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 Body English  


These days Steve Rocco is widely remembered as the man who destroyed the old model of the skateboard industry, but before that he was a pro skater himself. In the late 1970s Steve came to the forefront of the freestyle world, pretty well dominating the contest scene as freestyle evolved into an increasingly technical discipline.  At the same time, however, Rocco was an early adapter and proponent of "street skating". He really doesn't get his due. Rocco was a good street skater, before most people could do anything. 

Rocco is not someone who's commonly thought of as having great style. I'm going to argue he had great style. He's also one of the few freestylers who was actually good at adding a couple of street skating elements to a traditional freestyle run and not stinking things up. He was very much a transitional figure in freestyle, connecting the art of the 1970s to that of the 80s.

Here we see Rocco in a Tracker Trucks book advertisement, doing one of the many slide/hands-down maneuvers he excelled at. This shot contains all the elements of the small arts. The contortion of the body, the real found-in-the-street terrain, the quality of the photo shot from just the right angle. 


Photo by Ted Terrebonne

Still images can sometimes convey fluidity and body english, but in this case you really need to see how Rocco flowed through these moves. In this video from a pro freestyle contest in Vancouver, back in the 1980s, Rocco does one of these moves. Go to 2:04 in the video to see the fluidity of this move. Then change to 25% replay speed and see 1)the amazing extension of his body during this slide, and 2)the way he's able to smoothly bring the board back under his body and come out of the move effortlessly. 

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