Our Favorite 2011 Covers & The Stories Behind Them

Like we did last year, each of our senior photographers picked their favorite cover that they shot and shared the story behind it. Editor-in-chief Skin Phillips picked his favorite of the year out of them all and tells why. Enjoy this peek behind what goes into a TransWorld cover.

Oliver Barton

Filed under "good looking spots that are harder to skate than they look," this bump to bar in Los Angeles is in a Latin Barrio. I made the mistake of watching Stacy Peralta's Crips Vs. Bloods documentary a couple of nights before skating this spot, it's quite the aperitif before going street skating in L.A. After two nights internet trawling L.A. gang activity, I was clued up enough to know that the "XV3" chicken scratch on the wall where I parked up next to the spot was not a sign of teenage rebellion but a warning that we were in 18th Street gang territory. Their Wikipedia CV is the sort of material that tends to distract you from worrying about flash durations and loading film the right way round when you've got a mid-range car's worth of equipment set-up slap bang in the middle of their hood: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/18th_Street_gang We bought the people in the building a box of Heineken, kept our fingers crossed and Lucas switch front heeled the bar like a boss. It was pretty dark when he made the trick so he went back in the day to film it, the footage is his last trick in his Pro Spotlight Video part. The photo was shot on Kodak E100vs film with a Hasselblad Cfi 180mm on Mike Blabac's old Hasselblad 203fe which he used to shoot all the Danny Way mega-ramp photos. I hope that Mike and Danny are happy with how Lucas and I are continuing their photographic legacy.

Dave Chami

My favorite cover I shot this year is Nestor’s crooked grind transfer in Osaka, Japan. Skin had given us the nod to try to shoot something for a cover as Nestor had been staying at my house filming for his TransWorld part and shooting for a 20 Questions interview. We had been struggling to get something in S.F., particularly since Nestor had tried this ollie (below) in the avenues on several occasions only to find out that Vincent Alvarez had already done it (hats off Vince). I think he’d all but given up on trying to get the cover, but when he started trying this crooked grind transfer on a Krux trip to Japan, I made sure to turn my camera vertically. Midway through sessioning this spot, the Japanese guys we were with started getting texts and emails saying there had been a bit of an earthquake on the other side of the country, it only became clear to us in the following days just how heavy it was. This is my favorite cover because Nestor is a good mate and it’s kinda rare to see a cover these days where the dude isn’t risking his life, personally I still think it’s not what you do but how you do it…

Here’s a panoramic photo I shot of Nestor’s trick that’s probably better than the cover photo:

Mike O’Meally

The trickiest thing about this photo was not seeing Dylan—he would just appear outta the dark, he skates so fast and the gap is wide, so I had to listen for him rolling up and then he would just fly out of the black. It was a little difficult, but he was popping them really big. Also the stairwell was completely covered in bird shit, which was not the kind of place you’d want to lie down and take a nap. It was one of the first days of the 5 Year Am Reunion Tour, and it was raining, so this abandoned warehouse was a good option for a session, Silas also ripped this gap too. They each got about three to four tricks over it, but the nollie backside heel was definitely the best of the bunch that day.

Seu Trinh

Out of all the people that I got to hang out with in 2011, Nick Trapasso was by far the sickest. He taught me how to chill and not sweat anything. I don’t think that dude worries or stresses about anything, and if he does, he definitely doesn’t show it. I never really learn too much from skaters, I always thought they were f—king idiots. Even though people think he’s a stoner and a pile and lazy, he knows what to do and he knows he doesn’t need to do a bunch of garbage. He’d rather not film if it’s going to be garbage. I learned to chill and have more quality over quantity.

I thought he looked amazing in the photo. He’s got his sunglasses on and he’s just chillin’ on a summer afternoon in Los Angeles back Smithing this fence. He didn’t even care to take his glasses off. I forget which trick he was originally trying but I suggested the back Smith, I thought it would look sick from behind the fence. TransWorld made it a cover for a Pro Spotlight, I guess this was the most eye-catching photo. Then Ed Templeton did the collabo, you know? What’s funny about this is that my very first cover of Strength magazine is Peter Smolik doing a sequence, and Ed Templeton laid it out. It was a switch frontside 270 boardslide down a handrail in Beverly Hills, and it was Ed Templeton/Toy Machine layout style. Now I have a cover of a Toy Machine rider on TransWorld and I thought that was a weird coincidence. I told Ben Kelly that story and he wanted to do a little photo of the Strength cover and the Trapasso cover and put it in that issue, but we couldn’t find it on Google Images. Smolik’s trick was in the Shorty’s video and I’m in the background doing the Shake Junt, I was like 19 or 20 or something! It was so funny, I was shooting him on film.

Skin Phillips

I’m gonna go with the Nyjah cover (shot by Brian Gaberman). At the time it was kind of a controversial cover, but I think that cover kicked off an amazing year from him. The standard of his skating, the performances in Street League, and now finally the video have been impressive to say the least. To think that he’s still so young and all that was done in only eight months too.