Category Archives: freestyle skateboarding

Old Bastard Trick Tip #5: 180 Shove-It

In keeping with the simple movement/flow footwork kind of thing we’re looking at here, this week’s tip is for 180 shove-its. Again, you can learn these on a normal board. I’d love it if you’d go to Moonshine skateboard or Mode Skateboards (see the side-bar) and buy a freestyle board, but don’t let that stop you from working on this stuff.

Like any other trick, it’s easier to do a shitty shove-it. I did a bunch when I was filming the first version for this tip. Bad landings. Simple trick, but bad landings. Weird. I’ve been doing these tricks for 40 years, but still the bad landings plague me on the forward 180 shove-it. That’s OK. Just means I can still get better! So once you start landing these, start working on making good landings (I kept landing the forward shove-it with my back heel on the board, toes hanging way off, and it looked like crap).

Old Bastard Freestyle Trick Tip 5: the 180 Shove-It from Bob Loftin on Vimeo.

Old Bastard Trick Tip #4: End-Overs

First, for a really comprehensive guide to learning this trick, I recommend you go to Tony Gales End-Overs tip on FreestyleTrickTips.com, on which Tony guides you from the very beginnings of this move. Tony gives you some variations that are very much part of the basic freestyle movement vocabulary that I’ll probably not cover here.

End-overs are one of the most basic elements of freestyle, and in my opinion skateboarding in general, and are often overlooked. Until I started this project I honestly had no idea that people have trouble with this. I suppose because it is one of the first things I learned back in about 1975 or 76, it has just never occurred to me that everyone doesn’t do these. But I think skating began to be so vert and later street oriented that people just didn’t learn this.

So here’s my tip. It is intended as “additional commentary aimed at the old guys” to Tony’s more comprehensive instruction.

EndOvers from Bob Loftin on Vimeo.

I would also point out that when you can do endovers easily, stuff like this becomes easier as well, though it isn’t freestyle. Freestyle really should be, in addition to and end in itself, the fundamental building block of your skating.

360 Nose Rock from Bob Loftin on Vimeo.

Old Bastard Trick Tip #3: Walk the Dog

My talking seems to be increasing rather than decreasing, but I swear to remedy this. Part of the issue is that I am not just teaching the trick, but I’m also trying to talk to the old guys out there and address what I think are particular concerns and issues they might face. So that simply requires more talking. Next time I may wear a mask so y’all don’t get too sick of seeing my face.

So, Walk the Dog is one of the primary footwork tricks in freestyle. It’s important. Like the moves I’ve described in previous tips, it is a move that emphasizes the ability for the skater to move atop the board. It requires that your feet not be glued to the deck. You must be able to move them with some ease and eventually some grace. That’s the goal.

One thing I failed to mention in my excessive talking is the idea of not overpowering the kickturn in this. This move is all about subtle weight distribution. You may not have it at first. That’s OK. This trick will help you develop it. But when you are doing the kickturn part, try not to beat it to death. Just relax. Everything’s gonna be OK. A calm, peaceful, centered kickturn is what you want. So calm your mind, get all Zen, and let it flow slowly and smoothly.

Practice your Walk the Dog along with the previous tips here. Over, and over, and over. That’s how you get better. Mix them all together. Be creative!

I know with 100% certainty that you can do this!

Also, you can always get better! Looking at this video, I really need to work on my arm style. Man, it’s not the worst I’ve every seen, but it could be a lot better. I generally don’t like to copy anyone’s style, but when I see something in my own that I find ghastly, I try to adjust a bit.

Finally, for additional trick tips, and additional more detailed info on these, check out FreestyleTrickTips.com , by Tony Gale.

OBFTrickTip3 from Bob Loftin on Vimeo.

Old Bastard Freestyle Trick Tip #2: the Walk-Around

First, let me apologize for the excessive talking in this video. I was tired from my work day. But since probably 10 people will watch this video, and they are all friends, I figured it might be OK anyway, so here it is.

The Walk-Around (that’s what I call it, anyway) is simple footwork move that you can apply to a freestyle run, as footwork or as the entry into various tricks. It is quite versatile. With some speed and control during the initial wheelie carve, it can be quite stylish too. It’s a nice little move to have for nearly any skating situation. Next week when I go film some bank tricks for the upcoming NeverWas 2 video, I’m going to do this on – you guessed it – banks. My friend Tony Gale taught me a version of this going the other way, where you pivot on your heel rather than the ball of your foot, and it’s really cool. I’m going to start practicing it obsessively too.

So when you go out to skate, work this move in. Practice it with focus. Obsess on doing it as fluidly as you can. Try to make each one smoother than the last — your feet moving across the grip tape with ease. Really, it is fun to do! When you get this down, think about doing 2 in a row, than doing the previous tip (2 endovers into the Shove-It Thingie) all as one line. YOU CAN DO IT!

OBFTrickTip2 from Bob Loftin on Vimeo.

The Insane Challenge

As you go through these trick tips and tips on overall freestyle-ish-ness, I have a couple of challenges for you.

  1. Practice these every time you get on your board. At the end of any line you do, after any slappy, do one of these things. Make it a habit. That is how you learn.
  2. Shoot some video of yourself doing this stuff, put it on youtube or instagram, and share it on the Old Bastards Freestyle forum. Join the forum, on the Always Will message board, if you haven’t already. It is more fun to learn things when you share your progress and innovations with the like-minded.
  3. Ignore the ollie. Yes. Ignore it. So many skaters grew up doing ollies and ollie-based tricks constantly that they can’t do anything else. Even old guys do this, since guys who started skating in the mid to late 1980s are now OLD. Yet there are at least a million things you can do on flat without the ollie. So commit to practicing freestyle without the ollie, so it isn’t a crutch.

Once we have done 10 tips here, I’m thinking about doing a Cyber-Freestyle Challenge, where you will film a short run to share with everyone.

When you post something, use #TheInsaneFSChallenge. If you post on Instagram use @bibliosk8er as well. On Facebook, tag me.

So get on it!

 

 

Old Bastard Freestyle Tip #1: the Shove-It Thingie

This is a little move I use a lot in freestyle, but I tend to use it whenever I skate anthing. It’s a habit. One of the 7 habits of highly habitual people, or something like that. Anyway, its a useful move for freestyle, and also useful for changing which end of your board is forward without fumbling around with great spasticity.

OBFTrickTip1 from Bob Loftin on Vimeo.

Florida Trip Report

Repost from yesterday’s return trip from Florida.

I’m at the airport, waiting to fly home to Texas.

I got to Jacksonville on Thursday afternoon, late, and Terry Synnott picked me up at the airport. Spent the evening with him and Jenna, at dinner and then watching some old freestyle videos.

Friday morning we hit starbucks a bit late, and went to a public skatepark in Jacksonville. Nice little park, with a flat area not too bad for FS. A bit of a slope, but manageable. We skated the park  bit, and did some FS too. It was hot, but there was a nice shade covering and benches. A dude with a “come to Jesus” sign showed up with a guitar to talk to kids.

Our plan was to go to Kona, but after wearing ourselves out in the heat skating, then eating some too-big vegetarian burritos, we were done. Went back to Terry’s and watched more videos. Then more eating for dinner with Jenna, and THEN we went to Kona. It is 100% mind-boggling sanity-rupturing 4 dimensional madness. Everything is HUGE. It’s on the side of a hill, so there are all these levels. Like stepping into a Lovecraftian city of cyclopean madness.

Saturday morning we got up, once again hit a Starbucks near the beach and went to Terry’s main freestyle spot. (the Synnotts do this together every Saturday and Sunday). It was warm, but not too bad, and so close to the ocean there was a nice breeze. We skated for a little over 2 hours. It was really fun to skate with another freestyler. Terry has become a really good friend over the years. He would tell you he’s not at the top of his game now, having sustained a horrible leg break a couple of years ago. Top of his game or not, he remains my favorite freestyle skater. It’s nice to be friends with your heroes.  We skated, talked about some new ideas for tricks and sequences, and worked on ’em. Jenna shot some video. We need to do this a lot more often. Like quarterly. I know it would help my skating a lot. We then went for a late lunch, and back to the house for more videos.

Oh – Terry has a huge collection of video footage of freestyle contests from the late 1980s. Stuff that was never published, of old NSA and CASL amateur contests. So few of those guys skate anymore. I think Terry is one of the only ones, and probably the only one who does freestyle regularly.

Time for one more meal. We went out for Thai food. Really good stuff. Then they took me down to see the ocean which is always nice for a pale Texan who lives a couple of hundred miles from the coast.

Overall a really great trip. I can’t thank Terry and Jenna enough for hosting me. Good people. As good as you’ll find. They are doing a lot for the freestyle skateboarding community. From producing great boards and wheels to supporting younger skaters, they are doing it right.

A good session

Tonight I forced myself to go skate. I’m just so over this heat. Tired of it 100%, but I knew I needed to skate. As I’ve written here lately, I’ve been a little burned out, from just about everything, actually. All I’ve wanted to do is hang with my wife. Just be at home with her. We had our anniversary the other day, and went to a Rangers baseball game, which was great. I wish every day was just the two of us doing fun stuff. As I get older, I’m starting to resent more and more that our time is not 100% our own to use this way. Childish? Maybe. But damn, these are our lives.

Anyway, for the first time since my London/Germany trip last month, I got all my stuff and went to my spot. Board, iPod, speaker, water. It wasn’t too bad. Got there at a little after 7pm, and while it was still hot and pretty humid, it was not horrible at all.

Having not practiced much, I went into this session with no expectations. I spent about 30 minutes just doing simple footwork and space walks. Then finally I started doing some tricks. My friend Tony Gales tells me I need to reduce the setup time between my tricks. Since he just won the world championship in Sweden, I think I’ll listen to him. I started working on it. One push, quick setup (more efficient setup), and right into a trick. I think this is good way to practice. If you can skate this way, you can alway draw things out, but if you always draw things out, you can’t immediately do things quickly.  So I did some one push into 360 shove it practice, and by the end of the session I was getting that pretty much every time, and managed to start doing a rolling fingerflip on the other side of my spot. Two tricks where I usually only do one. So I’m pretty happy about that.

 

My run at Paderborn

Not gonna lie. I was not really happy with this run. I was jetlagged, tired, and felt dull, though I had a fantastic time during this trip. It was nearly Texas-Hot in Germany that weekend. Anyway — here’s my run. Put on some headphones and crank the sound, because the song sounded magnificent.

Summer Skate 2017: Pre-Travel Post #2

As my trip approaches, and the Paderborn freestyle contest draws nearer, I must remind myself that I am skating for me. Not for a contest. Not to win. Not for a prize. But for me. To show what I can do, enjoy the company of my friends from all over the world, and contribute to the greatness that is freestyle skateboarding.

This is my weekend to work, so I was off a half day today, and I’m off all day tomorrow. I got a lot of my trip prep done today, and will finish tomorrow.

I got in a good session today at 7pm. Skated pretty well. Had a good time. I’m feeling good. Body feels limber, agile, and strong, if a little bit heavy.

Worked on my rolling finger flip today. Not that many of the old guys do these. I haven’t done them in about a year, frankly because I’m lazy and they require a lot of effort. However, since they are a trick that gives a lot of old dudes trouble, and since I can do them, I’ve decided to practice the hell out of mine so it is on lock for these contests.  Today I spent 30 minutes on terrible attempts and bad landings, but then got the foot placement and timing worked out and made some good ones. I need to go a bit faster, but that will come. A good, solid finger flip is the main thing. Smooth. Even if a bit slow. Good landings. That is what I go for.

 

Bad Ass Skating

My friend and podcasting partner Tony Gale got 5th place pro division last weekend at the World Freestyle Roundup in Vancouver. He should have been ranked higher, but judging is hard to do, and mistakes happen.

This is his 1st run from the Semi Finals. It is perfect, and extremely difficult. Three 540 Shove-It variations, difficult kickflip and double kickflips, etc, etc. Perfect run. Ripping. So proud of him.

Street Skaters and Freestyle and Whatnot

For the record, real street skating is very rad. That’s my opinion on it. By “real”, I mean skateboarding done on the actual streets.

I’m a skateboarder. I love skating ditches, street skating, parks, freestyle, hills. I don’t do slalom, but I think it’s very cool. I used to skate a little vert, but simply didn’t have the grapes for it. So my point is, to a great extent skateboarding is skateboarding, but there are “borders” between disciplines, even if those borders are often a bit porous.

In the past I have fluctuated on the relationship between freestyle and street skating. There’s a part of me that really appreciates the ability to get on your board — one non-specialized board – and skate everything.  Up until about 1977 or 1978 it was kind of like that. The specialized freestyle board was still evolving. You’d still see people entering freestyle contests on boards that were essentially the same as what they’d ride in bowls or in their neighborhoods. So, yes, I do have an appreciation for the modern street board and its best practioners, who can ride it on almost any surface or terrain.

That doesn’t mean I dig all of modern street skating style. That part of it, for me, depends on the individual skater I’m watching.

There used to be kind of a joke about old vert skaters trying to skate street. A lot of them weren’t very good at it. Street was in, Vert was out, and many of the vert dudes simply weren’t good at street skating. Some were, however. I have street skated with Jeff Phillips and Dan Wilkes, and I can assure you they both had/have great street skating ability with great style.

What does this have to do with Freestyle? I’m getting to it.

Sooooo…seldom do you hear anyone but crusty old guys joke about street skaters riding vert. How horrible their style often is. There are of course some really good ones, but man, the street skating approach to vert can be fantastically ugly even when it is technically successful. At least to my critical and judgemental old eyes.

With the new boom of skateparks, there are some skaters now that can do it all. I love that. They can do it all and do it all with good style. I think that the pure street dudes still outnumber the all-terrain rippers though.

Which brings me to the subject of freestyle skateboarding and street.

My friend Keith Renna and I have had this discussion, and I’ve often found myself in agreement with him. The top street pros are sooooooo frickin’ good. They have such fantastic board control, and such a total lack of fear. What would happen if even one of the top dudes got into Freestyle? Would he/she kick everyone’s ass?

I have often suspected that would be the case. It’s not that the best freestyle guys aren’t fantastic, but there are just so many great street skaters. When you have probably hundreds of thousands of skaters in the potential population of spoilers, compared to a few hundred at most in the freestyle world, the laws of large numbers just seem to indicate the current freestylers would be overwhelmed by an onslaught of ultra-talented street skaters.

But I think I have changed my mind.

You might be able to find plenty of amazing street skaters who could quickly learn some tricks, but my mind drifts back to the ugly spectacle of street skaters riding vert. It’s just ugly. Sorry, but it is. The body positioning that works so well in modern street skating looks like an ape taking a dump when transferred to vert. I think the same thing would happen in freestyle.

But it isn’t just a matter of body positioning and style. It’s a matter of mind-set and discernment. Most of the best freestylers I know have the ability to discern good stuff from shit. A good landing from a shit landing. A good trick from a stupid one. A trick done well from the same trick done poorly. In the age of 50 Trys for 1 Make video street skating, I don’t know if that same standard applies. Maybe it does. I don’t see it.

What is freestyle? What is good freestyle? The answers to those questions are of course subjective. I know ’em when I see ’em. I think most of us know when someone is “doing freestyle” and when someone is just doing a bunch of tricks. How we know I do not know.

What I’ve seen when I see street skaters attempt freestyle, even very good street skaters, is a very clumsy version of freestyle. That’s not really meant as a criticism. Just a fact. Someone may have a killer 360 flip, but really not have any smoothness in what were once some very basic movements, like end-overs or walk-the-dog.  What I see a lot is street skaters overpowering things where subtlety is needed.

It’s just a different, though related, art.

But – I am always stoked to see new people working on freestyle. At a freestyle contest, having street skaters enter is cool. I encourage everyone to give it a try. I just don’t think freestylers should sell themselves short regarding their craft. There is nothing inherently greater about street skating skills, and freestyle as the art and the “event” needs to be preserved and honored.

 

Some freestyle

Had a good session last night. Here are a few tricks. This is how I practice. I roll back and forth doing tricks for at least an hour. I start with simple footwork, then eventually get into flip tricks and shove-its, etc. The trick at the end is new. I just learned it last night. Simple, but it has a nice flow and is fun.

New Tricks

I think I’ve always been a lazy freestyle skateboarder. I think I’ve always just done the tricks that come easy to me, which is fine, but honestly I think I’ve lacked the persistence to really work on a hard trick until I make it. I don’t like to fail, and learning new tricks in skateboarding involves lots of failure.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been working on some new tricks. It doesn’t matter what they are. They’re just new to me, and they are of the “hard” variety. Board flipping and spinning, etc. I’m having some success. Haven’t landed the new stuff yet, but it is an order of magnitude harder than my normal tricks. I’m coming close. I recorded some attempts last night, and man, some of ’em are right there! I actually feel like I’m going to get them.

This one below, which I’ve shared all over and will share here again because I’m happy about it, is not complex, but it’s hard. This 2-foot nose spin has eluded me for years. Again, I think I just wasn’t persistent enough. A couple of nights ago I made a small change to my foot placement, and it started to fall into place. This is only 2 spins, but I’m getting it consistantly, and it feels good and solid. I think I can get this up to 4 or 5 given a couple weeks practice.