With just over three months left in 2017, the skateboarding world has seen dozens of amazing videos that have already been, and continue to be, released this year. With that being said, it is about time to start some arguments over which videos deserve to be ranked in the top five videos of the year.
Honorable Mentions: DGK – “Saved”
Released in mid-August of this year, New Balance’s “Tricolor” is one of the most solid releases at this point in 2017. Opting for a cleaner, cinematic style, there are no fisheye lenses in sight in “Tricolor.” I also did not notice one bail in the entire video, which is relatively rare but adds to the clean-cut feeling of the video. This is not a negative per se, as it does separate “Tricolor” from other videos.
The video includes three featured skaters, Franky Villani, Flo Mirtain and PJ Ladd, but also includes footage from others like Marquise Henry (who had a great part in DGK’s “Saved” video from this year), Jordan Taylor and Tom Knox. The MVP of the video is definitely PJ Ladd, as every trick in his part is just disgustingly technical.
Some have criticized his part as being disappointing, since some have higher expectations for a skater of Ladd’s talent. However, I believe that the expectations for someone of Ladd’s ability should not take away from the actual product that he eventually puts out. This guy is out here making insanely difficult tricks look casual, and while he may be able to do more, it does not take away from the quality of his part.
Whatever the opposite of clean and cinematic is, Foundation’s “Oddity” video is exactly that. The entire video has a much more gritty and raw aesthetic, which is reflected in the way that the video is edited; the video’s quick cuts, dark imagery between scenes and the soundtrack all add to the tone of “Oddity.”
Cole Wilson deserves recognition for closing the video with an awesome part. He may not be the most stylish, but damn it, Wilson finds a way to get to the bottom of rails that nobody else would even look at. There is no better example of Wilson’s all-or-nothing mindset than the last trick of his part, a 50-50 down a rail with five kinks that would likely put anyone else in the hospital.
They should have named this Zion Wright’s “By Any Means,” because he steals the show in this video. In all seriousness, “By Any Means” includes my three favorite skaters (Ishod Wair, Zion Wright and Kyle Walker), which probably makes me a bit biased towards this video. However, Real does a ton of interesting things in “By Any Means,” outside of the skating, that also contribute to the overall quality of the video.
The variety of camera angles, including some overhead shots using a drone, are balanced perfectly, which prevents the video from getting repetitive. On top of that, the video shifts from black and white to full color repeatedly throughout the video, grabbing the viewer’s attention.
The variety in the actual skating, however, is the most important aspect of “By Any Means.” As previously mentioned, Wright absolutely destroys this video, as he can casually hit a 540 in a pool and immediately follow with a front boardslide down eight stairs at one point.
However, Wright was not the only one to kill it in this video. Jack Olson also shined throughout “By Any Means,” and some would argue that he even did better than Wright. He opens the video with a 50-50 around a curved rail, which looks really cool in slow motion, while he must lean back to keep his balance and almost bails toward the end. As the video progresses, Olson acts as the “ying” to Wright’s “yang,” contributing solid, technical skating in between Wright’s parts.
Tristan Funkhouser is a psychopath. The twenty-year-old, also known as T-Funk, leads off “The DC Promo Video” with a part that, while fantastic, does not compare to what Funkhouser put himself through to get his footage. It is revealed in the rough cut of his part that he slammed six times down a ten-foot drop onto concrete before finally landing it clean. In just the first part, T-Funk sets the tone for the rest of the video.
One of the frontrunners for Skater of the Year is Tiago Lemos, and he closes the video with a ridiculous part, one of my favorites of the year. It appears that Lemos actually skates better switch, which doesn’t make sense, but the footage would suggest that he prefers to skate backward. He closes the video with what just might be the longest tailslide in the history of the world, and it puts a bookend on one of the best videos of the year so far.
THE best video of the year so far, and one that surely won’t be topped anytime soon, is Thrasher’s very first annual “Am Scramble 2017.” There is legitimately something for everyone in this video, from the rent-a-cop who tries to arrest Jamie Foy at the beginning of the video to Ducky Kovacs’ backside lipslide down a wooden handrail while sporting a broken face.
There is no need to have any knowledge of skating to enjoy this video, as every skater brings enough personality to make the video entertaining for everyone. The “Am Scramble” a video that reaches a perfect balance between skating and highlighting the personalities of the skaters. For example, part of the video is dedicated to a trip to Value Village with Tyson Peterson, as he explains the reasoning for his strange fashion sense. Not only does this part of the video shed light on why Peterson can be seen skating in hospital scrubs, but it also gives a glimpse into the lifestyle that Peterson lives away from skateboarding.
What separates the “Am Scramble” from other skate videos from this year, however, is how every skater featured in this video was not a professional at the time it was filmed. In essence, this video is their opportunity to put themselves on the map. They are given the opportunity of a video for the most popular skating publication on earth and aren’t forced to fight professionals for time.
After the release of this video, most of the skaters who were featured are now pro, or at least recognized as some of the most talented amateurs in the world. Going forward, being included in the “Am Scramble” will likely be looked at as a massive opportunity, and with this year’s being the very first, it has the potential to be a very important moment in modern skateboarding.