Source: Transworld Business Magazine
Date: June 1, 2007
Byline: Jennifer Sherowski
Go Skateboarding Day 2007
An early summer morning dawns. It's like any other June day, except that 3,000 kids are skating through the streets of Chicago, more than a thousand skaters are gathering in Love Park in Philadelphia, and another thousand have taken over Venice Beach. It's Go Skateboarding Day 2006, and all over the world the streets are alive with the sounds of urethane rolling and trucks grinding.
"Being a skater for over 30 years, I've always seen skateboarding as one big family," says Sole Technology VP Of Marketing and Go Skateboarding Day mastermind Don Brown. "And like with any family, it's important to have times when you get everyone together to share stories, bond, and have fun. That's the essence of Go Skateboarding Day-bringing everyone together and showing the world how amazing skateboarding is."
GSD was born four years ago when Brown, who'd been kicking around the idea for some time, was elected to the International Association of Skateboard Companies board of directors. "I'd always wanted to create a day for skateboarding-but not under a brand, because it would be too commercial. As soon as I was elected to the board, I jumped on the chance to make it happen." And so it was that the first day of summer, which is also the longest day of the year (to maximize the fun), was elected an official holiday of skateboarding-the singular goal being to take off work, take off school, basically do what you have to do to get out on a skateboard and ride.
Although the first Go Skateboarding Day was mainly the industry gathering together to barbecue at local skateparks, momentum quickly picked up, culminating last year with literal throngs of skaters taking over streets across the world. The concept was instigated on every level, from the skaters themselves to brands like Emerica-which created Wild In The Streets, an event that had thousands of skaters from all over the planet skating from spot to spot in Chicago-to shop-sponsored skate-scavenger hunts like the one organized by Cowtown in Phoenix, Arizona.
Go Skateboarding Day 2007 is, of course, set to be the biggest one yet. Finally blessed with some promotional funding, the IASC has sent out 700 media kits, along with huge orders of T-shirts and stickers. A letter was also posted to California Governor Schwarzenegger appealing him to make GSD an official state holiday. "We had an ad in literally every skateboard magazine across the world," says IASC Executive Director John Bernards. "It's the support of the community that makes this thing grow."
As part of escalated efforts to get the word out, a Go Skateboarding Day Web site (goskateboardingday.org) allows local shops and organizations to post their GSD happenings so that kids can log on and see what's going on in their area. And the IASC's "Documental" contest encourages retailers to send in coverage of their Go Skateboarding Day event-the best documentation stands to win a free trip to the September ASR trade show in San Diego.
"It's great to see 'core skate shops taking advantage of the busiest day for skateboarding by creating their own local promotions and boosting their sales and store awareness," says Brown. One such retailer is Revolution Board Shop in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, which posted news on the GSD Web site about the in-store jam the staff has planned for this year's holiday. The shop's goal is to raise awareness about the need for a new skatepark in Sheboygan-a feat accomplished in part last year with a shop-sponsored cookout and skate jam at the city's dilapidated park. "I think it Go Skateboarding Day is a great idea," says Revolution Owner Mike Miller. "It's a good way to show recognition of how important the sport is to both kids and adults."