Ouch: this is so painfully close to the truth. The idea of having a carefully written out list of tricks to master was no fiction. My hunch is that a lot of people had such things. Their five year plan. Or one month in this case. As usual Gavin was writing about a deeper truth.
I’m also intrigued to find him recommending Siberian Ginseng — far more obscure than the Korean equivalent. Gavin knew a lot about a remarkable range of things, but health supplements for skateboarders as used by Russian athletes? At the time I probably only checked that he wasn’t suggesting something weird and shrugged. Fifteen years later I find myself taking it too and doing a bit of work for a company which sells it. Spooky. Maybe I’d better find out about Juniper body oil as well!
Days 5-7: Wednesday 26th – Friday 28th June Now the regime really starts. For the next three days you’re going to be watching your videos and reading your magazines. You’re going to train your mind. You’re going to analyse each frame. You’re going to write down every trick. You’re going to observe everything those skaters are doing. You’re going to flick through the magazines you bought stopping at every rad trick and working out in your mind just how that was achieved. You’re going to watch each movement on the screen, freeze frame, and mimic it on your bed with your board. Step by tedious step.
You’re going to absorb all that is humanly possible with those fast edit features. You’re going to get inside the heads of these skaters and you’re going to live each trick. You’re going to obtain the brain of a top street skater. The ability will follow.
By the end of the sixth day you should get a pad and write down the twenty best tricks. Then you will number them from 1 to 20 in order of difficulty and split up tricks into their component (ie Ollie-???-???). From the knowledge you’ve gained in the past few days, write instructions by each trick on the ideal way to execute it.
Don’t be tempted to add more tricks: your aim is to win the Münster Street Competition and with a maximum of two minutes for a run you will not need a bigger pool of tricks.
What you are writing will form your schedule for the coming week. At the end of the third day, close the magazines, press ‘”eject’ and say goodbye to your tv. Bed; sweet dreams. You can do it.
Day 8-14: Saturday, 29th June – Friday, 5th July. First thing in the morning go to a health food shop and buy a bottle of Siberian Ginseng capsules and some Juniper body oil. From now on take 3 capsules of Ginseng after your exercise in the morning and rub yourself in the Juniper body oil. This will give your body the stamina and flexibility it requires. Your body will feel good, your mind will be alert, and now it’s time to put theory into practise.
For the next seven days you will be skating from morning to night. Wear as much protection as the skating allows — I know it’s uncool and often unnecessary, but you’ll be trying things you never thought possible, so you will need to be relaxed and confident. You’re going to fall a lot in the next few days: if you fall and don’t hurt yourself the fear factor that holds you back will fade.
Go out and work your way through your trick list starting at 1. Don’t go on to 2 before you have made trick 1 five times in a row. You will spend hours upon hours in the first few days desperately trying to go from, say, trick 7 to trick 8. Something which appeared so simple on video will now seem unachievable. It isn’t: they can do it — and so can you.
Keep going: this is a week of hard work and destiny. Something amazing will happen this week. It may happen on day 4, it may happen on day 6, but it will happen: something will click. Suddenly you’ll find that you’ve got through three or four tricks in a couple of hours. What’s been in your brain for a while now will suddenly transform into what your body’s able to do. Like a rush from the Tao, like a chuckle from the Buddha — synchronisity will occur. You will feel excited, you’ll feel triumphant. Tap this feeling and turn it into strength. You have achieved much.
Now complete the trick-list. Know that it’s not just me telling you that you can do it — you know that you can do it.