Is TikTok Bringing Skate Videos Back into Vogue?

Classic moves, new technology

Are skate videos primed for a return?
Diogo Rodrigues Gonçalves/Creative Commons

For a certain subcultural cohort, skate videos were a gateway into a distinctive world of style, sport and music. “Skate videos are weird because they resemble no other medium on earth,” Daisy Jones wrote in a 2017 article for Vice.

How so, you might ask? “They showcase a physical sport, but one which is not essentially competitive by nature,” wrote Jones. “They are bound up with masculinity, but also not really, because expression and aesthetics are at their epicentre.”

While skateboarding videos might be associated with a particular moment in the sport’s history, they never really went away. And a new article at The Verge explores how the form has adapted to new platforms and technology.

“The idea of waiting with anticipation to buy a DVD put out by a shoe company feels so alien to me now that I have trouble remembering when and where I first watched Fully Flared, other than inevitably on a television connected to a disc player,” writes Nick Statt. Fully Flared is a 2007 skate video that Statt describes as “the last of its kind.”

As Statt notes, while the idea of a full-length skateboarding DVD might not be practical any longer, TikTok and Instagram feature plenty of impressive skateboarding — and, Statt argues, do so in a way that’s more egalitarian.

“Skaters that will never get their own video game can still go viral pulling off a trick you may have never seen before in your life,” Statt writes. “And now you know their name.” And while the technology used to create a great video on TikTok isn’t necessarily in keeping with what’s come before, it still serves the same purpose: showcasing what skateboarding is capable of at its best — and at its most entertaining.

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