If skateboarding isn't for everybody, it isn't for anybody... pt.1

(And we all know, it was always for anybody)

By the time I sniff out a session: maybe 10 minutes in, I know the score. You guys have all seen me... I show up, usually head to whatever is 3ft. or shorter, start stalling smiths and "finding my center". Then I start the heckling: good natured quips and jibes meant to loosen us up, suss out our attitudes, and perhaps turn things "back to fun" for a while.

You see, skateboarding has gone through I'd say about 20 years of grooming, and we have been trimmed down to the visceral competition of defining the "pecking order".

If you shred, you rule the roost.

If you suck, you are low on the totem.

But I came to skateboarding, a refugee, discovering speak-easy culture and the punk rock freedom of self-definition.

I am an "old guy".

You probably don't remember this, but around 2001, a lot of us "old guys" returned to the fold of skateboarding. Some documentaries were being made that rooted us back into the 70's era "come one come all" culture, and we started getting our boards out of moth balls...

not me.

I had been on my board for years and years by then, I took a break in the early nineties to settle my issues with spirituality, matrimony, higher ed, and fatherhood, and had been scooting around regularly since 96.

But I noticed the competitiveness and groupthink, the retail kingpinnery and the corporate brand money grabbing, turning skate culture into something "for those who can cut it". It was "for the strong".

"The Strong" wound up meaning it was for athletic, young, impressionable, intellectually pliable, boys. Mostly white. Mostly middle class or up.

If you were a minority: You had to rip.

If you were chubby: You had to be on the come up, without questioning the abuse you go, losing weight and learning tricks. You had to be a Try Hard and toe the line.

If you were a girl: god help you. Through the nineties, 2000s and on, girls were the objects of attitudes straight outta the 50's...

Over it all, skateboarding was for "those who could do it".

And this, kids, is why little kids, who are too smart for that kinda shit, ride scooters. We did this with our marketing and our retailers and our don't-question-retail-authority-boys club-culture.

And now we have the previously unwelcome "old men" coming around making new skaters who don't fit the mold.

Not only old men, but also "skate moms" who are putting urethane on the concrete with mobs of kids who are finding shelter under their encouraging wings.

It is a new dawn and the future is looking bright!


leonard true
Dirty Skateboards

A young ripper friend of mine's skateboard brand crossed my feed today. Dirty Skateboards. Out of the western/southern middle part of america... Missouri? Arkansas? I kind of suck at details...

I have had the pleasure of playing skrateboardt with Justin and his jolly crew on a number of occasions, in Hernando Mississippi. Events in Hernando are always super good, because of the efforts of Edward Pidgeon, Chad Crawford, and the good folks at the Optimist Club of Hernando...

But what i wanted to say, is that i really like the fact that, while he isn't pressing the decks that Dirty produces, Justin has taken full control of the GRAPHIC process... He is screening every deck, every batch, old-style.

This avoids a lot of laminate damage (heat transfer is a complete joke when it comes to laminate quality), and allows Justin to use deeper, or more curved (they're not all deep) concaves and decks... more contour=more control...

This is a REAL skate brand.

And I thought taking a moment to point that out would stimulate us to good thought and discussion. Connect with us on Facebook and YouTube and share your opinion. 

leonard true
What does it take to keep skateboarding fun?

Who knew that it took this much vigilance, and hard work in thought and words, to keep skateboarding FUN? Who would have thought that there would need to be a movement of writers, thinkers, and talkers putting in hours on keyboards, cameras and microphones, printing zines, editing older magazine brands, attempting to steer Skateboarding Culture back toward the universal fun zone it has always been able to be?

There is never a shortage of mainstream cogs who try to drown out these folks, usually with the old "shut up and skate" zorlac sticker...

These brick-in-the-wall status quo culture warriors usually present themselves as loyalty soldiers for the standards of their local and regional meritocracies... Longtime scene locals whose unquestioning loyalty to the legacy of their hometown heroes precludes any addressing of the systemic dumbing down, and "Un-Funning" of skateboarding...

These same heroes are the ones who, for the past 15 or 20 years, have presided over the prevention of diversity... Just watch the documentary "Underexposed" to see prime examples of "good guys" who are cogs in this machine, explaining how they "just can't" promote skateboarding to diverse demographics. For shame.

There is always more to say... I'll stop short, leaving you thinking and finishing these thoughts, along your own lines... please feel free to comment, or interact with us on Facebook and Youtube!


photo credit: @bryancoxphoto

leonard true


leonard true

Here at FickleBoards, we take the term “Barney” pretty seriously. This comes mainly by merit of us being made up of castoffs from skateboarding’s “core”, or “mainstream”. You see, “Barney” is a term coined long ago among the surfers of Hawaii, referring to non-islanders (farmers from the mainland who had “barns”).  These mainlander “Barneys” choked up the surf scene when word got out.

Skateboarding is different from surfing. Barneys don’t choke up anything for us. The “Noobs”, beginners, and Old Men are an important part of any scene. People who love to fly on a wheeled board, no matter where they are from are skateboarding (activity), and they are Skateboarding (community), when they love it enough to dream it.

Barneys don’t fit the molds. Not the “Mainstream” mold of super-ripper-machines, winning contests and bagging up high-dollar sponsorships.

Not the “Core” mold of super-serious elite iconoclast, “holding it down” “on the block”.

Nope. Barneys are just skateboarders who go skateboarding. Some do it a lot, and some get good at it. Others are not as proficient, but used to be 25 years ago. Some of us are on the rise.  Others are in their twilight. But the one thing all Barneys have is in common: Barneys love skateboarding.

Barneys love skateboarding in the face of how bad they are at it.
Barneys love skateboarding in the face of how good they used to be at it, and never will be again.
Barneys love skateboarding despite how good they could have gotten, if life had gone differently…
Barneys love skateboarding without the hope that they will win the comp, get the girl, or have a crew.
Barneys love skateboarding without fatcat sponsorships and cool points.
Barneys often go skate under the dark cloud of disapproval, because they didn’t know you couldn’t wear that.
Barneys often have no manners, when it comes to giving a shit about skate trivia prowess.
Barneys tend to be grateful for skateboarding, even if Skateboarding has loaded scorn on them.
Barneys who hang in there become heroes of a story nobody is reading, because those books are in the grown-ups section.
Barneys have to pick their kid up from school, or go to meetings, or go to dialysis…
Barneys have useless skills like being engineers, pastors, or Man At Arms for the Iron Horsemen…

Some of the Barneys are religious kooks.
Many have kids.
some even still have a wife or two in tow.

Some Barneys are hitting their forties and fifties.

Most of them have passed through the dope and party phase and would like you all to know that that’s not going to work out well for any of you. …and it’ll kill more than a few of you.

Barneys are what they are, no apologies: Human Beings who love skateboarding (the activity) and Skateboarding (the community).

From that love comes this wood, made by a bunch of “Barneys”…
 who never got their priorities screwed up enough to be fooled into a corporate mold…
whose skating always came from our hearts for fun, not a head full of elitist/competitive bullshit…
who think YOU are insanely rad because You are being You,
not because of some trick you learned to impress someone who’s just going to let you down anyway.

So do yourself a favor: Be a Barney. Do life and enjoy skateboarding as it comes.
Be the guy/gal who has a real life and skates for fun.
Be someone who knows the difference between a thing and another thing…
who raises kids instead of being some “shred clone”. 
who stokes others without worrying about losing territory.
who gets under and lifts, by example, instead of stacking up and sitting on the accolades of men.

And if that earns you “Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride” status–-GOOD. If that puts you on the “outs” with some established clan of rippers who’ll look down on you for not knowing your “pro skater trivia”–GOOD!

Because you know the difference! That we’re not skating AT each other, we’re skating WITH each other, life long.

Give a FickleBoard a good death this week, and if it doesn’t wear like iron, for all its imperfections, we’ll take care of you, because we have your backs when we’re under your feet out there.

Thanks to Terry from Disaster 77 for hand-sculpting our original Punk Mayhem RFD Barney graphic.

leonard true

To the meek, the outcasts,

the orphans, the misfits,

the poets, the punks

and the bastards;

to the bullied, the damaged,

the broken ones in the margins

and the damned:

We are with you.


Push forward. 


Love, Fickle Skateboards

leonard true
Go Skateboarding Day

The fact that GSD is just a marketing ploy made up by these guys* who don't seem to care what you love as long as you wear their shoes and clothes and read their magazines shouldn't stop us all from being damn stoked by the fact that there is a national holiday called Go SKATEBOARDING Day. 





leonard true