Photo by Ben Colen
Andrew Allen has always added a dose of something special and unexpected to spots and tricks that we may have otherwise grown too familiar with. His string of parts since Propeller is marked by unconventional takes on classic spots, and an unparalleled eye for choosing tricks that look just the right amount different from the way any other skater may do them. It came as no surprise that he listed five parts that have never come up in this series before :)
Mike Carroll — Plan B: Virtual Reality (1993)
When I first started skating, I hadn’t seen too many skate videos. A kid by the name of Jason moved into my neighborhood and saw me skating down the street. He saw I was pushing mongo, and explained to me that I should push with my back foot. Thank God he came along and helped me out with that. He had a bunch of skate videos, and was like “come over, I have the Plan B boxset.” I had a skateboard since I was a little kid, but I fully picked up on what was going on in skating in about 1997. That’s when I saw my first magazine and this video.
I remember Mike Carroll’s part sticking out to me then. Obviously Carroll has one of the best styles of all time, but this particular part has these technical tricks that are fucking insane. He does the nollie flip back tail, bluntside kickflip on a curb, a nollie cab to a switch back noseblunt pop out in the middle — I don’t even think I’ve seen that now. I wasn’t really skating when this came out, but watching it later it definitely influenced some of the tricks I do.
Ethan Fowler — Stereo: Tincan Folklore (1996)
I’ve read some behind the scenes interviews with Chris Pastras and Jason Lee about this era, and I’m not exactly sure if it was specifically for this part, but I think they made the song he skates to. A Visual Sound was pretty jazzy and this one was a bit more raw. You can hear the audio of the skating; I really liked the squeak of the wheels when he does the backside noseblunt at the end of the line at Pier 7.
The skating is a lot of pushing down the street in San Francisco with just ollies and 180s, tic-tacing and half cabbing around — he does simple things but does them fast. He also has one of the best backside 360s ever.
I really liked that line he does at Union Square with the heelflip on flat and a backside tailslide while telling someone to move out of the way with his hand mid-line. I can’t say that I ever experienced any type of real street plaza skating. San Francisco had a couple of those type of spots, but Union Square seemed like it was a little bit more different than Pier 7 and the others. It created a different style of skating: bumps over benches, the ledges seemed like they were a bit taller. I really liked all those lines in there.
Fred Gall — Alien Workshop: Timecode (1997)
When I watch it, it reminds me of when I first started skating, with the way people were dressing. This part sums up the purest form of raw street skating. It has a lot of 5050s, he skates to Black Sabbath, the Half Cabs, those giant wheels, and all of the spots in Philly and San Francisco. At this time, when it came out, Fred Gall had these specific switch tricks that he would do, like switch 5-0s and switch crooks. Those are two tricks I really like to do, and they’re not neccesarily the hardest, but with the way he skates, he makes them look super dope. It caught my eye then and I’ve tried to emulate the way he does them a lot.
Anthony Van Englen — 411VM: Best of #5 (1998)
Best of #5 was one of the earlier videos I’ve watched. Anthony lived in Lake Forrest, which is pretty close to where I grew up, and you would hear a lot about him. He had more of a hip-hop style in this point in time, which is pretty funny. This was kind of the first footage of A.V.E. I’ve ever seen and it jumped out to me. It’s just powerful, fast skating that’s timeless because he still kind of skates the same way, but it’s evolved — switch front crooks, switch backside 180 nosegrinds, nollie noseblunt, nollie crooks. It’s a visually stimulating part.
Frank Gerwer — Anti-Hero: Cash Money Vagrant (2003)
Frank has something special with just…him. You look at that guy and can’t help but laugh. I saw this part way before I ever met him, and I was super intruiged by like, “what’s this dude’s deal?”
You watch this part and it’s like, he’s crazy but rips. He tries to bluntslide that weird bump to bar that Cardiel 5050ed and gets right up, then the clip of him putting the board under the car — it’s a part with a lot of character. There are all these party clips of Frank, like the one of him dancing in the kitchen, or him with the banadana and a suit on. Every trick he filmed in here looks like it was the day after that party. You watch it and think, “What did he do the night before?”
You laugh at it but it gets you super stoked to skate at the same time. He does a fakie heel down a three-flat-three which is just bizzare. He does the nosegrind on Clipper. There’s this two-flat-eight rail that Kenny Hughes lipslid and tailslid, Mark Appleyard back lipped it. Frank kickflipped it in this part. I remember it sticking out to me more than people jumping on the rail, because it’s way bigger to skate down the set. The part sums up the man, the myth, the legend, Frank Gerwer.
When he tailslides the fence and bombs the hill at the end, the camera goes all weird and then gets back onto him, with the filmer being like “Holy shit, he’s doing it!” I’ve seen that hill, and I’m not sure if you had a gun pointed at my head I’d try to ride down that thing. It’s three or four different hills in one. He probably did that and went straight to the bar to get a drink, which is what I would’ve done after getting that clip.
Previously: GX1000, Brian Anderson, Gino Iannucci, Josh Kalis, Sean Pablo, Wade Desarmo, Chris Milic, Chad Muska, 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