These are my favorite posts to write. There’s no smart-ass commentary, loaded jokes, Monday-morning quarterbacking, and other bullshit that clogs the internet.
The only scrutiny applied only comes when deciding at what I consider to be the best parts of every year. And every year being a rollerblader is a good year, especially every year after 30. It’s about doing the same thing I was doing when I was half my age. It keeps me feeling young inside this 60-year-old body (thanks, arthritis) and I can’t thank each and every one of you for being part of what makes rollerblading such an addictive thing to be a part of.
No, this is simply about giving people some due props. I wish I had a few grand to throw around to the winners like the professionally-led comps did, but hopefully my praise will suffice for its worth.
Skater of the Year: John Bolino
He’s been climbing and climbing since he’d been known as Jon Jon and he’s pushing the sport. He killed the NY Invitational, ripped the globe, and was named the AIL Skater of the Year as well.
His style and cleanliness filtered through his own filthiness defines everything he does.
Skating aside, the kid has the spark inside him that can easily be extinguished by the years of age and his life, as lived up until now, is a complex myriad that unequivocally represents the best and worst of everything about America. Down to brass tacks, to best sum him up, I must paraphrase words that were once uttered by the infamous Bill Lawson…
“In other words, Ron Burgundy was John Bolino is the balls.”
He did, after all, do something few skaters can do: be the closing section of a video when Haffey is the opener. (For those of who unaware, I’m referring to Regardless, the video that won last year’s video of the year.)
Which is why we should segue to this year’s…
Video of the Year: Voodoo Show
I’ve already sang this video’s praises for Be-Mag, so I’m hesitant to crap out more text on it again. There’s nothing I’ve learned to do better the second time. Unless it’s sex. God damn that was awkward the first time around.
Amir and the rest of the Strange Creatures kids killed it. The video showcases the latest generation of skaters alongside some veterans like Broskow and B. JSFing Smith.
The entire thing is an amazing experience, especially if you saw it at the premiere at the Blading Cup. If you didn’t, I honestly feel bad for you because of what you missed out on and wish I could travel back in time and teleport you there. Fuck, I wish I could do that to myself right now.
If you even remotely enjoyed Regardless, On Top, Pariah, or any of the other dope videos that have come out in the last few years, you’ll love Voodoo Show. If you see Voodoo Show and don’t love it, we need to have a serious talk.
Speaking of talking, let me tell you a little story about the…
Book of the Year: Shred ‘Til You’re Dead II
Featuring photography from some of the sports best with park skating from some of the sports best, the design and execution of the book and DVD only further shows how well Ivan Narez and Justin Hertel work together to create a quality product.
I wrote the thing. Please don’t let that discourage you from buying hard copies of some of the best skating and nature photography ever bound together with a skate video. (Just to make you feel better, I’ll share this: I went to college for journalism and got a B+ in Feature Writing.)
As long as we’re mentioning Justin Hertel, let’s get to the next award…
Non-Skate Product of the Year: AMall MTN DVSN Backpack
If you’ve been paying attention to what you pay for, you know that AMall and Trust make some of the most durable shit out there. If you’ve ridden Trust liners, you know you only have to buy one pair for your entire life. Even the latest AMall/Valo collaboration skate was the toughest Valo skin ever made. So I was more than excited when Hertel showed me the prototype for a skate bag.
If you’ve bought a skate bag before, you played the game of watching it quickly erode. That, and they normally look pretty fucking stupid if you’re too old to be in high school.
I’ve been putting this bag through my daily routine for about three weeks now. I would have thrown it away if I couldn’t trust it on my back while shredding through morning traffic or protect my beloved books and notebooks in the rain. In that time, it’s stood up to whatever torture I could throw at it (or how many times I’ve thrown it to the ground while approaching a spot.)
The bag is solid and worth every single one of the 6,500 pennies it costs.
I have no idea what that translates to Euros or any other currency.
Oh, and speaking of Europe…
Scene of the Year: Europe
Yes, I’m ignorant enough as an American to clump an entire continent together into a single scene, but if you’re hung up on my stupidity, you’ve quit reading this already. If not, read what I wrote about David Sizemore when he was eliminated in the WRS Uploaded contest (be he rode those eagles strapped to his feet to win it) which seemed to reignite some sort of Euro-American squabble. To settle that, I offer this:
10 reasons why every American is secretly jealous of every european
- Access to travel: You can hop a train and go to another country in a long weekend, experiencing an entirely different culture for minimal cost.
- Healthcare is either free or affordable. In America, if you get a paper cut without health insurance you’ll never be able to pay it off in your lifetime.
- You properly gave Bill Hicks his due celebrity.
- You schedule in naps, and not just for college students and stoners.
- Your food doesn’t kill you via obesity or diabetes.
- You don’t live inside a propaganda machine. (‘mericuh!)
- Quality of life isn’t an issue, it’s a right.
- You give alcohol the respect and prudence it deserves by introducing people at a younger legal age, which not only decreases likelihood of addiction, but also promotes responsibility.
- You don’t have to talking about the latest mass shooting by asking “which one?”
- The majority of our earliest ancestors—minus those our earlier ancestors slaughtered for their land—came here on ships that embarked from your shores. You have a greater connection to our ancestral history and creeds.
So why don’t I live in Europe, if it’s so great? You know, the American love-it-or-leave it thinking walking its way through my patriotic cortex and telling me to pack my bags? Because I live in NorCal. And NorCal will always be home to JSF.
Oh, someone said something about JSF? Pardon me while I..
Crew of the Year: JSF
Aggressive Mall may have sold the “Juiced” in Juiced Sucka Foos early on in the year, but you have to know about what’s going on with JSF.
It’s growing. It’s growing older. It’s getting younger. It’s getting stronger. It’s growing bolder. It’s refining its taste. It’s the age that makes wine beautiful and the freshness that makes beer attractive.
It’s Jon Julio and B. Smith behind Them Goods. It’s Ivan Narez and Victor Arias behind Shred. It’s the four of them (and an endless stream behind them) behind Valo. It’s Kennan Scott and Erick Garcia as the real voices guiding the Blading Cup. It’s Zyme and Hard Drive. It’s Rob G. and Sean Keane at Rollerblade. It’s those fools running Roller Warehouse. It’s the fingers punching this keyboard.
This crew is in more places than Dr. Who.
And like the doctor, it always gets continued into another season.
(‘Chu know about Swan?)
Edit of the Year: David Sizemore
‘mericuh, that’s fucking why.
No, but in all honesty, it’s because of all the shit that went down in it in such a structured setting. It was, after all, the edit that was disqualified and tossed out only to be given a dying chance again to rise out of the ashes much like the savior who has a birthday in four days (which continues the Under Dog theme for the year because the same thing happened to CJ Wellsmore at the Blader Cup).
You’ve seen the edit. If you haven’t, you better have an excuse why your view isn’t one of the 46,700+ views it had before the world ended.
I know so many people are fundamentally against WRS Uploaded, but it is, without a doubt, the one edit you can put out a year with absolute guarantee that everyone—including a few thousand non-bladers, if you’re paying attention to the numbers—will watch. It’s better than checking into Rollernews every day because as Dave Lange proved this year, they don’t do anything but accept your advertising dollars without ever checking a single cent back into the sport.
Sizemore knew this. He may not have thought much about that exact idea, but the dude fucking killed for it. He did some gnarly shit and didn’t repost footage or preface that shit with the exact clips you’ll see in an upcoming video (Please, fucking David, do not prove me wrong on this. We go back.) But we don’t.
The edit lasted one minute. 60 seconds. We all get 1,440 of them every day we’re alive and no one all year has done more with that time as David Sizemore.
No offense to any other competitor, but for variety, style, and difficulty, but that scrawny kid from the ATL (shout out to my Walking Dead peeps!) shredded the fuck out of the minute of your life you’ve replayed so many times, the way only dying men wish they could with their last moments.
Do you know what other contest he competed in this year? Many, actually, but it’s a nice transition to the…
Contest of the Year: The Blading Cup
Shit was on TV.
Built ramps with Kruse, Wood, Wilson, Miranda, Ramos, and other balling Orange Shirts.
I’ve already said what’s needed to be said on the matter.
Go next year.
If we’re not living in a Cormac McCarthy novel by then.
Blade or Die,
— Brian Krans
P.S. — My dream is to write about rollerblading and write books. Neither pay well, so all of your support is appreciated. Since this site contains no advertising, we generate no revenue. Buy some books so I can pay some bills. Thanks.