The relationship between Instagram and Skateboarding is a strange one, and a conversation that’s been ongoing for what feels like the better part of 6 years. Everyday, I feel like someone at some point asks me if I’ve seen the clip of X doing Y and that it was posted by Z. Everyday, I scroll past some clip that I thought was physically impossible (see literally any of Aurelien Giraud’s clips for reference, highlights include alleyoop 270 back lip and hardflip front hurricane. Fuck, even today I saw a clip of a 1260 on the mega ramp.)
With this constant onslaught of content and boundary pushing, it’s difficult to retain a sense of relatability. That is after all, one of the best parts of skating, being able to form a relationship with some random stranger over a tiny wooden plank. But seeing just the pure volume of content that comes out everyday at every hour is wildly intimidating. To the young and impressionable, it becomes an existential crisis of trying to stay relevant within their circles. To the old and jaded, it becomes a point of contention and weird longing for the simpler times of VHS tapes and video premieres at the skateshop.
Just look at the level of skating that people are throwing out “for the gram.” The tricks being thrown out on insta just dwarf some enders that we see in normal video parts. I mentioned Aurelien Giraud, but take a look at Quel Haddox. Dude came out with a pretty solid video part earlier this year in February, but he throws enders out like the world’s about to explode. Who the fuck half cab flips up a 5 stair in the rain for fun? That street gap he ollies in Grays’s ferry is straight up the size of a road. It’s daunting to watch some of the clips posted these days. How are we supposed to keep up?
Then the question becomes, how do we reconcile this frustration? It’s easy to just say “you know what fuck it! No instagram! It’s bumming me out on skating” but frankly, that’s just a cop out. You’re not helping anyone by just being some weird hermit that lives under a rock grumpily watching from the top of some secluded mountain in the middle of nowhere. I get it though, you’re tired, you get caught up, and you need a break, but complaining about how Instagram is “ruining” skateboarding is such a trite and contrived attitude.
Think back to when you were a kid, watching random people that you don’t know just destroy the spots you skated. Think back to how stoked you got watching Jake Johnson’s part in Mindfield (the best alien video but that’s a different discussion), or Antuwan Dixon’s part in Baker 3. How is that any different? What’s the difference between watching a kickflip back tail on a TV or on a cell phone? It’s all the same shit. We’re living in the best era of skateboarding. At any given point, in the pocket of your pants, you’ve got a constant stream of tricks that will blow your mind. So fuck it, get on your phone, get stoked and then go out there and get some. That’s what we’re all here for anyway right?