August 2020

Fred Gall

By Pete Glover

Charts & Code: Jared Wilber

When weathered skaters tell tales of Uncle Freddy, we often speak of his appetite for excess, his unexpected longevity, and his undeniable likability. Skate folklore yarns are spun of daring rescues from burning buildings and wallride attempts on moving vehicles. He is part action hero, part comic relief, and all skateboarding legend.

It is near impossible to quantify the impact he has had on skateboarding lo these many years. But once we look past the hedonism and the heroism, what we can quantify are the skate clips themselves. What emerges from the data is a portrait of a cradle-to-grave skater who advanced switch tech-gnar progre ssion on two coasts before becoming the archetype of an entire genre of skating loosely defined as “crust”. So set down your bondo and crack a cold one if that’s your thing… it’s time to crunch the numbers on Fred Fuckin’ Gall.

All The Gall

All the parts logged for this article along with dozens of other clips, pictures, links, and commentary from Freddy can be found in the series of All the Gall blog posts on the Warm Up Zone blog. We also highly recommend the thorough Chrome Ball Incident and Bobshirt Interviews with Freddy.

Looking at the chart of Freddy’s top tricks over the entirety of his career, we aren’t confronted with many surprises. Ollies top the list, be they over obstacle, on flat, or off some sort of launch, with over 50% of those being landed into some sort of embankment. As we scroll down the list, we see all the familiar Freddy moves one would expect: Backside wallrides, treflips, frontside 50s, switch frontside 180s, and backside 360s.

If we were to group similar tricks together, it is interesting that some maneuvers rise in the rankings. When all wallride variations are combined (and there were 22 unique variations of wallrides) it’s tops at 52 instances, a hefty 7% of his entire trick output. Also of note is that Fred only recorded 5 straight up frontside 5-0 grinds (switch and normal combined); but when we total up all variations that include a frontside 5-0 component (such as the popular switch frontside 180 to frontside 5-0), it is one of his more signature tricks with 24 occurrences.

Fred's Least Favorites

What you aren’t seeing in the chart above are the tricks that Freddy just didn’t do that often, or ever. And some of those might surprise you.

We chatted with Freddy and mentioned some of these missing tricks.


    A Tale of Two Freddys: When we line everything up chronologically a picture quickly emerges of two distinct phases of the career of Fred Gall with the birth of Habitat serving as a delineator between epochs. On one side we have young Alien Fred: Featuring tricks in 14 videos through the first decade of his career, this starts with the Tracker Brotherhood video from 1991 and continues through Photosynthesis in 2000 (and I’m including the 4 tricks in Danny Minnick’s 2001 Collage video in there too). On latter side we have old dirty Habitat Freddy skating in 17 videos from Habitat’s Mosaic in 2003 through an online OJ Wheels part in 2015. The distinct features of the transformation between eras would be the Transition to Transition and the Rise of Crust.

    The Transition to Transition: It should come as no shock that as Fred Gall aged, a fetish for the transitions developed. In fact, if one disregards the tricks on the miniramp in Granny’s driveway and Brick Town Park during the Tracker years (plus Philadelphia’s Afro Banks), Alien Fred almost exclusively skates surfaces with hard angles. But from Mosaic onward, over 27% of Freddy’s tricks are done on some type of transition. Fred’s most recent part from 2015 featured 56% transition tricks.

    The Evolution of Crust

    A Note on Crust: We thought it relevant to record if the trick is at a spot or obstacle that should be defined as “crust”. Considerations towards “crustiness” can include roughness of ground, dilapidation of surrounding architecture, presence of overgrown foliage, necessity of Bondo or Quikcrete, and overall shittyness of the obstacle. When we reached out to Fred and asked him how he would define crust, he simply replied, “It’s like something that people wouldn’t skate”.

    The Rise of Crust: Nowadays, Freddy’s skating is synonymous with rugged, dilapidated, shit obstacles. But it wasn’t always so. When all the Gall is taken into account, we are only looking at crust about 25% of the time. If this number seems low, that is almost entirely based on the fact Fred didn’t even start to taste crust until Timecode, and even then it was just that crazy Philadelphia Underground spot. In fact, Alien Fred’s videos only hit the crust an average of 2.8% of the time. Contrast that to Habitat Freddy, who crusted it up 34% of the time. And this trend continues crustwards, with a solid 50% crust in his six video appearances since 2012, peaking out with harsh 82% of tricks qualifying as “on crust” in his most recent part for OJs from 2015.

    Some Video Numbers

    The table above includes all the videos logged for this analysis along with a small sampling of the many, many trends that can be tracked from the data. Some correlations remained consistent, such as the length of the video and the number of lines included; Other observations, such as the strange spike in clips featuring one of both pant legs cinched up, are just baffling on a bunch of levels. While the wallride trend, which Freddy launched with a monster kickflip to backside variation that landed him on the cover of Transworld, took prominence in the middle portion of his career, flip tricks (in which we include all variations including impossibles and shove-its) have remained surprisingly present even as his taste for transition has grown over the years.

    Video Breakdown

    The Brotherhood
    Eastern Exposure 2
    411 #8
    Real Life
    Thrasher Feats

    Percentage of ...

    Another way to compare how Freddy’s output differs with each part is to compare the distribution of various metrics across them. Each block in the chart below is made up of one-hundred squares, each representing one percent. Click on the videos below to see the percentage of each metric in the selected video. Some observations we saw in this data:

    Click around and see what other of Freddy’s secrets can be revealed.

    Quick Facts

    It ain’t over. We have confirmation from Freddy and others that the 2020 clips are stacking high and there will be a new part released through Thrasher before the year’s end. How will this new part fit in with the all the data we just contemplated?
    “It has pretty much everything, except for I’m still trying to get a tech ledge line that I haven’t got yet.”

    After discussing all the data with Freddy, we asked him what skater he would like to see analyzed next.

    “I don’t know, dude. How ‘bout Andrew Allen?”

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    Data & Methodology

    For this article we logged all of Freddy’s tricks from 31 different skate videos totaling over 63 minutes of footage. Footage from many tour videos, instagram footage compilations, Shorty’s Place compilations, Habitat Field Logs, and stuff we just missed until it was too late were not included.

    All efforts were made to remove identical clips that were featured in more than one video (for example: Habitat’s Origins only had 3 tricks that weren’t already logged in Lowcard’s Worst Skater of the Year part). Freddy has had 3 retrospective parts. Of these, Eastern Exposure Zero and the secret part from the Inhabitants DVD were not included. Only tricks from the Dirts Win retrospective that weren’t in other videos were included here.

    Thanks to Fred for the insights. Thanks to all the filmers from which we giffed footage. Remember to check the Warm Up Zone for more All the Gall. Follow and interact: @4plymag @warmupzone @freddygall @jdwilbr.

    Data and code available here.