2013 will be the best year ever for skateboarding! Each new year seems to bring gnarlier skating by new and fresh faces with an impressive level of board control and trick selection. It also brings a lot of yuck to skateboarding like some zany, EXTREME contest, an overexposed rapper seeking a new demographic or your dad's walking shoe company trying to make inroads into skating, but that's always been there -- outsiders have always tried to recycle and pillage skateboarding. The key? Narrow your scope and focus on the only thing that matters in skateboarding -- the act of skateboarding. If you do that you'll see the skaters crushing it in ways that have never been witnessed. The ESPN skate staff had a round table discussion about who some of these skaters are and who you should look out for in 2013. Here's the names we came up with.
Honorable Mention: Danny Way
The Plan B video will have D-Way street footage, (always a treat), and more volcano footage, which is just pure insanity.
Mark Suciu, Skateboard Mag's 2012 Year's Best Am nominee, busts out more NBDs (never-been-dones) on the daily and shocking video parts on what seems like a monthly rate. He is a perfect poster boy for what the future holds for skateboarding: young, smooth, technologically illogical and bolts every time. I wager Suciu will have six more video parts in 2013 alone. Element should have turned Evan Smith pro when they turned Nick Garcia pro ... On that day we'll have a welcome video from Evan that will make people say, "Nyjah who?" It's just a hunch, but I feel like this year's Plan B video is, more than anything, a platform to showcase just how gnarly Ryan Sheckler is. Granted, the Plan B team is stocked with A-List powerhouses, but with P-Rod's and Torey Pudwill's parts in recent years, no one has as much footage locked in a safe as Sheckler. With all his Red Bull web series "Sheckler Sessions" sending him around the globe to log tricks, you can expect him to have a multi-song last part. Foundation Skateboards haven't added a new pro since New Jersey's Nick Merlino in 2011 and their roster needs a good shot in the arm. Who better than Phoenix, Ariz., native and Jaws' childhood friend Dakota Servold? In his short time as an am, he's already gotten a coveted Thrasher Magazine cover, tackled some heavy kinked rails and tends to show up anywhere and everywhere the Toy Machine/Bro Style guys are. My guess is he's pro before summer. You might or might not have heard of Riley Hawk's dad -- '80s vert pro, Tony-something-or-another. Unlike most other areas in life, nepotism won't get you very far in skateboarding if you suck. Doesn't matter whose kid you are, if you can't ride, you will get called out. Hawk needn't worry though -- his Lakai web clips and recent "Bake & Destroy" part have proven he has a whole different style and bag of tricks than his old man. I foresee a long career for the young Hawk, and in 2013, he'll begin to capitalize on his skills. Just kidding. No one is forgetting about Nyjah Huston anytime soon. Like I mentioned in my New Year's prediction, Huston will win everything in 2013 -- even contests he doesn't enter. To learn that his recent Skateboarder nosegrind cover on a 23-stair rail was his first try, you can't help but wonder if there's anything Huston can't do -- aside from maybe Leo Romero going up a 23-stair. Nico Magalhaes, the Real Skateboards/Thunder Trucks/Spitfire Wheels flow trash from New Jersey, had a noise-making part in the homie video "Feelin Friendly" last year and immediately moved to Oakland, Calif., to chase the skateboard dream. He wasted no time chomping on some legendary Nor Cal spots and has amassed two video parts: The first will go on Spitfire's site soon and the second on another Deluxe site. Expect to hear a lot more from this Magalhaes this year. I'd never heard of Kyle Walker until the Vans Midwest trip I met Majerus on, but now I look forward to all the random web clips I see with his name on it -- and I don't care if it's a slappy. You know he's got to be a stylish skater if he's teammates with Dennis Busenitz and Peter Ramondetta on Real Skateboards, but the level of first- or second-try tech-gnar he executes on big rails is just insane. With Vans backing him hard, I foresee Walker having a breakout year. We need more super-tall skaters. Why should Brian Anderson get all the modeling jobs? At nearly 7 feet tall, John Fitzgerald (no relation to JFK), could just as easily played for the Clippers instead of skateboarding. Fitzgerald broke the Internet with his "New Year's Day" Alien Workshop video, but don't expect him to rest on that part alone for 2013. With a star-studded line up of Ishod Wair, Luan Oliveira, Justin Brock, Theotis Beasley, Daryl Angel, Donovon Piscopo and Shane O'Neill in the next installment of Nike's "Chronicles Vol. 2" video (out this fall), it would be anybody's guess who's going to have the breakout part. If you're a gambling man, a safe bet would be New Jersey's favorite son, Real Skateboards pro Ishod Wair. Wair never disappoints with his trick selection, speed and Julien-esque style (and if they blow the edit, you know Quartersnacks.com will fix it). Also, factor in that Wair will be in this year's X Games Real Street contest. Felipe Gustavo should have been pro years ago, but the release of this year's Plan B video will finally make that dream a reality. There are going to be a lot of mind-blowing parts in that video, but expect the Brazilian prodigy to shine bright and prove he is and has been a pro-caliber skater. As the most colorful and memorable mouth in 2011's Slap "One In A Million" video contest, Forest Edwards' antics have made it difficult for him to get picked up by a proper board sponsor despite an amazing online video part. But with recent photos surfacing of him attempting to switch flip Wallenberg and another video part in the works, I think this could be Edwards' year -- as long as he can get his ego in check. I spent two weeks with this little fake Canadian Alec Majerus (he's from Minnesota, but pretty far up there), on a Vans Midwest tour this past fall and I was blown away by his ability to do every trick I called out. He just won the 2012 Tampa Am contest and is about to graduate from high school and promptly move to California. Being in close proximity to his big-name sponsors such as Flip, Vans and Volcom, I assume that this kid will be championed and highly marketed this year. When Gravis announced they were cutting their entire skate program, the first person anyone asked about was Dylan Rieder. Honestly, after his 2010 Gravis video part, Rieder doesn't really need to work on his résumé to find a new suitor. Knowing Rieder, I'm sure he's sitting on a bunch of footage for a welcome part before summer. As another Skateboard Mag 2012 Year's Best Am nominee, Jon Dixon probably could have won it had his Deathwish video part (due in February) already been out. Everything we've seen of Dixon up until now has been amazing, but rumor has it that his video part is next-level. I can't imagine 2013 ending without his name on the bottom of a board.