Skateboarding has come a long way since the Dogtown days. Depending on your age, you might have seen Welcome to Hell or The DC Video or even Gleaming the Cube and gotten a board of your own. The sport probably had some brief popularity with you and your friends, but once you broke a bone or got kicked off the Safeway loading dock for the 15th time, the board went back in your parents garage and rarely saw the light of day after that.
Maybe there were a few moments when the sport popped back onto your radar. X-games moments like Tony Hawk’s 900 or Ryan Sheckler winning gold at 13. And when Tony Hawk put out that damn game, you might have tried to impress the neighborhood groms with a kickflip.
But for true skate aficionados, the sport has continually grown and evolved through various stages of mainstream popularity. City-sponsored street spots are being opened to skateboarding regularly. And instead of being thrown into the mix with other action sports for a 45-second spot on TV, today’s professional skateboarders are legitimized as real-life professional athletes. Part of the new wave of skating is Street League — the brain child of Rob Dyrdek. The event has become the premier contest series in skateboarding. With international stops, a legitimate qualifying circuit, and major prize money on the line, Street League opens the gates, allowing the top men and women in the sport to showcase their sport at a high level.
This past weekend, Street League‘s season culminated in their Super Crown World Championship in Chicago. The field of 25 men had been thinned down to just eight over the course of the season, while the women were invited to participate for the first time ever. If the weekend was proof of anything, it’s that skateboarding’s progression shows no signs of slowing down.
WOMEN’S SUPER CROWN
“Some of those girls are gnarly, man. They go for it.” — Chaz Ortiz
“This course is pretty hefty and dangerous. They’re stepping to it no problem.” — Paul Rodriguez
“Girls’ skating has progressed in such a crazy way. I have so much respect for them, man.” — Chaz Ortiz
“Sunday was a great kick off to the women’s contest series. We’re gonna figure out how to do more events like that and continue to promote that side of skateboarding.” — Brian Atlas, president and COO of Street League
MEN’S SUPER CROWN
“Skateboarding is such a big thing now. It’s cool to see so many kids doing it. It keeps them out of trouble. Especially out here in Chicago.” — Chaz Ortiz
“It’s definitely a part of our vision to make sure the skaters in SLS have careers as professional athletes. The money they make really helps solidify their careers and is a positive force in professional skateboarding.” — Brian Atlas
“I see skating growing bigger and bigger. Every kid skates now, and it’s cool because, in Chicago, it’s crazy. I’ve been living here for a long time, and I remember going around and never seeing a skater, and if you did see someone, you knew them. Now everywhere you go, you see a skater. It’s awesome.” — Chaz Ortiz
“Nyjah has those hard tricks that get him high scores, but really, you only need four high scores. He just knows what those are going to be.” — Chaz Ortiz
“We want to expand outside of the arena. Video-contests, on the street side, amateur contest series, we want to expand the spectrum.” — Brian Atlas
Growing up in the ’90s, I never imagined that skateboarding would have this level of respect on this big of a stage. But what does the future hold? Will we see Olympic skating?
Brian Atlas went on to tell us, “We’re trying to go along with different extensions… The IOC actually announced that Tokyo 2020 has Skateboarding on the shortlist.” Later, he told ABC News, “There are a few conflicting schools of thought about whether skateboarding should be on the Olympic stage, and ultimately we decided that if it’s even potentially headed in that direction, then we’re big believers that it has to be in the right hands.”