The street grab is a very controversial move. Eyebrows raise, and glances are exchanged any time a grab is seen done down a set, over a gap, into a rail trick, or anywhere outside of transition, really. When you throw a flip trick in, it gets REALLL questionable. Tim O'Connor put it nicely:
"Some people grab [heelflips] indy grab, and those people should be shot dead". - Tim O'Connor
HOWEVER - there are those few select times when the street grab is not only acceptable, but commended as an act of true skate bravery.
Look, I know some of you are crying right now about how fun pre-grabs are, how Terpening is rocking the bean plant, or how Milic is backside bonelessing into slides. That's not what I'm talking about, so shut up and listen.
Kevin Bradley - Cherry (2014)
In order to give an appropriate history, let's take a look at where we are today. Earlier this year we saw Kevin Bradley toss this street method (really more of a grasser) over an NYC bump to bar. Honestly have no idea what the hell this kid was thinking because I'm pretty sure he's 6 years old and shouldn't have the ability or knowledge to do such a heavy style trick. This one and Evan Okeson's in Pyramid Country's Couchlock Odyssey (8:10) really set the tone for how to do a proper street grab today.
Mark Gonzales - Video Days (1991)
Quite possibly the most legendary street grab of all time, the Gonz lays down a frontside grab over Wallenberg and becomes the first to make the gap. At this time street grabs were being done by guys like Guerrero, Hensley, and Barbier, and were being styled out, NOT thrown down massive sets. But Gonz is a wizard and nobody questions what he does. Not only that, but how bout the celebratory frontside 180 after.
In the mid-90's the street grab game had faded as east coast skating had pretty much taken over with Ricky leading the way. But that isn't to say you didn't see someone sneak one in (18:44).
-ALSO- you could bet your bottom dollar that you'd see some random am at your local park demo throw in a straight up melon grab over some gap. The thing was a damn epidemic at skateparks from about 1995-2003.
Jason Adams - Label Kills (2001)
The late 90's/early 2000s were a strange time in skateboarding. There was a segregation of street and vert skating, with not many outside of Chany Jeanguenin crossing that divide. Anti Hero was still pretty much underground, and Bob was still BobGnar. In a nutshell people were lost when it came to transition and let's just say there were ALOT of stink bugs and feeble stalls. I sometimes feel like The Kid doesn't get as much credit as he deserves. An ATV who is still ripping into his 40's, this guy was an OG street head who has one of the most memorable styles in skateboarding. Not only that but this was the first dude running firecrackers, Baker makers, AND one of the only dudes throwing speeding fast slappies in lines. Here he is with a very acceptable ollie tail block.
Aaron Vandenbulke - Man Down (2001)
This part is so damn sick. It perfectly represents the early 2000's dudes who didn't want to give up on the early to mid 90's. Yeah, that was a thing. Del on the tunes, DOPE mid-90's style, and every trick done properly. I like to gauge a skateboarder's skill on how well they can nollie fs half cab. Let's just say this guy gets a 4.0. AV for pres. AV throws a joke flat ground benihana in at the end of his part, and somehow makes it look good. Cigarette in mouth, and giving the camera a proper beam. Kudos, AV.
Warning: This does not make it acceptable for YOU to do a benihana. Ever.
PJ Ladd - WHL (2002)
OK THIS IS WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT. But PJ makes it look sick so I cannot hate on him. Seriously though - God forbid you get through an entire session at your indoor park around this time without some kook flyin' one of these things over a table top, off a kicker, or worse yet, down a set of stairs. PJ pulls it off, though, and makes it look really good. Which is really kind of a good/bad thing because it perpetuated the melon movement of the early 2000s.
Rick McCrank - Yeah Right! (2003)
Ok, so around this time I used to frequent a skate review site called wheelbite.com (RIP). Basically the site somehow got access to the Yeah Right! soundtrack before it had premiered. Obviously I quickly went and downloaded all of the songs on Napster, or KaZaa, or whatever and would actually IMAGINE the parts. Like, use my imagination. That's a true story. Anyhow, the point is that no matter how good I imagined the parts, when the video came out it was completely unpredictable. Rick's part is a perfect example of that. After pulling one of the best bs hurricanes to fakie seen by mankind to this day, he tosses a tail bone straight over the damn ledge.
Thank you Rick.Thank you.
Kenny Reed - Static 2 (2004)
Kenny Reed, the fucking Anthony Bourdain of skateboarding. Started out as a kid from upstate New York, who you may have caught a glimpse of in his wheels of fortune in issue 28 (1998), but who most people didn't really know until either his 7 year glitch part, or his static 2 part. Regardless, this guy is the man because if you watched him growing up YOU KNOW you wanted to live his life. Travelling around, wearing dope hats, skating the most insane, obscure spots, and riding some line between rasta skater and well respected NYC street guy. Anyhow, here he is blasting a japan grab off some big drop to slow ride away (which we all questioned, but loved).
Johnny Layton - Good and Evil (2004)
Bottom line is how am I going to write an article about the history of the street grab without including the most street grab dude out. He really just made them look natural. **important** **will be on exam**
Chris Cole - New Blood (2005)
Yeahhhhhh say what you want about Chris Cole, but you can suck my dick after you say it cause he's fucking gnarly. Evan actually brought this one up and I originally questioned it, too. Well ya know what, I watched this part and went on to watching his entire catalog. I recommend you do the same. By 2005 dudes like Layton and Rattray had made it ok to street grab if you could do it right, and Cole gives t a go. Here he is doing a tuck knee down the Hollywood High 16.
Marc Johnson - Fully Flared (2007)
Marc Johnson does a cannonall because he did it, approved of the clip, and knew we would all like it. The thing about Marc is that along with guys like Koston, Kenny Anderson, McCrank, and many of the other Girl/Chocolate dudes, these guys can really do it all, so it's no shock to see Marc do something like this, or Biebel do a handplant.
So there are some examples of appropriate street grabs through the years. Study them. Know them. And please - think before you go out there and throw a grab over some gap in your home town. Godspeed.