By Paula Osorio
P. Osorio is a skate culture lover and a full-time writer for SHIT®️ Magazine.
We can look at this film from 2012 as a documentary with some other “stuff” mixed in. From the lens and mind of Ben Duffy, we saw vintage footage of 80s kids riding their boards met by “side clips” where modern pro skaters are doing tricks, and interviews with super legends like Greg Lutzka, Lance Mountain, Christian Hosoi, Rob Dyrdek, and Ben Schroeder, just to name a few, about their journey through the scene and how thighs have developed.
And, it’s funny how it all starts. Before anybody could say a word, a man appears on camera yelling at some skaters from an upper floor window, telling them to leave because “skateboarding is a crime” and they’re doing it on private property. Followed by a great intro, a board riding itself appears as a voiceover says "skateboarding is one of the few real things in this world, and we are skateboarders”. BOOOM!
Different Chapters Telling the Same Story
This documentary is segmented into nine chapters named accordingly. The first chapter is called “Getting more soul”, and it starts with a crucial question: What is the soul of skateboarding? This inquiry takes the interviewees to a deep place, where they dive into themselves looking for the meaning that lies within what they do. The second chapter, “Raw as fuck”, speaks about how skateboarding was born as a counterculture manifestation within the social system and why the underground freedom is what led the first generation of skaters to live for their passion. They didn’t care what others thought of them, they just enjoyed the opportunity to feel the wind in their hair and on their faces as the asphalt slid under their wheels. That feeling is what keeps skateboarding alive and should be the essential component of skating today.
The fourth, fifth, and sixth chapters, named “anti-heroes”, “individuality”, and “sponsored” respectively, speak of how skateboarders inhabit an intersection area between rockstars, athletes, and artists where their whole purpose should be to skate and remain real to their own style and convictions before thinking about pleasing anyone else. In these chapters, people like Jeff Ward, Peter Smolik, Malcolm Watson, Mark Gonzales, Robert Lin, and some others, advise everyone watching this film to try hard to not follow any rules but their own. They also touch on the issue that everything in the pro skate scene has moved to revolve around money and how this has become problematic.
The discussion around the monetization of skateboarding opened the gates for the next two chapters: Chapter seven called “Airwalks and a thing called unity” and chapter eight named “$oul”. In these two segments, we can hear various opinions from the likes of Mike York, Aaron Snyder, Nolan Lee, and Colin McKay among others, where each one of them expresses how the act of skating brings a “brotherhood” (and “sisterhood”) together in contrast to what a huge industry wants to do with everyone’s talent. They defend the fact that there is no difference between the skateboarders that rock their heart out on a board in the street or the pro on international TV. All that matters is the enjoyment they get from doing what they do best and love every second of it.
The last chapter entitled “Where is the soul of skateboarding going?” it’s encouraging :) This chapter answers that question. Ben Schroeder gave us one of the best responses on this issue earlier in this movie, by saying that skateboarding is a defiance of gravity, fashion, rules, and laws turned into a dance, and all of his mates seemed to agree. Even though everything will keep on changing, the feeling of pushing down the street is what will keep us all together. So go ride your hear out and show the road who’s boss.
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