Posts Tagged ‘Tony Hawk’

A few days ago, Activision released an update for the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2. Although I haven’t had the chance to enjoy the game, I’ve been thinking about how the remaster has changed in ways that the skateboarding community—and the world—has changed. You can see it in the new skaters added to the roster: there are more women and POC, and we have the first non-binary skater, Leo Baker, who was able to work with the game developers to change their name. None of these additions are tokens either; they’re all some of the best.

Tony Hawk himself epitomized the more socially aware attitude in announcing that the mute grab will be renamed for its pioneer, who was deaf and not mute. As he indicated in his post, he listened to advocate/skater Darrin de la O and decided the game would be a great platform for change. Tony could have started using “Weddle grab” while announcing for a contest, but aside from X Games, they don’t have the reach that THPS does. Plus, the game allows for repetition on a level that can’t be replicated in real life skate commentary.

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For nearly 40 years, we’ve shamelessly referred to this trick as the “mute” air/grab. Here is the backstory: around 1981, a deaf skater and Colton skatepark local named Chris Weddle was a prominent amateur on the competition circuit. The “Indy” air had just been created & named so somebody proposed that grabbing with the front hand should be known as the “Tracker” air. Others countered that Chris was the first to do, so it should be named after him. They referred to him as the “quiet, mute guy.” So it became known as the mute air, and we all went along with it in our naive youth. In recent years a few people have reached out to Chris (who still skates) about this trick and the name it was given. He has been very gracious in his response but it is obvious that a different name would have honored his legacy, as he is deaf but not lacking speech. I asked him last year as I was diving into trick origins and he said he would have rather named it the “deaf” or “Weddle” grab if given the choice. His exact quote to me was “I am deaf, not mute.” So as we embark on the upcoming @tonyhawkthegame demo release, some of you might notice a trick name change: The Weddle Grab. It’s going to be challenging to break the habit of saying the old name but I think Chris deserves the recognition. Thanks to @darrick_delao for being a great advocate to the deaf community in action sports, and for being the catalyst in this renaming process. I told Chris tecently and his reply was “I’m so stoked!” And then he shot this photo in celebration yesterday. 📷: @yousta_storytellers_club

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Change, however, doesn’t have to be followed by ceremony, and sometimes it can even be unconscious. Brian David Gilbert of Polygon noticed that THPS2‘s skate park creator had an element with a horrifying history: the “pungee pit” (also punji pit).

Although the developers might not have known how this type of trap was banned by the UN’s Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, nobody in the revision process or in the game reviews called out the problematic history. It took 20 years and a vlogger known for deep dives into video games to make the connection. Nevertheless, the remake doesn’t have the pungee pit so maybe somebody realized the implications. Or maybe developers decided that it was unnecessary and we just happen to benefit from no longer joking about war.

The success of the remaster has shown that changes to be more accepting and less harmful (even unintentionally) doesn’t make you less cool. It’s something that skateboarding is starting to realize, and while terminology and video games are small potatoes compared to economic inequality or the violence towards marginalized groups, every step towards progress counts. Hopefully we continue to see these little changes (maybe the next two terms to changed are the ones Skate Like a Girl’s Youth Advisory Board proposed below), and they’re build an even better community.

“Where’s my hoverboard?” is something I often hear when people complain about things we should have already by now.  It’s become more common now that it’s 2015, the year in which Back to the Future Part II takes place.  Fear not, science has not completely broken its promise.

Last November, a video of Tony Hawk riding a Hendo Hoverboard prototype on a halfpipe surfaced.

I found the accompanying RIDE Channel article, which piqued my interest in the science behind the hoverboard. Although it brought up magnetic repulsion, the Hendo Hoverboard Kickstarter revealed that the physics are a bit complicated. After all, it’s nearly impossible to levitate one magnet on top of another without special conditions.

That’s also true for the Hendo Hoverboard, which is why it’s not quite ready for every day use. The board contains four magnetic engines. They generate eddy currents, which create a magnetic field in opposition to the field created by the engine. The opposing forces causes the board to be repelled by the surface. This is called Lenz’s law. Check out a smaller, more up-close example of how the engines work:

One big caveat to the hoverboard is the surface you ride on has to be made of a non-ferrous (does not contain iron) conductor. Therefore, you can’t ride it outside of the Arx Pax or a hypothetical “hoverpark”. Another issue, as seen with Tony Hawk’s ride, is control of the direction of travel. Despite having pressure-sensitive pads on the deck, the lack of friction makes it hard to figure out how much pressure to apply. It seems to be extra sensitive. Lastly, the biggest issue is that for now, we can only ride it for a few minutes before the battery runs out.

So we’re going to have to wait a bit before we all fly around on hoverboards. However, the idea of one has already made its way into reality. Moreover, we can take comfort in knowing that there are some things from Back to the Future Part II that did come true in a way.

It’s back to school for a lot of you, and since we can’t always take our boards and bikes with us, we have to find other ways to express ourselves. When I was in school, I had difficulties finding skate/bike/moto-themed supplies. However, times have changed. Sci-fi Hun recently showed me a link for a Birdhouse SkateDrive, a USB flash drive in the shape of a skateboard deck.
You can get them at Walmart, Office Max, or Amazon, and if you prefer snow or surf, Action Sports Drives has some for you too. They’re the perfect accessory if you’re an action sports nerd like me.

My other Facebook Finding comes from Lady Gaga herself. Who knew the pop diva could hang ten? She posted the picture with the caption, “yeah thats me. no heels baby.”