Integrity with Every Push

If you love something you're willing to fight for it and defend it. Skateboarding is no different.  All of us who love it have had to fight for it and the longer we've been in it the more we're had to fight the good fight. Defending it to the jocks trying to take you board as a kid, the rednecks shouting out of their pickups, the cops kicking you out of spots, and often defending it to our parents. Those are the easy battles to identify but it's the not so easy to acknowledge battles that are the most important for the integrity of skateboarding. The longer you've been skating the more responsibility you need to take upon yourself to help skateboarding, help the culture, and help keep both creativity and integrity in skateboarding.  No matter you're personal style, terrain preferences, or skill level you have an investment in this culture and truthfully, you owe it to skateboarding for all that skateboarding has done for each and every one of us who have found love somewhere in that space between urethane and asphalt.

Throughout the history of skateboarding and all of the ebbs and flows, it's been the "casual" interlopers that have been the true destructive force in skateboarding's health. The cop that says "I used to skate" as he kicks you out of a spot - you may have ridden a skateboard but you were never a skater. The surf shops, bike shops, and ski shops that decide to sell skateboards to supplement their sales - they are not supporting the culture, they are not helping to fight for parks, it's just another "fun activity" for them and they will happily take our money when the culture we've built is doing well and then fill that wall of their store with something else when times are tough. The athletic shoe companies that will take their elaborate tech ability and throw it into new styles to appeal to skaters, with their deep pockets will buy up skateboarding's best and historic skaters, and now that skateboarding has grown to a critical mass - jump in to profit while crushing the diversity of skater-owned companies who've been supporting skating and skaters through thick and thin.

Some may call this tough love but those of us who have truly found love know that there is no other type of love. If we truly care we have to put in the work and walk the walk. We are in control of our own integrity and the integrity of skate culture. It's not just a matter of not supporting interlopers who have no investment in us, but far more importantly it's about SUPPORTING one another. Sometimes life demands us to circle up back to back, fists out, to take things on but right now what we need to do in skateboarding is circle up, backs OUT, shoulder to shoulder, arm in arm - so that we can see each other, so that we can hold each other up, with our backs to things that don't really matter and our gaze on those things that truly do matter: each other.

-tom