Accessories are a surefire way to make your clips more memorable. Gold chains, braces, and spiked belts all have the power to make people perk up and say: “Damn, look at that foo over there.”
But the most difficult skate accessory is the backpack. All it does is weigh you down and throw you off balance, so getting a clip while wearing one is a feat we thought worth memorializing.
Backpacks offer a lot of good — space for carrying illicit things, outfit color coordinating, and being something easy to lose — plus they can make any trick a little (or a lot) more impressive.
The following collection are only some of our subjectively favorite clips of people skating in backpacks. It’s not by any means an exhaustive list or The Best List Ever™. Just a chance to highlight people taking something already pretty difficult — landing tricks — and making it more difficult for no reason by putting a backpack on top.
Enjoy these clips as much as possible because you never know if the rest of your day might suck.
Colin McKay – “Virtual Reality”
Starting off on a vert clip may seem weak, but hampering yourself with a backpack while doing a flip trick out of a full-sized vert ramp is pretty reckless. Of course, with the way vert skating in the early ‘90s was sequestered to a few ramps, the people actually keeping vert alive were innovating like crazy, so Colin’s clip makes sense in that context.
Or maybe he was just wearing it to protect his spine from shattering in case he messed up and fell straight to the flat bottom. Either way, this is the only vert clip on the list so you can stop complaining and scroll on to the street clips below.
Jason Byoun – “Life Is Goodie”
By starting this section skating out from a loading dock area and dropping two levels off a construction trailer, it looks like Jason was maybe on the lamb from the law in this backpack clip. One of the few instances here where the skater is definitely carrying a backpack for practical reasons and not gimmicks or aesthetics, so we gotta give him props for staying true to himself.
Chad Muska – “Fulfill The Dream”
While Colin McKay’s clip was reckless in a calculated way, this immortal Muska clip is way more spontaneous and therefore way more magical.
It’s kind of like when a mom gets super human strength to lift a car off her baby. If Muska had tried to prepare to crook a handrail while wearing a backpack and holding a boombox, he would have slammed so hard he would have needed braces. But because he did it without thinking, he pulled it off flawlessly.
Bravo for not overthinking things.
Travis Erickson – Welcome to Santa Cruz
This clip feels like a bit of a put on, but it’s still a three-trick line so we felt it was worth including.
Not the most timeless or iconic, but like handrail skaters in the late-2000s, Travis is doing is part to raise the bar for backpack skating everywhere. Hopefully, some kid somewhere saw this clip and is out there one-upping Travis as I type.
Because if skaters aren’t pressuring each other to put their lives in greater and greater danger, then what’s the point?
Does a drawstring sack count as a backpack? If you’re going down a 13-stair then absolutely.
Having any unnecessary crap dangling around your body is the last thing you want when you’re doing a big-ass ollie, so the backpack in this clip kind of counts as its own little trick. It’s above a straight on ollie and below a front 180°.
Backpacks: the shifities of accessories.
Drake’s clip is maybe the only one that truly makes skating in backpacks look good, which is quite the feat on its own. Having that kind of finesse on the back 180°, then the power in that fakie hardflip, it’s almost like he’s not wearing a backpack at all. If anyone can be said to be an inspiration for Tyshawn’s backpack clip (coming up), it’s Drake.
Most successful skaters have a party trick. Hsu had the Storm Flip, Reynolds has the frontside flip, and Evan Smith has the 540°, so it only makes sense that he would up the ante by pulling one off over a convertible while wearing a backpack.
Out of everybody here, Evan is the one who takes the novelty of skating in a backpack to its fullest — choosing an all over cheetah print bag — so he gets extra points for that.
He’s also a reminder that maybe our backpack choices don’t have to get drab as we get old. The inner child is strong with this one.
Tyshawn Jones – “Blessed”
We’ll admit, skating with a backpack is, most of the times, a total gimmick. Aside from Biebel’s ankle weights, backpacks are the most burdensome accessory for skating.
So the fact that Tyshawn sells this backpack like a fucking champ makes it all the more rewarding. I’m sold on the story that Tyshawn was just cruising after school and casually threw out that switch front heel, even though it was Strobeck who suggested he put it on.
And that’s why Tyshawn gets paid the big bucks. Because he makes you believe that you too have the power to make skating in a backpack look good, even when you know you’ll actually look like a fuckin’ goomba.