Words and photos by Robin Pearson
After picking out ten TABLE PHOTOS, here's another classic trick. Much practiced, much photographed, the barspin is a trick that can be used in many different ways. It can be done off things, into things, in airs, in hops, in spins, to link things together in a line or as a trick in its own right.
Some people throw them early, some throw them later, sometimes they bus driver them round, sometimes both hands are fully off... Everyone does them differently.
As a photographer, it can be a tricky one to get right. People often ask us photographers how we time barspin photos. I'm pretty sure it comes down to feeling. You quickly get used to the rhythm of a rider's style when you're out shooting, so the timing of a barspin photo starts to become quite instinctive... But not always. Sometimes it is a real challenge. And sometimes it's a one-bang deal. I have to admit I've had a couple of clangers here and there, but, for the most part my point about the rhythm stands true.
Here are ten of my favourite bazza shots, with some edits that go alongside them.
01 – Ed Zunda, pegs to hard 180 bar, Riga, Latvia.
Hanging out in Riga with Zunda and his crew was a damn good time. Every day was pretty much the same – wake up, coffee & eggs, pedal around the city, buy awesome cheap beers, find a good place to sit and talk rubbish, then ride a bit more, drink more beers and then loads of vodka... Somehow between all that we managed to shoot a whole interview for Ride UK issue 169.
This grind to hard 180 barspin was a bit of a bonus. We had already shot a pegs to hard whip with a fisheye, then Zunda suggested this. I was keen to shoot something on my Bronica (a medium format film camera) and went for it on this one. Shooting film can be even more risky when trying to time a barspin photo but this one worked out fine.
02 – Dennis Enarson, truckdriver drop, San Diego, California.
This is pretty nuts, but what do you expect from Dennis? He wanted to do something in the pool at Clairemont skatepark, I suggested the drop from the deck to the waterfall into the deep end, then this happened.
Dennis throws his bars pretty early – once I'd figured that out earlier in the trip, shooting photos like this became a lot easier. This was shot for his Ride UK interview and the accompanying CEEK LIFE video is below.
03 – Ralphy Ramos, barspin over pipe, Tel Aviv, Israel.
Ralphy Ramos's technique is pretty flawless, he has such a classic-looking barspin. When I was looking through my archive for this collection I had a few photos of him to choose from. This one won in the end because it's right in your face, Ralphy's killing it, plus his hat and front wheel match the obstacle. Love it.
04 – Isaac Lesser, barspin fakie, East London, UK.
Cold. That's what I remember from this day. I had asked Isaac if he wanted to ride some playgrounds near me for a Ride UK feature and this was the only day he was free. The weather was hideous for BMX riding – bitterly cold and with a thick mist that had thoroughly wet every surface. I couldn't believe Isaac wasn't wearing gloves... It was that cold!
After a few failed attempts at other playgrounds, this one was our last resort. Somehow, this brick bank had stayed relatively dry so we were able to shoot this photo. I had hated the low visibility up to this point, until it gave the photo this nice dreamy, mysterious quality.
05 – Phil Aller, hop bars, Newquay, UK.
From cold to hot! Phil Aller is an appreciator of the good things in life, like road tripping and enjoying a beer on the beach. On this particular road trip, down to Boardmasters with the Vans UK team, we had been blessed with some pretty awesome sunsets. The obvious thing to do (before partying) was go down to the beach in board shorts and shoot a hop barspin on the sand between waves.
Every time I look at this photo I'm so glad we shot it!
06 – Gary Young, 180 bar, San Diego, California.
As Gary is transferring bank to bank, you could almost call this a truckdriver to fakie. Whatever you call it, it's awesome – he popped so high over that rail every time until he found the right position to throw the bars. This was featured in our THRICE article with Gary.
Keep a look out for Doeby's LIKEWISE video for the footage of this...
07 – Anthony Perrin, icepick to bar, South London, UK.
London Calling was a rad project. I was teamed up with Federal and had a hell of a week cruising around and photographing their street spot destruction.
This rail in South West London has seen a lot of action over the years, but Anthony Perrin had this fresh move for it. Posting this is a good chance to re-watch Rich Forne's video from that week. Wait for the kid in the sunglasses...
08 – Declan Brooks, barspin drop, Southsea, UK.
The reasons for choosing this photo are simple.
People think of Dec Brooks as purely a contest rider but he's one of the most versatile BMX riders I can think of, as we showed in THIS VIDEO.
I was stoked to see Dec riding street and I'm always a sucker for a BMX photo by the sea. Simple as.
09 – Nigel Sylvester, bars into bank, Haifa, Israel.
Working with Nigel for his Ride UK interview was a very interesting experience. He's quite different to most BMX riders, that's for sure. The level he operates on is unlike any other pro rider – he's made his own path, all credit to him.
This area was pretty sketchy so we quickly got this photo done before moving on. All went to plan with the photo but then I rode through a jungle of glass and got a double puncture... Slow guy.
10 – Dan Boiski, uprail to barspin, East London, UK.
This one is all about the simplicity. The elements are arranged clearly to just show off the riding – you can see exactly what's just happened and what's happening at this very moment.
Boiski had to pedal pretty damn hard to get all the way up the rail and get that much pop. After a few attempts (and a couple of knocks into that wall woman) Boiski locked it. The barspin is perfect, the timing is perfect... So of course we had a victory beer afterwards!