There’s a quote by Lance Mountain floating around online. He says “Skateboarding doesn’t make you a skateboarder: not being able to stop skateboarding makes you a skateboarder.” Its really beautiful in its truth and simplicity. Having had a lot of friends come into and out of the game over the years, my thoughts have always been if you can quit skateboarding, no matter how talented you are, you were never meant to skate in the first place. I’ve read very similar thoughts in magazines or online and heard similar sentiments at crowded sweaty skate shops, cold empty city streets, and in bustling suburban skate parks.
Lance Mountain is a legend and the perfect example of a skater with longevity. At the age of 48, he retains a multitude of sponsors and fairly regularly has photos in magazines and releases video parts. Simply put he is a quintessential skateboarder. Not because of his incredible talent, amazing video parts, or experience in the industry; but because his love for skateboarding. Regardless of swollen knees, or aching feet, brittle bones, and sore tissue, he keeps pushing ahead. He has other interests too, but he doesn’t let them get in the way of his skateboarding. While many pros from his time (and many people you and I know) transitioned into becoming artists or musicians as they got older, Mountain juggles his skateboarding career alongside his interests in art and music, while being a husband and father (and maybe a grandfather in the not so distant future.) Despite all the responsibilities and physical limitations of being a middle age man, he defies the odds by remaining a skateboarder. That is what his quote is all about; not letting hindrances debilitate your love. To always be skating in spite of what society expects from you, or haggard, feeble limbs. Being a skateboarder means injuries, age, and responsibilities can’t stop you from doing what you do.
Skateboarding has a well preserved history. Every month during the late 1980’s and 1990’s were full of magazines and videos back when those were the fastest (and are still the best) mediums to showcase skateboarding. However, some of our great history is lost on those that weren’t born yet, or were too young to skate in those days. Some companies continue to release their classics on DVD, or with a bit of effort you can dig up VHS copies of a lot of these videos. There are also rips of VHS’ and DVD’s floating around online to download for free. The way the bulk of people these days consume old skate videos is watching single parts that have been broken up and uploaded to YouTube. Certainly not my preferred method. But even then, at least these things are saved in the vast void of the internet for posterity. However, what about classic photographs, interviews, advertisements, reviews, and essays from a forgotten era? An era that many who skate these days don’t appreciate they way they should. Due in part to a lack of exposure to the foundation and building blocks of how and why we skate the way we do today. Unfortunately, these things don’t make it onto spaces of the internet that feature traffic as heavy as YouTube and become lost.
Thankfully, there are older and nostalgic skaters that want to share and write about bygone eras of skating. Armed with magazines, scanners, love, and a dedication to scouring Google Images there are a multitude of blogs that post scanned pages from long out of print issues and publications. Sadly, these blogs get very little attention from the mainstream skateboarding industry, leaving people to find them of their own accord. Lucky for us; the readers, many of these blogs all link to each other in their blogroll allowing you to jump from site to site getting a rounded educational experience in skate history, as well as the author’s thoughts and experiences on and in contemporary skateboarding.
The Chrome Ball Incident features scans from magazines, original interviews with skaters and photographers both past and present, and spotlight write ups or photo montages dedicated to skaters or companies.
Frozen In Carbonite (a perfect Star Wars reference!) also has shots from old videos, reviews of new videos and pairs of shoes, as well as some jargon on sports and music, all from the lens of 90’s nostalgia.
Vert Is Dead is a blog that does write ups on skaters both legendary and that have been forgotten over the years, posts classic ads many of which from long defunct companies that have faded into obscurity, and some articles on the what’s new in skateboarding.
Quartersnacks is dedicated to chronicling skateboarding in New York City. Like the other blogs, QS writes about, and comments on skateboarding’s history, covering some current mainstream skate news, uploading old videos online, and primarily, being a voice and outlet for the amazing local skateboarding scene in New York; both professional and non-professional. Quartersnacks is a little different than the other blogs listed, in that while it does do a lot of features on NYC skateboarding in the past, it is also the main contemporary source of information on the web for New York’s skate scene.
All these blogs are written by older skaters who remember when our lifestyle was more simple, down to earth, and in terms of pants- baggier. They democratize skating, by being a voice other than that of the industry. They are simply one person’s thoughts, feelings, opinions, and memories. Shedding light on trends, people, and past events from the perspective of a normal skater like you and me. Not one that works for the magazines or worse; ESPN. These blogs deliver delightful insight on parts of skating many today never see with thoughtful writing as well as the quality scans of magazines that kept track of much of what skateboarding was doing, and who was doing it. All of the listed blogs are strongly influenced by the time period the authors grew up in, primarily the 1990’s. This is the era that set the foundation for modern skateboarding. While some tricks seem “easy” or even “uncool” by today’s standards, the ingenuity and progressive quality of skateboarding in the 90’s is incredibly important to our collective history and identity as skateboarders.