By Andres Pachon
A. Pachon, a journalist and skateboard addict, is a full-time writer for SHIT® Magazine.
Skateboarding is difficult to pinpoint in a spectrum, mainly because being a worldwide culture it develops differently in the area where you are located, many say that your skateboarding style depends on your surroundings and they are probably right, we bet is not the same for skaters in California as for those who are skating in Russia!
But there are many “essential” key factors that make skateboarding a holistic signature movement! you could gather 100 skaters from all over the world (which happens very often) and you won’t see many differences apart from language, and not even that because skaters have their own language.
But how has time affected these factors? it is clear that those who skated back in the ’80s were not the same as the 90’s wave and they were not the same as the 00’s wave and so on, there is clearly an “old school” and a “new school” but is one better than the other?
We can certainly say that more than changing, skateboarding has evolved over the years, it had become bigger and better! But there are a few aspects that we can pin-point clearly to show you how skateboarding has transformed over the years!
80’s and 90’s Generation
These are the pioneers, those who shaped skateboarding as it is today! They stepped back from the downhill races and the freestyle tricks and took them to a whole new level! They are the ones who saw the need and opportunity to develop quality gear for the practice of the discipline and basically set the standards of what we see now and recognize as a skateboard! because a lot of SHIT® has changed but skateboards have been pretty much the same for the past 2 decades, that’s how much impact these guys had and have in many generations of skaters ever since.
The New Millenium
Most of us can identify ourselves as being part of this generation of skaters, not necessarily born in the 2000s but started skating then. This generation is more reckless when it comes to style, many drifted from vert skating (which was huge in the ’90s) to dedicate fully to the now worldwide media and skaters preference, street skateboarding!
As skateboarding became more accessible and gained its own status as a subculture, parks, and ramps were not enough, this is something seen since the begging of skateboarding that began on the streets and DIY spots that were not designed to skate on, however, the discovery of modern architecture by this wave of skaters gave the discipline a whole new perspective of how the discipline could be performed wich made it of massive appeal to the mainstream media, not a bad thing at all since it got more and more people into skateboarding.
The influence of new technologies like skateboarding videogames is also one of the factors that highly influenced the culture and maintained a constant language, form of expression, dressing style, and a state of mind that is is only understood by those immersed on the culture of skateboarding.
Old School Or New School?
There are many differences between generations, the same that happens to any countercultural movement! Punks now are not the same as they were in the late ’70s, but they are still punks and they would not consider themselves that way if it was not by those who started the SHIT.
So I guess what we are trying to say is that there is no one better than the other, current skaters would not exist without those who started this and those who started this would not be able to be recognized or even make a living if this generation decided that they are not going to skate anymore! It’s a pretty radical example but we bet you get the point.
What Has Changed
They mostly evolved from the development of new technologies and yes, fashion! Which is something a lot of skaters “frown upon” but in real life, it’s a big part of the whole industry that needs to stay current and appeal to younger generations, that’s why you don’t see the bulky shoes and huge baggy clothes that often now, altho there are guys who are full-on into the old-school 90’s style and they really know how to rock it!
Back then, those guys were considered rockstars, and they surely lived like them! Party and skateboarding 24/7 was the way to go, which might be cool back then but it had many repercussions for skateboarders who now (living sober) recall the wild nights and the sequels they left.
Skateboarders nowadays are much more aware of living a healthy life to be able to perform well, strict eating and exercise routines are part of the daily habits of contemporary skateboarders who are now more goal-oriented and let’s face it, have MUCH more competition if they want to succeed as pros due do the exponential growth of skateboarding worldwide on the past 2 decades.
This is a tricky one! Altho many skaters still listened to the old school punk rock tunes while skating, we are pretty sure that if you see the playlist of a 25-year-old skater against the one of the 15-year-old who just started skating last year who listens to Trap, you will find a lot of differences! Which is not a bad thing!
Evolution is good and all we need is more and more people to SKATE!
There you have it my dudes and dudettes! there is no one generation better than the other, you might team up on the generation in which you belong and state that is or was better. But there is no point in doing that! one could not exist without the other! All generations of skateboarding are the SHIT® and that’s basically the point we are trying to get across.
How about you? Do you have a favorite skateboarding era? 60’s? 70’s? 80’s? Let us know! We would love to hear it from you!
Read also: Skaterhood: Skateboarding Without Borders