Rodney Mullen on Manuals

January 3, 2007 | Skip To The Comments (50)

Ok, so a few years back, maybe 2001 or 2002, Strength magazine asked me to do a piece on manuals and interview some the manual champs on the subject. The article never saw the light of day, because Strength was headed towards its demise, but I did get to interview a lot of pros and will start posting them up here now, one at a time, for you to feast your little eyes on.

I shall start with Mr. Rodney Mullen, who concluded his conversation with me by stating, "This was fun!" Stay tuned for other interviews with Rob Welsh, Ronnie Creager, Tim O'Connor, Marc Johnson and I think I have stuff from Biebel, Henry Sanchez and Marcus McBride on tape that still needs transcribing...don't hold me too it though.

RB: What was your favorite place to do manuals?

RM: Schools with a bunch of different sized tables and benches, where I get the most freedom to piece them together every way I can think of. They're good for Casper, primo, and grind combos because they're so smooth, and they're tall enough to give it a little punch. That's the best part of skating to me: making ideas happen. Plus I can skate alone, or with a couple of random neighborhood kids that don't care about trying to impress anyone. Sometimes they're fun to skate with because they get joy out of doing basic goofy stuff, and it's fun teaching them stuff and seeing them light up when they do it the first time.

Who/what made you first want to try manual tricks?

Mike Ternasky is the one who pulled me out of old-school stuff and made me start trying "street" tricks. I started with manuals because I was so horrible that I didn't know how to do grinds or any other type of progressive street tricks at the time. Not much has really changed...

What was the first 'hard' manual trick you learned?

I don't know: it's all pretty relative to what you're used to doing. I wanted to do switch 360-flip to fakie manual before I could do good switch 360-flips, so that seemed hard. Nose-wheelie nollieflip to nosewheelie takes 5 minutes on flat-ground, but it got really hard doing it over a little gap because my eyes would gravitate to the gap every time instead of looking through the trick, so that's what made it hard. If I were used to the gap at the time, it wouldn't have been that big of a deal. It's stuff like that which is meaningless in absolute terms that acquires meaning only in context of what you're used to skating.

What was the one you are most proud of?

That changes for the same reasons. Right now it's this handstand flip up this little curb to nosewheelie. It was rotten from the beginning, looking at everything upside-down. Then my board kept bouncing off the curb near my face, which was also a bummer. Then I'd land nosewheelie, only to swerve off into the abyss because my feet were coming down from overhead like some kind of drunken pendulums. When I'd turn my head to look at the curb, it upset the whole shebang, so I'd have to roll into it blind and I'd count in order to keep everything else lined up right. Even once I landed to straight nosewheelie, my body was too out of whack to pop off, and I wanted to light myself on fire. Then the manager came out and threatened me, and I thought I burst a blood vessel in my head from 2 hours of being upside down under all that strain. Right now, that wins the award for me, but I'm not quite sure if "proud" is how I feel. I just feel joy.

What took you longest to learn?

I think it's this super long combo that I'm saving for the video as my last trick at the moment. You'll laugh when you see it.

What haven't you landed yet but are working on, or gave up on?

I've been pretty blessed at the moment, and I'm not carrying any of those monkeys on my back. I've got a couple of ideas for some future heartache, though.

Who is the king of the manual?

Daewon Song is the king, period. I hate him.

What is the most memorable manual trick ever done?

Probably that rotten handstand flip to nosewheelie, because I've been getting migraines ever since.

What's so appealing about manual tricks as opposed to other types of skating?

Because there are endless combinations, and they tune in your flip tricks so well, and you can practice them anywhere there is ground. They're just fun.


  1. he's so cool :D

  2. Nate Sherwood tricked me into thinking that Rodney had an intro video on here. Never trust notorious nate.

  3. now you need to do one for daewon. he'll probably be like, "mullen's the best at 'em, man. i hate him."

    jeric b.
  4. Word up for the manual. The amount of gratification you get when landing a manual trick just isn't comparable to flip/grind tricks.. you're in a stage of intense concentration for so much longer.

    Daewon, man. Wow.

  5. daewon is awesome, rodney sucks. worst style ever.

  6. [...] Anybody of you skate librarians know when a Wheelie started being called a Manual? Why is a trick that is done without the use of hands called a manual?I checked the Oxford English Dictionary but someone had ripped out that page. I know the kids make up their own kookie language to confound their elders. Check out Rodney Mullen slipping in an interview with rob brink and calling it a wheelie. Daewon Song would never do that. I got to the article from Skate Daily. [...]

    » Blog Archive » Manual?
  7. Let's see the fag do a frontside invert to nose wheelie.
    It's a fucking wheelie. Not a manual! I heard some BMX'er call a wheelie a manual at Burnside the other day. I had to resist giving the dumbass a free flying lesson off the crow's nest. Manual, C'mon.It's a W H E E L I E ! ! !

  8. rodney is the man:) he can do everything_he is simply the best of the bests!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. #
    dude Said,

    January 8, 2007 @ 1:49 pm

    daewon is awesome, rodney sucks. worst style ever.
    you are suck!!!! i think are boath are the best. but i like rodney more
    i am sorry becouse i am from slovenija (on croatia and italy)

  10. and i cant writeing in english wery well. so i am sorry

  11. Don`t bluzi mi Marolt! WRITEING se napiše WRITING ( i just think so)
    I think the daewon song is better becose he have more stile, but so do rodney is cool! THE BOATH ARE VERY GOOD!

  12. Well...Rodney is best of all these primo,casper,truckstand and handstand and all these weird things.......
    But Daewon is best by doing all these crazy things like....
    fakie 360 flip fakie manual 360 flip out.....
    Well they are awsome both of them...!

  13. I'm from sweden....
    I'm just 12 so i'm not so good at english...

  14. FLABBYTIA JJCKEYZY!!! YOUF CK suck ROd. is style, skate is for TODAY !!!! SSS!

    incoherent eastern european
  15. Yeah Rodney's is sick in al freestyle related stuff, but Deawon is the king in al the more newschool technical things. Both masters, nuff said.

  16. dude u is good

    Dalton mohundro
  17. Its a manual not a wheelie. Bikers call it a manual, u dont know anything about sk8 board!

  18. ya rodney mullen is so over rated everyone is obset with him i think he sucks!

  19. Rodney mullen is the best skater ever - he created pretty much all of today's modern flip tricks example 360 flip, kickflip.... he is also a really nice guy. if skateboarding was a galaxy, rodney mullen would be head of the jedi..

    reuben mccoy
  20. Rodney mullen is the best skater in the world in my book and he is a god of skateing so have some respect

  21. Rodney mullen is the best freestyle skater in the world!!! so to all of u that do not think hes coole...

    _| |__
    | |
    \ /
    | |
    | | F(PIIIIIP) YOU! )=/

  22. Yeah Manuals are great but how is daewon $ong da best...?

    Sammy (A2)
  23. Rodney is Da BEST SKATER MAN hes so awsum.... !street king!

    Sammy (A2)
  24. to be tech bout it a manual is where there is no pedaling in bike terms,therefore when a person starts the motion of pedaling its called a wheelie. to (free-ride) a skateboard on two wheels nose or tail or what have youcan be referd to as a wheelie or manual! so there you have it folks the diff between the two.

  25. mullen is the best and everyone knows it so stay off his back

  26. Rodney ur the best street skater ever i want to learn ur tricks.

    sage Harvey
  27. can u help with ur tricks

    sage Harvey
  28. Man ur THE BEST!!!!!

    sage Harvey
  29. Rodney is easly the worlds best freestyle and street sk8ter evre.
    He is someone i could not get tired of whaching on the T.V

  30. Rodney is one of the best if not the best--give him some props.
    what the mind can conceive, few can achieve.
    Rodney achieves!!

    brad emehiser
  31. Rodney is the king he is my idol and he is the best he is better then daewon in my oppioin but Rodney is the father and chicken and daewon is jus the egg SO you never know but is better and the father and Mullen can do any technicul thing there is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! RODNEY IS THE GREATEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Tim Cauni
  32. yo man this is sullyim an awsame sk8ter my m8s say i should become
    pro but dude u r the best at old school stree and freestyle man u rock

  33. dude you guys are all gay why be on the computer when you could be skating in your garage or driveway or at a park or sompthing.

    ps. Rodney is sick Dewon is not as sick but still sick

    Jake Estes
  34. I poop my pants all time i chines and i like pesi not chokeachola

    Jesus Hell
  35. yo nigs

  36. rodney mullen is the shit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  37. Rodney is the best skater whoever lived he will own whoever challenges him

  38. I give u props for the premo slide!!!!!!!!!!

    ronald mocdonald
  39. I give him props for the premo slide!!!!!!!!!!

    ronald mocdonald
  40. rodney mullen is the best im his greatst fan rodney u role

  41. rodney mullen is the all around best skater ever. whoever doesnt like rodney is lame. really lame... RODNEY RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    austin (#9)

    austin (#9)
  43. "dude Said,
    January 8, 2007 @ 1:49 pm

    daewon is awesome, rodney sucks. worst style ever."

    austin (#9)


    ps:sorry for my english im french lol


    ps: sorry for my english im french lol


  48. who ever says that rodney mullen suck well fuck you all.

  49. rock on rodney mullen !!

  50. Why does every pro skater ride Mark Gonzales' dick? They all say how he is the best and blah, blah, blah. Gonzales is a sick skater with a sick style but Rodney is the driving force of it all! Reynolds says that Mark is brilliant because he was one of the first to grind rails. That makes sense until you realise that Rodney invented the flatground ollie. So if it weren't for the genius of Mullen, Mark would probably be bombing hills. Every street skater owes Mullen pretty much everything. Period. BTW: Why doesn't he have an advert or pro model on Globe at the moment? We need more Mullen coverage!


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