Despite existing in a world of instant gratification, skateboarding at its core, is one painful waiting game. Speaking as someone with a full time job, the simple task of finding time to skateboard in the first place can take all week to figure out.
This takes us to Saturday, the one day a week where most of your friends can find it in themselves to meet up and push around for a bit. After miraculously recovering from the hangover you damned yourself with to forget about how shitty your week was, you get the boys together by, and I’m being generous here, noon.
For the overly ambitious, you may even have a filmer with you. This requires spots to be picked out and tricks to be tried. All of this takes hours. By the time you’ve figured out which spot to hit, four of your friends have already dipped to start drinking again.
This leaves you, the filmer, and two other buddies who swear they aren’t drinking until 6pm. By the time you’re sweating your ass off, getting insecure about how long it’s going to take you before your other friends want to go somewhere else, it could be 3 o’clock. The skate day is practically at its halfway point, and nothing has even been ‘accomplished’ yet by your standards. ‘Why do I claim to love this thing?’
You eventually give up, or ‘take a break’ to sip on some of that Smart Water you can’t believe you remembered to buy before getting to the spot. As you sit down, removing your phone from your pocket to catch up on what you’ve missed from the Instagram’s endless feed, it happens…
‘Relearned a quick fun one today’ camera emoji: @saddestdudeout
‘Got this quick warmup line before the sesh today with the boys’ camera emoji: @dudewhoenviesthedead #skateforfun
‘Filmed this quick crazy one earlier before the cameras came out’ camera emoji: @futuresuicidevictim #igotlucky
‘Quick practice run before today’s comp.’ camera emoji @myauntshandle
More likely than not, the clips accompanying the examples above are top notch, part-worthy pieces of footage. AKA, everything that what you were just trying was not. As tough as it is to admit, these are images of success, precision, and superior ability. The ones posting said clips are almost always at least 5 years younger than you, and will likely end up kind of getting paid to skateboard one day. Good for them.
It’s not necessarily the clip itself that is frustrating about this phenomena. I watch Brandon Biebel insta clips religiously, and that shit does the 1,000% opposite of bumming me out.
The issue here is the god damn caption.
What does it say about someone when they use words like ‘fun one’, ‘crazy one’, or ‘quick’ to describe the clip?
‘Idunno man, give these kids a break. Maybe they really just were having fun, doing crazy things on their skateboards quickly and didn’t have a whole agenda behind everything to craft an image for themselves on instagram.’
WRONG. Let me translate for you:
‘Quick’ = This shit was easy for me. A total afterthought, and not worth my time whatsoever. It was just the warm up, but luckily the good homie was conveniently there to get a perfect angle in slowmo.
‘Fun One’ = Oh, I beeeen had this one in my repertoire. Shit is all day, baby. And since skateboarding is founded on the basis of fun (the argument that will be used to shit talk this article), I had to share that fun one on the gram with all my followers. Remember, inspire others to inspire themselves - to have fun :-).
‘Crazy One’ = You bust this disclaimer out when you’re fully aware of how kooky that new trick you just learned was, but are incapable of denying the amount of points the trick is worth on paper. Therefore, seeing as how it was caught on camera, you’re left with no choice but to post the footy straight to the gram.
‘Practice’ = Wow, you have a completely different outlook on skating than my friends and I who were out hitting on your girlfriend and her friends all night. Practice? Where’s your coach?
So what exactly just unfolded on your touchscreen? Although this grief could be solved with a simple unfollow, the behavior you have observed is inexplicably fascinating. Alas, you keep following, digging deeper and investigating.
Then it clicks.
The problem with instagramming your skateboarding this way is that while you are desperate for people to see what you’ve just done, you are very obviously pretending that you don’t want these people/your ‘fans’ to be excited about it. Yes, you really did just do that NBD on that perfect skatepark ledge, but downplaying your historical feat as if the uncharted territory you claimed is just the warm up is not fooling anyone.
The fact of the matter is that you tried that trick for 3 hours, bummed out a shit ton of kids with helmets who just wanted to learn 50-50’s, and DEFINITELY b-lined it from the park to the bar after you landed that trick to celebrate the accomplishment.
Long story short, you tried it and it was hard to do. What’s the problem with just saying that? What’s the point in disguising the professional-level quality of your skateboarding with terms like ‘quick’ and ‘warm up’, to make it seem like you’ve got something even crazier in store for us when the full part drops?
All of this brings me back to an interview with Mike York I remember reading many years ago. I forget the full context of his response, but he basically explained that he has always aimed for his video parts to be the most accurate representation of his abilities. In other words, what you see is what you get. So basically, the Mike York you see in Yeah Right is going to be just as impressive as the Mike York you see in person, ripping Pier 7.
When your instagram is a highlight reel of insane ‘quick little montages’, people are obviously going to expect that type of presentation when they see you at any spot anywhere after any amount of alcohol consumed the previous night. What those people usually encounter is a dude battling that same insane ledge combo, but for the entirety of the 3 hour session. And that’s just downright depressing.
There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of self promo. I’ll watch literally any piece of skateboard footage that appears in my instagram feed, because I know that either way it’ll all be over in 15 seconds. Just be mindful that no bullshit, the caption is equally as important as the accompanying video. And when in doubt, look at Biebel’s formula for guidance: scientific name of trick + filming credit. That’s it.
The moral of the story - time and time again, is that it’s not about what you do, it’s how you do it. Your dumb ass Instagram captions are no exception.