For a format so straightforward, it’s interesting how many approaches to “Five Favorite Parts” have developed over the course of the series. However, the exercise is perhaps at its purest when (aside from a couple of clearly informed tricks) it conjures up a seemingly disparate list of skaters of which the interviewee is the only through-line – which is where we landed with Credits’ opening act and affable cannonball-er, Una Farrar.
Elissa Steamer – Toy Machine: Welcome To Hell (1996)
I was playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater at my friend’s house and was like, “Oh shit, there’s a girl in here!” and that was the first time I saw Elissa’s name. Then, I found the part through scouring the internet for any footage of women skating.
The soundtrack is sick, it’s only a minute-and-a-half, but all of The Sundays’ songs are good and I got into that band after this.
Her ollie into the Miami triangle is pretty legendary. I went to Miami, on a Credits trip, but didn’t get to skate because it was right after I tore my ACL, so I was filming second angles and hyping people up. Going to that spot was insane, and seeing Alexis Sablone’s kickflip in recently was sick. The ollie is all slow-mo and long-lens, which gives it a nostalgic feeling. Also, the end clip is a gnarly slam with a ramp slow-mo of her scream and then it’s just done. I love that ending, but I remember thinking, “Where’s the land?” It was unique and left me wanting more.
She’s a lanky skater, but the outfit works so well. Nollie heels, switch heels — they’re like “baggy” tricks. The line that goes ollie up, nollie 180, and switch heel down the three looks so sick. I need to learn switch heels.
Antwuan Dixon – Baker 3 (2005)
Baker 3 almost has that same feeling of a hometown video. They’re making a video because they want to and you could tell Baker was run by skaters.
Beagle really inspired me with filming. He’d always keep the camera rolling and got the hijinx, him talking shit or being hyped up. Nowadays, I find that so many filmers take themselves so seriously – like, “Don’t say anything when they land it” – but having your friends watching and cheering when you roll away is all part of the setting. Maybe it was unintentional, but Baker did a good job of capturing the whole session in a way that wasn’t as formal.
Watching Antwuan is so satisfying and no one does quite it like him. The heelflips, that first tre flip when the song comes in – he tail drags around that corner and obviously doesn’t give a shit — then he does the most perfect trick. He can do those long, lofty things down stairs but then there’s a back nose 270 out the opposite way and it shows he’s got quick feet too.
He’s also really comedic. I remember seeing all these clips of him making jokes at every opportunity. It seemed like he had a good time and people liked being around him. His style makes everyone else look foolish for having to try so hard for smaller tricks.
Vanessa Torres – Element: Elementality – Volume One (2005)
This was the most influential part to me back when I started skating around 11 or 12 years old. I’d search “girls skateboarding” on YouTube, and there were videos out there, but not a whole lot. I was pretty inexperienced with where to look for skate videos and often found them through Element podcasts, because of my older brother. iPods didn’t have internet access at the time, so whatever you downloaded at home was all you could watch.
Vanessa Torres was doing tricks I didn’t even know the name of as well as big crooks, nollie heels, good kickflips – and it looked like she was having fun too. Everything I’ve picked, they’re pretty short parts, but I watched every single clip in them so closely.
There’s a clip where she’s skating, like, a rack for grocery carts off of this loading bay with a kicker up to it. She kickflips up and front boards down the “handrail” side, and that was one of my favorite clips because she made a spot out of nothing. I’m a big front boarder and she had super nice front boards.
Through the women’s skate scene, I got to meet Vanessa – she’d either be skating, commentating or judging at almost every one – and now it’s like seeing a good friend, who was also one of the first women I saw on a board, that made me think, “Maybe I could do that.”
Dane Pryds – The 204 Video (2010)
This was all filmed in Victoria, where I grew up. A few people contributed, but it was put together by a guy called Matt Gravel. I was, like, 12 and they were the slightly older skaters who my friends and I looked up to.
Dane’s a really nice guy. He lives in Vancouver now, and we’ll skate sometimes — but being an amazing skater and also approachable makes him that much cooler. He also rode for one the first skate shops I rode for, HTO, and he’s skating these old shop decks with a graphic that was like an Arizona Ice Tea can. It was a surf and skate shop, but at one point they had a really good team. Dane was always my favorite. Nowadays, there are people that skate handrails in Vic, but he was the only one going for it at so many of those spots at the time. He was inspirational in that way.
I think it was called “204” because that was their apartment. Sponsor-wise, they all rode for the same shop, and I think a few of them were flowed shoes and other product. Not many people “made it” from the island I’m from. I don’t know if they didn’t want to pursue it, but there wasn’t a whole lot of money around as a Canadian skater in that era. These guys were doing it for fun and that showed in their skating. Their videos were more authentic because there wasn’t a brand they were filming for or a deadline they had to meet. It was fully a passion project: doing it how they wanted to, using the songs they wanted to and skating the spots they wanted to.
Growing up, I overlapped with them at the skatepark a lot. We weren’t close, because I was a kid with braces and shit, but [when] reconnecting in Vancouver, we’ll skate The Courts. When you get older, the age gap closes even though you’re still the same amount of years apart. I idolized those guys, and now we’re just friends. Everyone from my hometown – that I was too intimidated to talk to at the skatepark as a kid – supports the hell out of me. They’re so nice, and so stoked I’m getting a bit of exposure here and there.
Darrell Stanton – Element: Trio (2010)
Trio was Darrell, Levi Brown and Chad Tim-Tim, and they were my favorites. I only really knew Element riders because this is right when I started skating.
They have these sick intros of their morning routines. Levi wakes up in his truck, in the middle of nowhere, and goes to find the other guys. Chad is a new dad so he’s looking after his baby, kissing his wife goodbye and his first clip is on a sidewalk, so it almost looks like he got it right out of the door. Then Darrell’s is really chill, he’s just kind of bumming around, he makes breakfast and he’s three hours late for a meeting. Ryan Dewitt is in it, who was Element’s T.M., and there’s a scene where he’s talking to Darrell and telling him the Trio deadline is coming up. There’s a Vanessa board in the background, so that’s a legendary little clip to me — I know Vanessa and Ryan were close before he passed away.
Darrell has steez, but his trick selection is so unique. He does a back lip to back blunt, but the trick I love to show people is the backside 5050 to back three on the curved ledge. Then there’s this gap onto a circular pad and he back three cannonballs it. I love it when there’s heavy skating and then moments that aren’t as serious.
Honorable Mention: Marisa Dal Santo – Zero: Strange World (2009)
When I started skating, footage of women was basically Vanessa, Elissa and Marisa — and I think that’s why they had such a heavy impact on me. There was footage of Jamie Reyes out there too, but it was harder to find. I’d see more footage of Elissa and Vanessa after that, but Marisa kind of dropped off. I’d only see her in an X-Games recap video or something. Now, it’s probably acknowledged that she was treated pretty shit even though she was one of the best. But that was always in the back of my head, like, “You can be this good and skateboarding [as a career] still might not work out for you,” and that’s why she just does her own shit.
Her Strange World part blew my mind. She does a 5050 cannonball and a smith tailgrab down a handrail, she tuck knees a big grass gap, kickflip melons that huge set – it’s just an insane trick selection. I love the first clip, the backside flip where she slams out of frame. You know she goes down so hard and it’s so animated. I love it when slams are included in parts because it’s funny, but also humanizing.
I like her glasses and big curly hair, and her clothing style was cool too – she does a crook on this out-rail and she’s wearing this Where’s Waldo-type shirt. She no comply flips up a five-stair, lands a little unexpected, and she looks up at the camera like, “Whoa!” I love stuff like that. I’ve never met Marisa, but she seems like such a cool person and it looks like she was having a good time doing it – to an extent. She wasn’t being supported thoroughly, but was clearly very passionate and enjoyed skating itself.
Previously: Chris Jones, 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