WORDS: Stu Gomez
This is your week in skateboarding, through the eyes of The Berrics…
It’s always a little jarring when a mainstream publication features skateboarding. Naturally, your skatey sense starts tingling and you brace for some inauthentic nonsense that your grandma could’ve written. The glaring historical errors and technically incorrect trick names are easy to spot and, basically, inevitable.
And it can be infuriating when it seems like the journalist covering our culture is trying to infantalize skateboarding—too many references to childhood; too many “I get paid to have fun!” pull quotes—so, of course, we’re defensive about this shit. We’re well aware that skateboarding is for children.
But when your favorite skateboarders are getting the spotlight in glossy mags for their pursuits outside of skateboarding, which was the case this week with budding model/actor Na-Kel Smith and Hollywood (golf) swingers Koston, Malto, and Huf, you can’t really get mad at it. Good for them!
GolfDigest‘s feature, “At the Intersection of Skater Culture and Golf,” attempts to make sense of the phenomenon of skaters who keep a set of clubs in their trunks. I, for one, have never understood this. Granted, I’ve tried my hand at golf for a while—back when "Tiger Woods PGA Tour" came out for the Nintendo Wii—and it was an embarrassment, to say the least. I pissed off many an old white man with my n00bish antics. Every day was like a Casablanca marathon—too many bogeys. When I gave up golf for good, I distinctly remember thinking, At least I have skating.
Somehow today, golf continues to be a leisurely side activity for well-to-do skaters. Meaning you need some serious scrilla to keep up the habit. It’s not exactly a “people’s sport”; there are hidden costs galore, longstanding traditions, and a form of strict etiquette that would make the last days of Love Park seem like the early days of J.Kwon in comparison. But it’s an equalizing sport—the game is mentally and emotionally taxing, and you’re able to show your group what you’re really made of. (In my case, not much.) There’s a reason why there are water hazards: at a certain point, it feels good to just throw your clubs in the pond and be done with it.
Pictured clockwise, from top left: Eric Koston, Happy Gilmore, Bill Murray, the Gopher, Keith Hufnagel, Sean Malto, Atiba Jefferson, and his brother.
So what’s the connection between skateboarding and golf? Why would grown men want to walk around hitting balls all day? Is it a fad, or just a sign that you have too much time/money on your hands? Max Adler tries to connect the dots himself, in an admirable but ultimately fruitless exercise in cultural analysis:
“Like golf, skateboarding is about managing misses.”
“…it’s a snapped ankle instead of a lost ball.” It actually could be a lost ball, too.
When making a case that skating and golf are “closer to brothers than cousins,” Adler states that “the basis for either uniform is a pair of pants.” Oh word? I guess it depends on how much fun you want to have on the links.
Adler goes on to compare the sport to skateboarding by appealing to our latent renegade tendencies. He gives a short history lesson about golf having its roots as an outlaw sport in 15th century Scotland. Let me tell you—when golf is outlawed, only outlaws will play golf. Kinda makes you see Malto in a new light, doesn’t it?
Of course, this being a golf mag, they focus a little too much on the skaters’ net worth and business credentials. Stuff that your dad would be interested in.
The article misses one key connection, though. Golf and skateboarding both have an enormously unsustainable impact on the environment. Golf, with its resource-sucking expanse of well-tended courses—over 1,150 in California alone. Such a mind-boggling waste of water. And skateboarders? We’re always draining pools.
Anyhoo… In other news:
Bryan Herman announced his departure from Emerica after an amazing seventeen-year relationship with the brand. He said peace in the classiest way possible.
Here are this week’s Berrics videos presented in easily bingeable bites.
Bangin! Tony Tave
It Must Be Nice… to be Yuto Horigome
Attack the Block with the Thunder team.
Way back in 2013 with the Blind team. Check back Monday for the team’s long overdue United Nations! The ender is visionary.
House of Sprain with Gustavo “not Felipe/not Carlos” Ribeiro.
Mac Daddy Toothpick God comes correct with the Weekender, from the 2016 DVS United Nations.
Sewa is known for his late flips—and lateness, in general. But he always comes correct (e.g., as in this First Try Friday).