A Non-Conclusive Study Sets the Skateboard Generational Divide at age 39 in the year 2013


Before I bring on the generational hate, I’ll sugar coat the facts with a few points.  First off, if you are skateboarding in the year 2013, that is what counts. We will only win with numbers so the more the merrier.  Secondly my calculations and age ranges do not count for the skaters that never stopped.  Skaters that never stopped are, one hopes, influenced by all the different stages skateboarding has seen in the last four or so decades. Now I’ll bring the cold hard facts. I’m amazed that in 2013 a 35 year-old skateboarder can even talk to a 40 year-old skater, and this is a true testament on how society has evolved for the better.  The generational divide in the skate world I believe is firmly set at age 39, and I’ll explain why.

1992 was a historic year for reasons I’m not aware of, but in the skate world it was unique. Tech skating with small wheels, and extremely baggy clothing reigned everywhere. In a recent extensive interview with Marc Johnson on the Jenkem mag site, http://www.jenkemmag.com/home/2013/07/16/the-marc-johnson-interview/ , Mr. Johnson said the industry and standards were set by teenagers then.  In 1991 or so when Mike Vallely left World Industries their ad said, ‘out with the old, in with the new.’ My last reference is in the ‘Deathbowl to Downtown’ documentary on NYC skating someone is quoted with calling this the teenage angst period of skateboarding; street skating was in, and ramp riding was for dinosaurs.

Skateboarding had to evolve, but perhaps it did not evolve in the nicest way. Actually the popularity dive-bombed around 1990 or so. Parks closed everywhere, and the only place people had left to skate was the streets.  So a lot of people that quit around that time relate to the ramp riding days.  Somehow the maturity level of skating dropped as well. In the 1991 classic ‘Video Days,’ the clothes don’t seem too obnoxious. By 1992 the baggy clothes phase trended so hard that every skater in the world wore them.

To a 13 to 15 year old, they can go for a change like that easily, and wear baggy stuff full force. I imagine though to a skater over 18 in 1992 might not have liked the immaturity of it all.  A lot of skaters over 18 going to college, learning a trade, or growing up in 1992 probably ditched skating.  That is why I’m setting the skate generational divide at 39 or a little older, because in 1992 those people were 18 and over. Even in 1995 when I turned 18 there was family pressure and society pressure not to skate. In 1992 it must have been tenfold, because they grew up with ramp skating, and skating changed up so quickly. So I believe in 2013 most skaters under 39 relate to the tech skating of the mid 1990’s and those older than 39 reminisce about the 1980’s style of skating.

Below I list some of my favorite pro skaters that are known for their skills and also their longevity. I think that the really good skaters in 1992 that were aged 12 to 17 really got the best of both worlds.  They learned transition well at a young age, when younger skaters neglected to learn ramps. They got the excitement of being part of something new, and as adults they put their stamp on the development of the sport.  Here are some pros and the years they were born!

Daewon Song 1975

Mike Carrol 1975

Danny Way 1974

Marc Johnson 1977

Jeron Wilson 1977

Jim Greco 1977

Erik Ellington 1977

Andrew Reynolds 1978

Jason Dill 1976

Guy Mariano 1976

Tom Penny 1977

Stevie Williams 1979

Heath Kirchart 1977

Brian Anderson 1976

Ronnie Creager 1974

Bob Burnquist 1976

Josh Kalis 1976

Rob Dyrdek, 1974

Kerry Getz 1975

Eric Koston 1975

Again, this is all for fun, but I think skaters that were born around 1975 to 1980 really got to have an interesting perspective on the progression of skating as a sport to come of age as the sport did.  Also so many legendary skaters including Tony Hawk, Rodney Mullen, and Mark Gonzales are all way older than 39.  Really the generation that has the best of everything is the current kids or teenagers, from so much more acceptance, and the individuality accepted in the sport. People today can skate whatever they want.  No one has to do a method air, and no one has to do a frontside kickflip. Standards are there, but it’s all up to the individual.

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