New Stuff

I’ve had a few good practice sessions. Been working on some good new footwork lines. Fiddling around with some tricks as well. Really haven’t landed anything new and awesome. Need to pull a rabbit or two out of my hat for the summer contests.

I’m going to add a 1/4″ riser to my setup, to provide better clearance for 360s. Will help for fingerflips as well,  I think. So few old guys can even do a rolling fingerflip. I need to get mine nice and solid over the next month.

the Fall

Well, it is October. I turned 52. It is cooler outside. The personal life has settled down a bit, and I finally got out to have a good freestyle session. The downside of Fall is that days are shorter, and with my slightly longer workdays it will be harder to fit in good sessions in the evening, but as I often say, any time on the board is better than no time. I’ll take what I can get.

I am already looking forward to the 2017 Paderborn contest. It isn’t for almost 10 months, but damn I’m so looking forward to it. They are saying first 2 weeks in July. So Summer 2017 will be a busy one for me, as I am supposed to take my black belt test for Aikido in June. I may need a bigger bottle of ibuprofen.

Anyway, I got a nice session in last Saturday evening. One nice thing about not being a super technical freestyler is that after two months off the board I am not really any worse. I have a lot of stuff to learn, still, but mainly I just want to be smooth.

Reagan, Risers, Punk Rock, and Freestyle

The trend in skating has been, for a long time, toward boards that ride low. This, I suppose, is an adaptation to the ollie in street skating, in which case it is functional. Since changing to a flat single-kick a few months ago, I have started riding my board a bit higher. Started with Trackers and a single thin riser. Then got some higher-riding Attack trucks, and put them on 1/4″ risers. It felt good. Less tail scraping during wheelies and spins, but still felt stable (not tippy). Last week I added an additional thin riser, for a total of 3/8″ of riser. It still feels good. Not tippy at all. I have not found any downside to this arrangement for MY skating. In fact, it is much better. Much easier to hold my backside 360s without losing so much speed from tail scraping. Much more stable (obviously) on rail, even though I generally don’t do a lot of rail tricks. Everyone skates differently, and everyone has different preferred tricks. Low is good for some, higher for others. But I’m glad I have added this riser. Going to the softer black Khiro bushings has allowed me to turn a bit more during my freestyle. I think that for me, again, this is preferable. On another topic, Nancy Reagan died yesterday. Honestly, I don’t have THAT much against her. I mean, she and Ronnie represented a lot of what I hate, but hell, they were born a loooooong time ago. Considering the attrocities committed under the Reagan administration in Latin America, their ignoring of the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic, etc, it is hard to believe that even Ronald Reagan would be too liberal for today’s insane Republican Party. But he would. As much as they venerate him, he would be too “soft” for them today. During the Reagan years, the world of Punk Rock provided a great response to the Reagan world view. So yesterday, I put a bunch of Reagan era punk on the iPod and listened while I skated. My favorite on this compilation (American Hardcore) is “Fucked Up Ronnie.” Well, here’s a little video I shot.


Yet again, skating…

Got out for some practice on a really beautiful afternoon today. Felt pretty good. Can’t say I really accomplished anything great, but I landed my normal stuff pretty solidly.

Thinking about learning finesse tricks versus brute force tricks. I’m not great with either. My strength is somewhere in between, or so I’m told. That’s how I feel too. Yesterday I fiddled around with some “technical” rail tricks. I didn’t enjoy them. Just not me bag, man. I found them quite tedious. Once many years ago I didn’t really feel that way. I just wanted as many tricks in my toolbox as possible. But now if I don’t enjoy it or think it is worth my time I just won’t give a trick any real time.

I guess I draw the line with technical stuff here: if you could teach a non-freestyler or maybe even a non-skater to do the trick within a day or so, then it sucks. Thus, my aversion to non-rolling rail tricks. I’ll do a few just to punctuate a line, but they aren’t very important to me.

So that leaves brute force. Which leads me to the 540 Shove-It, my holy grail of tricks. I once could do them (on a very small wheelbase board), but haven’t landed one in over 20 years. I beefed hard a few months ago trying to land one. But I think that the brute force required to get this trick is more within my range than some super technical thing about be. So I need to start back it. I need to get this.

All of this is to say that I was feeling like I’m just not really learning new tricks, and that is frustrating. But that’s not exactly true. Since last September I did learn backwards kickflips. I am almost good at Fakie Frontside Bigspins. I’m getting better at Hang Ten 360s, and I’ve learned some new footwork. I guess I’d just like a real banger like the 540 Shove-it.

Equipment Note: changed to Khiro black bushings, rather than the harder purples, on the freestyle board. The black ones are slightly softer, allowing a little bit more turn while still being pretty stable. Stability vs. turning is always a tradeoff for the FSer who likes to turn a bit. So far, they are performing well.

Travel Note: Got my tickets for England/Paderborn 2016 trip.

Still More Practice

Today was 74 degrees F, sunny, and beautiful. After taking care of some obligations at my mom’s house, I got out and practiced for a bit over an hour. I had planned on 2 or 3 hours, but I guess I’m out of shape.

I need to always practice each of my staple tricks 10 times each session. Make sure I really practice them and make 10 good ones. Over, and over, and over. Practice is what makes good things happen. Period. My staple moves need to be fast, big, smooth, precise, and totally consistent. Footwork must be smooth as silk. Work in new tricks between hammering on those standard moves and lines.

I feel like my potential strength is lines – flowing lines – so I need to figure out good combinations of lines that incorporate my best moves without rushing them. Rushing through my runs is my worst enemy. Not only does it make everything harder, but it wears me out. I think that I need one really good footwork line in the middle of my 2-minute run.

Weather is supposed to once again to bad this week. Will try to get out anyway, any time possible.

Some practice

Well, I got out and practiced today (MLK Day) and yesterday.

Yesterday I didn’t do too badly, but it was pretty clear I am out of practice. Today it went a lot better.  I feel like I still have everything. Just need to work on everything to make it smoother, most consistent, and learn some new stuff.

The new 95a Mode wheels are smooth as silk, and I think they are going to really work with my particular style.

A New Year, More Skating…

Well, it’s January. The weather is cold, and the days are too short. Very hard to get any freestyle practice in. Weekends have been challenging too.

But – the Paderborn, Germany contest is only 5 or 6 months away, so I need to get on the practice. Again, I’m not focussed on winning anything. That isn’t going to happen. I want to skate as well as I can, and I’d like to have 2 or 3 or 4 really good new tricks to do in my runs.

I feel like this has become a yearly pilgrimage for me. A trip across to ocean to the holy ground of freestyle. After that first time last year, the place just seems like magic. I realize I could get there and get rained out, but fuck it, it is worth the risk.

I got some of the new Mode 95a freestyle wheels. I like them. They are smoother rolling and easier on the ankles and knees when landing tricks, but not mushy. Stoked. Harder wheels might be better for 540 shoveits, but I don’t seem to be in danger of making any of those, so I’ll opt for a better ride, smoother wheelies, and better style.

So it’s officially time to renew my nutritional program so I don’t get fat this winter, keep going to aikido to keep the body limber and agile, and skate as much as possible. I think my goal will be double kickflips, really good backwards hang-ten wheelies, and 540 big spin.


Boards

Well, I have not gotten any practice, at all, since getting home from Philly. It gets dark now about 5:30pm, so my spots are dark by the time I can skate after work. Weekends have been rainy, busy, I’ve been sick, or all three. BUT – I’m feeling OK now, and looking forward to a nice weekend.

One of my best skating friends ever moved back to town recently, after being gone for 20 years. He digs freestyle and wants to get back into it, which is cool. We do a lot of street and ditch skating. Last weekend we checked out a couple of the newer local skateparks.

Right now I’m mostly trying to get ready for a ditch skating contest in Houston on the last Saturday in November. It’s a grassroots contest, lots of fun, and the kind of thing where no one cares who wins. Everyone just wants to rip to the best of their ability, and every yells and whoops for everyone else while they ride, which is the way a contest should be. Hoping for good weather!

So I set up a new ditch/street board, but found this weekend that I don’t like it. The concave is way too deep for my taste, and the nose/tail angles are also too steep for me. Great board – just not for me. So I put my old board back together. It still has life left in it. I need to make sure I’m getting very mild concave boards from now on. As a freestyler, most of my street skating and ditch skating is very freestyle-influenced, and thus I move my feet around a lot. Heavy concave makes it hard to move my feet freely.

Need to find a place to practice at night. I went up to a local skatepark last week about 8pm, but it kind of sucked.

Ok, I’m back

OK, I’m back.

I skated pretty well in Philly, and got last place. I’d be lying if I said I don’t feel ripped off. I did actual, real freestyle, and was beat by 2 guys who didn’t even do that. One just dorked on a street board. Good guys! Don’t get me wrong. Really good guys, and everyone involved a good skater and person. I just think the judging system was kind of weird, and I realize now that if you don’t judge people in a freestyle contest based first on whether they are doing freestyle, well, you don’t really have a freestyle contest, do you?

Before you say “Well, it is FREEstyle”, let me just say that real FSers know what a real FS run is. It isn’t hard to determine if someone is doing FS, or just street dorking.

All that said, I had a good time anyway, skating with everyone. The contest benefitted a good cause, and overall it was a good trip. I just won’t be going back. It is too expensive a trip to go and not really be in a traditional FS contest, or to feel a bit fucked over. I am sorry to say I feel that way. It doesn’t make me feel good, but it’s the truth.

Lesson learned.

So, I’ve been back a couple of weeks, and taken some time off from practice. Not really voluntarily. It just rained a lot. Looking forward to starting back up this weekend. I’ve gotten a lot better since the summer, and will continue to improve. Hoping for a “real” FS contest to enter in 2016. I will be at Paderborn, Germany, if I can manage the plane ticket.

Fakie Finger Flip

In the last month I’ve learned 3 “new” tricks, all from fakie: fingerflip, hang ten nose wheelie, and kickflip. None of these are very modern, but they are all good tricks. The fakie fingerflip is a lot easier to launch than going forward, but the body English is weird. I think I might be able to make it a double.

I leave for Philly in 7 days. I may not win. I may not place. But I’m better than I was a few months ago. So that’s cool.

Footwork and Spins

I spent a lot of time yesterday working on mixing some spins into footwork lines. It isn’t easy coming out of footwork with your feet smoothly in the right place to do spins. Takes a lot of practice, which I’ve really just started.

I forgot to practice my bacwards 1-footed tail wheelie last night. Will work on it tonight.

This is just a few shots of me playing around with some footwork and spins.

Good skating

I’ve been having some good practice sessions lately.

I am now practicing all my go-to tricks 10 times, in a row, per session. If I miss one, I keep going, but add 1 the necessary count. Getting more more consistant. Everything feels more solid. I’m moving more fluidly on my board.

I addition to the cool new footwork trick I’ve pretty much got down now, I’m doing fakie kickflips at nearly 100% consistency, going fast. Super happy about that. For some reason that is a trick that has always given me problems. So I’m happy at almost 51 to finally be getting it. I’m a slow learner.

I have 2 other “banger” tricks I want to learn for Philly. I have just over a month to learn them. I think I can do it.

Carbs

Went to Aikido last night. Good workout, but aikido is a lot tougher on the body than skating. 1.5 hours of aikido will drain you under the best conditions, and it was hot and humid in our dojo. So yeah, I’m tired today, but looking forward to skating tonight.

Going to get some carbs for lunch today, and try to get a nice balance of moving around my workplace and using the standing position of my desk with energ conservation to make sure I have the energy I need to skate tonight. Will go home, rest for about 30 or 40 minutes, eat, and then go skate.

A session

I had a good session last night. Learned a trick (at the end of this video) that I’ve been wanted to get for a while. It’s not that complicated, but it has nice flow and it’s fun. Feels good to do when carving into it backwards at a moderate speed.

Incredible how much better I skate when I’m rested. This was a Sunday evening session, after a very relaxing afternoon.

Loving the flat/flat-nosed board.

session report of sorts

Skated for about 40 minutes last night.

It was one of those nights when I got to my spot and really was just pooped out. I can usually skate for a while and snap out of it, but last night the weariness just wouldn’t quit. But I skated anyway, did all my normal tricks, and a couple of fakie kickflips.

Then I went home and ate pizza.

It is better to skate a little than not at all.