Some people at this point might be able to tell that skateboarding is changing. I’ve recently (within the past months) noticed that skaters and brands that I once thought were top of the game are quickly losing their flare. Now, most people probably noticed this long before I had this realization, but this is because I hadn’t actually dived very deep into skate culture until about a year ago. Last year I might have said my favorite skateboard company was Baker or Girl, both fine companies still, but everyone knows that Girl or Baker at some point must come down from their throne.
I recently had a reckoning of sorts after I watched Supreme’s “cherry”; everything I thought I knew about skateboarding was fucked. “cherry” is a landmark video filled with no-complies and wallies galore, but at some point in the recent past these tricks were stupid as shit. When I first watched “Pretty Sweet” I didn’t have Instagram and I had no knowledge of the likes of Anthony Papalardo or Jason Dill. At that time (I have to admit) I couldn’t tell the difference between an inward heel and a hardflip. That being said when I finally put on my big boy pants and started to actually pay attention to shit, Pretty Sweet was probably two years old already. That was pretty much the peak of the last generation of skateboarding.
As I aforementioned Girl is still a great company with a great team and a good image, but (unfortunately) they aren’t cool. Don’t think this post is only about Girl because i’m trying to explain the big picture, and that means that most of the companies from yesteryear have pretty much lost all of their influence on today’s skaters. Lakai, Emerica, Baker, Plan B, enjoi, Almost, the most influential companies of a few years ago are going extinct; not because of money or the people that run them, but it’s almost as if the very name of those brands are out of style. Who’s the hottest pro right this second? Alex Olson? Dylan Rieder? Na-Kel? Yeah, take a look at their sponsors. Alex Olson knew what he was doing when he left Girl. He is one of few pros that can keep up with the times and predict what the “kids will be into”. The East Coast is taking over and it’s bringing a revolution of jersey-barriers and tucked in shirts with it. Skateboarding is turning away from the influence from the likes of Chris Cole and experimenting with weird-ass lines downtown NYC.
Do yourself a favor and watch Anthony Papalardo’s Fully Flared part. Done? Okay now watch Cyrus Bennett’s Space Heater remix. These parts came out almost ten years apart, but when Fully Flared debuted Papalardo’s part was shit. Now does it make sense to say that Papalardo was ahead of his goddamn time?Ollieing over rails and shuv-its over gaps were not thought highly of at the time of the Lakai Video, but skaters now care more about the style and quality of the tricks instead of the most fucking flips ever done.
My point is, some of a couple years ago’s companies are losing their grasp on this generation of skateboarders. It fucking blows to see the best become washed up, but at the same time it’s refreshing to see the industry change.