For those of you who haven't seen it yet, Jeff Grosso really hit the nail on the head with the current state of our industry during a recent Rant and Rave episode. I'll give you a minute to watch it before I continue.
Mr. Grosso threw some punches that really needed to be thrown in a fight against ourselves. The 2 points that I want to touch on from his roughly 8 minute video are the new age contest skating and the irrational hate of longboards. These 2 topics I feel are the most important and can be directly linked to a lot of the problems we face today in our industry.
Somehow in the last decade, skateboarding's enemy has gone from security guards and authority figures (corporate or personal), to longboarders and other skateboarders. With the advent of street league and the necessity of an energy drink sponsor to pay the rent, skateboarding has lost its counter-cultural edge and is becoming its own enemy. Jeff touches on this right away, attacking the structure of skate contests and their domination of our industry today stating that "we're so fucking into systems now [when] skateboarding was suppose to be anti-system". Looking at where skateboarding has come in recent years, it would be hard to differentiate it now from any other sport. It seems that the days of the skate video seem somewhat numbered, or are at least less influential, and contest skating is often the only part people outside the industry will see anything from us. And it's tough, I know. The industry is having a really tough time and it's harder than ever for core retailers to stay open and support everyone, so the people involved need to find any way to make money.
Longboards. A topic that has been sensitive within the industry to say the least. Shops have been crucified for even thinking about accepting skateboarding's cousin within their walls. We have been on the receiving end of those critiques since we decided to start carrying longboard brands alongside core skate brands. Quite frankly, it's ridiculous. I personally don't understand where the hate stemmed from originally? Some of these longboaders are doing some of the craziest shit I've ever seen, bombing hills that I wouldn't even walk down, racing bikes and cars while powersliding corners. I don't care who you are, that is utter lunacy. The ironic thing about all the hate is that longboarders give ZERO fucks about what any skaters think. They're having a hell of a time doing what they're doing and they are meticulous about their gear (measuring every piece that is on their board to make sure everything will work to scientific precision). The elitist attitude that exists within skateboarding is so backwards when looking at the history of skating. Rather than seeing longboarding as an opportunity to welcome new people into our amazing culture, "core" skaters shun and ridicule them, potentially pushing new people away from skateboarding forever. WHO GIVES A SHIT.