By Andres Pachon
A. Pachon, a journalist and skateboard addict, is a full-time writer for SHIT® Magazine.
SHIT® magazine has always been interested in figuring out how skateboarding brings us all together, to find how “a piece of wood” can be so important and relevant for a significant amount of the youth all over the world for over 4 decades now.
That’s why we have tried to check and dig into not only the local skateboarding scene but also the worldwide aspect of it to be able to see the bigger picture, with information gathered from various and reliable sources that have led us to believe completely that this is one big family that does not discriminate age, race, gender or sexual orientation. Something that other sports or cultural movements have not been able to accomplish over the years.
Skateboarding is a great example of how the practice of a discipline that eventually becomes a lifestyle can break paradigms and problems that have been built into our society for hundreds of years.
Shit has come to divide us and put shade all over the fantastic features we can offer as human beings such as respect, love, and a sense of community.
Skating As One
It only takes a trip to the skatepark to notice the joyful collective environment that is lived here, its a world on its own that you would have to live to understand. Here you are not measured by how much money you have, the color of your skin, the music you listen to, or the way you like to dress. Skateboarders will pay the most attention to one thing and one thing only! YOUR SKILLS!
Skateboarding could be considered almost a fraternity, with the exception that there is no initiation or exclusions to be a part of it, of course, there is always “that guy” he is everywhere but he is definitely in the wrong side of the board, skateboarding will always have its doors and parks open for ANYONE that wants to learn.
Initiatives like Skate Like A Girl, have been for over a decade teaching inclusiveness to kids and especially young dudes and dudettes that are just getting in the skateboarding world, setting this way of thinking right from the start, something that a lot of us had to learn along the way and this is just one of hundreds of local groups and initiatives all over the world that are looking to spread the word of a united youth through skateboarding.
A healthy, productive and bad habit free lifestyle is what most skaters preach and practice nowadays, along with a different and more open state of mind that is only provided by the sense of belonging that skateboarding gives you, and as many people say “it shows you the world in a whole different perspective” that can allow you to understand better the downfalls of modern society and how to cope with them. A knowledge that is spread across the parks.
Go Skate Day
The holiday was born in 2002 but did not get its current name until 2004, an initiative created by the International Association of Skateboard Companies and some of the most recognized pros in the industry with the goal of getting more and more kids to skate across the world and make visible how vast and diverse this particular group of society is and how it’s bringing down (and it has for a while) racial, economic and even gender stereotypes.
We could even say that the skateboarding scene is not fully aware of the impact this particular movement has worldwide, because it was never a task to respect one another without prejudices since this behavior has always been there, characteristic that could even be traced back to the very beginnings of California skateboarding scene with their chill out surfer dude vibes, its a long shot, but one thing is for sure, skaters all over the world are some of the most chill dudes and dudettes you will ever get to meet, am I right?!
Thousands of skaters from all continents hit the streets every year on June 21st, and fingers crossed, this year won’t be the exception!
Skateboarding In Media And Culture
Worldwide contests feature skaters from all backgrounds, really proving how big this whole SHIT® is! And although you can see how skateboarding translates to every culture or country by the skateboarding style and even the way skaters dress, it is amazing to see how it has a language of its own. Skaters around the world would tend to express themselves in a very similar matter and you could have a park full of people that spoke different languages and they would STILL understand each other trough skateboarding, as we have mentioned before, in any country, in any language, an Ollie will always be an Ollie.
Recent pop culture and media has also taken into their hands to spread the skateboarding word of inclusiveness and respect, most recently, HBO series “Betty” has tackled subjects like sexism and gender roles in skateboarding and the improvement in this area from what this situation was 20 years ago, you can check the full article here.
We are not trying to portray skateboarding as a perfect world, it is not, nothing is! And as we said before there is always “that guy” but he is a dying species that is now almost insignificant in our culture and lifestyle.
One of the other awesome aspects of the whole movement is that not even your music taste will be a motive of disapproval among your skateboarding peers, you can listen to any kind of music you prefer and still be able to hang with the crowd.
Many countercultural movements inspired by music and art, are strongly attached to skateboarding. Hip-Hop and punk rock are two of the biggest subcultures in the world that have had much influence in the skateboarding industry but some people might find it hard to believe that both punks and rappers hang out in the same spots, share the same experiences and even discuss a thing or two about music and other cultural movements!
As a personal experience, myself being a punk rock fan and an avid seeker of knowledge of the roots and history of my particular tastes got to learn from a friend of mine, a Rastafari dude, that before the whole punk movement blew up, “punks” (who were not even called that back in the early ’70s) used to hang our in reggae and rocksteady parties which were a huge influence in the whole punk movement looking to put a stop on the oppression of the working class and the exploitation of minorities.
All and all, a lot of people should learn a thing or two about the skateboarding lifestyle, in a troubled world filled with confusion, hate, sadness, injustice, prejudice, and violence, skateboarding can be an outlet to erase all of these feelings and turn destructive conducts into creative ones, we strongly believe that the world could be at peace if everyone got the chance to ride a skateboard once and get the feeling you get when you skate with friends when you learn a new trick and you fall, and get hurt, but one of your dudes helps you up and pushes you to try again, again and again until you are finally able to make it.
Solidarity, a brotherhood, a family! That’s what we all are, one big worldwide family.
There you have it my dudes and dudettes, spread the word, support the fight, and go out and skate!