Tengu – God of Mischief

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Throughout time, the god of Mischief has been depicted in many ways, through many images. Today, Tengu takes the form of power-slide hungry skateboarders dominating the urban metropolis around them.

Colin Read’s ‘Tengu – God of Mischief‘ pushes itself away from the conventional aesthetics of a full-length skate video and instead displays something quirky, unique and most importantly relatable. Armed with a VX1000 and a vision, Read has embraced Magenta’s ethic of ‘Worldwide Connection’ and incorporated some of the liveliest skateboard heavy cities around the globe.

Connor Kammerer eases you into the first part with both his style and musical accompaniment. It’s almost like the calm before the storm ahead. A host of snappy ollies and inventive lines lead straight into the subways, where the group collective show creativeness at it’s best.

Just about everybody heard about the 145 St. platform ollie last year. The photo alone is enough to make any skateboarder’s stomach turn, but watching it unfold on a screen really does justice to Koki Loaiza‘s incredible second try land. This for me was the highlight of the video. There’s a real magic about watching skaters literally risk their lives in such a composed and carefree manner.

Habitat’s Alex Davis makes brief appearances throughout, as well as showcasing a small-shared part towards the end. This makes a stark contrast to his ‘Search the Horizon’ full part released last year. Where Read shoots ‘Tengu’ almost entirely using a fish-eye lens, ‘Search the Horizon’ concentrated much more on ‘long-lense/single trick’ basis. ‘Tengu’ displays Alex freely roaming in combined trick lines, adding a real gritty East Coast vibe to his persona.

Leo Valls, Carlos Young and Ben Gore also come out in force for a traditional Magenta San Francisco part. The accelerated downhill wall-rides and wallies carry all of the traits of a ‘Hill Street Blues Pt. 3’ and adds a great variety in both location and speed.

On occasions, the detailed sketches that spontaneously appear on screen can be a little distracting on a first viewing. Although on a second or third watch, you can truly learn to appreciate the effort and skill that Evan Borja and Ryu Okubu brought to the piece with their hand drawn animations. The soundtrack is constructed entirely around the environment and naturally blends in with what your eyes are seeing. The flowing downtown jazz compliments the hints of far eastern melodies and manages to tie everything together visually and aurally.

Not only are buyers of the hard copy treated to a full-length masterpiece, but also equipped with over 30 minutes of bonus features, which really are a bonus. The ‘Behind the Scenes’ footage unquestionably provides laughs and truly expresses the comedic side of filming with Read.

At a glance, ‘Tengu’ seems effortless. The general perception is that Read has picked up his camera and followed his crew of incredibly talented friends around for the day. Something that makes watching this film all the more enjoyable.

Seeing the credits roll was almost an instant cue to pick my board up and call some of my friends. Everything I saw seemed, well, ‘achievable’.

If you’re a fan of watching people hurl themselves down 15 sets, then ‘Tengu’ probably isn’t for you. If you prefer something more light hearted and fast paced around rough and gritty spots, then you’ve found your golden ticket. I strongly recommend you sit back and watch the millimetres fly off the wheels.

5/5 – available on DVD now from mandibleclaw.blogspot.co.uk or your local skate shop.

Bradley Howe

Coping Mechanism

Coping Mechanism DVD by Phil Evans

coping_mechanism_skate_dvd_malmo_sweden_phil_evansPhil Evans is somebody who has built himself a reputation as filming skateboarding differently from everyone else. The obvious definition of a skate video is a film that features skateboarders doing tricks on spots with a musical soundtrack. The purpose of a skate video is to get you hyped to go skate and hopefully incite you to support the skaters you’ve seen on film. Coping Mechanism goes beyond the conventions of a typical skate video because it introduces the viewer to a group of skateboarders who rip great spots but also drive their scene forward through positive actions. As a result the viewer wants to go skate, act in a responsible and positive manner for their local scene and support the guys featured in this film. Coping Mechanism is a documentary film that focuses on the efforts of the Malmö (Sweden) skateboarders who have learnt to work with or without their local authorities to build one of the strongest and most influential skate scenes in the last decade.

Skate-Malmo and Brygerriet are two incredibly competent bodies that act as the link between the skateboarders and the politicians to get concrete poured, contests run, local entrepreneurs promoted and good times had by all involved. Phil turns his camera and mic towards a handful of individuals that each plays a part in strengthening the Malmö skate scene. Will Taylor and Dave Toms are both foreign construction workers who have settled in Sweden and helped pour a vast majority of the concrete everybody shreds on a daily basis. Then you have Emma Lindgren who acts as a figurehead for female skateboarders breaking down the barriers of convention and paving the way for Swedish ladies to get radical.

oskarPhotoNilsSvensson.A trip to Malmö is also a pilgrimage to the DIY spots of TBS or Steppeside molded and mastered by local rippers like Pontus Alv and Matthias Hallén. These guys knew that their city was limited in what it could offer terrain-wise, so they decided to grab a couple of bags of concrete and build their own spots. This do-it-yourself mentality has spread like wild fire around the globe, but for the Malmö skaters it was never a question of setting a trend. It was a simple necessity if they wanted to skate. All of this creativity and elbow grease has had a strong influence on the younger generations who lend a helping hand in building their scene, but also polishing off their abilities to rip all sorts of spots. Fernando Bramsmark and Oskar Rozenberg Hallberg skate all day and all night and are the poster children of this next generation.

Finally, one man embodies the Malmö skate scene and is held in the highest regard by his peers for going above and beyond the duties of a local skateboarder for his scene. That man is John Magnusson also known as J-Mag. Described as a calm and humble person by his peers, John took it upon himself to create a dialogue between the skateboarders and the local authorities to guarantee a constructive collaboration that has seen the old industrial town of Southern Sweden become a premier location for national and international skaters seeking great spots to visit. These visitors breathe new life and esteem into a community that previously had very little to offer in return. The key to the success of the Malmö skate scene is probably due to the level of trust between all parties. The skateboarders have the responsibility to develop and build their skateparks with the direct experience and knowledge of using them afterwards. The street scene thrives too as locals share their old and new spots with one another and newcomers in a bid to push the scene and be proactive in promoting local brands.

Evans has been careful to embed himself within a scene and listen to what the key players have to say without neglecting anyone or anything. The Malmö skate scene didn’t just appear overnight. Spots had to be built and sometimes re-built, lines had to be found, films were made and dialogues were established to serve as a testament to the City and the skateboarders who seem to have cracked the code of positive collaboration. If you were wondering how to push your scene forward, the first step would be to get a copy of Coping Mechanism and watch it with your friends, family and local authorities. As a documentary, a single viewing of Coping Mechanism should spark the fire in viewers to contemplate their own scenes and communities and figure out what needs to be done to compensate older generations and invest in future generations.

You can pick this DVD up from the Skate Malmo site where Oskar Rozenberg Hallberg’s photo featured in this review on this page and other shots by Nils Svensson are available to buy as prints.

Ralph Lloyd-Davis

The Brodies

Review: The Brodies by Jeremy Elkin

The Brodies is the latest chapter in New York implant Jeremy Elkin’s series of no-nonsense East Coast features. A swift 15 minutes of New York locals showing you how it’s done in the city that never sleeps.

Rather than waste time with HD cameras and stereotypical landmark shots, Jeremy Elkin skates through the five boroughs with his VX and a healthy squad of rippers looking to shred at all hours of the day.

The Brodies is a group of homies both old and young who love skateboarding and the City. To name a few: Akira Mowatt, Rob Campbell, Daniel Kim, Kevin Tierney, Aaron Herrington, Danny Supa, German Nieves and Leo Guttman.

German, Akira, Rob and Danny represent the older gods who hold it down for their city on the regular with at least a century of experience under their camouflage khakis combined. Leo, Kevin, Daniel and Aaron represent the new generation that keeps the heart of the New York’s street scene pumping hard. Much like his previous videos (Lo-fi, Poisonous Products…), Jeremy Elkin has managed yet again to pack a punch with this brief but brilliant video.

Those of you who hold Zoo York’s infamous Mixtape as one of the greatest skate videos of all time will appreciate The Brodies are staying true to that vein of rugged and raw East Coast skating.

Find this flick inside Elkin 2006 – 2014 featuring all four of Jeremy’s films on DVD housed in a 52 page full cover hardbound photobook with foreword by Alessandro Grison available from the Palamino.

Ralph Lloyd-Davis

Nike SB Chronicles Vol.2

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I’m not even going to try and flex my « core » beliefs on Nike this time around because their latest chapter of the Nike SB Chronicles Volume 2 is pretty flawless in my opinion. In previous video productions this mainstream sports brand has tried too hard to impress the skateboard community with expensive camera equipment, fancy skits and bizarre story lines. Thankfully the message got through that all that was unnecessary and this time they put their money to good use and more importantly let the skateboarders shine bright.

Firstly, hats off to Jason Hernandez who filmed and directed this film using high definition cameras and editing equipment of an above average professional standard. Cutting shots from multiple angles, using graphical layers and taking it easy on the slo-mo switch gives this video the right amount of pace and length to actually make you sit through from start to finish and then run out the door to skate.

Secondly, hats off to the skaters on show: Donovan Piscopo, Theotis Beasley, Daryl Angel, Luan Oliveira, Justin Brock, Shane O’Neill and Ishod Wair. There is a good mix of styles here even if the transition side to skating is kept at a minimum. Some of these skaters like to keep, things simple whilst others seek technicality, but either way everyone is very smooth and stylish.

Speaking of style, it was a pleasant experience to see a proper section from Donovan Piscopo who has been floating low on the radar of late but has finally broken through to the forefront of one of the amateurs to keep a firm eye on. His greaser look is also going to appeal to the fashion crowd. Another stylish skater is Shane O’Neill who jumps, slides and grinds around with incredible nonchalance whilst his skateboard spins itself into new dimensions of technical wizardry. Sorry for the spoiler but the bigspin fakie salad grind bigspin flip out is a brain melter.

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On the burly side of town, Justin Brock proves that having a kid did anything but slow him down from attempting hair-raising tricks into rough as fuck banks. Minor Threat provide the soundtrack for his annihilation. Daryl Angel takes a slightly smoother approach to wrecklessness but isn’t afraid to throw down frontside nosegrinds on nipple height hubbas and blindsided fakie attacks to handrails. Luan Oliveira proves his versatility as he takes on rails, ledges and manuals with confidence and dexterity. Theotis Beasley isn’t far behind even if his bag of tricks remains a little more limited. Backside flips and halfcab flips are a staple element to his diet and he really does them better than the rest of them.

The main stand out of Chronicles 2 is Philadelphia wonder-child and happy go lucky guy Ishod Wair who deservedly gets the curtains and a deserved SOTY award. Death’s ‘Politicians In My Eyes’ sets the tone to Ishod’s casual yet dangerous lines and flowing style. Second spoiler alert: the frontside 360 over the infamous Los Angeles triple set looks way too easy for him just as the kinked fifty to midway pop-off and quick backside bigspin down a 10 stair. Amazing section.

It would be a bit like nit-picking to say this video doesn’t deserve recognition and applause. I can’t wait for Vol. 3. Available to download now at iTunes.

Ralph Lloyd-Davis

Watch it here:

Zero – Cold War

zero_skateboards_cold_war_dvdTo be honest, I couldn’t see the link between an era of nuclear threats and political tension between the East and West in this video, but Cold War definitely illustrates the fact that the Zero team have their fingers on the button to destroy anything in their path. True to form, this latest video from Jamie Thomas and the boys is a no nonsense thrill ride of very dangerous maneuvers performed at break-neck speed and accompanied by good old rock ‘n’ roll to boot.

Mike Gilbert and Lannie Rhoades are the directors and lensmen while Jamie Thomas, Tom Karangelov, James Brockman, Tommy Sandoval, Chris Cole, Tony Cervantes, Ben Hatchell, John Rattray and Dane Burman take care of the stunts.

Back in the day 5 stair rails evolved into 10 stair rails and the Zero team said 15 was standard. Then 15 turned to 20 and kinks upped the ante. Zero saw the rest of the world slowly catch up and decided kinks were the new 10 stair rails and flat bars had to be at least 15 feet long. Anything less was an insult. In Cold War rails are now 25 stairs long, chest high, kinked in multiple places and if possible with knobs and bends in them for added danger. If the level of progression for this genre of skating continues, we’ll soon be seeing the Zero team seeking out triple kinkers and gaps to rails in the heart of war zones with grenades going off and bullets whizzing by.

The only upset for all this gnarliness is the filming which, when trying to keep the fast pace, pulls our attention away from the fact that Tommy Sandoval just backside nollie heelflipped a massive dirt gap with a knee high barrier at the landing; or Dane Burman just kickflip backside 50-50’d a round rail with a horrible hook of a kink at the bottom ready to snap his bones if he missed the trick.

Speaking more specifically of the riders themselves, first of all I’d like to tip my hat to Jamie Thomas who despite the injuries, professional duties, fatherhood and to be honest age, still manages to get really gnarly with his skating and drop original tricks on infamous hubba’s. It was also great to see the original Misled Youth line up film a trick for this section too.

At the other end of the career spectrum is Tom Karangelov who first hit everyone’s radar when he won Slap’s One in a Million contest a few years back. Tom has kept quiet under the radar but today he’s speaking load and clear with his skating and I don’t know if this is done on purpose but he definitely has something of a Heath Kirchart persona about him when he rides up to massive ledges dressed head to toe in white.

Even though their parts are short, Tony Cervantes and John Rattray are a pleasure to watch. Tony keeps things fairly simple but this is reminiscent of older Zero videos which is cool. John takes care of the long flowing lines and features a very unique way of filming these escapades. It gives the footage real rhythm and makes you want to shred yourself.

Dane Burman’s section is ridiculous. Photo by Billy Cox

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James Brockman is the video opener and gets straight down to business crushing gaps and rails alike. Ben Hatchell is definitely one of these next generation all terrain rippers who can grind a 30 stair rail just as easily as he can blunt flip out a deep-end pool tranny. Chris Cole seems to have stepped away from gaps as large as Wallenberg to focus on pushing the tech envelope with rails, ledges and gaps. His part also features a cameo by gentle giant Ed Duff. Expect to see and hear more from him in the near future.

Finally, the biggest and baddest stunts are split between Tommy Sandoval and Dane Burman. Either one of them could have scored the last part judging by the wreckless abandon they use to tackle massive drops and rails. The craziest thing out all their jaw-dropping antics is the ease with which they do it. This is the sort of stuff legends are made of.

The last couple of Zero videos may be distant, but like a wine that has aged well, the Zero team present something brilliant and rare yet true to their origins with Cold War. An old fan will feel the same rush watching this as they did watching Misled Youth, whilst the younger fan will feel like a whole new level has been reached with regards to stunt skating. I still can’t find the link between the title and historical fact but in any case this Cold War has definitely turned up the heat for everyone.

Available on DVD (with extras) in skate shops now or downloadable on iTunes.

Ralph Lloyd-Davis

Fallen – Road Less Traveled

roadlesstravelled_fallen_dvd_reviewFallen’s ‘Road Less Traveled’ is a tour video with a difference. Most tour videos focus on the demos, the never-been-done tricks at the local EMB and the random acts of silliness that endless hours of van life can produce. As a result it doesn’t always paint the best picture of foreigners abroad and distorts the reality of just how difficult it can be to actually get those rare clips.

Following the lead of Patrik Walner’s Visual Travelling projects, Jamie Thomas and master lensman Mike Gilbert took the Fallen team (Tommy Sandoval, Jack Curtain, Garrett Hill, Brian Hansen, Tom Asta, James Hardy, Tony Cervantes, Dane Burman and Jon Dickson) off the tourist trail to film the trial, error and triumph that goes into producing a feature length film. Like a book, Road Less Travelled is broken down into chapters for each of the four locations visited: Turkey, Portugal, the American West and Thailand. In order to provide insight and background for the events on display, several of the riders walk us though their individual experiences running up to, during or after each journey. The end result is a far more complete and coherent product that doesn’t simply focus on the proverbial hammers (even though there are plenty and they’re shocking!), but also the craftsman putting in the work, their environment and motivations.

Mike Gilbert has understood the purpose of high definition cameras and puts his to work as he captures scenery and surroundings akin to a National Geographic photographer. You also get the sense that sending a crew of scruffy skateboarders halfway across the world, or deep into the back roads of their homeland, generates a strong bond between each rider and the team dynamic gets amplified. Whether it’s another skater stepping between you and an angry sword wielding citizen or watching your buddy step up to the plate of a huge double kinker and get served only to return the next day and ride away victorious, the Fallen team are a tight unit. Thanks to Road Less Traveled I now hold Tommy Sandoval in much higher regard as a tough as nails nutter and James Hardy as a man that actually thinks twice about his role as a professional skateboarder and the opportunities he has to travel. The only cringe worthy (“chocolatey”) moment that stood out for me was listening to Brian Hansen explain his travel anxiety and questionable knowledge of geo-politics. That said, he still managed to board a few planes and put down some tricks so it was all worthwhile.

Garrett Hill pop-shuvs in SA. Photo: Chad Foreman

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For a meager 10 dollar download fee via iTunes, I would strongly recommend purchasing Road Less Traveled because it delivers great skateboarding but also provides insight into the riders’ experiences and footage of spots you’ve probably never seen before. Otherwise you can wait patiently for the Transworld Skateboarding website to stream limited viewings of each chapter over a period of time. My humble opinion would be to source the funds for a download with your mates so you can enjoy the skating straight away and for as many replays as you like but that’s your decision not mine.

Ralph Lloyd-Davis

Emerica Made – Chapter 1

emerica_made_chapter1_downloadAccording to the wonderful introduction of the great photo booklet which accompanies the hardcopy of Emerica’s latest DVD Made Chapter 1, this video was never planned. It only exists because Collin Provost and Brandon Westgate carried on clocking amazing footage after the release of Stay Gold, and team filmer Jon Miner felt the world needed to witness the fitness so to speak. The clips were so strong in fact that it lit a fire under fellow team mate Leo Romero’s arse and got him fired up to skate hard and get recording too.

Unfortunately the introductory text also explains that coming by an actual hardcopy DVD (with booklet!) from one of your favourite skate companies is fast becoming an extremely rare commodity as videos go straight to the internet. Emerica recognizes the dark side of the virtual moon and co-released Made Chapter 1 in association with Thrasher Magazine dot com. As a result this review seems a bit redundant to try and talk about something exclusive which has been watched and re-watched over million times already behind numerous computer screens.

However, this video is good – Very good in fact. ‘No filler all killer’ was the modus operandi when these guys went to work with Collin taking his transition skills to big street spots, Leo demonstrating his uncanny ability to skate massive rails like they were foot high curbs and Brandon taking leaps and bounds ahead of the rest in the race for the much respected Skater of the Year award. Everything is done at speed and everything has that element of mortal danger if you were sketch out or try and half-arse it. Oh, and there’s a surprise introduction by Jeremy Leabres, Emerica’s newest recruit that sets the standard for any wannabe amateurs out there.

I honestly can’t think of a downside to this DVD. The idea of releasing an EP instead of an album with regards to the number of riders on show is a valid response to the economic turmoil the internet has caused for skateboard videographers and companies seeking to promote their brands. Plus the 20 minute mark sits just right for an audience suffering from internet induced attention deficit disorder. Quality over quantity is the best way to describe Made Chapter 1 and it bodes very well for the future episodes.

Download it from iTunes.

Ralph Lloyd-Davis

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Soleil Levant – Magenta Skateboards

soleil_levant_magenta_skateboards_dvdSoleil Levant‘ means Rising Sun in French so the title of Magenta’s latest video is testament to the Frenchmen’s respect for Japanese culture.

It also makes sense that skateboarding and production is split half and half between Vivien Feil, Leo Valls, Soy Panday, Yoan Taillander (filmer) representing France, and Takahiro Morita, Koichiro Uehara, Far East Skate Network and the Tightbooth Production crew representing Japan.

Let’s not forget the Americans Jimmy Lannon and Zach Lyons who complete the circle and the myriad of friends who support Magenta too. As a result this video paints an incredibly lively picture of eclectic skateboarding and editing techniques.

I won’t be wrong when I say the general aesthetic of Soleil Levant is not everyone’s cup of tea. Quirky powerslides, rapid-fire ollies and switch indy grabs in the street are not what a vast majority of skateboarders would consider groundbreaking tricks by today’s standard of stunts performed on a board, but it’s still great skateboarding. In a culture in constant pursuit of pushing the physical and mental boundaries of what can be done when a human decides to step on a plank and four wheels, it isn’t hard to feel jaded by yesterday’s headline act when you are eager for that next fix of adrenaline.

Fortunately French and Japanese culture has been thriving for centuries before urethane and VX1000’s existed. Music, art, food, fashion are all areas the French and Japanese excel at so when it comes to skateboarding it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they view things differently from the rest of us. For starters Soleil Levant is broken down into different chapters that each carry a specific message or idea through the editing and skateboarding.

Rising East Shining West plays upon the duality of Jimmy Lannon and Zach Lyons’ skating by interspersing their tricks with clips of martial artists carefully crafting and mastering their techniques. Sometimes the simplest things can be beautiful but deadly at the same time. Then you have recent guest board representative Takahiro Morita talking about his recent trip to Paris. He skates us through the city but not to all the regular spots skateboarders would recognize, but instead a clearly defined route that a regular tourist might take to enjoy the splendors of the city. The Louvre, Opéra or Eiffel Tower are all spots worth visiting. There aren’t any big rails or killer marble ledges on display, just streets, curb cuts and man hole covers but that’s more than plenty for Takahiro to get to work on. The whole thing played out by Mozart’s K.297 alias the Paris Symphony.

Finally there’s Leo Valls, Soy Panday and Vivien Feil introduced by an archive reel of infamous French film director Jean Renoir, son of Pierre-Auguste Renoir a key figure of the Impressionist painting movement. The link between the Magenta squad and the Renoir legacy is that they don’t see their trade as something that can be packaged and labeled definitively, instead they aim to spark a personal interpretation or emotion within people with their work. If you break everything down to pure technique then there is no longer place for imagination, be it with cooking, cinema or skateboarding.

Those are three of the six chapters (not including bonus sections) delivered by Magenta to your cerebral cortex. Downloading a bootleg copy of this video will not do you justice. You need to own a physical copy and read the linear notes that accompany the DVD. As such, Soleil Levant is a thinking man’s skateboard video. It’s a bold stance to take but it’s very necessary when you realize just how bland and predictable the skateboard industry can be when it tries to capture, package and sell our culture back to us. In the end it’s just makes a mockery of itself.

If I had to describe Soleil Levant in three words I’d say intellectual, artistic and independent. I don’t think the Magenta boys or their supporters would mind, and as the saying goes “Those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter”.

Ralph Lloyd-Davis

Heroin Skateboards Video Nasty

heroin_video_nasty_dvd‘Strap yourself down, staple your eyelids to your forehead and keep telling yourself “it’s only a skate video, it’s only a skate video”’ – so reads part of the blurb on the back of Heroin Skateboards’ new DVD. But y’all know by now that any Heroin video is going to be much more because after watching this, I pretty much defy you not to immediately go out and have a shred.

The write-up on the back of the video stays true to the ‘Video Nasty’ angle, as do the variety of wince-inducing slams dotted throughout the start of this DVD. Maybe that’s why so many skaters have such an affinity with those 80s gore drenched B-movies, Cannibal Holocaust has nothing on watching some poor bastard smack their head off the flat bottom of a 12ft bowl or a ballsack-to-handrail.

First section goes to recently recruited Tom Day who’s schooling on Manchester’s rugged street spots shines through in his varied trick bag and choice of haggard, unforgiving architecture. In a country with nothing but crusty spots Manchester must rank near the top on the ‘how the fuck do you skate that?!’ scale, which goes a way to explaining why there seems to be a constant stream of raw skaters appearing out of the scene.

Next up comes Stephen Malet (not a name I’d heard of before) who throws down a variety of stair and handrail hammers interspersed with some street lines which take the lesser chosen path; frontside wallie anyone? Check the feet/truck placement on the last trick as well, pure all-out danger! What follows is an all-too-brief chunk of Howard Cooke taking some London concrete to task. Howard footage is basically gold dust and even a short section like this is enough to get anyone amped to go out and skate as fast as humanly possible. This section closes with a lesson by Chet Childress in how to skate pools – another skater whose footage I can’t get enough of makes this part alone worth the video’s price!

Gou Miyagi is undoubtedly one to file under the video’s ‘opinion divider’ section. First coming to light a year or two back in some strange but interesting web footage, here he seems to have gone all out in developing what seems to be the bastard lovechild of street and freestyle skating spliced with free running and a healthy dose of rolling around on the floor. Like I said, it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I suppose it’s interesting to see somebody who approaches skateboarding in such an unusual manner. Overall Miyagi’s unique contribution to Heroin’s team brings some futuristic shit to this flick and most will find it hard not to hit the rewind button after watching it. His synchronised skating reminded me a bit of The Big Lebowski which is always sweet and never forgotten.

A flow section then brings proceedings happily back into my ‘raw street skating to garage punk’ comfort zone. This isn’t to damn anyone in the section with faint praise, rather these guys all kill it hard and it’s going to be interesting to see more footage in the future! Fos’ own section kicks in, replete with his usual keen eye for a weird and aesthetically pleasing spot/trick (just with more American blue skies and ditches amongst the dank, drizzle-soaked UK car park spots) and all set to Hard Skin’s ‘Whose That Boy?’ for extra radness.

Of course a Heroin video wouldn’t be complete without the Osaka Daggers upping the weirdness levels and they come through with a spinning, powersliding, no complying blast of a part. Adrian Adrid (who you may of seen lately in the Yardsale promo) and Daniel Shimizu follow this with a section of full steezing, in which Shimizu’s slappy frontside nosegrind on a bank to curb is a particular highlight. Craig Questions is another opinion divider, personally I’m always stoked on some 80s worshipping radness, fun and raw skating on transitions, walls, jersey barriers and electric boxes. Music from Discharge adds to the hype as does a full Rogie section. His three minutes of fast footed shredding reminds us why he’s now ‘Progie’ with an outright assault of all terrain lanky hammers. Massive props to him for stitching this DVD together; it’s pacey, in your face and shrieks fun at every angle.

Deer Man of Dark Woods section closes things by showing us the outer limits of what can be done on a jersey barrier, and while my tolerance for bad metal music and cheesy Satanic imagery is fairly low, the skating is still undeniably full bore and by the looks of things mostly impossible.

Once again Heroin have come up with the goods, putting together the perfect antidote to the impending winter blues in that after watching this you’ll probably want to go out and skate whatever the elements have to throw at you. Make sure you get this in your collection now, it’s one of the best flicks of 2013.

Available to download on i-Tunes or on DVD at a reputable skater owned shop near you now.

Jono Coote

The Lovenskate Video

the_lovenskate_video_DVD_sleeveIt takes a lot of time and effort invested to keep a skateboard company above water, especially when new companies seem to be appearing weekly; surfacing for a few months, churning out an edit then disappearing just as fast. However underneath all of this, some companies are quietly getting on with the important business of putting out high quality products, sponsoring the people who deserve it and generally giving people like me faith in skateboarding. Lovenskate have been around since 2001, doing all of this and at the same time screen printing their own boards and t-shirts in what can only be described as a labour of love. This level of dedication shows in the end result of high quality boards, and is also visible in their first full length video simply entitled ‘The Lovenskate Video’.

Centered around the South East, the video is more a showcase of the area’s vibrant scene than a standard team video; in fact in many ways it reminds me of the video magazine format which seems to have disappeared in recent years, focusing more on the stoke which surrounds the act of skateboarding – the missions, the people, the spots – than on just the team.

The massive tea fetish which underpins the company’s ethos is laid out in the short intro section, which also includes some evocative shots of their base of operations, before wasting no time in launching into a hefty friends section. Heavy on the London footage, it’s enough to make you wonder why you don’t live in the capital as a variety of legendary skateparks and spots are given a proper seeing too by a cross section of local rippers. A break from the skating then leaves time for a skit, and a short clip of the making of the zine which accompanies the DVD (along with stickers, what’s not to like?) Brief shots of cut and paste intersperse the rest of the video, giving a sense of the DIY ethos which infuses the whole project.

lovenskate_teamThen we’re back into the skating, as a hallucinogenic montage shows the shredding that went down at the recent ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Jam’, where a bowl shaped like a giant teacup was the only obstacle. Judging from the footage the thing was impossible to skate, and by extension also incredibly fun, costumes and slams abound! This is followed by footage from a trip to the recently excavated skatepark at Arenys de Munt, near Barcelona. This was Spain’s first ever skatepark and there’s undoubtedly a buzz to seeing a piece of European skate history being restored and used again.

Another friend’s section see’s the action taken around Europe (whilst still including some footage of Brixton Beach, giving me another pang for London), before the team members’ sections are kicked off by recent addition to the team Matt Ransom. As befits a section from the South East the street spots are crustier than a single dreadlock in a shaved head, which doesn’t stop an array of technical tricks and wallies going down. There is also plenty of footage from Uckfield, one of the most underrated skateparks in that part of the country. This is something which really jumped out at me on first watch – the fact that most of the team seem to have footage at their local parks, giving the impression of a series of sessions and making you wonder why this seems so frowned upon in many videos.

Watch Matt Ransom’s full part:

Lucy Adams follows this with a section ripping up a host of skateparks and rough looking banks, throwing down ledge tricks, footplants, and a gnarly final trick. Next up is Barcelona resident Liam Sproat, who cruises round various spots in said city, throws down some obscure manual variations at Paral-lel and generally helps to remind why the city became such a skate tourism hotspot. Skating to Sam Barrett’s ‘Lay a White Rose’ is the icing on the cake for this rad section. Alex Barton brings some lanky steezing to the table, making hard tricks look simple (including a BS blunt in the aforementioned teacup bowl) and skating some punishing looking handrails.

The well-deserved final section goes to Ewen Bower. If you were at last winter’s Crossfire Xmas Jam then you’ll know some of the madness to be expected (although unfortunately not a Benihana in sight.) ATV ripping, big pop and some footage at Crowhurst bowl, one of East Sussex’s best hidden gems. The final trick is gnarly, but by no means the end of the video.

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In a tradition which will make anyone old enough to have bought skate videos on VHS nostalgic, the credits are followed straight away by the extras. First up is an old staple of said VHS, the lesser seen ‘slams section’. As someone who weirdly misses these – possibly because as a youth they showed me that I wasn’t the only skater constantly breaking myself – I was pretty stoked to see this. Then, bringing the video to a close is some definite travel hype in the form of a short documentary film showcasing owner Stu Smith and former team rider Craig Questions travelling to Ecuador in order to check out the ‘Parque la Carolina’, skate with the locals and generally get a sense of what skateboarding is like over there. Cutting the skating with interviews with both the locals and the travellers, this is worth having alone, and is the best extra I have seen on a skate video in a while.

A long time in the making, as a first full length the Lovenskate Video is hard to beat. If you want to see what is bubbling away in the South East underground right now, you need look no further.

Pick it up online with free stickers and more goodness for a fiver here.

Jono Coote