Unlike organized sports, professional skateboarders showcase their talents through something called a video part. Video parts usually span from three to five minutes. While an average skateboard maneuver can take as little as two seconds to perform and the expectations for each trick is extremely high, it can take a professional skateboarder literally years to film a video part.
During the 1990’s, when street skateboarding was beginning to overtake ramp skateboarding in popularity, skateboard videos were usually put together by companies. These skateboard companies would showcase the talents of their professionals by releasing full length skateboard videos on VHS form. In the skateworld, a full length video could range from between 30 minutes to an hour.
The direction of professional skateboarding has evolved directly with the level of technology available to the average American consumer. When Americans made the shift from watching films on VHS to watching films on DVD, skate videos followed suit. However, when streaming videos and YouTube became popular in American culture, the definition of how a pro skater made a paycheck quickly changed.
In the past, the limitations in distribution made it acceptable for professional skateboarders to live for years off of the production of a single video part. This was partly due to the monopolies that skateboard companies had on the distribution of skateboard videos. Before YouTube became prevalent, the average skateboarder was able to keep up with what was going on in the skateboard world by purchasing a skateboard video from his local skateboard shop. Skateboard shops usually stocked the videos of the best known brands. As a result, the only path to fame in the skateboard world was through sponsorship by a major skateboard brand. However, the advent of YouTube made it much easier for unknown skateboarders to break through to the skateboarding population.
As a result, it became harder for professionals to maintain their spotlight. Full length skate videos were becoming much less profitable due to pirating on the internet. Additionally, the attention span of skateboarders was beginning to dwindle. On the internet, the average skater has access to literally thousands of skateboard videos from both professional skateboarders and less well known but equally talented skateboarders. Professional skaters found more pressure to put out a greater quantity of footage on the internet. Parts began to be released more frequently.
Today, many professionals will release a video part that is not associated with any video. Additionally, the sales of skateboard videos are becoming scarce. If a video production is made, it is usually available on the internet for free download within a couple of days of its release. There are some videos that still command a premium. These can usually be purchased on Apple’s iTunes store.