VPA 10: Canadian Maple, Fiery Furnaces, Gravette’s Guns


Ahoy hoy and welcome back to Vandals, Posers, Athletes.

I’m in Bali, where I’ve been sweating profusely, eating heaped plates of nasi campur on the daily and skating a small concrete mini ramp most afternoons. It’s literally paradise. But I’m still holding up my end of the bargain, which is directing your eyeballs towards those sweet, sweet skate clips that you may or may not have seen over the last fortnight.

This week I’ve narrowed it down to five clips, starting with the latest exceptional doco to hit the interwebs. It’s the Canada episode of Jeff Grosso’s Loveletters To Skateboarding. Grosso kicks it off with a Facetime call, explaining, ‘I am an undesirable and the country of Canada will not let me into their borders.’ He’s one of many American professional skateboarders who have been turned away by Canadian authorities over the years, assumedly for his criminal record. Those peaceful, tolerant Canadians don’t take too kindly to American criminals like Grosso. But Grosso ain’t bitter about it. As usual, he comes off as both blasé and respectful, letting his genuine interest in other people drive the narrative.

The Letters: Oh Canada

The doco reveals that the Canadian scene is unique, interesting and often receives less recognition than it probably should. Some legends have come out of Canada, most obviously McCrank, Colin McKay, Appleyard, Rick Howard, Chris Haslam, and Sluggo. But there are so many other unknown rippers. ‘The Canadian contribution to skateboarding is fucking amazing,’ says Grosso at the beginning, acknowledging that the episode won’t tell the whole history of Canadian skateboarding. ‘We’re just trying to entertain you between sessions and maybe make you think about how great skateboarding really is, and how deep it all goes.’ It’s a worthy task and The Letters continually delivers.

Bronson’s ‘Into The Pit’

Into The Pit is definitely the gnarliest video I’ve seen lately. It’s a tour video of such quality, it looks like it could have been filmed over a year or two. I guess when you’re road tripping through The South of the US with Jamie Foy, Clive Dixon, Axel Cruysberghs, Eric Winkowski, Ducky Kovacs, Pedro Delfino, and Alexis Ramirez, rails are going to get chomped. And chomped they got. Ducky and Big Pinch went hard. There’s also an eye-catching montage from a crusty vert ramp somewhere, at which point Winkowski reminds everyone why he’s one of the most interesting dudes to watch on a board these days. Crews don’t get much heavier than this one and the edit, by Tyler Wilcox, is a thing of beauty.

Apparently, the title, ‘Into The Pit’ is a reference to the infamous Sloss Furnaces in a place called Birmingham. Ducky Kovacs explained in the Thrasher article that the crew got a history lesson while they were there: apparently way back in the early 1900s one of the foremen at the furnaces was running a graveyard shift during which 47 employees died. Legend has it that in 1906 some the workers led that foreman up on top of one of the furnaces and threw their boss down to an instant death. I guess this was before Trade Unions, when, if you didn’t like your boss, you could have a chat to the boys on smoko and hatch a plan to kill him. In Ducky’s words, ‘Going “into the pit” became a negative mantra for us on the trip, something one should avoid at all costs.’

The Return of Gravette

Remember that time that Gravette proposed to his girlfriend on King of the Road just before butt-chugging a beer? Then he kept it secret from her for however many months it took until the show went to air and he proposed to her legit while they were watching the episode. I thought that was pretty funny. I’ve always liked Gravette. He seems to have a good attitude about stuff. He’s been injured for ages but now he’s back with this new part for Bronson. It’s definitely not his gnarliest part in terms of heavy terrain but it looks like those injuries have encouraged the creative side of his skating. This part has a lot going on: a heavy arsenal of guns, bows and arrows, a trippy, tribal soundtrack and some unexpected, uncouth tricks. Thanks, Gravette.

Ricky Bro Visuals

Scope this Sydney-as-fuck street edit from Shaun Graham, aka ‘Ricky Bro’. It’s a six and a half minute montage that will humbly remind you of the joys of street skating in ‘Straya’s grittiest city. Featuring a full spread of OG Sydney skaters, including Chima Ferguson, Cody Riley, Sammy Winter, George Kousoulis, Billy Lukins, Beau Reid, Juan Onekawa, Floyd Scott and some other familiar faces, it’s a good time clip.

MIKE

I don’t think I’d ever heard of Mike Arnold before this video. Or maybe I had. I can’t remember. There are so many little branded clips coming out these days that I’m getting little-branded-clip fatigue. It’s hard to keep track. The point is, this little branded clip, MIKE, stood out. I think it was the slow-mo big spin at a ten-pin bowling alley at the very beginning that hooked me in. Mike slams into the pins and then inadvertently smashes down a sign, which falls on top of him. I liked that, so I kept watching. Then there was a bunch of cutty ledge stuff that was sort of sketchy but also uniquely stylish. It was all very British. The filming and editing by Jacob Harris were also very captivating. Coming in at three minutes and forty-nine seconds and being distributed for free, this is a product that will suit all budgets and attention spans.

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