I have to admit that when I heard Ride All Day would the venue for a professional demo of fingerboarders, it sounded like the circus was coming to town and a good laugh was to be had. It turned out to be one of the most amazing and successful demos I have attended in the last few years!
Black River Ramps (BRR) are a German fingerboard company that distinguish themselves from the infamous Tech Deck brand who are merely a toy manufacturer with nothing but profit in mind. BRR have developed miniature skateboards that incorporate hand shaped wooden veneers, bushings, trucks and grippy wheels. Basically the same technology that’s used to create a life-size skateboard. BRR also support their local scene. What started as a hobby has grown into a dedicated skateshop and three skateparks in their region. When was the last time Tech Deck opened a bowl for the skaters? Let’s not hold our breathe.
So, BRR roll up to Ride All Day and the pro team set up a pool table sized course of replica spots: real metal handrails and marble ledges please! Boris, Oli (the tour daddy), Jay and Harry then got to work and started to reproduce some seriously technical fingerboarding. Keep in mind that the most experienced of the crew was Boris who had been flicking about his stumpwood for approximately 10 years. The rate of progression is incredibly fast because you don’t break much of a sweat and the weather won’t stop play. Furthermore, injuries are unheard of. Oli told me about fellow fingerboarder who managed to break his foot due to an overzealous axle stall on a concrete block placed on the edge of a table which consequently fell off and broke a few bones.
Within 5 minutes of setting the stage for their demo, a legion of fans appeared and surrounded the course, each with a fingerboard and stoked to ride with visiting professionals. The kids love fingerboarding and the BRR team are stoked to spread the knowledge, but essentially they wish that the kid who busts out his first kickflip with his fingertips will one day buy a real board and take it to a set of stairs somewhere. Boris, Oli, Jay and Harry are all skateboarders who love a good grind as much as the next man. It just so happens that their love of the board has taken them down a path less travelled – that of fingerboarding. The future for the BRR team lies in learning more technical tricks, taking them to actual spots and promoting the skate culture as a whole.
In these professional’s eyes, old skool fingerboarding was back when we used plastic key chain decks and leaped the equivalent of building blocks with our mini boards. Today the standard has been set for more technical tricks that are kept low to the ground and with as much similarity to real skateboarding as possible. Style and consistency are essential. Boris did point out that transition fingerboarding and technical fingerboarding were each as difficult in the their own right, but gaps were fairly redundant and old skool. Seeing as our fingers do not function like our feet, you would think that certain tricks are off limits. It is true that anything beyond a 360°rotation is very difficult as well as Mike Carroll-esque hardflips which require a certain type of flick that a knuckle joint cannot perform. Geoff and I tried to call out tricks for the BRR team to perform thinking they would fail, but they managed to perform every stunt and then some.
Sorry for the poor sound quality of the video, but here is a list of the tricks performed in order:
Ollie front finger impossible
Switch lazer flip
Backside 360 kickflip
Kickflip manual backside kickflip out
Frontside tailslide backside kickflip out
Frontside salad grind to fakie
Halfcab kickflip to boardslide
Kickflip backside tailslide shove-it out
Frontside 5-0 down / Frontside nosegrind up / Kickflip down
Kickflip manual to kickflip disaster
Kickflip manual shove-it nosemanual
Frontside smithgrind frontside shove-it out
Nollie heelflip nosegrind
360 flip 5-0
360 flip nosegrind
Backside 5-0 shove-it nosegrind
Kickflip backside nosebluntslide
For more information about Black River Ramps click here: http://blackriver-ramps.com/