Let me begin by saying, these three phrases are the key components to almost everything you like or hate in life. Whether it be food / agriculture, sports, war, hate groups, music, clothing, the air we breathe, etc… These three phrases sum up everything we know, don’t know, and should know. Practically everything we have, want, need and don’t need in our lives is usually tied back to something from the present or past history. There is no escaping it. No matter how hard you try to trick yourself to believe it’s only about what’s happening now, or want to believe that none of what I’ve just said applies to you. The facts seem to say past history and knowing your self applies to all of us. Now…it is very likely you are saying “where is he going with this?” or “what does anything he is saying have to do with skateboarding?”
To be completely honest with you, everything I’ve said has to do with skaters, skateboarding, those directly involved in the skateboard industry and people in general. You’re probably saying to yourself “who is he to tell me anything? Do you think I care? Why should I listen?” Well…My answer to these questions is you don’t have to care or listen to anything I’m saying. You can just stop reading and disregard anything you’ve just read. But…if you consider yourself a truly legitimate and knowledgeable shop owner/proprietor, skater or skate enthusiast then you might want to read on. You can just not take any of what I’m saying (to all of you) and continue on with your dissolution of reality that what has occurred in the last 10 years in skateboarding is skateboarding, or do yourself a favor and support skateboarders and skateboarding the way it should be supported.
By learning the basis of where skateboarding has come from to where it is now, you will help rid or eradicate any misunderstandings or confusion that is causing skateboarding (not unlike the trendy 70’s era… yet the first organized catalyst for organized industry) to appear a bit lost. I just cannot continue to sit and watch the essence of skateboarding fade further and further into the abyss of time and not speak out. I am a proud product of the skate environment and someone who has benefited, learned and listened when experienced skaters and industry pioneers have spoken. Whether it be past magazine interviews, past historic skater product critiques, personal conversations with business mentors or “hand me down” information from legitimate sources, I subscribe to the facts that all this info offered to me, was received, and comes with the hopes I would carry and pass this important information back into skateboarding for its long term preservation. It appears nowadays to harbor too much manipulation and not enough facts and essence. I’ve enjoyed watching the growth of skateboarding and still to this day play an advocate position for skating, not to mention spent countless years on a skateboard for the gratification and brief escape from the world’s madness we all experience and share.
Even people who don’t skate receive a level of gratification just by witnessing the feats skaters lay down right in front of their eyes or on TV. There is nothing like skateboarding and there will never be anything like skateboarding. You can feel and experience “a rush” while participating in any activity, but nothing really compares to riding the skateboard and the effects had when in the act. I’m sure everyone will agree with me on this. I’m not pulling the bias card just because I skate. I also know what it feels like to ride MX, slash downhill on a snowboard, jump a bicycle as well as try to surf waves… but for me it’s skateboarding that has that secret element of control and danger (for any level skater) which makes it so unique.
Since I was a kid following skateboarding’s ground-laying, “organized” building years (via the skate mags and skate mentors of the 70’s and early 80’s) there was never a doubt in my mind that skateboarding would always be that “dedicated to preserving its essence and lifestyle scene”. The one that would stick to its roots and never waver or go off course. Support and back any and all of those who played a significant role in the inception and continuation of skateboarding for years to come. Whether it be pioneering skate company owners/manufacturers that innovated and/or stuck it out in business during the tough times or “dark days”, ground breaking skaters paving new trails with tricks on unforeseen terrain. New! innovative materials for wheels or good ole’ natural materials for decks. Don’t forget the past competitive circuit organizations and sanctioned bodies that helped all on its path to determine who deserved status/props based on their contributions, riding abilities, entertaining personalities and style. The true essence of skateboarding that has made and continues to keep the root of core skateboarding a reality.
Through some of these years of growth there have been some losses and lack of attention being paid to where it all came from. In my mind causing people to stop thinking/focusing for themselves, put on the blinders, shoot from the hip and hope for the best. To only eventually become lost, dazed and confused. This practice of progression will continue to create “smoke screens” in turn creating more problems. If you keep repeating and walking blindly for too long, you will end up falling off the cliff. Don’t let the predictions come true. Once again the industry has come full circle and appears to look like a commoditized pile of you know what. Now… I don’t want to appear to be speaking negatively about the money being offered to pros and ams alike. I am one of the biggest advocates for skaters getting paid to put it on the line for people’s entertainment. But… It comes down to whose pockets the money is coming from and how they continue or not giving it back to skateboarding. The masses have been watching skateboarding with a microscope, dissected the old failed models and have jumped in to the revolving door. Let’s take an example: the hard goods deck market. Non “dues paid “ newcomers, Toy store and blank boards are still dominating the overall world sales right still. With the help of mass media support skateboarding is fashionable and looked upon as necessity to fit the mold as hip. With all of this crazy growth, the skate industry has had our “ lunches eaten” by people who have NOT stated their intentions for their actions (except for a few). Even one of the major event players staked/voiced their intentions over 10 years ago and are still at it til this day…only why didn’t a U.S. manufacturer get the merchandising deal for their skateboards? There are other players that have also stated there intentions and have concrete evidence that backs it up. The things that could become issues with big industry involvement is obvious. It is the lack of comradeship between the giants and the core that the problems could start. I hear people saying things like “ who gave these guys the right to do any of this?” and those guys’ answers to these questions could be “we didn’t think we needed permission” or “the skaters agreed to the purse so why would anyone or anything else matter?”. If we don’t start really paying closer attention these giants will become the brands. Please don’t even try to discount this notion. The last time I checked this world of business is an open playing field for anyone to play in.
So… my questions to you are, Does anything matter? Should you care? Do you understand where I’ve just gone with this? Was it O.K. I said any of this to you? And last but never least “what will anyone do about it?”
If you believe you are a piece of this “flat puzzle” called core skate industry, you’d better know your number and hope the new(!) puzzle being made isn’t a rubiks cube or we’re all really in for it.
Take it easy…it’s just an opinion. Thanks for listening.