Stab Magazine | Skate Culture Is Infinitely Cooler Than Surfing's

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Skate Culture Is Infinitely Cooler Than Surfing’s

The Vans Skate Jam reminded us of that. 

vtcs // Dec 5, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

While the North Shore awaits its second major swell of the season (coming Wednesday!), Vans decided to spice up this lay-day with a little skate party at Banzai Park.

With skateboarding legend John Cardiel manning the DJ booth, and professional skaters like Christian Hosoi (the OG), Kyle Walker (2016 SOTY winner), Mason Silva, Curren Caples, North Shore local Evan Mock, Kader Sylla (AKA @kaderskater), Malakai Montes, along with several impressive lady-shredders, surfing’s Nathan Fletcher, and an army of tiny, padded-up coping-kickers taking radical lines through Oahu’s concrete haven, the Vans Skate Jam was an instant success.

Being typically immersed in the world of surf, it was a treat to experience the friendly and communal culture of skating first-hand. At risk of sounding cliché, any differences in age, sex, nationality, and ability level were cast aside at the Banzai Park, and replaced with an overwhelming sense of unity and fun.

Every time a skater went for something beyond their typical means – whether that meant a 540 in the vert bowl or an axle stall on the island – skaters of all skill levels would give that person props via hoots, hollers, and the prolific clanking of tails. 

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The groms learn up close and personal from bowl-lord Curren Caples.

Photography

Sam Moody

Witnessing this made us happy but also sad, as we realized surf culture is the polar opposite. 

Don’t believe us? Consider the following:  

At the Vans Skate Jam, everyone was welcome to try the bowl.

In surfing, people of lesser ability are told to get lost (or are self-righteously back-paddled).

At the Van Skate Jam, people got high-fives and hollers after a good run.

In surfing, (s)he who gets the best wave is often ostracized by others in the lineup.

At the Vans Skate Jam, there was constant action and excitement.

In surfing, lulls.

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Chris Coté is a noted obsessor of all boardly crafts. He here is flexing his moves on the hardwood.

Photography

Sam Moody

And lulls, when you think about it, are really the crux of the issue.

Due to our world’s finite resource of quality waves – when compared to the effectively infinite resource of a cement skate ramp – surfing has created a culture that is much more combative and egocentric than that of skating.

This is a sad truth of our sport that, up until a few years ago, would theoretically never change. 

With global surfing rates continuing to rise and the number of quality surf breaks remaining ever so constant, in theory, the general vibe of surfing would actually continue to deteriorate over time.

Enter wavepools.

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Mason Ho has learned a thing or two from skating.

Photography

Corey Wilson

This year in Waco, Texas, on the eve of our inaugural aerial surf event Stab High, we were able to witness something truly remarkable. Whether they were sitting on the wave-side wall, drinking beers on the shore, or waiting their turn in the lineup, many of the world’s best (free)surfers could be found smiling, laughing, and cheering-on their friends for impressive end-bowl punts.

“That was one of the sickest days of my life,” said Noa Deane after a particularly fun group session. 

There was no hint of bitterness that Chippa got the best section, no jealousy that Dion stuck the biggest air. Because everyone had their fair share of attempts on Waco’s consistently stellar section, the concept of wave competition dissolved and was replaced with a genuine appreciation for one another’s abilities.

But even if some Schmo had found himself in the Waco pool that day, and after several failed attempts he stuck his first six-inch wheelie punt, the crew would have erupted with equal (if not greater) force. It was just that kind of vibe.

And that’s the best way we can describe today’s Vans Skate Jam. 

Fun. Exciting. Together.

You listening, surfers?

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