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. . .