Most people don’t know exactly what you mean when and if you say the words “women’s skateboarding.” It’s still just beginning to blossom like skateboarding did for males so many years ago… There had not been a full-length girl-only skate video in over a decade, but that has been changed for the better because of the passion and dedication of two producers, Monique O’Toole and Erik Sandoval.
The vision for this era’s all-female skateboarding video was an ambitious one and a brave move. Even men often don’t get paid well to ride a skateboard, and their female counterparts (generally) are at least twenty years behind on that curve. All those long nights at lit up spots and weeks on the couch nursing injuries are rewarded with nothing but the love of skateboarding. I don’t mean to imply that the love of skateboarding isn’t freaking amazing. It is, and otherwise no one would be breaking themselves without getting a check in the mail. But it’s important to acknowledge the drive and perseverance required to keep skating hard, day in and day out for an eventual shot at a career in this thing.
Samarria Brevard – Crooked Grind
Quit Your Day Job is the most recent and best attempt at an all-female skate video: they absolutely nailed it. The vision of Monique & Erik coupled with the raw talent of so many skaters made it everything we all want in a full-length video. With an opener from Mariah Duran, they booted it up with some serious skating (and she turned pro at the premiere!). We’re not going to give away the full line-up and ender, but there are solid full parts from young shredders like Samarria Brevard and Savannah Headden, alongside veterans like Vanessa Torres. The vibe of the video is quasi-early 2000s, with structured parts and a solid soundtrack. The editing is almost flawless, coordinated with music and b-roll in a playful yet real way. And the skill level of these girls is fully mind-blowing! To be honest, there is a difference in the skill level of professional skateboarding by guys and girls, but this video will blow you away. Almost every single minute, you will see something that draws a reaction. You’ll want more of it, and at the end of the feature you’ll be wondering when the sequel will be released.
Get your hands on a copy somehow! Their crowdfunding campaign was a success, so check out that page for more info. See for yourself how real and rad women’s skateboarding has become! It’ll stoke you out more than you know, we’re sure.
At the end of the day, we’re all skateboarders, and we all deserve similar opportunities for our craft. As a pro skater, it’s crucial to be supported while living the dream, and we hope that skateboarding grows to be more inclusive of all the girls growing up now, in the skateparks and the streets alike!
a diploid cell resulting from the fusion of two haploid gametes; a fertilized ovum.
The title itself, “Zygote,” implies the birth of a new life, the beginning of a new era. Element Skateboards has indeed been a staple skateboard company for years, but the last few years has proven to be a regeneration for the team and for the brand itself. From the early 2000s era of Jermey Wray, Bam Margera and Donny Barley to today’s crew including Evan Smith, Greyson Fletcher and Nyjah Huston, the skate team has remained at a top-tier quality. But they have evolved, just as skateboarding has as a whole.
The implication of the video’s name is absolutely met by quality, and we were excited to see every minute of the 11+ minute edit. Although not a “full-length” video, the clips include the entire team, push the limits of what is happening in skateboarding and remind us what it takes to make skateboarding insane again. Although not each member of the Element Skateboards team has more than a couple clips, everyone did contribute footage and a select few made substantial waves in the blogs and Instagram feeds of modern skateboarding.
Following a well directed video introduction, the first skater to grace the screen with proper clips was Mason Silva. A recent rookie who has quickly come up and into the eye of the skateboarding industry gives some solid pushes while rolling up to a perfect half cab flip over a hefty handicap ramp to bar. He then continues to lay down fifteen tricks that at least impress or flat-out blow minds. Following up the young rookie is a line-up that we must not forget – Mark Appleyard, Ray Barbee, Chad Tim Tim and Levi Brown. All legends in one regard or another. And then, Element, once again reminds us that their team is stacked to the top. The segment afterward includes Tom Schaar, Maders Apse and Greyson Fletcher, all standouts in their own generation. Schaar, child prodigy; Maders, Euro line master; and Greyson, the ultimate transition maniac. But the video is less than halfway over.
Despite a slight headache from witnessing all the ripping thus far, the show goes on, with a full part from Tyson Peterson no less. Making every trick look fun, even when we all know how impossible it is, is why he is so fun to watch. And he delivers a burly part for the audience. Skate nerds and passive viewers alike can appreciate Peterson’s approach to rails, banks, gaps and all. And fresh on the heels of new guy Tyson Peterson, well-known Nyjah shares a part with Dominick Walker. Both Nyjah and Dominick show up with hyphy, gap-heavy parts, complete with plenty of speed and hairy roll aways. Needless to say, the ripping is nonstop.
Brandon Westgate and Chris “Cookie” Colbourn join Ethan Loy and lesser known Jacopo Carozzi and Jaakko Ojanen to give us a thorough visual attack. Brandon’s speed and power are almost unmatched. Colbourn’s unique approach and creative trick selection is a breath of fresh air from almost any skater we’ve seen. And the rest of the Element team complement each other so well that it’s easy to forget they all ride for one brand, supporting a single message through the company. Element.. but wait.. It’s not over.
This whole time, wondering who would be the ender of the video, we see one more name come up on the screen. Evan Smith. And we knew when his name came up that this would, in fact, be the last part. Evan has been on top of his game, and on top of skateboarding’s game to be quite frank, for the last 5 years. Between Street League Finals appearances, mind-numbing video parts and his crushing demos all over the world, Evan may very well be on a path to SOTY 2016. But that only builds the excitement toward watching this last part. He did more flip tricks over rails than we expected, transferred places we didn’t see coming and constantly kept us on our toes. Evan’s one of the most unpredictable pro skaters in this world, and he kept up his reputation with this Zygote part.
It’s amazing, but not surprising, that Element selected Evan as last part for “Zygote.” First of all, he had a healthy amount of footage for it, especially compared to some of the team riders. But furthermore, he embraces the attitude of the brand, almost to a T. Element has always had an environmentally conscious ethos and a “do it differently” mentality. Evan’s the guy who, when given his “fifteen minutes of fame” during his introduction on live TV for Street League, presented the world with a piece of paper – sharpie’d on: “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.” He’s also the one who will never be anticipated. From his tricks, to his music and his wardrobe, he is the ultimate rolling stone, road warrior, and slowly becoming the industry’s favorite skater.
Cheers to Evan. And Cheers to you, Element. Here’s to the the 24 years you’ve been ripping. And to 24 more. The zygote is here…
As many now know, yesterday marked the world premiere of the highly anticipated second installment of Emerica’s MADE video series. MADE Chapter 2 had a lot to live up to, after the epic expectations created by its precedent in Chapter 1 and classic videos from Emerica such as “This is Skateboarding” (2003). With such a legacy brand, each and every new video is anticipated and awaited by so many of us “in skateboarding,” and MADE Chapter 2, fortunately, met all of our expectations.
The premiere took place in Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California at the historic Vista Theatre. There were three separate showings, accommodating plenty of viewers for the film’s first night in the public eye. And indeed the crowds were out for them… At any given point, there was a line wrapping a full block, all the way to the bar door on the other side of the building. We had our tickets in hand when we rolled up to the theatre, so with the line behind us, we walked in the door just in time for our showing. The shredding on screen commenced, and our minds were subsequently blown. Fully.
The first part of the video came from a rider not many predicted. Jon Dickson, formerly a team rider for Fallen Footwear (R.I.P.), is now a pro rider for Emerica! Dickson opened Chapter 2 with a BANG. Actually, many bangers; back to back to back hammers were what we all saw first on screen. It was Jon Dickson who set the tone for the rest of the feature, followed by full parts from Bryan Herman and Andrew Reynolds. There were rumors of Andrew putting out his “retirement part” in this video, but we’re not sure that was the case. His ripping style was apparent, and he didn’t hold back from skating every type of spot. However, it wasn’t set in the right way to declare a statement to the effect of “I’m out.” It looks like Reynolds is still filming, folks (thank God)!
After the first three full parts, there were two shared parts, back to back. The first highlighted Emerica’s foreign team riders, Rob Maatman and Eniz Fazliov. The Dutch and Finnish homies (respectively) destroyed every spot they skated while filming for MADE Chapter 2. Frankly, they put out some of the best clips of the video. The second part was shared by three proven greats: Jereme Leabres, Leo Romero & Brandon Westgate. What can we say? They came hard for this part. Leo’s gap to handrail hammers, Westgate’s unexplainable pop and power, and Leabres’ unmistakeable steez on a plank… Each rider brought something different yet influential to the video, giving the fellows at Sole Tech plenty of reasons to keep them going at the Emerica camp.
Figgy’s upcoming Thrasher cover for this year’s November issue!
Kevin Long, Jerry Hsu and Collin Provost each had full parts following that, each of them with their own flavor. Jerry killed the switch game and shined with his low-key classic style. Spanky [Kevin] brought his bank spot bangers, sick lines and creative style to the table. And Provost unleashed an absolute barrage of ripping to the screen for our eyeballs to take in and our brains to enjoy. There are some heavy moments in each of these parts, folks. We can’t wait to buy a copy and dissect every minute of this thing.
As everyone always wonders (and many try to predict), there is an “ender” to each full-length skate video. And for this chapter of the MADE series, Justin Figueroa closed those curtains. Figgy is inseparable in our minds from gnarly skating, and he is still getting it. HARD! His part for this video was no less impressive than any full part we’ve seen from him. Only looks of shock and jaws dropped were shown from the audience throughout his entire video part. Figgy is here to stay. For a while. Whether it’s his demolishing ditch spots and school yards or finding a way to do an NBD on a long-time famous spot, he had it all. Slams, makes, and “oh s***” moments were aplenty until they ran credits on this sucker. And everyone left the theatre blown away.
We can’t wait to see a copy of this thing to watch it again. And we hope you all watch it as soon as possible.. Emerica MADE Chapter 2 is and will forever be a hit. Once we fully absorb the gnarliness of it, we might just get back to you.
Franky Villani doing a backside smith grind at Phoenix Am. Photo: Joe Hammeke
Villani killed it, for those of us familiar with this up-and-comer. And he probably surprised everyone who didn’t have him on their radar. With gap tricks, long kinked rails, goofy tricks and hubba tech bangers, Franky had everything in his arsenal and let it all out on the streets for “No Cash Value.” The video starts off with a brutal slam on a handrail, which kicks it off with true Zero Skateboards spirit. But then, even better, it continues with The Misfits as the score. Starting with lots of air time, seeming like a typical street part, it switched up before too long and kept us on our toes for the remainder of the video. Everything from the pressure flip, to the oh-so-popular sex changes, to Bennett grind variations and flips into footplants, he’s got it.
Halfway through the video, the song transitions to the luscious Lesley Gore, which provides a more dreamy vibe to the tricks he does. High no-complys, burly cavemans and quick footed lines make it impossible not to enjoy this guy’s bag of tricks and style on a board! It’s not to say that Franky’s style of skateboarding would satiate every single skater in our modern skate culture, but he comes about as close as anyone, especially any average 20-year-old from Orange County, CA.
We look forward to seeing more from Franky in the future, since he’s a young buck and current Am. His variety seems unlimited, and his style is powerful. The part is rounded out by two minutes of “bloopers” that are actually just insanely hard tricks that he almost or sloppily landed. Even his outtakes are sick! And we think that’s what impressed us so much about Franky Villani. He has one of the deepest bag of tricks we’ve seen in a while and his style is killer, but his attitude towards skating spots is the best and most open. It’s refreshing to see in someone so young: a true skate rat that interprets the streets in a completely fresh and unpredictable fashion. A rail to one skater might be a no-comply bumper to another, and it was especially cool to see such a genuinely new approach from a new Zero Am.
Congrats to Zero. Congrats to Franky Villani. Congrats to all his other sponsors: Spitfire, Thunder, Leftover Hardware, KR3W, Garage Skateshop & New Balance Numeric. Thanks Thrasher and cheers to you, skateboarding!
For the teaser, watch below. But the full part is available right HERE on Thrasher!
Volcom Stone has been a household name since I can remember, as a twenty-something year-old skate nerd. Always for the surfers, always for the skaters, always for the posers. But always what you wanted. Volcom. They’ve been making full-length skate videos for quite some time, their first being “Alive We Ride” in 1993. That first one, amongst many, was a crossover (surf AND skate) film, but there have been some classic skate-only films produced by the in-house production company. Chicagof was an instant classic, many would argue, and the Volcom skate team is always heavily stacked.
Pick a card, any card at all. Tranny rippers, tech gods, and big rail chompers alike find their homes at the Volcom camp. And if it were ever highlighted, it’s right here in this new feature film, “Holy Stoked!” The film opens up with a full, double part of young-gun-all-grown-up, Louie Lopez. In my humble opinion, he had the best skate part of the video but is too young to hold the torch of Volcom’s legacy (last part). Not quite yet, but hang in there Louie! Next up is the bit more veteran, Chris Pfanner. Simple tricks, best style. That’s all you need to know. Planner shares a part with the new Real pro, Kyle Walker. So many crowd favorites came right out the gate, that we didn’t know what to think! Also, there was a trend of Vans & adidas riders so heavy that we were starting to be amazed by the amount some of these dudes have filmed for multiple “blockbuster” films like these. So much respect!
Following the first three riders’ parts, there’s a short skit reiterating the California drought and its significance to skating pools… Which segued into a nice pool riding part. A shared part isn’t usually that FIRE, but with THIS team, it definitely was. Everyone from CJ Collins to Omar Hassan and David Gonzalez to Collin Provost. The mix was as real as the tricks were. And each spot as fun to see as the next skater. The 4-K production and cinematography was done so in a way that emphasized the pure energy that is skating pools. So the pool skating part was pure stoke as a spectator. If you’ve never wanted to skate a pool, it might make you reconsider. And if you’re through and through with it, it might just make you fall in love again.
The 4-K onslaught continues, as Russell Houghton brings another crucial facet of skating to the screen – the picnic table. How many people have skated on or seen people skate on the picnic tables and benches of their schoolyards and parking lots? Each and every one of us. So bringing a picnic table to the desert, the beach, the jetway, every place you can imagine was a really nice touch and tribute to what being a street skater is all about. Jordan Trahan, Daan van der Linden, Kyle Walker, and all the homies completely destroy these picnic table(s) with scenic background, and it is so symbolic to skaters everywhere. Bravo, Volcom!
Daan van der Linden
The video continued to include the likes of Ryan Sheckler, Alex Midler, Pedro Barros, Milton Martinez, Ben Raemers and more. And every skater brought their own flavor to the brand. Their own spice to the video. And their own stoked to “Holy Stoked!” Even Dustin Dollin, who didn’t have a single landed trick in the video, brought his own spin to Volcom and everything that they stand for. I would go on, but I think you should honestly just watch the video and create your own perspective.
Volcom has done it again, which means words can’t quite describe the experience that you’re headed for. Dive in and pay attention. Turn off your phone, so Instagram can’t notify you of every insignificant clip. Dust off those glasses, so you can see every dusty detail. And grab a beer to calm your nerves, so you don’t have a heart attack when you see the madness unfold. It’s time to get stoked.
Within the first thirty seconds, almost immediately, the video starts with the ultimate hype track (and footage to match). House of Pain’s “Jump Around” set to mixed team footage of shredding Barcelona spots is more than enough to get any skater excited for the full video to come. And if that weren’t enough, The Gonz provides narration that skaters of all cultures and backgrounds can get down with. “…if you do something that’s really excellent, somebody has to do something that is excellent but in a different way.” Given his unpredictable ad hoc style, his words speak to skateboarding in one of the most meaningful ways possible.
Away Days dropped HARD.
The openers of the film, Lucas Puig and Rodrigo TX, fully represent the international and newly legendary skaters which make up the distinctive team that is adidas Skateboarding. And the way in which their parts are edited parallel the quality and unique genre of the skating itself. A full part from Mark Suciu and shared part from Na-kel Smith & Jake Donnelly further show the diversity of the team and pure ability that exemplify skateboarding as it really is. The perfect medley moves forward with a European urban life section, showing the reality that is skating in within a metropolitan hub: riding through thick crowds of oblivious pedestrians, waiting for trains in underground junctions, getting kicked out of spots, the blur of rapidly passing lights, and the chaos that strangely brings order to the wandering mind of skateboarders worldwide.
The transition is quick yet natural to a shared part featuring Gunes Ozdogan, Pete Eldridge, & Kevin Lowry. These three skaters all have styles that contrast distinctly yet share an element common to the smooth track of Dusty Springfield. To the American audience, we have two relatively new names sandwiching a modern legend in Eldridge, and the result is poetry. The next quick exchange brings us to the skating of Nestor Judkins and Miles Silvas. Nestor and Miles are both staples in their craft, with even more distinct styles and approaches to their wooden planks. From the dusty streets of California, to Asian marble and Parisian granite, nothing was excluded from the clips of these two, and the soothing tunes of New Order supplement the unforgiving vibe of Skepta (ft. Young Lord).
Lem Villemin promptly reminds us that he’s not only in the game, but killing said game with his smooth yet heavy street skating. The mainstream scene had not seen a full part from Lem in quite some time, so it was refreshing to see a solid block of clips from the strapping young Vietnamese German. And what better to segue into a Southbank montage… The local London team rippers and a worthy segment of other adidas riders stacked clips in the historic Southbank plaza via an edit that truly showed the significance and influence that one single spot can have. The Gonz and crew bring the hype right along to a shared part with Chewy Cannon, Benny Fairfax, & Blondey McCoy. Each of these dudes has their own different flavor that contribute to the extra special sauce that is London skateboarding. If only we could get interviews with these guys to see what the British equivalent of Wheaties are for them. Watch and admire. Skate and destroy. Perhaps nobody understands that mantra better than Aussie transplant and CA resident, Jack Fardell. Whoever coined the term ATV for skaters had this chap in mind, because he will absolutely wreck anything in his path (or even off the path). Lots of LA footage of Jack leads wonderfully into the following segment.
Although skateboarding has spread its wings in the best way, the worldwide culture still finds a true birthplace in Southern California. And thus, it was fitting for adidas to incorporate a full Los Angeles montage in its full video. This Away Day was in the City of Angels and ultimately revealed two new team riders to the skateboarding community – Marc Johnson and Daewon Song. American team skaters, joined by video opener Lucas Puig, cruise around the city in a classic Buick, looking for and skating spots, in true LA fashion, and it is a beautiful thing to witness. Irving nailed the energy of LA skateboarding with this section, and the introduction of two legends to the adidas family was well done to say the least. But this only lasted for a bit, the video showing a plane taking off from LAX for…
Australia. Straight Down Under with Dennis Durrant, a skater who’s new to the American scene but won’t take long to stick. Dennis’ ripping speaks for itself, and his Public Enemy track doesn’t hurt in bringing awareness to this dent in skateboarding. He shares a part with Raul Navarro, Spaniard and Barcelona local. The Australian and Spanish footage and styles complement each other so well, and they’re followed up by even other deserving rippers. The team is stacked, and clips don’t stop. Brazilian Klaus Bohms and Norwegian Gustav Tonneson make a great pair, because their approaches to skating are equally yet uniquely mind-blowing. The massive pop fresh from Brazil is on a separate scale from those quick feet of Gustav from Norway, but each will leave their mark on international skating.
Bringing it to the American homeland, Alec Majerus produced some heavy bangers for this feature. Away Days was expecting of some of this, but Alec blew the doors off with NBD kicker combos, switch stair game, and unpredictable hammers galore. A young gun followed a relatively young gun – Tyshawn Jones came out strong with his classic G street style. Bred by the unforgiving streets of Manhattan, Tyshawn made sure to show the world that he went to work for this video by rounding up sick clip after sick clip, even with an NDB Love Gap trick…
At this point in the video, the audience is wondering if the next part is the ender.. And the next skater to grace the screen: Silas Baxter-Neal. Thrasher’s 2008 Skater of the Year and all-around veteran ripper from the Northwest, Silas is a special breed. His quick feet, switch skills, and ledge wizardry haven’t faltered one bit, and his Away Days contribution couldn’t have disappointed even the most cynical of skate nerds. The Pixies narrated his lines and single tricks in a way that shared his skating so well. thank you Silas, and all of the adidas Skate team!
But wait… Credits weren’t rolling, but instead there was suspense building up to one more part. And then we saw Dennis Busenitz’s name on the screen. Busenitz, your favorite skater’s favorite skater, has been pushing boundaries as a pro skater for more than a decade, and is still, apparently, ending full-length blockbuster skate videos… His approach to skating is and always has been one of unpredictability and light-footed bewilderment. Some of the things we see Dennis do don’t make sense, and that’s why so many strive to skate like him. His control and and sureness when on the board are serious forces to absorb, even as a spectator. Not leak spoilers too hard, but he unleashes some hippie jumps that we couldn’t have imagined possible.
Away Days is wrap. With that, we’re stoked to see where adidas Skateboarding goes from here and how the team evolves and revolves the globe. If Snoop Dogg cameo’d in this one, who’s in the next? If skateboarding’s where it is now, where will it be then? “You have to go, go, go, go. You have to keep going,” said The Gonz in the outro of this video. Mark suggests to do it better, to do it harder, and to put your own spin on it. It’s crucial for skaters everywhere to push their own skating in whatever direction they want to or feel that they need to. Don’t feel pressure from the outside, but rather embrace influence.
Aaron “Jaws” Homoki, Stephen Lawyer, Cole Wilson, Derrick Wilson, Thomas Dritsas, Miles Lawrence. If you didn’t have the Internet (or the title above), I bet you wouldn’t be able to guess the team. Stevie Williams has once again done something completely different that shouldn’t have worked but … did. Asphalt Yacht Club began as a brand new company a few short years ago and has grown to be respected among many skaters of today. The style of clothing has shown to be very indicative of Stevie Williams’ style, but the style of his skaters not so much.
The AYC (Asphalt Yacht Club) skate team has been one of the freshest and most unique that we’ve seen in a while. With rail chompers like Cole Wilson, big gap studs like Jaws, and new blood like Thomas Dritsas, it’s almost impossible to predict the vibe of a team edit. But somehow the final cut is magnificent. Don’t trust us. You should see for yourself:
Between the mind-blowing demo tricks at the sickest skateparks and heaviest hammers in the streets, AYC shut up some of the haters with raw talent and work ethic to put out a serious tour video. “Left And Leaving” is a fitting name for the team moving forward, because they’re just starting their journey as a respected apparel brand in skating and aren’t stopping anytime soon.
Jaws and Cole have the bangers for you. Derrick Wilson and Lawyer bring the special sauce. And Thomas and Miles are complete wild cards; we don’t even know how great the future is for them. This isn’t even the entire squad, and we’re convinced that something special is upon us. Do you fuck with the AYC?
If you’ve been keeping up with skateboarding media at all over the last few years, you’ve gotten pretty familiar with the crew and content over at Bronze 56k. You know the schtick: “If you don’t fuck with Bronze, you’re whack as fuck…” This is the company that built its reputation off of pure shock factor and bold style.
From the riders to the visual art and everything in between, Peter Sidlauskas harnesses a unique flow in the videos that made Bronze famous amongst the cooler-than-thou skateboarders of today. For the last three years, there have been Bronze 56k edits, presented in their most vulgar, addicting, and unpredictable forms. SOLO JAZZ hooked those of us that would later watch and re-watch every following video edit, introducing them to our skateboarding friends and inevitably growing the Bronze 56k footprint in the skate world. Last year, Bronze brought us TRUST and then the Palace collaboration, PARAMOUNT.
After a 10-month hiatus, but no lack of brand growth, we were introduced to yet another Bronze gem via ThrasherMagazine.com: “plug.” plug is a promo for a full-length Bronze 56k flick coming later in 2016, and it definitely got us excited!
The video begins with one of the worst hill bombs gone wrong we’ve seen in a long time. Boom! Right out the gate, Bronze has “got us fucked up.” Sidlauskas immediately transitions to a couple street gap tricks from two very fashion forward Bronze riders in San Fransisco. As a subtle form of rebellion against the status quo of Southern California skateboarding, there were two parts to “plug”: Side A was comprised of all SF bay-area footage while Side B was filmed all at “home” in New York. The movement to further individualize skateboarding by seeming to get “away from the industry” is fully embraced by Bronze as a brand.
In all honesty we feel that “plug” didn’t shock us nearly as much as past Bronze productions. Are they trying to appeal to broader audiences? Are they trying to focus more on the skating? Or are they just doing whatever the fuck they want to do?
We’re leaning in to that last option. And we can’t wait for the full video later in 2016.
This past weekend, the 15th Annual Phoenix Am contest fired away with its usual insanity. This year’s weather was a bit cooler than usual (high 80s, Fahrenheit), but the talent was hot as hell. The am contest in Phoenix, AZ each year is hard to predict and difficult to control, but it never seems to disappoint. This year’s podium consisted of Dashawn Jordan in 3rd place, Yoshi Tanenbaum in 2nd, and Zion Wright taking the overall win! Congrats to them, all the finalists, and every skater who threw down in their heat.
As you probably know, big contest weekends like this are not only about contest results. They are some of the best reasons for friends to reunite, celebrations to be had, and the industry to gather around some of the nation’s best up-and-comers. One great thing that’s special to Phoenix Am is the unique and positive skate scene of Phoenix and Arizona as a whole. These guys are inclusive, hyped on skating, and eternally ripping! So what better time to release a top-notch local video than on Phoenix Am weekend!’
Pyramid Country is one of the best examples of the local homie crew that got big-time rep from the skate world at large. The homies of Pyramid Country hold it down in their own unique way and put out some of the weirdest pieces of cinema skaters can find. (And that’s saying a lot.) Some of the real pioneers of trippy VX-only footage mixed to outer space b-roll and crude public behavior, Pyramid Country made sure that its most recent release did not disappoint.
Distant Mind Terrain starts with a shinner, something all of us skaters are much too familiar with. A slightly awkward pause and then to a slow and low bass beat to banger clips to open up the film. Intro starts it off right to lead in to the first full part – Tyler Franz. Tyler’s one of the original fixtures to Pyramid Country and rips in his part here to prove it!
As the video progresses, we watch an indecipherable amount of shredding from all the guys, including: the new-age smooth of Eric Dowswell, the hesh master Aric Blattner, the proper flipping Kevin Skutnik, the blunted Shaun Gregoire, the techgnar player Chase McIntyre, Life Extension’s Blue Headey, ATV ripper Jonathan Pierce, Welcome’s own Aaron Goure, the ditch-skating prowess of Justin Modica, Late Night Link, the legend Dave Engerer, and our ender Kevin Braun.
Santa Cruz Skateboards supports Pyramid Country.
Kevin, although not new to the Arizona scene, is new to the Santa Cruz am team. His smooth style and difficult bag of tricks made it a no-brainer for the NHS camp to pick him up. He deserved the ender to this video and his new official board sponsor based out of Santa Cruz, CA. Congrats, Kevin!
The overall vibe of Distant Mind Terrain was on point. The talent was incredible. The build up to and around the Pyramid Country brand was not a disappointment. Even given the ridiculous amount of skateboarding media coming out online these days, this 18-minute edit is one you don’t want to miss any of! So brew some coffee, pop some corn kernels, and get comfortable. Because you’re gonna get your mind blown like DMT.
Supreme has a reputation of being, well, supreme. And not in a way that has them on top of any one pyramid. In fact, they’re not the greatest at any one thing. They just started their own thing, and they do that best. Each video, in the long string of projects by William Strobeck, recreates a familiar yet craved feeling within the viewer. They are true films (of whatever length) as opposed to strings of consecutive clips set to a musical track.
There’s no exact formula. If there were, everyone would match it. The short skate films coming from these dudes is constantly causing a reaction with the newest and coolest of skaters. The high caliber of skating meets the raw feel of its footage that makes it seem just amateur enough to be achievable. The moments of defeat and glory that we all experience as skaters are perfectly performed in front of the camera and shown back to us in an authentic format that we see and immediately respect.
Sage Elsesser. Hippie Jump. Screen Grab.
“Pussy Gangster” starts with the ambient hum of New York City in slow motion, showing a young kid that none of us recognize. Zooming out from his face, we see him dropping his board, still in slow motion. The spark is there, and the anticipation is building. And when this kid lands a boardslide with a surprising amount of style, it’s ON. The skater feels that feeling from learning that boardslide himself or herself. Hell Yeah is the reaction. And then abruptly
The film cuts to a crazy homeless guy. (*Cue the familiar experience from spending entire days in the streets.*) The energy shifts in a way that’s exciting but concerning. This dude’s got a knife and is waving it around all over the place. We’re concerned for the homies, but then BAM. A team of cops tackles and disarms the offender. The crowd cheers. The skaters win. This is a skate video. Now let’s move on with the film.
Dill’s face flashes on the screen before cutting to night footage of Sage Elsesser. Old school to new school. Favorites. The next several minutes are straight fire. Alternating from those we know by name to those we don’t, hammer to hammer we go. Each trick and line with its unique style or approach; you never could know what’s coming next. All the while, vibes of the street, cracks in the sidewalk, and the way people look at the skaters are put in seamlessly. “Life in the ghetto ain’t easy…” sings the vocalist in the first song. Everything adds up. All details culminate to the relationship between street skateboarding and struggle. The struggle that we choose.
After a heavy slam by Na-Kel Smith, the track cuts to silence. And then a VX1000 line of him, with only the background noise of metropolitan Paris to aide him: the ultimate raw street experience. Then bloody hands, youth smoking cigarettes, no rules. Now, we’re not promoting smoking or masochism, but there is an essential quality to the film that captures the hardships of skating in the streets. Everyone tries to create it, but not many succeed.
One of the most key ingredients to Strobeck’s master recipe is the spontaneity of the entire film. Many skaters that are pushing back against the current organization of skateboarding also covet the not knowing what will happen next. The element of surprise, although no one calls it that, is what the modern skate nerd longs for. We watch our favorite (and least favorite) pro skaters and eventually get a feel for their bag of tricks, their approach to spots, and their general ability in skating. But so refreshing it is to see a video in which you can’t call a single trick before it’s done.
Here’s to being weird. Here’s to the struggle of the streets. Here’s to bringing a camera along.