The queer NYC skate collective’s top video picks featuring Flip Skateboards, Jay Strickland, and Jacob Rosenburg
PSYKO (2017), DIR. MATT KING AND GENE BELANGER
Stephen Ostrowski: Matt King and Gene Belanger have changed and shaped the way skate videos have been filmed this whole past decade. Their influence is undeniable, especially when you check the receipts, and by that I mean YouTube upload dates. Their body of work is deep and every new concept they add to their repertoire I see replicated elsewhere almost immediately. I picked Psyko specifically because even though it’s categorised as a skate video, it’s really something else entirely.
Akobi Williams: This video was cinematic.
Stephen Ostrowski: Right? It feels, and is edited, more like a movie which I love. Pskyo is twist and really represents what has become Matt and Gene’s signature style.
SORRY (2002), DIR. FRED MORTAGNE, FLIP SKATEBOARDS
Stephen Ostrowski: Sorry had a huge impact on me as a child; it was the first video where I found myself really paying attention to the filming and editing of a piece, beyond the skating footage. It’s made up of a bunch of smaller clips and they hired Johnny Rotten to do introductions to every part, which as a punk tween sent me.
I remember being drawn to Sorry before even watching it because the VHS was bright yellow. This was the first skate video I ever borrowed from someone and is one of the only videos that is an hour long that I would still watch. There’s a lot of personality in this video and it’s release in 2002 really changed what people thought was possible within skateboarding.
BAKER BOOTLEG (1998), DIR. JAY STRICKLAND
Stephen Ostrowski: Jay Strickland made this video before Baker was even a company. As a kid and throughout my adolescence I’ve returned to Baker Bootleg so often, it feels more like a documentary. I saw Baker 3 well before this, and I actually had a friend bootleg it for me, which is hilarious in hindsight. The artistry and aesthetic that made Baker what it is today was birthed through this video and it’s still hugely influential on skateboarding media and culture to this day.
ETHER (2018) DIR. STEPHEN OSTROWSKI AND COOPER WINTERSON
Akobi Williams: Ether is the best video in skateboarding today, and it will be until the end of time. Being the first independent queer skateboarding video ever created makes this video a seminal piece of LGBTQ+ skate history.
Stephen Ostrowski: I made this video after a company that sponsored me at the time had me ghost edit a significant portion of their video and then pulled my part out without telling me last minute. I took all my footage that Cooper (Winterson) and Logan (Lara) had filmed and started putting my own thing together, which turned into Ether.
Akobi Williams: Before I met you, Stephen, my partner and I would always watch Ether before skating or getting ready or whatever it may be. The energy this video gives along with the rad clips and people just makes this so special.
Stephen Ostrowski: It came to fruition in a very natural way. I just wanted to release the footage I had worked really hard for and to include those around me whose presence, whether they were skating or not, brought me joy.
CHERRY (2014), DIR. WILLIAM STROBECK, SUPREME
Akobi Williams: Supreme’s Cherry was a groundbreaking video when it came out.
Stephen Ostrowski: I loved how it was an introduction to so many now heavy-hitters, who at the time were relatively unknown.
Akobi Williams: I remember being in class when it came out and watching it at lunch super stoked to get ready to go skate after school.
Stephen Ostrowski: I think Sage Elsesser’s impossible fence ride is still one of my favorite clips of all time.
Akobi Williams: In Cherry in particular, the difference between all of the skaters and their parts in the video definitely shows how diverse skateboarding can be, no matter what label you put on it.
Stephen Ostrowski: Exactly. The format was also refreshing at the time. I was hyped on how it felt more like a music video compilation than a skate video in parts.
Akobi Williams: Chief Keef in a skate video, shit was over.
PASSING THROUGH (2020), DIR. ELI AWBREY, MCELODI
Akobi Williams: Passing Through by EcMelodi is definitely a go-to video.
Stephen Ostrowski: I think Eli Awbrey really set himself and EcMelodi apart with this one. In previous videos I think the references in filming and editing were quite direct, and with this one I could feel there was a synthesis. To me, Passing Through is the most distinct Melodi video. I also really appreciate Eli’s videos as a series because they introduced me to you and your skating.
Akobi Williams: Watching such a tight crew push each other, along with the local Atlanta punk soundtrack. And the twisted and spooky animations.
Stephen Ostrowski: The World 4 animation in it is fucked in the best way; that Melodi character battling suited puppets with a baseball bat in a cavern.
Akobi Williams: I could watch that on loop for hours.
EMB WITH J TURNER & M CARROLL (2007), DIR. JACOB ROSENBURG
Stephen Ostrowski: This was one of my favourite early YouTube videos. I found it in a YouTube K-hole after my friend showed me that you could watch Video Days on my Blind Skateboards What If? DVD as an Easter egg.
Akobi Williams: Watching the two legends, Jovontae Turner and Mike Carroll, flowing through Embarcadero, San Francisco, in the early 90s isn’t like anything else. The endless lines, the sounds of the bricks, and the technical lines are astounding, especially for such an early vid.
Stephen Ostrowski: The raw footage with minimal editing and no music is very transportive.
Akobi Williams: The silly b-roll clips of the locals around that time are great too. This video is a pure example of a skate video. A few tight friends, a camera, skateboards, and a hang-out spot. What else could you ask for?
Stephen Ostrowski: Some of the dialogue in the video is offensive and didn’t age well for obvious reasons. But the video in its totality really encapsulates the time period it was filmed in. The skating in this video really resonated with me when I was younger and still does, it’s one of the main reasons I do long lines with lots of flat ground tricks.
ALMOST ROUND 3 (2004), DIR. JEAN-JACQUES BRIQUET
Akobi Williams: Personally, I think Almost Round 3 should go down in history for its huge impact on skateboarding. Being a kid and seeing a young Ryan Sheckler jump down big gaps and rails definitely pushed my confidence and made me rethink skateboarding as a whole. Followed up with the classic Rodney Mullen vs. Daewon Song section, this video, to me, was definitely a turning point both in skateboarding and in how I perceived filming too.