Musings on Wade Desarmo’s in Top Dollar
Words by Leo Hayes
After Wade’s episode of The Nine Club, I decided to look back at his part from Top of the World’s 2004 video, Top Dollar.
Notable video releases that year included:
-Foundation – That’s Life
-Almost – Round Three
-Toy Machine – Good & Evil
-Chocolate – Hot Chocolate
-Emerica – Kids in Emerica
-Static II — The Invisibles
-Antihero — Tent City
-The DC Video Deluxe Edition
That’s quite a range of different videos when viewed in hindsight. There’s something in there for just about everyone. Personally, at this time, I was 19 years old, had just moved west, and was on a steady diet of Hot Chocolate, Static II, and the Antisocial video. I clearly wasn’t big on the multi-X clothes and pinwheel hats that were becoming synonymous with Canadian skateboarding. So that is to say, I probably never watched Top Dollar at the time, and it’s quite possible I’d never really seen Wade’s entire part in the video until now.
Let’s take it from the top:
-This is pre-Americanization of Wade’s last name. He went from Des’Ormeaux to Desarmo. When was the last time a Canadian had to do this? Will Charles Deschamps one day become Charles The Fields?
-If you can get over the cheesiness of the of the fake film intro, there are some tight clips in there, like the Switch Backside handrail slam with the shoe blast off. Must have been double-tonguing.
-The part kicks off with a Hardflip over the rail at New Spot in Vancouver, followed by a congrats from legendary skateboard photographer Dylan Doubt. The contrast between the NBA logo on Wade’s hat and the Gonz skater drawing on Dylan’s t-shirt is wonderful.
-The line at Vancouver’s Ghetto Spot introduces a chill-explosiveness that Wade still maintains.
- Pause during the Backside Tailslide on the orange barrier and look at his style. That’s what Josh Kalis was talking about when he said quick Tailslides were more stylish than long ones.
-Speaking of chill-explosiveness, how about the Nollie Heelflip out of the Backside Nosegrind? I bet that trick happened quickly.
-The cut to the beat after the Nollie Frontside Flip Switch Manny on the beach dates this footage, as does the hat and shirt combo, but the trick holds up big time.
-Switch Lipsliding a handrail is not something I would have associated with Wade, but there it is.
-The Kickflip Noseslide on a hubba is something that often looked good in sequences around this time, but on video it typically appeared too chill. Guys would just lock in and drag their heels while sliding down the ledge. This one is legit.
-The Frontside Heelflip over the flat gap looks to be a subtle introduction of the much talked about Jordans.
-Part two of the back-to-back playground lines gives us a confirmation and good look at the Jordans. People still talk about Wade skating in those shoes.
-There are a whole lot of technical two bench lines worthy of repeat views.
-Nollie Heelflip Noseslide the Black Hubba in NYC. This was a pinnacle trick for many years thanks to Eric Koston.
-The Backside Nosegrind in the Red Dragon hoody, followed by the ultimate double-fade-to-black landing, is something all Dime skaters aspire to.
-That’s an undoubtedly Gino Iannucci-inspired Switch Pop Shuv-It over the fence, in those Jordan’s again.
-Can you imagine how good that Backside 180 Nosegrind on the blue hubba must have felt to grind and land?
-Pause at 3:49 to have a look at the tongue on those brown shoes (boots?).
-It must have been a battle to get that Switch Backside Bigflip ender, because that’s the most relieved I have ever seen Wade look after landing a trick.