Citizen Kane is famously Orson Welles’ only film without studio intervention. He was given a blank check and final edit to produce what has up until two years ago, been considered the greatest film ever made. It was one man’s singular vision, pure and unhampered by the wills of studio executives. He would spend the remainder of his career struggling with financing, re-cuts, and creative control over his projects.
Skateboarding does not allow such a thing.
Many talented skaters are plucked from high schools and put into tour vans before they receive their diplomas, or form a concrete understanding of rudimentary social codes that high school is good at providing. They don’t really know the outside world in the same way normal people with rocket switch flips do, as they are both blessed and cursed with the ability to ride a skateboard for a living.
In turn, industry father-figures are required to look after their best interests. “Don’t wear that stupid hat, people will think you’re a kook,” “Don’t skate to that corny song,” “Stop doing 270 shove-its out of everything,” “You need to take a shower and put on some deodorant,” etc. Trusted team managers, video editors, photographers and journalists are appointed guardians of many pro skaters’ #trueself — the one that never finished cooking in the oven known as “the real world.”
There is an understanding that genius on a skateboard is best left on a skateboard, and that we let the people who aren’t nearly as good at riding skateboards (the “studio execs” in this analogy) handle the mediated version of that genius.
But the system broke this summer. We have our Citizen Kane(s), so to speak.
Have two parts ever encapsulated all you can come to know of a skateboarder with a single section the same way Rieder’s HUF commercial, or Sinner’s Theatrix part have? Never before have two companies given their riders such free reign in allowing us to experience the very depths of the skater’s soul in just a few minutes. (Even if it is to the chagrin of our British collegues.) We have seen the unmasked face of two of skateboarding’s greats, and the debate has raged on ever since. Summer 2014 will forever be the end of video parts as we know them, and the beginning of a new wave where skateboarding gets more attuned with its emotions and confronts its demons.
It’s okay to have feelings y’all.