The no comply: a question of style - Sidewalk Skateboarding

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The no comply: a question of style

Above image: Chris Pulman, courtesy of Slam City Skates
The humble no comply has had a turbulent relationship with the skateboarding limelight, as passing trends pick up or discard the trick on a whim. From its place as a street skating staple in the early 90s it went underground, replaced first by heavily technical flip trickery and then by knee crunching rail and stair destruction. It is only in recent years that a new generation has once again embraced the no comply and taken it from the flat and into new and exciting territories.
However, the rise of Instagram has spawned a new beast – the ‘Insta no comply’ if you will – where style is replaced by shock and awe, as people think of the most obscure variations they can in the eternal pursuit of followers and end up looking like they’re rolling dice in the skateboarding equivalent of Dungeons and Dragons. Seeing the latest no comply 360 underflip to Belgian Windmill by a kid who can barely push is a novelty which quickly fades so we thought we’d put together an antidote – a sort of footplant immodium – featuring some of the most timelessly stylish no complies in skateboarding.

Matt Hensley in H-Street – Shackle Me Not (1988)

The first half of Matt Hensley’s section in Shackle Me Not consists of pretty much nothing but flatground tricks down one path, which is really all that was needed to convey Matt’s fast, powerful style. Not that you’ll find us complaining about the more ‘spot’ based second half…

Ray Barbee in Powell – Ban This (1988)

Following on in a similar vein to the previous Hensley section, the dreamlike Ray Barbee section in Ban This sees him cruising the streets doing no complies and powerslides like some kind of four wheeled Zen master – some transcendental shit is definitely occuring here!

Mike Rusczyk in Foundation – Art Bars Subtitles and Seagulls (2001)

Any Mike Rusczyk would have done really – he brings a fast, powerful style to everything he skates but his no complies are especially a thing of beauty, bringing as he does his sizeable pop to the trick and making sure the board sticks to his back foot like glue. This section also includes some good variations of the curb flip variety..

Louie Barletta in Enjoi – Tweak the Beef (2012)

Enjoi’s Louie Barletta has long been a champion of unpopular tricks, purely through not giving a shit about what falls in and out of fashion. As such he has been throwing down no complies, wallies and street grabs through various highs and low trouser cuff water-marks in a way that’s a pleasure to see. The frontside no comply thrown casually down a double set at 1:06 is gnarly!

Chris Pulman in Heroin – Live From Antarctica (2005)

We were going to use Chris Pulman’s section proper from Live from Antarctica but, as Youtube have seen fit to block the sound on copyright grounds, here’s the extras – which luckily still includes some banging no complies from the now Descent Skateboards head honcho! Skip to 3:29 for frontal road gap action.

David Gravette in Transworld – And Now (2008)

David Gravette has one of the best backside 360 no compliss out there; while most use them as a mid-line or bank trick, he’s equally comfortable chucking them into massive ditches or down gaps, the latter of which can be seen here at 2:53. We recommend his Creature Skateboards CSFU section as well for the one into a ditch, but you should probably turn the sound off because that Hank III song is an affront to music…

Jake Johnson in Josh Stewart’s Static IV (2014)

One of the new breed who bought no complies, wallrides and other early street skating tricks back into the limelight, took them to newer and gnarlier spots, and in some cases did them switch because he could – there’s no denying that Jake Johnson is a beast. The after dark one which opens his Static IV section is banging.

Pontus Alv in Beirut (2012)

You know what you’re getting with someone who calls their company’s promo ‘No complies and wallrides + shuvits’ and Pontus brings the footplant ruckus with panache. He even takes the no comply on holiday to Lebanon in the tail end of the above clip…

Elissa Steamer in Toy Machine – Jump Off A Building (1998)

The opening line to Elissa’s ‘Jump Off A Building’ section has a rad mirrored no comply moment in the middle, which has always stuck with me enough to tell anyone trying a frontside no comply followed by a switch frontside no comply that they’re ‘trying the Elissa line’. This one ends in a hefty slam too, which sort of makes it even better.

Ocean Howell in The Ipath Promo (2005)

Ipath’s 2005 Promo should be requisite viewing for anyone just discovering skateboarding for a wide variety of reasons. One of those is without a doubt Ocean Howell’s rad Ray Barbee-channelling line which starts at 12:00 exactly, but if I were you I’d watch it from the start!

Gino Iannucci in Girl/Chocolate – Pretty Sweet

As we’re talking style, it makes sense to close with Gino… his short section in Pretty Sweet includes both a perfectly executed frontside 360 no comply at Flushing Meadows and a casual-as-you-like no comply front tail at a schoolyard bank/bench set up. Check the technique!


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