Oh Baby, You’re Being Dramatic — #TRENDWATCH 2020: Expressing Emotion

Everyone has witnessed A.V.E. beat up a street sign, and watched a stress montage or two. But what about the other 25 human emotions? Traditionally speaking, skate videos have not been a place for expressing them.

Sure, friends in the background are allowed to clap and cheer, but a stoicism has always been expected of the person rolling away. It is part of skateboarding’s great contortion of reality: a year spent on a video part is boiled down to three-and-a-half minutes, oh, and dude wasn’t even that hyped on himself when he landed those tricks.

Those who flouted these iron-clad rules became pariahs. One might remember that despite a prodigious beginning, Bastien Salabanzi spent many years out of the spotlight after skateboarding’s emotion police deemed his self-celebrations as inappropriate.

Skaters have tried to show emotion in other ways. Dramatic #musicsupervision and Morrissey t-shirts became industry standards to announce to the world, “Yes, I’m good at skateboarding, and yes, I also have feelings.”

But things have been changing.

There has been a lot of talk about the sort of world we will enter post-COVID. There are murmurs about re-opening strategies for local economies, which means that, yes, the quarantine is bound to end at some point. With a hypothetical idea of an end, parallel whispers about who will be S.O.T.Q. have began, as they would in a regular-year S.O.T.Y. race not peppered with ‘rona.

Lucas Puig is the S.O.T.Q. frontrunner, as per Boil the Ocean. His recent output is notable for the fact that it is a fountain of post-trick emotion. He blows kisses to the sky, he gestures that the spot he just conquered “suck it,” and he departs the session after a picture-perfect switch flip back noseblunt in what can only be described as the skate-version of a mic drop. His last part was equally emotive. Coming from a guy who focused his entire outfit after his ender ten years ago (albeit this gesture was more in line with acceptable-at-the-time Van Engelenian frustration), such expression has always been there below the surface.

Except it is not only skaters with records as seasoned as Lucas’ who are breaking character.

In just a year, many who walked away from Sour Solution II wondering, “What was up with the shrug guy?” have found themselves warming up to Vincent Huhta’s appearances, which are still marked by his signature post-trick expression. He shrugged his way into our hearts, à la George Costanza’s commercial jingle theory of dating.

Some colleagues have been open in expressing genuine surprise with their feats, while others subtly acknowledge that they expected more with a shake of the head, like an honest self-review at work:

All of these ~feelings~ would have been unthinkable in the years when only Jart was answering Mr. Salabanzi’s calls, and team managers would block your number if you cracked a smile in your footage tape. Has the uncertainty of the human condition in the COVID-age finally convinced us that it’s ok to laugh, to smile and to celebrate? Will skateboarders finally take Soulja Boy’s 2019 State of the Union speech to heart and understand we don’t have to downplay our accomplishments?

Loosely Related #tbt Dispatch: #TRENDWATCH2017 — Angst


  1. Skateboarding still hasn’t recovered from the tear-jerking ender of Superchampion Funzone #enjoyyourlife #enjoyyourrife

  2. Sometime I think the way a lot of skateboarders behave is very learned from the media you’d see in someone’s skate adolescence.

  3. Thinking about Touzery and Sean Pablo expressing disappointment after tricks at the Bronx bank to ledge in Blessed

  4. Wasn’t uncommon for skaters to celebrate their landings in the 80s. Sal Barbier and Brian Lotti have celebratory post trick landing clips in Hokus Pokus. I remember the hate for the emotional landing starting around 1990,91. Skating hit that low point of popularity around then and skating became some real outcast shit to do. Most of the general public hated us back then. Plus we all dressed like clowns with huge clothes and died our hair weird colors. So people would hate us even more. We embraced the hate. Everybody hated skaters so I think we started hating everything. Fuck normal size wheels, fuck regular size pants, fuck being hyped when you land a trick, fuck everything. Fuck the world. The early 90s were a strange time for skating. The awkward teenage years of street skating which maybe we’re shedding some of the self hate from then since being embraced by the normies for the past two decades. Hope that wasn’t too dramatic of an explanation. But really tho.

  5. soulja boy is even more ahead of his time in the quarantine bc of kiss me through the phone.

    him and todd falcon are time travelers sent by aliens.

    *post comment*

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