Toy Machine -Video Award

There’s no doubt Ed Templeton has an uncanny knack for bringing us fresh faces in every video he puts together-faces that inevitably become the biggest names in skateboarding. The track record includes once relative unknowns Josh Kalis and Satva Leung (Heavy Metal), Elissa Steamer and Brian Anderson (Welcome To Hell), and Kerry Getz (Jump Off A Building). Some might even argue that Jamie Thomas and Donny Barley could fall into that mix as well-Jamie coming from a relatively small company called Invisible prior to his part in Heavy Metal, and Welcome To Hell being Donny’s first company part where we said, “How in the hell … ?” after the Barley grind was brought to our attention. And it’s guaranteed that you’d be able to count on one hand the number of Bam fans who remember his board sponsor before Toy (or Mike Maldonado’s while we’re tossing that one out there).

What in the past has mostly been a Connecticut and Pennsylvannia contingency of riders, or predominantly East Coast anyway, the current Toy Machine plucks talent from the Inland Empire area of Southern California. The first major parts from Josh Harmony, Matt Bennett, Johnny Layton, and Billy Marks, with fellow IEer Austin Stephens not to be forgotten-all sandwiched between Ed, who kicks off the video before it actually starts in an almost, “Cool, here I am, get me out of the way, let the younger guys shine” type of deal, and The Butcher (Diego Bucchieri), who it seems would be facing an uphill battle when positioned after what is the most incredible, technical rail assault to ever hit video-Billy Marks’ part.

And The Butcher does come through with a well-deserved last part, not one just awarded for joining the teams during rough times-but not until Ed comes through with traditional Ed, and yes, that was a frontside half-Cab down a gap … not until Josh Harmony comes through with versatility that doesn’t have him hitting a rail ’til over halfway through his part-something overlooked because of the format and/or ignorance of skateboard print media … not until Austin Stephens comes through with his most enjoyable part yet … not until Matt Bennett comes through and brings us the Bennett grind, or the reverse Barley as some have called it, now a staple in the artilleries of both Darrell Stanton and Chris Cole … not until Johnny Layton comes though with raw power and a front blunt down the infamous O-Side hubba … and, like we stated, not until Billy Marks handles every ten-stair-plus rail with a bag of flip tricks. Albeit a completely different formula than the past, Ed Templeton and Toy have once again mastered it, and it’s no wonder why their first offering since Jump in 1998 is a winner.-Eric Stricker