Every movement’s progression is punctuated with pivotal moments of epic progression. Over the past 30 years you would be hard done by finding any movement that has progressed quicker than skateboarding and there are many feats by the masters that saw us flick into the next level of dialling the board. For every ground-breaking trick or move there are also many great misses. If these bails, or nearly made tricks were landed bolts they would have promptly sent us off on a different trajectory.
Jamie Thomas – Leap of Faith – Zero’s Thrill it it All – 1997
Maybe the most famous bail of all time? In a test to see what the body and the board can handle Jamie clacked, grabbed and held on for dear life. This was twice the size of what people were jumping in that era and is still higher than what is being jumped in this era. Probably a good thing that he didn’t roll away from this one as we would have less knees left on the planet today.
Danny Way – 900 – Speed Wheels’ Risk It – 1990
Almost a decade before the Birdman came through with the make Danny put down what we initially thought was the first 900. After what felt like an hour of slow mo spinning the landing was cut short and we sure had our suspicions that Danny had not actually rolled away. This kind of a false alarm could have tainted any career, but Danny sure made up for it elsewhere.
Mark Gonzales – Kilty McBagpipe ollie – Real’s Real to Reel – 2001
The kickflip or 360 flip version of this trick are a little stinky if you ask me, but this ollie version of the Kilty McBagpipe defies pretty much every rule of physics. Imagine trying to ollie, kick the board away and then catch it again? This was about as close as you can get without a glory ride. For most of his life Gonz has lived on the perimetre of what is possible, but his imagination refuses to see limits. Gotta love him!
Anthony Pappalardo and Brian Wenning – switch flip and switch heel the Love Gap – On Video’s Love Park Documentary – 2004
The infamous Love Park fountain gap saw some serious sessioning in lead up to the whole plaza being fenced off. At this point the gap had been flipped and switch ollied but not switch flipped. That would have just been crazy talk! I think we would all love to see Popps and Wenn-dog going for a rematch today.
Watch the rest of the Love Part documentary HERE.
John Rattray – frontside bluntslide kickflip – Blueprint’s Waiting for the World – 2000
From the mid nineties all the way through the next decade you would have had trouble finding someone with as much board control or style as John Rattray. When he frontside bluntslid the out ledge of Southbanks’s seven he upped the ante for what was possible at the spot… but a kickflip out to forwards really was a glimpse into the future.
Watch the rest of Waiting For The World HERE.
Ali Boulala – 25 stair ollie – Flip’s Sorry – 2002
Not only was this a phenomenal drop this 25 stair was a long ass beast. Much like Jamie with the Leap of Faith, Ali was let down by an equipment failure on this ollie attempt and was subsequently greeted by the cheek spreader from hell. Ali got away with many impossibilities during his rampage but unfortunately gravity had its way with him on this one: a hard day in the office indeed.
Jeremy Wray – frontside 360 Belconnen double set – 411’s Australian Vacation – 1997
Initially it was Jeremy Wray’s front three attempt at Love that had made this list, but really it was a make - albeit a sketchy one. Also if you look at the list of what got done at the Love fountain compared to this beast of a double set you will realise how ludicrous this really is. A chunky 7 flat 7 with no run up. J Wray had just backside 180’d this in the minute prior and you would have wondered why he ran up the stairs after the make? Lucky for our retinas this is one of the few front threes that J Wray didn’t roll away from.
Watch the rest of this 411 HERE
Stevie Williams – hard flip nose grind 180 – Transworld’s The Reason – 1999
If his toes were one millimetre another way on the landing this would have been a make and Stevie would have made history with this fresh combo. A couple of years later and this was done by another hardflipper in an LA schoolyard. But lets face it: the combo of Love, Stevie and this NBD is unfuckable with.
Mark Gonzales – double ollie – Blind’s Video Days – 1991
The imagination of Mark Gonzales has taken us a long way. Without him we might be early grabbing to get up curbs and flipping of the board might still be specific to freestyle only. This double ollie may have been out of any mortal’s reach but way back in the days before quick foot was even a phrase Gonz gave it a crack anyway. The full body firecracker and smirk that follows is utter gold.
Marc Johnson – 360 nollie heel – Lakai’s Fully Flared Extras – 2007
Given his tendency to be a total pioneer Marc Johnson could have probably filled this list alone. This seldom seen attempt at a 360 nollie heel down a proper double set is pretty mind blowing, not only due to its progressive nature, but check the perfection of the technique. This kind of move down a sizaeble gap is yet to be replicated (with style) to this very day. Marc is one of the best because he is a total skate rat with unthinkable board control and finesse to die for.
John Cardiel – kinker boardslide – Anti Hero’s Anti Hero – 1998
Pretty crazy that he even tried this. As if the first down section wasn’t brutal enough then there is the wicked kink and the tiny last section. Plus half the landing is onto dirt. I don’t know - if anyone could do it John would be the man for the job. It has been fifteen plus years since Cards gave it a bash and I doubt if anyone has seriously considered it since. Can’t wait to see if someone ever steps to this Phelps’ spotted beast.
Eric Koston – backside noseblunt slide nollie heel – e’S’ Menikmati (Behind the French Fred Scene’s) – 2000
The backside noseblunt slide is the holy grail of the “basic" ledge tricks. Koston was one of the first people to have them down, and one day he even drove up to SF to tweak one out on Hubba Hideout. Whilst filming for Menikmati with French Fred he not only got close to this absurd backside nollie heel out, but did so in several different ways. This would have been a total ground breaker.
Rick Howard – frontside shuv it the Gonz – Plan B’s Questionable – 1992
At this point no one had flipped their board over EMB’s notorious gap. Gonz did kickflip it the next year or two. But just imagine if the silky smooth Rick Howard had put down this frontside shuv! It would have not only upped the ante for the gap, but would have cemented Rick’s name as a total gnar dog and not just one of the best styles to ever lay foot on the whiz plank.
Caswell Berry – kickflip – enjoi’s Bag of Suck – 2006
You might count the stairs and wonder why a kickflip over a rail from 2006 made this list. Well it is simple: this thing is huge. This set at Castle
Hill high school set deep in the western suburbs of Sydney is nothing short of massive. He rolled so far only for the repercussions of impact to cause an automatic ejection. We are feeling for you on this one Caswell: straight up highway robbery.
Frankie Hill – jump ramp boardslide – Powell Peralta’s Ban This – 1989
The first guy to go really big closed out his revolutionary Ban This section with a glimpse of what was to come. Even though he used a jump ramp to get up on this, the sheer length of the Long Beach Exhibition Centre Rail was decades ahead of its time. Stacey cut the slide short with some Powell Magic and we were left sceptical as to whether Frankie made it.
Sean Sheffey – hip to lipslide – Plan B’s Questionable – 1992
When Pat Duffy 50/50’d this rail in Questionable it hurt our brains. So sick how he pops out before the end to catch some bank time. Around the same time there was a photo of Sheffey popping into a lipslide on the same beast. This was in an era before we had heard the words “bail shot". If Sheffey had nailed this lippy we would have been instantly teleported into the future. The question is, would he have gone the distance or popped out early?
Watch the rest of Questionable HERE.