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.|
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.