Skateboarding has entered an era where top riders sign corporate sponsorship contracts with "anti-offensiveness" and "no disparagement" clauses, mainstream television stations like ESPN- Disney's sports division - show the X-Games and skateboarders shred at the Olympics. Thanks to corporations like Nike we can eat extreme pizza, drive Nissan's X-Terra SUV, wear extreme deodorant, hire extreme consulting firms and invest in extreme equity funds. But if we are all extreme now, then where have the real rebels gone? Disappeared in a haze of Ritalin?
The quote above echoes the same sentiments when I along with my girlfriend Jeanie, and her students shot a video of my skateboarding nephew Gato for an advertising project a few weeks ago. The shoot brought back memories a lot of memories including that when I along with other skate buddies rode our boards to a fast descent in at a bypass in Edsa during EDSA 2: Or when I would skip school to skate; or when a 'skate scene' flourished in front of our house in Teachers' Village.
Skate-punk no more
At that time we were having the time of our lives because it was rebellious, nonconforming and firmly tied to punk rock. It was uncool. People hate us and preppy kids made fun of us for sewing rubber pads on our busted sneakers. But nowadays skateboarding all of a sudden turned hip. Starting with the integration of skateboarding scenes in the videos of jock-core band Limp Bizkit, up to the anthemic 'sk8rboi' trash of Avril Lavigne. It seems that the tables were turned to those of us who skated before the advent of the present status of skateboarding culture in today's youth. It's no wonder why I'm no longer riding my board and play at the scene in front of our house; in fact none of the people I skated with still play there.
I guess the corporate-powers that have come to realize that skaters were a troubling yet alluring demographic for big business.
Light at the end of the tunnel
But as I look at how the skate-punk subculture has faded into obscurity with its marriage to corporate-consumer culture that caters to your average mall-going teen I still see a light at the end of the tunnel...
X-Games 2001 champion Bob Burnquist is an avid Greenpeace supporter and is a part of the Action Sports Environmental Coalition, in fact he's also an organic farmer and grass roots environmentalist. He and his wife had supported Greenpeace work in the Amazon, and were also instrumental in making the 2004 The Summer X Games: extreme and green.
Also skateboarding can be an art, hobby, sport or A METHOD OF TRANSPORTATION. It is common knowledge that climate change is a by product of our dependence in fossil fuels to get us power including to power to drive our cars. It's quite fascinating to think of how much power would be saved if we'd all try out skateboarding, in the same way that we've ride our bikes to school or work.
Thinking about it makes me stoked enough to grab my busted Vans shoe and to ride my board to work while listening to Pennywise or NoFX, how about you?