The essence of modern skating is learning tricks that couple with specific terrain. Activision’s video game franchise testifies to the nearly endless possibilities. Rodney Mullen offers a nuanced look at how skaters nudge the endpoints of disparate submovements to create new combinations that may shine a different light on ideas in machine learning—plus it’s a lot of fun.
Rodney Mullen is widely considered the most influential skateboarder in the history of the skateboarding. Despite Alan Gelfand’s justifiable fame for inventing the ollie air (primarily a vert or pool-oriented trick), Rodney is responsible for the invention and development of the street ollie. The ability to pop the board off of the ground and land back on the board while moving has quite likely been the most significant development in modern skateboarding. This invention alone would rank Mullen the most important skateboarder of all time. The majority of ollie and flip tricks he invented throughout the 1980s, including the flatground ollie, the kickflip, the heelflip, and the 360 flip, are now fundamental aspects of modern vertical and street skateboarding. Rodney’s career highlights include winning nearly 30 contests as a child, skating for the Powell-Peralta Bones Brigade, and founding World Industries and the Almost skateboarding company. He has been featured in numerous videos, including Bones Brigade videos, the 1988 film Gleaming the Cube, alongside actor Christian Slater, World Industries’ Rubbish Heap, Plan B’s Questionable, Virtual Reality, and Second Hand Smoke, the Rodney Mullen vs. Daewon Song series, Globe Opinion, and Almost: Round Three. In 2002, Rodney won the Transworld Reader’s Choice Award for Skater of the Year. He is the author of The Mutt: How to Skateboard and Not Kill Yourself.
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