Best of 2012 First Quarter

We’ve hit the end of the first quarter of the new year, so I figured why not take a look back on some of the stories that have made 2012 what it is so far. By no means is this a scientific breakdown or hard hitting news report of serious journalist inquiry, but a little lookback at the new pros, company shifts, video parts and whatever else that has happened this year might help remind you of something you’d already forgotten due to the constant bombardment of news and imagery that you’ve come to love and expect in the Internet age.
– Christian Senrud

1. Jake and Gilbert Went Pro
Everyone knew this was coming, then with these two closing out the new TWS video it just sealed the deal. Jake and Gilbert are both East Coast originals who’ve been killing it steady since they showed up from State College and Richmond. Gilbert’s been going all over and filming with Vans while designing his perfect skate shoe and once Jake fully healed up from his knee injury, he headed out to SF and began a cross-country trip with some homies, connecting with other skaters and leaving loot all along the way. These are two guys worth supporting and I’m glad their new pro statuses solidifies their place in skateboarding for a good bit.

2. Mark Suciu Crosses the Continent. Twice.
Right before the premiere of Origin Habitat’s TM, Brennan Conroy, was talking up Mark Suciu as the next hot-shit am in skating. Supposedly, Suciu had filmed a banger of a part in something like three weeks and was going to be a surprise hit. Mark’s Origin part was good, but it wasn’t until his Atlas part dropped that I was entirely sold on his skills. In days of online parts blowing up and subsequently disappearing within a few days, this one stuck out and stuck around. His Cross-Continental trip yielded an entire part of great spots and trick selection, so of course when he had the opportunity to hop back in a van and do it all over again, he did so with Jake Johnson and Map Masquerade and kept coming out with more and more awesome footage from every edit. Looking forward to seeing more from Suciu in the future, wherever it comes from.

3. What Was All That “One in a Million” talk?

One in a Million really was a great contest. I’ve tuned in since back when Slap was still in print and last year’s was possibly the best yet with the Mad Real World stylings of Forrest Edwards and the boys, but this year was a certifiable dud. So much so that the contest yielded no winner and the plug was pulled on the entire thing once the contestants decided that they just wanted to skate and not venture into the confessional booth for another round of “how am I feeling today?” It’s a shame, but there were some serious flaws in the setup in trying to appeal to a broader (read: non-skate) audience with elimination challenges of high ollie and deck set up contests. If they do it again next year, which I hope they do, maybe they can take a cue from a show like Top Shot, where contestants are voted against based off either poor performance or shitty personality, then put in an elimination challenge of some sort. Maybe film a single trick at a spot picked at random. Best trick stays. Something like that. I don’t know. Alex hit me up and we can talk about it. My consultant rates are very reasonable.

4. Kid doing a 1080
Tom Schaar, a relatively unknown 12 year old on Element landed a 1080 and no one in skateboarding seemed to really noticed. I don’t know if that’s just where we’re at as an industry that unless somebody is already established, we don’t offer up a lot of attention to something like some random kid doing what no professional skateboarder has managed to accomplish, or if it’s just the way it hit the newswire, like just another blip in the steady stream of Internet footage. Maybe a little bit of A, maybe a little bit of B. Or maybe it just boils down one of the simple telltale truths in skateboarding that it’s not exactly what’s being done on a skateboard that really matters, but how it’s being done. Regardless, Tom Schaar proves once again that you don’t need to be the biggest name in skateboarding to make your mark, though it certainly does help to have access to a Mega Ramp.

5. The Plastic Cruiser Boom
Everyone has some sort of “cruiser” board on the market these days. For the past few years, most companies have been content with an endemically aimed cruiser model like a Zip Zinger, Pong Cruiser or an old school shape made out of wood where an actual skateboarder might pick up an extra setup for a night out to the bar, or a jaunt across town, but now it seems like every brand is racing to come out with a novelty board that makes most skateboarders ask “Why?” and everyone else go, “That might be fun.” Stereo’s got their Vinyl Cruisers, Globe’s got the Bantam, Santa Cruz and NHS have The Simpsons, Colt 45 and more. It’s curious, but apparently skate shops can’t keep the fucking things in stock, and as long as skate shops are making money, it’s hard to say they’re a bad thing.

6. Dyrdek Bought DNA
Last year, Rob Dyrdek caught wind that Burton Snowboards might be trying to sell off Alien Workshop and its sister companies, so he stepped up an initiated a conversation that eventually ended with Rob purchasing DNA Distribution. Dyrdek announced the purchase at the beginning of the year at the Zumiez 100K, and a few months later came the official press release confirming it. It’s quite a story for someone who’s ridden for a brand 20 years literally since it first began, to end up owning the company down the road, but that’s skateboarding. Dreams really can come true. Apparently a few times over if you’re Rob Dyrdek. Only time will tell if the change of ownership will shake things up at the brand, but Carter, Hill and Castrucci have always kept things legit at DNA, so chances are it’ll continue to be smooth sailing.

7. Eswic is a Thing
After 10 years as a co-owner at RVCA, Jimmy Arrighi announced last October that he was leaving the company and that he had something in store for the future. What that was is Eswic Clothing, his new clothing company with a hard hitting team of Leo Romero, Ed Templeton, James Hardy Cairo Foster and Donovan Piscopo who came along from RVCA, along with some new additions of Stevie Perez and Dakota Servold. The team is unquestionable and so far the clothes look pretty good, so all in all, the future’s looking bright for Jimmy and the guys at Eswic.

<embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="400" height="300"></embed>

Eswic team intro video montage from ESWIC on Vimeo.

8. Sheckler robbed of 100k worth of jewelry
Be selective with the kind of stripper you bring back to your Vegas hotel at 3 A.M. guys. You just can’t trust anybody these days.

9. The Polar Promo
It’s hard to watch the couple opening lines and not want to just press pause and go skate. The rest of the promo delivers the whole way through, with heavy skating at some crusty Euro spots. Pontus and the Polar boys are producing good things, though I’m sure there will be a lot of confusion in the US between them and Poler, who make camping stuff.

10. Jereme Rogers Naked Rampage Part 2
Perhaps as a precursor to the Jason Russell of KONY “exhaustion”-induced nude rampage in San Diego that happened a bit later, or maybe as a throwback to the first time he got naked and caused a public ruckus whilst experiencing an expanded mental perspective thanks to the powerful influence of natural hallucinogens, Jereme Roger once again made the news after stripping to his birthday suit and making a scene. This time, Jereme was in a hotel and “like the Hulk,” as he described it, tore through a posh NYC hotel hallway and trashed some of the decor. Additionally, he was also, “Yelling about how he was the son of God,” which is…strange. Police were called and J Cassanova got dropped in the klink for a few days of cool down time, charged with criminal mischief, a misdemeanor with a potential maximum sentence of a year in jail. Say what you will about Jereme, at least he’s keeping skateboarding interesting.

11. Skate Documentaries: Waiting for Lightning and Bones Brigade: An Autobiography
Bones Brigade: An Autobiography and Waiting for Lightning. Both are great and worth your time and money to check out. Personally, I can only speak for Bones Brigade, but as someone who started skateboarding long after the rise and fall of the Bones Brigade, the documentary was a great story of each member of the group and reminded you how much they’ve shaped skateboarding and how lucky we are to have had like that in our history and to still have them today.

12. LE Skateboards is Also a Thing
From the stony homies Nick Trapasso and Pat “Sinner” Pasquale comes Life Extension Skateboards through Blitz Distribution, which is a sort of reincarnation of Bootleg Skateboards complete with J Strickland artwork and everything. They gripped up Tony Tave and Eric Fletcher for the team and turned Sinner pro, making him one of the only people who has ever gone from flow to pro in one fell swoop. They’ve got the talent and the backing, and kids seem to like it, so they’ve got a strong start.

2012’s New Pros:
Jake Johnson, Alien Workshop
Gilbert Crockett, Alien Workshop
Shane Heyl, Baker Skateboards
Neen Williams, Deathwish Skateboards
Pat Pasquale, LE Skateboards
Dan Nepscha, 1031
Windsor James, Mystery
Dan Plunkett, Skate Mental
Ishod Wair, Real Skateboards
Willy Akers, 5Boro
Joe Tookmanian, 5Boro

New Videos
5 Boro, Join or Die
Raw street skating from the whole 5Boro team. Standout parts from Jimmy McDonald and Willy Akers. Available to watch for free online and available on DVD where you can find it.

Element, Future Nature
This premiered last Friday with full parts from Boo Johnson, Julian Davidson, Evan Smith, Madars Apse and Nick Garcia with a montage from Trent McClung, Tom Schaar and some flow riders. All the ams destroyed, Julian skates to Pagan Altar, Evan skates cool shit in a cool way, Madars has one of the craziest firecrackers ever, and Boo’s hardflips are something to behold. Now available on DVD and iTunes.

Think, Business As Usual
Free download via another magazine. Josh Matthews has my favorite part and Lee Yankou does some hairball maneuvering. Well edited with good music.

TWS, The Cinematographer Project
Is it weird to bring up another magazine’s video? Whatever. Got to see this at Tampa and it felt a bit long at points, but the Alien section alone makes the entire video worth seeing. Jake and Gilbert crush the ender.