Monday, 11 April 2011

Skateboarding Mods

'Skate Sharp' 

Guy Joseph
The aesthetic of a skateboard is as important to a Skateboarding Mod as the style of their shirt collar or cut of their trouser. Elegance of line, nostalgic ride and classic shape, individuality of skateboard defines a Skateboarding Mod’s image. 
Jump aside! Skateboards are the new Lambrettas.

The fickle tribalism of punk, two tone and mod revivalism coincided with the later days of the seventies skateboard craze. As many self-conscious teenagers swapped their Benjy-Boards for bondage trousers or Pacers for parkas, considering them incompatible with youth culture cool, a few feather headed skateboarders kept true to two causes and skated by day whilst attending Jam gigs by night. Thus was born the skateboarding mod. 


Mod on retro-board

Despite sharing a close association with the anti-establishment mood often associated with the skate subculture, these initial skateboarding modernists never infiltrated the music or fashion worlds as successfully as their scruffier contemporaries: skate punks and indie-kid skaters. A hole in the knee of ones bespoke mohair never looks book. This small scene, as a result, faded into folklore, lost but for the odd obscure pub quiz question or the half- remembered beer stained reminiscence of middle-aged polo shirt enthusiasts.

The recent, vibrant and much hyped, Skateboarding Mod revival is the culmination of two positive reactions. Firstly, an eye for sixties styling by professional skateboarders such as Flip Skateboard’s own Geoff Rowley, whose taste in imagery has influenced his own line of skateboard decks and wheels. Targets, scooters and swinging Carnaby graphics adorn his product range and are objects of desire in their own right. A fresh batch of clean-cut skaters, moved by Rowley’s direction, is dressing accordingly. 



Secondly, a wave of the original 79 skaters paying premium prices for the perfect recreation of their childhood ride (ebay auctions in Kryptonics wheels, Alva decks and ACS trucks achieving top quid bids). 

Once a skateboarding mod always a Skateboarding Mod.
Small pockets of these retro skaters plus the new converts are congregating into exclusive Skateboarding clubs, akin to the scooterist scene of yore.

Brian ‘mind my trucks’ Hall of ‘The Blackheath Pandas’, a regular mid-week chapter of Skateboarding Mods, says ‘We prefer two styles of board, the old seventies skateboards or fast and stable longboards for cruse-ability, a nod towards the scooter. And of course the sharp image is the same on or off a board. No hoodies.’

Blackheath Pandas
Despite the Pandas dress code, indie skaters aren’t completely shunned. The music can unite.
Chris Driveby (Skateboarding Mods Facebook group): ‘Some indie-skater bands wouldn’t sound out of place in the sixties. Arctic Monkeys etc., angular guitars and lyrics based on life in the suburbs, sound familiar?’ 

Skate-rophenia - It’s a way of life.

Ed Piller, record producer and Powerflex Fives fan: ‘Skateboarding Mods hunt for the appropriate ‘stylish’ components like vinyl hunters seek specific labels, it’s gotta be accurate, it has to look right.’
And what about ruining your suit? Panda Guy Joseph considers the matter: ‘Don’t fall off.’

You heard him: ‘Suit up and skate.’


Richard Searle (Double Breasted magazine June 2010)  

PART 2. The Skateboarding Mods story continues here

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