Across the epoch of time, asteroids have associated themselves with the evolutionary process. A rogue meteor struck down the age of the dinosaurs, which ruled the planet and amassed wealth for several years. Later, space rocks struck the Earth’s moon, producing a pockmarked appearance that has come to be accepted as the common image of the moon. In recent weeks three other asteroids harried our planet, with not a little excitement and millions of rubles’ worth of property damage. As our planetary hair was ruffled, quietly the skateboard industry found itself shedding some of yesteryear’s trappings and business motifs. Coincidence? Possibly, but in this daring age we bear in mind the timeworn slogan, “in space there are no coincidences.” It is important to note that the earth travels in space.
Growths in new technology are forcing a painful and sometimes messy transition upon the business. Unicron.net, which had touted itself as the ultimate skateboard DVD source, now lists 22 videos in a search for ‘all products’. Time was, if you hankered after an esoteric or hard-to-find foreign-produced video, and your shop could not accommodate, Mikendo was a source. ‘Pretty Sweet’s’ rise to the top of the Itunes charts, sign o’ the times though it may be, has not obliterated the digital video disc, as the Quartersnacks dudes officiated. However, BigCartel and Etsy have enabled video authors to rub out the middleman and distribute physical movies directly to those who would continue to fill DVD trays, and Youtube bootlegs serve others.
Whilst magazines still argue for a role as gatekeepers of, and longer-lasting billboards for, top-drawer photos and interviews, the daily grind of content cycling a-churn on the internet washingmachine alongside general economic malaise has built pressure upon paper-pushers everywhere, and already twice-resurrected Skateboarder mag in particular. The “GrindMedia” title last month divulged that it would zestily evolve away from the traditional send-you-a-mag-each month format, instead selling some issues in stores and focusing on their website. Now also going “digital only” is onetime California Cheap Skates, CCS, planning to shutter brick-n-mortar locations in favor of glossy mailers and powerful email listservs. A further impairment charge to corporate parent Foot Locker is anticipated in relation to the closures, according to media accounts.
Technology really seems here to stay. But what products and services are the next to become supplanted?
Helmets and pads: Safety gear has long resided at the bottom of the priority-buying list for tween consumers transfixed by graphical decks, D3 sneakers and (lately) weed-leaf socks, while simultaneously battling against the perception that pads and whatnot are the exclusive domain of “wimps” and the related offshoot segment “wussies.” Now, the padless deep-pool and vert work of Ben Hatchell, Grant Taylor, Elijah Berle and Jaws may for the coming generation obviate pads and helmets altogether, because, when everybody’s good enough to do every trick, there is no point in falling and getting hurt.
Bushings: Deep wobblers including Daewon Song and Matt Rodriguez have established the widely thought about fact that bushings are at best an impediment to fully turning trucks, to be microwaved, squished and generally derided. If Daewon can switch nose manual a curvy block with his kingpin nut barely hanging on, why bog down a board with additional plastic weight? This development will raise new questions around whether kingpin nuts are necessary whatsoever.
Skateshop employees: CCS’s bold move to revert to its mail-order roots, framed by Amazon.com’s development of ‘pickup lockers,’ poses sticky queries for would-be skateshop careerists. May we be encountering a robot-commanded future in which the vast selection offered by the CCSs of the world shall be deployed to secure locations for pickup, or even the immediate, automated dispensal of everyday staples such as decks and shoelaces and weed-leaf socks? Would such technology relegate former skate shop workers to offering grip-jobs around back for loose change? Would dispensers become clogged with lengthy lines of pre-tweens counting out sticky pennies to purchase the 2035 analog of a Flameboy sticker? Will all future discussions of JP Jadeed video sections henceforth be relegated to the internet under the new regime? Has this already come to pass?