Everybody else is making their best of lists so I figured why not throw in my dad hat. My criteria were solely based on what did I watch a lot that year and what I would still watch now. Hindsight is 2020 (haha) and a few videos I didn’t watch when they came out turned out to be classics and some that I loved turned aged poorly.
2010: The Shuffl Video
It was the year I moved from my small desert hometown to sunny San Diego and I really didn’t know what to expect. Skating went from being one of many hobbies to something much more important in my life. This Walker Ryan constructed VX video showed me all these spots right on my doorstep all skated with style and often switch. It felt like there was endless opportunity right in front of me. It is still a point of reference for many of the local spots in my brain.
My roommate bought this on DVD and it got played over and over. I was mind blown because I hadn’t heard of anyone in it but the skating was better than anything else I had ever seen. The creativity was more than just simple fun it was getting gnarly too! It was my first exposure to the Arizona scene that now everyone knows is on another level. We would always smoke before skating and breaking up weed to the intro song “So High” became a tradition even when we wouldn’t watch the video. Just throw on those piano chords and it was on. Sublette’s part is absolutely fucked. The whole video got me started on the path that would define the decade for me, Fun as the most important aspect of skateboarding.
2012: Polar – No Complies, Wallrides + Shuvits
A landmark video for my progression. Before this video I had never done a no-comply, a wallride, or a slappy. I had never even done a powerslide. Then Polar comes out with this promo video that flipped my perception of skateboarding on its head. I saw all these guys using the terrain in a different way, doing tricks that looked fun to do rather than just technically impressive. I spent all my energy learning the tricks that I had missed out on in my pursuit of flip tricks. Again it was more about fun, setting, vibe rather than just seeing the biggest stunt. While I knew I was never the most gifted skateboarder, I saw a way to make something exciting and it got me juiced on creating. Oh Yeah, Oh Yeah, Oh Yeah!!!!
2013: Bronze – Solo Jazz
This would be my video of the decade by a long shot. As soon as the quick cutting music, the all the little animations, the little inside jokes, the dance floor airhorn, the DJ adlibs, I knew I had found a video that spoke my language. Every other video felt left in the past, made by old dudes out of touch with what is cool. I grew up on the internet and have spent probably as much time behind a screen as I have asleep. It combined what I liked about the Polar video and warped it through a Vaporwave filter. I felt seen, seeing kids like me making incredible videos and I knew I needed a piece of that. It gave me the confidence to start making my own thing knowing my voice was worthy of being heard, that there were people like me that had something cool to say.
2014: Sk8mafia – Pack of Hydes
Just like another great video titled Pack of, this Ska8mafia two-piece blew me away and they kept growing on me over time. I was slowly becoming obsessed with skating that worked more to be creative than to just be technically difficult. The wallie and the slappy were my main tricks. The Polar videos had me thinking all the fun skating was happening in Europe so to see these guys that lived right in my backyard doing it took me back to my local world. Were these the same kids from the Sun Diego video I grew up on? They moved from hucking themselves down plain staircases to well thought out tricks at interesting spots. Fun is a mindstate not a location. So at first I was amazed at Wes. His perma-stoned free flowing skating felt to me like he just showed up at spots and let the tricks flow. Then, just like Henry’s part in T&H grew on me, I “got” Tyler Surrey. He is light-footed, technical, doing everything the hard way but also doing tricks that just look good. His trick selection doesn’t stand out because he never sticks to one set of skills, he is doing it all. The two person video is great because it allows different skill sets to complement each other but gives both a real shine.
2015: Sour – The Sour Solution
My introduction to the Sour boys came from the SweetMafia video and felt like an extension of Sk8mafia based out of Europe. When they broke off from Sweet to do Sour on their own it felt like a major power move. The combination of tech, fun, and spot porn hit me full force. They were from Europe so they weren’t like the Americans I was used to flying to Barcelona to skate the same spots I’ve seen since the flip video. They were spot hunting in their own towns and also traveling the world together to hunt spots all over. It was an overload for my brain; do I pay attention to the spot, the skater, the trick? It took multiple viewings to even see the video for the first time. America was cool but this pan-European crew sparked my need to travel the world with my skateboard.
2016: Fancy Lad – Is This Skateboarding?
When I first watched this I thought to myself “What the fuck, am I being trolled by a skate video?” The answer was no, this is clearly not skateboarding as I know it to be, but I was inextricably drawn to it. I watched it the next day and again the day after that. There was something magical happening that I couldn’t quite understand. All of the tricks were tricks that were no-no’s in my world. Most of the time they were just flinging their board and then jumping on it once it landed wheels down. In a world where I had become obsessed with fun and creativity rather than technical ability though, it did everything right. It wasn’t their skills that made it enjoyable, it was the way they looked at skateboarding in a different light. It was like Picasso deconstructing the forms until it barely resembled itself. It struck a nerve with the punk rock in me; the way the older generation said that punk was destroying music. It’s not about how good of a guitar solo you can play; it’s dorking around with an instrument with your friends. Even Orange Man, whose whole part is just a bit about wearing orange and building unskateable boards, served a purpose. I realized how it’s just as true that David Gonzalez or Wade Desarmo are playing a bit, they are fulfilling a role they came up with.
2017: Pyramid Country – Love and Gratitude
I didn’t get to see this video until a trip we made out to Arizona to skate in the winter of ’18. One of my favorite things to do is visit shops in other towns and buy all the local videos on DVD like the old days. I was already familiar with Pyramid Country, particularly sublette’s madness, but this video brought together a lot of different ideas that had been swirling around in my brain and turned them into something semi coherent. The editing hit the same ways as the Bronze videos with its sparkly electronic music, but instead of random internet memes there was Pyramid Head. The same Arizona crazy that I fell in love with from Boyish was there with just the right balance of hammers and creative nonsense. Getting out of the east coast and putting it in the desert was relatable to the skating I grew up doing. If you have read this far and are still keeping score, this is the video that hits all the right spots for me. It connected ideas that had been growing throughout the decade and did a lot to direct what type of skater I was going to be.
2018: Alltimers – No Idea
I can really see the impact those Bronze videos had on me as I rewatch all these to make this list. It was there that I first saw Will Marshall and was blown away by his carefree style and the way he pops out of his noseslides. I would watch the IG edits they made on trips over and over trying to dissect what made them so alluring. It comes down to having fun and not taking yourself so seriously. “Fun” had almost become a dirty word when used to describe skating because it often meant dork tricks or poorly done slappys. Just when it started to feel like “fun” was being commoditized and sold as a certain style, Alltimers came through with a crew of dudes just having a blast traveling together. Sometimes hard tricks were done poorly or easy tricks were done perfectly, but it didn’t matter, the energy flowing from the crew was magnetic and I still can’t get enough of it. When ET’s song comes on I feel myself dripping in swag, mimicing the nonchalant way they roll away in just the way I sit and watch the video. It’s not something you can force and these guys are overflowing with the magic that makes skateboarding so much fun.
2019: Dime – Knowing Vol.2
Essentially just another Alltimers video with Tiago thrown in for added flavor. At this point I was totally under the spell of Dime’s magic. Between Alltimers and the glory challenge I was seeing something new that I couldn’t quite explain but knew I couldn’t resist this mix of fun skateboarding, baggy pants, and Future songs. The sessions at Peace Park are comforting elements that remind me of those dream sessions with a big crew of homies at a spot you hang out at all the time. There is a lot of pure talent in these video, guys who don’t seem like they are trying as much as are just naturally gifted. Etienne is the master of this, he seems oblivious to just how good his skateboarding is. Tiago and Dustin are the same way. Sure they work for their tricks, but they just have a skill that shows with everything they do. Moments that are just fun end up as memorable as any tricks. Will Marshall trying to revert after the fs flip and flip off the curb, they he doesn’t even make. Weck ditching his shit talk persona and just trying a trick. The music is another area that felt untouched to me with club songs and Max B. The video is full of surprises and fills me with joy each time I watch it.