#TRENDWATCH2022: What If The V*be Sh*ft Is That The Stairs Are All Banks Now?

Picking up the baton knocked over signpost from where we left it in 2020

In his 2013 Chromeball interview, Daewon Song observes the following:

“As an example, and I hate bringing up tricks I did because it sounds gross, but in 5-Incher, I do a kickflip manny combo where I fakie flip out over these stairs… but my intention was to use the stairs almost like a bank. But stairs are not a bank and there’s no surface there to go down…which is exactly why I wanted to do it. It’s still there. You can ride down stairs. Who didn’t tremor down a long set of stairs when they first started skating? It was so fun! Just like a machine gun! Not like a firecracker, but to actually ride down. Land your front wheels on them and ride down the stairs. It’s a different type of combination, but it was so exciting to make that. Just like being a kid again.”

Daewon has been understood as a north star for where skaters wind up long after he himself gets bored with the future. Skateboarders of today have in a sense caught up to the rock skating and tricks on trees most closely associated with that 5-Incher part; those are nature’s cellar doors at this point.

But this new frontier of taking Daewon’s spot guidance is only now beginning to crack the mainstream.

Anyone observing the videos released in the immediate aftermath of 2021 Skateboard Oscars Season™ will notice a surge of people beginning to huck themselves into sets of stairs — not over them, and certainly not firecracking them.

Samu via “The Karlsplatz Video

Ibu Sanyang via Inside Out

Ben K. via @supremenewyork

The stairs have effectively become banks.

Skateboarders spent the past several years diving into the watery abyss as things crumbled around them. Perhaps a pandemic, climate crisis, and impending war in Europe has left them seeking a harder plunge, because prior to a few months ago, the idea of kickflipping into a set of stairs seemed like the skateboard-equivalent of staring into the sun.

By the same token, anybody with internet access has been talking about the fucking “vibe shift” for the past week, arriving at the general consensus that “Well yeah, aesthetics are cyclical.”

Except skateboarding’s aesthetic cycles are eerily in sync with the banks we’re skating.

The article — take it for what you will — contends that there have been three major cycles leading up to this current “shift”: Hipster/Indie Music (ca. 2003–9), Post-Internet/Techno Revival (ca. 2010–16), Hypebeast/Woke (ca. 2016–20).

As a corollary, skateboarding’s bank phases mirror these yearly breakdowns.

In 2003-2009, skaters were scouring off-the-beaten-path crust in search of cellar doors in slim brown corduroys and flannels.

In 2010-2016, the “everything is a bank” era took form, when third-eye-open slappies became a formidable possibility on any vertical surface with an edge, and the highwater pants / Dylan Rieder fits ruled the land.

And in 2016-2020, shit got weird: people began to think of grass and dirt hills as banks, while workwear surged alongside an increased presence of people skating in very expensive shit.

The article that pissed everybody off [yet still got them talking] contends that 2022 onward would coincide with the return of “early-aughts indie sleaze.”

Whatever that means, skateboarders seem more into mullets? — and chucking their bodies into an obstacle that they had otherwise spent the entirety of skateboard history trying to clear.

Felipe Bartolomé via Inside Out

7 Comments

  1. Couldn’t agree more, with the exception that 2010-2013 had the Dylan fits, but that was the prime time work wear, specifically Dickies, era. Beauty and the Beast, Krooked ams inspired by Van, and every NYC guy unanimously agreed that Spitfires and Indy’s were “just classic,” and an 874 was everywhere you looked.

    While some dabbled in the ways of Dan Drehobl beforehand, I would say the denim era has been going on from around 2016 until present. You could kinda classify that as workwear, but I don’t know anyone “working” in some $120 jeans or searching eBay for upside-down-triangle-shaped-tapered-ass Levi’s.

  2. Watched Trust Fall recently, and Casper Booker seemed to enjoy hitting the stairs at that time.

    I’m into it. Appreciate that which is not skatepark footy.

    “Stair’s the Limit Let’s Get It!!” ??

  3. Totally forgot about Casper’s bump to bar ollie into the steps! Aaron has that 5050 into the second set in the We Blew It At Some Point vid too. There’s def precedents, but it seems like it ramped up a lot these past few months.

  4. I miss the days of Polo Sport, Guess Jeans, Girbaud and Nautica. Unable to afford these cloths as a kid, I would steal them from Carson Pirie Scott and Marshal Fields. If you paid for cloths like this for skating and didn’t steal them, it’s the equivalent of having a bunch of graffiti sketches and no flicks of actual bombs.

  5. True, Snackman! Casper was just on a particular tear with it at the time.. Did I miss an Aaron release or has he been laying low for awhile? He was everywhere for a minute. Really enjoy his skating.


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