2021 is working out… okay so far.
I’m not sure what we were hoping for exactly. It looks like most of us will remain wherever we are right now for the remainder of the next 12 months, which is disappointing in a way, but perhaps not the worst thing in the world. Here are a few things to click on.
Rest in Peace Henry Gartland
‘There was a bunch of messed up stuff in my family that I wasn’t around for because I was skateboarding.’
In the context of his suicide this week, Henry Gartland’s late 2019 piece ‘True Grit’ is especially sad. The revealing 18-minute-long piece charts Gartland’s rise in snowy Minnesota as a hyper skatepark kid with a troubled home life to the likeable, purple-haired hucker he became. The story is extremely relateable even if the details vary wildly from our own experience; so many of us are escaping reality when we skate. It’s a big part of the attraction: a total activity/life/security blanket to lose yourself in as a teenager, only to emerge… where? I still haven’t emerged, and I’m 44.
His board sponsor Santa Cruz released a statement that included the following:
‘We understand that in a moment like this we all want to know why. But the truth is, we may never know. So, in this moment we ask that you take the energy and the time you’d spend asking why to check in on those closest to you and ask them how they’re doing. Your friends, your family, your community. We will miss you more than you can ever know Henry, just know that we will carry you with us forever. Please respect the privacy of his family and our team as we all process this.’
Geoff Campbell’s Dill Slinger
Dill Slinger is a delightful eight minutes of top-shelf Australian skateboarding from filmer and switch heelflipper extraordinaire Geoff Campbell that serves as a companion piece to his recent work output for Nike SB Welcome to Melbourne. The new crew—Ben Lawrie, Rowan Davis, Riley Pavey, Raph Langslow and Jack O’Grady—shine, along with a bunch of familiar faces, including recently-returned Nick Boserio and crowd favourite Callum Paul. Melbourne skateboarding has never looked better, even after a string of tragic losses from its inner circle, the most recent being filmer Tully West. There’s a warmth to the footage that comes from a truly supportive skate scene. I miss Melbourne.
Dicksquad2K’s ‘2up Party’
Wellington’s weather is shit and the skateparks are all at least 20 years old but, like most smaller cities, it has a few spots and a surprisingly healthy skate scene. Evidence of this is provided in this gangster clip, filmed exclusively around a downhill plaza with a few benches and a staired manual pad situated just down from the New Zealand parliament building.
The one-spot showcase is a great format for a clip, as it gives you a feel for the place even if you’ve never been there (or, like me, you’ve walked past there plenty of times but are too scared to skate a manual pad that shoots you out directly into traffic). If you’re familiar with Dicksquad (best brand name ever?) clips, the cast is already household names (my faves are Jack Fagan and Hunter Lander-Smith), and if not, dig into their archive.
This was released in early December and narrowly missed my wrap-up of 2020 article, which is a shame because to my mind it’s the best video that came out last year. Aside from the incredibly heavy skating from the A-team of Cyrus Bennett, Andrew Wilson, Nik Stain, Max Palmer and friends, the clip captures the eerie, terrifying feeling of being in New York in the first months of the pandemic. There’s an element of opportunism to the footage captured in a deserted midtown Manhattan, but it’s also weirdly significant and magical. Kudos to Johnny Wilson for his camerawork, editing and always excellent music supervision—the ‘Under The Skin’ soundtrack cut is incredible.
See you next week.