From humble beginnings through to the modern day multi-million dollar industry it has become, skateboarding has been dragged from its outsider roots into the mainstream world. While the grizzled 80s skate veterans are up in arms that you can now buy a skateboard from nearly every mall or high street in nearly every town from London to NYC, the fact of the matter is the skateboarding community has snowballed from counter-culture activity into a sport that appeals just as much to the underground as it does to the average kid on the street. Now you’re just as likely to see a skater sneaking into a local school as you are live on ESPN. With so many different strains of the skate family tree, it’s hard to keep track of all the different tribes out there, and that’s where So You Think You’re a Skateboarder comes in. 45 examples from the contemporary skate scene are examined in an attempt to unravel what makes skaters tick. Skaters include the Prodigy, spending every Sunday at the local park being forced to skate by his pushy parent. Or the ‘friendly’ Local, who’s been determinedly skating the same spot for the last 10 years and will be damned if he’s going to share it with any newcomers. The Wannabe Gangster spends as much time trying to nail bigspins as he does trying to emulate Biggie, and the Piss Drunk has spent the last four hours eyeballing shots of tequila and is about to attempt to boardslide the next handrail he can find.
Alex Irvine is a writer, editor, photographer and life-long skateboarder. He is the former editor of Kingpin skateboard magazine and now runs ABD Agency, a company dealing specifically with promoting skating and other action sports. He also manages the Witchcraft Skateboards team. The author is based in London.