Vans – Alright, OK

I was meant to post about this last week, but then I wrote a ridiculous post about Independent removing their logo from their baseplates. Anyway, I wanted to write a little bit about Vans’ new 20 minute web edit “Alright, OK”, starring Gilbert Crockett and Elijah Berle. There are a few reasons for this: mainly wanting to write more about rad videos I’ve seen online, but also because this video is great. 

Between Instagram and Youtube, it’s hard to keep up with all of the new, awesome stuff online. “Alright, OK” popped up on Youtube last Monday, so even in the grand scheme of the internet, the video is now old (such is the cruel mistress that is the internet). But, I’m stoked on it, so whatever: I’m going to write up some stuff either way. And, if you missed this golden slice of stellar skateboarding, hopefully this will entice you into giving it a watch.

The video, which comes from filming legend Greg Hunt (who produced Vans’ first ever full-length video Propeller), takes a polished, well-crafted full-length video approach and focuses it with laser precision on the aforementioned Vans riders Crockett and Berle, with some cameo appearances by Justin Henry. Henry has a few choice moves in his handful of clips, boosting over benches to manual and tackling some of the hefty gaps that the other riders also conquer in the video.

Both of the headline skaters here have a dedicated, extended full part each, spanning multiple songs. The quality holds up throughout the 18 minute runtime, with some mind-blowing tricks being put down, and some sure-fire NBDs.

Gilbert Crockett / Kickflip Back Tail / Photo by Thomas Goldman

Gilbert Crockett holds down the first part. Some of the highlights of Crockett’s part for me are a gap to 5-0 grind on a handrail (in what I think is the inside of an abandoned or closed convention center), hanging on for dear life on a Front Feeble, and skating a rooftop Euro gap that looks like a THPS level. 

As mentioned earlier, Justin Henry pops up to skate some of the spots occasionally, and the mammoth THPS style Euro gap mentioned above gets a good seeing too from him as well. It’s the kind of spot that just looks like it came out of a video game: massive, mega-ramp style roll-in to huge kicker/euro gap. It’s a really weird thing to see in the street and seeing any trick up this thing is impressive.

Crockett’s quick-footed skating, combined with his superhuman boosted ollies, create some awesome sequences in his part – A huge switch ollie over a mailbox crops up very early on, and sets the tone for the high jump inspired shenanigans that follow. One of my personal favourite bits was a tricky line where he ollies up a bench, ollies to another bench, and then ollies from that bench over a shoulder high rail to drop. 

Near the end of his part, Crockett boosts himself over an armco barrier into a steep ditch, fighting to control an ollie over an inconveniently placed little stream almost straight after. All of this high pop business gave me serious flashes of the late, great Keith Hufnagel. It’s seriously rad stuff. 

When did Elijah Berle turn into Marlon Brando? The skateboarding corner of the internet has been ablaze with talk of this dude’s physical appearance and outfits in this part for the last week, and I think it might have distracted people from the fact that Elijah Berle is a pure street destroying beast. I’m not much of a street skater, and it takes a very specific type of skater to get me stoked to go head out to street spots – but this part very much made me wanna hit up Cov City Centre and bomb the roads.

Cruising around with an aggressive, forceful style, whilst performing some amazingly technical tricks, Berle spends his part channeling Jason Adams and Dylan Reider. There’s a fantastic selection of street tricks on show here, with a dash of transition shredding to keep things interesting.

Some of the highlights in this part are definitely a bonkers ollie over a handrail into a wall made of rocks, a nosegrind tailgrab in a legit pool, and a backside 360 over a handrail into a bank. Truth be told, I could list every trick Berle does in this part and describe them as mind-blowing. He spends this part grafting and fighting for some hefty, burly tricks, and also innovates in some surprisingly technical ways.

The second song in his part is set to a Roy Orbison track that I had on a wishlist of potential songs I might one day use for my next (and most likely, final) full part. The fact that Greg Hunt and Elijah Berle have used it so effectively and beautifully here makes me feel rather inadequate: I’d never be able to do it justice, and it should be used for a part as epic and gnarly as this.

When I really think about the tricks that left my jaw on the floor, the first to come to mind is that clip of Berle doing the double pole jam 5050 up two handrails, round the back of a street sign, that’s been shared again and again over the last week all over Insta. The second is potentially the longest Overcrook I have ever seen on a handrail (seriously, it feels like it’s never going to end). 

The third, and final, is the last trick in the video – so spoiler warning ahead, if you want to keep that as a surprise. The long-ass Overcrook Elijah Berle does earlier in his part can only be topped by the Nosegrind Nollie Flip out he does to cap it all off. The handrail he does this on isn’t nearly as long as the Overcrook one, but it’s still a long rail. 

Any trick on this thing would be impressive, but flipping out at the end just takes the cake. Berle hits this thing with such speed, and inhumanly warps the board into a nollie flip on the way out of the nosegrind. It’s such a technically wondrous trick, and is a real “What The Actual Fuck” moment, that it had to be the last trick in this video. Hats off to Elijah Berle.

Speaking of which: If anyone knows where he gets his clothes from, let me know. Dude’s got a badass look.

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