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.
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.
February 19, 2020 2:23 pm
I love some of the crazy stuff from old videos and maybe I was too young to notice some behaviour, or now I’m old and boring. But it really annoys me when skaters mess with homeless people. And it could be in illegal civ 2 someone attacks a goose. No need.
February 19, 2020 3:12 pm
Agreed about the homeless. As I have gotten older I have tried to be more compassionate and even just filming some mentally ill or homeless person for a laugh or for your b-roll feels exploitive, but I get that young kids aren’t thinking about it that way.
January 19, 2021 4:53 pm
Only real losers will make fun of homeless people. making fun of people who suffer and same time same people yelling racism is wrong. Bunch of hypocrite people!
February 19, 2020 2:34 pm
clean cut requirements of big sponsors don’t help, but i think the biggest influence was the implosion of those party hard dudes and the aftermath.
i mean, boulala’s bike wreck kill shane cross, bam fell the fuck off (and his whole crew got wrecked by drugs), reynolds and spanky went clean after almost losing it permanently, marc johnson was a full blown alcoholic, van westall fell out of window, and AVE just smoked crack for like three years.
it’s not tough to see why kids see that lifestyle as a bad model to emulate.
and let’s be real, when you’re sober, wrecking shit isn’t as appealing.
February 19, 2020 2:36 pm
Fucking based we need more pee pee’s and young minorities messing with stupid homeless people. More alcohol too piss drunks for life brotha. Homeless people are so fucking stupid we should pee on them all and poo in some leftovers they are eating.
February 19, 2020 2:49 pm
Lol ur fucked 😂
February 19, 2020 3:14 pm
Dang, I was expecting one of your smart articles on the subject but nope. How unfortunate.
February 20, 2020 4:19 pm
Lol, yeah I was expecting a long-form article actually discussing the reason for the shift too.