Ph: Steve Caballero, method air at Skilly’s Westminster Ramp, 1985. Source: SkatePunk.
Who has the best backside air? Who has the best method air? Blender, Hosoi, Caballero? Who invented it?
Jeff Grosso may have been called out and criticised for his gnarly commentary at this year’s Vans Pool Party this weekend, but as usual, his honesty was arguably spot on. His infamous Loveletters series just re-started this weekend too, so get stuck into the history of the backside air and how they evolved into methods with Dave Andrecht, Billy Ruff, Tony Hawk, Kevin Staab and more on the history of a classic skateboard trick.
“Hippies were the first one’s to take to the air, right?”. This is gold right here. Send it someone who skates, it will be like a Christmas present.
I don’t know about you, but one of the most recognizable aspects of skateboarding for me are Vans skate shoes. The patent waffle-gripped rubber soles have been supporting skateboarders for almost fifty years. Say that again: supporting skateboarders for almost FIFTY years!
Vans is a skateboard culture heavyweight with riders spanning several generations, commandeering all sorts of terrain and actively sponsoring events across the Globe. You’d think that the day Vans decided to release their first ever feature length film, Propeller, video dedicated to the skateboard team, they would be shifting the gears on the hype machine for at least a few years prior to it’s screening. Apparently not. They don’t have to. Everyone knows their team is a legit band of brothers that go to war at every spot they skate and the filmer they hired for the job, Greg Hunt, is about as dedicated and craftful as it gets.
Propeller clocks in at about one hour of just skateboarding. Albeit the short introduction featuring the older gods (Tony Alva, Steve Caballero, Omar Hassan, Jeff Grosso, Christian Hosoi, Ray Barbee, and John Cardiel etc…), the rest of the video features a full part from each of the riders – except for Jason Dill who moonlights a couple of tricks in Anthony van Engelen’s amazing ender. To quote a fellow skateboard enthusiast, Ben Powell of Sidewalk, speaking about the last part: “Best over –Thirties part ever. Basically do some good skateboarding or fuck off!”
I think everyone knew Anthony would get the curtains seeing how much time and effort he put into his section, but Propeller still has 45 minutes of bangers from the likes of Chris Pfanner, Elijah Berle, Tony Trujillo, Pedro Barros and others to gawk at. I have to give Elijah and Chris double thumbs up for the raw power they exercise on their boards; Tony has matured a lot over the years but he’s still just as reckless as he was when he was young – more so even, especially in this incredible section; and Pedro bears the ugly stigmata of being the ramp dude, but when you see the lines he threads together on cold concrete mountains, you’ll respect him nonetheless.
As a British native, I can’t forget my fellow countryman Geoff Rowley who has been a figurehead for Vans since the early Nineties. Geoff has a reputation as a notoriously gnarly skateboarder with little regard for personal safety and most of his tricks support that point. I can’t help but get the feeling that after watching Geoff roll down the last of many hellish ditch spots, this section may be an honest farewell and passing of the guard to the next generation of gnarlers. If that is the case following the multiple injuries sustained filming for this then our hats are doffed to a British legend.
Gilbert Crockett and Andrew Allen take care of business in the streets and will probably increase their popularity among the skateboarders who feel they need someone to relate to when watching skate videos. That is by no means an understatement to both of these guys incredible talent, nor is it meant to undermine the likes of Curren Caples, Chima Ferguson, Rowan Zorilla, Kyle Walker or Daniel Lutheran who embody the modern skateboarder, born and bred to rip every kind of spot be it a quirky transition, a kinked rail or a curved ledge. All of these players put down seriously solid parts.
Propeller is a pretty good name for product with a sole purpose to push things forward. Vans kept everyone pushing hard when they introduced their skate shoes to the world, and several decennia later the skate team are leaving their mark on the future generations of skateboarders. Cliché as it sounds in the free internet era, this really is a skateboard video worth purchasing. Vans have supported you for so long, it’s only right that you should show some gratitude.
Download it from today on iTunes. It will be tough call to find a better full length skateboard video this year.
Enjoy this drunk phone cam footage of Caballero and Hosoi after the Propeller video premiere in London’s House of Vans.
Let’s kick this off by saying that the hype surrounding this film before it aired at the Prince Charles cinema in London was completely justified. It’s an incredible production that has zero filler and parts that will leave your jaw on the floor. Greg Hunt obviously worked his socks off to get this completed at the highest level and left no stones unturned. It’s so damn good that it feels like everyone has the ender.
At the world premiere, Geoff Rowley mentioned that Propeller “is a raw video, like one you grew up with” and he’s spot on. Doused in fast moving rock n’roll, each section is peppered with incredible skateboarding, packing gnar and tech from a crew who broke bones to make it special. Let’s hope that those skaters who grow up with Propeller see full length production as the norm, and bring back the full length as a priority over web clips in the future. It’s night’s like these where you wished the internet never existed.
The premiere itself was packed to the gills and over subscribed with people who had travelled from all over the UK. There were no seats for us, so we were asked to watch it upstairs where we joined Sidewalk’s Horse, Henry from Grey Mag and about 10 others and watched it with a Rob Smith introduction instead of the full cast. I’m sure the atmosphere downstairs was electric though, as each part just takes the piss. No spoilers of course as you will have to downnload it and watch it on iTunes on May 5th when it drops worldwide, but it’s a ridiculously impressive skateboard video and one to keep.
Plenty of booze was consumed at the House of Vans afterwards, where Steve Van Doren made burgers for everyone and was joined by Lutheran, Zorilla, Hunt, Rowley, Trujillo and more of the pro team. At 1am, Steve Caballero and Christian Hosoi decided it was time for a bowl sesh. Enjoy this drunk cam footage and snaps from the phone. Go get Propeller as soon as you can.