So, Fuel TV had me dig a bit deeper and the article below is the result from those thoughts. It's still pretty loose but the nice thing about South of the North is that it has turned not just into a product drop or repository for my jackassery but also a place where at least once I've been able to incubate an idea into something a little better. Just a little.
Recently the internet has been burning up like his wheels did when blasting around a tight cement pocket. Yes, the familiar non-stop ripping that was his style combined with the fanatical appreciation heats up the web every Thursday and Friday. Nobody can put their finger on the popularity he has because of the videos. Maybe it’s an appreciation for the one skater who in the face of X-Games, video games and trend upon trend did his own thing. The one reason we can all grasp is very simple: because that is what John Cardiel is all about.
Did John Cardiel have to get up after a brutal slam in Transworld’s “Sight Unseen” and go on to demolish his targeted bank to rail? No, he could have curled up like any other man and taken the rest of the day off. Not Cardiel. The next set of video frames shows him barreling down the same path in typical Cardiel fashion. There is no slowing down only a ferocious kick push to set up and he drops the trick as if a slam never occurred. So if you ever wonder how this man came back from a horrific accident to walk again take a look at that video and you’ll wonder less.
Let’s go back to that accident for a moment. Somewhere in Australia, Cardiel woke up and there was the message being sent to him: “you aren’t going to walk again.” We all had heard this from the minimal interviews conducted after the accident as the skating world tried to figure out what was going on. But, where was the connection from then to now? From paralysis to the walking full of life Cardiel we see on screen? That example of Cardiel we all new existed, but hadn’t seen or heard of for months was out there.
Like an insane trick popping up in the middle of an everyday ledge line … there it was. The opening episode of Epicly Later’d showed us the John Cardiel we remember. There’s a brief moment in episode one where John talks about moving his big toe for the first time and said “it’s on”. With that one statement we knew his return was imminent. Sure, he has been around and never faded away. But, this was the moment we all looked for and finally found.
Combine John Cardiel’s pure rawness in skating with the mystery of being out of the public eye and you have a great story. Listen to his words between the “dudes”, “hellas” and “bros”. Then and only then will you see the passion of a man born to rip. Only a few skaters are lucky enough to do it for a living. The rest of us sneak in moments of fun and joy between school and work. Cardiel represents the skaters who still believe they can’t and won’t stop. That skater who’s compulsion to roll around is forever ingrained into their DNA. Cardiel has done what we want to do and rises above when we need a boost. That’s why we can’t stop watching Epicly Later’d: John Cardiel.
Cardiel in Transworld's "Sight Unseen"