Baltimore ramps launched Lasek's career



The best vertical skateboarder in the world is from Baltimore.

Charles Michael "Bucky" Lasek may not be as big a name as the semiretired Tony Hawk, but he has dominated competitive skating in recent years, winning five gold medals at ESPN's X Games and also winning numerous "best trick" competitions.

Lasek, 32, is in Orlando, Fla., this week to compete in the last stop of this year's Dew Action Sports Tour. The 15-year professional has already wrapped up the season points title on that circuit.

A husband and father of two young daughters, Lasek now lives in Carlsbad, Calif. He called in for an interview last week:

Where did you grow up in Baltimore?

I started growing up in Armstead Gardens. Then, we moved away to Fort Myers, Fla. ... We moved back to Dundalk when I was just starting the sixth grade.

How did you start skating?

I started skating when my bike got stolen, and then I got a skateboard for Christmas. I was 12. Were you good right away?

Were there other good skaters around to push you?

The scene was kind of new back then. There were some older guys around doing it, and they were pretty good, but the guys my age, we were all pretty much at the same level. ... One of the first places I started skating was this drain off of Holabird Avenue. There was this ditch there that I think they've filled up with rocks since then. But that's where I met a lot of my friends.

When did you know this is what you would do for a living? What told you?

I never really thought of this as, "Oh, this is what I'm gonna do." I kind of just got better, and then I started entering local competitions. ... I was winning a lot of them.

What sets you apart from the other guys? Why are you such a consistent winner?

I think I have more of a vision of what I want and where I'm going to take it. Basically, I'm not happy unless I'm creating. I have to be doing something all the time. Basically, I'm a hard guy to satisfy.

Do you do your best skating in competition or when you're just messing around trying to invent stuff?

Competition, it's a frame of mind that I'm not always in, and I like to keep it that way. It would be like bringing your work home, you know? ... When I practice, I just start cruising around, trying stuff, hanging out. It's not like it's work. It's just you and your skateboard. You're keeping your blood moving, keeping your senses active and building a bag of tricks, just trying to dial it in.

What is your most memorable trick?

There's one I landed that no one else had really done, the forward-to-fakie 720. [This means Lasek launched himself off a steep ramp, spun 720 degrees in the air and landed backward.] I did it a few times. It's not something I'd try a lot, because it hurts to fall on it.

People think of skating as a teenage gig, but a lot of the best guys seem to be in their late 20s and early 30s. Why do you think you're peaking now?

It's a learning process. Getting to the point where you're comfortable with everything you're doing is a struggle. ... I feel sorry for the young guys who are watching tapes of us now, because as rad as it is to watch it, it gets so frustrating to try to do it right away.

How long do you think you'll skate?

I'm getting to the point where I'm starting to burn out. It's been a long time. ... I need to pick and choose a little more and not be so work-oriented. I need to have fun.

But it sounds like you'll never give up skating.

No, no, I'll skate forever, even if it's not at the level that I do now.

I see the Orioles hat on your Web site. What did you make of this season?

Oh man, I don't even keep up on the season. ... I don't like to add any more stress to my life.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.