When thinking of vert style, a grunge punk 90’s song is heard in the background while a skateboarder goes down the ramp and then into air, making his or her flips and twists as some kind of gust with consciousness and free will. The whirlwind suddenly takes the form of a man in midair and then drop bombs into the half pipe, leaving behind a tail of flames and scorched earth. That man is Bucky Lasek, the vert champion and the closest thing we got in our not imaginative but not so boring world to an Airbender. This is not make-believe, this is Bucky Lasek swirling onto the stage.
The Boy without a Bike, The Man with a Skateboard
Charles Michael Lasek was a kid from Baltimore, Maryland. At the age of twelve his bike was stolen by an unseen force, making Lasek turn to the skateboard’s path, specifically when he saw ‘The Bones Brigade Video Show’, by Powell Peralta team and featuring Tony Hawk. He had made his choice. He grew rapidly as a gifted teenager that stole everyone's attention, skaters and muggles alike, much like his bike was stolen from him. In a drift of fate, he was then noticed by Powell Peralta scouts, who invited him to the team and to be sponsored by them.
The boy who grew up skating Downtown Baltimore and Dundalk, where he faced one of his first ramps; the infamous ‘Hell Ramp’ at the Fisherman’s Inn, became a man and a skateboarder called ‘Bucky’ Lasek.
From Man to Tornado: X Games Vert Champion
The coming of the 90’s saw a decline of the vert style, almost at the same time when Lasek was anointed as a pro skater. Then came the foundation of the X Games by ESPN in the mid 90’s, where Bones Brigade skaters would make history there and after with names like Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero, Rodney Mullen, Danny Way and Bucky Lasek himself, among other legends.
Lasek has won since that era 13 X Games medals (six of them golden) on the vert category, esteemed and recognized for his perfectly performed Heelflip Frontside Gay Twist and the Switch Frontside 540. He is one of the few skateboarders who can do a 720 and land backwards, also known as a MacKenzie. As of today, Lasek continues to grind and climb the vert into an ever forward ascension to the realm of the Airbenders, masters of the razor-sharp wind tunnels and gust-like spins.