Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Today he came home from the skatepark and announced that he had "homework." He needs to practice his boardslides (a new addition to his repertoire) and he needs to practice "pushing switch."
For those of you who don't speak skateboard, a boardslide means he is olleying - jumping his board up onto a rail - and sliding along the rail on the bottom of the skateboard deck with the sets of wheels on either side. "Switch" means that he is skating with his opposite foot forward. Usually he skates with his left foot forward and uses his right to push on the ground. When he skates "switch" he is skating "goofy" with his right foot forward. When he is "pushing switch" he has his right foot forward and he's using his left foot to push on the ground to gain momentum.
He also dropped in switch today on the two-foot quarterpipe.
Watching skateboarding on television recently (I think it was the Streetleague Seattle competition, but I'm not positive), I heard a commentator say that soon we won't be referring to switch tricks. They predict that in the near future all pro skaters will be able to skate their tricks in both directions.
Or something like that.
As I mentioned, I'm having enough trouble keeping up with the big strides Sk8terdude is making as a skateboarder. Also keeping up with advancements in the field might be more than I can handle...
Friday, May 27, 2011
Now he has both hands completely free again, so he is practicing grabs in anticipation of the June 25th contest coming up at the Graham Dickinson S.P.I.R.I.T. Skate Park. Complete details will be available next week (I promise!), but in the meantime, mark your calendars.
The competition will include beginner, intermediate, and advance levels for both in-line skating and skateboarding with prizes for first, second, and third place winners in each category.
Raindate is June 26th...but let's hope it's not necessary.
Spread the word and head over to SPIRIT for some practice time at the park. Tell them Sk8terdude sent you!
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
The Kelleys have begged and borrowed their way to most of what they need for this park, including land (thanks to a family member). They hope to bring the Reduce! Reuse! Recycle! motto to skateboarding (and hope to keep the project light on the wallet) and to that end they are searching high and low for skateparks who are replacing equipment so that they can refurbish and reuse old ramps, etc. rather than purchase everything new.
According to the young men, the most critical missing piece is Skatelite or alternative products with which they can resurface the donated items.
So...if you or someone you know is retiring anything they could use, and if you are located even remotely in this part of the county (recently they drove to Indiana to haul away ramps), give them a holler.
And be sure to tell them Sk8terdude (or his mom) sent you.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Um...it's only been three weeks since we purchased the last deck...and that one replaced another one that was only a month old. Can you hear the giant sucking sound in my piggy bank?
So although I'm glad I bought two decks at once from Enclave Skate Shop (since it meant I didn't have to go shopping for a new deck today), I'm beginning to think it would be easier and cheaper to start chopping down all the maple trees in the backyard to make our own. (LOL - I'm sure Sk8terdude would just LOVE that idea!!)
I am seriously considering buying him blank decks in bulk and using those instead, an idea that one of the skatepark monitors tossed out while (very kindly - thanks, George!) attaching Sk8terdude's trucks and wheels to the replacement deck.
What do you think? Have any of you tried this? Any suggestions for reliable sources? There are a bunch of online resources, but how do I know if the quality will be any good? (On the other hand, at approximately $10 per blank deck, it might be worth the risk even if they aren't so great...)
By this point in the afternoon, the clouds were rolling in and the skies were threatening a major thunderstorm (oh yeah, The Weather Channel was predicting one, too), so I decided to hang out at the park in case the rain began and Sk8terdude needed to beat a speedy retreat in order to keep his cast dry.
We used to use the Pro-Cel Waterproof Cast Liner material made by Gore Industries (of Gore-Tex fame), which made having a cast significantly easier for all of us. Sk8terdude went to Florida twice with waterproof casts: once to Disneyworld, where it made water rides and the hotel pool possible, and once to visit his Florida grandparents, where he was even able to go snorkeling in the ocean. Unfortunately, Gore has discontinued the product line (maybe we were their best customers? we were certainly their biggest fans!!), so this cast means rain is a problem.
While I was hanging out in my "personal parent lounge" (yeah, the car), another mom arrived with her two kids. Although they live in NYC they have a weekend/summer home up here, so we know them from the town beach as well as the skatepark. The daughter, V, was sporting this skateboard:
I was really delighted to see the hot pink grip tape! I'm not personally into pink, but clearly she is, and she couldn't have been more excited to have something different on her skateboard. Unlike the barriers to entry I talked about with the women at Kona Skate Park, this was clearly an effort on the part of some savvy marketing executive to encourage more girls to skate.
Or so I thought.
Turns out that as soon as the boys in the store saw V getting pink tape on her board, they all started clamoring for the same color! And a quick google search showed me that more than one company makes pink grip tape, so clearly it's in demand by more than just the handful of girls who skate.
I wonder if Sk8terdude will jump on the bandwagon and demand a hot pink cast next time he needs one?
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Fortunately, we have plenty of skateboard-related activities to keep us busy:
- Streetleague Seattle is still on the TiVo so we can watch it over and over and over and...but for those of you who didn't see it/tape it/save it, it's also available online
- Tony Hawk Ride (the one with the "skateboard") for the Wii
- Tony Hawk's Underground 1 and 2 (the ones without the "skateboard")
- Tony Hawk's Proving Ground for the XBox
- Picture F**ing Perfect - a DVD featuring local skateboarders, including Sk8terdude's current teacher, Paul Hintz (Sorry, guys, I can't link to your info because this blog is coded for G-rated content only. If you had named your video something else it would have been okay, but...)
Monday, May 9, 2011
Sunday, May 8, 2011
I am, however, more than a little surprised by how my day is ending: Sk8terdude and I are sitting together watching Street League Seattle. After watching the first half hour, we set the DVR so we could go out to dinner, then returned to watch the end. By itself, that's not so surprising. What is surprising is that apparently I've learned a few things along the way that I never thought I would know OR care about.
In addition to knowing who Rob Dyrdek is (and, fyi, being incredibly impressed by him), I can recognize and correctly identify many of the skaters in the competition (Nyjah Huston, Chaz Ortiz, Shane O'Neill, Ryan Sheckler, Chris Cole, and, now, Billy Marks). And I can finally identify the difference between an ollie and a nollie (which might have happened sooner if someone had told me before now that nollie = nose + ollie).
The biggest surprise of all is how much I'm enjoying watching! I love the format of the Street League competitions. Unlike a jam session, this format allows me to watch each skater and really understand what tricks each skater is attempting. And having it on DVR means I can rewind and watch a trick a second time if I need to. There are still nuances that escape me. For example, if two skaters do the same trick, and they both land it, I can't necessarily tell if one did it better than another. Are there subtle differences in balance and style that I can't see? Maybe...but I have a little more than three months until we attend the August finals in New Jersey, and I'm determined to know a little more by the time we get to the Prudential Center. After all, I won't be able to hear the color commentary when we're sitting in the stands!
Watching (and enjoying) a skateboarding competition is a Mother's Day activity I could never have predicted once upon a time - before kids, and before Sk8terdude became a skateboarder - but now I can't imagine not sharing this with him. And if supporting his interest in skateboarding is what it takes to be the "Best Mom in the Whole World," then I'm okay with that. In fact, I wouldn't have it any other way.
Saturday, May 7, 2011
We did take home many terrific memories...and what seems to be a broken finger:
Friday, May 6, 2011
We were in the parking lot by 12:45 p.m., with our fingers crossed. The doors opened at 1 p.m. and Sk8terdude hit the park running (skating)... Since we were the first and only ones there, I ventured out into the park to shoot some video and some photos (before skateboards started flying every which way).
Here he is on the famous Kona snake run. (Look for his start way up high near the red fence in the background!)
In the meantime, here's part of the park:
It's raining on and off this morning. I have my fingers crossed that Sk8terdude will be able to skate at Kona again this afternoon. If you have any pull with Mother Nature, now would be the time to use it on our behalf...
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Sk8terdude was here as soon as the doors opened at 1 p.m. He took a one hour private lesson with Grady, a local teen who's been skating here for about seven years.
While he was skating, I was at my favorite parent lounge: one of the many Starbucks which populate the Jacksonville landscape. (Is it just me, or does everyone think Jacksonville is just one giant strip mall?) Many thanks to L. (my friend B's sister) who took an hour out of her busy parenting life to meet me for some conversation and some passion tea lemonade.
When L. headed out to pick up her kids at school, I returned to Kona, where I'm currently blogging from the parent lounge (pictured here).
When they said the parent lounge consisted of a few booths in the skate shop, they weren't kidding! Fortunately, Erin and Amber, the two young women behind the counter, have been both friendly AND informative.
Erin tells me that the skate park covers approximately 1.5 acres, although the property totals about 6 acres. Open since 1977, it is the oldest continuously operating commercial park in the United States (maybe the world?). Over the years they've hosted everything from the Tony Hawk Pro-Tour to the first-ever vert ramp contest in skateboard history.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
We pulled into the parking lot a little after 5 p.m. Since it's Jacksonville in May, the sun was still shining, the sky was bright blue, and the temperature was just under 80 degrees fahrenheit. I don't think we made it to the check in desk before I was bitten by the first mosquito. (note to self: buy bug spray along with sunscreen tomorrow a.m.!)
And here's the best part: there is an electrical outlet up there and...MAYBE...the wi-fi signal will be strong enough for me to sit outside tomorrow and work (or blog, or waste time surfing the internet) while enjoying this beautiful weather.
As for my big research failure - it was a question I never thought to ask:
What about the bathrooms???
If you've been reading this blog from the beginning, I can already hear you snickering. (If not, you can read my very first post, which includes the bathroom saga, here.)
Well it turns out that the Kona bathrooms are currently being renovated. That's probably great news for local folks and future visitors. But for us, this week, the only options are the port-o-potties outside in the hot Florida sun or a trip down the road to anyplace with running water. I'm sure Sk8terdude won't care...but I will!
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Just for the record, we do NOT beat him with a baseball bat! These are the lumps, bumps, and scrapes that go hand in hand (shin in shin?) with skateboarding. Sk8terdude has been practicing some tricks that involve the board spinning around and, until he masters the tricks, most of the spinning ends with the board hitting his legs. In fact, his legs looked worse a few days ago, but I kept forgetting to take the picture.
Note to grandparents: stop freaking out. He's fine. And happy. And he sees these bruises as impressive testament to his perseverence.