Stemming from the previous n-sb post regarding the Transworld Skateboarding 30 year anniversary issue, today's Skateboard Saturday features Natas Kaupas' video segment from the 1989 Streets on Fire skate video from Santa Cruz Skateboards. This video is a special treat for me because for the first time in my life I appreciated skateboarding in a way unknown to me before. Perhaps it is age, the right timing, an emptiness, or a number of other factors set alone or in combination that fueled my skate tank and amped me up when I watched Kaupas' video segment.
When Daewon Song Mentioned Kaupas' fire hydrant spin, also known as the "Natas Spin," I googled the mention and ended up watching Kaupas' entire segment. I was blown away! All of the skating, not just the spin on the fire hydrant, stokified me. I thought, this guy is shredding! This is so rad! I did not know people were tearing it up like this back then. Okay, I did, and I did not know. To be fair, I had heard of Natas Kaupas, I knew that he was among the greats, I heard whispers of some spin he did and something about a fire hydrant. But at the time I was stuck in my technical skateboarding only worldview (whatever that even is…as if Kaupas is not tech…) and watching skateboarding on boards not symmetrically shaped seemed so foreign to me. It was really just arrogance that prohibited me from recognizing the art and beauty of non-familiar skateboard style and imagery.
In my mind, skateboarding had evolved, grown past, and become better than what someone might see in skateboard media from the 1980s. Some of this is true, skateboarding did evolve, as it continues to today, and as it will continue to do, but it did not become better. The beauty of Skateboarding is that it cannot be locked down and isolated, it cannot be easily defined, and what is appealing at one moment may fade away and become dramatically appealing to an individual or all of skateboard culture at a later time…rising up to rekindle passions. Skateboarding is a living ethereal presence that knows when passions have run dry and when we least expect it, skateboarding's living presence reaches out and smacks us in the face, jarring us vigorously in order to reshape and sharpen our dulled minds.
Ultimately skateboarding is about having fun, so when Daewon, considered a favorite and best skater at times among friends while growing up, said that Natas Kaupas was one of his five most influential skaters of all time and mentioned the fire hydrant spin, I became curious. This is how skateboarding works, this is skateboarding, a living entity that ebbs and flows within time and space, connecting us together. The links between skaters admired from generation to generation continues and creates that which is and will forever be fun: skateboarding.