As a much younger man, I did a lot of sprinting and pseudo-sprints (400 meters). I recently tried picking up sprint workouts to add to my weekly training. In addition to skating, I love to run. However, my old nemesis, the hamstring pull, reared its ugly head again and, I'm afraid, it has taken me out of running, most skating, and some weight lifting for now.
I must admit, a week off from skating is kind of nice (except for the strong desire to go skate). I've spent the week planning a backpacking trip to Devil's Den, camping in central Arkansas, visiting with my kiddo in Memphis, and catching up on much needed rest. I have done a little tinkering with boards, and my street setups are ready to go because I have been having a strong desire to do some street skating. After all, man can't live by freestyle alone, I suppose. It is good to vary things up, and I'm going to do some curb skating when I'm able to push again. I like doing footwork on my street boards as well. I think the mixture of freestyle stuff and obstacles can be fun, although I don't really get into pogos down stairs or anything like that. Then again, I am becoming a picky, persnickety old man. No matter what I say, do what you like on your skateboard, and to each his own in the trick (or no trick) department.
I also ended up skipping the last IDSA social distance challenge of the year: the marathon. I was simply too exhausted going into the weekend to try it. On one hand I regret not giving it a go, I really like the marathon distance, but on the other hand I knew I was going into it worn out physically from work. No need to push myself too far. I think I'm going to plan a solo marathon ride before the end of autumn.
"Look back to mid 70's freestyle-they would push to get speed up, feet would touch the ground on occasion. For the purist I guess feet must never touch the ground-kinda like that kids game of hot lava. "
So, last week's post initially started off with me thinking about no comply tricks in freestyle and how a lot of people (some of whom I really respect) don't think they belong. I, on the other hand, love doing no comply tricks. They are a big part of both my street skating and longboarding past and, put together with the freestyle footwork that I enjoy, I believe they round out (for better or worse) who I am as a freestyle skater. I didn't think they were that big of a part until I started doing them again and now it seems that they are. In fact, I remember telling Bob Loftin that I wouldn't put a no comply trick in a freestyle line. Now, I do it all the time.
The upshot of all this writing is, I'm going to continue doing no comply tricks AND I've decided to start messing with some ollie based tricks as well. Primarily I'm doing some 1/2 cabs and some 180 ollies into endovers which I think looks kind of cool and adds a little more variety to my skating. I may mess around with some kickflips etc...but honestly they don't feel right on a tiny board (despite originally being done on a tiny board).
Now to my rants!
1. a half cab or "full cab" is ollie based. A caballerial is a fakie 360 ollie. No ollie? Then it is a fakie pivot or fakie kickturn. The whole world seems to have forgotten the ollie part of a caballerial.
2. So, I keep seeing this person pop up on my Instagram and Facebook feeds (well, I did but I blocked him for now). He is an older skater apparently sponsored by a clothing company that promotes his stuff. The company (that shall not be named) is named after a word (misspelled) that means "a fierce or destructive attack." This company talks about how creative it is to stand on a skateboard and pass a hat through your legs or to balance a skateboard on your hands. At first I let it go, but the more I think about it the more I realized that this is an absolute mockery of people that have spent hours and hours truly learning to skateboard and be creative with it.
Me? I'm not an overly creative skateboarder. In fact, I'm not an overly creative chef (my profession) or writer. I consider myself a craftsman more than an artist . I'm not making up a bunch of new tricks. I'm trying to master those that others have already done and put my own spin on them. So, there is a hint of creativity there but it isn't the primary point of what I do.
However, calling this "pass the hat around your leg" stuff creative belittles true skating creativity. In fact, it barely is skateboarding. Sometimes it isn't skateboarding at all. balancing a skateboard on your hand, letting it drop, and then standing on it could be done with anything. Anything. It is neither skateboarding nor creative. Sometimes skateboarding brings in people that are more worried about being seen than learning the art and craft of skateboarding. And when the moniker "freestyle" gets added to it, the name freestyle gets gets sullied too.
This week's post is overly long and even confusing to me. I intended to write about whether or not no comply tricks should be included in freestyle and, if so, how often they should be done. Instead, I ramble on about things and start needing a definition of freestyle. The post only got worse in the editing phase. Have fun.
So, this week I have been thinking about the blurred line between flatground street and freestyle, and trying to find my definition of freestyle skateboarding. This is so I can figure out what exactly I want to do as a freestyle skater because I've been drawn into the world of no comply tricks lately, and if you ask a lot of freestyle skaters, they will say no complies don't belong in freestyle. They say that freestyle is about not touching the ground with your feet. I'm even told, until Mullen broke the mold, it was even frowned upon to push during a freestyle run. Speed was supposed to be gained by footwork.
Well, according to Wikipedia it is freestyle is: "technical flat ground skateboarding."
But I don't even agree with that. Flat ground skating sounds like street skating terminology. I am going to call freestyle 'a series of skateboard footwork and tricks designed to be aesthetic and dance-like.' So, as long as it is aesthetic, on a flat space, and dance-like is it freestyle?
Before I get too far in, let me get this out of the way:
I have entered one, and only one, freestyle contest and even that was virtual. I am not any kind of freestyle expert. I started freestyle skating less than two years ago and, since I'm being honest about stuff, I really don't dig a lot of freestyle. It is sort of like my relationship with poetry. As a young teen I wanted to be a poet, but then I started really reading lots of different poetry and realized that a lot of it wasn't to my tastes.
So, just to get this straight. I'm not into a lot of freestyle stuff.
Pogos? No thanks.
Long, drawn out rail to rail to rail to rail stationary stuff? Pass.
50/50 to casper to rail etcetera etcetera? Naw. I'll just be over here working on g-turns and stuff.
For me, skating is on the wheels of the board and, if you aren't on the wheels, you should be just about to be back on the wheels. In fact, I think doing too much stationary stuff is what turns people, including street skaters, off to freestyle. I know it is one of the things that turned me off to freestyle 30+ years ago. I could watch Natas ride walls or Primo stand on the side of the board. It wasn't even a contest. Natas ruled the day.
And since Natas ruled the day, street skating (particularly late 80s street skating) is a huge influence on me.
So, then, how much off the wheels is too much off the wheels? If a rail walk to rail to casper to casper is too much time off the wheels, what about no comply fingerflips or, one that I'm doing a lot these days, 360 no complies? Isn't the whole point of freestyle to not take your foot off the board. Or is it something else and the foot thing is an outdated unwritten rule that needs to pass away? Isn't there a difference between stepping off on purpose and stepping off because you can't land the trick? Some say no comply tricks are an easy way out of doing a two foot on trick that might be more difficult. And I see the point. No comply fingerflips are very easy in comparison to rolling fingerflips. Same for the varial version of the trick.
But does freestyle have to be the more difficult trick? A no comply fingerflip doesn't really look like a rolling fingerflip. They are two different tricks. One is started crouched low on the board while you grab the nose. In the other you are standing upright and pop the board into your hand. It is really about which trick fits into the aesthetics of the run at that point, right?
It is all too much for me this week, and I really thought this would be an easy thing to write. At this point my thoughts (and this post) are so jumbled up. that I'll stop where I am. See you all next week.