In the case of legendary British expat, now San Francisco-based Richard Hart (just recently interviewed on the Magenta website here), it is hard to decide on whether the use of ”rumors” or “rumours” would be the most appropriate ; regardless of said spelling issue, it is a fact that some of them about a certain project of his had been floating around online for a little while, under the form of subtle hints being dropped here and there in interviews or on personal websites that – alas – only the most eager of modern skateboarding junkies would dare to bring themselves to frequent.
Word on the streets made that project sound promising enough to make any true skate nerd’s mouth water – at the now discernable perspective of a possible unseen, full Ocean Howell part (dating back to the early-to-mid 2000′s iPath hype, at that) eventually surfacing, if anything.
And now, finally, here it is, available for everyone to order (although in limited numbers) straight from the man himself (see his Plaitford Productions website for details). Also, by the time this article will be up, the video is probably already streamable on the Live Skateboard Media website as well, along with an accompanying interview, including exclusive photos.
(watch the video here, and read said in-depth interview on Richard’s website here !)
For those of you still wondering what the fuss is all about, Rich breaks it down on the Ride Channel website :
“Howard House was a dark, dank cavern in a desolate corner of S.F. which lasted a few years—late ‘90s to early ‘00s—and many people lived there at some point, notably Doug Saenz, Kenny Reed, Paul Urich, Patrick O’Dell, Simon Evans, and more [...].
“Those were messy times: in our 20s with few responsibilities and cheap rent. The house got pretty trashed—the fire escape collapsed at one [point]. The video, however, was all shot during mid-2003 to early 2004, when I got a little shitty camcorder with mini-death-lens for my camera bag. If I was shooting a photo and no one was filming, I’d hand it to someone.”
Its author’s inspiring humility aside, the video is now out there and happens to feature clips of (in order of appreance, and not limited to) Steve Nesser, Clint Peterson, Olly Todd, Will Harmon, Shawn Connolly, Keith Hufnagel, Tony Manfre, Nate Jones, Simon Evans, Richard Hart himself, Kenny Reed, Tony Cox, Chris Pulman, Benjamin Deberdt (!), Alex Castañeda, Jose Noro, Enrique Lorenzo, our very own Soy Panday, Joey Brezinski, Joey Crack, Jon Newport, Satva Leung, Toby Shuall, Paul Shier, Justin Strubing ; in addition to ending with the aforementioned instant classic that is a never-before-seen, full Ocean Howell part, in which he just blazes through the streets of San Francisco and Barcelona, displaying his very specific, timeless style in the process.
Younger skaters, who might not be aware of Ocean’s past glory – let alone familar with his contribution to the history of our subculture as a whole - should be encouraged to check out some of his older footage, if only for inspiration’s sake. Ocean is a great example of a skateboarder who naturally went for a more technical approach to his art, yet never settled for a purely trick-based practice and always made sure to keep it flowing, regardless of how difficult the manoeuvers he would choose to perform were (and still are, even to this day) commonly judged as.
As a whole, Ocean was a well-needed breath of fresh air in the early 1990′s, where multiple flips and overly complex curb dancing combos were all the rage, more often than not at the expense of style ; tricks had become so hard - and so important to document - that the whole notion of body language in skateboarding altogether was thrown out of the window, as sole essential complexity became the primary focus of many for a couple of years.
Back then, Ocean would shine not just for his obvious abilities when it came to awkward tricks, strange flips and intense skateboard rotations, but also (and mostly) due to his apparent relaxed state, all the while consistently, successfully pulling off those silly exploits in a very natural-looking manner that many didn’t have back then. According to many, more-or-less underground sources, his seemingly carefree prowess wasn’t limited to the sole art of skateboarding either – but that’s another set of notorious stories that probably shouldn’t be brought up on here, and take away from the main topic : the imminent public release of a bundle of decade-old video clips immortalizing some of history’s best skateboarders doing what they do best, as a beautifully crafted full-length video piece (10 mins) put together by the man, Richard Hart himself.
So, do yourself a favor and treat yourself with a copy of the DVD (ordering details here), set up a fresh Rich guest artist board before Christmas while you are at it, and subsequently go explore around on our favorite useless wooden toy, as depicted throughout those captivating ten minutes of video running time !