Skating has been in the public eye for decades now. It originally was extremely counter-culture in the eighties, nineties, and even early two-thousands. However, that has changed in the last decade or so.
Skateboarding has become popular culture. Skateboarding has a presence in videogames, fashion, and music. Most young boys will try skateboarding at some point. Skateboarding is an Olympic sport and most major cities have government funded skateparks.
It wasn’t always this way, but things have changed. With the pandemic in 2020, skateboarding has had another boon. It seems that skateboarding has entered popular culture and is here to stay.
Is Skateboarding Popular Culture?
Skateboarding has evolved from its counter-culture roots to being popular culture today. Today it is enjoyed by people from all different backgrounds and ages. You will find adults picking it up for the first time. You will see more women and girls skating than ever before. 16.6% of all skateboarders are female.
Tony Hawk alone has done an incredible amount to propel skateboarding into popular culture. He pioneered a series of videogames that have led to the series of popular and increasing realistic skating games we see out there today.
Skateboarding has influenced youth and street fashion immensely. Major companies such as Adidas, Nike, and Supreme market skateboard influenced fashion from shoes to outwear. The skate shoe style has become fashionable to wear even for people who don’t skateboard.
Skateboarding will be introduced into the Olympics in 2021 in Japan unless the COVID-19 pandemic stops the event. It has also been approved initially for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
You can find adult and children’s skateboarding classes in every major city. The internet is choke full of friendly tutorials on how to master even the most advanced tricks.
It is safe to say that skateboarding is ingrained into popular culture.
If you want to know if girls can skateboard check out our guide here.
How are Skateboarders Perceived?
Skateboarders used to be viewed as social outcasts and rebels. They were often chased away by police and security guards. They were just dirty misfits who dressed sloppy and were on the fringe of society.
Skateboarders still retain some of that social misfit and rebel image from its past. Due to the dangers and inherent risk in the sport, skateboarders still are viewed as reckless and risk-takers. However, you will find more and more skaters who do not fit this stereotype. The public perception seems to be slowly changing as skateboarding becomes more popular.
Nowadays the partying crazy skateboarder stereotype is fading away. You still find wild and reckless skaters who push their boundaries in dangerous ways. However, skating culture is becoming so ingrained in popular culture that it’s quickly giving away.
Dangerous tricks and lines will always be part of skateboarding and especially for professionals, but most normal skaters aren’t doing tricks off of 10-stairs.
The stereotype that is not going away is the perception of skaters as people who live alternative lifestyles and as creatives. This perception is feed by the reality that skaters are often also artistic. Popular artists such as Tyler the Creator, Lil Wayne, and even Justin Bieber are known to skateboard.
Why is Skateboarding So Popular?
Skateboarding is popular for many reasons that it’s hard to answer this concisely.
Skateboarding is popular because skateboarding is fun to do, offers an escape from everyday life, and is a creative outlet. Skateboarding is truly a unique mix of a creative and an active hobby. As skateboarding information and products become more readily available, more and more people are trying skateboarding for the first time.
There are more than one reason why skateboarding’s popularity is increasing so let’s try to break it down a little bit.
Skateboarders tend to be creative people for a reason.
Skateboarding has creative aspects that allow skaters to express themselves. There’s something about skating unique spots or making unique lines that gives personality to your skating. Your style is never quite the same as another skater and the best skate videos can be a snapshot of a microculture.
Who are you and who are your friends? What lines and spots do you hit? How do you unwind and have fun? Skateboarding helps us create a bubble in our lives where we truly control the culture and style. It helps us express who we are and how we want to live.
This feeling is special and it isn’t lost on the people who try skateboarding. Most of us are seeking that feeling of freedom and creativity in our lives. Skateboarding is that creative outlet for people.
Fun and Exciting
There’s something uniquely satisfying and freeing about cruising through the city on a cool summer evening. You feel like you can go anywhere and maybe even do anything.
There’s something satisfying about finally nailing a trick that you’ve been working to get for a week and a half. Especially when you share that little victory with friends at the skatepark.
Skateboarding is just fun and exciting. There are challenges for people of any skill level and virtually infinite places you can skate. You can skate alone or with others and still have a great time.
The feelings on wheels on pavement and the air rushing past you is something that I hope everyone can experience. Because when you do, you understand that this is something special. This is why skateboarding is so popular. It’s so fun and exciting. It offers so much as a hobby in terms of pure enjoyment.
Low Cost of Entry
A skateboard deck costs around $80-$150 for a complete. Skating shoes might go for around $60-$80.
What else do you need to get started?
Well, maybe a helmet and pads. But depending on the type of skating you do, these might not be necessary.
Plus, you can skate anywhere. Most skateparks don’t have any cost of entry and very accessible. The cost of entry into skateboarding is ridiculously low. You can even lower these initial costs by buying a used board or getting used shoes to start with.
If something is cheap and easy to start, then more people will start. It’s a lot easier to spend $200 to get started in a hobby than drop $800+ to start dirt biking or windsurfing.
While many people do end up trying skateboarding and stopping, so many people can try it because of the low price tag.
A study published by Nova Science investigated the social benefits of skating. The study found that skating help create and grow friendships, gain status among peers, and get an opportunity to interact with more people.
This is a bit technical to say what we already know. Skating and struggling to work on a trick brings people together. Misfits could always turn to skating to find family and belonging.
It’s nice to see a scientific study confirm that fact, but this is an already appreciated aspect of the community. There are plenty of older skaters who get together for skate sessions that end up being more talking than skating. Their bodies are old, but they still enjoy the social bonds created from skating.
I have made some great friends from skating and I regularly talk to and meet new people whenever I go to the skate park. We’re social creatures and we need community in our lives.
The 2020 pandemic has disrupted life across the world and in 2021 life is still not normal in most countries.
Outdoor activities spiked in the United States as a result of the pandemic. During COVID restrictions indoor gatherings were mostly limited and people turned to the outdoors. Sales of all outdoor items spiked shortly after a pandemic caused dip.
These spikes in sales show an increased interest in skating. The same spikes happened for biking, hiking, camping, and almost all outdoors recreational activities. So will this increased interest stay?
That’s hard to say, but the skateboarding community is enjoying the current spike in interest.
Social media is changing the way we connect and absorb content. Recently Tiktok has taken over the social media world and skating-specific TikToks have come into their own. For instance a video of an American man riding a longboard while drinking OceanBreeze cranberry juice and listening to Fleetwood Mac.
This video alone caused Ocean Breeze juice and longboard sales to spike. People are incredibly influenced by what they see online and this has only helped skateboarding.
YouTube has been a powerhouse of skateboarding content for well over a decade now and is also not going away anytime soon.
Skateboarding was set to debut in the 2020 Olympics in Japan. Currently, there are plans for the Olympics in 2021, despite pandemic-related concerns.
Regardless of the pandemic issues, skateboarding being in the Olympics is a huge deal! The visibility of the sport will only increase and reach demographics that otherwise might have had the chance to see skateboarding. Yes, it’s true that competitive skateboarding and creative, street-skating are completely different. But, I can’t help but be excited about the news.
The skateboarding Olympics will feature both competitive park and street components.
Skateboarding is just becoming more and more visible. There isn’t a facet of popular culture that hasn’t been influenced by skateboarding culture in some way.
Street fashion often features baggy clothes and skate-style shoes. Musicians openly skateboard or reference skateboarding in their music. Local governments plan and fund skateparks in almost all major cities. Social media such as YouTube and Tiktok bring creative and original skating content to our phones.
Tony Hawk’s™ Pro Skater™ 1 and 2, the videogame that lets players pull off insane skateboard combos and started all skating videogames, has been remastered.
There is even a skateboarding anime that premiered in January 2021 directed by Hiroko Utsumi.
Skateboarding is just incredibly visible and becoming easier to access and get information for. This visibility and availability is only helping fuel skateboarding’s popularity.
If you want to know about how to watch the first skateboarding anime for free check out our watching guide here.
Is Skateboarding Still Popular in 2021?
Skateboarding is not a trend, and is here to stay. But can we say that it is really popular now in 2021?
Skateboarding is still popular in 2021. The popularity of skateboarding has actually risen recently in the last couple of years due to the COVID pandemic. With the visibility of skateboarding at an all-time high, skateboarding is poised to continue to be popular.
So don’t worry, skateboarding isn’t going away anytime soon.
Skateboarding has entered popular culture and is here to stay. The community still retains a lot of its authenticity, acceptance, and grittiness. While it may be harder to identify someone as a skater by how they dress, accessibility to skate parks and skating information has ever been easier.
Skateboarders still retain some of their rebellious and misfit image, but that is changing. The partier and crazy perceptions are giving away to a more positive image of creative and brave skaters.
Skateboarding has become popular for a many reasons and it would be wrong to attribute it to just one cause. Skateboarding is popular because of visibility, the 2021 Olympics, the pandemic, social reasons, and its creative and freeing nature.
Skateboarding is here to stay, so if you haven’t gotten involved, go ahead and get started 😉
Thanks for reading and look for more articles from Board and Wheels.