converse, anyone who donated a video, helped out in any way, and definitely everyone that was there. It's a labor of love, but fuck it, y'all are worth it.
Here are the nominee videos (which we didn't cut up, too tired of editing shit) and more photos from the rest of the night. Hope to see you all again there next year.
Continuing from Part 1..
World Industries / Blind / 101 - Trilogy
Clyde Singleton, Daewon Song, Enrique Lorenzo, Gideon Choi, Gino Iannucci
Jason Dill, Josh Kasper, Kareem Campbell, Lavar McBride, Marcus McBride, Maurice Key, Ronnie Creager, Sam Devlin, Shiloh Greathouse, Eric Pupecki, Fabian Alomar, Joey Suriel, Billy Valdez, Javier Nunez
Starting with the 101 section, it’s worth pointing out something that hasn’t been discussed about Gino’s footage here: this is barely a song, yet it completely works. It’s erratic, often grating, and slightly unnerving, yet it contrasts the part perfectly, giving way to a steady beat, before abruptly winding down, giving your brain a few seconds to process things, before segueing into the superbly acted Menace skit, which actual actor Fabian Alomar is noticeably absent.
As a bookend to the advancement of LA-Tech to Mouse, Trilogy fills out exactly what the elite side of California city skateboarding was in 1996. Sure, Transdiego was great and all, but this is what really translated to the globe at large, not only because there was a style of skater that would appeal to almost any youth, but in the sheer star quality all involved had. Menace was almost a bizarro Zoo York, and that’s a good thing, right?
Let’s not forget that even though they commingled, the World and Girl camp were pitted as enemies, mimicking the Lakers and Kings rivalry, or something. Most importantly, Trilogy and Mouse pretty much set the pace for Primitive and whatever ledge trickery is happening each Sunday at J-Kwon. Full disclosure though, I’ve never been able to watch all of Lever Bar’s part, that shit is way too long.
Now, an open plea to Socrates Leal to digitize all the unseen footage he’s sitting on. Please Soc?
F.T.C. Penal Code 100A
Bobby Puleo, Keith Hufnagel, Max Schaaf, Mike Carroll, Rick Howard, Scott Johnston, Mike York, Joey Alvarez, Markus Brown, Peter Bici, Mike “Hitman” Hernandez, Fabian Alomar, Chico Brenes, Karl Watson, Lee Smith, Shamil Randle, Jesse Macmillan, Spencer Fujimoto, Kenny Kirk, Jeff Pang, Jovantae Turner, Nick Tershay, Drake Jones, Ben Sanchez, Richard Mulder, Chris Keefe, Jones Keefe, Lever Bar McBride, Marcus McBride, Guy Mariano, Eric Pupecki, Jeron Wilson, Keenan Milton (RIP), Eric Koston, Rudy Johnson, Weston Correa, Matt Willigan, Greg Hunt, Quim Cardona, Lamont Macintosh, Pepe Martinez (RIP), Ben Liversedge, Robbie Gangemi, Rob Carylon, Phil Shao (RIP)
Credit Aaron Meza for having the balls to edit this one sans-skate sounds, allowing his expert soundtrack choices to shine through, making Penal Code 100A feel very warm and analog. Infact, even for the time, there was something cozy and retro feeling about the video, even though the actual skating was supremely advanced and current. I liken it to meeting someone for the first time and immediately hitting it off, as if you went to summer camp with them and had the same childhood crushes and taste in sneakers.
Let’s also note the most important thing about this F.T.C. San Francisco Skate Shop Video, which was pointed out to me by a friend in conversation recently. It’s the greatest East Coast video made on the West Coast. Supreme was already a shop, but there’s just this “family” section mostly filmed in NYC that appears, with all these very cool New Yorkers, it starts with Bobby Puleo, features Huf’s arguably greatest skateboarding footage, and yes, Scott Johnston is not from California either. Well, SF is the most East Coast feeling/looking cities out West, so there’s some synergy, but whatever was happening in this video is a real capsule of time that is so significant, that it has subconsciously and also consciously informed the future.
The song choices, the backdrops, the integration of bi-coastal talent into one concerted skateboarding effort, showing that we can all get along after all, and that Puleo part is an absolute monster of a first part.
Stereo Tincan Folklore
Carl Shipman, Chris Pastras, Ethan Fowler, Greg Hunt, Jason Lee, Matt Rodriguez, Mike Frazier
The lesser namechecked video of the brief Stereo franchise, but in dissecting it, perhaps the more low-key influential. Sprawling environmental, mundane yet purposeful montages, a relatively twee soundtrack, grounded by post-rock legends Tortoise, UK footage, and jarring edits, much akin to Memory Screen. Much of Tincan Folklore shares more DNA with the beloved, golden era Alien/Habitat films of the late-’90s and early 2000s than Time Code would a year later. It’s the right balance of slightly askew and rightly aligned, without dipping into “art for art’s skate” territory and employing enough noteworthy skateboarding.
In the wake of the jazzy A Visual Sound, Stereo found its roster a bit lighter, but still anchored by the youthful verve of Ethan Fowler, alongside the speed and style of Matt Rodriguez and Carl Shipman. Shipman in particular puts in a somewhat left field part in the wake of his Stereo debut, opting for a very lurky, murky, lo-fi part, showcasing more abstract, environmental skating, yet still finessed. I mean, he does a pole jam and skates a lot of transition—it’s a bit of a departure, but also, as the part bashes away to the fractured beat, there’s something quite Palace-ian about this section, kind of.
With the true ender in Fowler’s part—Jason Lee’s “part” was a bit of a cruel joke—the “new” Stereo vibe is fully revealed. Fowler stomp and slashes around to a punky, garage rendition of “If I Only Had a Brain.” It’s ramshackle and haphazard—the anthesis of the top shelf scotchy smoothness of A Visual Sound. Despite it being a rougher delivery, we can draw the conclusion that you need to learn how to draw, before you can color outside the lines, otherwise it’s going to just look like a pile of scribbles. Instead of some amature-Basquiat influenced sketches, Fowler muscles around SF like a jazzbo Sean Young, showing that power is as much a part of his repertoire as technique.
Lastly, I am a Greg Hunt skateboarding fan, and nothing puts me at ease mentally, more than watching him craft lines, popping in and out of tricks unconventionally, while Tortoise’s “Tin Cans and Twine,” throbs along during the mid-point of his part. I don’t know how this fits contextually in 2016, but you should probably just watch it again or for the first time if you’re so lucky. Hunt’s part is a beautiful paradox, with his smooth, speedy lines, soundtracked by Tortoise’s melancholy post-rock—a minimalist masterpiece, for those who appreciate the strength of the line, much like Franz Kline’s abstract paintings, and I say that in the least pretentious way possible.
A truly vulcanized dream, set 20 years in the past. Sheep’s only video output felt like another East Coast production, with only two members of the roster being from California in The Tempster and Frank Hirata. OK, McCrank and Manzoori weren’t even from the US, but BA, Charlie Wilkins, and Sergei Trudnowski are all East Coast, so there. Regardless, this has no real impact on the weight of A Life of Leisure’s narrative, only that the inclusion of such a regionally diverse squad showed the shift in skating, away from California.
It should be noted that it featured both Templeton and Anderson’s second full parts in 1996, creating a Toy Machine Trifecta of two parters with teammate Donny Barley. Sheep was a bit too forward thinking in their simple shoe design, which look perfectly inline with the skate trends of the past decade now as does the hippie friendly, abstract skating, and actual filming of the video, at times visually mirroring many of the GX edits we all love so dearly. To be specific, fast-forward to the 1:30 mark during Trudnowski’s part and witness the only person to take this now famous gap on, recently filmed by Brian Delatorre and Yonnie Cruz. Please note that Sergei remains the only one to fully land and then bomb the hill without bailing… on 60MM wheels too.
In 1996, shoe videos were rare, with Etnies High Five coming out in 1995, Airwalk releasing a promo in 96, and Emerica’s Yellow to follow in 1997, once again proving that Sheep were ahead of the folk.
Mad Circle - Let the Horns Blow
Think - Damage
Scarecrow - The Movie
New Deal - Promo 96
Planet Earth - Silver
Big Brother - Shit
And both Thrasher, 411VM, and Transworld’s video output in 1996.
To borrow a term from the corpo stiffs that run this planet, which doesn’t even make that much sense, what’s the “net-net” here? If you take the time the next time you’re home sick from school/work and digest all these videos (I’m not going to use the “C” word aka content), you’ll see how predictive 1996 was for the current state of skateboarding. For me, it simply means that skateboarding’s actual heart rarely does change, no matter what happens, in fact, it often is able to collectively prune the ripe ideas and discard the rest, which someone will eventually recycle into something more useful anyway, which explains why Simon Woodstock’s legacy suddenly seems more relevant. Seriously, if he skated the same way as he did 20 years ago now and had a YouTube channel, he’d be bigger than Revive.
Special thank you from SMLTalk to Anthony for taking the time to write this. All photos via Chromeball.
Words by Anthony Pappalardo
The progression from 1970 to 1990 in skateboarding could be paralleled to leaps made in the home video game industry. That’s straight up from bouncing a gray ball between two lines in Pong to Super NES. That twenty year chunk in skating is equally dramatic and if you don’t know your history, watch Dogtown & Z-Boys (the documentary not the motion picture) and then peep Ed Templeton’s part from New Deal’s Useless Wooden Toys, Frankie Hill’s stunt work in Powell Peralta’s Propaganda, or any street-centric section from Risk It, to grasp the level of progression that occurred over those two decades. We’re talking homemade banana boards and sidewalk surfing to Hill jumping over a grassy knoll and slick bottom boards with functional noses—real future shit.
Well, in thinking about Girl’s Mouse turning 20 this year, which is really one of the greatest/most cliched tropes in skate lore, a larger narrative unfolded: Has the skate video progressed since 1996? Is a drone shot of some technically flawless human, grinding across a glassy-black ledge in some city in Asia I cannot pronounce, progression? Is employing older cameras to emulate the grain and grit of ‘90s footage homage, nostalgia, or simply preference?
In skateboarding, there seems to be a synergy with the music industry. Those who are “going for it,”—the skaters, companies, and producers who aspire to be mainstream–see every advancement in production quality as a tool to communicate their craft to the mainstream. Those big-box videos are full of Protools, Autotune, guest stars, and high definition/fidelity, while the “indie” sect opts for VX—skateboarding’s equivalent of the 4-track or analog recording, even though it’s digital.
Running through the videos released in the year 1996, it’s apparent that there’s a massive amount of predictive output that was released on VHS cassette, much of it very indicative of what you’re watching on your computer / phone screen in 2016. So, rather than look back at this like some fallen High School sports stars, depressingly recalling their salad days over domestic beer and hot wings prepared by “the wife,” let’s recount a truly incredible year in skateboarding video history.
1996, the year of Mad Cow Disease, the Spice Girls, Independence Day, and the first Major League Soccer match, as well as a bunch of shit in skateboarding that is truly incredible… and they year Jerry Fowler moved to Boston.
*Please note that all of the bolded names indicate being currently active in the skateboarding industry in some capacity.
Toy Machine - Welcome to Hell
Brian Anderson, Donny Barley, Ed Templeton, Elissa Steamer, Jamie Thomas, Mike Maldonado, Satva Leung
Did you ever think that 20 years after its release, a cool NYC magazine would call upon Satva Leung to ollie something, in celebration of a collab Toy Machine capsule collection? Well, that happened. More importantly, this was the world’s introduction to Thomas Vision®, that signature style of filming really big shit, that set in motion an entire battalion of folks who may or may not even be able to nosegrind a ledge, but can front lip a 20 stair rail. Swear to God.
Anecdotally, few skate videos had premiers at all in the mid-’90s, let alone on the East Coast, but this one was shown in some theatre outside of Boston, I believe by Coliseum Skate Shop. I recall nothing about this event, other than being awestruck and that it was the first true non-contest skate event I attended.
Of course, Toy Machine has soldiered on, The Chief is still out their producing and leading, but what’s most noteworthy is Elissa Steamer’s breakthrough section—a landmark in skateboarding feminist history.
Girl - Mouse
Ben Sanchez, Chico Brenes, Daniel Castillo, Eric Koston, Gabriel Rodriguez, Gino Iannucci, Guy Mariano, Jeron Wilson, Jovontae Turner, Keenan Milton (RIP), Mike Carroll, Mike York, Richard Mulder, Rick Howard, Rudy Johnson, Sean Sheffey, Shamil Randle, Tim Gavin, Tony Ferguson
I mean, where do you start with this one? The skits, the footage, the music supervision, guest company section? Even though it wasn’t entirely filmed in Los Angeles, Mouse feels LA, establishing the Courthouse once again as the premier proving ground for the elite. Some of you may not be aware that the Courthouse laid dormant for years, before Nike SB helped return its functionality for the skateboarding community, so that Mike York could once again do crooked grinds and Jereme Rogers could also film a skateboarding clips after his respite in the rap game.
While Guy Mariano’s (first) comeback part in Mouse has become such a “Top Five Parts” staple that it, along with Gonz or J-Lee from Video Days should be automatics, like the R,S,T,N,L and E in Wheel of Fortune, it’s important to note why this part was so significant. There are several factors, but the two most salient points are as follows: relatability and unbelievability. Mariano was neither a rail skater or gap skater, but he was a pioneer of bringing technical prowess to both. He wore several styles and brands of shoes in his part, like any of us would do over the time period it took him to film this part. He skated so cleanly both ways, that it made his footage look seamless, until you realized later which tricks were infact switch, adding value to the viewing. Was the random switch slappy grind on the round bar a sneak diss to Philadelphia or just extension of his virtuosity and mastery?
We will never truly understand, nor does it matter, but Mouse stands as one of the most significant skateboarding videos of all time, so much so, that even bitter East Coasters, who often shun technicality for rawness agree. Also, it’s so fucking good that the Chocolate section could stand alone as its own video, if slightly re-edited. Fuck.
Eastern Exposure 3: Underachievers and Zero
Donny Barley, Jahmal Williams, Jerry Fisher, Fred Gall, **Keith Hufnagel, Matt Reason, Mike Maldonado, Reese Forbes, Ricky Oyola, Tim O'Connor, Quim Cardona, Sergei Trudnowski, a bunch of NY dudes and just too many to mention...**
What Dan Wolfe’s videos did for East Coast skateboarding i**s as important as Dischord’s contribution to music. Straight up. Dischord’s ethos has and always will be that they exclusively release music, independently, by Washington, D.C. artists, with a few minor exceptions. Wolfe’s videos also had some West Coast “artists,” but the core of Donny Barley, Jahmal Williams, and Ricky Oyola, and Resse Forbes are his Year in 7”s. Translation: influential, iconic, and legendary.
Oyola once wanted to release a Zoo York graphic featuring a US map, sans California and that sums up the spirit of Underachievers, but the skating itself, in the spots, execution, and ability equally embraced that attitude. It wasn’t as much of a “fuck you,” as it was a “fuck yeah,” and once you were absolutely pummelled by Oyola’s footage, set to Metallica’s Battery, it was obvious that something new was happening. Pole jams, bulkheads, lines weaving through traffic, Love Park, Pulaski, Copley Square, and skating’s most iconic non-spot, the Astor Cube, skating in the Northeast (and Florida to be fair, don’t think we’d forget Josh Stewart!) had arrived to the masses.
One thing to note, which often gets overlooked was that Mr. Barley put out two crushing parts that year, both high profile and indie, with Toy Machine and EE3, proving to be a great move in cross promotion, amplifying EE3 and adding validity to the movement. Back to Mr. Stewart, he’s effectively taken Wolfe’s lessons and learnings and created an entirely new franchise, with his unmistakable eye and taste, expanding it into Theories of Atlantis, as well as leaving us with the gorgeously gritty Static series. So, thank you to all involved.
All words by Anthony Pappalardo
All photos via Chromeball
People will say we lost it. They’ll say our brains are fried, that we’re out of touch with the skateboarding world. They’ll say it’s a plot to steal the spotlight from the skateboarding media magnates...an unsubstantiated conspiracy. We see through your fucking bullshit...and enough is enough. We’re here to expose you...all of you, who continue the cycle of “Kickflip Privilege” that dominates the many feeds of the skateboard industry. Most people scroll through instagram without even noticing and yet they don’t even blink when Aaron “Body Armor” Homoki kickflip melons a 45 stair, or how they coo over Luan’s chest high kickflips, powered by his low crouch and brawny crossed arms.
It’s permeated the subconscious. Can’t figure out what I’m getting at? Feeling a little bit confused? I’m talking about the discriminatory practices of mainstream skateboarding media...I’m talking about the bias against those who heelflip. Sure, one could argue that skateboarding is more liberal and inclusive than ever before. That having fun is at the top of the priority list. That chucking your board into a wall, causing a racket, and jumping back onto it is a socially acceptable part ender nowadays. Yet a look at our not-so-distant past tells a much more troubling story.
Lindsey Robertson was at ground zero for this travesty and disposal of skate media ethics. He was right there, indy grabbing a perfectly executed heelflip over a grass gap and into the punchline of many a shit talker’s jokes for years to come. What was it about the heelflips that rubbed people the wrong way?
The most cut-and-dry, real life example of this is the Wallenburg Bust-or-Bail contest from 2009. Lindsey had heelflipped the legendary four-block at the original BOB in 2004, and he came back for another shot at glory this time around, in the form of a backside heelflip.
The result? He roasted that shit, and barely bent his knees upon impact (a direct fuck you to the struggle many face when hucking their carcasses over the 17 foot long stair set). While yes, a lot of other tricks were done that day, including a backside 360 and switch frontside flip from Chris Cole, Lindsey’s feat felt criminally undervalued in the recap videos that followed.
In addition to the full recap video of the event, Thrasher gradually released follow-up videos to accommodate individual tricks that were made, along with some close calls like Kevin Romar’s nollie backside 360 attempts. Of all the tricks that went down, can you guess which one was conveniently omitted in the interview-style, individual recap clips?
Surprise, sur-fuckin-prise, Lindsey got snubbed.
Maybe it would help if we put this into perspective. We’ve all seen Stay Gold, and if not the full video for whatever reason we’ve certainly all seen Reynolds’ part. Where am I going with this, you ask? Well folks, you might just remember the ramped slo-mo of Andrew Reynolds’ backside flip. Not coming to mind? Well maybe you remember the Thrasher cover.
This, folks, might be the clearest example of kickflip bias known to man. As we mentioned, Lindsey was unaffected when he did his backside heelflip. Just another day in the park. Whereas when Reynolds backside flipped the set everything stopped.
Here - we put together a short film to help better understand.
Lindsey received no cover. No love. Was not framed in eternity. Instead - he was disregarded, left to the wayside amongst other heelflippers. No respect.
But why is this the case? It's not like they look that bad. I saw Gershon Mosely do a heelflip once - pretty cool. But for some reason there is an underlying belief that the heeflip is truly and unjustifiably worse than the kickflip. But yet I see things like this everyday:
A video posted by Jae Tha Gully Kid (@jae.tgk) on
"Who does heelflips lmao"
This is the world we live in. Another example:
I am sure that 9 out of 10 of those of us born before 1997 can remember being heckled by jocks or assholes for skateboarding. But the strange part is that there's something built into the bloodstream of the heckler that forces them to say something along the lines of "do a kickflip ya fucking virgin!!"...
The point here is that you would never hear somebody say "do a HEELFLIP". Ha - no, no, no. There's something about doing that kickflip that would somehow prove to the jock that you are NOT a virgin, and have indeed slept with a woman (even though you haven't). If you had done a heelflip after he taunted you do you think it would go unnoticed? Absolutely not. Had you done that the whole car of jocks would stop what they were doing and beat your ass.
What we had originally written for this was a based-on-a-true-story novelette following the life of our hero Lindsey Robertson through the hundreds of scenarios we've encountered regarding hatred and injustice towards heelflippers. But it was way too long so we cut it down to this.
At the end of the day all we ask is that you do your part to resolve this injustice. So next time you see a heelflipper out there - shake their hand, and make a friend.
If you're in the area (or even close to being in the area) this Saturday (7/23) make sure to head to Grants Block - address above, for the premiere of WOLF, a video by Justin Villano and Ian Coughlan, featuring Vans flow riders from the New England area. We sat down with Justin and chatted about the video. See you Saturday!
Alright so what's the lineup?
The riders are Emmett Bleiler, Devin Colon, Corey Goonan, Brendan Manning, Connor Noll and Justin Healey.
Tell us a little bit about the video - how did that come to fruition? Was it your brain child or Ian's?
So like any other territory rep, I have a flow team of guys that I help out with shoes and clothing and I honestly think that these are some of the best (if not the best) guys in the zone that fit VANS as a brand. The initial idea was to be able to showcase these guys on a larger platform and help expose their name and talent. I just felt like it's partially my responsibility to help these guys out beyond the product flow, so I just asked everyone if they would be into filming for a video. Ian was brought on a couple months ago to help edit the film. He's a good friend and we have similar tastes in style so it was really easy to work together.
What's the name all about?
Oh man, well here is the big secret. WOLF is FLOW spelled backwards. Boom! mind blown.
Ian and I both get stressed out very easily - we've talked about it and counseled one another. How did you guys handle the stresses of editing a full length video?
Ian was very easy going about it. I have OCD to the max when it comes to things like this so I already had a general idea of how everything was going to lay out. He is the one with all the editing talent so he pretty much took what I would articulate and execute it into video form. He knows a lot more than I do as far as what capabilities those programs have so he was constantly enhancing anything I brought to the table. That Ian, hell of a guy.
Who chose the soundtrack?
I guess I did? I'd run it by Ian and the riders, but for the most part we were all on the same page. I gave all the riders opportunities to pick their own songs but then some songs wouldn't work with their skating. It's tough because you need the song to align with their skating and as much as someone may love a song, it may not work. In the end I think we nailed it in this department but hopefully I don't get in trouble with copyright and all that.
Do you have a guest trick in the video??
Unfortunately I do not have one. I tried to get a trick I had already done a while back but battled it and couldn't put it down again. We had a nice crew that day too so it would have been sweet. However, this video isn't about me, it's about my dudes. Ian should have got one, he rips!
How long did you guys film for?
A little over a year.
A video posted by Justin Villano (@dirt_roads) on
What was the hardest part about the process?
Having a full time job that takes up my entire life. I live my job. I travel all the time and am constantly doing something related to VANS. I don't go home and it's done for the day. It's 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Not that I am doing brain surgery or anything but it's still work. Ian also works full time and has been doing a ton of freelance on the side these days so aligning our schedule after hours is hard at times. Not being able to just go out every week with these guys and film on the same camera definitely complicated things. Film format was a hurdle when editing. Emmett actually has a full VX part but everyone else is HD. There was definitely some VX from the other guys that I liked but it just didn't work well mixing with the HD and I didn't want to make a Bronze rip off or anything like that. I had all these rad clips from movies I love that I planned to put in but then Boys of Summer came out and was amazing. There were a few other videos that came out using that same format so those ideas got put to bed and we moved on. It's also a project acquiring all the footy from different filmers but in the end they all came through and am super thankful for all the work they put in.
Any plans for another full-length now that this one's done?
Not really, but I'd love to see all of these guys film another part. I mean that's why I hook them up. They all shred and look good doing it. I'd like to put a little something together myself before I completely fall off but I think that may have already happened and I'm in denial.
Maybe showcase other local flow dudes with mini videos or something like that?
Like I said, I don't have any plans but wouldn't mind working on some small things. I love working on creative projects and seeing them come to fruition. It's really satisfying for me and helps balance out my role in sales.
I am always looking for new guys out there and do my best to keep my ear to the ground. I have certain criteria I stick to but encourage anyone that loves VANS and skates well to have their shop send in footy. It takes some courage to put yourself out there because skating is so subjective but I always like to see new guys doing something different.
Whose part are you personally most excited for?
It's only 15 minutes long so I am eager to hear feedback from people that I actually value their opinion. I can't really pick one rider, they all bring something to the table. I just hope this helps them in some way. It feels good to complete this project but knowing myself, there's always another project around the corner. It just may not be in the shape of a video.
Tell us the plan for this weekend combined with the Roll for Rob event.
- On Saturday July 23rd we have the Vans team coming into Boston for the #VansProSkateTour and we'll meet at Orchard for 11am and then skate over to the Vans Park....I mean Lynch Park to do a demo. We'll most likely do some best trick contests for all the skaters and then make our way to Providence, RI in the early evening. The premier is at 8pm at Grants Block on Westminster St. We'll probably open with another film and wait until it's fully dark to play WOLF since it's an outdoor premier(All ages!). We will have a Roll for Rob booth set up at the premier for those who can't make it Sunday. Roll for Rob event #3 starts at noon on Sunday July 24th and runs all day. It's a $10 donation to enter which all goes directly to Rob and his family. We have tons of product and raffles from all the supporting brands that you can take advantage of. There will be signature contests all day like the Vans' Sk8-Hi Hubba and Element Barrel Challenge. There are a ton of Pro's coming into town like Chima Ferguson, Daniel Lutheran, Gilbert Crockett, Mike V, Jim Thiebaud, Jake Donnelly, Peter Ramondetta and the list goes on. It's going to be so fun but I am currently very stressed about the whole weekend.
Thanks to all the filmers that contributed to the video, without them it wouldn't exist. There's too many to name but don't worry guys you're all in the video. The riders: Brendan, Emmet, Healey, Devin, Connor, Goonan. VANS for being the best brand to work for and allowing me to be in the position to do this project. All the photographers like Rob Collins, Ricky Aponte, Karim Ghonem and Liam Annis for hooking us up with their work to use as assets. All the shops in New England that keep supporting skateboarding. My Wife Stephanie for dealing with me day to day and just getting it and of course Ian Coughlan for being on point.
Thanks Dave, Evan and Rojo. You guys are the best and SMLTalk is a breath of fresh air. Keep it going and come visit Lil' Rhodey!
There are few things that really bond us together as skateboarders. Like - all of us. We can pretend that we all get along, but let's be honest, if you see somebody with an insane kit, a Monster hat, or doing some ridiculous shit, you're most likely going to group up like you're straight out of Mean Girls and talk shit about them.
But the glue that holds us together and unites us, is the shinner. In a world where we find enjoyment watching people suffer, there's something about laughing at a shinner that just doesn't feel right. Why is this?
Well folks - the reality is that the shinner represents something more than just an injury. The shinner is a rite of passage. It's the brand that you wear on your lower leg that shows that you've committed yourself to this life of misery.
The first shinner that you get really sets the tone. It's the sink or swim. You gonna tough it out or are you gonna cry?
But there's something more to this particular injury that I'm really having a hard time putting a finger on. There are snakebites, ankle rolls, sprained wrists, concussions, and this list goes on - but none of them are quite as remarkable as the shinner. Something so dull and simple about it - yet piercing and seemingly endless.
A shinner WILL make you sit down for a moment and question why you skateboard.
And maybe that's what it is. Here's the dark reality - as you start to get older, it becomes harder to convince yourself to go skate everyday. You'll deny this in your youth, but I promise you - the passion that you have as a teenager slowly begins to wane into an effort to get some exercise, and maintain your basic tricks. The number of friends you have who skate dissipates year over year until you are left with a bare bones crew. Women become less attracted to you for being a skateboarder, and are really looking for stability (reasonably so). Your girlfriend that you've had for a few years now tolerates it in doses, but really only puts up with it because she's probably a really rad chick who understands that it's the one thing that you've ever really loved in your life.
And with all of these factors taken into consideration, coupled with the anxieties related to work, family, and other aspects of life, the release that skateboarding provides becomes essential, even if just to get away from it all for a minute.
So when you go to the park after work, try a fucking big spin, and take a shinner, you're tossed into a state of emotional turmoil. You lay on the ground staring into the sky asking yourself what it all means. Why am I here. I don't need this. I don't need this.
But for some reason, as a child comes up to ask you if you're okay, you put yourself back on your feet, and persevere.
THIS is the defining moment.
If you missed the #eggsreport art show that opened the other weekend at Orchard, we have the special privilege of hosting this digital recap for anyone unable to make it out to the gallery. Below is Delaney's #eggsreport instagram compilation as well as our good friend Ian Browning's write up for the #eggsreport zine. We have also sprinkled in some of the photos that were contributed by Liam Annis, Ray Echevers, among others. If you would like to purchase a zine, they're selling for ten dollars with all proceeds going to any and all future Eggs maintanence. We'd like to thank everyone involved in making the show and the zine happen and if you like what you read, which you would only dislike if you actually could not read, be sure to follow Ian on his twitter @ibrowning for more of his work.
Skateboarding in cities is often defined as much by the spaces where it takes place as the tricks being done. From historic spots like the Brooklyn Banks to recent upstarts like MACBA, iconic spots are often synonymous with our perception of what skateboarding is like in other places.
Boston has some famous spots—people far from new england know Jerry Fowler’s yellow barrier by the library, and the Windows ledges are burned into skateboarding’s collective consciousness because of PJ Ladd. It’s also a place where you can walk past a virgin ledge that people haven’t bothered to wax because they’re too busy skating better ones. Casual observers may not know this, but it has always been a plaza city. Locals cherished Copley and later Aquarium in their heydays—meet up spots where you could film tricks or end the day skating flat, possibly sneaking a beer without much trouble.
In 2004 the state bulldozed a parking lot on Nashua Street as part of a plan to clean up urban blight from the Big Dig. With Aquarium unskateable before five almost entirely because of a cop known by the locals as The Samurai, sessions gravitated over to the West End. The fences had come down at Nashua Street Park—a pocket of green space nestled in no man’s land, bordered by a jail, a hospital and a bridge. A few ribbons of asphalt cut through the grass, flanked by long, knobbed, granite ledges and joined by a small plaza in the center.
Jonathan Bonner, a Rhode Island—based sculptor and artist, was commissioned to provide art for the park. Looking to add something that would bring texture and provide seating, he added a golden spiral reimagined in Chelmsford granite, also using the stone to make orbs that mimicked falling drops of liquid. “I wanted something relative to the water,” he explained, but John Wisdom felt like they looked more like eggs.
It’s difficult to say who introduced Eggs into the scene in Boston. The Zakim bridge offered vantage point that showed under construction, drawing the eyes of countless skateboarders. Most of the people I talked to didn’t have any idea who was the first to skate the spot, but Lee Berman and Dana Ericson both had theories, both originating in the North End.
“I would say Matt Thompson is definitely the first one to skate Eggs,” Berman said. Thompson, a Connecticut transplant studying at Suffolk, was in the habit of looking for mellow spots to skate in lieu of sharing Aquarium with a heavy crew of locals. “When I moved to the North End I started exploring other areas,” he said. “I was actually out with Lee one day and we came across Eggs. I had skated flatground in the past and I told him that the ground here was really sweet.” He also addressed Berman’s assertion that he was the first to skate there, saying that it was impossible to prove. “I would never claim that,” he said. “I have no idea who else was there.”
Dana Ericson recounted Travis Reitano, also a resident of the North End, telling him about a new spot: “He actually told me that he had found a spot better than Aquarium and I fucking laughed in his face.” Reitano was living in a skate house where Ed Driscoll was crashing on the couch. Driscoll “never wanted to take the fucking bus or train anywhere,” he said, “so we’d skate everywhere.” They were introduced to the spot on trips to and from the Charles River Benches, but he couldn’t be sure if he was the first person to actually skate the spot: “I don’t know. I’d say one of my earliest memories of Eggs is rolling through and trying to get a little tailslide in between the skate stoppers,” he said. “I give most of the credit to the Wisdom brothers because they actually took the knobs off.”
In those days Zander Taketomo was working on City People 2 and keeping a watchful eye for new spots to film. He had gotten word of the spot from his dad—an architect—and went on a night mission with Gavin Nolan, John Wisdom and Tommy Wisdom check it out. “All the knobs were still on and we took a couple off to test it,” he said. “Originally we took the ones off at the curved ledges that were closer to the hospital but not the main spot that people skate... After that, I feel like we didn’t really skate there all that much.” He also offered the only definitive claim about the early days of the spot: “I’m not personally taking any credit for the spot, but we were definitely the first people there that night to take knobs off.” They came back periodically, but at that time, Aquarium was still that crew’s go to spot.
Between word of mouth and its location in the middle of a skate route between downtown and the Back Bay, the park was starting to see action in spite of the knobs. Dan Zaslavsky shot the first skate photo at the spot during that era for Kevin Coakley’s One In A Million interview in Slap. Coakley was trying full cab manuals on the low ledges closest to the water, the only skateable ledges at the time. He got the trick, but it came at the expense of his board shooting out into the river. Some DCR workers in a boat offshore rescued it for him, but it was only a matter of time before skaters started throwing something else in the river—skate stoppers.
“It looked like it would be the greatest spot in the world if it didn’t have the knobs on it,” Justin Yaitanes said, “so went to try and take them off.” Yaitanes, CN and Tom Garafalo headed out, equipped with a crowbar, hammer and screwdriver one day around dusk. They got to work on taking knobs off of one of the benches by the JV ledge. “We’re hitting it with a hammer and having a crowbar there and you can hear it— it’s super loud,” CN said. “All the sudden we hear ‘HEY’ and we look back and see a cop and he’s booking it. And it’s a state patrolman and we start booking it and everyone runs their separate ways.” Yaitanes got away from the cops pretty easily, saying that it was pretty similar to getting kicked out for skating. It was also probably easy because the cops were chasing CN across the drawbridge to the Museum of Science.
“I hucked my crowbar in the river because I was thinking that if I got caught with it, it would be way worse,” he said. He hid behind a bush on the museum grounds, but it wasn’t long before flashlights crept up on him. Playing dumb, he explained that he had only run because they were chasing after him. “They took my name down and nothing happened. We came back and started skating it the following week.”
That crew only got one knob off, but it was the beginning of open season on liberating the rest of the ledges. The Wisdoms and Gavin Nolan were responsible for clearing off the main ledge up top after a session on one of the side of the out ledge. “We had a long day waxing [the ledge up] and shredding the ledge that no one skates because all the other ledges were knobbed. We were like, shit, we gotta get all these knobs off—this is gonna be our new spot,” Tommy said. “We came back later and took the knobs off of the main ledge on the top.” As news of the spot spread, so did the knowledge that it was possible to make the ledges skateable with a few swings of a hammer or the hanger of a truck. It’s tough to write a list of people who risked a confrontation with the state police to clear the ledges, both because of the sheer number of knobs removed and because some people didn’t want to go on record about doing so, but Pete Mahoney, Romek Rasenas and Brian List all deserve a mention for their efforts in the spot’s infancy.
The main ledge, approachable from both sides from smooth plaza granite, was heavily sessioned in the early days. “It wasn’t that long before people took off the first knobs,” Ray Echevers explained “but it was like like that for a while. The other ones didn’t come off [right away]. People just started really slowly.”
John Wisdom’s ollie from block to egg in CP2, probably the first trick filmed at the spot, went down around that time. “The ledges weren’t broken in,” he said, “so it wasn’t really a good spot yet.”
Gavin Nolan said the City People crew skated there in the early days, remembering a time when the bike path was new. “It wasn't as rough or beat up yet,” he said, “people were skating up top more and the ledges on the bike path a lot.” All the while, the scene at the park kept growing—something he said was inevitable. “I think it was just really obvious to anybody that it was one of the best places to skate in the city.”
Nashua Street Park was designed by Halvorson Design, a firm responsible for a handful of plazas around Boston. Some of them are knobbed or are otherwise unskateable, but they’ve also drawn the plans for the plaza around the Federal Reserve and the ledges over planters in the seaport. “Our firm is really good at three dimensional landform resolution, so i’d like that what we came up is very pleasing on all levels,” Cynthia Smith, the principal landscape architect behind the park, explained. She said the park was designed with the idea of maintaining a view of the river from Nashua street, while providing different levels for that the paths the run along the Charles. The ledges act as retaining walls, continuing the pathways cut out of the banks of the river. The bike path runs parallel to the main ledges, insulating them from people leisurely strolling on the path closest to the water. The plaza in the center connects the two, but is also fittingly designed as a place for people to sit and chill.
The skating was initially focused on the ledges up top in part because the granite took a lot to break in. “It was kind of a frustrating spot to skate at first. That main ledge was all that people would skate,” Devin Woelfel, better known as Waffle, explained. “You had to wax the shit out of them in order to make them grind at all.” As it started to really get broken in, some locals stashed a crowbar in a bush, making it even easier to continue deknobbing the spot. That crowbar cleared, amongst other ledges, both the home and away team benches, the downhill curved ledge and the JV ledge. People started gravitating away from chilling on the wooden benches between the main and downhill ledges, Dana said, eventually cementing the home bench as the place to put your keys and skate flat: “it just evolved into skating down there more.” Slowly but steadily, other ledges got worked in.
As the skating was moving to different ledges, word of the spot spread organically, bringing new skaters and likeminded crews. “We were all hanging out at True East and my friend Andrew Cuoco told me about this sick new spot,” Andrew “Squeaks” Whittier said. “I was kinda confused about where it was and what spot they were talking about, but when I went I realized that I had been there a year beforehand. All the knobs on it and I thought ‘shit, this would be the best spot in the world if it was skateable’ and then it ended up being skateable.” With Aquarium locked down, Eggs became the go spot to meet up. Squeaks mentioned seeing a lot of Aquarium heads like TC Mulhern, Coakley and Danny Carvalho in the early days, with locals like Waffle, the Wisdoms, Dana, Brian Delaney and Gavin establishing residency at the spot as well. “I just remember seeing John Wisdom and pretty much everyone that was skating for RAW, with Ray filming,” David Milliken said of his first trip to the spot.
Local videos like City People 2 made an impact across the northeast, bringing crews in from out of state. “All we really wanted to do in the early 2000s was skate flatground and ledges,” Armin Bachman said of the scene in Albany. He organized a trip to Boston to film for B Block: Hood Rules Apply, explaining that “Eggs was the main spot we wanted to come out for.” Footage from B Block turned Andrew Petillo, a Jersey-based filmer for Habitat onto the spot. Petillo brought Steve Durante, Fred Gall, Kerry Getz, Guru Khalsa and Ed Selego to Boston to film in 2007, fixing a few cracks around the main ledge with bondo and getting handful of clips. Some ended up in Origin, but others went to webclip that came out around the same time as PJ’s part in Plan B’s Superfuture. It’s impossible to say which came out first, but whichever one did, it’s likely the first footage of pros in the park.
Despite humble contributions to international skate media, the Eggs proved a fixture in local movies beyond CP2. From Subterranean to Shape Deuce, skaters and filmers from across New England were coming to the west end to leave their mark. All the while the locals were still learning new tricks and filming there, with the younger generation was getting involved: David Milliken filmed and edited most of Dana Ericson and Friends, including new heads like James Nickerson, Curt Daley, Squeaks, Thompson Bond and Kevin Coughlin in the mix.
Despite the almost universal appeal of a spot like Eggs to similarly minded subcultures, it’s rare to see BMXers or scooter kids roll up to the spot. “The meet up spots are usually the same for everyone. Copley, AQ and Harvard Square are the first to come to mind,” said Kevin Botsch, a long time member of the city’s BMX community. “I tell all the BMXers that ask about Eggs to not even bother. There are a million other flat ledge spots in the city, why go fuck with the skaters and their spot?” Tommy agreed with the sentiment that pegs should probably stay out of the park, and definitely off the ledges: “bikes, obviously, are a huge no no,” he said, acknowledging that strength in numbers is a major factor in enforcing that. “As soon as there were more of us [than them,] it was kind of the lay of the land.”
Besides a hard “skaters only” policy, locals otherwise foster a culture of respect over an established set of rules. Waffle, a transplant from Cape Cod himself, explained that there wasn’t much truth to rumors about locals vibing newcomers “Anyone that has actually spent two weeks there and paid respect to people that were there before them,” he said, “they’ll probably tell you everyone was cool.” The scene at Eggs is a far cry from famous spots of the ‘90s, where fights broke out at Love Park and EMB locals focused weekend warriors’ boards.
Liam Annis, a recent addition to the cast of regulars at Eggs, didn’t get vibed when he started skating there, “but you had to skate there a bunch to become used to the squad.” Going there on a consistent basis, he explained, you meet everyone else who is doing the same. In Boston’s tight knit scene, hometown heros come through on the weekends, often without acknowledgment from the locals. Respect is earned through the filter of time. Spot seekers, technical plaza skaters and heads doing circus tricks all share a common bond, formed by running into each other on the streets year after year. Mark Wagner, better known as Iceman, had just started skating ledges when he moved back to Beacon Hill and started going to Eggs every day. “I could do maybe 50-50s and boardslides,” he said. “One of the first people who started to say what up to me was Dana Ericson,” who Iceman had seen skating the Underground ramp when it was open. He quickly got to know Brian Delaney and Waffle too. “One day I just came with a giant candle,” he said, explaining that he was fascinated with wax around this time. “Waffle gave me the name Iceman and somehow it stuck.”
Plenty of the older heads who skate Eggs will tell you about the influence of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s and the impact that watching Pier 7 footage and Photosynthesis had on them. Because generations in skateboarding come in five year increments, a new generation of kids whose first exposure to Love Park may very well have come up on YouTube are skating the spot as well. Gavin, using Myles Underwood and Benny Tenner as examples, explained how the culture established by the first generation was making an impact on the youth: “It’s funny, they used to dress differently,” he said. “I came back and they had baggier pants—you could totally see that the spot had had an effect on them.”
Myles, whose introduction to the spot was in Zoo York’s State of Mind, first skated there at ten years old after going to the Dew Tour at the Boston Garden. He didn’t start skating there until a few years later, showing up alongside Lee Berman and getting used to the scene. Being with Berman gave him a bit of a pass so he didn’t feel uneasy showing up at first—“I wouldn’t say [I was] vibed out, but I was not as comfortable as I am now.” It took about a year for him to feel like a part of things—getting to know people that were well over 10 years older than him, like Ariel Pearl, in the process. He said that he still skates there “probably every day,” branching out on weekends. “I mostly just stay there,” he said. “You don’t have to hit anyone up— you can kinda just go and know everybody is going to be there. I just like to skate flat. It’s a cool meet up spot where everyone is.”
Almost all the Eggs locals interviewed mentioned the spot’s cast of regular characters as one of the it’s best aspects. Dave Milliken pointed out that in addition to “the same five people there all the time,” different crews were constantly rotating through—“there’s just always good vibes with people.” The scene isn’t solely comprised of skateboarders though. Back in the day lurkers would creep over after getting out of jail, but lately a street dweller named Bones has shown up a lot. Milliken and Mike Williams met Bones skating Copley back in the day, saying that he was always drinking vodka and always hyped on their skating. “He was always a mystery,” he said. “We just started seeing him at Eggs, just walking through and saying what’s up. Recently he’s been coming and hanging out for the session, just being the hype man.”
Outside of people quickly passing through on a jog or riding a bike, nothing else really going on besides skateboarding (and skateboarders hanging out.) New skaters are rolling through and becoming regulars, and some, like Nickodem Rudzinski and Brian Reid, are figuring out new ways to skate the spot.
Still, it seems like the rest of the city doesn’t know that the park even exists. Pedestrian traffic trickles through, but hasn’t increased much. The police don’t even seem to care. I was skating Eggs in 2012 and a state trooper said that “people are still calling [about skaters,] so I guess we’ve got to keep coming over,” shrugging his shoulders as if to acknowledge the frivolity kicking us out. Skaters romanticize Love Park for its “run, skate, chill” ethos, but the Philadelphia Police Department’s anti-skate vendetta isn’t shared by the Massachusetts State Troopers who patrol Eggs.
I’ve been trying to figure out what it says about skateboarding in Boston when, across the river from a monumental 400,000 square foot skatepark, there are 20 heads skating a spot that’s well over 50 times smaller. Skateboarding is full of stories about repurposing underutilized space—Eggs is more relevant for the culture that grew up around the spot. How many public spaces have their own fiercely-loyal users, regardless of the season? Squeaks recounted being at Eggs one frozen evening with Jonah Miller, Dion Grant and Waffle: “It was the dead of winter—one of the coldest nights I’ve been out skating. Waffle was bundled up with a sweat suit over his clothes—none of us could skate because it was so cold. He was just hauling ass. I think he learned back 180 fakie 5-0 half cabs on the ledge that night.” Is there a hallowed tennis court somewhere in Cambridge where people shovel snow in the dead of winter to get their fix of backhand serves? It seems doubtful.
There are so many different factions beneath the blanket of skateboarding. The skatepark, designed to be a destination for New England and beyond, is built to appeal to all of those different styles. Eggs will never be that—it’s an altar where inner city skaters worship the gods of style. Sure, skate tourists may roll through, but the majority of the people at the park are locals carrying a torch that used to burn at Copley and Aquarium.
When I asked Waffle what he liked most about the spot, he had trouble putting it all into words. “I’ve met my closest friends there,” he said. “I’ve been through a lot of shit there—I’ve seen so much shit go down there, not skate-wise but just in general with life’s dramas and friends and shit. People getting in trouble, people doing good, and people falling out of the scene and coming back. People always come back to Eggs.” He’s right. Any day it isn’t raining or covered in snow, you’ll find people skating flat near the JV ledge. They may or may not be regulars you know, but the home team bench will be covered in half full water bottles, cell phones, coffee cups and lighters, and there’s a pretty good chance that the session will last until it’s too dark to skate.
Words By: Ian Browning (@ibrowning)
Photos By: Ray Echevers, Liam Annis, and Alex Gagne.
It came to our attention today that Jamie Thomas has decided to terminate Fallen Footwear. This is a sad thing.
The end of any era in skateboarding is often romanticized, as we as a community (and ourselves at SMLTalk are fully guilty) love to reminisce on better times and submerge ourselves in nostalgia. So when companies that have been around for a long time go under (e.g. Savier, eS… 88??) – we feel like we’ve lost an important piece of our culture. We tend to blame ourselves and ask, “how could we let this happen?”.
We fall into deep, dark depressions. We don’t talk to our families.
But when we come to our sense we realize that as the Lion King taught us, there’s the mother fucking circle of life. Everything comes to an end – sometimes things live a long and prosperous life, and other times they’re trampled by a bunch of fucking wildebeest.
Am I saying that Scar could be a symbolic representation of companies like Nike / Adidas / New Balance? I don’t know. Honestly I didn’t even expect to be talking about this movie - it just kind of happened. But wait – can we just reflect on how fucking awesome that opening scene is?
Anyway – the point here is that Fallen had been around for 13 fucking years. I personally never owned a pair, but there were people that did. I can’t name anyone specifically (to avoid defamation litigation) but there were DEFINITELY tons of skatepark heroes that loved those shoes. Honestly I seriously couldn’t tell you why. BUT THEY DID. And that’s important.
You see folks – we’re in an era where everybody is cool. It’s pretty damn easy to fit in – you just have to figure out which typeset you want to follow, and go along with the few main rules that govern their particular clothing choice / trick choice pattern.
Companies like Fallen represented a time when we weren’t so in tune or maybe didn’t really care about fashion – and fashion CERTAINLY did not give a fuck about skateboarding. So to see a company like this go away, even though many of us may have been too cool for them, is actually pretty sad. Ya know – like losing a part of the culture.
But to be honest the actual purpose of this article was to talk about how Jamie Thomas signs his letters.
It really begs the question - does Jamie Thomas sign everything ‘Skate or Die’?
Emails to co-workers?
This is a mystery (pun intended) that we’re still trying to solve. Anyway - condolences to Jamie and cheers to him for seriously backing a lot of companies that had a significant impact on skateboarding throughout the years and have given us tons of insane memories.