Words by Andy Cazares
Photo by Nick Jones
Every trick we do has its struggle.
Some tricks come out effortless. Others do not pan out at all, almost to a point where you question life. Yet we continue to keep going so we can taste that victory in the end of the road, boy is it sweet after going through so much for it.
One of the toughest tricks I slaved on was a regular boardslide. I remember my first attempt was in my backyard with a little flat bar at its lowest setting. I spent about 3 hours just rolling up to it, but every time I did, I felt like I was going do it but, no dice. I couldn't help it, I was scared. What kept me going was the fact that I couldn't do it. I hate that I can't do something. I went back home defeated and upset. As I was going inside my house I'd look at my rail give it the "I'm watching you" jester and muttered under my lip,"come tomorrow your ass is mine." Slowly but surely the board finally turned ninety degrees, but I only have one foot on the board as it was sliding across and the other foot on the ground, that went on for weeks.
It was very frustrating, pretty much a "I hate everyone" frustrated. It all boiled down to the fact that I wasn't learning how to boardslide. I was learning to unblock my mind, embrace the fear, and learn to use the fear at the perfect moment. These types of thoughts would run through my mind after I'd mindlessly throw my board to the ground out of frustration. To end that frustration, I'd see the nose of my board smashed in on the side so bye bye nollie tricks. One day, I finally had both feet on my board at a ninety degree angle on the flat bar which felt like letting go of your breathe after you've held it in forever. But the frustration still lived on in another form. I hope this next sentence makes sense... Yes both my feet were on the board in a boardslide position, but I only slid a little and stalled out on my back trucks so every time I did that, you'd hear the screeching on the ground from my wheels. To end that off, I'd fall forward. (yeah that kinda made sense) Anyways that went on for awhile, which at this point I thought to myself out of frustration," dude you have to stop being a little bitch". Then I would think to myself after the frustration settled, " I am not a bitch. I'm progressing. Impossible just turned into possible". I continued with little confidence of whatever positivity I had left. I remember the day I was finally sliding, "letting the breath go feelings" all over again. Yeah I'd bail safely after I slid but hey, I was close. Towards the end of that day, I was aiming to land and sweat, blood, and tears went into the last attempts only to finally commit then immediately falling backwards. My back matched up with the flat bar and the back of my head also took a nifty smack. What a way to bring my hype from 100 to shit. The shit feeling only lasted like 5 minutes though.
As I was laying down in pain that night, I realized I had a cool character trait. I can live with busting my ass and failing rather then failing because I punk'd out. I fell asleep that night feeling like a winner. It was probably a week after the fall, I was still shaken up so I moved my rail inside my garage. It wasn't too big but it was empty enough. Then the weirdest thing happen.
I landed a boardslide. Yes you read that right. I wasn't really on a commit mode, nor was I really ready to skate just yet and boom, I slid a little bit. Maybe like about 6 inches of slide and then immediately 90 degrees back onto the ground. Now I know what you're thinking, I was probably feeling like a million dollars, I was at the top of the world, I won... Well I did feel that afterwards but my first initial thought was ,"... What the fuck.." "Really?". "Now I can get them?". "Where the HELL were you a few months ago??" ...and all of that work only to get that much slide? To put it simply I felt ripped off, but then again I like to perfect tricks.
With that being said I tried them a few more times in my garage and I landed them like 10 times in a row. I felt so confident, I raised the flat bar on the second level. Not only I had them perfect, they felt waaaaay better at a higher level. Minutes later I set the flat bar at it's highest level which was pretty tall. That is where the challenge was; It took me maybe like 20 tries only to land a sketchy slide. I felt confident enough to take it out the backyard only to find out that the boardslides feel a whole lot better with speed. The trick fairy really laid her magic on me that day. To make it more interesting I realized that I could slide half the rail.
Just recently I was looking through my old stack of broken boards. I noticed my boards showed my boardslide progress through the scratches on them. Almost all those boards were the Zero single skull deck so it made it looked cooler. One of the boards only had scratches on the top left side of the board. I was barely learning the trick at the time. You could see the scratch marks slowly shift from the top corner to smack middle of the Zero skull as you go through the boards one by one. I love boardslides. I sucked at it and I failed at it a lot, I punk'd out on it, I busted my ass on it, I've hurt myself on it a lot. I slaved on it and I am going to continue to slave on it until the good lord takes me home.