2010 was pegged to be the year rollerblading made its comeback. Depending on what you were hoping for, the year was unquestionably a great one for everyone in skating.
If your year on blades wasn’t a quality one–barring serious injury or dismemberment–I don’t feel bad for you. What you put into skating is what is what you’re going to get out of it. If you want more, invest more.
Skating companies kept their game up with some great products for all of us. If there was one common theme in the production side of the industry, it was quality. Every year, skaters are getting more and more bang for their buckaroos and that means that people are more likely to buy products. That shit all trickles up and down, from sponsorship to your local comp to your favorite skaters being able to make their rent.
If you don’t have a resolution for 2011, here’s one: put more of your money into blading. Take stock of what you love.
2010 had some great videos. This year was huge in terms of quality videos with bangers of sections you’ll be watching over and over until your kids are asking what the hell a DVD is. This includes, but is not limited to, Game Theory, the Nimh Video, Shred ‘Til You’re Dead, Fade Nation Green, Vine Street, and most notably, Valo 4Life.
And without further ado, here’s who I believe deserve every bit of recognition they get because, quite frankly, they’ve earned it.
Scene of the Year: NY-Fucking-C
Back in the day, Ryan Jacklone, Dave Ortega, and others ruled the streets of New York City with attitude and fierce style. Today, skaters like Franco Cammayo, Austin Paz, Ramelle Knight, Jon Ortiz, and the unstoppable force that is the living shred legend known as Billy O’Neill.
That doesn’t even include those unknown skaters that are working their asses off on a regular basis to pull hard every day. You may not know them now, but there’s a good chance you might soon.
At the heart of the action are media like Art of Rolling (which now is printed and ready for your subscription) and the always busy blog iRollNY.
Oh yeah, it’s also home to Jero, one of the best and busiest photogs in the business.
Despite losing some homies and the Brooklyn Banks getting a new and unwanted fence around it, New York remains the most solid scene in America.
Sure, Arizona, SoCal, Atlanta, Texas, Iowa, Minnesota, and the JSF-rich NorCal have some great scenes, but they’re no NYC.
If you don’t think so, go check out the always-packed street jammy-jam that is Last Man Standing or even one of their weekly sessions. That might change your mind.
If it doesn’t, keep reading (and watching) for even more evidence of NYC’s awesomeness.
Blade Vernacular Creation: Tommy Boy Bistro
Love him or hate him, Tommy Boy has been a force in blading since he put on his skates. Whether authoring Disinformation for Daily Bread or the short-lived Tommy Talk for ONE Magazine, Bistro has been throwing down terms that are now commonplace in skating.
In 2010, SHOCK (www.stabyourselfintheface.com) upped the blade word game with all sorts of shit you’re saying now. If you’re anywhere near the West Coast, you know “westside” isn’t just a battle cry, it’s also an adjective and an adverb.
If a dude is a buster, he’s also a chest.
If a dude is cool, he’s pulling.
The list goes on and Tommy Boy is like Santa: he’s making that list.
One of the best parts of 2011 might just be when Bistro and the rest of the SHOCK crew release the SHOCK video.
Be prepared. Be warned. Be shocked.
Shit’s gonna be a huge pull.
Most Visual non-blading Brand in Blading: Philz Coffee
There’s nothing better than getting all jacked up on caffeine and doing some stupid shit. But, in order to do that, you need to get a preferred delivery system. That, it seems in blading, is none other than Philz Coffee of San Francisco.
You might have heard Erik Bailey plugging Philz in Shred ‘Til You’re Dead. That’s why they have a copy of the DVD on the wall in their flagship store in the Mission. That’s also your best spot to run into touring bladers–from Broskow to Julio–at nearly any time of the day. That’s also where Julio said his preferred spot to get all jacked up when questioned in 4Life.
It’s near obsession among Bay Area bladeheads, but that’s only because it’s fucking awesome.
Starbucks can eat a dick.
Busiest Bud on Blades: Kevin ‘King Dirty’ Dowling
I write about Kevin Dowling enough to be his personal biographer. You know why? Because that dude is always doing something. Last thing he did, the annual HoHoHoe‘s comp in Atlanta. However, that seemed like a fun thing to prepare for with his fiance.
He’s a photographer, fiance, and father. He bladed every day for 365 days straight. He got rollerblading played to an audience at the U.S. Open because he won the Olympus PEN My Story Challenge. He’s part of Footage Tape (which I miss oh so dearly, but I know it is far from gone).
King Dirty is a puller. Not once or twice, but regularly.
Sure, Ivan Narez and I are roomates, but that doesn’t mean I see the guy. He’s been too busy this year shooting and cutting Shred ‘Til You’re Dead and 4Life. In there, he traveled, skated, and shot Shred II and worked hard for the money for clients like Levi’s and this thing that pulls mustaches off of bitches faces. That also includes tons of edits for Valo, too.
Ivan is always working. Well, almost always.
When not working, he can be found mashing oysters in the Ferry Building, chugging down Philz, eating Hooters wings on the piers, or sapsing some Nick’s Crispy Tacos down the road from our casa.
It should also be noted that Ivan could also be a contender for best facial hair of the year, but he went through this whole White supremacists/chemotherapy stage, so that negated him from the contest.
But let’s get to that…
Best Facial Hair: Dion Antony
Aussie ripper Dion Antony seemed to have dropped off the face of blading, but thanks to a visit from the Valo crew last year, that changed. Dion’s dread-ish facial locks are an awe-inspiring accomplishment in anti-manscaping.
Last year when I did these type of awards for ONE Magazine, the category was called the Erik Bailey award and it went to Brandon Smith. Both still manage some gnarly facial hair, but more importantly, they bring us to the next category…
Shop of the Year: Aggressive Mall
These guys are fucking insane. They’re sponsoring comps across the globe, teaming up with Valo to make the sickest collabo skates on the market, have an insanely awesome staff, have great customer service, and above all, have a great sense of humor about everything.Their clothing is all about quality to the point that it’s emerged as a brand of clothing, not just shirts for a shop. And everyone you know wears thems party shades.
But, that’s just normal shit for them.
What’s killed for them–besides the bitching new denim Valos that are like hand-jobs for your feet–are the new additions to their team. If you haven’t seen their beautiful new catalog, you should. (Full disclosure: I am probably biased in this because I interviewed Bailey for this year’s edition. However, I was not paid, as I requested.)
The best thing about the new catalog are the announcements of the new team. Sure, they already had Brandon Smith, Vinny Minton, Jeph Howard, Jeff Dalnas, and others but they’ve added some new ones that haven’t quite made it to the site. You might have heard of them. I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but they are names you know and love.
Fucking awesome team. ‘Nuff said.
Intuition Skate Shop.
Matt Mickey fucking pulls from Bakersfield. He pulled as one of the emcee’s during BCSD. He’s always pulling sessions together. He’s saluting legends in T-shirt form like Josh Petty and Brandon Campbell.
Let’s also remember that the AIL gave Intuition the award for team of the year this year. That’s a pretty sweet gig to land.
If you’re a blader in or around Bakersfield, Matt Mickey should be like the father you always wanted. Support the shit out of them because they’re supporting the shit out of their scene and countless others as they put the money back into blading that you put into them.
Skater of the Year: Chris Haffey
This should come as no surprise to anyone, but 2010 was the year of the Superman.
He’s your 2010 WRS Champ, and he pulled a big (yet controversial to some) win at BCSD to start the year off right. Let’s not also forget he was the only blader even invited to Red Bull’s Nitro Circus. All of that–along with his regular near perfect skating–should be enough to quiet anyone who thought the man considered to be the best rollerblader ever was slipping off. Let’s not also forget he was the only blader even invited to Red Bull’s Nitro Circus.
Quite frankly, Haffey could take this award any year. He just could.
Despite the fact Chris Haffey didn’t have some monster section like in year’s past, even the blimps and clips he’s had here and there were amazing. And we still have to look forward to what he’s put together for Shred ‘Til You’re Dead II and Vibralux’s latest, Charging.
The dynamic duo of Nimh’s golden boys, Montre Livingston & John Bolino (ONE Magazine’s reader’s choice for Skater of the Year), just keep getting better and better. Those two always pull out huge hammers and make skating look not only intense and spectacular, but Montre’s incessant smile and Jon’s trademark laid-back, yet mashing style, add another level to their shredding that makes them great skaters to watch every time they boot up.
They always deliver and despite the fact I haven’t seen the Nimh video yet, I have no question they pulled out some hard shit.
The Rest of 2010: Notables
The rollerblading family. Jeph Howard in Game Theory. Horn. Jon Julio’s Killer Section. ESG’s cessers. Bruce James Bales. Flow riders everywhere. Casualty clothing. Vibralux. Creative people like Chris Farmer. lovable kids like Michael Garlinghouse. Brian Shima. Franky Morales. Joey Chase in everything he’s ever done. Road trips. Burritos. Olivia Munn. Lonnie G. Rob G. Obe. Yeter D. Franco. Itchy. Everything Montre touched. JSF. Sic Apparel. Kennan Scott. Chris Bjerre’s motion graphic madness. The upcoming comeback of Kevin Yee and Jose Fuentes. Corey Buller punching footballs. Droid. Dante Muse still shredding in his 40s. Vinny Minton ruling the world. JSF (again). Kids new into blading. Girls blading. Dudes shredding. Brian Aragon 720ing out off a rail. CJ Wellsmore fucking ripping. B Smith. Victor Arias and his inability to show up before 12 am. Jameson Whiskey. Charles Bukowski. Women who put up with our bullshit. Sexy Chicks named Shirley.Inception. the 4Life premiere. Cameron Talbott. Tyler Noland. Nimh, Valo, Remz, Razors, and The Conference. Colin Kelso. Van tours. Shred. Charging. Adam Johnson. Matt Mickey. Justin Hertel. Paco Ass Dre and his Tap. AMall trick tips. Revolution 90-second edits. Be-Mag One Spot, One Minute. ONE Magazine. Ben Karris. Idiots on the internet. Chill dudes everywhere. People making sacrifices so we can do what we love. People that put their work in. Sponsors. Competition sponsors.(IMPORTANT EDIT: JOJO & WinterClash and DK & BCSD)
That’s about it for now.
Sorry if I missed something important or you disagree with my opinion. But this is my column, so suck a fat one!
See you in 2011, you blading mother fuckers!