Perpetual Self Contradiction

What happened to Spring? Summer is more than half over already.  Life has been demanding, to say the least. I know  this is something I say every post, so here goes: hasn’t been much time for skating.  As if my job,  being on-call for my job, wife, 13 year old son with autism, 11 year old daughter, one year old son, 87 year old handicapped father, new-ish house isnt enough, I reconnected with my estranged brother, whom I haven’t spoken to in over 5 years.  Another real long story, but he had a huge mass on one of his kidneys and had to have a nephrectomy.  He’s crazy and he’s an asshole, but he’s my brother and I couldn’t let him go through that alone.   

So yeah, back to skating.  I’ve been through a couple different boards since my last post.  Just when I decide I’m gonna to stick to a one-board-fits-all setup, why not try something contradictory.   However after all, this is my mid-life crisis, my road of self-discovery, I’m allowed to do whatever I want.   Unfortunately, I want to do everything (Bob Seager’s song,”Beautiful Loser”, comes to mind).  It’s just skating after all, there is no right or wrong.  

Sometime back in April I found another skatepark relatively close.  Hubba, stair gaps, benches, a flat bar rail, several quarter pipes and a half pipe.  It’s been around awhile, all the obstacles were pretty beat up, just all new to me.  I’ve never skated a half pipe before and was super stoked at the discovery.  I invited my nephew to come with me.  Figured it would be wise to have somebody there to dial 911 if necessary.   At this time, I was still using the Open Source hybrid board from my last post.  I had removed the skid plates to see if it affected the pop and/or freestyle footwork.  As predicted, not much difference in pop, but I just didn’t like doing walk-the-dogs with a naked tail.  We had a real fun sesh, tried to skate everything.  The half pipe was anticlimatic, I just tried to work on pumping and rolling regular and fakie, but never was able to gain any real momentum or height.  

Then for giggles, I wanted to try to lock on a 50/50 grind on the flat bar ( never skated a flat bar before either).  I gathered my courage, rolled at the rail ,crouched, popped and prepared to pay my dues with a slam.  Much to my surprise, I locked on and grinded a foot or so then hopped off the board.  Hmm.  Maybe this is possible?tried for a half hour to land one, but never did.  Honestly, I was afraid to commit; more accurately, I’m afraid of a head injury.  

On the way home, I started thinking.  This is where I usually get myself in trouble.  If I was almost successful in grinding a flat bar with a hybrid board, then surely it should be easier with a “true street board”. It’s the arrow, not the Archer, right?  Further, if I’m going to get a new popsicle deck, then I might as well get a “true freestyle board”.  So, back to segregated skating and 2 separate setups.  

For the street board, I picked up a 8.125 Baker team board, my trustly Indy 139 hollows, spitfire 54 mm 99a Arsonist, with Shake Junt bearings and Mob grip.  Ironically, I cracked it on my first session.  Like a noob. Not used to the grippier Mob grip, plus being rusty I shot the board out slightly while doing a kickflip and landed with the ball of my foot on the tip of the tail and SNAP.  I did try to skate that rail with it before it broke, but wasn’t much difference from the hybrid.  Bummed out, but I only get to the skatepark about once a month these days, so I was content with just my freestyle board.

I’m a big fan of Mike Osterman, and have been wanting to try his signature deck from Mode.  So I also got a 7.6 single-kick Mode deck, with my trusty Indy 109’s, Mode 99a offset wheels, the old Oust bearings and my usual Jessup grip.  Absolutely love the graphic on this board! As well as the top graphic, I even put some clear grip on the middle to let the rabbit foot graphic shine through.

I skated that board for about two months.  It was a little difficult to get used to.   Haven’t skate a single kick since about 1989.  Struggled for a while.  Everything was different – single kick, shorter length, shorter wheelbase, almost no concave, the rails we’re tapered rather than straight and parallel.  Slowly, I got used to it.  Had a lot of fun, but really only helped me with a few tricks: straight railflip to rail, pogos and truckstands.  I could not really ollie or do any flip trips on it.  So, I went back to my usual 7.4 dual kick Mode board, this will be the fourth one I’ve owned.  Salmon with the Mode postcard graphic, just love the retro feel.

My daughter wanted a skateboard for her birthday this year, and I was more than happy to oblige.  Her only stipulation was she wanted a unicorn on it.  I got her a blank deck, some purple blank wheels, reds bearings, blue glitter grip tape and a unicorn decal.  I took my old Indy 139 standards and polished them up for her.  I used them for a couple years, lots of grinds and gouges.  I basically took an orbital sander and in about twenty minutes removed almost all of the scratches.  

I had origally planned on painting them metallic purple, but just wasn’t enough time to do a good job. I am showing her the basics, but trying to do my best to let her figure it out on her own.  The only thing I’ve been kind of a little league coach about is how not to get hurt – how to bail, how to fall and how not to do a “Mr. Wilson” on declines.  Once she gets more comfortable just riding, we will see if she’s interested learning tricks.

While I was getting her board, I thought I’d get a new popsicle to ride around with her. I picked up an 8″ Enjoi team board.  Dwindle decks get a bad rep, but my Almost board was one of the most durable decks I’ve ever had.  I’ve only skated it about 3 times in the past month and a half.  Whenever my daughter wants to go skate, she usually just wants to roll around, so I take her to a large flatground area like a tennis court or roller hockey rink, which to me is the freestyle skatepark.   

I have no idea what’s next.  Not worried about it either.  So many tricks to learn, so little time. Not only learning, but maintaining.  It seems evident to me that I should primarily pursue freestyle.  At least that’s my thought at this moment.  However, all it takes is the rush of one grind, boardslide or something for the street bug to bite me again.  Anyway, the past few sessions I have trying to incorporate more ollies and ollie-based flip tricks on my freestyle board.  A little of this and that, whatever strikes my fancy at that moment.  The way I skate and practice now is so scattered and random, I don’t really know how to write about it.  I have posted a couple vids on YT recently, but they are pretty bad and not really worth watching.  Maybe I’ll leave the vlogging to the twenty-somethings.  Thanks for following along.  Until next time. . . 

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The Experiment Continues

March is my middle-aged skater birth month.  Four years and still going.  I try not to worry too much anymore about the rhetorical questions related to what the hell a 41 year old father of three is doing on a skateboard.  I’m just living and having fun.  My biggest concern regarding skating is whether I want to continue with the street/ park stuff  or just focus on freestyle; and whether I want just have an 8″ street, a freestyle or both.  The internal struggle continues. I still only have a very limited amount of free time and rust does form quickly.

This warm February provided a lot of opportunities to go skating.  A few sessions at the “freestyle skatepark”, err I mean the middle school tennis courts.  In addition, I had a really satisfying first trip to the local skatepark.  Well, first trip on a skateboard – I already had a couple Snowskate sessions there.   I really haven’t been filming anything, just skating.  Enjoying the time I had.  Not trying to prove anything, just skating.  I feel for as early in the year it is, I am skating pretty well.  I went early to assure I would be the only one there.  I am usually very self conscious about my skating.  I mean first of all, I don’t pretend that a middle aged guy trying to relearn how to skate is a real common thing, at least not around here; second, no one really freestyles, at least not around here, a lot of the tricks I do are, well, not what youngsters are used to.  Needless to say, I stick out like a sore thumb.  Normally, when someone else arrives at the skatepark, I leave.  However when 4 kids in their early teens showed up on longboards, I was having to much fun to go.  I mostly played on a low manny pad and did some flatground.  They just stood on the deck of the 4 ft wedge ramp, daring each other to drop in, no one did.  So some reason as they were leaving I ran up the ramp, dropped in, did a kickturn on the adjacent quarter pipe, then casually returned to the manny pad, fliptricks and freestyle.   It was a dick thing to do, but at that moment it made me laugh to myself.  Karma came back to bite me though.  A little latter a very talented tech skater arrived and tore the manny pad apart.  I said hello, and just kept on doing what I was doing.  What impressed me was that he recognized that I had a freestyle setup.  Unfortunately, I was really tired and for some reason I kept slamming doing simple things in front of this kid.  I thought I broke my wrist on the last one.  The repeated falls on my left wrist prompted me to go get some new Smith wrist guards.  I already have arthritis in that wrist from a teenage snowboard injury.  So, I promised myself at the very least I will wear one wrist guard. 

 My hybrid board from Open Source Skateboards is really working out for me.  I continue to tweak my setup, looking for the perfect mix to make one board work for all things that define what skating is to me.  I found some practically brand new Indy 129 hollows on eBay for $30.  The weight I shaved off with the hollow trucks was probably nullified by adding the Welcome Candy Bar rails.  The two sided tape that originally came on the rails stuck to the old Welcome board.  I just took some 3m Double sided tape, the foam kind used for mounting posters, under each rail and used a razor blade to trim it flush.  They are rattle-free and the same height as they originally were.   I am also struggling whether or not I want to keep skating  with skid plates or Casper grip.  I made some skids from an old deck to see if they would provide a better pop than the plastic.  Still undecided.  Relatively speaking, boards last me a long time.  Do I really need skids?  Maybe? I do a lot of Freestyle footwork.  All those walk-the -dogs could prematurely razor the tail, add a couple truckstands and pogos – Delam city.    Then again, I also have been doing a lot of railflip back to rail stuff, which chips up the board between the wheel and pocket.  

However, ya never know until you try.  My plan is to experiment by taking a couple of my old boards, probably the Welcome and the Almost, and reshaping them the same as my current board.  If they fall apart, no major loss. But there’s no time for the woodshop either. 

Backside 180 – not too shabby . . .

Anyway, I still need to re-do the “Tricks I know” page. However, in the meantime here’s just a quick status report of my basic tricks.  My ollies are still good, once I warm up.  Sad to say, but I am noticing my knees getting stiffer more each year.  I easily get up on a foot high manny pad, over my duffel bag and almost clear the doubles lane on a tennis court, strange measures, I know.  FS 180s are ok, but my BS 180s have gotten quite respectable, can pop em pretty high now.BS shoves are real good, FS shoves just alright, consistently landed, just still behind me.  Kickflips are decent, heelflip are evading me again.  I’ve been trying tre’s and backside flips, managed to land on a couple bs flips before shooting the board out and falling on my face.  I’m spinning  and rotating the tres, which is encouraging but not landing any.  Once again, should probably polish old things up before I try new things, but did I mention that time is an issue? 

A Foggy First Session and Snowskate Hooky

  This winter has been very strange. Not so much that there’s been almost no snow, but I wish there was.  The whole month of January was unseasonably warm.  It rained a lot, then would freeze, ensuring there was always a fresh rock salt littering everywhere.   I have been trying to get it in as much garage skating as I can this winter. We don’t even have enough room to park a car in the garage to give an idea how much space is available.  Mostly rail tricks – railwhips, railflip to rail, varial rail flip, reintges flips; some footwork – all the same stuff but trying new combos; and manuals, particularly nose Manny’s.   Really haven’t been doing too many  ollies and flips.  Oddly enough, I think I may have come a little closer to those pesky tree flips and ollie impossibles, we will have to see.  My back and sciatic nerve pain finally bothered me enough to go to the doctor and I’m currently in physical therapy to strengthen my core.  I can tell I’m getting stronger, but the pain in my ass cheek still persists. Is the P.I.A. from skating? Naaaaa.

I did manage to get a long flatground season in.  It was a really wierd warm fifty degree mid-January day, I stopped at my son’s middle school on a Saturday afternoon after doing my Dad’s weekly shopping / shower visit.  As I started skating, a crazy thick fog rolled in.    I honestly didn’t expect to skate well, so I did not bother to try to film anything.  However, it was a great session.  The new Open Source hybrid board is working out good so far.  I’m adjusting to it well.  The flexibility to be able to go from flatground freestyle and rail tricks to  manny pads to curb session to stairs and a couple grinds on a ledge, all on the same board is pretty cool.  I was rusty, but not as bad as expected, most of the basics are still intact.  The deck is a little heavier than most boards.  I want to transfer the rails from my old Welcome board, but not sure if I want to add more weight.  However, there’s probably more weight added from all the stickers than the difference rails would make.  I could replace the current Indy 129s with hollows, but I already have a pretty large collection of trucks piling up – Destructo 7.5s, Tracker 110s, Indy 109, Indy 129, Indy 139 and 139 hollows.  I guess I should sell some stuff.

Anyway,I skated at my oldest son’s middle school, which was my middle school.  My son just turned 13 years old and is in 7th grade now.  Ironically, I was in 7th grade when my first obsession with skateboarding started.  I really like that spot, it is relatively secluded (which is why I like it most), the tennis courts provide my flatland for freestyle, there’s a manny pad in the parking lot and a small 2 stair that is fun to ollie up on, the only bad thing is the rough ashpalt in the lot.   Oh yeah – there this one other thing, sometime skating there stirs up those thoughts wondering why I do this.  If I’m having some sort Eriksonian crisis of identity vs role confusion.  Trying to relive my lost youth.  However, that feeling, that freedom, that sense of accomplishment  I get from pushing around some stupid piece of ply quickly makes my answer to that rhetorical question a simple “because I do”.  I’m still a good father, husband, nurse and person in general; I go to work everyday (well, almost), I contribute to society, pay my taxes, I’m  kind to children, animals and old people – Why should it matter if I still skate?  Although I may be a touch immature and enjoy ecaping reality, I still remain responsible.

The day after my skate session the temperature dropped and a week later the ground was cold enough for a couple inches of snow to stick.  So I did what any other responsible adult would do: I called off work to go snowskating.  I’ve been looking out for spots for a month, but haven’t really found too much immediately around me.  Never really noticed what a lack of topography there is around here.  I thought for the first snowskate sessions the little local skateparks will probably be all I can do for a while.  Snowskating is tough.  I snowskated for an hour and half then spent about another 45 minutes looking for spots , on foot.  According to my fitbit, between the run-ups and walking around I covered over six miles.  It took a little practice to get comfortable just riding on it. By the time I would gain my balance, get my feet placed for a trick, I would run out of momentum and stop.  Ollies aren’t great but I could get on the 4 inch ledge and ride off, more like dribbled off.  Eventually, I was able to sloppily get on top of the foot high pad.  By the end of the day I was able to cleanly land some pop shoves, but everything else was real sketchy.

 Ollies lacking pop, actually having problems getting lift on them, as well as kickflips.

A lot of the time my front foot kept sliding off the nose on ollies, like my foot didn’t catch the grip until the end.  I think I may break down and buy another strip of Xtreme grip for the center of the board, but it ain’t cheap – $15 + shipping for a 2″x24″ piece.  When I originally put the extreme grip on, I was inclined to cut it into smaller pieces to spread it out more.  It seemed obvious that the lack of grip on the middle of the board would reduce the amount of  friction when dragging the front foot, therefore reducing lift.  Yet, I figured whoever designed the way the Ambition Xtreme Pack was laid out had been doing this much longer than I and knew better.  

Only kickflip I actually landed.  Although the picture looks cool, the board barely completed a complete rotation.

 I also rode down the ramps a bunch, but didn’t get enough speed to do much.   Forgot to mention the shoes – I can’t stand to be cold, and I knew my usual skate shoes would leave me with cold wet feet, while boots would  allow absolutely no feel whatsoever.  I couldn’t help but buy a new pair of Vans MTEs.  Coupled with some Smartwool socks, my feet were warm and dry throughout the sesh.

While walking through the county park that the skatepark is in, I came across this stairset.  It will take a little work to build an adequate runway and I need to improve my Snowskate ollies, but I might be brave enough to try to gap these one day.   It took three or four tries but, I was able to just ride down them.  Then I thought I might be able to do caveman boardslide on the little ledge.  Didn’t work out so well.   The concrete was extremely gnarly and the little bit of snow that was on top didn’t slick it up at all.  I stuck and tore up the board pretty good, already had to repair the underside.  First scraped the lightly roughened plastic with a razor scraper and then fixed a couple gouges by melting the plastic with my dab torch.  

It’s not the same as skating, but it’s still a ton of fun.  I’m really looking forward to going again, thinking maybe this weekend.  Definitely has changed the way I look at snow!

Shape ‘n Ambition through Winter

Most of the time, I just love the fact that I still skate at the age of forty-one.  I remember once upon a time, long ago I promised myself that I would always stay young at heart.  I have tried to stay true to that promise, maybe it’s been easy just because I’m immature.  Most of the time skating makes me feel young – it’s a great escape, great exercise and is better for venting frustrations than any punching bag I’ve ever hit.  There are too many times that skating reminds me of how old I am – no friends to skate with, fighting for time from other obligations, physical limitations and fear of injury.    Starts Me on the shoulda, coulda woulda self pity trip.  Most skaters at my skill level are just kids; most skaters my age have been at it for many, many years and have to throttle back. Yet it is going on four years that I have been skating again and have no intention on quitting.  I have not progressed as much as someone 20+ years younger than myself, simply because I don’t have three hours everyday to dedicate  to skating.  If I accumulate 3 hours over the course of 7 days, it was a real good week.  Generally speaking, if I find myself progressing and learning  new things, I’m probably due for a fight with my wife because I’m spending too much time skating and probably neglecting something or someone.  However, she has become very cool about it, relatively speaking.  It’s still not her favorite thing, she is always saying how I have regressed, but she realizes that it’s something I need to do now.

Radiation Ripper – decorated my lead apron.

Funny how things have changed in the past four years.   How much more accepted my skating is.  It’s just what I do.  For my birthday, my family gave me a real nice surprise: A “gift certificate” for a new board.

So, even though I hadn’t planned on getting a new deck, I took this opportunity to get the custom street/freestyle hybrid deck I’ve been wanting for a long time.  I had contacted Beau Trifiro from Open Source Skateboards and long story short, had him make me an eight inch version of his freestyle deck.  Basically, it’s a symmetrical street board, with parallel rails and the nose/tail are tapered instead of rounded. 

Even though I haven’t had a lot of time to skate it, I really like it.  It is indubitily one of the most well made boards I have ever owned.  It is really nice having one board that I can do both modern, as well as, old school freestyle/flatground on. My only major critique I have is there is a little too much taper in the tail, but I expected some minor tweaking and like I already said, I haven’t really had a chance to adjust to it yet. The old skids from my Mode boards fit almost perfect.  Thinking ahead, I may make wood skids from an old deck to enhance the pop on ollies or totally do away with them altogether.  I haven’t put Casper grip on it yet, trying to see how necessary it is.  I am very anxious to try it at the park, unfortunately probably have to wait a couple months.  I like to do nose slides, although I suck at them, they’re still fun.  I’m pretty sure the skid and Casper grip will interfere with slides.  We will have to wait and see.  

Santa also brought me some new Mode wheels, offset for freestyle 99a 55mm ( I love the retro blue color -sick AF!), as well as a new pair of Es Accel’s.  Shoes felt real comfy out of the box, I’ll let you know what I think of them later.

Winter has returned with a vengeance.  A couple weeks ago we got hit hard with the cold and snow.  I pulled out the Premier Snowskate I got from the Goodwill store and as expected, it is too flimsy to do much of anything on.  For the past two and a half years I have wanted a good quality snowskate. Santa decided I was deserving of a new Ambition Snowskate .  

When I received it, the foot of snow we got the the week prior was rapidly melting and rain expected the next day.  I popped a couple ollies inside to get the feel of it, but once the foam grip got wet and snowy, there was no friction.  I got no lift or flick, my foot just slid off the board.  Santa decided I was also deserving of the Xtreme grip for the new Ambition.  $125 for the Snowskate, $50 for the grip.  Ouch.  

Since there is no snow, I thought the Ambition would make a perfect carpet board.  With my regular skate shoes, I have gotten pretty good at ollies and pop shove it’s, kickflips are just OK.  Technique has to be spot on to get a nice level kickflip. Snowskate Carpetboarding  Then the foam grip started to lift on one edge and a bunch of small pieces started to tear off.  My Xtreme grip came in, but I was afraid to apply it because snow would get into the voids where the foam was.  I contacted the company to find out he best way to repair it or where to get replacement foam grip.  Alex, the owner of Ambition emailed back and explained that carpet boarding is one of the worst things to do to the foam grip.  Apparently, it is much more durable in the cold, when it is warm it is more likely to tear.  Who would of thunk it?  So, I reattached the loose edges and torn puzzle pieces with two-part epoxy, then filled the couple voids where I lost the foam that tore with shoe goo as recommended by Alex.  Once the repairs were dry, it provided a good foundation for the Xtreme grip.  All I need now is snow.

Moved but Stationary

Since my last post we sold our house, bought another and moved.  Bittersweet.  The new house has an extra bedroom to accommodate our larger family and more overall living space.  However, the garage is much smaller and my new neighbors are very close and very friendly.  The neighborhood is on the “other side of the tracks”, literally.  Plus it is a very professional neighborhood, not exactly sure if I fit in there.  I don’t know if they figured out where that smell is coming from – have to make a sploof.  I also am very curious what they will think of me when they hear the slamming wheels and board on the garage floor or see me cruising the bike path on my board. This is the same path my daughter and I used to cruise a couple years ago; then I didn’t care who saw me  or what they thought of me, it is now  two blocks from my house.  I already have a huge honey-do list: unpacking, sorting, organizing, reorganizing, painting, cleaning, landscaping, work, work, work.  It’s beeen a week since I even skated longer than 10 minutes.  That needs to be remedied. 

Even before the move I have been completely consumed with house stuff.   I haven’t had a good rolling session in over a month.  I couldn’t even really skate in the old garage due to the clutter from boxes. At least I got to work on stationary stuff.  Mostly rail tricks, rail flip to rail, ts rail kickflip ( kind of like a latte flip, except a kickflip from TS railstand versus heelflip from HS rail), ts rail varial flip (same as above except with 180 bs rotation).  I had created a debate of sorts on the F-forum regarding what the proper name of the above tricks are called – either a “latte kickflip”, “toeside latte kickflip or toeside latte varial” or “Cooper kickflip or Cooper Varial”.  Still don’t know what to call them.  I can land rail flip to rail about a quarter of the time now.  The key to me is focusing on keeping the center of gravity low.  My other trick are rapidly deteriorating.  I would like to start chasing tres again, but even my ollies are rotten.  I don’t really  like the Welcome deck, it seems to lack pop and just feels heavy.  Maybe I’m just used to my smaller mode board.  

Speaking of which, the Mode is chipping, mostly on the rails by the wheels.  Mostly likely from increased rail practice.  With the Mode wearing down fast and the Welcome being less than desirable, I have been thinking once again about finding a board that I can do both freestyle and street – this reoccurring story is getting old.  However, maybe a new twist. 

I contacted Pete Betti by sending him a message via YouTube.  From some of his recent YT videos, the Bustin board he rides looks really freestyle friendly.  He got back to me relatively quickly and told me that he rides a custom shape.  I then emailed Bustin boards and asked if I could order “Pete’s shape”.  After a several exchanges the short answer was “no”.  Pete cuts out his own shape with a jigsaw. The guy from Bustin did say they are planning on releasing new shapes in the near future, and maybe one of them was the one I was looking for.   

I then contacted Beau from Open Source Skateboards, told him what I was looking for – essentially an 8″ symmetrical double kick freestyle board.  It would cost a few extra bucks but would be hand made by him to my specs.  

I may take my old Almost Mullen board and/or the new Welcome board and cut it down, basically taper the nose and tail to a shape similar to my Mode.  Creating my own DIY freestyle street board may be the most feasible option, might be fun.  I have the money for a new deck, but with the recent move, I am trying to pinch pennies.  Time is the issue right now. 

The most recent copy of Broken Fingers came out, I highly recommend ordering yourself a copy from Smallschool.  Plus, been trying to catch up on the Freestyle Podcast, the brainchild of Bob Loftin from Bob’s Trick Tips.  I’ll just pop one earbud in when I’m at work.

Winter is coming . . . that’s why when I saw a used snowskate on a online auction site for $8, I couldn’t resist.  It’s an older Premier, kinda long and quite flimsy.  I was able to ollie and kickflip on the lawn using the nose kick to pop, but the tail just bends.  It’s a good starter, something to goof around on.  If I like it and actually have time to play with it, I may upgrade to something more like an Ambition snowskate.  However, it will more than likely just be another sled for the kids. 

What I Can, When I Can

Which hasn’t been much. 

Not sure where I left off, been another busy summer.  Not skating much unfortunately – finished up the season for my daughter’s softball, everyday life issues with my 12 year old, my infant son is growing so fast, I’m working more and we are selling our house to buy another with an additional bedroom.  Despite all that.  I try to get out at least, usual at most, once a week.  I have really taken a liking to the parks the past couple months. On Father’s Day I would normally go play 18 holes of golf and get drunk.  This year I went to the skatepark, it was 95 degrees that day and I had the park to my self. Not only was it hot as hell, but was my first session since the snipping.  I only lasted a couple hours.  I went home and assembled my new Mode freestyle board, same size and shape as before, but a new graphic.  In addition, I added a set of Mode offset freestyle wheels to my collection.  I really like the way they perform.  They slide well, and are really offset.

I really haven’t spent a lot of time freestyling this summer.  Unfortunately some of my tricks have suffered.  Yet skating is very Zen for me.  Sometimes when I haven’t done a trick in a while and am having trouble landing it, sometimes it’s as simple as closing my eyes and seeing, almost feeling, myself landing it.  Sometimes it reestablished that neuro-muscular connection, sometimes.  I usually kick around the freestyle after work in my garage to unwind before I hit the bong.  However, its too fucking hot to practice for too long.  Mostly stationary rail tricks,   two newer ones I’ve been working on are reintges flips off the nose and latte flips.  Getting closer, but no lands.  I have only had a couple dedicated extended freestyle sessions.  Seems like fall, winter and spring are my freestyle seasons, whereas summer is all about the streets and parks.

Can’t really say I’ve learned anything new.  However, I have gotten better at noseslides on low ledges and boardslides on flat rails.  Plus, I am getting better on the ramps.  Somehow I maintain my ollies.  

Another Saturday morning with Andrew? Yeah, my nephew has become my skate buddy, sort of.  I have invited him to skate with me twice.  It’s nice to have some company, but still awkward, just because of the age gap.  He’s more interested in ramps, bowls and transition, whereas I like the street stuff more.  But it’s because of him that I am challenging myself more on the ramps.  Ironically, the parks around here that have good ramps have bad riding surface.  Usually they’re thrown up on an old asphalt court that’s cracked or crumbling.   

Last week, I finally got to go for a cruise with my daughter,first one this year.  I had the day off work, so I could get some work around the house done.  I wore out real fast, not sure if I’m out of shape because I haven’t made time to take a long cruise or just tired from working my ass off -both at home and the hospital.  Not to mention everyday aches and pains – already have arthritis and tenosynovitis.  Somedays skating can be a real pain in the ass for me, literally.  The sciatic pain in right leg and hip that I thought was  all muscular, I fear may be something in my back.  However, I have been in healthcare a long time, spend a lot of time in my feet, lifting awkward people from awkward positions; a herniated disc wouldn’t be unheard-of.  Some days it’s a drag getting older.   Can’t help but wonder am I being tenacious or just in denial.

 Speaking of getting older, my Almost 8″ Mullen Riddler deck is almost a year old.  The tail is razored, delaminating and chipping and due for a replacement.  In addition, my Bones STF 54mm wheels are less than 52mm now, granted they are about two years old, but all of the sudden pebbles seem bigger.  

Farewell to the Swim Team

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Woodhaven Skate Park

Ya know you’re old when you have to take two weeks off skating to recover from a vasectomy.  Last time I really skated was Memorial day weekend.  I had another great street and park day.  I ended up hanging out with my nephew for a couple hours.  We skated a two parks and a few schools.  The first one we went to is relatively new, never been there.  However, I will definitely be returning.   I had a blast!  Skated everything – the ramps, the ledges, the bench, the jersey barrier and boardslides on a foot high rail.  I had never done backside boardslide on a rail before, always was afraid of slipping out and smashing the back of my head.  Yet, they were super easy.  Next time I skate there I will be trying some frontside boardslides, far more stylish in my opinion.  The concrete was super smooth, plus my fellow forty year old skating coworker hooked me up with a set of used Swiss L2 bearings that are just fucking awesome (Thanks Dawn! Love ya hon!), so rolling around the park was almost effortless. I could have stayed there all day, but my nephew’s ADD kicked in and wanted to go to some other spots.

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We then went to a different park. Not my cup of tea – all metal ramps and a hip.  My nephew is more of a ramp skater, but even he called it a sketchy spot.  The park was adjacent to an elementary school.  We skated a ledge and some curbs for a while. Then we just cruised the neighborhood for a few, on the way back to the car I had what possibly could have been the longest flatground manual I’ve ever done, easily a block and a half.  My nephew wanted to go to some other spots, however most of the spots I know are street spots. 

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Nonetheless, I took him to my old High School.  There are several stair sets there  – one step, two step, three step and a 6 step.  In my younger years  I routinely would ollie down the big set, but my forty year old knees and ankles don’t tolerate too many big drops. Since that is where I learned to ollie stairs by increasing in small gradients, I thought maybe it would be a good place for my nephew to learn as well.  I even skated some small stairs myself.  Ollies up a
two stair, down a three stair, boneless off another set.  We had so much fun that neither of us really took time to take pictures or film anything.  I’m really looking forward to hitting that park again, hoping that my balls will be well enough to handle the bouncing around by this weekend.

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Free Swiss L2 bearings!

Meanwhile, on the freestyle front, I broke down and bought some Independent 109s.   I now have Indy’s on both my street and freestyle setup.
“Independent for life!”  So far, I like them.  Not much difference in turning, as the extra hard Khiro bushing don’t move much.  However, the flatter baseplate makes truckstands and pogos easier.  Lately, I’ve mostly been playing around with stationary stuff.  I have been landing heelside varial railflip to heelside railstand more consistently. It’s not an everytime kind of trick, but I did land three in a row!  My no-hand 50/50s have gotten rusty, like so many others.  So many tricks, so little time.  It is a struggle just to keep the tricks I know, let alone pick up new ones. 

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With the tracker dart 106s freed up, I may eventually reassemble the Decomposed Sassi, but not exactly sure what I would do with two complete freestyle setups.   For now, it remains as a wall decoration .  I had given another old deck to my nephew, my foundation board and  collected the last board I gave him, and old 7.75 blank that was the first board I used for freestyle.  I used to do a little woodworking as a hobby (something else that there isn’t enough time for) and intend on fashioning some wood skids from that old deck.  I have been wondering if wood skids will provide better pop than plastic.  Trying to find a relatively flat area on the old blank that isn’t delaminated will be interesting. 

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Finally, it’s not your typical Father’s Day gift, but I’m not a typical father – I ordered a new Mode 7.4″ freestyle deck along with a set of Mode 55 mm 99a duro offset wheels.  Since I got my wife a $500 dollar Mother’s ring, I figured a board and wheels wasn’t too much to ask for.  Unfortunately, this has become more of an equipment log than a progress blog, but I promise to the three or four that still follow along I’ll try to make this more interesting.