Ayo For Yayo: A Salute to Mike York, An Icon of Low Impact Skateboarding

March 13th, 2013 | 8:28 am | Features & Interviews | 15 Comments

york

“All of my video parts, I had fun. I tried to be realistic so if you saw me, it wouldn’t be a letdown. I’ve seen video parts then seen the dude skate in real life and been like ‘Wow, he’s a video skater. He don’t really do that stuff for real.’ I wanted to be honest. This is my level. Yeah, my toe dragged. Yeah, that wasn’t high. Yeah, it was kinda sketchy. Yeah, I didn’t slide that far…But there it is. When you see me skate, I’ll probably land another one like that and you’ll be able to identify with it.” — Mike York

Certain corners of the QS office have long contended that Mike York had one of the best parts in Yeah Right! Though this may be a tall distinction in a video that ends with a 360 flip noseblunt down a handrail, our bias for low impact skateboarding is widely documented on the pages of this website. Noseslide-heavy trick repertoires are infinitely relatable; skateboarding will progress to bigger and techer feats, but for many, our ceiling is a shove-it and noseslide combination (or two 360 flips in a row.)

In sports, there is always talk of “good locker room guys” (ayo) — role players and veterans who provide personality and intangibles that build the character of a team. That’s something that isn’t as apparent with Girl/Chocolate in the Everybody-is-Good Era 2.0, at least from an outsider’s perspective. While the new riders are likely all great kids, positive, fun to have on trips, etc., a big piece of Chocolate’s appeal in the pre-E.I.G. era was how it had more blue collar skaters like Chico, Richard Mulder and York to fill roster spots around guys who were unequivocally the best skaters on earth. Nowadays, it’s only the latter, and yeah, it does get a bit exhausting watching seventy minutes of tricks one cannot even begin to comprehend.

(There is also the argument that the average skill level of a young skater today is way higher than it was ten years ago, so the skaters in videos that they find immediately relatable might just be unrecognizable to those of us accustomed to, say, the aforementioned three. Plus, please keep in mind that this is being written by someone who believes Ben Sanchez had the 3rd or 4th best part in Mouse…)

This is far from a backhanded compliment to Mike York. Think of all the token Girl and Chocolate riders throughout the years who have, for whatever reason, been unable to procure a full video part. York came through with a full section in each Girl project he was a part of. Koston seems to be the only other longtime rider who shares this distinction, at least up until Pretty Sweet.

And so, with the surprise release of his FTC web part, we were given cause to look back at some of York’s more nuanced accomplishments in the field of low impact skateboarding. (FYI, for those just joining us: A low impact skateboarder is one who predominantly does not skate on objects above three feet in height, and is in tune with the “If you can’t ollie up it, don’t ollie down it” philosophy.)

Las Nueve Vidas de Paco (1995)

york-vidas

It’s unlikely that anybody noticed, but in the 2006 Quartersnacks Christmas clip, the “A-Roll” section’s switch 360 flip into a hill ender was supposed to be a nod to York.

What people have likely noticed, is that the backside flip on flat, switch noseslide, and kickflip off a bump line is clearly in tune with the sort of skateboarding displayed in the majority of this website’s videos.

The Chocolate Tour (1999)

York is the only pro skateboarder to own the distinction of both opening and closing video parts with…a switch 360 flip into a hill.

There was much discussion about his disregard for line choreography standards in the new FTC part, as he opted to do two consecutive 360 flips on flat in a line. This, however, was not the most subversive moment of line choreography in Mike York’s catalog. The nollie flip crook, push, crooked grind line would take that title.

mike york chocolate tour line

This part is also notable in that it contains one of the most definitive low impact lines ever done: a frontside noseslide on a ledge, nollie half cab on flat, and a switch noseslide on a ledge.

york-lowimpact

Yeah Right! (2003)

york-yeahright

You know how there was that one moment in your first few years of skating when an older dude yelled at you for doing something stupid? You can bet that the kid in the last clip of York’s part was known as “The Kid Who Got in Mike York’s Way” by all his friends after this video came out. Also, the barrage of frontside noseslide combos is one of the the most hype parts in the entire video.

Hot Chocolate (2004)

mike york jerseys

In the realm of fashion, Mike York established himself as skateboarding’s biggest Jason Richardson fan in Hot Chocolate. He also showcases perhaps the widest one-sport jersey collection (Biebel gets disqualified because he switches between NFL and NBA jerseys) in a single part.

It’s also convenient to assume he somewhat inspired the Black Ninja’s legendary part in NEAT by narrating his line as it was being done. But maybe not.

15 Comments

Comment by High Post Like Hakeem
  • Would be rad if there was a Choco/Girl “Classics” team/section with guys like York, Paulo, ect.

    March 13, 2013 @ 10:58 am
  • Comment by shit sandwich
  • I totally forgot about Mike York since his Turf skateboards part. So good

    March 13, 2013 @ 11:58 am
  • Comment by twelvesNY
  • this dude is awesome. stoked to see this today.

    March 13, 2013 @ 12:13 pm
  • Comment by jingjongbingbong
  • mike york did a darkslide at the berrics

    March 13, 2013 @ 1:51 pm
  • Comment by Phil Rodriguez
  • Mike York forever an inspiration, thank you snack

    March 13, 2013 @ 2:26 pm
  • Comment by adrian
  • You guys just like York because his name has York in it. JUSPLAYIN.

    March 13, 2013 @ 2:32 pm
  • Comment by Skate Nazi
  • Love this dude to death and stoked he’s getting hooked up but Blueprint should change their name I mean its a whole new company now why keep the name its blasphemous basically.

    March 13, 2013 @ 4:09 pm
  • Comment by mmmm
  • biggest jason richardson fan hahahaha and that quote from york is spot on

    March 13, 2013 @ 6:58 pm
  • Comment by Wes
  • Most of this was spot on. The only thing I feel needs touching upon is that…

    Richard Mulder in Mouse was up there skill wise with the best of them. Absolute king of Chaffey. Switch 5-0 shove it over the ledge in a line, switch back smith backside 180 courthouse stage etc…my favorite part in that video.

    March 14, 2013 @ 3:29 am
  • Comment by new balance skate kickz
  • dope article,
    always enjoyed his sections, especially the feelgood vibes in yeah right and hot chocolate…

    but no props for joining zombie blueprint, dude should know better.

    March 14, 2013 @ 8:04 am
  • Comment by tity boy
  • any chance of a yorkatron x tronmanjenkins re edit?

    March 14, 2013 @ 4:06 pm
  • Comment by sfa
  • Dear Mike York,

    Please promptly quick BluePrint. Don’t let you fans down.

    March 14, 2013 @ 5:18 pm
  • Comment by sfa
  • holy crap do I suck at proof reading.

    quit/quick

    March 14, 2013 @ 5:19 pm
  • Comment by sfa
  • and your/you

    fuck.

    March 14, 2013 @ 5:19 pm
  • Comment by yo
  • mulder also had one of the best songs easy (no small feat for that video)

    sometimes i genuinely think “skateboarding today” would be better off if everyone just pretended they permanently lived in the world of this video (e.g. frozen in carbonites hilarious/actually-probably-realistic description of marianos filming schedule)

    March 15, 2013 @ 4:40 am
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