Monday, May 09, 2005

Fakie vs. Switch

I just want to clear up some terminology for anyone who might be puzzling over the name of the blog. "Fakie" means to skate backwards. It comes from ramp lingo, where on the big, U-shaped half-pipes one often does "a fakie" down one of the walls (as opposed to turning 180 and coming down forward). A "grind" is when you scrape the metal wheel-mounting apparatus (know as "trucks"--just like on freight trains) along a curb, ledge, handrail, bench, car bumper etc. It is "doing grinds" that wrecks the marble paneling on the ledges out front of office towers, and drives the security guards mad.

"Switch" skating is all the rage these days. It seems that skaters are starting to run out of new moves, having exhausted all the myriad flip tricks that Rodney Mullen invented twenty years ago, and now the only thing left is to re-learn all of the tricks, only with the other foot forward. So, instead of doing an ollie off the tail, you switch and do a "nollie" off the nose. For a switch kickflip, you would ride fakie (backwards) and do the ollie off the nose, spinning the board into a flip with your wrong foot.

Switch tricks require teaching your feet how to move the board all over again. Most of the older kids at the Bease know a few switch tricks; they are on their way to becoming ambidextrous--or "ambipedal" skaters. I, on the other hand (or foot, rather), am merely learning how to do my tricks backwards--riding fakie--but using the same foot positions I have always used. I am thus becoming dyslexic rather than ambipedal. It's kind of like pressing "rewind" on the VCR and watching the dolphin fly backwards through the hoop--it's fun.

In keeping with current skateboarding trends, we could have called the blog "Switchgrind", but it might then have been confused with the confessions of a transvestite lap dancer. The name also wouldn't have reflected the backwards looking, retro sensibilities of the authors. As it stands, I think the name reflects the wisdom of the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, who said, I believe, that it doesn't matter whether you grind regular or fakie, it's still the same old curb.

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