My new article on Middle-Aged skateboarders has just been published in the International Review for the Sociology of Sport. The research explores the meaning of skateboarding beyond its common reproduction as a youth culture.

I was fortunate to have the participation of a diverse selection of middle aged skateboarders across the world who gave their time to explain what skateboarding meant to them and what it is like being a skateboarder later in life. Throughout the research I was struck by how generous and enthusiastic my informants were, frequently directing me towards videos of blogs that echoed their passions and interests. I was similarly fortunate to have J. Grant Brittain provide permission for the reproduction of his legendary Animal Chin ramp photos. Thanks to all those who have helped.

In addition I develop some theoretical perspective on the value of age as a form of social capital, or ‘temporal capital.’ This suggests that subculturally older skateboarders can be valued, and can find value because of the time invested in skateboarding. Thus, in the face of ageing and injured bodies, older skateboarder are still able to carve out legitimacy and forms of authenticity.

To provide a little taste of the content of the article I include a few quotes to provide some context.

On what skateboarding teaches…

I made friends with people that I would possibly not have otherwise made friends with, so there’s a social mobility there that I’m getting to know people that we have something in common, and it’s a passion, and then finding out something else about some people, that’s growing up, that’s empathising I guess. It’s trying to figure out who you are and who is everybody else… We met people from other towns. This is not something you do as a working class person, you don’t really even meet people from the next school unless it’s for the purposes of combat… I’ve always said that skateboarding was a fabulously democratic activity because of these reasons. It’s not an expensive, but very sophisticated activity.

On the meaning of skateboarding…

I’ve got 31 years of experience behind me at this point, so it’s obviously not the same. But it feels a lot more like it did when I first started. It feels a lot more pure. It feels a lot more, almost integrated into me as a person… when I talk about skateboarding in this sense and what it means to me as a person in 2016 as a 42-year-old, it’s when language really starts to break down… It’s something that’s beyond language and words.

On the community…

Skateboarding seems to be able to hold that complexity you know, like people are allowed to
be dysfunctional in skateboarding in a way that they’re not in other activities. I mean it’s like a
fucking community centre sometimes when you’re at the skate park…like a social security

February 21, 2017