‘Pretty Sweet’ the skate film by the Girl/Chocolate company has been out about a month and a half at this point. Thrasher, Transworld and most skateboard news outlets are very much highlighting and promoting the film. Every skater should buy it on DVD or Itunes. On my personal facebook feed I had one friend post an update naming the older riders Guy Mariano, Mike Carrol, and Eric Koston saying that no one expected such a level from these already skate legends who are just a few years shy of forty. Another facebook friend said something like, “I just saw Mariano’s part—no words.’ So a month and a half ago, I posted about the NYC premiere of Pretty Sweet, and now I’ll write my second post in conjunction with this instant skate classic. And on the mallisonwhat blog I rarely write about the same thing twice. (wink wink) On this entry I’ll geek out on Guy Mariano, and include three of his previous video parts, and a recent interview courtesy of youtube.
Guy Mariano has the last part in Pretty Sweet. In a creative twist it is a shared part with Eric Koston. Eric Koston skates impressively. My favorite Koston trick has a tre flip off of a steep ditch bank to switch manual down a transition curve to a four-foot drop. Hard to explain but fascinating to see! Even though this last part of the video is a shared part the focus very much is on Guy Mariano. The tricks he does are ground breaking. Everyone is talking about the ender trick of the video. The trick is a switch tre flip to switch nose grind down a 6-stair handrail. I believe that trick in regular stance would be impressive in a modern video. Doing it switch adds a real level of difficulty. Now that it’s been done, other pros will be able to do it, but I think Mariano can claim a ‘first’ on that. I’m amazed by the ledge tricks he does as well. On a regular size ledge he does a frontside smith grind to lazer flip out. Frontside smith grinds were invented in the early 80’s if not before on ramps. On ledges and curbs people have done smith grinds sense the late 80’s. Lazer flips came about in freestyle in the 80’s, but were popular around 92’ and the baggy pants area. Combo tricks have been around for awhile, mid or late 90’s. To my knowledge no one put on film a smith to lazar flip until this part, something that came out in 2012. Mariano does other ledge tricks like full 270 flips out of backside tail slides. He skates other types of obstacles well including ollieing out of a wall ride over a gap! I’m amazed just how skating can keep evolving, and it’s skaters like Mariano that keep pushing the boundaries. In the interview I post he states he is 36, and he still innovates.
In 1991 the Blind skate company released ‘Video Days,’ and only being 20 minutes long changed skateboarding. Mark Gonzales, Jason Lee, Rudy Johnson, and Guy Mariano all progressed street skating. In Transworld’s 30 most influential skaters Keith Kirchart said that even though the Mark Gonzales part in the video stood the test of time and is considered the best skate part ever, he as a kid related more to Guy Mariano’s part. I can relate to Kirchart in that when I was a kid seeing a kid do those tricks made me believe I could do the tricks. Watching all the street parts in ‘Video Days’ is cool now, they are all on youtube, and you can find Video Days in its entirety easily enough online. Guy Mariano does switch frontside 360’s, switch frontside shuv-its, noseblunt slides, tre flips, and an assortment of very innovative tricks.
In 1996, Girl skateboards came out with ‘Mouse.’ During that time I was taking a break from skating, so I don’t remember the first hand experience of viewing that video as it came out. But I read enough of the magazines and talk enough talk with skaters to realize that Guy Mariano’s part did have an impact on the way people skate. Watching it on youtube, one does notice that a lot of the tricks are done switch. One could gander that this innovated skating switch in such a way that it’s more fluid and consistent than before. He also skates fast and does a lot of shuv-it variations out of ledge tricks, and that may have been original too.
In 2007 the Lakai shoe company released the much acclaimed skate video, Fully Flared. In this video Guy Mariano had a comeback part. Mariano did not have a skate part for years before the 2007, and came close to ending his career from over partying. His part in Fully Flaired runs 7 minutes and two songs, which is a long time for a skate part. In it he does backside to 270 down sizable handrails, and does some healflip variations out of ledge tricks. Watching it today, I think it was original and added to the skate community. People were stoked on the video Fully Flared and happy to see Guy Mariano back. The new video ‘Pretty Sweet’ almost seems like a continuation and improvement from the skating in Fully Flared. But I think they do stand apart, and both changed the game.
Skating is an interesting sport, because a 13 year old can skate at a very high level. To think that Guy Mariano at age 13 or so can change skating in 1991, and be able to again contribute in 1996, 2007, and 2012 displays skill to say the least. In October in NYC I saw an event Bowl-a-Roma were skaters in the mid forties to fifties skated a pool bowl competitively. Those aging ramp riders are pushing the boundaries on how long people can skate. People of Guy Mariano’s generation including myself invented street skating, and it really is not known how long people can keep at it. Skaters like Guy Mariano, Mike Carroll, Eric Koston, Daewon Song, Ron Allen and numerous others are an inspiration to all of us old dudes. Yes, the skate video Pretty Sweet highlights a lot more younger riders but it still gave the crown of the last part to Guy Mariano and Eric Koston.
Below are four youtube videos of Guy Mariano: Video Days, Mouse, Fully Flared, Ride Channel interview 2012. Pretty Sweet is way too new to be on youtube. Buy it!