By Paul Zitzer – Part Two (click here if you missed the first installment)
To keep things simple, let’s just call it the year 2000 and event organizers and sponsors pull their heads out of the sand and have a look around. And what do you know? They see one million little whippersnappers skating transitions all of a sudden, maybe more, and they realize for the first time in a long time that maybe there’s something to all this bowl nonsense. So they start getting involved. Fast forward to today and Rune Glifberg has a signature shoe and his schedule is booked from here through Christmas with bowl event after bowl event, like The Pro Tec Pool Party, the Oregon Trifecta series, Coastal Carnage and The Bondi and Wellington Bowl a Ramas to name a few. The X Games read the writing on the vert wall and introduced a bowl comp in 2008, which they disguised as a Superpark for some reason, and even Bucky Lasek, a vert skater since the word go decided against building a backyard ramp and instead opted to dig down and pour concrete (see pic above).
Rune Glifberg at Bondi Bowl
Now, a good ten years into this second round of bowl hype we have a whole new generation of sponsored ams and pros that have come up on the strength of their transition skills, something that hadn’t really happened since ’89, with names like Brent Atchley, Tom Remillard, Raven Tershay, Ben Raybourn, Kevin Kowalski, etc, and they’re from all over the country and the world.
Ben Raybourn, frontside boneless during Bondi Bowl-a-Rama
Today, two of the best bowl rippers around hail from different continents and wildly different backgrounds, but both grew up with cement in their backyards. Pedro Barros is from Brazil and can go 20 feet off the Mega and can skate cement like a demon possessed. Grant Taylor is from Atlanta and can ollie double sets to 50-50 when he’s not making 12-foot cement monsters look like kiddy pools. Throw these two in the same bowl and what you get is the ultimate convergence of differing styles and techniques coming together on common ground that is more than likely a pale shade of grey and leads to a foot and a half of solid vert.
Pedro Barros (l) and Grant Taylor (r) at Bondi
Today the moves being done in bowls are taken just as heavily from street skating as they are from vert. Frontside boneless ones, inverts, and lipslides on one hand, kickflips, nosegrinds, and the occasional flip out on the other. And for some reason the only moves that really seem to count are the ones being done padless.
Daniel Cardone, frontside stalefish at Wellington Bowl-a-Rama
Watch a pipsqueak like Curren Caples manhandling massive transitions and what you’ll see is approximately 30 years of skate evolution packed into every run, with kickflip frontside disasters and frontside nosegrinds with that nollie out flare, plus pure style moves like frontside stalefishes and frontside airs with a Tony Alva knee tuck knee straight out of ’79–only ten times higher. To make a long story short, if you want to make moves in skateboarding these days you’d be well advised to figure out how to pump around a corner or two.
Curren Caples, kickflip frontside air at Bondi Bowl-a-Rama