Ever do something perfectly in practice, only to have it blow up as soon as you try it when it really counts? This little phenomenon sends skaters to the hospital on a regular basis, mainly because controlled environments usually can’t evoke the depths of human responses. Under pressure, our more animal underpinnings can short-circuit anything, which is why skaters spend as many hours conditioning instinctual reactions— according to their distinct nature— as they do learning complex movements. By delving into this layered approach, we’ll be better equipped to handle the unexpected and stay in one piece.
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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