Thursday, March 17, 2011

let's get political: the problem with judging FGFS, and the separation of ramp and flatland riding

ever since this was brought to my attention a few weeks back, it sort of bothered the crap out of me. so here's my attempt of maybe sorting this all out.

i can recall a time where fixed freestyle was all flatland. sure this was only a few years back, but yes, it was all flatland. this is how my local competition has run since the beginning; 1) it coincided with all the other events which associated themselves to messenger culture, 2) we were tricking in a parking-lot so a ramp was out of the question, 3) no one was ever really that good (hahaha... kinda sad, but the learning curve has gotten steep).

at the pedalhard competition last month, it became apparent to me that there was a clear split between traditional track-based flatland tricks and the more radical (in both meanings) ramp/rail-based tricks. now dont get me wrong- i'm not saying flatland is ancient, and i'm not saying that ramp/rail tricks aren't the way to go. both are equal in terms of skill needed to pull off, it's just both have a different skill set from each other.

the thing that's been bothering me is the scale as to which flatland is compared to ramp riding. you may be looking at me like "what the hell are you talking about?" well, when youre going against mike chacon (who is arguably one of the most well-rounded dudes in fgfs today), and he's busting flatland while youre boosting a ramp- what's going to happen? well-rounded-ness wins over hucking or flatland individually on it's own. in the end, it's really difficult to judge the impact of a really big air to a crazy keo/bigspin. those two things are in two different categories of difficult.

"well jmik, flatland isnt hard! i dont need that, i'll boost off this tranny and throw a 360" yeah, well see if you can still do a keo and come back to me. flatland is hard and really underrated! sure the tricks are a little dated, but it also shows well-rounded-ness. if you can flat 3, then you can 3 anything.

this is why i think that fixed competitions should be based only on flatland (no ramps, no pegs, no nothin') or based on fluency both ramp riding and flatland. i'm talking about the ability to throw creative tricks before and after takeoff from a ramp. i went to a ramp trick heavy competition once- after a while it get repetitive! different trick, same ramp. same trick, different ramp. yeah the airs were big and it was cool and all, but damn flatland wouldve changed some shit up (and eventually it did).

sure, you may not care. i mean, it IS 3 am ish and i'm ranting on. however i do think this is a viable topic of discussion and i'm kinda glad i'm putting this out there. i'm still going to continue having my competition's "freestyle" event strictly flatland, but i think people (who care) should actually look at the separation between flatland and ramp riding as equal yet great in their own right. thoughts?



Flatty said...

Sounds like growing pains. Why not have events for both flatland and ramp at the same contest. They are different animals and theirs always a chance for a badass to "double" for the day.

Flatty said...

Um, that would be "there is.." as opposed to "theirs". Shit I'm one of those guys now.

bhsk said...

So you're calling for separate events? That may pose an issue in terms of trick diversity and what is expected out of riders... What I was trying to get out of this was the idea that flatland and ramp riding are two different entities. Different tricks require different viewpoints or whatever. I think I'm just going crazy- I just want to see more flatland implemented in comps... I think that's what I was trying to get at... I mean I did type this out of insomnia... Hahaha! Thanks for the input man.


Flatty said...

What you're saying totally reminds me of break dancing back in the day (yes, I'm old). Guys were coming out and doing power moves like flairs and flips but sucked ass on style and variety. The crowd always loved the flashy stuff and the guys in the know got frustrated watching one trick gymnasts win contests and get all the accolades. So, maybe it comes down to judging... add equal weight for flatland and ramp? Also, I'm talking out of my ass because I've never participated in a FGFS contest and most my opinions come from my involvement in BMX. :)

bhsk said...

hahaha! i feel you. and yeah, i havent participated in a freestyle portion of a contest since... well when i was doing it most of the tricks were skid variations and funky trackstands! i see what you're saying now- and yeah when it comes down to it, it's growing pains.