Reflecting on some ideas about inclusion and exclusion in skateboarding, here are some further thoughts on terrain that follow on from another recent post.
I had a skate earlier today at the beach. Sand is a hazard to the skateboard, it immediately swallows the wheels and brings all movement to an abrupt halt. It also gets inside the bearings and damages your wheels. It is another terrain in which the skateboard is, by its own nature, excluded.
As I previously discussed, water is similarly a zone of exclusion bringing both danger and damage to the board.
In a short piece to the 1996 Girl Skateboards’ film Mouse, Rick Howard finds himself transported to ‘The Woods’. He proceeds to skate this most unusual terrain. Sticks and leaves again being most inhospitable terrain to the skateboard, the piece is immediately eye catching. Whilst presenting skateboarding in a zone it cannot inhabit Spike Jonze, who directed the short piece, is able to play on the natural imagery of the woods and posit another notion. The suggestion I read is that the city, which melts away as Howard collects his board from the car, is the ‘natural’ realm of the skateboard. Urban space is imagined in its absence as a place of freedom and exploration in its substitution as ‘The Woods’.
A variety of innovations have facilitated a type of off road skateboarding with large wheels and even motors. Yet the standard skateboard design is simply excluded from certain environments and has an affinity with urban space.
There are a variety of examples of snowboarding, sand boarding, and in what one blogger has noted as a homage to Jonze and Howard, Leaf boarding.