What do you think will happen with skateboarding esp. slalom

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Chris Eggers
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Post by Chris Eggers » Tue Mar 25, 2003 1:41 pm

Most of us have been skateboarding for a very long time, so you have a lot of experience concentrated here.
You cannot argue that the things that have happened in skateboarding in the last decade have been overwhelming. Public knowledge (Hawk) and acceptance have risen to a level we heve never achieved before, Pro skaters do not have to starve and old disciplines still live.
But skateboarding was always structured by booms and downs.
What do you think will happen in the next 10 years? For Skateboarding in general and especially for slalom.
Looking forward to hearing your fantasies even if they sound strange. We can go back here in ten years and see who came the closest.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Chris Eggers on 2003-03-25 07:58 ]</font>

Brian Morris
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Post by Brian Morris » Tue Mar 25, 2003 4:48 pm

I think skateboarding is going to take another dive, and maybe a perminate one. Skateboarding is almost pounded into our heads every day in advertisment, and in the malls, and I think the kids are going to eventually get tired of it and pick up something else, only leaving the few hardcore skaters that have stuck with it throughout the years. I don't think slalom will be greatly affected by another drop in skateboarding, because it seems slalom has developed in its own way regardless of what is going on in the shortboard world. If anything a major drop in skateboarding could help slalom, the kids would see that skateboarding isn't just Tony Hawk doing 900's on a giant ramp, there is more to skateboarding than jumping gaps and grinding handrails, people actually race on these things.
The other day a kid stopped me in school and said, "what is that thing, it looks like a mini-longboard." and "wow people actually race on skateboards besides luging?" The GRASS and BADASS chapters are getting bigger locally, and events at schools are getting popular, we should see an even bigger growth in the next year than ever before.


John Gilmour
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Post by John Gilmour » Tue Mar 25, 2003 6:39 pm

My thoughts are that kids will gravitate towards what is new.

If there is nothing new to replace skateboards it is likely they will still use them.

Other sports like BMX, Mountain Biking, Inline Skating, snowboarding all have taken a chunk of kids disposable income.

Slalom skateboarding as it is now- is pretty immune to that. We also have the advantage that the decks are functional for transportation and have a collector value.

Racing should continue to grow as long as there is a supply of new participants so it is essential that each slalomer introduce the sport to at least 4 new people a year.

The gear will continue to improve as long as there are customers.

There are many things going for this sport. Social value, compactness, low cost, simplicity, functionality, relatively safe for an action sport. It would seem most injuries occur during racing when a participant throws caution to the wind- but in practice we don't see much more than the occassional skinned knee or so.

Few sports have as much going for them. To compare

Inline skating - extrmely high wheel cost and wheels wear extremely quickly- twice as many bearings are needed for replacement- hard to find replacement liners- skates mean you must have to carry shoes.

Bikes- High cost for top of the line gear (more than some cars), very high injury and death rate, high theft rate, requires maintenance, not compact.

Skis/ snowboarding. Requires a car for travel adn high travel expenses- most trips require a long car ride- airflight or both. Higher injury rate with more debilitating injuries and death, very expensive gear- for instance
1 Madd Snowboard $800
Catek step in Bindings $400
Intec heels $69
Base grind + waxes $50
Head Boots $439
Ski socks $15
Patagonia Long Underwear bottoms $35
Patagonia Long Underwear top $40
Marmot Driclime Windshirt $125
Marmot Driclime Pants $150
Marmot Gloves $150
Marmot Alpinist Bibs $399
Marmot Climbing Jacket 3 $425
Mountain Hardware Chugach Jacket $165
Smith goggles with ventilator $150
Windstopper hats (2) $80
Walkie talkies $79
Lift ticket to Aspen $68

total $3,239

And mind you I didn't put in gas, lodging, speeding tickets, car rental, insurance, food, tips etc.

This is for a top of the line snowboard experience- leaving Heli-boarding out as that really pumps up the bottom line.

What's more fun? The snowboarding. What is the best bang for your buck- no contest- slalom skateboarding. But if you toss in Heliboarding.....well the fun factor is so huge that it seems like a good deal too...but who can afford that? Other fun things....going on teh World Cup tour for snowboarding...there you can travel around the world- race with basically the same top group of guys- hang out in hotel rooms and schlep about 200 pounds of gear from hotel- to a 4 hour rental car ride - to curb side checkin- to a 6 hour plane ride to another 4 hour rental car ride- to another hotel....and that is just for one race. Ohhh and btw you are cold all the time and it gets dark around 4pm every day. And you'll spend about 2 hours every evening waxing and tuning your boards and cleaning up.

Or you can buy a $200 skateboard, buy a $230 plane ticket, go a short distance from the airport, skate hang out race, and do it again. Toss in a $35 set of bearings ever two months. You can still travel around the globe and meet the same group of racers...and it'll be warm and you can actually see some real interesting cities and cultures instead of the same mountains ever single year.

Slalom skateboarding has a lot going for it.

Adam Trahan
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Post by Adam Trahan » Tue Mar 25, 2003 9:37 pm

Chris Eggers wrote:
What do you think will happen in the next 10 years? For skateboarding in general and especially for slalom.
Hey Chris,

I believe that skateboarding will prevail through time because of its history. Father will pass it on to son where it isn't popular in the media. Skateboarding has taken root in many disciplines, for example: surfing, snowboarding, skiing, mountain boarding, mountain biking, freestyle bmx and any other solo board pursuits. Skateboarding is a form of self-expression and has been identified with a rebellious attitude. I don't think it will fade away due to this alone.

Slalom skateboarding has almost faded away once before because of a lack of interest. Sure, there were the purists who kept the faith and never fell away, but I think most of us are involved in other sports and have put our slalom boards in the closet when it became difficult to find others who would share our love. I like what Henry Hester said in comparing slalom skateboarding to golf. I sort of look at it's social aspect like that. So I believe that slalom skateboarding could go through another phase where it is not popular and will remove itself from the light.

I believe that FCR right now is doing a lot for skateboarding. I would prefer to see a global view for racing much like the ISSA took in the 90's but I support FCR because this is where the support is and I want to see the sport thrive and not fade away…

Vertical skateboarding will not grow because the physical capabilities of its participants have been explored to the limit.

How many more times can you spin in the air?

How many more feet higher can you air out 18' above an 18' ramp?

Its participants define vertical skateboarding. Innovation is stagnating. Sure, it's fun, I still skate pools but our youth needs to feel like they are doing something like no one else has done before. They need to feel important and they want recognition. Skateboarding is limiting in its expression and getting back to its roots will not be at the forefront for interesting new enthusiasts. Skateboarding is the root sport for innovations in surfing, snowboarding, freestyle bmx, inline, skiing and so forth. The "art" in skateboarding will continue, but the canvas and the brush limit the progression in art.

I feel that sports that lend themselves to "cross over" disciplines will gain in popularity and will dominate the media and ultimately our youths interest in the future. This interest will be self-sustaining and will feed upon itself and propagate more enthusiasts and grow exponentially.

Example: The dirtsurfer will explode in popularity in the near future. It is extremely stable, is capable of riding across varying terrain and lends itself to being powered by a wing or a kite. The limits have yet to be explored and our youth will exploit self-expression especially where limits are not in place.

Example: Snowkiteboarding is poised to EXPLODE due to the ease of extreme performance gain. No longer is it necessary to have a mountain and a lift to be able to make recreation on a snowboard. Flat snowfields are now available to be ripped up and flown over with little investment in equipment. Formally inaccessible mountains are now within reach of kiting and ascension and gliding descents are capable. Limits have not been explored and growth has yet to be defined by the media…

Example: Kiting is set to innovate board sports directions much like skateboarding injected new life into surfing. See http://www.foilpilot.com

Our youth, the percentage that will choose to innovate and create rather than simply participate will dominate the media. The media will create more participants and this will augment the performance gains in said sports.

I believe that the performance of skateboarding is quite near its peak and will grow with the populace but will not grow in popularity. It will sustain itself but will not grow any larger than it is now.

I am a skateboarder for life, I love skateboarding but I do not see it by reasons above getting any larger in life than it is now. I'm riding the wave as I always have, looking for bigger sets on the horizon but having fun no less right now.

Good question Chris.

Hans Koraeus
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Post by Hans Koraeus » Wed Mar 26, 2003 3:30 am

I think skateboarding definatly will be a sport to count on in the future. For a sport to naturaly be socialy integrated into society it needs almost a man age (50-60) years or so). Why snowboarding did so well is because it finally was embrazed by the ski society. Unluckaly skateboarding do not have someone embrazing them. We have to make it happen by our own force. If the very first skateboarders (Surfus Skatus)(I.e. people who refers to them selfes as skateboarders) can be found maybe in the 60-70's it would mean that by 2010-2020 skateboarding will be a sport you may do with your friends just as well as Tennis or Golf. We need a skateboarder grandpa generation and it's not far away. Skateboarders will suddenly be well seen citicens and have there finger in how our towns and communities are shaped.

I already now see some very interesting signs of this here in my own hometown. They are talking about setting up a skateboard gymnasium (integrated sport and study) just as they exist for other sports as skiing, football, icehockey a.s.o.

The future is ours!

Brady Mitchell
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Post by Brady Mitchell » Wed Mar 26, 2003 5:47 am

There`s two way differant aspects to this question that should be addressed seperately. Skateboarding as the masses know it and slalom.

The popular shortboarding style is currently ebbing, Ask any retailer and they`ll tell you sales are down since a year or two ago. Part of it may be the economy but I think it`s more to do with it becoming common and less new. The variations on rail tricks are really not all the impressive, as per say, a few years ago. Maybe it`ll fade down or maybe not.

Slalom on the other hand, has the potential of going big, or just dying a quick death. New blood is the lifeline and with events like the Deathbox race, it could explode. And even though we think of it as old school, most nuskoolers don`t even know it exsists...ever. which could work to our advantage as the "NEW" sport. We all know what it`s like to race down a hill and once they get a taste of it, they`re hooked. The problem I see is that the current participants project an oldschool image. Kids generally don`t want to do what thier dads do. So maybe a concerted effort needs to be made to drag thier asses out and push them down the hill. Gravity will do the rest.

If more events were put out that attracts the kids (thanks Hackett for setting the precedent), new blood should be injected and a slalom boom can quite possibly explode. It`s just that the right image needs to be projected.

Don`t under-estimate the new generations. They are brighter than you think. That and you can only sit at home and play video games for so long. Short boarding has become so etherized that the flow is lost. Once these kids figure out that there are skateboards the actually roll and turn, they might suprise us.

I think we, as the older crew, are suffering the effects of post 9/11 and now the Iraqi war. Our economy is sluggish and many of us are spending valuable slalom time worrying how it will effect us and our financial status. Maybe when this conflict is over, slalom will see a vigorous boost of energy.

Slalom has the potential to go real big but I don`t see shortboarding having any major growth in the future.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Brady Mitchell on 2003-03-26 00:00 ]</font>

George Gould
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Post by George Gould » Wed Mar 26, 2003 5:18 pm

If I look at the decades there is a slump in the early part of every decade, leaving the core. check it out, growth in the 70's started with the urethane wheel and parks and basically crashed by 1980. then growth started again, peaking in 87-88 the whole half pipe thing, crashing by 90. then in the 90's great growth was experienced mid-decade propelled by "street skating". i think it is just another cycle. too many kids do not know what is available. i let as many kids ride my stuff (longboards & slalom) as possible. i think the availability of wheels and their being soft is important, because most of them just don't know about it. to me it isn't their fault, they do stuff on a skateboard i never could have thought of. on the other hand many of them just don't know about carving as they do not come from a surf/snow background. i also think many kids are intimidated by adults that ride. to them it is incomprehensible. let's face it i guess there is not that many of us. as far as slalom racing, if it weren't for FCR there would not be the market that is today. it may be out there and be much smaller. equipment is better for sure. FCR has been instrumental in helping bring it back. that and the NCDSA, WLAC and L/C 2001 were turning points to me. as slalom grows there will be more cross-over from snow sports i think.

Hans Koraeus
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Post by Hans Koraeus » Wed Mar 26, 2003 6:53 pm

Oh, I forgot future of slalom skateboarding.

Logically I think slalom have the greatest potential to get really big. But still it havent been so since like 25 years or so. Either my logic is wrong or there is some other explanation why it have not worked. I mean slalom can be done by almost everyone. You can learn anybody to do slalom in a few hours if you have a nice slow slope and a very easy course of 5-6 cones.

So why is it not bigger?
- Some say not enough business in it? But that's so wrong. It's just that you have to build up the business and if you believe in the potential I described above you will make big money.
- We need to build up the business? It has to attract kids. And kids need someone they can look up to and think, "Hey, man. He's soo cool.". This is normally done by setting up contests and series. We can't enough thank FCR for this and everyone else who makes the effort to organize competitions. That is the way to go and we need more of it. We need to create slalom superstars. We need coverage. Magazines, nice slalom films and we already have this great forum on the web.
- We need Timing equipement. I think this is a very important factor to make slalom grow in the future. Slalom (at least for me) is much about times. It's fun to do only slalom, ok. But it's double or even tripple fun with timing. How great isn't it to beat your best friend with a hundred of a second. The slalom world need sheap timing equipment. Everybody doing slalom seriously should be able to have it.
- We need perfect places to skate. Slalom skateparks. Slalomers have always been the true "Streetskaters". Because noone have ever built the perfect site for doing slalom. Slalomers have always used streets, garage, bicycle paths a.s.o. This is ok if you are really freaked out about slalom but imagine a skatepark with a perfect slope, perfect surface, some banks on the side and being able to skate there without thinking of cars and bicycles, with timing systems all built in. A place that could take on great competitions and lot's of spectators. I know I'm dreaming but I'm sure it will happen one day.

I think we are in to the beginning of something big for slalom. But trends like streetskating wasn't born over a year and neither will slalom. But if we manage to handle well the points above slalom will get big. Very big.

Wesley Tucker
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Post by Wesley Tucker » Thu Mar 27, 2003 12:14 am

I've read all this stuff and let me put it in perspective. I live in the skateboard boondocks. What's more is I live in the Slalom Skateboarding wasteland: flat, minimal asphalt and NO ONE within 250 miles of me who races seriously.

Strangely enough, slalom skateboarding has enjoyed a tremendous resurgence in the past few years that makes me all giddy with excitement. There are other people out there riding their skateboards through cones. Guess what, though? I still live in the Slalom Skateboarding wasteland: flat, minimal asphalt and NO ONE within 250 miles of me who races seriously.

Things for me though have changed. For the first time in two decades I got new wheels, new trucks, new soft parts, a new deck and even finally got me some new cones. I've lost 40 pounds in the past 18 months and I'm enjoying the simple thrill of getting my board through some rhythmic obstacles layed out in the street.

What's the future of slalom skateboarding? Well, I'll probably ride as often as possible, enjoy the thrill of getting my board cleanly through progressively more difficult courses and every once in a while even get to hook up with someone else who lives in the same time zone to race. Whether there is an FCR, grass roots racing, manufacturers, TV or magazine coverage or even all the bitching, moaning and complaining that goes on in this sport, I'm pretty certain the future of slalom involves me riding through some cones.

Y'all can spend your free time sweating over whether or not there's enough money to make it worth your while or whether or not some punk junior high schooler decides he wants to slalom. That's really has no impact one way or the other on whether or not I like to ride. And that, my friends, is the future of slalom: me enjoying myself riding my fancy handmade boards through some cones on a decent surface on a decent day. I've got new wheels, new trucks, a new deck and some new cones: hell, I'm good for another 20 years.

Anything more than that is gravy that I can live with or without. I've lived without it for a long time and I'll live with it for as long as it lasts. And if at some point in the future it comes to an end AGAIN, I'll keep riding and keep on trying hard to get my board through a course clean and as fast as I can.

John Gilmour
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Post by John Gilmour » Thu Mar 27, 2003 5:01 pm

Wesley- you nailed it. Plain and simple. the fact that once a person takes up slalom- reaches a good skill level- they are hooked for life.

We slalom for the fun- for making a clean run- for that perfectly executed criddle- for riding on the - your edge.

So what can make the sport more fun.

Well certainly a cheap timer as Hans said. I really want to see a pda based timer this year.

I also want to modify the cones we use so they are cheaper- more compact- less obtrusive to motorists and less likely to draw the ire of policemen.

Lets imagine.. (my favorite expresion) this scenario.

You have a board. One board. with an adjustable wheelbase/flex, and with adjustable width and geometry trucks and two sets of wheels. you can run anything from 6 foot cones to a screaming Gs with a single deck. Specialized decks still exist...but this one does it all nicely.

You've got course markers that are as wind resistant as our regular doubled up cones. 150 of them weigh about 4 lbs and they fit inside a small backpack.

You have a PDA based "Tablet" with a Wireless LAN card. you've got timing strips with wireless lan cards. You've also got several other wireless lan cards for when skaters go through the course to identify each skater- on the "scoreboard". This tablet can connect to the internet an courses can be emailed or beamed to people. Using a GPS card any course can be doccummented by merely holding the tablet over the cone and pressing enter to mark the location. A software program generates the course specifications from this info.

Want to drop down a "spec'd course?" Hold the Tablet- follow the arrows until you get a "lock on center" and place the cone down.

If each skatepark had a section of slope that was "identical" we could race each other through this method in different places. Certainly we could do this for flatland already.

Simon Levene
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Post by Simon Levene » Thu Mar 27, 2003 7:55 pm

Do not adjust your sets .......

John has entered the twilight zone!

Chris Eggers
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Post by Chris Eggers » Fri Mar 28, 2003 10:29 am

John, what was this stuff you inhaled/drank/ swallowed yesterday?

Matthew Wilson
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Post by Matthew Wilson » Fri Mar 28, 2003 3:12 pm

JG the Visionary!!

Are you on crack, dude??

Hmm...let's see?? I would venture to guess that we are talking about $1-2 K worth of stuff there.

Do expect insurance on this stuff too?
slalom is good

Neil Gendzwill
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Post by Neil Gendzwill » Fri Mar 28, 2003 3:34 pm

Regarding vert skating hitting its limit - I dunno, maybe. But I'm constantly shocked at what they are able to do. I don't understand why more kids don't ride vert myself. As far as I'm concerned, it's the single funnest thing to do on a skateboard, slalom included. There's a ton of stuff to learn and do, and if you're padded up it's safer than riding rails while providing more adrenaline.

Slalom riding may grow a bit I hope but frankly it just doesn't appeal to that many people. I think you might see the gear influence normal street riding, in the same way that racing skis and snowboards influence freeride tech. Not too many people want to run gates but they can all benefit from the equipment development.

Chris Eggers
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Post by Chris Eggers » Fri Mar 28, 2003 4:11 pm

Wow you guys have great thoughts and great fantasies, thanks for answering so extended, good reading!

Just to add my personal thoughts:

I think skateboarding is here to stay, defenitely and we all agree on that. But I think it will eventually decrease in popularity again a little. Only a little, not so much as it did in the 80´s, because all those guys who skated hardcore in the 80´s and 70´s (see Mullen, Rocco, Hawk, Mountain, Magnusson, Welinder are company owners now, all those park builders were skaters or still are, all those organizers were or are skaters, Jack Smith, Don Bostic, Ed Economy etc.etc.etc.) are in charge of things now. They are dedicated and won´t let it die anymore, not the least because for some of them it became their bussiness.
A slight decrease would only be good because it would stop the posers in it when it is no longer cool.

The sport itself will always progress and here I disagree with Adam. I have thought many times, this is the end, no one can do a more insane trick. But it happened every time. Have you ever thought a backflip on vert would be possible? Or an ollie 540? Or a frontside cab heelflip indy grab?
Maybe sometime we will see ollie backflips? (hey thats serious!) When you stay away from major pro contests for a year or two and you attend one again you usually stand there with your mouth open because of the progression.

As for slalom I don´t really know. I always did it. Ok just once or twice a year until about a year ago. I think it will grow a little and it becomes what we make of it.
That is what excites me the most in the moment. It is something not taken away by TV or big money, I like that and it feels good. And it is something I can imagine to do for a long time because it is not as hard to my bones as vert is.
So I think there is a defenite future in what we do and it will grow. Not as big as vert or street, but we will get our niche.
Let´s work on it.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Chris Eggers on 2003-03-28 10:31 ]</font>

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