Anyone who has lived for the better part of the last five decades has probably trotted atop this earth in a pair of waffle grip soles.
Vans is a name synonymous with a lot of things: punk rock, skateboarding, and surfing. Although the brand may not have started out with the idea of positioning itself within any kind of subculture, skateboarders adopted it from the beginning. With the help of Tony Alva, the two created the shoe that is now known as the modern day ‘Era.’ That timeless, classic design is not only a staple within the Vans catalog, but it has been imitated time and time again by just about every skate shoe company out there.
Over the years, as skateboarding changed and grew, Vans may not have always been considered the coolest company on the block. They had some questionable years, but so did every other company out at the time. There was just weird stuff in the water, and everyone was drinking from the same well. The times of whacky clothes, small wheels, and trick selections that were hard on the eyes seemed to take over for a while. It’s no secret that Geoff Rowley brought the company out of their hole when he fought for the design of his first pro model shoe. It was a crucial time for the company. Geoff stuck to his guns and together they released a vulcanized shoe at a time when the moon boots were still running rampant. And to this day, Geoff Rowley continues to be a pivotal member of the Vans family. It’s no secret that Vans is loyal to its riders, with OG’s like Hosoi and Caballero, to modern day legends like Rowley and Cardiel still repping the brand after all these years.
So, here’s the question everyone’s been asking: How are Vans only just releasing their very first full length skate video? Any skateboarder who keeps up with the times knows that the team has been working on the video for a long time. Up until a month ago it was still only known as “The Vans Video.” It came as a shock to see the forty-nine second trailer. Maybe even more shocking was the fact that the video was no longer unnamed – and it was to be unleashed a month later. PROPELLER.
The team speaks for itself. The tentacles of Vans reach into the farthest corners, the darkest alleys, and the newest horizons that skateboarding has to offer. Skateboarders from deeply established companies like Real, Toy Machine, Flip, Baker, and Anti-Hero to the upstarts like Fucking Awesome and Mother have all come together to show the world that real videos still matter. In an age of 15 second clips, solo video parts, messy tour videos, and direct-to-web ‘full lengths’, Propeller stands out, and for good reason.
More recently, videos like Supreme’s Cherry, and Enjoi’s Over Vert have enjoyed a robust shelf life well past their week of release. Greg Hunt is no stranger to making videos that have a cohesive look and feel, and are ultimately remembered. Isn’t that what any company hopes to do when they release a video? Have the hard work be remembered? The blood, stress, and good times live on in the minds of all who see it. Vans aligned themselves with a guy fit to go to battle with their elite list of rippers. The fact that the poster boy they chose was none other than Shep Dawgs/Baker’s Rowan Zorilla mid-push is a bold statement.
Last night, mere mortals became legends. PROPELLER premiered to a howling, packed crowd at the Orpheum Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles. With such an anticipated film, you need to nail the intro. It sets the pace for everything that is about to unfold. Greg Hunt set the pace right with this intro – it was quick and to the point. We were all there to see this team destroy everything in front of them. Chima Furgeson came out swinging and from that point on it was non-stop. He set the tone real quick skating huge stairs and gaps with ease. The great thing about this video is that everyone had their own thing going on. Not only was the music varied enough (everything from Iggy Pop, to Slayer, to Ozzy), but what everyone brought to the table was different. The team is so big that there was a little something for everyone. If Rowan Zorilla wasn’t already fully on everybody’s radar, he sure is now. His style of loose and powerful skating is sure to be the topic of many people’s post-Propeller discussions. The guy can skate a bowl like a seasoned tranny skater, and then get urban, or skate insane rails switch with style like no other. He is the future.
The Anti-Hero squad had a strong presence in the video. Pfanner, Tony, and Andrew Allen obviously took this project seriously, yet still managed to put out two videos with Anti-Hero during the making of this. One of them came out the morning of the Propeller premiere! Tony stylishly shredded, Allen got his awesome brand of switch skating on, and Pfanner did one of the biggest kickflips seen in a long time. Kudos to the 1-8 crew!
Curren came through with a heavy dose of that stylish, fast skating as well. He reminded us all that he’s not just a transition skater but can hang in the streets as well. His ender could have been a trick in a Nyjah Huston video part. While we’re talking about a Flip rider, let’s not forget the man: Geoff Rowley. Motorhead, ditches, and Rowley: an unbeatable trio. Geoff dealt with a lot of injuries during the filming of this video, but he delivered the goods. Everything he’s ever put out has been gold.
Elijah Berle had one of the most memorable intro’s in any skate video, ever. A scenario that is always a “near miss” in every other video isn’t in this one. I won’t ruin the surprise, but just know that when it’s Elijah’s turn to shine, it’s a crazy ride from beginning to end.
Mother Collective’s own Gilbert Crocket got a huge reaction when his part started. He was no doubt a fan favorite, and his part could have easily been two parts. There’s a break where you think “wow”, that was great. And then it just keeps going. It’s almost like he had two parts. Also, every rail that Daniel Lutheran skated could have been an ender trick.
Kyle Walker is no doubt going pro…tomorrow. The guy had second to last part for a reason. This kid has been killing contests forever, getting coverage for years, and been on a rampage for this project. He got hurt and was out for those last crucial months filming, and yet his part was still mind-blowing.
And finally, we have Anthony Van Engelen. When his name came up on the screen everyone in that room knew it was time for the last part. It’s like the guy is in this “fine wine club” with skaters like Guy Mariano and Marc Johnson. He’s one of the older dudes in the Vans mix, but he has the drive of a kid who is just about to go am. That hunger and passion that a lot of people might naturally lose over time is alive and well in AVE. Congratulations to everyone associated with this masterpiece. It’s going to be a long time before another video like this comes around.