Stacy Peralta was one of the first really successful pros, from before the video age really began (or rather, when he started it). There is precious little footage of Peralta during his skating prime. Lots of interviews and many images, but little footage.
This image from the 1982 May/June Thrasher captures a number of great things in Peralta's skating, and is instructional about great style and photography in general.
As I write more of these columns, one thing we'll be looking at is curves. I think the best skate style usually involves curves. Frankly, the best skating involves curves.
Look at Peralta's body. The knees are together with a gentle bend, and his body forms a graceful s-curve. To contrast this, imagine someone doing this wheelie with knees straight, leaning clumsily forward bent at the waist, arms out straight like Frankenstein, looking totally unrelaxed.
This is a guy enjoying skating, and turning it into art.
These are the details of the Small Arts, and what we are studying here.
Photo by Craig Stecyk
One of the few video segments of Stacy is this one at the end of Powell-Peralta's Future Primitive Video. Stacy's 360 spacewalks are one of my favorite tricks to do.
The flow and relaxation are striking. Simple but profound mastery of balance, timing, and posture. Beautiful.