The Seductive Kickflip; a Long Love/Hate Relationship

Today I have a glorious update that I actually skated, the first time in 5 weeks. First I skated down the street to make some errands. Then later in the day I went to Forest Park. I took it easy and I am not sure if my neck is 100 percent. I did not fall much, and only did 2 kickflips. Both kickflips were very slow, just a baby push, a slow roll, and then the trick.  I landed both, which is a slight accomplishment I guess. In my memory, I don’t remember any sessions that I have not done kickflips. No matter how easy I’m taking it I always gravitate to doing flip tricks and in particular kickflips. I’ve hurt myself on kickflips so I love them and hate them.

5 weeks ago I went to Forest Park and a few of my friends were there. We decided to meet at 2 pm, and I was late because I kept pressing the snooze alarm. Sometimes on days off a grogginess conquers my whole existence, and I think that day I was still tired as I skated. I noticed with some of my more serious injuries happened while I was more fatigued than usual. Anyway the session was on, and I had difficulty with kickflips to fakie on the bank. At Forest Park the bank is so mellow that any trick that one can do on flat one can conceivably do on that bank. I was starting to get pissed that I was having trouble with a kickflip to fakie.  On the misguided attempt I landed primo, or on my wheels which through me into the air. I landed on my butt and elbow, and my head whiplashed severely. Luckily I didn’t hit my head, but I knew my neck was hurt right away. Two weeks later I got it checked out and my doctor recommended more time off. He instructed to not skate until it felt better. All this pain from the blasted kickflip, and a trick I’m consistent with.

When I was 12 and learning kickflips, on one attempt the board rocketed upwards and the edge of the nose or tail hit me in the eyebrow, and blood flowed everywhere. I think that injury required 4 or 5 stiches and along with my funnel chest surgery it’s one of my only pirateisque scars I have.

While I’m consistent with kickflips I don’t get them on command all the time. Usually when I skate I’ll need a warm up of ollies, 180s, and some other movements before I even attempt a kickflip. But session after session I always do kickflips. I’d say my ratio is every 7 out of 10 kickflips. My kickflips are low to the ground, and perhaps are not a thing of beauty. But I feel compelled to do them over and over. One of my good friends who I believe turned 42 recently is a techster too. He said maybe the time to hang up skating is when he can no longer do kickflips. So some feel the same way that tricks are what make skateboarding interesting.  The simple thrill of pushing around or cruising is not enough.

I’m fortunate to have a network of skaters around my age or older. Not everyone is obsessed with the tech.  A lot have better pop, and consistency with the tricks they can do.  As I had a lot of time on my hands these past 5 weeks, I’m wondering if I fall a lot more from trying to be tech.  A year ago I remember a friend commenting that I commit a lot more than he was willing to after I slammed trying a fakie frontside flip.

Even though some family and people close to me suggested I quit skating now, there is no way I’m going to do that yet. But having a injury that kept me away from it for 5 weeks is a little bit of a wake up call. I think maybe I should not do as many kickflips, and focus on getting a better ollie and foundation. I can skate and improve, but there really is no reason to try to do everything at this point. In the grand scheme of things it does not matter if I relearn tre flips, and I might be better off in general if I learn a better ollie.

So even though I love kickflips, I think tech can hurt, and I’m returning to the basics. This is all good to think about, but every skater knows once a skater is into a session eventually that skater will gravitate to what he or she likes.

In this embedded youtube clip Mike Vallely goes into detail on how to do a kickflip, he even goes into the dangers of landing primo!

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