The annual hill bomb of 200 South, from the U of U to Downtown, represents the essence of Go Skateboarding Day. This year was no different on June 21. Dozens of skaters took over the streets to remind themselves of why skateboarding is so fundamentally freeing. They went faster than they ever have, got wrecked in some cases, and still went back for more.
It’s rare that someone’s go-to trick is one that would be a stretch for most skaters—even on a basic obstacle, let alone one they would bring to a high, round bar. Sam has a way of making near-impossible tricks seem mundane—almost too easy. There were no warmup tricks, no hesitation to test the waters. All I could do was laugh at how effortless it looked.
Skateboarding has a way of altering your perception of your surroundings. It naturally trains you to see a creative possibility where it may otherwise go unnoticed. Not only as a skateboarder but also as someone who generally thinks outside the box, Nick is constantly looking for ways to interact with the world differently, and he acts accordingly. It’s that outlook (along with a few bucks thrown into the bottom of the gap for motivation) that allowed me to witness a beautiful take on this trick, in one of the most beautiful places.
Shylio Sweat – Kickflip front board, under pressure – Provo, Utah
Every skater has been there. You’re about to get booted from the spot, and you know you only have one more try to get the clip. Not sticking the trick will mean returning to the spot only when you know things have died down and you have time to work on it again. That could be days or weeks, depending on how much of a bust it normally is. On this Sunday afternoon, Shylio Sweat felt that pressure as a bystander with way too much time on his hands began taking down license-plate numbers of the crew and prepared to call the cops. Calling out that he’d land it right then and there, Shylio rolled up with confidence and stuck it on the next try. No better feeling …
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With A combined 39 years of skateboarding under their belts, both Hill and Parkinson are no strangers to the industry. From @Flatspotter’s original montage of Utah rippers and head explosions, @Flatspotter has grown up and out in many ways. “It started probably about 2012 as a video and online persona where I could share my videos (since that’s my trade),” says Hill. “At first, it was all about just sharing Utah skateboarding and a bunch of my friends, and there was really no outlet to share what I was already filming. It’s definitely still about Utah skateboarding, but now we have the team and we are pushing boards, so there is a lot more direction and focus.” Parkinson, on the other hand, who is the former owner of Shortbus Skateboards, joined in the movement roughly three years back with the idea and resources of putting wood to the streets. “It started with some wheels, and then Dustin talked about doing some boards, so we just came together since we were both pushing towards similar things,” Parkinson says. @Flatspotter has been a slow progression of what it is today. “It’s all come about in such a non-traditional way”, says Hill. “There was a website, then the Instagram and social media side went crazy, and now we have product and a team, so it’s all come very organically and kind of randomly,” Hill says. “Now we feel like we have a real board company and a team and an actual direction.” With products comes a financial responsibility, but both Hill and Parkinson agreeably say they are still about keeping the Utah scene hyped, especially on the social media side of things.
Speaking of the team, the @Flatspotter roster is, to no surprise, a heavy bunch of rippers. With all-time Utah killers like Matt Fisher and Shilo Sweat and young gun Deng Tear as well as a couple of “flow” Utah homies, there is no shortage of banger footage coming from the @Flatspotter squad. If the one-minute Instagram video feature only heightens your anxiety to see more of the @Flatspotter homies, there’s good news! “We are working on a video, a half-length, as we like to call it,” says Hill. “It’s a full-length, but no one has any attention span anymore, so a 15-minute video is now considered full-length.” Parkinson adds, “It’s been in motion for about four months now, with about six weeks of really skating and really filming, and I’d say its pretty good so far. Between Matt [Fisher] having a case of the warmup bangers and then Shilo and Deng just ripping, we’ve seen some pretty cool tricks go down.”
As far as the future, Hill and Parkinson hope still to be ripping and staying afloat in the scene. “Hopefully, we are maintaining and still moving product,” says Parkinson. “The newest boards have been moving the best as far as online sales and the local shops who have been supporting us, so we’re optimistic.” Of course, they’re staying humble. Hill says, “Thirty-one thousand Instagram followers doesn’t necessarily mean you are killing it, since you’re competing with literally every other skate company out there.” As a whole, the skate industry has seen some real fluctuation, not only in brands and skaters, but a vibe in and of itself of what is considered “cool and core” and what is considered “corporate and lame.” “We just want to see more love,” says Hill. “Not only in Utah or anything in particular but from the industry and collectively, just as skaters coming together and being hyped on the same thing.”
There’s no question that Utah’s is a strong and growing skate scene and that companies like @Flatspotter not only give this scene a platform but are now contributing with their products. As long as the support goes full circle, more companies, shops and industry influencers can stay afloat and keep the progression alive on all bases. Hill and Parkinson do what they do out of love and out of the need to share their creativity with whomever is hyped on it. If you are not already, follow @Flatspotter on Instagram and support them online and in your local shops. –Steve Goemaat
Gabe Spotts – Frontside Kickflip – SLC, Utah
If you ride a skateboard in 2017, you’ve no doubt noticed the amount of media presence on any given skate session. Every trick anyone does is constantly being filmed and photographed for social media. This day was no different, as a myriad of people had their phones out to film Gabe Spotts’ frontside flip down this new set of stairs (coincidentally in the exact same spot as another old skateboard spot). It was no surprise that Niels Jensen and I both shot the trick with our cameras (the non-smartphone variety) from two different angles. –Sam Milianta
Thaynan recently went pro for Enjoi Skateboards. He was surprised by the news at this very spot by friends and teammates with his pro board. I’ve admired his raw talent and unorthodox approach to skating for several years now, especially when I saw his Oververt part. I knew that in going to such an iconic city and spot, I would likely run into a few pros, but it was great to come across someone who was as friendly and fun to watch as he is. Both of these tricks were part of longer, far more tech lines, but there are few things better than classic tricks done at a classic spot, with style.
Rocky Hudson Jr. – Nollie Frontside Crooked Grind to Fakie – SLC, Utah
Some people just own certain tricks. Ray Barbee (no complies), Tom Penny (switch frontside flips), Brandon Beibel (nosegrinds). Rocky owns this trick. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone do it any better in person. He can no doubt do it on much taller and longer ledges, but regardless of the obstacle, he makes it look better than anyone in the city below.
This is not a classic California mini–picnic table (those iconic symbols of schoolyard skateboarding). But it’s about as close as you can get to one in Salt Lake City. Between work, school and the mountain of art Jared “Snuggles” Smith is producing lately, he found a short window to come shut this table down. Within about a half hour, he landed seven to eight tricks on it, including this noseblunt to fakie to cap off a line. It was rad to watch a new take on a classic Avenues spot in Salt Lake City.