The importance of skate shops cannot be underestimated. I’m not talking about the completes section of Sportsman’s Warehouse, or the board rack at the back of the surf shop. I’m also not talking about the fly-by-night Rad Dads who have never skated but see a delusional buck, so they dip their toe into the skate pool for five minutes and get reality chills, then it’s back to the computer to enrol in a course entitled, “How to make money doing digital marketing with Neil Malan.’
I’m talking about brick and mortar stores that hold events, back riders, go on trips, organise sessions and moreover provide a daily space where the local skate community can meet up, talk shit, share opinions and ideas, and ultimately, be skaters amongst skaters.
I own a skateshop, and I wish there were more in SA. Legit skateshops with the right intention. And that generally means that an actual skateboarder owns it. That may not be a hard and fast rule, as a skateboarder is still a human and can still be an asshole, as can the non-skater potentially have his heart in the right place, but a Skater Owned Store is generally a good way to go about it. I’m not into ballet, so why the fuck would I want to sell tutu’s and ballet shoes?
We went out with Vans to the Shop Riot Finals in Amsterdam. 15 skateshops, from as far as Russia to Sweden to Greece, sent out their teams to Noord Skatepark in Amsterdam to compete for much needed Euros. The standard of skateshop skaters is no joke out there, but the community of skateshops from all over the world converging on a beer-readied skatepark to share stories and make future skate trip plans are really what it’s all about.
It’s good to see independent skateshops surviving, some perhaps even thriving.
The photos will tell the skateboard story, but massive congrats to Venero from Spain who took first.
All Photos by Marcel Veldman:
2019 Vans Shop Riot Finals:
1. Venero (ES)
2. Skate Boutique (BE)
3. Burnside (NL)
4. Junkyard (SE)
5. Flatspot (UK)
Best Street Edit:
Maybe next year some SA stores crack the invite nod… so get building.
Words – Adrian Day