Friday, August 2, 2013

An In-Depth Look at Naming Tricks- Part 1: Confusion

Could you imagine what it would be like if skateboarding tricks didn't have names? Attempting to talk about tricks would be nearly impossible. Speaking of impossible, allow me to use that in my example. The following dialogue seems pretty normal and is taken for granted among skaters.

Skater 1: "Hey, do you remember when Geoff Rowley did that impossible to 50-50 on that hubba in 'Extremely Sorry'? That was sick."

Skater 2: "Yea. That was sick. I just wish I could do impossibles."

If you know the lingo, it makes perfect sense. If we didn't name each trick, then the same dialogue would go like this:

Skater 1: "Hey, do you remember when Geoff Rowley popped his board up in such a way that it wrapped around his back foot and spun all the way around before landing with both trucks on the edge of a downward concrete ledge beside a staircase? It was in the Flip video."

Skater 2: "What? Are you ok? It looks like you're having a heart attack."

Skater 1: "No, I'm just exhausted from trying to describe tricks to you all day."

How awful would that be? So it makes sense that tricks would have names. We're not alone in this either. Figure skaters and gymnasts have names for all of their various maneuvers too, and that's only naming a couple of examples out of many.

Now, this discussion is going to get pretty in depth, but stick with me, because hopefully I will change your attitude towards naming tricks and we don't all have to argue as much. Before I get into that, though, we need to review some basics.

For those of you who haven't thought about these things in a while, consider the frontside/backside aspect of a trick. When you rotate so that you are facing the direction of travel after the first 90 degrees, the trick is frontside, like this frontside 180:

When you turn so that your BACK is facing the direction of travel, the trick is backside, like this backside 180:
If we referred to the directions as clockwise or counter-clockwise, we would run into the problem of always having to specify whether the skater was goofy or regular footed.

Fakie is the exact opposite, sort of. A fakie backside 180 (which is called a half cab- more confusion) involves you looking forward after turning the first 90 degrees. The reason for this, although it sounds arbitrary, is to take note of the fact that a backside 180 and a backside half cab feel essentially the same, but just starting from a sort of 'backwards' stance.

This only makes sense if you think of the tricks as how they feel and not how they look. The technical definitions would dictate that the frontside/backside classification would stay the same no matter what stance you're in.

Ok, well let's talk about grinds. If you approach the obstacle with the obstacle in front of you, it's frontside, and the opposite is true for backside. Fair enough. But do the rules change for seemingly no reason when you talk about going fakie? You bet!

A fakie backside nosegrind involves you approaching the obstacle backside. As Daryl Angel demonstrates here, though, is that the nosegrind really happens on your back trucks. They're kind of like your front trucks though, because they are on the opposite end of the board that you popped with. The same rule doesn't apply with nollie tricks.

But if you're talking about a trick that rotates, the rules change yet again. A fakie backside lipslide involves you approaching the rail frontside, then putting your front trucks (which are kind of like your back trucks) over the rail and then sliding backwards. Click the link if you're having trouble following me here.

So the special fakie rules for grinds seem to be:
- Straight grinds are the same as normal tricks, except the foot your popping with is basically regarded as your back foot. Therefore, grinding on the truck closer to the tail that you just popped with would be a 5-0, even though it is the front truck based on the direction of travel.
- Grinds that involve rotation to get into are named as if you were approaching the obstacle regular footed. Therefore, a backside lipslide or tailslide is actually approached frontside.

Ok, that's a little confusing as it is, but is sort of makes sense, I guess. Then we get into fakie frontside crooked grinds, and we break both rules simultaneously. The rules above state that what Mike Mo is doing in that clip should simply be called a fakie frontside 5-0 that just happens to be a little bit crooked.

Again, none of this makes sense unless you think of how the tricks feel instead of how they look. A fakie front crooks just kind of feels like you're popping fakie into a crooked grind, while a fakie 5-0 kind of just feels like you're doing a frontside 5-0, but you're going backwards. When you do a fakie noseslide, it really feels more like you're doing a half cab into a noseslide, which is why we change the name to half-cab noseslide.

Even still though, I must say, the fakie backside lipslide still doesn't make sense to me. You approach the rail frontside, you rotate frontside, and you stick the front truck in front of you, and somehow it's backside. I think this should be changed.

That is my humble suggestion, that we change the convention on some fakie tricks just so all of the rest make sense. The older generation seems pretty stubborn about this, but I feel we can do it. I think that's enough for now, but there will be more to come in the coming weeks. And I promise this will be the most boring of them. Sorry, you guys.

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