There is nothing I hate more than looking at some new, young, asshole skinny skateboarder. You watch pretty much any video and all you see is these kids who could hardly break 140 lbs. Fuckk that. Yeah, sometimes you’ll see dudes who have gotten older, or discovered beer, and they look a little heavier. That’s not who we’re talkin’ about today boys and girls, so get that shit out of your head. Today we pay homage to those skateboarders who have lived out their careers with a little extra meat, and have been loved/revered/admired for it. Cheers boys, you've earned it.
Perhaps the first person to be seen as a little bit of a chubby dude, or perhaps not, either way it’s a good starting point. Lance Mountain. We love Lance. He is us. We are him. We are one. Maybe it was just me, but looking at Lance compared to the other dudes in the Bones Brigade he just seemed like the one who was drinking soda and eating candy bars while Hawk sipped some performance enhancing energy drink. Lance allowed us to look in the mirror, like a 15 year old high school cheerleader wondering why she got cut from the team, and say “Hey. It’s gonna be ok. Maybe I won’t die alone.” He's just a lovable, super creative dude with amazing style, who lets us believe that despite an extra couple pounds, we too can achieve greatness. Not true, but a nice thought anyway.
From Lance there spawned a few other vert skaters who rocked a husky look. Guys like Dressen, Grosso, Schroeder and Jason Jessee weren’t small dudes. These guys were stocky, and the latter two were pretty tall as well. These beasts were not to be fucked with, but were also super nimble on the board. The magic of being a stocky guy is that you naturally have a powerful look to your skating. When you add finesse to that, you hit another level. With skaters like these holding down vert skating in the late 80s and early 90s, the stocky look lived on.
Right now you’re probably thinking, “hey man, it’s just vert dudes, they’re usually fat anyway.” Well, if you’re actually thinking that you can go fuck yourself because that was the dumbest thing I’ve ever written. Let’s talk street, dipshit (yes I just said dipshit, great word, let’s bring it back).
Obviously in the early 90s street skating was taking off, and who better to pioneer switch skating than a stocky guy? Salman Agah. It’s funny because growing up I was always like, damn, that guy is big and he still rips. Now I look back at him and am like, wow, he was much thinner than me and now I am sad. BUT THAT’S THE THING. Skateboarders have this fucked sense of what is actually an acceptable weight, and while everyone else in the world might call someone thin, a skateboarder would say, “hmm, well, compared to Curren Caples he looks like he's at risk of heart failure or type 2 diabetes.”
Before this time people just didn't expect bigger dudes to be able to skate. It’s like the first time you saw porn. Until that first time, you knew there was something you were supposed to do, but you didn’t quite know what. Then when you saw it explicitly laid out, spread eagle, 69, doggy-style, freestyle, etc, so you knew what you had to do. This is what happened for the husky guys out there. They saw the big boys before them make it happen, and knew that they too could flip their board or pull an invert.
By the mid to late 90s guys like Shiloh Greathouse, Ben Sanchez, and Lee Smith weren't afraid any more. They showed us that big guys could have big pop. You put on 411, what do you see? Mike Frazier, front bluntin on vert, then going out to grab a burger. It was liberating.
Entering the 2000s you had a whole new generation of husky dudes. But now they were gnarly. No one was holding back. These guys could ollie higher, skate faster, and look better on the board than their feminine bodied counterparts. Rich Adler was one of the first "big-boned" guys I saw absolutely killing it. Here’s a guy who went his whole career far too under-the-radar, but if you know him, you love his skating. Speed and style, I mean, what else is there?
And lets not forget Ben Gilley. Here's a guy who offers irrefutable proof that the big guy can give hell to a handrail if it ever comes down to it. A brief skim of his portfolio leaves you with this: He 5-0'd El Toro and might also be Matt Schlager's dad. It would make total sense if you think about it. Both dudes throw themselves onto rails, seflessly and for our entertainment, until the inevitable jaw-dropping make. Anyone who has seen his footage in Zero's Strange World knows that Ben pulls off miracles when his trucks lock into a 15+ stair handrail. And not in the ICP way.
Bringing us up to current day, you have a couple of the best skaters on the planet, and they are husky dudes. I think you know who I am talking about. Oh, this is so exciting, this is the point where if I DON’T mention the guys you’re thinking about, you get to comment and prove me wrong. Well guess what sucka, your opinion means nothing.
This dude. This dude. Undoubtedly one of the gnarliest dudes out there today. He’s been battling injury for a short period now, but his Prevent This Tragedy Part? Are you kidding me? The switch ollie *make* (yes I’m calling it a make) is one of the sickest clips ever filmed. Every clip in Beauty and the Beast, and everything else you can find. None of it is bad. Andrew Allen is a hero.
SOTY '14, baby (if there is any hope left). Bobby has pretty much always (but more so recently) had a couple more pounds than most. It means nothing though because he has the best switch tre in the game and relentlessly puts out parts that didn’t have planned timing for the SOTY award. Bobby gives us hope, and further, inspires others to insp… just kidding he inspires us to grab a beer.
Yeah, don't worry, we are NOT going to end this article without discussing Jabari Pendleton. This guy should be given a fucking crown. There is not a chance in hell this guy weighs less than 220, and he is doing waist high switch crooks, and lines that look like they could keep up with Busenitz and 3rd and Army. A personal thank you, Jabari.