From Publishers Weekly
At the beginning of this slim history of skateboarding, the author makes it clear that his version will be biased, prejudiced and discriminating. Weyland has been hooked on skateboarding for more than 20 years (he is 33 years old), making objectivity all but impossible. Instead, Weyland has written what amounts to a love letter to skateboarding and its culture. He cobbles old articles and reportage from skating magazines like Skateboarder and Thrasher into a breezy narrative of the sport from its birth in 1960s California as a way for surfers to pass the time when the waves were flat to the hugely popular sport of today, regularly featured on ESPN. Along the way readers meet legends like the Dogtown Z-Boys (skating pioneers who were recently the subject of a documentary film), Steve Caballero and Tony Hawk. But the real strength of this book comes from the personal experiences he skillfully drops in the mix. He does a great job explaining how, growing up as an alienated kid, skating offered him an alternative to institutionalized jock mentality and its attendant boorishness. Through his vivid remembrances, he offers a glimpse into the rebellious skating culture in the 1980s when it was still far underground. And while Weyland lapses a bit into sentimentality over today' s commercialization of the sport, he always returns to its true spirit. As he writes, It' s slamming onto cement and getting purple hip contusions that stick to your pants for weeks, riding on rain-soaked sidewalks and arguing with old ladies and running from cops. This is a rallying cry to true skate punks everywhere. (Sept.) Forecast: Excerpts from the book will appear in skateboarding magazine Thrasher (circulation of 500,000), which should drive sales.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This chronicle, by a seasoned practitioner, of the halting but persistent ascent of skateboarding is sharp and winning, depicting from the inside the evolution of a subculture that has retained its stylistic distinctiveness even as it has spawned ESPN shows and tacky merchandising franchises. Unfortunately, Weyland spends too much time fretting that skaters have gone soft, and lamenting the decay of the anti-authoritarianism that once animated the sport. But his picture of the real world in which skaters live belies his warmed-over Frankfurt School critique, and he is at his best when he writes about what skating gave him as a kid—what it's like to awaken to a sense of possibility, and to realize that what you've grown up with is not what you're stuck with.
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker
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