411 Video Magazine held a unique place within the skateboarding media that remained pretty much unrivaled until the internet became the dominant force in skateboard footage distribution that it is today.
From its inception in the early 1990's right through until the point it vanished into online obscurity during the mid-to-late 2000's, 411 gave skaters around the world a quarterly hour of visual inspiration at a time when you could easily find yourself waiting any time up to a year for fresh company backed productions to land in your hometown, and further inspire your carpark/schoolyard/town center progression.
Due to its home in California, it stands to reason that a lot of its content was gathered overseas in America, though throughout the time the video magazine existed, UK heads were featured on a regular basis, even infiltrating the premiere issue on a pretty large scale.
'Wheels of Fortune', 'Rookies' and 'Pro Files' sections were all graced by a cross section of UK bred talent over the years, along with regular inclusion of UK contests and random individuals in the occasional 'World Report' and 'Chaos' segments.
As some sort of potted history lesson, we've gone back through the VHS archives and come through with a handful of classic 411 sections featuring natives of our fair isle in one capacity or another. Have a look through the pages below now - watch, learn or reminisce at will...
[part title="London Metrospective"]
London Metrospective – 411 #1 (1993)
Thanks to the post ‘Sound and Vision’ camerawork of the prolific Mike Manzoori, our nation’s capital laid claim to the first ever 411 ‘Metrospective’ section, and as such, houses some absolute classic slices of 21 year old VHS-C gold.
Paul Shier rocking a Dinosaur Jr t-shirt and massive pants whilst hammering out double flips at Fairfields being one such historical highlight; a miniature ‘Geoff Rowley from Liverpool’ back 360-ing the stairs at Southbank being another.
Over the course of the four-minute section, the likes of Aaron Bleasdale, Curtis McCann, Winstan Whitter, 'John Major', Matt Stewart and a sturdy grip of well known locals were introduced to an international audience as the mainstays of the early 90’s London scene, alongside a handful of passing friends.
Despite the fact that this Metrospective section was to be his most substantial standalone contribution to the early days of the video magazine, Manzoori continued to help shed light on the UK scene throughout the early to mid-90s, regularly contributing clips to the first handful of 411 issues before eventually relocating Stateside full time.
[part title="Tom Penny"]
Tom Penny – 411 #2 (1993)
“I’ve got an exam tomorrow…"
A 16 year old Tom Penny’s effortless school night display of Radlands flip trickery helped turn a good few heads upon its release back in the autumn of 1993, both at home and over in the then promised and unsuspecting land of America.
Over the course of the three years that followed, 411 would be responsible for documenting and showcasing some of Tom’s finest displays of ‘asleep at the wheel’ brilliance. Some of which we’ll be seeing shortly…
[part title="Flip Skateboards - Letter From America"]
Flip Industry section – 411 #11 (1995)
Powerful vert antics from Rune, a kickflip 540 from Andy, a handful of street bangers from Geoff and his knackered ankle and one of the best lines ever committed to film from Tom…as far as declarations of intent go, none could really sniff at Flip Skateboards 411 debut proper, the 1995 ‘Letter From America’ Industry section.
The mix of British comedy and genuinely next level skating caught the attention of pretty much everyone who was lucky enough to pop this cassette in their VHS player back in 1995, and if you weren’t having to physically pick your jaw up from the floor and clamp your gob shut by the time Tom was rolling away from that switch frontside flip down the Carlsbad gap, then chances are there was something wrong with your retinas. Either that or the tracking on your nan’s video machine was fucked.
Safe to say it was that ballistic that no one seemed to notice it was actually Ali Cairns handling narration duties in lieu of an absent Scotty…
[part title="Geoff Rowley"]
Geoff Rowley – 411 #13 (1995)
Andy Evans was put in charge of piecing together Geoff Rowley’s 1995 ‘Rookies' section, which saw the young Flip pro continue on his path of destruction back on home turf, having recently returned from a lengthy and legendary stay over in America with teammates Tom Penny, Andy Scott and Rune Glifberg.
The levels of sheer gnarliness that Geoff’s skateboarding was eventually to reach were still unknown at this point, though early on he threw us a good few indicators at the Scouser balls out madness that was to follow.
Watch on as Geoff confidently steps to such infamous Liverpool spots such as the old Edge Lane skatepark, the Police Bank and the Courthouse, with some antics from a brief Big Smoke visitation also thrown into the mix.
[part title="Paul Shier"]
Paul Shier – 411 #22 (1997)
Swapping out his hometown of Croydon for the much sunnier climes of San Francisco, Paul Shier steps to whole load of legendary and instantly recognisable 1997 terrain in the name of Panic Skateboards.
Contained in and amongst this two and half minute section are a handful of top shelf flatland 360 flips, flawless flowing lines and the perfectly executed kickflip fifty fifty on Hubba Hideout which would still be regarded as being mental if it were to be done today by a holidaying Brit, let alone 17 years ago.
[part title="Geoff Rowley - Part 2"]
Geoff Rowley – 411 #30 (1998)
A few years later than his previously featured ‘Rookies’ section, Geoff was back on the 411 radar, closing down a Flip heavy issue 30 with this showstopping ‘Pro File’. Geoff reminisces on his first few years of life in the States with Tom Penny and Rune Glifberg, before he sets out about making another serious dent in Southern Californian skate lore with more of his trademark full throttle street annihilation.
Well, there is one trick from Liverpool thrown in along the way. See if you can spot it…
[part title="Flip Skateboards 'Easyriders'"]
Flip Industry Ams – 411 #30 (1998)
OK, so this one isn’t technically a UK centric section, but it does feature some sick Alex Moul footage so definitely deserves a quick mention in our list. Similar to their previous ‘Letter From America’ Industry segment, this narrated ‘Easyriders’ section helped cement Mouly and Ali Boulala as the next generation of Flip representatives (alongside Eric Brockman), and the quality of the skating still sees this one getting an online rinsing to this day.
[part title="Danny Wainwright"]
Danny Wainwright – 411 #31 (1998)
“Living and skating in Bristol is really fun…up your bum".
At the height of his pro career for Powell, Danny returned from the US to help establish Fifty Fifty Skate Store in Bristol alongside Justin ‘Syd’ Sydenham, and whilst he was doing that, he found time to work on this still banging 'Pro File' section for 411.
Made up of footage gathered at countless hidden gems and landmarks dotted around his adopted hometown (Danny’s actually from nearby Stroud…) this part helped get Fifty Fifty and the West Country on the international radar, with a further glimpse into the 1999 Bristol scene quickly following on 411 #32…
[part title="Mark Baines"]
Mark Baines – 411 #32 (1999)
Right at the point when Panic Skateboards was effectively disbanded and the majority of the team found themselves thrust aboard the Dan Magee driven Blueprint Skateboards ship, OG Blueprint team rider Mark Baines decided that it was time to pack his bags and venture halfway around the world, eventually settling on Warner Avenue in Huntington Beach alongside the likes of Alex Moul, Erik Ellington, Andrew Reynolds and Ali Boulala, to name but a few.
Legend has it that Mouly tore up Mark’s return plane ticket the night before he was due to fly home, leaving him no other option but to stay in HB and get on with the task at hand.
New Deal became his temporary Canadian Maple home (the following year he was back in the UK, back on Blueprint and filming towards the seminal ‘Waiting for the World’), according to Rob Gonzales he struggled to get hold of shoes but still managed to hammer out this ‘Wheels of Fortune’ section, despite splitting Rowley’s head open in the process…
[part title="Alex Moul"]
Alex Moul – 411 #36 (1999)
The Oxford born Alex Moul has always been ahead of the curve – as the up and coming street kid on Deathbox he was miles ahead of everyone else, then when he reappeared as part of the Flip roster in the mid to late 90s he clearly still had that desire for progression that made him so exciting to watch the first time around.
Even though he was a pivotal part of the aforementioned Warner Avenue rabble and had become a regular face on 411 since his return to the States in 1997, it wasn’t until issue 36 that Mouly scored his very own section, by way of this ‘Wheels of Fortune’ that came out in the autumn of 1999.
It might have been slightly overdue, but it was still another welcome UK notch in the 411 bedposts.
The line at 1:53 = fucking savage.
[part title="John Rattray"]
John Rattray – 411 #37 (1999)
“Aberdeen, Scotland, has been the oil capital of Europe to twenty years. The local economy balances on the razors edge of US financing. What am I doing? Skateboarding in the US…"
Prior to this section being released at the end of 1999, most people in America had never really heard of John Rattray, but rest assured after this 'Rookies' section dropped, John was one of the most talked about and in demand skateboarders out there. Over the course of the next two years, John found himself swapping Blueprint for Zero, joined the full team at Circa and relocated full time over the Atlantic to Oregon.
But at the time this part was filmed, it was nothing more than Mos Def on the soundtrack, Hawaiian shirts flailing and a whole load of bolted ‘firsts’ at some serious Stateside step up spots. Then back to the UK to carry on filming for ‘Waiting for the World’…
[part title="Paul Shier and Kenny Reed"]
Paul Shier/Kenny Reed – 411 #52 (2002)
Again, this one isn’t technically a UK focused section, but is worthy of inclusion nonetheless.
Filmed during the pairs two month Catalan escape back in 2002, this ‘Roomies’ part follows Paul Shier and Kenny Reed as they explore Barcelona back in the city’s heyday, along with appearances from Rob Gonzales, Stefan Janoski, Cairo Foster, Colt Cannon, Karl Watson, Tony Manfre, Will Harmon, Ricky Oyola and plenty more familiar faces.
[part title="Bonus: Carl Shipman"]
After black hammer: Carl Shipman's frontside flip trick tip - 411 #4 (1994)
This one took some finding...
Skip to 1:45 and remember kids - "catch it 90".