2017 was another blockbuster year for fans of skate content, as the digital age continues to spew out an unfathomable amount of video footage from skateboarders around the world on a daily basis. A by-product of the near-endless content stream is a growing number of underappreciated clips being swept aside for whatever reason, be it poor timing, weak promotion over social platforms, or simply being outshone by the dozens of other quality videos screened that week.
This article presents our opinion on the ten most underrated video parts of 2017, in no particular order.
While you've probably been keeping up with Casper Brooker's antics in the amazing Atlantic Drift series, the criminally underrated Englishman kicked off 2017 with an equally enjoyable full part via Free Skatemag. It was filmed by VX master Jacob Harris, and along with a surprisingly fantastic Bruce Springsteen cover as the soundtrack, the duo produced practically the perfect web clip. Casper is one of the best, and this part was unjustly neglected.
Aaron's part begins at the 10:26 mark
Hold up – the 917 video was one of the most hyped, watched and idolised videos of the year, right? While that might be true, if you ask someone about Aaron Loreth's part they'll probably ask something like "which one was he, again?" You can partly attribute that to the creative decision to do away with name titles completely (a trend I hope dies and never comes back), but Aaron's mix of powerful manny tech and a John Fitzgerald-esque style deserved more shine.
Virginia's Venue skate shop has produced a number of amazing independent videos over the last few years, and they're always filled with talented no-namers from the ever-bubbling Richmond scene. While Gilbert Crockett is their most notable export and understandably received the most attention for his part in Gospel, 21-year-old Caleb McNeely quietly dropped a section to remember. This kid will be WKND's next am, and he deserves it. Jot him down as a future pro.
It feels like the UK skate scene has been an endless production line of incredible talent lately, but Korahn Gayle is an underrated Brit who has been killing it for some time. His Grey part was released just a couple of months back to relatively little fanfare, but the nighttime romp was definitely a personal favourite among those who managed to catch it. Lines for days and style for miles, Korahn is as underrated as they come.
2017 was an unprecedented year for women in skateboarding, with pro debuts from the likes of Lizzie Armanto and Nora Vasconcellos, along with plenty of deserved praise around Lacey Baker and the like. For us, Alexis Sablone's incredible WKND part was a little underappreciated in comparison. Alexis has been killing it for a long time – she's 30 this year – but this was arguably her first street section of comparable standard to her breakout part in Wonderful Horrible all those years ago. Pro status well earned.
Danny's part begins at the 19:40 mark
Another Englishman? You bet. This year's Palace video was as popular as ever, with plenty of rightful acclaim for the likes of Lucien Clarke and Blondey McCoy. Sandwiched into the middle was Danny Brady, though, who once again showed why he's remained a fan favourite for over a decade. Ever-amazing lines and Danny's casual navigation of gritty London spots made this our personal favourite part in the video. He's still repping Lakai, too, which is nice to see.
Welcome Skateboards' debut full-length, Fetish, was released at the very beginning of 2017 to great acclaim. There's no mistaking the incredible array of skateboarding in this video, but Jason's part stood out to us as the best of the bunch, despite relatively little praise. A great mix of creativity, interesting trick and spot selection, genuine gnarness, and a hearty amount of Arizona clips made this part the truest to Welcome's original persona.
It's difficult to say a part is underrated when it's released through Thrasher's official channels and viewed by over a hundred thousand people, but that tells you just how good this Mike Arnold section was. Filmed entirely at Lloyds Amphitheatre in Mike's hometown of Bristol – no mean feat, Lloyds is far from perfect – the sheer creativity on display made this arguably our favourite part of the year. Mike is one of the best right now, and we're very excited for his output in 2018.
No matter what anyone says, Colin Read is the master of the VX1000 camera, and Spirit Quest was arguably the finest use of the VX to date. That's a big claim, but Colin's creativity paired with Vincent Touzery's ability to find lines and unexpected moves on the streets of NY and SF made for one of the best VX edits ever. Spirit Quest was technically released in 2016, but this part hit digital screens this year, so we're counting it. Criminally underrated.
Quite possibly our favourite part of 2017, period. I'd never heard of Dane Barker before this part was released, supposedly comprising footage which was meant for the Lakai video which Dane later declined to be involved with, instead moving to Cons. The soundtrack, the spot selection, Dane's style and frankly eye-opening tricks – including a Sunset Blvd ender for the ages – blew us away upon release. Dane is now part of the Quasi program, and we're looking forward to what he produces next, to say the least.