A Real Canadian Hero: Russ Milligan
Some skaters spend their careers constantly adapting to the latest trends in tricks and fashion, while others are content sticking to what they know. While the ability to evolve and adapt is in general a positive thing, there will always be skaters whose styles don't change much because they quite simply got it right the first time. Russ Milligan is one of those skaters.
Our first real look at the Vancouver native came in 2002, having a full part in both the RDS Video and the independent feature North. Clad in the baggy clothing of the era, Milligan's special talent of doing not so common technical tricks like switch bigflips with effortless style (it would be years before they were popularized by a beautiful man) was instantly apparent.
As the years went on, the baggy gear never left and neither did the tricks. His style stayed consistent and his skills on a skateboard continued to improve each time we saw him. The next year Russ dropped another part, this time for Digital's Everyday. His footage from Pier 7 is a clear look at an amazing skater coming into his own, and his switch backside flip over the block is still crazy by todays standards.
In 2004, a board sponsorless Russ does one of the best switch backside 180s ever done in his 411 Hot Wheels section, and closes out the North Video sequel Port Moody Blues, an amazing part with a badass soundtrack.
The years between 2005-2008 were prolific ones for the Canadian shredder, in which he produced parts for City Skateboards (Crime in the City), Vancouver's infamous Red Dragons skate crew (Skateboard Party), and Kurtis Filippone's Strange Brew, all of which are bangers. It was during this time that the consistency of his style really started to stand out. As skaters began to diversify their trick selections and terrain choices, Russ stuck with the standard late 90's / early 2000's fare of knee-high ledges, flat gaps and manual pads and pushed the progression of that style of skating even after the peak of its popularity. Russ never had a weird handrail or bowl skating phase, never made any radical fashion adjustments, he just kept skating well. Anyone needing proof need only see the gif above.
More recently, Russ was seen in videos from his former board sponsor Think and Winnepeg's Green Apple skateshop in 2012 & 2013, respectively. These videos contain some of his wildest footage to date, including the bigass frontside noseslide seen at the beginning of this post.
It should also be noted that Milligan endured a series of sponsor changes that would prompt many to abandon a skate career entirely. He briefly found a home on City Skateboards, which after a couple years merged with Think, an SF based company that recently shut its doors after 24 years of operation. He can now be found riding boards from Studio, a Vancouver based company that also sponsors fellow North & North 2 star Wade Fyfe. In case you couldn't have guessed, not much has changed with Russ. That's a good thing.