If you came on here searching for a part by a noted New Rochelle skateboarder that has been promised to drop on 4/20 — it’s being worked on. And no, it has nothing to do with the holiday in which companies release hemp-themed collaborations.
In the meantime, please enjoy this nine-year-old video of Billy Rohan going to a pro-weed rally at Tompkins with a megaphone that has a “legalize” sticker on it, to inform protesters that marijuana makes your breath smell like a bong. It ranks as one of the top three achievements ever to take place at Tompkins Square Park, right along with Mike Wright making it to the final round of the 2003 éS Game of S.K.A.T.E. without flipping his board a single time (fakie 540 shuv-its fam), and Slicky Boy leaving his V-card on one of the green benches. I know it by heart and it still makes me laugh.
No matter how advanced things seem, fundamental artifacts remain timeless. When stuff gets too technical, too big and too hard to keep track of — simple, refined skating stands out amid the stair-counting. It’s part of the recipe behind today’s moment for small companies and slimmed-down trick lists.
Ride On is a 1995 Deluxe promo that doesn’t get the same nostalgic love as say, Non Fiction or Fucktards do. It resurfaced during a ATCQ #musicsupervision wormhole that turned into a Joey Bast wormhole once his Silver part ended.
The promo struck a chord for more reasons than the #pants. While it probably won’t incite the “come out today and still hold up”-hyperbole that was discussed last week, it does seem oddly current and in tune with what’s going on throughout skateboarding’s more refined palette today, particularly in New York. From Huf’s one-or-two push lines that include nothing more than 180s, trashcans, streetgaps and maybe a kickflip, to a time when a really good 360 flip off a bump was “enough” to end a section off with — it all came back with a vengeance as we began to drift away from the age of after-black hammers and taking five years to film a video.
Added bonuses are Quim beginning his reign as the greatest two-5050s-in-one-line practitioner ever, front of Union Square lines that wouldn’t look out of place if they were HD in a 2016 Johnny Wilson video, Ethan Fowler skating Pier 7 unlike anyone famous for skating Pier 7 would skate Pier 7, and Ryan Hickey doing a four-trick Astor line that’s about half as long as the 44-second YouTube compilation of all his footage.
So I often ask the subjects of these interviews who they consider to be the most underrated skater of the 1990s and your name has come up more than a few times. Do you think there were aspects of your career that went underappreciated or didn’t get their proper due?
Do I feel like I didn’t get enough shine? No. I don’t feel that way at all. To hear that people think that is awesome but I don’t feel that I’m owed anything or that something should’ve have gotten more praise than it did. At the end of the day, I don’t know what I could’ve done more than what I did. But that’s cool to hear. — The Chrome Ball Incident / November 2, 2012
Nobody was as much of a precursor to today’s brand of highbrow ledge tricks as Jerry Fowler. Look no further than onetime six-figure ledge skater, Brian Wenning, admitting last week that the origin of the backside nosegrind pop-out craze (which very much still resonates in today’s fickle beanplanted times) leads back to a jack-move pulled on Jerry’s west coast-bred, east coast-honed bag of tricks.
Everyone knows that the “this could come out today and still hold up“-hyperbole is wishful thinking 95% of the time. Wenning says it about Photosynthesis in the aforementioned interview, but we have gotten lightyears past the new AM being able to end off his first part with a switch 360 flip down nine. Although his 411 section gets the most burn on the social media circuit, watch Jerry Fowler’s DNA Continuum part. You’ll see the half cab nosegrind revert fishhooks that Puig does, the frontside 180 no comply fakie 5-0s that Aaron Herrington does, and the backside shove-its into backside grinds that Hjalte does — a decade-plus before said tricks would come to occupy the minds of today’s most #trickselection savvy skateboarders.
Despite being one of the first dudes to ollie into the Love fountain, first-gen CKY ties, the best wheel ad ever, etc., Mike Maldonado never fit in a convenient Philly nostalgist narrative the way Kalis + Stevie, Wenning + Pappalardo or Ricky + Reason et al. do. Even so, he’s managed to keep a place in our hearts and minds in recent years by giving some of the best interviews of any nineties pro. The dudecan tella story.
The squad behind Plain & Simple, a mid-2000s Pennsylvania video that emerged in the post-apocalyptic era when Love was completely pink-plantered and impossible to skate, just remixed a bunch of his footage from that time. There’s a forgotten hole in the greater understanding of Philly skate history, roughly from The DC Video til the Ishod/Suciu/Sourbeer Love Renaissance that came with Sabotage 3. Videos like Plain And Simple and Stop Fakin’ were around to fill the void if you bothered to look for them (although the latter had a bit of Love footage.)
Mike Maldonado is first-ballot candidate for the tough Pennsylvania working-class sports skate hero archetype that Frozen in Carbonite outlined in the wake of Creed and Sabotage 4. As interest in purported “robots” has waned in the Everyone is Good 10.0 era, there’s something special in watching a guy who looks like he tries. This era of Maldonado made skateboarding in faceless strip mall parking lots look cooler and tougher than it was ever supposed to have the capacity to be.
They were six B-roll tricks dumped into a friends montage, but they’ve kept a more permanent imprint in my memory than the majority of things I’ve seen in skate videos since. I’ve never made the walk between the L and the 8th Avenue trains at 14th Street without thinking about this clip.
Every interview with someone involved in the current *moment* of small companies touches on the “relate-ability” a niche-oriented brand is able to communicate over the might-as-well-be-CGI skateboarding you see in major company videos. In the years after Mixtape came out, there wasn’t a lot of relate-ability going around. Until the early 2000s wore on and innovations like IRC democratized the reach of skate videos, a company video guaranteed one thing: California.
Mixtape wasn’t just relatable because it was local, or because the skating wasn’t down big handrails. It meant so much more because of subtle moments like the subway tricks — they were as opposite of California as you could possibly get.