Wednesday, March 16, 2005

To Everything Turn, Turn, Turn

My clearing off of the B-ball court paid off. Yesterday, half the surface was moisture-free, and today it might be all clear. It being March break, the neighbourhood kids are out in force so I had to share the space with a couple diminuative hoop shooters. There is still plenty of ice and snow lying around, but the sun has been out and you can feel spring coming.

Yesterday I was working on 360s - not 360 variels, 360 kickflips, or 360 judo airs - just plain old spinning on your back wheel wheelies. Does anyone remember into the dim days of skateboard pre-history, before the question kids most asked was not, "How high can you ollie?" or, "Can you do a kickflip?" but, "How many 360's can you do?" Yes, there was once a time when one's skating prowess was measured not by jumping through the latest technical circus hoop, but by one's resistance to vertigo -like seeing how many shots of tequila you could down at the bar and still stay on the stool.

My friend and skate mentor remembers these days and once told me that "most 360s" has its own category at skate competitions. This is back when downhill slalom was also big. Serious riders would have special metal wheels for their boards, and would do their spinning on metal plates placed on the ground. The metal-on-metal made a good connection, reducing friction resistance and maximizing spin potential. I checked the Guiness Bood or Records online, but couldn't find an entry for "most skateboard 360s". Tony Hawk's 900 spin on ramp seems to have eclipsed interest in the flatland version of the trick. But I'm sure that the flatland 360 record would be something amazing and unbelievable.

In the Rubbish Heap video ( Rodney does about 25 rotations on the nose of his board, and looks like he could do a lot more, but Rocco probably told him to cut it short (they had to save room for that five minute manuel clip). At Bob's Trick Tips you can see a fellow doing 9 spins: Personally, I can only manage to do a maximum of three spins without losing momentum or getting flung into the outer void by the massive centrifical forces involved. I would like to spin effortlessly, like the Earth on her axis or the disco ball over John Travolta's dining room table. The Sufi whirling dirvishes turned spinning into a religious discipline, and I try to approach flatland 360s with the same reverence. I believe that the secret is to find the spiritual Eye of the Hurricane, like at the laundromat when you stare at the point in the very centre of the washing machine window -that mysterious still point where all of your whites and colours blur into one Mystic Garment. "What!" you say, "You don't separate your whites and colours?!!" Naw. Can't be bothered. I've got more important things to do, like spinning round in circles on my wheelieboard.


Dr. Flavour said...

I know nothing of skateboarding. But I admire, aesthetically, the way a ballerina can spin endless 360s on her toes, like in a vaccuum, doing the wierd snapping thing with her head, so she can hold her gaze straight on you while her body rotates around her neck. They have a slight, bouncing, vertical motion too, when they do this, as if they were a toy top, the kind of top with the push-down stick that makes it spin, like they are being pumped by an invisible hand of giant child.
Is ballet like skateboarding, but taken one radical step further -- doing it all without the board itself? Would that, then, not make it the superior form of boarding? I don't dance either.

kill-joy said...

Cool, finally another on-looker. I was getting a bit lonely here. Call me biased, but in my eyes ballet has got nothing on skating.

flatlander said...

I am visualizing an avant guard ballet piece that is performed on a half-pipe with the dancers running up and down each side doing little pirouettes. Might be the next big thing!

Don't mind the good doctor; he's a bit loopy (that's why we like him).