Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Pascal: Feeling Groovy

I once read a book which explained some of the Hippy slang terms of the 60's and 70's. 'Groovy' was the word that struck me most. Groovy, the book states, implies that as a needle in a record groove enables one to hear music, when one's awareness is completely in the moment - the groove - one experiences reality in the richest ways.

There is one skateboarder who, to me, personifies the notion of 'groovy': Pascal Leniston. When Pascal skates, he seems completely absorbed in the experience. He doesn't grapple with his board, attempt to impress others; nor is he striving to become a pro. Rather, when he skates he reminds me of a young child playing with a toy, relating to the world in a pure and simple way.

When Pascal fails to land a trick, he usually smiles as if to suggest, 'Hey, that was fun too!' And, when he relates some of the amazing tricks he has performed, he stresses how much fun he had performing them rather than drawing attention to his skills or even the 'gnarliness' of the trick.

Pascal's playful way of skating is also visible in his tendency to bring old school tricks which, as relics, are seldom seen, and seasoning them with a contemporary flavor. (In the clip below, he performs an 'Underflip' off a ledge and onto a ramp.) He also appears to enjoy stretching skate park 'boundaries' for the sheer joy of it. For instance, he may use obstacles in unexpected ways, or literally, skate beyond the officially designated skate park limits. (In the clip, he grinds not only the formal skate park ledge but continues on to the narrow wooden barrier.)

I once overheard him talking to a few kids at Prahran Skate Park. He was telling them that he remembers being like them, skating all day and dreaming about skating at night. Though he was describing their purity of being and their innocence, he was doing so with such vitality and feeling that it was obvious that a spark of that innocence still glows strongly within him. To me, this was clear testimony, from Pascal's own mouth, that his amazing skateboarding style is largely inspired by sheer fun and play. 
                               Pascal Shredding Prahran (Pascal appears at: 1:21)