Today, June 21st 2012, is Go Skateboarding Day. What better day then for a quick look at the effect that skateboarding has had on snowboarding and that ever touchy and seemingly endless debate of ‘who stole the tricks from who’.
There's simply no getting away from the fact that skateboarding has been and still is, hugely influential on snowboarding. In a piece that we ran in our spring issue two years ago, we looked at the origins of both sports and the ways that they have influenced each other. From the tricks themselves and the nomenclature to the street spots that snowboarders now hit on a regular basis, skating has had a lasting and profound impact. Even much of snowboard fashion and slang is to some extent, rooted in skating. It’s still a reality that for a number of reasons, including cost, accessibility and credibility, many snowboarders skate while far fewer skateboarders snowboard. Legendary ex skate/snowboard pro John Cardiel (check out our interview with him from issue 90) perhaps summed up the skater mentality best:
You’re doing [these tricks] on snow and it’s soft, dude. As far as tricks went, I just thought you guys had nothing on skaters.
As someone who was skateboarding long before starting snowboarding, I can relate to this mentality. I used to come across videos of snowboarders hitting handrails and think it was totally wack. I couldn’t really fathom how being strapped onto a board was in any way difficult and I ended up thinking that those guys were just dudes who couldn’t skate. Of course, when I started riding rails on a snowboard all of this changed. I realised that you couldn’t just bail out mid boardslide and kick your board away. Once you ollie onto that rail strapped onto a snowboard, you stick it or you eat shit. No two ways about it. The amount of commitment and confidence you need is crazy. That’s when I started properly respecting what serious jibbers were bringing to the table.
One of the things snowboarders definitely have over their four wheeled brethren is the means and ability to go big. And go big they do. Stick on a Forum movie or watch a Pat Moore (below) or Dan Brisse part and you'll see drops off four storey carparks, gnarly (surely un-skateable) quad kinked rails or riders launching 100 feet over park jumps. You won't find that in skateboarding that’s for sure - well not of the same magnitude anyway...or will you? The thing is, skateboard tricks are getting bigger and bigger every year as well. Ex snowboard pro turned skate superstar Danny Way’s megaramps clearly draw some inspiration from snowboard kickers and are continually growing in size. A new wave of insanely young, talented vert skaters are stomping more rotations than ever before and the first ever double flip was recently landed on a skateboard.
Even street skating is starting to appear more comparable to urban snowboarding. Take Aaron “Jaws" Homoki’s X-Games 'Real Street' part above for example. This dude is bloody mental and goes so big that his arse virtually hits the floor when he lands (check out 00:34 and 00:53!). We can only imagine how messed up his knees are going to be by the time he hits his 40’s... There aren’t that many skaters who have the balls and the legs for such gargantuan drops but evidently, such drops are no longer the preserve of urban snowboarders. It can only be a good thing that skaters are perhaps stepping up their game to stay in check with the progression of snowboarding and that both sports are feeding off each other in a slightly less one-sided way.
Everyone knows that snowboarders steal tricks from skateboarding and it may always be the case that skateboarding is cooler and more ‘core’ than snowboarding. The real question is this: are skaters finally tuning in to what snowboarders are doing and adapting their skating in reflection of that, or would they be hitting bigger mega ramps and kickflipping gnarlier drops regardless of what is going on in the snowparks and when snow has blanketed the skateparks?
What do you think?