Rodney Mullen, one of modern skateboarding's founding fathers is still skating hard at age 49. (So's Tony Hawk, landing 900s at 48 years old.) In this short film, he's captured in 360° video performing some tricks, new and old, in what he refers to as a "stanceless" style. Mullen's still got it, but he had to resort to some extreme measures to make sure his body came along for the ride.
What makes a soul regular, and what makes a soul goofy? To understand why this question began to grip Mullen, you have to go back to 2003. That's when his body began to lock up. Decades of skating had yielded decades of scar tissue; his right femur had started to grind against his right hip. "Like anything that grinds, the body will fuse it, will calcify it," explains Mullen. "I could feel how fast it was cinching me down. I couldn't roll out of stuff anymore. And if you can't fall, you can't skate." Doctors were wary of breaking up the fusion. One doctor in particular, says Mullen, "said with his eyes what he wouldn't say with his mouth: There's no way out for you with this."
Mullen was determined to find a way out. With wrenches, knife handles, and other instruments, he began to jam open the scar tissue that was locking him down. In time he graduated to pulling the tissue apart, using large objects as leverage. "You know it's a little rope in there that's binding you," he explains. "So you pull, you pull, you pull, and right when you think you can't take it anymore, that's when you give it all you have." Late at night, Mullen would look for things against which he could hoist, heave, and winch himself, tearing the tissue into submission. "Fire hydrants are great," he says. "Shopping cart racks: Those are really useful." When scar tissue breaks free, it feels like dried gum snapping in half, or uncooked spaghetti cracking apart. Mullen was twice approached by police who, hearing his screams, thought he might be getting mugged. "You have to be so desperate where you actually don't care what happens to you at some point."
Technically, what you're looking at here is a video shot in 4K resolution (basically 2x regular HD) and at 1000 frames/sec by a Phantom Flex 4K camera which retails for $100,000+. Skateboarders ollie. Dirt bikes spray dirt. Gymnasts contort. Make this as fullscreen as possible and just sit back and enjoy.
My favorite bits were of the gymnasts. In super slow motion, you can see how aerial flips are all about getting your head down as quickly as possible, then snapping your legs around as your head stays almost completely motionless -- like a chicken's! Mesmerizing.
I've posted quite a few skateboarding videos here over the years and they all have their share of amazing tricks, but the shit Bob Burnquist pulls on his massive backyard MegaRamp in this video is crazy/incredible. My mouth dropped open at least four times while watching. I rewatched the trick at 2:50 about 10 times and still can't believe it's not from a video game. (via @bryce)
It's a neat piece of science art, and it also tells us something interesting. The arrows show us that the force on the skateboard is constantly changing, both in magnitude as well as in direction. Now the force of gravity obviously isn't changing, so the reason that these force arrows are shrinking and growing and tumbling around is that the skater is changing how their feet pushes and pulls against the board. By applying a variable force that changes both in strength and direction, they're steering the board.
Nine-year old Sabre Norris started skating three years ago because she couldn't have a bike. Here she lands her first 540 after 74 straight failed attempts.
My favorite trick is a 540. I watched Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins do it on the internet, and I just had to do it. That was my 75th attempt of the day. Every time I tried one and didn't land it I put a rock on the table. It ended up being my 75th rock. I was frothing. I did some 720s too. Not proper. I called it 540 to revert to splat. I didn't cry though. My goal is to do 100 of them before this Saturday. I'm up to 75. I still can't ride a bike, but I can do a 540.
I dunno, this may be the most bonkers skate video you've ever seen. It starts a bit slow but stick with it: Bob Burnquist shows us what he can do on his backyard MegaRamp.
This video is also a fantastic demonstration of the principle of Chekhov's helicopter, which states that if you see a helicopter sitting next to a MegaRamp in the first two minutes of a skate video, a skater must absolutely drop in to the MegaRamp from the helicopter in the last part of the video. (thx, dusty)
We are truly in a golden era of skateboarding videos (again). The easy access to relatively good camera equipment on one side, and easy video distribution via the web on the other, have created a perfect storm in the last 4 or 5 years of gorgeous, highly stylized skateboarding videos. What am I saying, skateboarding videos have always been awesome.
Videos of downhill skateboard racing make me nervous, here's one reason why.
"Oh, deer." "That skateboarder deerly missed an accident." "Too bad the skateboarder couldn't deer out of the way." "Did you deer about the downhill skateboarder?" "Deer clear of animals on the track." "Deer we go again!" "No ideer where that came from." "Nothing to fear, but deer itself." "Skateboarder should have been in a lower deer." "Deered up and ready to go." "Deer force of will." "Happy new deer." (via @carveslayer)
Lovely video of skateboarding tricks in super slow motion. It was filmed at 1000fps.
Uncommon skateboarding tricks in super slow motion. Filmed at 1,000 frames per second with a Redlake N3 high speed camera. Since skateboarding trick names are defined by common usage and these tricks are not very common, some of them don't have well-established names. So here are my best guesses as to what they should be called:
Here's Kevin Staab, Tony Hawk, and Greg Smith watching a 1983 video of free style skateboarder Rodney Mullen. "Look at him just creating modern street skating, right there". "Yeah, he goes through this run twice. I've seen this video before." The 1983 version of Tony Hawk makes an appearance at around 3:50 trying to figure out how to ride 2 boards.
Speaking of going fast, this is a lovely 22-minute documentary about a downhill skateboarding race in Teutonia, Brazil where the competitors reach speeds in excess of 70 mph on almost unbelievably rough pavement.
I'd been looking for something to post to say goodnight, so it was good that Rogre sent something over. It's a fitting way to end the weekend considering it features Killian Martin and Danny MacAskill (featured here earlier in the week). The video is goofy and not as jaw-droppingly jaw-dropping as their solo videos, but they do seem to be doing their thing in a fancy theater the name of which I should know. This reminds me of the commercials where the sneaker commercials get ALL of their athletes into one commercial.
Update: The video on Vimeo was erased for some reason, so I switched the embed to one at YouTube.
Also, the Kabul skatepark profiled in the video is looking for donations of equipment (paging @tonyhawk, @tonyhawk to the front counter, please) and money and/or assistance with shipping (shipping to Afghanistan is challenging). They're also selling these fetching Skateistan t-shirts (and tote bags) in a variety of styles and colors.
Bob Burnquist pulled a fakie-to-fakie 900 on a Mega Ramp the other day. For those of you who speak only English, I consulted my skateboarding-to-English dictionary and that means he rode into the ramp backwards on his skateboard, rotated two-and-a-half times, rode out backwards, and did it all on one of those massive ramps. Or, you could just watch. As you may recall, 900s on a skateboard ain't easy. (thx, matt)
Last time dad left me the keys to the Cadillac, I posted this skateboarding video. The Human League soundtrack paired with the fresh take on tricks is magic. There's an appealing whimsy to that video I think you'll like even if you don't like skateboard videos. Here's some more from Tim and Eric (the other ones) along the same lines.
Also, Fred sent this over last time around. It gets pretty crazy almost immediately, but there's the same kind of fun involved.
I haven't watched a skateboarding video all the way through in years. I can't tell if it's the music or the whimsical pace of the tricks. In any case, let this one take you through the rest of the night.
Designers often have the design disease, where you "can't stop looking at things through your designer eyes". "But it's not just books, it's everything. You'll choose wine by the design of the label and you'd stay [at a hotel] because of the sign." (via emdashes)
Update: Bruce writes: "A parallel affliction to the Design Disease is Climber's Complaint, wherein someone who takes up rock climbing begins to see every object and architecture as potentially climbable. Similarly, Skater's Disorder afflicts those for whom every surface is seen to exhibit some measure of skate-worthiness."