Things I obsess over #1

Over the last five years there are a number of old skate images and video I’ve been obsessed with. Things that just hit me so hard at the time I originally saw them in the 1970s or in the case of the videos just a few years ago, when they were finally put on the internet.

I’ll start with this image, from Skateboard World Magazine. The skater is Steve Day, who was a pro freestyler at the time for the Russ Howell team, and then later he skated for the short-lived Bad Company team. Steve was a top freestyler for a while, and while he is usually remembered for the handstand kickflip, this simple, beautiful image of him doing a 1-footed nose wheelie was on my wall when I was a kid, and it still hits home for me today. Steve got 4th place at this contest, the 1978 Oceanside Pro Freestyle. The results were as follows:

1. Doug Saladino
2. Matt Barden
3. Steve Cathey
4. Steve Day
5. Dan Ewell

If footage of this even evert finds its way to video I think some third eyes are going to be opened.

Why this image? Well, first it’s just a great full-page shot. His positioning on the board is superb, projected strength, balance, and control. The Howell freestyle wheels look really cool. He’s riding a flat fiberglass Howell board with a “foot stop” attached to the top of the tail to keep his foot on while spinning 360s. There is a real crowd there to see the skating. Man, it must have just been fantastic to be there.

Everyone on that list of placings was a great skater. There were lots of great images from this event. Soon I’ll be going on and on about Doug Saladino at an even earlier contest, but that’s for a different post.

Libraries and free movies

If you have a public library card, there is a reasonable chance you have free access to Kanopy, which is a streaming video service that a lot of libraries make available, for free, to patrons. It’s kind of like Netflix for smart people. Lots of great films, documentaries, indy stuff, etc.

Last night I was in the mood to watch a science fiction film, so I checked out this little independent film called Prospect. It’s fairly low budget, but well done. Good practical effects. I would classify it as hard SF. Highly recommend it.

Two-Footed Nose Wheelies

Sinus Infection Winter 2019 continues, which means I’ve been sitting around thinking about skating. Tonight I’ve been thinking about my favorite trick, the 2-footed Nose Wheelie. Some people call it a Hang Ten Nose Wheelie. Bad people replace the word Wheelie with “manuel”, which is of course incorrect for reasons I’ll not go into here (but words do actually mean things, so I’m not flexible on this).

Modern freestylers tend to do the trick with their feet centered on the board, while older skaters often had their feet offset or not exactly facing forward, or at least have one foot a little further up the nose than the other. The new way is better for variations like Nose Wheelie Spacewalks. I can do it both ways, but I tend to put one foot a bit farther up the nose, as I learned this in about 1979. It never occurred to me that a spacewalk might be possible from this wheelie.

If you want to learn this trick, here is Tony Gale’s tip for it on FreestyleTrickTips.com. Tony will harsh on you for moving your feet to the offset position, but don’t let that fool you. He’s a top bloke, and certainly in the top 5 freestylers in the world now.

Talking to my friend Terry Synnott (of Mode Skateboards) tonight, I was telling him that a shorter nose allows you to lift the rear wheels higher, and that I think it looks better. Terry thinks this opinion comes from the era in which I started skating. He’s probably right. Still, it looks better with those rear wheels held high. Anyway, here are some examples.

Me, Oct 2019. Photo by Joe Makarski. You can see how much less nose I really need. That long nose is actually a problem. I’m generally happy with the wheelie. Good rear wheel height.
Doug Saladino, late 70s, offset feet, great style.
Tony Alva, from cheesy Playboy Magazine video, but with great style. Very offset feet. Sometime in the 2010s.
Steve Cathey, late 70s, Jim Goodrich photo. Great wheel height and wild back arch. Feet pretty well centered.
Steve Olson, Indy Trucks ad, early 80s Thrasher mag. Again, great style, wheels held high. So cool. Offset feet.

More Peralta

Looks like Stacy Peralta will be posting more of this footage from the old Marina Del Rey skatepark. Good.

Subscribe

I find it annoying that Facebook has largely replaced people’s blogs. In meaningless retaliation, I will not be posting this blog or creating a page for it on Facebook. I encourage you, if you want to keep up with it, use the subscribe via email section in the sidebar.

I also recommend Feedly.com as a way to keep up with blogs, podcasts, etc. It’s a site that aggregates the feeds of whatever sites you want to follow.

Stuff

Tonight I decided to make this a “general” skate blog. Since it’s my blog, it will mostly be about me and my friends.

So here’s my part from the third NeverWas video, which was released back in October at StupidFest II. I am running out of tricks, so for the fourth video I will have to learn some new stuff and go to some new spots. I have some ideas, which is frustrating because for various reasons I’ve not been able to get out and skate. And right now I’m four days into a sinus infection, which sucks.

Anyway, here’s the video. My goal on this part was to do some freestyle on a bigger board, to sort of demonstrate to some of the old guys that FS can actually be like it was before stationary tricks and specialization temporarily ruined it. That’s its a fun thing to do, and there’s no reason one can’t have a few such tricks in their arsenal.

More flow

OK, I haven’t really given a damn about much of anything the last 3 weeks. But today I saw this on Stacy Peralta’s Instagram account and found that I started caring again. This is the sort of flow you want to see in skateboarding – all skateboarding. This is the ideal. I want to see more of this, and more of Alva doing this kind of thing as well. So rad.

Opinion time

OK, I haven’t really given a damn about much of anything the last 3 weeks. But today I saw this on Stacy Peralta’s Instagram account and found that I started caring again. This is the sort of flow you want to see in skateboarding – all skateboarding. This is the ideal. I want to see more of this, and more of Alva doing this kind of thing as well. So rad.

A hard two weeks

It’s been a rough two weeks. Some of the roughest of my life. Rough, horrible, but with the kind of beauty that I’ll never forget, and always feel.  I’ll not go into the details. I’m just emotionally and physically depleted. Tremendous exertion of both of those fronts. Extrovert behavior forced from my introvert self.Time now to retreat back into my restorative cave, along with my wife, make sense of things with the help of family, friends, and my excellent professional colleagues, continue trying to do the good work, and try to be the person my parents brought me up to be.

 

Toxicity

A few months ago we listened to this audiobook – The Man They Wanted Me To Be – by Jared Yates Sexton . It’s a memoir of Yates’ experience with his father and an examination of the role of toxic masculinity in his life and beyond. If you are a man reading this post and just thought “Toxic masculinity is a bullshit concept and everyone needs to just man-up and get on with things” then you probably need to read the book. The book is especially timely now, as the White House is currently occupied by one of the world’s greatest exemplars and advocates of toxic masculinity.

I’m not going to do a review of the book here,except to say it’s worth reading or hearing. Henry Rollins did this very solid article about it, so you can start reading it here.

What you should know going into the book, I think, is that it isn’t about scolding anyone for how they are. It’s about a man seeking to understand himself and the cultural norms that have been ingrained in him. It’s not a self-help book, but reading it might help you. Compared to a lot of men I feel like I got a light dose of this from my dad, and I’m lucky for that, but the truth is I still got it.

If you are a woman, reading it might help you understand the programming the men in your life have likely received.

 

Sins of our Fathers

Listening to a podcast about slavery in the United States and the cotton industry. Amazing. There has of course been slavery throughout human history. I don’t buy the idea, even back in antiquity, that people didn’t really have the capacity to understand that slavery is wrong. I don’t think that’s a very big intellectual leap to make — you know – that it’s wrong to own another human being, or that they didn’t understand these were “people”.

Interesting point in this podcast is the extent to which American capitalism was shaped and continues to be shaped by the institution of slavery. CEO’s making hundreds or thousands of times what their employees are making? Except for the beatings the attitude is mostly still there. People as a means to an end, rather than deserving of dignity and respect simply because they are human, and the weird acceptance that this is the “way things are.” Kids in cages? Check. Separated families? Check. Working people barely getting by? Check.

 

Healthcare

A good friend of mine – one of the best people I know – recently had a very expensive medical procedure due to cancer. Stem cells, bone marrow transplant, etc. The bill was astronomical. He’s lucky to have insurance, though his insurance company did give him some shit over an anti-rejection drug.But that’s another story. The total bill would have blown right through most people’s old “maximum lifetime payout” or whatever they called it. Thank you, President Obama, for getting rid of that lifetime cap so my friend still has meaningful coverage.