[personal profile] comeoutcomeout
In the vein of my in defence of figure skating post from a few years ago, I have apparently decided to make an in defence of skateboarding post.

I expect it will bore 99% of you to tears... Not sorry :\

I can't really make a 'my favourite skaters' list, because that would invariably involve pretty much everyone who's even been on Flip (consistently the best, most interesting and most international team ever assembled) plus about two thirds of everyone from Pennsylvania or New Jersey (what the hell is in the water there?!) before I even got round to actually thinking about it.

(ETA: I've thought about it. It's Mark Appleyard. Apples is my favourite skater. <3 But: not the point of this post!)

So I thought I'd do this sort of 'why skateboarding is actually stupidly awesome' post instead. A short list designed entirely to make you smile, maybe gasp and go "woah" a little, with no prior knowledge or understanding of skateboarding required.


Everything goes behind a cut except this, because if you don't really care but maybe have time to watch just one vid, then WATCH THIS ONE.

This is Rodney Mullen. The sheer existence of Rodney Mullen, and the ability for him to do even, like, an *eighth* of the things he can actually do, I'm pretty sure breaks ALL LAWS OF NATURE EVER. All of this incredible - nay, incomprehensible... unfathomable... - tech-trick insanity wrapped up in a 40-something-year-old bundle of quiet, unassuming niceness.

So once we've picked our jaws up off the floor from that, I'll see you beyond the jump for the slightly more conventional stuff, and one intense bail.

Street style

Ryan Sheckler. People loooove to talk trash about Ryan Sheckler. But the fact remains that when this kid materialised on the scene, and took an X Games gold, he was only 13, and you were hard pressed to argue that he was anything other than the best skater around at that time. He was nailing serious tricks with ridiculous consistency and an air of effortlessness. And his style, sweet jesus... He was just the most chilled, confident skater I'd ever watched.

I got to see him skate in person at a Globe World Cup when he was 15-ish and he really is that good. (He's 21 now and still winning X Games', for the record.) There are always plenty of "the next big thing" kids in skating, of course, but I honestly think Sheck is the only one to've both matched his hype and *maintained* the skills and flair that captured everyone in the first place. He might very well be our new Tony Hawk, poised to crossover into mainstream pop culture consciousness at some point and be around forever. That's probably why people hate him so much...

Park style/Burly

In ~nuskool~ parlance, I don't think there's meant to be a difference between street and park. But I maintain you can pick a skater who came of age in the 90s riding parks like Burnside (a gorgeous feat of unauthorised civil engineering in itself!) It's a very different style. Sexier, to say the least. It's the way they skate the transitions, for me. Contemporary street style is more about attacking a rail, ledge or box, and tricking the shit out of it basically. This is so much more fluid; movements harmonious against the curve and angle of the environment. (Skaters call it "burly", which is understood as a portmanteau of 'beautiful' and 'gnarly'.)

Yes, that’s Bam Margera, I did just go there. If I had any self respect, I would not sully these parts with his name, but to be honest the Philly Burnside sesh footage (aka, just pay attention to the bits in the big concrete space ;)) was just the easiest thing to find online. That, and it's shit hot. Think what you like, but the boy can shred. (For those of you reading this through an X Factor paradigm, this is the style Matt skates in my dreams... He has the hips for it! [Actually, having seen the Sanchez clip, this is the style he skates in *his* dreams too, bless.])

For balance, here's someone slightly more respectable -- Mike Vallely. Burly with a dose of oldskool tech. Effortlessly surprising.

Relatedly, I shall lump miniramp in here. Miniramp jams are the best skating to watch in the world. This one is bonkers.


The only people who still skate pools now are the same people who skated pools 30 years ago, I think. It’s probably a dying art, not least because kidney-shaped swimming pools are way out of vogue, which actually sucks, because pool skating is pretty stunning to watch, and was a great innovator (essential precursor to vert, miniramp, and the whole burly style thaang), and makes a glorious sound, if you’re into that kind of thing...

Mark 'Gator' Rogowski possibly exemplifies what people mean when they talk about a skater's "flair". It's part personality, part prodigious skill, and part the ability to be instantly recognisable in a photo, even when it's taken against a setting sun and entirely in silhouette. Gator was a total rockstar, genuinely insane...and is now currently serving time for murder. Um, yeah. But still... Flamboyant, mesmerising skater.


Which brings me to vert. By which time I am extremely sick of sifting through millions of people's super-crappy-quality uploads to Youtube! So I am just going to close with this MASSIVE vert slam by Jake Brown a few years ago, by far the Gnarliest. Fucking. Bail. I have ever seen.

I remember watching this on tele when it happened, hand firmly clapped over mouth for about 3 minutes straight. It's pretty clear in the commentary that, in the back of his mind, Tony thinks Jake's dead. Probably everyone did. Who the hell plummets four storeys to the solid ground and then just walks away?!

The end. That was probably only fun for me, huh?



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