I thought I’d close out 2012 with a list of things that happened in skateboarding this year. I don’t consider myself an expert and certainly don’t keep up with the staggering skate video output the internet has beseeched us with, so don’t consider this a list of the best moments of 2012 or anything like that. Just consider it ten things that I remember happening this year. See you in 2013, you turkeys.
A 44-Year Old Man Lands the 900
In 2012 a 12-year old boy became the youngest person to land a 900 degree aerial on his skateboard toy and people talked about it for months. The same year, Tony Hawk landed a 900 at age 44 and it pretty much went unnoticed. I’m pretty sure that the Chinese government is accused of faking birth documents for their gymnasts every Olympic Games because of speculation that their athletes aren’t old enough to compete. I’ve never heard of anybody accusing the Chinese government of trying to sneak in a 44-year-old gymnast into the Olympics. Oh wait… what was that… the 12-year old landed a 1080? Oh… well that’s different. Time to step it up, Tony.
All jokes aside, The Birdman still rules. But we all know that. That’s why he’s Tony Hawk and we’re just sad, sucky, us.
My skateboard company (Roger Skateboards) manufactured a run of skateboard decks in February of 2012 after not manufacturing a run of skateboard decks for approximately eight months. I won’t bore you with the boring details, but things were looking kinda bleak there for a hot minute. Luckily the stars aligned and the children of the world rejoiced as we pumped out a few more dong jokes. Get it? Pump, dong…
I don’t care if you hated the editing, acting, special effects, and the soundtrack, I really don’t. Because if you can’t look past all that and appreciate the fact that you got to see a twenty minute Vincent Alvarez part and got to watch Guy Mariano make every skate dude from the 90s cream their Blind jeans then you’re hopeless. And that’s not even mentioning Marc Johnson’s sublime offering or watching Raven Tershy go all Grant Taylor on everything. Everybody else ruled too, you guys should all be proud of yourselves. My only complaint with the entire video is that Rick Howard didn’t casually throw out a switch 360 flip for our enjoyment, he’s kinda my favorite from the old-guard.
Although skateboarding waves the “No Rules!” flag pretty fervently, I’ve found that most participants are actually doing exactly the opposite. There’s an unwritten dress code that most skateboarders adhere to, as well as a list of acceptable tricks and companies that are considered OK to support. Like most subcultures that began as anti-establishment, if you stick around long enough eventually you will become the establishment. That being said, I’ve always been a fan of the true misfits within skateboarding. Somewhere near the top of that list would have to be Texas’ own Todd Falcon.
VICE: I’m sure you’ve answered this question a thousand times before, but is Todd Falcon an homage to Tony Hawk? If so, why did you choose the bird man as your spirit animal? Todd: Indeed! I came up with Falcon in 1985 as a name I would use if I ever went pro or needed an alias. Hawk has always been my idol for ramp, and Mullen for street.
Hawk was as amazing then as he is now, and I always looked at him as an inspiration to defy limits, so I purposefully chose the name as a tribute.
When did you turn pro? Do you think there’s something less than genuine about having a pro model for your own company? Not passing judgement, just curious. In 2003. Personally, I do not think it is less genuine, as many riders have been pro for their own companies, like Hawk, Alva, Magnusson, Hosoi, etc.
How you get there is apparently different for many pro riders. As I mentioned, I was not looking for this whole pro thing. I couldn’t have cared less. I stuck to skating for myself, inventing my own tricks, and living in my own world of rules about it—but then everything blew up fast the moment my footage got out there.
The next thing I knew I was on a Birdhouse DVD, my “Falconslide” was licensed in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4, magazines and newspapers were doing cover stories on me, I was invited to pro competitions, pro demos, etc. So I started doing my own skate videos. The boards came out of fan demand, and I formed a team for a couple years, toured and promoted the DVDs, boards, and everything else.
True, but each of the riders you mentioned were initially turned pro by previous sponsors and carried their models over to their own ventures. I’m not trying to bust your balls, I’ve just always found it interesting that the only thing you have to do to become a professional skateboarder is essentially proclaim that you’re a professional skateboarder. You raise a valid point indeed. When things began, I received calls from Birdhouse because they were blown away by my original tricks. Shortly after came the magazines, videos, DVDs, and games, as I mentioned.
I never considered myself pro at that time, but others persuaded me to release boards because I was being included in the pro circuit competitions and demos, and my name was suddenly everywhere. I had offers from companies, but I turned them down in order to create my own company, Falconskates, because I am very picky about my work and I did not want another company deciding what my board would look like. I guess that’s a director thing, but I always want to create my own art that is unique and individual.
Then came the THPS games. I already had a handful of sponsors in 2003 including Tail Devil, Softrucks, Blue Water Clothing, and several local parks. I loved all the odd companies and underdogs, so I figured it would be cool to help them out.
Then came the DVD part in the Birdhouse disc and tours, so I finally just gave it a chance since I seemed to have some sort of branding already. It just seemed natural to offer the fans what they kept asking me for—it was for them more than anything. I didn’t—and still don’t—care whether I am considered pro or a kook… What people think about my skating doesn’t bother me, because I am focused on my film career. I am glad that there are fans who appreciate my originality and it is amazing to see so many skaters doing the Falcon Stomp. Skateboarding is my art and I have my own outlook on it. I appreciate EVERY single fan that I have, and I am totally HONORED to be able to say that I have so many throughout the world.