Although good ledge spots are hardly synonymous with British skateboarding, it’s a surprising reality that they were missing from even the country’s capital until the turn of the millennium. Such was the landscape of London until, in the late 1990s, heaven was discovered in an unassuming patch of greenery just down the road from Victoria Station. Jacob Sawyer’s wonderful “Ode To Victoria Benches” story for Slam City Skates pinpoints the spot as having been discovered somewhere around 1997. The Blueprint Skateboards team and friends would go on to localize it, with the benches appearing in Waiting For The World, Headcleaner, and First Broadcast.
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.
Despite our many Ludditical tendencies — like an asinine reverence for a MiniDV camera that was born the same year as Meatball — skaters can all agree that the internet has been a great thing for us. You can argue about megapixels, what to call a nollie cab (the correct answer being “nollie cab”), and which tricks do and don’t deserve Renaissance; the globalized culture of skateboarding has benefitted as a result of our generation’s interconnectedness. From the ease of recording it, to the ease of uploading, sharing, and seeing it, makes it feasible to peek into any scene to see how people skate, dress, talk, and talk shit.
For a person from the eastern United States, one thing that I’ve come to terms with is how little my peers and I actually know about the scenes and histories throughout Europe and really, much of the world outside of the U.S. I thought I knew a little something about the U.K. from watching Blueprint videos, liking Tom Penny, and retaining a handful of shit that’s gone down at Southbank, but in recent years of following dudes like Science Versus Life, I’ve been shown myriad photos from mags, photographers, skaters, and spots I had never heard of.
This sense of cluelessness is heightened when sitting down to watch Palace’s first video. Palasonic, a seemingly authoritative report on what’s going on in London, was logged camcorders of the cavemen, captured digitally on a tripod from a VCR, then edited on a twenty-year-old Macintosh. Convoluted as this may be, it gives the vid a sense of timelessness and intertextuality with a regional past that, frankly, I know very little about. So, I talked to Lucien Clarke, the man with the video’s seven-minute ender, whose rumored to be able to singlehandedly sell out even the most flamboyant Triangle-stamped kits just by filming an Insta line in them.
It’s grey out there, so here’s the clip of Muska hugging a tree to put a smile on your face (it’s tied with this video of like a 500 people rapping every single word to Glizzy’s verse on “Crew” for 2017’s best byte of life-affirming video.) It was a pleasure to watch this new season of Epicly Later’d — Andy Roy defending Jesse Paez was funnier than any bit of scripted comedy that someone could come up with, and if your heart didn’t melt at Reynolds’ relationship with his daughter and Kader, then your insides probably look like the Juicy J “Stay Fly” shirt.
“Can human achievement in general surpass Chewy Cannon’s bank-to-ledge nosegrind or can we only hope to match it?” With the completion of the endlessly postponed, all-London Palace video, Boil the Ocean dwells on the post-2010 tide shifts that have occurred in the British skateboard industry.
This Detroit edit is rad. It chronicles the recent history of all its spots via an overview of changing Google Street Views. Also, it made Detroit look funner to skate (at least for our purposes) than a lot of recent higher profile coverage to come out of there.
“Electricity acts like a skateboarder traveling down a ramp. The higher the ramp, the more potential energy they have and the further they can travel.” See: Skateboarding as a vessel to teach how electricity works.