The votes are in, the ballots are tallied, the blurbs by writer friends from the internet are written, and our annual exercise of trying to combat content fatigue and fried attention spans is live.
For anybody uninitiated: back in 2019, we asked QS visitors for the five parts and videos from the 2010s that they would bury in a capsule under the earth for future inhabitants to reference once all other evidence of skateboarding had been erased. In 2020, we adapted this concept to encapsulate one year. And here we are in 2021, with the results of the same excerise.
No commentary for the full-lengths or 20-11 ranked parts. Special thank you to all the writers that took the time to share some words about their favorites. (Lol that the order for the 4-1 writers is the same this year as last. Total coincidence.) Major shout out to Pete at 4Ply Magazine for compiling all the data.
If you are just joining us, this ranking was voted on by QS readers from November 29th to December 3rd.
*Special consideration was given to videos that premiered in late 2020 after voting for the 2020 Readers Poll had already closed.
The Best Full-Length Skate Videos of 2021
The Best Video Parts of 2021
10. Cyrus Bennett — John’s Vid*
There is a certain type of pro that is revered for restraint and ability to only trickle out the best of their skateboarding, leaving us wanting more. Cyrus Bennett shares some of these characteristics, choosing to remain quiet on what he’s working on until the footage does all the explaining.
A key difference, though, is he has no lack of footage. Though often unprepared, we are treated to his powerful and thoughtful skating at least a few times a year. We are able to follow the threads connecting part to part as he one-ups himself at his favorite spots and finds new ones to obsess over. So, after an impossible year, it was only mildly surprising when the throbbing hum of Mica Levi’s Under the Skin soundtrack lures us into Cyrus’ opening part in John’s Vid. This music draws Cyrus out, pushing hard towards the camera into the opening salvo backside flip, one of a few featured in this part because all were too excellent to leave out.
Here are the best possible versions of what he’s doing – 20-foot-long front blunts, switch nosegrinds, and back tails – on obviously difficult spots. Using a long lens for his lines at CBS somehow makes them seem faster and more powerful than if they were filmed with a fisheye. The front blunt flip could have ended this perfect little section and we’d be satisfied.
That this part officially came out in 2020 and is still hot on our minds a year later is telling, as we now know this was the transitional period out of 917 sponsorship. It makes perfect sense that we bookended this era with John’s Vid. I’m sure I’ll be writing about his part in the Limosine video here next year. — Adam Abada
9. Nick Michel — Vans: Nice To See You
Nick Michel’s skating is powerful and resolute. Armed with a secret knowledge of Los Angeles’ rooftops and alleyways, and accompanied by his sister Jackie, he eschews the city’s most popular haunts in favor of decrepit asphalt banks, unorthodox handrails, and cutty house spots. If we were to start listing fantastic clips contained within his Nice To See You part, we’d be here all day, but note Nick’s detached coolness as he kickturns on a roof to set up to gap over a stair set onto a pillar; the way his trucks pinch during the 5050 on the dumpster; the sheer absurdity of wallieing into a backside lipslide on an adjacent, disconnected banister. When he does skate a recognizable spot, he’s bluntsliding into a veritable mountain, or gapping upstream over a parallel sidewalk into a 5-0 against a wall before swinging it to fakie into another bank. Make no mistake, though: as heavy as these maneuvers are, Nick’s calm presence on a skateboard makes it easy to underestimate the gravity of what he’s doing.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Nick Michel’s part will stand tall alongside other coming-of-age classics. The final product, from opening curb line to double-barrelled boardslide ender, can be read as a statement: skateboarding now belongs to Nick Michel and the youth, or Gen Z, or whatever you want to call them, and this is what they plan on doing with it. — Andrew Murrell
8. Trung Nguyen — RESPECTFULLY
Some believe that skateboarding acts as a cudgel against aging, that you don’t get old until you give it up. A seasoned skater’s aches might say otherwise, but within that beat up body remains the You that first fell under skateboarding’s spell, its innocent spirit still intact.
Trung Nguyen’s RESPECTFULLY part is a celebration of this juvenile self, dusting off the cultural touchstones crystalized in the the early aughts and letting them shine in the light of the present.
The part follows a tried-and-true three-act structure: A slam section introduces Trung as a determined character of eccentric outfits. As the Deftones track kicks in and Trung — in sleeveless No Fear and long-discontinued Rowley XL2s — lands a Hail Mary overcrook-to-firecracker down Max’s Fountain, it all shifts into focus. The bleach-streaked hair, the motocross jersey, the fingerless hammer gloves and Fully Flared combos coalesce into a kaleidoscopic tribute to a Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater’s conception of cool. You can almost see his special meter filling up as the barrage of bangers goes down across some of New York’s most notable spots. By the enders, it’s bursting. “Torn” plays straight from 1997 pop radio and Trung, wearing Tru Religion denim and riding an Element logo board he might’ve circled in a CCS catalog long ago, back fifties a double-kink handrail and left-right-triangles two of the most mind-bending darkslides ever done IRL. Nostalgia has never seemed so novel.
Skateboarding is for the kids, but we were all kids once. This part encourages you to embrace that. — Christian N. Kerr
7. Chima Ferguson — Vans: Nice To See You
In the Greg Hunt-edited Nice To See You ender, we find a veteran Chima destroying those Sydney spots that he helped propel into the global limelight since his Killself introduction years ago. The raw files also reveal subtle, missed gems within the two-song part, including a gap-to-manual between an elevated ledge and precarious window above, before dropping head high, down hill, for the make. And lets not forget Australia’s seeming dedication to over-the-rail tricks, with Chima’s stunning hard-way backside 360 and textbook switch 360 flip at Martin Place, his stomping grounds for years. It is fitting that we see an intergenerational Australian skate scene represented in the final shot – from Mapstone to O’Grady – after Chima’s unfathomable bike-towed double-set ollie. With Dusty Springfield’s belting vocals echoed by a wall of horns, this is a banner-to-the-rafters crescendo within a part that is not only one of the best of 2021, but a watershed mark for Chima’s career. — José Vadi
6. Max Palmer — HIT Video
There was once a time when loving Max’s skating was something that you and I could wear as a badge of honor. That now feels woefully outdated. It is impossible to keep something that good to yourself or between friends for very long — be it a rap demo, coveted cut of pant or outerborough food gem. Sooner or later, the cream rises to the top of the matrix. Whether that’s a good thing is a matter of situation and nuance, I guess.
However, I’d be lying if I didn’t feel that my adoration for the way Max does stuff felt like a hot take at some point. Dare I say it felt like a part of my own identity, as shallow-minded and trite as that most certainly is.
But listen: that was before. It is clear that everyone gets it by now. He is proudly emulated on the explore page. His fan account has thirteen times the amount of followers that Pad does. His skatultural cache has risen. Frankly, he’s made it. He’s Famous Trucks Max.
What strikes me when I watch Pauly Coots’ Hit Video, which is essentially a full-length Max part with other (very good!) parts embedded throughout, is that he’s isn’t even acting like that. He could choose to rest on his laurels and he’d be totally justified. If he wanted, he could give us a few tricks a year. But it’s clear that there’s no interest in that kind of complacency.
We know that Max is still SMS gang and has never had Insta. It would be a shock to me if I heard he ever found out about a restaurant on Eater, and it actually just now dawned on me that I have no idea where or how he gets his music.
What I’m getting at, I suppose, is that, in a time when people are bashfully looking at their friends’ iPhones more than ever, hardposting sketchy somethings with an emoji of a garbage can to then relish in the immediate approval of hundreds of strangers, Max’s approach has a vintage warmth to it.
Even if it’s just movie magic, I get the feeling in this that he’s skating like nobody’s watching: like when you catch a kid in a restaurant mirror spazzing out, flailing, making faces. It strikes me as compulsory. An urge in need of exorcism. A crick in the neck; an anxious finger flecking at peeled paint.
It’s for squad, because what isn’t? Still, I just can’t help but wonder if he knows, you know? — Zach Baker
5. Tom Knox — Atlantic Drift — “Saint Tom Knox”
Tom Knox must have stared long and hard at the pedestrian mall that runs south from London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral as he came up with lines — up and down it’s many stone steps — for Atlantic Drift’s “Saint Tom Knox.” Going curb-to-curb down the mall to open the part, Tom Knox does what Tom Knox does with a nine-trick line before the real discoveries are made. Knox fakie 360 flips down some steps to a 5050 frontside half cab out. He rides into grind on granite to heelflip. He goes up the stairs switch and down with manuals and nollie backside heelflips, down again with repeating tricks.
Jacob Harris as cameraman and editor provides a tight focus on Knox and nimbly navigates all those steps, setting the skating to a long-building, never-crescendoing track. Each time I watch Harris and Knox’s four minutes, it is a study of iterations, a reminder that skateboarding is a puzzle, one that Tom Knox solved within his spot’s confines. It must feel good. — Mike Munzenrider
4. Jack O’Grady — “Pass~Port”
It isn’t crazy to think that the street skating arms race that began with, perhaps, Sean Sheffey ollieing a full street gap in the 1991 Life video has hit a plateau. While tacking on a few inches to a gap or rail might net a skater a story repost, it seems like getting buck isn’t dropping jaws like it once did. Death defiance has always been a precarious path for career longevity, and the landscape for those that are content to burn bright and burn out is littered with professionals cross-locking their way to slow obscurity. Hell riding ain’t what is used to be.
Which makes Jack O’Grady’s “Pass~Port” part so impressive. It is exactly what a pro debut part should be. It’s not an introduction (Jack already had a Thrasher cover, never mind was named Australian Skater of the Year in 2019), but a confirmation of talent and a declaration of rightfully earned status. It’s fast, reckless, and engaging. Nearly every trick is done headlong.
And then, even though we all knew it was coming, the rail-gap-rail ender still delivered that jolt of excitement. We witnessed something significant happen and we shout and we laugh and we savor it because the heavy-bar doesn’t get raised that often these days. — Pete Glover
3. Mark Suciu — “Spitfire Part”
Back in 2019, many felt Suciu had been robbed of the S.O.T.Y. title.
But he had made it clear that S.O.T.Y. was a dream he held dear, and that fire must have been raging as much in his belly as it was under his board. Somehow making it a habit to release the equivalent of a full video all to himself within a few months, this year, we were blessed with four outstanding parts put out in short succession.
Like Mason Silva last year, it was Suciu’s Spitfire part that likely sealed the deal, with Mack Sharff’s magic striking again in the editing room, and flawless skating from start to finish. I usually like my skating well-cooked with a side of sketchy, yet Suciu is one of a few true al dente masters able to marry perfection with such natural flow. As ever, his attention to detail is evident, and while his skating might look like VR, this part feels like a very real punch to the stomach.
In a good way.
From parking lot flatbar combos to 12-stair backside smiths, it’s the super tech you’ve come to expect with a sprinkling of power. He destroys spots you’d recognize with your eyes closed (seriously, try listening to the soundtrack and see if you can tell when he’s skating Blubba), as well as spots you didn’t think could be spots. I don’t suspect many would’ve looked twice at that city park where he finds a line reminiscent of a downhill skiing slalom, twisting around on thin ledges with Tom Knox-esque feet.
“That’s all you got,” sings Danny Lee to Suciu in the background of a timeless R&B track. Well, even if it were, I think we’d all be fine with it. — Claire Alleaume
2. Kyle Wilson — Palace: Beyond the Third Wave
In a bold and bristly age where so many kids learn the same tricks on the same municipal code-approved banks and boxes and rails, trick mechanics and form have become standardized. The Reynolds-brand kickflip flick years ago almost entirely displaced onetime variants like the Tim O’Connor chop and the ’80s flavored Gonz mob. Increasingly rare are those styles capable of being silhouetted, like Josh Kalis in the Heavy Metal sunset, and identified based solely on the way one spins a board or twists off ledge.
Kyle Wilson is already among these: there is an otherworldly float to shit like his switch frontside 180s, a little kid scrape-and-huck that Kyle Wilson plucks from the @clipsonmyipod dustbin and lofts over waist-high barriers and cracks into the Southbank pit. There is a syrupy slowness to the way he’s still absorbing the impact of whatever trick five or ten feet on after landing it, an unseen magnetism holding his board to his soles, some utter confidence in his Vinny Ponte-level matching, shoes to graphic, hair to pants, possibly even the spot.
The line three-and-a-half minutes in has everything: switch-stance tricks floated over bench and barrier, some ledge tech, chat with the filmer, powerslide at pedestrians, a backside flip across a gap, nobody stitching it all together the way this dude can. — Boil the Ocean
1. Joey O’Brien — “Untitled 005”
Now, enter Joey O’Brien and “Untitled 005” — equipped with the ability, vision and a filmmaker capable of pulling off another ten-minute-long case study in ferocious footwork.
There is an efficiency to O’Brien’s approach: lines with tricks in short succession also often rotating in the same direction, a bespoke precision in his tech, and his speed is indicative of a guy squeezing every second out of the time he gets to spend on a board. (Likely the case, as this part was knocked out while working a full-time carpentry job.)
Chris Mulhern is no stranger to Alien Workshop, having previously worked on an O’Brien part for them. With a visual sensibility also informed by the Workshop, with “Untitled 005,” Mulhern has produced a video part that sits adjacent to the Sect yet also functions as tasteful continuation of its narrative. In a knowing nod to a Photosynthesis trailer, the part’s second act is set to Phillip Glass’ “Floe,” weaving a sense of awe as O’Brien levels up at the spot from his Sabotage 4 ender, and puts a Kirchart-esque grace towards his favorite Philadelphia handrails.
Although Suciu and Knox’s “one-man full-lengths” arrived with a sense of culmination for that point in their careers, “Untitled 005” only scratches the surface of whatever mythos awaits Joey O’Brien. — Farran Golding