Days of Futures Past, Pt. 2

Posted: 2018-03-28 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

My previous post dealt with a question posed in 2002 about skateboarding’s status in 2022.  Today’s deals with something that we’ve already seen through to completion:  The question posed today was posted in 2007, asking about where skateboarding will be in 10 years…in other words, 2017.

Before I dive into the Silverfish post itself, 2017 and 2018 thus far have seen an inordinate amount of sunsets.  Silverfish itself closed up, and brought with it Soda Factory.  Quite a few online skateshops closed up; those that remain shifted gears substantially.  Malware attacks and lack of general interest have stifled forums.  Somewhat ironically, the very same social media monoliths that killed forums are stumbling in the wake of data leaks.

Now, away we go!

As mentioned above, the following questinos/posts were written/posted in 2007, and retrieved in 2017

 

My post opens the discussion:  yes, i did just get done reading the george powell article and Ebasil’s question about where he sees skating in the next 10 years…so it got me thinking and i decided that i’d like to throw this question out into the forums.  maybe i’m out of line doing this (as it was basil’s question), but i’m curious as to what everybody else thinks…okay so i’ll start:

i think right now skating as a whole stands at a crossroads…powell said something in his article about how skateboarding has a lot of great talent that could potentially skyrocket the popularity soon.  but, all things go in cycles, and i’d say we’re about set for another recession in the popularity in skateboarding. although if skateboarding continues to reach out to the MTV community (like bam did), the market will grow for skateboarders, albeit most of the purchasers will be posers and stuff.  but i think the most likely thing is that within a few years, skateboarding’s gonna cycle back into a little recession.

While I can’t furnish the George Powell article, nor Ebasil’s response anymore, I would like to pat myself on the back for getting a pretty accurate shot back in ’07.  A LOT of new talent got sucked into longboarding.  A LOT of poseurs got sucked in as well (see…well, nearly every early post in this blog).  It had to happen, but I’m very sorry to see longboarding contract again.  We had a good run though…nearly 20 years, marked at the beginning by The X-Games and Tony Hawk Pro Skater, and at the end by Penny Boards and downhill jams.  Things certainly reached peak MTV with Rob Dyrdek and all of his shows, as well as The Life Of Ryan (Sheckler).  I was ecstatic to see Sheckler’s skate game step up, before he faded off into obscurity.  Dyrdek is still doing his shock-jock reality TV thing.

User Greenamtern: Technology is getting better, pumping out new and cool equipment.  More and more people are getting on board to put in their great idea. Skateboarding has their new recruits ranging from kids who want to try a new hobby to college students looking for neato torpedo transportation to geezers finding that fountain of youth.  California seems to be the only place in America that has the closest thing there is to a full blown skate scene. Yes we have our brothers and sisters riding with passion in every state, but nowhere else comes to mind where skateshops aren’t slowing going out of business and boards spend more time in the garage.  But we find our crews regardless be it through connections through networks like the Fish or by creating a group of your own.

Equipment is getting more and more expensive and less accessible to those who just want to get a beginner board for cruising and messing around.  Skateboarding in all of its variations is getting more well-known. What’s missing is the recreational crowd, the folks who just skate from time to time but don’t really care about all the politics, scenes, latest gear, etc.  There’s a very “you’re either really into it or you’re not” sort of attitude that I get some of the time.

All that said, I think we’re at a point where things have stagnated and can really go both ways.  Companies have been churning out with new gear like I’ve never seen before. Maybe I’m just more aware of it all.  Maybe more people are getting on board the business. If the public picks up and the interest exists, then we’re in for a boom.  If the public maintains its mostly anti-skate/ambivalent attitude, then there’s going to be far more supply than demand. So let’s all make sure we got the people willing to pay the big bucks for our junk before setting up that board shop of yours.

Circa 2007, Greenamtern completely nailed it.

User Wells:  I’m actually kind of astonished that skateboarding hasn’t died recently. In the past the skateboard industry has been sort of a lagging economic indicator-when the economy tanks, skateboarding tanks-but we haven’t seen that since the end of the nineties.

I think we’re going to see a resurgence of park and ramp riding on the strength of all the parks being built these days and possibly some new vert pros. Street is going to continue to be ridiculous.

Pro-model skateboards might get a little bit more interesting in construction and shape, but will probably continue the trend, originated with the Element featherlight construction, toward construction techniques that make decks a little lighter and a lot more likely to break.

The great bearing hoax uncovered by Ron Foster might collapse, but probably won’t. Zaino brothers car-care products still are’t in auto parts stores everywhere, so don’t expect to find Rockets in CCS any time soon

Wells is an OG east coast guy, keenly in touch with trends.  His opening sentence echoes the same sentiment as mine above…briefly, skateboarding typically goes in 10-year boom cycles.  Given that, in 07, the wave of skateboarding had harkened back to the mid-1990’s, they were due for a recession even in 2007.

As I touched on in the previous blog post, parks, ramps, and street got big.  I can’t exactly say that skateboard construction changed any, between 2007 and 2017, apart from a couple of small-time brands that pushed the envelope with fiberglass, carbon fiber, and even repurposed cardboard!

Ron Foster’s Great Bearing Hoax gained traction and took off!  To quickly sum up Ron’s article (posted on Everything Skateboarding), we’ve been duped by skateboard companies into believing that you can quantify speed.  In reality, a truly ABEC-rated skate bearing would be prohibitively expensive; upwards of $10 per bearing.  The tight tolerances required by a true ABEC-rated bearing would be completely destroyed by the radial load of a skater simply standing on a board…add in rolling, and the damage increases.  Add in ollies and other aerial maneuvers, or hard carves and downhill slides, and any sort of precision flies right out the window.  But, what we saw between 2007 and 2017 is the sub-$25 bearing market EXPLODE.  Skaters grew to accept bearings as disposable wear parts, and began demanding cheap, fast bearings moreso than expensive, flashy bearings.  Toy Machine and Independent (of skateboard truck fame) came out swingin’, making some of my absolute favorite bearings of all time.  Magic Bearings were community-designed on Silverfish, custom ordered directly from the manufacturer.  Zealous raised the bar by custom ordering bearings directly from the manufacturer, and added extended inner races (to replace the bearing spacer), and a custom grease that filled in low spots, cracks, and fissures in the balls and races.

Advertisement

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.