Mike V’s videos always make me want to go out and skate immediately.
There’s this skateboarding group on the Facebooks called NeverWas Skateboarding. It’s kind of like the old bonelessone.com site that Mike Moore and I used to run, but not as Texas. Anyway, the guy who runs it, Brian Czarski (of Baltimore Curb Stories — over in the sidebar) is putting together a video of skaters in the group, so I’m going to be collecting clips and lines and stuff to send him. I took a couple of things I filmed recently and made this thing, which has only gotten one Like on Youtube, which makes me feel diminished as a human being…
After months of just doing freestyle, it is time to return at least part time to the street and ditch board. Though I like an interesting shape, I find the modern popsicle to be pretty functional. And easy to find. Thing is, for me street skating involves a lot of freestyle. I just hit curb or ledge while I’m at it.
At Paderborn my run was not really that great. I think the thing that saves me, or so I am told, is that I move well on the board. Apparently I have a little smoothness. I can tell you I didn’t develop that from freestyle. It’s all from street/ditch/bank skating.
The skating of Mike Vallely. It does two things for me…
- It makes me want to go skate.
- Reminds me that trying to skating like someone else if folly. Even if I was younger, skating like Mike Vallely, even at a lower level, would not work for me. It’s not the way I skate. I can love it and be inspired by it, but ultimately we all skate like ourselves, and should be happy with that.
Anyway, a cool edit by his filmer/editor with some Joy Division.
Last week my friend Dale found this little bank, hidden off a main street back behind some warehouses. You can see it if you look, but it doesn’t jump out at you — unless you’re a skateboarder.
We went back, scooted a parking block into a nice arrangement, and skated. We just shot a few moves on my iPhone, and here they are. Lots of fun. We’ll be going back.
As I’ve been working on a new zine for the last few months (Man! It takes a long time to do a good one!), and as that zine is about skateboarding on natural, found terrain (mostly) and flatland freestyle, and in particular a very non-ollie-oriented version of street skating, I’ve been thinking a lot about street skating lately.
When I started skating, most of what I did might be called “street” skating. There was no skatepark. There was our neighborhood, which consisted of sidewalks, curbs, alleys, banked driveways, and school parking lots. We didn’t even have ramps. We did have Skateboarder Magazine, and a couple of other magazines to show us what was possible, but the terrain depicted in those pages was out of our reach. We learned tricks — any tricks — on the terrain available. I was naturally drawn to flatland freestyle, as there was a big school parking lot three blocks from our house, but tended to adapt freestyle tricks to other terrains.
When a skatepark opened not too far away the summer before 7th grade, I began going there once per week. Now, that’s not enough to get good at riding skateparks very quickly. It didn’t help that for half the time between 7th and 10th grade I was on some pretty terrible equipment. Now, it was not terrible by those days’ standard, but boards didn’t really start showing advancement into forms that helped, rather than hindered, until I was at least a year into my skating life.
All that aside, once a week at the skatepark, but skating every day, makes you a street skater by default. I did freestyle, but the street was always there.
As skateparks began to die, the skateboard industry, via Skateboarder Magazine, began to push “street skating”, as well as DIY halfpipe skating. Then Skateboarder mutated into Action Now, and then disappeared entirely, to soon be replaced by Thrasher, which did a good job of covering the once again underground activity of skateboarding, which included a lot of street skating.
But street skating, really, has always been the “real” skateboarding. I say that because for most of the history of skateboarding, most skaters had only sporadic or infrequent access to skateparks. Most did their thing on the terrain available to them every day — the streets and secret spots. While the skateboard industry and media, during the boom of the 1970s, tried to transform skating into a respectable thing to do, confined to skateparks, with organizations and authority figures, that was never the reality for 95% of skaters.
As the 1980s progressed, the flatground ollie allowed skaters to go skate the streets with greater efficiency. We’d always been able to go up curbs, but now a more graceful method of getting up and down higher obstacles existed. A new generation of skaters came up, worshiping the Gods of Vert, but doing most of their skating in the streets. As the decades passed, and street skating became the most popular form of skating, vert and freestyle tricks were adapted to the street (as they’d always been). Heading in the 1990s, the impossible became the commonplace. To be a “good” street skater came to require more and more risk, balls, and injury.
But what is a good street skater?
Regardless the tricks done, I would contend that a good street skater is simply a person who can gracefully skate in the street – be it a suburban cul-de-sac, or a New York City thoroughfare — flowing through the environment, using it’s elements, and enjoying himself/herself. It has nothing to do with hand rails, flips, or whatever. It’s about flow through the environment, and THAT is what the real beauty of modern street skating is. That is the real gift of the street ollie. It matters not if one can slide a handrail, grind a ledge, or 360 flip a 6-set. A good street skater becomes one with the environment at hand. The rest is just fluff.
End of rant.
Saw this today. It’s the great Tommy Guerrero, in some recent footage, harkening back to his segment in the old Powell Peralta “Future Primitive” video. Remember? Back when street skating was fun and not so potentially crippling? Hard to watch either of these videos and not say “fook this shit”, leave work, and go skate. So fun, so fun so fun. I’m vibrating on a perfect frequency after seeing this. Tommy G — FTW!
Went skating this afternoon. Here are two proofs of this statement.
I wrote what I thought was a pretty good post about skateboarding. Then I decided I want to use it in issue #2 of the freestyle skateboarding magazine I am involved in, so I took it off this site. BUT — here is a picture my friend Dale took of me (I used it in the now-deleted post).
Did a little skating yesterday at a mellow local ditch. Fun.
Shot this video today, after procuring a little Zip Zinger board, from Krooked. It’s actually a fun board to ride, and the 55mm soft and resilient OJ wheels allow it to roll smoothly over nearly everything. Lots of fun.
This particular Zip Zinger is 8″ wide with a 14″ wheelbase. Its dimensions are pretty much the same as a typical newschool board, but the shape is reminiscent of boards from the mid-1970s. With the narrow Indy 101 trucks and 1/4″ risers, it really kind of feels like one of those boards (but better, since it has concave and isn’t solid oak).
It is taking a bit of time to get used to this board, but it’s fun.
Back before skaters became fixated on handrails and “going big”, curb and parking block skating was something many of us did and found quite fun. When I was in college, before and after sessions on the vert ramp near campus, we’d skate the curbs on the street next to the ramp.
So today before my friend Chris got to the hill for our downhill session, I got out my street board and started working on a few moves. On the way home I remembered quite a few others, which I’ll tape in the coming weeks.