Growing up in the VHS Golden Era VS Social Media Era...
Just wanted to say THANK YOU skateboarding for the last 20 years. We have been through some ups and downs... but I would not be the person I am today without you!
Today, It's a whole new gen and skateboarding has grown immensely... While we used to wait monthly for mags or VHS tapes, the hype, the excitement, the froth was forever slowly building. Today, with the assistance of social media and smart devices the slow build is now instantaneous. As quick as it is seen it is forgotten. Lost in an endless matrix, that requires you to keep double tapping and scrolling.
As a very nostalgic, lover of what skateboarding once was it's hard too see it change and become so over saturated, but skateboarding has also taught me that it will forever be evolving and we must relax and enjoy the ride while still passing on the knowledge of skateboardings grass roots.
It all started for me at 12 years old when I realised that I didn't want to be a soccer kid anymore. I wanted to ollie and wax gutters like that kid in the carpark. ‘That kid’ was the bad kid but they were always having fun. While parents said it was “too dangerous” and “your going to break something”, but persistence finally had paid off and after several months of lay buying it was finally mine. I remember Mum telling me to "wait till you get home" but my brother Scott and I could not resist the urge. From the first moment of early throwing down the deck the religious before school and after school skates had begun. At the age of 14-15 we were full blown addicts. We were obsessed with skateboarding in every way. We collected every magazine possible Slam, Australian Skateboarding Mag, Transworld, Thrasher, Big Brother, you name it we had it. Car trips to family events we would furiously read them front to back and stare at the images dreaming of doing these sick tricks in these dope clothes, and how the fuck I was going to learn that trick and how I could plan to steal my Dads baggy jeans for the Sydney mission planned that weekend. I remember learning so many valuable things in those magazines that thought me not only about skateboarding but how to be free and respect the person you choose to be. I was extremely into Aussie brands. Slam Magazine, ASM and photographers like Dave Adair, Mike O Meally and Mapstone were putting out so much stuff & then even closer to home we had Primary, Dwarf ( Buddy & Billy Board was the all time shit!, and Justin Wong hucked!! ), Juice Clothing, Amnesia, Time, Censored, and then later on XEN. These brands made the sickest videos out. This is when I really knew there was no escaping my love for skateboarding. These brands are what begun my love for local skateboarding and skateboarders & being proud to be skateboarding in Australia. Skateboarding media taught me more about being me than school ever did. Skateboarding is one of those rare things in life that truly lets you be who you want to be and gives you a platform to express yourself on anything in front of you, in any part of the world. Like some sort of sign language of the feet.
My dad owned a confectionary business, complete with a truck full of sugar coated nuts and hard candies that he would deliver to stores around Sydney. My brother and I took advantage of that and used to hop in and whilst Dad delivered his orders. Dad knew the stores with skateparks near them, so Scott and I would tag along and skate the parks whilst he worked. I will always be grateful of these days. We visited Manly Skateboards , Optimum Skateshop and 99 degrees on the regular and asking for stickers and dreaming of owning the decks mounted upon the wall. At the time, I was ready to get my skate rat hands all up on anything Blind boards, A Team boards, World Industries , Alien Workshop stuff was so fuckin sick too oh man. Too much good stuff to mention.
I loved the cartoons... the violence, gore, grit and against the grain, satanic imagery that was everywhere at the time... I still do. Skate shops were the only place where we could get skate and online wasn't a thing. The wait was always worth it and that froth was what me and my brother were always hyped on...
411vm magazine was a massive part of my life. It was my bible. I watched them repetitively and sourced inspiration to do tricks from certain issues all the time. I learnt FS noseslides from watching Danny Montoya and furthermore Nollie FS noseslides for example, which are his his classics. So many nights we had friends staying over getting ampt for the next day skate watching video after video eating cheese n tomato sauce muffins laughing and being kids having something amazing like skateboarding to share is what helped make those friendships so memorable and special.
The actual first issue I got of 411 was issue 23 which I remember the CHAOS section started with Brian Emmers doing a Kickflip over a curb to curb bump. This is still the best kickflip I ever have seen. It is hard to explain in words how certain things happen in skateboarding and the way you relate to them gets you so psyched... Its like when Jeremy Wray ollie the Tank to Tank gap. I feel like every 411 we would get it was like a crazy panic to get home and see what the next person was going to do to step it up.. It was truly a crazy time of suspense and excitement and knowing once the video was done you were going to hit the streets so much harder than the day before... Issue 23 was pretty special too because it featured a Rodney Mullen profile. The introduction to some of the most un-imaginable skateboarding ever done, and a glimpse into another part of skateboardings history...
I was an avid collector until it's format changed and theme music changed when it headed down the dvd path. That was a big thumbs down from me, it was still sick but not the same... That was the greatest intro music it made skateboarders everywhere want to huck themselves off something new and something beyond their expectations.
The future is here and accessibility to seeing skateboarding is limitless and at the palms of your hands.
That old feeling is still there though, its in the hype and culture of skateboarding, the history that seeps through the generations and the respect that is paid to the cultures founding fathers over the year when new releases appear. History in skateboarding is so important and it helps skaters understand how they can grow and learn more than the skaters before them. Social media sped this up. Progression is through the roof and its amazing and inspiring to see everyday.
But I still can't help it. The memories are too embedded. I love the VHS days more I think. So as tribute the LAATE store will play old VHS all day and classic skate parts from VHS memories will be on our blog once a week.
VHS Fridays I'm thinking.....