Tag: "skateboarding"

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.

Atlas x Mark Suciu | Cross Continental

Let’s get a bit of history about Atlas in here to start off with. I’ve read that you guys started in 2007: what inspired you to open up? With everything heading to online in recent years, it’s really nice to see physical stores still opening up.

Ryen Motzek: Yup, May of 2007 is when the doors opened. I myself have always been into retail. I worked for the Gap as a teenager and then got a job at Deluxe San Mateo. My biz partner Mike Manidis has deep roots in skating, was AM for New Deal, ran a skate camp during the summer, and we both thought it would be fresh to get something good going here.

There’s something about the retail experience that when done well is really cool and fun. Skateboarding being the best thing ever only makes that experience that much better (good music, classic skate videos, good product and an anti-corporate environment).

San Francisco has always been an iconic and important place for skaters, especially to us guys overseas. We had our own scenes, but we all tried to emulate what was going on over there as well. The whole EMB era was pretty significant to us. How have things changed since that time in SF? When Embarcadero went, did the scene become more disjointed?

When EMB shut down, everyone headed over to Pier 7. That lasted about 8 years. San Francisco has definitely made an effort to make spots skate proofed. Security guards are everywhere, and most new buildings come out with skate stoppers or random object in the way of ledges, rails, and other things to skate.

However, every now and then a great spot will pop up, and I will say it feels just like the old days. People from all over heading to that particular spot to get it in while it lasts. I’d say that the Bay Area in general is the spot. For example, something will pop up in Oakland, and folks from all over the Bay will head over there. Caltrain DIY R.I.P.

SF is also renowned for the quality of skate stores. You’ve got places like FTC and Skates on Haight (who I used to hit up for stickers and tees back in the early ’90s), spots like DLX and (the sadly gone) HUF… and then other core places such as yourselves. Is it a competitive environment to work in? Or does everyone look out for each other?

I’d say that SF is a VERY competitive place, which is why we decided to do our shop right out side of the city in downtown San Mateo. It’s a great place, with a thriving skate scene, and is plenty away from other shops.

Atlas seems to occupy a pretty unique area: you’ve got the core brands and support your local scene, but you’ve got a great ‘art’ side to the business that seems to add to your business, rather than just existing as a token ‘cool thing’ to have. What inspired you to represent the creative side so much at Atlas?

Our goal is to put focus on the art of skateboarding, rather than the sport. There are enough things going on, such as big dollar contests, mall stores, television and other activities that do not pay much attention to the creativity involved with the lifestyle of a skateboarder. Skateboarders have a unique way of looking at life.

Who are some of the artists that you have represented and showcased at Atlas? Have you always created products to accompany these exhibitions?

Ryen Motzek: We have showcased the art of Greg Hunt, Joe Brook, Matt Irving, Mark Gonzales, and Allister Lee.

We always have product to go along with the exhibitions. We also do artist decks with those that we greatly respect but don’t always have a function tied into the project.

Let’s talk about your local skaters and the Atlas team (if there is one!). Has that grown much from your opening days? How do you support your local skate community?

There are plenty of locals; it’s actually pretty crazy how many are in the Bay Area. In regards to our “team”, we rather consider it as something else.. Perhaps just family, or “supporters”.

How did the Cross Continental project come about? I caught a glimpse of it online, which is what led me to contacting you in the first place: it’s not that often you see something so impressive come from a collaboration between a skater, his sponsor and his local store. What was the initial idea for doing this project?

Being that Mark Suciu has been down with Atlas since day one, it seemed like a proper fit to do something with Habitat.

We had a ton of great footy, and wanted to make it a little more special that just an online release. We did a premiere at the shop, and created a limited run of decks with Habitat for the premiere. We’re hyped on how it all turned out, and the reaction to Mark’s part was amazing.

Let’s kick off with a few basics: how long have you been skating and who are your current sponsors?

Mark Suciu: I’ve been skating for 11 years and I ride for Atlas Skateshop, Habitat shoes and boards, Thunder Trucks, Sml. Wheels, and Ruca Clothing.

How long have you been part of the Atlas crew? Are you local to the store?

I’ve been with Atlas since February of 2008. I always go to the shop when I’m on my way up to SF, and whenever I need to solve some board issues or just want to hang out.

The first time I became fully aware of you and your skating would have been in the Habitat video, ‘Origin’. But having read a few things since then, you rode for Powell and Alien, right? Before you got hooked up, did you ever have any aspirations to ride for anyone in particular? Or was that never really part of your aim in skating?

Yeah, I started riding for Powell when I was 13 and left to go somewhere else when I was 16. I didn’t have anyone hitting me up, but at that time I was starting to think it might be possible to get on a company I’d always wanted to ride for.

When I was younger I wasn’t thinking so much about what boards I wanted to ride, it was more like which group of skaters I dreamed about hanging out with. And that was pretty much always the Alien team. So I waited it out a couple months and before I knew it I was getting boards from Kalis. I was so psyched. Even though they eventually switched me to Habitat and I didn’t get to skate with those guys, it was still so amazing to me.

I don’t think I threw my board the entire time they were sending me stuff, all I had to do if I was getting mad was look at the graphic and I’d be stoked.

After ‘Origin’, it seems that you racked up a steady stream of coverage, but before that, you had a lot of online footage that people often refer to. Has filming always been a pretty consistent part of your life?

Mark Suciu: Yeah, I’ve been filming tricks ever since my parents got a Hi-8 camera when I was ten, so it’s always felt natural. I guess it’s a kind of a fascination I have with the progression side of it.

Let’s get to the recent ‘Cross Continental’ project. How long was this in the pipeline? Who came up with the idea of travelling across the US as the background thread for the film?

That footage was from somewhere around November 2010 to the end of Nov 2011, and the two cross country drives were in August and Nov of 2011.   

It started as just a solo Atlas part that I could put out whenever and make exactly how I wanted. Near the end of the filming I talked to Habitat and they said they wanted to back it and that it needed a name. The footage we had already told the story of the cross country missions, so I think it was Joe Castrucci that tagged the name Cross Continental on it. There was really no planning it out. 

How did the ‘On The Road’ clip tie in with everything?

That was just all the footage of the preliminary tricks at the spot. We were kind of just warming up with the HD and  then switching to the VX. Also, as it was a Field Log edit, it helped foot the bill for a couple of our hotels.

‘Cross Continental’ had the feel of some of the older videos that I’ve always liked. Alien’s ‘Memory Screen’ or ‘Photosynthesis’ spring to mind. Putting less emphasis on cutting-edge visuals and more focus on raw skating: The lack of any slow motion really gave it a high level of re-watch factor for me. Did you get involved with the editing or contribute ideas towards the filming at all?

I wasn’t at the editing table, but I knew all of my ideals were. My friend Miguel Valle, who filmed it, grew up with a lot of the same inspiration as I have, so we’re definitely on the same page. We would talk constantly throughout the process. I chose the first song and was picky as hell with the tricks, and he took it all from there.

Everyone who’s mentioned the film has talked about the switch backside noseblunt on the rail and the frontside varial heel into the fountain at Love Park. I really like the quick-fire bank-to-stair tricks and the line that opens with the backside 180 fakie nosegrind (which I think is at Love). Were there any other particular things that that you were really pleased to get for the video?

I would say the longer line at the SF Library and that bigspin into the rock in San Jose are my favorites. That line was probably the most thought out clip in the part and also the most exhausting. I nearly threw up after the first two hours. And the bigspin I had wanted to do the whole year I was filming; it ended up being the last trick I filmed for the part.

The accompanying Habitat board was really nice too: did you know that was coming out when the video clip was launched? Is this technically your debut pro board?

When Habitat joined in they told me about it, and I got to see the first draft of the graphic in November. I’m so psyched to have it, and also to be the reason that Atlas and Habitat got together. But no, it’s not a pro board.

What have you got planned for the rest of 2012? Anything we should be watching out for?

My friend Justin Albert and I are putting out an all San Jose part with some homies. It should be out really soon. (editor: you can check that video here!)

Other than that, I’ll be travelling around from coast to coast, just filming and enjoying it.

C.R. Stecyk x Hurley | Fin

Trashfilter: I grew up skating here in the UK in the 1980s: the first time I would’ve been aware of your work would have been around the time of the early Bones Brigade videos. The Bones Brigade Video Show, Future Primitive, Animal Chin… those had a huge impact on us here.

Being so distanced from what was going on in the US, we knew we were missing out on a lot of the important events of the past. Some of us managed to piece it all together over time, but I would think that a lot of today’s skaters here were brought up to speed with the Dogtown film. Were you guys aware of the international impact you’d had decades before that film came out?

CR Stecyk: Crews of international denizens would come through the Zephyr shop so in a sense there was a tinge of awareness. But in those early days everyone was just trying to get equipment that worked. I don’t think anybody thought much about movements, public awareness of the activity or the longevity of it.

We really wanted to build a new business model to get into these product and distribution areas, and we thought it was a good idea to build a bridge for the consumer to extend the relationship with our brand to an new environment and sport while still playing to our core skills. The idea to work with Burton was a natural one, as a market leader, we wanted to partner with a brand that brought the same level of impact. Burton is the leader and arguably the founder of snowboarding, as we are in the world of sports. In the end I think Burton also felt like a natural fit, as they seek to push opportunities to extend their brand into the street in an impactful way.

When I think back to us skating with our little homegrown scene back in 1985 or 86, scrawling ‘Dogtown’ or ‘Locals Only’ on our salvaged decks, it makes me smile now. We were clueless, but we knew something was going on. The passing around of the term ‘DIY Culture’ is something I’ve picked up on recently – after all, the media love to label everything – but surely it was just a way of life for you guys back then. If you don’t have it, you make it. And then you use it. When did you start foraging to make your own skateboards and surfboards?

Scavenging and repurposing were the rule. I came of age in the late ‘50s. This was during the steel wheeled roller skates nailed to 2” x 4” pieces of wood phase. There weren’t any skateboard products yet. I would make the rounds of the alleys looking for scraps of wood, cast off roller skates and shoes. Oak dresser drawer fronts provided usable blanks. Good shoes were difficult to come by. One day I came up on some great used Converse Deck Stars in the refuse piles down where the yachtsmen came ashore. Apparently the well-outfitted crews tossed out any soiled shoes because they were an affront to the Commodore and the yacht club member’s refined sensibilities. That discovery served me well for many years! Fish guts and grease only served to make free skate shoes that much better.

Film and cinema have always been a part of surfing and skating, but now it’s far more exposed to a mainstream audience. The angry teenager in me still wants to shake my head solemnly, but the reality is that a lot of money has been put into showcasing great unseen skaters and encouraging younger kids to start skating. Do you think the involvement of big brands and media outlets has diluted things down? Or should we all be taking advantage of it after being shunned for so long?

Marketing titans try to quantify the efforts and accomplishments of individuals in order to reduce autonomous beings and independent action into acceptable commodities. Intelligent one-off design solutions force fed into mass production cookie cutters do not a renaissance make. Technology today allows films to be made and distributed on cell phones and operas to be created entirely on tabletops. You can foster revolution from a mobile base. Because of this anyone can do everything themselves from anywhere. Command and control structures are resistant to this groundswell of change, but there is nothing they can do. Ateliers will proliferate as a result. The best playground is already the gutter and the best art is on the avenues. So big brands are doomed to succeed or fail on their own merits. They cannot corral the activity or adapt it to suit their own purposes. Skaters control their individual fates. I think this unbridled information exchange is healthy. Skating evolves and always prevails.

Trashfilter: You’ve worked with Lance Mountain on a few things, but clearly your friendship with him goes way back. When did you guys first meet?

CR Stecyk: Back in the proto Varibunch days, I used to hang with Richard Armijo at his backyard ramp and he introduced us. Lance, John Lucero and Armijo used to have a real affection for the parking lot at the Whittier skatepark. Their runs there were far more interesting in my estimation than the controlled activities in the park proper. So we all shared this cognitive dissonance.

Eventually Mountain and I were thrown into the Bones Brigade mélange via Stacy Peralta’s social experiment. Currently it is several decades later and Lance and I continue to grapple with the issues of l’enterrement des jouets.

One of the best recent collaborative projects I’ve seen in recent years was the Nike project you were involved in with Lance. As far as I’m concerned, the moment they signed Lance up to the SB programme, it confirmed that the right people were doing this. Seeing your artwork on the shoes just rounded it off. How was that project for you to work on? An easy process? Were you pleased with the results and the reception?

Working with Lance is always a pleasure. My involvement with Nike dates back to 1966 when they opened the Blue Ribbon Sports shop on Pico Boulevard in Santa Monica. I had shot photos of some of the local track and field athletes. Jeff Johnson, who ran the shop, put some of them up on the store wall. It was Johnson who later had the infamous visionary dream which led to them naming the company Nike. As things worked out, I tried skating in some early BRS trainers. They had great soles that were nice and sticky, but the nylon sidewalls were not terribly abrasion resistant.

During this period I got to interact periodically with Coach Bowerman, Phil Knight and some of the early Nike heads. Sidney Wicks was a talented baller at Santa Monica College when I went there, and our respective girlfriends hung out. So I had an insider’s perspective on his deal. He went on to UCLA where Coach John Wooden proclaimed Sidney the “most naturally talented player that he had ever coached.” Wicks then joined the Portland Trail Blazers where he earned the Rookie of the Year award. Nike had been watching his develop since high school and they sponsored him and that begat the first Blazer in 1972. I skated in those and BINGO. They had great soles, ankle protection and some lateral support. So due to this I always had an informal relationship with Nike and got to work on various projects. Mr. Mountain knew this from back in the days when he, Neil Blender and I used to buy up dead stock Air Jordan 1’s to skate in.

When Lance got on with NSB we decided to do the orange collabs, a film and so forth. It was a great interlude. Over the years I’ve been fortunate to be involved with a number of other interestingly varied endeavors with Nike. Aqua Socks with Laird Hamilton, Stages with Lance Armstrong, murals with Jason Maloney, Savier with Sandy Bodecker, Shaun White and Aaron Astorga, SB with Hunter Muraira, Michael Leon and Kevin Imamura, SF boot development, museum exhibitions with Jason “Sidewalk” Cohn, Phantom projects with Mark Parker and the Hurleys. I also collaborated with Lebron James on another classic project which produced some very forward and different boots. These days I experiment with Omar Salazar up in the Stockton Kitchen.

Trashfilter: What does your day-to-day life entail these days? Have artistic endeavors taken over your skating and surfing time – or do you still take time out to go for a roll around?

CR Stecyk: Tinkering about is my typical occupation. There aren’t any rules to it beyond staying interested. I meander through things and generally make a mess. Specific purpose built equipment has been known to result from these forays. I don’t regard any of the above as being art related per se. Such aesthetic values are conferred by the viewer. When you screw up bad it can all end up in a marble mausoleum or the trash receptacle. Each is a worthy temple. I favor sitting in the last seat on the short bus where there is no particular route. So surfing, skating, bikes are perennial standard deployments.

How did you get involved with the good folk at Hurley? Is your new film – which we’ll get to shortly – part of a long-term working relationship between you both?

I originally met Bob Hurley via surfboard building. His shapes were always thought provoking and he sponsored several riders that I was close to. So over years we eventually indexed on various projects. There is an open art atelier, a recording studio and a shaping facility that the Hurley brothers and sons maintain where they invite different people to come in and work.

My film Fin reflects that unstructured architecture both literally and figuratively. It is intended to evoke the feeling of getting lost in the woods when you wander off the trail to Grandmother’s house. More precisely when I was working in Hurley’s recording space I began a dialogue with individuals like Mike Ness and SxDX, the Honey Badgers, Steve Alba and the Powerflex Five, Julian Ness and the Breakdowns. I tend to film everyday and had captured images of these aforementioned talents.

Another major mover in the evolution of Fin is Jason Maloney whose studio I was sleeping in down there in the previously described creative compound in Costa Mesa’s Velcro Valley. I awoke from one such slumber to have Maloney spontaneously declare, “You should make a movie out of what you do every day.” So I did, Fin is a musing on non-aligned innovation and adaptation. The previously mentioned musicians provided the score and are also profiled on screen. Tyler Hatzikian and Roland Sands are also prime contributors to Fin, and I spend considerable time in their maisons du fabrication. What you see is what we all get after.

What’s forthcoming from the House of Stecyk for the rest of 2012 and beyond?

Fin is scheduled to roll out to H Spaces in Tokyo, San Sebastian, Sao Paulo, Sydney, Bali and Cape Town. I am also involved with a three hundred plus mile per hour motorcycle project with RSD, and separate developmental surfboard composite construction projects at Tyler Surfboards and with the Hurley Brothers and Sons. Gallery exhibitions that I will be doing include Devil’s Highway at 225 Forest in Laguna Beach and Juxtapoz Turns 18 at Copro Fine Arts in Santa Monica, California.

There is also a film made by Stacy Peralta that I have work therein and also appear. It is called Bones Brigade; An Autobiography , and it just debuted at Sundance and the Santa Barbara Film Festival. There is a tour being developed that would involve further premieres etc. for that.

Trashfilter: Your new short film, Fin… tell us about that. I’ve read notes online, watched the trailer and tried to clue myself up on what’s happening here, but it needs the master’s voice to bring it to life for me. ‘Amorphous and always evolving‘ (taken from the press release) sounds like the nature of skating and boardsports in general.

CR Stecyk: Fin has no beginning or end and is adaptable and expandable. It is not a product it is more of an experience that morphs as it lives. It reflects the artisan atelier culture that my associates inhabit. Fin will conceptually continue to change and adapt as further people discover it and recombine its elements. Mathematically it has already received enough basal exposure on the Internet that its eventual aggregate audience is infinite.

This is the nature of a viral art form, it inevitably transforms from the initial millions of impressions into an entity of its own choosing that inperceivably inhabits the firmament which encompasses all.

Trashfilter: How did you get to the role of Art Director at Hurley? Was there an already-present interest in the scene that Hurley is part of? Did you study any particular subject to get into the industry?

Jason Maloney: . I worked for Disney as an artist for 10 years when Hurley approached me. Being a fine artist and a commercial production artist, Hurley tapped me to put some of my artwork on t-shirts and board shorts years ago. After that successful launch of my Hurley collaboration, I started to establish a relationship of sorts. I started to inject my years of Disney experience and knowledge into the brand retail environments such and window displays, stickers featuring my signature artwork and point of purchase displays. Hurley did have a pre existing art component; all I did was expand it.

Hurley, as a brand, has a long history in the surf and action sports world. How difficult is it to try and keep to the roots of the brand whilst still addressing market trends and keeping an eye on the scene’s current developments? I don’t surf myself (the UK isn’t ideal!), but I’d imagine that the surfing scene has changed as much as skateboarding has since the 1970s.

Funny, I don’t surf either…in fact I’m terrified of the water. Hurley maintains consistent brand messages while still doing cool relevant artist partnerships by tapping artist that are connected to the action sports world via surfing and or skateboarding.

How did the project with C.R. come about? Are collaborations a big part of Hurley’s core proposal in 2012? Are there any other things that we should keep an eye out for?

CR Stecyk and myself have been friends for years. So I jumped at the opportunity to work on a project together. I did however suggest that he do a film because it was something that would better fit the H Space Gallery here on the Hurley campus. We are not a gallery per say…H Space is more of an experience…a ride if you will. Each artist that we work with that shows in that space is challenged to think outside his or her comfort zone and do more than just hanging pictures on the wall. Since the lobby of Hurley connects right into H Space, it made sense to me to turn H Space into a movie theater and to then turn the Hurley lobby into the lobby of the theater. I like to use the word partnership as opposed to collaboration…because that’s really what it is. The artists in which we do these larger projects with become part of the family. It’s not just about putting artwork on a t-shirt anymore.

Is there much variation in the different market territories for Hurley’s products? I used to work in a skate shop and we’d see a small amount of the surf-related items, but these would usually be aimed at the summer and holiday customers: the rest of the year, people were looking for sweats and jackets. Do you notice a big difference in what’s popular in different countries – and do you design specifically for those consumers?

I cannot speak for the design team but from what I can gather is that we are a Southern California based surf company. Our key products are hats, t-shirts, outer wear and board shorts….we also have a Hurley Europe, Japan and Australia based offices so you tell me.

What other projects can we expect to see from Hurley – and yourself – in the near future?

Well, myself and CR Stecyk along with 50 other artists will be showing in ‘Juxtapoz Magazine Turns 18!’ Group Art Show at Copro Nason Gallery in Santa Monica, March 24th, 8-11:30pm. Craig is also continuing to film daily…adding more content to the ever-growing story of ‘FIN’. Also, Hurley has some plans for him as well with our design team in the near future as well so be on the look out.

Epiphany Skateboards | Decipher Tomorrow DVD

Epiphany Skateboards Decipher Tomorrow DVD review

Robert Prado dropped me a line to see if I’d be interested in checking out Epiphany’s new DVD. I didn’t know too much about Epiphany, but a quick look at their website – http://epiphanyskate.com – told me to sit up and pay attention. A skate company run by skaters might not be anything new conceptually, but the guys have set up a nice little brand supplying nice decks and hardware (the coloured bolts are very nice) and, as this DVD shows, they’ve got a good team of skaters to represent them.

I grew up filming my friends skating on a big-ass video camera that took full-size VHS cassettes – the only motivation was to gather everyone together and watch the months of poorly-edited film together once the video was done. ‘Decipher Tomorrow’ brought back some of those motivations and feelings to me but with a lot more talent behind it than anything I ever made.

And on that tip, ‘Decipher Tomorrow’ is a bit of a low-fi masterpiece. There are no HD sections, no frustrating skits, no 3D graphics – it’s just a perfect showcase of good skating, filming and editing. Unlike some skate films that leave you feeling obliterated at the end, this is one of the few recent DVDs that actually makes you want to pick your board up and go for a skate. One other thing that is particularly nice is that most of it seems to have been filmed in the actual streets as opposed to purpose-built spots.

Epiphany Skateboards Decipher Tomorrow DVD review

Nice style aside, the skating is as good as anything put out by ‘the big companies’. The core team consists of Josh Valadao (who skates to a dope Del/Hiero track), Christian Holt, John Davis, Robert Prado and Andrew Green, but there’s a pretty incredible friends section in there with a lot of great stuff. I don’t know the dude’s name, but someone does the best nollie heel shove-it down a set of stairs as well as a nice nollie bigspin late flip. I need to give this a few more viewing sessions to totally absorb everything, but some of the things that really stood out were:

Josh Valadao: a very smooth hardflip to manual over a gap – and a lot of nice flip/manual variations.

Christian Holt: a perfect hardflip down a 12-set and a very slick b/s double flip down a big set of stairs, done somewhere in Long Beach perhaps…

John Davis: super-nice handrail action – and a well-caught f/s heel shove-it down a set of steps.

Friends section: super good throughout. Some guy does a perfect feeble flip-out over a railing. All these guys are amazing. One skater has the most incredible orange hair I’ve ever seen.

Robert Prado: hands-down, Robert does the best half-cab heel down stairs done in 2011. Possibly even longer. Rob’s section is way too short!

Andrew Green: I’m unsure how he managed to get up and run away after the opening slam, but he goes on to destroy everything in sight. The switch 180° impossible thing down the steps at the end is pretty amazing.

There’s a nice ‘Bonus’ section at the end, after the credits as well.

Epiphany Skateboards Decipher Tomorrow DVD review

Epiphany have put out one of the best skate videos I’ve seen this year – I’m unsure if all the guys live near each other or not, but the vibe I got was of a group of friends who enjoy their own slice of the west coast. The editing and filming is very nicely done and I thought the music choices were spot-on.

Support the guys and buy your copy of the DVD here for $7.99. It’s a good investment!

Emerica | Brandon Westgate skate shoe

Emerica Brandon Westgate skate shoe

Anyone who knows me has probably heard me harp on about my repeatedly-broken left ankle. After the third time (back foot slipping off a weak five-stair pop shove-it, in case you suspected the cause to be something non-skate related), it’s just never been the same: it sounds like a toddler smashing Lego bricks with a hammer. And it hurts. After two hours of walking anywhere, it says ‘Fuck this’ and tweaks itself to the side. So without any decent skate footwear to roll around in, I’d be destined to stay inside, get fat and write blog posts repeatedly. Oh… Hang on…

Emerica Brandon Westgate skate shoe

So, low-tops are out. High tops are fine, but I always found them a little too restrictive in the past. So I started trawling through the recent releases to find something that ticked the boxes. A quick open Twitter conversation threw back some interesting suggestions, but the kind offer to pick something from the Sole Tech range was way too good to pass up. Have a quick re-cap of the past year’s output from Emerica, Etnies or éS (who are taking a hiatus for 2012) and it’s a hard call. The (Jerry) Hsu 2 model, the Cessnor Mid, Bledsoe Mids – all were good choices. But, with his ‘Stay Gold‘ part still ringing in my head, I settled for the Westgate model.

Before I go into a standard product write-up, it’s worth commenting on the whole worthiness of Brandon Westgate getting his own pro shoe. A fairly recent addition to professional skateboarding, you’d almost be forgiven if you thought he was just put in the mix to add another shoe to the product catalogue. In which case, I insist that you watch this following video before reading any further:

I can’t think of too many of the younger generation of pro skaters who’ve made such an indelible mark so quickly. Westgate’s part in the Zoo York video was when I first really took notice, but his ‘Stay Gold’ section was incredible. And if you haven’t seen the ‘B-Sides’ offcuts to that, you should cut yourself a 15-minute break and watch that over here immediately. Shoe-worthy indeed, especially when you line him up next to a good 90% of his fellow shelf-sharers.

Emerica Brandon Westgate skate shoe

I haven’t gone with a vulcanized sole to skate in for a while, so I was looking forwards to getting some proper board feeling under my feet again. The Westgate is double wrapped on the midsoles, which means the sidewalls aren’t going to blow out anytime soon. The STI PU Foam Lite footbed might look like I’ve just typed a load of random letters together, but it’s actually a decent piece of technology: really comfortable and fitted around the heel cup without being tight. I’d like to tell you that it can handle 12-stair ollies perfectly, but let’s be realistic about my abilities these days. I can assure you that it does handle three-stair fakie ollies and switch heelflips on flat though, so I was happy enough. The whole OrthoLite element in the footbed means that any moisture is wicked away, air flow is optimal and your shoes don’t end up stinking.

Now, where lots of models have let me down is on the standard ollie area: find me a shoe that doesn’t look screwed after a week of being scraped up and down the griptape and I’ll show you a flip-flop and bleeding toes. However, these have three layers of quality suede to tear your way through and are triple-stitched on all important areas. I’m going to go all out and say that I reckon these will still look fine after a few pretty vigorous sessions.

Emerica Brandon Westgate skate shoe

So, in short, the Emerica Westgate model has pretty much got it all. Firstly, no-one is ever going to question the ‘athletic endorsement’ side of things, so that’s one thing less to worry about. Lookswise, even if you don’t play it safe and go with the black or the dark grey options, there’s a nice green version available too. I’ve seen a photo of a great-looking black and cranberry version as well – nicely appropriate, considering Westgate’s family background – which the good chaps over at the Ripped Laces site posted a few weeks back.

Big thanks to Tom and the nice people at Emerica and Sole Tech for sending these across.

Emerica Brandon Westgate skate shoe

Gravis Footwear | Dylan Rieder slip-on

Unless you work in the design field yourself, it’s often hard to get a gauge of what goes into a skate shoe. Who is the Gravis design team comprised of and what are the individual titles?

Kelly Kikuta: Our global product team consists of Joe Babcock, Luz Zambrano, Kyle Plummer, Shinobu Mase, Takashi Sato and myself.

An obvious question, but an important one: how did you approach designing Dylan Rieder’s new pro model shoe? The end result is clearly different from any other skate shoe on the market, but there’s clearly something good going on here.

Our main goal was to design a shoe that embodied Dylan’s vision. He wanted something unique, something different. He has an eye towards high-end fashion and we interpreted this aesthetic into his shoe. Working closely with Mark Oblow our Creative Director, we injected Dylan’s style and personality into a silhouette the skateboard market had yet to see.

How involved did Dylan get with the design? Having read interviews with other skaters who’ve simply added a signature to an already-popular silhouette for their own models, it seems this was a little more involved.

The relationships we have with our team sets Gravis apart from everyone else. It’s been one of our most consistent traits from the inception of the brand. We made sure every aspect of what Dylan was looking for was brought to life. I still remember the day he tested the shoes for the first time in our parking lot. To see him be able to pop tricks like he did was validation that we accomplished something special.

Were there any other ideas that didn’t make it to fruition? Were there any unreleased samples produced?

Kelly Kikuta: Actually, we really lucked out with Dylan’s shoe! The first prototypes came back pretty spot-on, not a lot of tweaks were even necessary. Overall we were able to build a shoe that had every aspect and feature he was looking for at the time.

With a non-standard shoe – or rather a product that doesn’t rely on an existing style so much – is it a challenge to introduce it to the consumer market?

Yeah, I think the challenging part in introducing such a unique design was gaining the acceptance. We’ve always had our loyal Gravis supporters since day one, but launching such a unique skate shoe like this really tested that. At the same time we gained a lot of respect for taking Dylan’s lead and designing a shoe that had never been done or seen before in skateboarding.

Everything feels very ‘premium’ with the first Dylan model. A small number of shoes were released to a select number of stores – I recall an element of excitement that is normally reserved for the latest Nike SB or Lakai release. Was the slip-on intentionally released as a limited model?

Dylan’s shoe is not a limited model, although we offered a limited color way (the Oxblood edition) to select stores, the Dylan shoe is available to all of our skate retailers. We have a small collection of styles based around Dylan: those models really compliment what we’ve done with his first shoe and will be available to a larger consumer base.

The Gravis skate program is relatively young compared to some of the core skate shoe brands, but the product has been really strong and the skate team is one of the best out there. Do you need to keep a close eye on the rest of the industry or are things more organic?

Kelly Kikuta: First off, thank you! That’s a huge compliment. We back our team 100% and we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished as a brand in such a short time. Skateboarding has become so competitive at all levels these days that you have to stay on top of what the other brands are doing. We feel we have the ability to produce product that competes with the other brands and at the same time sets us apart from the pack. We want to be different and build shoes that give skaters an alternative to what’s currently saturating the shoe walls. That really comes down to being inspired by our team and bringing their visions to fruition.

With the backing of Burton, are you able to take advantage of their own research and development when it comes to creating new product?

Being backed by Burton has been helpful on a multitude of levels. Jake has been extremely supportive of what we’re doing and makes sure we have all the right resources available to us. We definitely wouldn’t be where we’re at today without the support of Burton.

What’s up next from the Gravis skate program? Is there a full team video due in the future at any point?

The launch of Dylan’s video was been a huge project for us. The guy flat out destroys it! Mo, Oblow and everyone involved in that project did an amazing job… good work guys! We’ll definitely be following that up in the near future. In terms of product, we have plans to launch a new Arto Saari model in the Fall of 2011 – look out for that!

There isn’t really much point in writing a review of the Dylan Rieder Gravis promo video. It’s a web-friendly freebie, but featuring content worthy of a premium release. I might be from the era of Ed Templeton and Rodney Mullen’s ollie impossibles, but seeing Dylan pop one clear over a bench in this video blew me away. Sugarcane in a pool? Chest-high frontside tailslide to flip out? Fakie flip over a rail, into a bank? Check, check and double-check. The little guy we saw in the Quiksilver ads grew up big.

Seeing him skating his private park with Biebel, Mariano, Marc Johnson and AVE and rolling around popping impossibles over the crowd barriers at Street League just confirms his status. I might not be able to rock a pair of jeans like that, but in the same breath I will never be able to skate like that either.

Gravis pulled the stops out with this video. Expertly filmed and edited (Greg Hunt has been a long-time favourite of mine), great music choices and minimal-but-slick graphics throughout. I hope Arto gets the same treatment when his model drops later this year.

The final thing to say – yet perhaps the most important to anyone who’s still wondering how you can possibly skate in leather slip-ons – is that I have been skating in them since I got a pair. Switching from a pair of Lakai mid-tops to the Dylan shoe is a definite head tweak. Whilst I have relied on some ankle protection since breaking my ankle for the third time, the feeling of freedom was actually refreshing. For tricks like 360° flips or pop shove-its, these give you a proper feeling for the catch.

As you’d expect, these are lighter than anything else out there. What you lose in foot security is made up for with suppleness and comfort. No laces means no frayed bits of material hanging off broken eyelets. Minimal seams and panel joins mean there are no obvious areas for abrasion too. And where you’d normally mourn the lack of ventilation holes, the clever construction is one step ahead: thin layers don’t retain the heat like padded tongues do. Thin layers don’t mean flimsy construction either.

Three weeks into my wear test and I can safely say that these are the eye-openers of the decade, in terms of comfort. The fact I can ignore the ‘no sneakers’ rule and walk straight into the pub afterwards is the icing on the cake.

The Real Video | Since Day One

The Real Video Since Day One video review

When Jim Thiebaud and Tommy Guerrero decided to join forces and start their own skate company, the name Real couldn’t have been more appropriate. From their humble San Francisco roots, Real has continually lived up to its name: the day I picked up the 49ers Tommy board and the anti-KKK Thiebaud tee, I knew this was something good. And in their twentieth year, it seems only right that a sharp smack to the head is delivered in the form of a new film.

Real’s video history is as good as it gets. The first video from ’93 (sadly yet to be reissued on DVD), ‘The Real Video’, still remains one of the best of its era. Kelly Bird skating to Steppenwolf, Jim T’s last formal video section, Moses letting the security guys know what’s up (“Not here…” “Yes here!” CLANG!) and Kelch’s EMB annihilation, it’s still one of my favourite skate videos of all-time. ’97’s ‘Non-Fiction’, ’99’s ‘Kicked Out Of Everywhere’, 2001’s ‘Real To Reel’, 02’s ‘Seeing Double’ and ‘Recipe For Disaster’ shorties, ’05’s ‘Roll Forever’, 2007’s ‘Life and Times’… the back catalogue carries some serious weight. And with that, the Real team rider history is just as strong. A broad mix of styles from the progressive and fun-loving styles of Gonz through to the sorely-missed smoothness of people like Ben Liversedge or Drake Jones, and then contrasted with the dynamite power and speed of Dennis Busenitz and Keith Hufnagel. Solid team selection, quality product, an incredible video history, well-respected company owners… That’s Real.

And ‘Since Day One’ continues the tradition of excellence. Since we saw the first trailers filtering through the forums, blogs, Twitter streams and video playlists, everyone knew that this was going to be something rather special. Set yourself firmly into the proceedings by heading over to our friends at Chrome Ball for their excellent Real Week of postings.

The Real Video Since Day One video review

Firstly, the days of when you could proclaim ‘My local shop doesn’t have this: can someone upload it for me?’ are gone. You can buy this on iTunes, in either a straight standard definition download or a mixture of standard and HD footage. And it’s £4.99, in the UK. No excuses – here’s the link:

Real ‘Since Day One’ on iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewTVSeason?id=426042765&s=143441

(I’m currently based in the UK and managed to purchase it fine from that link, so it should work)

For those of you fortunate to have a local store, the deluxe DVD package comes with a great-looking 100 page book. If I manage to get myself a copy, I’ll update this review accordingly to include a write-up on that too.

The opening titles and intro section use the same intro music that the first video used, the highly-appropriate ‘Streets of San Francisco’. A nice little nod to the past there, but the skating is firmly set in the future. R.I.P. Johnny Romano.

The Real Video Since Day One video review

Kicking things off is new Real pro James Hardy. And what an opener it is. Total destruction of rails, steps and benches is counterbalanced with speed, some tech (the best frontside half-cab flip ever and the nollie 360° flip over the rail and into the bank was amazing) and some special guest appearances. Loved the music, loved the skating, the ender was amazing – the perfect start to the rest of the film. Jake Donnelly blows the frickin whistle with a section full of fast stylish skating, giving the cameraman some practice for the Busenitz section. Massive switch bigspin, amazing nollie over a gap and into a bank, perfectly tweaked/caught flips (switch and regular) = impressive.

Alex Perelson fucking KILLS it. One of the best vert sections I’ve seen. Amazing proper 720°s, gay twist flips, huge backside ollies, sliding noseblunts all on ramp and on concrete. This is not a token vert section: it’s one of the best things here.

Davis Torgerson has a strong section (that maybe deserved something little more powerful in the music choice?) with a lot of good stuff worthy of repeat watching. Ernie Torres and Nick Dompierre share a part and it’s incredible. Every trick, no matter who’s behind it, is really good. I’m not normally a fan of shared sections that much, but this worked really well. Ernie’s 360° nollie heelflip into the bank and total handrail crushing is incredible to sit back and watch and Nick’s got featherlight foot control over the biggest tricks (there are a couple of seriously BIG gaps here). I knew this part would be good, but not this good. Get in that hedge, Ernie!

The Real Video Since Day One video review

Huf has been with Real for a l-o-n-g time and hasn’t let his personal business endeavours and successes get in the way of his skating. One of the best styles ever, backed up with lots of speed and pop: business as usual.

I first heard about Chima Ferguson when I was on my first trip to Australia, back in 2006. He was all over the national magazines and from what I could tell, he was going to make some noise on a global scale. There’s no need to recap over his past few years in detail, but he’s risen up the ranks, turned pro for Real and with this video put out his ‘coming of age’ part. Another contender for the biggest tricks/smoothest landings award, Chima lives up to the expectations. Loads of great stuff in this part: the ollie up the ramp at the Aquatic Centre (huge and smooth), frontside heelflip down the doubles (ski gloves!), backside 360 over the rail (massive), switch backside tail down the hubba (speechless). It’s a great section.

Kyle Walker skates to Flavor Flav – always a good choice – and does his tricks big at 100mph (the smith grind down the curved rail was amazing), whilst Antoine Asselin does the same, but with complicated lines instead. Both are good.

The Real Video Since Day One video review

Hell yeah: Justin Brock! This guy is (in the opening words of Stefan Janoski) ‘so fucking good’. His opening skatepark line should clear any doubts up: no need for mindblowing tricks when your natural style is like that. But mindblowing tricks he’s got, so that’s all angles covered. The 360° flip-to-ledge-to-frontside-bigspin sequence is sick. Nollie shove-it 5-0 at Hubba? Oof. His handrail antics (fakie ollie to switch feeble or fakie ollie to bluntslide to handcuffing, being two prime examples) are flawless as well.

JT Aultz skates BIG rails and 360° flips roof gaps, again at mach 5, while Massimo Cavedoni and Robbie Brockel share a section packed with difficult tricks, fast lines and too much good shit to individually name here.

Ishod Wair’s opening slow-mo/HD montage shows just how good he is. Precision isn’t the word. The nollie flip down the brick double set is on-the-bolts perfection. Great music is the icing on the top of one of my favourite sections in the whole film. Feeble to backside lipslide on a rail, the switch flip down the fountain at Love Park, sliding round the corners of kinked rails and the best frontside 270° to lip on a rail since Shiloh in ‘Love Child’. Amazing section. One of the best.

Max Schaaf has put in time as one of the stalwarts of vert skating, and his short and laid-back section is nicely put together. Whether he’s doing big lien airs or riding his motorcycle up banks, I don’t really need to see him do much more than that to know he’s one of the best to have ever dropped in.

And then there were two.

The Real Video Since Day One video review

Peter Ramondetta and Dennis Busenitz probably have two of the most highly-anticipated parts of the video – and I can confirm that you won’t be disappointed. You know what to expect from both skaters and they deliver in bucketloads.

Peter skates like he’s fleeing a pack of Aids-infested zombies. Some of my favourite tricks in his section include the 50-50-to-ollie over the post, the l-o-n-g nose grind to nollie heel out on the steps, the kickflip crooked grind on the green rail and the steep 50-50 right at the end.

Ahhh… Mr. Busenitz. We’ve been expecting you. Style, power, speed, pop, trick selection: he’s got it all. If he didn’t do any flip tricks (or thread the needle on wallrides occasionally), you’d think his feet were glued to the griptape. He’ll do a 10-foot tailslide on a waist-high ledge and bomb a hill just as easily as do a bigspin fakie manual on a block. The quick combination lines he does just show off his natural ability (I’ll use this statement to link up his Battle at the Berrics match, just in case anyone missed it). Super super good.

The Real Video Since Day One video review

Living up to the hype has got to be one of the toughest things when you embark on a project like this. But Jim, Tommy, Mic-E Reyes, Dan Wolfe, Gabe Morford and the Real team have delivered one of the best things I’ve seen in a long time. This film made me want to go skating: what more could I ask than that?

Dig out your $10, set aside an hour and enjoy some of the best skateboarding ever to be seen on screen. Real have upheld their tradition perfectly.

– data –

Length: 71 minutes
Format: DVD ($19.99) and iTunes download

Featured skaters: Johnny Romano, Dennis Busenitz, Ernie Torres, Max Schaaf, JT Aultz, Ishod Wair, Keith Hufnagel, Chima Ferguson, Nick Dompierre, Peter Ramondetta, Davis Torgerson, Alex Perelson, James Hardy, Jake Donnelly, Massimo Cavedoni, Justin Brock, and Jim T’s sneaky footage at the end!

Bonus DVD additions (this is taken from press release: NOT authenticated yet, so I can’t help anyone trying to find the ‘missing’ Ishod part… yet anyway):

– 100 page photo book from Gabe Morford
– Extra footage includes: Philly filming trip, ATL filming trip, Austin filming trip, NC filming trip, LA filming trip, 5 days with Ramondetta, Justin’s little brother’s part, Woodward skate camp edit, ‘a year of Ishod’ in HD (as yet undiscovered?), Gabe’s slide show (with music by Tommy Guerrero) and ‘tons more extras and outtakes!’.

Real ‘Since Day One’ soundtrack:

Intro section/opening titles KnightsBridge ‘Streets of San Francisco’/Minor Threat ‘Salad Days’
James Hardy Molly Hatchet ‘Flirting With Disaster’
Jake Donnelly Too $hort ‘Blow The Whistle’
Alex Perelson Joy Division ‘The Drawback’
Davis Torgerson Brian Eno & John Cale ‘Lay My Love’
Ernie Torres & Nick Dompierre Green Eyed God ‘Treadmill’
Keith Hufnagel Tommy Guerrero ‘Yerba Buena Bump’/The Nerves ‘Hanging on the Telephone’
Chima Ferguson Cass McCombs ‘She’s Still Suffering’
Kyle Walker & Antoine Asselin Public Enemy ‘Can’t Do Nuttin’ for Ya, Man!’
Justin Brock George Thorogood ‘Move It On Over’/Boyz N Da Hood ‘Gangstas’
JT Aultz Egg Hunt ‘We All Fall Down’
Massimo Cavedoni & Robbie Brockel The Stooges ‘Down On The Street’
Ishod Wair Tommy Guerrero & Monte Vallier ‘The Drain’/James Brown ‘Get On The Good Foot’
Max Schaaf The Dutchess and the Duke ‘Reservoir Park’
Peter Ramondetta Exodus ‘Only Death Decides’
Dennis Busenitz Brian Eno ‘Here Come The Warm Jets’/The Modern Lovers ‘Roadrunner’
End credits Tommy Guerrero ‘The Paramour and the Pugilist’

Chrome Ball Incident x Heel Bruise VHS T-shirt

Chrome Ball Incident x Heel Bruise T-shirt

Finding myself ‘reviewing’ a t-shirt for Trashfilter wasn’t something I originally planned to do when I started the site. It seemed there were enough others doing that kind of thing already and the web didn’t really need another unknown idiot wasting bandwidth with more of the same. To summarise, it’s gotta be something particularly good for me to take the time to photograph it and spend an hour or so typing, all the time unsure whether anyone will read it.

And, much to my girlfriend’s annoyance, my house has more than enough t-shirts in it already: I certainly didn’t need to spend $26 (plus international shipping) on another one. Hell, at the time of writing, I can’t even afford next month’s rent.

But then I saw this.

Chrome Ball Incident x Heel Bruise T-shirt

Hopefully, you’ll have already seen the Chrome Ball Incident site and our interview with Chops here on Trashfilter back when his Nike Dunk SB dropped in 2010. If not, play catch-up quickly and we’ll meet you in the next paragraph.

Instead of plastering a nondescript logo or forcing some stylised typography onto this shirt, Chops took 12 screengrabs from a variety of classic (ie. important) skate videos. Some are more obscure than others (I consider myself reasonably proficient in stuff like this, but the G&S Footage and Sick Boyz grabs took me a while to work out), but that’s all part of the fun. What I didn’t realise until later on was that all the grabs have in fact already been decoded on the Heel Bruise site, with a nice little paragraph about each video: see the end of this review for the link.

So, whilst it’s a nice enough tee anyway, all the contextual stuff made it a winner for me. Watching that kid exhaling in a bin full of trash at skate camp in ‘Hokus Pokus’ or being told to ‘kiss my ass and go home’ by a hobo in 1281 was all part of my childhood. Thanks to Chrome Ball and Heel Bruise for taking me back there again.

Chrome Ball Incident x Heel Bruise T-shirt

You can buy the tee here, and I suggest you do so before they disappear. There’d be nothing worse than seeing someone less deserving rocking one. Oh, and if you were stuck wondering what the chimney grab was from or who it was complaining about ‘breaking some wood’, then head over here to Heel Bruise and get the full rundown.

Thanks to Richard at Heel Bruise: watch this space for a chat with him about the Heel Bruise project shortly.

Warning: The Art of Marc McKee | a book by Winston Tseng

The Art of Marc McKee - a book by Winston Tseng

My affinity with everything World Industries-related might’ve died with the birth of Flameboy, but there’s no denying the back catalogue. A third of my infatuation came from Rocco’s business model and his marketing schemes, another third from the ridiculous skate talent all World teams contained – but another hefty portion came from Sean Cliver and Marc McKee’s incredibly good artwork.

Winston Tseng put together this nice little monologue of McKee’s artwork for Mark Batty Publishing: Winston’s own artwork is worthy of review, as he’s the Art Director at Enjoi skateboards and has created loads of amazing work himself.

The Art of Marc McKee - a book by Winston Tseng

This book isn’t the massive portfolio that it could have been, but it’s a nice portable size: whether you’d risk reading it on the bus is another matter, as there’s plenty of McKee’s confrontational graphic work in here to offend the most stoic of commuters. Fucked Up Blind Kids? Yes. Natas ‘Devil Worship’ board? Henry’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ deck? Yes, yes, yes – they’re all in here and they still look as good as they ever did. I liked the nod to the Randy Colvin ‘Censorship Is Weak As Fuck’ graphic on the cover as well.

The Art of Marc McKee - a book by Winston Tseng

Alongside the board graphics, there are some original sketches (I was amazed how much work went in the Jovontae Turner ‘Napping Negro’ board) and some editorial work for Hustler magazine, which was interesting to see although I can’t say I’d want it framed on the wall.

The Art of Marc McKee - a book by Winston Tseng

The portfolio has been compiled in chronological order, so when you get towards the end of the book, you start encroaching on Devil Man, Flameboy and Wet Willy territory. And to be fair, it’s given a fresh piece of contextual reference: you can see the brand strategy document that details the later years of World’s product licensing. After years of getting under everyone’s feet as the annoying underdog, Steve Rocco, Rodney Mullen, McKee, Cliver and the rest of the crew got the well-deserved last laugh.

The Art of Marc McKee - a book by Winston Tseng

Whilst I still think there needs to be the definitive book about the whole World Industries story published, that’s another topic altogether: in the meantime, this book gives a glimpse into the archives of one of the most important artists in skateboarding’s history.

Data: 96 pages/21.6 x 16.2cm/ISBN: 9781935613237

Cliché Résumé | A Decade Plus of Skateboarding in Europe book

cliche resume skate book

Cliché are one of the few skate brands to originate in Europe and successfully crack the global skate market. Others, like Flip (who many of us here in the UK remember as Death Box originally), Blueprint (who, again, started out under another name: Panic) or even Etnies (Etnics), did it beforehand, but you can’t help but think that the odds were stacked against any foreign companies trying to conquer the US. Without hardcore investment or backing from a larger brand, it’s no surprise that many companies outside of the US have only really succeeded in their own countries. Cliché, from France, are an exception to the rule.

I’ll be honest: I had no idea that it had actually been (over) ten years since they started the company. We didn’t really see much in the way of their boards until after the millennium, and even then in London we were more likely to support our own indigenous woodshops than look at a French brand. But things changed and perseverance clearly paid off. Today, you’ll see Cliché sitting alongside the best that the skate scene has to offer.

cliche resume skate book

The good skate-related books are few and far between – you’ll find a few of these others reviewed here on Trashfilter – but this 320page compendium of Cliché’s journey from their humble start is fully worthy of being printed and bound. Mackenzie Eisenhour from Transworld Skateboarding provides the narrative as we’re taken from inception to current-day and it makes for interesting reading. But, whilst the words are good, the photography and layout was outstanding. Photos from the cream of the crop are interspersed with clean and interesting page layouts, archive graphic images and lots more visual confectionery.

Jérémie Daclin’s personal story is briefly covered and he modestly steers away from the fact that he was one of the most well-known European skaters in the the early ’90s. His part in New Deal’s classic ‘1281’ was short but memorable (anyone that did double-flip caspers out of long manual rolls was clearly at the peak of technical ability) and it’s inspiring to read how he translated his skating skills into developing a business from scratch. Cliché’s ‘Gypsy Tours’ – covered many times in Skateboarder and other mags – sound crazy to those who are used to the ideas of pro skaters wearing ‘ice’ and driving Bentleys, but the reality is that they’re guided by nothing more than friendship and a raw love for skating. I’ve done my time on tours like that in the past, but even I haven’t had to use the sea as my daily bath/toilet before.

cliche resume skate book

May of the past and present riders are covered in depth: Pontus Alv, Lucas Puig, JJ Rousseau, JB Gillet, Javier Mendizabal, Vincent Bressol, Al Boglio, Andrew Brophy, Charles Collet, the ever-popular Joey Brezinski… even the turning down of Arto Saari is covered, accompanied by a statement of regret and a photo fo his sponsor-me tape. There’s some Gonz-related factoids thrown into the mix as well. All good stuff.

Résumé balances the fine line between being an arty book for the coffee table and something that you’d actually want to sit and read. Bear in mind, if you do plan on reading it, you’ll need strong arms: this thing weighs a ton and the corners on the hardback cover were designed to stop blood flow. You’ll be able to find this in most of the online book stores, but before heading over to one of them, check to see if your local skate shop’s got it in stock. At around the £25-30 mark, it’s not exactly cheap, but it’s much better value than the six magazines you could’ve bought with the money instead.

Emerica ‘Stay Gold’ | DVD review

emerica stay gold

It’s been a long time coming and the ads over the past 18 months have certainly fueled our expectant minds, but Emerica’s ‘Stay Gold’ certainly lives up to the promise. I don’t usually venture out to skate film premieres these days (the last one I went to was probably ‘Public Domain’ at the National Film Theatre in 1989), but I actually wanted to see this one in the cinema. Well, unlucky me: a prearranged client meeting put paid to any leisure activities on the evening of 26th August. Messageboards blew up with news and early reports and I did my best to ignore leaked footage and spoilers so that I could approach viewing with a clear mind. You have no idea how difficult this was.

I wouldn’t normally pay for a download – call me ‘old school’, but having the physical DVD is far more appealing when it comes to parting with money – but I dropped the £5.99 via iTunes and purchased an official copy of ‘Stay Gold’. A physical copy is on the way, and I’ll update this review when it arrives, but in the meantime let’s run through the feature presentation.
(Big thanks to Tom at Sole Tech for dropping me the DVD in the mail: see the bottom of this review for a DVD-specific additional section)

Firstly, it may or may not surprise you to find out that this is unofficially Heath Kirchart’s retirement video. The guy’s smashed it for years (I first saw him in Birdhouse’s ‘Ravers’ back in ’93) and when you look at what he’s accomplished since then, he’s been at the top of his game for the best part of a decade. Read the full run-through of Heath’s part towards the end of this page.

emerica stay gold

The opening sequence is slick. I really like the combination of Jon Miner and Mike Manzoori behind the cameras and the edit desk: the result is far more cinematic than a lot of other skate films and easier to stomach on repeated viewings. Handdrawn typography, the green tint to the footage and other devices such as vignetting and careful use of slow motion gives a relaxed and immersive feel. One thing I had heard was that the video was tough going in places because of the repeated hammers being thrown left, right and centre. Whilst that’s true to certain extent, there’s enough variety from section to section to keep things interesting.

emerica stay gold

Brandon Westgate. Jesus Christ. What an opening section. I’d seen a fair bit of him (the Zoo York DVD springs to mind), but this section elevates him to a new level. On the topic of elevation, he’s a contender for having the biggest pop out of anyone at the moment. Comparing him to Busenitz or Cardiel is being lazy, but there are definite similarities: confidence, speed and style being three common characteristics they all share. My favourite trick of his section? Probably the massive driveway/rail clearance when he’s bombing the hills of San Francisco. Seriously impressive.

Bryan Herman follows with an entire block’s worth of kickflip nose manual and some schoolyard picnic-table/bench destruction before his section truly starts. Big rails and big tricks all popped and landed solidly. The hardflip at Bercy in Paris was particularly insane. Marquis Preston doesn’t seem to be restricted by his choice in drainpipe trousers: lots of large steps and rails get annihilated in his part. Spanky’s section – Kevin Long, to his parents – is short but good fun (the backside tailslide bigspin out on the brick banks was smooth and being able to cry on command is fairly unique) and Collin Provost shows that he can cruise a skatepark properly and drop some ridiculous tricks into the mix as well (the 270° ollie flip into the painted red bank was amazing). Little Jamie Tancowny starts with a harsh slam before proving that he’s pro material with a part that’s packed with man-sized tricks. I’ve seen enough crooked grinds on handrails to last me a lifetime, but the one down the kinker he does is as good as they get. Aaron Suski… what can you say? A killer part with a mix of power that’s best summed up by the reaction of the schoolchildren when he clears the ramp/rail. This man deserves a pro shoe, in my opinion. Braydon Szafranski might wear some illegal clothes by my standards but damn he can skate: great smooth lines and plenty of big tricks to keep the hammer count high.

Justin ‘Figgy’ Figueroa skates fast and can do every trick you can do on a flatbar but on a full sized handrail. You could sit and pick out individual tricks (his kickflip smith grind, for example), but it’s best watched as a whole part. Jerry Hsu has been plagued with injuries – his opening montage will convince you of that, in case you thought he was being lazy – but what he does show in his short part is amazing. Switch tailslide over the ‘rainbow’ rail was frickin’ incredible.

emerica stay gold

Leo Romero goes up handrails as you might have seen in photos before, but he does a hell of a lot more as well. One of my favourite sections in the whole film, he does some seriously impressive stuff going at mach one: frontside half-cab boardslide to fakie, a sick nosegrind nollie big heel out on a picnic table, a l-o-n-g double kinker 5-0 grind and an amazing 50-50 up a proper handrail at the end. Surpassed my expectations, which were already high enough.

Who else but The Boss could end this one? Andrew Reynolds in ‘Stay Gold’ has one of the best ending parts of any skate video yet. If you’re a fan (and, c’mon, who isn’t?), you can rest assured that you’ll enjoy this one. Speed and energy go without saying, but it’s the style of his skating that makes it so pleasurable to watch. In a video that is crammed full of pneumatic-level hammering, Reynolds follows the formula but makes it look like no-one else’s section. Watch his line with the backside 360 down the stairs and then the kickflip down the next set: if you couldn’t see the stairs, you’d think he was doing them down curbs. A frontside flip down another massive set of stairs is celebrated by having a puff on the lit cigarette he’s holding in his hand. The nonchalance is in override.

The outro and credits show little clips of Chris Senn and Ed Templeton – yeah, I’d hoped for full sections from both, but a little is better than none – before Marisa Dal Santo and Ben Krahn give us a glimpse of their skills.

emerica stay gold

Time for some data:

1) The main feature clocks in at 56 minutes and 47 seconds long.
2) There are numerous Easter Eggs hidden in the DVD: Heath Kerchart’s section is one, a Barrier Kult section is another. There’s also a flow team section, an Andrew Reynolds bonus part, a Euro team section… and probably some other bits hiding in there as well.
3) The deluxe edition of ‘Stay Gold’ comes with a dope book of Ed Templeton’s photography of the Emerica team from the past ten years. I’ll update this review with a breakdown on that when it arrives.

The ‘Stay Gold’ soundtrack is pretty cool. Some mellow guitar stuff and a few heavier bits and pieces, which suits the style of the film perfectly. Data collectors, here’s a full tracklist for you:

‘Stay Gold’ soundtrack: main feature:

Intro Dead Meadow ‘Through The Gates Of The Sleepy Silver Door’
Brandon Westgate Earthless ‘Jull’
Bryan Herman #1 Tom Waits ‘Top Of The Hill’
Bryan Herman #2 Black Sabbath ‘Fairies Wear Boots’
Marquis Preston John Cale ‘Big White Cloud’
Kevin Long Captain Beefheart ‘Electicity’
Collin Provost Dead Meadow ‘Green Sky Green Lake’
Jamie Tancowny Comets on Fire ‘The Swallow’s Eye’
Aaron Suski Flower Travlin’ Band ‘Satori Pt. 2’
Braydon Szafranski Hawkwind ‘We Took The Wrong Steps Years Ago’
Justin Figueroa Dead Meadow ‘That Old Temple’
Jerry Hsu Ultimate Spinach III ‘Somedays You Just Can’t Win’
Leo Romero Mott the Hoople ‘Thunderbuck Ram’
Andrew Reynolds Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros ‘Om Nashi Me’
Credits Earthless ‘No Road To Follow’

‘Stay Gold’ soundtrack: bonus sections and Easter egg soundtrack:

Andrew Reynolds & The Madness #1 Chali 2na ‘4 Be Be’ (Instrumental)
Andrew Reynolds & The Madness #2 Chali 2na ‘Controlled Conscience’ (instrumental)
Andrew Reynolds & The Madness #3 Years ‘Don’t Let The Blind Go Deaf’
Ed Templeton Stay Gold Deluxe Tristeza ‘Golden Hill’
Emerica Europe #1 Graveyard ‘Lost in Confusion’
Emerica Europe #2 Earthless ‘Devil-Eyed Woman’
International Montage Sleep ‘Aquarian’
Heath Kirchart Joy Division ‘Atmosphere’

emerica stay gold

— DVD-specific update!

So the iTunes download is a cheaper alternative for those who want something convenient for the laptop or iPod, but the physical DVD is the way forwards for those who want to wring every last morsel from ‘Stay Gold’. The DVD contents and timings are as follows:

Stay Gold Main Feature: 56:41

Bonus features
Andrew Reynolds And The Madness (DVD bonus): 13:19
Ed Templeton – Stay Gold Deluxe (DVD bonus): 6:18
Emerica Europe (DVD bonus): 8:23
International Montage (DVD bonus): 5:34
Flow Bros (DVD bonus): 7:47

Easter eggs
Heath Kirchart (DVD easter egg): 3:34
Barrier Kult (DVD easter egg): 3:46

You can find Heath Kirchart’s section by doing the following maneuvers with your DVD remote control:

Go to ‘Chapters’ – and then press up.
The highlighted menu link will go away: then press ‘Enter’.
Allow jaw to lower to ground level.

emerica stay gold

The main feature will play as normal, but it’s prefaced with what’s rumoured to be Heath’s last video part of his skating career. And what a part it is. Of the 3 and a half minutes of footage, a good chunk is older footage you’ve already seen in previous videos. That doesn’t matter. All it does is remind us just how amazing Heath was and is.

emerica stay gold

The few new tricks in this section are just as good as you’d expect – the downhill street line only has two ‘basic’ tricks in it, but no-one else could do them like that – and his last trick is… well… just watch it for yourself. He might have a permanent facial expression that looks like someone’s just set fire to his pet dog, but that only adds to the legend. Skating’s gonna miss you.

emerica stay gold

My personal favourite DVD-only part is ‘Andrew Reynolds and the Madness’. I’m a big fan of The Boss (again, someone who I first saw when I picked up Birdhouse’s ‘Ravers’ VHS tape), both as a skater and his personality. The episodes of ‘Epicly Later’d’ with Andrew were some of the best filmed, so to watch another little insight into the man’s character is really interesting stuff. Rather than come across as being weird or eccentric, he shows that no matter how good you are at something, you’re just the same as everyone else in many ways: we’ve all got out own ticks and habits. Watching him land a perfect noseslide 270° out on a handrail repeatedly or the tricks at Bercy again and again and again is amazing. A true perfectionist – and a true professional in the real sense of the word.

emerica stay gold

The Barrier Kult Easter egg part is viewed by following this sequence:

Click into the Bonus menu.
Select ‘Andrew Reynolds and the Madness’ – and then hit ‘left arrow’ and ‘Enter’.

emerica stay gold

It’s almost 4 minutes of concrete destruction, with bare chests, masks and noisy metal guitars. If this doesn’t induce bedwetting, nothing will. The other bonus sections are just as worthwhile, but picking the entire contents of every section apart is boring to read when you could be watching it for yourself on the TV.

If you care about the future of skate films, then bonus parts and Easter eggs on the DVDs are the way forwards. The iTunes download is great for convenience, but with so many extras on the physical DVD disc, you’d be crazy to turn it down. Not to mention the excellent design and packaging: simple, but premium. ‘Stay Gold’ isn’t one to sit and watch on YouTube or via crappy-quality downloads: you’re shortchanging your experience if that’s how you choose to view it.

This is a proper cinematic skateboarding experience. Thank you Emerica.

éS x Atiba Jefferson | Square Two model and book

éS x Atiba Jefferson Square Two model and book

Collaborative projects with photographers have slowly become more and more frequent over the past few years, to the point that you could almost categorise it as its own subgenre of footwear. And, why not? It’s not an easy job, no matter what anyone thinks. I remember watching Skin Phillips painstakingly shooting pictures of Paul Shier years ago at my local spot and being amazed at the patience and effort that went into getting results. I was lucky enough to tour around France with Ollie Barton a few years back with Shier, John Rattray and a few other skaters and can remember his professionalism throughout the trip. I can’t imagine turning up to countless spots and having to stand still and work while everyone else gets to skate.

Atiba Jefferson’s contribution to skate photography is undeniable. For almost 20 years, his work has featured prominently in a variety of publications, such as TransWorld Skateboarding (TWS) and The Skateboard Mag. He’s taken some of my favourite skate photos of all-time – the Jeremy Wray triple set at the San Diego Sports Arena, for example – and when TWS dropped the ‘Chomp On This’ video (where they turned the cameras onto the people who were normally behind the lens) in 2002, Atiba had one of the best sections.

éS x Atiba Jefferson Square Two model and book

To be honest, when I heard about this collaboration, my first thought was towards the book that comes with these shoes. I’m a sucker for photography books and the thought of an Atiba-dedicated volume excited me: I cleared some shelf space in anticipation. I probably didn’t need to clear as much as I did, as this isn’t one of those overly-laden examples that weighs 14kg and takes up a foot of shelving real estate. It’s more of a sit-by-the-bedside publication than a coffee table art project. Covering the last 15 years of Atiba’s photography for éS, there are some amazing shots in here: City Stars-era P-Rod, Eric Koston killing rails, a particularly dope Rattray portrait, lots of team shots, Tom Penny… a shot of Rick Howard riding for the team (I never knew he’d ridden for éS, even though it was a gap filler after his DC days)… lots of McCrank goodness, Justin Eldridge, PJ Ladd, Muska, Ronnie Creager… the list goes on. It’s only when you look at this book that you realise just how many incredible riders éS have supported over the years. It’s a really nice book and showcases the photography perfectly.

éS x Atiba Jefferson Square Two model and book

The Square Two model could definitely be worn as a skate shoe in itself, but I have a feeling that it deserves some time away from the griptape. éS is a core skate brand and therefore doesn’t really opt for ‘leisure’ shoes in their product range, but these would be a perfect pair of ‘chillers’. They’re smart enough to sneak you into a VIP booth, but still have the skate shoe aesthetic. You’ve still got all the good stuff like the STI footbeds and the durable vulcanized outsole, but it’s kept clean and simple on the uppers. Throw in a little embossed film roll on the tongue and photographic details (the footbed artwork features Bobby Worrest and Danny Garcia, whilst you can tread all over Rodrigo TX and what looks like McCrank on the soles) and you’ve got the perfect sign-off.

éS x Atiba Jefferson Square Two model and book

As always, éS sling in some spare laces so you can switch up the colours a little and the box features a nice little Kodak logo reappropriation that made me smile. That’d look good on a shirt, now I think about it…

A really nice pair of shoes and a fantastic book from a brand that is still at the top of the game. You can probably find these in your local store, but if you need any pointers, check out the product locator on the éS site.

We’re gearing up for a Trashfilter interview with Atiba shortly, so watch this space!

Chrome Ball Incident | Nike Dunk SB

Let’s kick off with a stack of predictable questions to warm the audience up a bit. What is your own personal background? Have you always skated? What is your current day job?

Chops: I started skating in 1988 after a friend of mine’s older brother who skated brought in a copy of Animal Chin. I have just turned 33 years of age and currently work a dead-end job at a real estate office with a bunch of old ladies. They have no idea about any of this and seem to think I have a developed a strange fetish for colorful Nike sneakers all of a sudden.

At one point, I actually told one of them about the shoe and they called me a liar.

Whilst a lot of our readers will know of your site, there will undoubtedly be a few who haven’t discovered it yet. When did you start Chrome Ball and what inspired you to begin the lengthy process of scanning and uploading?

I started Chrome Ball in April of 2008 as a side project and diversion from some of the other hobbies I have (graphic design, photography, filmmaking)… however CBI quickly took the main focus: it kinda just took off, so I went with it. The response was pretty immediate. Within a month, I had comments from Andy Stone and Andy Jenkins. I couldn’t believe it. Still can’t.

Epicly Later’d, Beautiful Losers, Bob Shirt, Police Informer and Seb Carayol and Mackenzie Eisenhower’s articles got me inspired in this whole ‘skatehoarding’ thing. I figured I had the mags and there were definitely some things I wanted to put out there that I wasn’t seeing.

I’m just stoked on skateboarding and want to stoke other people out as well. Plus, I don’t feel nearly as crazy remembering some random ad from 1988 if I know there are a few other people right there with me.

That’s exactly how I felt when I found your site: there are other people out there like myself! Able to recall largely-useless but personally-meaningful information and details. Chrome Ball feels like a secret club, in a positive way. There are so many things mentioned in your posts or in the comments from your readers that resonate with me: have you been surprised how many likeminded people there are out there?

It’s nice. Its good to know I’m not crazy and that other people remember this crap too.

Gotta admit, there are some readers that got me beat hands-down on some of these details though.

Neil Blender’s great skating and artwork and the first Alien video and ads are the easy connections to make, but what made you choose ‘Chrome Ball’ as the title? Have you corresponded with Neil much?

I’m glad they’re easy connections for you because I couldn’t tell you how many people have asked me why I named the site after pinball.

Blender’s always been such a huge influence on me since I started skating in grade school. Just his creativity and overall demeanor. I thought it would be a good reference for those old enough and I liked the uniformity and format of the title with the number count.

And there’s been a bit of correspondence, yes.

Most sites and blogs allow commenting on posts, but I can’t think of many others where the comments actually add so much to the original post. Reading personal stories from former pro riders (such as Eric Ricks) and other people who each add their own strand to the posts is a big part of the site’s appeal. Have there been any specific posts that have impressed or particularly surprised you? Do you spend much time moderating or are things kept fairly sensible?

Comments are the lifeblood of the site. It’s what I feed off of and keeps me motivated. The interaction and the different interpretations. Always appreciated. And when pros get on there. It always stokes me out.

I honestly don’t have to moderate at all. People keep it pretty sensible. Sometimes people get on there and disagree with something I’ve written… and that’s fine. I welcome debate… although someone usually ends up arguing for me before I get the chance to.

I think I’ve maybe deleted two comments in CBI’s existence and I believe that was because they were random racist remarks from anonymous readers

How do you fit time in your daily schedule to update the site? Have you got a list of future subjects that you work to or is it generally freestyled from post to post?

A post usually takes around 3 hours. And yeah, it can totally be a pain in the ass. Luckily I stay up late and don’t sleep much so I still find time to do other things.

The posts started out as just having one scan each – not these 10-scan monstrosities I do now. They just sort of grew over time.

I always have a few candidates in my head floating around. Whenever I think that I have enough material collected and feel like a post of theirs would be interesting, I go for it.

I’ve got little slips of people lying around all over my apartment. Some people seem to think I’m this sort of Rainman-esque type character with a mental index of Thrasher magazine floating around in my brain. Sorry. Not nearly that interesting!

This is where I have to send a special thanks to my girl Peel for putting up with all this.

I just had a partial cleanse of old magazines in my house: once things stop fitting into my bookshelves and piling up on the floor, I convince myself that it’s time for a cull. Slinging piles of $5 magazines into the recycling pile kills me though. How do you handle the storage situation? Do you keep whole copies of mags or do you just clip certain pages?

Whole magazines.

The storage situation is kind of ridiculous here. Subconsciously, I think I started the site as way to have a valid excuse not to throw any of them away.

I’m already finding myself trying to pick up copies of things I threw away or lost years ago. Pretty frustrating and annoying.

Have you ever had any requests to remove anything from the site? I’d be disappointed to hear that anyone had flexed the ‘copywrite laws’ upon you…

Well then I won’t ruin it for you! It wasn’t a post that I did for the Chrome Ball site though. Let’s just say that a few months ago, I did 2 ‘kingsized’ posts on the same day – one for CBI and another for the website of the world’s largest skateboard magazine involving the same skater. One of my all-time photographers reportedly flexed over there on the copyright issue and it was taken down. Fortunately he left CBI alone.

I was bummed but I can’t complain. I understand that this is both his art and his livelihood and I do operate in an area that one could hardly consider ‘legally sound’.

I reckon all of the best artists operate slightly outside of the law.

At the time of writing, you’re just over 500 posts deep, which is incredible. Are there any other projects or major developments in your future plans for the site?

I’m kinda just making it up as I go along… It’s gotten me this far.

I’m a big fan of the web and a lot of my daily life seems to involve being online, but even if people suggest that print is dying, I don’t think anything online will ever replace the feeling of picking up a physical magazine or book. Chrome Ball celebrates print by displaying it online. Did you intentionally set out to bridge that gap? Do you prefer print to web, or do you see equal merits in both?

Print is dying but I don’t think it will ever completely vanish. Information is processed so quickly that its just so hard for the mags to keep the pace. I’m not sure kids just starting to skate today could do a CBI-type site in the future. I guess it would be just a bunch of links to whatever remains. CBI works because in the ‘80s, you had a very finite amount of information regarding skateboarding that everyone just studied over and over again until the next round of mags came out.

I think you’re right in that nothing online with ever replace the physicality of a magazine. What do you do when you find an article online you really dig? You print it out so you can “have” it. At least I do… but then again, I’m old.

How did the project with Nike come about?

Completely out of the blue. I had been receiving some shoes every now and then from a reader over at Nike that dug the site. Well, one day the guy emailed me while I was at work and wanted to set up a time to talk on the phone later that night. I didn’t really think too much of it… I actually thought he wanted to do some sort of Nike-sponsored trivia contest on the site or something. Needless to say, I was shocked when he brought up designing my own shoe.

I only told about 3 or 4 people during the first 6 months of the process cause I still didn’t really think it would actually go down. It just seems so unbelievable.

Honestly, Chrome Ball was supposed to end at the end of August, 2009… I was about ready to announce it on the site when Rob called and asked me to do the shoe… giving the site an extended lease on life. I’m glad he did. That Rob is a solid dude.

You mentioned that you wouldn’t have done the project without Neil Blender’s stamp of authority: how did he respond and how involved did he get in the design process?

Blender already had a project going on with Nike at the time, I just rode on his coat tails. He did the low-top and I did the high. He gave us the okay to use the artwork and name but other than that… he let us do our thing. Thanks Neil.

In the offering, there’s a hightop Dunk, based on the classic Airwalk Enigma colourway and with a little graphic reference to the era when everyone was hacking down their shoes. Was that particular period of skating your favourite? Were there any particular scenes, skaters or companies that you followed religiously?

I just thought it would be a nice touch. It only made sense for the sneaker to be a throwback since the site itself is so rooted in the past. Busting out the fresh new gear for 2011 doesn’t really make sense for a site that spends all its time talking about 1992.

The scissors are just a little nod for the older dudes that remember the whole shoe mutilation craze. Younger dudes think it has something to do with rock, paper, scissors… which I quite enjoy but is not the case.

At first, there was gonna be an embroidered perforated line all the way around but we 86’d that.

One thing that I particularly like about this collaboration was that the hightop is only available at certain Nike SB accounts and not online (in the UK, at least). If you want the shoe, you have to go to a physical skate shop, put your money on the counter and buy them in person. No purchasing multiple pairs online and reselling them on eBay later on. Was this a stipulation from you or was it something that the guys at Nike suggested?

That was something the Nike guys suggested and I loved it. Those guys are pretty good with this whole shoe-selling thing.

Seriously though, there is a misconception about the people involved with Nike and while I can’t speak for the whole company, everyone I’ve met in the SB division have been straight-up, life-long skaters that still very passionate about it. Most of whom either formerly or currently still work for a lot of the board companies these doubting Thomases think of as their favorites.

Time to throw a few facts into the mix for the sneaker fans out there: do you have any idea how many pairs have been produced of both models?

Oh man… I don’t know. The low is actually all Blender and I don’t have anything to do with that one. The high is mine and I believe it’s a “quickstrike”. Not really sure on the numbers.

Sorry sneaker fans.

I’ll make up a number then, just to screw up anyone searching for facts to include in their eBay listings: 1730 pairs. How long did the process take from initial concept through to final production models?

It took a year from Rob’s initial call to when I actually saw the finished product. I had the concept the first night we talked… we ironed out the materials a little after the first sample but pretty much everything was done real early. Really the only thing that changed from the first model was making the swoosh rubber.

I’ve heard that the waiting is the hardest part. They’re right.

Are there any production samples out there that didn’t make the final cut? Perhaps a bright yellow NTS-inspired model or a 540° Prototype with a lace saver?

Not that I know of… though I did have that idea for the prototype with the lacesaver. Maybe that can be the Trashfilter Dunk.

I’ll hit you up when Nike get in touch. It may be too early to ask this, but are there any plans for a follow-up project?

No plans as of yet. I can’t believe I got the chance for the first go-around to be honest with you.

“That Nov. ’95 TWS is definitely a good one. Guy, Koston, Ari portfolio…

Honestly, the only other ones that really stand out for me personally are the first few issues of TWS and Thrasher I bought when I had just started skating.

Everything was just so new and fresh. Just being bombarded by all that creativity”

“This one always hurts my head… ”

Gonz – Video Days

Mike Carroll – Questionable

Guy Mariano – Mouse

Henry Sanchez – Pack of Lies

Ricky Oyola – Eastern Exposure 3

(I really wish I could fit Gino’s Trilogy part in there…)

Duane Pitre’s Olives

Blender’s Coffee Break

Lance Mountain Future Primitive

Mark Gonzales Gonz N Roses with the suit…

-tie-Rodney Mullen’s Summer of 92 with the boobs or 101 Gabe Rodriguez vs Crusher

“Not sure what it is about this shot… maybe Neil’s scowl. Whatever it is, I still want a Volvo to this day. Some people’s genius transcend the act of riding a board with wheels and Blender has always been that dude for me.”

“This is the one right here. Something about this ad… perfect. Probably the main reason that I started Chrome Ball is that one day I tried to find this ad online and I couldn’t.”

“I honestly can’t say that this is one of my favorite ads… but it obviously made an impression.”

“This photo is perfect. The end.”

“This is another one of those where I’m not exactly sure what it means, but I honestly hope I never find out.

I think I’ve told this story a billion times over on the site but I saw J.lee skate at a demo in Columbus, Ohio in ’90 (he took Jeremy Klien’s place on the tour, who evidently had gotten sick) and he remains the best skater I’ve ever seen in person. The loudest ollie to boards and ollie to tails ever… and the tre flips were decent, too.

He was one of my favorite skaters at the time and he totally lived up to my damn-near-impossible 12-year-old kid expectations.

I got his autograph three separate times that day.”

“I was a huge Quim fan back in the day, sideways tan cap and the whole nine… regardless of his brand of department store shoes these days, he still gets the pass with me.

CBI trivia for those who care: the blog was almost named ‘blood, sweat and lampshades’ but was changed at the last minute because I thought the reference was too obscure… because ‘chrome ball incident’ is so obvious. I never said I was smart.”

“This is in the first skateboard mag I ever bought, TWS Feb 86. I remember being blown away by the artwork and not even knowing for a while there after that Lance actually skated too. The creativity I found in that first skatemag I ever picked up is still inspiring to this day.”

“I’ve often heard that whenever Gonz and Natas would go streetskating at this time with other pros that our heroes often felt they were speaking another language and inevitably the visting pros would resort to sitting down and watching. This spread from ’87, for me at least, demonstrates that point perfectly. ”

“Because it’s fucking Cardiel.”

“My favorite cover of all-time. Just the timing of it… street skating was blowing up, the fuse was lit on the timebomb MC and Slap was a fresh new magazine. Everything seemed possible.

I’m actually supposed to be working on MC interview questions right now but I’m typing this… I guess I should probably go.”

adidas Skateboarding | Danny Kinley

Trashfilter: We’ve had a few emails recently from people asking how they can get into the shoe design industry – mainly from students or skaters who are trying to work the angles and find a way in. What’s your role and what was your personal journey to get where you are now?

Danny Kinley: I think you can go all different routes, but I went a more traditional route: I went to design school for industrial design. It was a five year program, which seemed like an eternity when I was in college! I did that for five years, had a bunch of internships but my first introduction to working on footwear was working for Salomon, which at the time was in Colorado. I worked on some trail shoes and that kinda thing and then after college I got a job at DVS. I worked there for a couple of years and then came up to adidas.

I’ve known a lot of people who’ve gone from graphic design into footwear, such as C-Law here, so there are different ways you can translate those skills into footwear design.

Do they cross over much, do you think? Is having a background in graphics advantageous to design footwear?

Yeah, I think especially for lifestyle shoes there’s more of a crossover, because a lot of the time it’s based on a graphic or a focus on logo placement. I think on the Performance shoes, there’s another level. I think there are a few Performance shoes where the focus has moved away a little too much from the graphic side of things.

What’s your official job title at adidas?

I’m the Senior Designer for Skateboarding. I work on footwear, apparel and accessories. We have an ad agency called Juice who handle the ads, website and everything else.

Ahhh… They’re the guys down in San Francisco, right? I think we pitched against them once! They’re really good.

Haha! Yeah! They get the whole skateboarding thing, which is great: Dennis Busenitz will call into their office to see stuff and they know people in the city down there, so they’ve got a good handle on what’s going on. We work quite closely with them, especially when it comes to catalogue time. They’ll have certain ideas on what they want to do and we’ll go through it together. It’s nice to work with guys you can really trust to do things properly.

Trashfilter: So what is the process you go through to create a skate shoe? How do you take it from concept through to final product? Do you get briefed on what’s needed on every project?

Danny Kinley: Yeah. Marc Holcombe – our crack marketeer, I guess you could say! – will come up with a plan for the whole season. How many new shoes we’re gonna do and how many colourways of each shoe and, if there’s a new shoe, what direction it should be. He does a really good job and we work well together – he’ll give me a loose idea of what’s required, not too constraining.

From there, I’ll go and sketch for a week and work on it over and over again and then sit with Marc and we’ll refine it some more. We’ll have lots of arguments and discussions along the way, but we’ve been working together long enough to communicate really well and we’re on the same page usually.

After you’ve worked out the sketches to take forwards, what’s the next stage?

So, yeah, the first thing is the sketches, which I’ll refine to a point where we’re happy with the initial look. Then we’re in a position to take it to the German office and we’ll get feedback and make adjustments based on that. So after the presentation stage, we go to the sample making process. If it’s something we’ve never done before, like a new technology, we start the sampling process a bit earlier.

After a month of sample making, we go to Asia and revise all the samples and make sure the salseman samples are ready.

When you take your designs to Germany for sign-off, does everything translate easily? I don’t mean in terms of language, by the way! I just see the US skate market as being slightly different to the European one. We certainly get different models and colourways here in the UK to what the US stores are carrying.

Luckily, it’s a pretty international bunch of people in the German office. As long as we’re confident in what we’re presenting, they’ll back us up. The only conflicts are if there’s something they’re already working on that might crossover too closely.

Do you have to do different products for different territories specifically? Do certain areas take certain colours and models?

As far as Skate goes, it’s generally all international these days. I worked on some projects that were under the Coastal division category that were more targeted, but not any more. Some of the lifestyle models tend to be US-only: things that are catering for the shopping mall crowd, with bigger logos and graphic treatments.

Trashfilter: What’s it like to work on a pro model shoe for one of the skaters? Do the skaters generally want to have a lot of input?

Danny Kinley: Yeah. I’d say that each person is different: some pros are more involved than others. Dennis Busenitz was really involved in the design of his model. In fact, he just called me and is still trying to tweak things on his shoe, even though it’s been out for over a year and a half! Which is good, because it gives us the chance to continually evolve the design.

Some other guys just trust you to make it cool and you’ll show them the sample and we’ll just revise it from there.

So which skaters have you designed shoes for? You did Tim O’Connor’s model, right?

Yeah – those were all colourways of the Roster. We have our pro colourways of existing models and Dennis’s shoe was the first full-on pro shoe we did. The next one is the Silas Baxter-Neal shoe, which (at the time of this interview) is due out in a month or so.

And Pete Eldridge’s shoe was another colourway, right?

Yeah – in order to keep the product line tight, we can take an existing model and just adjust things a little bit to tailor it to the skater. This time it was a colourway and adding his name to the shoe, but next year it might be something else.

With Dennis’s shoe, that really surprised a lot of us who were waiting to see what was coming. The absolute antithesis of bulky skate shoes, it looked more like a football shoe. It seemed like a really bold and brave move by adidas, considering you guys were still fairly new to the core skate market. But it was really well received – I don’t know how it went in the US, but in Europe, the stores couldn’t keep it in stock.

Nice! Yeah, that was all Dennis’s direction: he really liked the Copa Mondial model. He grew up playing soccer – as we call it in the US! – in Germany up until the age of joining junior high (school). So that shoe had a big influence on him and he definitely wanted something with that toe detail. With the tongue, we were a little nervous about it, as it was our first pro shoe in the line…

Oh – I loved that detail though! The extra-long tongue, with scissor marks to guide you if you wanted to cut it down! I thought that was pretty cool, as it reminded me of when we used to cut down our Airwalk Prototypes!

That was actually something that came in right at the end. We were down at Juice doing an interview – Dan Wolfe (Eastern Exposure) was filming – and bouncing ideas across with Matt Irving, the idea of the tongue came up. We put the text on the back and had Dennis translate it into German for us

We were a little nervous about the tongue, but it seems like it’s been well-received.

I love that shoe, but to be fair, I think that’s a perfect example of a model that you needed to see in the flesh to fully appreciate. Photographs just didn’t do it justice.

It was a challenge to get it in front of people, but halfway through the season it seemed to gain more momentum. I think seeing any shoe that Dennis was skating in… well, he could be wearing Ugg boots and it’d look good! So we definitely had that going for us!

Trashfilter: The adidas skate team is pretty much second to none. Look at the videos, like ‘Diagonal’: amazing stuff.

Danny Kinley: Totally – lots of different styles on there. Maybe not the biggest X Games type characters, but the managers here have always understood about quality not quantity.

The European and Asian team seems to be as well-respected and considered as the US team, which definitely helps. I’m a big fan of Chewy (Cannon), so there’s a sense of UK pride when I see him on ‘Diagonal’ for sure.

Yeah, Chewy‘s amazing! Jascha (Muller) has done a great job directing the look and feel of the team, just like George here in the US. All the decisions about who’s going to join they discuss with the whole existing team first. Once you have that good base of pro riders, you can ask their opinions and get a good idea as to whether certain people will fit.

I was reading something recently where a sponsored skater was being asked in a magazine interview, ‘Oh, so what do you think of this guy who’s on your team?’. And he was like, ‘I don’t even know who that is’. Dude, that’s your teammate!

I guess one other thing that seems pretty apparent here in the adidas design area is that everyone seems to be involved in skating. Do you still skate?

Yeah! I’ve got two kids, so it gets harder and harder! But I keep telling myself that I gotta keep my skills up for when they’re old enough to start asking, ‘Dad, how do I do a tre flip?’. We have a day during the week – Thrash Thursday – where we can all go out for a skate in the afternoon, which is pretty cool.

Make Friends With The Colour Blue (MFWTCB) | Blueprint Skateboards DVD

blueprint make friends with the colour blue

Skate DVD reviews are probably one of the most time-consuming things to prepare. You need to watch the film repeatedly, make notes, occasionally do a little research, take screengrabs (which is trickier off an actual DVD than from downloaded content) – and then write it all down. As a result, I try to stick to the cream of the crop. Blueprint’s latest film, Make Friends With The Colour Blue (or MFWTCB, as I’m going to refer to it from now), fully deserved my time.

Blueprint is one of the UK’s finest exports and something that all skaters over here feel an affiliation to. When we heard on the grapevine that the company was going through a difficult patch a while back, we kept our fingers crossed things would sort themselves out – and with Paul Shier and Dan Magee steering the ship, it’s clear that things are on the up again. Look through the Blueprint video archives and you’ll find one of the strongest back catalogues of skate film history from any company. The exposure might’ve been limited to Europe mostly, but with ‘MFWTCB’ things have gone global.

And with a global reach, you need to adjust things accordingly. The Blueprint team is now international with a few new additions from the US, some continental Europeans and the backbone of UK riders, making for a well-rounded feeling to the proceedings. There are still plenty of the expected homegrown references (rain puddles, grey rooftops, Greggs bakery shops), but this has less of a ‘yes mate, we’re from the UK’ vibe and more of a ‘it ain’t where you’re from, it’s where you’re at’ feel. I’m a big fan of the traditional style, but this time you really feel that Blueprint’s arrived on an international level. And, to be honest, things like the Marty Murawski promo and the week at The Berrics have all reinforced this new feeling of growth. ‘MFWTCB’ feels like springtime after a long dark winter.

blueprint make friends with the colour blue

Enough babble: on with the review. Kicking things off with a ‘this is our mate’ intro, Dave Mackey has a short but amusing pre-title sequence section. He skates fast, spends a fair amount of time on the floor and does a dope bluntslide up and over an angled ledge. The title sequence follows, nicely edited to ‘Birdhouse In Your Soul’ from They Might Be Giants (with a couple of little references to the band’s original music video in for good measure). Colin Kennedy is first up, with a super-fast, super-powerful section from one of the original members of the team. Great music too. Next is my old mate Paul Shier, who shares the same music with Colin (as they did back in 2001’s ‘First Broadcast’). I grew up skating – and filming – with Paul at Fairfield’s in Croydon and every time I see him these days, I jokingly remind him he’s ‘not getting any younger’ and he might ‘need to think about a future career’. Well, he can put the job applications on hold indefinitely: this section is probably his best yet. It’s so good. Lots of speed (a quality that seems to run throughout almost all of the Blueprint team), plenty of amazing combination tricks and lashings of style. Without peaking too soon, this is definitely one of my favourite sections. Congrats Paul. My Fairfield’s pride is at optimum levels.

Sylvain Tognelli from Lyon, France is up next with a great section packed with flippery and shove-it lines: he does a perfect fakie 360 flip/switch manual/pop-up on this disgusting-looking icy road gap. Bench-king Danny Brady follows with an as-expected gem of a section – loads of nice lines and a few rather unique tricks to make you hit rewind. His half cab bluntslide to flip out was particularly memorable. Thoroughly good.

blueprint make friends with the colour blue

Tuuka Korhonen from Helsinki shares his section with Arizona’s own Marty Murawski, whose ‘Make Friends With Marty’ promo video apparently utilised a lot of his recent footage due to camera compatibility issues. It’s not an issue though, as he still rips it here. Tuuka’s lines of tech balance nicely with his bigger stuff and I liked all the little ‘rewind’ tricks he does. It doesn’t need saying that Murawski is a fine addition to the team.

Fuck YES: Chewy Cannon. If you’ve seen his part in the adidas ‘Diagonal’ video, you’ll be well accustomed to how good this dude is: his blend of power and style is perfect. Lots of solid and confident tricks, executed with finesse. Adding to the Blueprint US roster, Boston’s Kevin Coakley has an amazing collection of footage. Fakie flip/switch crooks on the Pyramid ledges in NYC, lots of nimble-footed quick hop action over and down steps and blocks and a sick frontside tailslide to drop off on a big block/red brick bank combination. I really liked his music as well: Cheap Trick’s ‘Oh Claire’ was a great choice.

I’d sympathise with anyone having the duty of following Coakley’s section, but Sheffield’s Jerome Campbell has got what it takes. Loads of great tricks and lines (the catch on his flippery is always spot-on). Neil Smith’s section is next and although his part in 2005’s ‘Lost and Found’ was good, this is a real progression. Big BIG ollies (the one over the rail to bank is massive) and some smooth tech makes for another stand out part of the film. The huge nollie heelflip down the steps blew me away. I liked him wobbling the road sign as well. The guest clips of teammate Tom Knox (no, not the Santa Cruz guy) are also really impressive: I look forwards to seeing more from him in the future.

blueprint make friends with the colour blue

Nick Jensen is the second half of the Royal Family to feature – and, as you’d expect, his section is a testament to how natural he looks on a board. Powered by the sounds of Portishead’s ‘Sour Times’, he shows a vast array of tricks with plenty of style. He switch ollies the Liverpool Street station steps (where I broke my ankle back in 2002) and makes every difficult nose blunt transfer and grind-flip combination look incredibly easy.

And so we get the final part: curtains duty deservedly goes to Mark Baines, who’s been at the forefront of UK skating for over a decade and is showing no signs of slowing down. Super good. Plenty of tricks that no-one else does, all executed at vast speeds: half-cab nose grind, nollie big spin out, switch backside heel noseslides and lots of manual trickery. To be fair, the closing honours could’ve gone to a number of the team riders here, but I’m stoked that Baines took the podium. Check out his ‘leftovers’ in the little DVS promo film that is doing the rounds online.

blueprint make friends with the colour blue

This is definitely a DVD to come back to. I liked it upon first viewing, but it’s the subsequent viewings that have really made it a firm winner. At only £10, you’re doing yourself a serious injustice if you’re just watching downloaded clips on your computer: this is one to experience in front of your TV set. Well done to all who made this film possible: Blueprint are truly on the up and up.