TODD FALCON IS DEAD (AND WE KILLED HIM)


Todd (1984 – 2018) is survived by his meticulously documented, confoundingly creative and (for him) frustratingly obscure 34 years spent on a skateboard; the over “3000 original tricks” he created over those decades; the 6+ full-length skateboarding videos he filmed, produced and released in that time; his sporadic and cult-like notoriety that shimmered just beneath popular skateboarding culture—surfacing on occasion in surprising locales; and his climactic, victorious journey to the Final Level of skateboarding itself.

Cause of death:

“Massive Lack of Industry Support, Extremely Low Fan-base & Bodily Injury from Pushing Skateboarding Tricks to the Most Difficult Level of All Time.”

May he rest in peace.

Jason Cook, the man behind the now retired Todd Falcon moniker (he likens Todd’s skateboarding style to a “futuristic combination of Tony Hawk and Rodney Mullen”—his stage name a tribute to the former) lives on in rural Canton, Texas. He has a family, dogs, pigs, and a house in a lush green, fortunate slice of town not swept up in the five massive tornados that touched down and brutalized the community in 2017. During that meteorological onslaught he brought all of his computers and hard drives with him into the bedroom closet he and his family hunkered into for safety. On those machines were the lifetime of skateboard tricks Todd had invented and recorded. A legacy in peril. Jason was saving Todd’s life. Why? Because they still had work to do.


This happened in the lead up to the completion of Todd’s opus, Skateboarding Revelations: Journey to The Final Level. A film, a portrait of a life spent on a board, the proof of Falcon’s achievements. Plagued over the years by what he saw as doubters and an industry who didn’t (or couldn’t) understand what it was that Todd was trying to accomplish, this video would lay it out in painstaking detail. Every trick. Every fork in the road. Each twist, turn, plant and stomp leading to a new dimension of skateboarding until every timeline converged at an answer. The complex equation of riding a skateboard solved. Todd Falcon the Will Hunting of skateboarding.

And he’d done it. He had discovered the “Holy Root Trick.” This a move that Todd believes leads to infinite skateboarding combinations. The building block, a catalyst, a paintbrush perched over a palette of endless colour. The culmination of 12,410 days spent tinkering away on his skateboard. The data from his experiments stored on dozens of hard drives and shelves three-deep with VHS tapes. A game changer, Todd assumed his discovery would be. His Final Level the ticket to the next stage of his skateboarding career. How could it not? There was no denying him this time. Everything he’d done was laid out bare. His impact tagged and bagged like bloody instruments from a crime scene. Exhibit A-Z given directly to the prosecution. He’d incriminated himself and the verdict he wanted was clear: Todd Falcon was guilty of being the most innovative skateboarder of all time.

***

A year and change later Skateboarding Revelations was finally released. All 297,840 hours of his 34 years on a skateboard distilled into 130 minutes. He did promotion for it on local cable news. He was featured in the season finale of Viceland’s Post Radical (a series I worked on as a writer and researcher, having a few interesting chats with Todd via phone and email) and had a premiere party at his favourite local haunt, Duke’s Burgers. These all primetime teases of what was to come.

Then it came.

And it went.

The splash Todd was hoping to make was more of a ripple. People felt it, though. He was interviewed, got some attention online, but it wasn’t what he’d expected to gain from what he’d put in. His contributions a currency that skateboarding at-large just couldn’t exchange. But that doesn’t mean they weren’t valuable, in fact, they were immeasurable. Priceless. Todd Falcon was a futuristic combination of Tony Hawk and Rodney Mullen. Todd Falcon was ahead of his time. Todd Falcon was of his own time. Some of us could comprehend the clocks on his walls, but most couldn’t. In his world, Todd was wealthy beyond imagination, and that’s the world that matters. But it’s ours he paid attention to and ours that did him in.

Cause of death:

“Massive Lack of Industry Support, Extremely Low Fan-base & Bodily Injury from Pushing Skateboarding Tricks to the Most Difficult Level of All Time.”

On December 30, 2018, Jason ended Todd’s life. Now Jason gets to live. Jason is a musician. He’s an amateur auteur of campy slasher films with over thirty titles to his name. He is a pillar of his community, bringing friends and family and regular ol’ Cantonites together to help with each of those productions. He is a dad and a husband. He is a skateboarder. He was Todd Falcon, but that’s only just a piece of who he is; a single trick in a bewildering combination.


Story by Cole Nowicki

Photos by Dane Collison

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