Jeff Grosso’s Loveletters to The Backside Air

Ph: Steve Caballero, method air at Skilly’s Westminster Ramp, 1985. Source: SkatePunk.

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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.

Vans Propeller review

vans_propeller-video_skate_download_full_filmI 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.

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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.

Ralph Lloyd-Davis

Enjoy this drunk phone cam footage of Caballero and Hosoi after the Propeller video premiere in London’s House of Vans.

Vans announce PROPELLER skate video

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With all the talk of the new Vans video now over and done with, it’s time for it to be unleashed to the public. So here’s the first official teaser and unveiling of it’s name: PROPELLER. Yep, you heard it here first.

Greg Hunt is behind the making of it that will have full parts from Rowley, Crockett, Dollin and so many more. Look out for the full film this May that you will be able to download or pick up in stores.

Brazilian bowl bash with Glifberg, Barros, Grosso and more

Thrasher have footage of a jam going down at Pedro’s bowl with a host of rippers in tow for the session in Floripa, Brazil. The party included visits from Christian Hosoi, Rune Glifberg, Jeff Grosso, Omar Hassan, Sandro Dias, Duane Peters and the ridiculous skills of Pedro Barros. Click play for handplants, lipslides, no shoes smiths and much, much more.

Jeff Grosso and Salba talk Badlands

Jeff-GrossoJeff Grosso meets up with Upland Pipeline legend Salba for his Loveletters video series this month. The Upland Pipeline was a classic skatepark which opened in 1977 and one of a kind at the time being the first park to add vert and a full pipe that claimed many collar bones.

Get the history of Badlands and much more from 2 of the best concrete rippers that ever graced and shaped our scene today and scroll down to see how this place ate the mighty Chris Miller back in 1985.

Jeff Grosso discusses the Smith Grind

Jeff Grosso was one of the first skaters that I thought was the coolest out there. My brother and I rode all of his Santa Cruz decks as he was a punk who made it grind and had the best rock and roll slides in the game.

He now finds himself on Anti-Hero Skateboards after a stint over at Black Label, he had a rad Old Skool shoe out on Vans last year and is now back discussing Smith Grinds and the history behind the name. Find out why it should have been called the Monty Grind right here talking to Alex Olson and his Dad in parts one and two.