G’day and welcome back to this little column, VPA. Let’s kick things off with a bit of good old-fashioned skate nostalgia.
The year was 2002. I was about 13 years old and I got Flip Sorry on VHS for Christmas. My mates and I binged that video religiously for the next few years, memorising every trick, every quote and every song. The skating in it was outstanding; from Appleyard’s nollie flip back 50-50 down the Clipper Hubba to Ali Boulala’s 25-stair ollie attempt to Arto’s fakie flip down the MACBA four. Not to mention Tom Penny. They were all great, but Geoff Rowley was my favourite.
Johnny Rotten, the Sex Pistols frontman, introduced Rowley as, ‘A young chap from Liverpool England, Scouser on a skateboard…’ Then Johnny’s intro kind of changed course: ‘Apparently, he’s as hard as nails, but I don’t give a fuck because I just love dick.’ It seemed a strange thing to say. Apparently, Johnny got all liquored up while filming the intros to everyone’s parts and the camera crew thought the footage was going to be unusable. In the end, it made the cut.
But Rowley was the man. He took the most ruthless slams, bouncing off the concrete and then, sitting on a step with blood on his face, looking up at the filmer and saying, ‘Ahh, that felt fuckin’ tasty, I’d like to try it again. You ready?’
Anyway, some new Rowley footage just came out. It’s part of a Vans video called Take It Back.
Vans – Take It Back
Rowley kicks off Take It Back with a brutal, hospitalising slam, followed by a proper full part. He skates a bunch of Californian ditches as well as the DIY at Slab City, amongst other spots. It’s all very impressive for a 43-year-old. The video also features full parts from Pedro Barros and Ronnie Sandoval, who each unleash their own brands of tranny lordery. There are cameos from Kyle Walker, Tyson Peterson, Omar Hassan, and Roman Pabich, as well as the late Ben Raemers and Jake Phelps. In fact, the video is a bit of a tribute to The Phelper. And a quality tribute at that.
FA/Hockey – Industrial Light and Magic
These dudes are so fucking cool, they don’t even need music to skate to. There’s a skerrick of added sound in here but this 10-minute edit is largely silent, apart from the sounds of boards flipping and sliding and grinding. But it’s still super compelling. Kicking off with AVE and Dill sessioning a couple of manny pads and ledges, Industrial Light and Magic charts the FA and Hockey dudes on a Euro tour. It features Kevin Bradley, Diego Todd, Ben Kadow, Sean Pablo, Andrew Allen, Sage Elsesser, Kevin Rodrigues, Louie Lopez, and Aidan Mackey. Every single person on this team oozes their own unique style.
El Toro Got a New Gate (It’s Big and Yellow)
El Toro—that big iconic stair set with the big iconic rail—got skate-stopped, kinda. Essentially, the school decided to re-concrete the run-up with some intentional cracks and put a big yellow gate in front of it. It looks like it could probably be skated again though, with a bit of Bondo and an open gate. In light of the news, Nyjah Huston decided to make a video about a day in 2016 when he tried to backside flip it. He gave it eight attempts and very nearly got there. But didn’t. As much as Nyjah represents a side of skateboarding that most of us would prefer not to exist, the footage is undeniably gnarly.
The Letters – France
These episodes of Jeff Grosso’s Loveletters to Skateboarding keep getting longer, more in-depth and better quality. The latest one is all about France, and Jeff travels between Paris, Lyon and Marseille interviewing various skaters from the French scene. It’s evidently a country that’s home to lots of well-known, amazing street spots, and one with a burgeoning DIY scene. Funnily enough, the episode contains an interview with France’s best-known filmer, French Fred, who made Flip Sorry, along with a whole bunch of other great videos. All in all, it’s another slice of skateboarding history to take in and learn from.
Flip – Sorry
Here is that aforementioned video, Sorry, in case you felt like revisiting a classic. It’s still great.
That’s it from me, for another week of VPA. See you soon.