How COVID-19 inspired a whole generation of new skateboarders
It is hard to believe the year we have had. Countless jobs lost, schools closed for half the year and the global economy experiencing the worst downturn in history. It is hard to believe that anything good might have occurred in 2020 but I’d opine that you can always find the good in the bad. Like one interpretation of the Yin Yang symbol, there is always a little bit of bad in the good, and a little bit of good in the bad. In this instance it is a massive increase in people skateboarding.
The skateboarding industry was worth $1.9 Billion in 2018 and it is now experiencing its biggest boom since the early 2000s. As a result of the COVID-19 lockdowns, kids emptied the shelves of every local skate shop and ex-skaters reached under their beds for their dusty old skateboard.
If you visit any skatepark today, you’ll hear the same story from most of the skaters. “I started during lockdown”. And these skaters are not quitting either. Skateboarding has a very steep learning curve, so it takes a lot of dedicated practice to learn even the most basic tricks. With that said there is a wealth of knowledge on the internet now that previous generations were not afforded. If you want to see a step-by-step tutorial on how to ollie, or even see Tony Hawk himself teach you how to kickflip then you need look no further than on YouTube.
You might be wondering is this really a good thing? Isn’t skateboarding synonymous with drug use and bad behaviour. I like to think not. In truth, skateboarding does have its routes as a counter-culture sport, and it took many years for people to even recognise it as a sport. Today that is not so. Skateboarding was scheduled to feature in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games for the very first time and with hope we will get to see the top skaters of the world compete in 2021. The Olympics are for athletes and skateboarding takes real athleticism.
If you speak to any skate shop, skateboard distributor or brand you will learn fast how hard it is to get stock right now. Ports are still clogged up from the PPE gold-rush at the beginning of the pandemic and production problems have meant that certain brands and decks are getting harder to get hold of.
With this growth in skateboarding there are several brands that are starting out. One of these brands is Onda Skateboards who have taken a slightly cheeky and novel approach to their graphics by featuring a skull wearing a facemask. Perhaps a sign of the times or just a way to stay current and stand out. One thing remains certain, skateboarding is back and it is definitely a good thing.