Raise your hand if you like GIFs? I know I do, especially when they are skate GIFs. It's like taking a sequence out of a print magazine and giving it some life. There are a bunch of skate GIFs floating around the internet, but if you want the best you have to seek out the best and you can find those guys in Street League and the Street League at X Games' Select Series. There have been some incredible tricks landed during competition and during practice this season, so here are 8 to study, with a little bit of background info on the moment. Once you're done with that, set a reminder on your phone to check out the Street League at X Games in Los Angeles this week from Thursday to Saturday, so you that you can see more tricks like these, live.
Reggie Altema is a Haitian writer from New Jersey who grew up obsessed with music and skateboarding but despised east coast winters, so the former
Trick: Double 360 flip
During Portland's Street League Finals earlier this month, Australian Shane O'Neill wasn't doing all that great having only landed 3 of 11 trick attempts in the final two sections. But on his last attempt he definitely landed the most serious trick of the entire season, a switch double tre flip. If you just watch the board do a double 360 degree rotation you'll understand why he got a 9.9, which tied him for the highest score in Street League history.
Trick: half cab flip nose manual nollie frontside flip
Brazilian Luan Oliveira is like a crafty magician on a skateboard, and I asked his Nike SB teammate Ishod Wair how often he is impressed by Oliveira's skating and he said, "Everyday." The reason I asked is because at every stop I heard that Oliveira had been killing it in practice -- the whole season. There's no pressure during practice and no money on the line, so it's easy for him to land a really technical flip-in flip-out line like this one. I wish we could see more of that magic in the finals.
Trick: nollie flip crooked grind late flip
Portland was Street League's Nike stop because of the proximity to their headquarters and the entire course was had Nike's animal print -- so it was Rodriguez's time to shine. He won the stop, but this trick comes from practice. Last year though, in Newark, NJ during the championship while Hurricane Irene was raging he did the same trick. Every time he lands this he gives the people something to remember -- a late flip out of a crooked grind. What makes this trick so great is that it illustrates Rodriguez's dexterity and talent. He nollie flipped into the crooked grind using his left foot and then popped out of the grind with his right foot and used that same foot to flip his board when it looked like there wasn't really any way or time to flip it. Crazy.
Trick: nollie half cab backside crooked grind
This is another trick from practice in Munich that we can chalk up to Oliveira's amazing skills. On a bump to rail he goes up the bump doing nollie half cab and then does a backside crooked grind on the rail and makes it look effortless.
Trick: Backside nosegrind nollie flip
Belgian skater Youness Amrani was really on one in Munich and you sort of need to be to make it out of the Select Series. That's the part of the contest at every Street League at X Games where the one skater who wins has a shot at taking on the big dogs in the prelims the next day. Amrani did this backside nosegrind nollie flip during a run, so it was in the middle of a sequence of tricks he was doing while riding around the entire course hitting different obstacles. That's why it's impressive.
Trick: Nollie heel noseslide
Ask anyone who knows him and they'll tell you Ryan Decenzo is crazy. There's not much he can't do on a skateboard and not much he won't attempt. When your repertoire features big tricks on big obstacles, you tend to skate stairs and hubbas like they're little boxes. So that's why he makes this nollie heel noseslide at the Select Series in Munich look so clean.
Trick: 360 flip 50/50
You know those last second, game winning shot situations? That's what Street League is going for with their contest format and we've seen Nyjah Huston steal one from Paul Rodriguez this way, but in Munich Chris Cole had one last chance to take it all and he did with this awesome 360 flip to 50/50 grind on the hubba.
Trick: Switch Varial heelflip
Evan Smith is a skater's skater and having him in the Select Series has been awesome. He's been able to finish in the top six at just about every stop by dropping hammers like this one. Here in Munich notice the board's rotation and then look at how perfectly his feet catch it before landing. His feet are right on the bolts making this a textbook switch varial heelflip.