It’s a wrap. Thanks everyone. See you in 2019 ♥
5. A Mega Year For Upstate Videos
In order to keep the racket of New York’s rent costs going, you gotta convince people that they’re at the center of the universe. Sure, we’ll drive down to Philly once a year, and maybe make a trek to Roslyn Banks or a spot in Jersey, but the decent-enough $1300 bedroom five stops out on the L train is worth it because we can skate down the street and be at …Cooper Park.
It’s a big world out there, but it’s a pretty big state, too. A lot of the year’s best came from those uninterested in paying for that bedroom with bad light in the big city. “Nonsense” (above), “Steel” (also above), “Jeb,” “Friction,” “Anomaly,” “Mecca,” and “Tailgate” (sorry if I missed any…) all gave the world a vivid rundown of that huge state beyond the five boroughs, Long Island, Westchester and Rockland Counties — making everyone feel stupid for not taking the trip up there more often.
4. It’s Time!
2018 marks ten years since the premiere of Trife, the transitional Flipmode to Bronze video that began their journey from being some of the only locals creating full lengths, to becoming the most-bitten style of video-making of the past decade. And despite a dozen videos in the Bronze filmography and an army of imitators, their formula never feels worn out; one of the most recurring reactions to It’s Time was “wow, I knew it’d be good, but not that good.” There really isn’t another video franchise going (or ever?) that has managed to keep everyone surprised so consistently.
3. We Won
All due respect to Jeff Ihaza’s article about skateboarders winning — except we won not due to the increased presence of skateparks across the country, but because the Parks Department let us rock for an entire summer (plus some spring and fall months!) with an ensemble of Tompkins obstacles not seen since 2004, an era when ABC Skateshop was still open. (Yeah.) Skateboarders are at their most interesting when we are left alone, and 2018 was the most we have been left unbothered to tend to the petri dish of T.F. skateboarding in over ten years.
2018 forced us to sit down, take a deep breath, and acknowledge that anything, um, bad that may be happening is not some twisted dream. This is the reality of the foreseeable future. And we’re going to have to deal with it.
Skateboarding is a therapeutic tool to tune out the world, but the majority of us don’t have the luxury of being able to fully unplug. We have to look, listen, think, process, react. Sometimes, it’s A LOT.
This past April, distraught by a bodega promoting satan and meth, Black Dave — perhaps inadvertently — gave us the mantra for the modern era.
That new shitty Bushwick skatepark with a five-foot-tall hubba?
“What the fuck is this man…”
Avenue A already starting to crumble just over a YEAR after they repaved it?
“What the FUCK is this man?”
Child separation policy?
“WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS!!!”
God gang, indeed.
Photo by Jared Sherbert
The Oscars always get shit for promoting self-mythologizing Hollywood bait, and when Thrasher gave S.O.T.Y. to Gnarly Rail Skaters™ for both 2016 and 2017, a lot of us rolled our eyes. But we swore we didn’t care!
Sometimes, they get it right — and it feels…right. We care. Not that Foy and Walker don’t deserve the accolades they get, but you start to feel a singular style of skateboarding being celebrated seeing them get it back to back.
In 2018, they got it right. I can’t imagine anybody who spends their time thinking about skateboarding not being thrilled with Tyshawn’s approach to skating (and to pretty much everything else) as a model for younger generations to look up to. And if you saw him coming up at spots around the city in the years since the “buddy” video, it made it so much more special.
To view the largest city in the country as underrepresented in pretty much anything is hard, but you could make the case for skateboarding. There are all those asterisks people love to throw around for why it’s harder to excel here. T.J. has no asterisks — his “BLESSED” part is defined by a barrage of the best tricks ever done on a full slate of marquee local spots (plus a couple “maybe, it’s kinda possible, one day…” spots), and he followed it up with elevating the everyday art of trash can skating into a full spectacle.
Q.S.S.O.T.Y. isn’t like, a “real thing” — we don’t throw parties or send anyone to warm, far-off lands full of spots. It is a fun label meant to celebrate something grounded in a part of the universe that is eons away from who Thrasher ultimately puts on their cover — Daniel Kim got it the year Kyle Walker did, and Jamal Smith got it when Foy did. But there is no reason to be contrarians about who got us the most hyped in 2018.
Bonus Mini 5 — 2019 Predictions
– That new Pace ledge becomes *the spot* to hit for the upcoming cycle of “Summer Trip to New York” clips.
– Something’s gotta give with #musicsupervision. It feels like everyone is caught between playing it safe, and bending over backwards to do something different. Choosing a song is harder than ever, and can’t say much has taken place since skate video house became acceptable. And we all know that was a lloonngg journey.
– It stands to reason that some lunatic tries the double-set at the Met eventually, right?
– Not sure about the deeper upstate cities, but thanks to reinvigorated coverage of both of their respective plazas, you’re gonna see more stuff from Albany and Syracuse.
– We run out of singular words to name skate videos after, and are forced to give them two-word titles.