What is the final level of skateboarding? And how on earth does anyone reach it? We caught up with one of the most unique skateboarders in the game, Todd Falcon, about his new film that has been thirty two years in the making.
Questions: Kliewer/Broadley | Photos: Todd Falcon
What – in your terms – is the final level of skateboarding?
The answer to that question will be revealed in the final moments of my upcoming film Skateboarding Revelations: Journey to the Final Level.
When did that voice you’re talking about in the teaser to your new film first talk to you?
1987 while watching The Search for Animal Chin at my house with a group of friends. It was something that nobody had ever known about until the trailer was released last month.
At trick number 1 on the list or recently? Which of your tricks feels the most fun to you?
There were so many that I loved maximizing every possible variation out of and the tricks that I am most proud of throughout everything I ever invented are the ones I put my name on as part of the legacy of the journey:
TRICK # 1,242: FalconPlant - Fakie Ollie See-Saw Board Stall on Foot to Jump In
This was a future level root trick I created in 2002 that yielded me well over 500 variations.
"My perception of being a true skateboarder is one who has no boundaries, no limitations and no rules, someone who understands skateboarding as an art"
TRICK # 1,332: FalconSlide - Step-Off 1/2 Under Flip to Darkslide 2 Impossible Scoop In. This was the one used in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 and Underground video games.
TRICK # 1,340: FalconStall - Axel Stall to Primo
I did this in 2002 to open a whole new level of combining freestyle onto ramp skating.
TRICK # ????: FalconOllie - To be revealed in the new film.
A few others I love:
TRICK # 2,488: ChopStick Flip - The ultimate level root trick for flatground that opened up an entire world of skateboarding. I invented this one in 2014 and it will also be revealed in the new film.
TRICK # 2,880: Stage Dive - FalconPlant 540 Flip to Catch on Foot and Jump In
You’ve always made very clear that you don’t follow trends and wouldn’t want to change yourself in anything you do which most of skateboarding likes to get credited for but in reality often diverges from quite a bit. Do you think you’re one of the few 'true' skaters?
My perception of being a true skateboarder is one who has no boundaries, no limitations and no rules, someone who understands skateboarding as an art. They skate for themselves. My definition of skateboarding is this: It's a combination of motions, poses or stances performed on a skateboard (with or without all accessories) while rolling (or not rolling) with 1, 2 or no hands or feet used in accordance with the ground, air or other object as desired by the skateboarder.
Most of the footage we see from you is from around a mini in your garage. Don’t you think more variety in terrain, more outside influences could have taken your skills even further?
I have actually skated every terrain from flat, street, vert, pool, launch and park to grass, lumpy wooden decks and other off kilter surfaces... I took it all as far as I possibly could no matter where I was skating. The Skatepark of Houston was my favorite skatepark.
"I never missed filming a session from 2000 forward because it became critical for my film and for my journey to the final level"
I read you’ve been recording every single skate session since 2000. Do you still?
I never missed a session from 2000 forward because it became critical for my film and for my journey to the final level. I have actually been filming skating since 1977 when I started. In the 80's and 90's I filmed as often as I was able.
Never just go 'for a cruise'?
Man... I wish I had time for anything but all I see is a computer screen and this film...it's too massive of a project that it doesn't allow me to do anything else but that's ok because it's for a purpose. When it's done I am hoping to cruise from skatepark to skatepark with a tour for the film if parks are interested.
Do you ever look for the feel of a trick – like for example a seemingly simple slash grind on a rough pool coping can feel really good – or rather sheer difficulty level?
There are definitely tricks that always felt smooth so I would do those a lot as far as feel... but when it came to inventing tricks from Y2K forward, it was almost always about finding future level root tricks and the most difficult tricks possible.
What’s the last skate video you’ve watched and liked apart from your own?
Sadly, I have not seen a skate video since The Beginning (Birdhouse). I was on that DVD but I can't remember the year. If I had time to watch them these days I definitely would! I have not even seen any of my previous 5 skate films since they were released.
You’ve said before in an old interview that your wife was filming most of your skating. Is that still the case?
90's to early 2000's, my first wife Lisa filmed anything I needed to be done hand-held. I showed her how to shoot and film my tricks and she was real good at it. Honestly there were many, many filmers, it just depended on the day and location. Most often I'd skate alone so I could focus on my top secret mission for the film.
Did you ever think of or dream about going on tours to skate places like Barcelona or Paris, Shenzhen maybe? What’s the state of you company Falcon Skates?
I would love to be able to tour for the film world-wide. If it does well and the skateboarding world wants me to help push skateboarding into a no rules direction, then I will tour and bring up an all new pro team and who knows what else. I would love to be able to do these things so I hope the support is there.
"Most often I'd skate alone so I could focus on my top secret mission for the film"
I’ve read you started out skating vert. Do you still from time to time?
I skated vert from 1984 to 2005 and then retired from vert skating to focus on inventing tricks. The Skatepark of Houston was where I liked to skate most. I rode the Big Kahuna 12 foot vert ramp with skaters like Bryan Pennington, Dave Nielsen, Dave Donalson and Troy Chason. When they built the 11 Foot Hurricane ramp that was my favorite.
Would you ever consider taking your skills to one of the big bowl parks that are all over the place now?
I no longer skate vert or big bowls but who knows what the future could bring.
How is your movie and production career going?
It's going killer! My distribution company Screamtime Films is always releasing brand new films so that is what I am currently doing. The last film I directed was Zombiefied (2012). I plan to do another film in the future!
Is this how you make a living? Are you still pursuing your music career?
Screamtime Films is my business and living, I am also working on a brand new album for the first time since 2006. The new album will hopefully coincide with the release of Skateboarding Revelations as the songs are written for the film as well as the album itself. It's a whole new level of music for me.
Do you still play in a band?
Unfortunately not right now. It's possible I could form a new band to support my new album if the doors open up for that to happen. We would tour for sure if the possibility was there.
If so, how many albums do you have under your belt now?
20 with my former band Stage Dive and many others with soundtracks for films and solo-projects. I started the band in 1996 and we recorded and performed until 2006. I miss playing live.
Thanks Todd, and good luck in reaching the final level!