Japan is rife with vivid recreations of American culture. A pair of Levi’s from the 1940s, a burger spot from the 1950s, a jazz bar from the 1960s — each one’s history is studied in excruciating detail before the Japanese begin creating their own, oftentimes superior version of these quintessentially American things. It should come as no surprise that they are masters of another top-ten American invention: the kickflip.
American kickflips are for the mass market. Sure, there’s Reider up Fish Gap, Westgate over the bump-to-bar or Cyrus 1Oak over the garbage, but most of the time, they’re flipped and thrown in a pile. Our culture is in a constant state of making things faster, bigger, louder, though not necessarily better. First we had big flips, now we have bigger flips. Not better flips, they’re just bigger with more spins. We come from a place of deluxe editions and super sizes, so why not a hardflip revert late flip or a 900 shove-it? Mastering a classic is boring; let’s add a 270 to it.
We are failing to elevate Mr. Mullen’s seminal invention. It is stagnating in the country of its birth.