Published in Onboard Magazine Issue 121, March 2011
Words: Danny Burrows
It’s 4.40 in the morning and I’m hanging off the side of my bed feeding words into my laptop having been shaken from sleep by one of those ‘eureka’ moments. This revelation relates to the response that those with a vested interest in your wellbeing habitually say when tell them you’re going for a ride: “Be careful". Well here it is: I hate that phrase. It’s prophetic. It’s the sharp stone under a skate wheel, tripping that state of instinctive reflex that is the essence of any session that you would define as RAD. You know the ones I mean; Riding without thinking. Carefree not careful. It’s being in the flow, not expending energy contemplating the things that may go wrong. Careful creates hesitation. Hesitation causes slams.
So next time you’re heading out the door with a deck and someone sees you off with a well-meaning “be…", stop them, policeman like, with a raised palm and Spockish stare and insert “carefree" into their kind but misguided farewell. They may think you a little odd but you’ve taken the first positive step into what will be an amazing day. You’ll be in the flow.
I know, it all sound a little soul-surferish, a descriptive that sends a mixed charge of dread and venom down my spin – but the “fl ow" doesn’t have to be a cross-legged, patchouli oiled experience it can be as punk as you like. Think talking in tongues rather than a monotonous ‘ommm’ and it implies mini-shredding rather than dreads and no-board turns. Anyway, whichever channel you’re tuned in to you’ve got to be in that carefree state; instinctive refl ex rather than contrived action.
If you are reading this and thinking to yourself, “what the hell is he going on about?" then I apologise: it’s now past five and I’m trying hard to exorcise this brainstorm otherwise I may as well get up and rattle around the house for the next four hours until the sun’s up. The truth is I wouldn’t be rattling either, I would be limping. Yup, I was careful; I borrowed someone else’s deck while skating, a Duane Peters, to be precise, and disturbed the fl ow of a perfectly good skate. Was it the hesitation of being unsure about the steed under my feet that led to my limp or just bad luck? In a snowboarding context I dropped without that last ratchet of my straps or some other miniscule action that as a key to THE ZONE. Funnily enough, thinking about it, writing has to be done in that state too. Screw English lessons and their rules which cause you to hesitate and stammer through your thoughts. Carefree not careful. Let spell check pick up the pieces in the morning.
Well, I really want to get back to sleep now although I am worried that this whole “speaking in tongues" that I am doing will read like Jabberwocky. But go out it will, otherwise next Monday I will just sit in the office staring at the falling snow and cussing the hesitation or being careful as the rest of my compadres are out at the Shops First Try testing boards.
Ride on – I am going back to sleep
POST NOTE: This is the last issue of the 10/11 season and as such we would just like to thank all those riders, photographers and writers who have contributed to you the readers pleasure this season. Hope you enjoy this issue with its forays into the snow-filled concrete jungles of Poland and Japan (don’t ask), the wilds of Turkey, the minds of our main interviewee Elias Elhardt and Freshman Gjermund Braaten – here’s wishing him well in mending that shoulder – and all its other butt slappingly good content. Enjoy!