My thoughts on Rodney Mullen’s ‘no stance’ goal.

One of the beautiful things about facebook is that people post links on there from other parts of the Internet.  From my library friends I get a lot of career related articles to read through people posting links on facebook. And my skateboard friends from Baltimore, Ohio, and now New York City post interesting clips on there too. This gem of a recent interview of Rodney Mullen someone I knew in my teenage years posted a few days ago, and I’ve watched it several times since then. Now I’ll blog about it and hopefully embed it correctly onto my entry.

First I’ll sum up Rodney Mullen as being the most influential person to the progression of skateboarding. Ollies on flatland, kickflips, 360 flips, impossibles, and perhaps a hundred variations were first done or created by Rodney Mullen. He learned these tricks as a freestyler skateboarder throughout the 1980’s. In the late 1980’s and to present day he continued to innovate street skateboarding. So in the 1980’s with a smaller freestyle board he invented the standard tricks, and then in the 1990’s took on trick progression on obstacles and street skating. In 2005 he wrote his autobiography called, “The Mutt: How to Skateboard and Not Kill Yourself.” I read that book, and he details his life experience of skateboard tours, and it ends with him being financially successful from the sale of World Industries in 1998, an infamous and famous company that he co-owned.

About a year ago Tony Hawk interviewed Rodney Mullen, and that I also viewed that because a friend posted it on facebook. I should try to find that interview too. This interview that I saw this week, shows that Rodney Mullen still has the drive to innovate, which is amazing to me.  He looks young but is in his mid forties I believe, and already has done so much for the sport. To me it shows that skating on that level has creativity that maybe other sports do not. Writers can write into old age, and I think skaters could probably imagine variations of tricks forever, but the question is how long can the body continue skating as one gets older. I think Rodney Mullen and people a little bit younger are the first generation of street skaters, so I don’t think people know. You look at a lot of the top pros and they are a lot of them well over thirty, so it is not simply athleticism. This interview also shows that there is very much a thought process to thinking up new tricks.

In this interview and the one with Tony Hawk, Rodney Mullen talks of ‘having no stance.’ There are two basic stances in skateboarding. Regular is with the left foot in front, and Goofy is with the right foot in front.  Over thanksgiving on a family walk I bought my skateboard with me.  My oldest nephew is 12, my niece is 9 and my younger nephew is 5. All of them had fun learning to ride on a board for our hour or so long walk. I told them to stand the way they felt more comfortable. My two nephews gravitated to regular stance, and my niece chose goofy stance.  My niece is left-handed so that might have something to do with it. In general people are more comfortable with one stance as opposed to the other when starting to skate. As people progress they start to do things ‘switch’ is simply in the stance they don’t usually ride. So good skaters ride both ways, but still have a dominate stance.

By the time I was in my prime of skating, at like age 17, in 1993, I was good at switch and tech tricks. As an adult unfortunately I’ve been off an on with skating. Every time I start back up I can ollie relatively quickly, then I get my kickflip back, and few other tricks.  But even though I want to be good switch and tech tricks, it takes a long time for me to get comfortable with switch when I’m relearning.  Sometimes I can switch ollie a couple of stacked boards and sometimes I’m not even close. So regular stance is by far my preferred stance, and what I’m comfortable with.

I think everyone is more at ease with one stance as compared to the other. In this interview Rodney Mullen talks of breaking down the stance so there is no stance. That seems like a weird thing to think about, but what he is trying to say is what if skating was a continue flow with no limitations of tricks from stance or anything else. He also says a draw to skating is the idea of learning things new and the feeling from figuring nuances of new tricks out.

I do think that Rodney Mullen is forward thinking to the future of skating, and I’m glad he’s not simply resting on what he already has done.  There are still major skate videos were the riders do not do much switch tricks, and concentrate of going big. The future is more fluidity of tricks from all stances, including fakie and nollie tricks. It already has gotten to the point that it’s hard to tell with some skaters what their stance is in videos, that’s a good thing.

3 thoughts on “My thoughts on Rodney Mullen’s ‘no stance’ goal.

  1. nice 🙂 I was pushing “mongo” until 30 years old ( shame on me…) ! When I started again skateboard the first time I came to NYC I decided it was time to push the other way, and now the good thing is I can push both .

  2. Thanks Florian. I hope your enjoying California since you moved there. The NYC skateboarding meetup group misses you. Maybe you’ll run into Rodney Mullen or other pros out there. Thanks again!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close