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Remember when you were in elementary school and you were friends with everyone you met? And then you got a little bit older and started to reign in your group of friends? That’s what longboarding is doing: it’s consolidating.

Those who got into the sport 10 years ago have moved on or are in a niche section of the sport: freeriding, downhill, or freestyle riding.

The novelty of new longboards being everywhere at school and on the sidewalks across America has worn off. They’re no longer the new, mysterious kid at school everyone wants to get to know.

If you look at the history of skateboards, you’ll see it went through the same thing: Like longboarding, skateboarding experienced a surge of popularity followed by a sweeping decline in sales causing major brands and corporate funding to quickly cut and run in the late 80’s. hosoi BW

And it took its niche riders to carry the industry back into popular culture.

The diehard skateboarders built brands using innovative marketing rooted in love for the sport. It was these brands that helped rebuild the crumbling foundation of an almost twice forgotten industry. This changing of the guard started in the early 90’s.

Skateboarding saw a large rise in popularity in the 80’s. Brands were exploding. Money was being poured into marketing, skateparks, and television to support this radical new sport. And then the skateboarding wave crashed. As it receded, it left broken brands and ramshackle skateparks in its wake. But those who rode that wave and loved it enough to paddle back out and wait for that next big set, were rewarded.

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Brand owners and pioneers such as Mike Carroll, Rick Howard, Jamie Thomas, Steve Berra, Eric Koston, and Ed Templeton are all names synonymous with street skateboarding’s old guard today. They’re also all names of skateboarders who took the industry into their own hands 20+ years ago by developing their own brands and are now getting ready to pass the baton after two decades of success.

Longboarding’s future is in the hands of its riders. The riders who are riding every weekend. The guys and girls volunteering to set up hay bales on race day, the guys who are organizing events, the guys and girls who are skating because they love it.

This industry does not live and die with big brand backing.

Sure, it makes headlines, but selling longboardings is ultimately up to every longboarder riding today. It’s up to us to make it interesting, to develop quality content, to make it cool. It’s up to the longboarding community to make sure we push through this awkward time for our industry and really see how far we can really ride this wave.

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