A Review by Walker Ryan
When I was living in San Diego in the early summer of 2010, there was one particular afternoon that stands out in my memory as one of the best days I had in America’s finest city. It was a beautiful Friday in Pacific Beach and all of that morning I had been contemplating whether or not I wanted to go skateboarding. Every day is beautiful in San Diego. The city and its people are absolutely spoiled by good weather. I called a few filmers and friends in a feeble attempt to round up a crew but since no one seemed keen I decided that maybe I deserved a day to just lounge. Not long after I put on my basketball shorts and sat down on my couch I felt a massive explosion from outside shake the walls and windows of my home. I got up and quickly ran out to the main street in Pacific Beach directly behind my apartment expecting to see Garnett Avenue in ruins. “A car bomb? A kitchen explosion?” I thought excitedly to myself. No disaster of that magnitude had happened in PB during my time there, so I was ready to see something shocking. Several of my neighbors beat me to the edge of the street but much to our disappointment there was no wreckage or destruction on Garnett. All we could see was a normal sunny afternoon that had been momentarily disrupted by an eighteen-wheeler that had blown a tire while leaving town.
As I headed back to my lounge zone I noticed that a few guys were skating the epic bump to bar that sat across the street from my apartment. You know the one that Jamie Thomas backside 5050 transferred in a line after wallie-ing off a palm tree in Welcome to Hell? It’s a great spot but at times, like a weekday afternoon, it’s a total bust. I walked closer and was pleased to see that one of the skaters was Wes Kremer, along with the rest of the Sk8mafia crew lurking outside their van. In a matter of minutes Wes managed to pull off with perfect execution a front crook pop over just as the manager of the building kicked everyone out for the last time. I said my hellos to the crew but as I was leaving they insisted I hop in and go skating with them. I deliberated for a moment, since I’d already committed to lounging for the day, and then changed my mind. I ran back to my apartment, put on my skate pants, grabbed my board and then hopped in the van. With a completely packed van, Dan Connelly drove us around the area, stopping off at new and old PB and La Jolla skate spots. At every spot that allowed for enough time to skate, the Sk8mafia team casually destroyed what ever was in front of them. Brandon Turner did the sketchiest switch drop in on a rail to bank that could ever be done and Wes managed to pull off another miraculous trick that made it into his DC part a few weeks later. That spontaneous session remains one of the best days that I had skating in San Diego, simply because it was so purely a day of just going skating in it’s most natural form.
For the Sk8mafia team, its never a contrived mission to go filming, it’s just part of their daily habits. It’s like they’re on tour in their hometown everyday. This quality is a beautiful thing and it’s part of the main reason they’ve been able to produce full-length skate videos almost every single year. They’re also always willing to include a random skate homie like me that they might happen to pick up off the street. Or, in some cases, an entire crew of skate homies.
If you’re unfamiliar with Sk8mafia and their ways, I can imagine one might be curious as to how the Sweet Mafia video STEE came about. What is the connection between Sweden and San Diego? How do the Sweet and Sk8mafia guys even know each other and why would they do a video together? For these questions I don’t actually have the answers, but from knowing the Sk8mafia team for the past few years, I can only theorize that a Sweet Mafia collaboration video was an idea born from a series of sessions that probably happened similar to the way mine did on that memorable afternoon in Pacific Beach. When you have two crews of like-minded skate rats, hopping in each other’s skate sessions everywhere from Spain to San Francisco, the only logical outcome would be a joined video. Keep the joints rolling, the good vibes flowing, and skateboard magic will inevitably be caught on video.
After watching STEE, I got the feeling that these two groups of friends were together for nearly everything that happened in the video, which to me captures exactly what skateboarding is about. It’s about friends getting together, traveling around the world, and supporting each other through the trials of trying tricks, all the while having fun and never taking it all too seriously. Beyond the good times vibe that STEE drives home, this full length features some of the most mind bending and original technical maneuvers I’ve seen in one video. I had to rewind a few tricks in every part just to process what even happened. As an impassioned skate nerd, there are always a few tricks that stand out above everything after the first watch of the video. Here are my top seven:
Erik Pettersson’s boned out ollie fakie on a Barcelona bank that is so short and steep it shouldn’t allow such height and steez. This absolutely shocked me.
Jake Brown’s gap in backside smith gap out on a blue bar in an indoor vert ramp after dropping in on a giant gravestone. I know this dude can do just about anything on vert and nearly all of it is a form of skateboarding that I can’t even relate to, but this trick was the most unbelievable.
Nisse Ingemarsson’s feeble hardflip on another steep Barci bank. That trick just didn’t make any sense.
Marshall Heath’s fakie nosegrind switch backside flip on the Serra ledge in San Diego. I think I like this one mostly out of jealousy since I’ve tried this trick for countless hours and have no idea how it can be done with such ease and complete rotation.
Wes Kremer’s pole jam over a rail into a bank. I know Wes can do just about anything, and everything he does will go a bit beyond the realm of comprehension, but still. What he did and the way he did it should not be possible.
Tyler Surrey’s kickflip backside nosegrind quickly followed by a nollie backside heel down a three stair. I get all giddy for that type of quick-foot technical prowess. This line alone qualified Tyler for last part.
Gustav Tonnesen’s backside 180 nosegrind switch backside flip out at parallel in Barcelona. Everything about this trick is perfect.
Now there are many more amazing tricks in this video that I don’t want to spoil for the reader. Just get yourself a copy and watch it. Each part in this video is shared, one Sk8mafia rider with one Sweet rider. The pairing is done excellently and my hat goes off to Nick Lamm and Dan Connelly for matching the skaters together so well. The music varies in genre and goes with the skaters fittingly. Fear not, because STEE will shy away from the occasional “Sk8mafia” shout-out rap song with a little Cat Stevens or Allen Toussaint. In addition, as an all HD feature I have to say that STEE has by far the most consistent production value of any Sk8mafia full-length video to date. All the homies came through and you can tell that these guys were genuinely having fun through out the entire filming process. I can’t say I have a favorite video part because they all ruled. A general preference goes towards Jimmy, Jamie, Larelle, Wes and Tyler because I’ve known them all the longest, but everyone in this video killed it. I love seeing good people producing such good work. “STEE” stands for Skateboarding To Every Extent, and everything about this video and the skateboarders who are involved make this acronym the most authentic description for what’s inside.
Special thanks – Dan Connelly
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