This year has not been without it’s fair share of tragedies, and the loss of Dylan Rieder back in October left a dark cloud over the skateboarding community. But if there is one thing that skaters know, it’s resilience. Whilst 2016 has seemed like the beginning of the end, skaters continue to do what they do best – push on.
So in a year marked by death, deception and Donald Trump, we take a look at some of the best and most important skate stories of the past 12 months – reinforcing the positivity that skateboarding can bring when we most need it. From Nigeria releasing its first homegrown-edit to Lacey Baker’s victory at Street League, skaters across the world continue to shine through the darkest times.
Skating South Africa’s Valley of a Thousand Hills
Indigo skate camp is giving Isithumba’s very first generation of young skaters a deeper connection with each other and their divided country. They are helping to shape the village’s very first generation of skaters, who are growing up with a vastly different outlook on life to their elders.
But are the Indigo crew’s skills, honed in their rural skate paradise, up to taking on the kids from the big city? Read more.
Cuba’s first skate team are ready to take on the world
As Cuba’s emerging skateboarding scene opens up to the world, Toda Fuerza is the first brand with ambitions to sponsor artists, skaters and compete internationally.
“The coolest thing about Cuban skate culture right now is that there is something inside people that drives them to keep pushing forward. We’re stoked about all the new things happening and people from outside coming to help and support the skate community here.” Read more.
Brian Anderson coming out as gay doesn’t let skateboarding off the hook
Five years ago, Huck reported on a culture of silence that encouraged gay skaters to remain in the closet. Now pro Brian Anderson has come out publicly for the first time. Whilst B.A’s coming out is, indeed, monumental, what does it mean for skateboarding as a whole?
‘‘Brands that are run by older skaters are scared [of how] younger kids will react because they think of how they were themselves at that age and how they would have reacted. When in actual fact, generation Z are the most progressive and gender fluid of all of us.’’ Read more.
Skating through the pain and prosthetics
Clément Zannini has a prosthetic leg, but he’ll be damned if that’s going to stop him skating. His kickflips and grinds are of a calibre many people would struggle to achieve, even without a prosthetic leg.
“I push further than my limits, I know them, but I don’t care about them. I am 100% about skateboarding. I don’t give a fuck about anything else.” Read more.
Female pro-skater Lacey Baker on winning the second time around
Lacey Baker might be one of a small group of female pro-skaters, but that doesn’t make the grind any easier in the male dominated scene. After coming fourth last year, Hannah Bailey catches up with Lacey as she takes top spot in this year’s Street League Skateboarding women’s competition.
She is persistently pushing the boundaries of the female skate scene so that future women, girls and people can be part of it without judgement and for the right reasons and returns. Read more.
How will Olympic selection affect surfing and skateboarding?
News that surf and skate will feature in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics has divided the community. Is Olympic selection the death of a counterculture or a bright new dawn for surf and skate?
“Skateboarding is so much more than a set of rules and a points system, and although there are tonnes of competitions all over the world, competitiveness is not at the heart of skateboarding for most.” Read more.
Digging the Dirt: The skaters leaving the rat race to live a life off-grid
Skateboarding and farming may seem like completely disconnected realms, but the cultures are connected by a shared set of values and a passion for the land. We catch up with some skaters, who are also farmers, to see what drew them to a more off-the-grid way of life.
“Maybe it was something about raising children in an ever-increasing toxic environment and trying to give them the best quality food without going completely broke, which of course we usually were… the people selling you food in the industrial system don’t care at all if you’re healthy. They only care about making money.” Read more.
Watch Nigeria’s first homegrown skate edit
Nigerian skate brand WAFFLESNCREAM present Jide, the country’s first self-produced skate edit, shot in the urban grind of Africa’s most populous city – Lagos.
“This edit is the first attempt at recording the Lagos scene. This video is where our story starts and is not filmed or edited by an external source, but by us. We are asking for help to give it a big push and show the world we exist.” Read more.
Video: Skating through a waterpark on lockdown
What do you do when it’s time to drain a waterpark of hundreds of thousands of litres of water and shut it down for maintenance? Invite three world-class skateboarders in for some epic dry runs and slides, of course. Read more.
Emily Earring skates to avoid the traps of her First Nation reservation
In the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota, Emily Earring has taken skateboarding by the scruff of the neck and made it her own story.
“Certain people you know can never keep a promise. It’s always been like that here. But finding skateboarding, you’re independent. Because you have to do the tricks. You have to push around. And you have to push yourself to get better. No one can make you.” Read more.