Summer Reading Round-Up: Skateboarding and __________

Words & Images by Adam Abada

“Shut up and skate!” That is a refrain I have seen written and analyzed more than actually spoken or practiced, but its dumb ethos echoes through so much of that which is considered “real” skating.

With the mindset of getting into the “summer vibe” (or something like that), I recently watched Dogtown & Z-Boys. Sean Penn’s bitter post-Spicoli narration about the [then] worst drought in California history doesn’t specifically say “shut up and skate,” but it lays claim to the temperament that it comes from. The film made me think about skateboarding’s connection to the world: the weather, school, roads, family, class, economics, substance use, housing. The film claims modern skating was born out of a drought.

Like everything else, when we skate, we bring the outside world to it. I do want to skate, but I don’t want to shut up about it! These three authors’ — all of whom skate — books, ideas, and studies help show that we can bring whatever we please to skateboarding to make it something that pleases us.

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Five Favorite Parts With Maité Steenhoudt

Intro & Interview by Fraser Doughty
Collage by Requiem For A Screen
Skate Photos by Guillaume Perimony
Illustration (via Board Graphic) by Nathaniel Russell

Fluid dancer, chess grandmaster and newly pro Maité didn’t sit on a fence when choosing this list of parts. The word “thematic” comes to mind, and so does “Huh, really?” Like the Antwerpian’s trick selection, expect the unexpected.

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Introducing…The Quartersnacks One-Spot Part Map

A week away from the first Olympics to feature skateboarding, you will no-doubt see mainstream publications taking a “global” lens through which to view the Games’ new inclusion. To anyone who actually skateboards …it’s like, “yeah, no shit.”

But it’s not because we are all aware of some nebulous concept of who the “best” skater from Brazil, Sweden or Japan is. Given the sprawling worldwide growth of skateboarding that has accelerated alongside the internet, we can now know who the “best” skater of a literal acre or two of city land in some Scandinavian country is. We know the architectural intricacies of completely arbitrary train stations across the globe. Give me a Pantone book, and I’ll show you the color scheme of Tennessee’s capital building because of one guy’s skate footage. Have I been to Tennessee? No, not yet!

A one-spot part is a way to deify one’s name alongside a place, but not in a championship or gold medal sense. It is more Kobe’s 61 points at MSG than it is a title. It is a story. Better yet, it’s mythology: “So-and-so only filmed at this city block for a year and figured out ten new ways to skate it.”

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A Tribute To The Endurance of Those Who Skate The Medians

We all know the ancient proverb: “One man’s infrastructural banality is another man’s tailslide.”

But for all the details of cities that skateboarders pay a perverse amount of attention to — the positioning of cracks before stairs, the shapes of curbs, literal fucking trashcans — our ability to isolate a select few traffic medians as desirable places to hang out at is an under-appreciated tidbit of our lunacy.

To the average person, a median divides two opposing directions of traffic. Unless someone is an engineer, there is absolutely no reason to spend any of their precious time on earth thinking about one. To a skateboarder though… it’s not a ledge, it’s not a curb — it’s a ledge on TOP of a curb.

Given our struggles of just being left alone at a decent-enough ledge, some of our more able-bodied colleagues sought refuge in the soothing serenity of New York City traffic. And like many parables of post-Financial Crisis skateboarding, this one begins with Jake Johnson.

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Five Favorite Parts With Jahmir Brown

Interview by Farran Golding
Collage by Requiem For A Screen
Portrait by Juliet Evangelista
Skate Photo by Mike Heikkila

All roads lead back to Love Park in the latest installment of Five Favorite Parts (plus a stopover in London), with a reminder that skateboarders and their tricks are often at their most magic when they work to tell a vivid story of a specific place, in a specific moment in time ♥

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