The paradox of 2020 is that the COVID-19 shutdown proved to be an asset for skateboarding. Shuttered businesses afforded opportunities to skate the untouchable. Less obligations meant more time in the streets. And, if skateboarding offers an escape from reality, there was plenty to run away from this year.
2020 was, in fact, a great year for skateboarding. The proof is in the footy. Brandon Turner switch hardflipped Wallenberg; Alex Midler back three’d into the Car Wash Bank; and John Shanahan tre flipped into the Governor’s Island Monument. From city to city, the bar was raised to new heights over the past 12 months, leaving 2021 with some big shoes to fill.
That said, let’s take a look back at the top 10 parts and videos that came through the Wire over the past 365 days as we prepare to put a fork in a year that the world is collectively over.
10: Jim Greco: Glass Carousel
Greco’s arthouse approach to documenting skateboarding differentiates his projects from other releases. In Glass Carousel, he utilizes Downtown L.A. as his canvas, juxtaposing his unique brand of performance art against a dystopian landscape. The jazz music and overall presentation are reminiscent of Mark Gonzales in Videos Days, which is the highest compliment that you can give a skate edit. We’ll be rewatching this for years to come.
09: Franky Villani: One Big Mess
Franky Villani is one of those rare breeds that bucks every trend, but is still one of the most respected in the game. He walks to the beat of his own drummer, and his skateboarding speaks for itself. “One Big Mess” is classic Villani. From the claymation nod to Flip, to the sketchbook b-roll, this part is big on personality, and even bigger on tricks. When looking back on this year’s highlights, this definitely has to be included in the conversation.
08: Tiago Lemos: NB Numeric “Trust Tiago”
Tiago Lemos made waves this year with his debut NB Numeric shoe. He made tsunamis with this four minutes of footage to introduce it. Lemos is ‘90s-style street skating on steroids. Nobody has more pop right now, and he should be on every top 10 list related into perpetuity. Let’s hope he gets an SOTY trophy at some point in his career.
07: Shane O’Neill: Nike SB “The Extra Bit”
Shane O’Neill’s technical precision is unmatched. We can’t think of a better representative from skateboarding to be one of the select few to have a signature Nike shoe. “The Extra Bit” is a fitting introduction to his custom silhouette. It puts the range of Shane’s skills on full display, and is a nice addition to his catalog of standout parts.
06: Louie Lopez: Coverse “Lola”
From the music to the spots, Louie Lopez’s stay-at-home part for Converse feels like a classic. It was cool to see Lopez strictly utilizing L.A.’s terrain to create a part despite it being forced upon him due to travel restrictions. The life on lockdown vibe make this one of the edits that we’ll look back on as being emblematic of 2020.
05: John Shanahan: DC Shoes “Cargo Sneaker”
This probably our favorite John Shanahan part to date. And that’s saying a lot. The Eli Gesner beat and plethora of East Coast spots make this feel like a lost part from E.S.T. or Photosynthesis. And, as mentioned in the intro, the tre flip at Governor’s Island is one of the best tricks to go down this year.
04: Bobby de Keyzer: Quasi “BOB”
Bobby de Keyzer’s Quasi introduction was one of this year’s biggest headlines, and this part does it justice. The skating, edit, and soundtrack come together to make this one of the most rewatchable releases of 2020, and made us bigger Quasi fans than we already are. Is that even possible?
03: Tom Knox: “Atlantic Drift 11”
Tom Knox and Jacob Harris reunite for one of 2020’s most talked about releases. This was year’s in the making, and it shows. Knox weaves together some of the best street lines of all time, which is an art form in and of itself. As far as we’re concerned, this cements him as being right up there with Penny and Rowley on the list of the greatest skater’s to come out of England.
02: Mason Silva: Nike SB “MASON”
Just a month or so out of the initial lockdown, Mason Silva dropped this shocker for Nike SB. It was the first indication that this year in skateboarding was not going to be a wash due to COVID, and that the SOTY race was on. The skating speaks for itself, and everyone took notice.
01: Mason Silva: “Spitfire” Part
If the Nike SB part was the left that stunned us, this Spitfire part was the right that knocked us out. Mason is clearly “in the window” in his previous part. This one rides the momentum to a level all of its own. Aside from sealing the deal on this year’s SOTY race, it cemented Mason’s spot in history as one of the greatest of all time.
10: Primitive: Fourth Quarter
Giovanni Vianna’s pro debut and standout performances from Robert Neal, Trent McClung, and Miles Silvas make this one of 2020’s more memorable releases. Primitive has established a continuity with its video offerings that elevate the brand. They’re like World videos for this generation; you always know you’re going to get some of the most progressive skating there is.
09: Lotties: On God
Lotties has been putting out the best shop videos for a few years now. Mike Gigliotti has created a community vibe surrounding his store that’s becoming increasingly rare these days. Throw legends like Reynolds, Spanky, and Hsu in the mix, and you’ve got a formula for something really special. This video is a prime example.
08: Bronze: 2020 Promo
Blend some of New York’s finest, impeccable music supervision, and hilarious interludes, and you’ve got yourself a Bronze video. Peter Sidlauskas never disappoints, and his editing style will be talked about alongside the greats by future generations. Bronze’s 2020 Promo is the latest installment of one skateboarding’s best franchises.
07: Deathwish: Uncrossed
We’re still wondering what happened with Greco and Ellington and Deathwish. But the team appears to be unfazed by the departure of its founders. Uncrossed in one of the gnarliest releases of 2020. And had Mason Silva not gone completely nuts over the past 12 months, Pedro Delfino might have taken home SOTY.
06: Fucking Awesome: Dancing on Thin Ice
The filmed-off-a-tv effect, and an AVE part, make Fucking Awesome’s Dancing On Thin Ice one of our favorites from the past 12 months. Like most things that Dill and crew release, this has an artistic value that gives it a longer shelf life than the typical skate release. It’d be cool to see something from F.A. featuring the entire team in the coming year.
05: John Wilson: John’s Vid
John Wilson documents one of New York’s most respected crews on a regular basis, making his edits among skateboarding’s favorites. A full-length was long overdue. Nik Stain, Andrew Wilson, Cyrus Bennett, and Max Palmer cement their status as prominent faces of N.Y.’s current generation in what will likely be a cult classic for years to come.
04: Vans: Alright, OK
Anything that Greg Hunt touches turns to gold. So there was no doubt that Vans‘ Alright, Ok was going to be something special. The release delay proved to be a blessing in disguise as it allowed for the addition of Gilbert Crockett. It’s hard to imagine this video without him in it. While Elijah’s part fell short of his SOTY aspirations, it was clearly one of his best efforts to date. In a year that was packed with standouts, this is right up there with the best of them.
03: FORMER: Cheap Perfume
Austyn Gillette and Jake Anderson are two of the most skilled skateboarders on the planet. They put their best feet forward (pun intended) in FORMER’s debut video. Aesthetically, this edit is flawless, and the skateboarding is some of this year’s most progressive. Had Mason Silva remained on the team and dropped one of his parts from 2020 alongside Austyn and Jake, this would likely be in the top spot.
02: Converse: Seize the Seconds
Ben Chadourne did a masterful job of putting together Converse’s Seize the Seconds. The two parts and a montage formula is a staple of skateboarding. Converse utilizes the recipe, and its stacked team, to deliver one of the year’s best videos. Alexis Sablone’s part is our favorite from her to date. And while he sprinkled footage in a few different places this year, Louie Lopez seems to have saved his best clips for this. Seize the Seconds is another video from 2020 that will sit alongside the classics in the future.
01: Illegal Civ: GODSPEED
Nobody anticipated that Davonte Jolly and Illegal Civ would produce this year’s best video. But it happened. Kudos to Mikey Alfred for giving him the freedom to put together his own full-length. Skateboarding is better for it. If Kareem Campbell is our Michael Jordan, Ishod is our Kobe. Zach Saraceno is a rising star that we’re looking forward to watching for years to come. Alex Midler unleashed the best trick of the year with the back 360 into the Car Wash Bank. And holding an audience’s attention for a full hour with a skate video in the Instagram era is an achievement in and of itself. GODSPEED is a Christmas present that we’ll collectively be enjoying for years to come.
We’ll leave you with a few predictions for 2021. Once travel is opened up post vaccine, people are going to be hitting the road heavily. Expect tour videos galore in the fourth quarter of next year. Mark Suciu is working on several projects currently. We’re anticipating another SOTY run from him. Guy Mariano has yet to release his long-awaited Nike SB part. That’s lurking on the horizon. And Bill Strobeck has been amassing footage all year; expect something new from Supreme.
View our previous lists here.