Slalom was hijacked...........

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George Gould
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Post by George Gould » Wed Feb 05, 2003 3:25 pm

Gary may be right. not long ago I had a conversation with another midpack guy who does seem to think this is it. if it is so what? i am truly sorry that some of you aren't getting rich off it. i mean that because some of you are fine atheletes and good companies and deserve more. but just like wooden boats are still being built and vinyl is still being played on turntables we may continue to exist in a small venue. there are still albums being pressed you gotta look for em. the sound is argued among audiofiles as being better than cd. but i digress. i hope slalom grows but if it don't we can still race. i would like another year on El Fuerte, i would like to see Morro Bay so i congradulate the FCR guys and anybody else busting their ass to try. since i started racing L/C 01 life has gotten a lot more fun and interesting. and perhaps in keeping that perspective it will grow one rider/racer at a time.

John Gilmour
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Post by John Gilmour » Wed Feb 05, 2003 5:51 pm

vinyl kicks ass over CD. Tone, harmonal richness, soul, but only when played through a great front end.

I had a Wadia 860 which really did the best it could for the 44.1K red book standard. Still great Vinyl....kills great CD. Don't believe me.....get educated.

In a sense now we are fringe enthusiasts like audiophiles who were once the audio mainstream as they converted their tube amplifiers from WW2 into home rig hi-fi's.

So if you understand that our slalom was left for dead without any media support and that slalom will always be considered a nearly "non skateboard sub set" of skateboarding, then you may come to terms with the fact that Slalom will never get anymore than marginal media coverage ever from the traditional skateboard press. I would say we would be lucky to get 4 pages out of every 5000.

So in that regard it is likely we are wasting our time trying to get slalom into traditional skateboard media. It can be done, has been done recently, but I just doubt it will do much to help the sport.

NOW a few well written articles sent into the Local Sports freebie giveaway papers would help the sport massively.

There are a few of these freebie papers in nearly every metro area. In Boston and NYC it's Metrosports. I don't know what they call them in DC or CO or CA but they are there.

We need to have a few courses set regularly in these metro areas, post "slalom scheduled times" in the free papers and follow with a few articles about the sport and some announcement about local competitions.

That is the way to get this ball rolling.

But of course FIRST we need good course areas. And no you won't getsome new guy to start out roaring at 25 mph down a hill. You need flatter areas running simpler courses and tech tight. Then you take the newbies to the bigger hills.

Names came to mind.

STREET RACING (sounded dangerous)
POOR MAN'S FORMULA 1 (could be more positive)
URBAN RACING (Sounds dark and dirty)
METROPOLITAN RACING
METRO RACING
CITY LIMITS

Slalom skateboarding hasn't been a great moniker for our sport. Few know what slalom is.

George Gould
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Post by George Gould » Wed Feb 05, 2003 6:16 pm

John were on the same page, AR/Grado Gold Bryston and some tubes too! i like Urban Racing, the underground sounds good. when i have taken out youngsters it has been on very limited hills. some of the louder mouths i have maybe taken out for a scare, go for it dude! maybe slalom can support limited growth. maybe some exclusivity keeeps it kind of special. one kid i showed my Ick to likes to drool over it like a Ferrari, he won't ride it as to him it is like sacred. he likes to look at it hold it and watch Mollicas videos and he does want to try some slalom when he gets a chance. i still think the media has hi jacked slalom, just like they did vinyl when they stated cd's were perfect sound forever... look hard and publications like the Absolute Sound exist just like this board and the NCDSA.

Howard Gordon
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Post by Howard Gordon » Wed Feb 05, 2003 7:44 pm

Hey John - you might want to check your statistics on slalom injuries. Surgery or casts last year - Don O'Shei, Jack Smith, Brent Kosick, Tiger Williams, Steven King, Sasha LaRochelle (broken arm at Avila), Marvin Kory, Alan Sidlo, Dave Hackett, Floyd Reid, Slappy Maxwell ... just off the top of my head. The percentage of injuries is actually higher than any other sport I can think of. So safety is perhaps not the best argument for the appeal of slalom.

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Post by John Gilmour » Wed Feb 05, 2003 9:33 pm

I realize there were a lot of injuries but I would think most of them were related to things like the surface quality and the course setting.

Since we used one course a few gates were likely too extreme for some newer participants and because the course was relatively easy for the faster guys they were hitting offsets at pretty high speeds causing slide outs.

Jack's injury was a unusual occurance and I doubt we'll see that type of injury happening again. Don's injury was not related to slalom as it was from stopping. A good runout might have helped.

Floyd slid out- likely because of the use of the wax pencils used to mark the course which made the course progressively more slippery. Which I think also contributed to Slappy, and Brian Parson's falls.

I've been setting courses now for a very long time and IMHO there is a direct correllation between safety and the surface. If a course is set such that the traction will be exceeded for a speed within the releam of the riders....there will be slide outs and falls. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Falls add color and excitement on film... but when you are there and see someone you know fall...you just get this sick feeling in the pit of your stomach for that person until he moves and motions that he is alright. This to me is not excitement nor good entertainment.

For a well set course on a good surface there are almost no falls and no injuries. Chris Stepanek would be a good example of a person who typically slaloms within his limits on good surface. The only time I saw him fall was at Da farm 2 and it was against his better judgement to run on a damp surface ...which we should not have. (I set the courses at Da farm 2 and had to consider not to exceed the traction-speed thing...even so we still pulled difficulty out of the course after I set it. The courses were difficult/challenging, but well within a safe margain.

I have seen people fall on my slalom courses, but for the most part they just get right back up- at most a small abrasion. I have never had any head injuries...nor even have someone hit their head. And certainly no broken bones.

The problems arise when a course is set that exceeds the traction-speed possible. Or when a skater is asked to do something well out of the skaters ability level.

For example at MB 2002 slalom the surface did not have great traction, but the course was set well within the traction-speed possibilities for the participants. It's likely there may have been a fall, but any injuries?

A good surface that is clean and free of imperfections goes a long way to reducing injuries and accidents. A course set within the limits of traction and speed also reduces the likelyhood of accidents.

Bad surfaces have the wheel abruptly breaking traction and pulling it back in is not an easy task at speed. Having a large soft wide wheel does not prevent this from happening and sometimes traction will break away in a less controlled fashion with a taller wheel. IMHO Nothing replaces a good surface.

A good surface allows you to add challenge/difficulty/thrill without adding danger.

In this case you are not worried about falling... a DQ perhaps or having to criddle, but not injury.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: John Gilmour on 2003-02-05 15:35 ]</font>

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Post by Eric Groff » Thu Feb 06, 2003 3:34 am

John-I guess all the FCR courses last year were Begineer courses because the surface was so bad that they had to set easy courses?

John Wrote:"I realize there were a lot of injuries but I would think most of them were related to things like the surface quality and the course setting."

Your comments and backpedaling about what a course is and isnt is getting pretty funny, A pro should beable to run any course I thought?
so if there is an offset cone that is set on a bad surface and injurys keep happening because it is set to far off the falline. What should happen to that cone?
The kids and girls can make that cone just fine, but the pros seem to be going to fast and cant make the cone, and keep DQing and getting hurt, What type of course is this?

Add Joe Woodman, Vinnie Lopez, Bobby Boyden, Sean Mallard to the list of injurys

Whats a Pro Course John
Whats a Childrens course John

All the Pros and Children want to know.

George Gould
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Post by George Gould » Thu Feb 06, 2003 3:19 pm

i am not John, but i would change the cone... it seems obvious, but i know that isn't what happened. sometimes a course wants a better line, i almost wonder why (it wasn't done), who cares if the course is made easier and or more fun when you are racing a clock or another person and a cone is changed for everyone. i hear it all the time if a person is a pro they ought to be able to make it.... i also believe there can be course made that no rider can make or enjoy making. i want to race not an obstacle course. my statement has nothing to due with my performance i was on a learning curve and i learned a lot, but i believe i get the gist of this course arguement.

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Post by John Gilmour » Thu Feb 06, 2003 3:59 pm

Arab...If I set a course where the kids are going slow through it and there is a cone Way way out of place, such as in some courses we have seen, all the pros will push that cone to the limit of a slide. A bunch will fall.

So the kids can't generate enough speed to slide out yet the pros can.

The course is a "good course for kids". Not for pros.

A course should be set with the surface in mind as well as the speed of the fastest riders going through it.


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: John Gilmour on 2003-02-06 10:20 ]</font>

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Post by Brian Morris » Thu Feb 06, 2003 5:50 pm

I know I'm not pro, and pretty far from it, but add me in on that list on injuries. I know me breaking my femur really didn't do any good for skateboarding in my area. Living in a small town EVERYBODY knew about it really quick, so I have a funny feeling when I mention the word slalom to the town council, their first comment will be, oh that thing you broke your femur doing?? I don't think low injury rate is a good reason to start any sport, because as soon as you say that you get jinxed.

TheBrain

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Post by Vlad Popov » Thu Feb 06, 2003 6:05 pm

Banked slalom is no slalom. It’s banked slalom. Two different differences.

Injury rate and skill progression rate lines eventually cross. It’s good to be to the right of the crossing.

The higher you are the further you fall. Protection can do so much.

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Post by Vlad Popov » Fri Feb 07, 2003 12:54 am

Slalom is an essential kind of skateboarding.
Life begins withImage slalom.
TNC media monsters hijacked slalom.
There parts of the web that are immune to their business.
Slalom is surviving because of the web.
As the web (accessibility) grows on a global level, so will slalom.
We only need to water the seed that has survived.
With the "gardeners" like John, Andy, Jani, Jack, Brian, Adam and many others, slalom and slalom! will slalom into the future.

Slalom Israel! (or was it Shalom Israel?)

George Gould
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Post by George Gould » Mon Feb 10, 2003 5:27 pm

last night i re-assembled the board i rode at La Costa 2001. it was a Comet Don O stiff (the last one solid skate had in Sept 2001, i couldn't buy a Cross they were out with no know re-supply date) Indy 101's (Bones blues front, Indy reds rear from longskater) G&S wheels from Poolskater, Bones bearings from SideWalk Surfer Phoenix. when Henry announced the race at La Costa i didn't even know Morro had happened. i was reading the NCDSA months prior and logged on when a guy tried to buy all my old skateboard stuff and i didn't know the value...LOL now I kept it all a stack of SkateBoarder mags hahahaha... at any rate it was a freakin search just to find that slalom stuff then. now i look around, i never saw a ROE until La Costa that year. i couldn't believe how light it was. today sitting next to my new Ick Stick, a tricked out Cross fat ass, and with new Tracker Trucks all kinds of wheels. Howard was selling Turner La Costa wheels out of a box on the hill. i paid poolskater and picked em up from Howard that fri night. nobody new anybody, the Knuckleheads were there in force, dave gale and Arab were friendly ..ROFL.. we have come a long way. these little seeds have stayed in contact, put on a great racing season, got a couple of websites. man look at the new equipemnt, PVD's, Trackers, ROE, Ick, Turner, G&S, Bahne, Abec 11, at least four competetive bearings, new bushings the list grows everyday. so maybe things are getting better.

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Post by Don O'Shei » Fri May 02, 2003 7:40 pm

John Gilmour said:

Don's injury was not related to slalom as it was from stopping. A good runout might have helped.

My injury had nothing to do with stopping and was totally related to slalom. I have no idea what John is talking about but I hope his facts are more accurate on other things.

Don O'Shei

-jg
my apologies Don- I had heard it was caused during a footdrag. I did not realize it was from a wipeout in the course.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: John Gilmour on 2003-08-06 13:22 ]</font>

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Post by Brad Odland » Wed Aug 06, 2003 8:39 pm

Very interesting thread. My long reply....

I have to relate to you my story and why I have managed to hang onto my slalom board all these years and have recently returned to active skating. Including ramp, slalom and surfstyle flatland.

First let me do some background. I am from the midwest and skating for me was multi-diciplined. My friends and I all practiced flatland freestyle, rode pools (we found one concrete kidney pool that we could ride in) and I did slalom. I was was drawn to slalom and bought a rig because it was much like DH skiing which I was just getting into at the time too. I used the board for many years as a method of pre-season training for skiing. I used a parallel stance for training and used rubber tipped ski poles. The sliding & gliding sports have always been good to me over the years.

THis year my daughter turned 13 and a new skatepark opened up three blocks from our house. My daughter learned to ride on my slalom board and when she was able to stay on it and was comfortable I said we would buy her a quality board. Which I did.

We used to skate in the underground garage in our apartment complex befroe we moved and and I showed her that skatebaording is not just about the ollie. It is about staying on the board and manuvering around the pillers of the garage with as few of dabs as possible as fast as possible. It is about using the skills you have and flow and be creative.

Shortly after we saw Dogtown and Z- Boys and she said..."that's you dad..." and I thought yeah alot of that is (and was) me. (Not as good as they were mind you..)

WI went to the grand opening of the public skate park this summer and brought my Hobie-Flex cutaway with gullwing HPG IV and hobie XX's. The kids were all amazed. Many have never seen "old school" surfer moves outside of the Dogtown video or those huge red-orange wheels. It caused quite a buzz.

They would get on my slalom board and discovered a whole new way to relate to the pavement. All in all the kids think it is pretty cool that they have an "old schooler" at the park. One kid I saw the other day had a long board and was crusing around on it dowing some low tight carving turns...

I bought my daughter a newer deck and wheels and she got some new trucks (new-school steet board) So I got her older street board. I use it on the 1/4 pipes at the skatepark. (very small park) 2 1/4 pipes and a fun box.

My daughter hangs at the park all day nearly. She is the only girl that can ollie, drop in and heel-flip. She is pretty amazing. I told her that to really get good and separate yourself from other skaters you have to learn some old-school techniques.

So she now shares a dream I once had at her age...Pro Skater...

Why was slalom highjacked? Probably poor promotion and insurance cost in the early 80's. Whatever the case now the kids who have started skating at 7 and 8 are now pre-teens and they are the ones who need to be convinced that skateboarding is a lifetime sport. To me slalom was the more advanced and "adult" dicispline. It is up to us 40 somethings now to make sure that the kids realize you aren't a complete skater until you are competent in all aspects of skating.

Most kids have just one now. they need more choices and they thrive on competition.

Hey I can slalom, turn and do berts, kickflips, 360,s, nose wheelies, rock and roll on ramps most of these kids can only grind a rail and ollie. They can't even do a backside 180 or a fakie 360...

I think for slalom to grow into the future is to make sure these kids know that to be a solid skater requires getting to know all the aspects of the sport and that includes slalom. Slalom got highjacked by those of us who turned inward and skated for other reasons or put the board up in the garage for years....(both of which I am guilty of)

I feel as though I never really quit skating as I still would drag the board out and take a trip around the block every so often...

Now I see other graceful and chubby slalom skaters and I want to fly out and allow you the opportunity to read the back of my t-shirt on the race cource...(as you pass me..haha)

Need to invest in some new equipment first...the Hobie is going to end up on the wall soon....






<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Brad Odland on 2003-08-07 13:47 ]</font>

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Post by John Gilmour » Thu Aug 07, 2003 6:03 pm

We hooked another one!

Well, I think we may have topped out in terms of unearthing newer skaters. We had a fast growth rate (dig up rate) initally.

I picked up a copy of Metrosports today. I paged through it. Talk of triathalons, bike races, running, mountain biking, kyacking, swimming- a little Inline skating.

No Skateboarding...and no slalom.

Well I can see that for some disciplines of skateboarding...contests aren't all that needed.

Certainly for Vert the person you compete against is mostly yourself. Sessioning with freinds is always good- but you really don't burn out sessioning withthe same group of guys. Slalom is a little different. You practice with the same group of guys....but you really want to travel to race new people.

For slalom- when the contest coverage stopped- people far away stopped practicing. When the contests stopped- people after a while felt like they had no reason to slalom... a few might do it for exercise..but many stopped.

Slalom is all about competition.

So perhaps what we really need are more grass roots events. We need coverage in teh local freebie sports mags...not necessarily some televised event 1000's of miles away...but a place where people can go an compete and know that they can travel to other places to compete easily.

For instance...in this totally hypothetical scenario.

Lets say slalom practice spots existed in towns near me.

On different nights.
Mondays slalom in Boston
Tuesday Slalom in Wellesley
Wednesday Slalom in Cohassett
Thursday Slalom in Hyannis


well I might just mostly slalom at the spot closest to me...but I certainly would drive the 20 miles to slalom at one of the other spots to race new people.

Even if the slalom practice was like only the first and third Monday for Boston, The 2nd and 4th Tuesday for Wellesley, etc...

I guess we need more regular practice spots. And not to always use the same spot for fear of "burning it out" .

So (to everyone) if you were to announce regular practice spots...do you have any? Would it be so bad to just choose 1 weekday evening a week for a spot?

Lets say I chose to slalom every Tuesday. I picked two spots. The Boston Common 1st and 3rd Tuesdays, and The Arnold Arboretum (a more advanced spot) ever 2nd and 4th Tuesdays.

Then any passersby skaters that saw me at either spot would learn that I also had another spot to skate at.

We won't ever regain control of the hijacked plane- but we might just take off out of the back of the plane with our deltawing packs.

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Post by Howard Gordon » Sat Aug 09, 2003 4:24 am

Lack of top level competitions this year in the US has certainly seemed to slow things down, but in fact, I think we've participated in more races this season than last because of the mini-series that have emerged or continued - e.g. JPL, WLAC, Mid-Town Racing (SF Bay area). These events have been more like grass roots racing, though perhaps at a higher skill level, with 20-30 entries as the norm, kids classes, womens classes, and entry fees in the range of $5-$25. The availability of affordable timers and cones should encourage continued development of these types of events.

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Post by Jani Soderhall » Mon Aug 11, 2003 1:20 pm

In a way the smaller races may be more beneficial to the development of slalom racing than the high level pro races - strangely enough. But if you want to encourage a new skater to come along, for sure he won't be tempted to enter a Pro race, but when he sees a bunch of guys just having fun he might likely be tempted to try it out.

At the same time if there are no Pro races there's not going to be any grass roots events either (no media attention, no equipment, nothing to look up to).

The cool thing right now is that we have both. There might have beeb less Pro races in the FCR series this year, but they're as important. The US is also doing fine on the grass roots level. I can't keep up with all your races and this is only the beginning. There is a lot more potential!

Europe is taking its first steps in terms of race development which could turn into a Pro series for next year, and so far the races that have been great in terms of encouragement of new skaters and also for bringing out a few of the old guys.

A good mix of small, medium and top level races is what we need.

Or ...

A good mix of local, regional, national and international races is what we need. When you start feeling comfortable at one level it is time to take the next step and meet new challenges!

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