Tag Archives: Transworld

Trainwreck

To be fair, if we are indeed going to account for All the Gall, we should consider the bright but brief blowtorch of a career from Alex ‘Trainwreck’ Gall (no relation to Fred). It won’t take long, for his legacy was built on the weight of just 2 full parts. With such a strong impact made so quickly, only to disappear so completely, Trainwreck’s career path has become the archetype of the explode then vanish what-ever-happened-to skater.

As awesome of a nickname as he posses, Alex Gall didn’t earn it from his aggressive skateboarding or monumental slams. He got literally hit by a train as a child.
His skating wasn’t on any radars at all as he grew up and he emerged fully formed as a ball of destruction in his Jamie Thomas produced Wheels of Fortune part in 411 #39 from 2000. He went pro for Zero not too long after, but quit the team while on a trip to New York, thusly never having that Zero part you swore he did.

The original tape has a Ramone’s song.

By 2002, Trainwreck was pro for Bootleg skateboards (back when it was still connected to Baker), covered in tattoos, and skating to Slayer for his definitive part in Transworld’s In Bloom video. The part is a barrage of burley that was the style of the time: Handrails and hubbas with an occasional carcass toss thrown in there. The only line to be found is just a sequence of two large parking lot gaps. Looking back from a few decades in the future, the switch kickflips stand out, and that backside lipslide to fakie at the Banks is golden.

By the time Bootleg released it’s Bootleg 3000 full length video in 2003, Trainwreck was gone. With his body broken (and a drinking problem that wasn’t helping), Alex walked away from the skateboarding-for-money game completely, which is a rare thing in skateboarding. So there you have it: his career lasted all of about 4 years.

So where is he now?
Eventually Alex sobered up, got his shit together, and is now making high end aquatic themed fine art metal sculptures. For real, he does public art commissions and stuff. Thrasher did an Out There about it.

Bonus Trainwreck:
In 2015, the Thrasher series called Ricki the Dude’s Total Recall posted a whole mess of footage of Alex from 1999 that was filmed for Duffs, thus nearly doubling the amount of total Trainwreck skating available to watch.

Paul Sharpe and the rites of passage of Heath Kirchart – Transworld UNO – 1996

We don’t really have all that much footage of the incredible pop of Paul Sharpe. Back in the mid-90s if your looking for someone to straight nollie that obstacle, he was the guy to call (maybe Paulo Diaz if Sharpe was unavailable). Digging in the online video crates, there are really only a handful of parts from his career.

Let’s take a moment to visit this buried gem from Transworld’s first non-Dreams of Children video, Uno. Paul Sharpe switch ollies a fence,  locks into a tall smith, and I really love the backside flip up a curb to start a line.

And then we get a couple tricks from a babyfaced Heath Kirchart. I see that final kickflip as the death of young barbarian at the gate Heath the birth of the HK that continues, still, many years after his retirement, to own skateboarding with mystery, dignity, and a slow motion death defying grace.

the (brief) return of Henry Sanchez


For my money, Sight Unseen is at the top of the Transworld video pile. Not a bad part in the bunch, only a few dull moments, pretty much the only non-Anti Hero bro-cam part from Cardiel, and sweet Heath skates entirely in slow motion to the Moody Blues.

But don’t sleep on Henry Sanchez’s part. Emerging from a half decade in non-Blind promo obscurity, Henry drops a surprise resurrection in 2001 to show he still has the moves to hold his own at all the turn of the century SF spots… 3rd and Army in particular.

Throwing in 3/4 Cab BS Tailslides (a trick I would love to see more often) and chunky ledge 360 flip 5-0s into lines was ahead to the game. And don’t forget Marcus McBride’s sheer decimation of Pier 7 in there. Perhaps do forget Marcus’ mumbled introduction, though. Those Transworld video intros were just brutal, and this part has one of the worst.

In conjunction with this part, Henry was tagged to be the flagship rider for the Lucky board brand that mercifully didn’t last very long. Other than sharing another part with Marcus in Chomp On This, the Sight Unseen part was basically the extent of the comeback for him. He really should’ve been taking under the protective embrace of the Girl/Chocolate wing at some point in the nineties, but alas, such is the tale of Henry.

 

NYC Montage from Transworld’s Greatest Hits – 1997

A standard feature of the skate video full length since the early 1990s is the montage or “Friends” section. Usually a song in length, we get treated to an assortment of tricks from skaters not featured elsewhere in the video and rarely even on the team in a pro/am sense. It is a highlight reel of geographic pals, sister-company associates, flow  international team riders, and otherwise unclaimed ‘other’ tricks that went down during the filming sessions.

While occasionally refreshing and at random times containing a surprise banger, these parts are easy to forget. There are, however, exceptions.

For your consideration, the NYC montage from Transworld Skateboarding‘s 1997 Greatest Hits video (itself basically a 35 minute montage of montages). Note: Greatest Hits was the title of TWS’s 3rd video (4th is you count Dreams of Children) featuring all new footage and not a greatest hits video in the typical use of the word.

Filmed mostly by Ryan Gee (I assume), I’m looking back at these clips through a lens 20 years thick and thinking this part does a surprisingly satisfying job of encapsulating NYC skating in the mid 1990s. All the more unusual being produced by a magazine that is staunchly SoCal.

The spots, the skaters, the sounds, the grit, and the crowded, cavernous feel of skating in a pre-skate stopped (and pre-9/11) Manhattan… Huf is popping, Keenan is alive and well, Puleo is doing a variation of the cellar door thing, the Banks are covered end-to-end, and Quim is at his most Quiminess. Some tricks from obscure-only-if-you-weren’t-there legends like Chris Keefe, Ryan Hickey, and Peter Bici give the part a little more authenticity. Now, if only Transworld had sprung for a Mobb Deep track.

I also miss back when it was ok to put the skaters name on screen. Why did everyone stop doing that?