reflector

Joined January 2008

I enjoy the whole creative process from beginning to end and seek to discover and portray the world in all of it’s rich, intense...

Australian Skateboarding Culture Over The Last Thirty Years

It seems like a million years ago since the first time I ever rode a skateboard for the first time in 1974. My life has changed, as I have, in so many ways that each new phase of life brought new attitudes and ways of being that were often radically different to those which preceded them. However, most of these changes were more of a gradual evolution than a sudden revolution, and sometimes the changes I was going through were almost imperceptible to me. This is almost exactly how skateboarding has changed over the years from the flowing, surf orientated style of the early 1970’s to the way that people skate today.

I have learned so many tricks that at some stages I did not believe I could ever learn, as well as others which I could not even conceive of in earlier times. Skateboarding has evolved because of skaters unstoppable desire to push everything to extremes. Tricks that were once never even thought of, or were considered to be pretty well impossible to land have now become a reality. All the tricks are steadily being taken to higher heights, at greater speeds, and all while skating on new types of skate terrains.

We used to skate at as many as half a dozen spots a day on the weekends, spending an hour or two at the best ones. Loud music, unreal tricks, unruly behavior and a lot of fun was had by all. No harm intended. Toronto High school was another one of the most frequented, radical spots in the whole of Newcastle before there were any skate parks. It had manual pads, sets of 2 or 3 steps, small benches and the basketball court banks – they were 3 flat banks with slightly different slopes. The list of tricks that everyone was trying here was expanding all the time. All kinds of boneless ones, ollies, early grab airs, shuv-its, kick flips, and slides were being attempted.

People from Newcastle were starting to gradually catch up to the Americans – who had always been a million light years ahead of us because they started the whole sport / culture and were pushing all of the limits, all of the time. They had a huge Pro-Circuit and the largest skateboarding population and industry in the world – they still do. Aussies were like their little kid brother who looked up to them and wanted to be like them because they were cool and they could do things that we weren’t able to do.

The Most Popular Skate Gear In The Late 1980’s and Early 1990’s

In the mid to late 1980’s there was an explosion in the number of brands that were available for all your skating needs. Powell-Peralta; Vision skate gear & Vision Street wear; Santa Cruz boards, wheels and accessories; Alva; Venture; World Industries; G & S Skateboards and accessories; Schmitt Stix boards, clothes and wheels; and Australian brands like A.T.S, Burford Blanks, Cockroach, Righteous, Borgy, Universal, and Bonzer. There were many other smaller brands who had their supporters like Skull Skates and a few others – many of them have vanished from the scene. Skulls and Skeletons became hugely popular on decks, wheels, helmets, shorts and T-shirts.

For a few years there were a lot of really cool designs coming out and some truly atrocious ones as well. In the early 90’s the skull had become old and boring and the whole look of skaters started to change. The skate shoes at this time were all high tops which gave good protection for your ankles and feet, but they didn’t completely eliminate ankle sprains or occasional bruising. They really went to town in the colours and the art that they used on skate shoes – there have never been shoes used for any other purpose that were as colourful or decorated. One version of Vision Street Wear shoes had Blowflies printed all over them, and the Australian company Cockroach Wheels printed their wheels and T-shirts with Cockroaches all over them.

The influence of Hip-Hop culture and Hip-Hop street wear started to appear in skateboarding culture in the late 1980’s, and at the time a lot of skaters did not like it at all. Heavy Metal, Death Metal, Thrash, Punk, and Rock and Roll had always suited skateboarding. They all had a lot of energy, and skaters everywhere listened to this high energy music to “psyche themselves up” to attack and destroy skate terrain. The early 1990’s saw Hip-Hop culture blending into skate culture even more – the clothes that skaters wore started to be “over-sized”; Hip-Hop language started to be used by skaters; and people were increasingly “psyching up” with Hip-Hop and Rap instead of Metal and Punk music.

To watch a short skate video that I made called Experiments In Inertia please visit my web site by clicking here

“Freedom Movement Energy” – Digital Illustration

“Backside Corner Ollie Air – Empire Park Skate Park”

“Blasting Air!”

“Nose Slide – Empire Park Skate Park”

“Half-Cab To K-Grind”

“Destroy All Obstacles!”

“Frequent Flyer”

Journal Comments

  • kseriphyn
  • reflector
  • Rella
  • reflector
  • hahpistuff
  • reflector
  • hahpistuff
  • reflector
  • Jakki O
  • reflector
  • AlMiller
  • reflector