Posts Tagged ‘1990’s’

I’ve had a few thoughts rollin’ around between the ears since my last post.  With the trucks and wheels I purchased, noted in my last post, I also ordered some slide pucks.  Slide pucks, if you don’t know, are skid pads on a set of gloves used to deweight your board, get the board out in front of you, and slide to a stop.  Otherwise, when I broke my wrist back in 2014, the orthopedist said that some hard plastic (like slide pucks) can be used to alleviate wrist injuries.  He was shocked when he was describing some specific motorcycle gloves, and I knew exactly what he was talking about.

My first pair of slide gloves was an old pair of mechanic’s gloves with Corian glued onto the fingers and palm.  That was an old trick from Silverfish:  Using Corian samples as slide pucks.  Walk into your favorite kitchen store, say that you’re renovating your kitchen, and you’d like to see 4 or 5 different color samples of Corian, then the shop gives you 2×2″ chunks of Corian to take home and compare.  I killed that pair of gloves and made a second, but the pucks were still intact.  I was fortunate enough to be hooked up with the infamous Ninja Bomb Squad out of San Diego, who were developing some pucks with Loaded Longboards…they sent me 6 or 8 4″ palm pucks, out of the goodness of their hearts, and I wore through one pair (and the gloves), gave one away, put one on my wife’s slide gloves, and wore out another pair.  I was sliding a LOT.  I bought my first pair of slide pucks in 2010 or so, and made another pair of gloves with some Sector9 pucks.  Well, those pucks burned through one pair of gloves, then another, and currently sit on their third.  So, that leaves me on my sixth pair of slide gloves, meaning I replace the gloves about every other year, and the pucks just as frequently.  My sixth pair are high-vis, and I bought some fresh Sector9 pucks to use.

That leads me to my main point:  Sector9.  They’re entering their 25th year in the business, and to say that they’ve changed the game is putting it lightly.  When nobody had ever heard of longboarding, skaters still knew Sector9.  They didn’t change the game, they invented it, and they’ve kept up with the game ever since then.  But, with ubiquity comes a great deal of publicity, and by sticking your neck out that far, you’re exposing yourself to haters.  2007 me was a hater.  Sector9 was for posers, kooks, untalented hacks, and clueless n00bs.  The reason I bought that first set of S9 pucks was for nothing more than to support my pals at the local skateshop.  Even when I got a job at my own skateshop a few years later, I could never shake the idea that Sector9 was somehow inferior.  Sector9 hate is one of my most deep-seated biases in longboarding, and it’s unfair, and it’s unwarranted.  They’re a great company, and yeah, they’ve done some shady things, but I wouldn’t be into longboarding (neither would you) without their influence.  I owe my life’s passion, and the greatest hobby I’ve ever had, to them.

Part of my bias came, no doubt, from the forums at Silverfish.  Legend held that in the early days of Silverfish, Sector9 actually did make an inferior product.  My only experience with a S9 board circa 2002 came from riding an old roommate’s board.  S9, if I understand correctly, had some cheaply made OEM trucks during that time frame.  My roommate’s board had bent axles (I may have, and probably did, imagine this part, but I would swear the axles were aluminum and part of the hanger), and simply would NOT turn.  The geometry of the trucks was so dead that you’d lean, but not turn.  He’d always complain of sliding out and losing traction on the sidewalks around campus, so the wheels were really crappy quality as well.  So, stories like this pervaded the forums on Silverfish and were giving Sector9 a great deal of bad publicity.  So (according to legend), S9 asked SFL to remove not just the bad reviews, but all reviews period.  This had the unseen consequence of getting the rumor mill fired up:  They said you’d be banned for discussing Sector9 gear, they said there was a feud between S9 and SFL, they said that there was a conspiracy to conceal just how bad S9 gear was.  There was no banning, there was no feud, and it was a private website, so what use would a conspiracy be?  All of this BS was just hivemind, and was probably more detrimental to Sector9, as Silverfish (throughout its entire existence) housed one of the most comprehensive, user-submitted review and rating sections on the entire internet.  By not having their name in there, S9 was missing out on a big chunk of publicity.

I’ve mentioned previously that my entire longboarding experience was shaped by Silverfish, so this whole S9 drama (no doubt there was drama) formed my opinions to be very negative towards them.  Fact is, in 2019 they’re survivors.  Other brands are dropping left and right, but Sector9 has stayed afloat.  Their capacity has shrunk, of course, but they’re still kickin’, so they’re quite obviously doing something right.

Over the years, I have acquired a few pieces of Sector9 gear:  I’ve got one of their fabled Raceboards (reborn as a DHD Daisy, if I’m remembering their names right) set up on Independent 215’s and Sector9 Goddess Of Speed wheels, for some great late-90’s downhill/freeride fun.  I bought some Sector9 Butterball wheels and while they’re currently in my spare parts bin, they did some pretty cool freeride and bike-path duty on my Earthwing Supermodel (on Randal 180’s)…gotta get those back out this summer.  And, I can’t reiterate this enough:  I was unfairly hating on this company for years.  They make decent gear, and they’ve cultivated the scene to an epic degree.  It’s time to live and let live, and this post is a step in the right direction for me.

Something that really irked me about working yesterday was the number of comments about the 90’s I got, regarding the video that was playing on the DVD Player.  Being a history nerd, and a skateboard nerd, I found it incredibly hard not to slap anybody who had made those comments. 

Anybody who knows anything about skateboarding can tell you the vast differences between 1980’s skating and 1990’s skating…In the early 90’s, skateboarding evolved into what we have today, in the technical fliptricks, street-oriented skating, and symmetrical “popsicle stick” board shapes.  The clothing was different…gone were the neon colors of the 80’s, and in were the baggy pants and shirts.  The whole attitude was different in the 90’s as well.  It became less about sanctioned events, competitions, and skateparks and became all about doing whatever, whenever, wherever.  Most of the changes were due in large part to World Industries and their raping of the skate industry, for better or for worse.  Skate videos in the 80’s had lots of long, flowy street scenes, a’la Natas Kaupas in Streets on Fire and Wheels of Fire, or huge vert scenes a’la The Search For Animal Chin.  The 90’s focused a lot more on “bangers” and shorter, more compact video parts.  So yes, there are TONS of differences.

Speaking of Animal Chin, that’s actually the topic of my rant today.  AC was on the DVD player.  For those that don’t know, AC is pretty much THE iconic skate video of the 80’s.  Ask anyone about skating in the 80’s, and Animal Chin will probably come up in the conversation.  That’s why the comments I got yesterday about AC being “So 1990’s” really bugged the shit out of me.  Part of it is the historical connotations, but the big part is the huge amount of narcissism in longboarding today.  I’ve seen it all over forums, and quite a bit in the shop as well.  People conveniently forget the 40 years of skateboarding that happened before they bought a longboard and think they’re awesome, hot shit, for making this new “revolutionary” trick or idea that’s already been done.  Going back to the Educated Idiots post, it seems to be these guys who are the worst about narcissism.  There are many frustrated blogs about bad shop owners who don’t know jack shit about anything, but I’ve read a great number of those, and try to improve my customer service based on the shortcomings of others.  Many an Educated Idiot will walk in and assume that I know absolutely nothing about longboarding whatsoever, and that they’re the second coming of Biker Sherlock or something.  I’ve actually gotten quite a few comments about how a customer’s friend is “sponsored by, like, 4 different companies,” or that the friend is “like, the Tony Hawk of longboarding.”  I understand the 13-21 year old male demographic is quite jock-ish and self-centered, just based on the age and hormones and stuff, but when it’s taken to an Educated Idiot level, it’s frustrating as hell.  I’m just trying to do my job, making customers happy with what they walk out with, but this breed of Educated Idiot refuse to be happy with anything I tell them.  So, when an Educated Idiot comes in and blatantly talks shit about some very important piece of skateboard history, I can’t help but be quite irritated.