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. Carps

    February 26, 2020 9:53 am

    I grew up skating in the mid 90’s and 2000’s. To me I so loved the aspect that people that didn’t skate had no clue why I dressed the way I did, why I acted the way I did, why I vibed every fucking roller blader and biker and jock. And yeah the party aspect and above the law outlook was always there, we knew our limits and pushed them. Now I see skating looking too polished and everyone getting along, to me skating had that edge that drew me to it. It wasn’t the Bam’s and Chad muskas of the world, it was the guys from Girl, World, chocolate, and my friends that showed me how cool skating could be. It was weird and nothing like it, I’d wear my Girl bathroom logo shirt to school and big ass pants and get made fun of but I could have cared less, I’d tell them to fuck off and was on my way, this was my shit, skateboarding, and not one of those fuckers knew how rad it was to skate!

    So yes I feel skating appears a little soft now, I’m not as immersed in it like I was but I still watch it daily. Looking back and realizing how much time we had away from supervision, skating the streets all day, smoking weed, drinking 40’s, being around older skaters that would buy you these things and party with them was not the best environment and many of us turned to alcoholism and drug abuse or erratic behavior, and that lasted for a long time for many guys. Long story short I loved, absolutely loved the time I grew up skating, I feel blessed to have grown up in the 90’s but if shit has changed and kids are growing up healthier, I couldn’t be more for that, they sure are pushing skating and doing things I never thought possible!

    Reply
  2. Lucas Miller

    March 12, 2020 10:54 pm

    My name is Lucas Miller and I am a San Jose State student. First and foremost I want to fully agree with you that the entire skate community has been getting softer. A friend of mine named Alexis Castro works for Jenkem and I am glad to be able to responding to an article him being the author. I personally believe that skating has gotten softer because we as a community have allowed it to become softer. The people who are currently skating are, for the most part, still dedicated street skaters. Street skaters are known for finding spots out of nothing no matter what part of the globe they are from. Whether or not a skater is soft is a variable of change that has multiple factors that decide the level of softness. My angle may be different from the angle that the authors at Jenkem see, however, I believe my opinion should be heard.
    A skater who comes from the suburbs can still be a less soft skater than a person who skates from the inner city. It all depends on the skater’s parental situation, education, and the crowd that one hangs around. With all of those factors in mind, any one skater can be considered to be more hard than another skater. That’s why I believe that it may be unfair to say that skating is “soft” nowadays. I feel as though you can’t call yourself a true skater without being hard. Real skateboarders try new tricks, fall down, and get back up. Someone can subjectively be considered soft if they fall for the first time on a skateboard and vow to never hop on a board again. That can be considered soft. I don’t believe that the mass population of people who skate can be considered “soft” by definition at all.
    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your article and contemplating my own thoughts and opinions on the matter. I would love an opportunity to join any skate based company in the near future. I hope that with this editorial, I can be taking my first steps toward working for a skate company or magazine. Thank you for your time and hopeful consideration of publishing my editorial.

    Reply
  3. Nigga Word

    June 14, 2020 3:43 pm

    Man I want to be on this list someday

    Reply