A few weeks ago Martyn when to Iceland, luckily between the first explosion and second of that volcano that stopped everyone flying for a while.
He was gone for a week including a weekend – easter sunday if I remember correctly. I was left sitting around itching to go out but have never boarded by myself before, honestly, I was intimidated. Then I thought I could use the time he was away to learn something new, to show off with when he got back. A 3600.
I went to the local Heaton Park, it has a nice downhill which at the bottom has a nice 3ft drop which I planned to use as my testing ground. A few practice 1800s frontside and backside and I was ready to go for it. In the past I’ve always tried frontside 3’s because I get more spin that way on the take off but always landed on my back/head because the last 180 is blind. For the first time I felt a backside 3 might be easier, putting the last half – the LANDING half – as the easier rotation.
Standing on the top of the hill I spend what felt like an eternity visualising my attempt of the trick – I believe this was very instrumental in my outcome, I wasn’t just plowing down the hill and seeing what happens because I had a plan of action and a guess at what it would feel like at each part. First try then…flop, face flop. BUT I got really close to sticking it, literally the only reason I didn’t get it was lack of rotation. A walk to the top and another attempt with conifidence and I landed it.
I was hi-fiving the sky and restraining the scream of elation wanting to come from my mouth, something that would have just happened in company with fellows, however when by myself the great british reserve is all I could manage with lot of other people enjoying the park in their own way. I landed a few more for the camera before falling when trying to throw a grab in…know your limits am I right.
Then a few days later I went to another close space and found a stair set, about 6ft across by 6ft drop. The landing was a bit sketchy, concrete-curb-concrete, but I’ve hit worse. The run up to the stairs is quite good as it’s a gradual slope so no need to worry about speed. I landed it twice but there was no elation, I couldn’t then or now remember what had happened in the middle of the air so it was a bit sketchy. So I went for a third time with the plan of controlling my actions better. I had more speed and this caused my to scuff the landing and hit the curb while off balance, grinding the concrete on my back for a few meters isn’t something I’d like to repeat.
My actions caught the attention of the charvs hanging around the local park, namely one who acted the most annoying charva laugh/screetch. Instead of being inimidated I walked over to them and asked if he wanted a go, I’d show him the basics. He declined, but one of his friends was interested so I let him have a few rides down the beginner hill with a bit of introduction. They asked my to show them something so I tried my 3600 of the ledge I’d done a few days prior and fell to the same laugh/screetch. Well I wasn’t going to hang around if that was his reception so I said my goodbyes to his interested friend and made my way home. How could that kid have any friends if that’s how he acts.
Okay that was a bit of an aside but I needed to rant on this ****-end. So overall riding by yourself is a lot more focused, no-body hanging onto you (even if me and Martyn are both easy-going) so you can make decisions and act them immediately. I also found people are a lot more willing to come up and talk to you when you have no company probably because you don’t look as threatening by yourself, I’m happy about this because I love to wax lyrical about my sport and promote it, especially destroying peoples perceptions about it. Of course, you’re missing out on the person who knows your riding style and is able to see when you’ve done something beyond your previous skill level, and echo your enjoyment.
Choose riding buddies when you can, but when you’ve got to go out don’t worry about any lack of companionship.