If you’re a skate nerd in 2023 it seems there’s no better place to be than on Instagram. For every niche you can dream of, there is a fellow skater out there compiling all known photos and clips of that specific skater, trick, or spot for your viewing pleasure.
You like backside tailslides? Oh, do we have the IG for you. Fred Gall’s feet? Please. Same tricks filmed at the same spots from the same angles? Meet John Arbuckle.
Since creating his Instagram page @SameSpotSameAngle back in 2019, he has curated an ever-growing catalog of ABD (Already Been Done) clips, providing followers with a glimpse into the magnitude of ABDs in skating. In the process, John has become the closest thing skateboarding has to an ABD expert.
In the midst of a 5-month streak of posting, we hit up John to discuss all things ABDs (or SSSASTs, as his account refers to them) and what it’s like running a popular skate nerd IG account.
You’re part of a growing community of ultra-niche skate Instagram pages. Is there some sort of secret society you guys are all in?
[Laughs] No secret society, but we do chat from time to time. It’s definitely a very niche community so for the most part we all know about each other. I think it’s awesome that we share the same obsession with skating, but each of us focuses on different aspects of it and has unique approaches to our content and how we present it.
Do you have any favorite deep-dive skate nerd IGs?
For sure, there are a lot. Here are some that come to mind:
@memoryscreen, @deadhippie, @muckmouth, @thesecrettape, @bobshirt, @deckaid, @myfakeskateboardcompany, @deadairradio101, @classicclips, @blatantnostalgia, @overthinkingskatevideos, @chromeball, @lookbacklibrary, @the_brooklyn_banks_, @bstails, @balancednosegrinds, @400lines, @all_hail_skateboarding, @cultoftom, @sameold, @fredgallsfeet, @skatemedianerd and @skatelyposse.
I’m sure I’m forgetting some – sorry if I didn’t list you!
Also, I highly recommend @phil_grishayev and @filmtourismus – two awesome accounts that don’t have anything to do with skateboarding but are sort of like the SSSA of film and pop culture. So good.
Was there a specific clip or video that sparked you to start the account?
Yeah, I was watching Ed Templeton’s part from This Is Skateboarding and he does a back board to fakie down a kinked handrail. I’d seen that part a million times before but for some reason when that clip came up this time, it instantly reminded me of Arto’s opener in Really Sorry where he eats shit on the front board.
I just thought it was cool that these two clips from completely different sessions were filmed from the exact same angle and it would be rad to see them side by side. That’s all it was. My intention was never to compare the skaters or filmers to see which one was “better”. That’s not what the page is about.
Why do you think it’s important to compile tricks that have already been done?
To be honest, it’s really not important to me at all. I would still be posting different tricks if it weren’t for all you skate nerds out there finding so many [laughs]. It always amazes me how deep skate videos really go. It’s endless. And I only post ABDs that are filmed from the same angle. Imagine how many more there are from different angles.
Are ABDs valid clips?
This is where it starts to get gray. In my opinion, when it comes down to it, skateboarding is not a competitive sport. It’s an art form like Jason Dill says in Feedback – an individualistic type of expression. So if someone wants to front feeble a rail because it makes them feel good and gets them psyched – even though someone else already did it – I’m not going to tell them not to.
There are ABDs happening every single day, all over the world, in skateparks and in the streets, to all degrees. Where it becomes an issue is when people are filming video parts. That’s when your art and creativity are permanently documented for the world to see. You can relate this to other things too like music. There are people out there playing music all the time, jamming on the same riffs, chord progressions, and melodies. It’s when you actually start writing and recording your own music though that copyright infringement becomes a real concern.
On paper, releasing the same trick that someone else has already done at a spot is really not valid; but in most cases, the skater didn’t know about it and had no intention of stepping on anyone’s toes. I guess the only time it’s really valid is if someone does an ABD as a tribute to someone else and makes it known.
Do you think there should be a statute of limitations on ABDs?
I think skaters and filmers should always try their best to do their research to avoid ABDs. However, as time goes on and skateboarding gets more and more saturated, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep track of what’s been done. At a certain point, we really can’t stop it. We’ll continue to see more ABDs in the future. It’s just the nature of it.
Why do you think there are so many of the same tricks at the same spots filmed from the same angle?
There’s definitely a gray area as to what counts as the same angle. They’re not all going to be perfectly exact. I’ve definitely let some questionable ones slide in the past [laughs].
With some spots, there aren’t many filming options either. Many times, the layout and architecture will naturally suggest certain filming angles. For example, at Wallenberg there’s that small, raised platform to the side at the top of the stairs, so you’ll see a lot of long-lens clips from that angle. Even at Hollywood High, so many tricks are filmed from the roof, aiming down because it’s just there and accessible.
Also, no disrespect to filmers or anything but, there might just be a general lack of creativity in filming. I understand a lot of skaters are purists, but maybe we should be more open-minded to experimentation. A lot of people seem to hate on Bill Strobeck’s filming for example, but I personally appreciate that he developed a signature style and found his own voice. It’s very different and original.
Do you have a personal favorite ABD?
Actually, there was an ABD I posted a while ago of Rayssa’s back lip down Hollywood 16 and I paired it with Jamie Thomas’ back lip from Misled Youth. Same spot, same angle, same trick. I’m sure many people would consider that an offensive ABD. Even if she didn’t know about Jamie’s back lip, I would think the filmers or someone else on the session would have known, and I never saw anything that indicated it was a tribute to him. But either way, I just thought it was super sick to see them back to back. The fact that 23 years later, female skating has progressed to that level is wild.
I also posted one a long time ago of Jeff Pettit from Shackle Me Not (1988) and Brian Delatorre from the GX1000 video (2016) both bombing the sidewalk at Black Rock in SF. It was rad to see that even after 28 years – as much as skating has progressed – they both got the same stoke from just bombing that hill.
From your more than 500 posts, what trends have you noticed among ABDs?
I think just the fact that most ABDs I’m posting are newer clips as opposed to older ones. I think skaters these days are less apt to do their homework just because there are so many videos and so much content to sort through that it can be really overwhelming to fact-check everything.
There might be some discussion as to what’s been done at a spot but ultimately the consensus is probably just like, “Who the hell knows?” Then, they just do whatever trick they feel inspired to do. I could be wrong, but that’s what it seems like to me. Back in the day, there was way less footage and much more room for uncharted territory.
Who are some of the ABD victims, or people who have gotten outshined by someone higher profile than them?
There are a lot. It’s the issue of lesser-known skaters getting outshined by bigger skaters just because they don’t have the same reach; but even within the high-profile circle, there are instances where someone will film a trick and then another skater will release a part with the same trick in it so the first skater can’t use their clip anymore. I’ve also seen cases where that happens but both parts come out around the same time so it’s too late to take out the ABD.
Have any skaters, filmers, or brands hit you up since starting the page, either because they were hyped or angry at being featured?
Just today actually, Scuba Steve DM’d me about a match I posted of PJ Ladd and Eric Koston. He thought it was hilarious that he filmed both clips exactly the same way on different days. I didn’t even know he filmed those so it’s always cool to get confirmation directly from the source.
Beagle called me out on The Nine Club recently. He was bummed at himself for filming an SSSAST of Bryan Herman and Jake Hayes without even realizing it. Sorry, Beagle! You’re the man!
In your opinion, what is the future significance of ABDs in skating?
I think the principle and general etiquette will remain the same, but as far as the amount of them, it’s not looking good. As more and more footage is released it will get exponentially more difficult to keep track of tricks, especially for the younger generations who aren’t as familiar with the past. I feel like the only way to truly avoid ABDs is just to find new spots.
In the words of Ricky Oyola, finding the spot is one of the biggest parts of the trick. Or maybe we could make a massive wiki archive of every spot in the world with every clip ever done there [laughs]. That would be sick actually.
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