This is the story of how we managed to get Zak back on his board after a break of 3.5 months....
When I first started this blog I naively thought that I would be reporting on a weekly basis new tricks learned by our boy on his board. The start of the learning curve was steep and fast. He was so confident and was doing so well that he ended up in Little Legends on Channel 9 within 6 months of first stepping on his board, and he hadn't even turned three yet.
But then things started to change. Towards Mid-October, just before he turned 3, he started to show signs of fear of ramps. Ramps that he totally nailed months before. It saddened me to see him scared and losing confidence, and we weren't sure how to deal with this. He started looking really upset whenever we mentioned going to a skatepark, he looked so unhappy and we never worked out why. He was complaining that ramps were too high, too steep and that skateparks had way too many people in them. I personally have accompanied him on every trip to a skatepark and there wasn't a single event I witnessed that would explain this sudden loss of confidence. It came out of the blue, just as he was managing the drop-ins from the coping ramps...We just figured that it came with his development, and that suddenly turning 3 meant that he was more aware of the dangers involved in balancing on his board on top of a steep ramp. So we didn't insist...much.
Then his poor little 3-year-old life went hectic, amidst the trip to Brazil for 3 weeks where he barely got the chance to skate, the house move, the school move (twice in 6 weeks), mum's new job, dad's new job, he had a bit to get used to...and he found a new love...cycling. We got him a 10 dollar bike in a garage sale and in no time at all he nailed the cycling too, with a preference for cycling in puddles...
So, this is where the evil manipulative mum comes into play...
Seeing how well he was going with his cycling around the block, I innocently suggested to take him to cycle at the skatepark, as there are often excellent bmx riders doing tricks in our local park. My thought was to get him familiar with the place again, get him confident dropping from the ramps with his bike and finally see skaters again...and perhaps by seeing skaters again, he would find inside himself a renewed buzz for skating.
Evil mum came up with a very useful bribing technique to get him back on his board, a subtle bribe, that will hopefully leave no scars...or extra kgs:
The golden chocolate coin:
He absolutely loved the idea of going to the skatepark to cycle up and down the ramps with the big boy bmx riders. So for every instance where we went to a skatepark I bribed him with a chocolate coin for every time he climbed back up on his board for a quick run. He loves chocolate, so it wasn't too difficult to convince him. The first week was a painful return to square 1. He couldn't even remember how to push on a skateboard and was getting super cranky from falling again and again, he wouldn't go near medium sized ramps which he could do with his eyes closed before. It was pretty surprising how much confidence he'd lost from that long 3 months break.
But I can say that my bribing technique finally worked beautifully as two weeks later, on one Sunday afternoon the skatepark was full of amazing kids filming themselves doing incredible tricks on their boards. And who knows what happened inside Zak's little brain, but you could almost hear a "click" sound as he suddenly dumped his bike, grabbed his board, and started skating around like a little pro, dropping from ramps he'd been refusing to drop from and just getting really comfortable taking turns with the kids as they tried new tricks one at a time. It was a great afternoon. He had found his confidence again. My bribing technique had taken a few weeks to work, but it had finally paid off. I wish I had filmed that day. He had such a little focused face on and you could see he was totally back in his element again.
3 weeks have now passed and Zak is skating up to 4 times a week after school and on weekends. We're ve very luck to have a great skatepark around the corner always full of excellent skaters that Zak looks up to. These days Zak barely touches his bike at the park and is progressing extremely fast back to the level he was at before the break and with extra confidence and skills. The chocolate coins are forgotten and barely needed. He is once again trying to drop from the big metal coping ramps with our help. What makes me happier than anything is to see his happy little face every time he thinks he landed a "blackfip"!!!
Welcome back to skateboarding tiny shredder!
|Zak with Bucky Lasek during Bowl-a-rama 2013|
|With the legend himself - Steve Caballero, a great afternoon by his side at Bondi Beach|