As 2017 comes to a merciful end, we the people should take some time to reflect on how far we have come within the past year. The most effective way to do so, in my opinion, is to ignore all of the chaos that is taking place among the higher-ups of our society, and instead watch some kick-ass skaters fight for the top spot on Thrasher Magazine’s Skater of the Year list. With the field narrowed down to just eight skaters, the debate has reached a bottleneck, causing everyone within the skating world to be torn apart by the decision of who to vote for.
Have no fear! I took the time to rank the remaining candidates for you, so go ahead and vote for who I decided was the Skater of the Year. Seriously, all of the eight finalists have a serious case for earning the top spot, but of course, only one can win. Without further ado, here is my ranking of the eight Skater of the Year finalists.
Side note: Zion Wright not being a finalist is a travesty and I will not be silenced.
8. Daan van der Linden
Daan’s placement on this list is not indicative of how I feel about him as a skater, I just think the other seven skaters are just that good this year. Van der Linden was involved in some of the more important videos and tours of 2017, including the annual “Thrash and Burn” video, which included some other candidates for Skater of the Year. All in all, Van der Linden is likely being punished by the sheer strength of his competition, which goes to show skateboarding is in a very good place right now.
7. Miles Silvas
Miles Silvas is smoother than all of us, which is a fact we must accept and move on with our lives. Silvas has a knack for making even the most difficult tricks look simple, and the way he casually rolls away does not do justice to the ridiculous skill that it definitely took to land his previous trick. At just twenty-two years old, Silvas is a shoe-in to win Skater of the Year someday, but unfortunately, this will not be his year.
6. Shane O’Neill
The elder statesman of 2017’s candidates is Australia’s own Shane O’Neill. The reasoning for O’Neill’s inclusion on this list is quite simple, in that he has consistently been one of the best skaters on earth for quite some time. Considering how far skateboarding has come in the past decade, O’Neill continues to innovate, adding new variations to his endless catalog of tricks. His part on Nike SB’s “Levels” video will go down as a classic and likely earned this pro a spot in the top eight for this year.
5. Tristan Funkhouser aka T-Funk
I was lucky enough to write about T-Funk earlier this year in my article highlighting the five best skate videos of the year to that point, and his brand has continued to grow in the time since. At just twenty years old, T-Funk has already proven himself to be one of the most talented skaters on Earth and has produced some of the most suicidal footage of the year. The final three tricks on his “DC Promo” part illustrate why so many people believe T-Funk to be the Skater of the Year; but most of all, they prove T-Funk to be an absolute psychopath, which is why we all love him.
4. Riley Hawk
How many times has the child of a generational athlete lived up to the hype? Realistically, they can be counted on one hand. Riley Hawk is one of the few who have. Of course, being the son of the most famous skater of all-time has placed some hefty expectations on Riley, yet all he has done this year is completely separate himself from his father’s shadow by absolutely destroying every part he was featured in, including, most recently, his “Shep Dawgs 5” part, in which he violates the laws of physics on more than one occasion.
3. Tiago Lemos
One of the best tail-slides of all time belongs to Tiago Lemos, and it was on full display in 2017, including one of the longest slides I’ve ever seen to close the “DC Promo” video. Lemos is power personified and can do every trick switch; in fact, some even believe he is better when he is skating switch. One of the traits every Skater of the Year candidate has is consistency, as it is almost impossible to win the award without being one of the best skaters for the entire year. Lemos shined in every video he appeared in and continues to find ways to innovate, even though he is featured so often. While he is placed third on this list, Lemos is beyond deserving of serious consideration for the top spot in 2017.
2. Louis Lopez
Louis Lopez is the overwhelming favorite among other pro-skaters to win Skater of the Year, and for good reason. His most recent video part, a seven-minute instant classic on the “West End” video, was arguably the best in 2017 and is only one piece of his incredibly strong year. This lanky bastard just looks cool on a skateboard at all times and watching him skate leads trash-athletes such as myself to feel as though maybe I could do it too. In all seriousness, Louis will probably win Skater of the Year, and he absolutely deserves it.
1. Jamie Foy
Not so fast, Louis Lopez. While it seems you may be a clear-cut favorite to win considering the opinions of the other pros, let me introduce you to my friend, Jamie Foy. I watched this guy get down twenty-six stairs on his second try during King of the Road, feeble El Toro and absolutely murder the Am-Scramble. Foy routinely makes the impossible, well, possible, and in my opinion, nobody is a more deserving candidate for Skater of the Year.