Skateboarding journalism is having a big moment right now that is reaching away from the California bro culture that has traditionally run the industry and helping others and putting the spotlight on those whose voices haven’t been as loud.

So what is Pushing Boarders exactly? “It was organized by Re-verb Skateboarding, Long Live South Bank, and SkatePal, three groups that represent skater-led academia, urban skate advocacy, and international skate charity work, respectively. Hosting duties were shared by House of Vans London and the University College of London’s (UCL) Bartlett School of Architecture. The goal of the conference was to explore not just the surprising amount of crossover between skateboarding and academia, but to critically examine skateboarding itself.”

Kyle Beachy who wrote the Jason Jessee piece that the skateboard industry didn’t want you to read was a subject, “There are, right now, sitting thousands of miles away on the western coast of California, a group of men who control this industry who would absolutely straight-faced say to us, ‘No you’re wrong,’” Beachy said. “It’s important to note that these are the same men who are making the most money off this industry.”


That sense of uncharted territory ran through the entire weekend. As the event program said, “Pushing Boarders is an experiment. We don’t know what a ‘skate conference’ should be any more than you do. We’re not even sure we should call this a conference. What we do know is that skateboarders around the world have been doing amazing and unexpected things with a ‘useless wooden toy,’ and it’s time we acknowledge that.”

It’s also been a time for skateboarding to finally acknowledge some of the very much not amazing things it’s been doing, like promoting toxic masculinity and celebrating men with long histories of hateful views, and the conference did not hesitate to explore those issues. The panels touched on subjects that, until very recently, skateboarders were not willing to address, giving them a sense of real urgency.