Photo: Transworld Cover – May 2013
Skater: Silas Baxter-Neal
Trick: Frontside 50-50 Gap 50-50
Footage: Transworld, “Perpetual Motion” (2013)
Silas Baxter-Neal on the trick, from Transworld’s “Interview: Silas Baxter-Neal” (2014):
“So then May 2012 issue was the 50-gap-50 from Perpetual Motion. I know you did that whole behind the cover deal but how was that one in a nutshell? Had you seen that one Gonz attempt at it in the old Real video?
I remembered having seen that a long, long time ago in Kicked Out of Everywhere (’99). Then I had been looking at that spot a bunch because it’s right by my house. I would walk my dog past there every day or drive past when I was trying to get my kid to fall asleep. At first I just looked at it as a really big double set. The rail is really mellow so I was thinking maybe you could gap out to the second one. Then one day I was driving around with Brennan (the Habitat TM/filmer) and showed it to him and he was the first person to suggest maybe trying to grind to grind it. So it was kind of his idea at first and he put the seed in my head. At first I think he was just fucking around, joking about it but I kept walking or driving by it and just looking at it, thinking “Possibly, possibly, possibly…” Finally one day Brennan was like, “Hey, if you’re not going to do it I think I’m going to get (Mark) Suciu up here to do it.” Suciu had just done that grind to grind on that red and blue flat bar in Puerto Rican Park in Philadelphia.
That’s rad. Suciu put the heat on it.
(Laughs.) Yeah. Kind of. That’s when I was like, “Fuck, I want to do it.” I knew if he came he would do it” (Laughs.) Jon (Holland) was up with Dave (Chami), Julian (Davidson) and Josh (Mathews) in Portland to film for the video so I brought them there one night. It was getting dark but I tried it a couple of times, realized it was sort of possible, and then came back the next day and ended up doing it.
It seems like so many things could go wrong, like the opportunity for the worst slam.
There were a couple—there was one where I fell and caught myself but still ended up smacking my head on it (the second rail). The first one that I really went for, because at first I would just get on the first rail and then jump to the side.
The ollie must just be the critical moment right?
Yeah. You basically have to be fully above the rail and if you mess up on the ollie—at that point you can’t go to the side anymore because your momentum is already going to carry you into the second one. So it was super scary and the first one I really went for, like straight on it, I ollied late where my back truck was already coming off the rail and I hit the middle of my board in like a disaster. Somehow it bounced back up and my truck got over and I was able to bail safely but it could have been way worse. Another one I think I hung up at the top too and just flew all the way to the bottom. The second set of stairs wasn’t like a huge set, it was only like five stairs or something so it wasn’t that far to go.
How did the one you made feel? Were you just watching it happen?
Yeah. It was just one of those things were you ride away and are just like, “Whoa, that worked!” You almost don’t realize it until you’re rolling off the curb into the street and it’s just like, “Oh shit!” Just super excited—feeling that sense of accomplishment that makes skating so awesome. You think about something for so long and when it finally happens it’s just the best feeling in the world.
That photo is so perfect too. The footage is amazing for sure, but that photo just sums up the split second so well. The moment of the ollie. It’s so good.
For sure. You can just sit there and see everything that is going on. The footage comes and it goes but the photo you can just sit there and look at it. Dave just nailed it. I was really psyched on that one man.”
Silas Baxter-Neal on the trick, from Transworld’s “Brothers In Arms: Silas Baxter-Neal Extended Interview” (2013):
“So on the day you got your last trick, the 50-50 to 50-50. You then went and won like $500 bucks on a video poker machine?
I think so, yeah I think I won a couple hundred bucks that night playing video poker. I was celebrating with the machines, and they were lucky to me that night [laughs].
What’d you have for breakfast?
I don’t know, I don’t remember that stuff. Something good hopefully.
Just a good day.
It was a good day. It was an awesome day. I was psyched.
Dave said you were looking at that rail for a while, how did you tell yourself it’s possible to try such a hairy trick?
It’s near my house so sometimes when I drive home; I would just drive by it. At first I was looking at it thinking it was a double set or like a gap to rail where you just gap out to the second one. I was just standing there, kind of not really considering it just thinking it would be crazy if someone would do something like that. And then it just stuck in my head, so like I would be coming home and just go a different way just to drive by it, and then stop to look at it. Then I showed it to Brennan [Conroy] and he looked at it and said “Oh you should it.” And I was like I don’t know, I’m scared I don’t know if I can do it. I didn’t want to claim. So he was like “If you don’t want to do it I’ll ask Mark [Suciu] if he wants to do it.” I was like, “F—k that I don’t want him to have it [laughs].” When Jon [Holland] came up, I was like, “Let’s see what this thing looks like.” So the first day we went there, I would ollie onto the first rail not really trying to do much at all, just to see how it felt like to get on that first rail. So after doing that for a little I said ok it actually feels like it was possible. So we came back the next day, and kind of just started going for it and that’s that.
That’s some good motivating by Brennan huh?
Yeah I don’t know if it was his entire purpose, but I think Mark could have definitely done it. He’s a miracle maker. I wouldn’t put it passed him.”
Dave Chami on the trick, from Transworld’s “Our Favorite Covers Of 2013 And The Stories Behind Them” (2013):
“I’m always stoked to shoot a cover but this year my favorite has to be Silas’s 50-50 to 50-50. I see lots of crazy shit happen before my eyes but that one really blew the lid on what I thought was possible on a skateboard. This Church is just around the corner from Silas’ house on the outskirts of Portland and he told me he’d been looking at it for about a year thinking that it just might be possible. I remember that it was getting dark and I thought about setting up strobes to shoot a sequence but I was worried that the flashing lights might throw him off so I just kept shooting stills. I’m stoked that I did because I think you can tell what he’s doing without really giving the whole thing away, it makes it that much more exciting when you see the footage in Perpetual Motion. Hat’s off to Silas for pushing the envelope that little bit further and scoring his third TransWorld cover.”