Now don’t get me wrong, I love all kinds of skateboarding. But over the last decade or so, downhill skateboarding made a serious jump in participation and evolution. Downhill reached speeds and techniques never before even imaginable. Decks and trucks evolved, various styles emerged. But all the mainstream scene could ever seem to muster for acknowledgment was “longboarding isn’t skateboarding” or “longboarding is for kooks”, or whatever derogatory nonsense they could come up with. Downhill skaters were breaking records, while street skaters were still doing the same old tricks…and not even with half as much style and balls out as the pioneers, such as Natas, etc.
So, downhill skateboarding (or longboarding as it’s detractors love to call it), has pretty much had it’s big surge and now has drifted back into deep underground territory where it stayed for years. Numerous businesses that were big names have gone under, race and events were seeing low turnout. It was basically a sad way to see a sport with so much stoke and potential get marginalized because the street scene being dominate is controlled by a bunch of trendy conformists that I can only assume must have been threatened by the competition. It’s the only assumption that makes any sense.
Back when Dogtown was creating the foundation for street skating, the same skaters were also part of the Signal Hill and related downhill scenes. Skateboarding wasn’t fractured into these separate and seemingly opposing scenes. The same thing happened to bowl/vert when the street scene took over. Pioneers that made skateboarding a permanent thing and not just a fad, like it had been previously when it came around, had been marginalized and left for dead. Guys with good careers and sponsors found themselves working regular jobs. Not that they ever thought that skateboarding could be a career…they never saw it that way. They just did it because they love it. The business people came in and capitalized on that and made it a business. And that’s all good except for when it becomes dominated by trends and marketing type thinking that ends up fueling these hater attitudes and ends up dividing the various skateboarding scenes.
Like I always say, it ain’t what you ride, it’s how you ride it. And if it’s a deck with trucks and urethane wheels, it’s a skateboard…no matter how long it is. And even if it’s a hipster riding a pintail down a bike path, it’s still skateboarding, no matter what the haters say. Are they stoked? If so, and they aren’t just doing it for fashion, than it’s skateboarding.
And really, street is so corporate at this point, and downhill is so underground…one could easily make a case just based on that which is more true.
So anyway, I was just scrolling Instagram and in the first few posts, I saw two posts that I thought summed up what I see regarding the two scenes.
The first post is from Prism Skate Co, a company that caters to the downhill/longboard scene. A ripping clip of a popular SoCal run that perfectly captures what modern downhill skateboarding is all about.
The second clip is from Thrasher. No description of them needed. Watch both and then tell me why street skaters have all this hate for “longboarders”? It baffles me…like I say, the only thing that can be assumed is somebody is feeling threatened. There’s no way in hell that the downhill clip can be considered anything but “thrashing”. The Thrasher clip is obviously not meant to be taken seriously, but it does tend to show where street has ended up these days…a sad parody of itself.
#skateboarding #street #downhill #prism #thrasher