Tag Archives: 2020

“Dude, I’m coming in HOT on this one for sure.” – Fred Gall 2020

Emerging from the darkness in early 2019 with the support of his friends, Fred Gall successfully completed rehab and good things started to happen immediately.

In spring of that year, Alien Workshop reissued (although neither Fred nor AWS seemed to promote) a vintage Fred Gall graphic.

In June 2019, photographer Matt Price released Golden Hour #2, a photo book dedicated to Freddy shot over a dozen years touring, skating, and hanging out. (Get your copy, 50% of the proceeds go into Freddy’s pocket.)


Also that summer, Freddy began work on a backyard ramp at Granny’s house, which he now occupied. This would eventually, along with a concrete bowl, the curb he brought there 3 decades earlier, and possibly more obstacles, become Freddy’s skate Compound, a DIY spot that, despite a falling tree’s efforts, won’t be destroyed like all the others.
Fred demonstrates his five favorite mini-ramp tricks in the Transworld quickie.

Freddy’s Compound, along with a close group of friends and filmers like Fat Bill understudy Paul Gar and wine-rack artisan NJ Scum Petillo, might not just lead to the resurrection of Gall but old-time Philly head Sergei Trudnowski and 2000 SOTY Brian Anderson as well. Somebody get Ricky in this mix.

I see that, even though his name is not very prominent, Freddy does have a new deck presently available through Habitat as well as a guest board on Matt Rodriguez’s Es La Boom.

And even as I was publishing the first of these All the Gall articles, NJ Skateshop’s Freddy and Friends video, featuring tons of Northeast skate celebrities shredding the latest in defunct New Jersey DIY spots, Hebrew Hideout, dropped on Thrasher.

Things continue to look up; It appears like you can once again wear a shoe with the Gall name on it as State Footwear has confirmed the rumor that there is a Freddy shoe available now. Whether this is just a short-term Habitat collab situation or the start of a something lasting will be told with time, but in the meanwhile get yours while you can.

In addition to all this, Freddy has been perpetually giving us the gift of slowly logging every barely skateable piece of crust in the East Coast with his Instagram Spot Checks. Dig in and be inspired to scour every cranny of your neighborhood cause you no longer have any excuse for not trying to hit that bank-to-wall.

I asked Fred about his thinking behind the spot checks on the ‘gram and he told me, “If I go to Philly I’ll get 5 photos, I’ll slowly put them out. And the sometimes if I don’t have a photo that’s new I’ll dig up an old one. But for the most part it like I’m going to the spots and I’m posting ‘em. Some of them are a joke, if you’ve noticed. I’ll post a curb or something. If I film tricks at a spot I won’t post it. Any old spots that have already been seen I don’t care, but for the most part anything I’m trying to keep private to myself I won’t post.

Which brings us to the big question we that has lurked underneath this entire exploration… Will there be another full-on Fred Gall skate part?

I’m filming a video part. I have so much footage right now. My main part is going to Thrasher. And then whatever I have doubles of or leftovers is going to Transworld. And then I have a whole DIY part going to Jenkem. I worked really hard on this part. And I’ve been sober the whole time filming it. A completely different approach. So this ones gonna be real good I think. Dude, I’m coming in HOT on this one for sure.

Just a little bit of Compound the surplus from Insta
Some serious crust in this photo by Paul Gar

And so we end this odyssey on a happy note. Freddy is out there getting clips and skating in the backyard with friends (often with a broken arm). Sobriety has been good to Freddy over the last year plus. But, in typically Freddy fashion, he doesn’t seem at all ashamed of his past nor concerned in any way with what folks think about him. As I’ve said repeatedly throughout this series of blog posts, Fred’s endurance and popularity is rooted in his authenticity.
In a constantly filmed social media world of people trying way too hard and forever needing affirmations, Fred Gall is who he is and skates how he skates.

A note from Fred from the Happy Hour zine opening

Bonus Fred:
The same day this post was published, Jenkem releases a video of the pals buying and delivering Freddy a new mattress. This whole thing happening in Jersey right now is very endearing.
I really don’t want to think about what the old mattress was like, though.

Just, one more episode of All the Gall remains where I try to wrap it all up.
So tune in next time here in the Warm Up Zone.
Til then, get out and there and skate.

Mason Silva. Mason.

I don’t typically feel the need to jump in to point out a video that is up presently. More often I want to spend my blog writing efforts on celebrating the parts of yore and those that might have slipped through the cracks in the internet age. But, holy hell, that recent Mason Silva part for Nike SB is just on another level of monstrousness.

Kids that come up through the Element camp are guaranteed talented from the get-go, but increasingly the top of the crop is quick to move elsewhere for fear that they’ll forever be high-fiving Chad Tim Tim in the shadow of Nyjah and reissued Bam boards. Peacing out since Peace is Tyson Peterson, Evan Smith, Nassim Guammaz, Greyson Fletcher apparently, and perhaps the skater with the most to gain, Mason Silva. After floating for a bit, he is now comfortably in the stable Real/Spitfire family, getting decent checks from Nike SB, and completely taking things up a significant notch with his video output in 2020.

Every trick in this part is huge. Just take a moment to analyze any trick in the video and it dawns on you just how incomprehensible nearly all these tricks at these spots are.
How about that 4 trick line around 1:00 which should serve as a breather after a just humongous and stylish bump to bar hardflip. A huge crooked grind on the top of a bench back, landed perfectly, frontside tailslide launched to fakie on the next bench back, a quickie switch 360flip, and then a straight-on fakie ollie to switch manual and let’s just 180 out of that for good measure. And that is one of the less memorable clips in this video.

Speed. Power. Style. Trick variety. Decent spot selection. This video requires multiple viewings, several rewinds, and maybe even a pause here and there to give a proper look at just how damn steep the bank is.

The only criticisms would be the camera angle on that last ollie, which just seemed so much more monumental on the Thrasher cover, the video being titled “Mason” (which utilizes a titling concept that should’ve been retired with Dylan), and the song selection. I could see where some folks might like the Roxy Music track, but I feel like Mason’s skating is strictly hardcore.

#weskremer

By all accounts, Wes Kremer should be washed up by now. A whole bunch of the prerequisites for a long-tail coast to quasi-retirement are present in his career thus far:

  • Being marketed as a hardcore stoner.
  • Being a hardcore stoner.
  • Having already summited the mountaintop with his 2014 SOTY award (probably the last skater to authentically have won it by just skating and not “campaigning”).
  • Being treated as the face (or even mascot) of both his board and shoe company and having a guest trick in every other skater under that sponsor’s parts.
  • Being really good at manuals and other low impact ‘dork’ tricks.
  • Being incredibly well liked by everybody in the industry.

Wes Kremer would be well within precedent to never jump down a flight of stairs again. A new part from him could easily just be a bunch of wall rides and a few low-risk pole jams paired with some slow-motion footage of blowing reefer smoke at the camera and dropping Sk8Mafia hand signs.

But instead, Wes delivers the goods, on 4/20/2020 no less, in the ironically titled #weskremer part. Here are some of my favorite tidbits:

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The opening line that terminates with this ridiculous flatground slam shuts down any notions of solemnity or gravitas for the upcoming part. This is Wes. We’re gonna have fun.


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What the hell his this red thing Wes is popping 360s on? It looks like some type of kiddie climbing gym apparatus in the middle of a sandbox.


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A sunny day. An empty plaza. A shiftied out switch wallie over a bench.


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Wes is not is uptight and neither is Baker-made hardflip. The hand drag ads a little bit of unpretentiousness and makes this trick stand out.


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Jam the cannonball. A great example of a ‘dork’ trick that, upon closer inspection, is fucking gnarly.


wes Kremer switch shove
The big gap pop shove is such a good looking and underutilized trick. This one is switch. The twilight sky is just the icing on the cake.


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Switch stance frontside tailslide impossible. And this wasn’t even the ender.


Honestly, one could GIF just about any trick in this video and just get lost in the hypnotic flow of Wes. His whole oeuvre is chock full of tasty treats, so dig in.

Dakota Servold – Green peaks

 

In the world of professional sports, the kinds of sports with championships and agents and assistant general managers studying statistical evidence, people pay a lot of attention to the correlation between age and peak performance. When there are millions of dollars on the line it is good to know what effectiveness might be expected for your dollar. And, outside of injuries, some typical patterns emerge.

For straight-up athleticism, the decline typically begins around age 26. While experience, wisdom, and a mature attitude towards training and health can extend the peak until perhaps age 30, barring the introduction of performance enhancing drugs, an athlete’s 30s are basically a battle to slow down the decline and stay viable. By the 40s you are just holding on, seeing how long you can even compete, much less dominate.

We skateboarders like to consider ourselves different – perhaps more artists than athletes. With a few ridiculed exceptions, professional skateboarders don’t “train” during the “offseason”, they don’t have “coaches”, they rarely are provided “healthcare”, they are often “intoxicated”, heck, most of them aren’t even getting paid a “living wage”. Yet, athletes they are and the peak performance pattern still holds up.

Pre-pubescent kids can show amazing talent but are yet to develop the strength and style of an adult body. The late teen / early 20s set are going crazy, touring for months straight, leaping down big sets straight out of the van, recovering quickly from injuries, smoking spliffs and drinking beers, literally while skating. But this is where many start to fall off. Some descents are caused by a decline in ability, some from injury, some just lose interest and explore the possibilities to get paid for more lucrative talents, but mostly, and sadly, so many great careers fall off from a decline of skateboard riding effort. Lifestyle casualties.

With the exception of Dustin Dollin, one typically needs to sober up (or at least get that shit under control) or already have accumulated enough brand-name popularity to get paid through the long tail of the late 30s and early 40s decline in productivity. Big street rails give way to waxed indoor park ledges. Impact gets substituted for smooth style, unique spots, and wise trick selection. Check out the blossoming fine-art career that is enough to keep that name on a board for a couple more seasons. They might not have a part in the new full length but they are performing an acoustic set during the premiere.

Knowing this pattern, one would think more skateboarders, or at least team managers, would do their best to squeeze out the greatest quantities of heavy tricks while the getting is good. To clock as much footage as possible before back pain, a spiraling chemical dependency, and/or the need to feed your family pushes you out of the spotlight.

Dakota Servold gets it. After 6 or 7 years of being a workhorse pro for a board company that apparently doesn’t pay much, as well as riding the peaks and troughs of the clothing sponsor rollercoaster, Dakota left it all on the field for his new show sponsor, Emerica. Not that he phoned it in for the past three Foundation videos, but Green is something else.

As discussed in his Nine Club podcast interview and then again in his recent Thrasher Magazine interview, Dakota wised up, took his job seriously, and pushed his limitations. Longtime Servold friend, Emerica TM, and Green filmer Tim Cisilino concurs, “… we sort of just wanted to make it happen for each of us together. We both agreed that people who work hard get rewarded so we both were working our asses off to be the best we could be.”

And it shows. The backside 180 ender would be evidence enough, but you can pull nearly any trick from the part and behold something special. The endless front blunt rail. The ollie over the Chase sign. The man-ledge version of the ramp rail ollie to curb grind. The solid frontside 50-50 transfer to backside tailslide on the kinked rail. That improbable kick flip up the loading dock. These tricks hit hard and fast, but none feel like filler. And as a fan of both normal stance skating and non-pinched handrail grinds, I have no complaints.

What I like best about this narrative is the lack of a rock bottom. As far as I know, Dakota’s career wasn’t in jeopardy from his drinking and lack of productivity. He hadn’t wrecked a car or got dropped by key sponsors or blown out his knee and couldn’t skate or gotten hooked on heroin or anything that dire. He isn’t even claiming alcoholism or lifetime sobriety. He simply made a choice to give it his all. To look back on this well documented time with pride and not wonder how good he could have been ‘if only’… but to know… Very. Fucking. Good.

With all this concentration of peak performance, I was curious if Dakota had considered quitting smoking. Tim Cisilino: “Nah, he loves that too much.”

Big thanks to Tim for answering my rambling questions.