TOA's Favorite Videos of 2016

We're a tad late on this one.... 

but it's been a busy year so far. But we've finally knocked all of the heads together here in the TOA office to gather our overall favorite videos, video pieces and edits of 2016.

It's become pretty difficult to determine what constitutes a "Video" in this new age of online edits. Every year we try to round up a list of our favorite videos of the year, but after about an hour of deep thought we realize there were only really just a few rad "videos" released and the rest of the stronger releases were all online edits. Overall, what we're looking for is more than just skate footage set to music. A good video project should do something to grab your attention and immerse you in a unique experience. Not always an easy feat in just a 5 minute online edit, but some video makers have managed to do it no matter what length or format they're producing. The following list isn't an attempt to declare the "BEST" videos of the year, only a collection of what we found the most rewatchable and enjoyable projects released. And, considering the difficulty in splitting videos into categories of "online", "full length", etc, all of these pieces are compiled into just one simple list. Love or hate it, these are our top 10 favorites of 2016.

10. "Elan Vital" by Studio Skateboards

Studio is a rad small brand out of Canada that is most likely under your radar. But they've slowly amassed a pretty amazing team and they just released their second full length video on Thrasher late last year. Probably the raddest aspect of this video is the eclectic collection of rippers spanning from Russ Milligan to the smooth, technical skills of Zander Mitchell and down to Chicago powerhouse Brett Weinstein. If you haven't seen Elan Vital, check it out and pay special attention to Brett Weinstein's ripping part and his fabulous David Hasselhoff hair stylings. You won't be disappointed.

9. "Respect" by Deep Dish

Speaking of Chicago, Mark Dunning and the Deep Dish crew in the Windy City have been creating awesome video projects for a while now. Capturing some of the raddest collection of talent around the midwest all set with the backdrop of one of the forgotten jewels of America's urban landscapes, Deep Dish videos never disappoint. And last year's "Respect" was a banger with Brett Weinstein shutting it down with one of the strongest indie video parts of the year. 

8. Bright Moments" by Zach Chamberlain

Zach Chamberlain is not only just an awesome person, but he's arguably one of the best VX-1000 lensman in the game. Navigating San Francisco hills like a playground, Zach's filming already guarantees that this is a video worth adding to your collection. But with an amazing and eclectic line-up of skaters, unique and well chosen music and an epic Ben Gore scooter section, this was one of our best selling dvd's on the TOA web store this year and for good reason.

7. "Threadcleaner" by the Threads Idea Vacuum

Matt Creasy, Alex Rose and Chris Thiessen have created a really original and awesome series with the Threads projects. But they really seemed to find their groove with "Threadcleaner" last year which blew me away with it's editing, subtle humor and excellent musical score. It's also really refreshing to see a solid voice given to the southeastern skate scene and I thought the choice of connecting it to the Long Beach skate scene, via Chris Thiessen was a nice touch. Look for more awesome projects from the Threads crew coming soon. But DEFINITELY watch this video if you haven't already.


6. "The Saturday Project" by Hopps Skateboards

Hopps Skateboards never fails to bring the viewer a good time and a refreshingly new way to see skate edits. And the "Saturday Project" from 2016 was exactly that....a good time and an all new look for the Hopps commercial series. Featuring the full team, this short edit was choc full of some of the smoothest styles in the indie skate scene and had the viewer smiling the whole way through. Always wanting to see more from Hopps and this only whetted our appetite.

5. "Looks OK to Me" by Ben Chadourne for Nike

Not often that we have a Nike edit listed on the TOA site. But this project was exceptionally to our liking just in it's concept of combining two of the most enjoyable plaza skaters to watch, Bobby Worrest and Hjalte Halberg. I don't think I've ever met someone who doesn't like watching either of these guys skate, and getting to watch them both shred Pulaski was a treat. Ben Chadourne did a good job filming and editing this project....we were a LITTLE chapped by the choice to use Resse Forbes' "Underachievers" video part song, but we understood that it was an homage, so we let it slide.

4. "Who's to Say" by WKND Skateboards

WKND has been killing it with both their edits and instagram content as a whole. Doing one of the best jobs of combining humor, skits and raw skateboarding in a way that actually isn't annoying. And their team seems to actually street skate LA better than pretty much any crew as a whole as of late. The new promo video "Who's to Say" does a solid job of providing as close to a full length skate video experience, in a short 11 minute online edit. With great music, awesome spots, dope styles and a jaw dropping Austin Gylette part, this was a top notch online release.

3. "GX-1000" by Ryan Garshell

What's left to really say about this video? We all knew that it would be incredible and it really delivered. Ryan Garshell's filming might just be the best in the business and his crew of street pirates really know how to use a city for filming a skate video. The simplicity of the editing really worked at showcasing the skating and, man, what a line-up of talent. Even the graffiti vignettes made sense and helped provide a consistent theme throughout. Possibly the most re-watchable video of the year, this was a perfect dvd to watch before going out skating for the day. Always a true test of a solid video.

2. "Spirit Quest" by Colin Read

This video will be one of the most memorable skate videos of the decade. And that's quite a testament for a skate video in the new millenium where most videos are forgotten w/in a week. Colin Read triumphed with this video and what must have been untold months of editing work putting this incredible project together. The only downside of this video was it's length, as this concept-heavy project would've been even more powerful in a slightly more condensed format. But I don't think I've ever laughed harder or more consistently while watching any other skate video and I would say that it was one of the most enjoyable skate premieres I've ever attended. Spirit Quest is an incredible piece of work it's amazing that this was a fully independent project. Considering some of the other huge, big budget videos that came out in 2016 and how they still don't hold a candle to the entertainment value or originality of Spirit Quest. 

1. "I Like it Here Inside My Mind Don't Wake Me This Time" by Polar Skate Co.

It's been so long since this video premiered that it's hard to believe it came out in 2016. But it was such a masterpiece that it is equally as relevant and powerful still 1 year later. It's no secret that Pontus Alv is a great filmmaker. His work in "Strongest of the Strange" and "In Search of the Miraculous" proved that. But this first full length video by Polar Skate Co is on a whole other level and it is without question in our mind that this was THE video of the year. And not only in it's obvious artistic dominance over everything else released in 2016, but also in it's symbolic representation of the schism that has occurred in the skateboard industry and the impact that the indie, skater owned brand movement has had worldwide. "I like it here inside my mind" has everything I look for in a video....originality, incredible unique music, artistic brilliance, powerful skateboarding, inventive and unique spots and a mystique that grabs your attention and pulls you completely out of reality and into another world. This video and Spirit Quest sit on a shelf all their own in 2016 as not only being undeniably the most incredible videos of the year but also being beacons of the indie movement, setting unbelievable new standards for future filmmakers to aspire to. Pontus Alv and Colin Read gave everything, every last drop of energy and emotion for these videos and you can see and feel it. And THAT is what makes a great skate video. A video that has an almost paranormal impact over you and you leave the theater feeling changed, inspired and energized by the vision of the filmmaker. And that's what these videos achieved. 



And, finally, we have to note that our one stand out pick for video part of the year has to go to Dane Brady for his part in Polar's "I like it here inside my mind". It may seem redundant at this point to compliment the Polar video any further, but Dane's part captured the magic that we've all been chasing ever since that first skate video grabbed our imagination back when we were just little skate rats. From the hilarious intro, to the incredible inventiveness of Dane's spot choices, his style and creativity down to the perfect pick for a song that would reignite that feeling of the freedom of being a skateboarder, The Cry's "Alone", this part was the defining part of the video for us and in turn, it gets our pick as our favorite of the year.