SUKEBO: Skateboarding in Japan


Skateboarding started in California, USA. Surfing has always been a big thing on the West Coast, so surfers get bored easily when the waves weren't big enough for surfing. Ever wanted to just read manga all the time? It's the same here, where people decided to try to surf on the road. Some surfers attached wooden boards to metal wheels on roller blading trucks, and this was the first skateboard. Today, we have all types of skateboards, including longboards, Pennys and Rip Stiks.


Skateboarders do tricks in skateparks. You can ride on two wheels or grind on handrails, but the classic trick is the ollie, which is jumping on the skateboard. Invented by a skateboarder nicknamed "Ollie", you ride at high speed, then slam your back foot on the tail of the skateboard, and jump. Depending on how you do it, the skateboard can even flip in mid-air. People have adopted the Ollie to jump over great distances (like from a two-storey building), or twist in mid-air in 360, 720 or even 1220-degree turns.


As with any other successful sport, skateboarding spread all over the world, and came to Japan. Japanese skateboarding culture is different from the laidback devil-may-care punks in California, instead adopting the traditional polite Japanese attitude towards skateboarding.

As you can see from the video here, Japanese skateboarders like to do intricate sequences with their skateboards, instead of just the high speed jumps that skateboarders usually stride to achieve. Japanese skateboarders make use of the concrete and road obstacles to make their riding unique. Being one with your environment is exactly what makes the calm and peaceful Japanese who they are. Instead of conquering their surroundings, they incorporate and integrate its strengths.

Skateboarding is not for the faint of heart. You'll fall down a lot, and getting bruises, cuts and broken bones isn't rare. But it is fun, exciting, and a whole new way to experience the city!

To close off, here's another video for you to enjoy!

- ajy

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