Monday, 7 March 2011


There weren’t many skateboard shops in Scotland when I started skating, and they were located far from city centres so were hard to reach. I would pore over the product pages of skateboard magazines and work myself into a covetous frenzy before the rare occasions I got to visit a shop. The nearest was Clan Skates 2 in Dundee, a poky wee place with such little stock that I had to compromise on whatever deck I had formed a fixation upon in a skateboard magazine. But I had no frame of reference, it was the only skate shop that I knew, and I loved it in there. I love skateboards. I love skate shoes. I love skate videos, and there was usually one of those screening on a little portable TV in the shop. I retain this obsession with skateboard products and skateboard shops, and I still can't pass one by.

There is a new shop right next to Waterloo Skate Park, which is the main place that I skate in Sydney. But this is all I've ever seen of the place:

This isn't photoshopped. It is actually called that.
First, the name: BOYZ SK8N. It could be the title of a gay porn movie. It sounds as if it was named by a pathetic old pederast as part of a seedy plan to get his mitts on little skater kids, but whose only point of contact with skateboarding is that Avril Lavigne song. It makes no commercial sense for it implies exclusivity to males, inasmuch as it implies anything, being nonsensical pseudo-textspeak mishmash of such insulting stupidity that I hope for its speedy and catastrophic failure.

All I have ever seen of this shop is closed shutters. It hasn't been open any time I've been there, and I go to the adjacent skatepark two or three times a week. It’s common to find a lackadaisical or inept approach to business among skateboard shops; lost and bungled mail orders, badly stocked shops, shops opening late, and shops staffed either by non-skaters who don't know their product, or by skaters who are hostile to everyone but their immediate friends. 

It isn't difficult to run a skate shop - skateboarding is a thriving scene with a covetable cultural cachet for non-skaters (everyone wears skate shoes and clothing these days) - and although there will be many pressures upon a small business of this kind, I have seen dozens of skate shops fail over my years skating, and I've seen those with rudimentary competence flourish. Like most skaters, I harbour ambitions of somehow making a living from skateboarding and I have toyed with the idea of opening a skate shop, so I don’t blame skaters for giving it a go. But we’re not entitled to make a living out of skating in this way unless we have the requisite skills to make a retail business work, and for that shop put something back into skating. BOYZ SK8N does the opposite – it’s an embarrassment. 


  1. Personally I think Z-Yobs is a great name and an obvious insiders nod to arguably our most famous early cultural reference point the Z-Boys.

  2. "It isn't difficult to run a skate shop..."

    Hmmm, business ambitions?? Rock it!! That would be so cool!

  3. "It isn't difficult to run a skate shop".

    I know, this is a questionable statement. It's kind of a response to how many times I've heard the opposite. Becoming an astronaut or a surgeon is difficult. Getting a diploma in retail, a small business grant and supplying a specialist product - people do it all the time.

    I do have little fantasies about running a skate shop.

    Z-YOBS - I like it. Let's do lunch.

  4. ditto this for drum and guitar shop clerks. It's the same irritating combo of ineptitude, laziness, and bewildering disdain for customers. I guess that's why Allan's has devoured them all.

    PS - can i work at Z-Yobs please? I am an indolent misanthrope and i know nothing about skating