Category: Features

Skate Videos | A Personal Recollection

It’s easy to get caught up in a nasty anachronistic frame of mind when you’re thinking back over your skating past. ‘They don’t make them like they used to’ might ring true for any older skaters, but it’s not really very constructive. I defy any ex-skater to watch ‘Fully Flared’ and say the production values are anything less than perfect and the skating isn’t incredible.

Over the past twenty years, I’ve see a lot of skate videos come and go. Watching the Lakai film made me think about some of my favourite sections of all time. I still have all of my VHS tapes that I bought – original copies of things like Blind’s ‘Video Days’, 101’s ‘Snuff’, Plan B’s ‘Questionable’… obscure stuff like Planet Earth’s ‘Cats Cradle’ or Sims’ ‘The 2nd Coming’… and I still occasionally give them an airing. A lot of them are probably worthless in the DVD age, but when I think back to the days of waiting in the skate shop for the delivery of ‘Tim & Henry’s Pack Of Lies’ to arrive I can remember how much me and my friends were into them. I remember watching the ‘Rubber Boys’ section in Powell’s ‘Public Domain’ and the skate session that happened afterwards. We weren’t any better for having watched it maybe, but in our heads we could do no-complies and 360 shove-its just like Ray Barbee. Same with watching H-Street’s ‘Next’ video: the resulting session at Fairfields was memorable for me. I thought the days of waiting anxiously for a company video to appear had long gone, but Lakai and Habitat have definitely rekindled that flame a little bit in the past year.

With everything uploaded to the ‘net straight away, it’s pretty easy to find something good to watch. I might own the originals to all of these, but it’s nice to take a few minutes during lunch in the office and watch a few of my personal favourite sections. Here’s a few of my favourites (including a few unlikely candidates alongside some expected gems) that I’d like to draw your attention to.

Guy Mariano ‘Mouse’ (Girl Skateboards 1996)

Mariano was always amazing, but this was his first full length section since ‘Video Days’, so it had a lot of high expectations. And, damn, it delivered… The line at the brick banks, his amazing switch skills… Not sure anyone could recreate this entire part even ten years on. If you haven’t already seen it, check his switch frontside shove-it to switch crooked on the handrail during the end credits of the film.

Mark Gonzales and Jason Lee ‘Video Days’ (Blind 1991)

Two of the best skaters ever, in the best skate video ever.
I was there when Gonz did his 180 to fakie 50-50 at the Shell Centre.

The Rubber BoysRay Barbee/Eric Sanderson/Steve Saiz and Chet Thomas ‘Public Domain’ (Powell Peralta 1988)

This is probably the best example of Stacy Peralta’s skill in tracking down ‘unknowns’ and presenting them to the world, along with the LA section in ‘Ban This’ (where the world was introduced to Guy Mariano, Rudy Johnson, Paulo Diaz and Gabriel Rodriguez).
This was at the time of no complies, frontside handrails and skaters taking tricks borrowed from freestyle (kickflips or gazelles, for example) and applying them to street riding.

Daewon Song ‘New World Order’ (World Industries 1993)

Taking what he’d shown in the ‘Love Child’ video and pushing it further, Daewon’s section here is pretty much flawless. Nollie bigspin heelflip on the Beryl school banks? Oof! “He’s the best in the world!”.

Jeremy Wray ‘Second Hand Smoke’/’The Revolution’ and ‘Color’ (Plan B and Color 1994/1995 and 1994)

One of the most underrated skaters of all time, surely. Perfect solid landings, flip tricks down huge sets of stairs, phenomenal pop, amazing style… Watch his frontside 360 roof-to-roof ollie in ‘The Revolution’. Watch the opening line at Carlsbad High in ‘Second Hand Smoke’. Even the opening ollie of his section in ‘Color’ (with a very young-looking Jason Dill in the background) is amazing. Each of these sections is still incredible 15 years later.

‘Second Hand Smoke’

‘The Revolution’

‘Color’

Peter Smolik ‘Fulfill The Dream’ (Shorty’s 1998)

Love or hate his uber-gangsta posturing, you can’t deny that this guy has skills. Some of the stuff he pulled in this section was jaw-droppingly good for the time. Oh, and the track by Mike Czech was nice too.

Henry Sanchez ‘Tim & Henry’s Pack Of Lies’ (Blind 1992)

If you ever skated ledges, you owe this guy some respect. ’92’s Blind video might’ve only been 8 minutes long, but damn it was good. On a sidenote, I’d love to see some more of the ‘lost’ Brian Lotti footage.

Adam McNatt ‘Still Life’ (Evol 1996)

Controversial maybe, but McNatt did some stuff that was way ahead of his time in his video sections. Aside from upsetting loads of people in his Transworld Magazine interview and dragging jump ramps up to handrails, he was also a ninja. Gotta score some extra points for that.

Various 411 Video Magazine sections

411 was an amazing addition to skating. The concept of video magazines was unique at this point and although several other similar projects appeared over the years, 411 owned this genre. The downfall may have began with the advent of streaming video online, but with so many skate companies pushing out free films, people just stopped wanting to pay for these things and dropping £15 every two months just wasn’t going to cut it in this day and age. It’s still around, as a freebie, but it’s the old issues that most of us remember.
Hard to pick just one section to sum up how great it was, so here’s a few of my favourites.

Geoff Rowley, Andy Scott, Rune Glifberg and Tom Penny ‘Flip Industry’ section (411 1995)

‘World Park’ section (411 no.3)

I could go on and on and on… but I’ll leave it for further discussion.
I have missed out way too many other fantastic sections, but this was a spontaneous piece as opposed to a carefully-planned epic. Dig out some of the old videos and see them for yourself.