mIRC? DivX? Kazaa? Spyware? #Sk8videos? If you’re not sure what you are watching, let me explain.
Before YouTube, finding skateboard videos online was a pain in the ass. You couldn’t just Google something and stream it immediately or buy it. The iTunes store was young and the concept of paying real money for digital downloads was still new and hadn’t caught on yet. Many skate websites still looked like this. At that time, if you wanted music or movies, you would be relegated to popular (but sketchy) programs like Kazaa, Limewire or Morpheus where you could download VHS and DVD rips off of other skaters. Whether you were in Middle School or College, it was the thing to do – everyone was downloading and sharing off of each other.
One of the goldmines for skate videos specifically was mIRC– an internet chat client for Windows where users could chat and share / exchange files. Skaters worldwide had their own little chat room, #skatevideos or #sk8videos which felt like a nerdy secret club. Kinda like a harder to get to, more ghetto version of the Slap Message Boards. With the speed of the internet at the time, it could take days to download a skate vid ! [sV] ! off of someone, but once you got it, it felt like Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate where you get lots of presents).
The funny thing is, the people who ripped these videos from VHS or DVD would always watermark the intro, promoting themselves or the IRC channel (#skatevideos, #sk8videos..etc) where users could download it from.
Our video above is a collection of the very strange and unique watermarks that played before many of the popular skate video bootlegs. Once YouTube came along, these file sharing channels died and the rips were lost in dead PCs and personal hard drives but these little intros will always be remembered fondly by our generation of skaters, bootleggers and filesharers. RIP.