Illustration by Cosme Studio
Back in October, we asked QS visitors to choose their favorite video parts of the 2010s. If civilization and skateboarding were to end today, which five parts would you bury in a weather-and-nuclear-proof time capsule for post-apocalyptic earth dwellers to reference when they rediscover skate culture of these past ten years?
QS prides itself as being a destination for people who think a lot about skateboarding. Rather than poll a few close colleagues for their favorites, we felt we had a wide enough reverberation in the skate nerd universe to try and crowdsource a canon of the 2010s from anyone willing to sit down and think about it. I can emphatically say that in reviewing the mountain of ballots, everyone took their votes seriously — save maybe the guy who voted for five Micky Papa parts.
As we tallied the results, consistent trends in the count were apparent. Any fears about a recency bias went out the window; there’s only one part from 2019, and the average year of the top 25 is 2014. QS obviously has its own breed of skate nerd audience — this poll would look different if taken by Thrasher or Free — but I would bet that their lists wouldn’t be TOO far off from this one.
Presented without comment for the top 25-11, and then via a lot of favors from writer friends on the internet for the top 10: here are the 25 best video parts of the past ten years.
10. Anthony Van Englen — Propeller (2015)
It’s tempting, watching Anthony Van Engelen video parts, to concoct flowery descriptors for his blistering and primal way of skating: a sledghammer crunching through cinderblocks, a glasspack muffler kicking up sparks off the asphalt, a jet-black wrecking ball dipped in kerosene and set on fire.
About two decades into his career, A.V.E. arrived as grizzled and road-scarred as they come to close Vans’ Propeller, but throughout the industry’s concurrent wardrobe changes, trick trends and corporate romances, his stripes never changed, only deepened. Anthony Van Engelen’s trick lineage is traceable back to mid-1990s tablets like Mouse, Trilogy and Eastern Exposure, but he’s steadily refined them. The switch frontside crooked grind fakie flip out from The DC Video curved bench in hits picnic table levels here. The Columbus Park rail that he put onto the map in Photosynthesis and victory lapped for Mind Field gets tackled switch. The switch backside noseblunt from his first Transworld interview is ratcheted up for a line finisher. A.V.E. is still adding tricks every go around — the switch 180 5-0 180 out up against the wall is wild — but it’s his standbys, like the switch backside nosegrind he rips across the Tarzana out ledge, to a dirt ride-away, slide out and sweaty slam, that capture this dude better than any bumper sticker or convoluted metaphor. — Boil the Ocean
9. Bobby Worrest — “Hometown Turf Killer” (2014)
If you could somehow put a video part in a bucket, and filled one up with 2010s Bobby Worrest parts — first of all — the bucket would be full. Second, you could reach into it, pick any one, and it would fit on this list.
Few pros, be they “aging” or not, have had this much output in a career, let alone a decade. While any of his parts could apply, “Hometown Turf Killer” is the most elegant representation of his approach to skating, and helped set a potential mold for longevity in a skateboarding career. Bobby’s 360 flips and switch pushes look best against the moldy peach tiles of Pulaski but instead of resting on their laurels, he strung together all the various obstacles at hand, displaying his intimacy with the spot. While many skate parts of previous decades (and even entire videos) have exclusively featured one spot, by the mid-2010s, due to a number of factors including the lack of bust-free American plazas and the headier new “anything-is-a-spot” ideologies, Bobby’s all-Pulaski part was novel enough to sell itself as a Thrasher feature. The massive response contributed to a S.O.T.Y-push for Bobby that has, if you really think about it, kept him in the conversation until this day. He showed us how much we will always enjoy skating in a communal spot and inspired a bevvy of imitation parts based on this archetype, which have proven to be among some of the best and most memorable of the decade. — Adam Abada
8. Tom Knox — Vase (2015)
Tom Knox prefers parts that create a feeling. In his own words: “It wasn’t necessarily the most technical skating, but it was way more in the edit and the way the whole thing felt. That always got me motivated to skate and still does.”
Tom’s Vase part encapsulates many trends of the last decade — banks, wallies, cobblestone, crust, backbreakers — and crosses them with a finesse in style that appealed to skaters of all stripes and creates a tangible feeling that accompanies his skating. Its artful construction in a Blueprint era-inspired package elevated the superb skating even further, creating a work worth talking about in the real world. As the “Do full-lengths even matter anymore?” refrain echoed through the decade, full-bodied efforts like Vase helped reestablish their continued legitimacy. Tom Knox was the foundation that propped the video up, doing double duty as he joined in on the resurgence of globally important U.K. skate brands, while helping to perfect a fast-footed and style-forward approach to spot and trick selection in a maddengly trick-centric SLS world. — Adam Abada
7. Dylan Rieder & Alex Olson – “cherry” (2014)
Dylan Rieder was already “Dylan” by the time Supreme’s decade-defining first video came out in 2014. I don’t remember what I expected from “cherry” upon first viewing, but by the time Rieder’s part began more than halfway through, it was obvious I was watching something different than what had come before; his section made for a further break from the past.
If the Gravis part was the realization of his potential, Rieder’s turn in “cherry” is the man in his prime, complimented by INXS and a saxophone solo. Never has a skateboarder been so aesthetically complete — crouches, elbows, shoes and black pants, an entire 6-foot-something lanky frame angling to hold a front blunt kickflip — with such easy power. “It turns you on?” he asks.
That this part shared with Alex Olson would essentially be it for Rieder, coming two years before his death from leukemia, adds to its weight, but it doesn’t rely on tragedy, hindsight or not. Beautiful skateboarding is more rare than it could be and Rieder delivered. He also brought vitality, lifting the veil of perfection with a satisfied high-five following that switch 180 manual to ollie impossible, proving it turned him on, too. — Mike Munzenrider
6. Max Palmer — Call Me 917 (2017)
I linked with Max one day at the spot that he falls in front of a bleached-haired Pratt student at the beginning of his 917 part. He was done trying when I got there, and I couldn’t begin to fathom what it was that he’d tried, or perhaps, done. It’s a marred, shattered sidewalk. A bit of a ways from the intersection is a low, slate step outside the entryway to a building. Some approximation of a manual pad. The suggestion of a spot.
Palmer’s skating is intentionally frivolous — applying the familiar to the unfamiliar. Finding a right angle in the negative space of a bowled wall to noseslide. Doing a mid-difficulty manual trick but in firecracker form. As finale to both video part and video, he performs a single nosegrind — starting and ending at 6 inches — on an object whose interest and wonder is made only apparent by said nosegrind. A physical critic of the urban pastoral, Palmer will not merely skate a ledge but a “ledge” — the idea of a ledge — forcing a reappraisal on the part of the viewer of what they’d always categorically registered to fit the bill as a “ledge.” Like the florish of the sax that he skates to; or Repo Man, presumably the vehicle from which Logan had borrowed his use of the Plugz; or…shit, even the Z in the name “the Plugz;” Palmer’s skating is camp. This part takes aim at and delights in the artifice of human civilization. It is theater in and of and on its subject: art that is about and takes place in coastal America’s metropolitan rubble. It’s Shakespeare in a Parking Lot.
Max Palmer is an aesthete, concerned with the appearance & the texture of things. His concern is with style in a broader sense than we as skaters are accustomed — stale assertions about keeping your hands by your knees at all times so long as you don’t look like you tried to do that. No. Stylistically, Palmer’s concern is with how it will look and sound and feel when, for instance, he boardslides to fakie on a wooden flatbar, aimed directly and switch-stancedly into the peach, porous surface of the rock wall.
Even when taken to some lower-hanging fruit, he can’t help but pry the thing apart to see what else is in there. Take the line at J-Kwon. As a granite ledge-strewn plaza in southern California, it has been skated and, therefore, waxed. Melted by sunlight and scattered by wheels, the landing after the block at J Kwon is as waxed as the ledge itself — Max understood that his board would probably be able to switch big spin itself out of a fakie nosegrind for him. As it does.
All this and still not so much as even a whisper of a Rat Spin or a Kilty McBagpipe. The things Max does are best if left stated as just that.
“The thing Max did on that thing under the FDR.”
“The thing Max did at Columbus Park.”
It’s a thing. “The thing.” To try and verbalize it any further would be a disservice to the whole son-of-a-rat-fucking enterprise. — Zach Baker
5. Mark Suciu — “Cross Continental” (2011)
“Cross Continental” is On The Road in reverse. It is the journey of a young man who couldn’t go any further west, so he headed east. It’s this decade’s Mike Carroll Questionable part, except the exponential level-up is an existential quest instead of a tactical nuke exploding out of some bricks at the end of Market Street.
We knew Suciu as, yes, the Ghostbusters kid and the new, fleet-footed member of the Habitat squad in Origin, but this — this we were not prepared for. We had seen “road trip” videos before, but none featuring this kind of one-man tactical ledge/rail/stair assault team. We had seen solo parts before, but never one with the conceptual unity and full command of all phases of the game. Over the course of one video part, Suciu hits the Bay Area, North Carolina, D.C., and Philadelphia (among other locales) and earns a degree in advanced skateboard dynamics.
I guess now he’s working on his doctorate, or some shit?
ANYWAY, “Cross Continental” documents for future generations the state of continental American skate spot architecture — most of which is gone just seven years later.
Ain’t that America? — Frozen in Carbonite
4. Andrew Reynolds — Stay Gold (2010)
It might have surprised us, back then, the emotional montage that opened Andrew Reynolds’ Stay Gold ender. By now, it’s almost too appropriate to mention. The video that birthed the B-Side also gave us a new Reynolds, same as the old Reynolds. But those beers with chimpanzees, the car wrecks and drunk pissing — all that was done. From this point on it would be Andrew Reynolds, dad, watering the garden and hanging with Stella.
And what, skate-wise, distinguishes this from other Reynolds parts? Not much, really. We’ve got the familiar tricks at familiar spots: stair sets at schoolyards, full cabs and fakie flips, back threes down big fives. The noseslide shuv is towering. The heelflips seem especially explosive. It’s the familiar bag with one or two surprises (switch heel back tail?) along the way. And they’re all perfect, due to his famous madness and brutal meticulousness.
You could, I suppose, take issue with a song that’s pretty much pianos and moaning, memorable only for its vague stab at spirituality (“Om nashi me” is either very loose Sanskrit or meaningless.) But it’s of a piece, man. It’s the great Western promise of endless sunshine, five-and-a-half minutes of total daylight, one last go ’round on the California Dream. No homeless crisis. No fires in the hills. Thirty is the new twenty, or whatever. Plus the crew’s all here: we’ve got Herm’s happy little bounce inside the green cape; Heyl’s weird crotchy drum dance; Jerry’s cool, Jerry-ass smile; and Atiba left slow-motion hanging at Hollywood High.
It’s all just so…positive. Beautiful, really. And like a lot of beauty, this one’s source seems to align with a heaping dose of gratitude. For familiarity. For reliable tricks. For the life that Reynold’s has somehow kept living and the implication that we might too. Swear to god, though — if he’s still smoking in Baker 4, that’s it. I’m starting. — Kyle Beachy
3. Mark Suciu — “Verso” (2019)
“Verso” was exactly as unusual as Mark Suciu wanted it to be. Most skate videos are effectively sponsored content; “Verso” lacked apparent underwriters, and was presented instead as, I suppose, a work of art. It even came with an artist’s statement, explaining that Suciu had become interested in the symmetries inherent to skateboarding, and wanted to make something like a poem with his board; typically this sort of artistic intent is relegated to 16mm montages and fleeting interstitial shots of gulls. Most skate videos, if they have any at all, limit themselves to one Beirut song; “Verso” had two.
As always with Suciu, his watchmaker’s precision is brought to bear on everything he skates. And he skates everything in this video, from iconic spots to public art — and sometimes, as in the case of Vito Acconci’s “Promenade Ribbon” (b.k.a. the Bay Blocks), both at the same time. He skates a ledge with a baffling Möbius geometry, so what begins as a backside tailslide transforms into a frontside blunt. He does a four-dimensional ollie fakie at Cooper Union. He skates a cellar door — certainly meaningful to the English major — with two chains running across it, unskateable to anyone in the world but him. He backside noseblunts through the kink at Black Hubba, a spot he recently noted, on his @nightsofreading Instagram, makes an appearance in Ben Lerner’s latest novel, The Topeka School.
And yet for everything that made “Verso” unusual, there was one way in which it was typical of all big-deal video parts: everyone was talking about the ender. Rumor had it, his struggles with this trick delayed the release for months. When I finally saw it, I found myself surprised by its modest intricacy, the way it seems done to coerce Suciu’s body to respond before conscious thought can take hold. I forced my wife to watch it once. She told me it reminded her of ballet. — Willy Staley
2. Tyshawn Jones — “BLESSED” (2018)
The other day, somebody texted asking if so-and-so had done such-and-such trick over the Bond Street Gap.
“I’m not sure.”
“What about ______, what did he do over it?”
“I honestly have no idea.”
“Aren’t you supposed to know these things?”
“I think I forgot most of what happened there after T.J. fakie flipped it.”
Tyshawn’s “BLESSED” part provided a watershed moment for each spot he skated. Perhaps not since Jake Johnson’s Mind Field section ten years before him had there been a part that contained exclusively the best trick done at every single filming location: the switch back 3 over the Philly trash can, the switch tre down the Le Dome double, the backside flip over the bump-to-bar in the Heights, and yeah, a fakie flip over the Bond Street Gap.
But it wasn’t just the trick — it was the battle that came along with it. The falls, the confrontations, and the rumors about what and where that circled this part like folklore by skaters in New York the entire time him and Bill were working on it.
And it wasn’t just the Brand Name Spots™ — it was the 33rd Street 6 train ollie that every passing skateboarder had speculated on the possibility of for decades. It was the fakie tricks off a seldom-skated gold handicap ramp on Chambers Street that nobody had bothered to try anything but an ollie over. If it was tough to remember what went down somewhere before Tyshawn in “BLESSED,” maybe it was because he set the bar for it so high for the known spots, but also maybe because the answer on some of the new ones was simply: “nothing.” — Quartersnacks
1. Dylan Rieder – “Dylan” (2010)
The shift towards standalone parts as the predominant medium for skate videos is one of our most significant developments over the past decade. Inarguably before its time, “Kalis In Mono” offered the first taste of what was to come, arriving with Habitat’s Regal Road as a DVD feature back in 2006. The internet wasn’t the main home of skateboarding media just yet. Hard copies reigned, print mags thrived and iPhones didn’t exist. Mind Field, Greg Hunt’s magnum opus for Alien Workshop, was the decade’s curtain call. Then, like Heath Kirchart, full-length videos reached their finest hour and entered early retirement after Stay Gold. In retrospect, would we ever have it better than we did in those final years of the 2000s? Maybe it was time for the format of skate videos to evolve and a handsome man in black to take centre stage.
Often mistaken as the result of Dylan being unsatisfied with his Mind Field part, “Dylan – A Short Film by Gravis Footwear” actually began after an Analog video was cancelled. Regardless, Dylan and Greg Hunt continued filming together. They lived two blocks apart, saw each other daily and their friendship and mutual respect echoes throughout the video. From here on, “less is more” was Dylan’s underlying principle.
Refining his trick selection, Dylan took inspiration from his idols and older brothers at Alien Workshop in subtle yet profound ways. As Graham Nash’s “Better Days” eases in, Dylan rips out a page from the A.V.E. book of ledge etiquette and nonchalantly holds slides at length. On the same spot, he launches an impressively high kickflip out of tailslide which gags any “fashion over function” criticisms about those signature loafers. The impossible, “once kept on life support by Ed Templeton,” was singlehandedly welcomed back into trick lexicon by Dylan. After wrapping one perfectly vertically over the Seaport bench, who would argue that it is anyone’s trick but his?
Dylan’s Gravis part speaks volumes for myriad reasons. It set a new precedent for skate videos and simultaneously raised the bar so high that it has taken another decade for a standalone part to come close to it. Since Dylan passed away in 2016, it has become a memorial in its own right. Yet, were he still with is us, it wouldn’t be any less revered and his influence would be equally resounding – if not more. Regrettably, we’ll never see the full extent of a legacy he was so clearly primed for. Although, in “Dylan,” we’re blessed with a timestamp of when one of skateboarding’s most unique and talented individuals truly came into his own. — Farran Golding
Thank you to everyone who contributed writing to this project, and to everyone who voted. The full-lengths edition will be live next week ♥