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The Search For Animal Chin: Skate Video That Became a Movie

By Andres Pachon

A. Pachon, a journalist and skateboard addict, is a full-time writer for SHIT® Magazine.


Powell-Peralta put out a skate movie with the Bones Brigade skatecrew which lead the way for skateboarding in the early 80s. With skaters such as, Steve Caballero, Mike MCMagill, Tommy Guerro, Tony Hawk and Lance Mountain. We can talk about it’s shitty dialogue, the weird acting and a scattered plot, but more than a movie this is a real skate video, and one of the most iconic ones. It has become a cult classic defining a full generation.


Bones Brigade Skate and Acting Skills

Photo: Jason Lee (Unsplash)

The Bones Brigade went on a quest to find the wise sage Won Ton “Animal” Chin, this path guided them to skate the greatest ramp of all time, which only existed for three days. Powell-Peralta filmed the journey and made a movie like any other. This wasn’t like the usual skate videos at the time. This had acting, a story and everything unfolds with skateboarding.

The movie made a big impact on skateboarding. First, they changed the syle of skate videos, the camera positions used and the quality of every clip was amazing at the time. The shots were really advanced for the decade. This made the Bones Brigade reach a level of popularity greater than Z-Boys. It became a blueprint for future generations of the marketing strategies they could use. In the video appears the monolith ramp, a ramp specifically made for “Animal Chin”, and it became the precursor to Danny Way’s mega ramp.






Animal Chin's Downfall

The video was for some a way too mainstream thing. So commercial that really hardcore skaters just hated that clean saints. An important principle of the brigade was to never get into trouble with anyone. The rise of Animal Chin started to decrease when Powell-Peralta became out of date. In addition to a feud with Steve Rocco’s and Blind Skateboards, they just started to look old. Almost all of the members from the Brigade started their own brands. Nevertheless, after their movie, Skateboarding started to be get into acting, with skits that sometimes covered actual skating. Skate videos now take a lot more time and effort with years of production, multi-angle filming and HD equipment.

Animal Chin will remain in the memory of every skater when they reminisce about the 80s. And the example on how life changing this was for the culture proving what a skate film could be, to not forget the increase in standards makes us appreciate the movie even to this day.




Read also: 5 Skateboarding Movies You Must See

Read also: Skateboarding in Nickelodeon’s Rocket Power



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