(Featured: Welcome Skate Store blog, 12th October 2014.)
“So how about that Raemers section?” Or something to that effect was frequently plastered across whatever social media network I happened to be lurking in the week between Oververt’s release and me purchasing a copy. It’s obvious to say there’s been an even bigger expectation for enjoi’s latest video than usual, by us anyway as opposed to our cousins across the Atlantic. Mainly down to Ben Raemer’s turning pro in the weeks before the video was released. As pointed out far more eloquently than I can muster in the Whispers of last month’s Sidewalk Magazine; any of our own ascending to the fabled level of professional for US company is massively celebration worthy and has been since the days of Carl Shipman and Geoff Rowley (though by no means where they first) made such iconic impacts we all think of when regarding the matter. However, while I’m stoked as anyone to see a British skater go pro, it was Wieger Van Wageningen’s video part I was most looking forward to, what I didn’t expect, however, is to enjoy Louie Barletta’s part anywhere near as much as I did. Having watched Wieger’s part online, I already had a fondness for the enjoi video which was exemplified after Louie Barletta’s part also debuted online. While what I considered this year’s best releases, cherry and Static IV/V, had got me stoked to go skate, there was one thing they hadn’t achieved. When thinking about it now it’s so simple and rather astounding actually that less skate videos seem to make us do it as it’s so closely linked to the act of doing something one loves so much. Laugh. Straight away enjoi spares no expense at self parody by highlighting the fact that long time team rider, Jerry Hsu had quit the previous year – for reasons due to enjoi videos not being any good. Apparently. Then fast forward three minutes and within seconds of Louie’s part I was actually laughing at the video. Not because Louie Barletta is funny looking character, or from some strange sort of second hand embarrassment that I’ve experienced with videos that try way too hard. It’s simply because you can tell Louie is having so much fun. More fun I imagine than most people in their teenage years, like myself, have and the guy is pushing on a bit now. To be honest, it’s hard to describe Louie Barletta’s skating. Louie is Louie, no explanation needed but I’d be about three hundred words short if I left it at that… Mostly amusing about Louie’s part is that if you took the majority of the tricks being done and replaced the skater with an angst filled 17 year old in NYC wearing Cons and highwaters, the section would be trending through the roof. It is this that makes it even better. Really it’s inexcusable than in a tidal wave of odd shaped boards, no-complies and ‘style heavy’ manoeuvres, we forgot something – this is Louie’s territory. Unintentionally and just by being himself, Louie has poked fun at just about everything that is ‘hot shit’ right now. Fast plants onto handrails, no complies, weird Magenta-esque nose skids/tailslides – all performed for the sake of doing something fun, not different. As if, while Sage Elsesser springs a Beanplant into a box logo clad bluntslide or Koston does a three no-complies in a line at a desperate attempt at relevancy – Louie chuckles, says ‘pull my finger’ then proceeds to do it better, rolling off into the distance as fun, near enough, personified. Amusingly though, at first glance everything I’ve just said contrasts completely with Thaynan Costa who takes the opener to Oververt. A skateboarder whose talent and outfit game is so powerful it makes Sean Pablo look like an uncoordinated teenage girl. (I must point out that if my source is to be believed; Thaynan’s dress sense possibly predates current looks as hailing from Portugal that get up is actually ‘pre-Dylan’.) However, we’re also reminded of the other aspect that makes Louie so great, in between the ‘dork’ tricks, Louie is ridiculously good at ‘orthodox’ skateboarding, for lack of a better term. When not delivering the most legit street plant ever put to video, as it is genuinely a hand plant on a street quarter/bank, he delivers such mind benders as a blunt to backside tailslide, wallride kickflip, feeble to crook pop-in on a bank and possible the most stylish front blunt Kickflip you’ll ever see and an ender so nonchalant I can only think it was first go. As I said, before obtaining a copy of Oververt, Wieger’s part was one of the two I’d seen and I was already sure it would be a favourite of the whole video. Perhaps this was initially down to the intro as much the skating which provides a throwback to his 411 video part, which along with his section from Nike SB’s Nothing But The Truth, are two personal favourites of mine. Furthermore, I’m compelled to appropriately mention the irony in that video title as over the years it’s become ‘Nothing But The Truth’ when stating Wieger’s part is the only to have aged well from that video. Anyway, I had high expectations, which Wieger thankfully full filled. No easy task though as it lacked the romantic ambience and emotional lyrics which accompanied the sketchy yet stylish lines of his 411 part (Baaaby, I was loooonely…). Alongside having to contend with Morrissey’s opening moans that so fittingly matched Wieger’s opening lines of perfect Regular and Switch Crooks; or thoughts of mid ledge Backside 180 Nosegrind 180 Outs so fondly engrained to A Rush and A Push and The Land is Ours in Nothing But The Truth from many years ago. However, even through these rose tinted glasses that mounted expectations, Wieger came through. Precisely nailing all sorts of Crookeds, Blunts, Backside Tailslides and dropping a cheeky Heelflip in or Kickflip out here and there. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNbTA9Y-MxI Most impressively however is a Backside 180 Nosegrind down that really, really long hubba is china and along with another romantic and memorable musical choice, this time Oh L’Amour by Erasure, all attests to the fact that Wieger has not put a bad video part out to date. To summarise, whilst chatting shit to a mate about Oververt, we came to two important agreements about Wieger. Firstly that the abovementioned 411 section is “dreamy” and that “Wieger’s enjoi part is very enjoyable.” As is the whole video. Don’t consider this ramble a disservice to Ben Reamers whatsoever. Ben’s part is pretty fucking mental to say the least and the fact he’s a contender for SOTY* attests to the storm he’s been riding all year – honestly I just couldn’t spin this into a full review with anything more meaningful to say than the above. I came to this video mainly for Reamers and Wieger, but didn’t expect to stay for the bowl cutted 40 year old doing a handful of fliptricks and being close to the most entertained I’d been all year. Put simply, Oververt made me realise something I’d lost in amongst rinsing Alien Workshop videos, cherry and Gino and Jason Dill’s back catalogue for most of these past eleven months. Skating is not serious. Well, that’s not entirely true. Skateboarding is serious when it has to be. But because of that, it’s a fucking good job enjoi exists, because nothing’s takes the piss out of skateboarding as good as enjoi does. And nothing takes the piss out of anything as good as skateboarding does. *Meaning of which debateable…
Photos courtesy of enjoi skateboards.
‘Louie Bartletta’ illustration by the Andy Smoke.