Up to now decade there was an enormous improve within the degree of company involvement in skateboarding, and we could also be returning to a type of skateboarding that Steve Rocco, Mike Vallely, Mark Gonzales, and others desperately tried to flee within the early 1990’s.
New members throughout the skate neighborhood, like Eric Wiseman, Phil Knight, Herbert Hainer, the Maloofs, Gary Ream, William Sweedler, Neil Cole, and Andrew Kline, are all difficult what it means to be a skateboarder and the way we skateboard. These males (which have most likely by no means stepped foot on a skateboard) run or are the cash behind VF Corp [Vans], Nike, Adidas, Maloof Cash Cup, Woodward, Sequential Manufacturers [DVS], Iconix [Zoo York], and Park Lane Sports activities Funding Banking [Street League]. By their financial capital, and energy outdoors of skateboarding they’ve been capable of drive their method into highly effective positions inside skateboarding and are capable of immediately revenue off of our exercise. Ought to we care if non-skaters are allowed to carry highly effective positions in our tradition? Ought to we care if skaters affiliate with these folks and purchase their merchandise? Will it change how we skateboard, how we view ourselves, and the way we view the world?
After all! As skate boarders all of us share social area and none of us exist in a vacuum (not directly all of our actions have an effect on the skate tradition as a complete and each skater inside it). Inside this social area our collective actions have produced and emphasised how vital creativity, autonomy, cooperation, and enjoyable are inside skateboarding. These values make up the dominant ideology inside skateboarding, which shapes our identities, how we view the world and the way we act inside it. However as increasingly companies enter the exercise, they’re difficult and making an attempt to shift the dominant ideology and efficiency of skateboarding into one thing that enables them to rationally fulfill their sole goal: the pursuit of revenue. If they’re profitable it might not change the ideology or efficiency of skaters like myself which were concerned within the exercise for a few years, however it’ll change the ideology, the area, and economics of skateboarding for youthful skaters, and alienate older skaters from a social world they helped create and keep till it was invaded by and bought to outsiders.
Many of those outsiders are trying to run skateboarding with the identical ideas that drive many fashionable companies, that are fully incompatible with street-skating as we all know it. As George Ritzer factors out in The McDonaldization of Society, companies try and function in a particularly environment friendly trend. They give attention to making all the things quantifiable (skatemetrics) quite than specializing in creating subjective high quality (“finest” video half), they need all the things to be predictable (i.e. standardized, the identical expertise each time), and so they need all facets of a enterprise or exercise to be simply managed, principally the antithesis of what skateboarding is at the moment. Because the company’s values turn into increasingly aside of skateboarding and affect the ideologies of particular person skaters, the higher the potential that our exercise will essentially change. Skateboarding received’t be just like the exercise everyone knows at the moment, as a substitute it’ll have an ideology and a efficiency much like that of soccer, or, as Rob Dyrdek is praying for, the UFC.
If companies proceed to achieve affect inside our tradition the dominant type of skateboarding could transfer from the streets, the place it’s troublesome to regulate or immediately revenue off of, into the contained area of the park. Moreover the skate video can also fall to the wayside. Why spend the cash to ship a skate staff to Barcelona for 3 weeks to movie ten methods, when you’ll be able to fly one skater to Gilbert, AZ for a few days and have your emblem seen all through the world on ESPN?
As a substitute of inefficiently, creatively, and collaboratively creating skate movies, skaters will effectively and competitively enter into the extremely predictable, standardized, quantifiable, and controllable world of mega-contests. On this social-world, there isn’t any time for a skater to push himself spending hours attempting to land a trick, as a result of it’s inefficient. There may be little room for creativity (i.e. no bottom 50-50 finger-flip) as a result of, “it isn’t good technique.” And there’s no purpose to hunt out new skate spots because it extra environment friendly for all skate contests to happen in the identical stylized areas. Whether or not you’re in Gilbert or Toronto you’ll be able to watch Chaz Ortiz soar down the very same 10 stair. If company skating begins to dominate there might be little room left for the skating that Louie Barletta, Chris “Mango” Milic, or Jeff Stevens do, there’ll solely be room for the (wonderful, however) standardized and predictable skating of Greg Lutzka, Ryan Sheckler, and Nyjah Houston.
”SKATEBOARDING IS SEPARATING INTO TWO POLES: ONE WHERE A FEW BUSINESSES AND A VERY SMALL GROUP OF SKATERS ARE MAKING LOTS OF MONEY, WHILE EVERYONE ELSE IS FUCKED.”
A powerful company presence inside our tradition will change the economics of skateboarding. As we’ve got seen previously seven years, Nike and Adidas’s presence has escalated the variety of skater owned skate shoe corporations which have gone out of enterprise, which limits the flexibility of skaters to affect skateboarding. Skater owned corporations are in dire financial conditions, not due to pure fluctuations throughout the skateboard market, however due to the imbalance of financial energy inside skateboarding that’s evident in a post-Consolidunk period.
The doorway of Nike, Adidas, and different mega-corporations, has created a scenario much like what many in style however small espresso retailers confronted when coping with Starbucks. Starbucks would open throughout the road from a neighborhood espresso store, and even when the native espresso store was doing nicely previous to Starbucks entrance, the small retailers couldn’t afford to function in such shut proximity to a Starbucks “Café,” which might afford to run at a loss, dump big quantities of cash into ads and promotions, and do big quantities of market analysis on potential clients due to its deep pockets. Ultimately the small café would go beneath, which allowed Starbucks to dominate the native market, not as a result of their product was superior, however due to their financial may (see Naomi Klien’s e book No Brand and Ocean Howell’s “Excessive Market Analysis”).