The Impossible: Rodney Mullen, Ryan Sheckler, and the Anti-Gravity History of Skateboarding

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Overview


Skateboarding:  the background, technicality, culture, rebellion, marketing, conflict, and future of the global sport as seen through two of its most influential geniuses
 
Since it all began half a century ago, skateboarding has come to mystify some and to mesmerize many, including its tens of millions of adherents throughout America and the world. And yet, as ubiquitous as it is today, its ...
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The Impossible: Rodney Mullen, Ryan Sheckler, and the Anti-Gravity History of Skateboarding

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Overview


Skateboarding:  the background, technicality, culture, rebellion, marketing, conflict, and future of the global sport as seen through two of its most influential geniuses
 
Since it all began half a century ago, skateboarding has come to mystify some and to mesmerize many, including its tens of millions of adherents throughout America and the world. And yet, as ubiquitous as it is today, its origins, manners, and methods are little understood.

The Impossible aims to get skateboarding right. Journalist Cole Louison gets inside the history, culture, and major personalities of skating. He does solargely by recounting the careers of the sport’s Yoda—Rodney Mullen, who, in his mid-forties, remains the greatest skateboarder in the world, the godfather of all modern skateboarding tricks—and its Luke Skywalker—Ryan Sheckler, who became its youngest pro athlete and a celebrity at thirteen. The story begins in the 1960s, when the first boards made their way to land in the form of off-season surfing in southern California. It then follows the sport’s spikes, plateaus, and drops—including its billion-dollar apparel industry and its connection with art, fashion, and music.

In The Impossible, we come to know intimately not only skateboarding, but also two very different, equally fascinating geniuses who have shaped the sport more than anyone else.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"GQ researcher Cole Louison gave himself an impossible assignment: to write the complete history of a sport without it reading like a dusty encyclopedia or self-promotional wiki page. And make it interesting to an audience of people who don't really care about that sport (while not losing the millions of potential readers who do). Plus explain what an 'ollie' is.... [H]e's accomplished just that." —GQ

"Louison is both booster and critic, and writes with an eye to contradictions—skateboarding is a loner sport with a strong community, an outlaw pastime with big-money corporate backing—and gets to the heart of an often misunderstood pursuit." —The New Yorker

"Louison . . . has a light reportorial touch, a sense of the absurd and a sincere, affable persona…. [He] has turned his attention to the skateboarding world—a milieu that suffers no shortage of absurd, and absurdly talented, characters…. Through Louison’s eyes we see a once small subculture, now thoroughly colonized by mainstream media, public relations personnel, and other non-skate actors…. That Louison is able to successfully convey the excitement of skateboarding to the layman without offending the connoisseur is a testament to his well-researched grasp of a sometimes opaque subject." —McSweeney's Internet Tendency

 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762770267
  • Publisher: Globe Pequot Press
  • Publication date: 7/3/2011
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 705,876
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Cole Louison grew up skateboarding in Rochester, New York, and has written about skateboarding and other topics for Outside, McSweeney’s, the New Yorker, the New York Times, and GQ—where he works today.

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Table of Contents

1 There's This Kid 1

2 An Easy History of Skateboarding, Then another one 11

3 Rodney Mullen's Genius Roots and Femoral Anteversion 24

4 Tony Hawk Doesn't know when he started skating 29

5 What're Ya Cryin' About 34

6 Rolling Into Stacy Peralta, and the Strangest Day of My Life 43

7 Gunite, Snake Runs, and The Late Great ' 70s skateparks 51

8 Technical Reinvention of The 1970s, or How Mitch Hedberg Did Not Give Urethane Wheels to Emil Hersh In Heath Ledger's Skate Shop 60

9 Dogtown, Stecyk, and The Business of Skate Media 72

10 Ollieburgers, a World Championship, and The Skinniest Person I Have Ever Seen 80

11 Unable to Do Anything, Magic Mountain, v.c.Johnson, and the Chess King 90

12 The Golden Age of Skateboarding, or Tony Hawk was sixteen in 1984 95

13 Rodney Invents and Wins Everything, and His Dad Makes Him Quit, Again 109

14 Natas, Gonz, and The Birth of Street Skating 116

15 The 1980s End, and Skaters Die and Go to Jail 122

16 Rodney Nearly Dies in Sweden, and The Beginning of The 1990s 127

17 Ryan Sheckler Can Kickflip And He's Six Years Old 134

18 The 1990s Rebirth Of Tech Skating, And Chris Haslam Makes P-Rod Crack Up 143

19 Waist 66 Jeans And The Rise Of World Industries 151

20 The Insane Power Of Television 160

21 Mike v's Greatest Hits, or How Skating's Newfound Success Was Not So successful 172

22 The Best Skateboarder In The World Is a Seventh Grader 181

23 Rodney Rids His Body of Scar Tissue, and The First Stanceless Skater 194

24 Life of Ryan 199

25 "I Hate Sheckler," and The Exploding of Ryan's Right Foot 209

26 Healing at The Berrics 219

27 To Try and Talk to Shaun White and Ryan Sheckler 225

28 Dew Tour Finals 2010 236

29 Watching Sheckler Skate 244

30 Watching Rodney Skate, or Switch Nollie Laserflip at Midnight 254

Many Thanks 261

Notes 262

Sources 278

Index 289

About the Author 298

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2013

    Bex

    Or all 3 of us could get a book

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2013

    Sofia

    Sleeps

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2012

    Inspiring

    Great to see skateboarding has came so far and continues to grow!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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