Happy Independence Day! We’re taking the week off from programs in order to enjoy a holiday full of fireworks, sunburns, and overeating. I sincerely hope you all have a fun (and more importantly, safe) Fourth of July, and we will resume with our regularly scheduled skateboarding starting on Monday, July 9th.
In the spirit of independence, I thought that it would be fitting if we dedicated this entry to a handful of skateboarders that I argue, are the most independent of all time. There’s no one specific way to be known in the world of skateboarding. From video parts to contests, from vert to street, here are my picks for the top five most independent skateboarders of all time. Not all of these guys were welcomed by the skate community, in fact many are hated on for being so “out there” with either their tricks or their style. But in the spirit of Independence Day, I say we take a moment to recognize these cavalier characters for their unapologetic approach to skateboarding. Love them or hate them, there’s no denying that they’re unique.
1) Richie Jackson-
It’s almost like this guy was born to be on this list. His wardrobe choices make me think of something that your grandma’s attic might throw up...but he makes it look good. Just because his hair is long and curly, and his bell bottoms are -well, bellbottoms, doesn’t mean he can’t skate cause. This flower child is a ripper. He takes his technical wizardry to unusual spots and always skates against the grain of what everyone else is doing. I highly suggest clicking here to see some of Richie Jackson’s skateboarding
2) William Spencer-
William is a personal favorite of mine so I had to include him on the list. William Spencer is somewhat of a hometown hero, growing up in Denver and making appearances on multiple 303 videos. As far as tricks go, you might take a look at him and wonder if he is a skateboarder that loves parkour, or if it’s the other way around. Just watch one of his video parts and you’ll see. He flips on and over everything in sight and somehow lands on four wheels with cat-like grace. Not enough to win you over? What if I told you that William Spencer mends the worlds of skateboarding and parkour so well, that he was hired to do the stunts for the Spiderman movies. Yeah, William Spencer is Spiderman! Click here for his madness.
3) Todd Falcon-
Independence doesn’t always equal respect in the skateboarding world, and Todd Falcon is a perfect example of that. There’s no denying that he is unique, but some of his trick combinations are just a little (ok maybe more than a little) too out there. His skating reminds me of those old Tony Hawk video games when you’d mash a ridiculous combination of impossible tricks to get a high score. It’s impressive that he has such a mastery over some of these tricks, but you don’t see anyone else trying them, and there’s probably a reason for it. To watch um, whatever Todd’s doin’ click here.
4) Aaron “Jaws” Homoki-
Everyone knows Jaws. Even if you don’t, you probably do. He’s everywhere, in video games, on Thrasher, and in every “Biggest Ollies/Gaps” video on YouTube. He’s the scrawny boy from Arizona with the knees made of Flubber. I don’t know how he does it, but I’ve been a fan of his stuntman approach to skating ever since the first Happy Medium video came out. Sure gap and stair skating isn’t as unique as Todd Falcon’s no comply-finger flip-darkslide-pudding flip to fakie is, but Aaron has made a career (and a legacy) of skating the biggest terrain that concrete has to offer. Some people say that his style isn’t very creative because it's so saturated with drops, but I argue that that’s exactly what makes him so unique. Who else can film an entire video part jumping off roofs? Jaws has filmed two.
Want to see some of his unbelievable impact skating? Click here!
5) Nate Sherwood-
This poor guy has gotten so much hate for so long. He’s known as the pressure flip guy, and since pressure flips have kind of gotten a bad wrap, he’s since been found guilty by association. And look, I agree, the number of times pressure flips have looked stylish and the number of times I’ve farted the alphabet are the same (zero, thankfully). But does that mean that Mr. Sherwood needs to endure so much hate? Umm, I don’t know, that’s a genuine question. The fact is, pressure flips don’t look great, but Nate is incredible at them. I doubt you’ll ever find another skater that can pressure lazer flip a street, but I doubt any other skater wants to try. Click here for some major pressure flip action.
Now obviously I missed a lot of skaters that should’ve been on this list. In fact, the world of skateboarding is so diverse that I don’t think I could ever list all the great independent members of this community. But if I left out your favorite (which, lets be honest, I left out mine too), then please, leave a comment and tell me who it is, and why they should make the cut!
As Kyle mentioned, this list hardly encompasses all of the "Independents" in skateboarding. But I could not let this list go unpublished without highlighting the King of the Skate Clowns, Simon Woodstock. At a time when skateboarding was at its most stagnant - when everyone dressed the same and did the same "essential" tricks... when pros were too focused on the coolness of being original rather than just, you know, being original - Simon Woodstock came along and thumbed his nose at it all. Or maybe he was just losing his mind. Whatever the reason, Woodstock was instrumental in my skate progression (if that's the word for it) and I had to include him for your (and Kyle's) education. Enjoy some antics here!