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Collectivist culture and the skate communities of Southeast Asia & Latin America

In this episode Bros around the globe shows us how skateboarding helps us understand the different cultures around the world.

In this blog you’ll get an idea about the influence of the collectivist culture in Southeast Asia and Latin America on the local skateboarding scene. Here’s an example: “In Asian and Latin countries, you will find old and young skaters both new and experienced supporting one another in the park or plaza.”

Skateboarding is often associated with individualism or rebellion and may seem like an unlikely realm to find traces of collectivism. But the skateboarding community is a melting pot of cultures and people from all walks of life. More alike than different, every skater can relate to those memorable days on their boards, and the ones they’d rather forget. The good ones that remind us of why we skate and the shitty ones that leave us frustrated, questioning why we continue to put ourselves in pain. No matter where you are from, the common denominator remains: skaters are all searching for that next line or trick that keeps the stoke tank filled and has us coming back for more.

Lenia Plaza Hanoi

Throughout my travels around the world, I’ve observed a special influence on skating that stands out, particularly in Latin American and Southeast Asian countries: the heritage of collectivistic culture. With its emphasis on interconnectedness, harmony, and mutual support, Asian and Latin collectivism has found its way into the skateboarding world, creating a unique blend of individual expression and community spirit. For this installment of the skate and travel blog series, we will explore the principles of collectivist cultures and how they manifest in the skateboarding community, fostering a tight-knit and supportive community.

Collectivistic culture is deeply rooted in traditions and values that prioritize the group over the individual. It emphasizes interdependence, cooperation, and maintaining harmonious relationships within the community. Key aspects of this culture embody themselves in the Latin American and Southeast Asian skate world, including a sense of duty, respect for authority, strong family ties, and the pursuit of collective goals.

Regardless of their ethnicity, gender, or social background, skateboarders unite under a common passion for the lifestyle, fostering a deep sense of belonging

The skateboarding community is renowned for its inclusivity and acceptance of diverse backgrounds. Asian and Latin collectivism further strengthens this unity and community by encouraging skateboarders to look beyond their differences and embrace a shared identity. Regardless of their ethnicity, gender, or social background, skateboarders unite under a common passion for the lifestyle, fostering a deep sense of belonging. This collectivism first revealed itself to me in Southeast Asia while traveling through Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Indonesia, and then in Latin countries by way of Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Central America, and Mexico.

Whether it be by local skaters organizing charity events, mentoring aspiring shredders, or working on local skatepark projects, they always keep the country’s entire skate scene in mind.

Collectivist culture places a strong emphasis on respect for authority and intergenerational relationships. These values find expression in the skateboarding community through mentorship and guidance. Experienced skateboarders often take on the role of mentors, sharing their knowledge and skills with younger generations. This fosters a supportive atmosphere where beginners can learn from the wisdom of those who came before them, guiding them in both technical expertise and the community's values. With the OGs passing the torch, it assures skating's future is in the right hands, and tricks, styles, skate parks, and skate spots are respected. In Asian and Latin countries, you will find old and young skaters both new and experienced supporting one another in the park or plaza. Not to say it doesn’t happen in other parts of the world, but for these cultures in particular, it’s simply in their blood.

In a collectivistic culture, collaboration and unified progression take precedence over individual achievement. In Asian and Latin lands, they want to be proud of skaters from their countries and how the rest of the skate world views them. This mindset has influenced the skateboarding community, where skateboarders often collaborate on DIY projects, filming video parts, or organizing events. By pooling their resources and skills, they not only create sick edits and put down steezy tricks to share with the world but also strengthen their bonds and uplift the community.

First and foremost, Asian and Latin collectivism emphasizes a sense of responsibility towards their skateboard family. This value is embodied within the skateboarding community through various initiatives that give back. Whether it be by local skaters organizing charity events, mentoring aspiring shredders, or working on local skatepark projects, they always keep the country’s entire skate scene in mind. By engaging in these movements and initiatives local skaters reinforce the notion that their success is intertwined with the well-being of the community, and they actively contribute to its growth and development.

After traveling to these regions with my board in an attempt to meet skaters from all around the world, the influence of Asian and Latin collectivistic culture on their skateboarding community is undeniable. It adds depth to the individualistic nature of the sport, creating a unique blend of self-expression and communal harmony. Through the principles of unity, mentorship, collaboration, and social responsibility, collectivist culture infuses the skateboarding community with a strong sense of interconnectedness and mutual support. As the skateboarding world continues to evolve and grow, it is essential to recognize and celebrate the diverse cultural influences that shape its vibrant and inclusive character.

Website Bros around the Globe Read Blog Pura Pura skatepark

By Nick DeRiso

How Troubl3 Keeps Making Trouble with Skateboards

June 29 2022 - Interview with Troubl3  “I always have been a troublemaker”. If Andrew, 41, had to pitch his idea, this could be a good punchline. It’s one of those cases where a business’s name is not just marketing, but a character’s extension. "So, Troubl3 is giving the middle finger to a lot of skate shops that do not support local people." Andrew (Owner Troubl3)   VISIT WEBSITE TROUBL3 is a Canadian skateboard shop based in Otawa. It was born in 2018 from the desire to go against the flow. “Skateboarding industry has become a mass production machine. Everything comes from China or Mexico, where people are not paid right. I buy something for one hundred dollars that really costs ten dollars”, he claims. “Then I thought: if I’m going to be a troublemaker, I might do something different. If I’m making a board it’s got to be unique like any skater is. I’m going to make one by one; it’s going to be tougher, it’s going to last more, every single board is going to be different. When you buy, it’s not just a board, it’s a piece of art and an experience”, he adds. This is something “one hundred percent customized”, from size, shape, wheels base, and a “seven veneer deck”. He proudly details: “Each veneer that goes into each deck is hand picked.” He buys local (wood from Quebec, for instance) in small batches, presses, shapes and hand paints the decks himself also, when he can, he promotes local artists to draw on the skateboards. “So, Troubl3 is giving the middle finger to a lot of skate shops that do not support local people who make stuff. They say they are local, but do not buy local”, Andrew reenforces, protesting against the rules of the game. “I always compare skateboards with pizza. I love pizza: a large one costs 50 bucks, the same you pay for a skateboard sometimes. Those skateboards are made overseas, they cost nothing to make, the price of pizza is gone to double, but the price of skateboards stayed the same for 30 years." “I evoke Paul Schmitt’s case all the time: a big name in this industry who shifted his business from California to Tijuana because people want to keep the price of a skateboard at 50 of 60 dollars for eternity. So, to keep his business going and pay his people, he had to move”, Andrew says.   He likes to be different. “Being marginalized is something good in skateboarding”. Although he admits the way he runs business is not sustainable: “The breakeven would be making 250 skateboards a month. Right now, I have had a month when I made four or five, others one or two.” It doesn’t matter. He believes this is the way. And he gives a discount if people really ride them and not just hang his skateboards on the wall. Authenticity is his brand, like the style he prefers for riders: “I like to see the most unorthodox skater. Do you do treflips? Fantastic, so can any other kid. I don’t care, throw your board against the wall, flip it on your head, do a back flip, do something I want to see. It’s different, do skateboarding and not do what others do.” “There’s a kid in Indonesia I started to follow who's skateboarding reminds me of a young Christian Hosoi. When I see the kid skate I can recognize Christian Hosoi’s influence. Can you recognize the inventors of other tricks you see people do at the park?”, he asks. Andrew sponsors five “troublemakers”: Eric Martin (Ontario), Dustin Lawrence (Ontario), Connor Callan aka Meat Feet (Arizona), Luis Uribe (Texas), Shinichi Nichiyama (Japan). He enjoys watching them and supports them the way he can. About his local skateparks, Andrew recommends: Bob MacQuarrie skatepark in Otawa Joel Gauthier skatepark in Rockland Local bus stop where where it's super smooth and is perfect for slappies, now that people stopped using busses, due to Covid, it's always empty and available.

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