“It’s not a sport, it’s a lifestyle”
I hear stuff like that all the time in the skateboarding community and frankly I have to agree with it. Try as they might, corporate conglomerates have tried for decades to reign in the energy of skateboarding. Many have even succeeded in collecting prodigious profits, hosting sponsored events, and even enticing professional skaters into their 26th story office to sign a pile of contract paperwork, but they still can’t procure the lifestyle. See different from any other athletic form of exercise, the lifestyle of skateboarding contains chaos to at least some degree. “Skate and Destroy” doesn’t fit with Nike’s brand image no matter how edgy the phrases on their shirts have been getting. I tell you all this, not to start a rant or even an argument about brands, I tell you this, because it is the primary (and quite honestly) the only rule that matters in the claim that skateboarding is street art.
But skateboarding isn’t illegal…
You are correct topic header! So the question remains as to why even have this discussion on a website blogging specifically about Illegal Street Art. The roots of most legal issues in skateboarding break down to two main infractions; Trespassing and Destruction of Property. The matter of the fact is that property owners are usually perceived as grumpy old farts that have nothing better to do than to chase kids off their property with a broom so they can get back to their afternoon nap. If that last sentence didn’t paint a picture in your mind of a past memory, then you my friend need to stop reading and try to discover a new way to reattempt your childhood. The reality of it is however much different. Property owners in fact, have quite a bit to lose!
- Law Suits
Believe it or not skaters do fall and if the incident leads to an injury, the business is at risk for a law suit because the incident happened on their property.
- Property Damage
A common argument between skaters and property owners though I’m not sure why. It is clear that most forms of skateboarding tear up, scratch, break, bend, chip, or leave wax on property. Notice the damage to the paint on the curb in this short video.
- Disgruntled Customers
While a property owner may be fine with skaters on the premises, if they are trying to run a business, they have to try and comply to the customer’s wishes as well. Many people are tentative around skaters perhaps because of stereotypes or even just concerned with their own wellbeing of not getting ran over by a speedster.
Property owners have taken great measures to ensure that their location is less than appealing for skaters but as the lifestyle itself requires immense persistence, skaters say challenge accepted.
Still, others have taken the high road and have successfully legalized skating where they can.
in their defense
After acknowledging the repercussions of skateboarding it wouldn’t be a bad question to ask, “why not just keep it in the skate parks?”
Well…the easy answer is, they don’t make these in skate parks….
It becomes overwhelmingly obvious the inspiration, dedication, and overall passion fused in with this art form. Even a basic attempt at this puts one at such a risk that only complete faith in your purpose could drive you to perform these stunts. Skaters are on a constant search for new, ground breaking, and never been done. Because of this attitude, much of what they do or where they go can end up being illegal or at least result in some of the aforementioned consequences. It is not necessarily in the interest of skateboarders to leave a physical mark like we see in other street art mediums, but the reward and end product is too good to pass up.
Skateboarding can’t be disregarded or considered anything less than what it is. It is a beautiful combination of athleticism and art. This being said, is it beautiful enough to overlook the ugly mess it can leave behind? Tell me what you think!