Five Favorite Parts With Scott Johnston


Photo by Ben Colen

Dropped the ball with this series a bit throughout the summer (skating and traveling bro), but getting back on it now. The request line is always open btw :)

The latest installment comes from a guy who is synonymous with style and proper form on a skateboard. A close associate of the website once described one of his maneuvers as “the greatest trick ever done.” (Not to be confused with “the greatest trick never done.”) This also means that we have unintentionally covered 60% of the guys with parts in Mad Circle’s Five Flavors video, and that Sheffey has shot up to second place in the “Most Frequently Discussed Part” ranking for this series.

Julien Stranger — Santa Cruz: A Reason For Living (1990)

A Reason For Living was one of my first videos, and I didn’t actually even know the name of it for some time. Santa Cruz videos were some of the first videos aside from the Powell ones. They’d have so many parts in them, but for some reason, Julien’s skating always stood out to me. He was one of the first guys I remember who showed an entirely different way of skating with how fast he’d skate on street. You get the impression that he was a really tough kid when you see his footage.

San Francisco seemed like the place to be after watching that part over and over. It was the start of my S.F. fascination. Carroll and Henry Sanchez were big inspirations there, but this was when I first knew that I wanted to move there instead of San Diego or L.A.

Sean Sheffey – Life Skateboards: Soldier’s Story (1991)

I grew up in the suburbs outside of D.C. You’d go to spots in the city and follow his legend: “Sheffey was here and he did this.”

Growing up, I would never see him out skating — he was already spending more time in New York and California then — but all the older dudes had a story about Sheffey. Everyone in D.C. wanted to skate like him. My biggest takeaway from both Sheffey and Julien was that faster is always better in skateboarding.

I initially took to his skating because he was from my home town. I always thought he was from New York until I got to know kids in D.C. who told me he was from there. He’d come back to Pulaski when I got a bit older and do pretty much what you see in the video. You’d see this monstrous human doing blazing fast fakie ollies in taped up shoes.

Jason Lee — Blind: Video Days (1991)

I know everyone says Gonz, and his part is insane. Except when the video came out, his song didn’t jump to me as much. Jason Lee’s part had a rad feeling. At that time, I was trying to skate vert a bit, and I liked that he’d skate vert with a bit of a street flair to it. He always had the best trick selection no matter what type of skating he was doing.

I fanned out on the inside when I met him. A lot of the people you look up to will let you down after you meet them, but he stayed larger than life.

Mike Carroll — Plan B: Questionable (1992)

By the time this came out, I was already dead-set on San Francisco. Henry and Mike were obviously the best, but everyone has the one that they pick, and for me it was Carroll. The three songs, the cut Half Cabs and the cut Airwalks, the random vert footage with no pads, the cameos — this part was the shit when it came out.

He was fifteen in this part and I was probably sixteen. It was that age when I really aspired to start skating at a certain level. I never looked at any other skater in terms of “I want to skate like that” until I saw Carroll skate. I knew I’d never be as good as him, but I wanted to reach somewhere in that realm.

I’m getting hyped watching it right now. I’m gonna go skate with Carroll at lunch today, so I’ll be extra psyched.

Anthony Van Engelen — Alien Workshop: Mind Field (2009)

Picking five is hard, but I can’t pick five without including an A.V.E. part. He puts together some of the best video parts in skateboarding. Right now, if you were to give me the chance to skate like anybody, it would be A.V.E. Mike was my biggest inspiration when I was a kid and figuring out how to skate, but A.V.E. is the dude who gets me inspired to go skate today.

He’s never had a phoned-in part, and he’s been putting it down for so long. There is always some new element to his skating with each video, and he’s consistently had this insane level of power for as long as he’s been around. That switch front crook on the bank to loading dock wall has always been one of my favorite tricks he’s done. He doesn’t just do the trick to land it — he does it to the very best that he could, and that counts for everything in any of his video parts.

Thanks to Scott and Ben Colen.

Previously: Josh Stewart, Eric Koston, Karl Watson, Josh Friedberg, John Cardiel, Pontus Alv, Alex Olson, Jahmal Williams


  1. Dill, Marcus macbride, Javier Sarmiento, JB Gillet would all be good ones

    shawn mandoli if you can track him down

  2. Good solid list, save for AVE. AVE is obviously an incredibly talented skateboarder. The problem with the AVE thing for me though is I didn’t/don’t like how when AVE came out(circa 23 part) he was this clean, schoolyard skating, tech-ish, swishy pants wearing dude, and then by Photosynthesis, he was this designer dirty denim, long haired, Vans wearing, tattooed, rocker guy. He literally went from Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting to Stranglehold Ted Nugent within a year. Fuck that shit. I’m not into the extreme image switches that dudes do when they get a little fame. The worst hands down was/is Chris Cole with the Jamie Thomas makeover. Second place goes to Grecco who was convinced himself he was the incarnate of Johnny Thunders. Now he wears sweaters in California. Third place goes to Frank Gerwer who turned into Travis Bickle after getting on Anti-Hero from The Firm??? Alien Workshop was always kinda wack to me because of the way their riders portrayed themselves as these rock stars. It always seemed liked it juiced their rider’s heads a bit too much(i.e. Jason Dill’s harsh fashion choices). I mean Jesus look at Dylan Reider. Poor guy.

  3. I agree Dean. When Chris Cole tre flipped Wallenberg, all I could think was how the dyed blonde hair totally cancels it out and makes it not at all gnarly. Everyone should always wear the exact same clothes they wore when they were 19.

  4. As AVE’s dress progressed, so did his skating. He was raw in the 23 / swishy pant / ss fs crook days, and he is just as raw now. Hating on AVE is akin to hating on Carroll, you just end up looking ignorant.

  5. I get what you’re saying, Dean. It seems a little suspect when someone changes their look, or how they dress. But do you look and dress the way you did five years ago, ten years ago? The difference for professional skateboarders is their past gear and style is documented, for all the world to see.

  6. right so do you have carroll too because he no longer wore crazy baggy cutoff pants anymore?

    i understand being iffy with dudes like dill who switch their style with every part but ave has pretty much had only two ‘phases’ and he was young for one of them

  7. Yeah right cuz Dean been real since day one.
    Dean, you’re either young or you’re trolling.

  8. I kinda get what Dean was saying, but he puts his argument to nonsense within the first three sentences.

    Yeah right, AVE wore swishy pants and bulky dcs when he was young. so did he in Chomp on this. So did he in Photosynthesis.
    Then the DC Video came and his hair grew longer, pants and shirts got slightly tighter, but there were still the dcs.
    He went full addict after that, and a couple of years later Mind field comes out, his kit went from long haired rock guy to someone i wouldn’t want to fight at the bar, also a somehow reasonable change.
    His change of gear went in smooth transitions over the years and is part of growing older, i guess.
    Dill on the other hand changed within almost every video part, that’s right. But Dill’s Dill.

  9. You guys are fucking losers , are you even paying attention to the style of his skating? Ave rips

  10. Chris Cole’s clothing transcends skateboarding. This is why skateboarding needs uniforms. No one is bigger than the team.

  11. Granted, AVE May not have been wearing Vans in the Photosynthesis part, but I used the Photosynthesis part as a marker because to me, that part, especially with the use of the Stooges song, marked the start of the rocker guy image that personally I think the Workshop started to brand AVE as. I mean really, how could a “rocker” continue to wear DC’s? The Vans thing was inevitable. Now whether or not AVE picked his song in Photosynthesis or not, I don’t know. Nor do I care. AVE is an incredible skateboarder, and I’m not saying I don’t like AVE’s skating. His DC part is incredible. But what I am saying is that the image switch/typecasting thing is wack to me. I think the Workshop was guilty of this with multiple different dudes throughout the Workshop’s span. Granted it is skateboarding and this type of thing happens. But it’s another thing to feed it. The awkward and uncomfortable Dylan Reider/tween male model thing that we’re having to sit through right now I think is a direct result of the Workshop sponsorship mind tweak. Yeah, the dude’s a talented skateboarder, but really??? The Huf commercial was abhorrent. Workshop literally became the Hollister/Abercrombie Fitch of skateboarding and for that reason I’m not surprised, and am relieved that the Workshop shit the bed.

  12. Yo my man dean. There are of plenty that hate on gear changes especially due to some marketing scheme. I usually with you. But even with Dylan, the fashion model of the skate world, can’t be called out on that shit. If you didn’t think that little punk of kid was going to turn into this hot boy, model fucking, c-i smoking adult yr tripping. And with AVE, his development was over many years and I am positive had to do with what he wanted and grew to like as he got older. Alien didn’t do shit or force an aesthetic down his throat. You think they could control dill? What about Kalis?

  13. dylan may prance around in $300 jeans, but he still gets more A-cut snatch than any normal looking dude would know what to do with. if that’s what it takes then i fully support his decision to get some. if i had the ability to woo over those sames girls without even looking at them i’d do the same as dylan

  14. jason lee’s style is best had though marc johnson

    if i ever catch myself watching that dude kickflip manual at the berrics again i’ll shoot myself

    the rest of the top 5 are fine i guess and will even admit AVE is a bit contrived minus a meth habit bounce back

    Sean Young is the real Julien Stranger

    joe valdez is the most slept SF skater ever

  15. Sean Young was/is definitely the man, but no way is he the “real Julien Stranger”. Julien was putting it down way before Sean ever left Alabama. One could even say that the reason Sean left AL was to be like Julien.

  16. Eh, I like the comments. I don’t think Dean is trolling. He’s expressing an opinion, and explaining why he feels that way. I respect that. There’s a fine line between naturally evolving as a person, and changing up your style because of the team you ride for, or whatever bullshit is popular at the moment. Speaking of Julien Stranger, one thing I like about him is he never went through any “phases”. Like, “This was his pressure flip phase… This was his fresh phase… This was his rocker phase”, whatever.

  17. I will say to this day that Julien Stranger also had the best pressure flips ever. 4 pushes fast, downhill, over a 5 gallon paint bucket in the Endless Grind parking lot, Underworld Element days.

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