If you talk to skateboarders over a certain age, or just stand around long enough at skate industry events, you’ll likely hear people complain about how “skateboarding has gotten soft nowadays.” What these people usually mean is that today’s biggest skateboarders no longer appear to live like outlaws, the way pros did in the ’90s and 2000s. Instead, skateboarding is soberer, cleaner, and more corporatized…just “softer” all around.

There was a time when pros said and did irreverent and dangerous things, and their sponsors promoted that behavior. Videos like Baker 2G and Destroying America come to mind, as well as infamous ads from World Industries and Shorty’s, and the addicting personalities of larger-than-life skaters like Chad Muska and Bam Margera.

We can point to many things that led today’s more tamed pros away from projecting these lifestyles—mainstream sponsorships, heightened personal exposure online, a more critical cultural climate—but no amount of finger-wagging will put a stop to the softness. To be fair, a lot of good can be at least partly attributed to this new momentum—most notably a wider participant base, meaning skateboarding has become less alienating, narrow, and socially insular.

We agree that this change helps grow skateboarding as a whole, but just because skating is expanding doesn’t mean we need to lose touch with the “fuck-you-who-cares” impulse we all grew up on. So in that OG spirit, we want to highlight a couple of videos from crews who are keeping that flavor alive.

A lot of these videos are produced by younger kids with nothing to lose. They’re just having fun with their friends, sticking it to the hypothetical man. Check ‘em out and remember, be careful when negotiating your deals, or your video parts may end up looking like this.

Horny Mom Busts A Fat Tre Flip

We premiered this video by a Canadian crew from Calgary a while back, and on top of having one of the best video titles ever, has classic hijinx involving a frozen pizza down the pants and driving a Jeep through a skatepark. Seems like Winnipeg is the Rust Belt of Canada, filled with kids who have too much time on their hands and not enough supervision—the perfect formula for top-notch skate videos.

THE BLE VIDEO

We had to post this one straight to Pornhub due to the full-frontal nudity and gory elements that are too raw for YouTube. If you were too scared to watch the BLE video the first time around, save yourself the embarrassment and watch it now while there’s still time.

GANG CORP – BLACK BUSINESS

Gang Corp is one of the most productive (and decently merchandised) crews in New York today, comprised mainly of kids who grew up skating LES Skatepark and have now graduated to terrorizing the streets. They’re super easy to spot in public because they always travel at least a dozen deep, and they know how to finesse security guards like no other. Check out our Hanging Out With for an up-close look at the Corp.

HIJINX UNLIMITED

The Almighty YouTube Algorithm fed us this video a while back, and while a lot of it smacks of bored Californian teens pointlessly breaking shit and disrespecting (suplexing) bodyguards, we’re overall glad to have found it. Whether or not this crew is making skate videos the “right” way, they’re channelling that timeless bad kid energy, so we had to put it on this list.

Apologies for some of the heinous music supervision. But we were all young once, right?

Illegal Civilization 2

Although Mikey Alfred admittedly blew it with IC3, which was filled with horrible cameos and shit editing, IC2 is still worth revisiting when you have some downtime. Classic weed smoking, shit talking, cop evading, and ratchet behavior, plus feel good parts from guys who went on to the big leagues—Sean Pablo, Sage Elsesser, Tyshawn Jones.

Lurknyc’s “Mean Streets” & “New York Times” Series

LurkNYC videos, and now Hotel Blue videos, have been a lot of the outside world’s best glimpse of contemporary skating in New York City. These segments are a perfect blend of street characters, crusty spots, and good style. Raw videos can sometimes be a bit off-putting and seem lazy, but these edits are better off for it.

Melodi – EC II

Melodi is a loosely affiliated crew that’s tapping into the spirit of recklessness while keeping a modern look to their videos (i.e. they don’t run their P2 cards through the wash before uploading). You’ll notice traces of Bill Strobeck in the filming and editing style, but we promise only the best aspects make it through. Bonus points for a Kader Sylla appearance.

Mohkie – “Mohkie Europe 2019”

The Mohkie crew came to us a few months back with this video and we decided to premiere it pretty quickly. The premise is simple: a bunch of Americans traveling in a huge pack around Europe, partying at street spots and drawing a lot of attention to themselves. That’s basically what professional skateboarding boils down to when you cut out the fluff.

Comments

  1. Fuck your nostalgia

    February 20, 2020 9:18 am

    Hm, I’ve personally NEVER heard anyone who (still) skates say in person they think modern skateboarding sucks or went ‘soft’, only in online comment sections. So my guess is these disaffected souls are 90% geriatric skaters who’re just mad they’re not ‘it’ and most likely don’t even skate themselves anymore. So they go online and complain how everything was better back in da day – it’s how depressed men cope with a midlife crisis if they can’t afford a sports car or trade up their wag for a hotter model.

    Only if you’re living out your mom’s basement gushing over old 411 videos can you say modern skateboarding ‘sucks’ with a straight face – in so many ways, skateboarding is better than it ever was – not just in terms of skaters (not just ‘pros’, just everyone) going off in ways we couldn’t have dreamed back in the day, but also in terms of broadening the idea of what ‘legit’ skateboarding is – i.e. not just throwing yourself off stairs/handrails all day or filming boring-ass plaza lines with ten pushes between every trick, but maybe, you know, having FUN?

    As for off-board antics last year, let’s see: a highly prolific and popular crew nearly beat a security guard to death, as a result of which he had to have part of his skull removed and will be disabled for life. Core! Several much-loved skaters died skitching in traffic or hill-bombing through red lights. Sick bro! Every other skate trip edit is full of boozing, smoking, toking and whatnot like it’ll never go out of fashion. Keepin it real, hell yeah! What more do you want? Are there too few household name-pros bashing homosexuals, murdering their girlfriends or hanging out with actual Nazis for you these days? Get a grip.

    Reply
  2. Old Man River

    February 20, 2020 1:56 pm

    What a load of shit. Soft? I’ve been skating since the mid80s and skating itself is at a point where the tricks, the passion and the skillset is at an all-time high. You telling the parts out there these days don’t crush and take risks? I don’t give a shit about partying and drinking. That lifestyle has ended the same way since the beginning. That shit is soft…oh wow, you get drunk and act stupid. How is that groundbreaking? Run a solid company for 30 years or still skate in your late 30s. That’s skateboarding. Females hitting hard and doing it without approval. That’s skateboarding.

    And being corporate is a different thing all together. Being independent has nothing to do with living ‘hard’ or ‘soft’. It’s true skating has gotten more corporate and business has come in. Well, vote with your dollars, support small companies, small shops and screw energy drink bullshit.

    You know why Big Brother was important in the 90s? The fucking skaters and the companies. If you were around and only noticed the Penis Pops box and the random photo of a naked chick…that’s pretty weak. Transworld ran Right Guard ads (Bam?) and didn’t focused on the skating.

    Reply
  3. Steve Alden

    February 20, 2020 4:11 pm

    If you need to see or take part in this type of behavior in order to enjoy skateboarding, then skateboarding doesn’t need you.

    Reply
  4. Neal Bender

    February 20, 2020 6:37 pm

    It has gotten soft. You think back in the day skaters would have allowed scooter kids to take over skateparks? No way. They also would never allow rollerbladers to stroll into the park and wax all the coping but now a days they dont do shit about it

    Reply
    • Boring Old Guy

      February 22, 2020 5:52 pm

      I came up skating around San Diego in the 90’s and there was a strong party, druggie, fighting, nearly criminal element within the skate culture that was hard to avoid. I skated hard into my 30’s but drifted away from the scene because of that element. I never thought pissdrunx or any of that stuff was cool and definitely felt that the way skaters treated other people was super lame.

      Reply