We're roughly halfway through 2019, so we thought it might be nice to wade through the endless stream of skate content which has spewed out over the first 7 months of the year and pick out the quality parts you might have lost or forgotten along the way. The year has already produced plenty of top-drawer content, mixed in with the easily forgettable offcuts which tend to dilute the content-for-the-sake-of-content pool. Besides, the traditional end-of-year SOTY push is set to bombard us shortly, completely wiping everything pre-November from the skateboard world's collective memory. We might as well get this out there while we still can.
We've aimed to pick out some slightly more 'under the radar' gems in this collection – stuff you probably won't find watermarked by a certain major (see: only) American skateboard magazine – although it's inevitable that a few came via that route. Just don't send us angry emails when the recent Jaws part doesn't make the cut. In no particular order...
Jake Harris and Mike Arnold are best known for their Atlantic Drift collaborations, but this Adidas edit shows they can produce that major-brand-HD-video content and keep it full of character and artistry. This part is not for everyone; Mike has a pretty unique array of gimmicks he brings to skateboarding, and this part essentially chronicles them all. Can you tell he used to be a professional free runner? From the opening line – where roughly 97.3% of his foot touches the ground on a nollie 360 – it’s clear that Mike is pretty indifferent to the ‘perfect or nothing’ attitude which has buried itself into skateboarding over the last decade or so. Imperfect landings are on-trend – we saw it in Trust Fall, too – and it’s kinda refreshing. I’ve rewatched this part more than any other in 2019, which says it all. Mike’s the truth.
Short, sweet, and stylish – attributes which describe both this part and Alexis herself. Alexis Sablone was welcomed to Converse earlier this year, and the video accompanying that announcement is undoubtedly one of our very favourites for 2019. Grant Yansura was behind this one, which was filmed over just a couple of days in Alexis’ home city of New York, and it captures an essence rarely felt in modern skateboarding. Without getting too corny, Alexis always looks like she’s just cruising around, roaming freely, hitting spots and being herself – nothing feels forced, everything flows, and it makes for inspired viewing. There’s an individuality rarely felt with skateboarders in 2019. Long may it continue.
Nik Stain makes absolutely everything look good. Watching him ollie on flat ground is a treat for the eyeballs, so you can imagine the brain aneurysms incurred when over 2 minutes of Stain footage dropped in Johnny Wilson’s recent Skate Clip. Nik was actually in Sydney a couple of months back, and I had the pleasure of watching him eat Indian food at Taylor Square from my carefully planned vantage point behind some nearby shrubbery. It was more stylish than the vast majority of skateboard parts released this decade. You thought Gino’s push was majestic…
Brad Cromer, for whatever reason, continues to go underrated by a vast majority of the skateboard world. Part after part, Cromer delivers the goods: elegant trick selection, interesting spots, stylish as almost anyone, and always set to a brilliant shoegaze-y soundtrack. This time it’s Drop Nineteens, a tasteful choice if we do say so. And that’s exactly what Cromer’s skateboarding is: tasteful. This part is up there with his very best. Go buy his shoe before the company goes bust and he’s forced to get a job at some dinky record store selling overpriced copies of Loveless to hipsters and old people for $8 an hour. What do you mean it’s too late?
Is this Taylor Caruso part a bit all over the place? Sure. He does like 72 wallies, there’s a slow spoken word soundtrack, and at one point he’s even skating an indoor park rail for some reason. Fuck it, though. WKND make skating sidewalks and apartments in LA look super fun and productive, which is better than any other LA-based company seems to muster in the post-SLS world. Grant and the gang do what they want. The whole team also lives in the same house and they all date each other’s sisters. I think it’s one of those weird cults. I want in.
After a few years stuck in a lull, Crailtap camp is on the comeback hard. Girl has it sorted with Bannerot, Manchild, Griffin & Niels, and Chocolate is now officially bringing through some new blood in the form of Hakeem Ducksworth. Not only is that the best name we’ve ever heard, but Hakeem backs it up with a number of seriously heavy manoeuvres at a handful of LA’s most infamous spots, to a great DJ Quik track, precisely filmed and cut by John Morello. This edit screams classic Crailtap.
For all of the brilliance delivered in GIZMO, Nike SB’s maiden all-female skateboard video, the biggest name was seemingly swept aside. There’s a reluctance within skateboard circles to accept that Leticia Bufoni is really, truly, actually, one of the greatest of all time. That sentence alone will trigger people – ‘her style is wack’ (total bullshit), ‘she skates in tights’, ‘she cares more about image than skills’, ‘she should skate instead of posting selfies’ – you get the general picture. I’m not saying you have to love Leticia’s skating, just like you don’t have to love Nyjah’s, but it seems like her GIZMO part was hardly given a chance. At the very least it shoots down the narrative that she only skates for contests, and when skateboarders stop caring so much about whatever she wears, they’ll probably appreciate just how gnarly her street clips really are. Leticia rules.
JB Gillet is 40 years old. Let that sink in for a moment. Having been on the international scene for a solid 20 years, JB could be forgiven for kicking back on a beach in France, milking his cozy Nike contract, and popping the odd park trick or repost on Instagram for the rest of his days. Instead, he’s out filming one of the best parts of 2019 and dropping pro boards with Primitive. This is vintage Gillet, filmed entirely with the VX1000 at JB’s insistence, and features a smorgasbord of top-shelf footage from his teammates to boot. He’ll be going until he’s 50.
When I saw this Nick Mathews part was titled Pavement, I immediately wondered if he might actually skate to a Pavement song. He does. Not only that, but it’s one of my personal favourites; an underrated gem from the band’s debut record, a godlike collection of tracks which have stood the test of time and then some. The 917 guys made skating to the band cool again, and the Frog dudes and dudettes backed it up, and now everyone wants a piece of the Pavement. I’m here for it. This might be the most underrated part of 2019 – make no mistake, the skateboarding is on par with the soundtrack.
What’s in the cool-aid at WKND? The edits are always impressive, but this double-barrelled part starring their previously no-name flow dudes, Evan Wasser and Caleb McNeely, is up there with the best of the bunch. You might know Caleb from the Venue crew out of Richmond – potentially the best shop crew in skateboarding, home of Gilbert Crockett – but this part really puts him right on the radar. We hadn’t heard too much about Evan before this, but damn, the kid charges. WKND is doing it proper. Send me a box, Grant.
What more can be said about Chima Ferguson? If you grew up in Sydney as I did, Chima is something of a god amongst men. He’s on a higher echelon of existence, it seems. His footage at local spots has always transformed into the stuff of legend in these parts, whispered throughout schoolyards and skateparks nationwide. There’s plenty of that going on in his most recent part from Real. Chima just turned 30, but we reckon his best is yet to come. He’s got that dad energy now. Watch out, Sydney.