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    February 25th, 2010AndreaAbout Us, Olympics, Skate Week

    An interview with me on Women Talk Sports.  All the background you’ll ever need on Westbound Boarder and competitive snowboarding!  Maaan I need to be media trained! (And maybe I should have showered, first? :) )

    Interview with Andrea Nowack from Women Talk Sports on Vimeo.

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    Well, Shaun White and Kelly Clark stuck it again in today’s US Snowboarding Grand Prix in Park City.  Shaun saw a near perfect score of 49.5 (out of 50), with Scotty Lago trailing just behind with a 48, and Luke Mitrini coming in third.  Today marks Shaun’s fourth first place finish (out of 5) in all Grand Prix Olympic qualifying events.  But then again, Park City was just practice for Shaun, as he was already confirmed as an Olympic team member after last round.  Scotty has now had two second place finishes and one third, so he will likely be invited to join the US Olympic team a well, alongside Shaun.  Danny Davis, the one competitor to beat out Shaun (in Mammoth), and formerly a likely Olympic teammate as well, unfortunately broke his back during an ATV accident last Sunday.  He underwent surgery Monday and is now being cared for in a local hospital, alongside Kevin Pearce.  Danny is an awesome rider – one of my personal faves – so it is unfortunate to hear he won’t be joining the team in Vancouver this year.

    On the women’s side, Kelly came in first (again), followed by Hannah Teter and Kaitlyn Farrington.  Kelly, in comparison to the other riders, is absolutely going bigger, which is putting her in prime position to land some of the tougher spins and tricks that you need more time in the air to solidify.  She has been doing awesome through the thick of it all, so I’m excited to see what she’ll pull in Vancouver next month.  I also really like Hannah’s riding because she always throws down a smooth, solid run that’s fun to watch, and, minus a few small flubs, I think she really stuck it in Park City.

    For the women, it is pretty obvious who will be going to Vancouver, and who will be watching from the sidelines.  For the men, however, there is some stiff competition, so it will be interesting to see how the last two spots play out.

    Results, Day 1 (Friday)

    Men
    1. Shaun White, Carlsbad, CA, 49.00
    2. Scotty Lago, Seabrook, NH, 47.70
    3. Greg Bretz, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 46.70
    4. Elijah Teter, South Lake Tahoe, CA, 44.00
    5. Luke Mitrani, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 44.00
    6. Louie Vito, Sandy, UT, 43.30
    7. JJ Thomas, Golden, CO, 43.00
    8. Danny Kass, Portand, OR, 42.70
    9. Steve Fisher, Breckenridge, CO, 42.00
    10. Dylan Bidez, Minturn, CO, 41.30

    Women
    1. Kelly Clark, Mt. Snow, VT, 45.20
    2. Hannah Teter, Belmont, VT, 44.80
    3. Ellery Hollingsworth, Stratton, VT, 43.60
    4. Gretchen Bleiler, Aspen, CO, 42.50
    5. Elena Hight, South Lake Tahoe, CA, 40.00
    6. Kaitlyn Farrington, Sun Valley, ID, 39.20
    7. Maddy Schaffrick, Steamboat Springs, CO, 31.40
    8. Kelly Marren, Hillsborough, CA, 29.40
    9. Clair Bidez, Minturn, CO, 19.30

    Results, Day 2 (Saturday)

    Men
    1. Shaun White 49.5
    2. Scotty Lago 48
    3. Luke Mitrani 45.3
    4. Gregory Bretz 44.8
    5. JJ Thomas 44.2
    6. Jack Mitrani 42.3
    7. Dylan Bidez 42.1
    8. Steve Fisher 40.6
    9. Zach Black 38.5
    10. Broc Waring 38.2
    11. Danny Kass 37.5
    12. Andy Finch 36.7

    Women
    1. Kelly Clark 47.40
    2. Hannah Teter 43.90
    3. Kaitlyn Farrington 41.00
    4. Madeline Schaffrick 36.50
    5. Elena Hight 36.20

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    July 24th, 2009DanielleSkate Week, Skateboarding

    Well that’s a wrap and what a skate week it has been here at Westbound. I am off to the grand ole state of Utah this morning to make my rounds with the ladies and gents of Arkade Magazine (oh and attend an old friends wedding ;) ) These guys rock as they are all about promoting a snowboarding culture and you can find their mag all throughout local pizza, coffee and snowboard shops all throughout the NW – but more about Arkade next week. Be sure to check em out!

    This week has been cram packed with all kinds of skate resources, so if you missed any of it be sure to check out our recap.

    • Want to learn to skate, but need to invest in your very own board first? Check out our article on How to Buy a Skateboard for the First Time! to find out exactly what you should be looking for in your new skate.
    • Westbound Fav Sk8 Shops. WARNING! These shops are super sick, based in Portland and they even sell their goods online!
    • Have a skateboard, but don’t know how to use it? That’s OK, freshen up on my skater-tips for beginners.
    • Practice really does make perfect and before you know it, you will have already perfected the most basic (albeit, stylish and impressive) skate tricks. Read on for Westbound’s tips on how to improve your skate resume!
    • Whether you live in the Golden State where skateboarding was born or in the Beaver State where there are more skate parks than trees, check out the respective local skate park hot spots. Westbound has the skate park recommendations for both the greater Los Angeles and Portland areas.

    Until next week, let your new skateboard roll!

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    July 23rd, 2009DanielleSkate Week, Skateboarding

    If the parks in Oregon were not enough for you, check out our SoCal skate park picks. If the peeps at California Girls Skateboards like them, they have got to be legit, right?!

    • Santa Monica: The Cove is more than a skate park. It is actually where skateboarding was born. Located in the Dogtown area of Santa Monica this is where sidewalk surfing transformed into what street skating has become 40 years later.
    • Lake Forest: Luck enough to live in Orange County? Check out the Etnies skate park all the way down in lake forest.
    • Burbank: The Valley Skate Skate park is without a doubt a park for beginners. So grab your skate and get-a-learnin’.

    So here’s a little somthing for everyone and in every corner of SoCal. There really are no excuse not to check out a skate park near YOU!

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    July 22nd, 2009DanielleSkate Week, Skateboarding

    For those of you who are old pros or now ready to hit the skateboard park, here is a list of Westbound’s favorite skateboard parks in the grand state of Oregon!

    • Burnside: The most well known. You may recognize this one from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3, he ranks it one of the top 5 skate parks altogether.
    • West Linn: It’s great for the pool lovers and is known for its large and fast bowls. (Plus it is in my hometown, so check it out!)
    • Lincoln City: Ranked 9/10 by Thrasher Skateboard mag, this one is a must visit.
    • Tualatin: This park maybe super flat, but a great place to learn and get comfortable in the park.
    • Newberg: Sorry Lincoln City, but thrasher ranked this park an 11/10. Just when we didn’t think the Oregon skate parks could get any better, they have!

    Skateboarding may have been invented in Andrea’s state of California, although Oregon genuinely boasts a much higher skate park per capita than Cali does. So check out Skate Oregon if the skate parks we have listed are not close enough to home for you! Let us know what you fav skate park is, by leaving a comment!

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      July 21st, 2009DanielleSkate Week, Skateboarding

      Thanks to Skate Week, Westbound is your online skate resource for any kind of skate related questions you may have. We have already told you what to look for in your new skate, where to buy it and how to ride it. Now it is time to learn how to master those tricks on it. Just remember to be patient with yourself as perfecting these tricks takes time. So don’t forget, practice is what really makes perfect.

      (1) Ollie: The ollie really is the mother of all of the skateboard tricks as it is the basis of nearly every skate trick in the book. With that said, it can also be one of the harder tricks for people to get the hang of. SO don’t be discouraged if you have trouble getting airborne on your ollie! When you are learning to Ollie, try it out next to a curb, or in the grass while you are stationary (which will keep you from rolling away while you are focusing on trying to first learn the trick). To ollie, you put your back foot on the tail of the board and your front foot in the middle of the board. Push down on the tail then push your front foot up the board to your front trucks. Do the same with your back foot so that it goes towards the back trucks. The board should then be in the air. Land on the board with your knees bent. Next Step: when you are ready, do the ollie when you are moving on your skate and eventually ollie over an object or a curb.

      (2) Manual: This can be an easier trick for some people as it just takes balance and some practice (plus, it adds great variety to your skating resume). A manual is when you balance on your back wheels while rolling along (like a wheelie). To try a manual you will be rolling forward on your board and the front wheels of the skateboard are lifted off the ground, but the tail does not touch the ground. Keep your back foot over the tail of the skateboard and bend your front knee. Be sure not to lean back, or you will fall backwards. Next Step: As manuals are slow and hard to maintain, it is very difficult manualing a long distance. So impress a crowd, and yourself, by manualing a long distance (once you have got the hang of it, of course).

      (3) Kick turn: A kick turn  is when you balance on your back wheels for a moment and then swing the front of your board around in a new direction (notice the picture to the right) Work you way to a full 180 degree kick turn by starting with a 90 degree kick turn. This can be a simple trick, although it takes some balance and practice. Next Step: Once you have a kick turn down comfortably in one direction, and can go 180 degrees, work on doing it the other direction (ultimately work on both frontside and backside kick turns).

      Once you have mastered these tricks, don’t stop here! The book of skate tricks is never ending and there are always more challenging tricks to perfect. Need some tips? Lets us know exactly what trick you want to learn and we will tell you how! Now get on out to the Skate Jam tonight and get your skate tricks on!

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      July 21st, 2009DanielleSkate Week, Skateboarding

      So you have already found your new skate, now it’s on to more important things, actually skating. Learning to skate can be challenging, although with a little forethought and technique, you will be comfortable on your skateboard in no time.

      (1) Armor: First things first. It may seem ridiculous, but when you are learning to skate my first recommendation is to pad up. That is right, wear the wrist guards, knee pads and a helmet. Worried that you will look like an idiot? Well than read Andrea’s safety post from a few months ago, and then read what happened when she didn’t take her own advice (and she is now paying for it with a a serious hand surgery). Learn from Andrea’s mistakes, and when you are new to skateboarding, pad up.

      (2) Which foot forward: Now that you are ready for battle, figure out if you are regular or goofy footed (tip: run and slide across the kitchen floor in your socks, which foot did you put forward?) Right foot forward: you’re goofy footed. Left foot forward: you’re regular footed. Oh, and for some there is the mongo foot pusher, where they are comfortable planting their back foot on the skate and pumping with their front foot. It’s that simple.

      (3) Jumping on your board: Start by getting comfortable with your board. Try different ways to get on and off of your board and do this by simply jumping on and off of your motionless board. Practice getting your balance right on your board and notice how your balance changes when your stance does, or when your legs are close together vs. far apart.  A general rule of thumb is that, to a point, a wider stance is going to help you balance. So keep your feet far enough apart to create a great base resulting in great balance.

      (4) Tilt your board back: Also practice pushing down hard with your back foot on the board so that you tilt the front of the board up, all the while staying on the board. You will be in a position where only the two back wheels are on the ground and the tail of the board is nearly resting on the ground behind you. Pause there momentarily and then shift your weight back forward, landing back on the ground with all four wheels flat on the ground. Any variation of this transition will help to improve your balance and comfort on the skate. Even if you cannot tilt the skate back very far, no worries; work yourself to that point. It all takes time. Rinse and repeat until mastered.

      (5) The Run and Jump: Another great way to get comfortable on your skate is by running at your board and jumping on it, all the while, working to keep your balance as long as possible. Start with a slow run. Your board won’t go very far, but in no time you will be naturally increasing your speed and eventually it will become natural to begin pumping your feet and actually skating.

      (6) Knees Bent: Also, remember to keep your knees bent. Your knees will serve to absorb the movement of the skateboard, and if you have stiff knees, your skate will kick you off your board in no time. So in the back of your mind should always be, “Keep. Knees. Bent.”

      (7) Pumping: When you get to the point where you are comfortable with the above practice methods, begin working on your pumping technique. This can be difficult as it is easy for the skate to get away from you when your pushing. Imagine that you are simply walking and making a step forward with the foot that you are pushing on the side of the skateboard. Keep your planted foot parallel to the board and your knee bent.  It is also easier to make more powerful pushes vs. smaller less powerful pushes, which in the long run will significantly help you in your skating.

      (8) Learn how to stop: You have four options here: Foot breaking, Heel Drag, Power Slide, The Bail Out. I am sure you can use your imagination with these folks, but I’ll break it down for you.

      • Foot breaking is done by making sure your front foot is as parallel as possible with the board (your toes should be facing the nose of the board), your chest should also be facing forward as well. You simply transfer your weight to your front foot, swing your back leg out and lower it straight to the ground. Keep your body centered around the board and apply light pressure to the ground with the sole of your shoe and gradually increase the pressure as you need to slow down.
      • Heel Drag: With a little more experience the heel drag can be done. Place your back foot at the back of your skate (let your heel stick out off the kicktail). Lean back so the tail of the board and your heel are pressed against the ground, the nose of your board will come up into the air and you will stop.
      • Power Slide: is an advanced way to stop, but involves placing your front foot near the front trucks and your back foot near the back trucks. You then push your back foot forward (or backwards) and slide the rear wheels on the ground resulting in a 90 degree shift and subsequent stop.
      • Bail Out: When you do not have any other options, just bail, your life is more important than your skate’s.

      I know this is a lot of information so don’t expect to go out there and do all of this at once. Take your time and just get comfortable on your skate. Practice is what makes perfect so practice, practice, practice! Are you more of a visual learner? Well then check out this Learn to Ride a Skateboard video, you can actually download it for free, and we think it is pretty helpful.

      So do the time and you will, in no time, be comfortable enough on your skate to learn a few of the basic tricks.  Are you already comfortable on your skate? Well then check out our Sk8 Tricks post later this afternoon!

      In the mean time, check out the Skate Like a Girl event tonight July 21st at the Department of Skateboarding @ 15 NE Hancock Portland, OR.

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      July 21st, 2009DanielleSkate Week, Skateboarding

      Listen up! It’s Skate Week here at Westbound and with that we have found the perfect event for your. Tonight SLAG is brinigng you a Girls Only Skate Jam and BBQ. It goes from 6pm-9pm on Tuesday July 21st. All Ages and Abilities are welcome and it’s FREE! Gals from the SLAG tour will be there including pros and locals. So come on down to the Department of Skateboarding @ 15 NE Hancock, Portland, OR and get your skate on!

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      July 20th, 2009DanielleSkate Week, Skateboarding

      Now that you know what to look for in your skate, from my article on, How to Buy your First Skateboard, it’s onto where to make your first skate purchase. Below you will find a few of my favorite shops who have competitive pricing on their skates and will also be great at helping you find the right skate for you. (Note that some are local to the Portland area but they ALL have an online shop!)

      Cal Skate Skateboards: If you are new to skating, or simply want to speak with a skate -god before you make your purchase, then Calsk8 has the expert’s just for you. With boards starting from $80 bucks, you are bound to get exactly what you need here. Not a Portland local? They even have an online shop.

      Exit Real World: These guys are actually all over town. Read our shop review on them to learn what they are all about and then listen up. You can get your entire skate set up for $100 bucks, and it will be from a skate specialist who knows what they are up to. If you don’t need the help in the store, or don’t live in Portland, you can get the same set up online for only $90 bucks. Think about it.

      Shrunken Head Skateboards: Another local gem that even has an online store. Check ‘em out.

      Vans:  If you are lucky enough to live near a Vans Store, their full skate set up’s start at only $70 bucks.

      Really wanting a great deal on your skate? Check out Next Adventure or Play it Again Sports.

      So now you know what to buy AND where to get it. Now all you need it to learn how to ride it. Check back tomorrow for some tips on learning how to skate. Are you a seasoned skater who has something to share share with the rest of us? Let us know as Skate Week wouldn’t be the same without your tips and tricks. Hit us up at westboundboarder@gmail.com.

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      July 20th, 2009DanielleSkate Week, Skateboarding

      It’s a skate week first. Westbound Boarder is bringing you all kinds of skate-o-fun this week, so be sure to keep on checkin’ in…

      I don’t know what is stopping you from getting out there on your skate. Maybe nothing is, but for those of you who want to learn, it’s time to take that leap of faith. Where better to start than to making the investment in your very own skate? Now I am not talking about Andrea’s kind of skate board, I am talking about a real new school board that will have you cruisin’ down the Portland Waterfront and onto the Burnside Skate park in no time.

      Getting yourself into a new skate does not have to break the bank. Most local shops out there will have you set up in 30 minutes and for about $100 bucks, maybe even less. You can always get your skate online and it may save you a buck or two, but if this is your first skate, your best bet is to go into a local skate shop and figure out ‘mujer a mujer’  what type of skate will work best for you.

      So first things first though. You need to know a thing or two before you go and buy the first skate you see. You will need a skate deck, grip tape, trucks, wheels and bearings.

      Deck: Well this is the deck; it’s what you ride on. The price of the deck is generally directly related to the graphics and branding. If you don’t care about those things, then there is no problem buying a cheap skate deck, although it is still important to consider weight and the shape of the deck. A 7-ply deck means that it is laminated with 7 layers of wood and is lighter, vs. a heavier 9-ply deck that is more bulky, heavy and awkward. Also, pay attention to the shape of the deck, you want a decent amount of curve to the board vs. a flat and straight board (you want to ollie and kickflip someday, right?!)

      Trucks: Consider the trucks the axel of your board. Some of the cheaper trucks will snap the first time you attempt a trick. This is where buying from a skate dealer (vs. a sporting store chain), is actually important. Examine the trucks and make sure they are not too light, this can be a sign that the metal is of bad quality, walk away (most of your local skate shops will have quality gear, although don’t be afraid to ask questions). While price may be a concern, always go for quality with the Trucks and go to a proper skate dealer to get the trucks that suit your skill level.

      Wheels: Not as important for a beginner, although I would recommend a softer wheel if you are a beginner. The softer wheels roll easier and absorb impact much better. The harder wheels are meant for the park as the harder wheels make power slides easier and may trip you up if you come across a rock or something. Most experienced skaters have a few skates with different wheels; a set with softer wheels when they are cruising down the street and a set with harder wheels for when they are shredding the park. It’s not a bad idea to start with one skate deck a have a set of hard and a set of soft wheels, so you can alternate when you want.

      Bearings: They keep your wheels going when you stop pushing, which have a great impact on your speed. The bearing speed is measured by the ABEC value. (The ‘AA’ bearings are what you will find at a mass sporting goods store, stay away!!) AA is followed by ABEC 3, 5, 7 and 9. If you are a beginner, stick with the ABEC 3 or 5 for sure. If you get going too fast right out the door it may make your riding more intimidating.

      This should be enough information to get you on your feet and to the place where you can ask some informed questions to your local skate shop professional. Need some more information? We have got it so just ask away, westboundboarder@gmail.com

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