Video Review: Elite - Pol Roman Signature Deck Promo

January 4, 2022

Video Review: Elite - Pol Roman Signature Deck Promo

Pol Roman’s “Signature deck promo” commemorates the Spanish tech-savant’s years of persistence, dedication and mind-bending maneuvers in artfully inspired fashion. Pol is, in so many ways, on a frontier of his own creation within urban street scooter riding, and I’m stoked to see his efforts be recognized with a signature deck.

Technical prowess to the degree that Pol displays in this video is an anomaly in scootering already. Few are putting the pieces together in the way that he is, both in terms of the difficulty of tricks themselves and the ways in which they fit congruently with the spots on which he performs them. A point of particular emphasis for me, in regard to specific tricks, was the incorporation of various “pretzels/back-breakers” throughout. Appropriately named, “back-breakers” involve the acting individual spinning one way in, and the opposite way out (ie. backside in, frontside out), an action which requires profound individual flexibility and an even greater degree of bodily control. These tricks are so rare in scootering for the reason that they are difficult in and of themselves, but also because they are nearly impossible to do well, making the visual experience of seeing them performed as such all the more captivating. Pol’s back 180 fakie wallride front 180, back 180 fakie manual front 180 and backside half-cab nose manual front 180 all require significant poise, precision and controlled bodily contortion, yet were somehow performed smoothly all the same. Pol communicates a level of calm and collectedness when he engages even the most difficult of such back-breaking tricks, a direct affront to the physical and, surely, mental challenges that they entail. He paradoxically appears to be in perfect unison with though also in unyielding command of his scooter, assuredly, confidently guiding it even as it resists the micro-level corrections and re-corrections he makes with each undertaking. It all eventually comes together in an entrancingly clear-cut depiction of nuanced complexity, a variety of riding which resonates deeply with the viewer and in turn inspires one’s own internal reflection upon the intrigue of the technical realm.

 Arguably as noteworthy as the tricks showcased in this video, though, was the interactive experience communicated by the way in which Pol made use of his environment in doing them. In so many videos do scooter riders appear mere passive observers, using spots for tricks in a way that indicates relatively little, if any, thoughtful engagement. Spots are diminutively regarded as spaces enabling particular actions, and seldom as locales for earnest and deliberate expression. In Pol’s case, however, the spots he rides and the tricks he does on them seem bi-directionally influential—the spots he has at his disposal shape the tricks he performs and vice versa. It’s not ostentatiously premeditated, but simply reflects a deeper comprehension of the cities and spaces he inhabits, as if he truly seeks to understand and receive input from the architecture enveloping him, and eventually to meld it into the modes of self-expression he offers us as viewers. What this effectively creates is a cohesive and full-circle narrative, suggestive of the way in which scootering possesses the capacity to direct our lives beyond the physical manifestations of our riding alone. Using our surrounding environment in this fashion embodies the connections between our own creative ideations and the pervasive influence of contextual factors. How we ride, and, in turn, who we are as scooter riders is profoundly impacted by our existence and experience beyond the acts of scootering alone, and videos like this convey that. They make use of the intangible relations connecting the various facets of ourselves and present them in an intelligible way. It isn’t, strictly speaking, overtly necessary for a scooter film to make such efforts, but they invariably add an additional dimension to what those films represent in their creative outputs. I’d like to see more scooter riders take inspiration from this approach in the future, and in turn to offer more self-aware productions ideally representative of their lived experience as both scooter riders and not. This, I think, will only make the fruits of scooter media more enjoyable, and likewise more insightfully telling of those who produce them.