Five Favorite Parts With John Gardner

The best skaters are often the ones whose skateboarding defies the rigid linguistics of trick names.

Like, are you going to say John Gardner backside 5-0’d a Philly step into a rail and then tucked into a keyhole to get out — or did a back smith on the CBS ledge, immediately changed direction so he could ollie up one short ledge, over another, onto a platform and down a surprise police barricade? Or maybe it is easier to point at the spot and say he “did some John Gardner shit.”

(“Some Max Palmer shit,” and of course, “some Daewon shit” are other common ones at the QS office.)

John is one of those skaters doing what cannot easily be explained, and him being a Bob Burnquist fan makes perfect sense.

Bob Burnquist — éS: Menikmati (2000)

A lot of times when I see intros in skateboard videos, they could be a little forced, but when I watch this video, I can really see into who they are and it feels authentic. My first three videos were The DC Video, Yeah Right and Menikmati. Each of those are so different, but this one gave me insight when there was no Instagram or YouTube and you didn’t get to see who these people were apart from reading something in a magazine.

I have always gravitated towards transition skating, and this dude — he still does it like nobody else. Nobody can skate switch vert like Bob Burnquist; I like when people mirror tricks in their parts. I try and learn switch transition stuff pretty much of Bob Burnquist.

I love watching these videos because they’re true skateboard cinema. It had a huge impact on how I skate and my interest in filmmaking overall. To combine both is not an easy feat, but this is one of the best examples of it.

Chris Cole — Zero: New Blood (2005)

Zero was my favorite company growing up and Chris Cole was my favorite skater. To have a dude who skates at the level of Chris Cole grow up in damn near my backyard was so crazy to me.

In the intro when he kicks the board, that’s such a classic Zero video thing. Jamie Thomas — he’s definitely another genre than French Fred, Greg Hunt and Spike Jonze — but he’s up there in the top five of making the best videos of all-time.

The first time I met Chris Cole, I started getting shoes from John Kramer who was an east coast DC sales rep and he was friends with the guys at G Spot skateshop. I think it turned into Reign. They had videos of their crew that Chris had parts in. The guy I was getting shoes from was like, “Hey, you should go link up with these guys,” I was like 11 or 12 at the time. This is the height of Chris Cole: he had long hair in a bandana and I remember we went to Baldi and all the classic spots. I remember so clearly Chris Cole playing Joan Jett-like music and air guitaring to every song like he was in the band, on the ground on his back. He was the rockstar skateboarder, but he was super friendly: he had a baby on board sticker on the back of his car.

Matt Rodriguez — The I-Path Promo (2005)

He’s definitely one of my all-time favorite skaters. I used to live in Summit, NJ with my parents. They bought a house and let us drain the pool and skate it for three months. It was during summertime, so a lot of people were coming through the east coast. The I-Path team came through on this particular day. I got to meet Matt Rodriguez, and I took them to the 78 Ditch. That was one of the first times I was really starstruck by skating with somebody, but Matt made me feel like we had been friends for a long time.

Every part Matt has come out with is my favorite part. He makes the music, and he is one of the first people I ever saw that did that. I always thought you weren’t “allowed” to do that. Once I saw him do it, it almost like gave me permission to make a video where I made the music. That was kind of the inspiration for making the music in the Quartersnacks part that I did with you guys a couple years back.

Somebody might skate a mini ramp in warehouse and I wouldn’t think much of it, but when I see Matt skate a warehouse mini ramp, it’s like art. Wow. One of my favorite things about skating is somebody can do one trick and someone can do the same, but it makes you feel something different. Matt can do something simple and make it look way better than something that’s really challenging. The super technical aspect of skating is rad, but it’s beyond my comprehension; I can’t do that stuff. When I see somebody do a pop shove it, a manny and an ollie — and it looks how Matt does it — that to me is skateboarding.

Kyle Dalrymple — Totally Nector (2010)

Kyle made this video. This was the first video I was ever in — with pretty much all my friends. We had all been filming with Kevin Winters for years, we had all talked about putting out a video, and nobody actually did it. Kyle just said: “Give me all the footage and I’ll throw a video together.” We had a giant premiere in Philly in this old fraternity house that Nik Stain and Sloan Palder were living in. The next day, Kyle moved to California, so it was his send off. If I’m not mistaken, he’s actually from Bethlehem; He grew up with Nik. I think he lives back on the east coast now. [Ed. note: Kyle has a part in the new Homebase Skateshop video on Thrasher.]

The guy who filmed this, Kevin Winters, is in my opinion one of the best east coast filmers. Nik Stain’s got a part, Sloan Palder’s got a part, Mitchell and Andrew Wilson — I think Johnny filmed a bunch of stuff that was in this. Jordan Gesko, Zach Gesko, Conor Prunty…

Sloan Palder – Bruns (2014)

The video that followed [Totally Nector] was a video that Kevin Winters put out called Bruns. Everybody from the previous video is in this video, except Kevin is the one who filmed and edited everything.

This one is one of my favorites because he’s one of my favorite people. A lot of people know Sloan, but a lot of people don’t. He’s super underground, and does so much for skateboarding and the local scene. He co-founded 5th Pocket Skateparks with his partner Jesse. They build skateparks damn near all over the world. A lot of the spots in this video are spots that Sloan has built himself or fixed up. He’s one of the toughest dudes I know and got a heart full of gold. This part is his magnum opus.

There’s a part around 2:32 where we unearthed a rain collection dish at this pool. There was solid concrete and rebar over it, and a little manhole that you could stick your head in and look under. One day we were joking: “What if we sledge hammered out the ground?” What started with one sledge hammer to the ground ended with us doing just that. Those were three of the hardest days of physical labor I’ve ever had in my life. We had to not only sledge hammer thick conrete — it’s probably like five inches thick — we had to shovel it out of the bowl because it all fell into it. Shoveling it out was the hardest part. There’s water in it now, but people still skate it. If it goes a year without anybody doing anything to it, it needs a day of clearing it out.

The second-to-last trick in his part — he 5050s this rail under the bridge that was Jody’s Spot. You can’t tell, but he runs out of frame and dislocates his elbow after hitting the pillar. There’s a couple tricks in his part where he has the bionic elbow. Love Sloan, shout out to Sloan.

Honorable Mention: Wes Kremer – Crusty By Nature” (2014)

Previously: Bobshirt, Brandon Turner, Shari White, Nick Jensen, Tony Hawk, Naquan Rollings, Jack O’Grady, Josh Wilson, Maité Steenhoudt, Jahmir Brown, Una Farrar, Chris Jones, Mason Silva, Beatrice Domond, Mark Suciu, Justin Henry, 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

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