Lurper – a contributing writer to Jenkem Magazine has released this controversial article about the corporate changes in the skateboard world lately and how lots of skateboarders and their companies are being forgotten about. It’s a great article which makes some strong points and is definitely worth a read. Unfortunately though I can’t agree 100% to everything he talks about. I agree that we have to hate on Corporations and how they see our talents as their profits, and I definitely do not agree with any type of Corporate Takeovers of small companies. But being a long time skateboarder, almost 27 years of skateboarding now, I have to argue some points in this matter. When speaking about Steve Rocco, Mark Gonzales and Mike Vallely rebelling against corporate control in the late 80’s, early 90’s he might have forgotten to mention that Steve Rocco was the one who taught the entire skateboard world how to focus your board, and that it was cool to do so. That was a huge money ploy, but since it was a skateboarder, did that make it right? No. It’s a business and it’s always going to be about money. Just like how wheels changed hardness so that people had to buy them more often. Skateboarding also almost completely disappeared in this 80’s to 90’s era and only the true hard cores continued on with the lifestyle. So as much as it may hurt to know how much corporate support is funding these huge skate events like Maloof Money Cup, X Games, and Street League, isn’t there some positivity to seeing our sport and lifestyle promoted positively across the world. This will help it to survive and will give the true skaters more chances to start their own small companies and continue to be supported by the locals. It’s an unfortunate balance to our society as skateboarders. Yes it sucks that long time rippers are getting cut from the sponsors after how much they have given them over the years, but it’s the “1 guy” that sold out the company they should be mad at, not the corporation that bought it. And yes it sucks that they are trying to change the world away from street skating altogether by creating skate parks all over the world, but street skating was never accepted in the first place, so the people who do it are always going to do it. And with amazing skate videos like Pretty Sweet still coming out I believe that even the younger generation will always be encouraged to rebel against the system and skate street. But I also believe that this display of skateboarding on these huge TV Networks is actually helping street skateboarding be accepted in some cases. By having more people seeing it on television, the more people start to understand it and support you for your efforts.
I don’t agree with the fact that these select few kids are making humungous amounts of cash and others don’t get the chance to even try, but I look at it as just another huge sport. I’ve always compared skateboarding with Golf, in the sense that you have to perform well to make it. You have to show up to events, qualify to make it to the finals where the money is, and then compete for it. Then once you’ve proven yourself enough times you might get some recognition and big sponsors offering you some deals. It’s not like Baseball or Hockey where you sign a deal for this amount per year for this many years and then you just go play. In that world a lot of the top contract signers start lacking skills after the first 2 years of signing. They feel as though they are taken care of and don’t need to prove themselves as much so they can sit back and take it easy. Skateboarding is definitely not like that, and never will be. Look at Ryan Sheckler, this kid has been amazing since before he was 13 and is still out there competing hard. And I think he gives it his all every time he goes out there. It’s a whole different mentality to be published on television every move you make. I just look at it as 2 completely different societies. There’s the faces of skateboarding that the whole world knows, and sees on TV and thinks they are amazing. Then there’s the real skateboarders that no matter what happens in the world, they go out and skate. They film and work hard for themselves, not for others, and they keep skateboarding what it always was – a lifestyle.
But unfortunately in today’s crazy economy, it’s hard to know whether or not skateboarding would survive without all the world-wide publicity it has been receiving over the past decade and a half.
Always support your local brands and skater owned companies, let the posers buy the rest of the products, support the real skateboarders that are just out there to skate, but also thank the ones on the TV for helping to build skateboarding into how big it has become.
I’m not the type of person that would ever sell out, but I do understand the mentality these others have and why they take the offers that get put on the table. It is a corporate world and if they don’t join it, someone else will. There is no stopping what has become, so I guess the real question is how to handle it….
Read the story below by Lurper and let’s hear your feedback