2013 has been another big year for skateboarding in the mainstream media and surprisingly it’s mostly good press. I still trip out when talking to “regular” people who are aware of skateboarding’s national holiday “Go Skateboarding Day.” Somehow the concept of an actual skate holiday is still weirder to me than the shit that actually happens on it. If you told 14-year-old me that Rodney Mullen and Tony Hawk would donate skate ephemera on said holiday to The Smithsonian while Nike sends a skatepark barge back-and-forth across the East River, I would have thought you were some Terminator and the future was fucked.
Skateboarding’s contribution to museums or the world of “sport” really isn’t that impressive to most people unfortunately. I know this because no one in my family or circuit of non-skate savvy friends linked me to the New York Times piece on Street League or video of the Birdman donating his old knee pads or whatever. What has been getting traction and flooding my inbox, is this bullshit: The World’s First 3D Printed “Twin Tip” Skateboard designed by contest winner Sam Abbot.
Before I even clicked it I was already heated about one simple thing: skateboards are and have been three dimensional since they were invented. Sam knows this right? I get the whole “you can print a gun on a 3D printer” thing. Fine, guns are three dimensional too, but being able to print one at home and potentially kill stuff is a big deal. Being able to print and assemble a barely functional skateboard that looks like a pile of Annie’s White Cheddar Mac & Cheese you’d find rotting in a college kid’s sink isn’t particularly impressive.
By the reactions of the non-skate world it is though. Stett Holbrook from Makezine.com reflected on his old plastic banana board when writing about the 3D board saying, “I’m guessing the board has a lot of flex like my boards of old so it probably wouldn’t work for airdrops and stair jumps, but it sure looks cool. I love the weird, bubble eye faces on the bottom of the deck, but they would make rail slides and any tricks using the bottom of the board a little bumpy.”
Yeah Stett, please don’t do any “airdrops,” shit could get messy.
The company responsible for the contest and subsequent printing of the groundbreaking piece of skate history, 3D Print UK, responded to the bloggers (like me) and critics who are just calling this a dumb piece of shit. “[T]his was meant to be an art piece, not a working skateboard – the point has been missed on most of the blogs,” said founder Nick Allen.
Right. Well, that’s kind of the problem Nick. While it’s not a big deal that boutique furniture stores in Brooklyn sell overpriced repurposed driftwood artisan skate decks or whatever, it’s getting really tedious and your 3D board opens up new avenues of douchery. Somehow–probably because money leads to legitimacy–skateboarding lost it’s fad status and has been embraced by the art world. We’re not looked as pogo stickers or freaks anymore–skateboarding is actually cool. So cool that famous artists like Damien Hirst trick people into paying a lot of money for decks with dots on them. That’s a real thing. The skateboard has become as common a wall decoration as a clock, mirror, or some tacky canvas with Sophia Lauren that you get at Ikea or Urban Outfitters. Skateboards have become shit you put on a wall.
I don’t really have an opinion about the rise of the deck as an art medium–it’s just something that happened that other people care about like “Big Bang Theory,” MMA, gluten free pasta, and The Lumineers. What sucks about the world’s first 3D board is that it was glued together in several pieces, has Speed Demon Trucks on it (They couldn’t have sprung for Indys at least?), and it doesn’t even work. Oh, and I’m going to say this again: this guy won a competition by designing this. Of all the things on or off Earth that could be printed in 3D, a skateboard won. Yeah, I know….
It’s already almost September, so someone better do something better than this kook before 2013 is over. In the meantime, I’ll be sifting through emails telling me how “neato” Sam’s creation is and how this goofy shit “made me think of you.” Please print a 3D coffin for this pile.