Skate Gnus: Throwaway Gold


For about the past 30 years, pro skaters have been defined in large part by their video parts.

These short edited sections of video, often set to music, follow an understood code that basically showcases the skills and personality of the skater. They are the summation of everything they can offer at that point in time.

The problem is, this system has built up an innate seriousness that is at odds with the magic of simply seeing someone skate. Filming parts is stressful, apparently. People spend years travelling to loading docks and rails all over the world with a film crew in order to perform pre-planned tricks perfectly that no one has ever done before until it’s ready to be premiered and slotted into their sponsor’s marketing schedules. It’s all a bit mad.

And while the idea of ‘the part’ itself is evolving from that defined form into something far more interesting and evocative (see the group hug that is Maite Steenhoudt’s Broski to Proski, Mark Suciu’s epic Verso or the conceptual wizardry of the Atlantic Drift series, there is something compelling and genuine about a ‘throwaway’ clip.

The term ‘throwaway’ is a humble brag used to describe clips that are less than perfect; which is understandable, because they want you to know that they don’t want you to take this seriously—but it’s sort of like apologising for overcooking the chicken when you know it’s delicious. These are the moments that show so much more about a skater than a perfectly executed stunt.

While we all sit around waiting for Jack O’Grady’s full part to be uploaded (again ;)) and prove me completely wrong, enjoy a few throwaway moments that might make you want to go for a skate.

 

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Ishod Wair, backside tailslide

Has there ever been a better example of this trick performed on a ledge? I’m sure there has, but my memory is wiped clean by Ishod’s magnificence. See, if this were in a part, it would have the whiff of grandstanding—like Torey Pudwill or Tiago’s record-breaking turns. But because it’s filmed on a phone, and because it probably took Ishod about three tries, it’s the coolest shit ever.

 

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Louie Lopez, bluntslide

Maybe this lonnnng blunt was inspired by Ishod’s back tail on the same ledge; maybe it was even on the same session. Louie is at the height of his powers, and anything he touches turns to gold. And although his official output is incredible, it’s kinda more fun watching him fuck around.

Anthony Van Engelen, line

There’s a very fine line between this footage and what would actually be included in a Fucking Awesome video—but this was actually filmed by AVE’s teammate and protege John Fitzgerald, on his phone. AVE gives off an incredibly healthy vibe these days. I just ate four pieces of caramel-filled chocolate.

 

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Jim Thiebaud, nose manual gazelle spinny thing

This clip is actually cut from a recent upload from seminal videographer Jake Rosenberg—unseen footage from a Wallenberg session with the Real team circa ‘92. While the whole thing is incredible, this clip of Jim Thiebaud is mindblowing for how on-trend it is today, as well as an always-welcome reminder of Thiebaud’s greatness. You get the feeling that Jim had simply come along for a skate, and didn’t expect to be filmed. But he was killing it that day, and he looks like he’s in the Noah video.

Gonz fs board

This isn’t exactly a throwaway clip, as it’s taken from the video that arguably defined and cemented the form of the ‘part’ 31 years ago. But these few poorly-lit tricks on the covered car park curb in Gonz’s Video Days part sort of encapsulates everything I’m trying to say, somehow. What the hell was going on with Mark at this point? Was he beamed in from the future? He is doing everything I’m trying to say. This is seriously some of the best, most spontaneous and powerful skateboarding ever committed to film.

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