Monday, March 14, 2005

Walking on Air

Don't know what got into me to criticize the amazing skating in the Viscious Cycle video last night. I think it was mostly sour grapes over the fact that I'll never be able to do any of those tricks. March break starts today and I saw a couple of kids going down the street, taking turns trying to do ollies on a crappy old discount board. An old couple was getting out of their car and making funny faces at them. Nobody likes people who are younger and more agile than you are. I'm pretty sore today from yesterday's outing. Never broken anything that I know of, but I'm imagining that my bones are full of more cracks and fissures than the San Andreas fault line. I think I'm starting to enjoy writing about skatebaording more than actually practicing it. So here's the first in a series of nostalgic looks at skateboard moves that I love to love.

The Airwalk

There must be thousands of kids walking around out there who don't even know that their shoes are named after this elegant move. In the change room at the pool last week there was an older guy wearing an Airwalk T-shirt, and I'm almost positive he didn't know the origin of the logo on his chest. I have no idea whether the trick was invented first on a ramp or flatland, but I enjoy the flatland version. It's basically a double decker move: your board is suspened over the ground, and you are suspended over your board. The secret is to do a normal ollie, but jump higher than your deck. Instead of levelling the baord off with your front foot, you grab the nose with your front hand and then kick your legs out in opposite directions.

This trick is largely passe, but kids love to see it done. Ron Allen used to do mean, high speed Airwalks on flat (see, I think, the Streets of Fire video). Rocco did 360 flatland airwalks (or maybe it was Natas-I lost the magazine), but the master of them was, of course, Rodney Mullen. The guy must have invented about 50 different variations on the move, including Frontside 180 AW, AW fingerflips, Saran Wraps and fingerflip variel variations the names of which I have no idea about. He gets the board so its perpendicular to the ground with his legs flung way out straight. What a champ.

My favourite move to bust in this category is the Half Cab AW, but it's kind of hard on the ol' back these days.


kill-joy said...

I've been a closet fan of 'The Mutt' Rodney for a long time myself. I think that his spot on 'That's Incredible', along with Police Academy 3, and The Back to the Future movies had a lot to do with my initial urges to take up skating. I just got 'Almost Round 3' in the mail yesterday from my mate Iced Koffee in SanDiego. As always any new footage of Rodney and Daewon completely sent my mind spinning. I'd like to have a converstaion with Primo and Diane and see what they think of Rodney's variations on their signature slide. Since my early days in the mid-west, skating with my one friend, in my dirty farming town streets, with ball-crusher jeans, mullet haircut, and mongo pushing style, I can remember skating until late in the evenng trying the same pressure flip manouvers for hours in front of my mothers house, I even remember learning tre-flips down the block at the local financial institution. I've since quit trying the pressures and impossibles(I never could get them proper), but that elusive tre. I think that is the trick I've learned and lost the most of any. I'll still throw one out on occasion, but it is a pure fluke when I can do it clean. I've had weeks and months where it is almost an every try endevor, but then magicaly the next day the carpet gets tugged and poof I land on my ass every damn time. Nollie heels are almost as annoying. After about 6 or 8 years of sporadic(at best) skating, now at 30 I'm making a real effort to skate more. Like you Simon, I feel it a bit more in the joints, and I definately don't have the same perserverance, but it is still the best thing when you land something new or step up a familiar manouver. I've got a list about a mile long of new tricks I'd like to learn(not to mention the ones that I've lost), and other that I'd like to do better or bigger, but even if I can't accomplish any of that, I think that I'll always relish the feeling of rolling down the street of a city, new or familiar. We see things in a unique way. The simple freedom of rolling and ollying up and down curbs and gutters. I can remember the precise day that I could finally make it up a curb with out hanging up, at the time I was in heaven. I could skate wherever I wanted without stopping or slowing. I'm eternally greatful for my experience of viewing life through the eyes of a skateboarder. In my travels at home in North America and abroad I've met some of the nicest, most hospitible folks simply because we shared the common interest of rolling along on four little plastic wheels. Well its late in my current locale. I've already written at least this much earlier on in the night, just to erase it because it sounded hokey. I'm going to hit the 'enter' key now and post this for all of whomever to read and criticise, before I reanalise this and erase again.

flatlander said...

Thanks for the inspiring words K-J, or should I say Mr. Shiv?! It's true what you say about skating, that you meet some of the nicest, coolest people. I think that, allong with the sense of freedom you mentioned is skating's largest appeal to me too.

Peace, bro

Anonymous said...

Ron Allen was ahead of his time in many ways.High speed airwalks were only a small portion of his big bag o' tricks.I had the good fortune of touring the country w/him and the man still rips!!Big ups for the old school heros.