"GQ researcher Cole Louison gave himself an impossible assignment: to write the complete history of a sport without it reading like a dusty encyclopedia or self-promotional wiki page. And make it interesting to an audience of people who don't really care about that sport (while not losing the millions of potential readers who do). Plus explain what an 'ollie' is.... [H]e's accomplished just that." —GQ
"Louison is both booster and critic, and writes with an eye to contradictions—skateboarding is a loner sport with a strong community, an outlaw pastime with big-money corporate backing—and gets to the heart of an often misunderstood pursuit." —The New Yorker
"Louison . . . has a light reportorial touch, a sense of the absurd and a sincere, affable persona…. [He] has turned his attention to the skateboarding world—a milieu that suffers no shortage of absurd, and absurdly talented, characters…. Through Louison’s eyes we see a once small subculture, now thoroughly colonized by mainstream media, public relations personnel, and other non-skate actors…. That Louison is able to successfully convey the excitement of skateboarding to the layman without offending the connoisseur is a testament to his well-researched grasp of a sometimes opaque subject." —McSweeney's Internet Tendency
From the Back Cover
Skateboarding: the background, technicality, culture, rebellion, marketing, conflict, and future of the global sport as seen through two of its most influential geniuses
Since it all began half a century ago, skateboarding has come to mystify some and to mesmerize many, including its tens of millions of adherents throughout America and the world. And yet, as ubiquitous as it is today, its origins, manners, and methods are little understood.
The Impossible aims to get skateboarding right. Journalist Cole Louison gets inside the history, culture, and major personalities of skating. He does solargely by recounting the careers of the sport’s Yoda—Rodney Mullen, who, in his mid-forties, remains the greatest skateboarder in the world, the godfather of all modern skateboarding tricks—and its Luke Skywalker—Ryan Sheckler, who became its youngest pro athlete and a celebrity at thirteen. The story begins in the 1960s, when the first boards made their way to land in the form of off-season surfing in southern California. It then follows the sport’s spikes, plateaus, and drops—including its billion-dollar apparel industry and its connection with art, fashion, and music.
In The Impossible, we come to know intimately not only skateboarding, but also two very different, equally fascinating geniuses who have shaped the sport more than anyone else.