Tag: "spike jonze"

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.

Blind ‘Video Days’ | skate video

The Blind skate company was formed when Steve Rocco approached legendary street skater Mark Gonzales (AKA The Gonz) to start his own company under the World Industries umbrella. Mark’s previous sponsor, Vision, was regarded as one of the ‘big 5’ companies, generating a lot of money for the owners and shareholders but not necessarily an equal amount for the skaters it sponsored – and whose names kept the Vision products flying off the shelves.

People have analysed the Blind name and come up with their own ideas on the name (perhaps it was the opposite of Vision?), but that’s always been ‘officially’ denied by both Gonz and Rocco. Regardless of any in-jokes or private inspiration, skaters immediately latched onto the fact that one of their long-term icons was now in creative control of his own entity.

And we could hardly wait.

The roster of riders in ‘Video Days’ might have been short, but it was certainly sweet: Guy Mariano, Jordan Richter, Mark Gonzales, Rudy Johnson and Jason Lee. At a period when skate videos were few and far between, to have such a concise team was considered an unusual and brave move, especially for a new company. Established competitors such as Powell Peralta and H-Street would happily make a 90-minute film showcasing 20 different riders and sell it for £20: by comparison, Blind were barely a few years old and ‘Video Days’ featured five riders over 24 minutes – and for £25. The other companies had full-colour VHS cases: ‘Video Days’ had a grey cardboard box with a sticker on it.

If you’ll pardon the pun, in this case, less was clearly more.

Whilst The Gonz’s creativity made Blind a force to be reckoned with in terms of skate companies, there was another big contributing factor to the success of ‘Video Days’.

Enter Spike Jonze. Today, Spike is known for his Hollywood productions and music videos as much as anything else, but ‘Video Days’ was the starting point. With a genuine background in the BMX and skateboarding scenes, Spike was the perfect person to direct Blind’s debut video.

Creating ‘Video Days’ as your first commercial skate film production certainly didn’t do Spike’s resume any harm.

The camera work by Jacob Rosenberg was amazing and upped the ante for all subsequent skate video releases. ‘Video Days’ had an all-star cast, from every angle.

The video kicks off with the Blind team driving around Los Angeles (well, four of them: Jordan Richter is busy rolling down hills, it would seem) in an old blue Cadillac. As they cruise the streets and drive dangerously close to the edge of the freeway, we get to see glimpses of the skating abilities within. And a rather spectacular stack down a large double-set of stairs from Mark Gonzales.

Once the 60-second intro sequence is over, the individual sections begin…

Guy was fresh from the Powell team, along with fellow Blind team-mate, Rudy Johnson, even wearing a Powell ‘Supreme’ t-shirt at various points in his video part.

Skating to the sounds of the Jackson Five, Guy’s section is nothing short of incredible. We’d already had a small taste of his skills in Powell’s ‘Ban This’ video from ‘89, but by ’Video Days’ his skills were honed to perfection.

Riding a board that was almost as big as himself (Guy was 14 when much of the video was shot), he did the first noseblunt slides I’d seen on film, an impossible lipslide on the infamous Hewlett-Packard handrail and some incredible flatground lines. One of the best opening sections of any skate video ever.

Jordan had a short section compared to the rest of the team – and to be fair, he had his work cut out to hold our attentions. Whilst vert ramp skating was the popular style of the ‘80s, by the time ’Video Days’ came out, vert was in a lull and everyone wanted to see street skating. It didn’t help that the person who’d brought him to Blind – ramp genius, Danny Way – had moved on, leaving Richter as the lone ‘ramp guy’ on the team.

That said, his part shows the beginning of the period where vert riders began bringing street-inspired moves to the ramps: nollies, nose manuals and other tricks.

Opening with clips from ‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory’ (not to be confused with ‘Charlie & the Chocolate Factory’…) and skating to John Coltrane, Mark Gonzales produced his first full video section anyone had seen. We’d seen the photos in the magazines of his incredible tricks, but watching them on the TV screen was something else altogether.

There aren’t any highlights: his whole section is outstanding. The first to ollie the infamous Wallenburg steps (see middle picture above here), the handrail manoeuvres, the cruising down the street, the long linked lines of flatland… Nothing had ever been done of this calibre before.

One of the best video sections of all-time.

Having joined Blind from Powell with Guy, Rudy’s section was just as impressive. High speed lines, technical trickery (the manual to 360 flip at Embarcadero being a prime example) and crisp style made Rudy’s section the perfect follow-on from Gonz’s section.

You can tell how good Rudy was by the visible clue that many of his tricks were filmed in the same day: just look for the same clothing in a number of clips.

Another skater who we were used to seeing in the magazines but had little idea just how good he actually was, Jason Lee’s section is still a benchmark twenty years later.

Skating fast, with plenty of big moves, you get to see a number of outstanding tricks in this part. The 360 flip over the sand gap (see above left) is one of the best 360 flips of all time. We’ve heard numerous times that Jason’s part doesn’t actually show just how good he really was. But it was still enough to blow our minds.

The blue Cadillac device continues at the end of the film, with our rowdy skate team grabbing some alcohol and taking to the dirt tracks of Tijuana. Alas, it all ends in tears when they go over the edge of a cliff and crash, resulting in a eulogy-style credits section that could bring a tear to anyone’s eye.

Whilst it seemed pretty clear that it was all a joke, I recall people asking ‘Wow… did they all die?’ after seeing this for the first time.

Lakai Limited Footwear ‘The Final Flare’ DVD

lakai final flare

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

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

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

Looks good, huh? Read on homebones…

lakai final flare

Disc One (SD DVD)

Contents:

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

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

lakai final flare

Disc Two (SD DVD)

Contents:

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

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

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

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

lakai final flare

Disc Three (HD Blu-Ray Disc)

Contents:

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

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

lakai final flare

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

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

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

Nike SB and Freestylin’ Magazine’s ‘Generation F’ BMX Book

It’s all too easy to say, ‘Oh yeah – I was down with XYZ back in the day’, when in reality you had nothing to do with any aspect of it. With various brands muscling their way into the numerous subcultures, a number of interesting projects have gained attention far wider than they would have within their insular little scenes. Whether that’s for good or bad, I’m not totally sure yet, but it’s interesting to watch.

Nike’s last foray into the world of ‘extreme sports’ (sorry to use that term, but in reality that’s going to be the best way to describe the genre to any outsiders) had them finally cracking the skate angle properly, developing a solid range of products and forming a second-to-none team (OK… maybe Lakai or DVS deserve this crown). So when we heard that they were making in-roads into BMX, I was quietly confident that it’d be done nicely. And it was.

The shoes were interesting enough, but I’ll get back to those shortly. The focus of this editorial is the amazing promotional book that announced the launch of the project. Nike SB’s John Martin asked Mark Lewman (I could go off on a tangent here and break down this man’s participation within so many of the interests I’ve had over the years, but I’ll let you Google this yourself) a loaded question: if he could do anything for a BMX-related project, what would he do? Lewman reunited the ‘Freestylin’ magazine editorial team (that’d be Spike Jonze and Andy Jenkins, in case you were wondering) and between them, they put together an incredible outline of the pioneering days of freestyle BMX.

Editorial articles would’ve been good enough, but they tracked down the original riders and interviewed them all individually, giving an incredibly interesting series of personal accounts. If you ever had the fortune to read ‘Freestylin’ back in the day (or ‘Club Homeboy’ …or ‘Loft’… or any of their editorial produce), then this is the equivalent of the last issue ever. But in hardback. I’ll throw my controlled demeanour aside for just a second and just say it’s fucking awesome.

Kicking off the interviews is the founder of freestyle, Bob Haro. Other than a couple of recent Nike-related publicity interviews with Bob, I didn’t really know too much about what he’d been up to in recent years, so this was a treat. The same with the Mike Dominguez, Maurice Meyer and Craig Campbell sections, which I re-read as soon as I’d finished: these were the guys who were on the posters on my wall when I was 8 or 9 years old. Eddie Fiola, Kevin Jones, Brian Blyther, Ron Wilkerson… the list of legends featured goes on and on and on. Obviously, Hoffman is there as well.

I wish that Dave Vanderspek, Neil Ruffell, Pepi Winder and the other lost comrades could have been with us to have seen this. It’s amazing how this first wave of riders pioneered freestyle for all subsequent bikers ever since. Reading Joe Johnson’s account on his first tailwhip airs or about Wilkerson’s infamous crash (which left him comatose) filled me with awe and nostalgia. It’s not hard to find new-found respect for many of the riders who seemingly ‘disappeared’ from the scene, only to find they’d stuck to their morals, ditched their sponsors – and continued to ride for their own pleasure. Josh White is a perfect example.

The nice introductory letter and the tongue-in-cheek subscription card inserted into the pages made me smile. It’s precisely this attention to detail that makes a project like this stand out so much; instead of stamping their mark throughout the entire book, Nike let these guys do what they do best with minimum interference.

The only criticism I have for such an impressive project is the distribution. Limited edition projects are all well and good, but when something that’s as culturally important and interesting as this, I think it should be available to anyone who wants a copy. 2500 copies were printed, each with a nice box, but when you see multiple copies being flung up on eBay by the same sellers and then hear that a riding legend such as Dave Voelker didn’t get given a copy, you have to question the fairness. In short, if you weren’t connected (or lucky), you were going to have to pay the resellers prices to get a copy. Looking at my parents attic full of my old bike mags and dad’s garage strewn with my broken bicycle and skate parts, I had no real choice but to give in and buy one. I actually ended up unintentionally buying two copies after forgetting to cancel an auction bid – and gave my spare copy to my man C-Law over in Portland, because I knew he’d love this. To make it clear, I doubt anyone’s blaming Lew, Spike and Jenkins for the limited availability, but I’m sure I’m not alone in hoping that they follow this up with a widely-available sequel sooner rather than later.

I spent the next three evenings reading this book from cover to cover. Might as well ditch the nice box that it came in, as this is going to be picked up again and again. I’ll get to the shoes the book was intended to promote in a later post, which makes me wonder if I’m doing things the way they were intended by the people at Nike… Hmmm.

Courtesy of 23mag.com (seriously guys, thanks for this), here’s the entire book as an online flick-through. It might just tip you over the edge.