I’m somewhat late on this, but taking into account the sheer enjoyability of this video, I figure it merits a blurb even if it is a year overdue.
Over the past two or three years, it seems like skateboarding has grown more concerned with its past. Documentaries, books, and vintage skate photography blogs seem to be a rapidly growing sect of the skate-site world, and are all a bit concerned with the closer future than with the contests, pools and snake-runs that tend to dominate most people’s conceptions of “skateboarding history.” We’ve began to dwell into past eras that have come to define street skating as it is today, and regardless of what many try to argue — San Francisco is bar-none the most important city in the development of street skating, not New York, Philadelphia, Barcelona, Los Angeles or Coxsackie, NY.
New York’s two key spots from the era of street skating’ infancy are The Banks, which bear a closer resemblance to conventional notions of a skatepark than any other famed street spot, and Astor Place, which is actually, umm, a curb and some flat. Los Angeles early days outside of the skatepark seemed to gyrate more towards the familiar embankments of school yards, not ledge spots and manual pads. Complex manuals, grinds, flip-in tricks, lines, or anything else being done on marble and granite slabs these days were all largely cultivated on the streets of SF, at Embarcadero, Union Square, and somewhat later, Pier 7.
Greatest Misses is to San Francisco what Revisted was to New York, and it basically sums up the city’s overall contribution to the development of skating more than anybody’s part in Questionable or Video Days, even if its coverage begins a bit late at 1994. Greatest Misses tends to put things into perspective via a history lesson in the same way it remains to be a fun video to watch before you leave the house to go skate.
The video naturally has an ensemble of local SF legends, but the highlight for more casual viewers would inevitably be the footage of more familiar names before they became, well, familiar names. Kalis, Stevie, J.B. Gillet, Jason Dill, and several others have a substantial amount of footage in a section, none of which I can remember being in any other video. Most of what’s featured in this video is presumably the b-sides to filming sessions for a lot of videos from the era, although several familiar tricks, i.e. Kalis’ switch back tail down Hubba Hideout, will make their way in with good reason. The only point in which it breaks from the skateboarding is for some vintage footage of Stevie fighting, which is expectedly as entertaining as his skating.
The overall highlight is undoubtedly Lavar McBride’s three-minute plus section, which is loaded with some Trilogy-era goodness and even some footage from several years before. (Considering his entire second section in Trilogy was at Pier 7, it tends to show just how much filming they did for it when there is close to an entire part’s worth of footage that was left out.) But there is not much you could say that has not already been said — an undisputed king of lines, ledge skating, style — the kid was nollie flip back tailing knee-high ledges in 1996, so you should know what to expect. Above all, it’s topped off with one of the best anthems the Bay ever had.
The video itself is 38 minutes long, with hardly any slow motion, minimal effects, and even no skate-noises (I never understood why any video would leave these out, it just sounds awkward. But given the quality of the skating, it is forgivable.) There are no scene selections, and a brief bonus montage. The dudes over at 48Blocks.com said that they would soon be re-stocking on these soon enough, so keep checking on there, or shoot them an e-mail.