Wednesday, May 12, 2010

13. The Skate Boarding Field Manual

Stutt, Ryan. The Skateboarding Field Manual. ISBN: 978-1554073627. Firefly Books. First Edition, 2009.

The Skate Boarding Field Manual by Ryan Stutt is an introductory guide to skateboarding that explores not only the proper tools and mechanics to accomplish basic skateboarding tricks, but also the subculture, history and lifestyle. Stutt explains everything that you need to know to get started, from how to purchase the proper board, tools, and safety gear, to skateboarding stances and board assembly. The book contains information on how to accomplish 33 different tricks of varying difficutly, and includes photographed snapshots to demonstrate the "how to" steps. This wonderful beginners guide also features a glossary defining skateboarding terminology that new skaters will need to be familiar with. Starting with the basics and history and finishing with more complicated tricks, this manual explores the world of skateboarding inside and out.

Critical Evaluation
Ryan Stutt, author of The Skateboarding Field Manual, is by no means an expert skateboarder, but luckily for readers it doesn't take an expert skateboarder to scribe an informational guide of trick basics, proper skating tools, techniques, and a history of the sport and subculture. Stutt describes the purpose of his manual as a means to get skateboarding newcomers up to speed with the sport and the culture, so that they'll be ready to go out and skate with the more experienced skateboarding community. Stutt leaves no stone unturned in this tell all of skateboarding life. He discusses everything from the proper shoes, the names of obstacles, and even the ever important skate park etiquette. His history of the sport is abridged, but gives newcomers a basic understanding of how the sport has evolved to present day.

At no point during the course of this manual will readers question Stutt's knowledge of the subject. Having worked in the world of professional skateboarding, Stutt made sure to get information and input from skaters of various skill levels. He presents 33 different tricks for new skaters to tackle, in the categories of grinds, slides, transitions, flips, and flat ground tricks. Each of these different tricks is presented with an introduction about the history and complexity of the trick, as well as a diagram for foot placement, and the "how to" steps for execution. The various stages of the trick are wonderfully captured by the photography of the talented Harry Gils. These photographs are numbered to correspond with the various "how to" steps. Gils' photography is also artfully placed throughout the manual, showcasing the art of skateboarding in the urban landscape it thrives. Graphically, the manual mimics and pays homage to the styles of popular skateboarding magazines like Thrasher, and Transworld. Each double spread features text in bold and bright colors contrasted against stark whites. Stutt tries to make the text lively and entertaining by throwing in the occasional pop culture reference, which teen readers are sure to get a kick out of. Overall, this beginners guide delivers on a variety of levels. Newcomers will appreciate the wealth of beginner knowledge, and skateboarding pros will marvel at the skilled photography. The Skateboarding Field Manual has a little something for everyone.

Reader's Annotation
The world of skateboarding has changed a lot since the 50's, and for newcomers to the sport there is a lot of catching up to do. Ryan Stutt's The Skate Boarding Field Manual is here to get skaters up to speed.

Author Information
Ryan Stutt is an active skateboarder and skateboard enthusiast. He has spent the majority of his professional career as the managing editor of SBC Skateboard magazine, and he is currently working with Elemental Skateboards on the non-profit organization Elemental Awareness. Elemental Awareness is an organization that seeks to educate and inspire young people to develop self-esteem in order to lead successful lives. Elemental Awareness offers skateboarding events, workshops, seminars, and scholarships to attend skateboarding camps.


Curriculum Ties

physical education

Book Talking Ideas
Where will the sport of skateboarding be 10 years from now?

Reading Level
Grades 7+

Challenge Issues


Reason For Selection

Skateboarding is a popular sport amongst the teenage crowd. I frequently take my dog to the local dog park, which is situated directly across from the busiest skate park I've ever seen. This skate park is filled with teens riding skateboards, bicycles, and even scooters. I wanted to include a couple of sports titles somewhere in this blog and with the popularity of skateboarding in my area, this skateboarding manual seemed to be the perfect fit.

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