Monday, July 18, 2011

It's been a while

Wow, so I was going to blog more regularly.  That lasted for a few weeks.
Well, I am back again, this time with a board review.  As you may or may not know Fickle has been going through a restructuring and bringing production in house and local, so we have been "gasp" buying our own boards.  Whatever kind we want.  I have gotten hooked on creatures during this time, mostly because or the board sizes available (I have been buying 8.8).  I have had quite a few creatures during the last 6 months and overall they have been very good.  Only one warped, and it was very slight, none with a complete break, and making it about a 3-4 weeks before the mush sets in.

So then I got a P2 (poop 2 I think is what this stands for).  If you haven't seen one of these this is the "new" big thing.  A huge oval of the top layer is cut out and replaced with some type of kevlar composite (anyone remember boneite)

Ok, this board felt great as far as size and for the first couple of days the pop felt great.  Then it all started to change.  Skies turned black and mush set in.  This board had one of the weirdest flexes I have seen.  When doing lipslides this board would bend beyond belief.

I tolerated this for awhile thinking it must just be me, but the more I skated it the more it got on my nerves.  I skated this board for about 1 week total and just could not stand it anymore.  I took the board apart and pulled the grip off to see what in the world was going on with this thing.  Guess what I found?  a beautiful pattern atop the kevlar oval.  Vertical cracks the entire area of the kevlar and some seperation (big enough for a fingernail) around this kevlar oval.

So now I have to ask myself, why do companies continue to have to come up with the next "new" thing?  Is it because all they can offer is wood from china that punks out after a week or two?  Do they think that some very minor weight difference is worth it?  Why can't companies just focus on making solid wood and be proud of that.  Quit trying to convince kids that they need a gimmick when what they really need is a solid board that will last more than one session and is not so easy to focus in front of your friends when you can't land your switch hardflip front bing bang down that 20 stair (or more likely some trick on a 6" ledge).

Get on some solid wood and forget the gimmicks!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Holy Crap!!!

Wow, I have really been on top of this blog thing.  Only like 8 months ago since I posted.  Alot has happened in the past 8 months.  Fickle is making boards straight out of the hood, we have skated, people have learned tricks, and people have lost tricks.  There you go, that about catches you up.

Interesting thing over the past week or so.  Our good friend Kevin Minty (I know that is not the spelling, but it should be) thought the skatepark was a UFC ring and went for the flying head butt.  A little blood from his ear and it was off to the proctologist (wait, that would be for blood from the rear, oh well I am sure it was some type of doctor).  Now Kevin is walking at a 45 degree angle every where he goes (don't worry, doctor says he should get it back to no more than 15 degree angle in no time).  Always trying to keep up a few days after Kevin's slam I decided to do a flying back dive into a waterfall, unfortunately is was made of concrete.  I only managed to get a lump on the back of my skull, sorry Kevin I cannot keep up with the gnar.

So this leads to an interesting thing.  Why don't we wear helmets?!?  Are helmets uncool.  Well, in a literal term they are (it's kinda hot in there).  Do I care if kids wear helmets, wrist guards, knee pads, Burnquist hip protectors, lace savers, etc?  No.  If you feel more comfortable wearing pads then go for it.  Do what helps you progress.  Why don't I wear pads or helmets?  It does not make me more comfortable or feel like landing something I normally wouldn't.  It actually has the opposite feel.  I don't like the restriction that pads give and actually to me skating is about a feeling of freedom.  To me that freedom comes from letting my body feel the wind and sometimes the concrete.

I have been skating for quite a while (actually quit took a break longer than alot of kids have skated).  How often have I been seriously hurt?  Really none.  A few breaks, and probably a lifetime of arthritis, but that is not that serious.  And guess what;  I don't wear pads or helmets.  That is not to say that it can't happen, but seriously, I could die in a car wreck on the way to the park, or worse off die a slow death from all of the chemicals that are in the water and in our factory farmed food.  So my point, none!  Skate and have fun.  If pads help you progress then put on pads.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Evolution of the Mile High Ramp

Below is a picture history of the building of the backyard ramp.  Backyard ramps are so much fun.  The main goal for this ramp (aside from somehow making it level) was to make it have some different things.  The extensions go almost to vert, mellow quarter on one of the decks, and the rainbow.  My plan is to keep building odd add ons for this ramp.  Already planned is another quarter (super steep) on the big deck, a sub box, and possibly building a big bank ramp off of the high side of the flat bottom next summer. Enjoy the pics, then get ahold of me when you are ready to enjoy the ramp. 
 In the Beginning...
 Lots of pieces of wood laying everywhere
 this van has almost 200,000 miles but how can you get rid of a van that can carry a family of 5 or full 4x8 sheets of plywood
 Phase I.  This was how far we had gotten when I came to the realization we were going to have to move the ramp 4' more from the fence line.

 Looking down from above.  Still before the move
After the move.  Now layering has started and it is starting to feel like this ramp may get completed.
 The paperwork that states my ramp is legal to have.
 Pics of me and TJ putting up the back deck (about 10' of the ground on the high side)
Glorious.  Plywood on and starting skatelite
Enjoying a night time session after the large deck was put on.  After some debating we decided to go with an 8x16 deck with an 8' wide 2' high quarter pipe on top.
The beginning of the rainbow.  this is gonna be fun
Rainbow starts to look like a rainbow
This is a view from the bedroom window
 The rainbow is finally in place.  First time over was scary.
A view of the big deck.  Quarter pipe on top blended into the deck.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Having fun?

You know, I have built a few ramps in the past.  Some at my house, some for others.  There is definitely a good feeling about building a ramp in your own back yard (much better than seeing someone else's ramp going up - unless you are helping me, then seeing someone else's ramp is the most fun).  Along with that good feeling of seeing a great ramp going up in your backyard is the realization that you live in an adult world full of stupid rules and regulations.  This is the 2nd house that I have lived in where I have built an outdoor ramp of decent size and for the 2nd time I am working through bureaucracy of city planning and zoning committees.  All this to protect who?  Me? The neighbors?  Nope, just another way to milk some money from me.  I am building a backyard ramp, not a 2nd story on my house.  Why is it I need permits for this?

This weekend we will attempt to move the ramp about 4 feet to keep a 5 foot gap from my fence.  Why?  because that is the zoning requirement.  It could be worse, I could need a building permit.  Luckily Boone county does not require this for anything under 12 feet tall.  So now we are going to be one weekend behind but this will make the ramp legal.  I am sure there will be other battles over the course of having the ramp.  It is rare that other adults (yes, I am counting myself as an adult) will stand for watching people have fun without having to butt in and try to end it.  I could be wrong and I hope I am, but I am guessing this is just the beginning of "fun" battles.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

When Skateboarding was fun

Do you remember when skateboarding was fun?  I do.  It was fun today. 

Funny think to think about why I skate.  I have spent more years on break from skating (I took about an 11 year break) than most kids today have even skated.

A little history.  The year 1984.  A kid begs his mom for 20 bucks to buy a "morray eel" skateboard from a friend.  Mom agrees and a slightly used, and very poor quality board is purchased.  That was it.  I was hooked.  At the time it is only me skating.  This may be crazy for others to think about but there were no other skaters in the entire apartment complex that I lived in.

After a few weeks my best friend got a skateboard.  Wow!  Now there are 2 skaters in my town.  We skate every day.  What tricks are we working on?  Mostly pushing and rolling over speed bumps without falling.  At this time I have never seen a video or a magazine.

One day it all changes.  I find a skateboard magazine at a store.  I learn that there is more possibility with skating than rolling over speed bumps.  Shortly after that I am skating downtown and I run into 2 other skaters.  They show me my first skate video ever, "The Search for Animal Chin".  I am blown away.  It is so much different to see moving videos instead of still photos from magazines.  Now there is a crew of skaters formed.  There are 3 of us skating regularly.  Slowly this crew grows into a town full of about 15 skaters. 

It is an amazing time.  Every skater you run into is instantly your best friend.  No cliques, not attitudes (other than F$ck authority), just becoming friends with anyone on a skateboard.  By this time I was actually progressing on a skateboard.  I have learned how to Ollie, started skating handrails (I did my first handrail at about 13 years of age (1987).  Skating is changing every day.  Around this time I move in with my dad and get ready to meet all new friends and start a new school.

I start a new school and am one of the few skaters in the school.  at this time in skating you are looked down on for skating.  You are not a cool kid (not that I would have been anyhow) for skating.  Over the next few years I meet several new friends and a whole new skate crew.  I also met a girl at this time, but somehow this did not keep me from skating.  It actually helped me along with skating as she fully supported me skating (and 22 years later still is psyched on me skating and supports it, although now I don't have to borrow money from her to buy boards).

So here I am, a young adolescent outcast in highschool, with 2 loves.  Skating and some girl from my neighborhood (who is now my wife).  I am more hooked on skating than ever.  I am skating every day and progressing all of the time.  I am very passionate with skating.  I am also very hard on myself with skating.  "Focused" boards are a regular occurrence.  Anger and masterfully linked vulgarities abound.  If I am having an off day you better watch out as boards will be flying.  Skating is still fun but now it is more of a drive to progress and learn.  Frustration is very high when tricks are not pulled first try. 

Skating continues to progress, I continue to skate every day and I continue to snap boards almost daily, either from skating or from anger.

A few years after high school I am still skating all of the time.  In June of 1994 I get married to that same girl from my neighborhood.  We go on a honeymoon to florida, and I even manage to get some sessions in during my honeymoon.  Now that is an understanding woman.

Shortly after this we meet a guy with a 7' mini ramp.  The catch is this guy rides bikes (yes, bikers and skaters used to get along, they just teamed up against rollerbladers).  One night during a party at this ramp I stepped on a bike.  For the next 11 years I am on a bike and do not skate at all.  Why did I start riding a bike?  It was like skating was in the beginning.  Something new, fresh, and a change.  I met alot of great friends while riding and learned that not everyone is a dick (as was cool in skating at the time).

Over time my family grew past my wife.  One by one kids appeared (we topped out at 3).  Now it was a whole new experience but this did not stop me from rinding, just presented new challenges to balance time.

Then one day my oldest child decided he wanted a skateboard.  Off to the store we went and bought him a board.  Quickly after messing around on his board I was hooked again.  The passion for skating had never left, it had just been killed by missing the point of why we skate.  FUN!

So when was skateboarding fun?  If it is not every day that you are skating then you are missing the point.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ramp Build

Pics from the Ramp Build 
 Pile of wood

 Maya working on transitions

 Beginning framing.  This was completed by Me and Holly.  She is a ramp building machine