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South Korea: Skateboarding With Tension

By Andres Pachon

A. Pachon, a journalist and skateboard addict, is a full-time writer for SHIT® Magazine.


Being a skater in Seoul, South Korea means skating while knowing war could break out at any moment, a constant reality in relation to the tensión between South and North Korea. Korean skaters know the type of danger it’s northern neighbor can have, but they assimilate it to their lives, afterall, they grew up with it. Sure they get frightened sometimes but they don't give it too much attention, what other choice do they have?


Korean Skaters Dealing With Their Own Problems


South Korean skaters worry more about the things that are happening inside of their own territory. ´Hell-Joseon´ is an expression that accompanies them daily. This word express the difficulty regular Koreans suffer every day, the dissatisfaction about the current state of the Korean society. The country have a traditional hierarchical society which allows not too many great expectations and little hope. The fourth most common cause of death in the country is suicide, and skateboarding have turned into the answer for some youngsters who want to have a different perspective about their everyday reality. 






Skating As an Option for Freedom and Liberation

Photo: Jason Lee (Unsplash)

The young Koreans are searching for whatever helps them escape the social pressure. An option for some is to move to Japan or Australia, for others its skating. The anti-social, laissez-faire lifestyle of skateboarding is perfect for giving South Korea a whole new color, seeing Seoul as one huge urban skate park. The activity and lifestyle skating bring to South Korea works as a counterweight to the conservative sociocultural and political thinking. Skating becomes a rebellion and a way of expression that makes an impact in a country like this, for example skater Hyunjun Koo have facial mods knowing it is illegal to be a tattoo artist.

There still are too many taboo's in South Korea, but skateboarding accepts everyone without judging and that’s just maybe what this society needs. It is not the biggest scene in the world, but skateboarding keeps growing every year in South Korea. Now there are more than 75 skateparks built by the construction Company ESP Korea alone, so you can imagine the impact skateboarding is having right now in the society, and how it is helping the country to progress, showing to the young generations a way of thinking they wouldn't know existed if it wasn't for skateboarding.


Read also: Wheels Around the World: Skateboarding in Asia

Read also: The Skateboarding Scene in Shanghai



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