Most modern skaters know Steve Rocco as the guy who changed/ruined/saved skateboarding, depending on one’s point of view. I tend to think of him as the freestyler who’d been pissed on enough that he decided not to take it anymore.
Rocco really came of age in freestyle before the video era of skateboarding began. There is precious little footage of him available from the late 70s and early 80s.
I found this on Youtube a couple of years ago – go to 6:03 to see Rocco’s run start. This was 1978. Dude was WAAAAAY ahead of pretty much everyone else. The speed and flow of his run was fantastic. I love this. This video was uploaded, and guess owned, by Maurice Meyers, brother of former Santa Cruz freestyle pro Ray Meyers. Actually, the other guys all have really nice style and flow too – but nowhere near the tricks.Rocco was just a lot more advanced.
This next video is 7 years later. Rocco is still on it. No longer the top dog in the freestyle world, Rocco had been usurped several years earlier by Rodney Mullen. In this video he’s 7 years old, a little heavier, his footwork a little chunkier, but he still brings it. What I like about this run, and all his runs, is that there are spots where he is rolling fast, barely in control, on the edge of losing it, but he snags that trick and hangs on and makes it – the essense of RIPPING – on flat or vert or street.
If you compare his run to this one, by Pierre Andre of France, there’s a huge differnce. Pierre is great – super controlled and accurate – but I think in that precision he loses something. Skateboarding should always be a little on the edge, even in freestyle. I have no proof of this, but I suspect the difference is that Rocco is also a street skater. In fact, he is one of the grandfathers of street skating.