The Third Strike

This article appeared in the June, 1986 issue of Thrasher magazine. Thanks to murray ( for transcribing and submitting this article.

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The Third Strike

by Pete Pan

Thrasher, June 1986

Unavoidably, the third death of skateboarding approaches with imminent swiftness. The death throes begin with the introduction of the "back to the Future" mass-production Sears catalog goon set-ups, mass-merchandised by trash merchants like Lechemere's, Ann and Hope, Caldor, and other discount heavens. When the first polyester leisure-suited dork bearing Roller Toy equipment entered my shop, I knew it was coming quicker that I anticipated. He was but the first of many to crush out the butt between his orange- stained paws, and smile through his yellow, cavity-filled chops, trying to tell me what "everyone" is buying. Picking him up by the seat of his shiny bell-bottoms and tossing him out on his fat belly is one of my few pleasures of business.

The third death is here when my 8 year old kid spends hours putting together a fanzine and our skateshop has a stream of little weiners coming in with their own crude renderings. One out of every 10 of these zines is worth using for toilet paper. Basically, they are showcases for the little poser egos... full of skate photos of themselves.

The third death is here because soft-bellied little whiners waddle into the shop, spieling off irrelevant facts about their idols and equipment rather that going out and riding the street. When everyone claims hardcore connections there is no hardcore. The dorks rule the street.

The third death is here because poser salesman and poser store owners are playing up to the soft-bellies with their pseudo-skater routine, when in reality, they have never tasted the pavement through two layers of bloody skin. Nothing sickens me more than listening to phony dorkers tell me what to ride, when they have never ridden anything but a skin flute.

The third death is here, but that's okay. Pretty soon, Bicycle Bob, True Value Hardware and the local bakery shop will have to unload all their "Back to the Future" $49.95 professional models, or eat shit. All the little eunuchoid hairless soft-asses will turn to BMX or soccer, or computers, and old Harvey "the Pro" Gleckman will be getting just what he rightfully deserves... to eat all his protruded inventory and suck in his fat stomach.

The third death is here because town recreation departments are building ramps and 2nd graders wear high fashion rubber band pants with Velcro fasteners. The "Back to the Future" deck plunged the Rambo knife into the back of the serious skating scene. We started skating in '63 as a sadistic way of crashing on pavement at high speeds. Hitting primitive hills at Roger Williams Park and Garden City with rock-hard roller skate garbage wheels was another way of getting bloody. It died in the late 60's, never really approaching fever status. When the craze came back in the mid-70's, it was stronger, producing some quality skaters. It was easy to predict it's second death when toy plastic skates went into the Sears catalog and other fast bucks were pumping out pultruded suicide for $9.95. Skateboarder Mag went from a Cosmopolitan size to a racing form format. The final death rattle was quite evident when the mag turned into Action Now, clutching for diluted dork readership. It was soon totally abandoned by the skaters, followed by the BMX and bodyboarders. When the 3rd wave came it was very weird. There was always the original crew and the few that continued after the craze died in the last 70's. Before you know it some airhead in a hardcore band decides to carry a skateboard on stage during a concert and a few little dorks pick up on it. More dorks pick up on the band and more bands pick up skateboards to pick up more dorks. So began the third craze.

A microcosm of the skate scene can be summarized by the East Side of Providence, home of the chic and debonair Rhode Island rich. It was officially reborn by several college band members at the Rhode Island School of Design, and then spread to various prep schools that dot the area. Since it wasn't fair that only the rich little geeks could afford those expensive set-ups, we can thank the corporate board manu's for spreading self-destruct, non-repairable models to Cranston, Warwick, Barrington and other suburban hot spots.

As local stylist Bill Gaza points out. "Judgment day is near when you see Mr. B come from the depths of Hell." Skateboarding is becoming baseball. The kids know more about contest results than they do about skating. Skate heroes are being made because of this. Skating should not be talked about. It should be done. Facts and figures won't help you in the street.

I might be an old fart, but I've been skating and surfing since 1963, and will continue until I drop dead. I've seen posers come and go for 23 years. I will feast on the third death of skateboarding. It will clean the foul air of the fakers and phonies who pollute our pavements. The next class of prep schoolers will find another sport to poison. As lame as I am, I will still be looking for banks to ride, while they forget what a skateboard is. In three years I'll be riding some bank with my kid and the next generation of posers will laugh and tell us what a kook sport skating is. I've heard it before, and I'll hear it again.

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