Why Skate Shop Day?
I don't know about you, but I owe a lot to skateboarding. A skateboard was a level up from riding down the hill on an Action Man tank as a young boy and, as a young man, it enabled me to discover what it meant to learn. It taught me how to master something challenging but rewarding. I learned about respect both for others and for the skill itself. Skating is hard to crack, completely effortless when it goes right, and as painful as it gets when it goes wrong. As a formative experience, skating helped me make sense of the world. I found a like-minded group of people whose main aim was to push as fast and as far as they could. I realised that real skaters cared little for skill level and more for their dedication and commitment to achieving these abstract manoeuvres. Having this as a backup has always filled me with a certain confidence. I have discussed it with many people, and most are hard-pressed to find any activity/artform/sport with the same framework/culture as skating. Skating teaches many more life skills than just how to fall and jump over stuff. It's a melting pot of ideas, perspectives, approaches. Our progress is rooted in our collective failures & successes, all mashed together and happening at speed. I have skated with everyone from 75 yr old punkers to 5yr old rippers and, more often than not, simultaneously.
I've traveled the world and, at every point, have been met with open arms. I've never struggled for a floor to sleep on or a guide to new spots, and in each town or city, I have looked to first find the skate shop and, failing that, the skate park. The skate shop is where you will always get a gauge for the scene in any town. It's where the skaters go to meet and hang out. It's the community hub come meeting spot. Like record shops, they can be intimidating and perhaps seem a little unapproachable but given time and a little pushing, I am yet to find a skate shop that wasn't there for the love of skating—usually run by skaters that have been through it. They know what skating means. It's an unspoken appreciation of the process and an intrinsic connection to the scene.
Skate shops provide that space where it's okay to get excited about a curb, discuss the finer points of a piece of wood, reminisce about trips gone by, or have a heated debate about which skater has the best approach. Skate shops are always keeping an eye out for the next ripper, more often than not providing that connection between the industry and the youthful coal face. The skate store has supported most skaters who have come up at one time or another—hooking them up with either physical product or with encouragement and advice. As a center for community skate shops, enable and encourage, regulate and reassure. The skate shop isn't just about a monetary transaction. It's a cultural exchange. One that allows all comers to get involved. There is fun in that curb cut, things to learn from that step, people to meet, opinions to be shared, architecture to re-appropriate, films to be made, pictures to be taken, all while pushing at pace through the cities or towns of our ever growing world. The skate shop is at the heart of a community and should be cherished. It's IRL in the most fundamental sense. High Definition living.
It made me who I am today, and I couldn't wish for a better foundation to take me on into the world.
Support your local skate shop, and they will support you. The Skate Society Lewes is your local skate shop. Please pay us a visit x