No idea who took the photo above, sorry. Just pulled it off Tumblr. Any help w/ a credit is appreciated. Photo by Seu Trinh. Thanks commenter :)
Been a while since we ran one of these. This edition comes from a childhood hero of anyone who started skating during Shorty’s post-Fulfill the Dream reign. Muska covers some usual suspects, but luckily goes into a bit more detail as to *why* exactly some of the parts we’re often told are #important, are. Had a ton of fun doing this one. Unfortunately had to leave off the two honorable mentions at the bottom :( before it got way too long, though he was just as enthusiastic about those.
Mark Gonzales – Blind: Video Days (1991)
This is next to impossible for me to do. Different things inspire you at different times. These have been the longest lasting ones.
Gonz is the most obvious out of all the picks, but it was the part that really did it for me. To me, Gonz and Natas are the godfathers of street skateboarding. Natas just didn’t have that later part to the extent that Gonz did.
Mark opened up my eyes at a time when everyone was only skating parks and pools. Skateboarding was structured then: you go to this place to skate and that’s where you skate. As skateboarding was dying with all the parks shutting down, I watched Video Days and thought, “Wow, you can go out there and do this anywhere.” It’s almost every older street skater’s favorite video. In that part, him skating down the street is almost as good as the best tricks that he’s doing. That was a major moment for me. Video Days inspired me to go looking in my neighborhood for spots like the ones in the video. I’d find something that wasn’t even close, but try and do the same tricks they were doing.
Skating to jazz was also such a weird thing to me when I was a kid. The only genres I was interested in then were punk rock and hip-hop.
Sean Sheffey – Life Skateboards: Soldier’s Story (1991)
When this part came out, it was like hearing Led Zeppelin for the first time. It was something completely new that nobody had ever seen before: “Look at this big, burly dude doing the gnarliest tricks ever done.” Your heart stopped when you watched Sheffey for the first time. I thought he was the Incredible Hulk.
It’s sometimes so hard explaining the impact of this stuff to the youth. The kids watch it like, “Oh that’s cool, but he’s just fakie ollieing a table and stalling on a bank to bar” — but at the time those were considered impossible feats. It was literally impossible to ollie and stall on a round rail. Everything in that part stepped skateboarding up an entire notch. I’m trying to think of something in skateboarding today that’s comparable to how high it raised the bar, but there might not be moments like that anymore.
Daniel Stewart and Mike Ternasky filmed a lot of this and they were just as cutting-edge as the skating was. They really thought about it — “How can I document this in a cool and unique way?” It was one of the first times when progression of technology and skateboarding really meshed together. It wasn’t some guy filming his friends with his mom’s camcorder.
Kris Markovich — A-1 Meats: Dancing in the Dirt (1991)
At this time, I was living out in Las Vegas and Markovich would come there a lot. A bunch of these tricks are in Vegas. I was so hyped that a pro was at my skate spots and that the footage was ending up in a real video.
Some of those tricks were pretty forward for the time. I remember tripping out super hard on that frontside 270 lipslide he does and how good the noseblunts were. This was in the lead-up to that Color video, which is a lot more well known. I don’t think this was his biggest part, but it was when the “skate punk” vibe was really in; it felt like me and my friends.
It was so relatable and made me feel like I could do what he was doing — he’s skating parking lots and curbs — whereas stuff like the Powell videos felt like something you watched but couldn’t participate in. He actually skates my friend Paul Smith’s ramp in the video. He’s the guy who introduced me to the guys at G&S, which later turned into Maple.
You also gotta watch Jason Dill’s part in that video…
Pat Duffy – Plan B: Questionable Video (1992)
Questionable was out of left field. Nobody was ready for it. That guy Paul Smith I mentioned skated handrails, so I had seen some crazy things. He lipslid and smith grinded the Long Beach rail that kinda looks like the Wilshire rail years before anyone was really skating big rails. Then we saw this and it changed everything: “Who is this guy and where did he come from?” Sheffey balancing on a round rail was insane, but then this dude came through and fully grinded one from a bank.
I had never seen people skating kinked rails like that. I had already been skating rails, but Duffy was the moment of “Boom, this is what I need to try and do.” This part is my ultimate inspiration. In my Fulfill the Dream part, when I skate the rail in the rain, it was a full homage to Pat. That part had the Willy Wonka sample too, which was a homage to Gonz. They’re the two biggest ones for me, so I had to include those.
I was never a big Primus fan though. He’s one of the illest bass players ever, but for whatever reason I was never that into it. My backback hip-hop roots were really starting to kick in at this point…
Daewon Song – World Industries: Love Child (1993)
I watched this over and over when it came out. I spent hours upon hours in parking garages on manual pads, trying to even come close to the sort of things he was doing.
The industry was about as small as the wheels were back then. I was in Arizona at that time and feeling like there were no other skaters around anywhere. There were no open parks, so we’d end up in parking lots with red curbs. This was really reflective of that time — that’s all we had to work with. This part shows the progression that happened around then. All those years skaters like Daewon spent in parking lots lead to higher benches and bigger handrails. It was a major era for skateboarding.
World was important to me here. I’d dress in the same style as the people in this video — 38 waist jeans with the bottoms cut off and fraying, cutting the tops off Caballerials. They were so cool, because they had this “fuck you” attitude towards the industry. Rocco came in with this new breed, there was no glitz and glamour from the Powell-Peralta videos. It all looked like it was filmed by your homies. I’d always gravitate towards the rawness of that type of skating.
Previously: Hjalte Halberg, Danny Brady, Bill Strobeck, Aaron Herrington, Jerry Hsu, Brad Cromer, Brandon Westgate, Jim Greco, Jake Johnson, Scott Johnston, Josh Stewart, Eric Koston, Karl Watson, Josh Friedberg, John Cardiel, Pontus Alv, Alex Olson, Jahmal Williams