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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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’
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