a way to start a "Youth class" for slalom

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John Gilmour
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Post by John Gilmour » Tue Oct 08, 2002 4:26 am

So how should the sport grow?

I proposed sending out a trunk of boards a "Slalom kit" if you would.... with say 10 complete decks, timing system or rules for grass roots racing, cones and so forth. This would be sent out to several Private Juniorhigh/ highschools that all competed in the same "league/divison". So for instance in the North East -The Gunnery, Kent, Salisbury, Hotchkiss, Pomfret, Avon Old Farms, Loomis Chaffee, and others would get a trunk and a few DVD's to watch and a few websites to research for slalom info. Then they would have two "Slalom Summits" held at the schools with the best pavement/hills/ and a state Championship would be held as well. Winners of Each state Championship would automatically qualify for other races at the promoters discretion. At the end of October the kids would be given the option of buying the boards at discount -wholesale+20% (Deck/truck/wheel manufacturers would supply "factory seconds" and old outdated/slow moving stock on "buyback" from retailers" for starter decks. That way retailers wouldn't be as afraid to stock decks and wheels since they could be sent back for credit for new gear.

A retailer near the school areas would be set up with gear with healthy extended terms so the kids could "upgrade their gear" as Christmas would draw near. (Having gear in retail ski and snowboard shops is necessary to show people that the sport is alive and in a way is a form of advertising).

Ski and Snowboard race coaches would encourage this type of slalom skating for crosstraining(Carrabassett Valley Academy for skiing and snowboarding, Burke Academy for skiing, Stratton Ski School, etc..) Much in the same way a wrestling coach would want the wrestlers to take cross country running as preseason training or as crew coaches would encourage fall crew for the spring etc.

My feelings are that kids 8-12 are more receptive to slalom skating as they are newer to skateboarding and don't have the heavy peer pressure to conform (And being a non conformist in this age group and street skating is a kind of "conformity") kids experience from 13-17.

At the College level some kids choose to buy a ongboard for commuteing to classesand this group might be interested ins alloming as well.

Any other ideas as to how to get slalom into the "mainstream of scholastic sports"?

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Post by Matthew Wilson » Tue Oct 08, 2002 10:11 pm

John, I think that your ideas are pretty much on the money. The only concern I have is parental support. I know I speak from speculation here, but I would venture to guess that most parents would be hesitatn in getting their children involved in skateboarding. For some reason, football seems to be safer in their eyes.

Also, I think that a lmiting factor in slalom right now is the lack of competent coaches that would be available to take on the building of such teams, expecially since the funding for such a program would be very minimal at first and may not supply enough funding to pay a coach. I am afraid that the number of volunteers would just be too small at this point.

BUT, if a program such as the one you propose were to be implemented, I think that your plan is well thought out. What it would take is a mass effort on the part of the slalom community as a whole to advocate for these programs in their local schools. Before such program can be properly and safely put into place, the surrounding community would have to support it, since it would be put under PTA and town votes.

I am hoping that my brochure idea sparks some moe diverse ideas by other members of the slalom community about how we can secure legitimate representation of our sport within our communities.
slalom is good

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Post by John Gilmour » Wed Oct 09, 2002 6:40 am

Well I was thinking that I would spend a week in Connecticut and drive around to the various schools and do a little demo since they are all within about 30 minutes of one another.

As for coaching I figure a ski coach would take it on. As for skateboarding as a sport I think the kids would sell the idea to the parents much like kids do to their parents when they want to go to Woodward's summer skate camp.

I never had a coach until Ed Economy.

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Post by Leonardo Ojeda » Fri Oct 18, 2002 5:47 pm

John, u are trully a visionaire.
thisis a great idea but here is my oppinion:

Most of the decks and accesories are kind of expensive. with the exception of the slalom starter kit that were sold in 100$ and even included cones.
Now with many brands out there i tought that the prices were going to drop but i was mistaken.
currently the "starter" decks for low budgets kids (and dads) are the G&S and the Comets (excellent boards) with trackers or indys and some stingers or krypgrips this setup would be around 165$, not so expensive if you compare this with a longboard or shortboard setup.


lowering the prices or making better offers will help the youth to get into the sport, but unless they get sponsor, win the lottery, work real hard, beg everyday to their parents or rob a bank, its going to be difficult for them to upgrade their setups to a more competitve ones (ttc´s, flashbacks, avalons,pocket pistols, turners, icks, etc etc.

its my oppinion that if we want to make this a popular sport prices have to lower a bit.

just a thougth

leo



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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Leonardo Ojeda on 2002-10-18 11:48 ]</font>

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Post by Matthew Wilson » Fri Oct 18, 2002 9:13 pm

Leo--

I am with you to a degree. I agree that prices need to get lower in order to create prolonged growth within the sport. But from a sport standpoint, or a hobby standpoint, $200 is not an amount that I think most kids' parents would balk at. I talked to a mother at my office who just dropped $100 on her son's baseball bat. JUST THE BAT!!!
Parents will pay when their kid comes home from school with a permission form that tells all about the new intramural slalom skateboard team or the new slalom skate club at school. If the kid is excited, the check will be written...even in low income families. And if parents can't afford it, they will at least help. I mean look at snowboarding!!

Also, I am sure that if a program is successfully introduced into a region of schools, then promotions can certainly be arranged. If there is one thing that I have found the industry leaders to be in slalom, it is flexible and willing. Now I am not saying that there is an expectation for vendors to give discounts...but any smart company would when 200 decks are ordered at one time from one region of the country. What that means is that there is a good chance that almost 30-40% of those who will be riding those decks will graduate onto a new deck within 1-2 years. I base those numbers on my understanding of other industries where kids get involved (like tennis, snowboarding, lacrosse...). That is not a bad take for a company since it would be a sign that the market would expand in various regions.

The area where I think John's plan is flawed is the ability of the sport's ammbassadors to create a steady growth rate. Alot of research would have to be done on potential markets. Small East Coast states like CT, and RI may be good places to start because of the fact that many schools exist within close proximity.
Also, we must be prepared to sell a sport, NOT a culture. I'll admit that my main reason for starting to slalom was influenced by the culture. BUT a school board or athletic department ain't gonna give a rat's a*s about the culture. They wanna know how much will it cost, and will the students like it!!!

That is enough from me for now. But I don't think that knowledge of slalom is going to be enough to mass introduce slalom to a region of school-aged kids. You need a business strategy that is resonably priced for parents (not kids), and offers evidence of potential market growth to the industry leaders. This is the AMERICAN way: Capitalism. Consumerism.

On the other hand, we can just instill interest which can result in more grass roots programs where people pay high prices for equipment because they jus love the sport and really want to do it. This is the more European way, where you work to make money so that you can do the things you really love. (well, at least that was how some of my friends in Italy described the European way to me.)

I romanticize about the latter and I, personally, embrace and prefer it.

Didn't I say that was enough from me for now?

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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: matthew wilson on 2002-10-18 15:15 ]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: matthew wilson on 2002-10-18 15:16 ]</font>

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Post by Leonardo Ojeda » Fri Oct 18, 2002 9:31 pm

Nice post Matthew, now that u mention i guess that i dont know too much about USA market or youth budgets.

So i will change my perspect of view to a wider area: South America

we are something like the europeans, the big difference its that the slalom scene its not well developed due to the economies of the countries.
sometimes i feel that we struggle to get good things or sometimes, even things.

But its my dream that we get into competition again. if we were a strong contestant back in the late 70'a early 80's,we are going to do it again.
wwe only need more time(and money and support) but eventually we will get there.

anyway, John and everyone, if u want to come with ur pack of boards come anytime u want and we will have a good training session.

Thanx
leo

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Leonardo Ojeda on 2002-10-18 16:02 ]</font>

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Post by John Gilmour » Sat Oct 19, 2002 8:07 am

Well imho,
Newbie Board costs do not necessarily have to be "expensive". Hopefully costs can be kept low for beginners and even amatuer racers. Perhaps Amatuer racers would in the future get a discount on entry fees as would kids and women since they do not share in the same purse as the pros....pros should pay more. (sorry guys)

But back to topic.-

I feel that as our sport progress much of the "state of the art equipment" from 2 years ago has little competitive value. I would hope for product cycles to be at least 48 months. Some products like Tracker trucks and Turner Summer skis could be said to have had much longer product cycles... but if we were to discount the "dormant years" of slalom it would still be in line that a product cycle for a piece of slalom gear could be anywhere from 12-48 months.

So any "old stock" should be put towards scholastic programs. And so what if the kids are not on the "Latest greatest" with a spec racing class we could require them to race on the gear in the scholastic competitions which would help amortize the product cycles... ie stretch them out a bit so there is profit to be made so the manufacturers can stay in business. And then- should the kids get hooked, and they will, they will be tempted to buy new "state of the art racing gear" for the current street prices. Win Win Win.

So those Comet Meteors have a place as do the Turner La Costas and so forth- in scholastic racing where the costs can be kept low as manufacturers are willing to close out old stock- mind you still at a reasonable profit- to help kids get in on our sport at a reasonable affordable price.

Will fun be compromised? I doubt it- we were having a blast on old CS-62's Kryptonics just 18 months ago.

Also in this way it won't be so scary to invest in slalom R&D if there is a market for your products- even if someone were to outdo your product before your product cycle had a reasonable run.

I haven't fully thought out this idea- and I am sure there are some subtlties to work out- but I see it as a reasonable way to get youth into our sport.

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Post by Matthew Wilson » Mon Oct 21, 2002 4:03 pm

Leo--
I hear your point much ouder now that I understand your demographic. The USA market would be a very different place to break into than a more traditional European-style market. When I spent some time in Italy I noticed very different buying trends than those found in the USA.

John--
I agree with you that equipment costs do not have to be high. You obviously have a greater understanding of general sales models than I do. You ar eright in that students would not need state of the art equipment. I think that is a given. The majority of parents out there would never buy their kids the best equipment available (unless it be padding) to start. I personally feel that kids should learn to slalom on the most rudimentary equipment anyway. But that is a different topic, I suppose.
This does not dismiss the fact, however, that parents <i>would</i> in fact dish out a sizable chunk of cash (< $175) for a set-up for their kids. Though, this may depend on the age. A high school parent would spend that money easily; but maybe not a parent of a junior high kid.

In the end, there is a market, and a sustainable market at that. I did have another thought, which would help leverage the market too. Boys and Girls clubs, and YMCA's. There are approx. 3300 Boys and Girls Club locations serving 3.3 million kids; with locations in every state, Peurto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, and Intn'l military bases. What a way to introduce the sport to a broader range of kids, especially kids of lower socio-economic levels. In fact, I think that those markets serve as more realistic starting grounds than schools. They are more receptive to--and in fact depend on--new physical programs. They accept more volunteers on an annual basis, and can be directly funded through donation without going through a beuracratic system such as that which runs school districts.
Finally, it would prevent a premature saturation of the market with high-end products. I could be way off the mark on this last one, but I would think that as a community of slalomers, we would want to avoid the perils of past industries. Snowboarding comes to mind. I would think that we would want to make sure that the high end products remain just that--high end. This is my moral (and maybe idealistic) self speaking. Are we really prepared to deal with imitation Turners and Roes? But I guess that is another topic too.

This is a good thread. It is also an important one. And...I also smell the start of a non-profit organization here. Anyone else want to talk more seriously about that prospect?? I'm serious too. I hate my current job.
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Post by Curt Kimbel » Tue Oct 22, 2002 3:04 am

Have the kids ride their park boards. Loosen the trucks, or provide softer bushings, add a set of slalom wheels and they can start racing.

Curt

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Post by Matthew Wilson » Tue Oct 22, 2002 5:33 am

Curt, I have actually tried that. One word...carnage. The wheel bit that these kids can get (if their wheels are big enough) with loose trucks is psycho. We would at least have to hook them up with risers. hehe.
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Post by Leonardo Ojeda » Tue Oct 22, 2002 10:29 pm

i also tried that, the boards are too stif for tight slalom (IMHO) and the wheel bite its an issue unless u use RII 150.

anyway. does anyone knows who have some slalom starter kits left?

i do have the emphasis (sp?) of making grass races, but again, we dont have any equipment available. if anyone its going to make said non-profit organization and wish t make a good deed, pls write us on ur list.

thanks

leo
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Post by Andy Bittner » Wed Oct 23, 2002 12:03 am

Of course, if we're presenting an opportunity for people on modern, trick decks to try slalom, we COULD set a course that is easier and more appropriate for the equipment. At such times that I am demonstrating slalom to younger skaters at the local skatepark, I'll set a course that can be made on a "flipper" deck, and rip through it on my slalom deck. To some extent, due to the relative lack of challenge in the course, they're able to follow right in behind me. Then, once they've become intent on beating each other through the first course on their flipper decks, I'll set up a course appropriate to my equipment and start racing through that. Inevitably, one of the park kids will try to fall right in behind me on that course, and when it is realized that their equipment is completely inadequate to the task, is when they really start expressing interest in my equipment, technique, experience, etc. The bottom line is to provide a compelling lead.

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Post by Matthew Wilson » Wed Oct 23, 2002 3:07 pm

Andy, excellent point!!!
If any program is going to start, there must be a number of representatives who can establish that lead. ROLE MODELS! Do we even have enough of them who can and are willing to start programs?

Building a product is NOT like building a following! In product production, you can have your employees test products, you can encourage them to go out and skate often (see Burton snowboards).
But outreach is different. Outreach is person to person development, and you would already have to be a half-decent skater to approach a group of people and model for them.
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Post by Debbie Saili » Wed Oct 23, 2002 6:52 pm

I feel I need to comment since I am a mother of a 16 year old who slaloms...(and wins! =)) and a skateboard manufacturer.

First, to get these kids envolved, you have to have it on TV. Fox sports is a good move and I feel that it will spread the word faster than anything. Media is what is needed to get this ball rolling with Youth.

Another good point which was pointed out is that currently the largest demographic in skateboarding is the "kickerflippers" ITs HUGE! thats the kids we tap into. Slalom needs to be marketted to them as "another way to skateboard" When I watch kids see slalom cones for the first time...they get through them with use of the kicktail then start ollieing them and then its over...they just dont know what to do. If they see it on TV and see a fast GS they will know what to do and want to do it.

Equiptment is a major stumbling block. Siale still has trouble figuring out which equiptment he needs...lucky he has lots of leadership in that area with Attila, Richie C. Sean Mallard...& Leemo. Most kids won't have a built in support system. Or be able to affort the equiptment. The best thing which was mentioned above is to build courses around the boards these kids already have with minimal investment to start. There needs to be different courses. The pro's should naturally have a harder more challenging course than the Open class and the Open class is more challenging than the beginner or youth course.

As far as getting parental support. I think you will have it if the marketing is pushed as "non-violent" skateboarding...with that you will have the police, and all the city on your side.

Skateparks being built need to incorporate space for a slalom course. Competitions can be held at skateparks. A major stumbling block to getting kids envolved is that there isnt a "legal" and safe place to slalom. There are lots of Siales freinds who want to get envolved but no place to practice here in an organized way.

I am encouraged and see it happening! More people know what slalom is this year than last year.

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Post by Brian Morris » Wed Oct 23, 2002 7:16 pm

I always bring the cones and the slalom board to the skatepark when I go. Unfortunately, the kids just run through once and declare slalom "too easy" and they don't understand why anybody would really want to just weave around cones with a skateboard.
I think the only way to show these kids that it takes "Balls" to slalom, and its alot more than just weaving around cones. I am new to slalom, so I skate every day to better myself and to eventually be able to compete with the best and maybe even one day be the next "Bad H". To really show these kids what we are about is to push ourselves harder and faster and really push the limits of TS and GS. I'm not saying everybody should do something stupid and hurt yourself, I'm saying to skate harder. Take it to the parks, take it to the streets, and take it to the schools. Thats how slalom will grow.

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Post by Matthew Wilson » Thu Oct 24, 2002 5:00 pm

Deb--
your response is just a GREAT one. It provides perspective from 3 VERY major angles: as manfacturer, everyday citizen, and mother.
I agree with you wholeheartedly. The "kick-flipper" community is an essential market to be tapped. In fact, I think that if that group is not drawn to slalom, then slalom will eventually fade once again into the dark corners of the attic and garage.

I really think that your suggestion of promoting slalom as a "non-violent" event is essential as well. I think that you hit on a key note there, becasue general community support is what will allow slalom the breathing room to grow more freely. HOWEVER, I fear that we are plagued by an inevitable disease: THE EXTREME SPORTS CATEGORIZATION

It seems that every parent seems to get a little squimish when their kid comes up to them and says "I want to learn to do aerials on my skis!" or when they see their child going from skating in their driveway to trying to ollie off the front steps.
And who is one of the biggest sponsorers of EXTREME sports? Red Bull. And they just also happen to sponsor a lot of slalom events. Our society associates brands with identity, and the identity of slalom will be deemed extreme. It is just something to think about.

Fianlly, TV <b>IS</b> it!! But, my only worry is....will kids think they have to wait until they are 40 before they can ever compete at world class events?? That was a joke...kind of :smile:
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Post by Claude Regnier » Wed Oct 30, 2002 11:34 pm

All the above mentioned ideas are great. Although the majority of skateboarders are "kickflipers" many of them will be in and out of the sport within a couple of years.

Just like many over the last 25 years. As we've seen many OldSchoolers are coming back and enjoying themselves.
Part of skateboardings Problem is the image and "Peer Presure". Most kids get fed-up not being able to do tricks. Freestyle went through the same thing.

It is important to appeal to them and try to make it an acceptable "Form of Skating". That they can share and enjoy as much as "kickflipers". Believe me I've seen it anf heard it over the years.

What we have to realise is that many new and future kids that are going to see Slalom Skateboarding" over the next while are children of Ex-Skaters. Most of them quit because it wasn't fun amymore or they had nowhere to skate. Even the skiers and snowboarders will find it intriguing.

The School program is great and some touring slalomers could do a lot to help out the Sport. Let's get the Associations going and put it out there.

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Post by John Gilmour » Thu Oct 31, 2002 1:47 am

I think that the thing to "push" is that this is not skateboarding....it is racing. Racing in teh same vein as Formula One where you have to biuld the car- learn to drive it- know the course- know your opponents- and forma strategy to win- and let's not forget practice and dedication.

Which brings me to the other point. Dedication.

With the short attention spans of today we need to present the sport so that new slalomers can see themselves improve.

I think it would be great if there was a place where people could download videos of themselves skating, and show a time line of progression. I have a video of Henry HEster from The first practice session prior to Morro...and another of Terence just starting a little over a year ago (Hmmm you guys thought I lost those huh?) I'm sure that would help motivate others- because you can get good at this sport very very quickly.

Knowing you are improving helps to provide motivation to keep skating- fun courses are another- as well as the comaradery amongst racers.

Having a timer really motivates people- and having a "scoreboard with a record of times in another. I always liked getting the high score in a video game in an arcade and I see no reason why we can't present a few canned courses (Yeah John- when are those coming?) and have people race off on them.

Perhaps there is even a way to try and factor in the quickness of the hill.....ie have someone glide down the hill and take the elapsed time of that in the canned course and compare that to another- while not perfect it will help to reduce some of the discrepancies due to grade and road surface.

But getting teh kickflippers to take this on...may or may not happen- but it is easier to introduce skateboarding to a racer- be it a bike racer/ski racer/snowboard racer/autoracer etc- they understand before they even step on a board that the fun is already there.

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Post by Matthew Wilson » Thu Oct 31, 2002 2:22 pm

John, I agree totally that this is not skateboarding, at least not in the way that skateboarding is portrayed to the world today.
I mean even the stark obviousnous (is that a word?) is not apparent to everyone. How many people do you encounter each week asking you that question: "What are you doing? What is this?"
I'll admit, my first inclination is to respond, "What the hell does it look like?" I mean c'mon it is obvious!!
You see, racing doesn't WOW people anymore. Several weeks ago one guy asked me if I was a street performer doing some trick, or if I was practicing for something.

You would think that the most rudementary of all forms of competition, RACING, would be obvious to people.
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Post by Chris Eggers » Thu Oct 31, 2002 2:54 pm

I agree only in parts. For me this defenitely IS Skateboarding. It IS and should always be a part of it. It was the first thing I did when I started in 1976 and it will be the last thing I will be able to do on a skateboard. Why do I think it is skateboarding? Because I am getting fun out of it in many ways. I love the speed and the gliding feeling, the turning, the control I have over the speed,hill and my body, the rush I get when I feel improvement, when I notice I was faster than someone else. To some, one or more of these features will be more important than others, so there is something for everyone.
I practiced a little bit yesterday and two little kids approached me asking: "ist this hard, do you have to pratice a lot to learn this?" I said "no, do you want to try?" they said "nonono we cannot do this" there was no way I could get them to try it...I had the feeling those youngsters where too afraid of not looking good. We have to find a way to encourage the kids to just do it.

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Post by Jim Siener » Thu Oct 31, 2002 10:57 pm

I just started skateboarding this year after a 20 year break. When I started skateboarding in New Hampshire at age 10 it was considered a fad then. 3 years later no one skateboarded and the few skateparks in the area closed. But at the time there were no limits to sport, my friends and I did it all, freestyle, ramp riding, high jump, slalom, and speed boarding. Whatever we saw in Skateboarding we tried. It was all cool. And then the sport just died and it wasn’t cool anymore. It reserged in the 80’s with vert riding and then street riding came on in force with the advent of the Ollie.

But today these young skateboarders seem to be very limited in what they consider skateboarding is. Its mostly street riding and some interest in vert if you have access to a half pipe. Anything else just isn’t cool, mainly because they don’t know anything about it, slalom skateboarding isn’t in their skate mags or in their skate shops, or in their video games, so it must be queer whatever it is. The kind of reactions I’ve gotten from other skateboarders are of 2 kinds. The real young riders are very curious of the different looking board and usually are game to try it but their interest is shortlived because they don’t think carving a turn is any fun or challenging. You can get young kids to try anything as long as the older kids don’t raz them. The reaction from older kids is usually staring from a distance being either “too cool” or scared to try it or either dissing slalom for its queerness because it ain’t trick oriented. I had a kid recently demand to see my board and then start lecturing me on how it sucked and that my Tracker RT-X’s were cheap trucks. He didn’t have a clue about slaloming. When I told him to take it for a spin through our cones he balked because he didn’t have his pads on. Like kickflippers ever wear pads! He didn’t want to risk looking uncool trying something different. I suspect most kickflippers feel the same way, it ain’t cool to slalom. In order for slaloming to grow with younger kids it needs to be “cool”. The sport needs role models that kids will look up to and aspire to. I thought Tony Alva was the balls. He did it all so I wanted to do it all too, and that included slalom, as well as freestyle and vert. If Tony Hawk started to slalom you bet you would see more kids trying it.

IMHO the thing with slaloming is that it is racing and ultimately more “adult”. Its organized and structured. Its not about thrashing the boundaries or bad boy attitudes or finding your personal expression that a lot of kickflippers aspire to. You have to have respect and good sportsmanship to participate, after all you gotta all go around the cones the same way. Slaloming also depends a lot on organized races that take responsibility that usually rests on the shoulders of adults. The same with other racing sports like ski racing, and bike racing. Without parental support kids aren’t likely to get involved in racing and will gravitate to more acessible forms of skateboarding they can do on their own. Maybe to grow the sport we should be concentrating not on kids but young adults, like college kids who won’t sucomb to peer pressure and understand the nature of racing, They have the ability to grow the sport by virtue of being more responsible and capable of organizing races.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Jim Siener on 2002-10-31 17:03 ]</font>

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Post by Matthew Wilson » Fri Nov 01, 2002 2:30 pm

hmmmm, that there Jim is a smart one!!
I think that last thought is a super-important one to consider. Jumping to the extrmes (i.e. jumping from all us "older" folks to pre-teen kids) may be a bit draqstic in thinking. It may also be unrealistic when put alongside how most other sports progress. If adults and pre-teen kids get into a sport that doesn't mean that the big gap in the middle will automatically be filled in.

I think Jim is on to something when he suggests college-aged folks. However, I suspect that few females who are in collage will be attracted to riding a skateboard through cones. But that can be dismissed for now as speculation.

The "coolness" factor will not play as big a role with college students. This maybe an in. BUT I also have another perspective to add. I get to practice maybe 1-2 times a week. That is not nearly enough time for me to improve my skills to the point of allowing me to participate in high level competitions. Heck, I would not look good to a spectator, let's jus tput it that way. My point is that we need a solid starting ground and foundation. Sure we have product and a handful (sorry but anything less than 1000 is a handful) of riders who can compete regularly, practice regularly, and be critical attractions to the sport.
Also, many of the companies that make slalom gear, do just that; they make slalom gear. The product to is not being sold to the masses but those who actually take the time to call and inquire strictly about slalom.

Though I am not a big fan of most of the current skate mags, slalom needs to be in them if this sport will make any lasting impression on younger riders.
We need to hold events on college campuses, and if not on them, we need to advertise our events on them.

Gosh, this is a great topic.
slalom is good

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Post by Andy Bittner » Fri Nov 01, 2002 3:30 pm

I don't subscribe completely to John Gilmour's notion about promoting slalom as "not skateboarding". I think it is clearly skateboarding, but I can absolutely appreciate John's sentiment. Slalom is very different from what popular skateboarding became from the late-70s on, and I, for one, have no interest in jumping back on a ship that has already made us "walk the plank" once. We don't need to reattach ourselves to that train. That train is engineered and conducted by people whose primary interest is, justifiably, the profitability of their own endeavours. It could help to be in their magazines, but if we're building for the long term, we certainly don't NEED it. To some extent (Barney's By The Bay), they've already shown their conflicted interests in supporting us.

Matt, you're probably too young to recall slalom being "cut from the herd" of popular skateboarding, but if you ever doubt that the mainstream skateboarding world is run (at least in part) by people who are almost solely focused on their own bottom line, just know that I have firsthand experience of quotes from major skateboard industry players (who are still around), that will truly make your hair stand on end.

I reassert that there is nothing any of us can do to "try" to make this cool, because "trying" to make anything cool is inherently uncool.

The success potential for the adult/pre-teen (Father/Son, Mother/Daughter, etc.)equation? Well, I was a pre-teen when I was jonesin' to skate slalom with my Dad, and once I finally got the chance, I never stopped. That was 32 years ago.

In my opinion, we can't MAKE anyone be interested. We can only ever just put it out there and LET them be interested, and then be here to explain it when they are.

So, let's get on with planning on how we're going to get it out there, instead of how we're going to make it look "right" or cool.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Andy Bittner on 2002-11-01 09:34 ]</font>

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Post by Claude Regnier » Fri Nov 01, 2002 5:05 pm

Okay so now we have most of the ideas that have been thrown out over the last 18 months all in one neet little forum. thanks adam.

Andy, what about contacting Micheal Brooke and asking weather or not they can give you a page. Most of the slalom community is either advertising in it and some of os are doing distribution.

Try to go heavy on the USSSF, but also include the other countries and reps somehow on the page to try and draw some interest.

Concrete Wave is about all other forms of skating, other then kickflipping. The next issue is probably at press or almost but we may be able to get something out in January for the launch of USSSF.

Great input folks,brainstorming.

One last note to the Kickflippers. Just tell them that the trick actually last more then 1 second. One completed trick is a series of turns from start to finnish. The approach is also part of the trick. We can actually get the trick done 5 times in a second and sometimes it lasts for as much as 30 seconds. That my friends "Is Skateboarding".

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Post by Andy Bittner » Fri Nov 01, 2002 6:15 pm

Thanks, Claude... good suggestion.

As for what to tell the kickflip generation, I'll set it up, attract their attention and offer 'em a chance to try it on a convenient, forgiving "spare" board that I tend to have at the ready. If they say, "naaah,"?

I just tell them "It's okay, you won't be racing against me. You're racing against him." Then I'll just point at one of the other kids who is showing some interest.

If they still say, "No, that's okay...", I just say, "Yeah, you're probably right. You probably wouldn't be that good at it anyway", and return to what I was doing.

I don't know how it is in everyone else's community, but around here, the fact that the local skate kids can occasionally see me skating the ramps at the local skatepark, or whipping past them while they practice their kickflips in my own neighborhood seems to automatically give them a common ground with me that they really do not have with other adults. They know it too, in a group of skaters or neighborhood kids, there'll almost always be someone who'll step a bit closer and maybe even speak up.

What do I do with that ticket? I show up. That's all. I definitely don't try to walk in and take over the stage, and I definitely don't turn into a carnival barker, trying to convince them how great my show is. If they ask questions, I answer them. If they say, "Can I try it?" I'll let 'em, if I have a forgiving (not my Turner and not my ICK!) board available. Other than that, I let them be as interested as they are, go about whatever it was I was doing, and they seem to appreciate it and respond well.

For me, when there's a course near at hand, particularly one set so friendly as to accomodate modern trick decks, the key to getting their focus off of their fear of failure or looking bad is to immediately reduce their world to one person, the other individual arbitrarily chosen to race against them. Then, suddenly, with odds that seem to be at least 50/50, the kid will feel he or she has a chance of coming out on the positive side of things. Once they've tried it, the sky's the limit. Either they get it or they don't.

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Post by Mike Johnson » Fri Nov 01, 2002 7:39 pm

In my experience kids love to get involved in slalom if they have no experience of skateboarding in general...now on the other hand if you have a core group of skaters who shortboard you have to challenge them to skate a course and act as a peer to the group as a whole....for example they have to see you skate most the time and be interested in what they do as much as try and get them interested in what you do. The upshot of this is that soon you have a group of kids meeting up every week to run cones with you. Again in my experience the lack of cheap set ups was overcome by making ten Chaput style roughcut slalom decks, i used any new school truck i could get my hands on plus any wheels/bushings (in fact i begged and borrowed off everybody i knew)so now i have ten quite decent decks and a set of cones Michael Stride (octane sports)generously donated and next year i will be aking the best of these slalom groms to some UK comps....you really get out of it what you put in.

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Post by Claude Regnier » Fri Nov 01, 2002 8:30 pm

Andy most areas are the same. Most kids know me or of me because of my work in the skateboard community here since 79.

There are always some guys that wnat to know what "it's all about". Some simple explanations and having another board handy for testing is great.

Most of the kids simply like the fact that they can roll and their legs aren't vibrating al the way up.

It's looking good. :smile:

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Claude Regnier on 2002-11-01 14:33 ]</font>

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Post by John Gilmour » Mon Nov 04, 2002 3:56 am

GBJ is completely right in that what we do is skateboarding and slalom skateboarding will continue to be a discipline of skateboarding.

We all know the sport mutated to a point of unrecognizablity from its surf roots.

I do wonder what are the benefits of attaching ourselves to the sport we were aborted from so long ago.

It is likely we will never be acepted on par with street skateboarding in the mainstream skate press.

It is also unlikely that we will ever draw from the masses of exisiting kickflippers- it is just far too alien to them.

My appeal to approach racers is somewhat personally based. I appreciate racing in almost all forms. Even in sports I don't really like ha ha ha.

I won the Nationals in 1995 for Inline Slalom Slalom Racing - and I don't really enjoy Inline Skating- though I happen to be proficient at it and have taught over 15,000 newbies to Inline skate without injury I just find liomited thrill in teh sport.

BUT I do like racing. I'll race AFX cars, turtles, tricycles, skateboards, sailboats, inline skates, ice skates, snowboards, Snow Skis (Uggggh), cars, horses, kites, motorized skateboards,electric skateboards, scooters and just about anything because of the rush racing brings.

Part of the what was most valuable at the Recent Red Bull Urban Waves competition (Where I might add I finished poorly - but was happy to have finished) was to see those suckers scramble to change their set ups. HA HA HA HA- this is racing. I bet very few of the Vert guys were ever sent scrambling for wrenches before.

But they enjoyed it.

We haven't been so successful at selling skateboarding, but we have been pretty successful selling racing.

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Post by Ricky Byrd » Mon Jan 27, 2003 10:39 pm

I had an idea to get my newbies to enter the local races. My plan is to hold a clinic about two weeks before the race. This will give the new racers a chance to get a feel of the slalom board (or their flipper board on a slalom course)and take some instruction. At the clinic you will recieve a ticket that will allow you race free. Anyone can attend the clinic but only new racers will recieve the freebie. Race day they won't feel as though they are giving money up for a race which they will surely lose. I plan on taken the top four newbies and have a race for them, much as the kids have on the FCR Tour. I have a few newbies that have raced with us before, so the class will be called "Junior" but will contain juniors and free ticket beginners.

Should the tickets be good for two races? Some of the newbies have raced before but may need more race experience before they will pay to race.

Any thoughts?

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Ricky Byrd on 2003-01-27 16:41 ]</font>

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Post by Maria Carrasco » Tue Jan 28, 2003 12:42 am

I’m reading this thread with great interest. Been lots of speculation and brainstorming here and there on other forums and during post-race conversations but nice to see things stay on topic in one central location.

With events like Hackett’s Deathrace at Skatelab -- maybe the line between what is perceived as “cool” in the eyes of the mainstream skater will continue to blur and act as a segue way to expose that audience to other aspects of skateboarding ... (i.e. slalom and maybe even freestyle?)

I’m told there is interest from skate park owners to incorporate or develop terrain suitable for slalom. I’m planning to go to the skate park convention in San Diego this week to do some networking and see for myself what the interest/attitude is toward this concept. Maybe more connection with the skate park community would help further the outreach? Debbie – any plans to go to that?

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