I arrived early and watched Combi Protec practice the other day. The Combi sat there in the morning sun looking like a monolith. It was a huge gray monument to the skate Gods. The pool spread out across the floor of the building and beckoned. It spoke no earthly language but its message was clear: “Come!” A few people stepped up to its huge mouth and fell into it with abandon. Some were chewed up and spit out. Others forced her jaws open wide and fed her. Bucky Lasek arrived. His lines were a thing to be marveled. His trick combinations spoke of another level. He was focus and technicality personified. I shook my head in wonder. After the session, I sat with him and questioned his motivations, last years pre-Protec injury, the differences between vert and bowl contests and how his own bowl has changed his skateboarding. It was instructive.
Bucky sat in his chair and took a drink of water. He ordered some food from a pestering waitress and then smiled. “What were we talking about? Oh yeah. Contests.” I pushed the digital recorder closer to him. “As far as competing, right now I think bowl contests are the most fun. It seems more fluid and you can get more out of skating bowls. Vert seems like work. You show up for work and do back to back tricks… it’s something you don’t really want to do everyday.” Bucky paused and framed his words carefully. I waited. ”Vert is more technical and its about consistency and repetition. It holds its own for what it is. Basically, vertical skateboarding is a chess game, compared to bowl skating… where you are showing up to have a good time. Bowl contests just seem to have a more laid-back vibe.”
We discussed the vibe at Protec and other bowl contests. How the audience feeds off of the riders and vice versa. I stated that this is sometimes lacking in vert contests. Bucky agreed. “There is a rhythm and there is style to bowl skating. There is a particular feeling. Its more open and free.” Bucky spoke of the differences in vert and bowls. He told me directly: “If I could skate just my bowl and the Combi for the rest of my life, I’d be happy”
“Vertical is a technical challenge. I’m always up for any challenge. I’m out there riding with all these young guys that live, breath, eat and sleep vertical.” I enjoy rising to that challenge and doing the best I can.” I asked Bucky if his backyard bowl has changed the way he skates. He laughed and shook his head. “My bowl has definitely changed the way I skateboard! I think it gave me more power, more heart and more love for going fast. It helped me develop and utilize speed. It changed the way I look and how I feel when I skate.”
I sat back and thought of what Bucky was revealing to me. I remember him from way back. He was a phenomenal trick-oriented vert ramp skater that became something so much more. Different. Driven. Dynamic. He is progression. I wanted to know what Bucky felt about the differences between the Combi pool and his backyard bowl. He pondered the question and started in on the food that the waitress brought.
Moving his plate around, Bucky told me that there are big differences to him. “My bowl is much bigger and faster. It doesn’t have as many lines as the Combi. Its like two different loves. Combi will throw much more variety at you. Lines. It’s endless. If you throw in technical tricks when you ride the Combi, there is no feeling in the world like it.” I asked Bucky if he has to apply the brakes whenever he goes from his bowl to the Combi. “Oh yeah…! My bowl is one where you can open up, go big and develop fast fluid lines. You can blast! With the Combi, I have to slow down and work the lines.”
I asked him about last years injury that kept him out of the Protec contest. “Well, right before the contest, I was filming for a Go Pro video at my bowl and I had cameras all over me. I bailed and instead of knee sliding I jumped to my feet and snapped my ankle. It was right before the Protec and– up to that point– I was ready. It is the contest that I look forward to the most. Protec is the Holy Grail of bowl riding.” Thanks to Bucky Lasek for taking the time with us. Thank you to MRZ for the stellar image & Thank you to Jamie Mosberg and Skateboard TV for the video clip. Skate- Ozzie