IASC Update January 2001

IASC/World Cup National Amateur Skateboard Championships–a return to greatness?

Today’s world of skateboarding is so vast, so all-inclusive, and so pervasive that its tendrils not only attach to every aspect of contemporary culture, but every place on Earth. Fingerboards are just as popular on ships stationed in Antarctica as real skateboards are in Thailand. When was the last time you went anywhere and didn’t see skateboarders? Reports from New York media sources allege Tony Hawk is three times more recognizable to today’s youth than U.S. Vice President Al Gore, and current estimates claim that more than 12,000,000 skateboarders will take to U.S. streets this summer, doubling the number from five years ago. And that number doesn’t necessarily include the millions of others who will busy themselves skating their fingerboards on fingerboard skateparks while watching their fingerboard videos, or those skating with their computerized game controller.

Not so long ago it was a big deal whether or not you were a street skater or a vert skater (which of course was after “freestyle” was considered so lame no one even mentioned it). Now there’re so many options for “skateboarders” that many of them don’t even involve a real street or a real ramp, or even a “real skateboard.”

So just when you might be worried that skateboarding was in danger of becoming something else–just when you thought skateboarding might, in fact, be about something else–along comes a return to a bastion of the sport’s beginnings, a backbone of support for the real thing: The IASC/World Cup National Amateur Skateboard Championships.

Okay, we can probably come up with a simpler name, something like “Skateboarding’s National Amateur Championships” (“SNAC?”), or the “National Amateur Skateboarding Championship” (“NASC?” What’s a “nasc?”). If we’re smart we’ll call the trophy the Frank Hawk Cup and leave it at that. Eventually everyone will know what it stands for because, as many prople already know, Frank more or less invented the contest-series format for amateur and professional skateboarding, and those of us who worked with him know that he certainly earned the distinction.

Whatever we decide to call it, and whatever trophy is awarded, the important thing is the return of a national amateur skateboarding series with regional competitions that qualify winners to compete in the national championships. What is also important to note is that the entire process, all of the events, will be run by and supported by skateboarders and the skateboard industry.

Thus, IASC member companies will sponsor the series by supporting its staff, judging, and publicity and promotions, and World Cup Skateboarding will provide the computer systems, judging criteria, and rankings that will offer a smooth transition to professional status for those amateurs successful enough to consider professional skateboarding an option. Just to remind you, World Cup Skateboarding, directed by Don and Danielle Bostick, is the organization directing professional-skateboarding events, and IASC (International Association of Skateboard Companies) is the skateboard industry’s nonprofit trade association.

IASC Special Event Director Brian Schaefer will function as the on-site director for each and every contest, thus assuring event sponsors and every participant that the contests will be run according to IASC and World Cup guidelines developed by skateboarders and the skateboard industry. The series of contests will culminate in a skateboarding championship and will be promoted by skateboarding, by skateboarders, and for skateboarders.

The contests present an interesting new opportunity for retailers to involve themselves in the process of determining who will be the 2001 National Amateur Skateboarding Champion. Because both IASC and World Cup are pledging support for the series as a five-year start-up project, retailers can also be involved with the champions for the years to come. Retailers will become a major conduit of information for local skaters, and in some instances may become the link between an individual skater and their success in a regional qualifier. In fact, retailer involvement is always key to amateur events, as it was for Powell’s Quartermaster Cup series from 1990 to 1992. That series essentially introduced Salman Agah, Kit Erickson, Chris Senn, Pat Brennan, Tim Brauch, Ronnie Creager, and dozens of others to skateboarding competition.

Qualifying events for the IASC/World Cup National Amateur Skateboard Championships will utilize local skateparks, private or public, that are deemed appropriately safe, challenging, and capable of exhibiting skaters’ talents and abilities. The contests will not be tied directly to any other events or tours, and will concentrate themselves fully upon the actual competition–participants will compete in a skateboarding contest, not a media event. “Kids need a chance to experience what a real skate contest is all about,” says IASC’s Brian Schaefer. “Whether they’re competing or not, these contests will be about one thing, skateboarding–that’s it.”

Personally, I don’t feel it’s about winning the championship, necessarily. For me it means the skateboard industry can provide younger skaters with a focus for their skating. It’s the best of what a contest can offer. This summer we’ll have regional qualifying events in the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Northwest, and Southwest, with the finals at the Los Angeles County Fair where 200,000 people a day will have the option of seeing the IASC/World Cup National Amateur Skateboard Championships. In fact, schedules, contest locations, qualifying criteria, and application forms will be available in the IASC Hospitality Suite at the ASR Trade Expo in February. Get involved in skateboarding, and get involved in the amateur series.

Jim Fitzpatrick is executive director of the International Association Of Skateboard Companies, skateboarding’s nonprofit trade association. IASC can be reached at (805) 683-5676, skateboardiasc.org, IASCsk8@aol.com, or by mail at: IASC, P.O. Box 37, Santa Barbara, California 93116.