February 4, 2023

What the hell happened to Skateboarding?

Yesterday, I received news that I would not be able to carry Vans at the shop. Now, since my neighbor already sells all the hipster Vans, I was only interested in what are called “Core-Exclusives.” You see, most skate companies create a line that can only be sold at shops that sell decks, trucks, and wheels and these are their Core-Exclusives. This is the thanks we get as skate shops so we can stay afloat while huge corporations like Pac-Sun, Zoomiez, Active, etc., bring in all the cheddar from the kids who jock skaters and the skate lifestyle but are too lazy to get out and try it themselves. So, I called my sneaker rep who is an awesome dude and has been very helpful in the past, and unfortunately for us, his hands are tied. Why? Because Harvard Square is already saturated with Vans products. So, of course I have to ask Vans, how could Harvard Square be over-saturated with core exclusives when we are the only skate shop in town? Now I know Concepts sells hard-goods, we saw THE deck in the new shop, but we all know who grips and maintains every deck that is sold there. And I have no problem with Concepts, the shop is obviously a business model we can all learn from…the problem I have is with today’s skater. Today’s skater buys $150 skate shoes and puts them in his closet. Today’s skater can only be found skating on 75 degree days 3 months out of the year. Today’s skater gets high in order to land a kick-flip on his X-box 360 as opposed to blazing with his boys and hitting the streets. Last I checked most skaters don’t fit in at school and sure as hell don’t follow the orders of the establishment. I used to love reading Thrasher to see what kinds of beers the pros were pounding not to see what kinds of rims their new Escalade has on it. If I could have imagined MTV giving a skater a TV show in the past I would assume it would have 95% skating, 5% fighting/vandalizing/puking. Instead I have to watch some 15-year-old pretty boy arguing with his parents or some old dude baby-talking his bulldog. Is this a sign of times to come? I never thought I would see Sex Pistols shirts being cranked out by the millions to prep-school kids. I also never thought I would see an 18-year-old girl get the Republican elephant tattooed on her lower back. This is why I believe graffiti is the final battle. Or are they already taking saws and cutting out COPE 2 pieces and putting them up in galleries? Anyways, I digress. So, what are we left with? Well, Nike S.B.’s were designed to be the ultimate skate shoe…but, unless you sell $59 t-shirts in a museum quality environment you can’t sell them. And don’t even think about riding a board with them, they will devalue! I just wish skaters would wake the fuck up and realize that their culture is being used by huge companies to move units and leave all the hypey products to the uninspired. I expected nothing less from Nike, and if you saw their newest video you obviously know where their focus is, but I am going to need a moment of silence for Vans.

14 thoughts on “What the hell happened to Skateboarding?

  1. “how could Harvard Square be over-saturated with core exclusives when we are the only skate shop in town? Now I know Concepts sells hard-goods, we saw THE deck in the new shop, but we all know who grips and maintains every deck that is sold there.”

    so true… so to hear you cant carry Vans- weak!

  2. didnt pharrel teach you stupid punkers anything, skateboarding is the new black, if your little unknown shack carries my expensive sneakers, no one in my metaphorical street (its tough when the burbs have no sidewalks or stairways to pose on) will give me the respect i deserve.
    besides, listen to avril lavegne, all skateboarders were greedy consumer whores hiding get-rich-quick shemes behind their “chill” exteriors anyways

  3. YEAH! Lets listen to Avril Lavigne, she knows what she’s talking about!…

    ….But really now, every culture that was once wholesome is now deteriorating into superficial bullshit. Compare the messages of modern day rap to the messages given out by the Black Sheep and other late 80s and early 90s rap groups. We have stores like Hot Topic and Pac Sun and Jasmine Sola just feeding off of the money kids blow there because they sell clothes that fit into a certain category. Goth, skater, and prep. Honestly, all kids care about today is how they’re labelled (or how they aren’t). They’re too caught up in the superficial swing of things to figure out the meaning behind what they’re representing. Skaters don’t have the same passion as they did “back in the day” and I do believe this is where the saying “when I was your age…” saying comes into play. This whole post is really like that for you, you know? Comparing skaters from when you were 17 to skaters today, there’s a big change. Skaters from when you were a kid actually cared about landing their tricks and had a certain drive behind them. It was an activity and a lifestyle. Nowadays, just like you said, it’s just an image. I threw up, literally, one of the first glorious days I worked at Pac Sun when just hoards and hoards of kids came up to me asking me to help them find them shirts to match their shoes (which they of course brought in to hold up to each shirt). When the Famous shirt they wanted didn’t come in the right color but an Element shirt did, they wouldn’t take the Element shirt. “Nah man, it’s gotta be Famous. That shit’s fresh.” I won’t even start with that brand. I’m sick of clothing labels going into the business of making clothes just because they know kids will buy their useless, meaningless shit. This is why the clothes you design and sell, Kerry, don’t sell as much as Travis Barkers’ line and also why they hold more value (and I don’t just mean in the price). The quality in (not physical quality) your shirts is hard to find nowadays and usually if you see a message that has some bit of good in it (Make Cupcakes, Not War for example created by our BFF Johnny Cuntcakes) the price gets jacked up and it’s only made because the saying is “cute” or to make money simply because a) it has a “decent” message and b) it’s by that “rad” “designer” who you just “have to have” nowadays (le gag, le sigh).

    I pretty much reiterated what you said but it made me feel intelligent (which I’m secretly not).


  4. And that my friends is why Taylor got accepted to Fisher College! A round of applause for the future grad!

  5. Theoretically this argument could be applied to you, could it not? The old mentality for Graffiti Writers was rack it or make it yourself, so as much as its disheartening to you that kids aren’t out getting it in in terms of skateboarding, you’re making money off of selling supplies to people who are too lazy to rack a shoe polish bottle, some silver rustoleum bucket paint, and xylene. Also, from what I’ve seen you’re not really an established writer, and seeing as though most montana used to be distributed through such individuals (even in your own city), you’re guilty profiting off something you never put your dues in on(I’m not questioning your appreciation of it, but caps/magazines/paint used to be a strictly writer-based system). Lastly, it seems the majority of your business/association has to do with the glut of “street artists” in boston, the same individuals who’s actions continue to devalue and commodify the work of actual vandals. The writer is the “core-exclusive”, “street-artists” are the pacsun of the game. So, realistically, aren’t you contributing to the loss of the final battle?

  6. ps

    imagine dondi not buying from vercesi hardware because old man vercesi didn’t pay proper dues.

  7. Wow, J is the true Artful Dodger! “Yo kid, it ain’t graff unless you rack it…it ain’t dinner unless you stole it…it ain’t pussy unless you rape it!” J. with your rack it only plan you are ruling out some of the best writers in the world, including some of the superstars in Boston. I know K*m and M^se aren’t racking paint or using CRYlon. You just sound like another wack 14 year old toy on 12oz.

  8. J, the way you’re putting it, the dude who sells Boston Globes in the train station is a dude selling newspapers to the “glut” of newspaper readers out there…and also that he is pretty much a scandalous fraud seeing how he personally doesn’t write the newspaper. I guess it gets tricky since he doesn’t pocket the money, but he is in fact a volunteer so really, the way you’re putting it is wrong. If Kerry was only trying to profit off of “street artists” then wouldn’t he have much higher prices in an attempt to make a bigger profit off your average kid with parent money wanting to be cool? And wouldn’t he also not even work something out with KR to get everyone KRINK mops? Stores like Pac Sun and all of them are chains. They will do nothing special for you except for talk you into buying a hoodie because you can “layer it” or because its “a hot brand right now” which is all bullshit (one of my bosses there actually told me to make shit up about the clothes just to make them seem more special than what you could find at a dpartment store). Kerry doesn’t go around making up shit about his product just in order to sell it to you. He’ll tell you how the paint/ink will look, how it’ll drip, what kind you need for what you’re working on (which isn’t always the highest costing marker or can, which he could easily sell to someone who doesn’t know much about inks and paints, yknow?) etc.

    Your argument is really just putting it in black and white. There’s space in between on that spectrum, a lot of gray area, that you didn’t mention. There’s a difference with just selling something to anyone because it will sell and selling something to people you get familiar with because its not just about what is being sold. Think about it.


    P.s. Are you suggesting kids start making their own paint and ink with yummy cancer causing chemicals? As much fun as that sounds, I’d pass…

  9. Once graff culture took off to the next level, you gotta keep catching up with it. If you are a hardcore bomber, get off of your computer, and go out for bombing instead. But if you are a graffiti artist, you can not deny those European paints. Histories circulate, graff will be always graff, but you sound like you’re missing the point. Shouldn’t the most important mentality for graff writers be just getting up? If you really don’t have money but need to bomb, you gotta rack paint, but obviously kids nowadays like you have enough money to have your own computer… how come you still need to steal paint? Do you wanna be an old school bad-ass?? They should stop wearing all-over print hoody and flat hat, and if you were still broke, you can say you need to rack some rusto or krylon. it is totally a poser.

  10. Glad to see everyone has a well-formed opinion on the subject. In order to keep the intellectual content up and not go the way of 12oz. this thread is being locked. If there is just something you have to say, email it to me and I will get it online for you.

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