A genuine feeling of surprise isn’t something I often find myself experiencing when watching a scooter video, this one being the particularly noteworthy exception. Jacob Kloes is an all-terrain talent from the American Pacific Northwest, and this video officially welcomes him to the Wise roster. Given the level of ability it depicts—and the fact that such ability was captured over the course of just two filming days—he is very much deserving of the recognition, and will undoubtedly continue to impress us all in the future. 

As I said, this video is chock full of unexpected surprises—in the best possible way—the first of which takes place in the opening trick sequence. At a familiar PNW butter-bench to butter-bench spot, Jacob front 50s the first bench, gapping out and across to back noseblunt the second. At least for me, this was such a far cry from anything I would ever have anticipated. The front 50 made intuitive sense, but gapping to the back noseblunt somehow didn’t compute with what I imagined, and perhaps even what I wanted to imagine as being possible. As such, seeing the trick go down as it did was all the more enticing. This trick evaded even my faintest creative conception of what could or should be done on the obstacle at hand, adding a layer of complexity and compelling shock value to the mix. This isn’t shock value in the sense that it jars the viewer, leaving them momentarily speechless but altogether unmoved, and rather is of the sort which creates a formative and inviting experience for the one watching. This kind of sequence offers a novel and valid alternative; it opens up new avenues of observation without stacking on with what was theoretically achievable but only just now achieved. It prompts the viewer to reassess his/her understanding of spots and tricks, often both simultaneously, in turn facilitating a viable progression in how the viewer consumes scootering, and not just in how the actor performs it.

A similar experience can be had around the 0:49 mark, at which Jacob performs three consecutive tricks on the same rail: barspin to front board, tailwhip to front board, tailwhip to front 5-0. Though the first two tricks are certainly difficult, it’s their structural organization and incongruently progressive presentation which creates the sequence’s greatest allure. As is to be expected, the tailwhip to front board follows the barspin to front board, a natural progression in which the successive trick’s difficulty deliberately outshines the previous, though only to a relative extent. Conversely, the tailwhip to front 5-0 takes several leaps up the ladder of difficulty when juxtaposed with the tailwhip to front board, again shocking the viewer in a most unconventional and unexpected manner. The typical observer might simply expect to see an additional angle of the whip to front board, and at most perhaps a one-upped trick in or out, a visual expectation which is overwhelmingly superseded by what actually comes next. There is a sudden and deliberate breakage in the sequential progression, urging the viewer to reassess his/her assumptions about the nature of the trick itself and the shock value innate to its portrayal. The viewer is left almost bewildered, and thus has no choice but to consider further.

The final surprise takes its form in the video’s ender: a frontside lipslide on a gap to rail followed by a fingerwhip to frontside lipslide on the same gap to rail. Similar to the above sequence, this sequential presentation offers an abrupt and substantial leap in expected difficulty. The viewer does not expect such an undeniably difficult though also markedly straightforward trick as a frontside lipslide to be immediately followed up by that with a fingerwhip in. There is no foreseeing or predicting it, thereby assuring that the visual imprint of the trick sits with the viewer for that much longer, encouraging a reflective contemplation of what has been witnessed. These tricks shock, surprise, freeze and even confuse all in one sweeping moment, ultimately giving rise to a more active viewer, and a commitment in that same viewer to understand the acts and subsequent depictions of scootering in a consciously different light. This attention to detail of presentation is what, in many ways, separates this video from its contemporaries and contributes to a timeless significance. Though it represents a relatively unexplored take thus far in scootering, I hope to see a similar approach taken and expanded upon by others in the near future.

Written by: Trevor Crowell