Wednesday, November 14, 2018

One Reason I Wear Pads On Small Ramps

Why do I wear pads on ramps that are only 4’ high? Simple. Watch this clip.

 
It’s little shit like this, which is why I will always and unabashedly wear pads on even smaller mini ramps. There is a lot more going on here than it may first appear, and this bail could have been catastrophic without pads. Let's break it down.

In this clip I was going into a frontside 5-0 grind to tailslide. I was leaning a tad too far forward at the start of the trick. The rear truck snagged as I was going into the tailslide, and some how I managed to pop the rear wheels on top of the platform, as can be seen in this screen grab.


With the wheels now on the platform, this caused the board to immediately stop its sideways momentum. I, however, kept going. I then tried to simply step off  (my board) with my front foot, so I could easily just “run out” of it and/or run down the transition (which is the normal procedure for 95% of all bails on a ramp this size). But not so fast. My front foot got “caught” in pocket of the nose (almost like doing an ollie), and I couldn’t get the board out from under my feet. In the pic below you can see how the board is “stuck” to my front foot as I tried to “run out” of it.

 
Worse, the forward inertia had continued to pitch my torso far forward of my tangled-up feet. By the time my front foot was finally off the board, my window of time to “run out” of the trick was over. I was way off balance, and there was no question I was going down. The next pic shows both the moment my foot is finally off the board, and also how far forward my leading shoulder is. There is no recovery at this point. This is also where things get interesting.

 
So, what to do in this situation? If you have pads on, you just drop to your knees, and walk away. If you do NOT have pads, dropping to your knees would be disastrous. You may not be walking again for awhile. Without pads on for this bail, you would most likely tuck that leading shoulder and attempt to "roll out" of it on to your back, take it on your hip, or just dive face first straight to the bottom. There is no way you're not going down head first at this point. God knows how any of those other bail options would have ended, or what other kinds of injury would come from it. But, because I had pads on, I was able to just drop into that knee slide, and walk away unscathed. Pads are not always about saving your knees/elbows; they can often indirectly save other parts of your body, as this situation clearly illustrates. This bail would have been a very, very, different story without them. 

So, I will always wear pads on even “smaller” ramps because they occasionally save your ass, and save it in a major way. Old guys like me need as much help avoiding injury as we can possibly get. We certainly don't heal as fast as we used to, either. Avoiding injury today means we will be able to skate tomorrow, and that is all that really matters. Plus, battle gear is punk in that anti-cool kind of way. The real irony here, is that less than two years ago I hated wearing pads, and didn't even own any. Live and learn.

I've accepted the fact that I've pretty much become the exact stereotype of an "old guy skater," but I wouldn't have it any other way. Of course, the shorter way of saying all of this is, "I wear pads now because I'm old, and I suck." Hah. But, if you can't laugh at yourself, then what's the point? Life is weird. I'm still doing handrails at 44-years-old, but I won't go near a mini ramp without pads. Something is horribly wrong here. 


Post-Script: I don’t (yet) wear pads when street skating, but I know someday it will eventually come to that. Who knows when. When it does, I will embrace it with every fiber of my being, after all, I'll still be skateboarding. :)   

Post-Post-Script: Further comments on this topic can be found here



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