The Dennis Busenitz Tear
Dennis Busenitz brings something unique to skateboarding. Sure, everybody puts their own spin on things, but with Dennis you know you're going to get a level of quality few other skaters can offer. He's the guy grinding the whole ledge, fitting in that extra trick in a line, and making every push looks like he's running from death. When you see it, you know it.
We got our first real glimpse of Mr. Busenitz in 2001's Real To Reel, by, you guessed it, Real. Right away it was hard to put him in a category. He didn't fit into either of the dominant categories of skater at the time – he wasn't wearing tight pants and skating rails, and aside from a switch 360 flip or two, he wasn't getting super technical either. What we did see was a young skater who wasn't afraid to skate fast and do solid looking tricks well (see his tricks on the curved ledge at 3rd and Army in this part for all the evidence you need).
He was just kind of...rad. That being said, it was going to take a more than being a fast kid with a great kickflip to catch skateboarding's attention.
Fast forward 3 years after a handful of (sick) scattered clips to the 2004 Volcom release Chicagof. We wouldn't blame anyone for having missed this one – the video is kind of a chore to get through, so it's entirely possible that even if you were skating at the time that you missed the Dennis Busenitz out-burst. Multiple sweaty lines at Pier 7 from the same day, skating China Banks like they were casual inclines – it left us so excited to see more from Busenitz.
Just one year later we got what we'd been itching for. Busentiz shared a part with Zered Basset in the DVS video, Skate More, and had the last part in Real's Roll Forever. It was with the release of these two parts that Busentiz cemented his status as 'dude we will always want to watch'.
What we saw in these two parts felt like a new type of skating, a type that we'd seen pieces of before but had never seen put together in such a complete package. You no longer had to choose between tech skating and aggressive skating, with Busentiz you got them both. He can do a perfect manual 360 flip out, going fast as fuck. He throws switch and nollie tricks into his lines, done not on flat ground but while cruising down one of SF's many giant hills. He does flip tricks out of manuals and giant gaps and handrails and skates pools. Simply put, he did it all and did it all well. You didn't get that before Busentiz.
A few years went by without much word from Dennis, but in 2009 he showed up in the second Battle at The Berrics contest, and was a part of what would go down as one of, if not the best game in the entire contest's history. Although he was not victorious, it is safe to say the skate community was floored by the flatground skill he possessed. If you had for some reason lumped him in with the rail jockeys of the early 2000's (he was featured several times on video wearing a Metallica t-shirt), this game would have set you straight.
That same year, adidas dropped Diagonal, in which his part was not the last in the video, but certainly felt like it should have been be. Busenitz is the only person on the planet who could make a run up to a trick one of the coolest clips in his part.
In 2010 his signature adidas model was released, receiving unanimous praise and a year after that he closed out the much anticipated Since Day One video from Real. This part really highlights his often overlooked manual skills. That same year, Dennis had the best Tampa Pro run of all time (yes, he won). It seemed like he was the obvious candidate for SOTY this year, yet it went to Grant Taylor. Maybe it was the punch?
2012 saw the release of Transworld's Cinematographers Project which featured a section of Busenitz and the Real team by Dan Wolfe. This part was nuts but really it was all about the ally-oop manual and the BS noseblunt.
Since then we have not seen much video footage from him. This May the new adidas project Away Days will grace us, and judging by the trailer, Busenitz has not been slowing down one bit, literally or figuratively.