New York Times wrote an article about aging skaters, and followed with a debate forum on their website. The article highlighted skaters aged 45 and older that are getting into long boarding. Skating started to really become popular in the 70’s so my friend pointed out some kept skating, and it’s not a midlife crises or anything like that. At age 35, I’m glad I skate, and I am passionate about it. For this entry I’ll highlight 4 videos that came out in my youth that shaped the sport from a ramp type style to street skating. People who are now in their mid to late thirties were the first generation of street skaters. It was exciting to be part of it, and I have a lot of fond memories. Every video back then displayed new tricks, and had a progression.
‘Hokus Pokus’ by H-Street came out in 1989. By that time I had been skating for a year or so. I could ollie, perhaps kickflip, I could do some curb tricks, but I was really sketchy. Nonetheless I was obsessed with skating. I remember at my middle school lunch table with my skate friends discussing this video. It came out but no one had it yet. I remember my friend Chris said there was no way it could be better than the company’s 1988 release ‘Shackle Me Not’ Perhaps JJ was the debater that ‘Hokus Pokus’ was better than ‘Shackle Me Not.’ Soon enough my parents bought me a copy, perhaps it was the first skate video I owned, I think I watched that every day for a year. I was mesmerized, and they were doing tech tricks I didn’t know were possible. I remember showing it to my dad, and he was impressed too even though by the end of the video he was asleep. I connected to the video watched it a lot.
Here is Sal Barbier’s part that is the first part in ‘Hokus Pokus’ a video that is now 23 years old:
Flash forward two years to 1991. I borrowed my friend’s, JJ, copy of Blind’s ‘Video Days,’ which has been claimed to be the best historic skate video of all time. Like with the H-Street video in 1989 I was obsessed with it. Guy Mariano, Rudy Johnson, Jason Lee, and Mark Gonzales all skated on a new level. Switch stance skating was introduced. The video is only about twenty minutes long, and that much easier to watch repeatedly. I was still sketchy, but I defined myself as a skater by that point in 1991. To this day I feel bad I never returned ‘Video Days’ to JJ and like a year later loaned it to someone who never returned it to me.
Here is Jason Lee’s part from ‘Video Days’
1992, the year of the pressure flip, baggy clothes, and the year that Plan B’s ‘The Questionable Video’ came out. This bought in tech skating, and big skating to a whole new level. Watching this compared to videos from just a year prior it seems like a new standard came about over night. I watched this every day for like a year too. My favorite parts were Mike Carrol’s, Rick Howard’s, Pat Duffy’s, Colin McCay’s, Sean Sheffey’s, Sal Barbier, and Danny Way. Sometimes I’d watch the whole thing. I remember my dad was impressed with this video too. It was something new and exciting. Today some adult skaters older than me ride boards from the 1980’s and are nostalgic for that era. To me the transition from ramp skating to street skating had to happen and is the reason skating is around today. To be able to take your board anywhere, to any city, and skate the terrain makes it doable worldwide. This video has significance for me, because that summer in 1992 we moved from suburban Baltimore to Toledo Ohio. At first when I moved I’d watch this video everyday, and skate the Rossford Ohio spots mostly by myself. That was when I got good from watching the video and going out everyday that summer and practicing all the new flip tricks. That fall my skate network in Toledo expanded greatly, but for about a month or more of solo skating really helped my skills.
Here is Rick Howard’’s part from ‘The Questionable Video,’ a video that is twenty years old.
Youtube says this came out in 1992, but I’m not so sure. Maybe it came out in fall or late 1992. ‘Tim and Henry’s Pack of Lies’ was a preview for the upcoming Blind Video and only 8 minutes long. I watched this everyday. Tim Gavin’s part is really good, and Henry Sanchez’s part is unbelievable. I had this VHS in heavy rotation. Even though some of the tricks in this are on curbs and low curbs are not in the pro level videos anymore, the trick variety has stood the test of time. When the Ozzy Osboune music starts to Henry Sanchez’s part he is going a million miles an hour and does a switch kickflip bigspin, and that would turn heads today.
Here is ‘Tim and Henry’s Pack of Lies.’
Lastly, here is the links to the New York Times articles on aging skaters from yesterday: