Horizontal sports on a vertical plane

Peter Cameron getting vertical surfing The Gutter in Idaho. Please always wear a helmet and PFD.

     Date: Tuesday, June 19th, 2012
Writing From: Everything’s bigger in Texas

I had an interesting dream the other night, spawned in part I think by some skateboarding news I saw on ESPN and the rest by my subconscious.

I was at an Airboarding resort, and airboarders were throwing tricks off a big-air ramp. The most celebrated guy stood on the board and did multiple spins in the air before landing and riding away…still standing up.

My dream selves got into an argument.
“Isn’t that just snowboarding?”
“No, it’s still an Airboard so it’s airboarding, and that’s an extremely hard trick on an Airboard.”
“Yeah but the point of airboarding is to do it horizontal. And the trick might be hard on an Airboard [in a dream – pretty much not possible in real life], but it’s relatively easy on a snowboard, so if you want to do that why not just snowboard instead?”

I’ve been thinking about this issue as well because of some conversations I’ve had recently about riverboards, and surfing.

Because it’s only in our sports, where we begin on the horizontal plane, that going to the vertical is part of the repertoire of tricks, and takes skill.

The other way around, it doesn’t happen. Snowboarders don’t ever lay on their boards as part of their tricks. Surfers don’t ever lay on their boards, beyond functionality to catch a wave.

So why do face level sports athletes feel the need to go vertical?
Is it an evolutionary thing, we’re feeling subconsciously that we’re supposed to be on our feet? Is being horizontal not fulfilling enough in and of itself?

I could see arguments in a variety of directions, but I’m curious. Is it because ultimately, tricks aren’t really as viable on the horizontal plane?

Or are athletes simply taking advantage of all the variability that starting with a horizontal foundation but not being locked into it, presents?

There may not be a broad answer, but it’s something to think about personally. Feel free to leave your comments below.

Until next time, get outside and FLI!

Josh Galt ~ FLI
Face Level Industries

Josh Galt ~ FLI

An artist, athlete, and entrepreneur, Josh Galt is the creator and editor of FaceLevel.com and the director of the Riverboarding World Championship. Josh has been riverboarding all around the world now for 20 years, and sliding headfirst on snow since he was old enough to walk. He calls Costa Rica home, but is currently based in Asia.

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