Tapping on the little ‘Facebook’ or ‘Instagram’ logo on your phone, to open one of the mentioned apps. Your usual skateboarding feed pops up. As you scroll through your subscriptions, you see a video, posted by a skateboarding account. The guy there does a ‘Feeble Grind 360 Flip Out‘ on a flatbar. You press like, maybe tag a friend, continue scrolling.
Another skateboarding page that you follow posted a video. Some guy in a skate park starts rolling up to a ledge. BOOM Frontside Bluntslide! WTF?! BIGFLIP OUT?! Well, cool. You press like, maybe tag a friend and continue scrolling.
Does this sound recognizable? You might feel like me, and think that these maneuvers are out of this world and seem like magic spells from another galaxy, yet you see it almost every time you click (or tap) on a social media app of your choice. It’s nothing special anymore, sure this trickery twists a little part of your brain, however, once you put your phone back in your pocket, you can’t remember all that much.
Why is that the case?
Let’s start in the early 2000’s. Skateboarding is becoming more and more popular, thanks to video games like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, contests being aired live on MTV, people like Bam Margera and Ryan Sheckler becoming pop culture icons and so much more.
These circumstances caused skateboarding to grow. Due to its expanding community, more people were skating the streets, which resulted in more skateparks. The new parks gave skateboarding -what I like to consider- the base of today’s skate-world.
Nowadays we have something, that we’ve never had before. An HD camera that records almost as soon, as you pull it out of your pocket.
Think about it, 20 years ago you would have to bring your way too expensive camera equipment to a random street spot, and hope that someone might land something neat, only to show your cousin’s friend how good you and your buddies are.
Now, skaters just go to perfect parks and add up random tricks. Like mathematics.
Treflip + 5-0 = Treflip to 5-0
Skateboarders share their mathematic skateboarding equations with just the tap of two buttons. Then the clips are free for the whole world to see. That explains why you aren’t as excited anymore, to see super techy curb-dancing, the way you used to be. Most skateparks revolve around small obstacles, which makes tech skating way more appealing.
Social media shortened our attention span to a point where everything seems to be relevant for a day or two. This problem is prominent in a lot of fields, but in the skate-scene it caused a considerable change. Where you’d buy a VHS-Tape of your favorite team, to repeat it until its completely worn down, you now go to YouTube to watch street parts. Since it became standard for companies to publish their footage on YouTube, you may just remember the beginning of the video and the ender. I don’t know what I should conclude from this change. Is it right or is it wrong? The most prominent advantage of it, is the fact, that anyone can upload their skateboarding, but at the same time, it’s a huge letdown since the chances of you, leaving an impact on someone’s life with your skating is quite low.
However you twist and turn it, for every ‘Con’ there’s a ‘Pro’ and vice versa. Maybe I just have to accept the fact that the current light is the shadow of yesterday. It just makes me feel like, what once was the most dominant outlet of creative skateboarders, now lost significance, as feature-length videos, and standalone video parts frequently feel unappreciated.