Over the last 20 years or so I have watched skateboarding change. In 1996, you could barely get anyone to pay slightest bit of attention to longboarding let alone slalom or freestyle. Skateboarding media was very much like the scene in the Blues Brothers movie where someone says “we got both kinds of music: country AND western.”
Niche events did take place but they were truly off the radar. Thanks to the hard work of a lot of people and the power of the web skateboarding now covers a wide range of niches.
The truth is however is that these niches haven’t really received the type of attention or sponsorship that street skateboarding garnishes. Most longboarders (and all the groups that are lumped together in the “OTHER” category) are realists. Sure, it would be nice to have a big fat sponsor like Ford or Pepsi throw in some major money to the IDF or other types of skate events, but it’s going to take time. We have to accept that we are a niche.
Numerous skaters spend a huge amount of their own money to attend races. Downhill, by its very nature poses some risks while every precaution is taken at races, accidents happen. The reward comes in the camaraderie – for the most part, the prizes are secondary.
The worldwide tribe that doesn’t generally follow the going’s-on of traditional skateboarding is sometime given an occasional nod by the mainstream media. The tragic passing of 70 year old Victor Earhart is one of those times. If your attention is to the more mainstream side of skating, someone like Victor isn’t going to get onto your radar. For those who do explore outside what is presented in most of the skate media, the experiences are truly exceptional.
One of those rewards is the chance to compete against world-class skaters. If you go race Danger Bay or ahead out to Oceanside for the National Slalom Races, you will be up against the very best in the world. Not only will you be able to skate with your hero’s, you’ll be able to hang with them too. It’s quite a bit harder to do this at the Maloof Money Cup or Dew Tour.
THIS IS FROM 2011…wow, time flies!
If the other categories in skateboarding are classified as niches and are getting a paltry amount in the way of sponsorships, can you imagine what it’s like to be a pro wrestler in Combat Zone Wrestling. Most of us know of the WWF but trust me when I say you won’t see Doritos, KFC or even Band Aid jumping to sponsor this niche part of wrestling any time soon.
The CZW documentary profiling this way out there niche within wrestling is a 42 minute orgy of violence the likes of which will leave mental scars. We’ll all know that Vice covers it all – from drug abuse to bestiality but nothing can prepare you for this niche within wrestling.
The level of brutality is so beyond anything that you can imagine, it’s frankly hard to comprehend. Sure, it’s all done for the fans…but holy shit, it’s insane. These guys literally drive spikes into each others heads
Don’t believe me?
Take a look at the documentary below: Warning – once you see this, you will not be able to UNSEE it.
If you get past the violence, you will see there is camaraderie here between the wrestlers and yes there is an incredible bond between the wrestlers and the audience. It is so over the top and so incredibly intense that even the refs are seen clenching their teeth. Chances are this waaaay out there niche within wrestling will garner a few fans via the documentary. The CZW seem be garnering some money via on demand video – not sure how much money it generates – but full marks for trying!
From what I understand, Delaware is one of the few places left in the USA that you can actually do a tournament of death. Not sure about Canada. I would say it’s doubtful.
For those who worry about the future of niches within our amazing skateboard world I say, fear not. Niches within skateboarding will expand and contract, just like the rest of skateboarding. Sure, we may never get the big dollars like our street skating counterparts. But that’s ok. No matter what happens, chances are you’ll never find yourself picking glass out of your body. Unlike our counterparts over at CZW.