So what is the appeal of skateboarding?

Posted by Nick Niesen on October 29th, 2010

Skateboarding is currently enjoying yet another wave of popularity, after the skateboarding booms of the ?50s and ?80s. This time it is being led by charismatic skateboarders like Tony Hawk, widely considered the most famous skateboarder ever, and skate-parks have been built in many towns and cities especially to accommodate it.

So what is the appeal of skateboarding? It is primarily popular among teenage boys, but adults often fail to understand the reasons why. One big factor seems to be that it is a sport where not even the very best practitioners can do everything they want to, meaning that there is always room for improvement, and always room for someone else to be better than you.

To begin with, skateboarding was largely seen as something undesirable, like graffiti ? a form of anti-social behaviour ? primarily because so much skateboarding took place on the street, scaring pedestrians. Today, however, skateboarding has largely stopped being seen this way, and has instead been embraced by youth workers and others who deal with teens as a legitimate sport. Skating today has a subculture of its own, with punkish skater music and skater fashion, and it is easily one of the more popular subcultures, alongside goth and emo, dwarfing the popularity of the surf culture that it grew out of.

Modern skateboarding today is a rich sport, with a dazzling array of tricks: anyone who has played one of the Tony Hawk video games will no doubt have been confused by the huge array of odd-sounding trick names, but skaters try to practice and perfect each one individually, and each one can take months or even years to ?land? (pull off) for the first time. The nature of skateboarding is such that even once you have mastered all the existing tricks, you can try to take them further by turning another 180 degrees in the air, or even start to invent new tricks of your own.

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Nick Niesen

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Nick Niesen
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