Photo by Jonathan Mehring
Inspiration arrives in different forms. It could be as superficial as an outfit of a pro that you admire, or as profound as a video that changed the way you look at everything. Other times, it’s subtle — that Eureka moment when the slightest nuance of how someone does a trick makes you figure it out for yourself. A dear friend with a perfect nollie flip said specifically this nollie flip gave way to the realization: “Oh, you jump UP.”
But inspiration is not always about the finish line. It was refreshing to hear that Breana chose one of her favorites partially because he excels at a trick that she has yet to figure out. By the same token, I’ve always been jealous of how much fun people who can impossible on command look like they’re having, and expended far too much brain power on trying to figure it out. I’ll probably learn French before I learn impossibles — but personally speaking, nobody has ever made them make more sense than Breana here, in this .gif from her Wisteria part, which I’ve stared at for way too long, way too many times. In those moments of hypnosis, the puzzle is solved, at least enough to keep trying again and again and again.
Tom Penny – éS: Menik Mati (2000)
He does everything without batting an eye. That bowl he kickflip back tails and where frontside flips the hip that’s not really a hip — it’s like a fucking wall — is the sickest. Like how does he make that backside flip into the quarterpipe look so casual? He cruises his way through everything.
When you’re a kid, you don’t really understand the style of it all. I used to try and do as many technical tricks as possible, even if I was just bonking a ledge for it. Watching this now, I know that popping high and making it look sick is what it’s all about – like a tre flip to something tre flip out is just gross. Simplicity is key.
Elissa Steamer — Bootleg 3000 (2003)
The first one of her parts I watched was Welcome to Hell. I didn’t know anything about skating or brands; I’d just type in “girl skateboarders” into YouTube. I’d dig in there, found that and was like “Whoa, this is what I was looking for! Why can’t I find more of something like this?” I’ve never seen a girl look so… chill before. There wasn’t a lot of representation when I was first watching that. I hate when people say this, but I thought “This chick looks like a guy when she skates” — but in a good way. There’s no stiffness, it’s so proper and she’s just chilling.
But in Bootleg 3000, she does this frontside noseslide on the top of this fence and then bombs down this hill — it’s so fucking steezy and probably my favorite clip in that video. Then she does a switch frontside noseslide on this ledge and I was just like, “Wait, what?” She does so much switch shit.
Marisa Dal Santo — Zero: Strange World (2009)
This one is probably the most influential to me. She’s the craziest hucker girl to this day. Nobody hucks like she did. I’d just Google girl skaters every day, trying to find something that was actually stoke-worthy. I went on The Secret Tape’s website recently to buy a hard copy of this video. I was like, “I got to have this in my closet.”
She does that line with the crook on the bench and then front boards that huge handrail, and the first time I saw that I literally shit my pants. I admired her a lot because I could never see myself doing what she’s doing. She eats shit so hard in the best way too — in the beginning, she tries to backside flip this hip and her hands go flying up in the air while she just disappears on the other side. Those two girls [Marisa & Elissa] were who I looked up to; I wanted to skate like them and be like them.
Jim Greco – The Deathwish Video (2013)
This was one of the first DVDs I ever had, so I watched it a lot. In the beginning, the song comes in hard and he ollies over that car — that was a great intro. I can’t do them, but I wish I could do backside 360s like him — maybe that’s why I like it so much, because I’d watch it being like, “How do you do that?”
He’s another person that has a lot of style. I didn’t really start watching videos until I was maybe 14, so this is the first Greco part I saw. I’d go back and watch other parts and his whole thing changes up so much. So many phases of Jim Greco, but I think I like this one second-best to his Piss Drunx phase.
Rowan Zorilla – Baker 4 (2019)
I love Rowan’s style, he flops his way through skating in such a cool manner. He does this switch noseslide down this kinked hubba — which at first I didn’t even realize was switch — and I thought it was so cool because I never see people do that down big shit. You watch him skate and it makes you think, “I guess I don’t have to try.” You watch him, and think that’s the key, just not trying at all.
When you watch the whole video, it’s a lot of crazy parts, but individually, this is the one I watch over and over.
Previously: Sage Elsesser, Bobby Worrest, Nik Stain, Anthony Van Engelen, Dom Henry, Bing Liu, Andrew Reynolds, Cyrus Bennett, Jacob Harris, Jamal Smith, Paul Rodriguez, Gilbert Crockett, Ben Chadourne, Tom Knox, Louie Lopez, The Chrome Ball Incident, The Bunt, Lacey Baker, Andrew Allen, GX1000, Brian Anderson, Gino Iannucci, Josh Kalis, Sean Pablo, Wade Desarmo, Chris Milic, Chad Muska, Hjalte Halberg, Danny Brady, Bill Strobeck, Aaron Herrington, Jerry Hsu, Brad Cromer, Brandon Westgate, Jim Greco, Jake Johnson, Scott Johnston, Josh Stewart, Eric Koston, Karl Watson, Josh Friedberg, John Cardiel, Pontus Alv, Alex Olson, Jahmal Williams