As you get older you have more of a past... that is how time works after all. All that past can be good in terms of experience gained, but all that past can be detrimental if you find yourself constantly comparing things to it. As important as remembering WHAT happened is, remembering who YOU where when it happened can sometimes be more important. i remember hating it as a teenager when the baby boomers would tell me that rock n roll was so much better when they were a kid, etc, etc, etc. How much of that feeling is just that THEY were younger then vs now? How much of today's music have they listened to? Reminiscing is fun and stories should be told. i love waxing intellectual about skateboarding (well most anything really). i've gone on for entirely too long with friends about everything from clicky-top pens to automobile propulsion (don't get me started with that one... you've been warned). With all this being said i want to give my take on the evolution of skateboarding and where it is today. Better? Worse?
Having started skating in the early 1980's i have definitely lived through an incredible array of styles in skateboarding: florescent clothing, 1/2 a tree sized decks, Suicidal Tendencies/hardcore fashions, Doc's & chain wallets, gigantic pants that covered your entire shoe, wheels that barely cover your bearings, Popsicle sticks, prep-wear, bum-wear, gangsta-wear, "leave on the tags" to bought at Salvation Army. Transition skating to street only. Super technical flat ground to giant stair counts. Ledges to megaramps. There is a deep visual history caught from day one on movie film, super 8, mum's camcorder, cell phones, HD cameras and everything in between. Videos done on no budget still hold top spots along side those with large corporate budgets and special effects.
And you know what... IT'S FUCKING AWESOME!
You will never hear me say i prefer one era to another or that skating was better when i was a kid or that today is the best that skateboarding has ever been. The beauty of skateboarding is that it is ever changing. When the general populas adopted our cargo pants skaters went big and baggy. When that caught on skaters went skinny jean and now that skinny jeans are sold everywhere skaters are plotting their next move. It's a creative arms race where we are constantly striving to push forward to new and better. Hippies will forever be caught in that moment and metal heads will be forever caught in that moment, never evolving or changing no matter how much time goes by. Skaters will always be a moving target that will defy classification.
In the early 1990's if you saw someone with skate shoes on you went right up to one another and were instant friends. We were few and far between. When you saw someone flying that flag you had to introduce yourself because it was such a small but tight-knit community. That camaraderie was the stuff of legend yet today there are skaters who are not only making a living but getting rich on their boards. If you told the Vision Gonzales skating me that someday skateboarders would have there own TV shows, there own video games, and their own league i would have informed you how full of shit you where.
Sure that small counter-culture time period was great but now there isn't a country that you can go to and not find skaters. Which is better? Neither. It's just different. You trade one plus for another and one minus for another. Like life itself skateboarding if forever changing, forever experimenting, forever adapting. If you want consistency and predictability then there are floor after floor of cubicles waiting just for you. Me, i want the excitement of not knowing how the kid i sold a board to today will change the art of skateboarding for all of us.