If you're a skateboarder right now, things are pretty bleak. Skateparks are closed in most countries, shops and brands are hurting, and street skateboarding is even more illegal than usual. Perhaps worst of all, we don't really know when all of this will end – and how things will look on the other side when we eventually get there.
We could harp on about how horrible this lockdown is, but it's happening, and we're going to have to deal with it. It's for the best, after all. And if you find yourself with a few spare moments between episodes of that show with the hillbilly tiger guy, we've got some things you could binge to make the days go by that little bit less painfully. From video games to video archives, this list should keep you busy for a while.
Skate 4 probably ain't ever happening, but we're kinda-sorta getting something like it. Two things, actually. If you aren't yet familiar, Session and Skater XL are carrying the EA Skate torch forward, and while both are still in stages of 'early access', they're beginning to get pretty damn good. Both titles focus on realism – Skater XL currently gives you the chance to skate extremely realistic models of the West LA Courthouse and Poods Park in Encinitas, while Session is (so far) based in New York City with life-like renditions of spots like the Brooklyn Banks.
Which one is better? It's hard to say. Session, in our opinion, is the better-looking game, with more realistic trick animations and tends to generally 'feel' more authentic, at least to a skateboarder. Skater XL, on the other hand, is developing a thriving community of custom levels, parks and spots – and has just announced a lineup of playable skaters including Evan Smith, Tiago Lemos, Brandon Westgate & Tom Asta, along with announcing a July 2020 release on Xbox One, PS4 & Switch. Session is expected to hit Xbox at some point this year. Both games are currently available on Steam, though, so get binging!
You're probably familiar with the exquisite Atlantic Drift series from British lensman/visual guru/lord-and-saviour Jacob Harris, but when was the last time you watched all 10 episodes back-to-back? Clocking in at around 80 minutes all up, viewing Atlantic Drift in the context of a single full-length instalment is a refreshing experience in a world filled with draining tour videos featuring guys smashing bottles and eating scabs.
While 80 minutes won't exactly get you through a potentially months-long quarantine period, the series' rewatchability is unparalleled within the endless web video universe we've grown to accept as normal. Watching Tom Knox run lines through entire postcodes won't ever get old; nor will Mike Arnold's parkour-infused, questionable-if-anyone-else-was-doing-this approach; nor will Jake's eerie Lynchian tangents and 16mm mastery. We recommend watching all 10 episodes on a daily basis while under quarantine.
If you've got a spare week or ten, it might be time to fire up that 5-hour Mike Vallely episode of The Nine Club you got 20 minutes into and promised you'd finish later, but you never did because one of the related videos was Ed Templeton's part in Welcome to Hell, which you clicked, and that Sonic Youth song he skates to really struck a chord with the early-90s rebellious teenager inside of you, which led you down a rabbit hole of kinda-weird '90s bands like Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine, including that one song from Lost in Translation, and now you're binging Scarlett Johansson movies again instead.
While we're on the subject, some of our personal Nine Club recommendations include Spike Jonze, Skin Philips, Grant Yansura, Jamie Thomas, Jeff Grosso, Ian Michna and Nyjah (yes, really). Some of the best episodes tend to be behind-the-scenes guys: filmers, photographers, magazine heads, brand people, and so on. And if you don't feel like watching them, the episodes are always available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and whatever else. Perfect binge material.
To be honest, most skate 'meme' accounts were astonishingly terrible until very recently. While most meme pages have traditionally targeted the demographic which believes Braille is the coolest company and hasn't yet discovered Aaron Kyro's strong ties to that super-shady religious cult, recent accounts have popped up which are nothing short of absolute, unarguable genius (or really, really dumb, depending what kind of person you are).
We recommend pages like Open Sesamemes, Snorte Rene, The Nut Daily, and Grind Queen – but there's plenty of additional gems out there. If you're as stupid as we are, you'll spend hours giggling at C1RCA memes and finally come to the realisation that yes, Grind King is unquestionably the greatest truck company of all time, and don't you dare suggest otherwise.
The most recent Polar videos have been absolutely god-tier, but Pontus has been making moves behind the lens for a hot minute now, even long before Polar had materialised in its current form. While the latest videos have been handed largely to Tao Strom as far as filming duties are concerned, Pontus is known for creating a series of cult-classic films in the lead up to I Like It Here Inside My Mind, Don't Wake Me This Time – and they're perfect if you're looking for something a little outside the box this quarantine.
The Strongest of the Strange (2005) and In Search of the Miraculous (2010) are two brilliantly bizarre skate films from the Swedish pro-skater-turned-brand-honcho, and while they each predate the beginning of Polar, the brand's original mood and direction can clearly be found within. While the skateboarding is great, the Ingmar Bergman-like dreaminess and suspension-in-reality style is what makes them so captivating. Failing that, the early Polar promos – Wallride Oh Yeah Oh Yeah Oh Yeah and No Complies & Wallrides+Shuvits are essential viewing, too.
We're about to disclose the internet's best-kept secret: Skate Video Vault. We stumbled upon this channel recently and were absolutely stunned to find literally hundreds of classic skate videos, all uploaded in the highest possible quality (considering many were VHS releases), and all with an absolutely minuscule amount of views. With 255 full-length videos at the last count, this channel has quickly become our go-to binger during quarantine. It's like Netflix for skateboarders.
Just about everything you could ask for is here: from the entire ON Video catalogue, to classics like Photosynthesis and Sorry, all the way down to somewhat-forgotten gems like the early Foundation flicks or the Oakley video. Many of the uploads still have less than 100 views, so hopefully we're not opening this up to unwanted attention, but we can't stress enough just how magical this channel is. Dig in and see what you can find.
Did you know that Thrasher has scanned and uploaded a vast majority of its magazines from the '80s and '90s? Yep, right there on the website, you can trawl through a massive chunk of the bible's long back catalogue. Over the last couple of weeks we've spent literally hours – entire days sometimes – getting deep into classic issues, iconic interviews, historic photos and moments, and occasionally some very odd articles and features (especially in some of those '80s issues).
Feel like flipping through Mike Carroll's SOTY issue from 1995? How about that oft-maligned luge cover? Or the game-changing 1989 San Francisco street issue? Shit, want a snowboarding cover? This is top-tier lockdown reading material.
The tragic death of Jeff Grosso has saddened the entire skateboarding world over these tough last couple of weeks. Jeff left behind an incredible skate legacy, and in recent years was probably best known for his Loveletters web series, produced by Vans, where he essentially penned love letters to skateboarding in video form.
Every single one of them is worth watching, and it's probably a better time than ever to either start the series or re-watch it in its entirety. From Jeff's general underlying philosophy of skateboarding to icons like Geoff Rowley and Lance Mountain, just about every possible base is covered. Not much more needs to be said; whether you love or hate Jeff's opinions, his love for skateboarding was unparalleled by almost anyone. Long live Grosso.
Watch Riley Pavey's banging 20-second Medley part here