Thursday, September 23, 2021

More o' the same

 Well, sunset is lamentably early now, and getting earlier by the day. I should have gone out skating earlier today, but I didn't, there's no use crying over spilled milk, etc etc [insert trite common sense phrase here]. 

17 year old kingpin decided it had
had enough of my bullshit tonight. 

Anyway, I got out there, and the 17 year old kingpin on one of my 17 year old Indy 149s broke. I was just doing a wheelie, and it snapped loudly, which is OK. I thanked the kingpin for 17 years of fine service, and grabbed the other board I had with me (I always take two boards), the 9' side Mode Pool shape. 

I got in about 45 minutes of rolling around, listening to the Cure, and reviving my soul. The sacred solitary skate session. The rolling. The turning. The spinning and whirling around and whatnot. SACRED

I managed to start working on something I've been thinking about for the last 2 weeks, which makes me quite happy, and also just rolling and flowing stuff as I am prone to do, and of which this clip is a commonly-seen yet prime example of my way of doing things, for what it's worth. The new thing will never be seen on publicly available video because, and this stuns me, there are freestylers out there ripping off my moves. Friends of mine!

A short session, but I had a good time. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Need to skate

 Well, I've not been skating for about a week. No big deal. I do want to skate, but I've been busy, and I do actually have a few other interests. As the days get shorter I find myself doing more reading after work, and working on gaming stuff. Still, it is nice to get out for some skating a couple of times a week.

I'm done kicking myself if I don't get to skate every day. When I feel that kind of stress, it means skating has become a source of stress, and not a release valve. 

I do have some good ideas for new tricks, so I'll get out soon enough.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Skate tomorrow

It is 10pm Saturday night.

Weather permitting, I'm going to skate tomorrow in the late afternoon and evening until dark. I have some ideas of stuff I want to work on, in addition to just flowing around.

How many hours and days of my life have I spent waiting to skate, thinking about when I will next skate, thinking about what I want to learn. A lot. Just hours and hours and hours of my life. I like it this way.

I Never Was

 Every year for the last four I've submitted clips to the NeverWas video, a project by a Facebook group I'm a member of.

I always try to submit good clips, and every year I try to submit new things. I know I've repeated a few things, but overall each part has been very different. Frankly, 2020 was the only year I've done a crap job and not submitted enough,  but it was a hard year for multiple reasons. 

The new video comes out in October, and I'm happy with the part. I submitted clips, made a music suggestion, and Brian (the editor) has done something real cool with the media. It's 100% flatland, 100% freestyle or freestyle-influenced, 100% on normal boards, and not even a curb or obstacle of any sort. I think I did a good job getting quality clips with good angles and whatnot. 

Anyway, here is my part from NeverWas 2. I picked the music because I speaks to the formative era of my skating which was 1975-1980. And it works with my skating as well. The new part will be nothing like this one.

Maybe I'll post the parts from videos 1 and 3 as well.


 My friend Brice was asking me about my setups right now. They have been the same for a while, so here's a picture, and details.

Clicky clicky for bigger image.

Left to right

Mode Pool model (never ridden in pools, obviously. 9 x 32.5. 14.75" wheelbase. Indy 159s fit it perfectly due to the curve of the board. 1 thin riser under each truck. 99a Bones STF54mm wheels. This is very much a general purpose board for me, and during the majority of the pandemic it has been my main shape (I wore out a previous one). It has a mild/medium concave and nose/tail angles. I use 95a black Khiro bushings on bottom and softer cone bushings of various sorts on top. The result is a board that turns nicely, but the trucks aren't floppy. They feel solid enough to do some footwork on, but you can lean into a nice carve too. 

I tried using a custom tail skid that Mode made me for this deck, but I felt like the tail scraped the ground during 360s too easily so I removed it. I am a fan of tail skids when I can use them. They greatly extend the life of a board for me. Let's face it, tail wear is what usually renders a board "used up." And during the pandemic boards have been in somewhat short supply, so I'm happy to keep my gear in good shape as long as possible.

There's a good chance this will be my last of this model, as they are out and there's no real plan to do this shape again. I have several decks I can switch to, but I really want Mode to do a new shape like this one.

Mode Postcard Freestyle deck, Indy 109s, no risers, Mode 99a freestyle wheels, mode skids on each end. For "pure" freestyle this has been my preferred model for a long time. Years. 7.4" wide, 29" long, 13.75' wheelbase. It is probably the longest true freestyle board in production, which is good for my particular style. Normally I go through one of these decks per year, but because the pandemic made my freestyle practice spot a bit sketchier for avoiding people, and because there have been no real contests for me to prepare for, I've not ridden it much the last 18 months. 

Mode standard pops deck, 8.25 wide, 14.25" wheelbase. Mild concave by current standards (maybe medium). Indy 149s fit it perfectly. Currently using 54mm Speedlab Jason Adams 99a wheels. This board is set up to facilitate "parking lot freestyle" which is what I've been doing. Just sort of street skating in parking lots, and enjoying some footwork and freestyle type stuff. I use a thin Mode tail skid on each end to avoid tail wear, which makes the deck last much longer, and I use 1/4" of riser under each truck to give myself a bit more clearance when I'm doing 360s and wheelies, so I don't scrape the tail/nose as easily. Black 95a Khiro bushing on bottom on back, some other on front. Again, trucks set up to turn easily but in a non-floppy, controlled manner. This is a board, like the Pool deck, I could ride nearly anywhere, especially with an assortment of softer wheels for other surfaces. 

In one of my many fantasy lives I have one board, and one board only, and this is pretty much it. I find for a person my size, with my skating habits, the 8.25" pops is the most versatile board I can get. I can go up to 9" too, even with a pops, but I really like 8.25" a lot. If boards were in greater supply I might remove the tail skid and go to a 1/8" riser or no riser rather than 1/4", but for now this is how I roll. 

Thursday, September 16, 2021


As I was telling my friend David in a chat earlier this evening, I'm interested in learning to do as many of my freestyle tricks in the midst of carving turns as possible. This is an example of that idea, and the camera angle is good for showing it.

The trick is fairly simple. An endover going fairly fast so I'm rolling backwards, and I start a backwards carve. As I enter that carve, I go into a spin. It turns out to be about a 720 spin, but you can see that I start the spin on one side of the pavement, and move across it in an arc while I'm spinning. 

While this sounds simple, there is something even simpler -- just going straight. That's why everyone does that, and it is 

The truth is that it's a simple notion, but not easy. But fuck all, I'm going to do it. Kickflips in the middle of carves, landing back in the carve? Yes. Everything will be subject to the Law of Curves. 

Another trip to the past

 Here's another video I posted on Vimeo during the very early days of the pandemic. I was just trying to have some fun, get some fresh air, and forget for a while that it looked like the world was turning to shit and we had an insane President. 

For the most part the sessions worked.

When I look back on these clips, I actually like what I see. Turny trucks, rolling around. Carves and arcs. The essence of what I like to do. It was also really quiet at this time. People were not going out nearly as much. There was less traffic on the nearby freeway. I almost miss it. Weird.

Anyhooo, nothing special or awesome here, but since like 2 or 3 people read this blog I guess it matters not. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

A lesson from a drummer

This  is a video of Stewart Copeland talking about drumming. It's short.

When I was in highschool I had a friend who just worshiped Copeland's drumming.  I know very little about drumming, but what he says in this short clip resonated with me in a way beyond, I think, his intent.

As skaters we tend to copy a lot. That's fine. That's how you learn. You develop a physical vocabulary through which you express yourself on the skateboard. Or some do, I guess. It maybe assuming too much to think that every skateboarder thinks about expressing his them self. But I think a lot do, and I do. I think I recognize this more now, as an adult, than I ever did when I was younger. It's important to me now.

So you develop this physical vocabulary, and then what do you do with it? This is where the mind, and creativity, and real mastery come in. 

Anyway, check this out and see if it means anything to you.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

A night off

Took the evening off from skating tonight. Spent some time chatting about skating online with a dear friend. Working from home tomorrow, so that should be a good day to skate after work, having not wasted time on commuting. 

It is funny, writing a blog like this yet not promoting it, sending these posts out into the world for just a couple of people to see.  I think that if you continue it really is about the writing and what you get from it, and not the attention. So I'm good with this. 

Monday, September 13, 2021

Yet another session

I went out and streamed a session on Facebook tonight, and here are a few clips. Only about an hour, but fun. I could certainly do a lot of this better on a freestyle board, but I like the way this board feels to ride.

Session from Bob Loftin on Vimeo.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

A little skating and odd behavior

 As readers of this blog likely know, there has been increased demand and decreased supply for skateboarding parts and gear during the pandemic. So I'm just going to admit. I am part of the problem. I've been hoarding stuff. Boards and wheels. I don't really go through trucks, so no truck-panic has set in, but when boards I like are available I order them even if I don't currently need them. Likewise, I have a pretty good supply of wheels. When I wear out a set of wheels I always order at least one extra replacement set. I'm not going to divulge any numbers, but let's just say I'm set for a while. 

More wheels came in today...and I have a lot more already. 

It was hot today, but I wanted to chill at home this evening, so I went out skating from about 2pm - 3:30pm. At least there is some shade. Spent some time trying to get some final clips for NeverWas 5, and got a couple. Will go again tomorrow evening, and that's it. Part done. 

Here's a throw-away.

Honestly, I'd always rather be out for an evening session. The heat is still too hot. Not horrible, but draining with the sun blasting.

IMG_2516 (1) from Bob Loftin on Vimeo.

Friday, September 10, 2021

A little peace of mind

I write and think a lot about the mental peace my little meditative skate sessions give me. Sometimes, however, it hits home more than others.

Without going into details, let's just say the last 18 months have been rough. Beyond the pandemic and a cancer in the family, its has been rough. I've always been a person with a full tank of mental health, but the last 5 years, actually, have taxed my reserves greatly. 

So what I'm saying is I have a lot of anxiety. The kind that just isn't easy to turn off. I think it turns off when I'm asleep, but even then I'm not sure. It's exhausting to feel like this all the time, and I can very much understand how people end up addicted to substances just to make it all go away for a bit. I'm not one of those people, but I get it.

Anyway, this week it was particularly acute. It sucked. I'm taking action to get some actual professional help to assist me in staying in good mental condition. 

Last night I managed to get out and skate a bit. It was relatively cool outside. I got about an hour of skating in, maybe a bit more. The days are getting shorter now, so my spots go dark about 8:10pm now. That kind of sucks. 

BUT - an hour of rolling around, doing footwork, wheelies, spins, you know... all my normal really felt good in my brain. For that hour and most of the rest of the evening I was actually relaxed. Not thinking about a bunch of bullshit, not obsessing of things that "might" happen. I streamed the session on Facebook so friends could "drop by" and say hello, which was also nice. 

It was really nice to get some relief. Aikido does that for me, but I can't go to practice these days, so skating is really my only means of reaching a state of non-mind that really helps. 

Anyway, here's a clip of some things I was fiddling around with. That last one is not supposed to have that little hop in it. It should just be a smooth pivot on my heel. Need to work on it about 500 times and I'll have it. That's how it goes.

flowlines.mp4 from Bob Loftin on Vimeo.

Monday, September 6, 2021

A little heft

A few years ago I made a series of trick tips videos for older skaters who were interested in learning some of the footwork associated with freestyle but who weren't really interested in all the technical tomfoolery that goes along with it.

In these videos, I was very deliberate in my use of a bigger board -- the kind of board more of the older guys were likely to have and ride. I have this theory that when freestyle got technical and boards got to where they were not something you would normally ride around, well, that's when most people lost interest in freestyle. So my goal with these videos was to say "Hey! Old person! You can enjoy freestyle without riding and absurdly small board that doesn't turn!"

The board I used in this video, for the Walk Around, is a 9.25 Fickle Knucklehead, with Indy 169s, 54mm Spitfires, and one thin riser under each truck. Lew made those Fickle decks sturdy. The plies are a little thicker than the flimsy shit a lot of boards are currently made of. As a result of that, and the heavy trucks,  this board has some heft. When you swing this board around it really carries some momentum and wants to keep moving. 

I intentionally rode this board with turny trucks in these videos as well. Again, the idea was to show the average older skater that being competent at freestyle is totally within their reach. 

But here, dear reader, is the point of this post...

This move looks better on this big, heavy setup. It feels better too, but really, it looks so much better. 

I think you can see the energy that hefty board carries around as I direct it through the move. The movements all generate speed, rather than losing it. The turnier trucks (they turn, they aren't loose and rattling) allow me to let the board roll. 

Energy, my friend. Energy. It is all about directing that energy, riding it, not always controlling it. It's a partnership. But energy and turning are what make skating feel good (to me) and look good (to me).

Anyway, here is an edited version (very short) of that particular trick tip video, showing only the trick and not my blabbering. Tell me what you think. 

Sunday, September 5, 2021

More stuff

 More stuff I did today. 

Working on stuff

 Spent a lot of time working on these two things today. Working on details, so they are smooth. Not really there yet, especially on the slide into a backwards spacewalk, but the fun is in the journey. Or least that is what I tell myself. Actually, it's fun when you have it down too. Got some better ones on video, but I'm saving them for a video project I'm participating in. 

Thursday, September 2, 2021

A line I like

Obviously I've been going through the 2020 Instagram clips I shared last year, and sometimes I find something I like. For example, this one.

My skating is not complicated. It's mostly 180s, 360s, wheelies, Walk the Dogs, and very simple moves combined. I can't think of anything I do that is particularly hard. Some things require some practice, but nothing is really that difficult. This doesn't bother me at all. 

There are a few things I like about his line, but first, I'll tell you what the moves are.

  • Backside carving Walk-Around to frontside pivot. Rolling forward but board backwards now.
  • 2 End-Overs to whip up a little more speed without pushing. Still rolling forward with board backwards.
  • Frontside carve to turn around. I like to do this a lot out of pivots like End-Overs. It has nice flow. Then a quick push. Rolling forward, board still backwards.
  • Then another Walk-Around, so I'm now rolling backwards with the board facing forward (I'm riding it in normal riding orientation, just rolling backwards). Backwards roll into a 540 spin coming out forwards, flowing out of the spin into a couple more End-overs to keep the rotational flow going. There are times when I like to change the direction of rotation for effect, but in this case and others it feels good to keep turning the same direction. 
Reviewing the Pandemic Times clips, I have come to understand that this is really who and what I am as a skater. This is it. Nothing more, nothing less. The Pandemic reduced my skating to the basics, as I had no interest in "progressing" as others see progression. I suppose it is a different kind of progression. I hate bullshit positive thinking puke-talk. The pandemic and everything associated with it suck and it has been a shit time. So I don't view this increased self-understanding to be a silver lining or whatever. It's just something the happened (and continues to happen). But I wonder if others have experienced similar things. Spending so much time alone in your own head, I think you either learn a bit about these things your brain makes called thoughts, or you just go crazy. 

This line felt really good to do, and when I watch the video I can feel it. It was planned out, but it felt relaxed. I wrote recently about the guy doing board-walking stuff I saw when I was in college. This is sort of my version of that, I guess, but less godlike. 

If you don't know what a Walk-Around is, here is an explanation from my other blog. This move doesn't have a real name. It's just something I do, so Walk-Around is what I call it. Here's an explanation for End-Overs

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Return to Pandemic Parking Lot Part 3

 Well, it is Wednesday evening, and once again I did not manage to get out skating after work. I need to get on this, because it won't be long before the days are short and it will not be possible after work.

This was at a different parking lot. The school where I learned to skate. Going there during the Pandemic has given me a nice sense of continuity and sanity in an otherwise chaotic and shitty time. The house I grew up in is a couple of blocks away. It's weird how this calms me but always brings a sense of loss and sadness too. My mom and dad, both dead. They had that house built when they were in their early 30s. I'm prone to this kind of thinking. No one left from the old neighborhood. All moved away, grown up, or dead. 

Every move, every skill I know on a skateboard to this day was born here. This is sacred ground to me. 

This parking lot is the same concrete as when I skated there so many years ago. There are some new cracks, but I still know every little bump and pattern. They are all still there. They are part of my life. When they eventually replace this parking lot, and they will, I hope I've lived a long life of skating and I'm gone. 

Anyway, there are some clips from this session on my IG account here...