‘Topography’ is a new feature examining types of terrain and the skateboarders who have a renowned knack for them. In this debut instalment, Silas Baxter-Neal discusses a tapestry of wallrides spanning from his days skating San Francisco’s Alabama Banks and up to the present day via his interview from Closer Skateboarding Issue #4.

Silas Baxter-Neal frontside kickflips into wallride at the Alabama Banks in San Francisco.

Silas Baxter-Neal — Alley-oop frontside flip wallride, Alabama Banks, San Francisco. photo: Ken Goto for his pro debut Habitat advert, 2007 and featured his ‘Topography’ interview for Closer Skateboarding Issue #4, Spring 2023.

Words & Video by Farran Golding | Photography by Ken Goto

Whilst living in San Francisco in the mid-2000s, Silas Baxter-Neal would skate a few blocks from his apartment, to his favorite coffee spot, passing the “Alabama Banks” on route.

Named after their native street, the possibilities of this Mission District parking lot, banked at one end with tarmac crawling upwards towards a painted white wall, regularly occupied his imagination. From the simple joy of floating vertically, backside and frontside, ideas of intricate wallrides began which manifested for Silas’ professional debut in Habitat’s 2007 video, Inhabitants.

Wallrides have since remained a staple of his trick selection, deployed with power, technicality, or a combination of both. As one of their most proficient practitioners, I spoke to Silas about all things wallride-related and his longstanding love for the trick.

“I don’t know if I try and play that role of, like, “the wallride guy”. I just see opportunities for things that are, like, “Maybe this will work….”

— Silas Baxter-Neal

Interview & Edit: Farran Golding

Footage courtesy of Habitat Skateboards, Adidas Skateboarding, and others (as credited)

Photography: Ken Goto, Dave Chami, Jonathan Mehring, Dave Swift & Marimo Ohyama

Silas Baxter-Neal backside wallrides a cobbled wall beside the Suminda River in Tokyo, Japan for his 'Topography' interview in Closer Skateboarding Issue #4.

Silas Baxter-Neal — wallride beside the Sumida River, Tokyo, Japan. ph: Marimo Ohyama for Closer Skateboarding Issue #4.

“It’s a rad spot, and the bank helps a little bit, but that wall is so damn rough and rocky. You have to go completely weightless. I was skating it more like a bank-to-wall than a straight wallride because the board is bouncing around under your feet as you’re wallriding and you don’t get solid contact until you’re off.”

CLoser skateboarding

Issue #4


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