Anthony Van Engelen: Working like a wave.
Many skatanaylsts find that the skate industry enforces a ‘kill it or be killed off’ policy; however, this deduction is not 100% accurate. There are drifters that maintain careers based upon image or reputation rather than pure pushing (not everyone takes the righteous retirement path, Kirchart). Even with an astounding influx of young blood, there are legends still capable of dropping jaws. These hard-working radicals might momentarily disappear, only to later resurface, bolstering footage to justify a second-coming.* Anthony Van Engelen is not one to simply ride the glory days; he works to uphold his reputation.
There is no suitable place to begin this ode to AVE. Feedback? Photosynthesis? Where does Jason Dill fit? Guy Mariano? What is happening to the Workshop? That’s the one…
Heath Kirchart walked out on top; Kalis walked for his image; Berra got the boot for going mainstream.** AVE, Dill and Dyrdek are what’s left of the old-school. Of them, only AVE seems to have a clear head.
Now, back to the classics… Anthony Van Engelen put a lot of spots on the map, east coast and west. His line at Venice Beach in Photosynthesis remains iconic. There is also AVE’s slaughter of Phillies’ Love Park and a tailslide on Upper Manhattan’s black hubba (of growing infamy). Indeed, early AVE had a huge impact on street skating, combining power and switch… And all of this unfolded before the monumental DC Video.
Sporting longer locks and a backwards cap, AVE pulled out all the stops and pushed his style seemingly to the limit in DC’s self-titled mega-video. He thoroughly defended his mastery of the switch frontside crooks and took technical grinds to great lengths. In recent conversation, Dill tagged this part as his favorite of AVE’s, accrediting him with the greatest manual trick Love Park has ever seen.***
At length, the topic of legends-at-the-top-of-their-game returns…Mindfield. Alien’s most recent “video collage” was capped by two-killer parts. In AVE’s section, he stayed true to his blue-collar, thrills and spills skating. Returning to these antics, he dropped an over-the-top nosegrind at an old NYC rail. Still more impressive, AVE kept it real with switch galore and some gnarly fakie grinds. Truthfully, this part picks up right where the DC video left off, no doubt.
AVE. You have the best chin in skateboarding.**** That’s about that.
*Guy Mariano surfaces here, postscript. AVE and Guy go way back (Venice Beach, rock-bottom to cleaned-up OG).
**Maybe it’s up river.
***Switch manny to switch tre? Definitely.
****Sorry, Josh Harmony.