A fellow microblogger has been posting videos of himself freestyle skateboarding and it has reminded me of how artistic the form can be. One of my favorite freestylers is the Rodney Mullen-influenced Japanese skater Isamu Yamamoto. Yamamoto is sponsored by Powell Peralta (yep, that Powell Peralta). Looking for his videos on the Powell site led me to another amazing freestyler, Kilian Martin.
I’ve long maintained that skateboarding is an art more than it’s a sport and that is perhaps even more true of freestyle. You’re not going to see this kind of skateboarding in the Olympics anytime soon. It is marked by creatively flowing lines on flat ground. Its practitioners spin and whirl in a kind of urethane-fueled ballet.
Kilian Martin embodies an imaginative combination of freestyle and more traditional street skating. The two styles blend like peanut butter and chocolate. Martin sees the world as a giant skatepark, using trees and even rock formations in addition to common concrete elements to work his magic. It’s a joy to watch Martin practice his craft on the streets of various countries around the world (including Myanmar — not known to be a skateboarding Mecca). It’s also edifying to hear about the volunteer work he does and his ethos around gratitude and contentment.
The videography in the Skateboard Stories film of Martin is captivating. It effortlessly flows between interview footage, city skate and commercial video. Whether you are into skateboarding or not, the story and visuals are worth a watch.