The Summer solstice is rapidly approaching, and while that's plenty cause for celebration, skateboarders and surfers rejoice—it's time for Go Skateboarding Day, and International Surfing Day.
Whether you're a retailer, manufacturer, or just an avid fan, it's in your best interests to plan something for the big day. If you're a retailer, and you have an event at your shop, shredders will come out of the woodwork to help you celebrate, and chances are, buy a little or a lot. Mike Monteith from Mike's Surf and Skate in Hamilton, Virginia, says his shop's sales, and the sales of other shops in the area increased by about 30 percent on Go Skateboarding Day 2006. "The mayor came out to declare the day an official holiday and we skated across town with a police escort," he recalls.
If you're a manufacturer, it's probably the most grass roots way to get your brand some exposure. Show up at a park and raffle off product, stoking kids out and creating fans—and customers—for life.
What's In A Day?
Presidents have one. Martin Luther King, Jr. has one. Hell, in Australia Guy Fawkes even has one, and all he did was threaten to blow up Parliament. So what good comes out of having a "day," and why do we need them for surfing and skateboarding? The short-short answer is recognition.
For any latecomers, skateboarding hasn't always been a wildly popular, massively accepted pastime/sport/lifestyle. In fact, up until the past decade, it really wasn't "cool." there weren't many parks, , and in the social caste of adolescence, skaters were ranked close to the bottom with nerds and whatever came after nerds. Being a skater in the 80s and 90s meant you probably weren't getting laid. Or maybe that was just me.
For better or worse, we've come a long way, baby. There are tons of parks, the industry has millions more floating around, and the bar of progression has been raised, grinded, and raised again. But on the flip side, skateboarding is involved in every extreme snack product, reality show, and pimple-cream commercial. Times have changed.But it's important to band together and roll around on June 21, to continue to show the world we are a legitimate group, and to continue to grow the ranks by introducing more people to skateboarding, which helps the industry to thrive.
For surfers, International Surfing Day isn't so much about recognition as it's about leaving work, school, or whatever responsibilities you might have in your life aside long enough to get in the ocean. It also tends to bring surfers from all over the world together in a positive way. And, while most skaters think it's a rip off of GSD, its founders say it's not.
"This is the fourth year it'll be going on," says Matt McClain, director of marketing/ communications for Surfrider Foundation and co-founder of ISD. "It actually got started when Ross Garrett was up at Surfing Magazine. They initially did an article called 'A Day In The Life Of A Surfer', and then he and I started talking. We said, 'Hey wouldn't it be great if we had a day where we could celebrate the sport of surfing as our own, and it kind of grew out of that."
McClain says that it was founded on the same day as GSD, but that was just by coincidence. "We just kind of started doing it at the same time," he says. "Even though we both try to do it around the same time."While GSD falls on June 21 every year, International Surfing Day is either held on the 20th or 21st, depending on when the Summer Solstice starts. "Initially it was supposed to be the longest day of the year, but sense it's a worldwide event it's also going on in the Southern Hemisphere, so it's their shortest day of the year," McClain explains. "But we picked that date to celebrate it. For those of us lucky enough to live in the Northern Hemisphere, it's the perfect time to get out of work early, or school early, and go for a surf and do something to give back to the ocean."
Regardless of what kind of event you're hosting, getting exposure is key to its success. On a local level, getting the KBBL News Van on the scene guarantees you a spot on the 6:00 news, which is great for the exposure of the sport, and even better if the point person has a destination to plug. If you're the guy in charge, make yourself available for interviews, and for god's sake, wear your shop tee shirt. As Brendan Behan once said: "There's no such thing as bad publicity—except your own obituary."
So whether you take a bunch of shredders to the pier, or have a video marathon in your shop, make sure you enjoy the day. And shoot lots of photos. And then post them in the FORUM at twbiz.com. The only dilemma is for the extreme renaissance men out there who partake in both. Should you skate or should you surf? Well it's no use asking us—Josh says surf, but Adam says skate.
For the entire story and a complete list of events happening on June 20-21, pick up an issue of May’s Transworld Business. Subscribe for free by clicking the SUBSCRIBE NOW! icon at the top of the page.
Call Out Stats
• In 2006, more than 250 events in 32 different countries were posted on goskateboardingday.org.
• For 2008, more than 800 retailers are getting involved and hosting events.
• In 2007, more than 600 events were held around the world, as far away as Africa, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates
• Last year on Go Skateboarding Day, more than 800,000 people checked out the goskateboardingday.org website, crashing the server