TRIGGER WARNING – this article is about SCOOTERS. If you’re a skater and can’t handle this subject matter, stop reading immediately. If however, you have an open mind,continue reading. And, if you’re a skateshop who seems to be on the decline and can’t figure out how to turn it around – then you definitely want to read this.
As you can see, there is another skater who helped me develop this blog post. This skater has spent over 30 years in the skate business and has worked with a number of brands, including Powell Peralta, Sector 9 and World Industries. But before he made skateboarding part of his business life, he first made skateboarding part of his life. His name is Kevin Harris. Back in the 80’s, Kevin went from amateur to pro on the biggest skateboard team on the planet. Kevin has invested millions into skateboarding over the years. He’s run magazines (Concrete Powder), skateparks (Richmond Skate Ranch), funded and supported skateboarders, books and countless events. His insights on the current state of things with skateboarding resonate with me on a very high level. We know things are in a weird state. So rather than complain, Kevin gets pro-active. Kevin went on a mission to understand where a lot of the money has flown from skateboarding. It wasn’t difficult to trace. Scooters are taking huge swaths of money from the skate world. Kevin sat down with pro scooter rider Carson Schiefner to find out more. The truth is that scooters are not skateboarding’s enemies. A ton of scooter kids are intrigued by skateboarding or would love to try it. There is so much potential and yet we’ve gotten to a point where lashing out a scooter kids is just a regular occurrence from skaters. Except, this lashing out and making other riders feel like crap hasn’t stopped or slowed the rise of scooters. In fact, the scooter kids outnumber the skater kids. And some scooter kids are skaters – or former skaters. With so much dissent in our society, maybe it’s time to reconsider things from a different perspective. This post aims to give you a different perspective. Should you wish NOT to read it, that’s your prerogative. However, in my experience, opening your mind to alternative ideas is not always a bad thing. You have been warned: “Skateboarders may not like the little scooter kids at the skatepark, but if you are nice to them, they could potentially be great skateboarders one day. Those little kids look up to older skaters. Skateboarders have to understand that scooters are not going anywhere – deal with it and accept it.”– KEVIN HARRIS Some thoughts from Carson Schiefner – Pro Scooter Rider BACKGROUND“I originally started out skateboarding. I was 10 years old. I grew up with skateparks. I started scootering when I was around 13. I went to the skatepark and started messing around trying to land tricks. I didn’t think it would turn into anything. But it did and now I compete.
THE STATISTIC THAT FEELS TRUE There are probably twice as many scooter participants in North America as there are skateboarders. But even if there aren’t, it sure feels like it! MAKING A LIVINGI ride for Lucky Pro Scooters and the Scooter Farm. My sponsors fly me out to competitions. I can alsoget money for videos. WHERE SOME OF THE HATE MIGHT COME FROMI know that it’s a lot easier to pick up scootering than skateboarding. Maybe this is where skateboarders pick up some of their hate from. I learned a lot more tricks on a scooter and it was much easier to learn these tricks than skateboard tricks. I think a big factor in the hate is the young kids riding around who don’t know park etiquette and happen to get in everyones way. THE CULTUREIt’s getting there. It started out with some small companies – like a family thing. There are companies that make clothing specifically for this market. Scooter brands for helmets. But just wait – in a few more years there will be a lot more available. THE BUSINESSWorldwide there are a few very big scooter shops. The best stuff can be hard to find locally. most people, including myself get it through the online shops. It would be amazing to have a high end local shop here in Vancouver I DON’T OWN A SKATEBOARDCurrently I don’t own a skateboard but I will pick one up and ride if there is one around. WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE RIDICULED BY SKATEBOARDERS AT A SKATEPARKMost of the time I didn’t give a shit. I’d just ignore them. If I was with a group of scooter kids it would be easier. Then again, there would always be more scooters than skateboarders. Hearing skaters remarks didn’t change anything for me.COMPANIES HAVE TRIED TO MAKE A PROPER SCOOTER SHOE At one time I rode for a company trying to market to the scooter demographic. Honestly, it wasn’t anything special – pretty much like a regular skate shoe. But down the road, I am sure they’ll be someone creating something. SKATEBOARDING HAS A HAWK AND SCOOTERING HAS A FOX – TANNER FOXTanner Fox’s video’s on YouTube. He’s got over 6.3 MILLION subscribers on YouTube. INJURIESI’ve seen some pretty horrific injuries in scootering. When you hit your shin on a tail whip it f**king hurts! I think scooters are more dangerous – it’s mostly metal and there are parts than can cut you. GROMS ON SCOOTERSI can’t stand them either and I ride a scooter! They get in the way. But at the same time, if you’re a skater and you’re nice to that kid, you never know – he might eventually turn into the next Tony Hawk. IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS…As much as skateboarders don’t like the little scooter kids, they are not going anywhere. You’ll have to deal with it and accept. Scootering is growing. Some other insights from Kevin: WHAT’S IN A NAME?If scooter kids, BMX’ers and skateboarders are all using the park, is it still reasonable to call it a skatepark? Maybe the better term is “all wheel park.” THE LEARNING CURVEIt’s way easy to learn how to scooter when compared to skateboarding. It’s easy to pick up some basic tricks. This is why young kids gravitate to scooters. Skateboarding is much harder and generally requires way more dedication and practice. FIVE YEAR GRAVITATIONAL PULLIn the next five years, scooter kids who are supporting skate brands like Vans will gravitate towards their own brands – those scooter brands that support scootering. PRO RIDERSThere is now an established pro circuit within scooters. Young kids look up to these pros. The kids that start now at age 8 will probably still do it at age 25 to 30. MARKET TRENDS FOR SHOPSLongboarding is about 60% down. The regular street skate business is anywhere from 30 to 40% down. We have close to 400 skateshops in Canada that we sell to. Most of them are struggling. The one’s that aren’t struggling are bringing in scooters. THE REALITY FOR SOME SKATE SHOPS The shops that don’t want anything to do with scooters, it’s hard for them to bridge the gap. We worked with a skate shop on Vancouver Island. A decision was made to bring in scooters. Sales tripled. The only reason why the shop (and the adjacent skate park) are still around is due to scooters. THE REALITY FOR SOME SKATEPARKSWhere I live in British Columbia, a retailer opened up a skatepark at the local mall. It costs quite a bit of money to operate this park. There were signs stating “no scooters.” The pressure came down from parents to allow scooters, so they changed the rules. They allow scooters in two days a week – which I was in full agreement with. One time I was there, there was no one at the park. Five scooter kids came in. They turned those kids away just because it wasn’t scooter day. It was insane. THE EXPERIMENTI did an experiment at a number of skateparks that I visited. I’d ride and a lot of kids would start to stare. When I finished, both skate kids and scooter kids gathered around. The skaters would ask me about skateboarding and then I’d go to the scooter kids and ask them about scootering. I’d ask them how much they paid, what kind of bearings – those kinds of things. Some kids paid $500, others paid $800. I noticed the higher the price, the cooler the kid. I find the opposite is true in skateboarding. LET’S HEAR FROM YOU!I think scooters are: More controversy here: and here: