There are times when you see certain pros skate in real life, and immediately reevaluate any under-appreciation you may have built towards their skating through videos. There are other times when you see a spot that the said pro has skated, and do the same. Seeing Penny push around doing kickflips in real life is probably amazing, but having never seen that, visiting the Copenhagen Wonderland Bowl that he skates in nearly all of his footage might have been enough.
Despite everyone insisting that “Yes, that is the same extension he 360 flipped in the éS ad,” you’d still be reluctant to believe it after seeing it. That thing is a wall.
It’s funny how the phrase “You’ll understand when you’re older” also applies to skate videos. Menik Mati was the biggest blockbuster video of its time, and maybe the first $30+ skate video. (Blades was the only place well-stocked with copies that winter, and pretty sure they were ~$35 after tax. It was absurd.) Kids were hyped on literally everything except Penny’s part, which for many of us, was the first time we were seeing him skate: “Who is this dude that everyone kept talking about? He can only do five tricks and didn’t even film a new part.”
Now, with over a decade of hindsight, Menik Mati aged worse than many of its contemporaries. Sight Unseen, Yeah Right and Chomp are all classics, but the éS video looks like a playbook of overwrought 2000s blockbuster video indulgences. (Except jump cutting, got to give it credit for avoiding that.) Arto would one up himself a year later with the best part of his career, Rodrigo is still getting better at skating in 2014, Burnquist is grinding helicopters, and Koston’s Menik Mati part — as groundbreaking as it was — is his only, like, not “fun” part, ever. (Creager’s part is still pretty cool TBH. Frontside noseslides on regular ledges!)
There aren’t a whole lot of reasons to revisit what was once the biggest skate video ever made…except for Penny’s part…the one a lot of us fast forwarded through as tweens because we were dumb. After seeing that bowl, you’ll go back and rewatch all the dude’s footage in a new light, and think how anyone could have been stupid enough to write him off in favor of triple slow-mos down SoCal handrails.
You’ll hear hints of talk about how our current highwater / impossible / no comply revival era is going to look once we move past it. It’s reasonable to assume some things will later be seen as fads, but there is also a canon of things that are irrevocably timeless. Every trick Penny has ever done fits into the latter category.