Is Skateboarding a Hype-Beast Industry?
Short answer: yes it is. Do more people support companies that have been started by pro skaters, or do they support more small businesses that have better quality rather than relying on using pros or even a pro starting a brand to launch into success? I know I will get a lot of hate for this blog. But I do not care, I need to get this message out to like minded skateboarders. This topic has always been on my mind. I kind of wish I wrote this blog at the time for my English 102 class back in college. I would have received an A. But shoulda, woulda, coulda; am I right? haha. If any skate shop owner reads this blog and gets offended, good.(You should probably stock smaller brands and support those companies, how skateboarders always support small skate shops like yours). We need to support more skateboard companies started by your average everyday skateboarders.
More about me;
I want to start off by telling you that, I started skateboarding when I was five years old and stopped when I was seventeen, due to getting shin splints and applying for colleges. However, I'm twenty-four now & trying to get back into it without destroying my shins jumping downstairs. Even as a skater growing up I loved supporting small skate brands whether it was purchasing shop decks or brands that weren't well known online. However, I'm not trying to say that big skate brands carry horrible products, me as a person never really fell into the category of purchasing skate related accessories just because it was marketed by pros. But to be fair I had plenty of Girl, Anti-Hero, Black Label, Element, & Expedition skateboards. But I purchased these boards because of their feel, concave, and or durability. This blog is more towards people who support skate brands just because they have pros on their team. Which isn't a bad thing however when skateboarders much rather put their money towards a product that doesn't perform as well, just because there are pros on a team well they are left with less money and an inferior product.
Hypebeast Culture In Skateboarding
Furthermore, You might see other non-related skate brands that have never looked at skateboarding and suddenly turned to this extreme sport to make more money. One thing I do support are the shoe companies who do this since they have the money to invest in research and make the shoe work for skateboarding. However, when you see clothing companies that have no skateboarding backgrounds do collaborations kind of makes me want to cringe. I think that skateboarding should be its own thing untouched from the hypebeast brands that seem to profit off the community. But this is for another blog, for another time. For now I just want to focus on the skateboard brands that hype up their products like crazy without paying for ads or attending trade shows.
How We Are Fooled With Reviews.
For this reason, there are many major skate brands that have great skate products, hence why they are always seen at many skate shops. However there are some other well-known brands that have a media presence but the product quality is just not there. Sure some skaters argue that they purchase to support the skaters on the team which is great, however how far are they willing to go to support their favorite skaters to end up products that do not last long. Which is the better option? We can only find out which products are worth skating if we use them ourselves, I think the majority of reviews of products on Instagram and YouTube on these products are paid advertisements because there are never really any flaws that the influencer tries to show us or at least some sort of disadvantage of using that product. Some would say that there are some skate products with no absolute disadvantages. For example, you see a new bearing company claiming to use some scientific experiment that will make the bearings spin longer and faster, which is not true. To make bearings spin faster and longer, A. you need loose tolerance bearings, or B. You need to degrease bearings. Furthermore, this might boggle your mind but you promote this on a skate podcast and or on some other site where skaters get their information for new products they will buy what that company is selling to them without further research. Now skateboarding is very straightforward, however when a company claims this or that to an extent that sounds kind of exaggerated, we know we should do more research to see if the company is trying to sell a new invented product that works or just using hype and fooling skate shops around the world to carry their product.
What Can We Do About This?
So, what is my humble opinion? I think that we should focus on smaller brands going forward especially in this economy. Some smaller brands focus on fairly pricing their product to entice more skaters to buy their products and or to make skateboarding fun and budget friendly as possible so more people can try skateboarding out before buying a professional level setup. Also you can check where the product is made and make an informed decision, however in recent years China has been making top quality skate products for your favorite brands. I would love to show what brands get their products from but I do not want to call anyone out. Now what I think going about this is the best way to see smaller skate brands at skate shops is to start asking skate shop owners to stock these products more often, and to encourage customers that come in to buy these products first. But I believe this will take more skaters coming into skate shops and requesting these products.
Pro Skater Run Brands
Ever notice that when a pro skater launches a skate company they are immediately sold at skate shops? Well this is what I am trying to get at. Why not support the average joe skater who has a skate business that struggles and needs to get skate shops to carry their product? Is their product horrible? No. It is because they are not a pro, I know, I know, the skate community can be ridiculous at times.
Supporting skaters and small businesses within the skate community. Where should I start?
Well, if you want to support a great brand with even a better cause I highly recommend Beagle Bearings. Sure they are slightly more expensive than your “typical” bearings that you see at your skate shop all the time. However they donate 25 percent of sales to animal shelters across the United States as well as individually inspect each bearing before they send them out to ensure you get a smooth bearing. Oh! And one more thing I forgot they look pretty damn cool. They also released glow in the dark bearings that have a five year glow shelf life! They are linked below to purchase, but if these are out of stock by then you are reading this. Sorry, because these are limited editions, however more colors will be available in the future. Also What helps is posting more about these brands on social media, and skate related forums where you can inform other skaters where to put their money. I would even say going to skateparks and befriending other skaters and sharing your setup would probably work best out of all these options. Now I got that out of the way, here are some glow in the dark bearings made by Beagle Bearings. Show some support and click that link and get to try some bearings you never had before. Do not worry, Beagle Bearings does not have a pro team and will not buy into the nonsense of needing to have pros just to push some inventory. Hear that skate shops? That is another advantage Beagle Bearings and other smaller companies have. Deal with it. Now that is out of the way and I hurt some feelings and I am sure that ninety-nine percent of readers stopped reading after the first paragraph. If you are part of the one percent that is still reading you are a rare breed in the skate community.
Who do I support?
Lastly, look on Instagram and check for skate brands that have a small following, little to non-existent “team,” I know I said it, but just because a company has no sponsored skaters and a huge budget does not make that brand trash. Try something new for a change. Next time you go into a skate shop and see the usual top ten or fifteen skate brands ask the sales rep if they have any lesser-known skate brands, and if they do not, do a 180 and walk out the door. Yes I told you that this blog would grind your gears but the truth needs to be spoken.