24 Hour Party People

Irrational exuberance

It’s not without a certain jealousy that I peruse the photos of Rob Dyrdek’s shoe release party and wonder just how long the skateboard industry (or, if you prefer, the action sports/energy drink/reality TV industry) can sustain this mode of operation – race cars, multiple TV crews, all the Monster energy drink one can stomach. Why not throw a party for the 30-somethingth shoe from a 30-something pro? Why not rent out a spot to premiere the new 411? (If memory serves, they were doing this at one point.) Meanwhile we’ll print up big ol’ hardbound magazines – er, books – and hand ’em out for free. And, go right ahead and build that $1.7 million ramp so Danny Way can jump the Great Wall of China.

Oh, I just wonder about all this stuff as retail sales drop through the floor and factories shut down and houses go into foreclosure. (Oil’s down to $60 per barrel though, so maybe they’ll do King of the Road next summer.) Certain of the skateboard internet sphere almost giddily predicts the next 1993 year in and year out, and while I don’t expect Tony Hawk to go back to living out of his Lexus anytime soon, you kind of wonder when the skateboard business as a whole is gonna have to take a step back.

I mean it wasn’t even two years ago that blank boards killed the industry – how are dudes supposed to make their Cadillac payments? Meanwhile kids are downloading videos off the Napster and now we’re in a recession. It’s almost noble, the way Dyrdek maintains a stiff upper lip while the ice swans in his Candyland bunker slowly lose shape.

For serious though, where does the money come from? And is it gonna keep coming? Zumiez and PacSun are bleeding cash. Rumors are a-float about layoffs at hard and softgood suppliers alike. Hopefully those crazy sneakerheads manage their trust funds wisely through this trying time in our nation’s economic history.

But if boards aren’t selling, videos aren’t selling, clothes and shoes are sitting on the shelves longer and, erm, I guess I’m not clued in on the movements of wheel markets… well you get the idea. Who’s gonna keep the free drinks flowing at the magazine/shoe collabo release parties? Is Panasonic Car Audio going to keep flying 300 of Sheckler’s tightest brahs from way back to Vegas for his sweet nineteenth? How many Red Bull hats does JR-Blastoff gotta wear every month to keep current on his Bentley lease?

Like with the government bailout or the Firm video, the questions don’t stop. Will the industry ever have to live with less? If it does, will that mean we have to wear giant pants again? Would the wise investor purchase stocks in a canvas wholesaler now, ahead of our return to 44″ waistlines? And is Wade D way ahead of everybody on this?

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4 Responses to “24 Hour Party People”

  1. Mike Says:

    The economic downturn really hit me where it counts when my rep-flow shoe hookup was downsized for the second time in one year; gone are the heady days of a pair a month, hell, gone are the heady (yet short-lived) days of a pair every other month-I”m quarterly now baby! And while I sound like a complete ingrate asshole, this is just a fun way of really stating the only place I’ve felt it; otherwise, I rent my place, own my beaten down car, and feel good about my job, as long as they don’t go online anytime soon.

    But, uh, yeah, is skateboarding too big to fail? And of course, not in the sense of the big three in Detroit, but just due to the fact that it’s bigger than ever. I’m saying yes, it is too big to fail. We might see some companies restructure (Listen?), some others fold (waiting…), and others, many, maintain, and some flourish. Sure? There’s been a downturn in sales (I say this with absolutely no backup, but come on), but there’s no need to write an obituary. If anything, there’s never been a better time to bring your old gear to the park and slang it. The biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression means no more free hand-me-downs for Lil’ Johnny, at least from me.

  2. Rocuronium Says:

    I wonder if skateboarding hardgoods will be less affected than other more frivolous consumer goods such as new video game platforms, car stereo/ipod/iphone gadgetry, flatscreens, etc… since, dollar for dollar, the entertainment and lifestyle they supply is such a great value. Families will have to skip their snowboarding vacations, gadget upgrades, and seasonal pimpin wardrobe makeovers, but I think that, if anything, this will allow the kids to spend more time skateboarding. As to the softgoods, it’s about time the prices come down on that shit anyway. A plaid shirt should never cost $50. A pair of jeans over $40 is seriously an idiot detector.
    I want my core shop to prosper, but I’ve been forced to buy all my softgoods elsewhere for so long it’s sad.

  3. carbonite Says:

    I gotta tell ya, I have developed a semi-addiction to Monster energy drinks, only because they don’t sell Redline in my neck of the woods. Hopefully I won’t start mysteriously snapping my fingers or turning clockwise for no reason…

  4. Rudy Says:

    Monster drinks do taste pretty good- at least you don’t have a Monster New Era hat glued to your head.

    I see kids at the skatepark with the Sheckler/Dyrdek style Red Bull and Monster hats- where the hell do you buy such things? I’ve sure as hell never seen them in a skateshop.

    No matter what happens with the industry shake-up; at least we can always depend on Girl and DLX to be around.

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