It’s 2019 and Lucas Puig is dropping parts still 40% filmed at the Venice curbs. There are lines in “BLESSED” that consist of a trick up a curb and a wallride from the sidewalk. So why doesn’t Natas — the guy who invented wallies and wallrides on straight up vertical walls (Gonz’s words, not mine…) — continue to evade top billing alongside Mark Gonzales in the “really old videos that younger people still like”-convo? (Natas has never been mentioned in a 5FP. And anybody who has been skating since the eighties is obvs exempt here.)
Even when we posted that video of Tufty doing his best variation of a Natas spin, a handful ofthe responses were still “I didn’t know this trick was possible outside of a video game.” At a time when we can watch the techest possible ledge combo on our feed, process it for 1.2 seconds, and keep scrolling, that’s truly saying a lot about a trick that was first done thirty years ago.
Some of this comes down to canonization, or the stuff you’re told to like. A friend once observed that saying Gonz in Video Days is your favorite video part is like saying Citizen Kane is your favorite movie. Like sure, I guess, ok yeah, everyone can dig a bit deeper, and a Natas part isn’t even deep.
All that to say this: I think Zach was feeling elevated, listening to Future, and watching some old favorites this past summer when he realized that for whatever reason, the woozy 120 BPM title track to 56 Nights goes really well with the extra slow-mo and film look of Natas’ Streets on Fire part. While procrastinating on another edit job, I tried to throw it together.
Productivity on a skateboard is known to be partial to a more, ummm, let’s say, “open-ended” schedule. Life obligations and responsibilities do have a well-worn way of interfering with clips. But given too much time on our hands, we start to take it for granted: how many of those slacker days end up spent kicking around Tompkins, L.E.S. or Blue Park? (Obvs the answer is…a lot.)
On the other hand, the guys with actual jobs have a way of making those two free days and two weeks of paid vacation count. Case in point: Josh Velez has been on a half-decadestreakof filminga parta year on his days off for the purposes of, in his words, keeping him sane. Where are the fire parts from the years prior to his foray into gainful employment? Blowing in the wind somewhere…
(Nah jk, we were driving around with Dre looking at bump-to-bars that nobody was going to skate for months on end in those years.) But really, this past year, him and Connor Champion, another full-timer since leaving the Young Money payroll, put together the best one from either of them yet. Maybe there’s more to this “having a job” thing than just a consistent bank account balance ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Filmed and edited by T.J. Marshall. Filmed throughout 2018 in San Francisco, Copenhagen/Malmö, and New York. Guest tricks from Troy Stilwell, Tyler Tufty, Bob Reynolds, and Nolan Benfield. Collective electronic “booooo” from the stands to all those who failed to get requested guest tricks, including but not limited to: Andre Page, myself, Genesis, Meatball, and most egregiously, Kevin Tierney (wtf bro.)
Despite two years of no Christmas clips, there was a concerted effort (of some success) to bring the #realcamera out in 2018. This year’s best turned out to be a grab bag of mixed media: the shitty HD office cam, iPhones, a VX1000 for a more nostalgia-tinted moment earlier this year, and YES, some shit went to the IG story only to leave me immediately regretting “fuck, I wish I had Logan’s $97 nollie tre in glorious 1080p video.”
And there’s no Top 10 this week because the skateboard internet collectively took off from posting ANY new video. Tyshawn’s “BLESSED” part was only up for Christmas Day, and other than that, there was like, a Silas part, and Kyota’s long ass 5050 from the GRoE tour.
Back on Monday with the end of the Year in Review ♥ I can’t believe 4.P.F. blocked “Never Recover” on YouTube, forcing a plan B on the second song. Heartbroken.
Daniel Kim, our 2016 Q.S.S.O.T.Y., is honoring exemplary bouts of evolution since January 1, 2018 with his own, Stingwater-endorsed award, G.R.O.E.T.Y. (GRoE, of course, stands for Getting Ready tO Evolve.) Your 2018 GRoEr of the Year is Antonio Durao: medicine man, beach bully deterrent, gardener, and humanitarian. Daniel gave an eye-watering honorary speech for the occasion.
One of the most remarkable things about Antonio is that he treats skateboarding like the giant fun joke that it is, whether he’s switch back heeling some massive high-bust set on a whim, or skating off the foot-wide lip of a truck bed. The key difference between you or I treating it like a joke, and him, is that his talent on collides with this “joke” head on at every corner wherever he skates, never missing a chance to do something equal parts insane, fried and brilliant. (We’ve kept a small Twitter thread going of his third-eye vision since the middle of the summer.)
Put all your dreams in skateboarding’s basket, and sometimes, they end up crushed. Years of blood spilled over video parts, knees hurting after being squished into tour vans, rent paid to share a three bedroom with five people — and all you have to show for it is a stack of warped boards that you never got a chance to skate.
Long story short: it is always wise to diversify your dream portfolio in case [for some strange reason] the whole “pro skater” thing doesn’t work out.
To be honest, I don’t know if Barnes ever wanted to be a pro skater. Maybe when he was 14 or something, I never really asked. But I do remember him being a staple in 5Boro videos for as long as I have known what 5Boro was. He was also a longstanding resident of the aughts’ most notorious brand-name skate house, Dobbin Block. Today, he is the closest thing we know to a deranged rich guy (see #16.) I’m not sure if he’s on the path to becoming a philanthropic sort of deranged rich guy who leaves the world a vastly better place than it was, or James Bond villain sort of deranged rich guy. And frankly, there’s a 50/50 shot for either outcome, and I’m cool with waiting in suspense until he arrives at one.
When he does, we — the skateboard family who watched Spike Jonze accept his Oscar with proud affirmation that he was one of “us” — can watch Barnes either save the world or destroy it, while telling our loved ones, “Oh yeah, that’s the guy who used to do all the crazy drop-ins in old 5Boro videos.”