BoardsportSource Issue #117 JULY 2023

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On the cover: Laura Hemming, skate coach at Graystone Action Sports. Photo: Chris Chatt. 

An abysmal winter for snowfall in the European Alps, followed by yet another record-breaking summer of high temperatures across Europe. Poor snowboarding for most in the winter and fuck all surf in the summer. Warehouses are full of skate and surf product and soaring interest rates paired with the crippling “cost of living crisis” is just the perfect shitstorm we’ve learnt to endure in the boardsports biz.

I started working for Clive & BoardSport Source Mag back in 2011. The Global Financial Crisis (or GFC as all these old dudes wrote about in their editorial contributions) had properly fucked not just our industry, but the global economic situation in general. The industry as we (they) knew it had completely changed. The champagne, all nighters and bottomless company credit cards were now apparently all just a distant memory. However, with the cyclical nature of, well everything, things did start gearing back up. Skateboarding and surfing had their Olympic debuts to look forward to. Skateboarding’s long-standing flirtation with the mainstream continued to jive. “Consolidation” was rife, major brands in the industry merged. But with the benefit of hindsight, we can see now there was actually a sense of calm and stability. Definitely nothing to write interesting news pieces on.

As soon as Covid-19 hit in March 2020, we shut down. At Source we turned off our operations for a couple of weeks until we soon realised our network was more important than ever. Sales reps, marketing managers, shop owners were now locked up at home, not allowed to go anywhere and “information silos” weren’t just a buzzword, but a real problem.

We started doing something I’d never done before in boardsports – actual journalism. I studied a BA in Journalism for 4 years at Glasgow Caledonian University, where my course leader once told me “Writing about snowboarding… you’ll never get paid for that!” (Fuck you btw, Julian Calvert). Me and Clive set about calling people (Clive not asking for ad spend for once) and we soon realised our network, and the news we could report, was vitally important to those used to getting their info and banter from the water cooler, shop visits and trade events. I started churning out two or three pieces of actual news per week, which culminated in our ‘Snowboard Industry Zoom’ where we gathered all the key figures from the snowboard industry to discuss hot trends and tackled the major burning question, to-carry-over, or no-to-carry-over. We all know what followed; a year plus of Covid-induced hangovers bookended by the outbreak of war in Eastern Europe.

Shit storms are the norm, but something that always puts me at ease is the notion, it’s only boardsports. We don’t put our lives on the line going to work. None of us are having to strike for better working or payment conditions. None of us dread going to work. We get to surf, skate and snowboard daily. We’re all doing this for the love. And if you’re not, why the fuck are you even bothering?

Forever Grateful to be Always Sideways,
Harry Mitchell Thompson
Editor-In-Chief

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