Current Direction

As our millions of readers know, or have deduced, or perhaps don’t care, I am going my own way in Freestyle, and by “own way” I mean I’m advancing into the past. In some ways.

I’ve not had a chance to really ride that General Issue retro-clone from my previous post, but my spirit is still guiding me toward a more Peralta-like freestyle, free of the obsession with flipping the board and general frustration. Doubling down on my efforts to flow.

I’ve recently been able to return to my outdoor Zen Temple of Freestyle, having been fully vaccinated against the damned virus. It’s a spot that tends to have a little pedestrian traffic just outside our public library. For the last year I’ve not felt comfortable, even outside, potentially breathing the pathogen-infused air of the great unwashed masses, so I’ve been skating in an empty parking lot. BUT now I have returned to my spot, and I’ve returned on a bigger board.

Now, I don’t necessarily think a bigger board is right for everyone. I am fairly tall. A little over 6′. Frankly, I think freestyle on an 8.25″ x 32.25″ standard newschool board looks kind of bad for people below a certain height (and I’m not really sure what that height is). My partner here, David, looks fine on a standard size board, but there are some skater out there who really look kind of odd on such a deck. Even if they can pull off the tricks, I find it aesthetically displeasing. When you get above an 8″ deck, all the rail tricks just start looking horrible. Sorry, they do. And the smaller the skater, the worse. And there’s something to be said for not having to reach too far to get your foot to the end of the board. I’m tall enough that on a standard board, or even up to about 15″ wheelbase, I don’t really have to reach very far.

If you want to do traditional freestyle, doing rail tricks and all that, a real FS board is what you need. Just being clear here. This is my own personal project, not a prescription for what anyone should be doing.

That being said, who cares what I think?  Everybody should do what they want. I’m just trying to convey where my mind is on these topics right now. When I see those dudes I look at my own skating with a very critical eye to decide if I’m going down the ugly route. So far I’m satisfied that I’m not. I am extremely critical of my own skating.

[EDIT] — Just after I wrote this, I saw someone just got a new freestyle model doing some absolutely ghastly stuff. GHASTLY. Do what you want, but for God’s sake people, let’s lay off the pro models for non-pro level skating? I’m just an old guy riding his skateboard around and running his mouth. If you want to be a pro-level freestyler, do traditional freestyle.

So, where is my mind, other than the above bullshit?

Click for full size image.

I have zero interest right now in flipping my board in any way. I’ve been moving this direction for quite a while, and it’s only become more solidified in my thinking. Not saying I’ll never do a kickflip again, but it’s certainly not on my list of things-I-love-to-do. I am moving my freestyle in the direction of carving, turning, spinning, pivoting, balance, movement, flow, and connectedness. I may never reach a level I’m happy with, but the journey will make me happy. As such, I’ve been very happy riding this board, an old Mode Conner Burke model. 8.25″ x 32.25″ with a 14.25″ wheelbase. Indy 149s with one thin rubber riser under each truck, and 54mm Bones STF (long my real preferred wheel) in their older 103a formula. Trucks are set “firm but turny”. They turn, but they don’t flop. Good for footwork, but also OK to ride around. I think I will move toward having them even a little bit looser. We’ll see.

Like most of the old guys, I love “shaped” boards. Love ’em. I have a goddamned boner for them. But if I’m honest, this standard pops shape is as good as anything else for me for most skating, and for the FS I’m into right now. The concave and nose/tail angles matter more to me. I prefer very mellow on all that stuff. No harsh angles or deep concave to trap my feet. But as long as I’ve got a fairly mellow-mold board, the pops is OK. In fact, it’s pretty good. Are there changes I’d make for a custom shape? Sure. I’ve have it with slightly blunted ends, and I’d have the nose and tail identical in shape and angle, and 6″ long. But I can work with this. If some company wants to make a “model” based on my needs, well, let me know. The sponsorship market for half-crippled middled-aged freestylers isn’t great.

I have a small nose skid on front. I do some tricks where the nose needs to skid, rather than stop, if it its the ground. This skid helps. I would use one on the tail too, but it impedes my ability to do 360s. Makes it more likely I’ll drag the tail even more than I do. Other than the grip tape under the nose for caspers, that’s really all I do for using this newschool board for my current freestyle interests. It gives my plenty of room to move my feet around, doesn’t feel tippy, turns just right. I can do 360s on it, spacewalk, footwork. The wheelbase isn’t so long that it hurst my 360 shove-its.

So there you have it. Not saying this will make me any better, but I’m enjoying it.

More obsessive stuff

My friend Dale made me this cutdown from the tracing of a reissue Powell Peralta General Issue a couple of years ago. I’m finally setting it up. Should have some Powell Peralta Mini Cubics to put on the Tracker Fulltracks tomorrow. This board is cut from a deck with concave, an upturned nose, and a more modern tail angle, but the shape is pretty accurate. If I enjoy riding this I’ll see about having a real repro made.

Peralta, Freestyle, and Flow

Well, it’s been cold. The weekends have been rainy, and I’ve not been able to skate in several weeks. A bummer, but such is life. I’m just not like David, who will go out in the cold. Dude is an animal.

This week a friend on Facebook posted footage of a freestyle contest from Sweden in about 1981 (a guess), at the Eurocana event. Four skaters. The second one is Stacy Peralta. I have watched the Peralta part over and over and over.

The other skaters are all good skaters, and they all did stuff that was technically harder than Peralta, who honestly looked like he was making it up as he went along. But — the Peralta stuff all looked a thousand percent better. He was riding what appeared to be a predecessor of the the 8×28 Powell Peralta General Issue, an all-around board from those days. 14.75″ wheelbase, 3″ nose. Not a real dedicated freestyle board, but it’s what he rode.

The thing is, Stacy skated with flow. He looked like a guy out actually skating having fun. Given my skating activities the last year, I feel like I’ve been heading that direction. I can see entering a contest and never doing a single flip tricks. I don’t do that many anyway.

Since it isn’t my video I won’t repost it here, but here’s a screen cap of Stacy doing a backside G-turn the way only he does.

Skating

I had a pretty good parking lot session yesterday. I did totally forget that the Mystic Weasel sequence starts from rolling backwards and carving, which now I feel dumb about. That is part of the trick.

I was riding an 8.25″ Mode popsicle shape. I boosted the trucks up with an additional 1/8″ riser, so I’m at 1/4″, and I put on some new 54mm wheels. I think my spins were better with the extra tail clearance. I’d like to go down to a 6″ tail. Or whatever. A tail that is about 1/2″ shorter.

The narrower Indy 149s spin much more easily than the 159s.

I have been thinking a lot about my 360 spins, trying to come up with adjustments to my body English to keep the tail from scraping so much, and to keep me from traveling so much horizontally. I decided to try putting my weight on my back heel, as I tend to dip the toes down too much, which causes both those problems to be worse. I think it helped quite a bit. If I could get used to moving my front foot further back on the board I think it would help too, by keep the tail further off the ground. Something to think about. I normally get about 6 spins, and sometimes nearly 8. Want to push this up to a regular 10.

Quite Unusual from Bob Loftin on Vimeo.

FS360 Podcast: Ep 8

In this episode David and Bob catch up after months of not recording a podcast. The topic is mostly freestyle. We talked about wheelies, flow, boards, wheels, and some great skaters.

Relevant Links:

Remembering My Hill

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about just riding and turning. I miss this hill. For over 10 years my friend and I could skate this 1/4 mile hill with no traffic at all after work and on weekends. The area was redeveloped a few years ago, which ruined it. The only real hill in town.

I go through different “moods” in skating. Sometimes I want to do tricks. Sometimes I want to do footwork. Sometimes I just – don’t – care about anything but rolling and flowing and getting that feeling that only skateboarding can provide.

Anyway, here is an old video I shot with my friend Chris Smith. Details of the boards are on the Vimeo page.

Bacon Gaze – Longboarding Tribute to Deep Snapper from Bob Loftin on Vimeo.

Riding with Soul: Rocco?

You’ll notice I stopped posting after my World Round Up run. This was because I switched back to a freestyle set up and wasn’t riding a longboard. The move to make this blog about skateboarding including all types and sizes of board makes sense. Why pigeonhole yourself into a set wheelbase or style of skating? Or if you are going to just longboard, why not be influenced by all different kinds of riding. Me? I skated the freestyle board for about a month, but this week I felt the pull of the long wheelbase call me, and I ended up switching over again. I was looking through my longboard stuff on instagram and, man, I like how that looks a lot. While I love how other skaters look on freestyle boards, I truly like my skating on a longer wheelbase (from an entirely aesthetic view).

All that said, while I am primarily freestyle skating, I have been thinking of getting out to a few ditches soon. In fact, I think you’ll notice skaters that skate a variety of terrains and “genres” of skating have a good style. Even if it freestyle meets street skating. Check out this pic of Steve Rocco that I stole from Bob who borrowed it from someone else:

Check out this video of Rocco skating freestyle:

Technically sound and able to throw down a late 70s inspired spinning slide in the middle of a run.

Skating

How’s that for a descriptive post title?

Besides the pandemic, it has been a horrible summer for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the oppressive Texas summer heat. I have less and less inclination to go out into it, but last week I did venture out about 7pm when the temp was only in the lower 90s. This week we are well above 102 in the afternoon, and I am thus staying inside. When it gets over 95, not only is it not fun at all but is well into the danger zone.

I’ve honestly not been on my longboards lately. I’ve been doing a lot of street skating, which for me is really more like freestyle, just on a bigger board.

BUT – truth is my longboarding isn’t that different from my other skating. The main difference is I do a lot more endovers and nose stuff on a shorter board. I feel like the years of longboarding have very much affected my approach to all skating. Most freestylers skate in straight lines. In fact if you look at modern street skating, it is very linear. Even skatepark design is very linear. Try going to skatepark and carving around, and watch the other 99% of people there get annoyed because they can’t figure out where you are going.

Anyway, longboarding to me is all about carving and turning. Skateboarding in-general has always been that way for me, but longboard riding for the last 20 years has very much made me aware of this tendency and given me greater appreciation of it.

So here are a few Instagram clips I’ve taken over the summer, just to prove that I have been skating. Draw your own conclusions!

 

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Double filter. Rolling around. @modeskateboards pool board not in a pool.

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Variations on a theme. Working on smooth carving Walk Arounds.

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Various unimpressive lines in a parking lot. @modeskateboards pool board feels good!

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More farting around on a street board. @cockfightskateboards @boneswheels @neverwas_skateboarding @acetrucks

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