New York has quite literally never felt like it does right now in this quarantined liminal space that we are in. The level of quiet in Manhattan at 8 P.M. is incomparable to even the deadest, coldest Sunday night in a residential zone. Obviously, there’s a reason for this, in that we all must do our part to minimize human contact so that COVID-19 can be contained, hospitals can maintain a semblance of functionality, and we can begin to burrow out of this chapter. Mobbing to skate midtown and being a responsible member of society are clearly at odds right now.
However, the current state of the city did bring up memories of a different disruptive event: Hurricane Sandy.
This was the decade that the full-length skate video was supposed to die. We began the 2010s with everyone insisting that Stay Gold would be the last full-length skate video. Then, Pretty Sweet was supposed to be the last full-length video. Some people thought that Static IV would be it — the end, no more full-lengths after that. But I feel like I heard someone say Josh was working on something new a couple months back? Idk.
The experience might’ve changed. We’re not huddling around a skate house’s TV covered in stickers to watch a DVD bought from a shop anymore (if this past weekend is any indication, it’s more like AirPlaying a leaked .mp4 file via a link obtained from a guy who knows a guy), but the experience of viewing a fully realized skate video with your friends for the first, second or twentieth time is still sacred.
Just as we asked for your votes for the five best video parts, we did the same for the five best full-lengths: if you could choose the five videos that defined the 2010s, what would they be? The results were a bit more surprising than the parts tally in some ways, given that it felt like independent, regional and newer, small brand videos dominated the decade, yet Big Shoe Brands™ and Girl + Chocolate still made their way into the list. The top-heaviness of some companies or collectives was less of a surprise, in that certain creators loomed large over the 2010s.
Like the installment before it, this list is sans comment for 20-11, and then via favors from writer friends for the top ten: here are the twenty best skate videos of the past ten years.
Kurt Havens, the Academy Award winning filmmaker behind 2012’s Twomanji video, is back with another full-length VHS / Hi-8 / old camera (?) project entitled Ballhog. It’s pretty much a vintage-tinged Bronze B-cam video from the past couple years, and features iconic parts from Mark Humienik, Billy McFeely, and Josh Wilson.
Gang Corp, Frog, Humble, The Skate Kitchen, and Hardbody all have spreads in the new issue of Japan’s Eyescream mag. Probably won’t do you much good if you can’t read Japanese (the Google Translate camera feature is sick though), but still rad to see nonetheless. Shout out to everybody.
Damn, imagine wanting to skate the Veteran’s Memorial 12 that bad? ;) jk. Marco Kada covered a lot of ground across the city and outlying areas (who even remembers the last trick on the Jersey City Hamilton Park five block spot…Zered’s Vicious Cycle part?) for his rad “New York Nice Guy” part.
“You know he’d get his mental health check and go straight to Ralph and drop two grand on a fucking moleskin pair of trousers or something.” Some Monday motivation for anyone currently living on a couch in an apartment they don’t pay rent for: Freeinterviewed Lev Tanju about all the cool shit Palace has been doing in London these past couple years.
Blonde Reider is pretty sick. 99% sure he’s the first one to skate the second level of the Columbus Circle statue ledge from flat. Someone good should noseslide it.
You probably caught the Puleo and Wenning sections from In Absentia, but you might’ve missed the more under-the-radar parts from Rodney Torres, who has always been a bit ahead of his time, especially by east coast standards, and Andy Bautista, which contains tons of Logic #6 B-sides. R.I.P. Hoboken Ledges.
“This is a bad example, but you know like in Dodgeball, when the evil team comes out and they’ve got the best uniform, and everyone else has mixed shirts? I like that look.” Complex has a rather detailed interview with Lev Tanju.
The Gonz doesn’t like Brooklyn, and Kevin Lowry cruising around non name brand New York spots is a fun watch. (Do any NBA fans find it confusing that there is a Canadian skateboarder named Kevin Lowry, and a basketball player on a Canadian team named Kyle Lowry? Or is this only a problem in the QS office?)
How long is that new T.F. box going to stick around? How long until there’s a 24-hour police patrol at that new concreted spot downtown? Sorry for so many questions today. We are feeling very #existential.
For a group that considers itself so creative, skateboarders sure suck at naming tricks. The sex change, benihana and even salad grind have all fallen out of fashion, and so have fun trick names altogether. Skaters have grown into stringent conservatives about trick names; QS is routinely lambasted for use of the term “nollie half cab” for nollie frontside 180s, as if 90% of the T.F. doesn’t call it that already. Even seemingly clever names e.g. “the fishhook” for the nollie frontside 180 switch nosegrind revert point to mechanical similarities rather than any hint of playful nomenclature.
But one name has stood strong over the past decade. Maybe it’s not an official name, but the “white rapper” B.K.A. the switch varial heelflip is still keeping the fun in trick names up and down the eastern seaboard, and evidently abroad as well. (Some corners will contend that it also refers to regular stance varial heelflips…more on that in a bit.) What genius came up with this name? Who did it refer to and where did it originate from? We decided to find out.
The most common origin story comes from Philadelphia, some ten-plus years ago. That is where we will begin our journey…