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The Vision and Mission of Surfskate Love

by | Jan 26, 2023 | Announcements

My vision and mission with Surfskate Love are to:

  1. Eliminate as many barriers as possible to make surfskating more friendly and accessible to beginners,
  2. In order to grow surfskating as big as possible.

And I do this because I love sharing the joy I feel on a surfskate. Surfskating makes people happy! And the world could use more happiness.

I have a particular soft spot in my heart for beginners. Having come into this sport as a total newbie myself, both to board sports in general as well as surfskating, I know how hard the journey is, on many fronts—from choosing your first surfskate to feeling embarrassed by your kooky wiggling.

My experience is that this is not a beginner-friendly sport, for many reasons. Because one of my deepest core values is inclusiveness, I would like to help change that.

When I came into this sport, my only frame of reference was longboard cruising. I had never surfed in my life when I stepped onto a surfskate for the first time. I had no skill on a longboard and even less on a surfskate.

All I knew is that pumping and carving—no matter how stupid I looked—felt amazing compared to pushing straight on a longboard.

I was immediately hooked. I bought a couple more surfskates to experiment. I was approaching this thing with total beginner’s mind. Everywhere I went, I shared my surfskates with people. I was just having fun, and I wanted other people to have fun, too.

Everyone who tried one said the same thing: “I’ve never seen that. I gotta get one!”

I was confused as to why the category was still so small after 25 years. Of course, I was absolutely naïve to many things about skateboarding trends, and I still am and have a lot to learn.

Even still, I wholeheartedly believe that more can be done to grow surfskating. And to that end, I’m going to continue doing the things I say should be done in this space.

For the past 17 years, I have been a freelance writer and content marketer. In short, I explain things to people for a living.

It seems that “marketing” is a dirty word in skateboarding. My take on marketing is that it’s simply about eliminating barriers for people through education.

And everywhere I looked in surfskating, all I saw were barriers in the buying and learning process for customers, and I saw very little education from the companies.

All surfskate companies have essentially the same marketing strategy: Hire great riders to ride their boards and make videos of them.

Okay, that’s a good first step to show me a vision of what’s possible with your product. But I’m not a great rider, nor will I ever be, so that’s not super helpful for me.

Where are your educational videos explaining how to choose your first surfskate?

Where is your Surfskate Selector? (Smoothstar and YOW now have them, but they didn’t when I started. To this day, Carver’s only board selector is an image in reference to the length of surfboard you ride. My surveys show that 64% of my audience are non-surfers, so that image is completely worthless to us.)

Where are your educational videos showing beginner non-surfers how to ride?

Where are your educational videos showing people how to adjust and maintain your trucks? (Carver came out with the C7 in 1996 and in 2023, mine is the only video I can find on YouTube on how to adjust it. YOW spent 5 years on research and development of the Meraki, and still has no videos on how to maintain it and fix common noises in it.)

I’ve been perceived as critical in this space, and understandably so, because I have been. And I haven’t done a good job of explaining my intention behind it: to help surfskate companies grow so the category grows.

I have not communicated that well, and I’m going to do my best to communicate that intention better in the future. Whether or not I’m right on any point, I’m genuinely trying to be helpful, both to surfskate companies and to riders.

If I’m critical of companies, it’s because, given my personal experience in this process, I’m all about being a consumer advocate. I know how to put myself into the shoes of newbie non-surfers, because that’s exactly who I am. And my experience getting into surfskating was very frustrating, for many reasons.

My take is that surfskate companies charge their customers a lot of hard-earned dollars for their products, and those customers deserve to know what they’re buying.

Furthermore, the challenge in this space is that there are so many surfskate trucks that all feel and perform much differently. So you can’t talk about any one truck on its own merits. Each surfskate truck has to be compared within the context of all of them to get a complete picture.

My core intention with all my educational content is to save you time, money, and hassle as a consumer so you don’t have to spend the money I have to figure this thing out.

To that end, here is where Surfskate Love goes from here:

  • I will continue doing anything and everything I can do to remove barriers for beginners and make this a more beginner-friendly sport.
  • I want to get out of my own way as much as possible and get more qualified people in front of the camera. So I will be working with qualified riders and surfers to give you educational content from their perspectives, both tutorials and reviews.
  • When I have the resources for it, I want to create a free online community with at least the following features:
     

    • Local Surfskater Finder: Input your location to connect with skaters in your area.
    • Local Surfskate Spot Finder: Input your location to find cool surfskate spots posted by other surfskaters in your area.
    • Beginner-friendly forum.
    • Expert’s Corner: A panel of experts to answer people’s questions, participating with the community in various formats (forum, webinars, podcasts, etc).
    • I’ve also played around with the idea of a surfskating podcast where I have surfskaters all over the world share their stories.

To my supporters, I appreciate you more than I can say. The daily messages I get from you make it all worth it.

I welcome your feedback and ideas on how we can grow surfskating and improve the category for everyone, and especially for beginners. I look forward to working with you to make surfskating better for everyone.

Sincerely,
Steve Palmer
Founder of Surfskate Love