Tag: "girl"

Girl & Chocolate Skateboards | Pretty Sweet

Girl & Chocolate Skateboards Pretty Sweet review

When a new production rolls out of the house of Crailtap, it’s time to stop what you’re doing and see what’s going on. Ever since the original cluster of skaters broke out from Rocco and the World Industries empire, I was a devotee for life. As a huge World fan, I was sad to see my favourite riders move away from the skate company that had influenced my buying habits for many years, but at the same time I was excited to see what they’d come up with. The first series of Girl boards confused me slightly (I still recall being asked “Why have you got the international symbol for a female toilet on your skateboard?”), but I went with it. Fuck it, I was enough of a social outcast at school anyway: endorsing girls’ bathrooms wasn’t going to damage it any further. When Chocolate launched shortly after, it just solidified my new-found loyalty. Ever since those early days, Girl, Chocolate and the all people behind the Crailtap collection of skate companies have remained at the top of the pile for me.

Family is a word that gets thrown around a lot, but it’s a genuine feeling you get when you see these guys on video or in the magazines. Most of them skate together, the older guys look out for the younger ones and it comes across as an overall-supportive environment. Most importantly, especially when watching their video productions, the skaters are amazing.

So when the first rumblings of a new full-length film from these guys reached me, I had to control my excitement. I knew it’d be good – I’d have preordered it right there and then – but I also knew there’d be a wait first. Anyone who remembers the torturous process in waiting for Lakai’s ‘Fully Flared‘ would know of the mental anguish. After working out why the new film was called ‘Pretty Sweet’ (Girls are pretty and Chocolate is sweet, unless you’re looking at my ex-wife and you’re on the diabetic candy), I spotted a countdown timer appeared on the specially-allocated website, and watched the trailers as they began popping up. By the time the official full-length trailer was floating around on YouTube, I was feverish. A slightly-unusual time for the UK premiere meant I’d have to sit that one out due to work issues, but with an iTunes release only 10 days away, I figured I could wait. I’ll be ordering the DVD from one of the true skate shops here in the UK (due around the 3rd December), but I stayed up until 00:00 on the 27th to purchase the iTunes download anyway. I ain’t waiting any longer.

Girl & Chocolate Skateboards Pretty Sweet review

Or perhaps I am, because at the time of writing, there are still 27 minutes left on my download. All that HD goodness takes a while to pipe through. Dammit. I should add quickly that I hate iTunes downloads and will be buying the full DVD as soon as it’s available in the UK. Not only has the DVD got a bonus disc and a booklet, but iTunes makes it impossible to do frame-by-frame analysis (since they removed the option to view your purchase in Quicktime) and screengrabbing is really hard because of that fucking iTunes video controller. Grrr.

– 12 hours + 3 back-to-back viewings later –

Wow. I walked away with a different feeling than when I’d first watched ‘Fully Flared’, but ‘Pretty Sweet’ is just as epic. And that’s the word I’m going to use: epic. You can put this video up against any of the free-to-view online parts from the past few years, but nothing comes close to the feeling of epicness that this video brings. You already know that the production values are off the scale (it is Spike Jonze and freinds here, after all), but the skating is so good and overwhelming that it’s hard to put it into words. The word ‘epic’ distils my thoughts into four characters for you.

So, what’s in these 78 minutes? A lot.

Girl & Chocolate Skateboards Pretty Sweet review

Girl & Chocolate Skateboards Pretty Sweet review

After an Orson Welles-inspired intro sequence (one fluid, real-time shot that eventually ties everyone together), there’s an opening montage with lots of great stuff in it… and then we’re straight into Vincent Alvarez’s section. A relatively recent addition to the Chocolate roster, he is more than worthy of owning the first slot in the video. With a soundtrack of three different songs behind him, everything in his path gets annihilated. High speed antics never looked so good, especially when there’s a hefty dose of technicality involved. Switch 180° fakie 5-0 down a rail is no joke. Fakie bigger-flip down four? Yes. Plenty of crazy twisty-turny boardslide stuff as well and some nice lines. Oh – and he almost gets hit by several cars (including one moment of trickery that made me dribble hot tea into my lap). Enough spoilers: he’s more than worthy of his place here.

I was definitely excited about Cory Kennedy’s part – and it surpassed my expectations. Loads and loads of great tricks – a killer frontside half cab to frontside feeble down a rail rounds his part off, but there’s WAY more good stuff beforehand (including a backside tailslide-to-kickflip-to-backside tailslide that made blood froth out of my nose) – and he always appears to be enjoying himself. I also liked the choice of Bob Seger’s ‘Night Moves’ for his music. I reckon my father would approve as well.

Girl & Chocolate Skateboards Pretty Sweet review

Raven Tershy’s up next and call me an idiot, because I was surprised how much real street footage he had here. All good stuff and fits in nicely with his destruction of the parks that I was expecting. Dude takes some proper slams and then just gets up and finishes the job as planned. Mike Mo Capaldi might have been plagued with a few injuries over the past years, but his section is an impressive continuation of his Lakai video part: a lot of flippery, some featherfooted manual work and lots of lines where he’ll casually throw in some Battle at the Berrics type tomfoolery. I can’t quite work out how he does the half-impossible underflip stuff, but that’s because it’s done at speed and in lines as though it’s a normal trick that anyone can do. Loads of great stuff in this section (and he’s still the king of the switch 360° flip).

Girl & Chocolate Skateboards Pretty Sweet review

Jeron Wilson and Brandon Biebel share a killer part: both put some work into this and it shows. Jeron might be one of the older OG guys on the team, but he makes it clear that he’s still on the money. When Biebel isn’t making cameramen fall over, he’s doing tech lines, advanced manual combos, long grinds and backside 180° –> fakie nosegrind –> fakie bigspins out on ledges. Still killing it. And skating to Meek Mill and Rick Ross didn’t do any harm either. Tupac Back!

Kenny Anderson is one hell of a smooth skater. Every single trick is done with perfect style and made to look easy. Backside noseblunt slide with a 270° out is the definition of the term ‘buttery’ and even powerslides look like he’s carving up a wave. One of my favourites, without a doubt. Chris Roberts and Gino Iannucci then join in the same section – relatively brief appearances and the Gino fans will be crying that he’s only got four tricks here, but it’s still quality – and then Daniel Castillo shows us a couple of tricks just before Justin Eldridge’s efforts (which I really enjoyed). Back to Kenny for a few more bangers and we’re done. I really enjoyed this section and the initial disappointment of seeing only brief appearances from a couple of my favourite skaters was alleviated by the standard of the skating. I liked the use of the Justice track as well.

Girl & Chocolate Skateboards Pretty Sweet review

If you were tiring of the positive outlook on this review, then you might want to close the page, because Stevie Perez has a fucking GREAT section. I hadn’t seen that much of him before this part, so I didn’t really know what to expect, but… wow. Stevie’s real good. Kicking things off with ‘Holy Ghost’ by The Bar-Kays was a great decision, and Stevie’s onslaught is relentless. Rails, gaps, manuals… All are handled properly, with speed and style and a smile. He does the best kickflip frontside crooked nollie flip out and not content with boardsliding over a gap in a handrail, he steps it up to feeble at the end. The yelling at the end of his part is more than justified after his last trick. Super good, Stevie.

Alex Olson’s up next and although it’s a shared part, it’s no less impressive as a result. Loads of great tricks get bumped up a notch as he takes them higher and further than most. His schoolyard picnic table rampage is particularly memorable and he throws in some really good-looking tech into his section too. Mike Carroll is the feeble combination master and still skates with the same flawless style we’ve always loved. Brian Anderson is amazing and boneless smith grinds a big rail, with an amusing background t-shirt appearance that will stoke online nonsense for years to come. Add a quick appearance from Rick McCrank (who was apparently injured for a while) and you’ve got a great four-skater section. A Beastie Boys musical accompaniment is, in my opinion, a fitting tribute to MCA and mentally took me back to the days of ‘Questionable’.

Girl & Chocolate Skateboards Pretty Sweet review

Jesus Fernandez skates to the sounds of the Gypsy Kings and gets technical in a big way: some of the stuff he does is absolutely ridiculous (backside smith to inward heel was particularly nice as was the backside 270° ollie to tailslide to backside 270° ollie flip out). Was that a Paulo Diaz sighting I caught there for a second? Chico Brenes joins in for some slick nollie/switch heel action (and a dope backside 360° out of that big red metal thing we’ve seen everywhere the past few months).

Elijah Berle skates big and drives it home that the new additions to the team were totally valid: he does a perfect impossible 50-50 down a hubba, polejam 50-50s over a box thing into the street, smiths a huge red rail… and loads more. His ended is massive and looks scary from the second angle.

Everyone looks like they hate Baby B (AKA Jack Black) when he’s disrupting a session, although he eventually gets the goods. You’ll understand what I’m babbling on about when you see this bit. I thought Marc Johnson was going to snap and punch him at one point. Speaking on Marc Johnson, his part’s up next. And mother of hell it’s good. Starting off with the best backside noseblunt slide you will EVER see, it’s the beginning of one of my favourite sections of the whole video. When he’s not burying his board in dirt, he’s doing nollie lasers out of nose manuals or impossibles out of 5-0s. An incredibly good section and a strong reason for buying the video alone. Special mention to the amazing fakie 5-0 he does on a yellow metal gate. It’s the best you’ll ever see.

Girl & Chocolate Skateboards Pretty Sweet review

Girl & Chocolate Skateboards Pretty Sweet review

Girl & Chocolate Skateboards Pretty Sweet review

Who’s next? Sean Malto, that’s who. You might have got used to seeing him destroy ready-made street courses but don’t think for a second that he left the streets behind in the process. His infamous grinding skills get taken to new levels (and his opening inside-the-house 50-50 is amazing) and his last trick is incredibly good. If you feel like I’ve shortchanged you on my review of Malto’s section, then that’s because you need to see it for yourself to truly appreciate it.

Girl & Chocolate Skateboards Pretty Sweet review

And then we have Guy Mariano’s part. Unless you’ve been hiding in a forest for the past few weeks, you’ll have heard murmurings along the lines of ‘Skater of the Year’ and other such terms being thrown around. All I can really say is that they’re all well-deserved. After throwing down one of the best video parts ever in ‘Fully Flared’, Guy Mariano delivers yet again. Plenty of shove-it flippery out of tailslide, noseslides and other such things, but you’re going to need to rewatch it a few times to grasp the bulk of it. Eric Koston shows up for a few tricks here and there too, but I’m gonna assume that we’ll see the fruits of his recent labours in the forthcoming Nike video. I loved seeing the video footage of Guy returning to the same handrail spot he ended his ‘Video Days’ part with as well. I’m not gonna name specific tricks and spoil any of it for you… but his ender… Goddamn. You haven’t seen that before.

The ending credits are always good fun in Spike’s videos, and this is no exception. The first part is great – Cory Kennedy does a 360° flip on a snakeboard for Chrissakes – but the little song with all the legendary skaters in is fucking amazing! I’ve got no idea why but it actually made me get a lump in my throat (resisted the full onion eyes though). So many great people. A great little tribute to have at the end and it was good to see Kareem is still around!

So, that’s probably the briefest summary I could put together that I feel does some kind of justice to ‘Pretty Sweet’. It’s incredibly good. I loved the editing, camera angles, multiple views, music – and the skating. It was a slight shame not to see Devine Calloway and Anthony Pappalardo on here, but maybe they’ll turn up in the extras DVD. The social media and messageboards will no doubt be full of comments, but you can be assured that you won’t be able to pass judgement without buying this and watching it for yourself. Downloading a torrented copy won’t do it any justice at all.

Girl & Chocolate Skateboards Pretty Sweet review

Hats off to everyone involved – even those who didn’t have full sections, because it’s clearly that ‘family vibe’ DNA that has made for such a great team. Spike, Ty, Cory, Rick, Mike, Megan, Meza, everyone: we’re not worthy.

– I’ll post an update on the DVD content once I’ve picked it up –

Go to your local skate store and pick up the DVD… but if you can’t wait, then you’ll find it here on iTunes.

Andy Jenkins Interview

Bend Press The Art Dump Girl Skateboards The Art Dump Bend Press Crail Tap The Art Dump Bend Press

Lakai Limited Footwear ‘The Final Flare’ DVD

lakai final flare

When I received my review copy of ‘The Final Flare’, I was slightly nervous. How the hell was I going do justice to a 3-disc special edition version of one of the best skate films ever?

If you’re looking for a breakdown of the main feature, then the first thing to do is to go back and re-read the original ‘Fully Flared’ review here on Trashfilter. The bonus material – we’re talking SIX hours’ worth! – in this special edition is well worth a completely separate review, so I’m going to briefly break down each of the three DVDs in this box one-by-one.

Let’s kick things off and set the scene with one of the official ‘Final Flare’ trailers:

Looks good, huh? Read on homebones…

lakai final flare

Disc One (SD DVD)


Original Fully Flared Release
Fully Flared Trailer #1
Fully Flared Trailer #2
Koston Speechless
Fully Fished

I’m not sure if there was anything on here that I hadn’t already seen, whether it was on the original release of ‘Fully Flared’, on Crailtap or on Lakai‘s site. That said, if you didn’t already purchase the original release, then you’ve got your money’s worth right here already: the two extra discs in the box are just icing on the cake. If you did buy the first release of ‘Flared’, then just stick this disc in, remind yourself that this is the best skate film since ‘Video Days’ and ‘Questionable’ and re-watch the main feature again.

lakai final flare

Disc Two (SD DVD)


The Final Flare Documentary
Unused Footage
Beware Of The Flare
Alternate Edits
Photo Galleries
Commercials and Video Vaults
Battle Commanders (Koston and Mariano)
All Blu-Ray Features (from Disc Three) Converted To SD
Australia Promo
Canada Promo… and a few other bits n’ pieces

As I already owned ‘Fully Flared’, for me, disc two is where the full value sits. There’s a hell of a lot of extra footage on this DVD. The ‘Unused Footage’ alone is almost 25 minutes long – and has a lot of sections you won’t have seen before. Watching this just re-emphasizes the effort and work that the team went to on this production. It might have been nice to see it grouped and arranged by skater perhaps, but that’s just a personal preference and being picky – this footage is better than most other skate companies would put out as their final edit.

Everything on here is worth watching (alternative edits have never really appealed to me, but I liked them here), but the two killers come in the form of ‘Beware Of The Flare’, which documents the team travelling through Europe over a period of three weeks in March and April of 2002. I’d seen this before, but it’s a great bonus feature to own here. Biebel and Johnson totally annihilate the continent, while the French Connection (and my fellow Londoners Jensen and Brady) do themselves proud.

‘The Final Flare Documentary’ is a sixty-minute extravaganza showing you the behind-the-scenes point of view. If you thought making a skate video was simple, then you should educate yourself. The amount of time, effort and money that went into making ‘Fully Flared’ is unbelievable: gruelling tour schedules (seriously), injuries and stress (let alone the amazing filming and editing)… It’s amazing and inspiring to hear the team talk about the pressure they felt on making this the best film ever. For me – and probably many other 30-something skaters out there – it was Guy Mariano’s ‘comeback’ that resonated the most. Guy talks openly and frankly about where he was in his life before deciding to pick up his board again. To hear how Rick Howard and the Lakai guys embraced his return and helped nurture his desire to be back at the forefront of skating again is genuinely heartwarming – and reminds you that the supportive and involving nature of skating is well and alive. An amazing film that everyone should see.

lakai final flare

Disc Three (HD Blu-Ray Disc)


New Full Length HD Feature
Weekend At Biebel’s
Guy Medical Leave Of Absence
Vincent Alvarez commercials and Chocolate Introduction
Fully Flared Intro
Fully Fished
TWS Awards Interviews
Photographer Photo Gallery

For those of us fortunate to own a PS3 or a regular Blu-Ray player, this is a great addition to your DVD library. All the juicy visuals and grading from the original feature are shown as they should be in glorious HD quality – but it’s not the original version of ‘Flared’. It’s extra unseen footage cut to different music. Unbelievable… Just how much footage did they manage to collect? The intro sequence viewed in this quality will blow you away, if you’ll pardon the pun. Brandon Biebel is definitely one of my favourite characters on the team and I really liked the ten-minute ‘Weekend At Biebel’s’ documentary that they put on here.
Guy talks about his injury and subsequent surgery without making you squirm too much and the Vincent Alvarez ‘Welcome To Chocolate’ commercials previously only seen as web-quality clips are here in HD, which looks great. A perfect end to the trilogy of discs.

lakai final flare

Mike Mo’s Easter Egg footage and Carroll’s section from TWS’s epic ‘Modus Operandi’ are worth seeking out if you can find them (try ‘cleaning’ someone’s ear on the second disc’s menu…) and the bonus 46 page booklet that comes in the box is a great read, packed with all kinds of old ads and giving you a real idea of the production timeline.

The Lakai guys should feel proud of this contribution to skating. This special edition set surpassed all expectations, even after everyone had seen ‘Fully Flared’. That’s not the kind of goal most sane people would set themselves.

P.S. For anyone who was hoping to see the ‘Slow Motion In Regular Motion’ section from the second disc, which had to be axed after the packaging was printed due to lack of disc space, the Lakai guys have put it as a free download on iTunes via their site for all to see. Thanks dudes. Or you can simply watch it here on Trashfilter courtesy of the official Lakai YouTube channel.

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’


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.

Chocolate Skateboards ‘City Street’ Decks

I’m a sucker for any Evan Hecox artwork, so this series of Chocolate boards caught my eye straight away. I’m guessing that this set was designed as a follow-up to one of the best series of graphics of all time: the ‘City Series One’, released in 1997:

(Image pilfered from www.bobshirt.com)

The new set has five boards that piece together, from five of Chocolate’s pro riders: Kenny Anderson, Devine Calloway, Marc Johnson, Gino Iannucci and Anthony Pappalardo. As always, the Hecox illustrations are spot on: nice tri-tone washes, bold pen outlines and slick attention to detail. Oh, and the ever-important Chocolate logo joins the decks nicely in the form of a hoarding above the stores.

Yeah, skateboards are for riding, but I needed a set of these to grace the walls in my house before they disappeared. You’ll be lucky to find them now, but if you see a set pick ’em up. A good investment (I doubled up and sold my spare set for nearly £2k a month after buying them off eBay for $300), but most-importantly they look fantastic. I invested the profits into buying a couple more Hecox prints – and an extra Calloway model to use for its intended purpose. Nice.