By Daniel Fedkenheuer
Every time the skateboarding world sees a new video clip of Aaron “Jaws” Homoki plummeting off another mind-numbingly high roof or of Shane O’Neill effortlessly throwing down a video game-like NBD, the generally accepted boundary for human possibility on a skateboard is notched ever upward. As such, those who look on from below are forced to try to make sense of their place in a community where the accolades for “biggest” and “most technical” seem to already be taken. While some take it upon themselves to challenge the giants and capture the biggest drops, most technical combinations and highest amounts of prize money, there exists another important end of the spectrum.
On this end, through the guise of Instagram usernames and minute-long video clips, we have come to know a growing collective of skateboarders that are making fantastic strides in the way of creativity and are furthering their own sets of boundaries for innovation and technicality. Although their unique skills may not lead them to the bright lights of the next stop on the Street League tour, they have led many of today’s most talented skateboarders to a garbage-filled loading dock somewhere in Los Angeles for the inaugural season of Xtreme Videos’ popular new web series, Trashin. Debuting in late 2017, Trashin saw overnight success as it’s first season received over one and a half million collective views on Facebook. To catch up with some of the folks behind the madness, we got a hold of Director & Editor, Sean Marin along with viral sensations William Spencer and Eric Cummins for their take on how it all went down.
When asked of the show’s beginnings, Marin explained how “The concept of the show was really a brain child of the team work from XTreme Video, a reputable leader in the action sports industry, and Richie Jackson. It came together when Facebook was on the hunt for Action Sports content to air on their Facebook Watch pages and they saw Xtreme Video’s production slate, which had Trashin, and Facebook jumped on it. After that, it was Richie and XTreme’s amazing in house producers Heather Garrow and Nathalie D’Haucourt, who really helped dial in the Trashin series concept.” After this, Marin was recruited to use his background in sports films and skateboarding to put the concept into action and add some design flare along the way. “We really wanted the whole series not only to be focused on the skater’s, giving them the best chance to create and land stuff, but we wanted the feel of everything to be “retro” 80’s and an homage to the 1986 film Thrashin. I’d also be lying if I didn’t say that I was deeply influenced by the Stranger Things series I had just binged watched on Netflix” Marin added.
From there, the people’s champ, Richie Jackson, took over as the show’s host and explained to viewers the method behind the madness they were about to see unfold. His concept was simple: skate the Trash on set in the most creative way possible in two round contest, consisting of Best Trick and Best Line. This way, Jackson’s voice as the modern day godfather of creative skateboarding could be exercised to name the winner of Best Line while the Facebook audience was able to stay engaged through choosing the winner of Best Trick each week. To the tune of $800, a hand-picked cast of some of the world’s best underground skaters were invited to rearrange the elements of their surrounds in any way they thought would compliment their unique styles of skating best. After a few parting words of inspiration, “the skateboarder’s skate competition” as it was dubbed, was underway.
Over the course of five episodes, each thoroughly filled with hammers, the Facebook audience got to witness nonconventional skateboarding performed by those who know the terrain best. Though Concrete Wave will not drop the names of the big winners here, we assure you that the shredding that went down is a sight to me marveled at firsthand. You can check out the first season on Facebook here
Amongst the notable standouts selected to partake, William Spencer and Eric Cummins were both selected to the finale episode and both had great things to say about the experience. First and foremost, the pair each claimed that the freedom of the contest was one of the defining aspects that made the experience more enjoyable than any other contest that had been a part of in the past. To Cummins, he noted how “Other contests I’ve skated have the obstacles already set and in place. You can’t move anything around, they all have had time limits and you only get a few chances or runs and that’s it. During Trashin you could move and build stuff and try as many times as you like!”
At the same time, Williams told us “I think Trashin, from it’s very inception by Mr. Jackson, has been a cry for something different, something new, and most of all, something as creative at it could possibly be, for being a contest that is. Competing as it were in this “contest” has been nothing like what you might expect when people throw the word around. It is in fact best case scenario in my opinion.” As Williams went on, he praised the way that the Trashin crew placed little constraint on the time and space needed for him to work his magic. In the process of building his features, he delighted in getting the choice to select what type of obstacles he would be judged on and the crew’s leniency on how exactly his entries for Best Trick and Best Line were considered. As such, Williams also hailed the filmers’ realistic approach to operating the cameras just as if they were filming a video in the streets and the ensuing collaboration with backup filmers to get the right mix of action and storytelling shots.
Another standout component that both mentioned was the inspiring, yet laid-back atmosphere of skating amongst some of the most creative minds in skateboarding today. They agreed that time granted to figure their approaches out combined with the hype that came with skating amongst new friends led to a happy medium of both comfort and high energy. To comment on skating in the presence of his competitors, Williams claimed, “I was so happy to meet those guys and to put personalities to such skillful skating and remarkable drive to create newness in skating. They rule. I was beside myself in awe of how many fantastic tricks they came up with and got done in so short a time.”
In the end, both Cummins and Spencer both thanked “The Featch” himself for selecting them to take part in the first season. In Cummins’ own words he said, “I really am just so grateful to have been a part of Trashin, met Richie Jackson, and skated alongside so many amazing skateboarders.” As for Williams he said, “I am so flattered and grateful to Richie for asking me to be a part of it. I can’t thank the filmer’s enough for their patience, time, energy and just generalized encouraging words they always gave along the way in the filming process. You know who you are Mike, Holden, Garrett, Troy and Hunter.”
As for the future of the series, Sean Marin chimed back in to tell us that he is unable to confirm nor deny the possibility for a reboot. However, he was quick to add that with the continued watching and sharing of Trashin, the possibility of another season of one of the most engaging contests in skateboarding today is open.