Another style and power master. Donny Barley skates like heavy metal. The first I saw of Barley was in the first video I owned, High Rollers, an indy video before indy videos. it was only after I obtained a copy of Welcome to Hell that I was able to identify that signature powerhouse Barley attack in High Rollers(his clips weren’t captioned).
In a time when there was a separation of vert skaters, pool skaters and specific types of street skaters, Barley skated everything, EVERYTHING, pools, rails, ledges, gaps, parks, flatground, manuals, stairs, nothing escaped his domination.
His video parts are some of the greatest of all time. He has such an assertive and aggressive style, yet still has this smooth and controlled flow. So much of what he did has been and still remains the best out there, his switch hardflips were insane, his grabs are always tweaked, his grind grinds solid as fuck, his signature Barley grind.
His trick selection was always on point, skated the awkward and impossible spots. He conquered everything, but vert. My guess is probably accessibility stopped him, I remember reading in an interview how he always wanted to learn a 540 and be able to skate vert, I can’t remember why he didn’t or wasn’t able, with a guy who can skate pools like Barley, accessibility’s the only assumption that seems logical.
In a time of division and to a certain degree today, Donny Barley was one of the few who could get away with park footage in their video parts(of course Element World Tour was a video of demos and streets spots hit in between, aside from that), he is on a short list of skateboarders where park footage stands as strong/legit as any street clip in a video, a list involving Cardiel, Trujillo, Stranger and Gonz.
We want to see Barley punch a warped out grab over the lip of a pool with force, we want to see how he’s going to hit the urban block in front of him and what parts of it he’ll expose. Like Carroll, we want to see him hit a ledge as much as we want to see him hit a launch ramp. He wasn’t, and isn’t, any type of skater, he is a true skateboarder, embodying everything we want to be with every push, even that signature “backside” push, every trick, Barley will always make us want to skate and remind us why.
(Photo and video part used from Element)