All the World’s a Skate Park
Skateboarding is a unique sport, not just for its diversity and impact on the American culture. This sport is inextricably tied to the community. In a recent video for Vox, skate legend Tony Hawk discussed the literal landscape of skateboarding.
Vox’s Estelle Caswell and Christophe Haubursin introduce the world to some familiar and not-so-familiar locations.
They also delve into gaps and spins that may just hit you in that nostalgic pleasure center in your brain, even if you’ve never set foot on a board.
The video utilizes archive footage as well as interviews with Hawk and “Skateboarding and the City” author, Iain Borden, to take viewers back in time and around the world.
From a hidden and relatively restricted pipe in the San Gabriel Mountains to a drainage ditch in Hawaii, skateboarding has evolved largely thanks to a rediscovering of the otherwise mundane-looking infrastructure of local communities.
Hidden in plain sight are stairs and gaps that became not only beloved but hallowed locations that are now legendary in the community.
One such skateboarder highlighted in the video is 51-year-old Natas Kaupas, whose Natas spin was featured in the video game “Tony Hawk’s Underground 2.”
Leaping onto a fire hydrant and spinning was a revolutionary decision, and its success had an immediate impact on those skaters who saw it in the 1987 film “Wheels of Fire.”
“All of that footage of Natas in that video was groundbreaking,” Hawk tells Vox. “People thought, wow, you can skate curbs like that? You can skate benches, you can skate fire hydrants, like the whole world is a skate park now.”
Constraints of what the sport should be or where it could be enjoyed were shattered and the pieces have been gloriously spread across the globe.
“Skateboarders, I think, are a constant reminder that our cities can be creative and rich places,” author Borden tells Vox.
As another iteration of a Tony Hawk video game prepares to come out, it’s important to remember the history and evolution of a sport that is audacious enough to incorporate every last piece of the community and often times do so with great reverence.
Skateboarders for decades have been seen by many as a blight on the community. Taking a look at how passionate they are about these locations might change the discourse on the sport’s effect on those rails and steps that are largely taken for granted by the non-skating community.