Some people see skateboarding as dangerous, a frowned-upon activity by a bunch of hooligans. But for people who skate every day, who join competitions and events, and those who ride regularly, skateboarding is more than anything else. You will never understand skateboard culture unless you skate.
Skateboarding started in 1958 in Southern California and was first called sidewalk surfing. Skateboarding evolved to help surfers practice on land. Back then, skateboards were nothing but small wooden planks with metal wheels. But in the 1970s the Z-boys changed the skate world and started skateboard culture and street skaters culture.
Skateboard Culture Defined
After skateboarding in Southern California, a new trend emerged. The Z-boys were a group of teenagers from Santa Monica who revolutionized skateboarding and changed skateboarding history. The boys were the first skate team organized and sponsored by a local surf shop. By that time, urethane wheels were introduced and the Z-boys discovered that with this type of wheel, they can skate empty backyard pools. This idea paved the way for street and park skateboarding events and the rise of professional skateboarder events we know today.
Negative views vs the truth about skateboard culture
Before skateboarding was recognized as a sport, people viewed it as reckless and dangerous. Skaters were often shut out of parks, parking lots, and other public areas because of their behavior and appearance. Skateboarding culture was negatively viewed and very misunderstood.
What people don’t know is that contemporary skateboarding culture has inspired many popular trends. Even non-skaters are influenced by skate culture; the way skaters dress, how they talk, the music they listen to, and the movies they watch. In the eyes of the young, skateboarding is cool, it’s freedom.
There is nothing like skateboarding as this sport has no coaches or referees. There’s no one to constantly supervise your every move. Skaters are mostly people who value freedom and their creativity and those with relentless dedication to improving skateboarding as a sport.
Unlike other sports, skateboarders don’t compete to top each other but instead, they help each other and encourage each other out. Skaters are very obsessed with the sport and are unfazed by the negative opinions of people. And despite countless marketing efforts of different brands, wanting to attract them and change them, skateboarders still prevail with their individuality and unique culture.
Social media and the fashion industry
Social media helped make skateboarding more popular. Professional skateboarders and skaters are now creating videos to showcase their talents and to help beginners learn tricks and other basic skills like vertical skating, and other street skating techniques. Online skateboarding forums are also very popular where novice skaters can go to interact with fellow skaters and even pros like Tony Hawk, Tony Alva, and Rodney Mullen.
Because of social media, it’s now easier to look for skateboard parts especially decks designed by the pros. Most skateboarders can now purchase apparel and footwear and sell their own merchandise as well. Also, the emergence of skateboard-themed games like Tony Hawk Pro Skater games has also inspired many to follow Tony Hawk and many other skateboarding heroes.
Skateboarding and the fashion industry have always worked together. Skaters were the first to sport loose-fitting skating clothing, skate sneakers, and laid-back modern street skating fashion. Many clothing brands copied skateboarding fashion and culture. These brands were called “culture vultures” by skateboarders as they appropriate the skateboarding culture and sold it as cool in popular culture. This helped increase the popularity and lifestyle of skateboarding fans everywhere and also propelled the sport of skating all over the world.
Meanwhile, true skateboarders are not bothered by these tactics and remain unfazed in practicing the skateboarding sport. They sometimes avoid these cultural vultures which incorrectly promote skateboarding.
Today, skateboards are sold almost everywhere although the best skateboards are sold by only a few brands. A local skateboarder can find likeminded people whether he’s on a local skatepark or anywhere around the world. Basics like how to ollie and how to jump as well as tricks are much easier to perform as pros like Tony Hawk offer trick videos online.
When it comes to style, a skater can find the best clothing and shoes online. Just like surfing, skateboarding has become a household name and youth and kids from everywhere look forward to their first board or skates. The popularity of this sport transcends the local scene with competition games held in different cities. Adults, girls and kids, America and the rest of the world love skateboarding.
The Many Benefits of Skating
Skateboarding and the skateboard culture have numerous benefits. First, skaters who join the skateboarding world become part of a global community. You may notice that as long as you carry a skateboard, you can easily make friends and even find a kid who shares the same interest. There is this unspoken bond that happens almost immediately between skaters which goes beyond gender, race, and socio-economic barriers.
Young people can make friends at any local skatepark and by doing so, they form a bond with people who can help them learn new tricks and stunts. Going to skateparks enhances healthy skateboard competition; it encourages skaters to escape their comfort zones and eventually improve their talents and skills.
The sport is the best outlet for those who don’t prefer traditional sports. Skateboarding offers a supportive community especially for young children and helps them from troubles on the streets. The community helps people combat depression and boredom and at the same time boosts creativity.
After kids learn skateboarding, numerous amazing things happen. First, they get invited to skate trips where they visit friends from different skate parks. They get to travel to different cities and even around the world to compete. Some skate trips last for days and are held in exotic countries which are definitely exciting opportunities for a young skater.
Young skateboarders can expand their network, create lasting memories and discover new life lessons as they get to know new skaters.
Skateboarding with Peers
Skateboarding is largely an individual sport however, it becomes more rewarding and more fun when your skating with friends. Skaters share a unique and strong bond that transcends negativity. Skateboarders are familiar with the creativeness and the riskiness of the sport and motivate each other to overcome all these.
Skaters looking for friends who also share the same passion as they have for the sport. Skateboarding fosters the connection between people of different ages and cultures. And when you create a network of skater friends, you’re opening up opportunities to new experiences such as videography, photography, music production, and others.
A good video that represents the skateboard community and culture is “We Are Blood” narrated by Paul Rodriguez. This video reveals the sense of belongingness that skateboard youth culture creates for its members. Rodriguez said: “When you meet any skateboarder no matter who they are across the world, you have that relationship with them. It’s like an unsaid thing.”
Skateboard culture may be misunderstood but for skateboarders, it’s a global phenomenon that’s about friendship, a sense of community, and support. It’s more than just the skateboard and street skating; it’s something shared without speaking a word. People are connected by a special bond no matter where they are.
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