When you’ve religiously watched the same three-or-so minutes of footage throughout your life as a skateboarder, explaining the significance of your favorite video parts becomes pretty instinctive. Perhaps casting the spotlight in other directions takes the edge off, or maybe it’s because this format feels like a means of thanking those who have had an impact, but even the most interview-shy skaters are usually to down to talk about their “Five Favorite Parts.” In doing so, we can decipher a lot about their personality and approach to skateboarding.
Mark Suciu, however, is no stranger to interviews. You can count on him to deliver whether you’re musing over his own back catalogue or the finer details of others. Without spoiling what’s to follow, I can tell you his “Five Favorite Parts” are Jake Johnson in Mind Field, Anthony Pappalardo in Mosaic, Jerry Hsu in Bag of Suck, Paul Rodriguez in In Bloom, and P.J. Ladd in Wonderful Horrible Life because they aren’t going to be discussed whatsoever.
Rather than weigh in on those which have already been celebrated in this series, what follows are “more about what a video part can do,” and, as a result, have influenced him in ways that are more nuanced and personal.
Tom Penny – éS: Menikmati Bonus Section (2000)
I love this because it’s narrative in a way that a regular video part isn’t. It shows him growing up.
I got Menikmati on DVD, probably in 2001, so I was nine and I could do a couple of these tricks, some kickflips and some mini-ramp skating. It was super relatable, but seeing his progression was like skating with somebody. How this one has narrative builds your emotional ties. At first, he’s just skating by himself or with a couple of friends in a parking lot, then it’s a backyard ramp. Then, he slowly starts going to contests. He’s a little older and wearing different clothes. He’s just ripping and the stakes are raised for you, like, “Oh my God, my little guy! Go, go!”
It’s like you’re being sent back through history to a time where you could see this not panning out the way it did. If you see his part in the actual video, it’s like, “Yeah, he’s pro, he’s amazing. Everyone knows it.” But if you see it from the ground up, you can trick yourself into thinking his rise to fame was not inevitable. It is really cool, because then you appreciate it for what it is: the marvelous achievement that this kid got so talented, by some random means, and he was all the right places at the right time.
Retrospective parts are rad when they’re merited.
Brian Brown – Zoo York: Vicious Cycle (2004)
I got this video in seventh grade. I was skating around downtown Saratoga at that point, just trying to make spots out of the stuff I found, and obviously downtown Manhattan looks so fun and completely different.
I love his style — the way he shifts his feet before he pops — but what I really connect to is the mix of technical and practical skating. He’s one of the best examples of it. He looks rad whether he’s cruising around and popping up a curb or going over a rail into a bank. When he gets to that pyramid hip that used to be somewhere in New York [Ed. Note: Jersey City] – which looked really steep – he does a switch frontside 360 heelflip. Like, what the fuck? He looks so comfortable on that line, I think the spot is in Chelsea, with the front board pop-over and then a varial flip.
There’s a lot of creative spot skating in this part, like when he ollies from the bank-to-bank and then backside flips the stairs. To narrow it down, what I really like is his style and what I was talking about earlier with the mix of technical and practical, minimalist and expanding from there.
When I was putting together this top five, I had a lot of secondary picks that didn’t make it in, but it wasn’t just a random list. This was a spot which could have been taken by Jake Johnson in Short Ends, Fred Gall in the Sub Zero video or Ricky Gieger in Vanish. It’s the first time you see them, and you’ll see gnarlier stuff, but you always go back to that first thing. This part is dear to me because it is one of the reasons I wanted to move out to the east coast. It planted the seed early.
Keith Hufnagel – DVS: Skate More (2005)
This isn’t necessarily my favorite Huf part, but his 411 “Check Up,” Roll Forever and Skate More came out around the same time, and I was watching all three one summer, trying to skate like him. I know he had rad shit in the late nineties, but I didn’t watch that footage until much later, and I never really got into it. There was just that one summer where I got completely addicted to this dude’s footage.
I think it has something to do with him being goofy. This video part stuck inside my brain to the extent that when I pushed down the street after watching it, I’d feel like him. I’d set up my feet in a certain way to do an ollie and I would feel like more than myself. It’s the same as when I’m skating a gnarly spot after watching a Brandon Westgate part. I’ll put my front foot a little bit more perpendicular to lipslide a rail and it’s like Brandon Westgate is lipsliding it for me.
I think it’s interesting that somebody who skates like I do would — as a kid — have Huf as one of his favorite skaters. If I saw a little tech kid at the skatepark, I wouldn’t think, “Your favorite skater is Keith Hufnagel.” When I saw Huf’s style, something in my body responded and knew I could emulate it enough to get the feeling. Obviously as a 12, 13 year-old kid, I didn’t have any of the power or pop Huf has, it was just something relatable. You can mimic that posture and feel like you’re charging in the same way as him.
When he does the line that ends with a nose manual into the bank on the metal ledge ledge in L.A., the way he goes from the nose manual into the bank is one of the most satisfying none-tricks that there has ever been. He skates the whole spot without pushing. It’s really dope. I love his ollie up and gap-to tricks, and I think the first ollie is always the best, always so crisp and exactly what was necessary for that ledge.
He’s skating San Francisco, too. I was going up there on weekends with my family and friends. My mom went to a pizza place once and was talking a with the owner. She told him I skated and he said, “Do you know Keith Hufnagel? I see him around here all the time. He always skates down the street with a coffee and books in his hands and once I saw him ollie over a car!”
Sunnyvale Skatepark Montage – Enjoi: Bag of Suck (2006)
[Starts at 11:24 but should play from there]
This is the park I grew up skating. I got there in 2003 and I stayed there until 2010 or ’11 when I started going on trips.
This park has a huge personal tie and is another example of what a video part can do. It it memorializes a space. There’s the Love Park documentary, which does the same thing. For me, this is like the most sacred or personal space in skating, so I’m really grateful that Enjoi did this. I was on every single one of these sessions, pretty much, just in the background. The very first clip is me. Right when it fades in, there’s a little kid doing a switch 5050 on the end of the ledge and he steps off his board. That’s me. I was so hyped at the premiere.
All of these dudes are in — if not their prime — at least one of them is in their prime. The shit they were doing is unbelievable now, but it was so crazy back then, like when Caswell Berry does a stalefish over Louie Barletta’s blunt kickflip.
This also memorializes a golden age of Sunnyvale Skatepark, when it was pretty new and everybody was going there. Marc Johnson, Jerry Hsu and Caswell would roll up before going to a spot and there would be a hundred people just watching them. Caswell would pivot fakie the vert wall with no warm-up, and I wouldn’t pivot fakie it to this day! Once Jerry tried to back tail it and fell to flat. When he got up, it was exactly like a demo, he let out a laugh and goes “I’m okay!” and everybody there laughed too. It was like he was on stage. The
Aretha Franklin [Edit: Etta James] song is fucking great.
With the Sunnyvale montage, I could have easily picked Jerry’s part in the same video. The two-song banger of a magnum opus is a real measuring stick to show somebody’s stature. Back then, if somebody got two songs, that means one thing only: they’re fucking killing it. Justin Brock, even with his first part in Southern Comfort, was fucking nuts. Stefan in Inhabitants, Heath Kirchart in Mind Field, Jerry in Bag of Suck and then Dylan Rieder’s Gravis part, obviously. Same treatment.
Andrew Pearl – Turd Life by Kyle Camarillo (2007)
When I was talking about how these video parts do more than what I would say an “achieved” video part does, I knew the people who knew of Andrew Pearl, and loved his footage, will watch this and feel a really deep sense of “If only.”
Seeing him skate in person was incredible. He’s got what I was talking about with Brian Brown; a lot of talent but keeps it in reserve for where it’s necessary. His style is really similar to Israel Forbes too: boxy and awkward, but it makes certain tricks look amazing. He had so much talent and it’s such a bummer how little of him we have on YouTube.
He’s from about thirty minutes away from Saratoga, he’s five-or-so years older than me, he was sponsored and he’s one of those people who doesn’t seem to exist in your realm whether it’s because of the way they act or because of what they’ve achieved. For him, it was both. He had this demeanor where he had good vibes, but he was a little bit shy, which made him mysterious to somebody like me.
This part hypes me up to skate, but it has a mournful feel. It’s related to when you see Rob Pluhowski’s parts and you think, “This guy was so sick but, he only put out so little.” I used to think about that a lot when I was younger. It’s the F. Scott Fitzgerald analogy: he died young, he had only written four novels and he had this one he was working on which looked like it was going to be his best book. The thought or dream of what they could have accomplished is almost more magical than what they actually produced.
Previously: Justin Henry, 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