There are the obvious English skaters, some undeniable Scots and Irish, the legends across the world, we know all their names, and so many other legends, so few know about. Outside their community, they are some random skater in a friend montage in a deck company video, or has a guest trick in some guy’s shoe sponsor video. It’s too bad a lot of the local legends go unknown outside of the community, somewhere, someone needs to find a passion for that, build some wild website about the subways of the underground skateboarding world. That’s not what this post is going to be about though.
Probably the first(that I can think of) English skaters that I came across was Neil Urwin, in New Deal’s Promo. I had no clue he was English, I never really saw anything from him after the New Deal Promo either. Maybe a clip or two in random 411’s where I’d shout, “Hey, the dude from the New Deal Promo, hell yeah!” It wasn’t until a few years ago, with some pretty easy internet searches, that I found out he was English, and skated for Zoo York’s Euro team, so trippy to me and my assumptions, like finding out the same thing about Tony Da Silva, which I also found the answers to questions on the internet, mostly YouTube for Da Silva, who isn’t English.
Tonight I accidentally fell into a loop of Chewy Cannon and Benny Fairfax YouTube clips. I had no complaints, even kept the searches going once the related videos steered me away. Can’t deny the release of Palasonic has something to do with this. FUCK! That video was everything you want before you explode off the couch to grab your board.
Outside of tonight, I first saw footage of Benny Fairfax back in his Stereo Days. He was instantly one of my favorites. So much smooth style, he does tricks the way you want them to feel. He’s another one of those skaters you could watch doing axle stalls, rock-fakies and tail stalls on a mini and still get hyped to skate. Just living in mostly the American scene, I was always thirsty for more Fairfax footage, once he left Stereo, Adidas ads were my best hope(I’m only recently finding the glory of international skate mags through the internet), plus the rise of Instagram brings out a lot from the photo and footage files of the past. He’s just so classic when it comes to the perfect but entirely authentic style, that list isn’t long either, the ability to own perfection with personality and signature isn’t met by many. I hate comparisons, people can be their own, people have influence, but comparisons can be as dulling and death as it can be complimentary, but when someone does the basics as well as Benny Fairfax, you find yourself wondering what else you need out of skateboarding beyond a decent feeling straight kickflip out of a curb cut.
I can’t remember when I first saw Chewy Cannon, I know it was a lot of years ago, the name alone, I wasn’t going to forget, plus the photos and sequences of him popping up, there was nothing to forget. He easily became a skater to take notice of. Seeing footage of him is even better than the photos and sequences, he has that street skating flow, the “just follow me until I slam, or let’s film until I get tricks to the end of the block.” His video parts and skating have that feeling of just rolling up to a spot and feeling it out, figuring out a spot like a situation falling in your lap and finding a way to profit out of it. His lines are the same, his style is so natural with the speed he hits tricks at. You want to see him keep going, you have no idea what he’s going to throw next, some skaters, you get that feeling, you know, for whatever reason, maybe you don’t even know the reason, but you can start naming tricks before they throw them in the part. Chewy Cannon, you can’t predict, you don’t know what’s about to happen, it’s so fucking raw! He makes dud tricks get you hyped, tricks you’d kind of be bummed on seeing from other people, tricks other skaters are pulling because of Chewy Cannon, he’s just one of the best for that.
I love the shared footage Chewy Cannon and Benny Fairfax have out. The wildness of Chewy’s trick selection and flow, Benny’s personalized perfection, they both embody so much of the feeling, the high that skaters search for, it’s why we’re riding, that feeling their footage gives. The combo parts are hard to not skate post viewing.
Necessary mentions are definitely Danny Brady. The spot selection and trick selection. Watching the development of what he does on a board throughout the years. He’s one of the skaters you add to the list of, “I wonder what they would do?” when you see something that looks like it may be skate-able, if you have quick feet or the right mind.
Nick Jensen is another necessary mention, as are so, so many others. I remember being a litle grom, watching Nick Jensen being a little grom in the videos. Growing up in DC in the mid 90’s and early ’00’s, plaza skating was, and still is, a part of street skating, so the Western European and East Coast of the U.S. are so much the same, so much of the same influence, history-wise, culture-wise, it’s an old world vibe, almost and actually.
Whatever East Coast skating is defined by, is the same spirit, soul and life that is the Western European Skateboarding world, as different as every city is, as unique as they are, they all hold the same thing(as do all skaters, no matter climate, region or part of the world), the same temperaments and lifestyle, the same aesthetics and build, the borders of the Atlantic so similar, it’s amazing, just like any plot of land poking large enough out of the single ocean around our planet, we’re all just looking for the same chemicals to spark in our brains, looking for a way to be family and so scared to admit it. Here’s some introduction to the truth, an ocean apart, and two worlds who live identically.