Guardian Angels — An Interview With John Petras

Intro & Interview by Adam Abada
Photos by Bradley Culebro & John Petras

At their best, skate videos use their subjects – namely, the skaters and the spots they skate – to blend the narratives of place and character into a cohesive whole. When this happens, you get a special product that recalls the intangible things we love about skating. John Petras‘ new Pittsburgh video, Celine, does just that.

In the height differential of a high-to-low ledge on a crusty Pittsburgh hill, I can sense the city-wide spot survey that led to this one’s constant reuse. In the high-contrast, black-and-orange-lit night footage at the Museum of Natural History, I can nearly see the frayed edges of a Toyota Yaris’ cloth seats and smell the stale spliff smoke from the half-day commute on I-80. The interim vignettes – gentle hugging of friends in quiet moments and the repeated handing off of a flower – drew me into the skaters’ world in unexpected ways. John Petras seems to have pulled off the difficult trick of imbuing Celine with a personal voice and a representative view of a city.

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In The Crib Watching Larry King Live

A late night pandemic savior. Photo by Zach Baker.

Though it’s far from the most #trending skate spot these days, a plan for the renovation and expansion of Union Square was unveiled last week. Just give us a couple République-style planters in the back, don’t kick us out of them, and the city can keep the next two skateparks they were gonna build. Thanks!

Good vibes in this one: “Vlog #1” via Josh Paynter, featuring all winter footy around the city. Footage can never do justice to that backside noseblunt at the L.I.C. D.I.Y. — that one was wild. Bed frame and subway clips are a hoot too :)

We’re living in a high-flying golden age of Instagram compilations on YouTube: Brandon Scott A.K.A. NevaSkimp, Sage Elsesser + Kevin Bilyeu, all just this past week.

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What A Time

Last Monday Links of the year ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Top 10 will return on Friday, January 8th. FWIW, this week, all of it would be from Davonte Jolly’s Godspeed video for Illegal Civ (a drive-in theater skate video premiere was a fire idea btw) + the new Yardsale video.

To pine for warmer days, check out the Public Skateboarding video by Tom Albin. 31 minutes, all filmed in New York, and as wholesome of a friends video as you could possibly get. Friend edits to “Never Too Much” always hit.

Boil the Ocean has embarked on its annual journey of picks for the year’s ten best video parts.

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The Best Skate Videos & Parts of 2020 — QS Readers Poll Results

Illustration by Cosme Studio
Ballot Tally Assist by 4Ply Magazine

One of the biggest cliches is discussing just *how much* skate content there is. Everything is available at once, and keeping track of it for one viewing — let alone multiple — is hard.

Last year’s decade poll aimed at a snapshot of skateboarding in a ten-year span, as it grew exponentially into the content waterfall it is today. It was very fun to do, but perhaps easier in that with ten years to reflect on, it was apparent what loomed large over tricks, styles and trends. We brought it back for a single year to try and form a canon at a time when so much of the conversation is geared around things moving too fast for a consensus.

Yes, you’ll notice an inherent recency bias here, and year-end content is obviously an imperfect art — the poll closed on December 4, which is before John’s Vid and Third Shift came out online, two projects that definitely would’ve ranked if eligible. (Honestly, John’s Vid might’ve ended up being #1 or #2 given the readership of this website.)

So here it is. No commentary for the full-lengths this round. Full-length skate videos capture a zeitgeist, and sometimes, it takes a while for those effects to truly make themselves known.

Shout out to all the writer friends from the internet who helped with write-ups, and extra major shout out to the team at 4Ply Magazine for the help on tallying the ballots.

And if you’re joining us, this ranking was voted on by QS readers during the first week of December, with voting ending on the 4th.

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So Icy

November 20th from here on out should be Brandon Turner Day.

There is no chance that you haven’t caught this already, right? Naquan Rollings’ “BUSS” video for Thrasher went live last week. This, “Rerock,” Kill Bill,” and “Pre-Roll” are the de facto box set of 2020 edits that we’ll look back on for a snapshot of New York skateboarding in this year.

Village Psychic was inspired by skier style (yes, skiers are as big fashion of nerds as we are, though they’re a bit more “official” about it) to consider the ideal skate outfit. Illustrations by Abada ♥

Which one of you has a foot fetish and hooked up with a writer from Vogue this past May? S/O for being responsible and getting a COVID test beforehand.

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