Monthly Archives: January 2012

The Good the Bad and the Others

The dreamers.

It’s amazing how far skateboarding has grown in the mainstream. As a young skater back in the day I never could have imagined that Rappers would want to start a skate company or Pro Skaters could be in commercials with NBA stars. Skaters in advertisements, music videos, or on ESPN? I thought it was so cool there was a Vision Psycho Stick on the INXS Kick album cover or that the Beastie Boys said “my old skateboard” on their License To Ill album. For better or worse skateboarding is huge. So big even parents love it. Roll down to your local skate park, there’s Skate Moms everywhere. Skate Moms?
The one thing that probably attracted most of us to skating or maybe helped us stick to it is the lack of rules. There’s no coach telling you you’re not giving 100%. That you’re not a team player. Perhaps you let the team down with your performance. There’s no fucking quarterbacks in skating, no all American guy who was the star in college and now made it to the big time. Even though we have teams in skating, it’s far from a team mentality. After all, we are still just skateboarders. It’s amazing to see all of the guys in Street League get stoked on each other after someone nails a trick. Even with all of the cash on the line, a good trick is just that. High fives, knucks, nods, and hugs are a common site during the contest. Only in skateboarding is that even possible.
I recently saw Andy Roy during a trip to LA and it made me think of how big skating was. Andy was never the poster boy of Professional Skating. As much as I find myself bordering between if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, it’s doing something I didn’t consider. There’s room for everyone now. The 90’s came around and all but killed vert and pool skating. Baggy clothing, 40mm wheels, and pressure flips took over everything. Professional skaters that had no street moves were done for. Many careers were cut way too short by the sting of street skating. Tom Groholski, Chris Miller, Eric Nash, and Ben Schroeder pro models were replaced with Danny Way, Eric Koston, Guy Marianio, and Sal Barbier boards. Pros were retiring in their 20s. Imagine working your way up from an AM and finally turning Pro then retiring 4 years later. Skateboarding died in the 90s and there was no room for the guys who paved the way.
Fast forward a decade and a half and skating is huge, all the heros and legends that are in their 40s and 50s are competing, sponsored, and many are skating better than ever. As much as skating needs Paul Rodriguez, Grant Taylor, and Nyjah Houston to keep things progressing, we need more. We need Andy Roy. We need Jeff Grosso, Christian Hosoi, Matt Hensley, John Lucero, Mark Gonzales, Natas Kaupas, and Lance Mountain. These are the INDIVIDUALS that made us buy their boards. You chose their boards and their shapes because they made an impact on you. Their team had some to do with it, but the Pro was who we emulated. Skateboarding is huge and our icons, our heros, our outlaws are able to keep the torch lit for all of us. That’s what separates us from every other “sport”. A skateboarder is not expected to skate the same way he did when he was 18. Lifers skate for the 100% pure love of the act. With age we are all forced to adapt with everything we do in life. Can you picture Girl Skateboards not having a Koston, Carroll, or Rick Howard board considering all they have done for skating? The same goes for everyone that put in their time before video heroes erased the contest circuits. From the million dollar endorsements to the kid kicking mongo down the street, it’s all skateboarding. No matter how much skating grows into the mainstream, the heart will always be ours. Love it or leave it. Jocks fucking retire, skaters skate. -ERL