Being a poser is the worst insult a middle school skater can possibly hear. It is truly heart-wrenching.
Luckily, for the rest of us, no one actually cares whether you skate or not and how you dress. I have never been called a poser outside of once in middle school.
But just for funsies, let’s go over what a poser is and the history behind the name.
What Is a Poser?
Poser is thrown around as an insult to question the authenticity of the skater and whether or not they actually skateboard or not.
A poser is someone who pretends to skateboard or attempts to profit from skateboarding without actually skating themselves. The term became popular once skater became iconic with street fashion. Many people who liked street fashion would dress like skateboarders while not actually skating themselves.
You really shouldn’t concern yourself with what a poser is or if you are one or not. It’s kind of silly and you should dress however you want without worrying about this. Skateboarding is in mainstream culture that tons of people wear Vans shoes casually. Are they posers?
Street fashion is everywhere and wearing clothes that you like means nothing. Even if you’re favorite clothing brand is a skating brand. You can only be a poser if you are actively lying to people that you are a skater. This does happen online particularly from people who try to profit from skateboarding.
If you don’t have any skater friends yet and still want to progress, check out my complete guide to teaching yourself to skateboard.
What Is the Difference Between a Beginner and a Poser?
Some overly self-conscious beginners are worried about whether or not they are dressing correctly or acting correctly at a skate park or anywhere really.
These beginners might also be worried that they might be mistaken as a poser. Don’t fret.
The difference between a beginner skateboarder and a poser is that a beginner skateboarder actually skateboards. If you put the board on the ground and step on it, then you are not a poser. Skating ability and skill have nothing to do with whether someone is a poser or not. This is also why beginners shouldn’t be shy to go to the skatepark.
If someone sees you skating and you are completely new, they won’t think that you’re a poser. They will just notice that you’re a beginner. That’s it. People genuinely don’t care and you shouldn’t either.
Every skateboarder, even Nyjah Hudson, was a beginner at some point. Everyone struggled with learning how to ollie and do even simple kickturns.
Be brave and go have fun. Actually, go ask the more experienced skaters for tips. That way you can start to befriend them and also get some help with your skating.
How to Tell If Someone Is a Poser or Not
You shouldn’t really bother with trying to identify a poser because it just doesn’t matter. But just in case you do want to bother yourself over nothing, there is a way to do it.
If you want to tell if someone is a poser or not is to just ask to skate with them. If they skate with you, then you can see them on a skateboard. If they claim to have skated for years, but can barely stand on a skateboard, then they are a poser. If they are simply a beginner or can’t skate often, then the simple fact that they are skating with you shows they are not a poser.
That’s it. Don’t focus on other people and just do your own thing. Skateboarding isn’t about who is the most skilled or who is pretending or not. No one outside of middle school or high school gets cool points for skating. Loads of adults even look down on skateboarding. Women might even like you less because you skate as an adult.
People simply have the idea that skateboarding is childish.
So there is no reason you should bother trying to figure out if people skate or not. Who cares how they dress or what they say they do. Trust people and don’t look for reasons not to. You will live a happier life.
If you want to know how to dress for skating, check out my guide on skate clothes and what is practical and what is just for street fashion.
How to Avoid Looking Like a Poser
Most people who skate or don’t skate absolutely don’t care if you are a poser or not. They have lives to live, but there are a couple of things you can keep in mind.
Generally, just dress how you feel most comfortable dressing and go skate. Then you are protected from being considered a poser by anyone. Otherwise, don’t suddenly start only wearing skate company clothes and imitating skater style all at once. It’s fine to wear skate clothes, but don’t wear Thrasher shirts every day after you’ve been skateboarding for a week.
When it comes to how to act and skate, I have no tips. One thing people often mention being a sign that you’re a poser is that you do a mall grab with your skateboard. This refers to holding your board by the trucks instead of the tail or body of the board.
I personally don’t even think this is a big deal. The idea here is that doing grinds on the trucks will make it hard to carry them by the trucks so people who mall grab don’t grind and hence don’t skate. The problem with this is that most beginners don’t grind on the trucks for at least the first six months to a year anyway so it doesn’t matter.
So yeah, skateboarding is about creativity and inclusivity so don’t let anyone tell you how to skate or make you dress or act in a certain way. Do your own thing and mind your own business. This is the way.
Poser Skateboard Brands
Poser skateboard brands are hard to characterize because even originally small authentic skateboard brands have become large corporations that are focused on profit and marketing.
So with this in mind, I will mention some questionable brands that sell skateboarding gear and why I would avoid them. However, chances are you buy skate shoes or clothes from a large corporation. This is capitalism and this is unfortunately how the world currently works.
Zumiez is a chain of retail stores that spread throughout malls in the late 70s and 80s and targets teenagers and kids. They are designed to be messy, have couches and game stations in them so the teens spend more time there and are more likely to buy something. It is all a marketing ploy and it is an extremely successful one. Most cities and even smaller towns have a Zumiez.
If you are given the option of buying from your local skate shop and a Zumiez, always buy from and support your local skate shop. Zumiez stores don’t host skate events, don’t sponsor skaters, and don’t really contribute to the skate community at all.
Walmart Skateboard Brands
Walmart skateboards are notorious for being trash. These are usually mass manufactured and made with the absolute cheapest parts. They are sold for almost half the price of quality skateboards and break quickly, skate like trash, and the companies don’t care about skateboarding other than selling products to unsuspecting people.
Typically, they target parents who want to buy a skateboard for their kids or complete beginners who don’t know any better. In the long run, a cheap board is more expensive than a quality board because you will need to replace it often. The last cheap board I bought broke after 5 weeks of skating.
Below are some of the brands you will find at Walmart, Target, or online retailers such as Amazon
Large Corporation Companies
Otherwise, the most well-known skate brands usually make quality skate products. A large number of them are owned by large corporations though and are not operated by the original owners despite being started by skaters themselves.
Typically these companies at least sponsor skaters and might also sponsor contests as well. So in this way, they do contribute to the skate community, but you should realize it’s all about money. Sponsoring skaters make people support them more and buy their products. If this didn’t help grow their brand, they wouldn’t do it.
Below is a list of skate companies or companies that sell skate products that are large corporations or owned by hedge funds:
- Nike SB
- New Balance Numerics
These are the ones I personally know of. If you think another company should be added to this list, let me know.
If you’re a beginner who doesn’t want to look like a poser, you need to get started skating. How about you start with learning how to push with my visual guide?
In conclusion, no one cares whether or not you skate or not.
They also don’t care how you dress or how you like clothes from a certain skate company. They also don’t care that you can’t ollie or hold your board a certain way. If they do care, they are likely children or strange man-children.
Skating is really about enjoying yourself, expressing yourself, and having fun. Just dress how you want and go skate. Then by definition, you cannot be a poser.
When it comes to avoiding poser brands, you can stay away from Zumiez and maybe also the large corporations, but those same corporations make great products and invest in skate films and sponsor contests. So make of that what you will. I personally usually skate Vans despite them being a corporation now.
Anyway, I hope that helps somehow. Thanks for reading, and look out for more content from Board and Wheels.