Monday, April 2, 2012

Of Doing or Dying - Mike V at Tampa Pro 2012

That's a really tall nosepick.

Tampa Pro this year was a hell of different experience for me than it’s ever been before. The event was literally packed with current skateboard superstars. People so famous, I can’t even say their name on this blog post without incurring fines from 3 major TV networks and confectionary beverage corporations. Street Leaguers, Dew Tourers, local pros and underground sensations all made their appearances, and just about the only thing that seemed out of place was the cameo of hip-hop supersensation of times gone by, Lil’ Wayne. But hey, we all get weird now and then.

One thing that stood out to me in this contest was the presence of Mike V. In the world of skate blogging, message boards and social anonymity, Vallely is an easy target. In the mid-to-late 80s, he was an aggressive grom with a mean look and a habit of using both his hands and his feet to perform tricks. Plus he ran through a graveyard. In the late 80s, he helped World Industries Make a name for itself with his new deck shape and controversial graphics. He later became a pro wrestler, a spoken word performer, a pro hockey player and a pro skateboarder all in one, so you can’t deny the size of the target on his back. You also can’t deny the power of his presence.

Mike V. and Felix Arguelles 

From my position on the deck of the roll in, when Mike V. skated, all eyes were on him. His bag of old weird tricks is enormous, and his kickflips are pretty strong too. Maybe we didn’t get a repeat of his 1995 winning run full of tweaked grabs, airs, and kickflips to grinds. It’s ok. We got a Mike V. Demo in the middle of the Semifinals. Skatepark owner Brian Schaefer wouldn’t let the dude give up on his deadly wallplant over the loveseat till it was ridden away from, so that’s what happened. He did it and rode away from it. Later on, during the best trick contest on the rail, Mike skated the quarter pipe with a 7 foot wall extending off the back of it. Does anyone remember what the best trick on the rail even was? I don’t. I just remember that during that time, Mike V launched into a stall on that big ass wall, landed disaster and rolled back in. He took about 30 minutes to do it, and people were ready to throw down on his behalf if someone got in his way during this time period. I know he broke a few boards while trying it, too. It really says a lot to me when you see a dude like Mike V skating on Koston’s board, breaking it, then getting handed a board from Felix fuckin’ Arguelles and finally pulling it off. How random is that? Then Lil Wayne hands him a trophy while Kids (film) writer Harmony Korine watches from the announcer’s stand. Jesus frickin’ whiz.

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