Jamie Thomas, or any human for the rest of existence, is not likely to ever top Welcome to Hell. While his parts in Thrill of It All, Misled Youth, Dying to Live, even Cold War and Heavy Metal are all pretty thrilling in their own right (and would rank tops in the CV of most skaters), the only Chief part that even comes close to Welcome to Hell in rewatchability is the curveball that is 2002’s Chomp On This.
At a time when Jamie was fully ensconced as the king of big rails and tall drops, he unexpectedly dropped a part sprinkled with tech goodies, footplants, and what at the time would be considered ‘dork tricks’. Expectations are filled with lofty frontside 5-0 grinds, bike rack nosegrinds, several satisfying backside 5-0 180s, and the obligatory Adrian Lopez cameo. We even get another classic Chief ‘I-can-do-that-one-better finger’. All the time honored tradition of a Jamie Thomas video.
But, wait, what’s this? Wallieing boards to tabletop tech dancing? Schoolyard lines featuring both a bench front crooks and a flatground bigflip? Laying hands on the Clipper hubba? And I don’t even really understand what the no-comply-flip-in-and-out manual thing was. And then there’s Master P. Against all odds it works, damn it.
In 2002, Jamie Thomas had reached an elite plateau of ability where he could cut loose with uncharacteristic tricks like this and produce something memorable, fun, and gnarly. A land with a short list of occupants such Koston, Haslam, the Gonz, and permanent resident Daewon. This part is also unexpectedly prescient of a future where steep rails and footplants are comfortably mixed in a single video part. Perhaps knowing this silly footage was going towards the homie video that was Chomp enabled Thomas to log tricks that were decidedly ‘non-Zero’. Jamie looks like he is having fun and not taking things seriously overall with this part.
One also hopes Jamie’s wardrobe at this time was also part of not taking things seriously attitude. I imagine the gold fronts and balaclava were just being silly. I don’t know if we can so kindly dismiss the extra-long frayed pant cuffs, the flapping sleeves, and the conspicuous bandana placement. The Chief had more fabric flapping than a semaphore conversation, amiright? The Freddy Kruger sweater kind of makes up for it all, though.
Anyways, I still prefer the Chomp era Jamie kit to that cop ‘stache he is sporting nowadays.