There is a magic in the nuance of any activity. Some people are able to pick it up quicker than others, but once it is discovered and tapped into, it spurs creativity. There are people that never pick up on it, and for some people it comes naturally, without even realizing. I remember watching Yeah Right! This was about a year after I had started skateboarding. Up until this point I had been watching Menikmati and Sorry non-stop, primarily influenced by Tom Penny and Arto. I had the beanie with the visor es accels, and pretty much sucked at skating. I didn’t get it. I would sit in my basement practicing switch flips and heels. I looked at skateboarding as something to be mastered, so I learned every flatground trick I possibly could. I wanted to get to their level as fast as possible. When I watched Yeah Right! it was the first time that I picked up on the nuance. At this time I had an understanding of what style was, but this was something more. There was something undeniably genuine about Gino’s backside 360 down the double set. He is pushing himself, without compromising his roots. He knows how the trick needs to be done in order to feel, and in turn, look good. The landing breathes a sigh of relief, the china nollie is the modest brush of dirt off the shoulder. This is the nuance.
This isn’t something that is exclusive to skateboarding, it exists almost everywhere. Bill Evans, pianist, discusses this within music, and also discusses the main problem that many beginners face, “[beginners] tend to approximate the product rather than attacking it in a realistic true way, at elementary level, regardless of how elementary, but it must be entirely true, and entirely real, and entirely accurate. They would rather approximate the entire thing than to take a small part of it and be real and true about it...the person that succeeds in anything has the realistic viewpoint at the beginning in knowing that the problem is large and that he has to take it a step at a time and he has to enjoy this step by step learning procedure”. This is just as common, if not more so, in skateboarding.
Skateboarding is comprised of three parts: art, sport*, and fun. The problem is that people do not want to accept it for that, and have respect for all three parts. It is easier to take one or two of these parts, and dismiss the third. Without all of them, the nuance is missed. Nyjah – sport. Reider – art and sport. Standard Internet kid – fun, maybe art and fun. Think of the legends of skateboarding and you would be hard pressed to find any that don’t take into consideration all three of these.
Barbee, Gonz, Hosoi, Louie, Jerry, Cardiel, Koston, Templeton, Marc, Rick, Lance, Bob. These people understood that there was an art to the way their tricks needed to look. An aesthetic. They took the time to learn it and truly understand the mechanics of it. Being able to execute is where the sport comes in. There is no denying that skateboarding takes athleticism, and though some have it more than others, it is an objective truth that without any, it is difficult to progress, and near impossible to do so with style. Finally, once the foundation is laid down, a skateboarder needs to be having fun and let personality shine through. Nobody wants to watch Johnny Hardflip session the stairset at the park and break his board if he misses a couple of times. At the same time, it is equally important that we don’t dismiss difficult tricks in order to have fun. It should be challenging. It is too easy today to post an edit of you and your friends doing no complys and slappies. These are fun, I know, but please, just go out and do it. Have fun, spend time with your friends learning these tricks, they are the ones that will stay with you. But while you can, learn to 360 flip, learn to hardflip, learn to switch frontside flip. A bean plant will just never have the same feeling as a cleanly stomped nollie flip.
The best part about it is that when you stay in skateboarding long enough you begin to realize that inspiration can be drawn from any skateboarder. Just because some people find Torey Pudwill to be repulsive doesn’t mean that you couldn’t take an objective look at the trick he is doing, have Marc Johnson do it, and realize the potential. Further, people like Max Schaaf talk about how he wanted to skate vert how Mike Carroll skated street. Creativity comes from taking an objective look at all sources and applying them, mixing them, matching them. The people who are the best are able to take lessons from all of those around them and utilize what fits their vision. Gino learned the backside 360 from somebody who likely did not do it as well as him. He made it his own, and that is where we find the nuance.
*sport is to be defined as athleticism, not to be associated with team sports
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