Inline skating: part two

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Area51 is yet another reason I'm glad I chose Eindhoven to study: it's one of the biggest skate parks of the Netherlands. As my Board year progresses, I've realised more and more what value it has to me. When I'm skating there, time doesn't exist until the park closes. These are some of the rare moments I don't think of all the things I still need to do.


Lately, I've been focussing more on this subgenre called "aggressive skating", which includes doing tricks in halfpipes, jumping over things, sliding over rails and ledges with your frames (called grinding), and other obstacles scattered all across the park. Why it's called "aggressive" became fairly obvious to me when I tried to grind a low rail once, but my foot slipped and the rail grinded my shin instead. As soon as the sutures were removed, I got myself a pair of shin guards of course. Sadly, not all injuries can be prevented by buying more guards, otherwise I would look like a fully armed medieval knight by now. 


The thing about aggressive skating that attracts me, is the fact that it is just as much a mental as a physical sport. Nine out of ten times, the reason I haven't mastered something yet is not because I don't know how, but because I don't dare to try it yet. Unlike when you are skateboarding, you can't just "jump off your board" when something is about to go wrong. Once you drop in to do a trick, you'll have to completely go for it, or prepare for the impact of falling. Luckily there are often intermediate steps you can take before you try something new, such as trying something at a lower speed or a lower but similair obstacle first. This makes the mental barrier a little smaller, but it's still there.


Fortunately, the name "aggressive" has absolutely nothing to do with the ambiance there. Yes, it might be slightly intimidating when other people are doing double backflips and 720's while you are still learning to make a simple turn in a half pipe, but as it turns out, everyone is far more likely to give you tips and help you out than judge you. Sometimes, complete strangers will even go out of their way of their own routine, and take time to show me how I should do something, analyse how I could improve, or help me think of intermediate steps to help me overcome a (mental) barrier. And in turn, I've spent quite some time helping out other people and teaching them the basics of a half pipe. If you want to see what I learned some time ago, take a look at the Instagram video!


As you might guess, I've looked into organising a "Thor goes skating" activity, but I haven't found any place yet to rent skates cheaply (not even Area51!). Nevertheless, I've gathered quite a large group of people here who have got some old skates lying around somewhere and wanted to try them again one day, with whom I go skating in Area51 or through Eindhoven from time to time. Soooo…. If you happen to be interested in learning tricks or joining us on a skating trip when the sun starts shining again, send me a message and I'll add you to the "SkaThors" group!


Renate Debets

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