Injured Maui pro hopes to get air time in 2007
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By Brandon Masuoka
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Brandon Masuoka
Thumper Nagasako calls it making the best of a bad situation.
The Maui-born professional vert in-line skater — ranked No. 8 in the world and No. 2 in the United States — is recovering from a separated right shoulder and broken left wrist.
"I had to find who I am without my sport, it's been definitely a challenge," said Nagasako, who has been sharpening his videography skills and attending classes at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa.
Nagasako — who wants to return in 2007 to the sport where competitors perform airborne tricks and other maneuvers on a half pipe — recently gave his insight on a variety of topics including how to get started with in-line skating in a telephone interview with The Advertiser.
On getting started:
"Like in any sport, get involved in with what you love to do. Some people might tell me, 'You're so lucky. You get to do what you love.' I am lucky. But it's taken a lot of days where I've been tired or sore ... It's those days that really test you — days where you ask yourself, 'How bad do I want this?' "
"In action sports, work your way up. A lot of kids push way too hard, too soon and they get hurt and stop. When I learned the McTwist — which is an upside down 540 — I started doing a 540 slightly upside down, and increased how upside down I did them until I was upside down."
On equipment costs for beginners:
"You could go to Sports Authority and buy decent skates for a kid. You can buy skates that I've seen sponsored guys use for $150. You can buy cheaper knee pads and a helmet. You can buy a solid (non-pro) setup for $200."
On essential skills:
"Overall body awareness and overall balance. Knowing how to spin and jump on a trampoline will definitely help. For vert, having good cardiovascular strength is a must. You need a lot of wind when you go 50 seconds straight (on the half pipe). My runs are 50 seconds long, and that's about 18 to 20 times back and forth. You're doing 18 to 20 tricks in 50 seconds."
On essential exercises:
"Stretching is definitely good. I would recommend that. I say for the most part, just skate. In the last few years, I started doing some stuff at the gym — that's if you're really committed to it. A lot of the pros don't do any gym stuff, they just skate. I do things that will help me with my cardio. In my practice runs, I'll rest a short time between (tricks). I'll do 20 airs, then rest a minute, then do 20 airs and rest a minute. I can build up stamina."
"It's definitely helpful to be strong, and have a good core of body strength. While I've been hurt, I go to the gym almost every day and do cardio. Once the season starts, I hardly do anything in the gym. Skating is enough to drain me. The gym is definitely helpful in the offseason to do it. I hear it's good for injury prevention and overall quickness."
"I think having a good diet and not eating junk food before training is a wise thing. I've lived off peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and protein shakes. That's like my meal of choice before competitions."
On preventing injuries:
"When you're skating always keep your wits about you. Sometimes you have to draw the line and say, 'Maybe I am too tired to train, and I'm going to get hurt if I don't stop.' It takes mental toughness to keep on going, and it takes mental toughness to say, 'Enough is enough, I'll try it tomorrow.' "
On returning to the pro circuit fully healed in 2007:
"I can't wait to get back. Just to be in the air, doing what I do, and just the focus it gives me, is something I really miss."
Reach Brandon Masuoka at firstname.lastname@example.org.