I hate to bring it up, but can we talk about some heinous acts I saw at that Run and Gun contest?
Let me explain a bit to save you the hassle: Skaters have been relying more and more on picking up their board and running around from obstacle to obstacle during their lines. And I gotta say, it’s looking pretty lame.
Worse still is the fact that this isn’t isolated to contests – it’s rampant in all the major “circuits”. I’ve even seen kids emulate this style at my local skatepark and street haunts as if every time they throw down the clock is ticking and the Olympic committee is judging.
But I don’t mean to say that this method of moving should be off limits and result in instant disqualification from the realm of respectability – there is a utility to it, as some lines would be outright impossible without a dismount and a little running around. Plus, it can even occasionally be done with style and poise, as evidenced in some of the clips (a small selection of a thousand examples) listed below.
If you find yourself unsure of how to get from point A to point B when the path is unskateable, please refer to these moments as shining examples of how to handle a mid-line crisis.
Jason Dill – Alien Workshop “Photosynthesis”
Dill’s standout line from his Photosynthesis part is the perfect example of how to make the everyday act of walking down some stairs a transcendent moment of street skateboarding. The high-speed 360 flip, the rare fakie frontside shuvit, the chill revert and pop up the curb, all leading to a huge ollie made possible by a quick stroll down an impeding set. When I first saw this clip as a teenager I exclaimed aloud: “You can do that?!” This clip (and another Dill-move from “Mosaic”) proves the answer is a resounding yes. (Bonus: See Bill Strobeck’s insta post for some alternate attempts at this classic moment of a mid-line crisis.)
Mike Carroll – Tennyson Corp: Dog B-Sides
Carroll is the god of casual lines, perhaps a skill learned from his formative days rolling around Embarcadero, but this one from his more senior years is really something special. After a rather chill series of tricks, MC pops up his board, sprints a few steps, and throws down to ollie what appears to be a pretty big bump to bar. Could he have done a couple of hard pushes and still made it over? Probably, but that’s not the route Carroll chose to go here, and we’re all the better for it.
Tyshawn Jones – Strobeck’s Instagram
Tyshawn is skateboarding’s equivalent of the Rae Sremmurd song “Black Beatles,” a “young bull actin’ like an old geezer.” I mean, just check out that quarter zip fleece – it may say Supreme, but it screams L.L. Bean. This maturation beyond his years is clear in this little line. Despite the signature Strobeck close crop, it’s easy to tell how manly the 360 flip was, and then the chill poise in the skid stop, the nonchalant handspin, the beastly back 50-50… It all adds up to one of the most smooth incorporations of off-board antics in skate history.
Louie Barletta – Osiris “Subject to Change”
Louie’s used his innumerable years on this planet to shake up skateboarding’s notion of what constitutes as cool on a skateboard – from the hair on his head to what he does with the shoes on his feet – and this line is a shining example of that. Was it forethought that had Louie popping the board into his hand fakie so that he wouldn’t have to spin it around to land the footplant down the steps? Or was it a sort of magnetic intuition? Much like the origins of Louie’s toupee, we may never know.
Dashawn Jordan – Hollywood High (Process)
Okay, so this may not be a line since it’s only really two tricks, but it’s so damn impressive I can’t help but include it here. Dashawn is obviously a young kid with incredible athleticism and a competitive energy that makes it easy for him to do well at contests, and all of that is on display here in the streets. It’s like he’s in contest with himself, trying to one-up his own tricks since nobody can really compete against him. Some people might complain that doing the same trick back-to-back on increasingly bigger sets is too jockish to be considered cool, but, most people would be winded after running up 12 stairs, so you’ve got to laud this youngin’s determination.
Gou Miyagi – Heroin Skateboards “Video Nasty”
So imagine this scenario: You want to do a frontside darkslide down a handrail, but you’re not so sure about that whole ollie half-flip part or having to do the half-flip out to roll away, what do you do? Well, you could do like Gou here and incorporate some tight-rope parkour walking as well as your filmer’s set-up to make the impossible, possible.
Marc Johnson – Lakai “Fully Flared”
MJ, love him or hate him, he’s an undeniable master of how to look smooth while riding a skateboard. This line from his epic part in Fully Flared (which somehow is a decade old this year) shows that even when he runs right smack dab into a wall you can’t stop Marc from soldiering on. A quick skid stop and climb gets him up on the loading dock, and an unfathomable level of board control gets him to nollie 360 heelflip over the gap.
Connor Kammerer – “Tengu: God of Mischief”
Connor puts his unorthodox skate shoes to work with this winding night line from Colin Read’s excellent Tengu. Like a bizarro-Dill, he goes up the stairs instead of down, and uses his new heights to throw down a quick and lofty kickflip down the other side. A true depiction of the highs and lows a line can bring (harhar).
Neil Blender – 1986 Tempe Contest Run
I know what you’re saying over there: All of the above are tricks done in the street, and this list started off complaining about contests, where there are time constraints that make getting off your board and running around an absolute necessity. I hear you, and I kindly ask you to shut up. Look, here’s a contest run where the guy gets off his board and does probably the coolest trick you could ever do at a contest: Fuck it up.