Rodney Mullen’s first video part since 2004 will be released soon. Or, at least ... sometime, his company Almost Skateboards hinted recently in an advance poster for its new video "5-Incher," which was released Monday. The poster listed featured riders and noted that the video was “Not Featuring Rodney Mullen” but that there was indeed “a full length part in the works.”
This was the first public proclamation that the skateboarding great planned on releasing another video. Years of speculation, rumored injury, and a miniscule amount of posted footage had many in the skate community wondering if he ever would.
Last August, when a German skate magazine popped the question, he answered, “I hope so.” Rodney was in Berlin for the Bright trade show. “At first I just wanted to be able to be all right, and walk OK … then I skated again, and now [maybe] I can do something new. So if I can do that, then I’ll film. If I can’t, then I’ll keep my skating private.”
In the interview, Rodney discussed an injury that’s plagued him since at least 2004, when scar tissue pulled his right femur into its hip socket, seizing up his back leg. So invasive was the ever-growing tissue that doctors couldn’t remove it, and one even told Rodney he’d walk with a cane.
Through intense pressurization and six-hour stretching sessions, Rodney eventually tore out the tissue himself, and in February 2008 released 90 seconds of new footage, followed by three new tricks that November. The footage debuted his “stanceless” skating -- riding equally proficient at his unique level in both regular and goofy stances.
The idea for erasing his stance, he told Tony Hawk in 2009, came from the injury, which was the result of skateboarding’s asymmetrical nature: the scar tissue was birthed from three decades of ollieing off his right leg. Now he wanted to erase his stance’s ingrained asymmetries.
“What if I could unravel it,” he said, “and approach the tricks I could never do, no matter how much practice, and do tricks that are impossible to do switch. Because at that stage, it’s really just, for me, goofy.”
A couple of years ago, I met Rodney at a warehouse near his home in Redondo Beach. He demonstrated a switch nollie laserflip, a trick long deemed impossible, and said he’d filmed a few others but wasn’t sure about their public release.
Maybe they'll soon see the light of day.
Cole Louison is the author of "The Impossible: Rodney Mullen, Ryan Sheckler, and the Fantastic History of Skateboarding."