Can Skateboarding Actually, Help People?

As much as we hear about how great skateboarding is and how it brings people together, do we ever actually see it?

The same cliques hit the same spots and rarely do people get out of their comfort zones, even in their own hometowns. When comparing the industry of skateboarding with the activity, it’s hard to figure out whether the mythical utopian bonds everyone claims skateboarding has exist. Companies are busy making a profit and skateboarders are busy buying the products that they feel make them look cooler, skate better, or have more fun skating. Enter Element, a skateboard company with a store in Times Square that just celebrated its 25th anniversary.

If you’re not paying attention, Element does not seem like the company to break the mold. An absolutely stacked team aside, jaded skaters like myself may not look much further than the classic twig logo or Nyjah Huston. Twenty-five years is a long time, though, and Element has a long-standing legacy in skateboarding. While now a subsidiary of Billabong, there’s still plenty of heart left, as proved by their now decade-old non-profit, Elemental Awareness. By using skateboarding as the vehicle for many activities and initiatives, Elemental Awareness believes that you can positively impact the world around you through an active involvement in your passions. Which is really a fancy way of Element incorporating the sentiment I wrote up top into their brand—skateboarding can bring people together.

In this case, Elemental Awareness is bringing a group to a Native American reservation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. The community has a skatepark but, as always, needs more boards. The four-minute video is a feel-good romp that details how the group had to miraculously borrow a big rig truck after their van breaks down on the way to the reservation. Once they arrive, they unload their board cargo and share them with the locals, skating and mingling in a true representation of skateboarding’s power. I think I caught Nick Garcia in there and Evan Smith also took the trip—he’s seen both horsing around with groups of children and hugging a bunch of non-professional skaters you’ve probably never seen before. The video pulses with a vibe that is more in line with the hippy-esque mantra printed on so many Element products than the neon green and red-glow that reflect off the glass on their Times Square store. Say what you will about Element, and there’s a lot to say, but they have been backing their brand identity with developing proactive relationships to the world around them in a referenceable way for at least a decade now. If you click on one video link today, click on this one.

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