Riding the rails

Ever since Mark Gonzales and Natas Kaupas started jumping up on handrails in the late '80s, rails have served as a Litmus test and yard stick for street skills. They're the apex of progression; you learn a trick on curb, take it to a ledge or a flatbar, then maybe step up to a hubba ledge and finally try to pull it down a legitimate handrail. With the park explosion of the past few years many of the latest generation have ample access to perfect skatepark rails to hone their skills. Rail tricks that were once reserved for the crème de la crème are getting pulled by kids barely in their teens. The bar gets raised with every passing day. Alex Schmidt knows how to step things up with this 180 to switch crooks. (Photo: Jason Hainault)