lundi 18 juillet 2011

Bruce Walker, 1951-2011 et plus

Je suis tombé sur cette photo de Bruce Walker parue en 1977 dans Skateboarder Magazine.
Je me souviens avoir alors longtemps rêvé devant ce cliché pris à Carlsbad.
Il a d'ailleurs servi de base au graphisme des campagnes de prévention "Skate safe"

Il a publié un long entretien sur Florida skaters en 2001, à l'occasion de ses 50 ans.
Il fut et est encore un skater professionnel actif, un pionnier du longboard, et un acteur majeur du marché du skate et du surf dans les années 70 et 80, avec les marques Walker et Fox.
Il incarne une certaine image du skate de la côte Est, la Floride, éloignée des clichés de la Californie et des Z-boys légendaires.

Bruce, when did you first ride Longboards and what about them grabbed your attention?

 After having ridden short skateboards for over 12 years, I rode a long skateboard for the first time in 1975 in Pensacola, Florida.  The local surf/skate crew had built a solid hardwood longboard that was maybe 45" long and I tried it and loved it.  The ride was very surf-oriented as we skated a hill with multiple banked driveways on both sides of the road that doubled for waves and each provided an opportunity to carve turns and bert slides.  I enjoyed it so much that I've been primarily riding longboards ever since. After Pensacola, I went back to our Melbourne Beach factory and immediately started manufacturing and selling 36", 42" and 48" longboards.  

Why do you think there's a resurgence of Longboards amongst the public?

 The concept of a skateboard as transportation to check the surf is ruling the day and longboards are perfect for that.  Generally, the mass population of people on earth will shy away from high-performance skateboarding because they are intimidated by it and deem themselves to be unqualified to be busting out big moves.  In the past, the easiest path was to not skate at all.  That way a person didn't subject themselves to possible criticism from their peers for not being very good at skateboarding.  That's changed a lot now that it's become cool to just cruise on a skateboard with big, soft wheels, primarily for transportation.  When you're riding a flat pintail longboard with no kicktail, nobody expects you to perform, so that let's everyone off the hook. Everyone's doing it now because anyone can do it and fit right in. 

J'ai aimé la pertinence de son propos pour décrire 40 ans de skate:


Raw, primitive skate equipment never gets out of the “toy” stage.  It’s all about surfing on land.  Everyone skates barefoot because grip tape is not yet invented.  Makaha Skateboards, Torger Johnson, Bruce Logan, John Freis, Davey Hilton, Soda cans as Slalom Cones, Nose Wheelies, Headstands, etc . . .     


The introduction of urethane wheels and the birth of today’s skateboard industry.  Marine boat deck grip used on skateboards for the first time which gives way to Foot Tred, the first skateboard grip tape company.  Kicktails replace flat decks.  Bennett Trucks are number one despite broken base plates but the company can’t ship product so they’re barely available anyway.  Loose bearings give way to precision bearings.  Solid hardwood and fiberglass decks give way to maple ply construction.  The first skatepark era is born.  First use of curved plywood ramps.  First half-pipes shaped like a U with no flat bottom.  Lazer introduces the first wide truck, which allows decks to go wide.  Narrow boards disappear almost overnight and many skate shops take a financial hit because they have all narrow boards in stock that they can no longer sell.   Decks average 10” wide and peak out around 12”.  Greg Weaver, Jay Adams, Tony Alva, Henry Hester, Mike Weed, Tom Sims, Jim McCall, Wally Inouye, Stacy Peralta, Kelly Lynn, Steve Olson, Alan Gelfand, Mike Folmer, Shogo Kubo, Ray Bones, Nose Guards, Tail Skids, Frontside Air, Hand Plants, Inverts, the Ollie, Copers, Clyde Slides, Lappers, Shorts that are too short, etc . . .                    


Recession sets in early.  Parks closed & dozed.  Skate shops bite the dust everywhere.   Most skate manufacturers out of business.  You can count all the companies that survive on just two hands.  Reagan era tax cuts create huge financial boom and skateboarding is on the rise again in a very big way.  Steve Olson, Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero, Shawn Peddie, Jeff Phillips, Gator Mark Anthony, Rodney Mullen, Matt Hensley, Buck Smith, Christian Hosoi, Eric Dressen, Blaize Blouin, Ollie Kickflips, Ollie Impossibles, Ollie Everything, Freestyle, Streetstyle, Launch Ramps, Lip Tricks, Vert, Kick Noses, The Nightmare, etc . . .         


Recession sets in early once again.  Yet another skate industry shakeout.  This time it’s not as bad as a decade earlier.  More companies survive this time and skateboarding slowly and surely gets back to good health.  Sector 9 starts their longboard company.  After 20 years, Longboarding finally takes off.  Short decks go narrow again.  Freestyle boards now called Street boards.  Freestyle tricks now called Street Skating.  The term “Freestyle” vanishes entirely.  Vert gone from the scene as well but re-emerges later in the decade.  Tony Hawk and Rodney Mullen continue to rule yet another era.  Mike Vallely, Salman Agah, John Cardiel, Omar Hassan, Brian Howard, Felix Arguelles, Sean Sheffey, Mike Frazier, Ed Templeton, Spitfire, Rail Slides, Busted Balls, etc . . .                    


Tony Hawk is still the boss.  Skatepark construction explodes across the country and the world.  Higher ratio of city-owned skateparks to privately owned parks.  Freestyle skateboarding re-emerges in a dark San Francisco warehouse followed by a flurry of freestyle events worldwide.  Andrew Reynolds, Geoff Rowley, Bob Burnquist, Arto Saari, Rune Glifberg, Remy Stratton, Bam Margera, Bucky Lasek, Technical Skating, Everything Switchfoot, CKY, etc . . .   The rest of the decade has yet to be written . .

J'ai apprécié ses définitions rapides, comme son analyse de l'impact de l'âge sur la pratique régulière du skate.
Il a aujourd'hui 60 ans.

What attracted you to skateboarding?

The speed.  The wind in my face.  In my initial experience it was easy to balance and stay on, but with increasing acceleration down the hill it was hell figuring out how to stop or end the ride.  We would just jump off and try to run it out in our bare feet.  Turning was not an option on steel wheels.  In fact nothing was an option on steel wheels except simply hanging on and hoping for the best.   

 Do you still get to skate and surf much?

Yes, although not like when I was a kid.  I’ve been riding skateboards consistently for the past 38 years, throughout all three skateboard industry crashes.  Each time, the “fad” was supposedly over.  My friends & I would just laugh at the stupidity.  How can you stop skateboarding?  I think most of us know that you can’t really stop once you become a skater.  I was stalled out once for 10 months in 1968 though, because my Super Surfer trucks broke and I faced the grim reality that there were no longer any skateboard companies or products available.  I finally found a toy distributor that had skateboards leftover from the 60’s, stashed in the back warehouse collecting dust.  I bought an assembled Super Surfer with hard clay wheels for $4.95 and an assembled, laminated Hobie for $7.95 and I was back riding again.

Surfing and skateboarding at an older age has more to do with management of your body than anything else, since you can’t just go full blast like when you were a youth.  The responsibilities of adulthood limit your exposure as well, although that can be a good thing as far as saving your body for later use.  The importance of doing stretches before a session becomes paramount along with limiting how long your session lasts.  For example, my brain will want to skate for 3-6 hours at a time but my body can really only handle 1 hour sessions without feeling it heavily later.  So I manage and limit my sessions so I can live to skate another day.  I probably skate one to two times per week.

ainsi que sur coping block. 

Le modèle le plus connu des Walker Skateboards
the Nightmare modèle Mark Lake - 1986
et le Nightmare II en 1988
Considéré comme sublime ou grotesque, freudien ou inspiré...
Lisez ici l'analyse de Sean Cliver sur ces formes exotiques.

 Mark Lake en action en 1986:

2 commentaires:

Mimosa a dit…

Merci pour ce superbe article.
Je suis toujours friand d'information sur les pionniers du longboard.

PS : Le lien vers l'entretien complet ne fonctionne pas

Bevilacqua a dit…

Bruce Walker est aussi un personnage de BD de William Vance, mais c'est une autre histoire.

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