If you zoned out for a minute this year, you may have missed one of the many memorable things to happen this year. We understand, you’re busy, that’s why we thought we’d take a look back on the second quarter of the year (April-June) to reflect on what’s made skateboarding in 2012 great, terrible, or otherwise worthy of note. So take a rearview peek into 2012 with our Associate Editor, Christian Senrud, as he rambles on about the videos, contests, industry movements and whatever else pops into that feeble mind of his when thinking of this year so far.
1. Nyjah Continues to Win Everything
At the ripe age of 17, Nyjah Huston’s bank is 1.25 million dollars richer thanks to Rob Dyrdek’s Street League. He took home $300,000 already this year for winning the first two stops and if that wasn’t enough, he raked in another $50,000 for a jaw-dropping part in ESPN’s Real Street where he and Jaws basically just said, “Fuck our knees, get us paid.” I was at the Kansas City SL top and it was impressive to witness Nyjah kickflip back noseblunt the rail after they’d already announced that he’d won with another run still left. I don’t find contests to be all that entertaining, nor do I feel they’re the greatest barometer of who ranks where in skateboarding, but I do enjoy the fact that Rob Dyrdek has dug out a little corner in skateboarding where people like Eric Koston, Austyn Gillette, Ishod Wair and Peter Ramondetta could conceivably win 150 grand. Just the fact that everyone who shows up gets a check and that most of the money is coming from outside of skateboarding (Chevy, Billmyparents, etc.) is also rad. Back to my main point though, Nyjah is rich and can land a lot of hard tricks on command all day long and has more money than I’ll probably ever look at. But I can buy my own beer, so thank God for small victories, right?
2. Mark Suciu Can Do a Line On Anything
With the ephemeral nature of Internet “coverage” a lot comes and goes and the majority of it is this redundant, unoriginal crap, that everyone keeps shelling out in a rat race against each other for more views, hits, likes and shares that in all reality probably don’t yield all that much actual profit or highlight their brand in any other way than the “Hey, please don’t forget about us!” type of way. In this steady stream of bland monotony, not that much sticks out or sticks around, even the good stuff. Mark Suciu, however, is a grand exception. Earlier in the year, he put out his Atlas “Cross Continental” part, and since then he’s continued to shell out top notch street footage that could easily be saved for a full-length video. It’s one of those things, where it’s better to just watch and enjoy rather than dissect it, but the kid is good, and if and when he comes out with another full part, I hope it’s available in a hard copy format so some of us fat, old, men can have it at the ready on a shelf near a DVD player at home to reflect upon on some rainy day when we’re stuck inside and don’t feel like sitting at a computer.
3. Zoo York Dismantling Its Pro Team
Zered Bassett and Zoo York parted ways earlier this year and in a Nieratko interview via ESPN, Zered said that the higher ups at Zoo York’s parent brand would not be renewing the contracts of most of the professional team. Zered’s was the first to run out, and once it did, he was sent packing after many, many years representing the brand. Brandon Westgate and Chaz Ortiz are still on the team, as well as Zoo’s three newest ams, but once their contracts run out, a lot is up in the air. The other pros have already parted ways and so far have not officially landed anywhere, but skate companies would be wise to pick up the talents of guys like Eli Reed pronto.
4. Ride Channel Acquires SKATELINE
Pretty much what everyone’s been wanting to happen in some form or another, finally did with Metro Skateshop’s lovable loudmouth, Gary, getting in front of the camera to talk some trash or give some unfettered love to whatever and whomever he pleased. The YouTube videos got some momentum and Ride Channel saw an opportunity for another weekly program and thusly picked it up for themselves. If there’s been any sort of industry backlash towards Metro, Ride Channel, or Gary, I’m not aware of it, but that seemed to be the main deterrent from a show like this ever happening before. Maybe skateboarding has gotten mature enough to recognize that some hate is good, and at least this kid’s not afraid to get in front of the camera and crack some jokes to echo a lot of what we’re all already thinking anyway.
5. Ben Nordberg Looks Like He’s on Heroin
Ben released a video part earlier this year via Flip Skateboards and Relentless Energy Drink where he lackadaisically floats around on his skateboard, kickflip backlipping pools, noseblunt reverting this and that and just ripping around looking like a slight breeze might knock him and his t-shirt’s failing neckline over at any point. It doesn’t of course, and his paradoxically gnarly nature combined with his asleep-at-the-wheel style makes for some enjoyable skateboarding to watch.
6. Bro Style is a Thing
From the creative minds of Leo Romero, the Lutheran family and several key bros comes the new griptape and accessory brand (and number one choice of the bros), Bro Style available through Tum Yeto. Leonard details the simple premise of the brand in his Free Lunch, which is hilarious by the way, spawning from a trip to Albuquerque to shoot Dan Lu’s cover where Mama Lutheran said something along the lines of “Wouldn’t it be great if all of your friends were on the same company, so you could always travel together?” To which the bros responded, “Yes, that would be great Mama Lutheran. We should do that.” Then they did. Shake Junt, watch your ass.
7. DVS Files for Bankruptcy
Times are tough all over and core companies are feeling it the hardest in skateboarding. Lakai jumped ship from Podium a ways back taking up residence at the Girl camp, which was not the best sign for the other brands there. In late May, DVS filed for Chapter 11, which companies sometimes opt for so they can restructure financially and get back in the black as soon as possible. They’re still making shoes and Daewon, Torey, Shier and the boys are still on the squad continuing to rip as though nothing has changed.
8. Real Street Fiasco
This year’s Real Street turned into a bit of a quagmire when people found multiple loopholes in trying to acquire maximum possible votes (getting your company owner to tweet his shitloads of followers, getting a crew of your boys to hit Mac stores to vote on every computer, telling people to delete their history to vote multiple times per day, etc.). Fingers were pointed, feelings were hurt and in the end, Nyjah won the $50,000 from the judges’ vote and Collin Provost won the bracketed fan vote. I was really hoping Fred Gall would win $50,000, but what can you do? Also of note is that our Senior Photographer, Jon Mehring provided the song to Joey Pepper’s part, so be sure to check THAT out as well.
9. Austyn Gillette is Pretty Good, Man
Austyn was hands down the most enjoyable guy to watch skate at Street League for me. He had an entirely different approach to the course than the technical mindset of the 9 Club or whatever its called, and his “simpler” approach of going faster, popping higher and grinding longer set him far apart from the majority of other guys in the contest even if it didn’t win him first place. His video entry to make it into Street League was a banger despite it being filmed in the span of a day at Hollenbeck Skate Plaza. Beyond his SL endeavors, Austyn’s been on a tear, getting the cover of TWS, filming an awesome Quik/Berrics video, trying his hand at acting with the Weekendtage “To Catch a Longboarder” episodes, getting his first pro shoe through Habitat, and just killing it in general.
10. Where’s that 5 Inches You Promised Me?
Almost came out with a new video called 5 Incher where everyone skates things that are 5 Inches high or less. If you think that sounds unimpressive, just remember one thing: Daewon Song. If you need more to entice you, consider that they filmed this thing in a matter of a few months. If you’re still not sold, I don’t know what to tell you, because curbs are fun and your knees aren’t going to last forever.
11. Sheckler’s Skate For a Cause Raises $57K for A.Skate Foundation
For their 4th annual Skate For a Cause event, The Sheckler Foundation helped raise over $57,000 to fund The A.Skate Foundation’s 10 stop nationwide tour aimed to help children on the Autistic spectrum by introducing them to skateboarding, which opens up new avenues of self expression due to its independent and creative nature. Held at the Etnies Skatepark of Lake Forest, the event was an all day Cinco De Mayo celebration with best trick contests along with family friendly activities provided by additional sponsors. With the help of everybody who came together, the Sheckler Foundation far surpassed the goal set to fund the tour and was a great succes for everyone involved. Here’s a video detailing the event and a little bit of what A.Skate is all about.
12. New Enjoiable Amateurs
Ryan Lay and Zach Wallin got the official welcome to Enjoi skateboards and each had bangin’ videos to showcase their talents to the world. I don’t have much to add other than that you should watch and rewatch their parts and check Zach’s ender to note that it definitely wasn’t photoshopped. He’s just a beast.
13. Sebo Walker: Internet Footage Machine
Sebo continues to produce more and more footage. He had a banger interview in our April/May issue, then put out a “commercial” for Lakai that amounts to about a minute and a half of top notch footage where he ends with a near perfect NBD down a hard to hit LA triple set.
14. Torey Pudwill Wins Tampa Pro for Kicks, Leo Gives Lil Wayne Thumbs Down
As far as skate events go, the SPoT guys have what they’re doing down to a science. From announcing to judging, to making sure everyone has a good time outside of their pro and am events, they nail it and it’s always a blast to head to Tampa to enjoy another year of whatever they got cooking. Torey Pudwill took top honors this year then hopped up on the mic and announced that he could give a fuck about the money, he just wanted to skate Tampa. During the melee of the podium processions Lil Wayne was lurking around, posing for photos, and not to be outshone, Leo gave him the frowney-face thumbs down. Despite what you think of Wayne or Leo, it was great. Can’t wait till next year.