DVD Reviews

Death Skateboards – Escape From Boredom

“The people that matter don’t mind…The people that mind don’t matter….”

Death is upon us! Like Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore and his troops, Nic Zorlac and the boys swoop down on us to the sounds of the Valkyries. Armed to the teeth with obscure combos, wallies, technical wizardry and raw power- these men shall travel the land far and wide and take no prisoners. A manual pad before dawn? A concrete pool in Goa? Or, a crumbling brick bank in the wilderness..? In the words of their leader: Skate what you want. Skate how you want. Be who you want. Don’t let the bastards grind you down!

So, first up to bat is the pretty-boy-floyd of Bedfordshire, Ben Cundall. The only Death rider authorized to wear swishy pants because of his capacity to mix his switch tricks with his massive nollie pops. You might appreciate his crooked grind through a gap, but a man is best judged by the size of his frontside nosebone- and Cundall’s got a big one.

Since we last smelt Death on the horizon, they have travelled far and wide and incorporated new talent from overseas. Schooner is the first of a few Aussie skaters to ride under the skull and crossbones banner. It would seem he stems his courage from his buoyant wig. Some cultures believe that if you shave a man’s head, he will lose his strength. Ummm….?

Back from the infirmary, Ron Calow pushes his way to the front via a no-holds barred attack on everything in sight. A frantic flurry of fast ollies and rapid fire tricks will blow you away here. Lock away the women and hide the sheep because Ronnie’s back!

Another Aussie cadet steps up and proves his worth by taking a few nasty spills on his way to martyrdom. Rhys Grogan is a young upstart that looks like a neat investment for the future of Death Skateboards. Back on native soil though, cyberspace degenerate Moggins, the mispelt yoof of Horsey and Wag, and Welsh wonder Jimmy McNair take care of the rough terrain as they scout towards the future.

Darkman Nic Zorlac is a smart man that rallies other troops including Mark Munson and John Cattle aboard the urethane train to shred huge concrete bowls and peculiar asphalt oddities. Plus, a healthy handful of friends are present to support the Darkman’s conquest. Nic marches upon the hate mongerers with fervour as he plans to slashgrind and wallride the enemies’ tombstones.

Talking of tombstones, the vertical necrophile Lee Blackwell rides his transition night and day, summoning the demonic figures of his tattooed body to give him power to take flight. The scores of innocent gothic maidens await their sacrifice from the Caligula of coping.

Alas, the madness of it all is resumed by the presence of Dan Cates: A lunatic who pays homage to the late-great magic of previous interns like Simon Woodstock and Ken Dodd. Dan Cates is the man of the hour that will skate anything and everything so long as it’s fun. Like Hunter S. Thompson said, “Just another of God’s failed prototypes- too weird to live yet too rare to die…”

Behind all the fear and angst that Death can create, there is someone that holds down the reigns and smiles at the grannies whilst the rest of the team pillage the village for spots. Mark Nicholson is of no relation to Jack, but judging by the way he is at ease with all terrain and all disciplines of the four-wheeled steed, the is no doubt Mark is a wiley youth. Don’t let the smile and Fabio mop fool you.

Finally, Richie Jackson! Whatever drugs this Australian hippie is taking must be the good ones because his body can control a board like no other. The Wallie champ in his suede clarks has sparked a fire within the empty creative hole of everyday skateboarding that cannot and should not go out.

Has this been a long-winded diatribe? Could I have spared the adjectives and used bullet points? I don’t know… What I do know is that Death is a unique gang of friends that love skateboarding and step as far away as they can from the herd in the pursuit of kicks. You could turn the soundtrack of Idle Racer, Siouxsie Sioux, Depeche Mode and the Dead Kennedys right down, but the images would still blow you away. Skateboarding like this is a rare thing, so take note.

For the record, this DVD is just £5 from all good skate shops, go to for all team related info

Ralph Lloyd-Davis