Five Favorite Parts With Lacey Baker

April 26th, 2017 | 5:00 am | Features & Interviews | 1 Comment

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Photo via Pawn Shop Skate Co

A test for a great movie is whether or not you drop everything and sit there until the end — no matter how many times you’ve seen it — when you catch it on TV. (I’ve probably wasted weeks of my life watching Heat with commercials.) There’s a similar test for a great video part. In our age of fifty skate videos dropping a day, a tried and true metric is the “Have you seen?”-test: how many people asked you if you saw a specific one of those fifty parts?

Lacey’s “My World” part was 2017’s first “Have you seen?”-part. Even people I knew with a casual interest in skateboarding (the “I check Monday Links for the ‘Quote of the Week'” crowd) were asking if I saw the Lacey part, and for good reason. We linked up with her to see the inspirations behind what will inevitably be one of the year’s best.

An Interview With Mitchell Wilson

April 5th, 2017 | 1:03 pm | Features & Interviews | 9 Comments

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Words & Interview by Zach Baker
Photos by Colin Sussingham & Max Hull

We’ve all heard more than a few skateboarders use the term “family” to describe their group of friends, mutually-funded acquaintances, or more broadly, everyone who has ever owned a skateboard, whether or not they’ve even met. But I think I speak for all of us when I say that it has always been a source of fascination when you hear of people that skate together who are, well, actually siblings. Guys like Jonas and Jeremy Wray, Mike and Quim Cardona, Dustin and Tristan Henry — it always seemed so nice to grow up with a brother or sister who also skated.

Courtesy of Max Hull’s owl-like awareness, it was brought to our attention that a number of Slap commenters are a bit confused about the genealogy of contemporary skateboarding’s most popular brothers: the Wilsons. Mitchell Wilson, a.k.a. Crazy Mitch From Philly, is Andrew and Johnny’s oldest brother. As you maybe know, and in keeping with the higher-publicized talents of the his bloodline, Mitch is anomalously fucked at skating. What separates Mitch is that, unlike his brothers who are very much a part of the multi-billion-dollar skate industry, Mitch has always been untethered by the throes of brand affiliation and marketing teams, which has granted him the liberty to say, post an Instagram story of himself scribbling on his teeth with Crayons, dive headfirst into a pile of garbage, or say generally whatever he wants with minimal repercussion save maybe a black eye.

While many of his compatriots have migrated north in search of art-handling gigs and diamondplated metal, Mitchell has been downright stubborn in his affinity for Philadelphia, so much so that he allegedly gives his whole family Philadelphia t-shirts and souvenirs for Christmas every year.

So, to clarify, Mitchell, the guy who does wallie kickflips, slappy switch smith grinds, and that really, really long winding slappy in Paych, is the oldest brother of Andrew and John Wilson. Josh Wilson is not at all related.

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Who’s your favorite skateboarder?

I didn’t have one for years because I never even thought about it, but when I started working at Woodward, every kid would ask me that, so, I guess, Tony Trujillo.

What’s up with wallie kickflips?

I was trying frontside wallie backside 180s, and it flipped one time. I figured out how to make it flip and just tried to land on it. I can’t really do it anymore, it was just a passing thing. But I’ve tried heelflip ones and I’ve tried them switch.

Five Favorite Parts With Andrew Allen

March 29th, 2017 | 5:00 am | Features & Interviews | 11 Comments

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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 :)

An Interview With Alexis Sablone

March 9th, 2017 | 11:15 am | Features & Interviews | 11 Comments

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Intro & Interview by Zach Baker
Headline Photo by Richard Hart

PJ Ladd’s Wonderful Horrible Life was an anomaly. For the kids who had their own local crews, it was strange and inspiring for this shop out of Melrose, Massachusetts to release this incredible skate video of people we’d never heard of, and reach as large of a viewership as it did. P.J’s part was obviously the main draw, and while there were many standouts — including Jereme Rogers at a time when his only musical connection was Buena Vista Social Club, Ryan Gallant’s east coast tech, the mean guy in the paper boy hat, and don’t get me started on Fiske — a particularly eye-opening moment of the video was when we were introduced to Alexis Sablone. Her part, in some pathetic way, enlightened a generation of young male skaters to the notion that females in skating existed outside of the only woman we had ever really been shown: Elissa Steamer.

I had seen Jaime Reyes and Elissa’s skating at that point, but something about the fact that there was this girl who completely ripped in a random homie video, reinforced the idea that there’s a grander female presence throughout skateboarding. It drew attention to women’s extreme lack of visibility in skating.

In the time since, Alexis is still ripping and placing in most of the contests she regularly enters — but what’s dope is that she also, like, fully went to Columbia, and has a Masters in Architecture from MIT. What’s even more wild, and a perfect example of the resourcefulness of people who happen to skateboard, is that she completely financed her education with contest earnings. I don’t care what you did down D7, this way of juicing of the system is the most impressive skate trick I’ve ever seen.

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You’re from Connecticut?

Yeah. I’m from a town called Old Saybrook. It’s a small town not that far from Groton, kind of the bottom middle of Connecticut.

Was there much of a skate scene there when you were growing up?

Not at all, or if there was, I wasn’t aware of it. I started skating when I was ten. I started at a new school that year that was a few towns over. I was in fifth grade and there were a bunch of eighth grade boys who skated, so that was my first contact with other skateboarders. It’s funny because, I had a skateboard, and I was still struggling with it for a while, trying to figure it out on my own. I was playing tag or something and jumped off this twelve foot jetty and broke my foot. When I started at that school, I had DC Clockers and was on crutches. All the boys were like “Whoa, you skate?” I was like “Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah, I skate.” But on the inside I was panicking like, “Oh man, I have to get good at skating!” As soon as I got my cast off, I was in the garage like “I’ve gotta figure out how to ollie.” They were cool, but mostly I just skated alone in my garage. There was this one skatepark an hour away, and I finally started going there. I’d make my mom drive me, or I’d take the train on weekends. I met Trevor Thompson, who’s still like my best friend. We started skating together every weekend.

When did you start going to Boston?

Boston didn’t happen until I was like fifteen. I met a bunch of Boston dudes — Jereme, Eli, Zered and Louis Sarowsky — at Woodward one summer. I became friends with them. Then, I went to Boston once with my family for a weekend, met up with Jereme and we skated all day. He introduced me to Matt and Arty, the Coliseum guys, and that’s when I met PJ. I started going there every weekend or staying there for the summer.

And that’s how you ended up accumulating a full part’s worth of footage?

Yeah, I don’t know if I’d call it a full part. I think I filmed most of it in a couple days, it was just random. It didn’t even feel like I was filming a part, oddly enough. Actually, most of it’s filmed at MIT. Then, we went on a road trip. We took this van down to Miami and stopped in Philly and Atlanta, so some of it is from that too.

Five Favorite Parts With GX1000

February 22nd, 2017 | 10:30 am | Features & Interviews | 8 Comments

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Photo by Richard Hart
Intro & Interview by Zach Baker

Ryan Garshell is committed to the craft of filming in as literal of a sense as imaginable — the only way he bails on a hill bomb is if a car literally forces him off his board. While some put their energy into production value, weird archival footage and editing, GX’s preoccupation is portraying skating’s rawness and lasting criminality. Garshell is skating’s largest proponent of the camera that Bill Strobeck threw in the trash a few years ago, and his filming is often as fucked as whatever is going on in front of the lens. As the skater, there must be some added incentive to land tricks when you know that your filmer will see the clip through no matter how steep the hill, how bummed the homeowner or how many cops are present.

GX1000 managed to create a style of video that is completely unique — an aesthetic that is so hard to imitate because it would require being as crazy as Garshell himself, whose five favorite video parts are listed immediately below this sentence.