First Take — The New P.J. Ladd Video Part

Words by Frozen in Carbonite

Reclusive geniuses are an endangered species these days. In the current era of personal branding and ever-flowing #content, this state of affairs renders new material from one an #event — like that one new Harper Lee book or, as I referenced here, a hypothetical new Salinger novel.

After the Plan B video came and went with a single solitary trick, the long-awaited P.J. Ladd street (i.e. not filmed in a private indoor T.F.) video part occupied a mental space somewhere between Chinese Democracy and the Menace video.

Indeed, if I were in a barstool conversation with, say, Chuck Klosterman, the easiest way to convey what makes P.J. Ladd such an icon would be to say “He’s like the Brian Wilson of skateboarding” — an archetype-shattering, somewhat eccentric genius. However, once you shatter the mirror once — via a Pet Sounds or a PJLWHL — you can’t put it back together. That impact is one-time-only. What made PJLWHL so insane was that it was technically mindblowing and viscerally relatable (ledges alongside piles of snow, shredded Accels) at once. It was as if the exponential progression of Embarcadero — achieved collectively by Sanchez, Carroll, et. al. — had been recreated in one mind. Also, just like Brian Wilson inspired a legion of followers (like the dude from Spiritualized, etc.), Ladd created an entire genre of Boston ledge-tech assassins.

So, after a decade and a half, the most realistic expectation — as with Wilson’s 1980’s solo record — is quality work.

Which brings us to the outline of the part itself. Tricks, spots, and fits.

Like many successful individuals, Ladd has adopted the practice of wearing pretty much the same thing every day; this frees more time to consider new methods of flipping into and out of half-cab noseslides. Furthermore, the dominance of the beanie and beard conveys an extremely apt “guru” aesthetic. The first 3/5ths of the part takes place in Southern California, including a sojourn to that super secret Geoff Rowley spot and a six-trick schoolyard line of which Brian Lotti would be proud. Ladd then transitions Boston, including a sure-to-be-controversial combo that uses the #forbidden14. He concludes with a barrage of NBDs at Eggs that rival anything in his oeuvre.

So at the end of the day we have a more stylized, 2017-web-content PJ Ladd video part that, at its core, contains the same DNA of PJLWHL: the mythos of a man staring at blank wall in an underfurnished apartment, contemplating the possibilities of a granite ledge or schoolyard bench, and then venturing out and forging them into reality.


  1. @James –

    The 14 inches of board between your trucks. It is forbidden to use this space while partaking in gentlemen’s ledge skating. See my instructive diagram below:
    _ __ __ _

  2. I have never heard the term “The Forbidden 14” until today, and I’m surprised and delighted by it. I need more info. Is it only forbidden when doing combos? Who gets a pass? maybe an article outlining the perimeters?

  3. Forbidden indeed.
    However, who would consider back lips, front board to fakies or fakie front boards (the hard way) to be bad form?
    Happy to see new footy from PJ. Thanks for the write up

  4. Pj will forever be one of those guys that went down as a legendary skateboarder. Maybe not the best ever but one of the top A list pros. Silence is golden.

  5. The skating was carze, the music was vomit inducing.
    I was more stoked on Franky Villani.
    Also, the filming style in this video is nice.

  6. Someone ( Quartersnacks ) needs to do a re edit of PJs part without that garbage Flip Extremely Sorry-esque song.

  7. forbidden 14 … nothing is supposed to touch the area between your trucks…. no lipslides, no boardslides on ledges.. FORBIDDEN

  8. Never heard of forbidden 14 but I’ve never liked boardslides or lipslides on ledges anyway. Probably because I can’t do them or don’t have the patience to wax the entire top of the ledge to make my wheels slide. I liked whatever the hell PJ did on the ledge though so he gets a pass.

    This part got me inspired to go skate (some straight fucking ledges) more than any other recent part. Welcome back PJ.

  9. NU part missing the filling in of the empty spaces/peppering the part with proverbial obscure gaps and rails+flying around in the air that gave the ledge tech of WHL part its synergistic power — without all that, WHL part would just been Osiris/oddity tech (heelzing out of nose slide variations, bigger flips, pressure flip line) — P.J. beard beanie combo has a certain Richie Tennenbaum LA depression ennui to it — You can tell Ladd is putting in some work (although sometimes seemingly futile) into the flip in flip out and bench ledger lines, but it somehow isn’t enough — not to say Ladd, isn’t capable or still talented, one just gets the sense that he’s getting lost in the mix — probably due to misdirection on the part of New Balance team manager, clueless videographer = using the same criteria with Ladd’s submitted clips as the awkward, not properly edited life style chiller shots at the end – Part feels incomplete .

  10. The quick setup stuff in WHL was as big a deal, maybe bigger deal to some, as the ledge tech. It’s really not a tech part at all. It’s just a gnarly part.

  11. Beanie and beard , impossibly good, weird shoe sponsor, random video parts… sadly PJ is following the same career trajectory as Chris Haslam.

Comments are closed.