Delayed post card from Finland

Oops the whole May went without any posts here (my apologies). I also try to forgive myself didn’t skate that much during the whole month. I was in my home country Finland, and it just was very hectic with seeing friends, family, working – and also the weather was very, very bad, even for Finnish spring: it was sleeting in mid May when arrived to Helsinki.

But when I did skate (that was once), it was with a style. This was my kit when heading to skate in the Vuosaari skate park in eastern Helsinki. It was also meeting up with a friend who had turned 40 whilst I’ve been away, and with whom had not yet celebrated my doctoral status.

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The session itself was not that great. Actually, was quite frustrated as last summer on the same spot was much better, but nevertheless it was super-nice to spend time with my friend, and also when it was getting dark-ish (I remind you, despite of cold spring, I was in a country of ‘nightless nights’) to hear birds, chat with some local skateboarders (I admired his skateboarding skills, he my job), to be worrying in a giddily way, if we’ll catch the last metro back to centre, and finally when there, to have some after midnight junk food before heading to my temporary home.

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I also got some souvenir for myself to decorate my cat board. This sticker for Finnish skateboard brand Tikari is done by Katri Sipilä, a Finnish artist doing fab paintings, comic books, tattoos, skateboarding, designs skateboards.

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And here is a souvenir for you. Finland is full of nice spots (erm, not necessarily legal to skate…), in summer there is LOT of light to skate all night long. So go skate there, go (just select carefully the time of the year) for your visit!

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(ps. the sign says skateboarding is not allowed on terrace area.)

 

 

 

 

 

Turnhout joys and pebbles

It feels like a looong time since I was in London, because the environment where I am at the moment, is so very different from the hectic city. I am doing a short-term artist residency programme in a small village in Belgium. Work takes most of my time, but managed to sneak out, and skate a bit in a Turnhout skatepark a few days ago.

The start wasn’t promising. I was very tired (this changing a place (too) often and working in a new place etc. is taking its toll) and was struggling again with the fear. Finally started to try out new things, and started to feel more comfortable, so rode in quite a good speed, as can be seen in this video.

 

More than conquering a new spot, I am happy of taking first steps with new tricks. These are:

  • footplant on flat / boneless (see here what it means: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrDJlw6r5GI) – I have trouble even putting my front foot down from the board, as so far it’s ALWAYS been only BACK foot on the ground
  • Old school carving (something like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NSKhWcZPRo) – I just need to learn to carve ‘sharply’ first….
  • to ‘jump’ when hitting the edge, honestly it does not look like it, but in the video when getting up the bank, I am doing it: at least in my head 🙂

Dear reader, I promise you, by the end of the summer, I will nail (or at least somehow manage) those!

**

During the skate session happened something I thought to open up, even though it is not really a big deal, but can’t believe it would happen if a) I would be a man b) I would be younger – and it does bother me a little; and similar things happens time to time (also when I am running). I was skating with my boyfriend, who was having a break and was sitting on the edges of the park, when a man (not skater himself) passing by with a dog joined him. Afterwards heard the man was commenting my skateboarding – and this is a bit that disturbs me. I do not mind advices , and I know part of the skateboarding is to be watched by others, but would he had done the same, if it would have been the opposite way: my boyfriend (well, a ‘real’ skater, but not a young one) skating and me sitting on the edges, and then to comment to me how he skates? I doubt that. And it annoyed me more than the pebble on the ground that made me fall off.

 

 

“Why I learned to skateboard in my 40’s”

 

Two weeks ago when was in London, was interviewed by Huffington Post UK (!), and here’s the result!

Oddly enough during the session, I was more nervous to talk (normally I am pretty talkative) than to skateboard. I was first struggling to give an answer to the question “has skateboarding changed my life?”, as it felt somehow too big to say, yes it has changed my life.  But now when I watch this video clip, I realize it is the only right answer to give. I could be critical of grammar mistakes I made, poor this and that, snotty nose…. But, no I am not. I am effing proud of myself.

 

Surfing on Brixton Beach

Hello from London! A city where I used to spend a lot of time and where I did my doctoral studies, but that was before I picked up skateboarding, so this time it is like exploring the whole new city.

And so far it has been fab! I am staying in South East London with an easy acces to Brixton and Stockwell skate park. I have now had four sessions there, and it has a place in my top three (or at leat five) skateparks I’ve been skating.

Stockwell, or Brixton Beach (opened in 1978) as it is also called, is perfect for surfing and for old school tricks – excatly the ones I was swearing to learn this year. Actually, in Stockwell I see skaters doing them. The skatepark with it’s undulating design is inviting for those moves. Also, it seems there are some ‘older’ skaters around familiar with the old skool style. It is clear I am in London, and the diversity of people living here can also be seen on skatepark.

Yesterday I actually had a short introduction for the old school turn  (thank you, you nice person showing me after I asked) – I don’t know the real name – the one where you put your back hand down, ‘front’ hand grabs the board, and you’re supposed to drag your back feet back so that you kind of do the 180 degree turn. To be honest, the only clue I got about it, is that I have to be very fast. Will definitetly practise that, maybe just in bit more calmer park.

Skateboarding really is a state of mind. As I wrote in earlier posts, I have been struggling with the fear issue recently. This week in London fear seems to be mostly away. I must say, it did take some courage to enter into the crowded Stockwell park. I also got bit intimidated on my first day when was told off from corner bit, as it “too dangerous”. I am not sure was that said for my safety, for other skaters safety, or just to scare me off, as I am slow and thus probably annoying (following carefully the rules, waiting my turn and looking what others do). But I didn’t go anywhere, and went back – and last Friday was the best skate sessions since last summer. Somehow all just went together, and felt very comfortable. It probably didn’t look much different than usual, but for the first time I felt like a skateboarder.  I found the flow, my space amongst others in the park – and just rode corners, lines, managed to kick turn (on mild bank).

If this feeling stays, I will try and ride down the steep bank in Stockwell. Just like all other skateboarders.

 

Hello fear my old friend, I’ve come to talk about that again

Pretty active skateboarding week behind. Still struggling with fear issues. A week ago, on Friday night had a very nice skate session in a small pool near to where I live. It is a bit too difficult for my skills, but I still did quite well.  I started this week going there on Monday evening, but it just didn’t feel good – and left the place pretty soon.

On Tuesday evening dude and I drove to Antwerpen to my ‘comfort zone’ skatepark Antwerpen Spoor Noord. Again, it just didn’t feel good. Felt nervous, and needed a lot of courage even in my comfort zone small bowl, that I usually enjoy riding. Didn’t even feel going to bigger bowl, even thought been pretty okay there some other times. Dude suggested some other park that was new for me, and luckily we went there. First, it was a struggle, and didn’t feel comfortable, but bit by bit felt better, and it in the end it was okay, and could have stayed longer, but it was too late. (This usually happens, it takes time to warm up, but then I am reluctant to leave and go on loooong.)

I decided will not give up nor let the less-nice sessions to get on my way. Thought to have a change for my routines – which has mostly been riding on the corners in a bowl / pool – by focusing on other stuff: mostly on kick-turns, pushing & balance, as well as being more comfortable with speed. There’s a nice not too steep hill near Antwerpen Noord park, and have now couple of times tried down hill there. This Monday too. Still too scared to go all the way down. I know I can, it is  just that old friend fear kicking in, and preventing the full ride. I’ll promise by the end of the summer, I will ride that hill down like a pro!

Twice this week I started my days going on a mini ramp to work on kick-turns. I went back and forth pretty high and turned okay on the low part of the ramp. Still a lot of work to do with kick-turns and pump the speed up –  and of course to have courage to ‘swing’ higher and faster.

(here’s a clip for this week’s morning session https://wordpress.com/post/crazyskatelady.com/456)

By the end of the week, the weather got wet again, so there were couple of days no skateboarding. I was still busy on my free time with it by creating own Facebook page for Crazy Skate Lady (please like and follow me on Facebook too!) and watching some skate videos. On Monday I already sworn I will stop watching them all together, as my skating doesn’t relate to any of them, and makes me just more annoyed by how crap I am. Yes I know, not mature attitude. I am sure though all of you who skateboard, do know that frustrating feeling when you just want to throw your board as far as you can…for Finnish readers I can say it feels like wanting to put the board ‘tuhannen p*****n päreiksi’… Anyway, there were a skate video that did motivate me. Look here how this 40 years old beginner have learned to nail many tricks by training hard:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14-sOzwJgD  

That video made me want to try ollie. Something I have not really done before, expect of some odd tries once in a while. I think last time was last summer.

So this morning (Sunday) I woke up thinking of ollies. Dude too wanted to skate, and despite of drizzling rain, we tried to find a dry spot to skate. First try was a mini ramp on Vilvoorde under the bridge. It was damp. I learned now first time in practise what it means when surface is wet: dude fell and I slipped, so it was time to continue the hunt of the dry spot. I must say before slipping, I did pretty okay kick-turns, so something is happening – and I am motivated to practice to get better with that.

We didn’t have luck with a car park, where we managed to skate few weeks ago, when the weather was wet. It was full of cars today.

Finally, on the way back home there was a dry spot under some bridge. Rough surface with pebbles and garbage, still possible to do something. And I did: ollies! Few of them were like almost okay 🙂  Dude was holding hands, and balance sucks – still did something new. In your face, fear!

You must believe my words with the ollies. For some reason, the camera didn’t work. As they say: you can’t have everything.

The video above is filmed on mid February when I am first time on new cat board. Feeling good and comfy on that day.

Below Skatepark Stadspark after I had started to warm up – finally. (warning includes not happy being filmed comments 😀 )

 

And here some tic tac attempts from couple of weeks ago on rainy day in car park.

Come on, you can do it!

If you think you’re too old, not good enough, too different than others on your skate spot, or whatever might be stopping you doing what you’d like to do -only thing, that is time to stop are excuses.

Here’s an example:

Today in Brussels weather has been like a bride (as we say in Finland, sayings usually don’t translate, but I assume this Finglish makes sense), and I wanted to start it by a short mini ramp session. So first thing in the morning, I headed to mini ramp in my neighbourhood being sure it will be empty, as kids should be at school on Thursdays. Well, they weren’t. After seeing there were three teenage boys already on the mini (what time does kids wake up these days!) I almost turned my bike and headed back home. It might have been the sunny, warm morning, or me being persuaded to learn kick-turns, I still went on a mini. Politely (or more like stupidly making myself lesser) asking would there be space for me  to skate too. Bien sûr those kids said yes. They’re skaters, and during my 1,5 years skating career, I have not met many skaters who do not give me respect and support for trying, even though my skateboarding attempts are not perfect. This happened today too. As you can hear watching the video above with sounds.

The first Friday of March

 

Whilst was busy with this, there was a conversation going on.

” Is that your wife?”

“No, my girlfriend.”

“She is quite good for a beginner of her age.”

**

Crazy Skate Lady is on Vimeo now. Stay tooned – skateboarding videos like you never seen before 😀

I will probably publish some older videos too. To show where my skills are, and for helping to see the development.

Screaming and skateboarding

Weather in last week, as well as the weather forecast for this upcoming week, has not allowed skateboarding, neither have I had a chance to go to any indoor skate park.

Whilst waiting weather to be more suitable for skateboarding, and to have fresh skate stories to tell, here’s one I published about one month ago on my Facebook wall:

“There has been a couple of months break since I’ve been in one of my favourite skateboarding spots (Antwerpen Park Spoor Noord). It all started well. I was able to do all I had learned to do there. Even better, was faster in corners than ever before. All was perfect until  I needed to do a pee (I do not want to give too much information, just saying there’s toilet facilities for boys, but not for girls). After a break I tried another corner, which I have tried before, not very well, but at least somehow. Now I couldn’t do nothing there, it felt too scary.

Unfortunately, that fear stayed with me. I was not able to do what I had done 10 minutes before thinking :”Superfun, this is my favourite place in Belgium.” I was too scared to go down from the bank. Some primary fear hit the brains again and again, forcing me to jump off from the board. I felt like crying, was p****d off, felt like a looser whilst slowly pushing on flat outside of the bowl. Finally sisu (a Finnish term meaning something like stamina. You should google it, veru useful when skateboarding) grew big enough,  and I went back to the smaller bowl, which is in my comfort zone – if that’s a term I can use about me and skateboarding. All went well there, and got courage to go back to the scary bank where the fear had hit me.  And it still did; the primary fear just came back immediately when speed got faster and I jumped off. Untill I discoverd: when fear hits, instead of jumping off from the board, I will scream. After a while screaming and skating, the fear went off, and all was fine again.

Now being safely in my bed,  I am thinking why am I, who has always been a wuss & scared of everything in my 40’s, still want to skateboard…

It is good to face your fear and even better to win it. Tomorrow again if weather allows.”

 

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Some days after the above text was published enjoying much less scary wooden bowl.

 

 

 

This is why skatelady is crazy aka glimpse to my Monday

I work as a freelancer, and to a certain limit, I can fix my own schedules. I worked on Saturday, Sunday was too wet to skate, so I decided Monday morning would be my perfect skating time – miniramp would likely to be empty at that time, and skateboarding would give an energetic start for the new week.

A day started grey, pavements were wet, but the weather forecast said cloudy, not rain. Optimistically, I put the skateboard on the back of my bicycle, and headed off to Vilvoorde. It is a small city just next to Brussels, only about 11 kilometres from where I live. There’s a miniramp under the bridge – that I thought would be wide enough to have kept the miniramp dry. So had I seen it before. Raining, but still nice clean and dry miniramp.

Just when left home, it started to drizzle. Ignored it, and just kept going. After all, there’s a big bridge covering the ramp. Had a tiny worry will the rain be bad for my lovely new cat board. Of course had not covered it, cause it did not rain when left the house…

Got to Vilvoorde. Took even a happy selfie and sent it to dude, to show off how brisk I am: out and about on Monday morning. Then the reality hit: wind blew drizzling rain to every direction and to everywhere, and the miniramp was all wet. Not on selfie mood anymore. Also, cat skateboard was bit damp!

I got obsessed to keep it dry, so started the hunt for a plastic bag, which turned out to be a mission. I was in an industrial area, no usual supermarkets around. First stop was some kind of electrical equipment shop. I can assure you, I looked very different that all the other customers. They were all workmen in their work clothes, and well, I was me: wet hoodie and leggings, wearing helmet, carrying the cat skate board, nose dripping (after all, I had been cycling in the rain quite a while already). Queue were too long,  lost patience, so it was time for stop two: shop for tiles and likes. Very nicely dressed and nice lady advised: “We are not actually a shop for plastic bags.” I got lucky on a third shop (for office supplies) after the language barrier – Dutch/French/English – was sorted out.

Then only needed to head back to Brussels, and for that direction wind was against me.

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It didn’t go much better on Sunday. On my way to see if miniramp in my neighbourhood would have been dry, happened this scandalious incident: dog poop on cat board.

Learning & skateboarding

I missed skating today, as spent most of this  ‘sunny would have been perfect weather to skate’ Saturday indoors teaching kids Finnish language and culture. Happy now to have a blog – a perfect place to do something skateboard related even couldn’t hop on board today. The theme of the day was educational, so will post a list what is my goal in 2017 to achieve with skateboarding.

First something about what I already can do. I mostly skate in skateparks and have developed an obsession on pool / bowl skating. Actually, I am dreaming to become a female Pedro Barros; or at least it helps me sometimes when skating that I imagine I am Pedro Barros, as cool, fast and fearless. All is allowed in love and skateboarding 🙂 I am pretty good with backside carves (that’s when one rides a ‘corner’ of bowl back facing the wall side), but it depends on the bowl, and the new place is always a struggle. Me saying I am pretty good means I feel good, but it looks slow and not very cool.  I can not drop, so it has to be a pool / bowl where I am able to have a speed some other way. I love backside carving, so mostly I am just repeating doing that. I am in the process of learning the frontside carving – that I call pedro or pedroing (it’s just my habit to give own names to things), and can do it somehow if the bowl is easy.

My tick-tacking is poor, but I manage it somehow. Should practice more.

I am okay with fakie turn (on flat). I am ashamed that after this time I still suck with kick-turns. That is something I am determined to practise now everytime when on wheels. After a long-ish pause, I am doing it on miniramp. Yes on miniramp I can ‘swing’ back and forth, but still afraid going to the highest.

I ride things down and up. Pyramids, banks, pumps – it depends on a day how high or fast. Sometimes I am scared of the smallest ones, sometimes I can go SCARY ones with no problem. I know I can do it, my balance is okay. It is just fear that makes me jump off. Annoying.

Another shame is my pushing, the basic skill I am not that great. Well, I’ve been focusing more on taking speed in the bowl, but now with different wheels pushing, as well pumping speed on corners, will be on my list.

Here’s the list dude and me made after new year’s eve. The pink scribble say what I will try to master by the end of 2017.

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Pink is mine obvs, blue dude’s.

After making this list, I discovered old school 1970’s skateboard surfing tricks, and I am so adding those to this list. Not too techincal, not too high or fast – so it is something I should be able to learn. I am dreaming that one day it will be my skateboard style to show off 🙂 Surely will at least write more about that soon.

Speaking about education and showing off, allow me to share this pic from last summer. My PhD graduation took place in Queen Elizabeth Hall (London) just above the famous Southbank skatepark, and I just couldn’t resist sneaking out and asking some skateboarder to borrow his board and to take this snapshot (thank you so much anonymous London skater).

One day I will add videos here, so you’ll see not only read or see still pics of what’s going on. I just need to learn more about blogging and all settings here. Hmm, seems like learning really is a lifelong process.

Also, if you’ll wish me to explain more what the skateboarding terms means, I am happy to. I promise will use the proper names of them.

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Was wearing high heels on that day, and would have been too bad idea to jump on skateboard with those…