Nothing against Tyshawn Jones, but I don’t think he should be Thrasher’s Skater Of The Year for 2022.
Now I’ve got your attention with some clickbait, let me explain. Tyshawn Jones is a master of the art form of skateboarding, he is a powerhouse, he charges at street spots and tackles them with such skill that he is absolutely an all time great. That’s the issue though: we already know that, because he has previously won Skater Of The Year.
Jones was crowned Thrasher’s SOTY back in 2018. Back then he was absolutely deserving of the title and since then his legacy has been cemented even further with amazing video parts, never been done tricks and a coveted spot on the roster of a Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater game. He is, for all intents and purposes, a modern legend and Thrasher have already confirmed that once before.
Basically: I don’t think you should be eligible for Skater Of The Year if you have previously won it. I didn’t agree with Danny Way or Chris Cole winning twice (the only other skaters to do so in the history of the award) and I don’t agree with Tyshawn winning it twice. The reason for this is that it kinda shit’s on every other hard working pro skater who puts in the effort to release amazing video parts and get themselves noticed as a legitimate force in skateboarding.
There were 3 other finalists in the mix who have never won SOTY: T-Funk, Louie Lopez and Nyjah Huston. All 3 are totally amazing on a skateboard, and all 3 have followed very different paths this year to get their name noticed and thrown into the mix. Louie Lopez has been a bit of a fan favourite for many years, slowly building up to this moment at the prime of his professional career and bringing a lot of surprising, solid tricks to a huge variety of terrain: now was the time for him to reach legend status.
T-Funk has been a constant explosion of fresh, wild street skating that makes him the left field oddball choice, and honestly this guy was my personal choice. Every time I see Funkhauser skate he does something that I feel pushes the boundaries of what is possible on a skateboard, and not in the robotic “I’m going to do a perfect Kickflip Krooked down a 20 stair handrail” way, but by doing insane, weird, nut-job tricks that on relatable everyday obstacles, as well as hitting the most inventive, absolutely craziest, nerve-shattering spots that no sane person would even consider.
Complicating the list, you have Nyjah Huston. Nyjah has battled a bit of an image problem, constantly hounded by allegations of sexual assault (which he addressed in his latest interview with Thrasher), and trying to escape the shadow of his more mainstream contest skating image to re-position himself as a proper core skater – aiming to finally grab himself long overdue acceptance from skateboarding’s Bible.
There was no doubt about it that these 3 skaters were SOTY material. There was no doubt that they were as good as Tyshawn Jones. There was no doubt that these 3 skaters were legends in their own right. What sucks is that instead of giving the spotlight to one of these skaters, Thrasher handed it to a former SOTY winner. Jones is at the peak of his game, he already has the respect and admiration of core skaters, and there was never any doubt that he was going to go on to do amazing things after he was crowned SOTY in 2018. Handing him the award again just feels unnecessary.
There are several SOTY winners who have pushed themselves as much as Tyshawn and not got the deuce – and the list of previous winners contains bonafide legends who easily could have bagged another win. It just seems that Thrasher’s rules for how the winner is decided is somewhat random and, as many are pointing out, is a bit if a popularity contest. When previous winners can come along and throw down enough footage to wipe out everyone else, it becomes less about being an award designed to celebrate modern skateboarding, and more about keeping shit the same.
Ultimately, I get that it’s Thrasher’s decision, and I’m a little dumb skateboard blog with no real sway. I’m not gonna sit here and act like the rules behind SOTY are some sacred law that Thrasher isn’t sticking to, and at no point did Thrasher stipulate that Skater Of The Year was a one and done “Hall of fame” type deal. It’s just a personal opinion that not treating it that way makes it all a bit shit (as well as the continued trend of women who are incredibly good at skateboarding receiving nothing more than an initial nomination and never getting anywhere near the finalists ladder). If SOTY doesn’t have any rules other than “the winner is the skater a group of dudes at Thrasher liked this year”, and not “we are recognising an all time legend and adding them to the list of other legends”, then why does it matter?