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Breaking Down the Godfather of Skate’s Classic Moves: A Taxonomy

David Miles Jr. explains how to shoot the duck.


Toe Drag

(1 of 6)

Shoot the Duck

(2 of 6)

Spread Eagle

(3 of 6)

The Coffin

(4 of 6)

Toe-Toe Spin

(5 of 6)


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Editor’s Note: This is one of many stories about Golden Gate Park that San Francisco is publishing over the next month as part of the June 2017 issue. To read stories as they become available online, click here.

Walk by the park’s outdoor roller rink any Sunday and ask for the Godfather, David Miles Jr. (He’ll be the one busting moves like disco’s still king.) Here, he breaks down a few of the classics. (Follow along in the slideshow above.)

Toe Drag
“This is the first trick I teach people,” Miles says. The move is simple: Stick one foot forward and drag your back toe. Then crouch down, one arm pointed forward.

Shoot the Duck
An oldie but goodie. Build up a bit of speed, then squat with one leg straight out in front of you and lift that foot off the ground—like you’re staring down the barrel of a rifle.

Spread Eagle
Point your toes in opposite directions and spread your arms and legs like the Vitruvian Man, balancing on your back wheels, and hold the pose through a backward semicircle turn. 

The Coffin
Why’s this move—a crosslegged squat you hold through a long turn—called the coffin? “That’s where you end up if you mess up," Miles says.

Toe-Toe Spin
A tight, figure-skating-type spin, of which Miles can do 30 or more rotations while balancing on the front two wheels of each skate. The key? Keep pumping your feet. “With each rotation, you create an oscillation where you generate a little speed.”

Only for those with a manageable healthcare premium: Lift one leg, arms aloft, and—you’ve got to commit here—go ass over teakettle into a cartwheel and stick the landing. 


Originally published in the June issue of San Francisco 

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