During the interviews for these segments, people will usually rattle off more than five parts, but won’t have much to say about exactly why some of them are favorites. It becomes easy for us to narrow it down to five from there. In Karl’s case, he was as enthusiastic about his first inclusion as his last, and we didn’t have the heart to cut any of them out (hence the asterisk.) Someone also finally went with Guy in Video Days over Mouse, so we’re scouring potential candidates that might controversially go with Gonz in Non-Fiction over Video Days, in case you know anyone ;) This edition probably has the largest range out of all the ones we have done, enjoy.
Unrelated but important (again): Henry Sanchez (51%) v.s. Kareem Campbell (49%). Vote here. Rain should clear up by tomorrow. Have a good weekend.
Steve Saiz, Ray Barbee, Eric Sanderson & Chet Thomas — Powell-Peralta: Public Domain (1988)
It was the first part I can remember that showed people skating down the street as if they were me and my crew. The fact that all the skaters were of different nationalities was awesome. My friends and I would skate down the street pretending we were them with the music in our heads, mimicking what they were doing. There wasn’t a whole lot coming out back then, so this part was our bible. I still do no complys to this day because of Ray Barbee. I really like that the video emphasizes their footwork. There are a lot of close-ups of their feet, mixed with reactions of the crew to the tricks they were doing.
Matt Hensley — H-Street: Hokus Pokus (1989)
This came out at a point when I was actually becoming a decent skater. Watching him was awesome because he was unknown. You now how now, some unknown dude will come out swinging with a crazy first part? That was Matt Hensley, but for back then. He was one of the first guys to be a real breakout street pro. I think I can compare him to Mark Appleyard when he first came out, like the guy who appears and can do any trick right away. He did so many gnarly tricks, like the back 180 one-foots over garbage cans, or the craziest backside 360s when noses were still really small.
Brian Lotti — Planet Earth: Now ‘N Later (1991)
I never realized how much of an influence he had on my skating until recently. Going back and looking at his footage, which I watched religiously as a youngster, I realized how many tricks I subconsciously do because of him. He brought style, originality and just clean skating. He was doing tricks like bluntslide pop to backside nosegrind revert — nobody’s really done that again to this day, at least from what I’ve seen. Everyone has their own style and something to offer to skateboarding, and that is what keeps it going. Something like this should inspire even people from another generation to be original. Kids see these older videos, add their own flavor to the tricks, and take it to the next level.
Mark Gonzales / Guy Mariano — Blind: Video Days (1991)
Mark seemed like an older dude when this came out. Not like an old man, but he was so fluid and original, that he wasn’t really a kid. When he boardslid the double kink, I just couldn’t believe it. Thank you, Mark Gonzales. I feel like without him, benihanas and all that corny stuff would have still kept being relevant.
To see a kid that young, ripping that hard, doing those crazy noseblunts on curbs…got me and my friends really stoked. He was on a pedestal for us. Whenever he’d come to EMB, he’d never skate. We’d hear he was coming, and sit there waiting for him to do something, but he would always just chill. I think he felt the pressure because of how people built that place up in their heads. I do remember seeing him at the 1990 Back to the City Contest, and it was the first time I ever saw someone do a nollie 180 switch crook. There were still a lot of old school guys in the contest, like Omar Hassan, but he came in with all of this new stuff, just inventing tricks right there.
Marc Johnson — Lakai: Fully Flared (2007)
You can notice some similarities in the skaters I like — Mark Suciu, Walker Ryan, Marc Johnson, Jake Johnson — the thing that connects all of them is that they think outside of the box. Marc Johnson is at the apex of all that. I have the dude’s number, but it still feels weird for me to talk to him because I hold him to such a high regard. The stuff he comes up with is just brilliant. I feel like sometimes people look past his last trick [in the Fully Flared part], the switch noseblunt to backside noseblunt, because it was on something low, but if you think about the technical difficultly that goes into that trick, it’s just crazy.
Eli Reed — Zoo York: State of Mind (2009)
I was in New York for the premiere. When Eli’s part came on, he got a standing ovation from me mid-part when he did that switch big flip to nose wheelie. I just threw my hands up, like “How the hell did he do that?” He’s so original and gnarly at the same time. That switch ollie he did from the top of one bank into another was nuts. It was so narrow, and there’s a rail right next to it, but he doesn’t even think about getting hurt. He skates so many different type of obstacles with the same level of confidence and skill.