Let’s face it, the first trick basically defines the part. Enders are cool, enders are impressive, but the first line lets us know what you’re about. The first line tells us how you push and what kind of environment you’re in and how solid your flatground is. If a dude goofs the intro, then the whole part is fucked. But if you manage to do just one good trick, and then follow it by another, and then another, then you’ve achieved something beautiful my friend. Here are ten of the best first lines, and ten of the best to do ’em. – Brent Holz
1. Mike Carroll – Transworld: Modus Operandi
Carroll begins his Modus Operandi part for Transworld with one of the best lines ever caught on film at the SF library and one of the best lines ever filmed period. After cutting his teeth at EMB it was a fitting homage to his hometown and his past to start off such a standout part with that line. It’s classic Carroll–albeit without cornrows–a fast, technical line at a classic SF skate spot and has one of the most nonchalant bigspins thrown right into the mix. This is a line that could be filmed today and it would still get talked about.
2. Stevie Williams – Transworld: The Reason
At the peak of his reign at Love Park, Stevie tied together a meandering 8 trick line to start off his part in The Reason linking ledge tricks together with flawless flatground skill. He did a fakie hardflip in a line, which would normally warrant some reprimanding or boo-hooing but when Stevie did it in this line, it was and still is, unhateable. He’s also got one of the most nonchalant, non-yo’d out tré flips ever thrown in there almost as an afterthought. Stevie’s made a career out of video parts with line after line of street tech, and his part in The Reason was no different.
3. Wes Kremer – Sk8mafia Am Video
After successfully piloting through his homies and throwing down three consecutive switch tres at full speed down the halls of Earl Warren for a mini intro, Wes starts his part with a sequence of backside 360, 360 flip and gap to nosegrind for his first clip in the Sk8Mafia Am Video. The nosegrind could have stood alone as an ender for anyone else, but he started his part with it and threw it in a line just because he’s got it like that. Wes’ powerful, fast skating paired with the sampled sax from “They’ll Reminisce Over You,” are a telltale of what follows and for anyone who didn’t already know what Wes was capable of, that part let them know.
4. Eric Koston – Girl Skateboards: Yeah Right
Frostman has a very distinct push and after some light badgering from Rick McCrank you get to see a lot of it as he cruises through a schoolyard Tinker Toy picnic table setup reminiscent of Round 2-era Daewon Song. It’s got the difficult tricks you’d expect from Frost as well as some over the shoulder camera beaming and lighthearted shouting. It’s a solid introduction to the at times paradoxical professional goofball nature of Eric Koston and helped diffuse the tension.
5. Andrew Reynolds – Emerica: This is Skateboarding
You could almost put this one in the “Greatest Misses” file. Due to some rogue lighting, Jon Miner’s follow-along angle for the massive kickflip to end Reynolds’ first line was blown out and almost unusable, but thankfully there was a second angle employed for The Boss’ last trick to start out his Emerica This is Skateboarding part and the massive kickflip was safely captured.The kickflip manual is a little suspect, but with that burly of a trick at the end of the line, and with the amount of otherwise perfect kickflips Reynolds has blessed us with, it’s easy to look past.
6. Jamie Thomas – Toy Machine: Welcome to Hell
Jamie Thomas set his sights high for himself and for the whole Welcome to Hell video back in 1995 and he more than hit his mark. He earned himself the last part in the now seminal video, which marked the beginning of his take charge style of video editing and team management that has led him to the position where he remains today. The bulk of the part has a kind of rapid fire pace to it as the tricks keep pace to Iron Maiden’s “Hallowed Be Thy Name,” but it starts off with a long, flowing line at Brooklyn Banks paired up with the somber song’s beginning. It is one of only two lines to ever hitting both rails at the Brooklyn Banks and one of the only lines to include an accidental cameo from some random guy urinating in the foreground. It’s a classic spot, a classic song, a classic part, and a great line.
7. Marc Johnson – Girl & Chocolate: Pretty Sweet
MJ’s opening line in Pretty Sweet is so smooth and indicative of his timeless style on a skateboard that whatever followed it for his part could have amounted to two and a half minutes of him farting on a snare drum and it still would have been a home run. You can spend hours watching and rewatching the backside noseblunt and fast, fluid roll into the backside flip and never get tired of it. MJ has made a career out of making the impossible seem simple and easy, and Pretty Sweet showcased his style, speed and trick selection coalescing into fine wine.
8. Kareem Campbell – World Industries: 20 Shot Sequence
This is one of those clips where it’s not necessarily the most difficult skating, but it’s super indicative of its time. Kareem front shuvs down four stairs, landing already eyeing traffic as he pilots his way across the street onward to his next tricks and mid-line high fives from his homies. It was a simpler time with less rules and less of a public to dissect every clip of every video, so a boogered backside tailslide and almost coming to a stop in the grass were non-issues and obviously stayed in the video. The pant sag check was also standard during the time.
9. Jeremy Wray – Plan B: Second Hand Smoke
It’s a 45 second line with three tricks and a fly-by Rodney Mullen cameo and one of the most botched film jobs for an ending trick that still managed to stay in the video. Yeah, it’s that good. Jeremy Wray has often gone criminally underrated and overlooked despite having a video part and trick résumé on par with skateboarding’s most legendary. Regardless, Jeremy Wray frontside flipped down the Carlsbad gap to finish off a line for the starter to his Second Hand Smoke part. The filming was terrible in the best way possible and he ended up using the same trick that started his part to also end it. That’s ingenuity right there. If you’re a bit younger and don’t remember this part, do yourself a favor and watch the whole thing, then go and watch all the other old Plan B videos as well.
10. Ricky Oyola – Dan Wolfe: Eastern Exposure III
Speed and grit, Rick’s got those in spades, so it’s no surprise that his seminal Eastern Exposure part starts out with not one, but two lines of him hauling ass through pedestrians and traffic. Dan Wolfe’s Eastern Exposure series was a breath of fresh air in the West-Coast dominated skate videos of the time and the black and white aesthetic along with the eerie guitar effects of Metallica’s “Damage Inc.” added to the cracked and grainy skating from the Mayor of Philly.
January 29, 2014 11:28 am
Great list. The opening line from MJ is the best part of Pretty Sweet. Jamie Thomas at the Banks is also at the top. I always thought Jeremy Wray’s line at Carlsbad was pretty boring. Ending with the gap is great, but the filming is sub-par (even for the time), and the whole thing just takes too long. As the MJ and Oyola part’s show, it’s not just the tricks, it’s the filming and music that makes a good opener.
I would’ve had Kris Markovich’s line from Prime’s Fight Fire with Fire in there. Not many parts can start with impact on a flatground inward heelflip.
May 31, 2014 9:53 pm
Jeremy Wray should be at the very top of the list. That run was ridiculous, especially for the time. I’m willing to bet you were still in diapers when that was filmed. Ask a real skateboarder (from that time, what their opinion was and I’d be willing to bet they too had their minds blown.
January 29, 2014 12:20 pm
great list, i’d add rick howard in goldfish. and carroll
January 29, 2014 12:36 pm
This is actually a list of the most famous opening lines. A few of these should be included in the ‘best’ list though.
January 29, 2014 12:40 pm
are we sure the dude at the Banks is pissing and not, say, rolling a joint or something? looks like there’s another dude sitting right next to him, and i wouldn’t be chilling there if a dude was pissing next to me