Saturday, January 5, 2019

The Old Skater Manifesto

I wrote this awhile ago for the Neverwas web site. It pairs nicely with the Open Letter to Anyone Who Sucks at Skateboarding

The world is full of really good skateboarders.
We are not among of them.

Some want skateboarding integrated into larger society. 
We do not.  

Skateboarding is mostly comprised of, and marketed to, teenagers/young adults. 
We are an old, irrelevant demographic.

These are our Truths and Decree. This is the Neverwas Manifesto. 

1.    Zero Regulation: There is no “correct” way to use a skateboard. There are no rules.

2.    Anti-Jock: Skateboarding is not win/lose. Point-scale continuums are laughable. The failure/success of one is not the success/failure of another. It is OK to fucking suck at skateboarding.

3.    Anti-Ego: We have nothing to prove, and no one to impress. We do not skate for applause or “likes.”  We skate only for ourselves. The only approval/disapproval that concerns us is our own.

4.    Counter-Narrative: Skateboarding is more than El Toro, Mega Ramps, and NBDs. We are the Common Man counter-narrative to hype media. We are proud of this role, and proud of the counter-examples we set.

5.    Kingdoms of Rut: Some say same tricks/same spot, over and over, is a “rut.” If it is, we hope this rut lasts forever. It is our kingdom.

6.    The Priority of Today: Skating becomes harder with age. We have no remorse over “lost tricks” of yesteryear. Rather, we have only profound gratitude for today’s session. 

7.    Primary Goal of Fun: Progression can be a by-product of fun, yet progression for its own sake is not the objective. We focus on enjoyment, in whatever form it takes. The Serious will never drag us down.

8.    No Illusions: We are under no illusion of perpetual youth and invincibility. We skate accordingly so that we can continue well into the future.

9.    Battle Gear: Avoiding injury today means skating tomorrow. We will proudly wear any amount of safety gear we see fit. Pads are overtly anti-fashion and anti-ego. They are part of a punk counter-narrative.

10.    Anti-Integration: We embrace outsider social status. We do not seek integration with tired social tropes of consume, compete, and outshine. We are not trying to “fit-in.” We are trying to opt-out.

11.    No Carpetbaggers: We strive to only support companies that have their roots in skateboarding, or have skateboarders as their primary market. Locals only. No outsiders. 

12.    Spread Stoke: We keep our spare skate stuff on-hand/in the car/etc. for the purpose of donating it to kids who may need, but cannot afford, better equipment.

13.    Applause: We always cheer when someone lands something they are struggling with, no matter how “simple” it may seem.

14.    Share and Inspire:
We will unabashedly post skate clips on social media, despite skill level. Others have inspired us with their footage, and we hope ours may inspire the similarly situated. That said, rampant selfie-culture is abhorrent. Skate more, film less.  

15.    Anti-Vibe: Greater skill does not mean greater entitlement to make use a of spot/park/etc. We will not be curbed by superior ability. Likewise, if our presence dampens others, we will encourage them to join the session.

16.    Anti-Containment: We seek to skate as few government sanctioned skate parks as possible.

17.    Anti-Trend: We follow no trends. We are who we are.

18.    Follow Own Truth: Others will judge us. Some may think we are “kooks.” Others may “look-up” to us. Neither is of concern. We follow our truths, not other’s opinions.

19.    Purity: We remember why we started. That is why we continue. We are Lifers.

20.    Ambassadors of Stoke: We represent that “skateboarding is fun to do, by being terrible at it.”*  Some may not understand this “contradiction.” Those who do not have missed one of life’s greatest secrets.


CREDITS: This manifesto was distilled from many sources. Some phrases/quotes remain virtually unaltered from their original source. To avoid disruptive cites in every line of text, we acknowledge all sources at a single time. Thank you to the following for their endless Stoke.  

Ditch League (IG @ditchleague)
Jim Thiebaud
*Lance Mountain
Lao Tzu
Lost Boys Skate Club (IG @lostboysskateclub)
Mike V.
Neverwas Crew  (
Old Dude Skate Crew (IG @odsc.official /

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