Sunday, May 7, 2023

How to Do a B/S Slappy


How to Do a B/S Slappy

Here is a “How-To” I wrote for a b/s slappy. The principle is basically the same for f/s, the mechanics are just slightly different.


(1)  Find a tiny curb. We are talking REAL small here. 1” – 2”. No higher than two inches. If possible, find a slanted one (like they have in California). If you can’t find a slanted one, no worries. Just make sure the one you found is 2” tall or shorter.

(2) Wax the fuck out of that curb.

(3) Go to an empty part of a parking lot. Once you are there, tighten the fuck out of your trucks. Yes, I said tighten your trucks. Stay with me on this one.


(4) Do some backside carves, really flexing those ankles, and pointing those toes down. Your trucks should be so tight now that both your heel-side wheels lift up in the air. You should be carving on just your two toe side wheels. Do this a bunch so that you can easily go up on to your toe side wheels whenever you want.


(5) Loosen your trucks up again. Get them back to where you had them before.

(6) Go back over to that tiny curb. Approach the curb at about a 45-degree angle, with a decent speed. Have your weight slightly ahead of your feet. Knees bent/and crouching down a tad.


(7) Just as your front heel side wheel is about to slam into the curb, do that same motion you did with the really tight trucks to carve up onto two wheels. Shift/thrust your hips toward the front of the board, so that they “catch up” with your shoulders (which were slightly ahead of your hips/feet), as your do this, also swing your back leg around (almost as if front leg was the pivot point) to help get the back trucks up on the curb. MAKE SURE that your shoulders stays in a parallel line directly over the curb. If your shoulders are too “open” (not parallel) it is MUCH harder to get your back truck on top of the curb. There is a LOT going on here, all at once, and they are very subtle motions. Getting the weight distribution, weight shift, speed, angle, and shoulders to all go as one, I think, is one of the reasons slappies are literally the HARDEST tricks to teach.


(8) Once up there, grind away until you want to come off.


(9) Find a SLIGHTLY taller curb, and repeat the same process.


Note: The textbook definition of a slappy makes NO USE of the tail to lift the front truck onto the curb, and NO USE of the nose to lift the back truck up, either.


Note on F/S Slappies: On f/s slappies, the shoulders are SUPER important. Not to scare you, but f/s slappies can produce some NASTY slams. What often happens on those slams is this sequence of events: (1) you get the front truck up, but the back truck doesn't make it, (2) the rear toe side wheels bounce off the curb, (3) the back end of your board then slides around, turning the board 90 degrees (e.g. board goes into a f/s railside position), (4) rear truck then catch against the curb and board stops dead, (5) since your feet are now twisted a bit under your torso, it is next to impossible to "run out" of, (6) This sends you flying backwards toward your hip/back/forward elbow. Slams like this are bad enough on flat ground, but now you also have the edge of a curb to look out for. Making sure that rear shoulder gets parallel with the curb, when "slapping" into it, can help avoid this sequence of events. Leaving the rear shoulder "open" is almost an invitation for this type of the slam.


Note on Wheels Size & ShapeLarger wheels make it easier to roll over/slap-up a curb. Wheels with a more rounded profile (e.g. Spitfire Classic type shape) make slappies easier than a more squared-off shape (e.g. Spitfire tablets).

Thursday, March 30, 2023

The Best Skate Photo I've Ever Seen

I’ll be writing more about this photo in the future, but for now, I’ll say that this one of the best skate photos I’ve ever seen. No pros. No fancy skate parks. No gnarly tricks. It captures something so pure. The "YEAH” face of the kid on the platform, for “just” a simple kickturn grind. In its most elemental form, this is the magic of skateboarding, that any skater can relate to and/or knew at one point in their life. 



Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Pad Appreciation Post

This clip is one example of how/why I have really grown to love knee pads in my "advanced years," even for “simple” low-impact street skating. 


This was a Half-Cab Boardslide to Fakie gone wrong. While it’s a very easy trick, nothing is fool-proof (and even the "easy" stuff gets more precarious as you approach 50-years-old). Here, I turned in to the boardslide too forcefully. The result was that my front toe-side wheel came around too far (because I rotated too hard), and it clipped the side of the slide bar. You can see in this screen grab how angled my board is—it almost looks like I am doing a Feeble grind. This is the moment my wheel clipped.


When my wheel clipped, the front of the board stopped sliding. Inertia caused the back end to start swinging around. Since I intend this trick to go to fakie, my body was torqued to bring the back end around, too. This exacerbated the problem. When the back swung all the way around, my rear toe came off the board and went into the slide bar, as can be seen in this screen grab.

With my toe hitting, all sliding came to a dead stop. Inertia, however, kept my upper body going. I stumbled forward, planted a foot, and went into a controlled fall/knee slide (e.g. see video). I got up, totally unscathed, and kept skating as if nothing had happened. Without knee pads, I would have been forced into one of those common rolling/tumbling falls (onto my shoulder/elbow/hip/side). Those kind of bails can still leave you a bit banged-up—hipper, elbow abrasion/swelbow (without elbow pad), chewed-up hands/wrist injury, etc. If possible, those are all things I want to avoid at this point in my skating/life. Knee (and elbow) pads put the odds way more in my favor, as they clearly did in this situation. And for that, I have become a huge fan of them, even for “simple” low-impact street skating. At this stage of the game, I'll take whatever advantages/comforts I can. I don't wear pads every time I skate, but can honestly say I've never once worn them and thought, "Man, I really shouldn't have done that." The opposite, however...

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Drastic Measures

It’s time for something drastic.

I’ve been dealing with a pulled groin muscle since the middle of December 2022. That is now over three months. The reason (I hope) that I’m still dealing with it? Despite my claims to do otherwise, I have not been able to stay off the board for more than 10 days since it happened. So, it’s never fully healed-up. Once I start skating again, it regresses a bit. I stop skating for 5 to 7 days, it gets somewhat better, then I go skating again (“I’ll just have a mellow session”), it gets worse, and the pattern starts all over again.* Yesterday was actually the most vigorous session I’ve had since this mess started, and things don’t feel that much worse today, but they are worse. I’ll state the obvious: I have no self-discipline when it comes to staying off my skateboard. So, it's time for drastic measures.

I disassembled my two boards. I put all my wheels and hangers into a small plastic bin. On Monday, I am dropping that bin off at a non-skater friend’s house…who lives an hour away. I told him to not give it back to me, until he sees me run/sprint for at least one block. This should keep me off the board until I’m fully healed-up. Because of this lingering injury, I haven’t skated on my regular basis (3x a week) since December. That sucks. I want to make sure I am good to go by the time the weather starts to get nice (prolly another 3-4 weeks), so now is the time to act.

I have done things like this before. I am old enough, and experienced enough, to “know” that the fastest way to skate again, when injured, is to rest/stay off the board. That said, it’s really, really, really hard to do sometimes when (a) it’s only a “small” injury, and (b) skating is a major stress relief for me, (c) I always need to doing something active, and (d) it’s just the most fun thing in the world.

*A similar pattern happens with shinners and shin guards. I can’t count the number of times I’ve publicly stated, “I’m never skating again without shin guards.”

Monday, January 30, 2023

Rediscovering What I Had Already Known

I saw a post on the SLAP fourms that sent me down an intorspective rabbit hole: What are (skate-related) things you were too cool for as a kid, that you now appreciate and/or love?

A few of mine: Tony Hawk. Skating transition. Watching vert. Side rails. Pads. "Basic" tricks. Non-traditional forms of skating. Shitty ramps. The joy of just rolling.

The irony here, is those are all things I really liked/loved as a very young kid, and then "lost interest" in as I got a bit older. Now that I am much older, I realize how much the very young version of me actually knew. Everything is a circle, and I'm grateful for that.

Friday, January 27, 2023

The Subtle is the Most Profound

Pre-Socratics. Plato. Hume. Kant. Heidegger. Kierkegaard. Frankl. Tao Teh Ching. Tibetan Book of the Dead. The Bible. The Four Noble Truths. Transcendentalism. Camus. Native-American mythology. Dostoyevsky. Dr. Suess. Calvin & Hobbes. Yoko Ono. I‘ve read/studied it all. 

Everything you need to know about the meaning of life...can be found in this photo.



Thursday, January 26, 2023

The January Desert & Jake Phelps


A few random things…


The Vast January Desert

In my phone I keep short-hand notes of things going on in my life during a given month. At the end of the year, I can look back at what happened during the past 12 months. After the year is over, I save all in the info into a word doc. I’ve been doing this since 2015. It’s a very quick/easy way to look back at my life, and see what was going on during any given period. One trend has clearly emerged: I don’t skate much during the month of January. It is usually a result of weather, injury, and illness (I also seem to get some kind of bad cold, or covid (2021, 2022, 2023), or some combination of all three. That pattern is certainly repeating in this year. I think I have skated….3 times this month (I usually skate at least 3x a week). I had a bad case of covid the first week of Jan 2023. I also pulled my groin muscle, which is keeping me off the board. Thankfully, that is “easier” to do right now, because it has been very, very wet over the last two weeks (snow and rain). Hopefully February will be better.



News broke this week about how Jake Phelps died. I think we all had a pretty accurate guess as to what happened (which was confirmed by the news). Jake had a drug problem. He overdosed and/or took something that was laced with fentanyl. I’m not really sure what to say here. I was never really a fan of the guy, and what direction he took Thrasher. Suffice to say, the manner of his passing was not really a surprise. My friend Brian commented:


“Talk about a complicated legacy. On one hand Phelps, at a certain time, may have saved skateboarding. After that, he just went out of his way to keep it a fiefdom. He pushed and cajoled and influenced a generation to hit the self-destruct button because he was self-destructing as well. The drowning man will always take you down with him.


I use Phelps as a study on how to age gracefully. Do the opposite of what he did and you will probably live a long and healthy life. I don't judge him on his addictions or personality flaws. I never met him. I can, however, judge him for his influence.”


I’ll add to this, with a quote from The Replacements, “Kids Don’t Follow.” They never have. They never will. That’s what makes them kids. That’s why youth is wasted on the young. Skateboarding is mostly a “youth culture” thing. So, you do the math as to what’s going to happen. That said, it is well document how Phelps threw gasoline on an innate proclivity to reckless and self-destructive behavior (from skating vert w/o pads to booze/drugs/party zone). Should he/Thrasher have been an icon of public safety? Hell no. However, Brian said it best, “He pushed and cajoled and influenced a generation to hit the self-destruct button because he was self-destructing as well. The drowning man will always take you down with him.” Much of it IMHO, just wasn’t necessary, needed, or productive.


So, what’s the take-a-way (for me, and for skateboarding)? For me, that is easy. I’ve long held the belief that one should “embody/be the Stoke they want to see in the world.” It’s sad to see what happened to Jake, and sad to see those who have been washed away in the wake of his influence. All of this just further solidifies, and illuminates, the path I was already on. I will keep following, and trying to embody, the version of Stoke that resonates with me (and that is basically the opposite of Jake). If that influences others, great. If not, that’s great, too. What is the take-a-way for skateboarding? I think that is for others to decide…