artists     stories    image-search     news    contact


© Stephanie Gengotti

To go back to the origins of Skateboarding or, more commonly, Skate, we need to go back to the avant-garde intuition of some Californian surfers at the end of the 1950s. The idea was to change a purely water sport into something that included the possibility of practicing the same even on the road, thanks to the assembly of 4 wheels under a board. Skate is therefore the perfect urban metamorphosis of Surf and like the Surf, tells the great epic of a youthful freedom that has never stopped cutting the waves, the wind and the road. But it was in the 70’s that the skate revolution reached the figurative expression we know today, the leap that made possible the exponential desire of the new generations to practice it as a real sport.

It all began in Beverly Hills during the great drought of 1975, when a group of young people began to use their board with wheels inside swimming pools dried up by the heat, transforming them into the first Skate Parks in history; those acrobatics, so similar to the sinuous slides on the waves, opened the great frontier of modern success to the Skate. Boys who did not just improvise a variant, but created the foundations that allowed the future vision of a new generational emancipation that would clear the board with wheels in every part of the world, enriching it with all that potential and scratch hitherto unexpressed. Stacy Peralta, Tony Alva and Jay Adams are some of the young people of the time, who have become true icons of modern Skate.

Today Skate is a universe that is expressed across the board, with an idea of aesthetics and culture that do not conform to the dictates of a mass market. The young skater is looking for his own beauty, a scream that takes us back to the glories of a recent past. The Nirvana screen-printed T-shirts and long hair in the wind, catapult us into the seminal culture of Seattle's Grunge, in the memory of that America of distorted guitars and beaten drums that roared its rebellion against the sleepy urban homologation. The new skater is the land surfer, who rides the asphalt and walls like the surfer the waves of the sea. The dark make-up on the eyes, the tattoos, the chains and colored Glam-Punk hair, or the faces and fringes of soap and water boys, let us understand the desire to diversify one's aesthetic and inner revelation, an individual uniqueness that embodies a renewed awareness of a past that has left its mark.

In Italy, Skate is experiencing a period of happy expansion, also thanks to the creation of numerous Skate Parks, such as ‘The spot’ a large structure inaugurated in Ostia (on the Roman coast), one of the largest Skate Parks in Europe and an international destination for skaters of all over the world, capable of replicating an optimal track for leaps and stunts. A safe and aggregative place, a miniature society where the little ones have the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of this fascinating discipline, and the veterans to satisfy their passion by measuring themselves against their own limits and their many evolutions. And it is no coincidence that this ambitious project has had Ostia as a concrete and credible scenario of a sport so widespread among contemporary culture, because Ostia has represented, from the 1980s onwards, one of the most formative places for surfers in the area. In Ostia you fall in love with the wave, and you are projected towards this propulsion, which pushes you to chase it for at least 6 months a year along the axis that crosses its most iconic world destinations, because Surf and Skate are the beating heart of a neighbourhood that is not only recognized as a summer seaside destination, but as a complex and aggregative fabric capable of supporting an empathic exchange with surfers and skaters from all over the world. Nicknamed ‘Califostia’, Ostia embodies the most visceral idea of the Californian dream, a dream that has never stopped screaming at us the beauty of existing.

In conclusion, Skate is something that goes beyond physical sport, it is an incredible adventure, which began in 1959 with 4 wheels under a board. It is a lifestyle, it is an overturning of patterns, because it was born together with Rock n 'Roll, the most disruptive expression of being young.

click the link to view the complete set of images in the archive

Institute Artist is redefining how stories are produced and told. Representing auteur-driven storytellers, we bring together talent across commercials, photography, fine art, and film. Founded by Matt Shonfeld and Frank Evers. Institute Artists multi-platform production expertise, and established global relationships in entertainment, fine art, and journalism make for unmatched reach and cross-pollination of creative work. Institute Artist has been a leading advocate of the power of underrepresented talent and is fully committed to bringing these authentic voices to our clients by helping them tell compelling and entertaining stories that better connect with their audiences.