skateboarding is life

About two weeks ago I decided I’m gonna go back to doing some skating this summer. By all accounts I’m still a beginner, so this time around I’m taking a different approach. I’m covering the basics one by one, and going out nightly, every day for an hour, and just practice what one thing until I’m ready to move onto something else.

It hasn’t been too long, but my approach is working well and I’m showing some progress. :) Tonight, I was out, and while I was pushing around, I was thinking about the lessons I’ve learned while persistently going out, and I noticed there’s a lot of principles of practicing and skateboarding that apply to life as well:

* Don’t quit
* Practice what you know
* Build on what you know
* Watch out for the shady spots, where there’s debris (I totally bailed tonight, running over something)
* Steer clear of the weird guy roller skating in booty shorts
* If you don’t work at something that’s hard every day, it makes it more difficult to get back up to speed
* Make observations during practice, summaries afterwards
* If you try to look cool, you’re going to look even dumber when you screw up
* Learn the correct technique first, otherwise you’ll frustrate yourself and have to start over
* Your family can be a huge support, even if they don’t understand everything you’re going through
* Focus on the positive. If you dwell on the negative, you’ll just want to give up
* Watch out for dogs

That’s it :) Skating is fun.

Finally, I love this video. I just wanna run!

skateboarding in winter … um, again

I must be out of my mind.  I went skating again tonight (the second time in a week), even though its like 30 degrees outside.  It’s freaking cold, man!  I dunno what came over me, though.  I just really wanted to go skating all of a sudden, so I called up Kevin and we went to Liberty Park and screwed around for a bit in the biting cold.  It was really fun, and I totally sucked at landing anything because I haven’t been in at least six months.

Then, tonight, it was equally cold, but I went to Fairmont and was just screwing around.  Good times.  I really wanted to get a picture of the skate park, since it’s half covered with snow, but there’s enough melted that you can actually go around it in places.  Instead of that, here’s a picture of me drawing pictures. :D

I think I learned a good trick though to skating tonight.  Just freaking relax.  I realized the other day that I get totally tense when I’m poised to ollie or shuvit and it’s totally working against me.  So, tonight I tried to just relax and try and pop it a couple dozen times no matter how poised or ready I felt.  It wasn’t very effective practice, but I did *try* a lot more, so that was good.  I landed one ollie, I think.  Barely.  I’m not sure I really went in the air, actually.  But who cares.  I went out, I had fun, it was worth it. :)

summer skating '09

I finally started going out and skating about three weeks ago.  I’m glad, too, because I’m totally having the time of my life.  I’d been putting off going out all spring / summer since I was feeling pretty indifferent about the whole thing, and thought for a while I was just gonna give it up.  At the same time, though, the weather has been really cranky this year — it was pretty much raining for an entire month there and I couldn’t have gone out even if I wanted to.  It just barely started getting hot around here.  Weird.

Anyway, so I’ve been into it for a few weeks now, and I’m getting into it again.  Lots of fun.  The thing that always surprises me is how much even just a little bit of exercise will help you feel so much better.  My body which is used to a sedentary lifestyle has not taken the sudden change in much stride.  First I got some nasty stomach virus or something that knocked me out for a week — doctors didn’t even know what the heck it was.  I’m pretty sure that’s gone though.  Now, I’m dealing with sleep issues.  I guess I’m not used to having so much energy.  I can’t fall asleep at night and then I can’t get around to waking up either in the morning.  Really strange stuff.

Skating is a lot of fun, even though I still consider myself a total noob.  It can get really frustrating some times because it’s taking me so long to learn stuff.  This ol body of mine is just not used to doing this stuff, so I’m fighting years of lack of exercise, among other things.  I’ve never been much into sports, so things like balance just don’t come naturally.

One good thing that happened that indicates I’m on the right track, though, is I noticed that when I started up this year, my body dropped into the stances of stuff almost immediately.  Mentally, I had forgotten the steps necessary, like where to focus my position and stuff, but just riding around and going on ramps and stuff was really simple.  So that’s good. :)

Anyway, in no particular order, here’s some stuff I’ve learned about skating in general and practicing:

  • The shotgun approach doesn’t work (randomly trying different things all at once).  In order to learn something, you have to focus specifically on what (trick) you’re trying to do, make sure everything is right (posture, stance, balance, position, etc.) and then practice, practice, practice.  Just going out there and screwing around doesn’t help.  It’s fun, but it won’t get you to where you wanna be.
  • My best sessions are always ones where I’ve been out there for a few hours.  Every single time.  It takes me a good hour or two to really get my body limbered up and feel like its flexible.  I noticed this morning that I was just generally stiff when I first started out — I should probably look at finding some specific warmup exercises so it’s not such a hard transition.
  • I’m extremely averse to risk.  For me, this isn’t just physically related, but everything else.  I’m an introvert by nature, and tend to not do anything unless I know what to expect and have a reasonable estimation of how things will turn out.  Any kind of sport (especially one that involves risk) takes a completely opposite approach, so I’m extremely hesitant sometimes to do pretty much anything, which I think is the biggest drag on my progress.  The thing I probably like the most about skating is that it teaches me to take acceptable risk.  Besides, I haven’t broken any bones yet, though I have pulled muscles quite a few times.  The lesson, though, is that you’ve gotta put yourself out there and try different stuff to learn.  I have such a huge mental blocker that keeps me from doing that, it makes things much harder.  No fear would be nice.
  • So much of any trick is learning how to land it.  It’s super easy to pop yourself into the air (ollie, shuvit, whatever) but actually getting your feet and legs and everything else in the right place to land is much harder.  It’s like, “Oh, whee, I’m in the air!  Now what?”
  • It’s gotta be fun, or you won’t do it.  Practice is important to develop skills and find what you’re looking for, but if you’re not having fun, you won’t *ever* want to go out, at all.  So be sure to have sessions where you screw around and just do whatever.
  • The more I want to go out skating (for that day), the worse my performance is gonna be.  It happens every freaking time.  Whenever I’m totally indifferent or don’t want to go (and force myself to), I do my best.  Whenever I’m pumped up and stoked, I can’t figure out how to turn.  What the crap.

All things considered, it’s a rough ride for me, but it’s sooooo much fun.  I go out, on average, about 10 hours a week, which isn’t enough in my opinion.  What happens though is I just run out of energy and have to stop.  Those are the best sessions, though, when you physically just can’t do any more.

I’m still hoping I’ll be able to learn some more stuff, but right now I’m focusing on one thing at a time and trying to make sure I can get that down.  It’s boring and methodical I know, but hey, I figure it’s better to be frustrated on one trick than five of em.

Good times all around. :)


skating in winter

For some reason or another, skateboarding has been on my mind a lot more recently, and I’m really starting to get bummed since I can’t go out and do anything.  I imagine it has to do that things are stepping up at work a bit more since I’m finishing up a months old project, and whenever I need a break, YouTube is one of the first places I go, and I watch a lot of skating videos.

Anyway, tonight after I left work the sun was actually shining and the roads were dry, and I thought there might just maybe be a chance that the park was dry as well.  I dunno what it is, but the place has this type of concrete that water evaporates on it really quickly… even after it rains, it will all completely dry up within half an hour or so, so you can go out all you like.

Well, that idea was way out there, but I figured it was worth checking into, so I went over to the park, and it was completely snowed under.  I guess the sun wasn’t out as much as I thought it was.  Oh well.  What was interesting, though, is someone had shoveled out one of the bowls, so it was pretty dry.  I’m not really up for a bag of LOLhurt so I passed on that one.

I still miss skating though, I wish I could do something.  I’m not agile enough for some indoor skating since they are usually just big ramps … or at least, the ones I know about in Utah.  Maybe there’s some more.  One thing I saw an article about the other day that talked about practicing in your house.  I’m in a downstairs apartment all by myself, so I don’t have a garage or anything (which is where, I imagine, most people have done all their practicing), but since I’m on the ground floor, I could screw around on my carpet and not bother any of the neighbors.  Just before winter set on, I was starting to get shuv-its and ollies.  Well, standing ollies.  It’s a start.

fairmont park at night

One thing I hate about it being so cold, is I can’t go skating regularly any more. Not that it’s *that* cold (still hovering around 50 degrees at night), it’s that I can’t stand the cold, so I can’t go out.

Anyway, I’ve been missing it quite a bit lately, and last night I got fed up with not being able to go (last time I went I about died), and even though it’d been like 2 months since I’ve gone, I threw on like three layers of shirts, grabbed my board and headed out.

I went to Fairmont Park, which is where I always go. It’s real close to my place and it’s a nice little skate park. It turns out, that the city installed lights over the park really recently. Like, this week.

As you can see, it’s really bright, and quite easy to see where you’re going. No more risking death and ankles by riding at 10pm anymore, I guess. It’s still cold, though.

fairmont park

I got up early today and went to the park to go skating.  It’s always fun to go early because there’s no one there and it’s nice and cool outside.

The park I go to most often is called Fairmont, here in Sugarhouse, which is a small little district of Salt Lake City.  I live about 15 blocks away, I’d say, so I go there a lot.

It’s actually been one year today that I first went there, and what an adventure my first time was.  I remember it was like my second day of skating, and I rolled up to this ramp and thought, “oh, this looks fun!” and just dove right into it.  The first thing I remember thinking was “holy crap I’m going fast” and then I bailed at the bottom and really hurt my legs.  I got up again though and thought, “I’ll just try that again” so I went down a smaller ramp and bailed again, hurting myself even more.  Then I figured I’d just try and push up to the ramp and go down a small part, and I fell down again.  By this time I could barely walk, and I went limping to my car and got out of there.  I don’t think I even went back for like four months.  It was great. :)

Now, I go there quite a lot.  It’s a great layout, and perfect for my level since there’s room to both screw around and practice.

Plus, the sidewalks come with inspirational messages.

“you suck at skateboarding”

I love skateboarding.  I never thought I’d stick with it so long, but it’s been a year and I’m still having the time of my life.  I tell you what.

skating in the park

I took this last night with my cell phone while I was at Liberty Park skating. I was getting tired so decided to walk for a bit, and the shadow was just really cool looking. My crappy camera phone doesn’t do it much justice.

I ended up going out today as well for about four hours, two in the morning when I got up, and just got back home right now from another jaunt. Fun times. I’m slowly getting better, but not nearly as fast as I’d like. My body just isn’t used to doing any kind of sports, so it’s really slow progress. I need to find someone to get some lessons from.

good skating session

The weather today has been absolutely amazing, considering it’s November, and since I was at home all day (problems going on with work), I managed to hit up the skate park for a good three hour session. It was a lot of fun, and I really needed both the exercise and the break.

Fairmont skate park

I’m still not any good at skating in the least, in my opinion, since I can’t do any tricks … in fact the only progress I really have to show is that I can almost manual. I’m getting there. One thing I noticed today though is that I always go with the idea of just having some fun, even though I want to practice, too. I only end up spending very little time actually practicing, probably about 10 to 20 minutes, and even then only a few times a week. It’s not really helping things in the long run. The fact is, though, practicing is hard. But that’s about the only thing that’s really gonna help.

One major thing there is still to overcome is just the fear of it all. It’s always pretty subconcious I think, since the worst I’ve hurt myself is I pulled my legs and nearly broke my foot. There’s just something that makes me a bit afraid of launching myself into the air at high speeds and hoping I don’t kill myself that makes it hard to practice to start with.

I was talking to another skater there at the park this morning and I said it’s just crazy how you see these little kids come in here and just ride these bowls and drop right in without any problems, as if they don’t have any fear. His response was interesting, “It’s not that they don’t have any fear … they do, it just hasn’t been beaten into them their whole life like it is for us adults.” How true that is.

Still, despite my slow progress, I’m having the absolute time of my life. It’s great fun. I just wish I was a little better. I’ve though about trying to find someone to give me some lessons, but I have no idea how to find anyone. Mostly I just need some feedback. Ah well, good times. :)

ast dew tour

I got to go to the AST Dew Tour today here in Salt Lake City. I’ve never been to one of these things, and had no idea what to expect. It was a lot of fun, ended up spending almost all day there. Apparently, there are about 80,000 skaters in Utah, and they were all here today. Holy cats.

In the morning and afternoon I was just hanging out in the venues. There were a lot of corporate sponsors there, and they all had some cool booths setup with some fun stuff. They even had a small mini skate park setup if anyone wanted to grind.

The best part was at night, though. They opened up the arena for the pros to practice skating before the finals tomorrow. I got there just after they started, and the pros were all on a huge half-pipe just screwing around and occasionally doing a cool trick. I managed to take a crappy picture with my cell phone.

Then, a little later, something cool kinda happened. On the other side of the arena was some more ramps and stuff that nobody was using. In fact, there was a bunch of stuff just lying around on the floor. But about a half hour after the practice started, a lone skater showed up and just started pushing around on the ramps by himself. People in the seats got up and started going over to check out was going on, and then when we all figured out it was Ryan Sheckler, the entire arena pretty much moved over to watch.

Ryan did some really sweet jumps, it was way cool. After a few minutes, some other pros came out and joined him out there and we got a pretty sweet show all to ourselves. It was great.

I’m just glad little ol’ Utah could get a great event like this. It was all a lot of fun. The finals for skating are tomorrow afternoon, and they are gonna be on NBC. Right on.


I’ve been putting off writing this post, but I can’t stand it any longer.

In my brief vacation from computers in general, I had a lot more free time and took a good look at stuff that I really wanted to do, but never did do because I’d be sitting in front of the ‘puter waiting for it to entertain me. Well, one thing I finally got off my buns and back into doing is skateboarding. Hard to believe, I know.

Believe it or not, I love skating more than almost anything. I used to skate back in the day, though I was still a beginner back then. I quit after a rather unfortunate accident hurt my head pretty bad, but I’ve always wanted to do it still.

What happened is the other Saturday I was sitting around trying to think of something to do, and as I was thinking about going back to do stuff that I always wanted to do, but never do, skateboarding came to my mind. The same old reason that I’ve been putting it off for so long popped back in my head (“You’re too old”), but this time I said, “Screw it, I don’t care … I enjoy it, I’m gonna do it.” So I went down to the local skate shop, plunked down some cash and bought me a brand new skateboard.

And since then, I’ve been trying to learn to skate all over again. This time I’m actually making an effort and not quitting and even though I realize I suck I’m learning, I am having the freaking time of my life. I’ve never had so much fun.

Sure, there are times when I feel a little awkward, mostly because I’m an old fart out here with the skillz of a 5 year old just starting out, but it’s such a blast that after actually getting out and doing a bit of riding I get over all the anxiety and just plain have fun.

I’ve been trying to go out for at least an hour every night after work, either around the streets near my place or up to Liberty Park, which is a great place to go. What’s really been cool so far is how quickly its coming back to me, and how I think I’m getting better at a decent pace. I’ve never been really good at sports at all, and I’ve always blamed it on poor coordination skills, but if I don’t think about it too much, I manage to do alright and not fall down. That’s really the hard thing there, is to just focus on doing your best and doing it over and over again to train your body. It’s all about patience.

One thing that has helped is YouTube. I can go on there and check out lots of videos of how to do stuff, and see where I am doing something wrong, like positioning my feet or whatever. Something else that has helped a lot is that one sport / activity that I’ve always been naturally good at is roller skating. I’ve been doing that for years on and off, and I’d actually say I’m a bit of a natural when it comes to that. I can boogie and zoom with the greatest of ease, so having that sense of balance has been a big help in learning to skate on a board. It’s easy for me to keep my balance when I’m just on a flat surface. Not a big deal overall, I know, but it gives me some confidence, at least. I’m going to have to start learning how to ollie pretty soon here, and it’s anything that involves air that makes me nervous.

Still, I’m loving every minute of it, and I’m not gonna quit this time. I’m having a ton of fun, and I see people do cool tricks and all I can think of is how awesome that must be to do. I think if I keep practicing every night I’ll be able to make a go out of it.

Another thing I did last night is I went and checked out some of the skate parks. I had no freaking idea that Utah had so many of them! Two, in fact, are really close to where I live. One of them is a block behind the grocery store I go to every week (Fairmont Park). Sheesh, I had no idea! I drove around last night trying to find the two closest ones and my eyes just about popped out of my head when I saw them both. They look to be a lot of fun.

So there you have it. As my little sister says, “you need to find a hobby that doesn’t involve a screen.” Right on. :)