Dude, we love themed video parts. Grate themed video parts, garbage themed video parts, dumpster themed video parts! And there is no more beloved theme to build a video part around than to learn every nuance and cranny of a skate spot by skating it for the full duration of said part. Given the rate at which spots worth learning have been diminishing, we’ve been given reason to celebrate such one-spot achievements more than ever. You think it’s a coincidence that both 18-year-olds and 38-year-olds love Gonz’s “just cruising in the street”-thing from Video Days? Cruising is everyone’s M.O. now, whereas maintaining fidelity to one spot takes extra effort.
With that, a genre has skyrocketed in popularity within the skateboard media marketplace: spot-based content. Whereas since the demise of 411 “spot checks,” the story has 97% of the time been about the skater, the team or the event, spot-based videos are the new way to make us remember that we better learn how to skate walls if we ever want to skate an street object outside of a caged-in skatepark ever again ;)
Atlanta’s checkerboard spot benefits from more lenient “plaza” definitions that we allow in 2016. There aren’t many longstanding street spots with multiple ledges left, so it becomes one by default — though it may be the only Great American Skate Spot™ 2.0 that I have no desire to skate. (Shit looks mad high.) The spot doesn’t have a storied mythology or celebrated culture, and its background is not densely layered with regal civic buildings or skyscrapers. It’s just a spot that has been long enough for us to be forced to respect its status in the era of depleting spots. An all-Columbus Circle part was in order for last year to commemorate its ten-year run for the same reason, until a cop decided to pepperspray a teenager…
Jimmy Lannon, noted “regular” Magenta outlier and 2014 “Best Line at Three Up Three Down” titleholder, paid tribute to the spot’s longer-than-usual tenure in Thread / Headcleaner, with a literal #musicsupervision choice that’s one step removed from Mark Suciu skating to Phil Collins’ “Sussudio” or like, Soy Panday skating to “Panda.”
This photo of Mike York at Pier 7 (circa 2003?) has been the wallpaper on the QS central command iMac for a long time. It is great for two reasons.
The era of The GreatAmericanSkateSpot is long gone, and we are entering a world where cities knob skateparks. Taking a photo like this will soon become close to impossible. A modern skate spot’s life span rarely affords it enough time to become so worn-in that a photo could showcase its every wrinkle.
To borrow a line from a great movie: “Politicians, ugly buildings and whores all get respectable if they last long enough.” The same could be said about skate spots. Johnny Layton might not have gotten a Skateboarder cover if he did an equal-sized ollie at a random spot in the Midwest, as opposed to one over a N.B.D. gap at the east coast’s sole remaining iconic plaza. Busenitz might’ve not had the same Transworld treatment if he backside noseblunted some curved ledge in Europe, instead of one that we have seen nearly every other trick go down on since the nineties, assuming that it was un-backside-nosebluntable. And it’d be tough to see a major magazine running a backside 180 nosegrind up a two-stair as a full-page photo if it was on a perfect marble ledge in China, and not on something that had over ten years of skateboard history eroded into its edges. Sure, older spots are convenient because they make it easier to qualify what has or has not been done, thus the larger frames of reference for the Layton and Busenitz photos, but a new photo at an old spot is treated with a certain reverence because it adds another page to the imaginary scrapbook skaters have for these places.
The other reason is based on a theory that there is no such thing as a bad photo of a backside 180 nosegrind. You can run a Google Image Search for the trick and almost all of the results, ranging from obscure European skaters to teenagers uploading raw DSL-R files of their friends to Flickr, will be good photos. Somewhere, there is probably even a great photo of Tyrone Olson doing one.
Until someone posts a bad photo of a backside 180 nosegrind in the comments and discredits this theory, a larger issue looms before us. The PWBC once famously resolved the question of whether white guys or black guys are better at fakie hardflips. We’re making a similar inquiry — Who is better at backside 180 nosegrinds, white guys or black guys? Consult the examples below.