Wheels of Change

Days of Future Past

Every generation that sees the path it created change too much seems to cringe. Change is a hard pill to swallow at times. About the time I started skating I heard tale of Duane Peters hating Tony Hawk. Tony’s tricks were deemed more of a novelty than true skating. This was because it was a changing of the guard. 9 times out of 10 the guard doesn’t necessarily want to be changed. The tradition of the 70s and low ariel tricks were being swept away by the next generation of skaters. Tony Hawk, Christian Hosoi, Lester Kasai, Steve Caballero, and a handful of younger Pros were creating their own path. The foundation of tricks that were laid by the generation before helped to inspire the young guns to go higher, grind longer, and slide farther. The change was needed but, not always appreciated.

I always wondered what the OG skaters felt like after that first air by Tony Alva, that’s what set if off it seems. Once you see what is possible, you push it as far as you can to see what’s the limit. A great example is Alan Gelfand’s ollie to start off no handed airs and 30 years later look at Jaws. That kid is certainly pushing the boundaries of what the human knees and ankles can endure. Giant stunt jumpers are not my cup of tea, although I respect it for what it is. Another form of change that dudes a lot younger than me consider the norm. I’ll take some footage of Gino Iannucci, Guy Mariano, Mark Gonzales, Jeff Grosso, or Paul Rodriguez skating pretty much anything over most roof jumpers. Style counts to a large degree in skating, that’s the beauty. Want a great example of style? Watch Steve Olson push down the street.

Style over steeze has no shelf date.

Some change is unstoppable which may or may not be a good thing. Again, it depends of your generation and what path you helped create. Are print magazines going the way of the Rip Grip? The digital age is here to stay kids, kinda like that Boy Band music you thought would fade away. Every skateboarding publication is fully equipped with some great websites these days. There you can find out within a moments notice what your favorite Pro skater is up to. A new graphic or shoe model gets leaked, BOOM it’s online in a heartbeat. Team changes, gossip, opinions of a 13 year old mall rat, and lies are available to the masses. Video parts and pictures are available everyday on all of these sites. The overkill is almost deadening how special it all once was.

Gone are the days of wonder and the magic of it all. In the glory of it all you  would wait to see the latest Bones Brigade, Santa Cruz, Vision, or contest series video. They were so few that the rumors you would hear about a trick or a part would kill you with expectation. You would pick up a new Thrasher Mag and see an advertisement for the new “Street Shape” from your favorite Pro and anticipate its arrival at the local skate shop. Shapes were so damn sick. It was your heart and sole shaped out on a signature board you worked at for so long. Skaters would ask local shops when was the best Amateur turning Pro and shops would call companies asking the same. Amazing photos of Matt Hensley skating an overpass, Natas Kaupas board sliding the roll bar of a Toyota truck, and Steve Caballero blasting 12 feet at Raging Waters were torn from magazines and plastered on skaters walls. Print magazines are the pages of our Bible. Thrasher has been the Bible since day one. Print mags losing readership is the change I have no use for.

The “New Graphic Available” made for a lot of calls to the locals shop.

20 years from now I hope to see Thrasher Magazine, Transworld Skateboarding, The Skateboard Mag, and hopefully Big Brother back in the fold of print mags. I’ve seen a lot of change in skateboarding since 1984, even in the dark days of 42mm wheels and hobo clothing I wouldn’t change a thing. Actually, I liked the lack of ramps and the street direction it took. The late 80s and 90s weeded out a lot of people who lost the love of riding a skateboard. A large amount of those dudes ended up snowboarding and didn’t like change. Skate everything man! Change has always been such a key part of skating, it’s needed. No matter what direction skating heads towards, the heart of pushing down the street will always be the same. Adapt, change, mix it up and never stop skating. -ERL

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