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Skateboarding DVD Video Review:Thrasher Magazine's Skateboarding 101 & Ramp Plans

Thrasher Magazine - Skateboarding 101 and Ramp Plans DVD Skateboarding Snowboarding skateboard snowboard DVD Video Review Three Star skateboard DVD review rating

Released: 2004
Rating: 3 Stars

Two of Thrasher Magazine's releases on one DVD. Don't expect to learn how to skate like a pro or build Danny Way's next obstacle, but they each give a good background and are kinda fun to watch.

Thrasher Magazine's Skateboarding 101

Chad Muska, Diego Bucchieri, Rob Welsh, Keegan Sauder, Brad Staba, Ron Whaley, Tim Mckinney, Tim Hudson and Tony Tieu.

If you could learn to skateboard by watching a video, my mom would probably be able to skate. Still, "learn to sk8" videos are popular. If nothing else you get to see pros perform different tricks over and over in slow-mo. This is probably better than trying to learn from your know-it-all friend who has no clue. On the other hand, pros are so good at most of the simple tricks, shown on such videos, that they invariably use terms like "pop", which lack context.

"Pop what?" you may be inclined to ask. So, after you ollie, this magical pop is what makes the board flip and rotate beneath your feet. Hmmm... ok. I guess. There always seems to be some critical element left out. Typically, that element is ten years experience. That means if you bought this DVD in 2004, you'll be able to do kick-flips sometime during the year 2014. Not a promising statistic.

They start off with a tutorial on how to assemble a complete deck. Everyone should know how to do this - blindfolded! You can't learn to skate if you can't figure out why your deck wobbles. It was a pretty quick tutorial, but seemed to cover the basics. One oddity was when the host set the bearings into the wheels using a Fix Stix tool. Nothing wrong with doing that, but he had a huge bearing press mounted on the table he was working on. Sure, the average skater doesn't necessarily have the luxury of owning a bearing press, but it might have been worth mentioning since it was there. Btw - FKD makes an awesome bearing press that isn't huge, but gets the job done way better than any hand tool.

Don't be fooled about applying grip-tape. It's a good deal harder than it looks if you've never done it yourself. The best way to learn is to buy a new set-up at your local shop and ask them to show you or let you watch while they assemble it.

They discuss stance - goofy -vs- regular, but they don't explain how to determine which is best for you... so I will:
Put your board down in front of you as though you were about to push off. Take a few steps back and run toward your board and jump onto it. Naturally, you will lead with one foot or the other (which ever comes naturally to you). If you land right foot forward, your stance will be goofy.

The Trick List

Next, they let the pros pull off some tricks that will take guys like me the requisite ten years to perfect.

  1. Ollies by Chad Muska
  2. 180's (front & backside) by Diego Bucchieri
  3. Board Slides by Tony Tieu
  4. Nose Slides by Ron Whaley
  5. Tail Slides by Tim McKinney
  6. Pop Shuv-its by Brad Staba
  7. Nollie by some guy who was unable to clearly pronounce his name.
  8. Kick Flips by Rob Wlech
  9. Heel flips by Tim Hudson
  10. Knee Slides by Giorgio Detoni

There was some mention of curb-wax. I'm not a fan of this stuff. Sometimes kids buy surf wax and can't figure out why their decks are hanging up so much (surf wax is sticky so your feet stay on the board - it's not slick). If you need to wax every curb and ledge you plan on sliding, you're probably not leaning correctly to let your momentum carry you. Street skating is not about waxing every surface you want to hit. Just go and take the good with the bad as you session your city.

I'm not sure if this is a production tip, but it seems to me if your video is to mimic a schoolroom setting and a "crazy professor" type of person is the host - this person is obligated to be funny. I don't mean crack-a-smile funny. I mean laugh-out-loud funny. Otherwise he just looks like a moron with no purpose taking up screen time. Remember, you only have ten years to figure out Pop Shuv-its. Thrasher's comic genius falls short with their professor, but the trick tips are pretty good and feature a bunch of cool pros like Muska.

Thrasher Magazine's Ramp Plans

Jason Adams, Chris Pastras, Scott Bourne, Justin Strubing, and Ryan Wilburn.

If you have no carpentry skills, DON'T BUILD A RAMP. I'm not trying to be preachy, just don't be fooled into thinking that a DVD will suddenly give you carpentry skills. Many professionals manage to cut off fingers over the course of their careers. Without experience, you'll achieve this in minutes. Sure there's a lot of common sense involved, but skills are skills and if ya don't have ‘em then you'll need skilled help.

There seem to be a lot of sk8-whiners out there who love to complain about not having anywhere to skate. Building our own ramp is the solution, not bitching. Build a box, ledge, rail, launch ramp, quarter pipe or half pipe. Make something that's skateable for your ability and skills. If YOU won't take the initiative, then you deserve doing ollies on your grandmother's liviing room carpet.

Ledge Box

It begins with Jason Adams showing us how to build a ledge box. With 8-foot lengths, both the wood and metal lips will work with minimal carpentry. It's portable - if your friend's mom has a station wagon or SUV - and can be used in a variety of places and circumstances.

Slider Rail

Chris Patras shows how to make a slider bar or rail. This is probably the simplest project, so I'm not sure why this wasn't the first demo, but anyway... It's a simple obstacle to make and transport to your favorite spots.

Quarter Pipe

Justin Strubing leads us down the merry path towards creating a 4' tall x 8' wide quarter pipe with a 6' transition. I had a few issues with this demo. A lot of needed detail was omitted or glanced over. The transition is a vital element to making a skateable ramp. They showed the basic technique, but didn't explain how different transitions change the way a ramp will perform.

Once they demonstrated how to create the line of the transition and cut the sidewalls, there was no mention of how to reinforce the sidewall so the structure stays true during use. They explained how to double reinforce the ribs where the seam in the 4x8 plywood meets, but there was no mention of reinforcing the mid-section of the 8' span. AND they screwed the 8' lengths flush with the sidewalls. For strength, you should really cut notches in which to seat each rib. This makes the ramp much stronger - it should have at least been mentioned. It doesn't take long for a ramp to succumb to the abuse of an average session. Who wants to be gentle with a ramp?

To their credit, they did a good job explaining how to seat the coping and why is should be attached last.

If nothing else, this video should make you want to build some sort of skateable obstacle that will enhance and challenge your abilities. Build it right and it will last a long time. Don't scrimp!

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