Kickflips Are Really Hard   2 comments

I’m a skateboard vampire.

Well, I used to be. When I was living on Sherman Avenue, in the enviable upperclassman dorm called “The Towers”, a set of two buildings (aptly designated East and West) I would skate at night. At the time I was working on a killer concept for a clothing line that would revolutionize the world… or at least so I thought. When I have ideas buzzing in my head I can’t sleep–an effect I often experience when I’m going through girl issues–and then I have energy to burn. It would be at this time period, usually 3 a.m that I would grab my trusty skateboard, slip on a grotesque pair of skateshoes that looked like mummified mutant caterpillars, and head onto the street. This was quite a rush, simply because I would skate during the winter time with only a shirt and a jersey on to protect me from the elements. With some rock music playing in my ears (usually System of a Down or Linkin Park) I would skate around the city, doing weak ollies onto curbs, hopping over manholes and thinking about life.

Yesterday I went to pickup two copies of my current project, “Three Weeks” from a Kinko’s near chinatown. I had my skateboard, “Just in case.” I said, and ended up going to the skatepark, doing large ollies over a police cone and losing my shirt in the process. The last time I’ve skated like this was honestly two years ago. I don’t skate much because my knees feel like shredded paper most of the times. I have a knee injury–some might call this a cool thing–that is about five years old. I tore an ACL ( Anterior Crutiae Ligament) when playing BADMINTON of all games in a P.E class. Embarassing I know. Guys usually tear their ligaments when playing rough, manly sports like Rugby, Football, Basketball or Golf. Whenever a person sees me limping, I tell them I hurt my knee saving three cherubic Asian-American kids from the advances of a rabid pitbull.

This knee injury isnt’ pleasant… going up stairs hurts most days, my right knee is also affected by the lack of equilibrium in the leg support system, so both my knees hurt pretty much all the time. However, there are moments when I enter a “twilight zone” and I feel quite like i’m on drugs; there is no pain in my knees, I have boundless energy and for a moment I almost feel as if i”m healed. Wait a minute, this sounds very similar to another excercise… something more coital.

I’m at the skatepark as aforementioned, and i rest my man-bag on the ground beside a crushed beer can. As I start skating on the smooth asphalt, I feel my body relaxing. I do a few ramps, smiling with how comfortable I feel now (previously I fell off a ramp, scratching my ribs and exposing bone) based on my past performance. I find skating interesting, but it often gives people free license to ask really dumb questions.

If I was paid ten dollars for each time someone starting singing “Kick push, Kick push,” as I rolled by on my skateboard, I’d be a thousandaire. If I was paid ten dollars for each time someone said “Do a 360!” (a VERY hard and dangerous move) I would be a thousandaire. But, if I was paid ten bucks for each time someone asked me to do a Kickflip, I’d be really freaking rich.
The physics of a kickflip are simple: You do an ollie, while the board is in the air, you flick your foot leftwards (or rightward depending on what foot you skate with) then the board flips in the air in a 360 degree roation. You time the complete revolution, then land with both feet on the board and try not to break something as the board goes back to the ground.

Okay, the physics aren’t that simple, nor is the trick, which is why its always funny to hear people ask me to Kickflip, as if I am a chimp in a cage with a red button that flashes when people walk past.

I’m not a good skateboarder, I peaked after my knees hurt too much to pratice, but I can coast, ollie and do some basic tricks. This park is nice, but i’m really afraid of going hardcore where the ramps are. The park is split into a basketball court, which has really smooth asphalt, and the skate park with the ramps, which has rough, nasty asphalt. If I fall on the court, I’m liable to get a bruise. If I fall in the park, that’s it for the night. After I exposed that rib doing a simple ramp trick the last time, I put up my skateboard for a few weeks. I wonder if I should call myself a “skate-writer”. It sounds interesting, but its probably a waste of time. “A relatively tall Jamaican guy skateboarding shirtless around DC with his man-bag on” sounds much cooler.

Usually when I’m in the zone my shirt comes off. Partly because I don’t want to completely soak my outfit. Tonight, I wish I had brought my camera to record myself do some tricks. Alas, all I have for company is my Ipod. I’m listening to a DJ Kenny mix tape, and a hot track “Stamina Man” is playing. The opening words go:
“Who is the man, girls want in bed for hours… STAMINA MAN!” (this is quite funny as professional backup female voices chime this with a very unsexual enthusiasm).

So I skate for about thirty minutes, feeling like a stamina man, powerful because i’m shirtless, then exposed because I am alone in a skatepark, singing to myself and constantly looking over my back. My knees still don’t hurt, and I wonder why some nights I can ollie and rail like the best of them, and other nights I hobble like an old man running to the pharmacy to get Viagra.

Its a weird night, particularly because its Sunday, and I spent the better part of the day doing a 12-hour photo shoot, of which I actually did 11. I feel a bit waned. I don’t like spending 12 hours in my house for ANY reason, even if there is a blizzard outside, I will go and watch flakes fly by at thirty miles an hour, for an hour. Maybe being insulated for a day healed my knees to the point where they were happy to exert that extra energy. As I board home, cruising past a bus filled with people heading to some late -night function, I know my knees will kill me tommorrow. I don’t mind. For one night at least, I’m healed.

Posted October 2, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

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2 responses to “Kickflips Are Really Hard

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  1. Thanks for information.
    many interesting things

  2. thats wat skatings all about aint it? you, that plank of wood under your feet and the wind rushing past u, just the rush of the moment…

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