Last Wednesday, The New York Times had a feature in their Fashion & Style section: Skateboarding Past a Midlife Crisis.
According to the story, the new symbol for the midlife crisis is the skateboard! Yup, forget the little red sports car, aging members of Generation X, and even those that are older, are reclaiming their youth and rebellious streak by “shredding” on a board. Some are even venturing to show off their old tricks in a skate park.
Apparently, it’s a detail noticed in the media lately. A recent satire in The Onion headlined, “43-Year-Old With Skateboard Not Fooling Anyone,” showed a close-up of Tony Hawk looking somewhat weathered in his helmet.
But, it sorta makes sense that it’s now appealing to the 40+ somethings since skateboarding itself is entering middle age. Like the older members of Generation X, the sport was born in the ’60s.
Most of the older skateboarders are riding longboards, which are usually about 40 to 48 inches long, compared with traditional street decks, which are around 32 inches. Considered the luxury sedans of the skateboarding world, these decks are fitted with bigger, softer wheels to roll over sidewalk cracks and pebbles and are built for cruising and carving, not tricks and aerials. They’re perfect for riders who no longer want to risk broken bones by grinding rails and ollying curbs, which they once did as teenagers.
Longboard manufacturers Honey Skateboards of Colorado, Bustin Boards of New York and Original Skateboards of New Jersey report a surge in sales among older riders, indicative of the aging skateboard demographic. The number of skateboarders over 35 has nearly doubled in the last decade, to 742,000, from 404,000, and now accounts for 10 percent of the market, according to the National Sporting Goods Association, a trade group in Mount Prospect, Ill.
What are your thoughts? Are you over it with the skate geezers or say more power to them?