Lately there has been a fair amount of talk about local skate videos within the Illinois and Wisconsin skateboarding communities (especially on the skate websites pertaining to these regions). Some recent videos from the Chicago suburbs are being treated as if they were extremely important, when in reality they are just regurgitating things that are severely wrong with skateboarding. Unfortunately, these videos get into the hands of local kids and influence them dramatically. On an almost daily basis I overhear random kids talking about their upcoming skate videos in which they plan to emulate the recent local videos, and it is becoming overwhelmingly annoying. The Robust Carn would like to examine this subject more closely, as I feel such an exercise will not only provide a valid statement about this subject specifically, but also of the current state of skateboarding in general.
It is always painful to watch someone who just skates in a straight line and performs a standard pattern of tricks like a trained circus animal. Many times when I watch a local video, it is too easy to predict what is going to happen just by looking at the spot. Similar to the experience of watching an animal jump through a hoop: the viewer understands the function of the hoop and what the animal is going to do with it, as does the animal, and both parties (if experienced) end up only moderately satisfied upon completion of the task, mostly due to the comfort of a banal, logical conclusion.
The skaters in these local videos are using each object as if they were following some strict set of rules. People in the skateboarding world have been creative enough to find alternative uses for ordinary objects such as stairs (rails, ledges, etc), but the acceptance of the standard skate objects (and tricks that compliment them) has become so widespread and unquestioned that they in turn have become as predictable and boring as just walking down a set of stairs.
There is a moment in (not entirely sure) Ryan Gallant’s part in the DC video in which he is cruising through a spot scattered with ledges, and in the middle of his run he just unexpectedly bumps a nollie off of a crack on the ground. Moments like this are more exciting than any trick that most kids will ever perform in a video part, because they look spontaneous and natural, and not as if they came off of a list of desired tricks written out months beforehand.
For more information on this subject go watch video parts by people like John Rattray or Mark Gonzales. Watch and learn, but do not watch and copy. When someone makes an exact copy of a VHS tape it is of a lesser quality than the original (and it only gets worse if it is a copy of a copy, and so on), and this same property can be applied to skateboarding. Instead of watching parts by boring hometown hero robots, go out and ride around and decide what you are going to do on your board as things are coming to you. In doing so you’ll be a better skateboarder than most.