As the lockdown continues, the wide spread impact is now flowing through all veins of the retail world. Including skateboarding.
“China went down first from the CV (coronavirus) shutting off most supplier’s flow of products,[..]then the U.S., then Mexico” says George Powell, president and founder of one of the world’s largest skateboard companies, Skate One.
Skate shops of all sizes, and consumers, are feeling the pinch. Things are starting to look fairly serious if we don’t see a heavy swing from manufacturers.
“It’s a problem,” says Dave White, owner of L.A. Skate Co. In business for 42 years, L.A. Skate Co. is one of the oldest skate shops in Los Angeles, and are known for offering one of the world’s largest selections of boards. They still have a fairly large inventory, but shortages have them thinking a bit harder about exactly what to order. “I have a store full of stuff, but half the time nobody wants what you have, so…”
“As soon as the equipment is ready, everybody vultures on it, and retailers are fighting for it,” says Chris Nukela behind the counter at Portland, Oregon’s Cal Skate, the world’s oldest continuously operating skate shop. “Every aspect of the skateboard world is just weeks and months behind.”
“I think we’re in for kind of a downward spiral for the next month or two,” says Jim McDowell, cofounder of Rip City Skates in Santa Monica. “It could get worse. Right now it’s bad enough. I’ve been here for 40 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this. [..] We are currently backlogged about three-to-four months at current production rates,” says Powell, “and from what we hear, so are our competitors, so you can expect to find you are not able to find exactly what you are looking for, and in some cases anything at all, to satisfy your desire to skateboard. I expect the market to ‘settle back down’ by Christmas, but with all the wildcards being played by politicians and governments, it is hard to predict. We are doing our very best, but it is a crazy market environment right now.”
No one can say what the skateboard industry’s future will hold, but we can count on one thing, there will be change in the coming winds. We might see titans of our industry reduced to ashes and from those ashes small brands might emerge and rise to prominence. We also might see the perseverance of iron willed skateboarders who refuse to give up loyalty to the American dream. I believe in the will of the skateboarder to continue.
Go support your local shop how ever you can.