Photo by Anthony Acosta
Skateboarding’s recent history has felt less centered on moving out west to chase the industry, and more open to skaters making a name for themselves on their own terms. Most people first became aware of Justin Henry through his OPM part for Embassy Skateshop out in Columbus, Ohio. Justin’s skateboarding since then has always felt grounded in this hometown (or home-state) pride, and his influences highlight how there’s always a pinch of something special when you do it for the town ;)
Antwuan Dixon – Baker 3 (2005)
It’s so short and sweet. My brother and I were watching that first line, and it was so quiet. He goes over the rail, does the lil’ kickturn thing — the whole time I’m just like “What’s he about to do?” — right when I heard Biggie Smalls come on when he does that tre, my brother and I were screaming. Then he does that fresh ass heelflip.
To this day, I don’t think anyone’s style was so shocking to me. My brother and I would try to mimic it, but we were young and didn’t know yet that you can’t mimic style. Somebody might frown upon a two-minute part nowadays, but what’s the difference between a two-minute part with no bullshit, and a four-minute part that might have it? I’d rather see clip after clip. It just doesn’t stop — then he heelflips Wilshire like an inch from the rail with his arms down…
Also, when he nollie crooks the cutoff rail — I had never seen anything like that. After that, I thought nollie crook was the freshest trick. That’s my favorite trick to this day, and that’s my favorite trick I’ve ever seen.
Anthony Van Engelen — Alien Workshop: Mind Field (2009)
This sounds weird, but my first video was The DC Video, his part was the first one in The DC Video, so that was the first dude I saw riding a skateboard. Time went by and I didn’t really follow his skating as closely as I should have.
I know Heath Kirchart had the very last part [in Mind Field], but to me, AVE was the one. AVE has the best trick selection, and I always enjoyed how he looked at spots. He does — I wouldn’t say “basic” tricks — but he will just 5050 a really long flatbar and tuck behind a sign. Shit like that with a lot of power. He doesn’t make skating hard: “I’m gonna do these tricks and do them strong.” There’s no antics; he does his tricks, and he goes all in for it.
You can see different pockets of America through the whole part, he goes everywhere. The line where he hits the switch crook to 5050 — that trick almost seems impossible when you’re at that spot. He skates rails, ledges, does lines, finds unique spots. He’s good for it anywhere. Favorite clip in this part though is the half cab noseslide to back tail.
I forgot the over the top of the rail shit! The balanced nosegrind on that rail at Columbus Park — you never see somebody balance a nosegrind like that. I remember watching this part, and it was like a new thing that got introduced to me. “Oh, you can go over the top of rails.”
Al Davis — Habitat: “Al Davis Welcome Video” (2012)
How do you begin with Al? From what I know, this dropped online first. I remember thinking it was fresh they put him on by a single part. That caught my eye. It was that transition period when nobody was really dropping single parts too heavy.
The first thing I saw from Al was in Origin, in like a team montage, but I don’t know if he was fully on at the time. I was at a video premiere for it at our local skatepark, and Al had some clips. When a brother pops up on the screen, you definitely think, “That’s fresh there’s a brother skating.” I remember asking somebody about him, and my friend goes, “He’s living down in Cincinnati.” I tripped out — “What? A dude is doing it out of Cinci right now?”
Right then and there, I was just like, “This is the dude.” I’d see footage sometimes and he’d have “Cincinnati” written big on his board. I’d always have a habit when an Alien or Habitat videos would come out, to always look for the Ohio spots, and he switch tres a street gap that’s in Cincinnati here.
Al Davis to me, is a midwest legend. Watching this, you see all that midwest influence. I always liked that Al travels in all his parts. It seems like he did a lot of shit in Europe. Every clip is in a different zone and I always really liked that with him. Smooth style, he skates to a sick song, and it’s chopped up real fast. He stays flying in the part. He has this one line where he comes in so fast and does back 180 switch front crook to start a line and nollie backside flips a stair. Just those two tricks, even the first one: everyone knows that’s so tough going that fast.
Gilbert Crockett — Venue Skateshop: Old Dominion (2013)
It’s from a shop video the Bust Crew dudes did. It’s called Venue Skateshop now, but it used to be called Dominion. I always loved this part because it’s as raw as it gets: filming with your buddies in your hometown for the shop. Simple as that. That’s what we all started out doing, and for Gilbert to make a part like that in his career was always cool to me. The deeper you get into skating, the more you can pick and choose what you skate, when you skate, what you skate for. It was always cool to me that Gilbert comes out with these parts for the shop with Will Rosenstock. I love this one because he goes so hard for it. It’s a shop video, but it could have easily been for any company. I always had respect to Gilbert for that one.
He comes in real tough with lines and has good trash can set-ups — back alley type vibes. All the spots look super untouched and like tucked away down south type shit. He has this really ill line where he back 180 to switch mannys a gap-to-manual pad and hits a tough-ass switch tre.
I was skating Sun Trust the other day and that ground there is crazy. It’s the ledge spot where he does the line with back 180 5-0. It’s tough ground where you lose tons of speed, and those dudes handle it. If you see footage from there, you know the person has to be going really fast. If you watch his footage, you’ll notice Gilbert revisits spots a lot. He’ll do tricks at a spot he’s skated in other parts, and I’ve always liked that because it shows his progression in his city.
The ender where he back lips that bar — I already knew it was crazy, and they brought me there because there’s another spot over in that area — that back lip is the craziest I’ve ever seen.
Whenever you do something for your local shop in your community — that is going to weigh heavier than when people film for a company.
Ishod Wair — Sabotage 3 Remix (2013)
His lines in it are so long. He’ll do lines all throughout Philly, like entire blocks, and cut over to a different building. This was my favorite Ishod part. When I first saw this, I thought this dude was the most well-rounded, balanced skateboarder ever.
All of it is on a VX in Philly, and you can see how cold it is outside in some of the clips. You can see the grit from the winter and the decay. I always loved when he does those rail tricks, like he smiths it and 5-0s it into a piece of wood, and has these bigass headphones over his head. It’s almost like the Gilbert part: someone on the east coast just skating with his boys.
Nobody really taps into old Memphis rap like that either, and that’s some of my favorite music. It’s not a slept on Ishod part, but I feel like people don’t talk about it is as much. It’s probably not a bad problem to have when you’re Ishod and have so many great parts, but whenever someone drops a part and it’s not for a company and just for friends, it always hits me a little harder.
I don’t even think I’ve watched the original part. I’ve only seen the remix. I’m at the point where I don’t even want to click the original.
Previously: Jarne Verbruggen, Breana Geering, 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