Tag Archives: skateboard

Losing Your Board From Under Your Feet

I was skating down the sidewalk the other day, carving and weaving in and out of the throngs of pedestrians, and just generally being a badass, until I hit a small rock. My wheel locked, I went flying forward, and my board went rolling backwards. Luckily I have the reflexes of a housecat and was able to stop myself from falling. My board was not so lucky. As soon as I regained my footing, I turned around to see my board fifty feet away and it kept on moving. A kind stranger was nice enough to stop my board and give it back to me. I sheepishly accepted it, thanked him, and apologized for the inconvenience. I was pretty relieved that my board didn’t zoom off into the street or plow into a group of old ladies. I consider myself a fairly competent skater, but sometimes sticks, cracks, and rocks get in the way of your momentum. Losing your board from under your feet is never a good feeling. It’s like having your security blanket wrenched away from you when you least expect it. You only have a split second for your reflexes to kick in. Sometimes that’s not enough time to recover. It’s going to happen sooner or later. It comes with the territory.

Critically Rated at 6/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Falling Off Your Skateboard

If you ride a skateboard, you are going to fall off of it. That’s how it works. It comes with the territory. You’ve never really skated if you’ve never fallen off. I was skating to the store the yesterday and hit a small pothole in the sidewalk. My wheel came to a dead stop and I kept going. I flew off my board and landed heavily on my side. It wasn’t too bad, just a skinned elbow and a little road rash, but I’m still pretty sore today. It feels like I got hit by a truck. Not a semi-truck, more like a small F-150 but it still hurts. I wasted my fall yesterday. Nobody saw it. Falling off your board sucks, but it’s worth it if you have a witness. It’s nothing to be embarrassed of or ashamed about, and it kind of becomes a shared experience when somebody sees you fall. Personally, I think that in the age of YouTube and Fail Videos, any fall that isn’t recorded is a complete waste.  Let’s think about it philosophically for a second… like if a tree falls in an empty forest, does it make a sound? Well, if a skater falls and nobody sees it, does anybody care?  Nope.

Critically Rated at 10/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Speed Wobbles

I have a longboard and I love to skate. I cruise the streets and sidewalk surf every single day. And I live in San Francisco in the Sunset District, so there are a lot of huge hills to bomb down at thirty miles an hour. There take certain precautions when you’re going so fast that you can’t stop. You have to choose a street that’s steep but not too steep, with a minimal amount of vehicular interference, and it should be smoothly paved and free from debris and potholes. There are a lot of things that can go wrong, but speed wobbles are what skaters fear the most. Speed wobbles are exactly what it sounds like: wobbles at a high speed. You’re flying down a hill and suddenly your board starts to shake violently, it feels like an earthquake, and it’s easy to panic. But if you panic, you’ll fall off and fuck yourself up. And the last thing you want to do it smack your head on concrete at breakneck speed. The best thing you can do is bend your knees and try to absorb the shocks as they come. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. All you can do is learn from it and tighten up your trucks. You could also buy a helmet, but then you wouldn’t look cool. Speed wobbles. Everyone who skates has a story about speed wobbles.

Critically Rated at 3/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Running with a Skateboard

I saw a guy running down the sidewalk with a skateboard tucked under his arm. He was panting heavily so I know that he was running for a while. Something about the whole situation really bothered me. It’s probably because the schmuck wasn’t riding his skateboard. He was on a slight downhill, a perfect slope for a skater. But he was running, not riding, and I want to know why. He was obviously in a rush, but he chose to pick up his board and run with it as opposed to the logical choice of riding it. If you’re in a hurry and you have a skateboard, you should fucking ride it. That’s what you’re supposed to do. It makes sense. It’s faster and less tiring. Running with a skateboard doesn’t make sense. It confuses me. It angers me. I’m going to lose sleep over this tonight. Don’t run with skateboards, fucking ride them. Leave the board at home if you want to jog.

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Dogs That Bark at Skateboards

I was just skating casually down the sidewalk when a small dog went crazy and barking its head off. Like howling and yipping and trying to attack me. I wasn’t even close to it; I was on the other side of the street. I don’t get dogs that bark at skateboards. I’ve had dogs. I’ve had skateboards. None of my dogs ever went nuts because of a board with wheels. Skateboards aren’t any louder than cars. They are no more intimidating than Roller Blades. Some dogs even fucking ride skateboards. I’m going to have to put this on bad training. A dog should be used to skateboards, bikes, cars, scooters… you know, common methods of transportation. Most dogs are well behaved, but if a skateboard freaks out your dog then you’re probably not taking him outside enough. You are a terrible person.

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Lords of Dogtown

Dogtown and Z-Boys and the Lords of Dogtown go hand in hand. Dogtown and Z-Boys is an awesome documentary about how a group of kids revolutionized skateboarding. Lords of Dogtown is its Hollywooded-out film counterpart. Catherine Hardwicke directs and Heath Ledger, Emile Hirsch, John Robinson, Victor Rasuk, and Michael Angarano lead the cast.

The documentary primarily focuses on Stacy Peralta, Tony Alva, and Jay Adams, and the movie does the same. The movie adds a character named Sid (Michael Angarano), who hangs out with them and has an inner ear problem. They surf, skate, and raise mayhem on the streets of Dogtown. They hang out at the Zephyr Skate Shop and try to impress the cool owner Skip Engblom (played by Heath Ledger). I know Heath Ledger kicked ass as the Joker and a lot of people were surprised that he really could act. Watch the documentary and the movie back to back and compare Heath Ledger’s performance to the real life Skip Engblom. He becomes Skip Engblom, he is Skip Engblom.

One glorious day, Skip gets polyurethane wheels and skateboarding changed forever. The new wheels grip the pavement, and the boys go crazy with the possibilities. They start curving and carving and copying surfing moves. Skip decides to start a skateboard team and forms the Z-Boys.

The Z-Boys tear it up at skating contents and start getting noticed. They discover that empty swimming pools are great for skating, and push the sport to new heights. Stacy, Tony, Jay and the other Z-Boys not only revolutionized the sport, they started a new industry. Skating become profitable and companies and sleazy businessmen start coming after the Z-Boys. The team breaks up and friendships start to dissolve. Stacy and Tony become rich and successful, and they handle it in different ways. Jay thinks that skating stopped being fun, so he joins a violence gang. And then they find out that Sid’s inner ear problem was a brain tumor. He gets his dad to empty their swimming pool, and invites Stacy, Tony and Jay to skate it. The friends are reunited, however briefly, and skate for fun again, however briefly.

The movie is decent, but the documentary is better. You should watch the documentary before you watch the movie version. Hollywood has a tendency to whitewash movies. I couldn’t help but notice that Jeff Ho is completely missing. The same Jeff Ho of Jeff Ho & Zephyr Surfboard Productions. He was Skip Engblom’s fucking boss. And he’s just not there. You’ll notice the film borrows a few quotes and songs from the documentary too. It makes them feel connected.

By the way Catherine Hardwicke directed Twilight. So this movie just lost a few cool points by association. Fucking Twilight.

Critically Rated at 12/17

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Dogtown and Z-Boys

Dogtown and Z-Boys is a documentary about the Zephyr skateboard team, of how a group of teenaged slackers from South Santa Monica, Venice and Ocean Park revolutionized skateboarding. Stacy Peralta directs using a blend of archival footage and various interviews with the Z-Boys and the people influenced by them. The skating footage highlights the film, but the awesome soundtrack and having Sean Penn narrating makes it more entertaining.

Stacy Peralta was one of the Z-Boys and he provides the viewer with an extensive history of what it was like to grow up in Dogtown. The film doesn’t just jump into skateboards; it explains the social and economic situation of Dogtown in the ‘70s, the importance of the surfing culture, and a few of the key players who formed the team like Jeff Ho, Skip Engblom, and Craig Stecyk. Dogtown was a way of life, a ghetto by the sea, and it was their paradise.

There were twelve members of the Zephyr team. They each had their own style, but were always skating with each other, competing and pushing and driving themselves to always do more. It’s wasn’t enough to do something cool, you had to look cool doing it. The documentary talks about all the skaters, but there’s a definite focus on Stacy Peralta, Tony Alva, and Jay Adams. Stacy Peralta had style and grace. Tony Alva had style and a big ego that made him want to be the best. Jay Adams was a natural, they describe him as the spark that modernized skating.

The Zephyr team weren’t the first skateboarders. They were the ones who transitioned the sport from being a hobby to being a lifestyle. Before the Z-Boys, skateboard tricks were super lame. They involved handstands and twirls and flat ground. The Z-Boys turned skating into land surfing. They carved and went low to the ground, they used theirs hands to pivot, and they treated the pavement like it was waves. It also helps that skateboard wheels went from clay to polyurethane, allowing them to do things that old boards weren’t capable of.

The Zephyr team made use of an ongoing drought and empty swimming pools were turned into impromptu skate parks. They started doing new tricks that weren’t even conceivable on flat ground. They pushed themselves to go higher and higher, and eventually they were able to escape gravity and start doing aerial tricks, which leads us directly to modern skating.

This is one of the best documentaries I’ve ever experienced. It is required viewing if you are a skater. It is worth watching even if you aren’t. It might turn you into one.

Critically Rated at 15/17

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