Yes, I wear Vans. No, I don’t skate. To be honest, I can’t even tell the difference between a Heelflip and a Casper Flip. For a long time, this might have been just fine. Now, though, skateboarding and its derivatives are on the rise in the United States. It’s time to find out what all the hype is about.
Perhaps you’ve seen an abundance of preteens riding around on boards during these past few months. I certainly have. They look peaceful, just gliding around in the disappearing light of the summer evening. I can’t help but wonder – where are the elbow pads? The ollies? The frontside 180s?
Globally, skate culture is known for its toughness. It’s about experimentation, expression, and community. The sport itself appears to be gaining more attention, as evidenced by the decision to include it in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, which are now, of course, postponed. Additionally, a documentary entitled Learning to Skate in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl) about youth skaters in Afghanistan won the Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject) earlier this year.
Skaters have also utilized their position in society to generate political action. So-called “skateboard protests” have popped up in a handful of cities across the country and in Canada throughout the month of June.
Our current moment is characterized by a fascination with this world. Several brands that stemmed from the skateboarding lifestyle have gone mainstream, such as Thrasher, Diamond Supply Co., Supreme, and OBEY Clothing.
Many associate skateboarding with cool urban architecture or skateparks with halfpipes and rails. As skateboards and their derivatives become more versatile, however, the audience is growing. A traditional skateboard consists of an oval-shaped wooden deck that is slightly curved at the long ends and covered with griptape. Longboards, however, are (of course) longer and pointed on one end. They also have larger wheels that allow riders to catch a greater speed. Additionally, Penny Australia has helped to popularize a new type of plastic board that is more compact. Penny boards have become well-known for their many bright color options. This expanding offering of boards is pulling in SoCal surfers and suburban school kids alike.
We are left to ponder what this all means for the future. Are the sport and its spin-offs moving to the mainstream, or will they forever remain alternative threads in our society? What would Avril Lavigne have to say about this? Do you plan on getting into the sport anytime soon? Let us know in the poll below!
Photo by Andrey Konstantinov via Unsplash
Are you hopping on the skateboarding bandwagon?
being a sk8er is my only aspiration
I don’t think I can handle it
it’s not really my cup of tea