Comment Section: Downhill Skateboarding Is Very Much Alive and Hiding Out In The Mountains
This post by Max Dubler
Browsing social media over the last few months, I have noticed a dispiriting trend of people referring to downhill skateboarding as “dead” and blaming various people and forces for “killing downhill.” This is misguided.
Back when I started skating downhill, the scene was very very small, the gear was kinda shitty and hard to come by, videos came out infrequently, and we had to walk to every slide jam uphill in the snow.
In the ten years since then, I have seen an explosion of technological innovation that has made skating downhill easier, safer, cheaper, and more fun than ever. There are now dozens of excellent skateboard events every year. Strong scenes all over the world are pumping out rad videos on a daily basis. There are many many more skaters: I don’t have to be friends with everyone I know who owns slide gloves.
Yes, the business side has taken a hit over the past few years as teenagers all over the world have realized that they do not need $600 racing skateboards to get to school. As a result, many of us in The Industry are finding it harder to make a living hanging out with our friends and skateboarding all day. It’s more difficult to get sponsored than it was a few years ago, and harder still to get a paying sponsorship. That said, very few people will ever get free skate gear and the fact that industry assholes like me make less money than we used to has no impact on 99% of the people who skate.
Let’s all get some perspective on the whole “downhill is dead” thing:
If downhill skateboarding were truly “dead,” it would be impossible to find quality gear. This is not the case: the gear is better, cheaper, and more widely available than ever. While I mourn the loss of small boutique board builders, all the major companies that invested in the creation of innovative new technologies that make skateboarding easier and more fun are still around and putting out exciting new products, while the opportunists who simply wanted to make a buck are gone. (Seriously, as someone who learned how to predrift on Gumballs, you guys don’t know how good you have it.)
If downhill skateboarding were truly “dead,” there would be very few events due to a lack of interest and entry fees. This is not the case: almost all of the good events are still around and better than ever, sick new ones are popping up, and the crappy ones are gone. Next year’s event calendar is rad.
If downhill skateboarding were truly “dead,” it would be difficult to find people to go skate with. This is not the case: there are strong downhill scenes all over the world, from Tenerife to Tennessee. Creative, talented people in those scenes are pumping out awesome photos and videos on a daily basis and that media is finding an enthusiastic audience on social media.
Assuming you aren’t in the sponsored skater media-industrial complex, there has never been a better time to skate down hills. Rad shit is out there. Go get some.