Compiling any definitive “Top” list is fairly impossible, considering everyone has different tastes and nobody sees all of the same media nowadays. But we have done our best to compile a list that captures some of the most significant contributors to the underground skate scene from 2018, be it through video parts, magazine interviews and even art and design. There were a lot of victories for the underground this year and for underrepresented communities w/in our little sub-culture of skateboarding. Take a look below and let us know who YOU think should take the USOTY crown for 2018. Or let us know who we forgot. We will make our pick a week from today so make your voice heard and all hail the underground……..
In no particular order, our picks for the candidates of Underground Skater of the Year are:
Mark Huminek - This renowned noseslide connoisseur managed to defy all odds by making some ill-favored tricks look appealing, thanks to his unique style. For evidence, look no further than his Its Time part, featuring the best smith grind kickflip we’ve ever seen.
Glen Fox - To us, “just cruise” means a relaxing push down the street. To Glen Fox, Just Cruise means skating fast, making it up as you’re going and looking like a stone that’s been skipped across the ocean surface. Along with his part in Magenta’s ‘Just Cruise’, Glenn showed up in all kinds of 2018 projects including the Battle of Normandy, the Loophole Wheels video, a new Adidas video as well as creating all kinds of new artwork for Magenta.
Joshua Bos - If you’re not from Upstate New York, “Bos” probably doesn’t mean much to you, but if you’re in the know, the name is synonymous with crusty spots, top-notch trick selection, and productivity. Joshua Bos’s part in Steel (made by his brother, Adam) was one of our favorites all year, and he followed it up with an appearance in Taryn Ward’s Nonsense a few months later.
Steve Brandi - With an eye for the obscure and a signature light-footedness, Steve Brandi took his skating down hallways, into Bronx courtyards, and under grates, all while peppering in rarities like the nollie 180 switch 5-0. And along with some rad print ads, a ground breaking Thrasher interview and his shared part in the Cons x Hopps project, Steve put it down for the underground in 2018.
Josh Wilson - Josh Wilson used Mother as a means to attack every precarious outledge and bump-to-bar in the tristate area (and then some). If that’s all he did in the past year, we’d likely still be talking about him, but he surpassed all of our expectations shortly afterwards with another part in Its Time, impressing Parisians and Brooklynites alike with his speed and pop.
Salomon Cardenas - Not many people could stockpile enough footage to satisfy their board sponsor, their shoe sponsor, their truck sponsor, and their wheel sponsor in a single year. Salomon did so with style, and capped it all with the one of the most compelling arguments for the airfoot we’ve ever seen.
Jacopo Carozzi - If the “Stazione Centrale” part proved anything, it’s that Jacopo Carozzi knows how to blend power and speed into ledge skating. His section in Its Time and his footage in the Battle of Normandy demonstrated his versatility. However, beyond any single accomplishment this year, Jacopo ultimately managed to make skateboarding look very cool in a way very few other people could.
Japhey Dow - It’s easy to forget that entire skate scenes exist in New York beyond the city, but Japhey Dow’s footage is always a nice motivation to plan a trip upstate. His eclectic trick selection and penchant for pop-outs, combined with some of the crustiest of spots, was on display in Taryn Ward’s videos, his Morning Bell part, and Medium Skate Mag’s “A Good Initiative.”
Shane Farber - The Widdip poster boy and Candid Glitter star jumped to the top of everyone’s favorite skater list this summer after breathing new life into the Bellsouth banks, hitting the decades-old spot with frontside roll-ins into the big banks, bigspin backside lipslides past the stairs, and capping it all with a wallride kickflip out down the eight stair.
Nick ‘Buggy’ Ferro - After brief showings in prior Bronze and Matt Velez productions, New Jersey’s finest really came into his own, opening up Its Time by bringing exceptional manual combos to unexpected places and popping out of tall ledges with ease.
Tom Knox - Despite being sidestepped by an ankle injury early in 2018, Tom Knox still had a productive year. If all he did was film one of our favorite lines this year, we’d still be talking about him, but let’s not forget about all his Atlantic Drift feats, his New Balance mini-part (complete with a shoe colorway, to boot) and his appearance at the Dime Glory Challenge.
Pat Gallaher - Unbound by the restrictions of a singular coastal residence, Frog’s inaugural pro stayed busy all year. His heartwarming pro announcement was flanked by a Noah + Frog video release and a shared part in This Door Is A Bucket, all while saving some effort for a part in Skating Is Easy, eked out just after the 2018 cutoff point.
Christian Maalouf - Oftentimes, skaters use big pop as an excuse to rely on a very basic trick selection, or focus on skating a singular type of obstacle. Christian Maalouf is having none of that, as he took his snaps to ledges, fire hydrants, street gaps, and alleyways in 2018. Above all that, he fakie flipped a fucking table!?
Hiroki Muraoka - Hiroki’s skating is a combination of speed, quick reflexes, unique spot selection, and every variation of hippie jump you could imagine, all scattered across Tokyo. His “Tone” part got us psyched to find the strangest bank spots imaginable and try some quick up-and-over ollies. He also graced the cover of Vague mag, had rad clips in the Push “Partial World Tour Video 2” and created a bunch of his own amazing graphics for his Traffic pro boards all year.
Brian Powderly - After the unfortunate demise of The Vacation earlier last year, Baltimore’s Brian Powderly kept us transfixed with footage in the Theories “Patsy” video as well as Pacemaker & Crossover (giving him the distinction of the only dude to be in both 2018 Threads videos) and wrapping up the year in State’s “B&C” video - all with that one-of-a-kind style.
Alexis Sablone - There aren’t many pros whose off-the-board portfolios match their on-the-board accomplishments, making Alexis Sablone a rarity. Sure, we saw her drive, her flick, and her willingness to take a slam in Sir Palmer, but don’t forget about her discussion panel at Pushing Boarders , the skateable sculpture she designed in Malmö or the countless designs and animations she created for WKND Skateboards this year.
Trevor Thompson - After sitting on WKND’s bench for their past few video releases, Trevor Thompson stepped to another level in Sir Palmer, exploring the symbiotic relationship between spot and trick to a depth rarely seen before. Not to mention making some of the strangest combos look almost endearing.
Jahmal Williams - What’s there to say about Jahmal Williams’ skating that hasn’t already been done to death? You already know that his style is aging like a fine wine, that his footage in the HOPPS x Cons project was some of his best to date, and that he’s done a great job running HOPPS. We can’t wait to see what he’s got up his sleeve in the coming year.
So, who’s your vote? And who did we miss? Let us know in the comments!