My friend Chris and I hit the Glenville ditch, here in Richardson, for a session last night. Being extremely manly, Chris managed to seperate one of the wheels from the truck on his newschool board, so I shared my longboard with him. He’s a good longboarder, of course, so it was killer.
This was my first real attempt at skateboard photography with my new Canon SD750. The first shots were pretty blurry. Then I started using Auto mode, pre-focusing on the area I wanted to shoot, and then panning with the skater as he rode by. Pre-focusing reduced the shutter lag to almost zero, making it a lot easier to shoot. The result was a much clearer shot of the skater — pretty neat — good photos for a total beginner. Chris got some good shots of me too. Check out the rest by clicking here…
Funny, after so many years of longboarding, that 44″ board doesn’t feel or look that big.
This weekend in the cities of San Marcos and Austin, Texas, downhill skateboarding enthusiasts gathered for the 2007 Cold Fusion Sizzler, which included giant slalom and downhill speed events.
Here is a link to some video from Saturday. If it looks like they were going fast, they were. Top speed was over 50 mph. For those who aren’t skaters out there, 25mph is fast enough on a skateboard to be scarey. Over 25 and you really need a good helmet and safety equipment. In the 35+ range most serious riders use a full motorcycle helmet. At speeds over 20 mph, there’s a phenomenon called “speed wobbles”. Your front and rears trucks hit a weird point there they sort of sync into a wobbling oscillation, which is scarey. Usually if you just stay calm you pass the particular speed range and get out of the wobbles. Of course, at those speeds you really can’t just jump off. Doing giant slalom on a 50 mph hill is very ballsy. So my point here is that these guys are “real men” – even the women.
Congrats to everyone, in particular Chris Doan, aka gorillabisuits, and Greg Stubbs, representing DFW.
This is one of my favorite pics of me longboarding. Its a few years old. Sure, I guess it is narcissistic to post pics of yourself, but this image always makes me feel good. As you can see, it was a beautiful day in Austin, Texas. I was sessioning the Turkey Bowl with some friends, riding my 48″ longboard. John Nau, the smoothest skater in Texas, took this photo. This was back when you could ride the Turkey Bowl without fear of some police showing up to kick you out.
Here’s another video clip I recovered – a 1-footed 900 spin on a 42″ longboard (Gravity Mini-Carve). This is one I shot during the months I was unemployed in the summer of 2002. It was hot outside! Most leisurely three months of my adult life. I think I’m going to set that board up again soon and tape some tricks. Maybe a 4 1/2 spin.
I can do quite a few one-footed 360s on a shortboard. My personal record, which is NOTHING compared to the really good guys, is 15. The longboard actually spins really well once you get going, but it is difficult to find the sweet spot where your ankle can keep the weight of the heavier board under control. Plus the wedge risers, used to improve the turning for the longboard, tend to make the rear truck less stable for spinning.
Anyhooooo, for those inclined to be interested in such things, the Mini-Carve was set up with Gravity wedge risers, Indy 136, and 66mm Gravity Street-G 85a wheels.
I’m posting this old video clip of me doing a Bertleman Slide at the Turkey Bowl, in Austin. This clip is several years old, but I’ve always like it because it shows the carveable corners of the Turkey Bowl, which is one of my all-time favorite skate spots. This clip used to be posted on one of my old sites, but I lost it when I scragged the site. Now that I’ve found it I’m posting it here so I don’t lose it again.
Today my friend Chris and I went out to skate a ditch. Unfortunately the ditch was full of water, a result of the constant rains of the last few weeks. So we went to a hill at a local condo development that we’ve been skating on and off for the last year. Luckily the condos don’t seem to be selling very fast, so traffic is still really minimal. Chris didn’t have a longboard with him so I let him ride my Loaded Vanguard. I used my trusty 1999 40″ Comet Proflex Park deck, with the usual Randal-II trucks and 81a ABEC11 Striker wheels (66mm).
We took a couple of runs without the camera. The hill is pretty mild, but it is constant. You pretty much get a nice 15mph ride without really trying. Pushing hard at the top and bombing it you might add 5 or 10 mph. So it’s not scarey. Then I took out the camera and shot this pics. I’m pretty happy with the way they turned out. I was rolling beside Chris. The camera really got a good focus on him, snapped the shot fast, resulting a clear image of him but you can really see the motion if you look at the full-size images and look at the concrete. Cool. The camera is a Canon Powershot SD550. Digital photography is really killer.
Chris had an interesting reaction to the Loaded Vanguard board. He said it initially felt pretty sketchy when he was pushing, probably due to the flex. After riding it on the hill he seemed to like it, noting that the mild concave really helped you feel dialed-in on the flexy longboard. Of course, the ABEC11 Gumball wheels roll so smoothly — the whole thing just combines for a great downhill ride. Chris carved, bombed, and pumped down the hill.
The session just wasn’t long enough. After about 20 minutes it started to rain again. Not just a sprinkle — enough to really get the street wet. About that time the guy from the development showed up and said “very sorry to ruin your Saturday, but I’ve gotta ask you guys to leave” – citing their “liability”. No problem — it was raining anyway. Kinda funny though — we were on a public street, not private property. Still, even had it not been raining, it would have been smarter just to split and come back later when he was gone. No reason to piss him off.
And go back I will. I had a good time carving the hill. When the weather improves and days are longer, I’ll have to start hitting that hill in the evenings. I’d like to practice my surf-style board walking and spinners while enjoying a nice downhill carve. Maybe I’ll even get out my slider gloves and practice some slides. Next time I’ll take my Comet Downhill board and try it out.
As I reviewed the pictures, I couldn’t help but laugh at that hideous backgrounds. When Adam Colton shoots pics and does video, it always seems like he’s in a very picturesque place. Oh well — you skate wherever you can. At any rate, I can’t say enough good things about the Loaded Vanguard and ABEC11 wheels. They really make the downhill skating experience enjoyable.
Yesterday (Sunday) the sun finally came out, dried up some of the water from what seems like 2 weeks of rain, and warmed up the air a little bit. So I managed to get out for a few minutes and carve around on my Loaded Vanguard longboard. What a great board. The giant, chunky, ABEC-11 Gumball wheels really make the sucker roll smooth and fast. Combined with the flex of the board, going over a modest speed bump hardly feels like anything. Fun. It really felt good to be back on a board after so long. I did a little board-walking and toe-spins, but mostly carved around nice and low and felt the Flow.
Its really a shame that more new skaters don’t experience the fun of riding a board that actually rolls and turns well. Newschool boards are perfectly evolved for modern trick-oriented skating, but are really not very good for flowing around smoothly. Its always fun to see a new skater ride a proper carving/longboard setup for the first time, and see the smile on their face resulting from the improved ride and sheer fun. Of course I like all kinds of skating, but longboarding really helped me reconnect with the pure fun of rolling and turning and flowing.
Since starting Aikido, I’ve felt my skateboarding being pulled back in the direction of longboarding. Maybe its the “flow” I get while longboarding, which I can sort of relate to Aikido (based on my very limited experience so far). Maybe its the fact that I don’t want to sprain my wrist anymore — who knows.
Whatever the deal, when it stops raining and the weather is nice, I feel like riding a longboard. I’d like to go longboarding with some friends and shoot some video. Just some simple, flowy stuff.
I think I’m going to also repair/rebuild the tail on my old Acme longboard. I haven’t ever found another board I like as much, and I’ve tried a lot of boards. It is hard to find a 48″ kicktail deck. The best substitute I’ve found is my 45″ Lib Tech, which is a great board. I’m sort of interested in the Fibreflex 44″ kicktail. Looks like it might work too. Might be time to sell some stuff to finance that acquisition.
For my recent birthday I treated myself to a new longboard — a 40″ Comet Spoon-nose downhill. I’ve had several Comet decks before, and thought I’d like one specifically for skating parking garages. Something stable, yet still nimble, light, with a kicktail for extra versatility. The Comet fits the bill.
I got some new Retro ZigZag 66mm wheels, and put some Randal-II 180mm trucks on it. Just from rolling a bit, I can tell it’s going to be a killer setup.
Now I’ve just gotta find some time to go test it. More later, when I’ve got some results to report. Anyway — here’s a pic…
I’m posting an old video I made last year. I was experimenting with different angles with which to take some longboarding shots. I recently got a new longboard to review, which I’m going to compare to the setup in this little vid. The board in this is a Fibreflex Funshape, with Randal-II 180mm trucks and 66mm 82a Gravity Street-G wheels. Its a fun board for surf style carving and board walking. It’s also very light for such a long board.
The music in the vid is the Wedding Present. Sorry about the sound quality. I don’t have a good audio codec. Soon I’ll be upgrading my video editing system, so I’ll do some better stuff then. The original video file sounds really good, but it is also 36 megs — too big.
Anyway — click my pic to download the QuickTime file…