Day 3 back at the spot. Feeling strong. Body, mind, and soul healing.
Back at my freestyle practice spot for the first time in about a year. It’s a bit more prone to pedestrian traffic, seeing as how that building next to me it the public library. I’ve not wanted to be there breathing the air of every parent and urchin that happens by, but now got my shots. Combing the shots, with loud music not necessarily friend to children, and I feel fairly safe there now.
It was nice to be back. I’m out of condition, but over the next couple of months lots of practice will correct that abysmal situation. I’m out of practice, but again, the solution is practice.
Anyway, here is the dancing elephant. Sorry Mike — I was not listening to the music you wanted. I have to have stuff that’s the right tempo and mood when I do this. I’m not driving a pickup down a dirt road at 100mph.
As noted before on this blog, maybe too many times, my favorite hard wheels are Bones Street Tech formula. A while back then started offering a slightly “softer” 99a wheel. I’ve never had a bad Powell wheel. They are all great. So I decided to give ’em a try. These are 54mm 99a, in the V1 shape (their standard profile wheel). Unlike the other STF, these wheels don’t have a lathed surface, which is weird. I haven’t ridden them yet. Will report back on these later tonight.
The bearings are from Daddies Board Shop — there own brand bearing with built-in spacer and speed washer. They seem good so far.
I got my hour of rolling around in tonight. Just rolling around.
This pandemic and the various associated stressors that have come with it have really made me just want to roll and do simple things. I have no interest in “technical stuff” now, and even though there’s the online World Roundup coming up, I really don’t care. I’ll film some stuff, I’ll send it in — and that’s it. Just – don’t – care to stress out about getting a “good run” together.
One of my favorite skaters is this guy Stefan Albert, from Europe. He skates like I would if I were younger and prettier. It’s alway funny to see his lines, because they are very much like the way I roll around when I’m just kind of letting the board roll and seeing where it goes when I start spinning.
Anyway, here’s the same line, twice. Backside slide to fakie to fakie 540 rolling it out a long way, into an endover or two while I think about what comes next. I like doing the fakie 540 like this, because there is enough energy to sling myself out of it with some momentum.
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Took the Mode Pool board, which I’ve decided is a little better for my weird freestyle influenced version of street skating, to my oldest skate spot and just let the GoPro record a bunch of stuff. Not crazy about the fisheye effect and the way it makes distant stuff look even more distant, but it gets the job done. After about an hour the school district cop rolled up and told me the entire grounds of the school are closed, so I saluted and said very good sir, and was on my way. I’d gotten my skate in, and really, I’m not gonna win that argument. I mean, there I am in an otherwise empty parking lot, but how can she tell all the dumbasses on the playground to leave and not tell me the same thing? Well, she can’t. So off I went.
By the way – for hard wheel skating, there’s just no reason to buy anything but Bones STF.
Nothing mind boggling here – just sharing ’cause that’s how we pandemic.
Looks pretty good if you go to full screen on the vid.
Went back to my spot tonight and rolled around. My friend Paul and his son were having a session at the same time, so we traded videos and had a cybersession. Man, Paul is quality. Paul — I love you man.
Anyway, here’s me farting around again. Probably more than anyone needs to see of this, but what the heck.
I’ve been trying to get out and roll around about an hour a day. Usually from 7pm – 8pm. Earlier and the sun is in my eyes.
I’m not really doing anything hard. As long as I get some rolling in, and I’m used to the feel of my board, I’m good. Nothing serious. Just riding a street board with somewhat turny trucks. The looseness of the truck doesn’t make footwork easy, but I like being able to carve a nice arc when I’d skating like this.
One thing I don’t enjoy in my typical freestyle is that I think the necessary tightness of the trucks (and I don’t even ride them as tight as a lot of FSers do) destroys a lot of my fluidity and looseness. And those are two traits of my own skating that I think are OK. I’m not great at technical stuff, and I’m not a huge risk-taking badass. Of all the stuff I do in this little video, my favorite thing is the little arc I carve after that first line, as I’m passing by the camera. I really need to slowly loosen up my FS trucks a bit so I can get that same effect.
The other day on Instagram, Tony Alva had one of those “story” posts in which he did a 2 foot nose wheelie where one of his feet is way to the side, and as he carves around he moves it almost to a G-Turn and almost to a 1-foot nose wheel position before he finishes the move. I really like the way he does them. There’s not a lot of footage of him skating, but at this point in this dumb video from “World of Playboy” he does the move. I say dumb because they obviously wanted him to talk about being a “renegade”, and TA does his best to accommodate them, and well, it’s kind of blabbering. I really think Tony is a better than that, and the editing and questions were probably dumb. But really, the move is awesome. Here he is doing it in a Van’s video, under cramped conditions.
So I did a little interwebs research and found some other images that I really like, because they show him back the early 1970s doing it the same way, then a couple of shots from more recent stuff (including this video). Kind of cool to see him still doing this move. I like that.
All photos stolen from the interwebs. Thanks to the photographers.
A couple of years ago Lew Ross and his company Fickle Skateboards came across my radar. I think it was David Thornton’s old LuchaSkate podcast interview with Lew that got my attention. About that time there was a new group of skateboarding bloggers coming to prominence. Kyle Duvall of the Parking Block Diaries, David, and a few others were really making their mark. David would later transfer LuchaSkate to the control of Brian Czarski, who would change it to NeverWas Skateboarding. But David’s energy from both the LuchaSkate blog/podcast and the associated Facebook page helped bring some good people to my attention.
In mid-2017 I got wind that Lew was going to be in Austin, visiting and skating with Indiana refugee Jason Renn, Bryce Miller, and some other local Austin skaters. I contacted Jason and made arrangements to go down and skate and meet these guys. When I got to Renn’s place, Lew had a number of boards available for purchase. I bought his “Classic” shape, the review of which can be found here.
Since that time I had another chance to skate with Lew, Jason, and the crew at StupidFest 1, in October 2018. At the time I was riding his Knucklehead shape. As one of the admins of Neverwas Skateboarding, Lew brought me an 8.25″ version of his Bullnose shape, which I just set up and have not had a chance to skate yet as it has been winter.
But I want to show a few pictures of these setups, and say a few more words about Lew’s workmanship.
The Knucklehead (the board on the right)I have is now well-ridden. I find it to be a bit wider than the specs on the Fickle website. The board seems to be about 9″ over the trucks. I think Lew makes adjustments to this boards as time goes by?
At any rate, it’s a bit wider than I expected. I set mine up with Indy 169s, which fit it perfectly. I’ve been using 54mm Spitfires on it, and 1/4″ risers. It’s a big setup. When I rode it in some ditches in Austin I put some 56mm 87a OJ Keyframes on it and it performed really well. I normally like a slightly smaller street board that I can use 149s on, but this board is really nice feels great. It has the same great and comfortable concave as the Classic, the same nice easy curves in the nose and tail kick angles. In other words – great mold. I love it. I think Lew makes the most comfortable concaves I’ve felt in a long time.
You can see I’ve worn the tail down on one side from doing 360s and scraping the tail. So it goes. Story of my life. That’s why I’ve got a tail skid on the Mode Pool board I’ve been skating ditches on the last couple of months.
The other board is the Fickle Bullnose. It’s a pops shape with very full nose and tail. You can see the specs here. I’ve got it set up with Ace 44s and those same OJ Keyframes I mentioned earlier. Wheels may change, depending on how I decide to use it. As you can see from some of the other pics, it has the same very nice concave and mold angles as all Lew’s boards. Look at the curves of the tail – nice and ….errrr…curvy…rather than an abrupt angle. I’m looking forward to trying the Bullnose out.
Lew has his own philosophy about finishing. Actually, Lew has his own philosophy about everything, but that’s another story (a positive one). He doesn’t over-sand his boards. From what I gather, he thinks it weakens them. They aren’t rough, just not “slick”. Likewise, he doesn’t put a lot of paint or sealer on them. The graphics are distinctive, and the boards seem to have a light coat of spray sealer. I wouldn’t call them “rustic”. The finish is fine. It’s just different from what most of us are used to.
I’ll be honest. When I got the Knucklehead I thought it was too big for me. I’m a fairly large person, but it is just a lot more beefy than I normally ride. But it looked really cool, and really, it feels great. The dimensions work really well with the concave and a proper setup. It feels good, and really performed very well in Austin’s ditches, as well as in my normal skate spots. A lot of the clips in my part in NeverWas II were shot while I was riding the Knucklehead in a ditch and on flat. The others were on my Mode 8.25″ pops or my Mode freestyle board.
So there you have it, my review of Fickle.
I managed to get some skating in over the last week. After winter I always put my foot on the freestyle board and wonder if I can “still even do this.” The first session doesn’t feel that good. I have to understand and accept that. The trick is just to get back on the board and roll, and get used to it. From November to usually March the weather and holiday decorations at my freestyle spot ( they put up Santa’s Village) conspire to keep me off the freestyle board and just skating a little street and ditch. So by the time I get back on the freestyle board it feels a bit weird at first.
After 3 session last week I finally started feeling good on the board again. Rusty, but feeling solid again. Here’s a little clip of something I do on my street board too. I call it “slide to spin shove-it”. Backside 180 slide into a fakie 360 with a 180 shove-it at the end. I like to do them rolling fairly fast. It’s a high percentage trick for me. I usually make it. Not too complex. You just have to let it flow.
Today is Tuesday. The weather is back to rainy crap, but at least I got a few session in. I’m excited for the rest of the year in skating.