How Internet forums ruined skateboarding

Posted: 2019-04-17 in Uncategorized

Back around 2009, I fell out of love with forums and social media.  This is right around when I did a full-on delete of my Facebook account, and when I did a pretty thorough audit of my entire online presence.  Here’s my (rather emo) rant:

First off, I know it’s silly…I acknowledge, and even embrace the silliness of how much I use forums for. Forums are a great tool to get unbiased information from real people. I do have my reasons, which I’ll get to later, for sticking so much with skateboard forums. But, let’s start from the beginning.

There are a lot of skateboarders in my local area. Unfortunately, I’ve never fit in with them. The few times I have skateboarded with them, I’ve been hassled, made fun of, shunned, and generally degraded because I wasn’t “cool” or “good enough” to hang with their crew. I have tried to change this, I really have. I tried anything from trying to learn from them, to teaching them new things (stuff I learned online, from the forums this rant is about). Again, this didn’t take…because I wasn’t “cool” enough for them. So, I really had nobody to skate with in real life.

So, onto forums now. I first turned to internet forums as a valid means to get information and product reviews regarding paintball guns and videogames. However, I only ever perused the forums and never signed up. Enter skateboarding. Skateboarding was the first type of forum I really got involved with…mostly because a certain brand had a literal monopoly on the local skate “scene” and I wanted to know what else was out there.

Now, I first used the skateboard forums to find out what was good (product wise), what wasn’t, for beginner tips and tricks, and inspiration. It wasn’t long after that I became welcomed into the forum community, and taken in as a regular. With that, came everybody’s drama…the BIGGEST equalizer for drama I had encountered was “it’s only the internet…don’t take it so seriously,” which never actually made sense in my mind because the same twerp that was telling me that had, not 4 hours before, blown up over someone who had dissed his youtube video.

Fad products, methods, tricks, and people (yes, fanboyism is VERY prevalent on forums) also dominate the online scene. If you’re not 100% on top of what’s hot this week, you’re basically e-trash. As such, even the most valuable, informed member of a forum can become nothing more than a scum-sucking lowlife when not following community trends. Going back to the whole “it’s only the internet…” I do agree, but an online forum is intended to encourage growth and diversity in a sport, not to trash the people who aren’t “in the know” this week.

The first forum I ever joined is still a very active part of my internet browsing…it’s a very laid-back, relaxed, somewhat dead website now (no, it’s completely gone). It’s mostly filled with teenagers, but there are a handful of 20somethings, and everybody’s on the same wavelength, so there’s very little forum drama.

The second forum I joined was about longboarding (also gone). Here, the tweens and whiny teenagers came out en masse. This is where most of my problems came up. These are the rich kids who have mommy and daddy’s credit card, to buy all the fad products. Also, since I’m a college kid and can’t afford a new board every week, “I” was the one (not me, specifically…the 20somethings that also frequented the forum) that was endlessly picked on because “I” didn’t have the cool new product. I wound up trying a few of the fad products and didn’t like them, so I told my honest opinion online. This led to a huge shitstorm directed at me, mostly by the manufacturers of said products (one of the reasons I boycotted brands like Venom, Madrid, Paris, Divine, and many other brands). When I went around and talked about how these so-called professionals were treating me, I wound up ultimately being banned from the site.

The third forum I joined was an all-encompassing skateboard forum (still there, at http://www.skaterscafe.com), including everything from street skating to longboarding. Again, it was filled with angry tweens and teens. Again, I stated my opinion about a lot of things, namely how fashion-oriented the site was (tight pants, baggy shirt, you know the stereotypical sk8rpunk dress), and some of the head tweens began flaming me. Every post I’d make was followed by another shitstorm about how I’m a poser and shouldn’t be taken seriously.

I began thinking that this was mostly a problem about teenagers, so I joined up on an old-school skateboard site…a bunch of 40somethings who are rekindling their youth by skateboarding (www.skullandbonesskateboards.com). Again, I became a target of many insults, and wound up being run out of THAT site as well. This one resulted from an argument with the site owner of all people regarding Sarah Palin’s daughter. In the end, everybody on the site regarded me as “just another f***ing idiot.” (10 years later, and the site owner is still a bloated ginger bitch)

In a last bout of desperation for some kind of skate scene, I began going to local skateboard forums. Silly me, thinking that local skate forums would be open and inviting to an outsider. Not only was I an outsider, and not to be trusted, but I didn’t give in to the fads that were ever more prevalent on the local sites. I was actually a bit shocked just how much more fad-driven the local sites were.

As much as I loved skateboarding in the past, being shunned from not only my local scene, but 5 online scenes, I’ve pretty much given up. I know skateboarding is all about your own personal style, but I was madly in love with skateboarding for 2 full years and did develop my own style, but I fell into a very stagnant period because I had nobody to skate with, learn from, and progress with. As such, and in such a state of stagnation, I began falling out of love with skateboarding. So here I am now, haven’t set foot on a skateboard in over a month, and I’ve actually been trying to sell some of my stuff. Oh well, all things are cyclical I guess.

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Comments
  1. Ryan says:

    I spent my middle school/jr high years on Ramprage(where I made an ass of myself), and migrated to Silverfish in my later teens. My situation was really similar to yours, with not fitting in with the locals and finding some good company on the forums. I shrugged off Ramprage’s death when it happened, but I’m really surprised Silverfish is gone. I recently became reinterested in longboarding(in my mid-20s now), and tried to google silverfish to check out what good decks were popular these days. Couldn’t believe it. I’m totally in the dark with no idea what to buy. Landyachtz is still around, I guess I can’t go wrong with them? So much has changed my head is spinning.

    Cheers,
    Ryan from IL

    • shopmonkey says:

      Check out The Nine Club podcast episode with Paul Schmitt. He gives a very interesting on the state of the market these days. Landyachtz, Rayne, and Kebbek are still around; Sector9 has re-formed; Earthwing and Bustin are still up in some capacity. But man, the variety of board shapes has definitely diminished!

  2. […] Late 2008 to early 2009 led to me reconsidering my online presence.  I mentioned in Part 3 that I ended up getting banned from the Silverfish forums as a result of trolling, shitposting, and a generally negative attitude by March of 2009.  I made a return to the initial forums I’d joined, and tried to act as the more mature character, a wizened Internet veteran, a calm presence that informed rather than argued.  That didn’t pan out as I’d planned, and I wrote this emo rant shortly before my perma ban. […]

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