Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Close calls in downhill skateboarding and how they're portrayed/shared in the community

Downhill skateboarding is inherently dangerous, regardless of how you look at it. There are so many variables (cars, telephone poles, animals, other skaters, guardrails, rocks, road conditions etc) that skaters are doomed to fail eventually, and some of these fails happen to get caught on video.

While Ed remains completely safe and in control, there's a guard rail on one side of the road, a truck in the oncoming lane, and rocks to avoid in his own lane.

Everyone loves to watch videos of people failing, falling, getting hurt, you get the point. When it comes to downhill skateboarding its no different. However, downhill skateboarding is currently in limbo with legality and the public eye. Many people do not understand how "in control" we are while skateboarding, and how easy it is for us to stop quickly and in our lane. However, most of this knowledge stays within the downhill community, as does most of the standard videos. However, occasionally a video with someone hitting a car, guardrail, or extremely close call will go viral. 

The above video went semi-viral, and I chose not to share a video of someone getting hit by a car on purpose. When videos like this come out, its often the first and only video someone has seen of downhill skateboarding. They then get the impression that all downhill skateboarders have encounters like this very often and these things are unavoidable. 

This is a video that did go viral (3 Million + views), and features no unsafe riding. As a downhill skateboarder, watching videos where people mess up is fun, and I know not to judge all downhill skateboarding like this. However, I think it severely harms the sport when people do share those videos, which only hurts the downhills public image.

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