Chris Jones began to make an impression on the U.K. scene during the mid-to-late-2000s with an appearance in a promo for Crayon Skateboards. Moving to London from Bristol after graduating university (and having met Jacob Harris on a trip while studying), his part in Eleventh Hour – coupled with a place on the upstart Isle team — positioned Chris as one in a new generation of household names for British skateboarding alongside Harris and his co-star, Tom Knox. Vase came two years later, bringing wide acclaim for all involved, which Chris doubled down on via Colin Read’s Spirit Quest before properly wading into international waters with “Atlantic Drift” crew.
Struggling to narrow down twenty years of video consumption into five, Chris opted to hone in on a handful from his formative years growing up in the small Welsh village of Coychurch.
John Rattray – Blueprint Skateboards: Waiting For The World (2000)
It’s hard to pick a part from Waiting For The World, First Broadcast or Lost and Found because they’ve all been my favorite videos at different times. However, I’d say that this was my first favorite Blueprint part and convinced me that British skateboarding — I use the term “British” here simply in geographical context — was the shit.
The fact that the music was by The Seahorses, set up by John Squire following his departure from one of my favorite bands, The Stone Roses, went straight over my head at the time. Despite having no idea who the song was by, I really enjoyed it. I got so stoked when he sings “I’m on the phone to you,” and John finishes a line by rolling into a telephone box.
This made me aware of how a good video part involves a range of things: spot, trick selection, filming, editing and song choice. It felt uniquely British in regards to the grey weather and gritty spots, as it mirrored what was available to skate outside my house and in nearby cities such as Cardiff.
Rodney Mullen – Globe: Opinion (2001)
Opinion was one of the first videos I ever bought. I started skating in 2000, and like most millennials, was a big fan of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, which meant that some of my initial favorite skaters were from those games. Before I owned a skate video, the short videos of the skaters in the game were the first videos I saw, and I was mesmerized by Rodney Mullen.
When I saw that Opinion featured Rodney, I had to get it. I managed to buy it after a week of saving my lunch money for school and proceeded to binge watch the video for the months following.
Rodney’s part had a big influence on my approach to skating in those rudimentary years. With my Tensor x Globe collab shoes tied up as tight as possible because they were two sizes too big, and my khaki trousers, I convinced myself I was some freestyle god and proceeded to learn as many truck-stand combos as I could. I even remember thinking I could follow Rodney’s example by inventing new tricks, which led to me coining a stinking kickflip that spun while the tail kept contact with the floor — imagine rotating kebab meat — as the “Chris Flip 3000.”
Although my freestyle phase ended, and I started paying attention to other skaters from the game, my admiration for Rodney Mullen didn’t. Having been my first “favorite” skater, it feels necessary to reference this part and reflect on how Rodney’s skating has actually remained with me all these years. His genius led to the invention of most of the tricks I do today. Thanks Rodney, you’re the greatest.
Devine Calloway – Logic #14: Contrast
[Part starts at 26:40]
My obsession with freestyle diminished as I started to venture out of the Tony Hawk’s games and watch more skate videos. Even Hernandez, Paul Rodriguez, Ryan Gallant, Gailea Momolu and Devine Calloway exemplified the skating I wanted re-create down my local carpark.
Although I really liked his part in Got Gold, it was this Logic part that led to me starting to care about style. His immaculate foot placement, quick flick and expansive but tasteful trick selection motivated me to spend hours learning some of the more technical and difficult tricks of that time, and was also where I became interested in switch skating. These characteristics of Devine’s skating drew me toward some of my future favorites like Danny Garcia and Stefan Janoski in Mosaic, Arto Saari in Sorry, Richard Mulder and Paul Rodriguez in On Tap.
Alex Carolino – Lordz: They Don’t Give a Fuck About Us (2003)
[Part starts at at 2:14]
Besides Cliché’s Europa, They Don’t Give a Fuck About Us was one of the first European videos outside of Britain that really caught my attention. In 2004, an older friend invited me on a trip to Paris. My first ever skate trip was also only my second time out of the U.K., and it would also be the trip that made Alex Carolino one of my favorite skaters. His part from the Lordz video is one I’d watch countless times.
One of the first spots I couldn’t wait to skate was Le Dome. We ended up going a few times and one of those visits happened to coincide with Alex Carolino’s pro Aeon shoe jam. I was quite shy skating at events when I was younger, and would usually just watch instead of getting involved, but I got so hyped I joined in on the session and was surprised that the organizers let me keep skating amongst all these pros. There were a few of the guys from the Lordz video at this event, but it is Alex Carolino I remember vividly.
They put a picnic table down the three-stair and another down the double-set, and people were doing lines on them. I remember Carolino switch flip 5-0ing the first then switch front shove crooking the last table. This alone was insane, but the thing which really blew me away was his flatground. Watching him skate flat during that session is still one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen in person. Every trick was nearing a meter-high and I’d never seen that up until then. He was one of the first pros I saw skate in person, and it was even more impressive than the videos I’d seen him in. This part really brings back those memories of my first ever skate trip.
Korahn Gayle – East Skateboards: Vapors (2006)
[Part starts at 28:30]
Korahn has been one of my favorite skaters since I first saw footage of him in Louie Gane’s Bristol in Bloom. Growing up in South Wales, not so far from Bristol, my friends and I were heavily influenced by their skate scene and would often get the train to skate the spots we’d seen in Fifty-Fifty’s Jus Foolin’. I met Korahn on one of these ventures, and he showed us around when we were filming for one my first ever parts.
I was already a massive fan beforehand. I remember buying Dunks and sweaters too big for me so I could stretch the arms out and they’d cover my hands in an effort to look like Korahn — something which another one of my favorite skaters, Stefan Janoski, did at that time.
After spending the day with Korahn, I not only wished I could skate like him, but also just really wanted us to be friends. His vibrant energy exuded positivity and his untouchable ability was something that really inspired me back when I was 14, and continues to the present day.
It’s difficult to pick one part because they’re all incredible. Korahn’s one of those super-humans who keeps getting better as he gets older while those around him slowly start to feel the burden of age. I picked Vapors because it’s also made by Matthew “Dykie” Ryan whose other videos, like Pritchard v.s. Dainton and Underexposed, were also big influences growing up as a skater in Wales. Alongside the fact that Vapors is a video from one of the best U.K. companies to ever exist, East – a Liverpudlian company set up by another phenomenal human and personal idol, David Mackey.
Previously: Mason Silva, Beatrice Domond, Mark Suciu, 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