Five years ago AXS Longboard Retailer Magazine did a story on Facebook. I was puzzled by the power of social media and was quite taken with a book that laid things out in a vastly different perspective (more on that in a minute). You can read it here. Most of you have probably never even HEARD of this magazine, but it was my way of trying to bring another perspective to the market. It was a business to business publication. I think the piece still stands up but right now, I want to focus my thoughts on how Facebook is affecting folks who actually skate. Before I launch into this, I wanted to let you know about a book that I felt was probably way ahead of its time…or absolutely no where near its time. The book is called, wait for it, This book is 5 years old. It will either delight you or drive you crazy. I am not going to get into the nitty gritty details of some of the insanely passionate arguments that rage daily on FB. I am not going to blast those who spend hours defending their point of view or chastising their fellow skaters. The latest post to cause an explosion of heated debate concerns a video that features a skater destroying a helmet – both with a baseball bat and by actually jumping on it. Adding to this, the rider in the video skates down a hill without a helmet. WARNING: I am not going to get into a debate over helmets right now. Concrete Wave publishes photos with people wearing helmets and NOT wearing helmets. We will NEVER turn away a photo if a rider has a helmet on. I will save the helmet debate for another column. What I am most interested in is this: Is Facebook actually killing the stoke of skaters more than it is adding to their stoke? This is a very hard question to answer, but I sense that it’s not limited to longboarding. Have a peek at this column.I am not suggesting that you cut Facebook at of your life. I am merely suggesting that you start to personally examine whether or not Facebook stokes you out as a skater more than it depresses you. If you find yourself not really feeling stoked, then I believe it is time to critically examine why this is happening. I will admit this is something that has happened and continues to happen in my own life. I love Facebook and I hate Facebook. I know that Facebook has been a crucial way for many skate brands to grow their business. I also know that the skate business is cyclical and right now, the feelings of pure stoke often get drowned out by the drama. Don’t get me wrong, drama, debate and skateboarding have been woven together since Dogtown and Down South battled in the pages of SkateBoarder and beyond. The difference now of course is that it is 24-7 drama and debate, should you wish. And that really is the key. It’s what YOU wish. If you find that the most recent Facebook debate is not warming the cockles of your heart, perhaps it’s time for a temporary detox? Here’s a challenge to anyone reading this column: can you go 12 hours without posting anything on Facebook? Can you go 24? But beyond this, if Facebook destokes you and yet you continue to spend hours on it, could going for a skate solve the problem?
The post from Malakai Kingston on Facebook yesterday has stirred up quite an outpouring of shock and support. Malakai, along with Erik Basil grew Silverfish into an incredible website that supported dozens of skate communities. It had fans that spanned the world and literally millions of posts. Many skate brands got their start on the ‘Fish and it was great to see the interaction between owners and potential customers. Of course, there were literally dozens of keyboard wars between foes. I am not sure how Malakai and Erik had the strength to police things for all these years. I know that I would find that a thankless task. I remember when I first migrated from NCDSA to Silverfish. Of course, for a lot of folks reading this, the letters NCDSA won’t mean anything. Such is the world of digital. But the truth is that before Facebook, YouTube, smartphones etc, Silverfish set the standard and used its massive reach to influence a generation of skaters. Concrete Wave (and its predecessor, International Longboader Magazine) has strived to promote all types of skateboarding. Thanks to Silverfish, our message was spread wider than even we could have imagined. Longboarding grew up on the web and Silverfish was the undisputed leader in promoting a welcoming vibe. All of us who ride “different” types of skateboards should be extremely grateful for the tireless work that the Silverfish team put in. From what I can recall, there were some issues with the backup of data. As most of you know, I am not technical so I can’t explain what happened but somewhere along the way, a huge swath of SF data went kaput. I find this very unfortunate because I know that thousands of skaters contributed some very worthwhile comments and stories. Sadly, it would appear that most of the data is not available. The site is now dark and when I visited there this morning, it confused the hell out of my browser. Of all the memories I have of Silverfish, it’s the memories of meeting up with Erik and Malakai at an Irish pub after or during the Action Sports Retailer Show. Those meetups to discuss the industry and just decompress are something that I will never forget. If you had an opportunity to attend one of these events (especially the one where I brought Spike, the iguana), consider yourself truly fortunate. Erik and Malakai, the world of skateboarding owes you a tremendous amount of gratitude. You both have done so much to foster stoke and build a worldwide skate community. Erik Basil Malakai Kingston While many pixels will be spilled over the course of the next few days about the work that Erik and Malakai did, I think these words best sum up how many people feel. Silverfish may be gone, but it will never be forgotten. On behalf of skaters everywhere, THANK YOU.
Earlier this year, we collaborated with the crew over at Lume Cube to learn about what exactly went into the making of the world’s most versatile camera light. In short, we found out that a successful Kickstarter campaign was responsible for the creation of a device that packs a massive amount of light into a tiny, handheld block. With promises of lighting up skate spots forbidden by darkness without the use of elaborate lighting setups, we had to give it a shot once the Winter weather left NJ. Check it out: Check out some of the incredible photos taken with Lume Cube below. For more, take a peek here: