Skateboarders like to think they are cool. I mean, we created Thrasher, Palace, Supreme, Vans and whatever other trendy brand the kids are wearing. Of course we’re cool, right?
Well guess what? We’re a bunch of massive nerds. Just gigantic, silly nerds obsessed with every facet of information we can gather about a wooden toy with wheels. People would probably think I’m saying this as an insult, but in all honesty I have always felt it’s a positive thing. We’re all incredibly dedicated to the history and fabled events of a fun activity – I couldn’t tell you much about world history but I can tell you a shit load of stuff about skateboarding history.
I would probably make favourable comparisons to other communities that rallied around video games or comic books. Irreverent, encyclopaedic knowledge has long been a trait of those who play games or read comics, and again were long considered the preserve of weird, obsessive outcasts (let’s not kid ourselves, this is a pretty apt description for skateboarders). In many ways this has created some negativity and overbearingly protective behaviour in all of these communities, but I like to believe the positives outweigh the negatives.
The positives, as evidenced time and time again on this blog – creates a world view of passion, care and family, where we are growing increasingly diverse and inclusive. The obsession breeds a feeling that skateboarding is the best thing on the planet, so in turn we want more people to be involved.
On a basic level, I think this brings different tastes and preferences together in a way that is quite harmonious. On this blog alone – One week there’s a Top 5 of technical flip tricks, the next we’re discussing the history of the No Comply, and then after that our favourite transitions, older generations who shaped us, and so on. This all stems from our knowledge of what came before, and realising our similarities outweigh our differences.
The inherent nerdy nature of skateboarding opens us up to cross pollinating our community with other ideas and interests that we have a similarly fervent passion for – whether it’s gardening, screen printing, playing the Saxophone or even pole dancing. In some cases it also allows us to be persistent and tackle serious issues such as mental health and climate change with the same drive and passion that we use in our skateboarding. The fact we have long been outcasts with a creative streak has allowed us to fly our nerd flag high and not constrain ourselves. I really think skateboarding allows us to live our best life at times, and without an eager willingness to learn and absorb gallons of information some might deem useless, we wouldn’t be who we are.
To reel things back into the subject of this blog, the encyclopaedic knowledge of this pastime we all love stems from the reasons I mentioned above. We all love skateboarding, we are obsessed with it. It has a drug like hold on us. When something like that worms it’s way into your brain, it’s all you think about. Even 20 years since I first started skating, it’s basically one of the main things I think about – it’s the reason I evolved this blog to include more discussion and articles about skateboarding. This hold doesn’t affect everyone, but for a certain group of people, skateboarding, and the freedom and creativity it provides, drives them in their everyday life.
I guess the point of all of this is to remind everyone to be unashamed of their ridiculously deep knowledge of skateboarding. Embrace the random trivia and little nuggets of information you retain whilst reading Thrasher or scrolling through Instagram. Be proud of our nerdiness, and be proud you aren’t just like everyone else. Being a massive nerd can be an incredibly useful skill in life, and no doubt you will find yourself using the same skills you utilise to absorb information about the tricks in Franky Villani’s Encore part to absorb more information about your passions outside of skateboarding. Skateboarding is a wonderful thing and it brings all kinds of people into it’s realm.
At this juncture, I have to be completely honest. This is all just a big, hard sell for a new feature. The reason I am making such a big deal about trivia, information, history and talking up the benefits of the “Skate nerd”, is because tomorrow there is a new feature coming to the blog that requires all of the skills of the ultimate skate nerd.
“Pop Quiz Hotshot” is an ultimate trivia challenge designed to test skateboarders on the most random and completely ridiculous trivia our pastime can throw up. The idea came from realising I have a stupidly silly good memory for random skateboarding knowledge, and quite frankly I just wanted to know I wasn’t alone in that. I thought it was worth celebrating the history of skateboarding, embracing our innate desire for information, and doing something fun with all of that.
Our first contestant is Alfie Morrey. Come back tomorrow to see how he does…