21 Jun
2017

Go Skate!

June 21 is Go Skateboarding Day! For many people, skateboarding is a hobby, but for many more, it's a reason to exist.

And for many others still it's actually a job.  There is an entire industry dedicated to the production of skateboards and skateboard related material (helmets, grip tape, etc.) and the culture that surrounds skating.  This includes movies, television, sporting events, video games, and clothing lines.  Indeed, one of the biggest and most popular shoe companies of the past 20 years actually specialize in making skate shoes.

Perhaps you're familiar

Skateboarding has its roots in the 1940s and became particularly popular in the 1960s.  Originally referred to as "sidewalk surfing," skating competitions were mild in comparison to the large events held today.  Contestants were judged on simple tricks such as manuals and handstands.

Don't act like you're not impressed

This all changed with the Zephyr skate team, bringing the style closer to the ground, pantomiming surfing.  As the sport changed, so did the boards.  They became wider, the tails of the board became more pronounced, and new polyurethane wheels gave riders better traction and control.

Jay Adams of the Zephyr skate team exemplifying their influential surfer style.

Throughout the years, skateboarding's popularity waxed and waned until the 1990s, when its popularity surged.  Today, most of the world is familiar with the culture.  I recently read this excellent article on skater girls in Afghanistan, providing liberation for young girls in the area where doing ANYTHING as a female is at the very least frowned upon.

When I was a teenager, Go Skateboarding Day was treated like an incredible summer holiday.  It wasn't just celebrated by skaters, but by practically everyone our age.  We would pick a stairwell or a gap and just sit there all day.  Skaters would spend all day trying to jump the gap or grind the rail, and everyone else would just hang out and be a kid.  It was magical.  You would come home after hours of hopping over the same concrete gap, sun drunk, bruised and scraped, and  feeling incredible.  Pure bliss.

I would be remiss if I didn't share one skating video in particular that really converted me from being a casual observer into one of those kids hitting a gap all day.  I've since given up skating, but this video seems to transport me to those days.

 

Now get out of your house or apartment or hostel or hotel room or wherever, go outside and GO SKATE!

So, what do you think?