Hundred per cent skate

Skateboarding legend Anthony Van Engelen talks tricks, injuries and the influences behind Vans’ first-ever full length feature film
By Lewis Firth | Film+TV | 14 May 2015
Photography Alec McLeish


Anthony van Engelen has been a pioneer and icon to the skating community for over a decade. The skater began his pro career with Alien Workshop in 1999 before moving to Vans in 2005, and now we’re in for his latest take as he takes to the deck in Vans’ first-ever feature-length skateboarding film.

Shot by acclaimed skate filmmaker Greg Hunt, Propeller lines AVE up alongside a roster of big name talents, from legends to serious pioneers. Think Jason Dill, Kyle Walker, Gilbert Crockett and Geoff Rowley, one hundred per cent skating, zero filler.

Speaking with him last week on the evening of the London premiere at House of Vans AVE reflected on working for a third time with Greg Hunt, and the influences that charged it all up. “I watched videos of Henry Sanchez the whole way through this thing,” he says, “so I was super influenced by him. I’d wake up, watch those old videos, and just go skate.”

Still from ‘Propeller’ (2015). Courtesy of Vans

Injuries are a standard, though AVE says while filming Propeller some were luckier than others: “Daniel Lutheran had a few injuries back-to-back that were bad. So he had ankle surgery and tore something in his knee so he was out a few times,” he shares. “For me, I stayed pretty healthy through it.”

From recent times’ surge towards a lo-fi 90s-vibing, grunge take on skate films to this hefty new output from Vans, it’s true that every decent skateboarding video charges up the skate community, levering legends like AVE and the likes of Jason Dill (with whom AVE runs kick-ass label Fucking Awesome) to propel the culture forward. From films like Mind Field (2009) and The DC Video (2003), AVE’s time on screen continues to document his raw, ever-changing style.

Still, this new output saw a different approach for all involved. “I think for the first time in my life I had the least amount of distractions and was consistently the most focused – it was a personal difference,” reflects AVE.

“But as a video, they’re all the fucking same.” Zero fucks given, roll on roll on.

Propeller is globally available to download and watch on iTunes now. More at the film website.

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