OUR EDITORS PROVIDE SOME OF THEIR PICKS FOR THE BEST OF THE YEAR. Ryan Loewy 2018 was a phenomenal year for rollerblading. I feel it’s safe to say that this was one of those renaissance years where we saw the emergence of new companies, new forms of media, a truck load of VOD’s and edits, as well as seeing the actual practice of rollerblading in a much wider spectrum; to me, rollerblading has never looked healthier. Joe Atkinson Male Skater – Joe Atkinson 2018 was without a doubt Joe Atkinson’s year. His addition to Roces as their first pro in what seems like a decade in April of 2018 was only a pre-cursor for what was to come; a handful of wins in various FISE comeptitions and a well deserved pro-skate, the only thing I did not see from Joe that I would’ve wanted to see was a full edit, but from what I have heard, that wish may soon be granted… Female Skater – Chihiro Azuma A protege of Soichiro Kanashima, it is no surprise Chihiro encompasses the same impeccable style as Itchy, and has an extensive trick vocab to boot. Those elements combined make me want to see more of this rising Japanese star. I am excited to see so many female participants within the sport and with someone like Azuma at the forefront, the future is certainly female. Jon Julio Influential Skater – Jon Julio If there’s one person I feel that has helped shift skating into a highly positive direction, it has to be Jon. Getting to know him more this year, it is fascinating to see how he has continued to leave his mark in skating. 2018 was a tough start for him, but the light at the end of the tunnel quickly approached; with legions of loyal fans on board, he was able to sell out on pre-orders for his new skate within the matter of a day. Who the fuck else can you tell you they did that? Junkyu Park Stylish Skater – Junkyu Park Not on our top 5 nominations, which has me asking, ‘the fuck y’all thinking? Junkyu is one of those dudes that I have post alerts on my phone because he just gets me that hyped on skating. The man’s intricate yet fluid approach always leaves me in awe; I’m eager to see a full lengther from this cowboy in 2019…. Marius Gaile Up & Coming and Under 18 – Marius Gaile I’m giving my picks to Marius on both the up and coming and the under 18 since he is nominated for both, and with that, I think he should win both. His release of Audeamus was one of the most mature, well crafted and articulated video pieces that I have seen in years, and to boot, it is coming from a young buck. Aside from looking like a young Champion Baumstimler, Gaile is eager to learn about and absorb skating’s history. His mature candor is definitely reflected in his skating, and it’s no surprise that he was recently added to the THEM team either. Really looking forward to seeing more of him in 2019. Seconds by Mike Torres Top VOD – Seconds by Mike Torres I, like many, am a big Broskow fan. And I, like many, am a big Torres fan. So put these two geniuses together in NYC, paired with hi-8 work by Nate Moore and a zine with photography by Christian Delfino, Shawn Engler and Abdiel Colberg? No contest. Free Release – Audeamus by Marius Gaile Yep, I am voting for Marius yet again. See a trend? Yeah, thought so. This was one of those videos, like the Black Bandit releases, where I ask, “why the fuck is this free?”. The spectrum of skating covered, in addition to the filming and score, elevate this from just another online release to a time piece. Bobi Spassov Top Instagram – Bobi Spassov If there’s one person I’m known to geek over, it’s Bobi. While others may disagree, in my book, Bobi is one of the most entertaining skaters to watch, and every new Bobi IG edit gets me geeking. CHKN 2 : Summer Of Sauce – John Lyke from DINNER on Vimeo. Top VOD Section – John Lyke – CHKN 2 : Summer of Sauce Not considered a VOD ( although I’d argue otherwise ), but still a section, and what a fucking section. The Black Bandit boys have always made films that I geek out over for their sense of humor, writing, and overall approach in making videos, and CHKN 2 definitely stole my heart. John’s section has everything that I would be proud to show to someone outside of the sport; incredible skating paired with a great sense of humor, cut to a classic Seger track. Mike Torres Videographer – Mike Torres Mike has been, for years, an incredibly talented videographer and skater. But I feel like these past two years have been his real break out years. He paired up with Augusto Castillo earlier in the year to give us the amazing Nights & Weekends, and then topped it off with his collaboration with Broskow in Seconds. Those aren’t the only projects Mike has produced that make him notable, but the two alone are, in my opinion, worthy of win for Top Videographer. Erick Garcia Photographer – Erick Garcia To me, Erick Garcia got robbed this year. At the very least, he should’ve made top nominations for both our awards as well as ONE’s. Throughout the year, he was the most consistent photographer I worked with, constantly sending me photographs, and when put on assignment, delivering in full. In addition to constantly documenting his scene, he put helped put on the Filthy Fiesta competition, which looked like a wild ride. Oh, and he shot the cover for the latest issue of ONE, so, that alone warrants my nomination. Freddy White Writer – Freddy White I know I write a decent amount, but I can’t hold a fucking flame to Freddy. He’s always well versed and poised in his writing and is doing so much more than most will realize. Being at the forefront of communication with FISE and promoting it accordingly, as well as working with some of the best in the business ( cough Cayenne Project cough ), Fred’s pieces are always cohesive, intelligent and thoughtful. Podcast – Jump Street Back in August, Billy O’Neill and Austin Paz joined together and announced their new podcast endeavor, Jump Street. But their method and approach to the medium was and remains completely different than anything the sport has seen before. Utilizing a live-video feed method, the two have hosted a handful of intriguing podcasts and quickly built a healthy audience. With 18 episodes under their belt in only a matter of a few months, it’s safe to say this will remain a staple in the industry for years to come. Print – Seconds Zine While print publications have declined in their numbers in terms of consistency, there are still a handful of people out there making their own efforts. The Seconds Zine is one of the best print efforts I have seen in a while. Maybe I am being a bit biased because Delfino is one of my favorite photographers, and Broskow is one of my favorite skaters, and Torres is…you guys get the point yet? If you haven’t purchased this zine, I highly recommend it for any one that truly cherishes print efforts that feature beautiful photography. Them Skates Top Company, New Company, Marketing and New Product – Them Skates I am not gonna run the gamut here, because I think Jon’s actions really speak for themself. 2018 was a turbulent yet triumphant year for him; the end of Valo, the launch of Them, the marketing, the creative direction, it all ties together to be a model to follow, but not one to be taken likely either. Ryan Loewy is Be-Mag’s Chief Photo Editor, a staff photographer and writer.