WORDS Pete Eubank ART Kris Haro
What motivates you to ride your skateboard? Personally, I’ve always tried to emulate the Soul Surfer—an approach to skating which follows a passion for the ride itself, cherishes the process of learning new things, and engages in the never-ending quest for that “perfect ride”. These days, it seems as if many in the scene are increasingly assigning praise and worth to those who promote the most, rather than those who skate with the most style, skill, or fluidity. How many of you know an underrated rider who follows their spirit-animal-of-shred and could care less if they have X amount of Instagram followers or video views? I know quite a few.
In our fast-paced, multi-media powered world skating has become something that happens in front of a lens most of the time. Sponsorship, opportunities, and the dream of professional skateboarding has become a promotion game in which there is a constant flow of bangin’ Instagram photos, hot new video edits, and top-riders farming more Likes than a tractor does kernels on a cornfield.
I can’t help but wonder if this maximization of “consumer engagement” is leading to the extinction of the Soul Surfer. It seems as if the passionate and dialed skaters are being replaced with something quite different . . . Raw Soul Surfer types may get flowed from core or local companies, but since they do not market themselves, or are not deemed marketable, they are overlooked ,and at times it’s as if they don’t even exist. All the while, the self-promoter types, although never coming close to the style and creativity a soul surfer can achieve; nonetheless, they are inescapably visible everywhere ya look.
So what is the answer? My prediction is that soon you will be seeing more and more skaters removing themselves from the spot light—and although it may be opportunity suicide—this will become increasingly popular as skaters grow bored of seeing the same manufactured hype beasts clogging the feed. No matter what happens, my goal is to never lose the flame for skating that burns brightly within me, and I suggest you all do the same. Regardless of what the media-machine churns out, keep an open-mind to new experiences; apply your creativity to your riding style, and your energy to growing your local community/scene. Lately, I’ve been trying to take aspects of other activities and plug them into my skating. For instance, I’ve been working on incorporating aerials of gymnastics, the fluid lines of surfing itself, and the powerful confidence of motorsports into my skate game. Basically, the mega-hype-3000 machine is here to stay. That said and as skaters, we have the choice of when, where, and for how long we plug into this machine. As a tenant of a raw and passionate approach to skateboarding, I ask that next time you hit the hill, local spot, or skatepark that ya try turning off your phone or DSLR and turning on the imagination of your inner Soul Surfer. Yeehaw!