Aging pro skaters don’t owe anything to anyone (except maybe their sponsors), but that doesn’t stop us from constructing narratives for their decreases in visibility. Following Pretty Sweet, there was practically as much conversation about those who didn’t have enough footage and why, as there was about those who did.
Enter any message board post regarding Dill and AVE’s upcoming venture, and it’ll be dominated by speculation about how much they have in the tank. Skate nerds love being in the seventh round of a game of telephone, and using that hearsay to explain why so-and-so could only film a few 5050s and cool ollies for a part. We’re sensitive about our old favorites, mostly because we forget that skaters, like other humans, get burnt out and can’t do the same things in their thirties.
While assuaging the decline of the old guard through the skateboard-internet gossip machine, it has been easy for us, as world-revolves-around-us Americans, to forget about the Euros. Even with Lucas Puig’s American approval rating through the roof, we take for granted that there is an entire European class of older low impact legends still killing it — with little need for excuses or a fan-made script to their “soon-to-be exit.” But we also forget that Rodrigo TX is sorta the best skater alive because he’s not American, so we’re generally just assholes.
Below are the four guys who you could make the best case for as the European Mount Rushmore (oxy moron, obvs) of low impact skateboarding. They’re doing a hell of a lot better than some of the guys we’re on message boards making up stories for. American #nineties affiliations are mandatory for consideration and are most evident through the great L.A. County video.
Though his parts are understandably getting shorter with age, J.B’s Bon Voyage section boasted perhaps one of the first-mentioned tricks when the video was brought up to anyone born before 1990:
“Did you see the Cliché video?”
“Yeah, that alley-oop back 180 J.B. did out of that feeble was sick.”
He has the most hip-hop white guy backside 360 in skateboarding and the best flip tricks this side of Kalis. J.B. doesn’t have anything left to prove, but still continues to break new ground in a lifestyle realm. The concept of “hammers,” lifestyle or otherwise, is completely foreign to hip-hop white guys, particularly European ones. But he owns the distinction of perhaps being the first ever hip-hop white guy to get a shape up in a video part — something that would undoubtedly make the heroes from Trilogy proud — and the best “lifestyle” moment in a skate video of 2013.
For a guy who was first introduced to Americans as not really caring about coverage, Javier has built quite an oeuvre this past decade-and-a-half. He had one of the best parts in the 2011 Skate Mafia video, and comes through in 2013, albeit cross-promoting with a dude we would’ve not been as quick to lend attention to without Javier’s name attached to the part. Cross promotion works, as Jay-Z will tell you, because this Erik Pettersson guy does the most absolutely insane exhibition of ledge dancing for his ender. It shouldn’t look good, but it does.
Between all the talk of who was absent from Pretty Sweet to realizations of how crazy skateboarding is in 2012 based on the new kids’ parts, it’s unfair that Jesus’ section got so overlooked. He’s every bit of an amazing technician as Mariano, minus the handrails and the third act of a redemption narrative. Above all, he skated to the song he should’ve had in Fully Flared, given that the Lebowski cult was fully embedded in American culture by 2007. Better late than never.
Oh, and you can thank Deca for his part not being a shared section with J.B.
Most of the Americans from the aforementioned L.A. County video faded away while the Europeans continued to regularly release video parts for the next decade-plus. See what happens when you live in a place where the process of riding a skateboard doesn’t involve driving for 45 minutes, climbing a fence, and hoping the police don’t show up?
The guy with the curtains in that video is still out here dropping parts with NBDs ‘n stuff, even in today’s technical climate (see: noseslide pop over switch frontsive nosegrind revert…again, it shouldn’t look good, but it does.) And you could bet that 180 nosegrind pop-overs and music supervision derived from “Best Documentary Feature” Academy Award winners would easily make the #trendwatch if they were initiated by Americans.
Related: Grey has a new interview with Enrique on their site.