I love a good tour video. The excitement of the open road, a new park every day, the holiday buzz combined with none stop stoke of a crew exploring every spot and park they can find. Tour videos purposefully have a very different style to the lavishly produced, planned and meticulously crafted promo videos board companies usually put out: usually raw, disorganised (or structured by location rather than full parts from skaters), hilariously unpredictable and documenting a week or two of hectic rushing around as extremely talented skateboarders bust out tricks at demos. They are the closest you can get to hanging out with your favourite pro skaters for a week, short of scoring a place in their tour van. Here are my Top 5 videos of this niche genre. – Ade
5. Krux “Feeling It”
I know I said these videos were a bit rough and ready, but Krux’s 2008 tour video “Feeling It” is pretty expertly put together by tour video standards. Filmed beautifully, with a dream-like, cinematic style, and set to a playlist of 80’s pop music which elegantly blends from one track to the next, it shows the Krux team tearing up demos and street spots on a non-stop trip of the globe. Featuring some ballsy skating from Louie Barletta, Caswell Berry and Silas Baxter Neal, amongst the rest of the Krux team from the era, it combines great spur of the moment skating with amazing visual style.
4. Stereo “Way Out East”
Before Jason Lee was the guy from My Name Is Earl, or was in films with Tom Cruise, he was a pro skater with some heavy clout. After appearing in Blind’s Video Days, and helping to popularise the 360 flip as a mainstay of the modern street skater’s trick bag, he started Stereo Skateboards in 1992 with Chris “Dune” Pastras. Showcasing skateboarding against a backdrop of jazz music and artsy filming.
The company had a hiatus at the end of the 90’s, but returned in 2004 with a tour video called “Way Out East”. This showed the brand new Stereo team (including Benny Fairfax, Olly Todd and Clint Peterson) shredding spots in New York, London and Paris on a trip that coincided with art shows run by Dune and Lee.
There were some great tricks in that video, but the one that sticks out in my mind is a signature tre flip from Jason Lee on a steep bit of Parisian architecture. If you see the after credits sequence from Alvin & The Chipmunks 2 where he has to intentionally slip on a skateboard, just watch this 360 flip to wash the bad taste of that movie out of your brain, and remind yourself that he can actually ride a skateboard phenomenally well.
Compared to the raw, punk rock videos of the era, Way Out East communicated the spontaneous nature of a tour, whilst remaining chilled out, and never losing the aesthetic of the brand that it was representing.
3. Vans UK “Are We There Yet?”
The Vans UK team in the mid 2000’s was amazing, headed by team manager Nic Powley (who was as much of a likeable and entertaining character as the shredders on the team). The team embarked on the 2007 “Are We There Yet?” tour, documented in this video by Straight To Video and This N That creator Andy Evans.
Evans is, in many ways, someone who sums up the daft and silly nature of skateboarding in a way only a British filmer could: his videos have a fun, Beano-like quality to them, designed to make you laugh at the British-ness of the skateboarders in them, as much as wowed by their fantastic skateboarding.
“Are We There Yet?” embodies the UK skateboarding road trip in a way that no other video can, making it relatable to those of us who grew up hurtling down the M1 to skate old, shit skateparks built by Bendcrete.
2. Black Label “Label Live”
Label Live is a fantastically paced US tour video from 2003, made by Black Label. Off the back of their phenomenal full length video “Blackout”, the team headed out on the road to perform demos and seek out obscure spots to destroy all over the US. The video features small “mini-parts” highlighting each team member’s best tricks of the tour interspersed with the demo footage.
It’s a nice blend of a full length and tour video. The vibe is so high energy, so rad and so contagious that it’s impossible to watch this video without being stoked, and wanting to hit the road yourself. Featuring legends like (my favourite skater at the time) Ragdoll, Jason Adams, Patrick Melcher and Chet Childress shredding, the video was proof that Black Label are one of the best, most underrated board companies going.
1. Anti-Hero/Girl “Beauty and the Beast” (The Beast Cut)
No offense to Spike Jonze, who is a fantastic director and has made some of the best skate videos of all time, but out of the Jonze-helmed Beauty cut, and the P-Stone helmed Beast cut of the Anti Hero and Girl 2009 tour, P-Stone’s cut wins out for me.
This tour video inspired my own “Sittin’ On The Toilet” road trip and video, and features an unforgettable, varied and bizarre soundtrack: “1980” by Dirt Nasty is a banger, and there’s a section set to RV Sales Video bloopers (seeing Trujillo, Gerwer, Koston and McCrank shredding whilst some dude exclaims “fuckin’ flies, we got flies in here, WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?” cracks me up).
The tour itself has the two teams visiting some of America’s wildest concrete waves, with surprise transition skills from the street focused Girl team, and a whole section dedicated to a time trial round a small, fast concrete park in the middle of the woods. In this section, Spike Jonze stacks it trying to blast round a tight corner, and an injury stricken John Cardiel can be seen beginning to find his feet again with both teams whooping as he pumps each corner, all set to Sandstorm by Darude.
The video is full of skits, spontaneous comedic events and post skate evening antics which perfectly embody the perfect skate trip. It’s edited with P-Stone’s trademark zero fucks given attitude, with equal prominence given to coping smashing bangers, and sketchy, daft tricks performed whilst holding a beer. It’s an almost perfect video for me, and neither of the two follow up videos were able to top the formula that made the original B&TB an instant classic.