ISAMU: A Short Skate Film

Filmed in Osaka and Kyoto, this short film by Brett Novak follows Japanese skateboarder Isamu Yamamoto as he freestyles his way around ancient structures. Isamu is obviously deeply influenced by Rodney Mullen, and brings back a style of skateboarding that hasn't been seen much since Mullen and Per Welinder ruled the streets in the 80's.


Mullen was a spectator, when, at the age of 14, Yamamoto took first place at the World Freestyle Round-Up Skateboarding Championships in BC, Canada.

When you see street skaters, they will map together a line where there is continuity of movement—a switch backside 180 flip combined with a frontside flip, for example. You see symmetry and consistency. Tricks move with a certain grain – to a musician, it would be something like a tonal chord. Isamu has continuity, tempo and acuity that most others do not. He strings things together with competence, flow and unparalleled timing. That was something that no one held a candle to.

Although Mullen focuses on the elements of street skating that were influenced by freestyle, freestyle itself has different characteristics than modern street skating. Street skateboarders don’t tend to stay in one spot, whereas freestylers sometimes plant themselves like a fixed point on a map, rotating and bouncing in place. The flow and energy feels less longitudinal and almost more contemplative. Although moving from once obstacle to the next is part of the charm and challenge of street skating, it’s enjoyable to watch a different form manifest itself from a prodigy like Isamu Yamamoto.

Via Rolling Stone

Robert Rackley @frostedechoes
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