It’s crazy how this is the last in-depth post I’ll ever write. Over the past months, I’ve run into a lot of bumps and problems. At the start of this project, I chose musical instrument repair as my in-depth topic and secured a mentorship at Long&McQuade. Unfortunately, that didn’t last long and I was forced to change mentors. I had a few meetups with Sandro Massullo from Massulo Music but from his busy schedule, I realized how slow my progress was. By the time, I was already into the last 3 months of my project and started to get a little panicked. After looking at my April and May schedules, I ultimately decided to switch in-depth topics to something that’s easier for me to do on my own time. Because musical instrument repair required all the tools and resources at my mentor’s workshop, it was hard to keep a frequent visit. Just before spring break, I changed my topic to skateboarding and I’ve been having lots of fun. I’ll go over everything that’s happened since my last blog post.
For the past few weeks, I’ve worked on perfecting my kickturns and attempting some ollies. I had my first few meetings with my mentor (finally!!) and had helpful conversations. During my visits to skateparks, I was unable to film since I have no friends and didn’t want to risk breaking my phone and/or bones. I practiced going down ramps and maneuvering through the park.
Here’s my update on kickturns:
Compared to the videos in my last blog post, my kickturns’ve gotten smoother and less forced. I learned to utilize my arms and body to turn. Jessie, my mentor gave me tips on improving my kickturns.
Jessie: First, count how many kickturns it takes for you to spin 360 degrees all the way around.
Me: *does 5*
Jessie: Nice! Now every time you practice, try reducing the number to 4, then to 3, then to 2, until it only takes one complete turn.
Me: That’s a really handy trick. Thank you!
My “record” so far has only been 3 J.
Now jumping into ollies! Here are a few of my attempts:
They’re still pretty pathetic but when slowed down, you can see that all the wheels are off the ground!
And of course, the fails:
As I look back on these videos, I can see what my problems are. I’m more conscious of my back foot (left foot) and I don’t pay much attention to my front foot. This usually results in my board only going a couple of cm off the ground. I need to work on stomping harder and jumping higher.
Beginners often learn this easy jumping trick to practice foot placement and balance. My mentor introduced me to this trick and it was fairly easy to learn.
I had my first tumble when I attempted a kickturn. It was exhilarating and taught me to wear gloves.
Jessie informed me that at the basis of every skateboard trick, you have the learn the concept and physics to the movement in order to execute the trick properly. Take an ollie for example. An ollie works by snapping the tail into the ground and popping the whole board up. The rider stands on the balls of their feet with their back foot on the edge of the tail. This allows the ankle to have more flexibility when stomping the tail down. The front foot is placed near the middle-front so that it has room to drag to the nose and level out the board before hitting the ground. Here’s another example with dropping in. This isn’t really a trick but it’s important to know how things usually go wrong when attempting. When dropping in down a ramp, the concept is that the body maintains its central balance. The rider can’t learn too forwards or too backwards.
With skateboarding, there’s not much leeway for alternatives. At the core, it’s just practice and more practice. While not complete alternatives, there are a few hacks that make it easier for beginners to learn tricks. I got some advice from my mentor’s friend who said he practiced his ollies on carpet rather than grass. Carpet feels more like concrete and gives a harder surface for the skateboarder to practice on. There are also products called skater trainers that basically “clog” the wheels so that they cannot roll around. It ensures the board is steady. Personally, I like to practice on hard concrete because it feels more natural.
On in-depth night, I will be showcasing a video montage of my skateboarding progression. I hope it turns out looking cool but it’ll probably just be 5 minutes of me attempting the same trick over and over. In all seriousness, I want the video to show my growth in skill and confidence.