Very few skate videos characterize my idea of the essence of skateboarding as adequately as Emerica’s “This Is Skateboarding”. Since its release in 2003, 14 years of skateboarding has taken place, and over that time there has been such insane progress, such undeniable talent, that skateboarding has risen to countless new heights as a sport. However, when I look back and consider what it was that had the most influential impact on me and my skateboarding, This Is Skateboarding will remain at the top of the list. I remember my parents buying it for me on VHS and, from that day forward, I watched it every day.
I could tell you the trick that matched up to a specific lyric from the song in any of the parts in the video. I could tell you what outfit any of them were wearing when they did any trick. I could even tell you how many times Andrew Reynolds wore Erik Ellington’s shoes. I knew that video front to back, inside out and backwards. It was mesmerizing, elucidating and inspiring. It made me want to be just like them.
Each and every part was incredible. Each had its own personality, humor and style. However, there was one that always blew me away more than the rest. There was one part that I attributed to everything that was great about skateboarding, everything that was exciting and awe-inspiring about that next level of greatness. The owner of that part…
This part is truly legendary. From the 18 stair frontside flips to kickflip shiftys brought past 90 to the montage of every 360 variation, it was perfect. I found it practically inhuman the way he would catch a frontside or backside flip before he even rotated 90 degrees yet managed to just float it down so effortlessly, landing PERFECTLY STRAIGHT. It almost doesn’t make sense how he does it. True, raw and unmatched talent.
It drove me.
It pushed me.
It exhilarated me.
I would watch the Reynolds part every single day before I went out to skate, and no matter how many times I watched it, it still got me so pumped, and still does, even to this day. Every time I see that nollie cab down the Macba Big 4 or the waist-high nollie nose manual I get overwhelmed with a desire to skate. Everyone has that part that hits them like that. Everyone has that one part that, after watching, makes them feel like they’ve advanced 3 levels instantly and are capable of anything. That’s the type of motivation that kept me skating.
And I need skateboarding.
Throughout my life, the one constant has always been skateboarding. It is there when I falter, it is there when I succeed. I will always have it to fall back on or to use as a tool for motivation. This Is Skateboarding and Andrew Reynolds inspired me to continue skateboarding every day for years.
I couldn’t imagine life without a piece of wood and four wheels. I just couldn’t.
Written by Steven Santangelo
Below is the clip from This Is Skateboarding. The owner of the rights to Jimi Hendrix’s music has decided they didn’t want anyone else to use it, so Youtube had to mute the video. To get the full effect, press play to the song The Burning of the Midnight Lamp by Jimi Hendrix when the screen goes black after the first kickflip of his part, right before you see the Love Park Big 4.