When pondering the substance of what separates a good rider from a great rider in this skateboarding-age, where so many up and comers are throwing down the most mega of lines, one must look for marks of Style. That said, my filet mignon might be your sausage filler, and vice versa. Thus, Style is something that is totally subjective—a factor you must examine as an individual. And to make it even more complicated there exists “good style” as well as “bad style”—the judgment of which is developed in the eye of the beholder. Even still, one’s “personal style” comes from within, deep inside the abyss of one’s bottomless dome piece, somewhere stuck in between the cob webs of neurons and jumbled synapses, mixed in there somewhere is found one’s sense of style. During the next four Yeehaw! columns I will present you with the “Four Pillars of Shred”: Style, Speed, Safety, and Fun. The first pillar being Style. Let’s commence.
You know the feeling, the one you get immediately after you execute something greater than just your average trick or treatin’—it’s in that lean, that dip, that angle of the dangle. Having style, and knowing it, makes you feel like a super humanoid with secret android powers. It begets confidence which continues to push your riding further into the unknown. Your riding, including your focus on style, will never improve more than when you’re confident. Knowing that you just nailed that line—the one you thought was impossible two flapjacks ago—will drive you to the moon with ideas on where the next short-stack of self-set goals lies. Plus, when you’re riding and you think what you’re doing is going well—and looking well—your focus naturally shifts from safety to steeze. Suddenly you’re in the zone. Objects and ideas pass fluidly under your board and through your mind similar to the feelings one gets from achieving “starmode” in Mario Kart. The result being a hit-point-jump called adrenaline, and cat-like reflexes that put bullet-time to shame. Once you have overcome the personal mind blocks and free your mind then-and-only-then will you catch the fly for the sensei.
Life style or style of life is something even deeper. When you carry yourself with style, you wear your expressiveness via your sleeve; your world-view and what you’re communicating ooze from every action you make. In skateboarding, complete style is more than simply landing a maneuver—it’s perfecting said maneuver then kicking-it-up-a-notch as if you were Emeril Lagasse spicing up a rump roast. BAM! Style on a skateboard is something that is really experienced in the subtleties: “that wasn’t an indy. That was a tuck knee to mute grab with some fried rice-style layback, to a Japan air out.”
Others argue that the best style arises when a skater throws down the gauntlet every time they’re apexing a corner, setting a slide, or hitting the lip. This person may not always make it—and when they do it’s often messy or full of rough *chunder sauce—yet if they do stick that usually unstickable corner, or conquer that insano powerslide, they achieve hero status. If you’re a fan of chunder-style it’s because you enjoy the rider who will throw anything at any speed regardless of experience. You appreciate the huevos con caliente chile it takes to throw down with maximum gnarlitide. If you are not a follower of the chunder-way, you may look at it as unrefined or amateurish. I’m not here to make judgments for you, make your own.
To me, I appreciate the rider who goes hard but knows when to throw it out in the wild—a skater who knows when they have honed a skill well enough to take it to the deep-end or the fast-section, and then pour some sugar on it—all the while waiting for the right moment to tweak-it-out double-time and ultimately separate the sheepish from the shepherdly.
Anyway, get your head in the bearing of it all and focus on some style. Free your mind of anxiety. This, I believe, is the true path to Shredlightenment. Stay with us and check out next month’s column as Yeehaw! continues with the Pillar of Shred numero dos. Is it Fast?