Posted by on Sunday, November 08, 2009
About a week ago, I went Redcar to skate. It was a good session; I haven't been in ages, so I needed it, and there were quite a few good skaters there, which was fun to watch.
The next day I watched this snowboarding DVD, Homies Episode 2.0, or something, it came free with Whitelines magazine. It had a lot of urban snowboarding in it, which to me, just didn't seem any good.
I've never been a big fan of the urban scene, but there have been some video parts from time to time that I've enjoyed, a couple of Absinthe sections spring to mind. It's normally stuff with a good tune, good riding style that's been well shot.
But more and more I'm seeing urban tricks that I think are pretty lame. Ledges and drops where the rider doesn't even "ride out" - they kinda just stop. And there are loads of 270s and 3s coming off rails, when the rail isn't really big enough for it to look good. A lot of these tricks don't seem to have much style.
Don't get me wrong, there are some urban tricks/sections in films that look great, obviously take a lot of skill and almost always, a lot of balls. And when done well, they can add a different, pleasing dimension to a film.
But a lot of it has been done before, seen before, and now, it's clearly a discipline in it's own right. To me, it seems like there's too much of it.
So I was just thinking, "I'd rather ride a skateboard than do that". After all, that's what a skateboard was designed for. And the crazy thing is, all the riders in this film were excellent skaters. There was even a load of good footage of them on skateboards, which to me, was more enjoyable to watch than the urban snowboard sections...
I like to watch riders going through the park, hitting rails and boxes with effortless style. Frontside boards, smooth presses, and it all flows. When it comes to rails, that's what I like. And in an urban environment, there are some killer rails that work for me. It's gnarly, but they stomp it. The scene looks good. The photo looks good. Nice. But don't overdo it. I'm not interested in dropping off a garage just because it can be done.
What's your take?
Posted by on Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I while back, I crunched the bushings on my front truck, skating at Redcar. The deck was still usable, in fact it was difficult to notice much difference, but the truck no longer sat centrally aligned, so I wanted to replace the bushings...
Being a noob when it comes to skateboarding equipment, I just figured they'd have some spares in the shop. They didn't. Instead there was a choice of either soft, medium or hard upgrades. I'll have the ones in the middle please :) And neon pink too; shame, the others were green and yellow...
Well I've swapped them over - only the broken ones mind. That's probably a big faux pas, but I wanna see if they feel any different. Actually, the washer-style cups that sit above and below the bushings were significantly thicker than the standard ones, so maybe the whole set is better quality.
On a related point, I really need some kind of skate tool. I use and over-sized wrench from the shed whenever I want to tweak my trucks, and it's just lame. It only just fits. Any suggestions?
Posted by on Sunday, October 04, 2009
Well I'm just about done here. We've got a little bit of work to do tonight, and then I'm flying back tomorrow morning...
This morning I woke in Vail. After a breakfast burrito to keep us going, we had a few hours to look around vail. As a resort it's pretty impressive; expensive. Everything's right on hand at the base of the hill. Plenty of shops, bars, restaurants and the like...
I got talking to a couple of guys working in the Quiksilver store and they told me there was a decent skate park in the village (Lionshead). It turned out that the park is on the top of the car park structure. It seemed strange, but we checked it out on the way out of town.
And it's a good park. With a good view too; right in the mountains. Sun blazing. Beat that. So I skated for 45 mins or so. The mini ramp was awesome. Fast, and it's been a while, so it took a little time to get things going. At 8000ft+ it takes more breath too. That was fun. Here's a few pictures:
What a place for a skate park...
Posted by on Sunday, April 26, 2009
After a short, sunny session on Saturday morning, I've hit double figures for ramp/bowl skate sessions. I'm officially hooked.
10 so far is pretty good compared with the poor performance of 2007 and 2008. I think the summer of 2006 is the only time I'd say that I skated consistently, until now. I'm skating once or twice per week at the moment. I'm expecting some of my commitments to fall away later this year, so I should be able to step it some more.
Posted by on Thursday, April 23, 2009
Last night's skate sesh at Redcar was pretty awesome. The three of us - Dave, Dan and myself - all skated well. For myself, I think it was the best I've ever skated.
On the mini-ramp I had the spine transfer working easy, stalls around the coping were feeling good, some nice long 50-50s, I had the frontside 50-50 fast and smooth, and the biggest frontside ollies I've done yet. I even had one or two nice backside ollies. Some sick runs.
Having the park to ourselves was nice too. It was all finished off with a Subway, a McDonalds milkshake and a hot bath (hard slam right at the end). Roll on next Wednesday...
Posted by on Sunday, April 19, 2009
I think the only way to get better is to push yourself by trying new things. Sometimes when I skate, I don't really know what tricks to try next. I'll think of something, or see someone doing a trick, but when I try it it turns out to be way harder than I was expecting. Or I'm just doing it wrong... The result is that I don't always have the next bunch of tricks to work on to keep me progressing.
With that in mind, I'm going to list the tricks that I can do now, on a mini ramp. Some of these tricks are consistent for me, others are less so, and some, I'll probably get the names wrong:
- Drop in
- Drop in, switch
- Rock to fakie
- Rock to fakie, switch (is that a fakie rock, or something?)
- Tail stall
- Rock and roll (Backside? I can do it the easy way)
- Axel stall
- Backside 50-50
- Frontside 50-50 (but not very consistently, yet)
- 5-0 (but not very good)
- Frontside ollie (do they call that frontside 180?)
- Spine transfer from tail stall (not sure if that is a trick...)
- Fakie axel stall (probably not called that: going fakie, turn off front foot into a stall, facing into the ramp)
- Fakie axel stall, the other way (but I don't often get it)
- 180 kick turn to rock and roll, from fakie (probably not called that)
- Frontside early grab, indy
- Early grab out of tail stall (is that lame?)
And this is what I'm working on next:
- Nose stall. It follows from dropping in switch.
- Backside ollie. Because it looks better than frontside.
- Feeble stall and/or crooked stall. They seem like close variations on the axel stall.
- Frontside 5-0. Nice movement around a ramp/bowl, and doesn't seem like it will be much harder than frontside 50-50.
- Blunt rocks. Not sure why...
Posted by on Thursday, April 16, 2009
This is the new setup:
- Chocolate deck, 8"
- Venture trucks, wide
- Spitfire wheels, 57mm
- Bones Reds bearings
Last night was the weekly Redcar session, which was my first opportunity to try it out. It was all good. Definitely a little faster on the ramp, but apart from that, I didn't notice much difference, except that it's all new. It felt good to skate, and it had that solid 'pop' feel.
I seem to be doing pretty well with the number of times I'm getting out, and the improvement is following. No major advances, but I'm feeling much better around the coping. I had quite a few slams last night so the body's been a little tender today. Just gotta keep it up now and hopefully bag some new tricks...
Posted by on Sunday, April 12, 2009
I went for a skate early on Friday morning, a couple of hours at Silksworth. It was dry here, but it must have been raining fairly recently over there because when I arrived all of the bowls and surfaces had water on them. It was sunny though, so I decided to wait it out. I wanted to take a few photos, and, suspecting that I'd be buying a new deck sometime soon I thought a photo of my current skateboard was in order...
Me in an empty park.
The dendex dryslope at Silksworth.
To start off with I was picking my way around the wet bits, but once it dried out, my main aim was to work the spine transfer to check that I could do it at a different park. There are three spines at Silksworth: a small one that leads out from the small bowl, one that joins the small bowl and large bowl together - so it's kinda got two sizes, and finally, a medium/large spine that joins the large bowl area with another area.
The small spine from the small bowl.
The large bowl, and spine leading to the small bowl.
The medium/large spine (in the background).
It didn't take long to conquer the small spine. It's concrete rather than wood, but no problems. Next up, I was dropping in from the large bowl to get speed to transfer back into the small bowl. So I was going up a large transition to the spine and then dropping down a smaller transition. That was more difficult, and a little scarier. I did get it though. Getting enough speed wasn't a problem; it was getting the right amount of speed. It was quite easy to overshoot, which meant jumping off at the last minute...
I haven't tried going the other way and I haven't tried the medium/large spine.
On Saturday I bought a new setup. My wheels are pretty tired, the bearings are kinda shot and the deck's worn and starting to delaminate. Plus I just fancied something fresh.
I decided to go for something a little wider. The current Almost is a 7.75", so I stepped up to an 8". I'm told that wider decks are more suited to bowls and ramps, which makes sense, and there are times when I feel a slightly bigger surface would be useful. I also went for bigger wheels. I'm not sure what my old ones are; probably 54mm to start with, but they're smaller than that now. The new ones are 57mm.
I've gone for this slightly bigger setup because I most like to skate bowls and ramps. A bit more stability and more speed. The whole thing looks quite a bit bigger. It's a little heavier too, but nothing that I think will cause me a problem. I'm keen to try it out. No doubt it will feel strange at first, but hopefully it'll turn out good. I'll post some pictures soon.
Out with the old...
Posted by on Thursday, April 09, 2009
Last night was another Redcar session, the second of this year. I've been feeling a bit ill all week but I decided to go anyway, I didn't want to miss out.
I'm wanting to try new things each time I skate at the moment, but a couple of the things I had in mind for last night turned out to be harder than they were in my head. So, I decided to return to a goal that I've had for a long time: getting over the spine.
The method I want to use is to go forwards into a tail stall on the coping, ready to drop in on the other side. To be honest, I've never really tried it before, save for 10 minutes or so at Silksworth a couple of weeks back. After 10 or so tries I realised that getting into the stall was pretty easy. All that was left was to get my balance more forward...
More attempts... then I got it. Sick. It feels so good.
I pretty much had it on lock down by the end of the session. If there are any skaters reading you may be thinking "that's a pretty easy move" - and you're probably right. It is an easy move. But for me, it's definitely one of those things that seems hard until you get it, and then it's very easy, like it totally clicks. There are other tricks that I can kind of do, but a lot of the time they still catch me out. This transfer feels more like learning to drop in; once you learn to do it, you don't forget it.
Then again, I should probably hold off that assessment until I try it on a bigger spine!
Posted by on Monday, April 06, 2009
Well to be honest, it's been over for a while. I won't be shredding anymore this season. Next real snow is likely to be next year, that's a long time off! Poo.
For the season just gone and the one before that, I've been limited to two weeks on snow. I don't want to say that sucks, because I've had a great time snowboarding, but in the past I've been used to more. Before that, I had three years of riding somewhere between 3 and 5 weeks over the course of 12 months, so the last couple of seasons have seemed something like a wind-down.
I'd like to put an end to that, yet, my plan for next season will be the same: two weeks away. I obviously want to make them a good two weeks! Good powder and good parks. Good powder mostly.
This reduction in snowboarding has changed my outlook a little. I'm sure it's slowed my progression, but more generally, I kinda fell less involved. In the past I've been looking for any opportunity to get away - I've been active throughout the season, and in the summer too. These days, it's much more like a holiday.
This blog is mostly about me and snowboarding; but when you're not snowboarding that often, it's hard to write about the stuff you like writing about. For the time being, I guess I'm just more removed than I have been. I look forward to next season - I hope to shred in Canada again - but it's going to be another holiday year...
So what now? What for the rest of 2009?
I'd like to skate more. I'm into double figures for outings already, albeit some of them are short, around the one hour mark, but still, I feel active on a board, standing sideways. I'd like to aim for at least once per week. That shouldn't be hard should it? Maybe more. I'll be keeping track of the sessions in the sidebar, so we'll see how I get on.
I'm going to set out with the aim to post a video each month. It might be short, and I/we won't film every time I skate, but it would be cool to show how I'm improving each month (if I improve). I've already done a few things new that I'm pleased with - the trick is to keep it going for a decent period of time. I'll put something together for March.
I'd also like to prevent the relapse of freestyle skills on a snowboard by hitting up the UK slopes. That'll be Cas' and the 'Fax. I've had it in my mind for a while that it would be good to do 8 sessions in one month: every Friday at Castleford and every Saturday at Halifax. I'm fairly certain that with some motivation one could improve as much over the course of 4 weekends in the UK as they could doing a week away. That said, such a program traveling from where I live would probably cost as much as a week in Europe! But hey, it's something I'd like to try.
So for now, I'll be tied up working on a couple of unrelated projects. I'm trying to get out on the skateboard, film some, and of course, I've still got the footage from Morzine this year.
Posted by on Sunday, March 22, 2009
Saturday morning was just a quickie :) I wanted some fresh air and decided it would be an opportunity to try filming some frontside boardslides. I don't have a tripod yet, but it's still possible to get by solo if you're willing to put up with limited angles and flexibility!
I wasn't really feeling it, but the session did the trick. 50 minutes or so, and something to show you guys.
Today I've been reminded of my frustration when dealing with the combination of my camera, Movie Maker and YouYube/Vimeo. Only it's worse this time.
I'm running on a beta of Windows 7 (after the hard drive failure) so I had to download Movie Maker. I exported the sequence twice, both widescreen and 4:3. I uploaded them both to Vimeo. I'm taller than I should be in both. I don't get it. I remember dealing with this rigmarole last time, but at least one of them ended up being right. Maybe I've got a different version of MM? When am I gonna stop messing around with a crap solution?
Anyhow, here it is. I look tall and skinny, which maybe isn't a bad thing as I'm a little out of shape :) Hopefully I'll fix the aspect soon...
Learning Frontside Boardslides from Gavin Hope on Vimeo.
7 Bails and 7 Makes... Just started to do front-boards on a skateboard. Wanted to get early makes on film. Five Bridges skatepark, Gateshead, UK.
Sunday, this morning, was an awesome session. Went to silksworth with Dave and Dan, they were keen to hit that bowl again... I knew they'd like it :)
A bit windy but no biggy. The bowl there is awesome. I didn't really learn anything new, rather I'm getting back to where I was last year, which isn't all that far. This seems to happen each year; I skate just enough to maintain where I was. Perhaps this year will be different. I'm pretty set on taking a step forward.
The park got real quiet at one point so we messed around in the large bowl trying some early grabs. That was fun.
Here are some pics. The first is just to show the bowl, the second two fall in the category of me trying things out. Nothing good mind, I just feel like I should post at least something when I've snapped with the camera...
Posted by on Monday, March 16, 2009
Yesterday morning was another skate session, four of us, it was good.
We started at five bridges. No kick-flip yet, but, I did nail four or five smooth frontside boardslides; stoked! They were nice, I'm definitely getting them now... I just need to get one or two on film.
We spent some time trying to skate the mini-ramp there. After we all agreed that it sucked, we decided to head to the skate park at Silksworth, sk8 city, or something; I just call it Silksworth. Anyhow, as none of the others had been before, I was waxing lyrical about the small bowl - it's loads better than this sucky mini-ramp.
It was a fairly short session, but good non the less, with all agreeing that the bowl is good. I've been out on my skateboard a few times lately, but this was the first time I've been near a transition that I can ride. Cue a few cuts and bruises.
For the first time, I was trying to get over the spine by tail-stalling on the coping. There were some errors. Add that to a hang-up on the coping and a few slams on the rail back at bridges, one of which had me landing on the rail, and I'm a little banged up. Nothing major, just paying the cost. I guess I should get used to it.
Posted by on Saturday, March 14, 2009
After a spot of the all too familiar d.i.y, last night, I went for an hour's skate. It was perfect.
The park was empty, all mine, clear night, and there must have been someone with a brush prior, as the surface was nicely swept. No one around, plug in the iPod, and skate.
I'm looking forward to getting better. With just a few features, it's still possible to put together a sequence that flows. It feels good. And the reason that I say I'm looking forward to getting better is that some variety would be better still. Right now I'm ollie'ing onto the box, dropping/ollie'ing off, with some momentum, one push and line up to the first rail, boardslide, and if I make it, try a (tiny) front board on the next rail.
With more moves at my disposal I could use more of the park and get a better run by landing more tricks. The ollie is still a little inconsistent, but when it comes back, I'm gonna try adding the manual to my line. I used to be close to getting this. [oh my, I can't believe that was June 2006!]
So the front boardslide is coming along. When I go for the rail with a bit of speed, which is now becoming more comfortable, I'm starting to lock into a good position, where I'm looking over my left shoulder, like I would on a snowboard. Up until last night I'd just been keeping my back facing forwards, looking over my right shoulder, and hoping that I'd drop off switch. Now, I'm hitting the rail how I want to, and I've been close to landing a few half-decent attempts. It's coming. Tripod = some film, so I can show how it's going.
And the kick-flip is so close.
Posted by on Friday, March 06, 2009
Wow, it's been quiet around here. To be honest, the only thing I've done standing sideways over the last couple of weeks is some skating. I did a couple of short, evening sessions last week, and I think I'll head out a little later tonight.
The last time I was at the skate park there was a small crew there; 4 good skaters and one of the guys had a nice bag of camera gear, video and still. I took some photos too. It was fairly late so I was literally in the dark, but seems as though they had a couple of remote flash guns, I had some chance of getting an image.
Here are some photos. The first two are mostly too dark, but the timing was ok. I included the second two to show how the lighting might have worked, and me fumbling with a slower shutter speed :)
Oh, I bought some wax from the local skateboard shop too, because the rails get kinda sticky. I was using regular snowboard wax before, that worked just fine, but I've spent that waxing snowboards. The front-board is progressing.
I'd definitely like to buy some basic camera gear. A tripod for sure. I'm skating by myself at the moment, and with a tripod I could at least video some stuff. A better flash too. I'm gonna check if the d60 has a remote control... I wonder what it would be like trying to take a photo of myself? That probably wouldn't work out too well - although Mike Basich does a good enough job :)
Part of reason for these pages being dead lately is that I've had some laptop trouble. I'm sure my electronics are cursed. Last week the hard-disk became corrupt and I had to spend some time recovering the data and then wiping the whole lot. I nearly lost some important data - all my wsg photos from Morzine.
Up until now I've been backing my stuff up once a month - to a usb drive. The hard disk went a couple of days before the end of the month, which sucked. Still, I shouldn't have left all those photos and words to chance.
So, I've signed up with backblaze, for online backups. I'd like to say how good it is, but right now the initial backup is still running... it's taking ages, probably gonna end up being 2 - 3 weeks, and that's only about 75gb. Wireless, but still slow.
Posted by on Sunday, February 22, 2009
I went for a skate this morning with Dave, the first of the year. I'm hoping to make Sunday mornings a regular thing. It's nice to get out, plus, if I skated more than a handful of times each year I might progress past the just-beyond-noob sticking point that I'm currently at.
I'm most interested in riding some rails, frontside and backside, because the balance and body position is so similar to a snowboard. I can feel it helping. I'd also normally say something like wanting to get some air on a skateboard, like a spine transfer or something out of the coping, but I always say that, and it's too far off. For now, I'll just leave it as it's fun skating...
It's also an opportunity to practice with my new camera. I'm not intending or trying to be a good photographer or anything like that; I just want to be able to take some half decent shots when snowboarding. You know, like picking good settings on the camera and maybe being a little creative. I'd be happy with that.
To date, since buying the D60, I've been full auto, a point and clicker. Today I played around with the burst mode, shutter-priority and manual focus. Elementary, I'm sure, but you gotta start somewhere, right?
Feel free to critique :)
Snowboarding? Well, there's a Quiksilver sponsored event on next Friday, 27th, at Cas'. No doubt they'll put out a decent park. A good kicker? Good jibs and rails for sure. I'm tempted to go, but also thinking about planning a week away at the end of March/beginning of April, which would require all available funds...
On that note, the destination could potentially be Mayrhofen; either that or Lenzerheide with snowmotions. We'll see.
Posted by on Friday, February 29, 2008
I went for a skate last night, on my lonesome, over at Silksworth. I was really feeling the urge after skating last Saturday, plus, Martin set off to courchevel this morning on a super early flight, for a weekend of riding, so I felt like I was missing out. Lucky ass.
Despite a lack of mates it was really good. I love that skate park - the small bowl is just so addictive. I set out with two tricks in mind and was fairly surprised at my success. Note: given my current skill level on four wheels, trick should probably be read as movement, or basic move.
I could have stayed all night...
But I had things to do at home and my left leg got real sore. I must have tweaked something quite nicely last Saturday because the tightness came back last night, followed by wonky walking today.
Whilst I was there, I spent a little bit of time pondering over the ski slope they have. It's dendex you see. I even popped into the reception area to ask about the freestyle night they run. They do have one, that's a start. I also asked if there were any plans in the pipeline to resurface the hill with snowflex. There aren't; there just isn't any money.
It's a shame because the hill has real potential and the lift is good. Plus it's around 10 minutes from my house!
I see more skating on the cards. I should probably stretch next time.
Posted by on Monday, February 25, 2008
Mart and I went for a skate on Saturday, at Silksworth. Mart's been up all weekend celebrating his birthday. Up here, he's only skated at Redcar, so this time we tried Sunderland.
The park was good, but also busy, and at times the wind was so strong that it got in the way. We spent most of the time re-dialing the small number of tricks that we already have. However, we also tried switch rock-to-fakies for the first time; I came away with a few nice bumps and scrapes to prove it.
It ended up being a fairly long session. We played some in the larger bowl, which just feels dangerous, and had time to mess on trying to get a few photos. Not really what we wanted but it's hard when your tricks are limited! We also got talking to a few other skaters, who were displaying some pretty sick skills (see the last two shots).
The four hours we were there caused an inability to walk properly on Sunday morning; the tops of my calves were so tight. It's obviously been a while since I last skated...
Posted by on Tuesday, August 14, 2007
So Shaun White won the gold at the X Games 13 on the vert ramp. I know it's a week or so late, but I saw his run for the first time today, it was pretty impressive. More impressive is the fact that he's so good at both skateboarding and snowboarding...
Of course it was on YouTube that I caught the action; it seems more and more that you don't really need regular television as you can find most things on the web. If you haven't seen it here it is:
Speaking of the X Games, I recently read on the web about a horrible slam that Jake Brown had. I don't really follow skateboarding but I have heard of Jake Brown... he was at the LG Tour event that I watched last year. I liked his style.
If you were watching the games or at least keeping tabs on them, this is probably old news... but I read about it a short while after it happened and then (again) viewed the action on YouTube. It's an insane slam; it's great that he's ok. While I was looking around I checked out some other clips if Jake Brown and I think I like watching this one better than a 40' crash!
Posted by on Saturday, July 07, 2007
I went for a skate this afternoon with Grant and James. To be honest I was kinda hoping to get down to Halifax this weekend, but that didn't materialise, so it was skating instead.
I really should have taken some pictures because it was a nice afternoon and I quite like the park as Silksworth (sk8 city) - and there's nothing to be found on the web, picture wise. There is something about the way all of the bowls are put together which could be better, but it's still fun, and there's loads to do.
I was pretty please because I started to stall and grind properly today on the coping. It's something that I've been failing to do for a while now and it felt good getting it right. Hopefully this should open up some more tricks.
I dropped into the largest part of the big bowl, which is apparently 2.4 meters, that felt sweet. I also started to drop in switch a few times; I'm gonna need to be comfortable with both ends of the deck to progress to better tricks, so this is a start.
Grant was starting to get the drop in dialed too. Way back last year I posted this, showing Grant's first attempts. It was cool watching him nail it today. Maybe we will get some skating in this year after-all...
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