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Sponsor Me, Um... No Thanks » Technology Loses to the Heart of Skateboarding

blank DVD disc

Not long ago skateboard companies were besieged by kids seeking sponsorship - OK, they still are. But times are changing, technology-wise. Fleeting is the gritty skateboard footage crudely recorded on a VHS tape. Today DVD is king and most computers allow the user to create movies and burn them to DVD with little or no experience. Thankfully skaters aren't changing - skateboarding is still about fun, not hi-tech home video.

When I see a sponsor-me video slickly edited on a DVD I have to wonder if more effort went into video production as opposed to actual skateboarding. Are companies duped by this? Would any skate company sponsor the kid on the shiny disc before considering the VHS kid? I hope not.

Skaters come in all shapes and sizes with different styles and motivations to match. Conformity doesn't exist in skate culture which tends to draw in the most creative and passionate riders out there. You can spot riding style and passion a mile away. Just as easily you'll spot a lot of fake-ass wannabe lurkers. Just because you cut and edited a slick disc full of skating doesn't mean anything... Skateboarding comes from the heart.

VHS cassette

Dichotomy of Skate Park Attendees

You'd expect to find the next "big pro" at a skate park. Maybe not at your skate park, but it's a logical place to train for that unlikely career. However, examining the attendees at any skatepark you'll find the same types of people showing up...

  • Numerous assholes with nothing better to do
  • Several sluts trolling for dates
  • A few girlfriends wishing they were at the mall
  • A couple of druggies
  • Several fruit-booters
  • One female skater and a few of her friends who fear being different
  • Random parents cheering and clapping
  • Random parents ignoring everything but the newspaper
  • One BMX kid wishing he had a skateboard
  • Some jerk on a Razor
  • A few old-schoolers riding wide decks
  • One kid filming with an ancient camcorder
  • Fifty kids who can't skate for crap
  • Five kids that know how to skate
  • A handful of kids with varying abilities that are stoked to be skating at all
  • One kid who totally kills the place
  • One rare sighting of a guy that some kid thinks is a pro, but no one inquires
    "Screw it. That ain't Tony Hawk"

When you see all the kooks that hang at skateparks it can be aggravating to realize how few of them are really "down for life" skaters. You can't buy it. You have to live it. And you can't fake it on a well edited sponsor-me DVD. the average day at any skate park isn't likely to reveal the next pro to blow up, but some of these kooks must to be the ones spamming skate companies with sponsor-me tapes (or discs), right?

Who's the Hero?

Not long ago I was at a skate park where the Habitat team was doing a demo in support of their upcoming Inhabitants video. The park was jammed with the afore mentioned (above) folks along with the team who was killing the place. Getz, Khalsa and Gall were amazing as was that one kid who routinely kills the place (and a few others). The remaining skaters all seemed to be pissed that they were missing tricks or annoyed that the park was jam packed.

But one kid stood out. He was happy - maybe 8 years old, pushing mongo with a look of absolute wonderment. He looked as if he'd just been dropped off at Disney World with a free pass and unlimited ice cream. But that was not the case. He was just skateboarding. It always amazes me to see someone so stoked on skateboarding.

The guy that's killing the place isn't always the one who sticks it out and makes skateboarding his life. So don't overlook the little grom with the big smile. He might be the next Skate of the Year who launched his career from a crappy sponsor me tape. Skateboarding takes heart not hype.

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