2014 Skater of the Year Contender Profiles
We cast a wide net to start the 2014 SOTY debate. Check the stats and help us whittle it down. Who do YOU think should win the only award that matters?
Sponsors: Almost, Nike, Venture, Swiss, Mob, Sml Wheels, Helas, Switch Skate Shop, Skullcandy
Home: Hasselt, Belgium
Big Moves in 2014: There are skaters who go big because they can't really control their boards, and there are skaters who get tech because they're too chicken to take a hit, but with his Almost a Part, Youness distinguished himself as the type of skater who can pretty much do it all. Big feebles at UCI, never-ending lines from Europe to the schoolyards of LA and tech-gnar seldom-been-dones, all with serious power and control. No wonder Daewon gave him a board.
Indelible image: Was that a nollie 360 to nose slide?
Verdict: Belgium's most blunted
Sponsors: enjoi, Globe, Krux, NC boardshop, Bones Swiss, Pig, Mob
Home: San Jose, CA
Big Moves in 2014: If skateboarding is the fountain of youth, then Louie Barletta must be beer-bonging that shit. Even in the wake of a wacky-skating boom, Louie's Oververt part not only reconfirmed his role as the king of the good-times 'boarders, but as a brand-manager to be reckoned with - ferrying the enjoi ship to higher ground following the departure of a couple of key players. That hand-up to fakie in The Hook was no fuckin' joke, either!
Indelible image: Unwigged!
Verdict: Oldest dude to get the cover (and have fun doing it)
Sponsors: Toy Machine, Dekline, Independent, AYC, Pig Wheels, Bones Swiss, Bro Style
Home: Long Beach, CA (via Flagler Beach, FL)
Big Moves in 2014: Though his big Dekline part won't be released until December, enough insane images have ran in the mag to let everyone know that Blake's got some heavy tricks up his sleeves - especially involving frontside heelflips, big ollies and switch flip-in rail tricks.
Indelible image: Switch tré 5-0
Verdict: Toy Machine keeps running!
Sponsors: Skate Mental, Nike, Spitfire, Thunder, Mob, Skullcandy, Bones Swiss, Active
Home: LA, CA (via Virginia Beach)
Big Moves in 2014: Moved to LA and got on Skate Mental (with his bitchin' For Skate Mental part.) A Dew Tour contest win and a foxy new girlfriend helped him further shed his little-chip-eating-kid image, as did his entry into the professional ranks.
Indelible image: That Dorito board
Verdict: Leader of the new school
Sponsors: Darkstar, Globe, Nixon, Red Bull, RDS, Bones, Arnette, Orion, Kicker, OC Ramps
Home: Huntington Beach, CA (via Vancouver, Canada)
Big Moves in 2014: If you're calculating big moves in 2014 (which apparently we are) then Decenzo's Double Down part is responsible for at least 70% of them. Oh Canada!
Indelible image: that nollie noseblunt slide transfer
Verdict: COTY (Canadian of the Year)
Sponsors: enjoi, adidas, Independent, Spitfire, Modus
Home: San Francisco, CA (via Queanbeyan, Australia)
Big Moves in 2014: This Aussie ATV came to SF and either found new lines at or completely crushed all the classic spots, as seen in his Hit and Run Spitfire video. After a turn as a 1-8 prospect, he joined the pillow fight over at enjoi. Get in where you fit in.
Indelible image: Nosegrind the top bar at Miley
Verdict: Just didgeridoo it!
|Aaron "Jaws" Homoki|
Sponsors: Birdhouse, Dekline, Bones, Independent, AYC, Glassy, Footprint Insoles, Neff, Bro Style, Swappow.com, Fred Water
Home: Phoenix, AZ
Big Moves in 2014: His dump truck-dropping cover set the stage for a year filled with massive air time and knuckle-biting roof rides. With True Blue on the horizon expect a strong finish for AZ's genius of jump. Oh, and he went on KOTR again, too.
Indelible image: that three-story-triple-roof ride
Verdict: Death from above!
Sponsors: DC, Element, Monster, Stance, Diamond, Ricta, Mob, AYC
Home: San Juan Capistrano, CA (via Davis, CA)
Big Moves in 2014: Nyjah laid low in 2014, meaning he only won almost all the contests, put out insane ads and absolutely killed King of the Road (evidence coming soon.)
Indelible image: Trophy raised high!
Verdict: Still the best
Sponsors: DGK, Gold, Pharmacy Boardshop, Supra, KR3W, Thunder, Ashbury, Stance, Grizzly Grip, The Dew
Home: LA, CA (via Tehachapi, CA)
Big Moves in 2014: DGK's Blood Money rocketed Boo into the pro ranks with NBDs (fakie frontside big spin front boards,) hella hard flips and one of this biggest OTB grinds on record, all in a haze of weed smoke; swagger unfiltered.
Indelible image: Hardflip back smith
Verdict: Out for blood!
Sponsors: Converse, Indy, OJ
Home: SF, CA (via State College, PA)
Big Moves in 2014: The Godfather of the wallride/wallie/no comply resurgence, Jake brought the pain in Static IV, crushing ever bigger, weirder and more tightly-packed obstacles with power and grace.
Indelible image: the world's biggest wall ride, wallieing a car
Verdict: Never comply!
Sponsors: Plan B, Etnies, Venture, Bones, LRG, Arnette, Grizzly, Fred, Active
Home: Hawaiian Gardens, CA
Big Moves in 2014: If his Etnies part got your attention, expect Joslin's True performance to make you a superfan. Bigspin the MACBA gap, tré flip Davis and every other kind of flip down 10-stairs-and-above in between. Name-checking The Boss as the greatest of all time means his head's on straight, too.
Indelible image: 360 flip the Davis gap
Verdict: Just getting started
Sponsors: Toy Machine, Emerica, Independent, RVCA, Pig, Bro Style, Happy Hour, Active
Home: Long Beach, CA
Big Moves in 2014: The Re-education of Jeremy Leabres schooled us all on just how stylish this fool is. Tough tricks, no gimmicks and uncanny fluidity. Then there's that nollie front blunt ...
Indelible image: frontal bluntal, through the kink
Sponsors: Girl, Nike, Fourstar, Royal, Spitfire, Glassy, Bones Swiss, Fish Co.
Home: Tacoma, WA (via Lake Stephens, WA)
Big Moves in 2014: What if you could do whatever trick you wanted, on any terrain, and from any era, all while enjoying a cocktail with your friends and wearing comfortable beachwear? This whole "skateboarding = suffering" thing? Cory Kennedy found a loophole. Bean plants in Birkenstocks, triple kink backside grinds, ledge demonics - all with a laugh and a smile. Rat Poison, Soty Naaawsty, Raw Buffalo, Relapse of Luxury, This Ain't No Safari, Cory Goes BellingHAM and a ton of other bits and pieces documented his 2014 destruction.
Indelible image: that kickflip frontside wall ride
Verdict: Fun gets gnarly gets even more fun!
Sponsors: Sk8mafia, DC, Royal, OJ, Paradox
Home: San Diego, CA
Big Moves in 2014: The first real handrail dark slide, monster kinkers, switch big flips and bong hits of casual gnar in his Crusty and Extra Crusty parts made 2014 a big year for Wes. Then that Sk8mafia Pack of Hydes part came out ...
Indelible image: Clipper magic!
Verdict: Yes on Wes
Sponsors: adidas, Volcom, Flip, Spitfire, Thunder, Mob, Rockstar
Home: Huntington Beach, CA (via Rochester, MN)
Big Moves in 2014: Cab back smith 180, giant backside noseblunt slides, and one of the biggest hard flips ever done - and that was all before March! Alec crushed KOTR, nailing some of the toughest rail tricks (episodes coming soon!) before being sidelined with a horrific broken leg in the final hours.
Indelible image: Stone-faced destroyer
Verdict: The great white hope!
Sponsors: Flip, Nike, Indy, Medlyn, Diamond, Oakley, Matriz Skate Shop
Home: Porto Alegre, Brazil
Big Moves in 2014: Strike and Destroy caught Luan and his Ginsu-flick on the raw streets (and hills) of his native Brazil, making it one of the most-watched videos of 2014. He killed contests all year, too, (except a KOTR no-show) before disappearing back into the jungle.
Indelible image: precision pop
Sponsors: Plan B, DVS, Venture, Grizzly, Diamond, Red Bull, Bones Swiss, Dakine, Nixon, Markisa, Loud, Happy Hour, Skatelab
Home: Simi Valley, CA
Big Moves in 2014: T-Puds was everywhere in 2014, earning two amazing covers, rifling out the NBD combos and stoking the fire with his Supernova part - all leading up to this big Plan B True bonanza. If the photos and hype are any indication, expect nothing less than a proper face melting from Torey P.
Indelible image: that Oakland Courthouse backside smith
Verdict: Grizzly does it!
Sponsors: enjoi, Converse, Volcom, Indy, Ricta, Mob
Home: Walton-on-Naze, UK
Big Moves in 2014: How good is Ben Raemer's part in Oververt? Well, they wouldn't give it to us for the Thrasher site, if that's any indication. Hairball bank barging, proper vert work and two of the craziest back boards in skate history were enough to bump him out of the amateur nest - announced in a First Look, no less!
Indelible image: world's longest boardslide
Verdict: "That's fucked up!"
Sponsors: Birdhouse, Bones, Nike, Indy, Black Magic, Dakine, Neff
Home: Houston, TX
Big Moves in 2014: Gentle Ben got the Nike upgrade complete with a hellacious video introduction that showed, once again, he's the hottest thing going on renegade 'crete. But rather than rely on his old reliables (360s to fakie and invert reverts) Raybourn keeps digging deeper into the vault, dredging up maneuvers as bizarre as the egg to tail and as difficult as the stalled Elguerial. He even spun a 540 at the "No McTwists" Van Doren comp (that rebel!) before snagging first at Hellride Halloween. And he went on King of the Road, too, defending the title with Birdhouse.
Indelible image: Burnside rafter ride
Verdict: Texas is (still) the reason.
Sponsors: Huf, Fucking Awesome, Spitfire, Thunder
Home: LA, CA
Big Moves in 2014: If Dylan's jump to Fucking Awesome and dazzling part in Cherry didn't get your attention, maybe his successful pairing of skate tricks and a naked lady did the job. Killer cover, too.
Indelible image: waist-high back smith, tits
Verdict: too sexy for this curb
Sponsors: Krooked, Ace, Lakai, Spitfire, Dickies
Home: San Pedro, CA
Big Moves in 2014: From Relapse of Luxury to This Ain't No Safari to smashing it out at the Van Doren and Hellride Halloween comps, Ronnie busted out big in 2014; his handplants tweaked out farther and stalled longer with every appearance. Even Mountain can't deny him!
Indelible image: that tipped out frontside invert at Haley
Verdict: Your new favorite tranny skater
Sponsors: adidas, Royal, LRG, Organika, Small Wheels, Mob, Official, PLA SkateShop
Home: Sacramento, CA
Big Moves in 2014: Miles made his Thrasher debut with a 14-page interview and a heck of a front - the kickflip back tail down the razor-sharp Stanford hubba. Had some tight clips in adidas' New Stripes, but expect the big guns to come out in 2015 with his LRG part.
Indelible image: that kickflip to circle was pretty heavy
Verdict: Sacto's new blood
Sponsors: Antihero, Nike, Volcom, Independent, Spitfire, Stratosphere, Maka Lassi, Fish Co.
Home: Atlanta, GA
Big Moves in 2014: Jumped onto the 1-8 to the sweet sounds of Siouxsie and from there it's just a blur of big air, long grinds and reckless spontaneity from the realest skater alive.
Indelible image: shredding the ATL park, P-Stone giggling
Sponsors: Real, Nike, Thunder, Spitfire, Fourstar, Anthony's Cookies, Stance, Monster, Diamond, Shake Junt, Bones Swiss, Epoke Eyewear, Helas, Exit Skateshop
Home: Philadelphia, PA and Long Beach, CA
Big Moves in 2014: The reigning SOTY cranked into the new year in the awesome Soty Naawwsty video and never stopped ripping (chafing be damned!) From the weight of the maneuvers in his #2TERMZ interview in the new mag (and over-the-top tail slide cover) the possibility of a back-to-back repeat isn't really that far fetched. And he's got another video part out next week …
Indelible image: that KC double kink 5-0
Verdict: Can't stop, won't stop!
Sponsors: Birdhouse, Independent, Active Ride Shop, The Good Worth, Pig, Supra
Home: Altus, OK
Big Moves in 2014: The Internet swelled with Walker clips in 2014, his secret spots outpaced only by the hairball maneuvers he unleashed upon them. And then there's KOTR ...
Indelible image: Clint on a cross
Verdict: Southern fried Messiah
Sponsors: Real, Vans, Volcom, Thunder, Spitfire, Active, Happy Hour
Home: Long Beach, CA (via Oklahoma City, OK)
Big Moves in 2014: K Walks was the most productive am in the biz in 2014. From killer tricks in True to This to astonishing photos or ads in every mag, he seemed to be shredding everywhere at once. For a dude holding all his best stuff for the upcoming Vans video (coming 2015) Kyle's got awesome to burn.
Indelible image: switch frontside flip into the bank of doom
Verdict: Pro status inevitable
Sponsors: Emerica, Zoo York, Ricta, Bro Style, Venture, Dakine, Westgate Cranberries
Home: Carver, MA
Big Moves in 2014: Spoiler alert: Westgate's got a video coming out right here December 6th from Zoo York called Zoo England, filmed entirely back East on those crusty, crusty streets. Some of it is in his interview in the new mag, (including that photo where he board slides up a full-sized handrail) so that's why he's definitely on this list, even if you thought all he did this year were a handful of sweet ads and video commercials. Shit, he should be on the list every year.
Indelible image: Gotta be that up-slide gatefold cover
Verdict: (Still) the definitive East Coast powerhouse
Sponsors: Krooked, Nike, Spitfire, Independent, Roughneck, Pitcrew, Chrome, Bones Swiss, Death Squad, Freedumb
Home: NY, NY (via Washington, DC)
Big Moves in 2014: Just when you thought the death of e's was gonna take Bobby with it, DC's favorite son bounced back with his all-Pulaski part, Hometown Turf Killer, followed up mad quick with the So-Cal-centric Luxury and Loudness and a spot on the swoosh via an unheard of third-in-a-year Quartersnacks part. Heavy ledge work, switch rail moves to make Guy jealous and that push, push, push, push. Right guy, right time, so rad!
Indelible image: first trick - backside noseblunt the Pulaski flower pot
Verdict: True East
4/23/2015On November 23rd, 2011, we announced that Grant Taylor was our Skater of the Year alongside this video part. Grant is the best, and here's a glimpse of what he did that year to receive the top honor.
1/18/2012Grant, Couch and Spider abuse a love seat on today's Burnout, live from Oz.
1/14/2012Nike SB goes full mental at the Los Angeles finish line. Ishod rips a bowl barefoot, Koston keeps his cool in a prank call, and Cory Kennedy continues his tech wizardry.
1/11/2012The SOTY & crew cruise a natural shell ride, Ozzy style.
1/09/2012GT and the crew ease into the OZ trip and come up on some free headgear.