The New Yorker just published some unfunny nonsense by Charlie Dektar called Skateboard tricks to seriously impress the ladies. The joke is that people who read the New Yorker obviously don’t skateboard, and men who do must be using it to pick up chicks, so let’s make a list of skateboard tricks mixed with things men are supposed to do but usually don’t. This obviously has nothing to do with Charlie Dektar trying to be cool and work on his comedy resume to impress the ladies.
The article just jumps right into trick tips:
The Hardly Workin’
First, smash your front foot down on the side of the board to flip that puppy on its side. Hop both your feet on the trucks, like a classic rail stand, and then, without losing your balance, empower women in your workplace by making sure that your female co-workers always have an equal seat at the table and by amplifying their voices whenever possible.
From there, jerk your back foot to send that board into some nasty revolutions and use your social capital to advocate for fair workplace policies. Better hope some ladies saw that one!
First, the name. That’s supposed to be funny because “get a job” is something old people who yell at skateboarders might say. The trick he’s actually describing is a primo double flip:
“Rail stand” is an archaic term for primo (standing on the side of the board, with the board on its side). While this isn’t that hard of a trick, you do have to work for it a little bit. Stepping up into primo is delicate. It’s easy to roll the board too much or not enough, and it’s balance-y. The flip itself is almost like a pressure flip. This kind of double flip is actually the most natural flip out of primo, but it takes a good bit of effort before you’re moving up into flip tricks in the first place. This article about what’s wrong with scooters is great:
Skateboarding is hard, and not just hard to master, its hard form the first push. The basics; standing up, staying balanced at a decent speed, turning, doing a basic kickturn on a quarter pipe, not to mention dropping in or doing an ollie, are all harder than sinking a basket, harder than popping a wheelie on a bike, harder than hitting a baseball, and much, much harder than rolling around a skatepark on a scooter.
The fact that skateboarding is really hard at the entry level is crucial to the nature of skate culture and the identity of skateboarders. It shapes every aspect of skating. It is an element that has existed since the skateboard was invented. It is the most important filtering mechanism in skateboarding.
But it isn’t a mechanism that filters for athletic ability. It filters for passion.
For the new skater, skateboarding has a maddeningly steep learning curve. It is just as steep for the captain of the jock squad as it is for the 90 pound poindexter. This is because, unlike football, track and field, or any other sport, skateboarding requires you to use your body in ways that have no analog in everyday life or conventional sports. No matter how much of a leg-up genetics or training has given you, there is no way to become a competent skateboarder without spending a lot of time looking real stupid. You have to figure skateboarding out before athleticism makes any difference, and that figuring out takes a long time and a lot of seemingly fruitless repetition. No matter how tall you are, how strong you are, how fast you are, no matter how gifted you are, you will hit the ground hard. Over and over. Most of the time, you will look like an idiot. That’s something the misfits will always handle better than the golden boys and girls.
The truth of skateboarding is this: it is only for those who care about riding more than they care about being better than everyone else, because at the point of the first push, being better than even the local kid on your block will take so much effort, you won’t ever want to do it unless you get hooked; unless the love hits you.
I guess skateboarders are lazy, though.
The Salt Grind
Kick-flip onto the rail for a sweet fifty-fifty grind—pretty gnarly. Then let your guard down. Cry a little bit. You don’t need to be embarrassed that you have emotions. It’s O.K.—it’s all going to be O.K. Finally, pop a small ollie. [italics in original]
Kickflip 50-50 on a rail actually is a scary and impressive trick:
Can Charlie Dektar kickflip 50-50 a rail?
Rodney Mullen is possibly the most respected person in skateboarding, and he’s always choking up when he talks. People love watching Ed Templeton cry in Epicly Later’d episodes. Anthony Shetler, pro skateboarder:
I smoke weed, usually only when I skate. If I smoke weed and go skate it helps me feel. Skateboardings all about feeling, if you overthink shit, it doesn’t feel right…Also I think through being active – sweating and feeling your heart beat almost every day – that right there, that’s why I love skateboarding and skateboarders. The average person just works a job they hate and they don’t do anything active or have something that is their own. I think what people need to do, including myself, is to do something active. If your heart is beating, you are sweating, you are using your body, and you feel alive. And feeling alive makes you feel good. Skateboarding, being scared, having your adrenaline going, testing your abilities, you feel fucking alive.
Skateboarding legitimately has issues with misogyny and homophobia, so why not talk about those?
The Gazelle Flip
A five-hundred-and-forty-degree board flip where your body only spins three-hundred-and-sixty degrees, in the same direction as the board. This one is just cool as hell. I mean, you’d have to be crazy not to be impressed with this trick.
Damn straight. Most skateboarders couldn’t do one.
It’s a trick so complicated you can conceptualize it in different ways: big flip revert, varial kickflip back 360…
The implication here is that of course skateboarders wouldn’t be parents already:
The Junior Flip
You’re going to need pro-skater Tony Hawk-level hang time for this trick, so get moving. Ramp-jump into that righteous air. As you leave the ground, conceive a child with someone whom you love very much. Become the father of a beautiful baby boy. Grab your board heel-side with one hand for a sick melon grab as your phat son grows up to be a toddler. Give him abstract toys like blocks to play with and let him dress however he likes so that he learns to express himself. Register him on coed sports teams.
As you land it, teach your precious child how to cook, how to clean, and how to care for others. To really add some steeze, teach him about consent culture when playing with others. Maybe buy him a skateboard and pass on some of your tricks, maybe enroll him in some dance classes—totally up to him. As you hit the concrete, you can bend your knees to try to soften the impact but you’ve been in the air for about nine years so the landing’s going to be a hundred-per-cent fatal no matter what.
The irony is that skateboarders have been talking about parenthood in interviews since the beginning of time. In fact, Tony Hawk himself had a kid so long ago that his son is grown up in the meantime and a pro skateboarder in his own right. He skates differently than his dad.
People, like, reflect on the mistakes they made now that their kids have grown up.
Finally, there’s actually funny research about skateboarding to impress the ladies:
But wait, how is skateboarding impressive if it’s the type of thing Serious Adults make fun of?