There's a new action sport in town called Spikeboarding™ and it's got a logo!
Ladies and gentleman, there’s a new sport in town that may just knock your collective socks off. It’s Spikeboarding! – or as founder Enrique Cubillo has carefully legally laid out SpikeBoarding™ and STAND UP SPIKE™/SUS™ (patent pending) as owned by Susoix Limited Liability Company.
This revolutionary new ‘action sport’ that is currently being promoted by a video of Cubillo in Susoix-branded lycra energetically pushing himself around New York by way of a longboard and a big stick. Dodge traffic, get rad.
I’m going to hazard a guess that this guy saw how popular skateboarding is and how the whole punting thing has caught on in such cultural centres as Venice and Cambridge and one great big lightbulb has flashed on in his head!
Ok, so there’s also the loved/loathed sport of stand up paddle boarding which seems to have taken off in recent years. Surfing evolved to grow legs, crawl onto land and turn into skateboarding. So why can’t SUPing do the same?
But there’s a key difference. I interviewed UK surfer Alan Stokes a few years ago and he remarked on the appeal of SUPs, of which he can appreciate: on flat days you can still get out onto the water and paddle around. It’s the equivalent of pushing on flat on your skateboard as opposed to dropping in on a bowl or bombing a hill. Also, SUPing is also great for core balance and stability training, and could even help you train to become a better surfer when you can’t actually get out to surf.
So why the hell do you need a spike to ride a skateboard?! And if you watch the video all the way through – yeah, it’s a big ask! – you’ll see that he also uses his leg. Which brings to the central reason why this just won’t catch on: people have been using their legs to propel themselves along on a skateboard for years, and it seems to have worked out quite well. If something simple exists that works well at the job, then you don’t need to invent a product more complicated to mimic it. When was the last time you saw an automatic foot in the shops?
I’m going to hazard a guess that this guy genuinely loves SpikeBoarding™. He seems to have developed quite a technique for getting up some speed. Fuck it, if this guy gets a buzz pushing himself around on a skateboard and a big stick then that’s awesome! I genuinely believe that and I wish him all the luck in the world. But it’s just quite simply depressing to see something commodified so quickly, given a logo, branded up and had trademarks slapped on to be claimed as a property.
It seems nowadays that the natural conclusion to any activity is to try and – as people say sadly without irony – ‘monetise it’. Can’t something just be without being packaged and sold? After all, the genuinely cool and enduring stuff emerges organically by people who do an activity for the love of it and nothing more. After time, it attracts other like-minded people and slowly grows in size and respect – and eventually some people start to make a living out of it.
Who knows, I could be wrong. Maybe one day there will be a whole subculture of pushing yourself around with a stick and a wheeled plank of wood, but I doubt people will be referring to it as SpikeBoarding™ or STAND UP SPIKE™/SUS™.